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Inner circle
I hope I one day reach
1172 Posts

Profile of Montana76
Thank you very much Michael! And if not great, a TAD better will do;)
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1964 - 2016
2034 Posts

Profile of Michael_MacDonald
Always have a plan A<B<C<D and prey you never get past B lol
I have shown up for a show and realized that my significant other took all my props out of the back to take the car shopping. it was stupid of me not to check the props but they are always there. it never dawned on me that they would not be. long story short I had to fake a show. I borrowed a few items from the venue. a book, some post its and 2 pens and scotch tape, some rubber bands and pulled 6 quarters out of my ash trey. the show went off with out a hitch as I have worked hard on impromptu magic for many years.

post its and pens- I broke one of the pens off to a nub and taped the end so that it would not leak in my pocket(bic pens)
psychological forces
pocket writing
hand writing analysis

what ever card tricks you can do now

6 quarters-
winged silver
3 fly
2 in the hand 1 in the pocket
pdq coins across
and many other routines you can get out of bobo's modern coin magic

impromptu book test of your choice
forced work prediction

the key here is that when you buy a book look for the skill sets not just the tricks. you can work miraculous magic if you know just a few basic slights.
Dick Oslund
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Inner circle
8361 Posts

Profile of Dick Oslund
Michael!!! I really like that concept! ("...Rely on intuition not formula!...")

I remember that old story. The young reporter interviews the successful businessman. The young guy asks: "How do you account for your success?" The businessman replies: "Making the right decisions!" Young guy: "How do you learn to make the 'right decisions'?" Businessman: "Experience!" Young guy: "But, how do you get the experience?" Businessman: "Making the wrong decisions!"

Montana::: It appears that you have a good attitude! I think that you will do well. ("Them" tads DO add up!)
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Inner circle
6785 Posts

Profile of magicfish
On Oct 22, 2015, EVILDAN wrote:
I think 3 sets of 3 is gold.
I have 3 sets of 3.
Although, sometimes I do 4 sets of 2 which gives me an extra 1 in case I need an encore.
Sometimes I do 1 set of 1, 1 set of 3 and 1 set of 5. The set of 5 is for people I really like.
But I never do 2 sets of 4 and leave 1 out - that just feels unlucky.

But the key thing is...you only need 9. 9, that's it. And you never have to buy another 1 ever again.

Hope this make sense.

PS: in choosing your 9, try to avoid any 1 that uses consumables. It will save you money in the long run.

"You only need 9 and you'll never have to buy another one"
Another one what? Can you explain?
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1964 - 2016
2034 Posts

Profile of Michael_MacDonald
9 is silly really. if yu are performing a strolling gig that is weekly and do it for a few years people do not want to see the same trick over and over again. you need to freshen up your act regularly. learning a skill set over a trick is the best way to never be caught without your magic. if I can do 5 different slights I can do hundreds of tricks. but if I buy 9 tricks then I can do .....9 tricks. the only way to really go pro in strolling is to find and keep your customers, create a relationship with them. I would rather work the same 5 restaurants for years then have to chase down new venues every few months. one of the gigs I am doing now I have done for 6 years. I have the same regulars there weekly to see me. that would not be so if I only had 9 routines to rely on.
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Eternal Order
20662 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
While I change my audience as opposed to changing tricks what you say about leaning skills and not tricks should be a sticky here.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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1964 - 2016
2034 Posts

Profile of Michael_MacDonald
Slight of hand is always with you, you can use anything and create strong magic.
the skill of being able to communicate in an entertaining way has been lost along the way it seems.
learning stage craft and acting skills. working presentation, timing, misdirection, and all the other skills that turn a
trick in to entertaining magic should be a staple for all magicians.
to many of the young guys buy the next great trick and expect to present it out of the box.
that's not magic...thats mimic.

having a solid foundation in the basics will forever serve you, even if you forget all your props.
I am forever thankful for the people who encouraged me to take it farther then just a logic puzzle.
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Inner circle
Uh, I'm the one on the right.
5041 Posts

Profile of pepka
Some VERY sage advice here Montana, especially from Danny and Michael. The only other thing I would add is the use of a contract that states how many people and the type of performance you are expected to give. Strolling, formal close up, parlor, etc. I assume they were expecting more than 19 people. If I were in that situation, I would have done a formal close up show.
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11164 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
On Oct 25, 2015, pepka wrote:
If I were in that situation, I would have done a formal close up show.

