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Dick Christian
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Quote:
On 2009-09-03 16:58, Jay Are wrote:
No two shows should ever be the same!

J


Anyone who never does the same show twice doesn't have a show.
Dick Christian
tctahoe
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When are magicians going to learn it's about YOU not the tricks. If we stick with the Stones thing, we go to see the Stones, not to hear one of their songs...if you just want to hear their music, you save money and stay home with your headphones! It about seeing "Them"
Jay Are
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Quote:
On 2009-09-03 17:07, Dick Christian wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-09-03 16:58, Jay Are wrote:
No two shows should ever be the same!

J


Anyone who never does the same show twice doesn't have a show.


I have a perfectly structured well recieved show -- but the experience the audience recieves always appears to be a little different. The process is the same but the content and end results are not always ( obviously, not two audiences are identical ). The show as TC said -- should always be about you and what you can do.

J
xxx
Dick Christian
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Absolutely agree that the show is about the performer and not the tricks and that no two audiences are EXACTLY the same. However, every working pro that I know has spent years honing and perfecting their material and no two audiences are exactly the same, if the act is well conceived and and honed and polished, the reactions of the audience are certainly predictable. None of that is possible possible if you're doing something different every time. The "A" acts of the "A" performers are remarkably consistent -- and intentionally so. Cases in point: while they no doubt have the knowledge and experience to meet almost any situation with fresh material, Johnny & Pam Thompson's "Great Tomsoni" act probably hasn't changed in 30 years; same can be said of Marvyn & Carol Roy's "Mr. Electric." Same can be said for many others.

I'll say it again. "Anyone who never does the same act twice, doesn't have an act."
Dick Christian
DT3
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Quote:
On 2009-09-03 17:08, tctahoe wrote:
When are magicians going to learn it's about YOU not the tricks. If we stick with the Stones thing, we go to see the Stones, not to hear one of their songs...if you just want to hear their music, you save money and stay home with your headphones! It about seeing "Them"


Bravo T.C.! (You could even post the same exact thing again, and I would still cheer the second time...because YOU typed it)

D
RJE
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[quote]On 2009-09-03 17:31, Dick Christian wrote:
However, every working pro that I know has spent years honing and perfecting their material and no two audiences are exactly the same, if the act is well conceived and and honed and polished, the reactions of the audience are certainly predictable.


Might I respectfully suggest the following change to your point: "spent years perfecting their craft"

I very much agree with TC here. You get hired back year after year because of you as a performer.
Jonathan
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Quote:
On 2009-09-03 17:31, Dick Christian wrote:
Absolutely agree that the show is about the performer and not the tricks and that no two audiences are EXACTLY the same. However, every working pro that I know has spent years honing and perfecting their material and no two audiences are exactly the same, if the act is well conceived and and honed and polished, the reactions of the audience are certainly predictable. None of that is possible possible if you're doing something different every time. The "A" acts of the "A" performers are remarkably consistent -- and intentionally so. Cases in point: while they no doubt have the knowledge and experience to meet almost any situation with fresh material, Johnny & Pam Thompson's "Great Tomsoni" act probably hasn't changed in 30 years; same can be said of Marvyn & Carol Roy's "Mr. Electric." Same can be said for many others.

I'll say it again. "Anyone who never does the same act twice, doesn't have an act."


Exactly. I'm new to the corporate show world, but I've been a performer all my life and can attest to this 100%. Wording, timing, comedy, there's so many things that go into an A+ level performance and you can't just throw together a new act and be as good as one that you've worked on for years and have perfected every word and body movement of.
The great Gumbini
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I think I would ask what the client wanted to see and if it would be performed in front of a new crowd. I once had a lady ask if I did small parties and when I said yes she asked if I always do a different show. I said I could do a different one if wanted and she said "No no I like this one a lot." So I did the same one for her. It just all depends if there will be new faces or the same crowd.


Good magic to all,


Eric
Dick Christian
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With the exception of our apparently reading differing meanings into my comment about amateurs doing different acts/shows for the same audience while pros do the same act/show for different audiences and whether we refer to perfecting our material or perfecting our craft, it seems to me that we are all more in agreement than not. Although I understand what tc means, and agree that there is a distinction between perfecting one's "material" and perfecting one's "craft," we are essentially alluding to the same process and IMO the difference is more semantic than sustantive.

