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Topic: Is show advice worthwhile for casual magi?
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 3, 2018 03:33AM)
Casual amateurs work almost exclusively for friends, family and sometimes strangers in ad hoc, unplanned, casual settings - at the dinner table, in a café, on the street, in school, on a bus etc.

They do tricks a couple at a time. What they don't do (hardly ever) is perform shows, beginning to end, for an audience of interested strangers.

Many resources aimed at beginning and amateur magi, though, give advice about routining, planning, scripting and rehearsing shows/performances.

What is the point of this? Is it space/time that could be better used discussing other things?
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 3, 2018 06:39AM)
Yes, to your first three paragraphs!

It seems that every month, or even more often, amateurs write in with pleas for HELP. They almost always have had requests for a "show" for a "worthy cause". --And, their only real experience is casual, close up, or parlor type "performing" (note the " " !)but, no experience in a "formal" stand up show. Usually, the "gig" is NEXT WEEK!!!!!

Well meaning part timers, or "advanced amateurs", will suggest TRICKS that they use, or have used. I cant recall any of the responders offering "advice" about scripting, routining, planning, or rehearsing formal show performances.

It's already, TOO LATE!!!!!!!! (Only "mentalists" can PREDICT the FUTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!

When friends, acquaintances or associates, who are in a charitable group or whatever, and they remember that their friend, "does magic", they will
request or suggest that he/she do a show! They think he/she should be able to do a show!

IMO, if one is an amateur, one should learn a bit about "theatrical techniques", not just the basic performance of a trick or two.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 3, 2018 06:50AM)
Good point.

In general it seems best for the amateur advice giver to tell the amateur magi to 'Just say no to shows' - at least until they've done the necessary specialist reading/training/prep. And then proceed to give advice about the REAL contexts casual magicians find themselves in.

Yet rarely do I see much advice on how to perform or prepare for amateur contexts. The Jerx website is the only place I've found that talks about this stuff.

To quote from that blogsite:
"... while there is a huge population of amateur magicians, most of them perform rather infrequently. And to get useful insights and ideas, you really need to be out performing regularly. But the people who are performing regularly tend to be professionals, so most of what you read is from that perspective. To perform a lot as an amateur, you have to be independently wealthy ..."
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (May 3, 2018 09:11AM)
There are plenty of part-time professionals, or amateurs, that perform more regularly than "professionals".

I give advice on scripting, routining, and that sort of thing because even if it's a casual performance I still think one should strive to give a "professional quality" performance.

Amateur doesn't mean "crap". It just means you're not making the majority of your living through performance. Some of the best magicians in history were technically amateurs. One of my favorite quotes, paraphrased, is "Amateurs are the ones who push the art forward. Professionals are too busy looking for the next gig."

What the magic world needs is a higher quality "baseline" of performance, and I think the thing that raises the quality of performance is often the scripting, blocking, and theatrical considerations. That's what takes something from being a cute little trick, to being magic.

Every performance is a 'show'. Every performance, even when doing card tricks for the guys down at the pub, should be of the quality that would be acceptable for a paying audience, in my opinion.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (May 3, 2018 09:22AM)
No. Don't learn any of that stuff. There needs to be a huge difference between what a spectator sees when a working magician performs versus Uncle Murray doing a card trick at Thanksgiving. Casual amateurs shouldn't get too good.







;)
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 3, 2018 09:24AM)
"even if it's a casual performance I still think one should strive to give a "professional quality" performance ... Every performance, even when doing card tricks for the guys down at the pub, should be of the quality that would be acceptable for a paying audience, in my opinion."

I agree with this witchdoc. But the standard advice on constructing a show tends to come from professionals who don't have the 'two quick tricks to family in the pub' context primarily in mind. And as such the advice doesn't seem appropriate.

For example, how often have I read advice on developing a 'show' in books compared to advice about how to perform tricks for family? Which is more useful for amateurs?
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (May 3, 2018 09:34AM)
True. I'm not disagreeing with that point.

