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MikeJRogers
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Australia
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Hi everyone,

I thought I'd start this thread to not only help me, but also help every other budding illusionist out there.

My question is this. If you could give some tips or advice to anyone planning or trying to become an illusionist, what would it be?

The advice I've been given so far is:

- Write up a set of yearly goals and tick them off as you go.
- Work as much as you can.
- Save as much as you can.
- Add illusions to your stand-up show one at a time.
- Plan! Plan! Plan!

Can anyone add, or minus for that matter, to this list?

Thanks for your help,

Mike J Rogers
Mike Rogers Illusion Design - Australia - http://www.mikerogers.com.au
"Nothings impossible, the impossible just takes longer" - Dan Brown novel
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Chris H
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Melbourne, Australia
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Hmmm...can't say I'm an illusionist myself, but...

Don't forget the technical side of the show. Professional lighting, sound and staging can go a long way.

Cheers,

-- Topher
afun14u
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Tennessee
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DON'T DO IT....Just kidding, it's a lot of fun. My first suggestion would be to take as many Theater classes you can in school or at a local college. Start small and work your way up. And remember this rule of thumb...When you mess up - you mess up BIG! Not just one or two people see it, but your entire audience will see your mess up. Best of luck, let me know how it goes.

Robert Jones
Empowering Kingdom Growth through Evangelistic Entertainment!
Aroy
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On a more practical note....once you've got the 1st 3 worked out ;-) try to come out with specific illusions that you would like to include in your show. Aside from the initial investment, take into consideration storage, rehearsals space, transport, set-up issues, assistants and other such issues that crop up with each individual illusion. Also look at your return on investment so that you will be able to make a living off the profession, or expand your repertoire or upgrade the illusions.

Think also in terms of marketability. Try not to do stuff that others around you are already doing. MAybe you would look at customising the physical look of the illusions thru revised art design. This way though the actual routine may be the same, your marketing literature will be different.

Ahhh the list is a long one....chew on these thoughts for now.

All the best and oh yes don't forget to have fun along the way. Enjoy the journey.

ROY Smile
Bill Hegbli
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Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Buy a Semi Tractor-Trailor to store and haul the illusions. This will cost you about $500 K, and $1000 a week to maintain.

You don't want to invest in standard illusions, fly to Las Vegas and locate the best Illusion builder and only pay top dollar for the best.

Mikey Hades site has every illusion Plan on the planet, buy all of them and choose this as your starting point to creating your illusions.

http://www.trickster.com

Now get to work.

Bill
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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Here are some of my favorite tips I can share:

- Ask yourself if you have an intended market to perform these illusions at. it makes no sense to have them if you can't perform with them.

- Ask yourself if you have a place to store these illusions. They do take up room and you must have easy access to them for loading and unloading.

- Ask yourself if you have means for which to transport these illusions. You will need a good size vehicle depending on the size of the illusion show you plan on presenting.

- Do you have an assistant set up for the illusions? Having the illusions and not having anyone to perform them with, is no fun for anyone and ends up wasting money. Plan all this out ahead of time.

- Stick with buying your first illusions from the list of classics. They are classics for a reason, THEY WORK!!!

- Think about your intended venues. If your doing a lot of fairs or festivals, you will need illusions that can be performed surrounded and in most any lighting condition. You rarely get a perfect stage everytime these days. learn to make sure you can adapt well.

- start off small. Illusions are a HUGE investment. make sure you want to do them and do your homework ahead of time. if you do want to get into illusions, then start off with one small classic and test it out. see if it is right for you before investing more money into it.

I will leave it at this. I hope that these tips are of help to you and that they get you thinking. If anyone cares to talk more about getting started into illusions, please PM me. I would be happy to help out.
Kyle Peron

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JustinDavid
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Kyle, I think that's really the best advice. Some illusions are very well storable in your closet.. some are not. They are a huge investment, but they do eventually pay themselves off (the good ones at least). Look for the best deal. Chalet magic has some of the best work I've ever seen, and the boss is an amazing guy.

I haven't been doing the big stuff for a long long time, but I've been in it enough to know that once you do it, it's doubtful that you'll go back. Smile
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magic4u02
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My best advice is to just do your homework and think about it before jumping into illusions. Illusions are what every aspiring young magician dreams of doing at some point. The only problem is that sometimes the dream gets in the way of thinking practical and logical.

