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magicdrums
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Hey guys!

Here is my new manipulation act. It was at an awanas show at my church I go to . There were 0ver 400 kids and adults there!

Let me know what you think! If you have any pointers I would appreaciate it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gqnxPZtVjc
Bill Hegbli
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Why don't you produce the 1st silk magically instead of pulling it from your pocket. There are a lot of good silk productions available.

I think you should put your large table at the center of the stage a little more back, being you do all you steals and ditches with that table. The small table/cage move more toward you as well. I say that because it looks like you are scurrying all over the place like a guy in a big hurry to go nowhere and you audience has to try to keep track of you running back and forth.

Slow down a little, no one is chasing you. Give the audience a moment to realize just what they have seen.

Your cards need work, and your back and front palm is way to wide a circle.

Your ending was really weak, there are a lot of good trick on the market for an ending piece.

It would have been good for you to talk to the kid on stage. Just because you have your music blaring does not mean you cannot speak.

Tighten up your movements and work on your steals and ditches with the table close to you. Put your name on the table or give it a stickon design to make it look more like a decorative piece on stage.

The cage thing was meaningless, just to produce 2 cloths, and why when you were done with them you put them back on the cage. Just drop them in your gray table and you would not have to run across stage again.

When you are working with candles, treat them as real candles. Real candles will drip wax on the floor, so swinging them around is not good showmanship.

Turning a silk to a ball, why? Why not do a quick one to four.

You have some good ideas, but it is just a bunch of moves, not really a complete trick.

Watch the video with these things in mind. Hopefully it will help you to understand.
Dick Oslund
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Magicians, especially non-professional performers, "suffer' from a lack of a director!
In general, I agree with Bill. There are a few points that I would mildly disagree with-or would 'add to'. (Ha! I just did a "Charlie Miller"! (I used a preposition to end a sentence with!)

1. Your props (and you, personally) look fine. Silks are pressed, etc. You have a nice smile which helps sell you as a performer.
2 Prop tables are badly blocked. --You probably wear out a pair of shoes at each performance! It was like watching a tennis match, while seated at the net line. My neck is sore from swivelling! YOU should (with this type of act)stay at center stage. The big table should be upstage, but not centered. Spot it just right of center. Center is the strongest part of the stage. Don't give that spot to a prop table!
3. The "cage" is on too low a table (sight lines). You've been producing silks from the air--why a big "box" to jerk two more silks from? (Oops. Charlie Miller, again!) Kill the cage prop. It doesn't rate stage space,for what it does.
4. The drum production 'gets nothing'. It's the wrong prop for the bit with kid. It's McBride's idea, but he uses a (Charlis Miller) coin pail--and follows through with the prop.
5. Props like lit candles--go back and see Bill's comment.
6. You don't have an ACT. It's a 'whole bunch' of small props! The stage,is somewhat like the 'old dime store windows' Canes, candles, cards, silks, etc. 'ad infinitum'.
7. An ACT needs an Opening, a Middle, and a Closing. Your closing is especially weak.
8. Because of the bad blocking of the prop table, you are 'scurrying'(to use Bill's well chosen term). In the circus we would say that the act looks likd a 'Chinese Fire Drill'. I didn't time it, but would guess that about 1/5 of the act is 'walking back and forth'! (see #2 again)
9. You don't know how to bow! But, there aren't many places where you do bow. You haven't planned any! Go see a circus! Observe how the performers encourage and 'get' applause. They STYLE! They don't bow. --especially the little 'nod' that you are doing. At least you didn't bow like high school graduation kids!!!
10.You seemed to be 'rocking' when you were standing still. It's distracting.
11.In general, the TEMPO of the act was almost frantic. It looked like you were hurrying to get done.
12.The TIMING was poor (give the audience an opportunity to appreciate--and respond--by 'pointing' the finish of a bit. (You can 'tell' a professional performer, by the pauses!)The late Bob Downey was a master of the 'pregnant pause'.
13,The TIME was OK, You didn't earn the Chinese billing (ONN TU LONG). That's good, because I was 'fatigued' from watching the pacing back and forth! My neck was getting sore.
14.You've obviously PRACTICED the various tricks. After you rewrite the 'act', paying special attention to the 'dramatic' build to a finish, planning the little climaxes enroute to the big climax (which at present you don't have)planning the pauses for applause(s) and the blocking of your stage movements,then, you REHEARSE the ACT! (PRACTICE and REHEARSAL are not the same. You PRACTUCE a move or a trick. You REHEARSE the entire act.
15.READ, STUDY, (not more tricks)but, how to PRODUCE an ACT!
READ: HENNING NELMS "SHOWMANSHIP"-DARIEL FITZKEE "SHOWMANSHIP'-KEN WEBER "MAXIMUM ENTERTAINMENT"!!!!!

