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GideonK
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Hi, everyone. I recently performed in a talent show for about 70 people. This was my second ever stand-up show and not everything went as planned so I'd love some feedback. (One thing to note, these are all people I know very well so none of the banter between audience members and I is intended to be hurtful or malicious in any way. Also, any tips on how to improve how well the PK touch is received by the audience would be greatly appreciated). Thanks in advance Smile
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZM7yUFJI8w
Bill Hegbli
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I watched the 1st 7 minutes. I don't know what you were doing, but you must learn how to present yourself in front of a group.

You were dancing all over the place. So you were making your audience bob and weave their heads. Stand still and speak clearly, you like to talk fast at times, keep an even tempo to your speech. There are exceptions to this of course.

Know what you are going say, write a script and memorize it.

You let the audience start interacting, because you were not saying or doing anything. This is called, dead time. You must keep control. They will not start talking at you, if you know where you are going and what you will do next.

Face the audience all the time, center stage. Don't rock to and fro. Place the volunteer to your right or left of you, they can be further back or forward depending on the routine. You constantly play and address the audience. Look at the spectator, but then turn and speak to the audience, so they will hear you.

Have your props next to you, so you don't have to run all over the stage to go get them. You may need a small table, with your props just off stage center. If you do have to move to get a prop, return to center stage, then speak to the audience. Remember, the audience is watching every move you make, because they don't want to miss anything you may do.

Never ever hush the audience, sheeeee.

That seven minutes, should have only taken you 3 or 4 minutes if you practice the things I have mentioned.

Keep working on it, and you will improve your presentation skills.

Watched the rest, as the guy said, I have no idea what you were doing.

You really have to practice your tricks. Even putting things in envelopes should be done confidently. I have not idea what the effect was, as you did not tell the audience what you were doing, or what was you were going to do.
GideonK
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On Mar 2, 2016, Bill Hegbli wrote:
I watched the 1st 7 minutes. I don't know what you were doing, but you must learn how to present yourself in front of a group.

You were dancing all over the place. So you were making your audience bob and weave their heads. Stand still and speak clearly, you like to talk fast at times, keep an even tempo to your speech. There are exceptions to this of course.

Know what you are going say, write a script and memorize it.

You let the audience start interacting, because you were not saying or doing anything. This is called, dead time. You must keep control. They will not start talking at you, if you know where you are going and what you will do next.

Face the audience all the time, center stage. Don't rock to and fro. Place the volunteer to your right or left of you, they can be further back or forward depending on the routine. You constantly play and address the audience. Look at the spectator, but then turn and speak to the audience, so they will hear you.

Have your props next to you, so you don't have to run all over the stage to go get them. You may need a small table, with your props just off stage center. If you do have to move to get a prop, return to center stage, then speak to the audience. Remember, the audience is watching every move you make, because they don't want to miss anything you may do.

Never ever hush the audience, sheeeee.

That seven minutes, should have only taken you 3 or 4 minutes if you practice the things I have mentioned.

Keep working on it, and you will improve your presentation skills.

Watched the rest, as the guy said, I have no idea what you were doing.

You really have to practice your tricks. Even putting things in envelopes should be done confidently. I have not idea what the effect was, as you did not tell the audience what you were doing, or what was you were going to do.

Wow, thank you for such in depth advice, upon re-watching the video I can see that all of your critiques are spot on. During the performance I noticed the dead time but wasn't exactly sure how to remedy it on the fly but I suppose with proper scripting and experience it will become less and less of a problem. In regards to hushing the audience, that actually wasn't me but I'll definitely keep that in mind. In terms of the last effect, I kind of wanted it to be a shock in order to prevent the audience from predicting where I was going with the envelopes, straws, pencil, etc. as I was always under the impression that when an effect is telegraphed much of the reaction is lost. But I thank you for your insight and will try definitely implement the pointers you've provided Smile
Bill Hegbli
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Thank you for your reply, but didn't I see you put your finger over your mouth a couple times in the video.

Another piece of advice, dropped pants is seen on the street, but on stage, it is not acceptable. Notice when you turn your back to the audience, which you should never do, by the way, did you think your pants looked appealing in dress edict. The rule of thumb for performers is that you should be better dressed then you attending audience so you stand out, so everyone can tell who the central personality is.

