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Topic: A question about performing for an audience
Message: Posted by: ohiomagic (Nov 18, 2009 11:48AM)
Question to all of you who have experience in mentalism and performing. I have been performing magic since a kid and used to perform in front of people on a regular basis. I have not however perform in front of an audience in a few years and during those few years have stopped performing straight magic and have been practicing mentalism exclusively. My question is how do I go about getting started in front of people (which is the only true way to practice mentalism). I am 30 years old. No longer a young boy who can gather the parents and neighbors in the living room. I want to get starting in front of real people. As I mentioned I have not performed in a few years and really just forgot how to get going again. Any advice would be great.
Message: Posted by: entity (Nov 18, 2009 11:53AM)
There are always service groups or charities looking for people to entertain for meetings, fund-raisers, etc. Contact them and offer your services.

- entity
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Nov 18, 2009 11:55AM)
Join Toastmasters, an international organisation that teaches public speaking through a network of clubs throughout the world. Jeff McBride offered the same advice at a masterclass a few years ago. It will turn you into a polished presenter, and transform your ability to prepare your presentations and handle an audience.
Message: Posted by: ohiomagic (Nov 18, 2009 12:14PM)
Thanks Tony. That may be something I will look into. I know of local theatre groups that would let me use their facilities for putting on public shows etc. But I am more interested in started out somewhere that I can be bad or not so good and make a few mistakes and grow before I start selling tickects and that sort of thing. I know my way around the stage and have done hundreds of performances but never with mentalism. All stage illusions and manipulation acts etc. Most of which was done to music. I need to gain experience with what I am now doing and speaking on stage throughout the entire show. It seems like a whole new animal to me and I feel I am basically starting over from the begining . Which is nice to me I like the freshness of it all but I am also a little lost on how to get started again. I like the toastmasters idea. I have also been keeping an eye out for local open mic nights at coffee shops and places like that where I can try 15 minutes out and work on the kinks. I guess I would feel more comfortable if each portion of the show could be performed seperately a few times before I go out and do the whole show as one unit.
Message: Posted by: bobser (Nov 18, 2009 12:20PM)
The advice you have been given is perfect. BUT......
You've got to DO IT NOW. That's RIGHT NOW. Look for reasons not to and they're everywhere. Yoou simply have to MOOOOOOVE. If you had a coach (based on the fact that you seem to know the 'how to') he'd be throwing you in everywhere. And afterwards you'd know that that was the right thing to do.
So, say thankyou, and good luck.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 18, 2009 12:28PM)
When you feel comfortable with your magic shows, start including mentalism with your magic shows little by little. It will help you start off knowing how to perform your metalism effects in a relaxing manner. That is what I did.
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Nov 18, 2009 01:52PM)
1. Make a list of all your local Senior centers and nursing homes.

2. Call them, tell them your story and volunteer to do a short magic and mentalism show before or after any of their scheduled entertainments.

3. Followup. You should be able to book in about a dozen shows, which should be enough of a warmup for you to get started again.

...the advantages are obvious...the shows can be loose and 'spontaneous' and nobody will mind. Your audience reactions will be rather subdued, which will give you a very good barometer of whats hot and what's not. You'll be able to study the effects and your performances on the fly.

..and, of course, if you are awful the first show or two, nobody will remember your name or the show.
Message: Posted by: robwar0100 (Nov 18, 2009 03:41PM)
What I did when I wanted to start performing publicly was to start performing magic (and later mentalism) at family functions (like birthdays, holiday gatherings, etc). Then, it spread to opportunities with my church (Sunday School class picnics, Christmas dinner, youth group events) and nonprofit groups associated with friends. I also performed at a Rotary Club Christmas program.

When you do these kinds of things, people will seek you out for paid shows. I do not rely on shows to take care of my family, so whatever I make is gravy. Magicians are a rare commodity in my area, so I am not hurting others with my donated shows.

Whenever I perform without charge or at a discounted rate for a nonprofit, I always ask the group for a letter to share with potential clients.

The main thing is to develop a show and force yourself to perform. Put a lot of thought into your show because it is more than stringing together a series of effects.

As Nike says, Just Do It.

Bobby
Message: Posted by: John C (Nov 18, 2009 04:14PM)
Chambers, middle schools/high schools, public library youth groups, rotary clubs, women's clubs, church youth groups, coffee house nights, drama clubs, walk up to people at starbucks (coffees too expensive they won't throw it at you!)
Men's clubs always look for free entertainment,

other venues ...

j
Message: Posted by: gadfly3d (Nov 18, 2009 04:22PM)
Don't overlook the Toastmasters suggestion.

Gil Scott
Message: Posted by: John C (Nov 18, 2009 05:36PM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-18 17:22, gadfly3d wrote:
Don't overlook the Toastmasters suggestion.

Gil Scott
[/quote]

TM is good for speaking practice. They aren't necessarily good for rehearsing routines. Must follow their rules and this doesn't bode well for talks with props.

j
Message: Posted by: Mind (Nov 19, 2009 06:44AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-18 14:52, Tom Jorgenson wrote:
1. Make a list of all your local Senior centers and nursing homes.