Kyle
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Peter Loughran
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Heres my bit of advice,

Save up and buy one illusion to add to your show. Perferbly something rather easy to perform, low cost, and something that doesn't require special lighting, angles, etc., something that can be done surrounded.

Now rehearse this illusion to perfection, This may take theatre training for some.

Now lug it around to as many shows as you can.

Now determine if the reactions you got from this, the extra money(if you charged any extra) was worth the hassle of lugging this big prop around, setting it up, breaking it down, finding the right assistant, finding the time to rehearse it with your assistant, maintence of the prop, the initial cost, the storage space it takes up, and so on and so on....and see if it was worth it to you. Keep in mind if you do a full illusion show, you will multiply this 10 fold.

Now come back and read this post again.

If you still want to be an illusionist, then go for it, follow the advice given by others, and follow your dream.

If this is not your cup of tea, you still have one big illusion that you can bring out for special shows, or you can turn around and sell the prop, take a small loss, and chalk it up as experience.


P.
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kaos
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If you want something a bit special it's definitely worth checking out Peter's website all his illusions are top notch! very well made great quality and reliable!

May I just say Peter that I have recently seen the Devil's Reflection and I LOVE it!
Peter Loughran
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Thanks Kaos! Its nice to know that what we do does not go un-noticed!

I noticed your on the other side of the pond, We have recently built The Devil's Reflection illusion for illusionist Sango in the Uk, and also most recently to one of Germany's leading illusionists-Joerg Tragert. Was it one of these gentleman where you saw the illusion performed?

Thanks for the kind words!

P.
Brand New: - SNAKE BITE ILLUSION
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PortugalMagician
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Paul Osborn has a few books on illusion building. They are very good. Check them out.
Speed
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Well you ask a great question. I started with close up magic, which lead to small parties , which lead to an illusion show. Which I performed over 200 last year. My thoughts are as follows:

1) Work on your stand up show. This is the body of your show. This is where you connect with your audience, and hopefully impress them with skill and wit as well. This is the meat of your show the illusions are the gravy. The most important thing I learned is " Make the audience like you" that's it. If they like you they will hire you. It doesn't matter what you do or how you do it if they like you. Denny of Denny & Lee told me that and he is so right.

2) Practice. It is important to practice so you don't come of like a bubling idiot...unless that is your style. Don't over do the practice to the point you never end up putting things into the show. Get it working and just do it. Some of my best routines came about by not over doing the practice...the routines will come with time.

3) The big toys (Illusions) These are great. For one they're easier than manipulation and are often much easier to routine. Play some music, point at a couple boxes and you feel like David Copperfield. It does feel great to do big illusions but what it really does for the audience and the client is make your show look bigger and more professional; which leads to larger fees and more bookings.(period).

Laymen don't know the difference between the Oragami illusion and a sword basket . To them...a person went in a box and swords were shoved in ...then the assistant came out unharmed. We know the Oragami is super cool, but laymen really don't know what an Oragami illusion is, or that it costs about $7,000 more.

So what should you perform when it comes to illusions?

#1 The Metamorphosis. It can be build or bought for under a $1000 and you will look like a god... fast or slow it is still great. I got mine from Bob Sheets used for $500. I heard Bob used it for over a thousand shows and I have easily performed 500 times. Even if it looks beaten to death...it just adds to the effect. An added bonus is that it's angle proof except from above.

#2 A production. (Doll House, Flash Production, Some sort of base illusion.) I used to the doll house for years. It's quick, easy and a comfortable position for your assistant. And will blow the audience away. Obournes books are a great source of easy to build illusions for a production.

If you have a couple grand...the Blamo illusion is great. Small, light, can pack flat if you need it to...although mine is built to fit thru a standard door assembled. Of course, I have a box truck to transport my show with.

#3 A puzzle illusion. Now you have an opener and a closer...you will need something in the middle. A twister illusion, Modern Art or sword basket...something fun but not crazy big...its not necessary unless you have the means to transport it.

As for transport, when I first started doing stage and illusion shows,my co-worker and I used to transport the show in a Corvette and an old Rx-7.

We did a head chest, a dove act ending with a Neilson cage vanish, The Metamorphosis, and sword basket..plus our stand up cases and sound.

YOU WILL MAKE IT FIT IF YOU HAVE TOO. As long as you buy or build magic that packs small and plays big.