Instead of turning your back, you should step backwards while facing the audience. You should know how many steps it takes to move to the place you want to position yourself.

As I mentioned, the envelope trick, no one had a clue as to what you were doing. You should said, I have a stack of envelopes, mention the number it is important. Then say, I have a pencil, straw, and mention the number, because no one could tell if you had 3 pencils or 3 straws, do to poor lighting.

Most the time you have to tell the audience what you have and what you will do, then do it. You can get by with what you were doing in a private casual place like a living room, but on stage you have to take more things into consideration. Can the see, is there enough light, etc.
GideonK
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On Mar 2, 2016, Bill Hegbli wrote:
Thank you for your reply, but didn't I see you put your finger over your mouth a couple times in the video.

Another piece of advice, dropped pants is seen on the street, but on stage, it is not acceptable. Notice when you turn your back to the audience, which you should never do, by the way, did you think your pants looked appealing in dress edict. The rule of thumb for performers is that you should be better dressed then you attending audience so you stand out, so everyone can tell who the central personality is.

Yes now I saw it, I had to go back and re-watch but yes I did shush a spectator, I will definitely refrain from doing that in the future. In regards to my pants, at no point, that I saw, were they ever low to the point of exposing any undergarments or being distastefully low (though that could be a matter of opinion) as that's just not how I carry myself. At times my sweater would ride up and expose the shine of my belt but otherwise I saw nothing that might create an unprofessional impression.
Bill Hegbli
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I did not say you exposed anything, notice your backside pants are hanging 5 inches lower then your butt. That is just sloppy. If that is your style, then you will not ever get a paid show. What you wear everyday, has nothing to do with being a professional on a stage.

I suggest you read Henning Helms Showmanship for magicians, and Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber. You can get them from Penguin Magic.

Have you ever watched the magicians on America's Got Talent. Forget about the magic, and watch how they speak, act, move, and interact with the audiences.
GideonK
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On Mar 3, 2016, Bill Hegbli wrote:
I suggest you read Henning Helms Showmanship for magicians, and Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber. You can get them from Penguin Magic.

I definitely see your point. I'll be sure to look into Showmanship for Magicians and reread Maximum Entertainment as I have already read it Thanks again.
Michael Mindreader
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I really think mentalism is a more challenging form of act to do at a talent show. Just think of how the TV people would edit the commercial. You can hardly "see" anything in a mentalism act.
friend2cptsolo
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I made it through about 11 1/2 mins just after you finished with the touches.
I think your biggest need is for scripting.
Think about about an introduction
who you are
what you do
and why you do it.... or why you have the ability do it

each trick is in itself a new segment and would require some light intro
what is it you are about to do


Think about going to an open mic night and do just one or two things that will limit your time to about 3-5 mins.... make those 3-5 mins solid
solid in speech
solid in effect

develope a bunch of "small" acts
connect all of those small acts into one theme
soon you will have show

what you have going for you is that you seem like a likable guy and from the moment you got up on stage that really did come out... some people have to work at that.... so use that to advantage
Mindpro
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Well, first congrats on your second show.

I watched most of it as well (not at one time though). I understand you are newer at this but one can not accept that as an excuse for anything. Audiences still have expectations and subconscious means of what and how they act, respond and accept of a performance.

The first thing that I noticed immediately within seconds was all of the "ums" and lack of setup. Even after your opening remarks the audience had no idea what it was about and very little about you. You can't rely on "I knew most of them" as that will not help you progress at all. In fact hat will work against you at this stage of your performing.

In all this is a great example of someone who knows a few things (tricks/effects) but does not know what to do with it. It lacks structure. It was simply a few tricks/effects strung together. There was no "performance". Remember in performing or entertaining, your tricks are of least importance. It's you as an entertainer that determines how well a performance prevails.

Here's a few quick things...Lack of control, no audience management. This needs to be established immediately or you only lose more control as you go. No true setup to educate or inform the audience of what's forthcoming, their roles and expectation of them. No proper setup of you or what you are going to present or accomplish.

