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1KJ
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I would be very interested in your thoughts on how to open, whether it is walk around, parlor, or stage. I am interested in anything from:

what you think is important about opening to

What do you say or do before an initial effect to

What do you like as opening effects.

Here is my two cents:

Walk-around or close up:
I think the opener has to be engaging without being creepy. I like things like: "I heard this is the fun table." or a question like: "How is everything?"
I then introduce myself as the magician hired by the company. I then say: "Would you like to see something quick and unusual?"
Depending upon the table, I'll either banter with them a bit, I might even say: "What do you prefer, quick or unusual?"
I then do a really strong transposition effect that ends with a nice souvenir.

Parlor or stage:
It seems all bets are off here. It can be creepy, unusual, etc. I think it is important to get people's attention. I have tried so many different ways, and frankly, I enjoy trying different things. However, I think the most important thing in a parlor opening is "energy". I think you probably can't go wrong by starting out with raising the energy in the room with your own energy. I actually often start out the parlor show in the same way as a table-hopper performance, just with higher energy "Hi. I heard that this is the fun crowd. Are you having fun!"

Here is an example of something I have used:

- Coming out in a lab coat and pretending I'm in the wrong room, a room full of psychiatric patients and I have a pad of paper and a pencil to take notes on their behavior. This would be different than starting out by raising the energy in the room. I might say: "Dr Rosenstein informed me of your condition. Don't mind me. Just go about your normal business and I'll be taking notes." After a few seconds, I'll ask a spectator: "Miss, do you know why you are here?" She frequently says: "Magic?" The pad then turns into a deck of cards and we do a card trick.

Enough about my garbage, I look forward to your thoughts.

KJ
Dick Oslund
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Ken Weber's book.
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1KJ
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How do/did you open? and
What are your thoughts on opening?
Brad Burt
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One of my mentors stressed the following: Whatever you do make sure that it, 1) Works every single time not matter what condition you are in. And, 2) Make sure that the routine ESTABLISHES ..... YOU ..... as someone who is to be taken seriously as a magical entertainer.

Some folks really HAVE seen bad magic, or magic done badly if you prefer. You have to come out with a strong "establish" routine that the audience can enjoy and which projects that you are NOT some fumbler.

That's pretty much it for philosophy of Opener. Staying to it I have never had a problem with my opening.

What did I use: I used one of two tricks for my Parlor/Small Platform work: Six Card Repeat and a Three Phase Rope Routine. Beauty of them is that they can also be done close-up at station. Not really walk around for technical reasons.

But, seriously, no matter what the venue, you can use the above to guide you. It doesn't matter if it's any kind of close-up, platform or stage. No difference excepting what routines you might select.

To be honest.....I have always found the Closer to be much more problematic for myself and for clients and students. But, that's another discussion.
Brad Burt
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On May 13, 2016, 1KJ wrote:
How do/did you open? and
What are your thoughts on opening?



Is this a theoretical discussion?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dick Oslund
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Dear 1k! Excuse the familiarity! (I used only your first name!)

When I said "Ken Weber" ("MAXIMUM ENTERTAINMENT") I was not being just a smart "aleck". Weber has much to say!

In the past several weeks, I have described my opener (color change silk in hand) which has been the opener since the late '70s, several times. (I've used it since "47, but, it hasn't always been the opener. It was in he "two spot" for years. I really don't have the energy to write the whole @#$% thing again. You can easily do a search.

Briefly, it's colorful, fun, and, the effect is very visual. It's just ME, and an 18" silk. It's a 'soft' sucker effect ("I'll teach you the trick") and it introduces ME to the audience, in a fun way. It definitely fools them, WITHOUT MAKING FOOLS OF THEM! --AND, IT NOT ONLY GETS LAUGHS, IT GETS APPLAUSE!!!

The 'silk dye' meets my criteria very well. --VISUAL EFFECT, VERSATILE EFFECT, ANGLE PROOF, RECOGNIZABLE PROP, LITTLE-OR NO-SET UP, NO TABLE NEEDED, SPOT ADAPTABLE, PACKS SMALL & LIGHT, and, IT'S WINDPROOF!

