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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » How To Get An Act Together (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magiciandex
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White Pine, Tennessee
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This post is so helpful. I have been in some need of help organizing my tricks and routines and this has made it some much easier.
IBM Ring 58
Winter Carnival Of Magic
davidpaul$
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Pittsburgh, Pa
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Brad,
You time, energy, and concern for the art is much appreciated. I've struggled with routining issues as well and found myself doing exactly as you've suggested. Just proves to me that I was on the right track. I needed the confirmation from someone in the know. Very good topic, I'm glad you started it. Thanks again!!
David Paul
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Brad Burt
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You are all very welcome. This topic is one of the most requested that I have had in my time running magic schools and shops. It's one of those things that is 'not' obvious and it really helps to have a plan, any plan. Doesn't mean that you won't come up with something that you like better as time goes by and you experiment, etc., but a lot of folks look at their magic and it just stumps them as to what to do with it!

One of the problems is that close-up and parlor magic frequently overlap so much that it can be difficult at first making the decision as to what items to include in what routine or act. Once you have settled that issue a LOT of stuff falls more readily into place. If there any specific questions that I can help with let me know. All best,
Brad Burt
lelo
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Thanks a lot Brad. I am searching for similar advice regarding restaurant work routines.
Seiko
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Thank you, this was really useful to read^_^ I´m gonna write it down^_^
Hokus Pokus... poof!
Brad Burt
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Dear Lelo:

Routining for restaurant work is exactly the same...except that you cut the time and number down. For instance a good number for hitting a table would be three routines that fit into the time frame that experience shows you will fit. Let's say five minutes and you are out of there. So here is what I suggest: Get 2-3 strong 3 trick routines ready. Let's say you hit a table and you do routine #1 and they are so happy that they want an encore...no problem! Just do one of the tricks from routine 2 or 3. See how it works? Hit the next table and do routine #2. If you need an extra trick do something from routine 3 or 1. This way you spread out what you are doing and folks won't see the same thing being done at the next table if you happen to work close.

There is method to this madness by the way. If someone was just really happy with what you did and happens to see that you have MORE stuff to do....then they are more likely to come BACK to the restaurant and request you come over and do something different. See? You are much more likely to get a nice tip, the restaurant is happy, because having YOU there has brought back business, etc.

Note: When you do get someone that seems to have come back for you or says that they have, ask if they would do you a favor and TELL the manager that that in fact is what 'HELPED' bring them back. If you don't ask, they won't do it. BEst,
Brad Burt
F-Hmagic
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Thanks Brad! I am by no means to the point where I am going to use this information yet. However, it is definately something that I will keep in mind as I expand my repitoir and do eventually build a routine!

There's a lot of great information included not only in the essay, but also in your follow up comments!
What?! How'd that get there?!
Brad Burt
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Dear F-Hmagic:

Thank you. One of the nice things about having this information before you need it it that it gives you an idea of what is coming. It also makes buying magic a more intelligent process as you can start right away to look at stuff you plan on buying and try to put it into some greater context. Or, don't and just do what I did and buy everything you can afford!!! Best,
Brad Burt
DanielCoyne
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Western Massachussetts
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Brad,

I really enjoyed reading your post, and the whole thread has been very helpful. I’m just at the point where I have a bunch of tricks more or less ready to go, but in need of polish, patter, sequence, and transitions.

I had some family members coming to visit and decided to do a 10-minute routine for them (which turned into 20 minutes.) It was an incredibly helpful exercise. Practicing the patter and transitions forced me to get the tricks down cold, and helped me to relax when the time came.

Here’s an obvious transition-maker (but it wasn’t so obvious to me until I started putting my little act together.) I focused on the relationship of the props from one trick to the next.

I started by dividing my tricks into prop categories: ordinary objects (rubber bands, a pen, etc) and then “magical items” (silks, a wand, cups and balls, spongeballs, etc.) I guess cards fall somewhere in the middle. From there, certain transitions seemed obvious. Pen through a bill, a quarter disappears into a bill, a quarter disappears in my hands a few times, it gets bent or bit in half, etc.

Thinking through these transitions made my trips into the suitcase less frequent and more fluid, and even gave some patter possibilities: “It’s fun to attempt magic with everyday objects! For example, take a simple rubber band. Everyone knows what a rubber band is; what its properties are; what it’s capable of, and its limitations…” “The cups and balls are among the oldest routines in magic…” Yes, these are overused scripts, but it’s a start and they’re not overused if your audience hasn’t heard them before.

I’m thinking (constantly) about putting together the next bigger and better version of my routine, and the prop strategy has even helped me think more clearly about what tricks to buy. “Oh, that would be a great follow up to such and such.”

Sorry if this is long and elementary, but hey…this forum is for us beginners, right?

Thanks all!
-Daniel
Brad Burt
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Dear Daniel:

This really is a great discussion, glad you like it. The only thing that bothers me is when the talk gets around to 'transitions'. Here is the reason why.... If you look for some manner in which to tie your routines together you can lose a LOT of interaction with the audience. If you do 'link' them in some way remember to pause between each routine, take a half step forward and looking at your audience say, "Thank you!" and let them participate by applauding. Take a half step back and go on. You can do this in close-up also by sitting up a little straighter if seated and thanking your audience, etc.

I have seen guys fall into the trap of having their stuff so linked that they just go from one trick to the next without milking the audience for reaction. Also, if you link things by some artifical concept of relatedness you may not get the best that available from the routines you have. Does this make sense? It is better to try and place your routines in such a way that the act builds to a climax, not a logical climax, because there is nothing logical about magic, but a climax that says the act has finished in a memorable way. All best,
Brad Burt
Jaz
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You make an excellent point Brad.

I like the idea of blending routines. Particularly for closeup.
This is not to say that I blend a whole show together but rather couple of effects that work well together.

A quick example would be 'Coin to Key' and then 'Florida Keys' by Wilson.
Also for a short time I did an Okito Box routine that ended with a sponge ball coming from the box instead of the coins, which were gone. Now that I think of it, a sponge rabbit would have been good here as well.
DanielCoyne
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Western Massachussetts
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Brad,

You're right about giving the audience a cue to react. That's something that I always tried to build into juggling routines -- a clear punched moment followed by a moment of connecction -- even a little bow. Like Bern suggested, I was talking more about building mini vignettes of a few related tricks.

Thanks,
Daniel
Brad Burt
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It can be a problem for the audience if the performer does not give them an opportunity to react. That's the point at which the audience becomes part of the show and not just observers. Best,
Brad Burt
Manny
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Well done Brad!!!
I would like to hear more about using music in your act
and a few examples of useable music will be welcomed.

Thank you
The Supernaturalist
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The City of Lights
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Great stuff Brad! Thanks for sharing!
drewmagic
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Thanks Brad. Your process is something I've stumbled over and come to a similar place through the rules of three approach.
I also find that once I have a show and I start rehearsing the show rather than practicing the tricks, I find another #2 or #1 trick which would fit even better with the flow. So, I need to practice up the #1 trick to be good enough to replace the slot. However, it is not until I start rehearsing the show that the "ideal" trick for that spot comes to mind.
Coolmanclyde
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Fantastic post and thanks for sharing!!!

Dan Harlan has a routine guide with notes on theory and rule of three called more than meets the eye. Can get this with Tarbell video on penguin. I thinks it's #34 Routining a show.
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