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Jonathan
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I've heard others talking about getting "re-booked", but don't they expect a different act? As long as it has taken me to get one act ready, it will be a long while before I have a second one! If I slapped together another one it would be quite a letdown from the original act. To get that same level of the first one it will take a couple of years before a second is ready.
Dick Christian
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Yes, unless it's the same client but a different group of attendees, they'll expect a different act. Yes, it will probably take years before you have a second act of the same quality as your first. Until that second act is ready, you should be turning down repeat engagements. In that case the smart thing to do is to recommend another performer whose work you are familiar with and are confident will reflect favorably on you, the client and the performer you recommend. Otherwise tell the truth -- that you don't have a second show that's on a par with the first and that you aren't comfortable offering anything less. That way although you may lose the job, you'll at least have earned their respect and helped build your reputation.
Dick Christian
Jamie D
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I agree with Dick here. I just recenetly got asked by a customer if she was to hire me again would it be the same show. (most of the clients are different then before though) I told her that yes pretty much. I could change a few things here and there but other then that it's the same. I do caberet and walk around and a lot of the effects are the same for both (caberet/walkaround) I just present them differently sometimes depending on the situation. She said that she still whants to hire me as she was very pleased with the last show which is a good thing. Smile
I am currently working on a second show which should be ready by christmas so at least I will have two shows to offer but it has been sometime in the makeing for this one.

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Philemon Vanderbeck
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I wonder if it's only magicians who feel the need to present a different show to a repeat client?

I don't know of any other performing art that does this.

Bands often play the same set over and over again, and their fans come repeatedly to their shows. Certainly, they may rotate in and out some songs now and then (especially if they're promoting a new album), but look at what happens whenever the band starts playing an old favorite?

Imagine how disappointed an audience would be if they went to see "Hamlet" and the actors decided to replace the scenes from other shows?

Have you ever gone to see a favorite magician and were disappointed when they didn't do a particular trick that you liked?
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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Jonathan
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I definitely understand that point, Philemon. However, it's hard to have that same "awe" and impact the second time when doing mentalism or magic. Usually, when I would want to see a trick I knew at a second performance (when I was a kid/teen pre my involvement in the art) it was because I wanted to figure out how it was done.

That said, what about stage hypnotists? Do they do the same set? Are audiences just as pleased the second time?

Jokes repeated, funny moments, etc. that are routined won't work as well. The effects that involve forces (that can't be switched up) can't be used. Things that require misdirection are dangerous, and surprise endings, twists, etc. won't work as well.

Some mind reading will still work, Q and A routines and things like that. That's about the only thing in my act that will work repeated (although the set up won't make as much sense if they know what's coming).
Domino Magic
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Philemon brings up some excellent points.

Copperfield's show doesn't change every year and he goes back to the same cities year after year. The top guys in mentalism don't change their shows every year. I think Richard Osterlind does essentially the same show and has for years. He certainly gets repeat bookings.

It's the same with comedians. The DVD everyone should have is Comedian, the documentary that followed Jerry Seinfeld while he developed a brand new show after retiring his previous show (see the DVD - I'm Telling You For The Last Time). On the DVD Jay Leno stated he would never change his act.

Sure these guys work in a new routine from time to time, but the core show stays the same.
Pablo_Amira
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I have 2 acts ( 30 min act)
and also I'm working in a one man sho (1 hour)

that's an answer to the question to Jonhatan.

But all the points are very good
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RJE
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I am going to go against the grain here.

Pat and I are constantly developing new acts for our repeat customers. For example, for just one of our steady seasonal resort clients we create a brand new 90 minute show each year for the past 5 years which adds up to 7 1/2 hours of material for them alone. This particular client has been voted the best summer resort in Canada every year since 2005.

For other clients, corporate, fairs, special events etc... we also promise a new and totally different show each and every year. For this weekend alone, we have to load 3 different shows before heading out to be performed 2 on Satuday and one on Sunday.

This policy has allowed us to keep some very good long term clients.

It also means that the material ALL has to be A material in order to have the clients keep you coming back. It also has to be fairly original since the audiences come from all over North America (at the resorts) and have seen magic acts before. Each show, every routine, every line has to be strong.

In my earlier performing days, I would repeat shows or offer little change in repeat shows for the same clients. After 2 or 3 years it felt horrible trying to deliver the same lines and bits to the audience. They were bored and I felt lame. The reactions that the show should have been getting just weren't there. So now the policy is 100% new each year.
TonyB2009
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It is great to have your A-show, the killer material that you can make a huge impact with time after time. But we have to be a bit flexible as well.
It is not that difficult to develope new material. There is a huge amount of good stuff out there. Once you get good it is all a question of presentation rather than technique, and it is easy to change your presentation.
If doing a mentalism show I always try to end on a Q&A, and this is different for each group, so that would never be dropped. All I would be changing would be the steps that lead me to the final Q&A. Its not like developing a completely new act.
Someone asked what about stage hypnotists? One client had me three times last year, and I gave a different show each time. I explained that some elements - the induction, for instance, could not change. But the lead-up was different each time, and once the induction was out of the way, the routines were different. The client was happy enough - I am back there in a few weeks again.
RJE
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Quote:
On 2009-09-02 21:15, TonyB2009 wrote:
It is not that difficult to develope new material. There is a huge amount of good stuff out there. Once you get good it is all a question of presentation rather than technique, and it is easy to change your presentation.


Agreed.

Another factor to consider is the number of times you get to perform new material.

