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ryanshaw9572
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Do you think about who you want as your audience, and then cater your shows toward them, or do you make a show that comes from your heart that you are genuinely passionate about, and let that define what type of audience you have? Is it a combination for you? Why?
Dannydoyle
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Do the show in front of you, not the show in your head.

The audience is not there to live up to your expectations. Quite the opposite.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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You are also bets served to create a show for your market, rather than creating a show then having to try to find someone to sell it to/book it. With one, you are always chasing after the next booking. With the other you know you always have a market to properly serve.
Dick Oslund
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As a very young teen, in the '40s, I learned a hodge podge of'stuff'. I was the ONLY magician within 60 miles in Northern Michigan! I had no problem getting booked for the usual "beginner" dates! As I gained experience, I listened to my mentors, and developed a criteria. I've modified it a bit, but, basically, it has been my 'guide" since. While in the Navy, I carried the entire 30 minute act in a cigar box size shaving kit,

When I decided to "go pro", I produced a 45-60 minute program that could ENTERTAIN almost anyone, and be performed almost anywhere, with minimum set up time (and minimum pack up time! The props were mostly "generic". (silks, rope, coins, etc. The tricks/routines were "classics" (silk dye, 20C silks, c/r rope, knot tricks, professor's nightmare, trouble wit, 3 linking rings, Disecto, Mutilaated Parasol, Inertia, chapeaugraphy, brakawa fan & wand, Misers Dream, "Slydini" silks, etc. For several seasons, I used two doves. Their routine (productions and bits of business ran 8 minutes.

I toured the USA, coast to coast, and, border to border, for about 50 years. I was never "at liberty". (Managers would call ME.

The props carried in a 13" x 20" x 8" fiber "fat" attache case, weighing about 23 lbs. I worked out of the case, which sat on a waiter's tray stand. Nothing was ever "unpacked". I took the prop from the case, did the routine or trick, and placed it back in the case. Two minutes to "set", and, two minutes to "pack" and leave. It was all PLANNED!
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WitchDocChris
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My personal, and admittedly limited experience, has been that either way you're going to have to work your butt off.

Build the show you love and would like to see yourself, and people with similar interests will find it - assuming you are able to network, advertise, build word of mouth reputation, all while paying bills and eating occasionally.

Build the show you know your preferred market will like, and they will hire you - assuming you're able to network, advertise, build word of mouth reputation, all while paying bills and eating occasionally.

I think the main difference is that in the first scenario you're like a fisher throwing a line into the lake and hoping for bites. In the second you're more like a bow fisher wading out into the water to get up close to the fish. This metaphor is falling apart as I try to build it. I hope you understand. In one, they are coming to you, in the other, you are going to them.

For me I have tried both approaches and building the show that I love doing is the only one with remotely any success. When I tried to build performances that catered to a particular market I found myself quickly growing bored of doing, and then resenting the gigs. Not a good thing. DIdn't make much money, either, because my heart wasn't in it so it was impossible to motivate myself to do the business side.

I think either way, though, you're going to end up doing a ton of work regardless. It's just a matter of what specific kind of work you do.

Of course, if someone more experienced disagrees with me I'd have no legs to stand on in that discussion so please - take this with a grain of salt. It's just my experience/interpretation.
Christopher
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Dannydoyle
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Don't go into performing full time.

My lord what does the audience care if you are bored or not? Performance is not about you, it is about the audience. Without whom it would be nothing but theory. Coming to them, they coming to you is ridiculous distinctions without a difference. Once they get in the room YOU STILL HAVE TO DO THE SHOW.

As for bringing like minded people this happens naturally. People who do not enjoy magic shows do not go to magic shows as a rule. People who do not like music don't buy many tickets to concerts and so forth. I think it is easy to see where I am going with this. If you want to make money you do a show that as many people as possible can enjoy. Not tough to understand.

Most magicians would sit through shows that were heavy on technique. Heck they do it. It is called magic lectures. Magicians buy tickets to them all the time! BUT the general public would hate them. So the idea that you build a show that would make you happy is not necessarily profitable.

