The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Saw a *bad* magic show (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3 [Next]
mitchb2
View Profile
Elite user
455 Posts

Profile of mitchb2
I took my kids to a local fair yesterday because there was going to be a magician.
Not trying to be mean, but it was pretty bad.

99% of his act were self-working props (silk to cane, wand that goes limp, silks from tube). His one attempt at sleight-of-hand was with sponge balls, and there was no misdirection. He just pulled the big one out of his pocket and tried to hide it really fast.

He dragged each trick out into a 5 minute story. It was 90 degrees, so attentions were waning, kids started whining, laying on the floor.

His props were REALLY old. White silks and cards were yellowed.

The whole thing gave me nightmares about ever getting up on a stage to do magic.
I'll keep it in the living room.

He did great balloon animals, though. Smile
JackScratch
View Profile
Inner circle
2151 Posts

Profile of JackScratch
You're going to come to hate me. I find your description interesting. You focused on the nature of his effects. while I have no doubt what was bad about his performance was that he was unprepared in every manner, you seem to concentrate on his props, how they looked, how they worked, etc. I did note the "5 minute story" line. The length of a "story" is never an issue, only that stories ability to engage the audience. This is true for any and all mono/dialog.

All good magicians are different, all bad ones are exactly the same.
tony2514
View Profile
Regular user
Yorkshire, UK
162 Posts

Profile of tony2514
This is a really interesting post Mitch because it highlights some of the things that aspiring magicians don't even consider until they do their first performance and die on their backsides.

It's also interesting that you highlighted his props because to me that is of so little importance. I have see guys do an hour of self-working out-of-the-box stuff that has held me rapt. There's a guy works in one of my local magic shops who can demonstrate any effect he sells and he makes even the cheapest, nastiest peice of tat look like a miracle.

Old props are also not a problem. I have many second hand props, some of which look a bit tatty, but you turn that to your advantage. In fact some magicians want that look. Just see how popular the vintage look bike deck is becoming http://www.discountmagic.co.uk/images/vintage.jpg

This guy had problems with presentation. He was not prepared and did not judge his audience or his environment correctly.

You should not let this guy scare you off of the stage. Learn from him. Magic is not all about the trick, it is not even half about the trick, it is about first and foremost being and entertainer.

There are some great posts on here about stagecraft that are really worth a look.
Bob Sanders
View Profile
Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20518 Posts

Profile of Bob Sanders
Quote:
On 2007-06-16 09:51, JackScratch wrote:

All good magicians are different, all bad ones are exactly the same.


Love it!

Then they rip off our acts like it was a "teach-in". But of course they are original because they used the 3 of spades! Well, we do have the same props!

When I was a stage musician, it was honest to tell them "They'll sell a guitar like this to anyone. Where is your audience?" In magic, we still have the people who watch the props and miss the show.

Why don't they just buy a magic catalog?

All joking aside outdoor carnival magic rarely attracts performers of even birthday party talent. It is also a training venue. It has it's place. Fortunately or unfortunately all magicians tend to get painted with the same brush. The borrowed image can be helpful or deadly. Who is in your audience? It says a lot!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
MagiCanada
View Profile
Regular user
Vancouver
140 Posts

Profile of MagiCanada
It does sound like presentation was a problem.

I once saw a magician turn a simple slush power in cup effect into a 20 minute, highly engaging, and very interactive, wonderful performance. I saw this YEARS ago and still remember how good it was. Smile

Neil Kremer
Father Photius
View Profile
Grammar Host
El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
17198 Posts

Profile of Father Photius
I've met many "great professional magicians" or so they call themselves when they introduce themselves to me who are very bad magicians, and believe me, there are a lot of bad magicians out there. It is seldom their technical skill or their choice of tricks, it is almost always performance. I really wonder if any of them even bothered to read the directions with the tricks they buy. But there are also a loto of good magicians out there, and by far most of them are not professionals. Don't let one bad apple spoil your eventual public performance, just practice, learn, rehearse, and you should not have the problems when you perform in public that the "magician" you watched had.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
pradell
View Profile
Special user
Alaska
559 Posts

Profile of pradell
You said:

"It was 90 degrees, so attentions were waning, kids started whining, laying on the floor."

Knowing when to stop your show is an art. Keep the audience wanting more. When you sense that the kids are losing it, that may be time to switch to the balloon animals, which seems to wake up the audience because it is different and there is the chance that a child may actually receive a gift, i.e. a balloon creation.

I agree to some extent with the other comments: what is most important is not the length of the trick, the age of the props, or whether the performer uses self working magic or is the last winner of the finger flicker's conference: what matters is whether or not the audience is entertained, captivated, and excited about the interaction between them and the performer.

What is unfortunate from your comments is that, instead of learning from this performer as to how you want to differentiate your act from his, you made a decision to quit performing and "keep it in the living room."