The amateur's typical "audience" is comprised primarily of friends and family and so demands a constant input of new material. On the other hand the pro rarely performs for friends and family, but typically for a succession of new audiences. When booked for a repeat performance for the same audience, while it may be appropriate to replay a few of the most popular routines from a past show, certainly much of the content should be different. My comments were predicated on the assumption that even for those pros who work primarily in the same local area (as I do) repeat engagements for the same audience are more the exception than the rule. Even when I was doing close-up magic table-to-table every Sunday night at the same restaurant and saw many "regulars" during that seven year run, few of the "regulars" were there every week. Although I went through a lot of different material during that time, I also repeated certain core effects on a regular basis, rarely broke in more than one new effect on any single engagement, and never introduced ALL new material on any given evening.

I never intended to suggest that a working pro needed only one single act, just that most will have a "signature" act that is their primary bread and butter but will also have one or more "backup" acts for repeat engagements. It is the one who NEVER does the same act twice that I referred to as one who doesn't really have an act at all.
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bobser
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In the beginning I developed 4 X 15 min shows.
Which meant I had 6 X 30 min shows.
And of course a 1 hour show.

It's interesting to note from the above argument put forward that many of us think differently with regard to the question. For me a top performer keeps exactly the same show. Unless of course they tour annually, such as Derren Brown. Then the expectation of the audience is for a new show. And interestingly enough he has now developed a Q & A for the entire second half od his performance.

I thought the quote that 'we don't go to hear the Rolling Stones, we go to SEE them. Otherwise we'd use headphones' Was excellent. However, most of us are working magis. They don't simply want to gaze upon us. Albeit I personally am a former model and posses what's known as 'cutting features'. Often I simply stand there for a few minutes then go into several poses for snap shote befor hitting them with the opener: 'guess the thumb'.
Bob Burns is the creator of The Swan.
Lior
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I have 3 acts.
Many reapet clients wants a new show.
magic/mentalisem is not music.
you come to see something new most of the time.
You can repeat few things but not everything

Lior
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lejon
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Another interesting question is what kind of audience require what kind of format...

2 acts of 30 min or 1 act of 1 hour?
trade show? corporate? weddings? all 30min??? or 1 hour???

what is your experience?
Lior
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You have to have 1 hour shows. (in my opinion)
You can do a shorter version of them.

Lior
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Dick Christian
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Quote:
On 2009-09-04 05:59, lejon wrote:
Another interesting question is what kind of audience require what kind of format...

2 acts of 30 min or 1 act of 1 hour?
trade show? corporate? weddings? all 30min??? or 1 hour???

what is your experience?


In my experience, the client will usually tell you what they are looking for or expect. That may or may not be the kind of show that you offer and may or may not be consistent with what your experience (assuming you HAVE experience) tells you is what is best suited for that particular occasion, audience and environment. Hopefully you have a repertoire with enough flexibility to handle most situations that are compatible with your skill level and performing style.

If you have a program that is well suited to the situation, even if not quite what the client has asked for, you owe them your suggestion/recommendation of what will best suit their needs -- and that may or may not be something you offer. Unless the client is accustomed to hiring entertainers and has at least some idea of what a magician/mentalist can or cannot do, it is quite possible that their request or expectations may be unrealistic.

Remember that your job is to make both you and the client look good by making entertaining the audience and making everyone happy. If you know from experience that what they are asking for will not meet those criteria, your wisest course of action is probably to turn down the job. I've often done that when I KNOW that if I do what the client says they want it will be a disaster and they'll be unhappy or disappointed with the result. In that case I'd far rather have them be unhappy or disappointed with someone else, and hope that they'll call on me the next time -- and I've had that happen on more than one occasion. It doesn't do me or the client any favors to give them something that won't put both of us in the best light.
Dick Christian
Jonathan
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Dick, would you mind giving a couple of examples of the kind of situations you've been in where you've had to turn down those jobs? Just curious what they were wanting. I've had similar instances myself, but I might learn something from hearing your experience.

BTW, this is why I hate America's Got Talent...well one of many reasons. A musician can just come up with a new song each week, but other talents require months and sometimes years to come up with a new act! You can't force a magician or mentalist to come up with that many different acts based on "suggestions" by the judges. It's not something you just throw together. Singers have a huge advantage on that show.