Timing - timing needs work. Tighter, direct and fluent is important. Mentalism itself is very long, boring, tedious and drawn out to most, with usually only minimal payoff if not structured and presented properly. 7 minutes in as Bill said could have been a sold 3.5 or 4 minutes.

Stagecraft - you turn your back on the volunteer way to often when not needed. You look at your hands when working with the cards, envelopes, PK, etc. The way you speak to and handle on stage volunteers/assistants needs though, purpose and control.

Transitions - No or weak segues or transitions, again when combined with no setups equals flat presenatation and restless uninvested audience.

Scripting & Blocking would improve this exact performance ten fold.

In reality this is why you don't perform for family and friends, especially in the beginning period of getting your act together. It prevents you from getting real responses, insight and true reads. It can also create concerns and problems you do not need at this point in your progress.

Again it was the performance, the entertaining that was weak. Figure out you, your role, character and presentation BEFORE ever adding the tricks.
NEVER put the mic down! The minute a performer does he has lost control - period. It was quite evident. Also we could barely hear the participants because you weren't using the mic on them either. A mic and proper sound is absolutely crucial to the success of any performance and entertainer. It is your best weapon and forfeited it from the start. A violation of entertainer's rule #1. Whether it is needed or not use it. It's there for more reasons than you may realize at this point. Audience members were talking to audience, crazy, no control.

All reactions, responses and interactions from the audience should be predetermined and scripted. People were shouting things out, taking and worst of all you as the performer acknowldged them compromising the routines and entertainment value to the others in the audience.

Body Language - most of your body language was to the on stage volunteer, not the audience. Most of the show you were sideways to the audience. Again, stagecraft first. Audience as a whole first. Respect the audience.

I understand why you shussheed the audience. It was needed. But you went abut it the wrong way. Again, if properly set up while stating your need absolute silence (or something to that affect) it could have prevent you having to shhh them. Same outcome, better means and implications. This like so much else (other than the effects) was not well thought our or prepared.

PK touches is supposed to be an impactful, hard-hitting routine. It will not happen with talking, giggling and restlessness from the audience. It lost its entire impact and effect. You did not train your audience properly from the beginning. The interplay with the volunteers was too casual. She opens her eyes, puts down her hand, isn't focused and following directions the audience is laughing and talking to you. Terrible.

The tone of the whole performance was "free-for-all" which works greatly against you. Also why are you referring to your "mentalism" as magic? It sends the wrong signal to the audience and encourages them to act and respond as they did. DO you want a magic audience or a mentalism audience? Two different things with two different expectations and means of execution. Too much silence on your part makes the audience want to fill it, which will cause the show to sink quickly and you to lose even greater control. At one point it gets so bad that the audience is shhhhing each other!

To me this is a theory act. Something that looks good on paper or in your mind but does not transfer well to actuality. There was no build, no emotions of drama, mysterious, suspense, comedy (intentional) or surprise. No theater.

Mentalism, far more than magic, needs to be polished, tight, properly structured, setup and executed with the performer firmly established.
You need practice, scripting, blocking, understanding of performance and stagecraft and should really consider to start working with a director, coach or mentor.

So, how do you think it went? I applaud you for being open to feedback!
Mindpro
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One more thing. The book Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber would be a great help to you at this point. Remember mentalism is performer-driven, not effect driven. It should never be about the tricks as it can be with magic.
GideonK
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On Mar 20, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
Well, first congrats on your second show.

I watched most of it as well (not at one time though). I understand you are newer at this but one can not accept that as an excuse for anything. Audiences still have expectations and subconscious means of what and how they act, respond and accept of a performance.

The first thing that I noticed immediately within seconds was all of the "ums" and lack of setup. Even after your opening remarks the audience had no idea what it was about and very little about you. You can't rely on "I knew most of them" as that will not help you progress at all. In fact hat will work against you at this stage of your performing.

In all this is a great example of someone who knows a few things (tricks/effects) but does not know what to do with it. It lacks structure. It was simply a few tricks/effects strung together. There was no "performance". Remember in performing or entertaining, your tricks are of least importance. It's you as an entertainer that determines how well a performance prevails.