But the same principles apply to large performances as casual small performances. It just takes some thought to 'translate' as it were.

Scripting, transitions between tricks (turning them into routines/acts/shows), adjusting for angles and physical blocking, audience control, volunteer selection - all of these things are really universal. One needs to take into consideration the environment they'll be working in. I know I personally write separate scripts for different environments.

I definitely agree that there isn't a lot of resources (yet) aimed specifically at helping the casual performer increase the quality of their performance. Perhaps in the past it was assumed anyone serious about magic would be working towards being a professional?
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 3, 2018 09:45AM)
I think you've hit the nail on the head there. Yes.
Message: Posted by: John Oaks (May 3, 2018 10:08AM)
I don't worry about amateur/professional magicians so much as your doctor.
He/she is only a "practicing physician!" :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 4, 2018 12:33AM)
A thought:
If, as witchdoc and I agree, there's a dearth of books offering showmanship advice specifically for the hobbyist and directly addressing the casual context - who would be a good choice to plug that gap in the market?

Who could even write such a book? They'd have to have had many years of regular non-professional casual magic experience (and yet not be a working magician), but they'd also have to be well versed in theatrical techniques and have well regarded presentational techniques. That sounds a rare beast ...
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 4, 2018 02:08PM)
[quote]On May 3, 2018, danaruns wrote:
No. Don't learn any of that stuff. There needs to be a huge difference between what a spectator sees when a working magician performs versus Uncle Murray doing a card trick at Thanksgiving. Casual amateurs shouldn't get too good.



I've been performing for 70 years, and, I've mentored some fine young guys. Some had no desire to be full time professionals, but many DID. and, ARE. A few DID, and, WERE. (Does the name, Doug Henning "ring a bell"?! How about Bob McAllister? One of "my guys" won the FISM award for illusions. A young lad, whom I am currently mentoring, won a scholarship to a major regional convention (Magi Fest). Then, he qualified for Tannen's "MagiCamp", and, he has "earned" a second year scholarship at Tannen's.

"PROFESSION" IS A MATTER OF A T T I T U D E!!!

IMHO Danaruns should have learned better from Mark!
Message: Posted by: willtupper (May 4, 2018 03:48PM)
Dear Mr. Oslund,

I think you may have missed the following bit from Ms. Dana's post:

[quote]On May 3, 2018, danaruns wrote:

;) [/quote]

Through the power of the mighty "Winky Face" emoticon, I suspect she was kidding.

Hope you're all having an amazing, "as professional as you choose to be" day!

PS - one book I might suggest that could help the casual performer is Mr. Jamie D. Grant's wonderful book, "The Approach." It's terrific, fun, inspiring, and is filled with advice on how to structure one's performances in a way I can't recall seeing in any other book out there. Which doesn't mean other books with such advice don't exist, of course.
I just haven't found them yet.
Message: Posted by: Signet (May 4, 2018 08:49PM)
I was thinking the same thing as Terrible Wizard stated in his op. I don't believe amateurs should have to study for twenty years before performing magic. At the same time, we don't want completely inept people exposing secrets and embarrassing all of magic. There has to be a balance, somewhere in the middle. There's nothing wrong with an amateur doing a few effects for people they run into during the course of the day. If you can bring a smile to somebody, what's wrong with this? You should try to learn as much as you can about presentation and showmanship. Not very many of us are going to be Doug Henning. Does this mean we should never dabble in the art? Many times, the people who we entertain would never have the chance to see magic without the amateurs.
Message: Posted by: Signet (May 4, 2018 09:01PM)
One solution to this issue is a local magic club. We have one in Scranton that meets every month. It is comprised of people of every skill level. There are professional magicians, total newbies and everything in between. The one thing we all share is a love for magic. We all strive to get better, some of us just need a little help getting there. The fact that we can try out effects before showing them to the public is a big advantage. The pro can try out ideas they're working on as well.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 5, 2018 03:14AM)
I wonder if the decline of magic shops has made it worse? And made the need for books specifically aimed at helping the a,ather performer more necessary?
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 5, 2018 05:33AM)
[quote]On May 4, 2018, Signet wrote:
I was thinking the same thing as Terrible Wizard stated in his op. I don't believe amateurs should have to study for twenty years before performing magic. At the same time, we don't want completely inept people exposing secrets and embarrassing all of magic. There has to be a balance, somewhere in the middle. There's nothing wrong with an amateur doing a few effects for people they run into during the course of the day. If you can bring a smile to somebody, what's wrong with this? You should try to learn as much as you can about presentation and showmanship. Not very many of us are going to be Doug Henning. Does this mean we should never dabble in the art? Many times, the people who we entertain would never have the chance to see magic without the amateurs. [/quote]

