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drhackenbush
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There have been a number of threads lately in The Little Darlings that start with a question and once someone answers, the person answering is immediately told by the questioner, "Well, I thought this was supposed to be about magicians helping magicians. If you don't have something positive or helpful to say, please don't answer..."

If you go to any amateur astronomy forum, you'll see the following question: "I want to get into astronomy and I want someone to tell me what telescope I should get. Should I get a big one or a small one?"

Often, this question will receive the following answer, "You shouldn't get a telescope at all yet. Find a pair of binoculars and a good sky chart. With the binoculars and the chart, you'll be able to learn how to navigate the night sky and find all the galaxies, nebulae and stars. If you just get a telescope now, you won't know where to point it and the fact that you can only see a very small portion of the sky through the eyepiece will make it very difficult to guess where to point it. Learn your way around the night sky with the binoculars and then you'll be ready for a telescope."

Is that answer unhelpful or negative? No, it makes good sense. But it also might not be the answer the questioner wanted to hear. They wanted someone to pat them on the head, smile and say, "Don't worry about learning about astronomy, just go out and buy the $2,300 12" Dobsonian with the Rigel Finder and the computerized GOTO system with a built-in CCD camera! It's what everyone is using!"... and some jerk had the gall to suggest that they buy a book and a pair of dumb binoculars and spend who-knows-how-long actually reading and studying and practicing before they even look at any telescopes. Who wants to do all that work?!? I just wanted a telescope!

Just because an answer isn't the answer one wanted to hear, it doesn't mean it was meant to be unhelpful or negative, it was often in fact being given to help the questioner cut their learning curve. Often, this sort of answer is given by a veteran in the field who spent decades honing their craft and is so passionate about sharing their love of magic that they want to make sure the person just starting out understands the importance and advantage of buiding a solid foundation in the art. And often, the veteran will suggest specific books and techniques that if truly read, studied and applied, will turn the new magician into an excellent performer and entertainer. What the veteran will probably not want to do is say, "Don't bother learning anything about all this, I'll give all the work on my my show I've been developing for 40 years and use to make a living and you can buy all the same props and go out next week and perform it." Now, in some rare cases, the veteral will do just that, with some differences; they'll say, "This is my program I've been developing for 40 years. If you spend five years studying and learning and practicing, I'll give you all the work on my show. Then you can take it and at that point, you'll have the foundation and knowledge and experience to use my show as a guide for what works and develop your own unique show.

So, if an answer initially seems unhelpful or negative, think about it; it might actually be some of the best advice you'll ever receive.
magicalmischief
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Having responses that say in essence... don't screw up a chance for another perfomer.... is not helpful advice. It is also far from constructive criticism. The thread you are referring to was on I started. I was expecting a wide variety of responses towards where to look for building a type of program. Ideas. and instead, a large number of performers - whom I would be grateful to learn from because they are professionals in the market I was wanting to learn about, basically told me to not even try and leave those shows to them. Hence is why I said "magicians helping magicians? not in this thread"

The arrogance of those who think that newcomers to a market don't deserve to be helped. Especially in a forum where HELP is the Purpose!

I have gotten tons of help in the Café. And Tons of constructive criticism. However on my last thread, It was mostly a barrage of "don't even try"
Seems to me that death is just natures way of telling us to SLOW DOWN!
James Munton
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DrHackenbush,

Thank you for a wonderful post. Unfortunately it seems your wise words have fallen on deaf ears.

Hopefully others will read the thread in question and actually learn something from the suggestions even if the original poster has not.

I said this before, but for some reason my post was deleted. Hopefully this time the moderators will let it stand... Sometimes "magicians helping magicians" means being brutally honest and not sugar-coating the truth.

Best,
James
Tony James
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What you are detecting in these responses you consider 'unacceptable' is frustration.

The art of entertaining children with magic and the allied arts and running the business, without which the show doesn't get off the ground - that is a creative process.

Time and again people come to this site without showing any evidence of having applied those little grey cells to anything much beyond 'Which of these dealer effects do I buy to guarantee immediate impact and success?'