Here's a few quick things...Lack of control, no audience management. This needs to be established immediately or you only lose more control as you go. No true setup to educate or inform the audience of what's forthcoming, their roles and expectation of them. No proper setup of you or what you are going to present or accomplish.

Timing - timing needs work. Tighter, direct and fluent is important. Mentalism itself is very long, boring, tedious and drawn out to most, with usually only minimal payoff if not structured and presented properly. 7 minutes in as Bill said could have been a sold 3.5 or 4 minutes.

Stagecraft - you turn your back on the volunteer way to often when not needed. You look at your hands when working with the cards, envelopes, PK, etc. The way you speak to and handle on stage volunteers/assistants needs though, purpose and control.

Transitions - No or weak segues or transitions, again when combined with no setups equals flat presenatation and restless uninvested audience.

Scripting & Blocking would improve this exact performance ten fold.

In reality this is why you don't perform for family and friends, especially in the beginning period of getting your act together. It prevents you from getting real responses, insight and true reads. It can also create concerns and problems you do not need at this point in your progress.

Again it was the performance, the entertaining that was weak. Figure out you, your role, character and presentation BEFORE ever adding the tricks.
NEVER put the mic down! The minute a performer does he has lost control - period. It was quite evident. Also we could barely hear the participants because you weren't using the mic on them either. A mic and proper sound is absolutely crucial to the success of any performance and entertainer. It is your best weapon and forfeited it from the start. A violation of entertainer's rule #1. Whether it is needed or not use it. It's there for more reasons than you may realize at this point. Audience members were talking to audience, crazy, no control.

All reactions, responses and interactions from the audience should be predetermined and scripted. People were shouting things out, taking and worst of all you as the performer acknowldged them compromising the routines and entertainment value to the others in the audience.

Body Language - most of your body language was to the on stage volunteer, not the audience. Most of the show you were sideways to the audience. Again, stagecraft first. Audience as a whole first. Respect the audience.

I understand why you shussheed the audience. It was needed. But you went abut it the wrong way. Again, if properly set up while stating your need absolute silence (or something to that affect) it could have prevent you having to shhh them. Same outcome, better means and implications. This like so much else (other than the effects) was not well thought our or prepared.

PK touches is supposed to be an impactful, hard-hitting routine. It will not happen with talking, giggling and restlessness from the audience. It lost its entire impact and effect. You did not train your audience properly from the beginning. The interplay with the volunteers was too casual. She opens her eyes, puts down her hand, isn't focused and following directions the audience is laughing and talking to you. Terrible.

The tone of the whole performance was "free-for-all" which works greatly against you. Also why are you referring to your "mentalism" as magic? It sends the wrong signal to the audience and encourages them to act and respond as they did. DO you want a magic audience or a mentalism audience? Two different things with two different expectations and means of execution. Too much silence on your part makes the audience want to fill it, which will cause the show to sink quickly and you to lose even greater control. At one point it gets so bad that the audience is shhhhing each other!

To me this is a theory act. Something that looks good on paper or in your mind but does not transfer well to actuality. There was no build, no emotions of drama, mysterious, suspense, comedy (intentional) or surprise. No theater.

Mentalism, far more than magic, needs to be polished, tight, properly structured, setup and executed with the performer firmly established.
You need practice, scripting, blocking, understanding of performance and stagecraft and should really consider to start working with a director, coach or mentor.

So, how do you think it went? I applaud you for being open to feedback!


Wow this was really enlightening to read. Thank you for taking the time to actually watch the video (as bad as it may have been) and critique thoughtfully. Everything you write makes perfect sense. Up until this point I've been a very casual performer performing mainly close-up material with very little formal training (I read through maximum entertainment) But I agree with your point that this should not be an excuse for less than satisfactory performances. I'm definitely going to have to take a step back and really focus on how to give a good performance. Thanks again.
Mindpro
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Glad to see your open to constructive thoughts from others. Best of luck!
rockmartian
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While most of the critiques are valid; I have to say you looked great. Very modern, clean cut, and fashionable. You also looked like you were having a fun time. It can be tough practicing some of the effects you performed without an audience. Keep on working and share your progress with us! Smile
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