I wrote up the complete routine, with the lines, in my book, along with an essay on 'softening the suckering'. I wrote up almost every trick and/or routine in the act which I used for YEARS.

The "second spot", sometimes "third spot", since the early '70s, has been my "ILLUSION" routine, which naturally follows the opener, and 're-enforces' the fact that it's an 'illusion' show. (I have occasionally been booked in places where some folks consider 'magic', the 'work of the devil'!!!

See Brad Burt's post, just above. I agree with Brad's thoughts.
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1KJ
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Quote:
On May 13, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
Quote:
On May 13, 2016, 1KJ wrote:
How do/did you open? and
What are your thoughts on opening?



Is this a theoretical discussion?


Yes and no.

Theoretical: What do you think is important about an opener?
Non-theoretical: What have you used as openers? What do you do before your opening effect?

Thx.

KJ
1KJ
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Dick,

Thank you for sharing that. Sorry you had to go through all that typing all over again. Smile

Just think of all the exercise you got and how that stimulated the blood flow. By taking five minutes to type that up, you may have added five and a half minutes to your life! Of course, if you take a half minute to read this, well then you are back to square one. I better stop typing now or I'll owe you some time.

1K
Dick Oslund
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Yer welcome!

Actually, it's good for my ego, and, typing this stuff keeps me aware of why I do/did what I did. (I think!)

BTW: I'm developing callouses on my "FTs" and "TTs" from pounding this "infernal electrisch peckenclacker"!

At 84, and, almost a 1/2, with the arthritis, diabetes, and miscellaneous aches and pains, I'm not sure that I want to add 5 1/2 more minutes! hee hee

Maybe we'll need to set up an "account", to keep up to date on who owes whom!!!, what!

I just reread Brad Burt's last post. Yes! The best way to CLOSE the act or show! For more years than I want to count, I've closed the elementary school program, with the Misers Dream. It plays so strong, with so many laughs, that, I CAN'T FOLLOW IT! It does break one of the old rules ("don't finish with spectators on stage") but, a school show is not, technically a THEATER. I am a visiting performing artist in the "principal's classroom". The principal, if he is a wise educator, by inviting me to present my program, expects that his students will have an opportunity to learn some social skills (how to be a good audience, etc.) I NEVER over stimulate responses! (I'm NOT A CHEERLEADER!) At the close of the coin pail routine, I may have as many as 18 or 20 boys and girls on stage. I get applause for them, as they return to the auditorium. THEN, I bring the principal back to the platform, so that he can dismiss the group in an orderly manner.

When the applause for the returning kids, fades, I announce, "And, now, the principal will come on stage, and MAKE THE ENTIRE AUDIENCE "DISAPPEAR"! This focuses attention on him. He comes on, we shake hands, and he will lead a final applause for me. Principals appreciate this.

Principals are sent a "comment card". The assembly booking bureau wants to know if the talent is maintaining a quality performance.

In a Jr. or Sr. High school, the "next to closing routine" is a strong comedy routine with 4 boys, involving comedy with some wand "schtick", a breakaway wand, a .22 caliber shooting wand, and a breakaway fan. (It's almost 6 minutes of laughs, and, applause at the finish of the fan!!! (On several occasions, the fan has gotten a STANDING OVATION!

I get applause for the "committee", and, then close with a 2 minute presentation of the TIP-CEE BOTTLE, a very strong, visual and, at the finish, a big laugh. My old pal, the late DE YIP LOO, gave me the "work" on this trick which was "invented" by the late Stewart James. I've used it since 1975, and, it never "misses"!
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1KJ
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Excellent thoughts, Dick!

I am still saving up my pennies to purchase your book.