NOW, GO BACK AND READ BILL'S COMMENTS AGAIN. (You can read mine, a second time, too, if you like.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT: You've spent a lot of time practicing, you've spent a lot of money purchasing props. WHERE DO YOU EXPECT TO PERFORM IT??? Where can you book a 10 minute 'vaudeville' act these days???

If you want to produce a professional quality act, that will produce $$$$$, you must be able to do 'time' (possible exception: Vegas or Cruise Ships--no ships want more than 10 minutes.) You need an act that can play anywhere, for anybody. You need to be able to talk. You need to be able to move in, set up fast, work,and move out.

I hope that this has been helpful. The last time I did this for a young professional, I charged him a fee of $500. Neil Foster used to charge $1500, for the Chavez Course. Then the kids would come to me to learn about getting booked. Of course, they did not expect to pay for 'that' knowledge!!! You're lucky! You get a free critique!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Bill Hegbli
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So you would better understand what I am trying to convey in words, look at this act by Levent. He sells a DVD that totally explains every trick in his old act.

More so, watch his stage presence in relation to his table, and how he stops with the props in hand, and the applause cues he makes after each effect. Notice his posture and defined handling with each prop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TthZn73C5ao
magicdrums
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Thanks Guys this helps alot!
Andy Young
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Bill,

I do agree that Levent does have the stage presence down. I have a hard time following the progression of the act. Magicdrums video had the same problem. I tend to watch these manipulation videos and think that they write down all the stuff they know and then just throw it in there. Levent does know how to entertain an audience, but after watching it I only really remember the fire to candle bit. On a side note Levent does make excellent videos (I have the Billiard Balls one and watched some of the Miser's dream)

Magicdrums I would take all the advice given to you and run with it. I would also say that you should watch a ton of videos on manipulation performances and just watch the body movements (not the effects). Look at the gestures that these performers use to indicate applause. A head nod, smile, hand wave. See what you like and work on what comes to you naturally. It looked from your video that you smile nicely so use that up.
Bill Hegbli
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Andy, I recommended this video for the stage presence and applause cues, as you pointed out. I did not say anything about the act material and its use of the effects. Also, what one remembers was not on my suggestion to look for as well in this video.

I have to say it is not good to watch a ton of manipulation performances, as most of them are not correct. Only watch the correct stage mannerisms.

Please read my words, I try very hard to be exact in what I am trying to convey. Please let me know where I suggested other things in the study of this video. You can use quotes, if it is easier.
Andy Young
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Sorry if you took it differently Bill, I was agreeing with you and then just putting my two cents in about how I view manipulation acts.

Quote:

I have to say it is not good to watch a ton of manipulation performances, as most of them are not correct. Only watch the correct stage mannerisms.



I will say the only way to know if someone has a good or correct stage mannerisms is to start to watch a video (or get reviews from the internet). So I will say that you should get a good amount of different sources for you to learn from. Not all have to be good because you can learn a lot from the bad, but you need to know that it is bad. I know that from watching youtube videos I know how not to present card magic. On the other end I also know what expertly handled cards look like and aspire to that level.

So once again I am sorry Bill.

Best wishes,

Andy
Frank Simpson
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When the government trains people to spot counterfeit money, they do not study the fakes. They study the real thing. They study it very, very carefully, and very, very thoroughly. They don't waste their time studying what is wrong because they know the genuine article so well that all else is counterfeit. I would suggest that Bill's approach is a much better way.

