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Thomas Cooper
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I know I'm going to get a lot of flack for asking this, and no doubt some of my haters will crawl out of the woodwork; but I firmly believe in the goodness of people (aswell as the evil) and I hope someone out there will help me Smile

So... I just got my first booking Smile

Its for the 13th, eleven days away, so plenty of time to think about what I am to do. There is one little problem though; which I didn't really see coming. This party is for a friend of a friend, who is turning 16. She is the youngest of her group, so there will be 15 or so 16-18 aged teenagers there. That isn't a problem for me; I am perfectly used to performing and dealing with that age group - but its the size that I find worrying.

You see over the past few months I've been practising performing close-up, where I am performing with a small table of people, such as in a reasturant. I also can work from stage, and have before in the past. But this is neither. It is not stand up, and it isn't table hopping - so I really don't know what to expect. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Smile


Given that the party will be 70% girls, I'm considering getting out the old "Easy and Effective Cold Reading" book. Any thoughts/tips?
I call myself "Thomas Cooper" here because this stops the magic café appearing when people google my stage name.

Does anyone else find the term "Special User" to be a bit condescending?
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Profile of illusioneer
I believe that if you can control the performance space (i.e. - a living room, basement, den, back yard) - that there is no reason why this could not be considered Guerilla stand up. All it takes is an organization of chairs, etc. and you have a 3/4 theatrical space to amaze! Smile
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Smoking Camel
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Ive done a few house party gigs like this. Best thing to do is speak the host or who is paying you.

Tell them the guest will get the most enjoyment out of the following format.

1) section off a room and set it up to perform table a few chairs.
2) split the group into 4/5 groups and have perform for each group one at a time.
3) after the show mingle, have a few quick routines up your sleve n your good to go.

The 1st group will be the hardest but they will of course then go chat to the other ppl in between your mini shows and build the excitement for you.
I no longer smoke camel cigarettes.
John C
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Getting out the book isn't going to help if the party is 11 days away. Just make believe.

It's called a parlor show. Just pretend you are on a stage a few feet in front of everyone and at their level.

Use the $1000 thing you bought. You could make that work for 20 minutes.

Get bev's new chair routine real quick and practice that.

Good luck to one of the good guys!

Peace be with you,

The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
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Profile of Shrubsole
Define your 'stage area' and exterminate anyone who crosses it unasked. Control them and don't let them control you.

Having said that, don't come across as a control freak and expect younger people to be loud and hyper as that's what they do!

Form an act! Not just 3 routines done together. You have to know where you are and where you are going at every stage. Communicate that to the audience.

Practise until you do know the act backwards or come the performance you will get lost!
Winner of the Dumbringer Award for total incompetence. (All years)
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Profile of TonyB2009
Smoking camel, that is the most bizarre advice I have ever heard. I assume you are joking.

Thomas, fifteen people in a room is as close to a close-up gig as you need it to be. Just make sure that the people at the front are far back enough from your table that they are not blocking everyone's view. Then treat it as a close-up gig, but speak loudly and clearly. I have seen clips of you on youtube, and that will not be a problem for you.

Sit or stand behind the table, and have two chairs on either side, so that you can bring up volunteers. Then do a strong close-up set, with the best magic you can. Start with something quick to establish your credibility. Throw in a couple of jokes, even if you are not a funny performer. They lighten the mood.

And don't bother with the cold-reading. You need to have a feel for that, and I don't believe that you do(no disrespect in that). Go with what you know you do well.

Best of luck, and enjoy yourself.
John C
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... and if you're really confident in your ability close with this:
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
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Profile of Bartelli
First of all: don't worry. An audience in this age group is a wonderful audience with an open mind and they will buy almost anything you tell them. I love working for students. Since this is your first real performance you should go prepared and you might even want to practice. ;-) Smoking Camel's idea of splitting up the group into smaller units is useful. If it is practical depends on the circumstances.
I would start to perform for the group as a whole. But you have to keep in mind that these people are there to party and not to see you you perform. So keep it short, to the point, and interesting. This short performance can serve as an introduction after which you can go and mingle and read people's (preferably girls') minds. You might also want to take a look at tarot or palmistry. You will have the girls standing in line to get to you. And don't be afraid to fall on your face: even a short generic reading can be extremely convincing.
Anyway, let the people come to you, their curiosity will lead them to you. And once you have performed a couple of effects, your nerves will have disappeared and your self-confidence will grow.

