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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Pet Peeves!! Illusionists on TV and on YouTube (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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makeupguy
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As I look at more and more magicians on YouTube, I'm more and more dismayed by what I see.

1: Magic should not be performed in the dark. If the magician and the assistants and the props are performed against a dark background.. you know what we see? nothing!! Magicians should either be in color.. not necessarily bright colors.. but at least in a color that doesn't blend in with the background. Unless you have something to hide.. why perform against a black background at all? Why have tons of backlight, smoke and such if you want the audience to actually see the illusion?

2: Props don't' need their own "Ta-Da!"
Here's the big one.. I don't understand a magician breaking his *** performing a feat of legerdemain... and then giving the prop it's own Ta-Da!! ***!!! I realize that you've paid a fortune for the illusion.. but seriously, you're the magician!! The box doesn't do the trick. You use it to help you perform the illusion!! It should not get its own applause cue! The number of times I've seen illusionist on YouTube turn around and give their prop a "ta-da" is remarkable! One guy actually produced his assistant… threw out a huge streamer.. and all the lights on stage went out… leaving him and his newly produced assistant in complete blackness! He's the star of the show... and the streamer got more light and applause than he did because there were no lights on him at the end of the illusion!


3: Assistants can be sexy without dressing in nothing! When an assistant climbs into or out of an illusion where she's appearing, vanishing or being skewered; why dress her in next to nothing. Fill the empty space with costume!! If she looks like she's 5'5", 92 lbs and skinny as a rail… where's the mystery when she avoids the swords or comes out from the box. Take a look at the girl in the butterfly costume when she comes out of Jack Gwynn's Doll's House... it's amazing.. Her costume is huge... and the Doll's House is so small!! Current performers could learn something from the old guys once in a while... really!!

4: Your DVD reel is your calling card. The only thing that separates you from virtually every other magician performing the same 8 illusions (I don't' need to list them.. you know what they are) is your personality. So... when you're putting your DVD reel together... make sure you show some of your personality. I've seen so many illusionist show clips from their illusion show, and they show flashing lights.. the props.. and you don't' see that they have any personality at all. They're dressed alike... they look alike... their music is all the same.. their props look the same.. but the one thing that really can shine... is ignored on their Talent Reel!

I do consulting now because I got sick of the magic businesses... but as I see more and more magicians that need help.. I just get bewildered if they ever watch their own shows on Video!! Magicians are becoming Xeroxes of Xeroxes... they don't' steal from the best of the bunch... they steal from the most mediocre... making most illusionists (from what I see on TV and on YouTube) really awful performers with occasional bright spots. There is potential in almost every show… but man o man... you really need to remember what's important!!

I'm not here to plug my skills as a director... but hopefully some of you will read this and take a serious look at your show... and fix it.. or have someone else take a look at it who is not a part of your show or another working magician. Working magicians often don't have the perspective to fix a show that is close to good... but sometimes lacks a certain common sense.
Tercero
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Great!!
MagicFingers
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I just love reading these posts, makeupguy! You are brilliantly insightful and so on the money. I would love to see you submit your writings to the major magic magazines (Magic, Genii, etc) or even sell them as downloads. This is the kind of thing I open my wallet for!
Julian Bond
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HarbinJr.
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Great post!!!

Robert
ClintonMagus
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I don't perform, but even I could provide a lot of good advice to performers from the position of a long-time spectator. I can possibly see the value of using fog and/or limited lighting for some levitations, etc., but these folks kill me when they turn the lights out for Interlude or Twister. It just screams "LOW BUDGET!"

Amos McCormick
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kregg
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Makeup Guy,
Great points all.
Look no further than the advertisement for a Trap-less subtrunk on the forum page.
People who need to read your post and take it to heart, will more than likely go on as they always have.

Kregg
POOF!
Richard Sherry
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Thank God I am not the only one who thinks like this.I thought there was something wrong with me!!!!!!!In the past year I have seen dozens of shows and they are all the same.How did the art of magic become so derailed??????
PaxMentis
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Your post gets a standing ovation!

Thanks for sharing.
Bill Thomas
Do not go where the path may lead, but go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
thefifth
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I'd like to add a number 5 to the list: Don't force applause.