If you are truly able to determine what you do not like in a performance, why can't you rise to the challenge to eliminate these things from your own show and take your magic to a higher level? Get out of the living room! Experiment before many, many audiences. Make a few mistakes! Polish up your act and you will improve and be excited by your ability to create a sense of wonder in an audience and share your love of the art of magic with those who you entertain.

:magicrabbit:
ViciousCycle
View Profile
Loyal user
210 Posts

Profile of ViciousCycle
Quote:
On 2007-06-16 09:31, mitchb2 wrote:
99% of his act were self-working props (silk to cane, wand that goes limp, silks from tube). His one attempt at sleight-of-hand was with sponge balls, and there was no misdirection.


When one is performing for children, the question is not, "Is the performer using sleight of hand or not?" The question is not, "Is the performer using self-working props or not?" The question is: is the performer entertaining the children and holding their attention?

A self-working trick can entertain a child a lot if you actually try to draw them in. I've had neighborhood children get a lot of amusement out of the Magic Coloring Book - but I had to work to engage them in the trick rather than to just "do a trick AT them." I've never done a full-fledged children's show and likely never will, but I do know that doing magic for a child is a form of play. You have to draw them in and have them get amused as they take part.
jay leslie
View Profile
V.I.P.
Southern California
9495 Posts

Profile of jay leslie
Most of us have problems every so often. There are however a few individuals who can not see themselves for who they are. This person will probably focus on selling his show because "he was at the fair" therefore must be good.

I would write the management and tell them that the entertainment was sub standard. You might recommend three other people that you feel are accectible. I would mention that you're name is NOT one of the three names because your interest in seeing the public enjoy a good show.

Unfortunatly, many promoters do not have or want to pay enough money to hire good entertainers. I like to tell people inquiring about my services who say the price is too high, "Think about the last wedding or party you went to. The first thing that comes to mind are the ways people interacted with each other... Can you tell me what you ate when you saw a good movie 5 years ago? But you can tell me all about the movie, right? So you see, the entertainment will be remembered long after your guests forget what they ate, or what they wore, they always remember when they have a good time. I think the entertainment is worth spending a little extra on because it's could make or break your event. Do you see my point?".

Even if the client declines, at least I've tried to overt them getting off the phone and complaining, to their friends, that magicians are way too expensive. I don't want people having a negitive image of what we do before they call. As for the man at the fair, Clint Eastwood once said "A man's got to know his limitations".
geckguy
View Profile
New user
37 Posts

Profile of geckguy
I'm a musician and its not quantity your audience is looking for. in fact quantity means nothing. if my school band plays a 5 minute song that's unbelivably good the audience will be satisfied. but if we played 2 hours of unrehearsed mess we wouldnt get an applause. its more about quality. if you can put 1 hour of quality into a show then do it. but never do 10 minutes of greatnes and 50 minutes of nonsense.
jay leslie
View Profile
V.I.P.
Southern California
9495 Posts

Profile of jay leslie
We should be performing what the audience likes to see us do regardless of weather it has gimmicks or is self-working. As soon as many magicians figure out how a trick works they have no desire to use it. I've seen this reaction hundreds of times, from behind the counter, and could never figure it out. If you played music then you should be proud to play a standard, and have people complement you on your ability and style. But if you've know how a trick works, suddenly it has less value.
geckguy
View Profile
New user
37 Posts

Profile of geckguy
I don't mind the use of gimmicks its just that those kind of shows are not well rehearsed and makes you look less professional. gimmicks are a standard in magic. the problem is not with gimmicks its with presentation of thos devices in a manner that is not very professional or the patter needs some tuning. if you know how it works like jay is saying it doesn't mean that the audience doesn't want to see it. that's like listening to a cd once and then canning it. its just not necissary. people like gimmicks because thay just cant tell how your doing it. and that's what magic is. fooling people in a way that makes them happy.
Froste
View Profile
New user
88 Posts

Profile of Froste
I'm a noob like many of us here in this forum, but I hear a lot that jibes with my experience (limited as it is).

I've seen a local magician do an effect which I knew involved gaffs, in fact I'd say 90% of his act involves gaffs. You know what? He's brilliant! I know his methods. I'd say anybody here could play "name that gaff" with his act. The thing is, I'll go see him perform every chance I get. The man is a study in presentation. He's performed magic with me as the primary spec and even though I knew the secret, it was still astonishing.

I spoke with another magician yesterday and he echoed the sentiment... it's 90% presentation and 10% magical effect. Showmanship, baby! I play a Farmer's Market, and the best reactions I get are not the effects with the most impressive difficult sleights (that I'm a little nervous about... they're coming along nicelty, though.. practice practice practice)... the best reactions are from self working card effects and simple sleights with rope, rubber bands, etc.