I didn't see the number of people at the party is only 15. So forget about splitting them into groups and as said above by Tony: do an "extended close-up performance"
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On 2011-08-02 15:56, johncesta wrote:
... and if you're really confident in your ability close with this:

Now THAT would work with 18 yr old girls.... [scribbles note to self]
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Profile of TonyB2009
Thomas, from what I have seen of your personality, playing the emphatetic psychic would be a stretch. But if you get a basic primer on palmistry (such as Paul Bell's Palmistry for Magicians, or Juliann Moore's Speed Palmistry method) you could try this approach. You could explain to people that you will tell them what a traditional palmist would read in their hands. Treat it as a mini-lecture, delivered one on one. Then let them make their own minds up on the readings. The girls will go for that.

It is possible to learn enough in eleven days - just don't expect to deliver the readings like an expert.
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Profile of IAIN
Thomas - remember what I said to you about giving readings please...

if you are used to close-up, is there the space to have 3 small tables of 5 people on each, loosely linked together?

or, what I would do is ask for a space of your own - with you at a table, and let guests come and go in small groups - and then work on something extra special for the birthday girl...some kind of confabulation about her hopes for the forthcoming year - and then for your end applause cue invite everyone to wish her well and that her dreams for that year come true...

quite soft, but it ends well and an automatic "finish"...

you should be able to get some very good p**-s*** from her parents about favourite pop stars, films, actors too...
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Jay Are
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Yes...LET's break out new material for a gig that is 11 days away...
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Profile of Mesaboogie
As has been mentioned above, this is classed as a parlour show. I would speak to the booker and ask whether they want this, i.e. a 45 minute standup show OR for you to mingle with 3 or 4 groups. An hours close up is all you need here. I would usually recommend my parlour show for anything under 25 people. Remember, your parlour show can really be just an extension of your close up set, although I would recommend creating a good finale routine that runs for a good 10 minutes, and preferably involves the birthday girl

I actually disagree with Bartelli. I would NOT start with a performance for everyone if you have NOT been booked for the parlour as you may find it difficult to move into doing the close up if everyone is fascinated with what you are doing - which they should be.


Everyday, in everyway, I am becoming better and better
Jay Are
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My advice to you is this Thomas...

Work with what you already do...

Close-up effects can work on large stages...

There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to adapt your close-up set to the parlour format...

Use your audience members as props -- the people present WILL react to the reactions of the PARTICIPANTS.

I do a full parlour show with a few business cards, a deck of playing cards, and a note pad.

It is ENTIRELY possible...

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Great answers and help for you Thomas.

Develop your premise as character and be friendly with your audience.

Talk with the person that hires you and stablish your scenario (stand up or in table). Perform your favorite pieces, script your show and smile.

(and buy my books Smile)
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Profile of magicman29
Best Of luck and let us know how you get on!

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Profile of Mindpro
Some weird advice being given here, I can't tell what's real or a put on. If this is for people that know you such as classmates I'd be very concerned if you are claiming to be psychic and doing readings. If this is the case these people know you and will probably find this unbelievable and just a series of tricks.

Do you know these people well? Is it a paying gig? Why did you take it if it's not your typical type of performance? How long is the performance?

Some poor advice here of learning new effects or concepts, stick with what you know, have done and are comfortable with.

A stage show or Parlour as said above I would think would be best - best to win them, keep them and amaze them.
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Profile of MichaelCGM
First, you should be able to get through this with minimal injuries. Smile From what I've seen and read of you, you shouldn't have a problem. Second, I agree... this sounds like a perfect size audience for "parlor" style effects, but (as has been mentioned) can be performed almost like your close-up… just controlled with voice and presentation. Third, however, is it doesn't matter what you or I might prefer. It matters what the person booking you wants. Have they booked you for table or dinner entertainment, or have they booked you for parlor style entertainment? They are, after all, the people you need to please... and please as best you can, considering it's your first booking. They need to spread the word about how good you are, not about how far they were required to bend over to accommodate you. But, hey... that's just me.

Good luck!!!
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael Smile Laus Deo!
Stephen Young
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Thomas, I don't feel qualified to offer much in the way of advice,
And we may have had our differences of opinion, I would like to wish you success and would love to hear how it goes.

Sean Giles
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Thomas, this might actually be an ideal first gig for you. Young teenagers will literally believe anything you tell them and that should give you confidence in yourself. The best advice I can give is try to look relaxed, smile, and be nice and social with them all. And don't forget that the host is the star of the party. He won't be, you will, but you have to make him believe he is.

As to weather you do parlour, walk around close up etc. you should discuss it with whomever is paying you. Just remember to politely stay in charge at all times when dealing with him/her.

I think you could really be in your element Thomas and wish you the best of luck.
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