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Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
2286 Posts

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I've been the owner of some magic tricks for several years now. I found myself doing kid’s magic because that’s where the opportunity was, and it was supposed to be a good place to start. I’ve finally figured out that I’m not cut out for the birthday scene, and maybe not much for kids at all. The good news, then, is that I can quit frustrating myself by trying to be something I’m not in a place where I don’t fit.

So - the whole wide world of magic is now open to me, and I can stop passing by stuff that intrigues me because “it doesn’t fit in a kid’s birthday show.”

But - who *am* I going to be as a magician? How am I going to present myself as a performer?

Really, the question is - what do I need to consider in developing this? And what is usually not much of a factor in developing your performance personality?

Since I’m sure much of this has already been discussed repeatedly, I will ask where I can find the discussions. Yes, I’m going to do a lot of searching (thank you, Gene, for bringing the search engine back!!). But sometimes y’all have hidden gems of wisdom in out-of-the-way places, and I’d appreciate any drop-kick in the right direction.

Thanks much!
Ed
Spellbinder
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The Holy City of East Orange, NJ
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Are you performing magic just for your own amusement, or are you seeking paying gigs? If it's just for yourself, you can try any persona you want, but if you are looking to get paid, you are now limited a bit since you have closed yourself to the kids party market. However, there still remains the restaurant market, night clubs, cruise ships, amusement/theme parks, renaissance fairs, church socials, and renting your own venue to perform shows. Do any of those appeal to you?
Professor Spellbinder

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Father Photius
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Grammar Host
El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
17197 Posts

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Finding your style and personna is something that often comes by trial and error. I started out doing "straight" magic in the more or less classic format. It went over ok, but the fun just wasn't there for me. I occassionally threw in a joke or pun here and there and when it got good responses from the audience I enjoyed the performance more. I found myself re-routining my sets, and doing more and more "light comedy", with a couple of more or less skit type comedy routines. The audiences seemed to enjoy them and I enjoyed doing them. Thus my style evolved. So try to look for what fulfills you and you feel most comfortable doing. What type of magic appeals to you? Obviously kids aren't for you and to be honest they weren't really for me either. When I did school shows, they went very well, and I got lots of bookings, but what I enjoyed most was the comedy I was doing in restaurants and clubs at night. In the long run it became what I did.
As Spellbinder pointed out, you don't have to perform. I seldom do anymore, you can do magic for a hobby and for your own entertainment. I get hour after hour of pleasure from doing just that.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
sethb
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The Jersey Shore
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I agree, it's a trial-and-error kind of thing, you will need to experiment with a few different styles and see what works best for you. Many people say that a slight exaggeration of your own personality is the easiest and most natural way to go. The big problem is figuring out who you really are, and only you will know the answer to that after a fair amount of introspection.

And I wouldn't worry that you didn't care for kid shows. Although many folks think that kids shows are the easiest type to do, they are actually very difficult, and it takes plenty of experience and technique to pull them off successfully.

I started with children's shows, then gradually moved into pitching magic tricks like Svengali Decks, Dime & Penny set, Multiplying Rabbits, Cups & Balls, Money Paddles and so on at street festivals, country fairs, craft shows and flea markets. This allows me to perform (for several hours at a stretch!) with a pleasant teacher/salesman persona, and to have a mystifying presentation without the usual "I can fool you, you're stupid" challenge-type situation. It's a comfortable fit for me, I enjoy doing it, and I make enough money on the side to make it worthwhile. And I have gotten LOTS of great experience demoing the same five or six tricks over and over again, which enables me to really polish my routines and bring them to a very professional level.

So keep thinking and keep trying, the world of magic is very large and I'm sure there's a place in it for you. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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Thanks to all who have chimed in.