2. Call them, tell them your story and volunteer to do a short magic and mentalism show before or after any of their scheduled entertainments.

[/quote]

Really??

This was something I wanted to do before but was strongly advised on another magic board not to. I was told that mentalism plays badly in front of these audiences and that it really bores them to death because mentalism is not visual enough.

Can you get away with a straight mentalism show or do you recommend it be mixed with magic to keep their attention?
Message: Posted by: John C (Nov 19, 2009 07:13AM)
Don't perform an entire 50 minutes just use the venue to work out some routines, 20 minutes ...

j
Message: Posted by: trykcs (Nov 19, 2009 07:57AM)
[quote]
Can you get away with a straight mentalism show or do you recommend it be mixed with magic to keep their attention?
[/quote]

Depends on what type of magic you are talking about. If you're talking about visual parlor magic, there are ways to keep their attention using mentalism; you don't really need to resort to parlor acts if you don't want to.


Jean
Message: Posted by: Mind (Nov 19, 2009 08:58AM)
Ok, thanks for that.

Sorry for hijacking your thread ohiomagic!
Message: Posted by: Steve Suss (Nov 19, 2009 10:01AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-19 07:44, Mind wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-11-18 14:52, Tom Jorgenson wrote:
1. Make a list of all your local Senior centers and nursing homes.

2. Call them, tell them your story and volunteer to do a short magic and mentalism show before or after any of their scheduled entertainments.

[/quote]

Really??

This was something I wanted to do before but was strongly advised on another magic board not to. I was told that mentalism plays badly in front of these audiences and that it really bores them to death because mentalism is not visual enough.

Can you get away with a straight mentalism show or do you recommend it be mixed with magic to keep their attention?
[/quote]

I do a one hour show once a month for various hospitals where the residents are primarily seniors. This is often where I experiment and try out new material. I can assure you that they absolutely love it. Many of the residents come show after show even though the the effects are virtually the same. The staff knows how much the residents love it.

The great advantage of doing shows like this is you learn the show is primarily about you as a performer rather than the effects you perform. I still remember performing at a nursing home many years ago when one woman said "if we weren't all in wheel chairs we'de give you a standing ovation".

The point is they will love what you do if they like you and you entertain them. This is true whether it is magic or a full act of mentalism as I do. One more important thing is you want to perform at a time when there are family members present. It's the interaction and participation of the residents and their family that makes this such an enjoyable experience for them.

Don't let anyone tell you that mentalism can't be done for seniors. You might have to make some modifications and adaptations but with a little work it can be a very rewarding experience that will at the same time make you a better performer.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Nov 19, 2009 10:36AM)
I perform in residential senior facilities/apartments all the time. If you go for the independent living facilities, which there are a lot of, they are GREAT audiences!

Typically I perform a 30 - 40 minute show. These are the ideal places to work out your material. The material I developed in these places are now the staples of my private and corporate work. I still perform for seniors.

You may have to make a few adjustments to your show. Getting people up to assist can be a problem at times, so just let them stay in their seats and go to them. If you're doing something like a book test, or something they have to read, make sure you bring a large magnifying glass.

From my experience the residents are typically in their 80's, still sharp and they love live entertainment. They grew up with live entertainment. They grew up with variety entertainment. Many of them remember Dunninger, so they know what mentalism is all about.

Working for seniors is the ideal audience for a new mentalist. You need stage time, there's just no other way around becoming a good mentalist. Go do these shows and not only will you get the stage time, you'll make some extra money and make a lot of people very happy. Win-Win!
Message: Posted by: ohiomagic (Nov 19, 2009 05:16PM)
Thanks everyone for the help. I will be looking into the places mentioned and I guess my best bet is to do something every where I can. Right now I am more worried about getting the practice and stage time in and not so much focusing on a specific market yet. Thanks again.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 19, 2009 07:34PM)
You are most welcome.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 19, 2009 08:44PM)
Sales meetings and civic clubs are usually an easy introduction.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Mind (Nov 20, 2009 02:05AM)
Steve Suss & Domino Magic:

I appreciate your insights.

I have a few more questions and wondered if either of you would mind if I could discuss it more with you through pm?
Message: Posted by: julieannjohnson (Nov 20, 2009 03:27AM)
Seniors make great audiences. They are accepting, friendly, and enjoy being entertained.
Message: Posted by: Steve Suss (Nov 20, 2009 09:23AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-20 03:05, Mind wrote:
Steve Suss & Domino Magic:

I appreciate your insights.

I have a few more questions and wondered if either of you would mind if I could discuss it more with you through pm?
[/quote]

Any time.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Nov 20, 2009 10:37AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-20 03:05, Mind wrote:
Steve Suss & Domino Magic:

I appreciate your insights.

I have a few more questions and wondered if either of you would mind if I could discuss it more with you through pm?
[/quote]

Absolutely. Anything I can do to help, just let me know.