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Fort Wayne, IN
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Profile of slipperyice1507
I do close up magic in my school to teachers and friends. My school has anounced its talent show is coming towards the end of the school year. I am being told I should enter, but I only really know close-up. I am willing to spend time and effort on an effect.
I have around $250. Any ideas.
-Nick- Smile
Jon Gallagher
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Elmwood, Illinois
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Profile of Jon Gallagher
Check into some good rope routines. Professor's Nightmare is good for both close up and stage. That ought to set you back a whole three bucks or so. Cut and restored rope is another that can be used close up as well.

You don't have to spend a lot to get a lot, at least reaction wise. Dan Harlan has a good tape on Stand up routines that would teach you the C&R Rope plus a few other things that won't set you back nearly $250.

Hey! I'm finally a Dot Com!
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Oroville CA
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Profile of Bilwonder
Often you can find a way to work some of your close up tricks on stage. I wouldn't recommend trying to build an act of things your not familiar with yet. Rather, think of ways to change what you already know so it can be appreciated from a platform.

Here are some suggestions:
1) Rely on spectator reaction. If you can have someone on stage and "blow them away" the audience will appreciate it if they understand what is happening. That means you have to be very clear in you speech and actions. I have seen sponge balls, coin tricks and even the lowly finger chopper done effectively on stage. Cards across could be great. Balls over you get the idea.

2. Change the size of the props you work with. Is it possible to use something different? Can you use Jumbo cards (Card warp, torn and restorn card, 6 card repeat). Could use use a music stand or two and Jumbo cards for an Ace assembly. Get the idea?

3. You may already know many platform tricks but think they are "too simple" or well known....don't be afraid to try them...just give them a unique presentation.

Remember, the magic happens in the minds of the audience...not in the props. It's what the audience believes...not what they actually see that make the magic.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Southern, NJ
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Profile of Dennis Michael
My son did the Zombie and produces a rabbit from the cloth and came in 2nd place. The winner was the out-going 8th grade class who did a comedy mockery skit of the New Kids on the Block when they were famous.

Most of the time in these talent contests, the entertainers do singing or dancing skits like on MTV. Magic is different and has a great potential for winning.

What ever you chose, pick one routine, do it well, go the time limit and use music.
Dennis Michael
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United Kingdom
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Profile of Dabek
You can just adapt stuff from your close-up act.
Do an Elmsley count with jumbo cards.
Or a card on head routine.
Rope stuff is great for stage.
Maybe somthing with a small child from the audience (this usually produces comedy).
Work on your presentation of the tricks.
Even if the audience can't see all of the trick as long as they feel a part of it they will enjoy it.
It is worth remembering that comedy is such a valuable tool when presenting magic.
PM me if you want some more info
Regards Dabek Smile
Blair Marshall
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Montreal, Canada
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Profile of Blair Marshall
Packs small, plays big would seem to be your next step as you do not seem nervous about moving to stage work.

You don't mention how old you are, it could affect the material you choose, but if teachers wear ties in your school (or the principal even better!!) the Cut and Restored Tie is a good effect. You know your "volunteer" is not going to try to upstage you, and when his tie gets accidentally cut your friends will go nuts (usually). Really cheap, and use a paper grocery bag for the "change" back of the pieces.

Another good stage effect is the Walking Knot, a rope cut and knotted, and the knot moves down the rope, plays full stage and there are methods that do not use a "knife".
Watch out who assists you though.

Blair Marshall
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Profile of Stevenleeaugust
If you have not already done the talent show I have a thought for you. I am assuming you are in high school or grade school. This means you may want to take the age group you are entertaining into consideration. Although many close up effects are amazing they may have little effect on the MTV generation when they are gathered in a big group. I suggest doing what ever you can to music and limited or delete the speaking entirely. Use the most popular song of last year (this years song will probably be used by someone else at this point) and do something that takes a lot of physical activity.

Best of luck to you and
Let us know how you do!
PS, I lost on “30 seconds to fame” so what I have to offer may be entirely WRONG!
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Profile of RandomEffects
I have always foun that Snowstorm in China gets an incredible reaction. As a bonus its not too expensive, under $50 depending on the version, and the routine is a fairly simple one.

Whit Haydn
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Profile of Whit Haydn
If you only have one short shot, I would do the Gene Anderson newspaper tear. It will get the most reaction of almost any stage routine.
Harry Murphy
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The best part of the Snowstorm effect is the colossal mess it leaves on the stage! If you are lucky and get on first or early, then all of the dance acts and acts that depend on movement will slip and look awkward. Of course they will come looking for you after the show! Smile

OK, now to be serious, Steve’s recommendation is right on! Forget talking; get some really upbeat and popular (to your group) music. Plan a very visual and snappy act.
Keep your magic effects in time with the music. Look like you are having a ball doing what you are doing (have fun and look like it).