Stick to the classics...They work

4) Sound. Sound is important. I can't tell you how many times a sound guy has screwed up our sound mixing by adjusting stuff. Microphones squealing, etc. Get a good lavalier mic or headseat. Dual diversity (2 antennas) VHF or UHF (my preference). don't skimp here...get the best you can afford it and always use your own mic. don't go to Radio Shack!!! Go to a pro sound place and tell them what your doing...they usually know their stuff.

Music??? Mini disk is the way to go. It's small and sounds great. I have a Show Tech and it is the greatest equipment I ever bought. Hook it up with a small mixer and a JBL Eon 10" speaker and you can play for over 250 people quite nicely. You can get all that stuff for about $1000 except for the Show Tech, that's about $2500.

5) Lighting. I wouldn't get too concerned with lighting for quite awhile. It's big, bulky, and you need someone to run all the equipment. General house lights or stage lighting will work fine.

This Looks like a lot but, if you do it one step at a time and one illusion at a time...you will learn and grow in to a good show.

Doing the shows is your best experience and practice you will ever get...of course, this is just my opinion.

I didn't mean to right a book...but I'm a an insomniac anyways...GOOD LUCK

Speed
Speed & Thro: High Energy Magic

ps . would like to hear if you think I'm on the right track...thanks Smile
Pakar Ilusi
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Great advice guys! Thanks! Smile

Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Bill Palmer
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Speed wrote:

Quote:
3) The big toys (Illusions) These are great. For one they're easier than manipulation and are often much easier to routine. Play some music, point at a couple boxes and you feel like David Copperfield. It does feel great to do big illusions but what it really does for the audience and the client is make your show look bigger and more professional; which leads to larger fees and more bookings.(period).

Laymen don't know the difference between the Origami illusion and a sword basket . To them...a person went in a box and swords were shoved in ...then the assistant came out unharmed. We know the Oragami is super cool, but laymen really don't know what an Oragami illusion is, or that it costs about $7,000 more.


While it may be easy to do illusions badly, it certainly isn't easy to do them well. If you do them well, the audience does not credit the boxes with the magic. They credit YOU with the magic.

And that is the hardest thing to achieve with illusions.
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Backroomboy
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David
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Speed is up to speed.

Production points matter and he is a fool who ignores that or thinks that his freaking personality will cut though and save the day.

A professional show requires a professional deportment. Period.

Proper preparation prevents poor performance...The five P's.

Cool Speed...you need to say more...

But having said that...here is something further. There is no need to go with mini-disk any longer what with the advances made in desktop computers. A whole wealth of knowledge has been lain before you.

It is all accessible with a CDR capable drive.

And that is not the only thing...you can entirely automate your show if you wish.

We enter the age where our wish is our command even as we sing in our chains like the sea.
James Fortune
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Backroomboy,

Can you explain this a bit more?

Why don't we need mini disks any more?

I thought they were so good that they have become 'industry standard'. No?
Warmest regards
James

James Fortune MIMC
www.comedymagiciansurrey.co.uk
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Michael Messing
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Knoxville, TN
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I don't think mini disc can be dismissed so easily. Personally, I have no interest in taking a laptop computer with me to all my shows.

I use a Virtual Soundman with a mini disc recorder and it more than handles my music needs. Could I do it with a computer? Sure, but I'm not interested in going that way yet.

While I'm reasonably computer knowledgeable, I would rather stay with the simplicity of a mini disc system.

Also, a quick note about lighting. I have used quartz video lights for a stage wash for years. (Actually bought my first set when I did photography professionally.) A pair of 600-watt quartz lights with stands takes up very little space and will light a pretty broad area. It's not theatrical lighting but people will be able to see you!

Michael
ChrisZampese
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Hamilton, NZ
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You can dispense with the mini disk player if you want to go to an MP3 palyer. No real advantages to either as far as I can see. The MP3 player has the potential to hold more songs, but it can be harder to organise the files etc.
I wouldnt get rid of your minidisk player/recorder just yet, heck, even good old CD's are a great way to store music!
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
Kevin Kelley
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Get Rand Woodbury's Illusion video vol.1 It's GREAT for learming the basic base, and Steps. his other videos have som cool stuff too, but I didn't find them to be as helpful when it actually comes to learning the building process.
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