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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Stage show structure ... advice needed. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Zac Vee
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Hopefully those of you who have been doing shows for big audiences can help.

Here we go, for a long time now, I am trying and put a 45 minutes show together, fairly solid with lots of magic to it and no pauses whatsoever, everything will lead into the next very naturally. However, now that I have decided on the effects and working on the presentation, it seems to me that most of the effects will require volunteers, is it ok to take volunteers all the time, I mean a volunteer goes back after effect has ended and you ask for another one, or you can do an effect with a lady volunteer, then before she leaves you do the floating rose and give her the rose as she leaves, and then ask for a married couple for the next effect, and do an effect that has something to do with married couple, or a nice ring routien, ringleader by greg wilson, and before they leave do the anaversary waltz card effect, this will very funny as the place where I will be performing as church building.


Thanks in advance

P.S I have done stage magic before , but not big show, maximum of 100 people, with few simple effects and little mentalism.
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graywolf
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In my humble opinion any audience participation equals lack of material.Cordially,Howard
Zac Vee
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OK, thanks.

I forgot to mention, that this show is not a silent act make things appear, disappear and change places, fly etc, this is a show that has few jokes, gags, not comedy but something entertaing and has quite few laughs.

So, audiance participation? what is the maximum, how many times would you ask for volanteer?
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carbone1853
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When I made the transition from doing primarily close-up to primarily stage I had to deal with this exact problem. Besides my opener and closer my close-up act used volunteers for most of the routines. When I first started doing stage shows I structured them just like my close-up shows. 1) I would ask for some volunteers, 2) bring them up on stage, 3) do the trick, and 4) send them back to there seat. For the next trick I would repeat the process. This worked fine for close-up. (restaurants, living rooms) The dose not work for stage. Steps 1,2, and 4 take way to much time and the show drags. So as a rule of thumb I would not do a trick that required me to get a volunteer from the audience on stage, followed by another trick that required a another volunteer on stage. Also keep the opener and closer free from the need to get someone on stage.

Graywolf comments that “any audience participation equals lack of material”. I see where he is going with this as some magician use audience partition routines to kill time. Basically they are disguising bad routines by dragging people on stage. But many magicians do very good routines using audience helpers on stage. Paper balls over the head would be less exciting with out an audience member on stage. So, I don’t think it is necessary to get rid of all stage routines needing audience helpers on stage.

So, what to do? Some routines can be restructured to use audience helpers that stay in there seats. If the routines needs props you could bring the props to the audience member. You could take 2 tricks that require audience members and make one routine out of them thus saving the time needed for steps 1,2, and 4. Last learn some tricks that don’t need help from the audience help. Rope trick, newspaper tare ect…

Good luck
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I personally would do 2 effects maximum for a big stage show. B sure to establish your character before you attempt to do audience participation. And, I also agree with everyone, if doing an audience routine, don't drag it on.

Haas
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Zac Vee
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Hi guys, thanks for your input.

The opener will not use a member of the audience, but the effect that follows will need member of the audience. The total is 7 effects, 4 of them require assistance from the audience, bill in kiwi for example, and the ending is neat piece of mentalism, which needs some one to think of something.

I will change it around until is as good as it can be, still 2 months to go. I have been working on it for a while now. And I do have lots of effects that doesn’t require audience member but not sure of using them.

Any advice is appreciated


Zac
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Jim Stan Magic Man
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When I do large stage shows I try to do an audience participation routine about every other routine. If all routines require audience members, then the show does tend to drag out. I also find that at least one routine should be silent and done to music. This also helps to change up the mood of the show. These types of routines can be used to show your manipulation skills.
Eugene Burger had some good advice on his audio tapes called Growing In The Art of Magic. One person had told another performer that if you do comedy, then all your routines should be comedy. If you do mentalism, then all your routines should be mentalism. Eugene used a Dolly Parton show as an example. He said that one song would be fast and lively, the next could be slow and dramatic, and still another a tear jerker. She would give a performance that would touch all of your emotions. Magic shows should be no different. Of course you must do routines that fit your stage character. But I do agree with Eugene's advice of using different types of magic in your show.
Good luck with your stage show.
Regards,
Jim
Frank Simpson
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Well, of course there is no "formula" answer to this question. Everone is different. In a 40 minute show I personally never use more than 3 effects with an audience volunteer. The bottom line is that no matter how well you know your routines, an audience volunteer is an unknown element that can ultimately make the effect sink or swim. Statistically speaking, I don't want to skew the odds too far towards uncertain events in what is supposed to be, after all, my show.

By way of example, I do Linking Rings as an audience assisted effect. In the worst case scenario, I had a really belligerent person that caused me to abbreviate my routine by about 60%! In the best case senario I once had a girl so adorable and charming that I realized that all I had to do was stand aside and comment on what she was doing and throw the spotlight on her. This made the routine about 30% longer, but about 50% more entertaining!

As stated above by almost eveyone, the biggest detriment is that it can really kill your pacing with all the traffic management of getting people on and off. Momentum is incredibly important in a longer program.
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Hmmm...god advice. The simple fact is the more audeince participation you have in youract, the more difficult it is to put time restrictions on. So, Zac, you have to see what's more important to you. As the previous post says, an audince participation can make or break you. Pick them wisely Smile

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magic4u02
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I thougth I would chime in here with my own thoughts and comments. Fod for thought if you will.