Hi Signet! You've said it very well. The only thing that I would say differently, is: "...doing a few effects...". --Neither you, nor I, nor any magician, can do a few EFFECTS. (IIRC, you are a registered nurse, and medical "people" must use correct terms!) The EFFECT, is, WHAT THE SPECTATOR(S) PERCEIVE(S)! TRICKS ARE WHAT WE "DO"!

It would appear to me that you have "found" an ideal magicians' club!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 5, 2018 06:03AM)
[quote]On May 4, 2018, willtupper wrote:
Dear Mr. Oslund,

I think you may have missed the following bit from Ms. Dana's post:

[quote]On May 3, 2018, danaruns wrote:

;) [/quote]

Through the power of the mighty "Winky Face" emoticon, I suspect she was kidding.

Hope you're all having an amazing, "as professional as you choose to be" day!

PS - one book I might suggest that could help the casual performer is Mr. Jamie D. Grant's wonderful book, "The Approach." It's terrific, fun, inspiring, and is filled with advice on how to structure one's performances in a way I can't recall seeing in any other book out there. Which doesn't mean other books with such advice don't exist, of course.
I just haven't found them yet. [/quote]

Thanks, Will, for the "education"! (heehee) Yup, I've been "around" for an "eon" or so. I didn't even notice the ";)". "Emoticons" are a relatively recent "invention" (at least for this octogenarian!). Perhaps, someone should publish a "dictionary" of emoticons!

I grew up, with Dariel Fitzkee's trilogy, Maskelynne & Devant's "Our Magic" and Doc Tarbell's scholarly work, and, have done a "few" shows, successfully, I didn't even know that Mr. Grant, had written a book about the topic under discussion! --Thanks for mentioning it!
Message: Posted by: donny (May 6, 2018 12:47PM)
Maybe, Terrible, you and Mr Oslund are having a row? You, "Terrible", are arguing that the casual magician is good stopping point and not inferior to "higher platform" Magician (right?). Thus from your perspective, those who go farther are egoist, narcissist and blagards. But, the only time you go there is when you encounter the "Drill Instructors" of Magic; the ones that are going to help you, whether you know you want it or not. The "Drill Instructor" sees your reticence and only has one reaction and explanation,"boot up a**". "Drill Instructor" does not identify residual jealousy, laziness, lack of ability. "Drill Instructor" only shares passion and discipline (maybe they've seen where lukewarm motivation leads. hmm?). Yeah, "Drill Instructor" is a bully who makes you fly or fail. And who gave him that right? You may not be impressed where "Drill Instructor" has landed in life, but you must consider, he came from a different time, and maybe you don't understand what it took to get there, in this time.
Can I suggest "Terrible", if I'm 70% right, you develop your "casual magic life" and don't depend too much on "contempt" as motivation for your passion. If you do, it's likely you'll always get destroyed by hecklers. Rather, accept the "narcissistic boob" within yourself and you won't self-detonate when challenged performing magic. Consider any magician that performs past his prime (admit we all differ on opinion here). You have to be willing to look like that, some of the time, in front of people you don't know. You ready? ...Don't tell me, now get out there, bear your cross, as others have done, and SHOW ME!!!
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 6, 2018 01:29PM)
Sorry, donny, but I really don't understand what you're saying - and I think you have picked up on something that really isn't there :). No worries, though.
Message: Posted by: paulalpha (May 7, 2018 08:56PM)
It has been said that the amateur magaician is always performing new tricks for the same people, while the professional magician is always performing the same tricks for new people.


