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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » What makes a routine? (11 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Wandering Man
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I have learned a few magic effects. I am still practicing palming coins and learning a little of card handling, so most of what I do right now are self-working effects.

I am in danger of being at risk to do a routine for a granddaughter's birthday. The granddaughter is the one who has brought me into magic, and I would like for this to be something we do together.

So far, I learn a new effect and then show it off to friends. Not really a great way perform, I am learning, but as I said, I am learning.

What guidance can you give me on coming up with a "routine"? Not just a bunch of disconnected magic effects, but something that flows? Does one tell a story and connect the effects through the story? Do you work with cards, for example, and the whole routine encompasses a variety of card tricks? This might be difficult, since I currently require a different deck of card for most of the things I know. Do you mix and match, and what seems to go with what?

I know I'm not giving enough info for someone to develop a routine for me. You don't know what I know how to do. So, I'm just asking for generic ideas of how one begins to consolidate what one can do.

Thanks.
Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
Russo
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Bascilly - don't just do a trick-- put a story with it - example - 'thumb off' effect - "look what happened when I closed the drawer too fast"-- or "look what happened when Grandpa was chopping lettice -so be careful".. Coin effects, "vanished into outer space" "landed here behind Grandpas elbow - or your ear" Ive got a 'Alice in Wonderland" story with the Die Box -- also "the three Pigs" with the 20th centry silks. If you want to wade through a lot of plain comments - have a few effects in 'search' -user name -russo- feel free to use any- Ralph(russo)Rousseau
Aus
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Wandering Man PM me with what you know and I can help you put something together with your current tricks. The biggest secret in how you present the tricks, they need to involve the audience as much as you can and be fun and dynamic. You should start your act with what is considered a warm-up which is essentially a bit of business or trick that conditions the kids to come out of their shell and interact with the show.

Magically

Aus
friend2cptsolo
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Tell us what are your favorite effects you do?
What is your opener...
Do you have any lines you use so far? certainly you are not doing the magic in silence....
do you already have an opening type line.... or something you say when you begin...

I have a little routine I do from time to time and I start it out this way....

"Do you like those self help books??? Well me I am a big fan.... you know just in general.... I find when I read one of these books they really do give me a big boost to go out and try new things and reach for your dreams. I know that sounds corny, but its true. Now one thing ALL these books tend to have in common is this one simple rule. ......"

There is a little more to it but that is basically how I start
This goes right into a very simple card trick... where the spectator is asked to FIND the black Card amoung the Red Cards....

Another opening I use is:
"Let me tell you about my grandfather... he was an amazing man,and he loved performing magic for me when I was young... He said life is like a Deck of Cards... you never know what it might deal you.....these are his old cards....So life is often unexpected, right. Well we are going to create an unexpected moment with these cards"


Wandering Man? why did you choice that name? do you like to travel?
If So that is a GREAT way to start
Tell the audience about yourself in the process.
danaruns
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Please forgive the length of this post.
.
When you say "routine," I hear "act." To me, a routine is a single effect or set of effects with patter. Sponge bunnies is a routine. A coins across + a four-ace production + CONUS Aces + sponge bunnies is an act An act is several tricks/effects strung together. I think you're asking about an act. Also, I know it's for your granddaughter, but you ask for generic information about how to build an act. Okay. A few random thoughts:

Script everything. Write them, pare them down to the fewest possible words, memorize it, and say it word for word every time. That's one of the big differences between doing a trick and performing a magic act. No ad libbing! Know exactly what you are going to say, and do not describe what you are doing. No, "And now I'll cut the cards. And now I put your card into the middle. And then we shuffle the deck..." To tell a story, you must know the story. Memorize it. Go to magicbeard.com, which is the late Eugene Burger's website. He has lots of good stuff on scripting, editing and storytelling. With sponge bunnies, I tell a story about mama bunny and daddy bunny going to Vegas for their anniversary. It's full of double entendres, so adults find it hilarious and kids get sucked into the story but don't get the blue innuendo.

