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Profile of JamesinLA
It's a complex subject. I did a show last weekend, that was the 3rd bday for this girl. She is now 8. I did about 50 to 60 percent new stuff. She missed seeing one of the old effects. I also think having a different show is more for the parents than the kids. Since they're paying you, that matters.

Also, I have different packages. Like a magic class, games, etc. that will make it different as well.

Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
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Profile of RJE2
Hi Ken,

I don't think having 2 or 3 hours of "A" material is being unrealistic.

I think what happens is some performers ride their "A" act for years because they have never been forced to go beyond it that often. If you have clients that wish a new 90 minute show to run 10 to 12 weeks each year for 10 or more consecutive years, you learn to develop quite a few hours of "A" material. If, on the other hand, you only do a few repeat shows each year, then the need to build and create new quality routines isn't as pressing.

So yes, I guess it is all relative, but you don't have to be a Copperfield to have 2 or 3 hours of "A" material. It all depends on what your market needs are.
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Profile of TheGreatNancini
I agree with RJE2 that having 2 or 3 hours of A show material is not being unrealistic. Since magic is how my son Matthew and I make our living, we are constantly rehearsing and developing our two 45 minute school shows, as well as our two 60 minute corporate and family shows where none of the material overlaps.

We also have several polished acts that are not regularly in our shows that we rotate in on occasion. These are usually the more delicate props or extremely cumbersome ones that we reserve for special events or situations.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, which I totally am not, Matthew has several mantras: "Every show every time" and "God is in the details." We are constantly rehearsing new script and always looking for ways to make each show better. We would be very disappointed in ourselves if any of our shows a year from now look exactly like they do today.

With that said, we have a client that has partnered with us 40 times over the past 10 years and always expect us to have something new each time we return. Of course there are those favorite acts they have come to love and we work hard to rotate those each time so our client always gets a few of our classics. Because they are a repeat client and a very friendly audience, they make a wonderful testing ground for new material. If they do not give it an "A," it actually ends up for sale to one of you here on the Café. Smile
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Profile of TrickyRicky
Always take your A show to a performance.
The customer re-booked you because of the impression you/ve made on your first performance.
The customer will be disappointed that there won't be a third time.
Tricky Ricky
Mystical Matthew
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Profile of Mystical Matthew
On 2011-09-22 12:01, Ken Northridge wrote:

To say you have two hours of 'my best' or “A” material is kind of dodging the question. Certainly within that two hours there are some routines better than others. Ideally, it would be wonderful to have three 45-mintues shows of “A” material, but that is not realistic. And of course its all relative.

I wrote out a lengthy response to this thread, but realized I could consolidate my thoughts down to one sentence:


Seriously... What the heck?

We're constantly creating new content. That's part of the DNA of our business. We create something new, then kill whatever's weakest or the most stale. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Every year about a third of our show is killed and replaced with new material. I've never worried about repeat clients because the show's significantly changed between bookings anyway.

Over time we discovered the result of our relentless innovation was a lot of really good material that had been killed to make room for other really good material. Instead of letting it decay, we created targeted shows for various audiences and now repeat the process of Darwinian innovation with each of those shows as well.

Is it a lot of work? Yeah... Definitely. The point isn't to stay fresh though. The point is to make us better ENTERTAINERS. We take what we learned from the last creation and roll it forward to the next. The result? Each year we get radically better. I look at video from two years ago and cringe, not because it's bad but because I'm so much better now. I hope that in another two years I'm cringing at what I do today.

I know most guys spend entire lifetimes doing the same half dozen acts. Good for them. The thing is though that just because you get really good at that those six acts doesn't mean your show gets better.

Imagine if Apple had stopped at the original iPhone. They might be really good at making iPhones, but it still would be an original iPhone. Instead the take they lessons learned from the previous model and use them to make a new creation.

That's the point I'm trying to make here... If we're really pushing our shows forward then we should never have to worry about them seeing a B show, just our A shows in various stages of its growth!
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