Three years ago, my wife used to enjoy the magic tricks I performed for her. Today she doesn't enjoy them very much, so that I now longer use her as my first test audience. Partly this is because she has learned the sneaky underhanded ways that I accomplish some of my miracles. The grandkids also seem to have become similarly jaded about my magic. I'm not a real magician to them, I'm just grandpa.

My Professors Nightmare and my Ninja rings routines are good, and when presented to strangers get good reactions. But I cant present those routines to my wife and grandkids any more as they have already seen them enough.


If you want to keep performing good magic, and to improve on your skills, it seems inevitable to me that you need to seek out gigs to perform for strangers.

If magic tricks could be presented entertainingly with 10 minutes of practice/rehearsal, this would be purely academic discussion. But when real magicians have to spend hours, days, weeks and months working on a trick/routine, its hard to just do your magic for friends and family.

Always coming up with new tricks to entertain ones friends and relatives is a very high bar.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (May 7, 2018 10:19PM)
I like what Paul said. Great post with lots of truth. A mentor of mine says that 12 tricks makes a career. But 12 tricks won't last long for the hobbyist who is performing for family and friends all the time.

It seems like the casual magician eventually has to reach a fork in the road, where they can't really keep doing what they've been doing, because eventually they exhaust their audiences, as Paul alluded to. So they either back off and do less magic, or they make the leap to become an actual performer for audiences they don't know. And maybe the inevitability of that fork in the road is the reason there aren't a lot of performance resources for the casual magician.

By the way, while the casual magician performing for family and friends might learn lots of new tricks but not spend that much time on them, professional magicians often spend [i]years[/i] developing routines. A comedy magician friend of mine, Chipper Lowell, just blurted out in joy the other day that he has finally perfected a routine he's been working on for six years. Six years! Can you imagine the family hobbyist working out a trick for that long before performing it for friends, spouse or children? Maybe the reason the performance resources aren't there for the casual magician is because the emphasis is on constantly cranking fresh material out rather than perfecting something they intend to perform hundreds of times, for years and years.
Message: Posted by: davidpaul$ (May 8, 2018 08:30AM)
As a restaurant worker (4 per week) you "have to" come up with new material. The regulars come in every week.
"Every week". There is a family, mom, dad and 2 children that haven't mist a week in a year and a half. Except for
vacations or illness. Other families, couples, groups have been very regular over the years. They always say, "What ya got for us this week?"

Becoming friends and showing interest in their lives is a big part of it. It's not always about the magic but they want to
see something even it is simple. Once you develop the card handling, or coin handling skills etc. that have taken
years to perfect you can play many songs. ( just like a musician)

You should see me reference effects to either refresh my memory or find a new idea from my library because I know
those people will be in to see me. My repertoire is extensive. Yes, I perform those standard effects for those
new people, but I always have that new effect for the regulars. 16 years in restaurants is sometimes exhaustive in
effect selections but it is fun and educational for me.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 8, 2018 08:40AM)
Yup! I LIKE your thinking David!

If one knows PRINCIPLES, and BASIC CONCEPTS, ones repertoire is almost INFINITE!

Add the above to GENERIC PROPS, your repertoire IS INFINITE!
Message: Posted by: willtupper (May 8, 2018 10:08PM)
My pleasure, Mr. Oslund!

"Emoticons," or the even more-current, "Emoji," are just modern day hiroglyphics.

Websites are the modern pyramids we carve these newest symbols upon.

But, really. Not much has changed.