You can link tricks together with a throwaway line or an interlude trick repeated throughout, which becomes a running gag. Steve Valentine does a thing where, after every trick, he brings out a silk and says, "Wait! A one-handed knot!" And then he does the one-handed knot trick, and when it gets little applause, he says, "Hold your applause! Oh! I see that you have." The second or third time he does this his audience realizes it's a running gag, and he gets more and bigger applause for it, until at the end they are cheering. And it serves as an interlude to tie tricks together and create a cohesive whole. It can be anything. I've done a thing where every trick I say I'm going to explain to them how it works, saying each time, "I'm a magician who exposes everything!" (Of course, I never really tell them.) It makes even wildly disparate tricks hang together, and as with Valentine's bit, it becomes funnier the more you do it.. For kids, you can come up with a line that will make them laugh, and and do it between each trick, and it will become funnier and funnier, and will hold the act together.

Think about flow. Your act should have an arc. You should start with "magic now" and do something relatively quick that has a big impact. Follow with your feature trick. Change up the pace after that, with some storytelling or a contrast piece. And finish with your biggest visual trick, which usually means the biggest prop. Like in close-up, someone doing cards and coins might finish with cups and balls, which are bigger, flashier props.

Family and friends can be tough audiences. Some things you can do are:

A one trick show.

A two trick show.

Sometimes you grab attention better by doing a trick without speaking. Do a silent routine. You'll find that people stop talking after a moment and really pay attention.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Wandering Man
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Thank you for your responses. This is what I was interested in. I knew I didn't want to do five effects where I use different methods of finding the selected card, and I also didn't want things to look entirely disjointed. I'll give some thought to a feasible story.

Friend2cptsolo, Wandering Man is a handle I've been using on forums since the first time I joined a forum back in the early 2000's. It is kind of a take off on Stephen King's character, Traveling Jack. My family moved across the US a lot during my childhood. Fortunately, I've managed a pretty stable adulthood, so the name doesn't really apply anymore.
Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
friend2cptsolo
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I was just thinking that a good jumping off piont in showing magic is to tell your audience a little about yourself they might not know .... Like using Themes from Stephen King's books as jumping off points for a presentation.... or the fact you moved around a lot when you were young.
ViolinKing
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Wandering Man:

A British Magician named Eric Sharpe believed that the routines were very unimportant for children's shows. He felt that the best way to entertain children was to have a repertoire of effects which could change the mood in the room.

The main thing I learned from his book is seen in most good children's magicians. It is important to get the kids screaming at the magician, loud enough to shock the adults. However, that is from the perspective of Sharpe, a professional.

So he had many presentations which got the kids competing to shout the loudest. "Now just the boys" or "Now just the girls" etcetera. Some of his magic props were designed to make noise to encourage the kids to be loud.

So, there were presentations that were designed to get the kids riled up and loud, and there were presentations that were simply a brightly colored prop with a kind of fairy tale story to it. Perhaps one girl pretends she is the Queen of magic, or there is a haunted house themed prop, or a circus animal prop.

From the way he writes, I can't imagine a crowd of kids walking all over him. But I have seen videos of performers who incorporate his advice in their show and still get completely taken over by the kids.
Russo
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In the 50's-80's -used to start my kid show by having them all stand up and stretch, wiggle - then sit- especially if they've been sitting for a while - no real problems. Happy Holidays to All -may be off line until Jan .2 Ralph(russo)Rousseau
Dick Oslund
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Scroll up to Dec. 12, Violin King's post..........(comments on Eric Sharpe's performing philosophies)

I am retired, from performing for about 70 years, the first 20+/-, I was a part time professional (through high school, the Navy, and College.} The last 50+, I was on the road, from coast to coast and border to border (USA).