It is as easy as building a show people want to come and see. It is as difficult as building a show people want to come and see. As far as who I want in my audience it is anyone who has the price of a ticket and is willing to spend it. Literally. The material you choose and the style you have will decide the type of audience you are able to draw. The decision is usually made for you. If people have made a financial investment and an investment in their time to come and see you they are generally a great audience. They usually do this based on what you are already doing. So again the choice is already made. Try doing something that speaks from your heart and hope people enjoy it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Ray Pierce
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There have been SO many great thoughts on this above. I have somewhat of a balance between the two. When I started out as an actor, I didn't just auditioned for the shows I loved, I auditioned for everything in order to get the most work. Some of the shows were my favorites, some were new to me. It was my job to find the joy in each one and bring that to life. I think I carried that through into my career in Magic. When JNeal and I were demo-ing tricks at Hollywood Magic back in the late 70's early 80's... we could have easily spent all the time playing with the effects we loved, but we made it a challenge to take the odd ball effects and make them good, to find the beauty in each one. lol... Some were definitely harder than others! When I began performing full time, I chose to give the audiences somethings they liked and at that point they would accept more of the things that I liked. It was a balancing act of giving them the carbs they wanted while sneaking in the protein that I wanted to give them. It was what I learned while teaching. I do know of a friend that worked with us that designed this entire act of just the things he loved. It ended up being an act without a market for too many reasons to go into now. Another good friend at the time had an act which consistently won awards in every competition. At one point we were talking about the practicality of the act for the public. He said, "Are you kidding? I would never do that except for magicians!" His "Lay" act was totally different and incredibly strong and commercial.

I love crossing over into MANY different markets and I have a different approach to each one. My job is to communicate, enlighten, amaze and entertain. The challenge is to read each market and determine the correct balance to do that the most elegantly.
Ray Pierce
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ryanshaw9572
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I like that Ray. Balance and adaptability, while staying true to yourself.
tommy
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As an amateur - from French, one who loves, lover – I naturally make a show that comes from my heart that I am genuinely passionate about.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
On Aug 28, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
Don't go into performing full time.

My lord what does the audience care if you are bored or not? Performance is not about you, it is about the audience. Without whom it would be nothing but theory. Coming to them, they coming to you is ridiculous distinctions without a difference. Once they get in the room YOU STILL HAVE TO DO THE SHOW.


We've traded thoughts on this subject before and I'm fairly certain neither of us will change the other's opinion. Which is fine.

The audience doesn't care if I'm "bored" per se - but they do care if the show isn't any good, and if I'm bored it's very difficult to put on a good show - because I don't care about the material. When I perform the material I care about it shines through - because it's concerning things that I am genuinely, thoroughly obsessed with. Stuff I've been reading about and learning about since I was a kid.

Easy example - Last month, while promoting a show, I stopped into a local oddities shop. While there I got into a conversation with the owner/operator about oddities (which I love) and mentioned I did seances and now I've secured an October run of seance programs in her "Dark Gallery" (art gallery) that is likely to make me more money, and secure more follow up gigs, than any gig I got trying to be commercial.

I've never been ambiguous about the fact that my posts are just my experience and my opinion. That remains true here - this is what works best for me, and I suspect that whichever path one takes the real key is just to work at building the reputation, networking with people who will hire you (And who talk to other people who will hire you), and generating as much word of mouth as possible.

I could be wrong, of course.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
tommy
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Magic is boring and that is why magic is dressed up to the nines with bosh.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Aug 29, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 28, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
Don't go into performing full time.

My lord what does the audience care if you are bored or not? Performance is not about you, it is about the audience. Without whom it would be nothing but theory. Coming to them, they coming to you is ridiculous distinctions without a difference. Once they get in the room YOU STILL HAVE TO DO THE SHOW.


We've traded thoughts on this subject before and I'm fairly certain neither of us will change the other's opinion. Which is fine.

The audience doesn't care if I'm "bored" per se - but they do care if the show isn't any good, and if I'm bored it's very difficult to put on a good show - because I don't care about the material. When I perform the material I care about it shines through - because it's concerning things that I am genuinely, thoroughly obsessed with. Stuff I've been reading about and learning about since I was a kid.