To return to the discussion at hand, yes: I would wholeheartedly endorse Mr. Jamie D. Grant's wonderful book, "The Approach." His, um... well, APPROACH to pursuing magic as a job (either full or part-time) taught me so much about how to structure my ambitions. He's just a wonderfully uplifting, enthusiastic guy. And his writing reflects.

Anyone interested in him or his work can learn more at www.sendwonder.com (Click on "About," scroll down, and watch his TEDx Talk. It's awesome).

[quote]On May 5, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:
[quote]On May 4, 2018, willtupper wrote:
Dear Mr. Oslund,

I think you may have missed the following bit from Ms. Dana's post:

[quote]On May 3, 2018, danaruns wrote:

;) [/quote]

Through the power of the mighty "Winky Face" emoticon, I suspect she was kidding.

Hope you're all having an amazing, "as professional as you choose to be" day!

PS - one book I might suggest that could help the casual performer is Mr. Jamie D. Grant's wonderful book, "The Approach." It's terrific, fun, inspiring, and is filled with advice on how to structure one's performances in a way I can't recall seeing in any other book out there. Which doesn't mean other books with such advice don't exist, of course.
I just haven't found them yet. [/quote]

Thanks, Will, for the "education"! (heehee) Yup, I've been "around" for an "eon" or so. I didn't even notice the ";)". "Emoticons" are a relatively recent "invention" (at least for this octogenarian!). Perhaps, someone should publish a "dictionary" of emoticons!

I grew up, with Dariel Fitzkee's trilogy, Maskelynne & Devant's "Our Magic" and Doc Tarbell's scholarly work, and, have done a "few" shows, successfully, I didn't even know that Mr. Grant, had written a book about the topic under discussion! --Thanks for mentioning it! [/quote]
Message: Posted by: Wilktone (May 10, 2018 12:28PM)
Performing magic in a casual environment to people you know requires a different skill set than you will get help with in most books on magic. Showmanship, scripting, acting, even good sleight of hand are all secondary to having good social skills.

Be the friend you want to have and the people you know will be happy to watch your magic.

Whenever you take something theatrical and interject it into a casual interaction you're asking your friends to alter your social contract in ways they may not want to. It's no wonder why inexperienced magicians have problems with friends and family heckling them or grabbing props. They don't need to work on their audience management, they need to work on their empathy. Consider a friend wanting to share an unusual hobby with you. How would you feel if an acquaintance launched into a track from his favorite comedy album and expected you to listen to him for the next 3-5 minutes? Even worse, what if after that he asks you if you want to hear another comedy track he has memorized? Or worse still, doesn't ask? No matter how funny he is, it's can be socially inappropriate That said, it's not too far off from what following the traditional rules about scripting, routining, and magic theory will tell you to do to entertain your friends and family.

There's nothing wrong with a formal performance, and there are ways you can get your friends and family to enjoy a trick performed in the context of a formal performance, but as I said, it takes some empathy. And it's not the only way you can present magic to people you know.

Consider a simple prediction effect that might take 3 minutes to perform in a formal show. What if you let that go on over the course of an entire evening? What if random magical events happened around you when you are with friends that you never call attention to or even seem to notice? What if the time frame of your show wasn't a 30 minute set, but rather something ongoing that evolves over months? What if instead of practicing your deck switch for years you simply asked your friend to turn the light on behind him? Following the traditional rules of magic limit the experience you can provide your friends and family.

www.thejerx.com was mentioned above. The blog is free to read and offers a lot of food for thought on how to think differently about the social magic experience and why it's often the wrong way to perform that way in a casual experience. The author's booklet, "The Amateur at the Kitchen Table" is a great read as well on the subject.

Dave
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 10, 2018 06:28PM)
Wish that I had said that, Dave!
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 11, 2018 12:42AM)
Great post wilktone.

Yet, even with one of the major issues clearly recognised, it does seem like only the Jerx is trying (I don't always think successfully) to address the very different context the social magi finds themse,vex in compared to pro's. Most beginner magic books don't really seem to directly address the very thing the majority of their readership requires!