I NEVER, not even ONCE, got the "kids", SCREAMING! (I performed for young people of all ages, 5 to 18! Sometimes Kindergarten through Senior High School, all together. SIMULTANEOUSLY). School administrator regularly commented on my "approach" which encouraged them to enjoy the show, and, show their appreciation, without encouraging behavior, and, responses, that were not socially acceptable. I received 'my share' of standing ovations! (some even in elementary schools.)

I got them smiling, giggling, and LAUGHING & APPLAUDING.

"...change the mood? --WHAT W A S THE MOOD"???

I worked for 'normal' kids, mentally handicapped kids, physically handicapped kids, kids in mental hospitals, kids in drug rehabilitation hospitals. kids in "alternate" high schools, kids in reform schools, kids in juvenile prisons ETC.! --AND, I had repeat engagements in MANY of them. I also performed in senior citizen centers, and had return bookings in them, too.

I was most happy to read your final paragraph!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Dec 13, 2017, Russo wrote:
In the 50's-80's -used to start my kid show by having them all stand up and stretch, wiggle - then sit- especially if they've been sitting for a while - no real problems. Happy Holidays to All -may be off line until Jan .2 Ralph(russo)Rousseau


Me, too, Ralph! --Especially when an inexperienced principal would bring a primary group, in, and get them all seated, TWENTY MINUTES BEFORE "CURTAIN TIME"!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
funsway
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I have found that the Tamariz depiction of "skeleton, flesh and clothing" fits well with my early mentored thoughts of decades ago.

Skeleton is the functional part including trick, props, gimmick, etc.

Flesh is the "effect" - what the audience sees or imagine they will see and remember. This includes consideration of setting, sound, lighting, angles, character, dress and expectations of the spectators.

Clothing is the routine - and possibly the act as well. The blending of all elements for audience engagement. Patter/story line, backstory for character, presentation of a theme, segue of various effects (n ot all have to be magic), selection of volunteer assistants, and more.

there is also Party - an adaptation to individuals in the audience, interaction with other acts in a show, post show activities including prop protection and getting the check!

yet, you are still not done. Before tumbling into bed there is need for "debriefing." One should always reflect on the performance and its various components.
Two important questions to ask self are:

What did I learn that will help me be a better performer/entertainer tomorrow?

What did I learn that will make me a better person tomorrow?
"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
Russo
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I've learned that if I enjoyed doing the "SHOW" it was like eating a good dessert - if I got good compliments - it was extra frosting- just remember tooo much frosting will make you Fat (headed) - If YOU enjoyed doing your program - and you feel they did too - that all that really matters.
rboyd
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This has been an I interesting thread.

Trying to get a constant act which is not stop/start is a big challenge for me. My (9 year old) son and I have learnt various tricks and have put on two shows for family and friends but there didn't seem to be much rythem to them.

I tend to focus on card tricks whilst he prefers gimmicked props. I think the contrasting styles makes it different but we are working on it.

I hope your show goes great but either way I'm sure your granddaughter will love it. One thought I did have was about your multiple decks. I have a trick I do with a stripper deck followed by two "self working tricks" which invoke a few cards. After each of these tricks I discard the cards and so it means I have cover to switch to a new full deck without being as obvious.
Wandering Man
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I was spared having to put on a show or do a routine for for the birthday. She has recently moved into a new location. My son is a Methodist minister, and he was given a new charge this year. I think she felt she didn't know people well enough to have a party. So, she and I got to hang out together, instead, while I showed her a few card effects I'd picked up from some some books I've been reading. For her birthday, I took her to the Believe It Or Not Magic Shop in Georgetown and let her pick out a few things.

I am anxious for a trip back up to see her to find out whether her interest in magic still holds. She just turned 13, so I expect boys to become important to her any day now. At least she'll have some skills to impress them. And maybe scare them off if need be!

This has been an informative thread. Thank you all for your perspectives, insights, and education.
Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
rboyd
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Boys... Grrr! Thankfully I only have the one daughter and she is a good long way off being interested in boys. Sure it will stay this way #denial
Wandering Man
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Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
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