You never mentioned the time limit, or the age group, or the nature of the venue (stage, gym floor, cafatorum, whatever. It is very difficult for us to give you specific advice without knowing some of those production details.

Think not of tricks you can do but the ACT you want to perform. The act should have three killer tricks that flow one to another.

For example, a “Production” act might look like: Bare handed production of a large scarf, from which is produced a large bottle, which is rolled into a sheet of newspaper which when torn in half has turned into a rabbit. Bow and get off. That is about four to five minutes of magic and looks very impossible. Further it is technically easy.

Another act that has a variety of magic that is tied together by a newspaper: you come out with a newspaper, pour a glass of colored “soda” (colored water) into it, the liquid vanishes and the paper is opened to show it dry, the paper is refolded and then the soda is poured back out and into the glass, the glass set aside (a stool is all you need) and the paper is torn to pieces and instantly restored. The paper is paged through showing it fully restored. Bow and get off. Another five or so minute act.

I could go on and on. Each of these acts consists of three magic tricks tied together somehow. Each is very visible and needs no words to explain what is going on. And best of all, each is technically easy to do. No they are not self-working and will require the requisite amount of practice to look smooth and professional. The focus with each act is on you!

Have fun building your act. Smile
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Blair Marshall
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Montreal, Canada
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Profile of Blair Marshall
A comment to the "work to music" crowd. A few effects thrown together on short notice to music do not make an act. Witness many at the national conventions. Stage movement, interaction with the audience through body language etc. come only a large amount of practice. Controlling an audience when you do not speak and commanding attention if neiher your effect, nor yourself are dynamic, could be a hazard when working for (young) peers.

An example of voice control, my friend does Cavenays' Linking Coat Hangers in his illusion show to music (very well also!), after the masked magician exposed the rings he was heckled when he worked for 13+ audiences. In my case I do a modified version of Vernons' routine and if I hear one person in the crowd say "oh no" when I bring the rings out, that is the very person I select to be the "on stage" ring examiner!! Inspecting each(!) and every (!) ring.

Slipperyice has already learned crowd control, "stage" precense, routining, but has little or no stage experience. He should do what he is comfortable with, and have fun!!

A music "act" is not easy to put together, and putting a few effects to music is not the way, nor an act. (For a one shot especially).

If you wish to go that route, the snowstorm is a good choice as mentioned above, I also like the Zombie, with those two you have 5-6 minutes.

A tip on the snowstorm, I picked up a nice brass bowl and vase (about 10" high) to hold the water and to mix it in. Bought at one of those Oriental import stores I use music from one of Rand Woodburys CDs that starts with an Oriental opening and goes into a rock style finish. If you want to fancy it up, use a strobe on the very end of the storm.

For randomeffects I finish my storm with two of Abbotts' pagodas that break open each side of the stage, (parasols,silks and confetti) and a confetti cannon shot over the crowd as my assistant brings out an oriental parasol to cover us. I joke with my friends that it must be one of the more expensive endings to this routine. But it does keep those away who like to copy!!!

So which is it: Talking act vs. Music

Blair Marshall
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Profile of magician81
well slipperyice1507, u can consider the following

1. dancing cane(opening)
2. newspaper tear
3. floating rose
4. snowstorm

all less than $250, hope it helps
never try, never know
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Landrum, S.C. by way of Chicago
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Profile of Stanyon

Get thee to the magic shoppe and see if they have either the old "UPC" trick or the effect "Barcode". I think that the "UPC" trick would be more appropriate in this instance. Show your peers that you have comedic skills also.

I think that Stoner's should have these in stock. The effect is all acting. I have done the "UPC" trick on three cruise ships and it has killed. I think that with a high school crowd, you are in high school yes?, this should go over well. It's stage size, but you will be able to save your $250 to be able to buy more close-up "stuff"!


aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
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Profile of jr_illusion
Try to do something involving an audience member. I did a my talent show 3 years ago, and for some reason when I walked off stage into the audience, everybody started cheering. Then I brought an audience member on stage, introced her, and they clapped even more. The audience will like it if you involve them.

As far as tricks go, try to modify a trick that you allready have. When I did the talent show, word got around school that I was going to make a dollar bill appear in an orange (classic bill in orange trick). So, I changed the trick just a little so that when I cut open the orange, there was no bill and the bill appeared somewhere else. It was a great surprise to the audience.
The Cardfather
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Long Beach, CA
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Profile of The Cardfather
Do a short black art routine. Come in from stage right sitting on a flying carpet (no wires needed). Make things appear and dissapear. Black art card fan productions a-la Amazing Jonathan...
Sean Lough
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Profile of Sean Lough

Years and years ago, I won my school talent show by doing Slydini's Paper Balls over Head. Mainly I think it was because I chose our principal as my assistant/stooge and she was so oblivious. But it's a very simple "illusion," inexpensive, and easy to learn. Plus it really gets the audience involved.

Plus everyone loves laughing at an authority figure.

And try to go near the end of the show, right before people vote.

Best of luck!

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