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Allan Olive
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Charlotte
180 Posts

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Needless to say it will be a great learning experience for you. The advice you have received to this point has been superb.

I too suffer with the jitter and trembling hands. Some of my earlier posts were directed to this concern and I had received a lot of great tips to handle it. I have done some boxing in the past and there is no feeling like looking across the way and seeing your opponent standing there who is chomping at the bit to get to you. You would not be human if you were not nervous at that point. It’s a feeling that has been with you all day and builds by the hour until the time of the fight. But when that bell rings and you get popped in the nose the first time you forget about how nervous you are and get to business.

So take the advice of the others and have a simple, sure fire opener, and once you get it out of the way successfully it will help you to settle down and focus on the business of entertaining you clientele.

I think the advice to refund the money to the client along with a letter thanking them for their advice and suggestions is the right thing to do. Offering to do a free show for them again in the future when you have your act polished will be even better. This will not only endear you with the client, but she will surely pass along your professional attitude to the same people who saw your show the first time and had complaints.

Good luck. And thanks again for being so bold and open about your performance. If we could all as easily admit our faults and failures in order to learn from them the world would be a better place.
rossmacrae
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Inner circle
Arlington, Virginia
2445 Posts

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Quote:
On 2005-03-29 09:34, Julian Kestrel wrote:
Performing for one's family is usually not a good idea. Baggage gets attached from both ends.


Never seen anyone say it better!
kkarnok
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In my case, my family was used to me performing danger tricks (arm chopper, sword through neck, etc). So the stuff I do for very young kids seemed really boring to them and they let me know it. The lesson learned was-- I'll never do a pre-school or even a kid show for adults again (for critiquing purposes or otherwise). I guess the whole thing was pretty stupid on my part. But I still think they were uncommonly rude.

Kkarnok
Brian Lehr
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Edmonton, Canada
1600 Posts

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Quote:
On 2005-03-31 00:23, kkarnok wrote:
In my case, my family was used to me performing danger tricks (arm chopper, sword through neck, etc).


Once their perception of your performance style is established, it is very difficult for family and friends (or anyone for that matter) to see you in any other role. It would be the same as Silly Billy deciding to show his newest Max Maven-style act to his friends for their evaluation.

This is one of the reasons that certain actors get labelled -- Vincent Price (Horror), Lou Costello (Comedy), Jet Li (action/martial arts), etc. Some can break out of the mold and be very versatile (Will Smith), but it takes a lot of work to convince the critics (whether they're film reviewers or family and friends) that it can be done.

Brian
The Great Smartini
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Wow refunding the money...what an amazing act of principles...keep in mind Michael Ammar's advice on improving in magic...in order to do so you need a place to do "bad" magic...each show is a lesson if you're willing to take the time to be honest...this is always a good thing and something that many people don't...at the same time don't beat yourself up...instead, set realistic goals for yourself and strive to achieve them...i've been doing magic since 1977 and it is only recently that I've been able to make some strides in improving at magic...my improvement has been in the area of presentation and orginality of routines...i'm also finding more about my character and the kind of magic I want to perform...

another important thing I've learned is that we all are literally drowning in magic...the last thing we need is another trick and yet how many of us (me included)are constantly in search of the magic magical effect that will be exactly the give all effect for our shows...this I learned from a eugene burger lecture (he said it) and then proceed to make some money on us from selling us stuff at the lecture...now that's a production item!!LOL

you might consider looking at what you think is the weakest part of your show and start your improvement there...go slowly and gradually each of your routines will become stronger and stronger until your show just rocks!

