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Topic: My crazy idea
Message: Posted by: Lothar (Dec 10, 2001 07:09PM)

Iím a beginning illusionist who is very shy to start out. I want to start an illusion show with some really different ideas.

I joined my local SAM, but I really, really felt out of place. (There was only one member who was an illusionist. He didnít take my questions very seriously, and I was [b]totally[/b] intimidated by him.) Iíve spoken to many magicians over the net about my ideas. They like them and have encouraged me to go forward with them. I feel like I just need a little encouraging nudge in the right direction. I have tons of illusion plan books, music, and ideas. My only problem is fear of being laughed at or completely ostracized by the magic community. My show is called "Macho Magic", but that name isnít definite. What do you all do to get over stage fright or shyness???


P.S. I want to borrow or build a thin model sawing for a show in May. (Is it common to lend other magicians props, or should I just build my own???) :confused:
Message: Posted by: Von (Dec 10, 2001 07:41PM)

Donít be afraid of being laughed at, otherwise you will never be able to perform comfortably.

As for getting over stage fright or being shy of the crowd, I donít think anybody really ever gets over that but rather they get to a point where they perform without letting the audience know that they are having some stage fright. Does that make sense?

Itís not common for magicians to borrow effects. Maybe if itís your immediate family that owns the particular illusion you want to borrow, it might happen.

You have to look at it this way, When an illusionist invests in a stage effect that is exactly what it is, an investment. Some thin-model sawings can cost up-to $14,000 and no matter how well I know somebody, it would be hard to let someone else use it.

There is a lot of inexpensive magic that plays big so look for that type of magic until you start making more money to invest. So keep coming up with good ideas and one day you will own all the illusions you can dream of!

Good luck! :bigsmile:
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Dec 10, 2001 08:03PM)
I disagree that no one ever gets over stage fright. I have been performing in front of people in some capacity (music, ventriloquism, magic, stand-up comedy, public speaking, MC, radio announcer, etc) since I was three years old, and I am totally comfortable in front of an audience. The only time Iím NOT comfortable is if I didnít prepare adequately. So I always make sure that I do.

I have been known to lend Props (not ones that cost thousands!) to a few CLOSE friends, but I doubt youíll have much luck borrowing the type of prop for which you are asking. If a magician paid for an expensive prop and made it a feature of his act, why would he want to loan it to a competitor who hasnít invested anything into it? Better for you to buy your own or pick a different trick.

Make sure that you are ready before embarking to do paid performances. Have you done some free shows to work through your material in front of a real audience? Have you had people fill out performance critiques and videotape your show so that YOU can see it? If not, youíre almost certainly not ready. Good ideas are great, but nothing beats a little real-world experience. Better to error on the side of caution than to foist a bad show on an unsuspecting audience!

I know there are some who disagree with me here. I can only tell you what has worked for me, and, that I have seen way more magicians performing publicly for money before they were ready than magicians who were really good but not performing!
Message: Posted by: aznviet6uy (Dec 10, 2001 08:30PM)
You gotta go with what your aiming for or youíll never get it.

If your illusions are that good, why be afraid, so I say, you should go for it

Message: Posted by: kingsnqueens (Dec 10, 2001 09:02PM)
Hello Lothar,

It was fun to read your message because all of us have the same feelings that youíre having. I wish you would have shared with us more of your background. Your age, and past experience in performing. Also what training youíve had.

Itís grand that you joined your local SAM Assembly, but remember it takes time for you to get to know them, and them to get to know you. Out of everything you receive from the art of the conjurer youíll find friendships you make along the way will be your greatest reward.

Friends will help you along in your magic career, and yes Iíve lent some props, and stage equipment to friends, but only to help out when something happened to their equipment and they needed a prop to give a performance.

You can rent props from some illusion builders like Owenís Magic, but it ainít cheap. Building your own can be fun, but to do it right you need skill. Sometimes I build an item five, six or more times, before I get it right.

Magic is one craft that can push you in many directions like building, metal work, drawing, painting, dance, acting, puppetry, And on & on. Just look at the Le Grand David Show. They do it all.

Hereís a few tips I have that might help out:

Have magician friends critique your performing skills. They can tell you if youíre flashing, or if you can change something for the better. You should have already put the act together, and practice it until you feel itís the best you can do, before ever asking anyoneís opinion. Watch yourself in the mirror, and like Jeff McBride says ďVideo tape the act over, and over. Then watch it over, and over.Ē Only when you feel itís your best, or you know it needs help is it time to get others to watch you.

When Iím sure itís good, thatís when I get a director. For me I prefer one that isnít a magician. Because I donít perform for magicians. A good director shouldnít care how many years itís taken me to master a sleight. They should be concerned whether itís entertaining, or good theater.

A good place to find a director is to become friendly with your local College Theatrical Department. Just remember if you ask their help, you owe it to them, to at least try it their way.

Now find a dance teacher to help you look graceful, or at least at ease moving on the stage.

Maybe a lighting student will help you to get seen on stage, and a sound man makes sure that voice, music, etc. are in harmony with one another.

Oh! and Theater Students make good assistants. They want stage experience, but need rehearsal, and direction from you. An assistant can make, or ruin a show. I make all assistants sign a confidentiality agreement to protect all secrets of magic they may learn while assisting me. I make it a rule that an assistant only learn the secret of effects they are, or may be involved in.