Easy example - Last month, while promoting a show, I stopped into a local oddities shop. While there I got into a conversation with the owner/operator about oddities (which I love) and mentioned I did seances and now I've secured an October run of seance programs in her "Dark Gallery" (art gallery) that is likely to make me more money, and secure more follow up gigs, than any gig I got trying to be commercial.

I've never been ambiguous about the fact that my posts are just my experience and my opinion. That remains true here - this is what works best for me, and I suspect that whichever path one takes the real key is just to work at building the reputation, networking with people who will hire you (And who talk to other people who will hire you), and generating as much word of mouth as possible.

I could be wrong, of course.


You could be wrong but you don't care.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
WitchDocChris
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I care, but I also don't take advice blindly. Everyone's experience is different, and there are no magic solutions.

I've listened to a lot of podcasts, read several books, read through forum posts, done webinars, had sit down meetings with people who do marketing, attended lectures, all that kind of stuff. I really am doing my best to learn this side of business but there's only one thing I've found that is remotely consistent - Build a reputation, network with people who can get you hired, and word of mouth is the best advertising possible.

I am only offering the experience I've had and my perspective from it. I say things like "This is my experience" and "I could be wrong" because ... I could be wrong, and this is just what I've experienced. The reader must filter the information for their own situation, just like I have to do. I am purposely trying not to position myself as an expert here.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Dannydoyle
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It seems as if you are doing everything you can possibly do. Well with the exception of getting out and performing it seems. NOT ONCE in that list do you mention getting out and working at it in front of an audience and taking THAT EXPERIENCE. If you would spend that time effort energy and money into getting in front of people they will teach you everything you need to know.

We learn our craft from each other, and our art from our audience. You are trying to learn art while learning craft and it simply does not work.

Mind you it is possible you have hit upon the right answer. But you will never find out the way you are going about it. Just like every great chef must eventually cook an edible meal and serve it to a guest so must a performer perform. That is if he is to be called a performer. You will make mistakes, you will have rotten shows and life will move along.

No matter WHAT you read and filter and whatever other things you want to play at the answer is in front of an audience. That IS the magic solution. It is just one most want to avoid.

There is only so much to learn without doing. There is a limit. It is reached very quickly. Then it is not really useful until you apply what you have learned, then you can find out what else has to be learned. It is a process. You are looking for consistency and there it is. This has never changed. The only thing that is changed is that with the internet people feel they are doing more while doing nothing.

You are worried about getting hired. Great. Not going to happen until you have given them a reason to hire you. You can't give them that reason from the laboratory. Experience is why they will hire you eventually. Experience in front of people. Not experience in the rehearsal studio. You have 500 things to do in order. You are on step probably 249. You are fretting about step 450.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
WitchDocChris
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Apologies, I made an assumption in that I though that performance time is a given.

One builds their reputation by delivering quality shows regularly (and also being pleasant to work with helps, in my experience). One generates word of mouth by having a show good enough for the patrons to talk about afterward. I suppose there are other ways to do those things but I can't think of any that I'd try.
Christopher
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Dannydoyle
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Ahh but here is the rub. How do you get to the point that the show is worth selling and to whom? This is sort of the original posters question. How do you get it in front of people, and what do you put in front of them so they create word of mouth? Isn't that the point?

Oh by the way I have seen comics that are almost impossible to work with who draw a crowd who buys drinks so they work consistently. In the end yea being pleasant to work with is the way to go if you ask me but when it comes to money and business it matters quite little. Once MONEY is involved you would be shocked at how much that really isn't relevant.

But you say performance is a given, but hardly. What shows are you doing and for whom? What group are you trying to create word of mouth for? In the end is it agents who you want talking or patrons? You gloss over so many things you don't seem to understand. Generating word of mouth is way easier than most think. Generating PROFITABLE word of mouth is a horse of a different color. For example I know a guy with a YouTube channel with over a million views. He generates a few hundred a month. Conversely I know a guy with a few thousand who generates 10X that minimum. Who has better "word of mouth"?