I hope this advice is helpful...3 martinis!
chris mcbrien
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I'm not going to repeat neccesarily what everyone said here, but one thing that studk in my mind was someone mentioned: SCRIPTING.
I've had one big complaint since I started...topsy turvy bottles and a drinking theme...and I learned that lesson REALLY WELL.
I also did a lot of free shows..."are the neighbors haveing a party for their kid, oh, they want a performer and cant' afford it...I'll save the day!"
I did free shows for school fairs, birthdays, reunions, whatever I could get.
Still, you'll never, ever please everyone! I think it's great you sent them a refund, I've actually done the same thing! (Yeah,it was the Topsy Turvy thing...)
You are very lucky that they were willing to give you feedback, many people follow that addage: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all".
In our business I think that's the worst!
I write all my own scripts. I've been writing and reworking scripts for years. I rehearse them over and over, sometimes while I'm on the treadmill I'll be rehearsing out-loud! Once you learn the lines so well you could say them at any time, you'll gain a lot of confidence. Another thing to consider (I learned this my theater days in college), EXERCISE BEFORE THE GIG/PLAY!
Now this may be over the top a little, but this comes from theater and acting coaches...and it works.
I exercise before a performance. I want to sweat as much as possible. Even though I don't get nervous any more, my adreniline is so high I will start to sweat after a while because of room temp, my attire, and moving around. Sweating in front of an audience is no fun, so exercising profusely really helps. It also helps your body relax, and can take away some of that jittering you get when your'e beginning your act.
Also, the audience can't relax if they see your'e a nervous wreck.
I've been where you are, don't hang up the gloves! Keep going, there's a reason why you started this in the first place!
Dan Ezell
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Cocoa, FL
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I have enjoyed reading the wonderful advice. I would also like to add my two cents worth. A very important tool to use for improvement is to video your performances and then take a look at it yourself. If you can’t video, use a regular audio tape recorder. It is amazing how you will find areas you can improve by listening and/or watching yourself. Before you enter the stage say to yourself, “They love me.” Smile Over ninety percent of what we communicate we do non-verbally so it is very important to closely monitor our non-verbal communication-–especially our facial expressions. Smile. When you smile you are at least communicating something positive. Hang in there and continue to improve.
Dan Ezell
Dr. Dan The Magic Man
MagicDove.com
As a univesity professor in special education I advocate the use magic to increase self-esteem of children with disabilities. Also, many magic tricks can easily be tied to academic lessons. More importanly, magic can be used to create friendships with children with and without disabilities. Smile
magic4u02
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I think the very best way for anyone to see if a show or routine is working out, is by simply doing a real show infront of a real audience that is similar to your target audience. This means doing a free show for a library or a day care or whatever your market may be.

By doing a free show, their is no obigation or hard feelings of what happens if you can not deliver. This is the perfect way to try out a show or act and get honest feedback that is more realistic for you.

If you also video tape it, you can watch for how you did, but you can also watch for the reactions from people. When did they laugh, when did they clap, why did they not clap here when I thought they would. This is a great way to self-evaluate yourself.

Kyle
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harris
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Harris Deutsch
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One of the most useful shows happened about 5 years ago.

It was a humbling and learning experience. The fear bug bit me and things went from bad to worse. This was after having many years of great shows.

I learned more from that show than most any one that I can remember.

Getting feedback letters can help especially not just from the consumers.

I love reading about what stood out to the kids.

Getting these from my convention gigs are just as valuable from the big kids.(Adults)

As Kyle mentioned seeing your program on tape is very valuable.
Working with a theatre group and improvisational troupe helped this nearly normal guy deal with the unexpected.

Also writing for a weekly radio comedy show, helped me with what was also mentioned on this exciting thread.(Scripting that is)
One of my scripts,When Puppets Dream.. will be adapted for next summer's reading programs.

If any of you are going to the Society of American Magicians Convention in Boston, please come up and say hello.

Also if you are going to be in the Kansas City,Missouri (USA) area please contact me.



Harris Deutsch
Laughologist
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
magic4u02
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I think it is avlauble to find ways in which to get feedback on each performance. For me, this comes in the form of my evaluation forms I give to my client as well as my video taping my larger shows and self evaluation when I get in my car before I leave the event. These are all ways in which I can learn from every show I perform. I helps me to grow as a performer and I feel this is very important for myself.

Kyle
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Popo
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I would just like to say to Kkarnok, one taste does not a meal make. You previewed in front of one audience. Try some more and focus on your demographic, preeschools. Do a few free shows and get the feedback. It will help. But I would like to ask, "the adults weren't in awe when the peanut butter and jelly sandwich appeared?!?" (HA HA)
John C
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Looks like you agreed with the critique. YOu have to look at it this way:

Unless the client is really rotten it would take a lot for them to write to you with those thoughts. I mean, why would they if they really weren't true. Maybe you aren't ready. Maybe you do need more practice and maybe you should refrain from performing as a pro for a while until you feel a little better about what you are doing.

Seriuosly, just because someone wants to be a magician and is given the chance doesn't mean you will be good and impress everyone.

It's a good thing that we all aren't given the chance to perform brain surgery just 'cause we think we can and we've seen it done a few times and maybe have practiced on a frog or a mouse.

John Cesta
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
mslj
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RideorDie99

What has giving a refund achieved? Do you feel better bacause of it. If so, why? It doesn't make your performance any different, it doesn't make your hands shake less. Feedback is an excellent resource and as performers we should encourage it. However, feedback is an opinion and nothing else.

Did the kids at the show think you were crap or did they enjoy it? Yes, to those who will say it's the parents who sign the cheque, the booker will be feeling better. She has her cash back and will be sitting nice and happy that they have had their party and kids entertained for free. The fact that she has accepted the money without a word to you shows a disregard of you and your work.