KJ

P.S. For extra cash, you might be able to sell calloused TTs. There is probably a market for thems.
Brad Burt
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Dick:

For years I Closed with my slight variation of the Linking Routine in Ganson's Routined Manipulations. And, like you I broke the rule about having a spectator on stage with me....but, again, my specialty was small show stand up and close-up and I could do the routine in either venue. Only used one spec to do the examinations. I can highly recommend classic 8 ring routines for a number of reasons. First, they are "classic". That is, they are tested over a long period of time. They use the number and configuration of rings that allows you to do really Magical stuff without a lot of fluff. A good routine will "appear" to have handed out ALL the rings for examination, etc. The routine I reference finales with all 8 rings linked in a contiguous chain and almost demands applause. It's bright, logically noisy and fun to watch.

I add the above to the conversation because of the slight turn towards Show Closer's. The description above is the template I used to determine what I used as a closer. The closer does NOT have to be your best routine, however you wish to determine that although it could be. But, it has to have lasting visual power and it HAS to have high entertainment and wow value. It is an oddity of psyche that folks will tend to remember the first and the last of a series of things. That why if you are ever in a "talent contest" attempt to position yourself towards the end of the show or the beginning. I won't go into the arguments here for a preference.

Your Closer has to say something not just about the show itself, but about YOU as the focus of the performance. It's tough to keep up the energy of even a 30 min show....a time segment I never, ever went beyond in stand up. I did less, but never more. Performers who can do longer and hold an audience are amazing to me personally. The biggest problem with a show any length 30 min or more is what I call the "petering out syndrome". You start great. The middle of the show is strong and then...........sigh. That's why a routine that has what I call "built in energy" (clanking, sparkling 10" steel rings for instance) is a natural closer.

Best regards,
Brad Burt
Dick Oslund
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I would never have thought of THAT! (ttS)

Glad you liked the thoughts! The routines mentioned are in the book. As a teen, growing up in Upper Michigan, I never would have thought that I would ever be selling books to magicians in Canada, Europe, and even Australia! One professional in London, wrote to say that he had read it three times!
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1KJ
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Was he not paying attention the first two times?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

KJ
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tommy
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If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Al Schneider
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Hi
Thought I would stop by and have a look see about what is going on. So, I am late to the party. Saw this business about opening and thought I would share a thought. Here is my take. You are the opener. There are two people I look up to in magic, Karrel Fox and Jay Marshall. I have spent time talking to both men and have often watched them perform. Their style awes me and they make me feel like I want to jump on stage and do some stuff. This comment about opening comes from watching them. What do they do? Essentially, nothing. They walk out on stage with dignity and no great speed. They approach the mike and say a few words. My point here is that the trip from the edge of the stage to the mic is the opening. This is what I see. These two gentlemen walk with dignity and confidence and give the audience an opportunity to judge them. In my mind's eye as I see them walk to the mic, they do not look at the audience. To me they are giving the audience a chance to size them up. I cannot remember what they first say or what trick they first do. I just remember their world class attitude and remember I wanted to hear what they had to say. I wish I had that power.
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
danaruns
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I like to open with a long rant on politics and religion. Naked. Smile
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Al Schneider
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I just remembered why I don't like the magic Café.
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Oct 9, 2017, Al Schneider wrote:
I just remembered why I don't like the magic Café.


Because someone makes an amusing joke?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Aus
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I believe a good opener should have attention, develops interest and sets the tone. The important thing is to hook them into the performance fast (attention), then get them psychologically committed to watching your show (interest). For tone whatever you do at the outset, the audience will expect the rest of the performance will be in the same vein.

I believe that all these things can be achieved by three things, by the trick, by what you say and by what you do.

Magicians seem to commonly look for tricks as the most popular form of an opener. This isn't surprising considering the most common advice given in years past was to start your act with a flashy and sometimes quick effect, which magicians more often than not call "eye candy". Such effects along these lines are of a visual nature like a dove production, a fire effect or an appearing cane, and these effects are of course good at achieving attention we require.

I do think however the remaining two approaches are somewhat unexplored by most magicians, and as Al Schneiders anecdote points out, sometimes you don't need a trick at all but rather stage presence can be sufficient enough.

Magically

Aus
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