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Topic: Charity magic?
Message: Posted by: TheNightBringer89 (Feb 13, 2004 09:06PM)
Well, I have been studying magic for a year, but I have hardly any performance experience. I want to eventually become a professional magician. My aunt used to work at a home for the disabled and suggested performing there.

Do you think that is a good place to start, or should I get more perfoming experience before I do a charity? Is close-up suitable for that since most might be old and have bad eyesight? This will be strolling by the way, I have about 10 effects.

If you guys think it's a good idea, how long should I perform, 30 minutes? If you have other suggestions for places to perform please let me know. Thanks in advance!
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Feb 13, 2004 10:22PM)

I think that's an excellent suggestion. Members are always suggesting to newbies that they build up experience by performing for free at seniors' homes, nursing homes, etc. Here you have a ready-made connection; use it!

You asked if you should get more performing experience before you do a charity. But this IS how you get performing experience—by doing charity shows. In working with seniors, you are right about the vision thing; there might be a problem so keep the props as big and as colorful as possible. And don't let any one routine go on too long; these people have relatively short attention spans.

All in all, it's not unlike doing a kids' show, but remember that they ARE adults, so NEVER talk down to them!

One more important point: Several members of your audience may have an ambulatory problem or have difficulty in moving their limbs. If you need a volunteer, make arrangements in advance with a member of the staff to fill in for that role. It will solve a lot of problems and save everyone potential embarrassment.

If you are doing walk around, about two or three minutes of magic per group should be enough. Treat it like table hopping—three sets of three. You do three tricks for one group, then three different tricks for the next, and three different ones for the next; then you repeat for the next, and so on. So you will need tricks that either reset automatically or quickly, or need no reset at all.

Most important of all: Have fun! If you are enjoying yourself, then that will come across to your audience and they will then enjoy themselves.

Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: Daniel J. Ferrara Jr. (Feb 13, 2004 10:25PM)
In my experience, elderly people make the best audiences for magic. They really enjoy the entertainment and rarely try to heckle the performer.

I'm not sure if close-up magic would work in that situation. If it is possible, maybe you should try it out in an informal setting. I mean, instead of booking a half hour show, just go there and try out some effects. If you notice that they are not responding well, you can stop.
Message: Posted by: Rob Johnston (Feb 14, 2004 02:51AM)
Magic is about entertaining people first...even if it is for free. It is a great idea for doing shows for those who don't get out anymore and charities.
Message: Posted by: oldmanxxvi (Feb 14, 2004 07:14AM)
In the army we use the crawl, walk, run method of training. First you crawl through the training (this would be learning and practicing your effects). Then we walk (this would be your doing free shows or low paying). Then we run (this would be your professional career).

Too many magicians try to skip the walk phase and wind up getting disgruntled. They think that their "skills" are above this type of work, but the truth is this is where you "make your money."

I say go for it!

Message: Posted by: eddieloughran (Feb 14, 2004 10:21AM)
Yes, I say go for it too. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. The residents are only too pleased if someone cares to come and see them, and it's surprising how what is easy in your home becomes a series of problems performing to real people.

Don't expect them to remember too much or be able to walk too well and you will do fine.

You will learn from the first show anyway.

Message: Posted by: TheNightBringer89 (Feb 14, 2004 11:21AM)
Thanks for the replys! I forgot to mention that I am 14, if that's important I'm not sure. The thing is, I don't do any children's magic or anything with large or colorful objects. I do have a set of three routines three tricks each. Two of them are instant reset, one just needs me to slip an odd-colored card in the pack each performance.

The way it works at this home is the staff will put an announcement that a magician will becoming on X day for 30 minutes and whoever wants to come can come. So I don't know if I will be able to go from "group to group" because there will probably only be one group, but I guess I'll work that out with the staff. I'll list some of my effects so you can get and see if it's appropriate for this setting:[list][*]Crazy Man's Hand Cuffs[*]Pinnacle (ring on rubberband)[*]Silverware bending (maybe)[*]Mr. Clean's Coins Across[*]Hundy 500[*]Various card effects[/list]I'm sorry for going on so much but I really want to be prepared. Thanks so much!

-Corey <><

P.S. It's not really a seniors center, they have people as young as 20 there. It's people who need care I guess, I'll get more information from my aunt.
Message: Posted by: Daniel J. Ferrara Jr. (Feb 14, 2004 12:25PM)
Corey, I still think you should give it a shot. You just have to control your audience. As you mentioned, the tricks you are performing are close-up tricks. If there are 40 people that show up for your show, you just have to break them up into smaller groups and do your routine a few times. You will get even more practice that way anyway.

One thing you will learn is that conditions are rarely perfect. Being adaptable to the situation is a skill that is very valuable when performing live.

Remember, you are a magician. The audience doesn't know how often you perform so use that to your advantage. Be confident and act the part.
Message: Posted by: Ollie1235 (Feb 15, 2004 03:31PM)
I say go and perform your tricks to small groups or even people on their own first to build up your confidence and skill.

P.S. I'm 14 too and was wondering what method you used to bend the spoon.
Message: Posted by: TheNightBringer89 (Feb 15, 2004 07:40PM)
Well, right now I'm just working out my thumb muscle, I'm getting Banachek's video and [i]The Mind Bender[/i] DVD this week. I think I will probably do the charity, I'm scared out of my mind :-) but I want to be a pro someday!
Message: Posted by: Chad C. (Feb 15, 2004 10:43PM)
Go for it! I'm doing one tomorrow for free at a nursing home where my grandmother works. I'm going to be doing a parlor-type show but walk around would be good too. They will enjoy you being willing to take the time to entertain them and you will most definitely get lots of experience with your routines. The nervousness/scared-ness will pass as you keep performing more and more.

I rarely do free shows anymore but this is a great place to do one and they will really appreciate you.
Message: Posted by: Dan Monroe (Feb 17, 2004 02:43PM)
Great place to do a show. You will find I bet that they are goin to love ya! Have fun!

Message: Posted by: Chad C. (Feb 17, 2004 05:16PM)
I went and performed at the nursing home mentioned in my previous post and I had a blast. The residents all seemed to enjoy themselves and they were really into it and applauded and laughed the entire time. They were some of the nicest people you could perform for and they really appreciate it when someone takes the time to entertain them.

Overall, it was a great experience that reminded me why I got into magic in the first place. Another thing--this is a great place to try out new routines and see the type of response they get--I tryed out a quick linking rings routine and a gospel trick--both went great and I gained some valuable experience.

So go for it and let us all know how it turns out when you have performed!