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Scott Chesney
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I was wondering which style some of you are more drawn to? My own approach is that I enjoy making folks laugh as well as be amazed with the effects. I try and present myself almost as a bumbling fool who gets lucky once in awhile on tricks (kind of the magician's version of Lt. Columbo). For me, this works and I have always been drawn to presenters like this in all walks of life.

Blaine, on the other hand, while informal, seems to prefer the image of "Look, this is really mystical stuff and I am very serious about it, and I am different than you." That intense look he gets in his eyes, along with his intentional invasion of people's personal space makes me uneasy, even though I like his tricks.

So I am wondering where you lean, both as a performer as well as an audience member. Thanks.

Scott Chesney
Reis O'Brien
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Hi Scott,
Early on, I developed this style, or "vibe", that what I am about to do scares me a little. Like I know how to do it, but I'm not sure how it's done. For me, this approach makes the specs lean in a little closer thinking, "Jeeze. What's got this guy so jumpy?" This, of course, was born out of my first performances when I really was a nervous wreck! (But for more obvious reasons.)
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur
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There's a good section in the "Presentation" chapter of Hugard and Braue's "Expert Card Technique" on the three styles of performers. There is:

--Mystical, like David Blaine (according to the authors, it's really hard to pull this off with close-up or stage magic--mentalism is the thing)

--Crack ups, like a Jim Carrey/close-up magician of your choice twist

--Tongue-in-cheek, most common, this is good.

If you're a naturally funny person, go for the second one--audiences love this type of performer (duh). I think you probably shouldn't try to pull off the "Oh look, dude I'm psychic." thing with close-up magic. David Blaine had like 5/200 reactions to that. You could do that, I suppose, with mental effects. Maybe use a really heavy presentation with a Vernon Fan Force effect... dunno.
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Profile of ivan7
I think there are more than 3 styles of performers. I'd hope there are as many styles as there are performers.
Rob Johnston
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Ivan, well said. I agree with you. Everyone should have their unique style and variations.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Scott:

My character is a loose interpretation of Cardini, in that my vaguely disreputable 1940's persona sees things in a slightly skewed fashion (okay, no great stretch of the acting skills there...). My character behaves as though Magic is normative, is surprised when audiences disagree or express doubt, and then demonstrates that things really ARE Magical. "You mean stuff doesn't just appear?" would be the attitude of my character.

I most enjoy doing 'sucker' bits, where my character --NOT the audience -- is initially the butt of the joke and then redeemed through Magic. The 'Torn & Restored' tissue paper is one of my favs.

Leland Edward Stone
Oz Fan
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Scott Chesney,
I do the same thing. I love amazing the people with all the tricks and making them laugh at the same time.
Blake S.
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