Again, I think there's a gap in the market here for the experienced casualist. :).
Message: Posted by: Wilktone (May 13, 2018 11:33AM)
What's so tricky about what you're asking about, Terrible Wizard, is that everyone has a different social circle and different ways of interacting with friends and family. What works well for the author of The Jerx can work quite well for him, but might not be such a good presentation or trick for my friends. What works great for me might fall very flat with the way you interact with your friends. And we all have different groups of people that we might need to take completely different approaches to perform for.

But yes, I think there's a niche market here. As The Jerx argues, when you perform magic in formal situations as your living (you're a professional) then you're going to filter you advice towards performing through the lens of your own background and experience. Perhaps this is something that is going to end up being more grass roots, in the sense that it will be the thoughtful and serious amateur performers who will have the most relevant things to say about this topic.

Dave
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 14, 2018 04:23AM)
Agreed. :)

What is needed are serious, skilled, very experienced amateurs who have some degree of training in performance skills and been able to successfully apply these to social magic situations. Very experienced and trained amateurs are rare, for obvious reasons.
Message: Posted by: Wilktone (May 28, 2018 08:46AM)
[quote]On May 14, 2018, Terrible Wizard wrote:
What is needed are serious, skilled, very experienced amateurs who have some degree of training in performance skills and been able to successfully apply these to social magic situations. Very experienced and trained amateurs are rare, for obvious reasons. [/quote]

Well, in lieu of "professional amateurs" I think what is possible is a community of social magicians serious about exploring this topic in detail and sharing ideas with each other. Frankly, having training in performance skills may actually be a hinderance in this case because performing, by definition, is outside the norm within casual interactions. If your goal is to blur the lines between the magic you're performing and your social interactions with people you know it might be better to look at sociology. For example, what different sorts of social interactions are there?

https://prezi.com/iugqn01l5ksg/5-most-common-forms-of-social-interactions/

The author suggests five basic forms of social interaction.

[quote]1. Exchange
2. Competition
3. Conflict
4. Cooperation
5. Accommodation[/quote]

As an exercise, think about ways in which you could interject a magic routine into one of those basic interactions.

1. Exchange - Well, you could perform a magic trick with the idea that you will get a reward in return, say a good reaction that makes you feel good. What about trying to make the magic trick the reward for your friend? How could you present a trick in this way? Well, maybe you do the $100 bill switch and leave your friend with the $100. That's an expensive example, but how can you present this routine that makes it different from a formal show?

2. Competition - I think for many of us social magicians our spectators tend to easily shift into this type of interaction when we perform magic for them. As I mentioned above, this is what our spectators tend to feel is socially appropriate in the context. I'm sure there are ways to present magic in a social context that fit this interaction, but in my opinion it's better to avoid this particular approach if you can (at least, for my own social interactions). The "peek backstage" idea that the Jerx recommends works perfectly here.

3. Conflict - If your social interaction ramps up to conflict, how do you present magic? Maybe it's best to avoid it then, but maybe magic can be a way to defuse the situation. A few years ago I was hanging out with my wife and a couple of her women friends at a bar. The three of them were talking when an inebriated gentleman came over and began to pester them, in spite of some not too subtle hints. I got up to talk with him and my wife thought I was going to argue with him. Instead, I asked, "Can I borrow this," and produced a coin from his elbow, then went into a one coin routine. It was so out of the ordinary and unexpected to him that it got his complete attention and he left my wife and her friends alone.

4. Cooperation - Most magic routines don't have cooperation really built into them, it's more the magician doing something amazing while the spectators watch. When they do get to help, it's not usually presented as the spectator being a full partner in the magic. Some of the "romantic adventure" presentation ideas from the Jerx are good for encouraging this type of interaction.

5. Accommodation - The web site I lifted this from suggestions that this type of interaction is the balance between cooperation and conflict. Depending on the level of conflict in your particular interaction (for example, playing card games with your friends can bring about a low level of conflict that is to be expected, and perhaps even enjoyed) a well timed magic routine might fit right in.