As would I, having been down that same road before. It sometimes take a bad experience to then experience growth.

"Once bitten, twice shy, baby!"

(Quote from the band, Great White... ironically, the same band whose unfortunate lack of forethought with pyrotechnics killed 100 people)
~michael baker
The Magic Company
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Inner circle
Landrum, S.C. by way of Chicago
3412 Posts

Profile of Stanyon
Montana76 -

Others have already implied it, but you didn't suck...you learned!


aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
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1964 - 2016
2034 Posts

Profile of Michael_MacDonald
If you are in the business any amount of time you will get switched up like that.
for some reason they do not have the amount of people show up or some other reason.

formal close up is good as is changing it to a parlor presentation.

if you do not have money for the larger props as some newer performers are not charging
high enough to afford $200 a pop for them. there are some budget DIY solutions down stairs
here on the Café.

when I first started out I made a coin pail from an old coffee can and covered it with contact
paper and painted the inside black. then lined the rim with black felt so that the coins would not talk.
added in a few rope tricks and learned some news paper tears. you can build a solid parlor show for less then
$100 if you learn the principles from the old books like Tarbell, bobo's modern coin magic, and amateur magicians handbook by henry hay.

good luck little brother and if you need help there are some solid workers here that will help you put it all together.
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Loyal user
Northern Colorado
294 Posts

Profile of mixman
I found that it is pretty easy to keep a briefcase in the car for just such an occurrence. there are quite a few effects that pack very small and are easy for parlor or small stage. Any rope routine ( I like Fibre optic), Celebrity Smart ass, 100th Monkey, (both provide great audience participation), maybe a jumbo card effect like McCombical deck or rising card. Even the old magician's insurance policy could work well. 4 or 5 effects is all it takes to put together a great little parlor routine.
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1964 - 2016
2034 Posts

Profile of Michael_MacDonald
Misers dream using a hat or cup borrowed at the event this really frys them as they know its not a trick cup.
silk work
temple screen
TT work
silk to egg
thimble manipulation
heck even sponge balls can play for a larger crowd. that opens up a whole lot there
color changes, vanishes reappearance. you can do an entire billiard ball act with sponge balls and a TT'

I carry a antique Dr bag with a stand up larlor show inside just for this.
Anand Khalsa
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Loyal user
Phoenix, AZ
210 Posts

Profile of Anand Khalsa
On Oct 26, 2015, Stanyon wrote:
Montana76 -

Others have already implied it, but you didn't suck...you learned!


SUCH an important point!

Failure is essential to growth!
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Regular user
167 Posts

Profile of vincentmusician
Since a lot of my routines for my Parlour Shows are angle proof and pack small, I can use some of them for Strolling. I also do kids and adult shows. So a couple of times, I had a client tell me there would be 25 to 35 kids and do a children's show. I get there and there were 4 kids and 40 adults. He said, what are we going to do? I said, no problem and I did a 90% adult and 10% kids show.
At another event, I was told to do strolling for adults. I get there and there were 10 kids at the party. So I did something for them.
Next, I was hired to perform Strolling at a Women's event. The client asked if I could do a 15 minute Stage Show for everyone. I said, no problemo. Just be prepared for the unexpected. Also, have fun! If you are, then your audience will. Cheers!
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Inner circle
West Chester PA
1238 Posts