It might be said that in many ways, showmanship has nothing to do with effects. Showmanship is applied to effects. It is easily the most sorely neglected, yet most needed aspect of our craft. There are far too many terrible manipulation acts (and illusionists, and mentalists, and escapists, and close up artists and on and on...) and while something may indeed be gleaned from them, one's time would be much better spent learning to do it right in the first place.

No one wants to take an acting class because they don't do "tricks". No one wants to take dance or movement classes because they don't teach "tricks". No one wants to study speech and elocution because there are no "tricks". No one thinks that comedy is actually something that needs to be studied because "anyone can tell a joke" or because they are "naturally funny".

The skills that they do devote some time and effort to; a perfectly executed sleight, a flawless double-lift, and so on are only the first in a long line of necessary skills, but all too often that's where the work ends, not where it begins.

And to say that the "only" way to learn is from watching youtube videos or internet reviews... rubbish! I am quite certain that Blackstone, Norm Nielsen, Cardini, Channing Pollock, Johnny Thompson, Jeff McBride (and I could go on and on) did not have the "luxury(?)" of youtube to hone their skills. No, they had knowledgeable directors work with them on their acts to make them better, not to show them what everybody else is doing wrong.

Any performer will benefit from a good director. The smart ones will seek out people like Joanie Spina and other qualified directors who work to refine their acts. And any director worth his or her salt will devote precious time showing you the skills you do need, not the ones you don't.
Andy Young
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It is like in physics. You can never know the location of an object with out measuring it (looking). There are good and bad books written on magic. But you won't know if it is good or bad until you read it. That is all I am saying on the video part or really anything in life. You can take reviews into consideration, but there can be both favorable and negative reviews as well.

I would like to second your comment Frank that "And to say that the "only" way to learn is from watching youtube videos or internet reviews... rubbish!" I couldn't agree more. That is why I commented about finding different sources to learn from.
Al Schneider
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Magicdrums
I teach magic.
First.
Your show has a lot of fun action.
Keep that up.
I see one major problem.
The magic should be performed in one place. Often performers believe they should move around a lot to fill the stage. In reality this makes the stage look big and the performer look small. If your props are placed appropriately the audience will not notice the actions of pick up and put back. This allows you to keep your magic performance in one location. If the eyes of the audience must move to track the action, the act looks small. If you don't move your hands all over the place, the audience need not move their eyes all over the place. In that case, you and your props become big in the minds of the audience.

I remember Karrell Fox, Jay Marshall, and Don Allan performing on large empty stages. When they performed they stood still and kept their props in one location during performance. With Jay I remember him doing Lefty and a vanishsing cane. He was on a large stage in front of thousands of people. Yet in my mind the hand puppet and cane filled the room. If you did this single thing, your act would tripple in effectiveness and your audience would regard you as a real pro.

The advice already offered is accurate. But my approach is to focus on the most critical issue.

Well, that is my thought. Keep banging away at it.

All the best.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
ROBERT BLAKE
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Some video's to watch and learn:

mr. electric: stage personality and use of stage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gwO0v1aTCg

dick zimmerman: stage use and building to a end. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6FUQaJfE......O0v1aTCg

(my favorate) FRED KAPS: 3 TIME fism WORLD CHAMPION: see his ease of performing and knowing when to take applause. he does not take applause with every little trick . he is in control of the audience. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ3wR9IClWY

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
my personal tip / advice: what you colors. you have a lot of red and black (costume) and then produc a red candle. take two colors red/black and us one or twoo different colors for contrast. example: produce a white candle. it will show up better on you costume.

see the classic acts and see that they have a short slower part in thier show. this is so the audience is getting a break. Dick zimmerman: ring and rope.
jcup
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How is it manipulation? You got a long way to go.
Anatole
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I question the advisability of doing a trick with kids in the audience where you light your finger on fire. I guess the effect is supposed to be that the fire on the fingertip changes to a silk handkerchief. In some schools, an open flame on stage--even for lighting a candle--is a violation of fire marshall regulations. Surely you've heard of kids trying to duplicate a cut-and-restored necktie effect with their dad's necktie. They might try to emulate your finger fire trick.

-----Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
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