Quote:
On 2008-01-16 22:51, Spellbinder wrote:
Are you performing magic just for your own amusement, or are you seeking paying gigs? If it's just for yourself, you can try any persona you want, but if you are looking to get paid, you are now limited a bit since you have closed yourself to the kids party market. However, there still remains the restaurant market, night clubs, cruise ships, amusement/theme parks, renaissance fairs, church socials, and renting your own venue to perform shows. Do any of those appeal to you?


A friend who can't understand why I don't like golf asked me why I do magic - I told him "It's a gas!" I love interacting with people and watching their reactions to something amazing (I hope!) and at least unexpected.

I would eventually like to develop a paid show. Retirement is getting closer, and I'm not so sure how many more years I want to fight traffic and beat the sun getting up in the morning.

I think I'd like to try a parlor or small stage situation. I'm in the desert southwest, and we are flooded with "winter visitors" every year; many stay in mobile home "resorts" with their own clubhouses and entertainment centers. That sounds like a possibility for a "bring the grandkids" show.

Another possibility is in-classroom school shows. I don't know about being educational, but maybe just as a fun day, or as a fund-raiser of some kind.

Restaraunts and other types of close-up and walk-around don't appeal to me. A cruise ship might - I've heard of people getting a free cruise in exchange for a couple hours of entertainment each night.

Quote:
On 2008-01-16 22:51, sethb wrote:
I agree, it's a trial-and-error kind of thing, you will need to experiment with a few different styles and see what works best for you. Many people say that a slight exaggeration of your own personality is the easiest and most natural way to go.


That was one of the big tip-offs to me that I was in the wrong place with kid's shows. Trying to follow the standard advice in every kid's book was so against my grain. I have a lot of fun showing things to co-workers as "just me". But then their first question is "Do you do birthday parties?" Go figure!

Ed
sethb
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The Jersey Shore
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Quote:
On 2008-01-17 08:45, Ed_Millis wrote: I think I'd like to try a parlor or small stage situation.

For starters, you might want to consider doing some shows (free or paid) at your local public library. They would be glad to have you, and you could specify that it is for adults, not children, if you like. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Payne
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Seattle
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Quote:
On 2008-01-17 08:52, sethb wrote:

For starters, you might want to consider doing some shows (free or paid) at your local public library. They would be glad to have you, and you could specify that it is for adults, not children, if you like.



Let us not punch holes in the limited library market by offering free shows. I heard the Day Care market in Las Vegas was pretty much destroyed by a new to the area Magus offering his services for free in an attempt to get into the market. Lets not do the same thing to libraries. Also it won't do you any good to specify that it is an adult show. The second parents see the words Magic Show they immediately think it's for kids and you'll find yourself in front of an audience of children once again.
It's tough to get experience performing without stepping on the toes and markets of your local magicians. Hospitals are usually pretty safe as well as some Nursing homes (check first however to make sure they're not hiring you for free instead of a paid performer). Open mike nights and talent shows are another good venue, especially if you're wanting to try out platform and smaller stage routines. Your local magic club might have a yearly or even monthly public performance you could take part in and then there is always that great standby Busking. Nothing hones an act like taking it to the streets. there you get the opportunity to do your act dozens of times a day and you know instantly if your going over well and connecting with your audience.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
sethb
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The Jersey Shore
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Well, maybe my "free library show" was a bad suggestion anyway, given that it probably would attract lots of kids even if it was advertised as an adult show. And kids are not who Ed wants to perform for.

But Payne is right -- there are very few places to get performing experience anymore. Busking is great experience, but not for the faint of heart and may be illegal in some venues. If you do find a place and offer to give a free show, then you are stepping on the pro's toes financially. On the other hand, if you charge money and don't have the experience to give a show that's worth the fee, you are not doing yourself or the profession any good.

How about club dates -- Rotary, Kiwanis, Moose, Elks, etc.? I'm not talking about the banquets, which are big deals, but regular monthly meetings where a 15-20 minute show might be appreciated and would not necessarily take money from the mouth of a working pro. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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