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Smarty Pants
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As I look through so many posts here in The Little darlings, it seems that people are obsessed with dealers props. While there are many wonderful props put out by dealers, I would have to say that almost my entire show consists of original props and routines that I have created. Some people seem to think that they can buy a show from a dealer, read the instructions and patter provided with the tricks, and then go out and perform to a group of kids. Are there others out there like me who create their show from the ground upwards, or do most people buy somebody else's creation? Just curious!
MagicSanta
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Northern Nevada
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Mostly from the ground up but I felt I had to get some big color items in there because the parents expected it.
NJJ
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I buy large props but I see them as just that, props. An actor with a nice sword is not errol flynn. A painter with expensive brushes is not picasso.

I find many of the show in a box, routine in a bag, act in a small cup, like paint by numbers. The minimum of work to get an acceptable result. It looks ok, it's easy and no one gets offended.

But you will never achieve greatness if your not prepared to take the props, routines, and ideas you are given and pull them a part and make something better.
Payne
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Seattle
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Since I specialize in themed performances I construct or convert most my own props and develop my own routines.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Potty the Pirate
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Building my own props (or rather, having them built for me), is something I hope to do in the near future. However, there are many advantages to using well-manufactured props: they look good, they're robust, and hopefully, they're entertaining. We can of course once again remind ourselves that it's the original parts of our acts that will gain us the most recognition. That said, there are many routines that you can "make your own", which is an acceptable half-way solution for me.
Building props is a whole other ball game, and if I were to decide to make my own, I'd want to learn all kinds of woodworking, metalworking, and plasticworking techniques, which would take an impossible amount of time. I have other things I'd rather devote such time to, so most likely someone else will always be making my props for me.
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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I like to build my own, but I also buy the props/tricks, but then adapt them to fit my style. Sometimes this is just using my own routine, sometimes this means adding or taking stuff away from the prop. As nick said the prop is just a prop, to me it doesn't become a winning trick or routine until I put some of myself into it.

The worse thing in my book is to buy a trick and use it word for word, move for move as per the instructions. It shows a total lack of imagination.

It's something you see often at your local magic society, someone will stand up and do 2-3 tricks, but with every trick their personality changes depending on who they got the trick from. In the worse cases they actually say the patter with a, for example, yank accent because it was a yank magician video they got it from.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Red Shadow
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My show consitis of 75% original tricks.
The only stamdard props I really use are the paint book & c20 shorts (with my own routine), and the arm chopper.
A couple of fillers like silk through mirror, but all of these are done to my own style and performance.

I don't even read the instructions anymore, I buy the prop and work out a routine with it.

Steve
TrickyRicky
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TrickyRicky
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[quote]On 2007-03-05 05:52, Emazdad wrote:
I like to build my own, but I also buy the props/tricks, but then adapt them to fit my style. Sometimes this is just using my own routine, sometimes this means adding or taking stuff away from the prop. As nick said the prop is just a prop, to me it doesn't become a winning trick or routine until I put some of myself into it.

First, welcome back to the Café Emazdad.
I made that same statement in another post some time ago.
As time goes on you will pick up little bits of funny lines to go with the trick. Most times it's the adults and children who will make funny comments that you will eventually use in the routine.
Richard.
magicgeorge
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Belfast
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I'm very proud of my act and it's originality. In fact, one of my selling points on my website reads:
"Magic George performs his own original material meaning his show is a unique experience which cannot be experienced anywhere else in the galaxy!"

But that doesn't mean I'm completely original as that would mean ignoring the wisdom and experience of those that have gone before.

Most of my props are not 'come complete' children's effects. I usually use classic magic props plus items from everything from kitchen stores to toy shops. If I do buy a kid's magic effect, I will read the instructions, sometimes I will perform the routine as suggested, but in my own words, for one or two performances. This helps me find the strong points of the effect and why it works as children's entertainment before coming up with my own routine. It's funny because I would have thought by now I could pick up on what works for the kids before trying it out but the little imps still keep on surprising me when it comes to what makes them laugh and what inspires them.

Inspiration for new routines comes from many different sources. Sometimes I'll have an idea what I want to do then go look for suitable props. Sometimes a great prop will inspire a routine. Sometimes a single sentence in a book will inspire a completely different routine to the one in the book.

George
Scott O.
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Midwest
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I take the McGyver approach. I go out on the stage with nothing but my birthday suite (my wife gave me a nice navy blue one for my birthday) then I fashion a show out of bits and pieces I find laying about. Every show is unique and entirely original. This is totally true. If I were lying, I would tell you.









That's a lie.
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Rupert Bair
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I remember somebody showing me a great trick with a fantastic routine. I was laughing and I was amazed the whole way through. After the trick I asked him did he write the routine? He said no.

It was the routine in the instructions.

Don't over look all the instructions! Sometimes they are there for a reason! Even if some of the routines they outline could be written on a grain of rice!


Matt
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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My program (like many) is a combination of magic props and props purchased in other locations.(Home Depot, Thrift Shops, Garage Sales, Hobby Lobby type places, Music Stores....)

It also has lots of puppets and at times juggling items.

