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RiffRaff
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On 2011-07-17 20:41, PaulPacific wrote:
I will bring the book with me as I lay in the sun to read it. A review may be forthcoming.


I'll be laying in the sun waiting...
*Mark Lewis*
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Knowing Paul I expect we will all be waiting a long time. I expect I shall be reading his review posthumously from the spirit world.

Which reminds me. Steve Brooks was supposed to be reviewing my "Lives of a Showman" on the magic Café. I suspect he has gone into partnership with Paul Pacific instead.
*Mark Lewis*
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Paul informs me that he has now read the book which I consider a mite astonishing since I only gave it to him about 3 days ago. I await with baited breath what he actually has to say and try and stifle my suspicion that he hasn't even read it.
PaulPacific
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Mark, it ain't exactly "War & Peace"!
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barefoot boy with cheeks of tan...
Outward sunshine; inward joy,
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy! :-D
*Mark Lewis*
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Well, you took ages to read the other books I gave you. I think you read them thoroughly. So much for the twaddle one often reads that books force you to think. I am afraid you have thunk rather quickly.

Anyway, I shall sceptically take your word that you have read it. What did you think of it? I shall now translate Paul's responses for those of you who do not know him"

FABULOUS!!! That means he hasn't read it.
IT'S NOT WHAT I WOULD DO! That means he is thinking about how wonderful HE is instead of concentrating on the book. It also means he thinks the book is absolute crap.
IT GETS THE JOB DONE. That means he thinks the book is utter bilge.
IT IS VERY GOOD BUT I KNOW ALL THIS STUFF ALREADY. That means he read the book very quickly and ignored the contents completely. This, I think will be the likeliest scenario. It also means that he is thinking of himself rather than concentraing on the book. See also ITS NOT WHAT I WOULD DO!

There. I wonder which of the above his response will be.
PaulPacific
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Well, here's the deal..

I'm not quite sure what Mark's motivation is in asking me to write up this review. Perhaps he's hoping I'll stick my bare foot in my mouth and say something to rub someone the wrong way. Perhaps he really DOES want me to share my thoughts on this book which, in fairness, I have not read properly in the past. I have thumbed thru it here and there... but not this time. I did, in fact, read it from cover to cover.

First of all, I don't quite understand why Ken decides to mention specific names SOMETIMES and sometimes he doesn't. It seems there's no real rhyme or reason to his choices but somehow it rubs me the wrong way. Instinctively, it seems to me that no specific names should have been mentioned but I suppose his thinking is that he wanted to give examples to illustrate his points and express his opinions..

Ohhh and Ken is very opinionated!

Indeed, so am I. But these are his thoughts based on many years of performances for audiences all over the world. He has decided to write about these thoughts and share them with the rest of us to help us improve our ability to entertain with our performances. One thing I really liked with regards to Ken's ideas is his "Please Take Note" paragraphs on page 13. Ken acknowledges that he is rather opinionated and we are free to disagree with his thoughts and ideas provided we have put some thought into WHY we disagree.

To me, that's more than fair.

Sometimes, when he makes a point, I think it would've been nice if he decided to give us a possible "solution" to the problem. Consider the following: Early on, Ken mentions a performer (by name incidentally) whom he admittedly respects (as do I). This performer was on a dvd performing The Floating Lifesaver effect and his patter was, shall we say, less than dynamic. On this, I would have to agree.. but I feel it would have been valuable to see exactly how the author would have re-scripted the patter to raise the trick to miracle status. Sure, we must create our OWN patter but give us an idea how the words could've been changed to bring about a stronger result.

The Six Pillars Of Entertainment Success was my favourite chapter in the book! Enchanting advice which SHOULD be common knowledge to performers but tends to be lacking by some so it was good to read it.

Ken mentions a number of times that we must be like Superman! Aware and controlling the situation at all times. Conducting and orchestrating the best possible entertainment every step of the way... The challenge about being Superman is to not come across as a pompous twit. Indeed the results of being perceived as a diva will be devastating to any performer.