Ya know, the guy who got me into magic doesn't perform. He claims a "lack of balls to do magic in front of people". I started performing because a magician I respect told me to get out there and just do it. I asked him how to gain confidence and he said the thing to do was act like I had confidence until it became genuine.

Get out of the living room! Magic is a performing art!

Humbly yours,
Froste
Wes65
View Profile
Inner circle
I've said very little in
1219 Posts

Profile of Wes65
All good magicians were once bad magicians. Unfortunately you really have to perform to get good.

The question is where do you want to be bad?
Wes
Bob Johnston
View Profile
Inner circle
Philadelphia, PA
1251 Posts

Profile of Bob Johnston
Mitchb2:

If I had to choose between...
Patrick Page for an hour working with a ten year old (yellowing) set of silks and an old TT

OR
A young magic sales person (perhaps, even a Chris Angel type), demonstrating for 15 minutes, ten brand new and shinny magic props, which would I choose?

What do you think, mitchb2?

Bob
marty.sasaki
View Profile
Inner circle
1117 Posts

Profile of marty.sasaki
The IBM ring 122 had a benefit show for "Magicians Without Borders". The show was held in a very small space to a packed house including lots of kids on the floor down front. The air conditioner was off during the performance since it is realatively noisy, so it got pretty hot. The performers held the audience's attention during the entire performance. They were all good performers and many of the effects were really simple. but they all had good "stories" to go along with the tricks. A skilled performer can work in all sorts of conditions.

I think you really notice things like shabby props and things like that when the performance is bad. If the performance is entertaining, then you tend to ignore the other things that might irritate you. This is true of magic and music and theater.

I think that the shabby props are more of an indication that the magician doesn't really care that much about his performance. It could also be that the magician can't afford better/newer props but from the sounds of things, this guy really didn't care that much.

Old, worn props might be part of the performers personality, too.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
tony2514
View Profile
Regular user
Yorkshire, UK
162 Posts

Profile of tony2514
Quote:
On 2007-06-16 12:52, ViciousCycle wrote:

When one is performing for children, the question is not, "Is the performer using sleight of hand or not?" The question is not, "Is the performer using self-working props or not?" The question is: is the performer entertaining the children and holding their attention?


I wholeheartedly agree with this statement and would suggest it goes for any audience, not just children

As magicians we often get hung up on how goos someone is by their technical abilities alone. Who cares whether you use a fantastic sleight or a pull to achieve what to the audience to be the same effect. Your audience neither knows nor cares whay method you used as long as they are entertained.

Tony
mitchb2
View Profile
Elite user
455 Posts

Profile of mitchb2
I'm sorry that my comment about the shabby props seemed as if that was the criteria for my opinion of the show overall. As someone else mentioned, it may be an indication that he doesn't care, and that was my impression.

I certainly don't judge magic by the condition of the props...I just felt it was one of many negative things. He wouldn't get any applause after a trick until he said "Give yourselves a big hand."

I do very simple things for my kids' friends, and they literally gasp or slap their foreheads. This magician was putting needles through balloons to dead silence.

At this point, my aspirations are just to learn and hopefully amaze my poker buddies each month. I don't have any aspirations of being a pro...I just don't think I'm extroverted enough. But I do think that if you are up on a stage and being paid, you should be somewhat honed.

I used to gig as a keyboardist, and I know the difference between phoning it in, and really working hard to be as polished as possible. And of course, *as* a keyboardist, I had to upgrade my synths every year to stay current, so that may be why I pay attention to the condition of one's gear more than I should.

In any case, the show was a good lesson in what not to do.
Justin Style
View Profile
Inner circle
2010 Posts

Profile of Justin Style
Quote:
On 2007-06-16 09:31, mitchb2 wrote:
I took my kids to a local fair yesterday because there was going to be a magician.
Not trying to be mean, but it was pretty bad.

99% of his act were self-working props (silk to cane, wand that goes limp, silks from tube). His one attempt at sleight-of-hand was with sponge balls, and there was no misdirection. He just pulled the big one out of his pocket and tried to hide it really fast.

He dragged each trick out into a 5 minute story. It was 90 degrees, so attentions were waning, kids started whining, laying on the floor.

His props were REALLY old. White silks and cards were yellowed.

The whole thing gave me nightmares about ever getting up on a stage to do magic.
I'll keep it in the living room.

He did great balloon animals, though. Smile



You shoulda come over and said hello to Me!!!


hey now...
mitchb2
View Profile
Elite user
455 Posts

Profile of mitchb2
Quote:
You shoulda come over and said hello to Me!!!
hey now...


Geez, my heart jumped just a little when I read that. Smile
I'm pretty sure this guy isn't on the Café.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Saw a *bad* magic show (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.18 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL