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Topic: How do you manage to get your first show?
Message: Posted by: Ollie1235 (Feb 15, 2004 11:43AM)
I'm 14 and been into magic for about six months. Does anyone have any advice on how to get your first show or any experiences on how they got their first show?
Message: Posted by: oldmanxxvi (Feb 15, 2004 12:07PM)
Your best bet is to start with free shows. Ask your local library if you can do a show on a Saturday in the kids section. Or you can go to the local retirement home or possibly the local elementary school. In these places you can make contacts with those who might want to HIRE you to do a show for them.

Message: Posted by: Ollie1235 (Feb 15, 2004 03:06PM)
That's a good idea (fast reply by the way) but I'm just afraid that if I muck it up...

P.S. I find it hard to think up patters to go with my tricks so my shows wouldn't be too long.
Message: Posted by: Aus (Feb 15, 2004 05:50PM)

Everyone has to be bad somewhere and just remember that every time you perform you are nearing perfection, and that is something to remeber when you're thinking that you're not going so well. By bad I mean your first performace, it is very few of us that can just go out there and do something like we have been doing it for years and do it for the first time. Remember, if better is always possible, good will never be enough.

I too recommend that you do a few free shows for that experience factor and giving whatever routine you hope to perform paid or otherwise some air time so you can iron out the bugs and whatnot. So when you come to the time when you are getting paid, you are giving your client your most polished and best performance you can give.

I wish you the best of luck.

Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Feb 15, 2004 08:33PM)

Good advice from both Josh and Aus.

I more or less "lucked" into my first paid show; I used to perform for just about anybody who visited my parents' house, including business parties. After one of these, I got a call from someone who had been there, asking if I would perform at such-and-such an event, and how much did I charge.

I was floored!

(I think I did the first show for $5. Well it WAS a long time ago!)

I realize this is not a lot of help, directly, for you but the message is the same: Perform anywhere and anytime you can. You will gain confidence and get better with each show. Eventually, the paid shows will then become a regular thing.
Message: Posted by: DanielGreenWolf (Feb 15, 2004 08:40PM)
Ollie, three things for you:[list=1][*]Everything said so far is great.[*]I used to do magic for everyone. Friends, family...even the pizza guy when he came over to the house. When he answered, I'd get the door, take the food, give him money and do a small piece of magic for him. It brightened up his day and let me get my experience.[*]Magic with no sleights can't be done by just anyone. It can only be done by those who have the persona powerful enough to make people believe it can't be done. Presentation is something of which few are capable and I can give you many examples of TRUE magic performed without any sleights. Done by people who can do them, but didn't have to for magic to happen. Keep that in mind.[/list]-Daniel GreenWolf
Whisperer of Secrets
Message: Posted by: Chad C. (Feb 15, 2004 10:29PM)
I got my first paid show through my mom's work. I am a school teacher and she is a secretary at the elementary school. The lady who hired me had a son in the sixth grade and wanted to know if I could do a show that night and what I charged. I told her $25 and after the show she gave me $30.

I had an entire show done beforehand from the Mark Wilson book and had run through it a few times so it flowed. The show was suppose to last 30 minutes but it lasted an hour (sixth graders like card tricks).

After that I started getting shows regularly. Perform anywhere you can but first make sure you know your routine and can do the tricks without thinking. Then go out and DO IT! Once you do, the shows will come.

Have fun,
Message: Posted by: Ollie1235 (Feb 16, 2004 03:33AM)
Thanks for your good advice everyone but I've got another question to ask. Do you prefer slight of hand or not? Personally I prefer slight of hand because when I do an effect using no slights or using self-working gimmicks it just doesn't feel the same because I know that I wasn't the one who achieved the look on their face, it was the creator of the gimmick or effect that did. (If you got that.)
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Feb 16, 2004 06:16AM)

I know what you mean about gimmicks vs. sleight of hand. I prefer sleight of hand but would be hard pressed to say why; it just seems cleaner.

Besides, you are never "stuck" for something to do if you do sleight of hand; that is, you never have to beg off because you don't have anything with you; you ALWAYS have your brain and your skill with you!

Some effects can only be done with gimmicks so it really isn't an "either-or" situation. However, I still prefer sleight of hand, which is why I came up with a gimmick-free handling for several effects that are near-classics, including my No-Gimmick Scotch and Soda, which appeared in my [i]Showtime[/i] column in the [i]Linking Ring[/i] some years back.