One of my biggest pet peeves is magician's who have to remind the audience that what they've done is amazing and therefore elicit a round of applause. If there is supposed to be an applause and you don't get one, it is not the audience's fault for missing the significance of the moment. It is the magician's fault. Don't force an applause, move on and fix whatever you did wrong. Or it could just be a slow night, deal with it.
Also if there are a lot of great moments in a small amount of time like a dove act or other manipulation acts it is silly to expect an audience to clap after every moment. It's tiring for the audience. Let them enjoy the whole piece and clap at the end. I went to see Lawrence Khong's show recently and I literally must have clapped every minute of the show, not because I wanted to, but because every minute or so Lawrence would pose and/or make a gesture that indicated the audience should clap. By the end of the show I stopped clapping. My hands were literally raw. It was a good show, but not that good. Audience members don't really care to feel obligated to clap. What I find interesting is every major perform has been guilty of this at one point or time.
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Alan Munro
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I think that too many "performers" just throw money into their show, rather than putting more thought into it. I'm fortunate in that I know better than to do that, and I realize that I have to spend far less, but get more impact than most ever will.

I'm in the process of putting together a "concert" style, full evening show - mostly small performance pieces that play big, with one or two illusions. It's a challenge, but I'm determined to have the show that I've always dreamed of, on a budget.
Chris Stolz
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BRAVO.. I couldn't agree more.

My biggest pet peeve comes from my theatrical background and that is magicians with a lack of basic stage knowledge. Turning backs to the audience and not cheating out drive me absolutely nuts...
Starrpower
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"Cheating out"? I must not do it 'cause I don't know what it is!
The Mirror Images
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Cheat out - means to play toward the audience while still conversing with others on
stage.
Steven and Michael, The Mirror Images
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makeupguy
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Starrpower:

if you don't' know what "cheating out" is then you've proven our point. Get some theatrical training.. learn the lingo and improve the consistency of your shows..

Video tape EVERY performance.. not just rehearsals.. and either take a good long look at your performance.. or even better.. have someone else do it..and have them offer brutally honest criticism..

if more than one person makes the same suggestion.. it's not them, it's you.

That actually goes for most of normal life too..
Bryan Gilles
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Excellent post!!! It's good to have a constructive observation and twice as nice to give a "wake-up and do it right" letter to these guys who aren't paying attention to the details of our art!!!

I've always enjoyed reading your posts Makupguy!!!

-Bryan Gilles
Dennis Michael
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Thank You This is a great line of information. Excellent.
Dennis Michael
Starrpower
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Makeupguy, don't assume that because I don't know the catchphrase I'm not doing a good job. Eddie Van Halen claims to have never taken a guitar lesson in his life, yet is among the most influential rock guitarists in the last two decades. Brett Favre was starting for the Packers and didn't know what a "nickel defense" meant ... but he was still the best player in the league against one! Please don't assume that someone who doesn't have all of your formal training is a poor performer and validate your opinion. True, eveyone can benefit from a good coach (including myself), but your conclusion took an awfully long jump.
EsnRedshirt
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Starrpower, it's not just acting coaching. No matter how experienced a magician is, it would behoove them to learn theatre lingo and conventions. Imagine trying to communicate to the theatre techies helping you set up and run your stage show- you better know the difference between up stage, down stage, stage left, and stage right- and its nice to have some knowledge of lighting and sound as well.

Illusionists, more than any other type of magician, need to be familiar with stage and theatre- it's where they usually perform.
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
kregg
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If you want real STAR POWER, then CHEATING OUT is a must, you won't be seen without it.

Put on your favorite movie, navigate to a two shot and step forward through the scene, if they aren't in full profile they're cheating out.

If phrases like FINDING YOUR LIGHT or HITTING YOUR MARK (w/o looking down) sound foreign, hit the books or take theater classes.
POOF!
Starrpower
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Look, I'm agreeing that formal training is useful. But to assume that one's show is inferior based upon knowing (or not knowing) a few terms is ridiculous. BTW, I know about FINDING YOUR LIGHT and HITTING YOUR MARK ... but even if I didn't it wouldn't imply that I'm not doing it.

Fine, you guys learn terminology ... while you're reading definitions, I'll make money, like I have been for the last 20 years in this business.
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