When you first put something new together, it may feel awkward or unsure. As you repeat and refine the routine, it begins to feel more natural and polished. You also get a chance to tweak it and mold it with repeat performances.

So, if you have a long term contract with multiple shows (2 week fair, seasonal resort, etc...) developing new material and presenting it strong becomes easier.
Dick Christian
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Quote:
On 2009-09-02 18:31, Philemon Vanderbeck wrote:
I wonder if it's only magicians who feel the need to present a different show to a repeat client?

I don't know of any other performing art that does this.

Bands often play the same set over and over again, and their fans come repeatedly to their shows. Certainly, they may rotate in and out some songs now and then (especially if they're promoting a new album), but look at what happens whenever the band starts playing an old favorite?

Imagine how disappointed an audience would be if they went to see "Hamlet" and the actors decided to replace the scenes from other shows?

Have you ever gone to see a favorite magician and were disappointed when they didn't do a particular trick that you liked?


Philemon,

While I agree in substance with much of what you say, I think you may have overlooked an important point. It has been said that the difference between the amateur and the pro is that the amateur does different tricks for the same audience while the pro does the same tricks for different audiences. That is certainly true. While I have different shows for different audiences (e.g., a show for children/family audiences, a close-up act for adults, a "cabaret/stage" act for adults and a mentalism/mindreading act for adults) 90+% of my work for each of those audiences is the same version of the respective act -- and each has changed very little over the past 20 years because I am typically working for a different audience each time. Each of those "A" acts took years to develop and I am a firm believer in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. Nevertheless, because I work almost exclusively in one geographic area (fortunately it is an area that experience a higher than normal turnover of residents due to a high concentration of government/corporate employees and military personnel), I am sometimes hired to do a repeat performance for essentially the same audience and while I have found that some of my routines are so popular with some audiences that I dare not leave them out of the show, it is also important that I the bulk of the show feature different material than my last performance for that audience.

While your analogy of the band that plays the same set(s) again and again is certainly true, they also vary the set(s) as well. The Rolling Stones may repeat the same show at every stop on a tour, and no doubt their fans insist that some of their "classic" hits are included in the program everytime they tour, you can also be sure that next years tour will not be an exact repetition of this years. Similarly, I've attended David Copperfield's show every time his tour brings him to my area and there are certain pieces that are featured in every show; however, each tour has also included new material that was not featured in his previous tour.

Fortunately I've been performing professionally long enough that there is little qualitative difference between my "A" and "B" versions of each of my shows, but one of the things that has enabled me to survive in this business as primarily a "100 miler" is the fact that I have more than one highly marketable version of each of my "standard" shows.
Dick Christian
RJE
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I wanted to add that when you are performing the new material repeatedly over a matter of a few weeks to a couple of months (perhaps 20 to 60 times or more) you have plenty of opportunity to evaluate, get feedback (audience reaction) and refine if necessary. This process can occur after every performance (perhaps as many as 3 times a day depending on the venue) until you are happy with the results.

This can make it much easier to develop new material or an entirely a new act.
RJE
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[quote]On 2009-09-03 07:10, Dick Christian wrote:
It has been said that the difference between the amateur and the pro is that the amateur does different tricks for the same audience while the pro does the same tricks for different audiences. That is certainly true.



I couldn't disagree more! I don't think this old quote has any validity at all under scrutiny.
Dick Christian
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RJE,

If you read my comments carefully, it should be apparent that my subsequent comments more than amply qualify my assertion of the validity of that axiom.
Dick Christian
RJE
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Clear as mud. Smile

"A" material can be developed over 20 years or 20 days or 20 minutes.

Some magicians rarely change their acts, some magicians constantly change their acts.

Some clients hire a show, some clients hire a performer.

If it's good stuff, then it's good stuff.

If it ain't good stuff, then it ain't good stuff.
parmenion
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Quote:
On 2009-09-02 19:19, Pablo_Amira wrote:
I have 2 acts ( 30 min act)
and also I'm working in a one man sho (1 hour)


Pablo, yo comment is very funny.
Two acts of 30 mn = 1h, no ? Smile
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IAIN
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Its also why Q&A is so highly valued...doesnt matter what else you do, if you have a q&A act...repeat performances can only add to it...
I've asked to be banned
dsacks
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I've seen many top magicians do the same shows over the years (esp at the Magic Castle)...the shows they do just get better and better; I've always enjoyed them. Repeats or not.
RJE
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Quote:
On 2009-09-03 08:36, dsacks wrote:
I've seen many top magicians do the same shows over the years (esp at the Magic Castle)...the shows they do just get better and better; I've always enjoyed them. Repeats or not.


Aaah, and there's the rub. You enjoy watching someone proficient in a field that you enjoy. A celebrity performer with a signature piece is wonderful to watch.

However, most of us are not celebrity performers and whether we think we have a signature piece (act) or not, the general population only knows us as 'the magician' or 'mentalist' and really often knows little else about us.

Now, you get a client who likes what you do. Perhaps it is a company that hired you to do their Christmas party. You do the show and it is a killer. They ask you back for next year and you say yes.

When you do the show the following year for the same audience, the reaction you got from them the previous year is going to be a lot less enthusiastic if you repeat the exact same show. Or maybe you change a couple of bits to try and change it up. The audience then responds slightly better than if no changes are made, especially to the new stuff.

Now, try going back for 5, 6, 7 years or more to do their Christmas party. At what point do they simply ignore you on stage if you are doing the same act or alternating 2 different acts on alternate years?
Jay Are
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The skill set you display on stage should translate to many different things...

No two shows should ever be the same!

J
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