So here is my challenge to the social magicians out there. Take a look at those five basic types of social interactions and begin looking for examples in your own casual interactions. Think about how you can present magic in those interactions and share your ideas. Even better, try performing some magic and share the results with us. Why does something work well for one type of interaction and not another? Can changing the presentation of the exact same routine make it more enjoyable in a particular situation?

Dave
Message: Posted by: OzTheMentalist (Aug 21, 2018 01:50AM)
[quote]On May 14, 2018, Terrible Wizard wrote:
What is needed are serious, skilled, very experienced amateurs who have some degree of training in performance skills and been able to successfully apply these to social magic situations. Very experienced and trained amateurs are rare, for obvious reasons. [/quote]

I totally agree. I wish all hobbyist magicians actually worked on their performance skills, patter and justifications for the moves they do.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 21, 2018 04:51AM)
Not much to add to some find thoughts offered on this thread (especially Dave's), but there seems to be little focus over what is "appropriate" for different setting, and any distinction over what an audience/observer expects. Methinks that people coming to a "show" have different expectations than a casual group of friends or 'suddenly engaged" strangers. In some ways, the earnest casual performed needs a wider range of communication skills than a show performer.

I also am a bit off-put by any assumption that there are only two options/camps from which to choose. A classroom teacher, for example, may choose to weave some magic tricks into a lesson or as a reward. They have a fixed audience with some elements of "show," a choice of appropriate props, and the possibility to modify script to lesson - and would be considered casual or amateur by most. Yet, what appears to be a "spontaneous" presentation should be just as practiced and grounded in Dick's "basics" as any professional. If one views that the "story told after" to be important, then this teacher has a greater ability to "do magic" that either the casual party friend or the stage show. Again, the key is marrying expectations and appropriateness with skill and props.

another skill for the casual perform is knowing when NOT to "do a trick or two" just because you can. One tip is to look into a mirror each morning and say, "It is not about me!" Magic happens in the mind of the observer. Are you prepared to kindle or nurture that possibility?

In answer to the OP questions, the place to find these skills/abilities is just before retiring for the night - asking self, "what did I learn from today's performance that will help me do a better job tomorrow?" and "what did I learn that will make of me a better person tomorrow?" Then follow ...
Message: Posted by: Bill Thompson (Aug 28, 2018 08:33AM)
As an amateur, you should always be thinking of how to routine tricks into an entertaining show or two or three, complete with scripts, bits of business, and spectator management. If/when you get asked to do a show you should already have material to make a 5 min, 15 min. or 30 min. show ready to go. The time to prepare such material is not right after you get asked. If you don't have a show ready to go when they ask, I think you should politely decline. My two cents. I am curious what Mr. Oslund opinion is...
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 28, 2018 10:36AM)
Hey! I think that "thee and me" agree, Mr. Bill!

Non magicians seem to think that if you call yourself a magician, you should be able to "do a show"!

The Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared", is a good motto!

When I was a teen (1940s) I can't recall the term "close up" bring used! Lots of amateurs, and, professionals, did "pocket tricks".

One doesn't need to carry a truck load of props, to do a stand up performance! (Nate Leipzig, was a "standard act" in vaudeville. He carried a deck of cards, and invited a "committee" to join him onstage. His philosophy was, {If they like YOU, =they will like what you do.)

I started, at 13, doing a stand up show, with the usual home made props! (a suitcase full!) When I got into the Navy, at 19, I had a 30 minute act, "in a cigar box"! (actually it was a leather case for carrying one's toothbrush, shaving gear, etc.) I was doing a "manipulation" act (white glove card fan productions) multiplying balls. 6 Card Repeat, and fancy card flourishes, color change silk, and "sucker" silk to egg, C&R rope, Kellar wrist tie, etc). I could do it almost anywhere! MOST of the tricks, could be done "close up"! (I guess that I learned performing "backwards"!) When many years later, I got calls for hospitality suites, strolling, etc. I just put some of the props in my pockets!