Well this is a lot to digest, but I hope thereís something here to help you, but in the end remember Itís Your Show.......... Manyfingers
Message: Posted by: RayBanks (Dec 11, 2001 05:17AM)

On 2001-12-10 21:03, greatscott wrote:

I disagree that no one ever gets over stage fright. I have been performing in front of people in some capacity (music, ventriloquism, magic, stand-up comedy, public speaking, MC, radio announcer, etc) since I was three years old, and I am totally comfortable in front of an audience.



It's not stage fright, per se, but don't you still get a small 'rush' right before you start your show? I referee high school football and still get that little 'buzz' right before the game starts. Then it's business as usual on the field for me and my crew.

I've told others that when I don't get that rush it will be the first game of the rest of my last season--and I've just finished my 32nd year!

Have a good (and profitable) holiday season.

Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Dec 11, 2001 09:41AM)
I am always excited and eager to do the show, but not afraid, which is certainly what stage "fright" connotes.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Dec 11, 2001 12:38PM)

On 2001-12-10 20:09, Lothar wrote:

[...]I want to borrow or build a thin model sawing for a show in May[...][/quote]

Buy a copy of Jim Steinmeyer's "The Magic of Alan Wakeling", and study the Wakeling/Selbit sawing. If you build this one it will be easier and less expensive. Of course, you have to be a strong performer to present it well, but when I've performed it there were audible gasps of "Oh my God!" from some of the audience. It just looks totally impossible. The most important part is to carefully analyze Wakeling's presentation to understand the important points and why they work, and then adapt it to your own style.

Incidentally, if you DO decide to build this - or any other illusion that has "blades" - do yourself and the audience a favor and make the blades out of stainless steel, NOT aluminum. They clang together with a beautiful sound and you're not insulting the audience's intelligence when you describe them as "solid steel". It's easier than you might think; go to a sheet metal shop in your home town and have them cut out of the same material used for restaurant kitchen fabrications. For my Wakeling/Selbit sawing the two blades (which I made a few inches longer than Wakeling's original design) cost $60. Also, buy real "prop" swords, not aluminum strips with dowel handles. The swords I use are massive and very serious looking; they could have easily been used in the filiming of "Braveheart", and when they are slammed down through the Wakeling/Selbit boxes I can see some of the audience visibly jump in their seats.


Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Timotheous (Dec 11, 2001 06:49PM)
I agree with Thomas....... If your going to build this build it right the first time. An effect no matter how big or small plays so much more for the spectators if you invest in good props. The props you use and the quality of them are to me as important as your performance.

Message: Posted by: Bengi (Dec 12, 2001 06:39AM)
As far as "stage fright", I have been doing magic for 31 years, and I still get nervous before a show. But the second I walk on the stage, it becomes the most relaxing thing in the world to me.

You are not alone here, I have been doing illusions for about 20 years, and that is what I do most now. Make sure you do not get in a hurry when building an illusion. Make sure it both looks well and works well before attempting to perform with it.

If using an assistant, make sure you BOTH practice often, even after you think you have it down pat. A smooth performance is what your goal should be. As an illusionist myself, I will give you all the encouragement you want.

But that is not saying what you NEED. What you need is that "nudge" from YOURSELF...

not others. Only you can push yourself, and you will know when you are ready.

It sounds to me like you are ready now, but, like I said, donít rush things. When doing illusions or any other form of magic, there are 3 things you should do before you try an effect out on an audience....




As far as loaning or borrowing stage props...

I never would and never will, there are several reasons for that, first of all, these props are my livelyhood, no matter how much I trust some people, there are always things that can happen.

If I loaned a prop to someone, and that prop somehow was destroyed, a friendship could be destroyed also, and the same goes for borrowing.

I think it is best to build your own, and build it well!!!

I am happy to see another illusionist join this forum, and if you have any other questions, just holler!!!!!


Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Dec 12, 2001 10:28AM)

On 2001-12-12 07:39, Bengi wrote:

[...] When doing illusions or any other form of magic, there are 3 things you should do before you try an effect out on an audience....





While I would agree with Bengi here, I think his list is incomplete; there are actually NINE things you need to do before trying an effect out on a live audience.

They are:










(NOTE: Practice and rehearsal are NOT the same thing, and visualization can - and should - be intermingled with both practice and rehearsal.)


Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Bengi (Dec 12, 2001 06:08PM)
Thanks, Thomas!!! Excellent point!

Bengi :rolleyes:
Message: Posted by: majorshaw (Jan 24, 2002 06:16PM)
Being a former president of a local SAM, don't let some good old boy stop your dream. I think they were worse several years ago. There are some great books on planning and building props. the SAM lending libary may have something. Good Luck.
And Don't let the dream go.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Jun 13, 2011 05:45AM)
After almost ten years, how is it now Lothar?
Message: Posted by: ColtonRaelund (Oct 15, 2016 10:42PM)
How about after almost 15 years? Did he let the dream go? I would like to know...
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Oct 16, 2016 01:15AM)
I would imagine he did, he never bothered to return and read the offerings of others.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 16, 2016 02:50AM)
How many of those who wrote comments 16 years ago, are still "around"?

Pakar Ilusi, who responded ten years later, still appears, occasionally, and Scott Guinn posted last month.

The others seem to have fallen into a black art well!