That and it's rigged.
RJE
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Circumstances and market demands will often dictate how long and what format a show will be. Flexibility is an asset unless you have been hired to do a 45 minute show and your show just happens to be 45 minutes.

It looks like there are indeed a number of different approaches to this issue. Really, whatever works for you is the right choice.

Personally, (just my opinion) I do not believe that you have to work years to perfect an act. Personally, I believe that some can create A material on demand and have hours of killer material. The problem then is, when asked to entertain, what are you going to include in the show that night?

This is the approach that Pat and I take.

From 1988 to 1992, I did the same act night after night in a comedy magic cabaret show. By the end of that 4 years, I was a zombie. I hated it and had to walk away from, at that time, what was the longest running dinner theatre show in the country. I had even been singled out and been given a special award by the government of Canada as a performer in the show. Still, I just couldn't walk out onto that stage anymore.

Now, Pat and I develop routines on an ongoing basis. We have a number of repeat clients for different types of shows. These include 45 and 90 minute family shows, 45, 60 and 90 minute adult shows. The venues are varied from banquet halls to full theatres to school auditoriums to resorts to fairs and so on.

We have built a long list of clients and have developed solid business relations with them. These clients like us as performers and continually rebook us season after season and year after year.

The onus on us is to create new, and solid, shows for them each year or season. This has been both finacially and creatively rewarding for us.

Some of the material will overlap with different clients, but individual clients get new each time. Sometimes the client asks for a single show, sometimes for a run (of any particular show).

So again, from personal experience (therefore my personal opinion) you can create new shows in a relatively short period of time. These shows can be killer shows and A material. You do not have to work years or decades to create a great show.

You don't have to identify yourself as just having one killer act. If you can develop one, then you certainly can develop more.
Jonathan
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I think there is a difference in interpretation of what "A level" material is. I'm not using "A level" as being a set standard, but as something that's relative.

For example, you may be able to create a very good show in a couple of months, but do you agree that if you worked on perfecting that show for a number of years it would get better? If so, then that level would become your "A level" and although you may be able to come up with another very good show in a couple of months, it would not be up to the level of the other.

Thus, if you perfect a show to be so good that the audience expects a level of quality, it may not go over as well if you perform below that expectation.

You can come up with a bunch of different acts, but say you took the 6 most audience loved routines from all those acts and created a knock-out show and perfected it through a few years of work and performance...that show will dwarf your other acts, would it not?

That said, there is certainly logic behind the strategy of never exceeding a certain level of quality so that you can satisfy the same audience over and over (if repeat business is the main key to your success) with very good shows. I hope that all makes sense.
Philemon Vanderbeck
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If I had a repeat client who wanted a different show, I would not hesitate to recommend one of my colleagues to do the gig. Hopefully, they will do the same for me in a similar situation.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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cc
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For repeat bookings, I always ask the client if they want the same exact show (since I keep track of what I did at each show) or if they want me to do some new things. When I used to do traditional magic shows, clients sometimes would request that I do something they remember ("that one with my name on the card!"). But with Mentalism, I've found shows where I performed the exact same set list, people remember me, but not so much what I did. I think that's a fantastic position to be in. That's what we all want. Plus, with Mentalism, there's two other advantages: 1. Often one or two effects will wander off into a completely area than you intended. Especially routines that require Equivoque. 2. If you've grasped the basic techniques of Mentalism, you can MAKE effects different if you want them to on the spot. That's very hard to do with magic.

So I would say it has been my experience that you don't have to worry about duplicating something your audience has already seen. I script my effects, but I wonder WAY off the page a lot of the time, and THIS is what I think the audience ultimately remembers. On the other hand, unlike the Rolling Stones, mystery performers are presenting a SURPRISE ending several times in a show. The audience KNOWS the ending of the Stones' SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, they should NEVER know the ending of Paul Vigil's version. HE HE HE.
Jonathan
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It hit me that many of you are talking about acts which are just a collection of random routines. Nothing wrong with that, but that's a different animal than an act that has a theme or some connection of the routines. If all the routines come together and have some relationship to each other it will be very difficult to just come up with a new act.

Like an episode of Seinfeld or Arrested Development where jokes and situations are connected and ideas weave through each other and create moments that are bigger than the jokes, and usually ends in some call back joke or surprise ending that relates to several things in the episode. Hard to explain, but hope that makes sense.
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