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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Amateur's dilemma (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

adrianrbf
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«Amateurs perform always new tricks for the same audience, professionals perform always the same tricks for new audiences.» (Certainly said before by others, but I take it from Roberto Giobbi's recent newsletter)

It's true: an amateur performs for family, friends, his sport club members and church choir singers, thus his social circle - and ever so often, there will be the same people in the audience. How do you deal with this situation?
mlippo
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Professionals know a huge number of tricks but their current performing repertoire is usually limited to a small number of them.
I try and do the same thing. I limit my repertoire (which is obviously not as polished and perfected as a professional's one) to a limited number of tricks/routines and I do not perform at command every time I'm asked to. This way I can "save" some good tricks for a future occasione.

I have simply educated my usual audience (family, friends, colleagues) since the beginning, even because I have very rarely performed for them a trick that hadn't been practised to a good extent. And that takes time.

On the contrary, I reserve the small things, the work-in-progress and the experiments for the guys at the magic club, where I'm not always expected to perform top notch stuff and if I screw up something (it happened and will happen again) I don't care much. It was just a try …

Mark
funsway
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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I believe the original quote referred to a choice every magician must make - not a distinction between amateurs and professionals.

I also feel that many amateurs perform outside of the 'social circle' you mention, but I understand your concern.

Every magician can find a number of people in an audience who have seen a particular effect/routine before.
You know that on the second experience they may see things missed before or become suspicious over certain moves.
Their change of anticipation and surprise may influence others around them.

What to do?

You can skip that effect and substitute another. One of the basic rules of magic is to not announce what you are about todo.

You can use a different sleight to accomplish the same result.

You can change the ending of many effects. For example, a "two in hand" routine can end with either an empty hand or a weird object.

If you need a volunteer for an "known" effect, chose one of the "seen before" folks. Their desire to be in the lime light or be a hero will override the other problems.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
HeronsHorse
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Simply by going to Cafés to practice general card handling on a mat, I get to be amateur and perform to new strangers a lot. There is always someone or a group asking me to show sone magic.
There's no reason to be so confined. If my health was better I would find more ways to perform to strangers because I thirst it. I get bored with the same friends and family as audience! They know me too well so anticipate my moves. They recognise a gesture I'm doing to misdirect, if it isn't my usual behaviour. Strangers do not. I always want strangers to perform to!
I recommend getting away from your usual circle and finding those people you don't know, it is so much more rewarding!
Quote of the Month
Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks are strangers to magic. Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained."
- S.H. Sharpe
adrianrbf
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Three replies with quite different, but all very interesting input. Thanks a lot!
mlippo
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Quote:
On Mar 5, 2019, adrianrbf wrote:
Three replies with quite different, but all very interesting input. Thanks a lot!


Take something from each of them and make up your own reply, the one that fits you better...

:-)
Mark
danaruns
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A mentor of mine, Dale Salwak, once told me that, "12 tricks make a career." It's unlikely the amateur would continue to entertain with only 12 tricks.

That said, I agree with milippo that pros know tons of material, even though they only regularly perform a limited number of tricks which have been honed into a coherent show. I've yet to meet the professional that knows less magic than the amateur.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
adrianrbf
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Quote:
On Mar 5, 2019, danaruns wrote:
That said, I agree with milippo that pros know tons of material, even though they only regularly perform a limited number of tricks which have been honed into a coherent show.

A professional might need to be prepared for different shows: A stage show, a parlour show, a table hopping show, a children show, a mentalist show... If different clients book him or her, they will have different expectations.
danaruns
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Quote:
On Mar 5, 2019, adrianrbf wrote:
A professional might need to be prepared for different shows: A stage show, a parlour show, a table hopping show, a children show, a mentalist show... If different clients book him or her, they will have different expectations.


True, I suppose, for the kind of pro who is a generalist. Most pros have multiple shows ready to go, though most of the better pros I know don't do all kinds of work. Like doctors, the better ones tend to specialize. But going onto GigSalad will reveal many generalists who will have some sort of show available for anything you want. Those folks get hired by people who want "a magician," as if one magician is just as acceptable as any other. In that generalist vein, I'm sure there are also many amateurs who have all those different kinds of shows in their repertoire. And indeed, when considering generalists, the line between amateur and pro gets very blurry.

I think the higher on the magic food chain you go, the more specialized the magicians become. The better performers get hired because of who they are and the specific kind of work they do, rather than because the client is looking for "a magician." To use an example from this board, Pop Haydn gets hired because they want him and like what he does. He doesn't have to have material for every conceivable type of show. Of course, there are always exceptions. As I said above, a good pro will know more material than your typical amateur will ever learn, even if she doesn't perform all that material.

One big difference between amateurs and pros is that pros perform shows while amateurs do magic tricks. Amateurs don't even need a "show," usually, though the better ones will have them.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Pop Haydn
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Quote:
On Mar 6, 2019, danaruns wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 5, 2019, adrianrbf wrote:
A professional might need to be prepared for different shows: A stage show, a parlour show, a table hopping show, a children show, a mentalist show... If different clients book him or her, they will have different expectations.


True, I suppose, for the kind of pro who is a generalist. Most pros have multiple shows ready to go, though most of the better pros I know don't do all kinds of work. Like doctors, the better ones tend to specialize. But going onto GigSalad will reveal many generalists who will have some sort of show available for anything you want. Those folks get hired by people who want "a magician," as if one magician is just as acceptable as any other. In that generalist vein, I'm sure there are also many amateurs who have all those different kinds of shows in their repertoire. And indeed, when considering generalists, the line between amateur and pro gets very blurry.

I think the higher on the magic food chain you go, the more specialized the magicians become. The better performers get hired because of who they are and the specific kind of work they do, rather than because the client is looking for "a magician." To use an example from this board, Pop Haydn gets hired because they want him and like what he does. He doesn't have to have material for every conceivable type of show. Of course, there are always exceptions. As I said above, a good pro will know more material than your typical amateur will ever learn, even if she doesn't perform all that material.

One big difference between amateurs and pros is that pros perform shows while amateurs do magic tricks. Amateurs don't even need a "show," usually, though the better ones will have them.


I have several different size shows--close up, stand up, stage and illusion. As much as possible, they are all variations of one close-up show and one stage show. I have always looked for material that could work under as many performance conditions as possible. I want material that is flexible and can work as near to surroundable as possible, is visible for as far as possible, and packs small and plays big. So basically, my closeup and stage acts can be combined in different ways to suit various situations.
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