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Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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I've been very fortunate in that most of the magicians I know put on a first class show. Well, my eyes were opened to the opposite extreme this last weekend. My family and I were at a nearby golf/ski resort. When I arrived, I noticed that the events calender listed a magic show for Saturday evening. Usually, I'm so busy performing that I seldom get to watch another magician and so, I considered this a real treat.

My kids look forward to the magic as well since, often, the magician may present one or two effects that they haven't seen before. I always teach my kids how to behave at a magic show and I encourage them to clap enthusiastically at the end of each trick. Well, this show really put my kids to the test.

The show started 20 minutes late with absolutely no warm up routine for the kids in the audience (there must have been at least 100 little ones and their parents). As a result, the kids didn't really know how they were supposed to behave at the end of each trick. The magician got over this by playing pre-recorded applause sequences!

Then there was the magic. We were subjected to a series of dollar store tricks with absolutely no presentation whatsoever. The kids who were brought up as volunteers, were never acknolwedged or even asked what their names were. They were simply dismissed after they performed their allotted duties.

At one point, he performed a card prediction that had some potential. But the fact that he kept emphasizing that it was an "ordinary" deck and the manner in which he manhandled his volunteers really diminished the impact of the effect.

I did some checking and understand that he has only been into magic for just over a year. He gets all of his jobs through an agent at about $150.00 per gig. But, money aside, I was astounded that anyone who has been into magic for that short a time would be doing paid shows.

I overheard him talking to some spectators after the show and, apparently, the magician thought the show was great. He did notice one or two glitches which he promptly blamed on either the volunteers or his sound guy.

I didn't know what to say or do after the show. If I introduced myself to him, I would either have to lie through my teeth, or devastate him with criticism. So, I just walked away. Even now, I'm not sure if I did the right thing since I'm sure that sometime this week, another poor audience is going to be subjected to the same show. What would you have done?

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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Marvello
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It's amazing how little I can say in
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Quote:
On 2006-08-28 15:55, magicman845 wrote:
What would you have done?

I would have watched the show politely, and then left quietly.
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
Ryan Price
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winnipeg, MB, Canada
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There is not much that can be done, this guy is getting paid whether he is doing an amazing job or not, he may not think your opinion matters which would be very sad.
I have to disagree with you on the fact that I have been around magic just a little bit more then a year. Of course saying that, a performer with limited experience needs to be well educated on performing for his/her target audience.
todd75
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That's the sad part about magic. There are soooooo many people who run out buy a few "tricks", print some business cards, take out an ad in the yellow pages and call themselves an entertainer. Without realizing it, they are hurting magic each and everytime they perform for anyone.

I think that everyone knows a bad performer when they see one. Sounds like you witnessed one. I too would have simply walked away.
Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Ryan,

I do apologize. I didn't mean to offend. I know there are exceptions to every rule. I'm sure that if that year is very well spent and a person immersed himself in becoming the best entertainer possible, he could put together a decent performance.

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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TrickyRicky
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TrickyRicky
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Do we blame the magician or, the agent?.
Agents want to make the most they can--its a business to them.
That is why magic is getting a black eye in the public eyes.
Richard Lyn
Steve V
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Northern California
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Don't apologize! Ol' Ryan may not be an exception, we don't know but will assume he is. I wonder how much the agent got for the guy doing the show...I also wonder if they will hire another magician.
Steve V
Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Good point. You get what you pay for in this world. If an agent isn't willing to pay a decent rate, he isn't going to get the quality entertainers. So I guess part of the blame also lands on his doorstep.

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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Ryan Price
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There could have been many variables that only the agent and performer could be aware of. For instance the performer in question may have only been filling in for someone that had to cancel. Of course that is only a hypothetical and I doubt it. If the agent keeps booking bad talent then they will see their money reduce. People will only pay for a bad show once, and if they know better will not book them again.

As for if I am an exception or not. I would like to think that I may be. I am not just some kid that started entertaining. I am in college taking Business Administration and have almost a decade of performing experience (other then magic). I do take performing for children seriously and have spent hundreds on learning material from the greats in this business. It pains me to see other performers that don’t show as much dedication when they see continual bookings, well I’m just starting to get my name out.
todd75
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$150.00 for a show at a resort? Sorry to sound so blunt but....they got just what they paid for!
NJJ
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If I ever did a show that bad, I'd hope someone would (nicely) let me know!
Steve V
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Northern California
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Nicholas...I need to tell you something....I'm kidding!

Todd, that is my point (or 'pernt' for you New Yorkers). The agent may have been paid $750 and the kid $150.
Steve V
Magic Arty
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metro Atlanta
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The sad part is that the people in the audience, when they have the power to hire an entertainer for an event they are in charge of, are going to hesitate to hire a magician.
The more high caliber magicians/entertainers, there are out there, the better the job prospects are.
When an audience experiences a mediocre or lame show, that is how they are going to view our art, mediocre or lame. We have to strive to make our shows the best they can be, not just for ourselves, but for the sake of the art itself. (It does also help put food on the tables!)
Arthur
atsmagic
Arthur Atsma

Feeling real happy now!
Smoke & Mirrors
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Look, it was my first show after rehab, I'm working on it!
Danny Diamond
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Quote:
On 2006-08-28 15:55, magicman845 wrote:
What would you have done?


