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Topic: How to "plan through" a show from idea to performance?
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Nov 4, 2008 08:36AM)
I want to create a small stage show. My proposed setting is like a dinner theater - maybe 200 people max at tables of 4 - 8 each. A friend of mine is on the Board of a local charity; they have a large multi-purpose room, and my idea was to set up a dinner and a show as a fund raiser. (No committment or dates have been set - it's all in my head at this time.)

I'm beginning to see it all come together in my mind - which I'm sure will be nothing like what really gets out there! I understand only that there is so much I do not understand! And there are issues I will never know about until I actually begin putting this together.

What is a good system for keeping track of both the big picture and all the little details? Any routine may be made of several smaller elements - props, script, blocking, "secrets", etc. As I work through the effects and routines, I'm going to see the need for rebuilding props, perhaps learning new moves, repositioning tables, etc. Plus, the whole show itself is a huge routine, made up of all these smaller elements called "routines".

I feel like I need to take an engineering course in project management! How do you keep all this together without losing either details or the big picture or how the pieces fit together? It would be great if I could do this, have fun, and not lose my mind.

Ed
Message: Posted by: ryansmagic (Nov 4, 2008 09:33AM)
Ed,
Are you planning to be the only performer? I have put together several multiple act shows and it can be a challenge. One tip is to do as much up front work as you can in advance. See if you can set up the room early, like the day before. Visit the room a few times before the show and take lots of pictures to help you remember things. Best tip I can give is to let other people help. Fine people you trust to do certain tasks, taking tickets, seating people, moving chairs etc.

Good luck
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Nov 4, 2008 11:26AM)
Write it down, Cut, Rewrite it. Cut, Cut, Cut, Cut. Block it out (dummy props where needed), Cut, Cut, Cut, Cut, Begin assembling the details (props, costumes, cast), Cut, Cut, Cut, Cut, Start rehearing, Cut, Rehearse till flawless, Cut, Trial audience performance, Cut, Dress Rehearsal, Cut, Perform, Cut.

Some of you will notice that the script gets cut at every part of the production process. This is only needed when intending to produce a worthwhile product. It is not at all needed when producing excrement.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 4, 2008 12:22PM)
Conceive (put your plant together), Believe (have faith and confidence), Achieve (make success by accomplishing your mission).
Message: Posted by: Justin Style (Nov 4, 2008 01:54PM)
Check with Big Daddy Cool, he'll get you in the right direction.


Good luck -
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Nov 5, 2008 09:35AM)
What I'm looking for is what kind of record-keeping system allows you to see an overview, any piece of the whole show, details of any part of the show, and add, subtract, edit, shuffle information as required. (Actually, that sounds like a staff of assistants, but I can't afford that!)

For instance, I have a routine with a mechanical chicken that finds a card. So I need a script that blocks out all the moves from start to finish. Along the way, I'll probably find that I need to experiment with the switches in the chicken. Maybe I'll find I need a different card handling, but that changes something else. Add some filler or shorten the routine. Try this - it worked, so keep it; this didn't, so try something else. Finally got a good routine, but now it belongs in a different place in the show.

And so forth from beginning to end.

Ed
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Nov 5, 2008 09:39AM)
Ed,

I wrote an e-book just for you! It's called How To Produce Your Own Theater Show and is available at http://www.theatricalmagic.net

As for the tracking of progress and record keeping... I use quick books and have a production checklist based on the steps outlined in the book.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Nov 5, 2008 02:34PM)
Can't really go wrong with BDC. Unless you can't read English, but other than that.....
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Nov 5, 2008 03:11PM)
Hey - I just might be able to do this!!

Ed
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Nov 6, 2008 12:53AM)
[quote]
On 2008-11-04 12:26, JackScratch wrote:
Write it down, Cut, Rewrite it. Cut, Cut, Cut, Cut. Block it out (dummy props where needed), Cut, Cut, Cut, Cut, Begin assembling the details (props, costumes, cast), Cut, Cut, Cut, Cut, Start rehearing, Cut, Rehearse till flawless, Cut, Trial audience performance, Cut, Dress Rehearsal, Cut, Perform, Cut.
[/quote]

I totally agree with Drew Heyen. It is the cut, cut and more cuts that makes the act better.
Message: Posted by: Vick (Nov 6, 2008 03:24PM)
"Unfortunately too many performers have created shows that are nothing but a string of special effects, that has no meaning or relevance. This is one of the reasons that many people regard magic as meaningless diversion (usually for children). It is because so many magicians have made it so. We have removed meaning and relevance from our magic. How sad."

If that resonates with you please see John Pyka's (a.k.a. Big Daddy Cool) work.


Please start to consider what you want your show to be. Comedy? Astonishment? A performance with a thread through it to tell a story?

Who is your character? There's a lot to think about

What are your influences? Not as important because you can't be Copperfield, Robert-Houdin or Penn & Teller, but you can be something they are not ......
yourself.

Magic can be performance art or it can be anything you want it to be. Don't ever limit yourself
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Nov 6, 2008 08:52PM)
A couple of years ago I put on a "Magic Night" and like you. I came here for advice and suggestions. I ended up with 5 pages of help and the magic night was very successful. I know it's not exactly the same as what you are working on but I just thought I'd point it out to you in case it's helpful. You can read that discussion [url=http://themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=177070&forum=44]here[/url]. A long read but quite an adventure and lots of advice.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Nov 7, 2008 08:54AM)
Thanks, Ron. I've bookmarked that one for later reading. (I'll probably wind up printing it out - it's hard to highlight and take notes on the monitor!)

Ed
Message: Posted by: molsen (Nov 7, 2008 10:02AM)
[quote]
On 2008-11-07 09:54, Ed_Millis wrote:
Thanks, Ron. I've bookmarked that one for later reading. (I'll probably wind up printing it out - it's hard to highlight and take notes on the monitor!)

Ed
[/quote]

I did exactly that, and really enjoy reading through it. I have no plans of organizing an event, but there is so much interesting information in the many long entries that I just had to preserve it.

Michael
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Nov 7, 2008 11:47AM)
What saddens me is not just that magicians make magic trivial and meaningless, but the number of threads that I have had to debate with other magicians for page after page, that it shouldn't be. It's one thing to be ignorant, it's quite another to insist that the whole world be.
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Nov 7, 2008 01:21PM)
[quote]
On 2008-11-07 12:47, JackScratch wrote:
What saddens me is not just that magicians make magic trivial and meaningless, but the number of threads that I have had to debate with other magicians for page after page, that it shouldn't be. It's one thing to be ignorant, it's quite another to insist that the whole world be.
[/quote]
That's funny, Jack!