You know, I had made up my mind that I was not going to write a huge review for two primary reasons. First and foremost I believe that nobody gives a rat's ass what Paul Pacific thinks about the book (including Paul Pacific btw)! And secondly, I don't have the strength. If I wanted to write for endless hours on end, I would have written a book myself.

Basically, peppered throughout the book are tons of snippets of great advice-everything from major issues like memorization and routining to minor things like wiping your brow and cleaning your shoes.. all of these details and countless others mentioned in the book all add up to making a performer a real Superman, in control of every moment and aware of what the audience sees at all times. Much of the good advice in this book is not written in other places (like how to conduct yourself at the venue both on and OFF the stage, saying please and thank you, dismissing helpers, etc..) And while the advice is GREAT to read.. these are things which common sense should dictate and a performer who's worth his salt should already be aware of these things. Perhaps some people simply need to see it in print in order to be consciously aware of these things.

There are many things in the book that I disagree with completely (like some of the thoughts on microphones, stepping out into the audience, mentioning specific performers..etc) and while the advice MAY work for SOME performers they are not cast in tablets of stone.

...this brings me to something about the book which I can't quite put my toe on.. There is no fluff at all in these pages but...Because the ideas expressed in the book are written with such "passion", shall we say.. that when I find myself disagreeing with a point made, it tends to elicit the same passion from within ME! It's as if I need to get defensive to fight for why I think my thinking is better! Perhaps this is exactly what the author wished to produce in the reader. There is no question the book gets you thinking and that can only help to make a smart performer even better. At the very least a wise reader will be more aware of the details that help to bring about Maximum Entertainment.

Bottom line: I agree with MOST of the ideas presented in the book but I did find the writing style to be a little bit "Superman" at times.

Happy now, Mark? Smile

Now, I am going to take a well-deserved shower and prepare for a day of amusing myself in the summer sun tomorrow.

Happy Thoughts,
Paul Pacific
Blessings on thee, little man,
barefoot boy with cheeks of tan...
Outward sunshine; inward joy,
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy! :-D
David Thiel
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Great thoughts, Paul. I agree that Ken's very opinionated...but he has many great opinions.

Oddly enough -- the only off-putting statement he made was giving me permission to disagree with him. That's already understood isn't it? I don't need permission. It's sort of like the person who takes your order at McDonald's telling you to drive forward to the next window. Like I'd sit there?

But having said that, the tone of the book is of a mentor talking to a student -- and that kind of tone works perfectly on that level.

I also don't agree with his mic advice...but that could just be the magician in me. After all these years of using headsets, I don't know if I could use a handheld anyway.

Much of the "way too basic" stuff is material that beginners really need to know about. He could not have left it out.

Still -- in my mind -- Maximum Entertainment ranks as one of the top books on performing I've read...if not THE top book. If a novice performer asked me to recommend a book on stagecraft and the gritty info he needs on performing I'd tell him to get a copy of Maximum Entertainment.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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*Mark Lewis*
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Paul. What will you give it out of ten? I gave it six. What do you think?

And remind me of his microphone advice. I also think a handheld one is the best route.I hate headsets and I have no desire to resemble Britney Spears. On the other hand I suppose I don't anyway. But if you are going to use a handheld microphone you need to use some sort of holder for it round the neck. Ken seems not to mention this for some odd reason and tells you to plan your tricks so that you can have your hands free at certain times and plan your tricks around the microphone. That is actually bloody stupid advice and isn't worth the hassle. I wonder if Ken has been out of showbusiness so long that he doesn't realise that you can purchase all sorts of neck holders that were not available in his day.

Paul doesn't like microphones of any sort and he has to be dragged fighting and screaming to wear one. I remember a massive room he worked with a ton of people there and there was a microphone available for him to use. He didn't want to use it but reluctantly gave in when I berated him and told him that I had doubts concerning his sanity.