Or 'I want to try and do so and so - tell me how to do it.'

have these people never heard of working things out for themselves? Have they never thought of reading and learning and trying? Where is their creativity?

And for some strange reason they appear to think you can buy success like buying a loaf of bread.

And after a while of hearing this repeated ad nauseam one gets rather fed up with such approaches and says so. And one hopes by doing so the offenders will clear off and go looking for telescopes! Anything, but keep out of the children's entertainment business.

Frankly, and I know lots here prefer not to think about this, good entertainers are born, not made.

They have the instinct to perform. Don't always get it right. But they try and they try and they try yet again. Eventually there comes the point where they need a helping hand. And they'll get it if they prove they have some foundation worth helping.

Remember, pros help those who help themselves - provided they don't try helping themselves to my act!!!
Tony James

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Tom Riddle
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Dr.Hackenbush, that was superb! I hope everyone on here reads and digests the content of that post. There are far too many people on the little darlings who seem to think that the professionals who have been performing for children for many years, are out to put down the beginners. Not true! Like Tony says, the beginners and amateurs are frustrated because they are not getting the answers that they want. However, I suggest they take a good hard look at what the pro's are saying. There is a reason most of them are speaking in unison.
"Yes, Virginia, there really are people named Riddle...isn't that AMAZING! And to think of all the royalties I'm missing out on! SCANDALOUS!"

Thomas Williamson Riddle III
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magicalmischief
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Quote:
On 2008-03-17 16:15, Tom Riddle wrote:
Like Tony says, the beginners and amateurs are frustrated because they are not getting the answers that they want. However, I suggest they take a good hard look at what the pro's are saying. There is a reason most of them are speaking in unison.


How do you define "Beginner" and "Amateur"?
I have been performing my family themed magic show for 10 years now. So I can safely say I am neither a "Beginner" nor "Amateur"

I am, however, new to the market of schools. So I will say, in this market...I am a beginner, but as a performer, no. And I have read every word the pro's have said. But it should be noted that I DON'T WANT SOMEONES ROUTINE. I was only seeking ideas. Not taking a job or developing a show is NOT an idea.
Seems to me that death is just natures way of telling us to SLOW DOWN!
drhackenbush
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For me, when I began doing school shows, developing a show WAS the idea, since I had looked at a lot of other shows first-hand and noticed they pretty much consisted of 10 out of 10 performers using the same props and doing the same gags, as if they were a franchise, no matter where you went, you could still count on getting the same hamburger with the same fixings. Most of the "kid's" tricks left me cold and I couldn't see myself doing them because they had no meaning for me and frankly seemed extemely unentertaining. Bear in mind, the tricks themselves aren't good or bad, and what a performer chooses to perform is their own choice and isn't necessarily right or wrong. But I wanted to do something that wasn't a clone of everyone else simply because I'm silly that way, not because they're all wrong, but because I couldn't see me doing them and caring about them.

Which meant I needed to develop a show. I spent a year testing individual tricks on the children at the preschools where I work teaching music, and eventually got a sense of what worked and what didn't for the 3- and 4-year-old age group (incidentally, 99% of the tricks I tested, all night-club-approriate adult tricks, were understood by the preschoolers, so one doesn't need to only do Hippity-Hop Rabbits, the little ones also get the absurdity of the Long Salt Pour, just like good children's music doesn't have to be Barney but can also be The Beatles). Then, I spent several months writing a full script for my whole show, placing the routines in the order I thought would work, then I spoke to my mentor, who suggested changing the order of several routines because of the inherent strong response they get whan anyone performs them. Then I spent the Summer testing out the whole show and after each performance did a post-mortem and some routines got cut, others totally revised, and some stayed just as they had been.

So the process of putting together my first school shows took over a year in development, and it is still a process of constantly revising today. The last show I was asked to do was because another magician had come to the school recently and the teachers were very disappointed in that show and essentially wanted a palate cleanser.