BTW, if anyone would like a copy of the routine, E-MAIL me and I'll be happy to freely send it along to you.

Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: abc (Feb 16, 2004 08:16AM)
Once you start doing magic you effectively become self-employed. I suggest you get some books on marketing and sales and if you start doing many shows (which will happen if you stick it out). You need to get some financial knowledge also. How to get your first paid show would 100% rely on your ability to market and sell yourself and just a little quote. The secret of selling yourself is to have a product you believe in.

I would suggest to learn a routine very well and do a six to ten-minute close-up show and then go to the local restaurants and offer to perform magic when they are busy BUT THEY MUST PAY.
Message: Posted by: Chad C. (Feb 16, 2004 09:29AM)
I do lots of sleight of hand in my children's shows: cup and balls, sponge balls, a double color changing deck effect, and linking rings, but I also do some gimmick stuff. Like a change bag, square circle, breakaway wand, etc. I don't worry so much about whether it's sleight of hand or not, just whether it entertains the kids.

If they enjoy themselves, along with the parents, that's what matters in the end and that's what will get you more shows, not what kind of difficult sleights you can pull off.

Message: Posted by: Aus (Feb 16, 2004 05:51PM)
Slight of hand vs gimmicks has been a topic that magicians have battled and debated over for a long time. But one element that has been constant in the whole thing is the why we wholly think of ourselves. I feel I'm cheating or something else along those lines. If it's a personal preference, fine, but I would not use the lay audience as an excuse for doing it or not doing it.

Because when such things come up the question never asked is, "What do the spectators think?" I can tell you that they wouldn't know the difference. So where does this problem come from? God knows, but it's food for thought.

Just remember that we are doing things for our audience's benefit, not our own.

Message: Posted by: Dan Monroe (Feb 17, 2004 01:36PM)
Alright 1st. Perform for anybody that will watch. The more you do it ,the better you will get.
2nd. To feel more at ease and to concentrate on your presentation find a few effect that require little or no slight of hand.This will help you not be so nervy and will help minimize your mistakes. This will help make you confident in yourself and confidence is a big part of performing in front of people! Now I don't want you to think that you don't have to work on slight of hand tricks because you do! that's a big part of are craft and you must keep working on it. Work on a few tricks at a time and when you perfect them put them into your act. My shows right now are about 50% slights and 50% more self working with minimal slights. For me that's a good mix but some may disagree. All I can say is the crowd looks at the effect not the behind the scene of how you made it happen.
Now 3rd. Getting shows. Word of mouth is a very strong way. I get alot like this. You can call around to librarys,nursing homes,hospitals And donate your show. A lot of times employees at these places will be impressed and call you for paying gigs. Make sure you pass out cards at these places. Also other places you could look into are Big Brothers/Big Sister,Cub scouts,ect. Any place that has get together events.And donate your show. Then before you know it you'll have people starting to call you and asking about what you charge? that's when the pay gigs start. Also you can put up fliers In stores or where ever people will see them. Just remember you pay your dues and the money will happen! Good luck I Hope this post has helped you And keep coming back to the Magic Café! There are a lot of great people here and a lot of great minds that are willimg to help.

Message: Posted by: Ollie1235 (Feb 18, 2004 08:38AM)
Thanks everyone , its helped a lot
Message: Posted by: Geoff Weber (Feb 18, 2004 10:38AM)
You should first get a show together. Plan what tricks you will do, what you will say between tricks, everything. I recommend writing a script even. If you have a video camera or can borrow one, than practice your show repeatedly in front of the camera, and then go back and watch it with a critical eye to see what you can improve. Once you got your show all set, I would ask your parents if you can put on a show in the basement or living room at their next party. Set up all the chairs in advance into a sort of theatre arrangement and do the show!

You can also ask you school if you can do a show in their theatre or classroom. You will probably have to get a teacher to agree to supervise, so if you have any teachers you get along with, approach them about it. Post flyers on the bulletin boards, invite the neighborhood, invite your fellow students. I probably wouldn't charge for tickets, I'd mainly be concerned with just getting people to fill the seats. But if the school lets you, that's your choice.

My first paid show I got through my Mom's friend. Her little boy was having a birthday party.