The trouble is with not using one is that there is a tendency to shout or as some acting types prefer to term it "Project" and it is very unpleasant for people in the front seats to have to listen to it. Oddly enough not using a microphone can sometimes result in you being too loud!
PaulPacific
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On 2011-07-23 09:06, David Thiel wrote:

Oddly enough -- the only off-putting statement he made was giving me permission to disagree with him. That's already understood isn't it? I don't need permission. It's sort of like the person who takes your order at McDonald's telling you to drive forward to the next window. Like I'd sit there?

David


LMAO!! Smile
Blessings on thee, little man,
barefoot boy with cheeks of tan...
Outward sunshine; inward joy,
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy! :-D
*Mark Lewis*
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Paul. You haven't answered my question. What will you give the book out of ten?
IAIN
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A synopsis of this thread can be found here at http://www.floggingadeadhorseforyourownamusement.com
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All I can say is that if it wasn't for Ken Weber and the insightful direction he gave to me on and off many years ago, I don't think I would have gotten very far as an entertainer. Of course there will be disagreement, even among professional peers, as to particular details of performance technique. But that's not the point. Most newcomers, and, disturbingly, many others who ought to know better, rarely even think about the the critical performance details that must be addressed to achieve what Ken has called "maximum entertainment".

Don't like his writing style? Don't like his "New York" attitude? Fine. But if you don't give serious consideration to what he has to say, you do so at your own peril.

How do you rate a book like this? It's difficult. How do you rate a "mentalist" who chooses to ignore the serious performance issues that the book raises and analyzes? That's easy - I can tell they don't know what they're doing within thirty seconds after they've taken the stage.

Good thoughts,

Bob
*Mark Lewis*
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Well, I thought Paul gave a fairly balanced and sensible review. Not too much on one side or the other. People here will have no idea what a sacrifice he made to exert himself in this matter. It IS summer after all. Paul is a great believer in the maxim that you should never exert yourself or do any work in any month that does not have the letter "R" in it.
mastermindreader
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I, too, believe in that wise maxim. That's why I won't be performing again until September.
RiffRaff
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Paul:
Thanks for the review.
Could you provide us with more details regarding the areas in which you disagree with the book?
In other words, what specific points do you feel are erroneous, and why?
*Mark Lewis*
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I wanted him to do that too. Alas I am sure he is out in the Sun again and won't look at this thread ever again. However, I shall inform him personally of Riff Raff's interest and I know he will respond. He always does if people take him seriously.

This will give him a chance to argue the points where he thinks he is right and Ken is wrong. However, unlike me, he hates to offend anybody but I think it will be good for him to take the chance.
*Mark Lewis*
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I did inform Paul that his presence was requested. Alas, I do not think we will see him until the Winter.
Paul. I want my bloody book back!
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[quote]On 2011-07-25 23:28, Mark Lewis wrote:
I want my bloody book back!


The best endorsement for M E on this thread yet ! Smile
"If you watch Godzilla backwards, it's about a big ass lizard who helps rebuild a half burnt-down city, then moonwalks back into the ocean"
PaulPacific
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Quote:
On 2011-07-24 13:39, RiffRaff wrote:
Paul:
Thanks for the review.
Could you provide us with more details regarding the areas in which you disagree with the book?
In other words, what specific points do you feel are erroneous, and why?


RiffRaff, as much as I love my foot, I have no desire to shove it any further into my mouth.
Blessings on thee, little man,
barefoot boy with cheeks of tan...
Outward sunshine; inward joy,
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy! :-D
mrmetropolis
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On 2011-07-23 09:06, David Thiel wrote:
But having said that, the tone of the book is of a mentor talking to a student -- and that kind of tone works perfectly on that level.

David


I read the first 2 pages of this thread then had to skip over the rest... Now that the jib jab is over, This is a must have book and it is going to the top of my list. Thanks Guys.
"For those who believe, no explanation is necessary, for those who do not, none will suffice".-Joseph Dunninger http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4wL5fX3xGQ
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