I watched a children's magician do a lackluster performance at the holiday party where I used to work, for three years in a row. They got the same guy each year, and every year he seemed annoyed at the kid's when they didn't behave exactly as he wanted them to. It made me feel embarrassed for the art of magic, but at the same time, it made me appreciate the gift I have with kids. I don't mean that to sound egotistical - but sometimes seeing the bad in one show, makes you see more of the good in yours. What's most annoying about watching another show, is seeing a trick that you do, but seeing the other performer not do it justice. In the show I watched at the holiday party, the magician did a boring and simple version of PB&J, and got nowhere near the reaction that I usually get (I use a routine based on Bruce Bray's). It's sad to see a great trick not getting the response it deserves.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
KC Cameron
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Raleigh, North Carolina
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It is hard out here for a pimp, trying to make money for the rent . . .

Poor magicians just make me look better. I think most people recognize the quality is because of the entertainer and not the field.

If the guy is open to criticism, then do it. It did not sound like this was the case. He charged $150 for what some may charge $750. Well, I find it hard to see how someone can complain about another when there is such a big price difference. I would expect a better magician for a larger fee.

I used to do resorts for $150, but I lived in a resort area. The crowd was from 3 kids to 15, and I was very happy having a regular weekday evening gig each week. They would never have paid much more, I was the most expensive entertainer, and they never knew how many kids would show up. This was a larger gig, but I would blame the resort for being cheap, not some poor guy trying to make a living. How can he threaten us??? there is enough quality magic available that I don't think it is that big a deal. If we could cut these guys out, who would do the cheap gigs??? I think they help us as well as hurt us, and I don't hear anyone jumping up and down to do a stage show for $150.
Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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The trouble is the audience doesn't know if the entertainer has been paid $100 or $1000 for the show they are watching. In fact, many people in the audience may have never ever seen a live magic show, and they don't have any idea what a good magic show should look like.

At the end of the day, it's what the audience doesn't know that hurts the art. He threatens the art of magic by tarnishing its reputation. There were at least 30 families at the show. If that was their one and only exposure to live magic, they will likely never hire a magician themselves.

I don't know how much the agent charged the resort. The agent brought out giant inflatable jumping tents for the kids and gave out snow cones, all free of charge. He had inflatable decorations that filled the stage, and he brought out a decent sound system (even though it did seem to have a gltich or two in it). When you combine this with a free magic show, I'm sure he charged the resort a pretty hefty price.

Kent
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magicgeorge
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Belfast
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Quote:
On 2006-08-28 22:50, CaptainKid wrote:
Poor magicians just make me look better. I think most people recognize the quality is because of the entertainer and not the field.


I can never decide whether bad entertainers make the good ones look good by comparison or wether we all get tarred with the same brush and they're bad news for all of us. I'm afraid it could well be the latter.

If a booker hired a magician who was unentertaining and couldn't control the kids making an event a disaster, would they seriously try a different entertainer next year?

George
Potty the Pirate
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I agree with most of the comments in this thread, but Kent, I think you SHOULD have approached the "entertainer" and given him a friendly bit of advice. Without getting too high and mighty, you could have (for instance) told him about the Magic Café. Poor entertainers can become great entertainers if they start to work hard and believe in themselves. This guy sounds like he probably will give up in despair in a few months' time, after he's had a really tough week with difficult kids! Or, he may stubbornly carry on and deliver lousy shows the rest of his life. But he might someday learn to carry off his act with style. Wouldn't that be the best outcome?
I don't think many entertainment managers at venues would assume that all magicians are the same, but it would be a fair assumption that many parents would. And more importantly, a child who has seen a lousy magician won't want a magic party for his birthday. So for the kids' parties market, this kind of performer might be detrimental. But also, if you're a good entertainer, you should be getting at least one or two bookings from pretty much every show you do. That means enough folks know about you to keep you in business for as long as you like.
I know of one local magician in my area who's been performing for many years, and his act is awful. I don't want to go into details, let's just say he simply hasn't got what it takes. Yet he still gets booked all the time because he's really cheap. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
Payne
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Unfortunately this type of performer is not open to any form of criticism, constructive or not. The quote

Quote:
I overheard him talking to some spectators after the show and, apparently, the magician thought the show was great. He did notice one or two glitches which he promptly blamed on either the volunteers or his sound guy.


pretty much says it all. The guy is a successful magician in his own mind and will continue to be until his dying day. After all he's got a big lucrative gig at a resort and all nay sayers and critics are just jealous of his success so why should he listen to them?

They only way to become a good performer is to first recognize that you are a bad one. It is a journey of self realization that too few every set out upon.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
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