When I started working schools, full time, I carried the props for a 45 minute program that would play for Primary through Senior High Schools, Colleges. Family groups, and, even senior citizens. Almost the same props as that cigar box act! (I just added a "2 dove" routine, linking rings, a Disecto, and a Mutilated Parasol.)

So! I do agree, Bill! Even if one has no plans to be a full time pro'. One should learn some material that can be used in a stand up situation, 'cuz sooner or later, someone will call! If you aren't "prepared", don't come to the Café for help! Just do as Bill recommends: Politely decline.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 28, 2018 11:09AM)
[quote]On May 3, 2018, WitchDocChris wrote:
There are plenty of part-time professionals, or amateurs, that perform more regularly than "professionals".

I give advice on scripting, routining, and that sort of thing because even if it's a casual performance I still think one should strive to give a "professional quality" performance.

Amateur doesn't mean "crap". It just means you're not making the majority of your living through performance. Some of the best magicians in history were technically amateurs. One of my favorite quotes, paraphrased, is "Amateurs are the ones who push the art forward. Professionals are too busy looking for the next gig."

What the magic world needs is a higher quality "baseline" of performance, and I think the thing that raises the quality of performance is often the scripting, blocking, and theatrical considerations. That's what takes something from being a cute little trick, to being magic.

Every performance is a 'show'. Every performance, even when doing card tricks for the guys down at the pub, should be of the quality that would be acceptable for a paying audience, in my opinion. [/quote]

Just in case "you" missed it, I'm "quoting Chris's very well written post, 'cuz I know that some don't read the entire thread, and, thus miss some very worthwhile information. For those "who came late", I recommend that you start at the beginning!
Message: Posted by: Wilktone (Aug 28, 2018 07:45PM)
Just to reiterate, some of us are interested in performing casually in social situations. Sure, some of us who are may also be interested in formal performances, but formal performing is a different animal. I think the topic is about casual performing, not formal performing.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 31, 2018 03:33AM)
Hi David!

Yup! As usual, you THINK before you write! --And, you make a valid point!

MY "problem" is, that I was a part time professional since I was 13 (almost 14), and a full time pro since my mid 30s, So, I have a slightly different point of view!

I got interested in this thread, because there have been several threads written by those who are relatively "new", who have been asked by a friend to do a public SHOW. Their total experience in performing has been casual performing. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but, then they come "here" asking, for a list of tricks that they can do, for a formal show! --And, some will reply with a list of "catalog tricks" that THEY have "bought", and recommend.

Of course, R.L. Sharpe said, eons ago, that, "Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks, are strangers to magic, Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained."

So, that's why I wrote what I wrote!
Message: Posted by: Steven Leung (Aug 17, 2020 02:42AM)
I started magic close to around 20 years ago, and at that time I went to brick and mortar magic shop to buy magic props / videos to learn magic, and occasionally do a trick or two to family / friends. I did not think much what comes next...

Then after 20 years being a closed magic shop owner, assistant for magicians, assistant for magic shows, even behind the scene TV Magic Program consultant, a lot of things changes and experienced I had to think about magic.

All in all, casual magician should consider when and what experience you want to give to your audience, aka interaction.

You might simply want to perform an effect you just bought from magics shop / online magic shop, that is totally fine. On the other hand, shall we ask ourselves,'Is that all I can give to my audiences?'

I think our audiences deserve a magical experience, which could be much more memorable.

Do effects that fit the situation / environment, combine effects to make their power multi-fold, make a connection with audience through effects... there are just too many advice we can get from so many books from Our magic back in a century ago to the latest The Magic Rainbow by Juan Tamariz or on-line subscription The Jerx.

Regardless everything, we have to ask ourselves,'What do we want to present in front of our audience.'

Base on that answer and we can tackle the problem one by one.

Magic, is definitely not easy, if we want to create a life-long memorable experience to our audiences.

Just my 2 cents.