I started with the same problem you are now facing. Anyone who has ever taken the logical step of creating a stage show learns (in some manner or another) that proper structure in a stage show of that length requires effort and a bit of pyschology of your audience. It is not uncommon to be experiencing what you are experiencing and I would like to try and offer some advice based upon what I had run into and what has worked for me over the years. I hope it may be of help to you.

The thought that audience participation means lack of material too me is not entirely true. I would say that a show consisting of ONLY audience participation is a show that is not well structured and in that lies the real nature of the problem. Audience participation is essential to a good show and can be used in any stage show performance to add a bit of flavor to the show. It can be done very well just as long as you are not using it only because you have nothing else to offer your audience. If the later is the truth, then you really need to take a step back and study your show and create the best structure for it.

To me, a good structured show should be like a good book or a great play. They have good openers, great and defined characters, conflict, tension, emotional repsonse, comedy,plots and themes and of course a finale or ending. Use these elements in creating your show.

You also want your show to be paced well. You need moments where the audience can take a breather and relax before you go on. You can not expect your audience to watch and continue to watch at that fast pace without having some natural pauses built into the structure of your show.

A good structured show flows like a good book. It has it ups and downs and takes the audience on a journey. It not only does that, but it also, if done right, allows the audience to get to know the magician and in the end causes the audience to connect with the magician on a more personal level. Instead of folks walking away only saying the tricks were great, they walk away saying the EXPERIENCE the magician created was one they will remember. That is a big difference.

Denny Haney used to do alecture about the structure of a good stage show and it meant a lot too me and how I think about my own stage shows these days. One thing you want to amke sure you do is to break down the invisible barrier that exists between you and the audience. You need tolet them in to the show and have them get to know who you are. There are a few methods for doing this. I will explain that a bit later.

You really first should have a good opener routine. This usually is something that is visual in nature and does not last too long but really is there to show the audience who you are, what you are about and that you do have skill in what you do. It basically says, I am a magician, I have skill, and you guys are in for a fun trip. It establishes your cridentials if you will.

Usually this is folowed up by a verbal introduction. People in your audience should be viewed like guest in your own home. You want to introduce yourself to them and let them know they are appreciated. treat them as guest even when they come up on stage. The verbal intro allows your audience to know who you are, breaks the barrier a bit between you and your audience and welcomes them to your show.

This often is then followed by a musical bit of magic. This does not have to be an illusion, but can be anything performed in a visual fashion to music. Something the audience can watch and enjoy. This is done as a warm up. Just like with anything, you really have to warm up your adience and get them used to you and what they will be experiencing. You also want them to get comfortable with you and build that trust in you. This is why you may not want to do an audience participation effect too early in the show. The audience needs that time to build up that trust in you and understand you are an alright guy and it is ok to help out of asked. By doing a visual musical number here in the show, the audience gets a chance to watch, have more fun and trust you a bit more.

After this, you can certainly now do your first audience aprticipation effect. By now you have established your skill, welcomed the audience and gave them enough of a warm up to get involved in the show and built the trust in you. It is the proper time to do an audience number with someone.

Another piece you will wnat to add into your show and the show structure is what is referred to as a "personality piece". This is a peice of magic that is performedfor your audience that really plays upon an emotional response from them. This is done so that it really allows the audience to see that you are human and you share the same things they share, ahve the same desires, the same worries and experiences. This personality peice can be a very strong peice in your show because it really gets the audience on your side and if there still is any barrier between you and them, this is sure to knock it down.

The personality piece can be anything, but it usually trys to stem from something that the audience can relate to. Something that everyone in your audience may have experienced at some point in their own life. because of this, they can relate to you and to your magic that you are sharing with them. I have several personality pieces that I have created over the years and use in various shows that I do.

However, be cautious of just when in your show you use a personality piece. you must not do it too early in the show. The audience is not ready for it yet. You must first establish your skills, let them see who you are, welcome them, build that trust and only when that has happened should you place in your personality piece.

There is more I could share with you about this, but I willleave it at this for now. I hope it might be of help to you. If you or anone would likemore information or for me to go into more detail, I would gladlydo so. It would be my pleasure.

Kyle
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Zac Vee
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Kyle,,, Thanks a lot for taking the time and writting all this great points one must look at when doing stage show, it really shows you have great stage skills. I will pm you if you don't mind in future, if I need some more information.

Thanks to every one for your input.


Zac
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magic4u02
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You are most welcome Zach. If you have any more questions, please just let me know. I would be happy to talk them over with you.

Kyle
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David Bilan
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Kyle's description of an act could fit Jeff McBride, Lance Burton or any number of other outstanding performers. If you have videos of any of the headliners, take notes of the number of effects using volunteers and watch the ebb and flow of the show (flashy opener, personality establishment, volunteer effect, stunning closer).

It's not to copy anyone's style, but to put you into the groove for choreographing your own unique show.
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magic4u02
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Djbilan is right. There really is a science and art to putting the pieces of your show together in just the right order so that it flows, makes logical sense and works to build the entertainment value and the relationship between the performer and his or her audience. It os not something to be taken lightly. A show structured in the right way can really enhance the magical experience your audience feels.

Kyle
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Daniel Faith
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I think 2 audience participation effects is plenty for a 45 minute magic show.
Maybe 3 if you can really justify it.
Daniel Faith
Zac Vee
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Thanks all for your input.
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magic4u02
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You are most welcome.I hope it was of some helptoyou. Please let me know if I can be of any more assistance to you. It would be my pleasure. Let me know your own thoughts on the show, your intended markets, venues etc. and I can try and help you here to put it in order and build structure to what you currently have. Let me know what routines or effects and your own ideas.

Kyle
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