You earned your money, getting the show together, rehearsing it, packing on the day, performing, driving to and from the gig and then unpacking at home.

Learn from this event, do lots of free shows if you want, change routines and so on but unlss you have given a guarentee that states money back unless satisfied I would encourage you to keep your fee - you have earned every cent/penny.
John C
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Quote:
On 2005-04-02 16:20, mslj wrote:
I would encourage you to keep your fee - you have earned every cent/penny.


We don't earn the money because we pack and drive to a gig, unpack go thru the motions of a show pack and go home. Is that really your opinion?

A little twisted I believe. The original poster even said himself that he needs more practice. What more is there. Performers who go out to earlier give the rest a bad reputation. I suppose though that they also provide US more work. Oh well. What am I worried about!

John
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
mslj
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Of course the fee covers packing, transport and unpacking. Not a twisted notion as you suggest but a practical one. If you get a show booking a hundred miles away from your base do you charge extra for the travel? I know I do, it takes me a couple of hours to get there as opposed to 10 minutes. I explain the extra charge to the client and they have never had an issue with that.

I'm not suggesting that the poster doesn't need more practice. He does, I do, you do. What I am suggesting is that he/she gets compensated for his time and labour with regards to this show. Yes we enjoy the work, it's fun most of the time but it is work and if we say there is a fee involved then that fee needs to be paid.

I would like you to expand on the notion of 'twisted', not to have an arguement but just out of interest as to what you define twisted as.
chris mcbrien
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I think at this point he's already sent the money back. And that's good. As I said earlier: SCRIPT, REHEARSE, REHEARSE, then work out or something, it will help you lose that pre-show adrenaline (that's actually what it is, it's like an athlete mentally gearing up for a game), and really WATCH your audience, look into their eyes, during the performance. I recently did one of my "Reading is Fun Show"'s for 350 people (very typical number on a "Reading Night" at a small school here). I make eye contact with as many people as possible, adults and kids. I want them to know "I'm doing this for YOU". It personalizes the performance. In order to actually be present (in the moment) to make this valuable connection, you have to be so well rehearsed with the script and the trick that you could do it in your sleep. Devote whatever time you've got to doing this, I sincerely hope the rewards are the greatest for you!
magic4u02
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Always remember you are there for your audience and without your audience, you are no where. With this in mind, I always try and take time at the end of the show to greet as many of my aueince as I can. I simply shake their hands, say thank you, show appreciation to them both on stage and off. I think it makes a real difference. I want them to know that I appreciate them coming to see me perform and I show my respect and gratitude back.

Kyle
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Alan Munro
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Quote:
On 2005-04-02 16:20, mslj wrote:
You earned your money, getting the show together, rehearsing it, packing on the day, performing, driving to and from the gig and then unpacking at home.

Why do I get the feeling that you work for General Motors? That philosophy doesn't cut it.

People shouldn't get paid for going through the motions. They should get paid for satisfying the customer.

I performed for many years before I was able to charge for shows, to recover most of my costs. New performers should do the free shows in exchange for a filled-out feedback form.
ZAM!
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I agree with everyone's ideas (except maybe for mslj's) but would like to add a few tips that work for me:

Kids want to see magic at a magic show, but whether or not they know it, they also LOVE to laugh. I ALWAYS include things like a break away wand, nesting wands, Topsy-Popsy Wand, coloring book with a hilarious routine, funny hats and glasses and so on. These all get enormous laughs but I also found that the fact that the kids, and usually parents too, were laughing actually helped my self-confidence and decreased my "shaky hands". You seemed to have a few funny things in your show but did not mention any funny wands or so on. I consider these as much of a staple for my kid shows as the tricks themselves because kids love to laugh!!!

Remember to practice EVERYTHING, even the break away wands and so forth.

Also, are you using all these tricks to their fullest potential? There are lots of examples of how to get really fantastic reactions out of The Coloring Book and so on in The Café. I suggest you use them and make sure that you find out all the best ways to perform the tricks that you may not have thought of on your own.

ZAM! Smile
magic4u02
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I do not go for fantastic reactiosn as much as I go for the kids having fun and smiling and giggling and being entertained throughout the entire show. I never try to fool anyone, but I certainly go out of my way to entertain them as best as I can.

With kids, they live in an imaginary world where everything around them is magical. With this in mind, make the journey you take them on as much fun if not more fun then the actual trick you finish with. kids want to laugh, giggle, smile etc. You can add so much to the "journey" of your routine that will really have the kids enjoying their time with you.

Kyle
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