In the end things like if you enjoy what you are doing, if you are happy or what not are not a real part of the equation. When you want to generate money that is. If you goal is not money or business then I have no idea what should or should not be done. The thing you seem to miss is your reputation is built on every show, every interaction and every time anyone sees or hears about you. It starts way before most think about it.

Also my question is this. What is a "quality show"? Is that one you enjoy doing, or is it one the audience enjoys watching? The answer to this is far more important than you suspect.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
WitchDocChris
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First off, I prefaced my post above by explicitly stating my experience is limited. I never intended to create an in depth expose here. I was giving a summary of my experience, and being quite clear that I knew it was limited and from my own perspective.

We're not in the Tricky Business section here - you'll notice I almost never post there because I know I don't know enough to be able to make valuable contributions. This is Food for Thought. A place to think about things. I'm thinking out loud and expressing my experience and thoughts.

And yes, I know jerks that work regularly. But I also know I've gotten gigs over others because they were a jerk and I was nice, and otherwise our offerings were fairly similar (fire, not my current work).

I can't speak for anyone else, but I am doing intellectual shows based largely around myths and unsolved mysteries, coupled with feats of endurance/strength. I target my shows at people who are interested in those things - generally speaking around my age, likes reading, probably gothy or hipster, likely plays video games, probably likes fantasy stories like LotR/Harry Potter, has an interest in death/the macabre, possibly spiritual.

Venues I am currently working with - a speakeasy (hopefully recurring show), an Elk's Lodge (recurring vaudeville style show), an oddities shop (recurring show), and the city event coordinators (sporadically recurring). I try to get the people who book those venues to talk about me to each other (so I have social proof for booking the venues), and I try to get my patrons talking about me to generate ticket sales.

Quote:
What is a "quality show"? Is that one you enjoy doing, or is it one the audience enjoys watching? The answer to this is far more important than you suspect.


For me (and perhaps me only, who knows) - those are the same show. Yes, I understand that ultimately it is the audience experience that matters. If they are happy, the booker will probably be happy, and that's what's important. However - if I don't enjoy doing the show, the audience picks up on it. The feedback I've gotten from shows I did when I was trying to be more commercial and the feedback I get from shows where I am 100% doing what I am interested in are distinctly different.

I am in a position where I can be picky about when and where I perform. I can wait until I find the right venue and the right audience. For me this has been the best strategy because the people I work for know I will put on a good show and their patrons will be happy.
Christopher
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Dannydoyle
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So since this is food for thought nobody should point out where they may differ form your thoughts?
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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Quote:
On Aug 29, 2019, tommy wrote:
Magic is boring and that is why magic is dressed up to the nines with bosh.


I don't think that MAGIC is boring! (IF the performer, is an ENTERTAINER.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
George Ledo
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Quote:
On Aug 30, 2019, Dick Oslund wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 29, 2019, tommy wrote:
Magic is boring and that is why magic is dressed up to the nines with bosh.


I don't think that MAGIC is boring! (IF the performer, is an ENTERTAINER.

I don't think magic, in and of itself, is boring either, and I agree with Dick: it's all in the performance.

Anything can be boring. A baseball game in which nothing happens. A football game, ditto. A song poorly performed. A bad comedian. A movie, TV show, novel, magazine article, and so on and on. It's all the same. I happen to find architectural history fascinating but wouldn't want to talk about it at a party unless it was full of architects, and even then I'd tone it down.

As far as the OP: When I started out I was doing one trick after another with no rhyme or reason, and didn't really care where I performed as long as I performed. I was getting "polite applause" but didn't know it. Years later I decided I really liked Channing Pollock's act and decided to go with cards and doves because I thought it had commercial potential. So I spent about a year putting it together and then went out and started looking for the right audiences and marketing to them. When I was performing, sure, I had rehearsed and performed the act so many times that sometimes it did get a little boring, but when I was up there I wasn't thinking so much about the moves as about the audience. I was listening and watching them and adjusting the pace or my facial expressions (it was a silent act done to live music) as needed to keep them engaged. That's when the applause went from "polite" to "genuine with vocalizations," and I knew I was in the right place.

If I were to do it all over again, I'd do the same: put together an act with commercial potential and then find the audiences.
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