This may just be me, but I don't know of any other way of putting together a school show without developing one first. Anything less is asking a school to waste their valuable time and money by watching a shoddy ill-prepared mish-mash of extraneous tricks by someone who - whether this is the case or not - in the school's mind seemed to not do any preparation whatsoever. I was performing as a musician long before I was performing as a mgaician, but the fact I had extensive stage experience didn't make up for the fact I needed to develop a school-appropriate magic show from the ground up, however long it would take, in order to feel comfortable asking schools to give me of their time and money.

I am trying out another career venture that has nothing to do with the music or magic, and have learned, by working with experts in that field, that I am missing some very key parts of the puzzle, and until I spend several years gaining those skill sets, I feel that I will not be even remotely competitive in that field. It was a surprise to have my obviously great ideas shot down by award-winning experts and I've come away understanding that I can do it, I just need to, as Bob Dylan once said, "Know my song well before I start singing."
magicalmischief
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Dr.

You just said it. Working with experts in the field. that's all I was trying to do. Trying to research, get opinions, etc. I certainly don't want to perform something and look like an ass doing it. But a person needs to start somewhere. And that's all I was trying to do.
Seems to me that death is just natures way of telling us to SLOW DOWN!
Tony James
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I've known people who have faffed about with magic for twenty years - never mind ten - and still been on the bottom rung. Duration means nothing.

Amateur:
one who practises a thing, art or game only as a pastime; unpaid player; opposite of professional; having the faults of amateur work; unskilful in execution; substandard

Beginner:
one who is just starting out to learn a skill; an amateur.



Such people are referred to by the profession as Jossers and Hambones.


Josser:
One outside of the circle; an amateur attempting to join professionals; one who is unskilled but does not recognise it

Hambone:
Amateur; inexpert performer; clumsy; inexperienced or ineffective performer who does not recognise their limited abilities.


You do get people in all walks of life who try to run before they can walk. Amateur and Beginner apply across the board. Different arts, crafts and trades will have their own terminology. Jossers and Hambones apply to the variety, circus and fairground people.
Tony James

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magicalmischief
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So if duration means nothing, are you suggesting a beginner of 1 day is on the same level as myself?
Seems to me that death is just natures way of telling us to SLOW DOWN!
chris mcbrien
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Quote:
On 2008-03-17 14:05, magicalmischief wrote:
Having responses that say in essence... don't screw up a chance for another perfomer.... is not helpful advice. It is also far from constructive criticism. The thread you are referring to was on I started. I was expecting a wide variety of responses towards where to look for building a type of program. Ideas. and instead, a large number of performers - whom I would be grateful to learn from because they are professionals in the market I was wanting to learn about, basically told me to not even try and leave those shows to them. Hence is why I said "magicians helping magicians? not in this thread"

The arrogance of those who think that newcomers to a market don't deserve to be helped. Especially in a forum where HELP is the Purpose!

I have gotten tons of help in the Café. And Tons of constructive criticism. However on my last thread, It was mostly a barrage of "don't even try"

A 20 year veteran performer would never whine like this nor would they pose a question about such a program. They'd recognize that they should be honest with the client in all regards and hope that they only want a "fun show". They would then dig and ask for help in the context of an educational program being a goal after about one to two years.
Do people really come here expecting to get handed the keys to the kingdom simply because they trot on here and ask?
I think you may not be willing to accept the feedback from those who have been in this field and mastered it, nor the respect for this art in general when it comes to your duty to your audience.
Now pride for your daughter, wanting ot make her proud is a noble and a very good thing. However, the crux of the matter really lies in are you doing an educational program or not? You have every right to do a "fun show" but from what you said you don't have the right to claim yourself as an "educational presenter".
I sincerely hope by now you've spoken with the principal so you can get on with planning your "school debut". Under-promise and over-deliver is what you should want for your audience...and at this point you can't provide the educational aspect if you promise it, you simply don't have the experience.
Let me be even more blunt: If I were you, and you me, I'd be thankful and I would immediately talk to the principal and make expectations clear so you can walk out relaxed and ready to do a program.
Keep in mind this is not a personal attack, this is what I'd say to anyone who approached it and reacted the way you are doing. I'm sure you're a great guy and have noble intentions, but don't let pride get in the way, have the humility to be thankful for the chance to perform and make sure they know what they are getting..and what you can and can't offer. Then everyone can have a great time.
Best Wishes to You in Your Endeavors,
Chris
magicalmischief
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Quote:
On 2008-03-17 18:41, chris mcbrien wrote:

A 20 year veteran performer would never whine like this nor would they pose a question about such a program. They'd recognize that they should be honest with the client in all regards and hope that they only want a "fun show". They would then dig and ask for help in the context of an educational program being a goal after about one to two years.
Do people really come here expecting to get handed the keys to the kingdom simply because they trot on here and ask?
I think you may not be willing to accept the feedback from those who have been in this field and mastered it, nor the respect for this art in general when it comes to your duty to your audience.


Chris...
I never asked for no expected to be the recipient of the "Keys to the Kingdom".
And any conversation I have had with the principal is irrelevant. As my questions were general ones on educational shows.

I did not say... Hey..Can anyone create a educational show routine that I can use?
Seems to me that death is just natures way of telling us to SLOW DOWN!
James Munton
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Alas, it seems the message just isn't getting through...
magicalmischief
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I agree James...

You are not grasping my point of view.
Seems to me that death is just natures way of telling us to SLOW DOWN!
DJBrenton
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Magicalmischief

I think ( from what I read here) that you shouldn't be asking for advice on how to enter a new market until you've been successful in it for a while.
Tom Riddle
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Magicalmischief....I just don't think you get it. I doubt if you ever will, so I wish you good luck in your career, and in the pursuit of your dreams.
"Yes, Virginia, there really are people named Riddle...isn't that AMAZING! And to think of all the royalties I'm missing out on! SCANDALOUS!"

Thomas Williamson Riddle III
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magicalmischief
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Quote:
On 2008-03-17 19:06, DJBrenton wrote:
Magicalmischief

I think ( from what I read here) that you shouldn't be asking for advice on how to enter a new market until you've been successful in it for a while.


Successful in the new market or my current one? Because I am doing wonderfully in my current one. All I wanted was advice on how to break in to the new one.
Seems to me that death is just natures way of telling us to SLOW DOWN!
Danny Hustle
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Quote:
On 2008-03-17 17:01, magicalmischief wrote:

How do you define "Beginner" and "Amateur"?
I have been performing my family themed magic show for 10 years now. So I can safely say I am neither a "Beginner" nor "Amateur"



How many shows per year do you perform? Are you a full time entertainer?

I've been an entertainer for 30 years, I've been a full time professional for five. I can tell you in all humility, I learned more in the past five years than I did in the previous 30.

I also read the thread where you felt as though you were getting blasted. I thought you actually received some pretty sound advice. I think it wasn't what you wanted to hear.

I perform a show every year at my son's school for his classmates. I do my standard children's show. I think it was suggested that if that is what your show is, that is the show you should do.

I think you also received some excellent advice from James Munton that when you are creating a school show the best way is to take it trick by trick and insert it in your current show to flesh it out and give it stage time. That way when you get in front of an auditorium full of people each piece will have been worked in. That is hardcore, professional, advice. I do not know of one talented professional that does it any other way.

In other words, perhaps the problem was not the other guys ego. Just a thought, and I am merely making a suggestion, and not an accusation. As a full time professional I read that thread and thought there was some great wisdom in it and then the amateurs turned it into a flame war.

The problem as I saw it, was just as this original poster described, it was not what you wanted to hear, and was therefore rejected.

I don't think anybody was trying to give you a hard time, I think they were trying to be helpful. That was how I read it anyway.

Best,

Dan-

Posted: Mar 17, 2008 7:24pm
Drhackenbush,

THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!!!

I also completely understand the astronomy reference as well being a night gazer myself. When I suggest binoculars to someone who asks me about telescopes and they blanch at the idea I always point out, "Keep in mind, a decent pair of binoculars will be 1000 better than what Galileo had, and he did okay."

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
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drhackenbush
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Thanks, I was hoping the initial post would spark a conversation on this topic, and I appreciate the kind words.

Charley
Andy the cardician
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Great post - thanks for this.
Cards never lie
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