Profile of danfreed
Speaking strictly as a kids entertainer that does a lot of close-up magic (mostly for kids, but most of it is good for sdults also), here are a few things to consider. Sometimes a group of kids will follow you around like the pied piper, even if there are a ton of kids. So have a lot of material ready, more than you anticpate. A big group may mob you, just like others are saying with adult gigs, and it may work out better to just do a regular show where they all sit down and watch, so be prepared for that. You can and should try to get the best info you can in advance, but frequently the gig ends up being very different than anticipated. You may get hired to entertain adults, then it ends up being mostly kids, or visa versa. When I was an agent, that scenario you mentioned happened to the guys I booked sometimes, and they ended up turning it into a parlor show or whatever.
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Inner circle
5522 Posts

Profile of RNK
Agreed Dan and for that very reason I now make it a point for "strolling/close-up" gigs to have 3 to 4 routines on me that plays for a parlor setting. This way I can entertain everybody at once for 25-35 minutes if need be.
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New user
52 Posts

Profile of AnthonyCC
I always try to keep 3 or 4 tricks in my close up case that could play bigger just in case. I've had it happen 2 or 3 times and they totally saved me. I also usually bring my briefcase/stage show and table in my car for smaller strolling gigs.
Brent McLeod
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Inner circle
1724 Posts

Profile of Brent McLeod
On Oct 22, 2015, Michael Baker wrote:
Danny, when I think you are on the right path, I intend to encourage you. That may not be always (LOL) but some things just need to be said. I've been trying to say this very same thing for a long time. I am amazed at how many magicians have flocked to this very limiting idea. (The rest of this post is not aimed directly at you.)

OK, I see SOME merit in opting for this 'formula' for those guys that work the turn and burn restaurants. They (their jobs) are more about bouncing in and bouncing out (aka, table-hopping). This is a FAR cry from strolling magic, especially for private parties.

OK, sometimes you get to the gig and everyone is milling about. Sometimes you get there and they are all sitting at tables. Sometimes you get there and half of them are watching the big game on TV. Sometimes you get there expecting 200 people when in fact only 30 showed up. Sometimes you get there and the host (or DJ) immediately announces you as the magician and everyone gathers around you all at once. Sometimes you get there expecting a roomful of adults only to find that 1/4 of them brought their kids who immediately surround you once they realize who you are. That's just the start of it.

3 sets of 3 for most gigs is like walking into a kitchen to have a can of soup only to find out that your only tools are a ladle, an egg beater, and a pastry bag. All perfectly useful tools in their own context, but that hardly makes one prepared for the situation at hand. And anyone who has done this for any length of time knows, situations change... A LOT!!

An experienced strolling magician knows (and Danny and I have both been doing this for DECADES) that this type of work can be the most non-rigid work you can imagine. You have to constantly think on your feet, make adjustments as you go, and do so by preparing for the contingencies that can and will come about.

Start here: Design a handful of pieces that can be done 'up in front' with everyone watching. Maybe you've been hired to walk around for 2 hours. Do 15-20 in front of the group and then announce that you will now let them get back to the party and you will come out there, find them where they are, and show them 'the good stuff'. You have satisfied the situation as found and converted it to fit your initial goal.

OK, I'll give some slack to anyone who is somewhat new to the game. Experience is often the only way to learn such things. I have made many mistakes in the growing process. That's a part of learning. In fact, it is a much better teacher than reading and following any 'how to' formulas. This is a business where you simply HAVE to think for yourself, if you want to survive.

You want things arranged in threes? How about this...

#1 Screw up
#2 Figure out why
#3 Don't let it happen again.

A great comment from Michael when this post first appeared. Sums up everything perfectly. Really well said.

As a Professional myself who works the corporate market strolling and stage only, if I am doing a strolling set only, I will also have in my case
usually an Egg Bag as well as Bill in Lemon and probably an Invisible deck somewhere that I use mainly for groups in strolling who I had a great time with earlier and return to later because they are keen to see and have fun, usually for the best groups of the night...and at a moments notice hopefully I wouldnt be thrown into a stage show without knowing..

Its good to have something whether you use or not..experience has always taught me to be prepared for any eventuality at every show, backup effects, mics, speaker cords, sound, shirts, bandaids for cuts etc etc..that includes knowing well beforehand what is required at the event, . Murphys law will catch you out 1 day and at least be prepared for crazy requests like you going from strolling to stage as customers request...

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