As I have written many times, my experience in theatre and improvisation is very valuable in the creation of programs. Also valuable is my work and training in counseling and education. Currently my "main job" is working with middle and high school students. Prior to that I worked at a Maximum Security Correctional Facility. (Now that was a captive audience) It was interesting seeing an inmate create magical effects such as using a toothpaste cap as a thimble.

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
Connor Scot
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I usually try the routine that comes with the prop to start with and let my own ideas take off from there. It's worth learning and understanding the creator's routine before you start to make your own 'improvements'

Connor
Jonny K Promotions
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Hi, my name is Jonny. I've been doing shows for kids on and off for over 30 years in the UK, taking breaks due to personal reasons, and working in many locations. My shows are Disco orientated with lots of prizes, slapstick comedy (custard pies, eggs on adults heads etc.) I hope you'll welcome me to your exclusive club.

I find that props are merely tools of the performer and I don't follow stock routines.

I simply use a trick as a means of linking together the appearance of a gorilla, or a lifesize Frankenstein monster. I spend half my time in the audience chasing people around which causes lots of laughter, screams etc. I'll expand on my performances more as I hopefully start to blend into the forum.

Hugs - Jonny.
Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Nope. I buy everything and I'm too darn lazy to put any original thought into how I present it. If it doesn't say "No Skill Required", and if it doesn't come with the exact patter I need to perform the trick, I WON'T TOUCH IT! Smile

I know some of you don't think this is "professional" but it is. It must be. I have business cards and everything! Smile

Anyways, I'm just doing kids shows so I can earn a few extra bucks. I'm trying to save up for an Invisible Deck. After all, what could be easier than performing for kids? I mean, they're just kids right?!! How hard can it be? Smile

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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<BR>www.kentwongmagic.com
Tony James
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I've not seen anything catalogued as No Skill Required for such a long time. Dissapeared here yonks years ago with a law called the Trade Descriptions Act.

It was a quick way of sorting the possible from the impossible finger flinging stuff. No bad thing to look for the the most simple and direct effects. These are often the ones which work best.

When I was young there were no special kids effects in the UK. Children's entertainers did a revamp of their adult show with classics such as Cups & Balls, Linking Rings as wedding rings, Coins (or cards) Across using children in a Train or Bus travel theme, the ever boring Miser's Dream and using a dove pan for a Baking a Cake routine. I can see Uncle Percy now at school:

This white hankie is a Princess and this blue hankie is the prince and the black hankie is a Robber!!!!How we groaned. . A few other bits and that was it.

The first specific children's prop I became aware of was Harry Leats Run Rabbit Run and within a few years everyone had one. Remember, every last thing you can think of was rationed in the UK at this time. That is from 1939 to 1954.

Importation was illegal even if anything was available. People like Jack Hughes could sell anything they could build if they could get the permission to have the raw materials to build the thing.

When controls slackened in 1953/4 it became easier but it was another 8 years before periodic shortages vanished. It was when Edwin Hooper opened Supreme Magic that the flow of props really started and the demand began to be met.

He provided every last bit and piece you may or may not have needed in order to do an effect. And his detailed, routines did it all for you. Caused a lot of trouble amongst the old brigade who realised that No Skill Required was begining to mean just that. Anyone who could read could now do it.

It allowed magicians who were not particularly creative performers and certainly not that much at ease with presenting, to make a reasonable job of a show. They wouldn't compare with the more natural and skilled performer who also took advantage of the flood of props and ideas and then adapted them to his needs and style.

And that, as Smarty Pants has detected, is the same today, amongst magicians here. The more adventurous and creative will find their own ways and means and the less so can purchase something which, if followed exactly, should provide a workmanlike though not inspiring performance.

I don't see anything wrong with that, do you?
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Smarty Pants
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I am pleased to see that many of you do create your shows, or part thereof, from the ground up. So, I would be interested to know how you all start on this creative adventure? I start with a vision. I see the finished product in my mind's eye, and then figure out the journey to get to that destination. On the way, things frequently change, and new ideas emerge. I am always open to new ideas, and my final vision is normally huge and exciting. Not huge in the sense of large props......but huge in the effect on the kids and all the bits of business.
Tony James
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I certainly follow that pattern. My problem is that I never seem to recognise the strength of the effect at the outset. So I prop it with various bits of support, some of them created with quite a bit of effort.

Then comes the tryouts. After a while some of these support ideas are abandoned. Funny and clever as they may sometimes be, supporting and reinforcing the action and emphasising aspects, they get in the way or slow things down or I find another simpler way to achieve the same end.

A year on and some of the bits lie in the cupboard and the slimmed down version is working well. Strange to tell, perhaps quite a while later I will re-use the odd idea and bit of prop for something quite unexpected and it finds its eventual home.

I find there's always aspects that need help and others which I expect to need help but don't.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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I cary my show in a brief case, I have twice as many tricks as I need, and I am surprised that those who disagree with us are silent.
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Smarty Pants
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I heard the late Billy McComb lecture once. He said that when he worked on the cruises, he would take lots of big boxes with him to the ship, as that is what the bookers expected. However, the boxes were empty. When he did his act, he worked out of a suitcase!
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