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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Entering/Starting a Parlor Show (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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tvmikek
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I'm curious about the different ways established performers begin their parlor shows. Do you have someone introduce you? Do you invite everyone to sit down and then begin your show? Are there other creative ways you have to let an audience know that the show is beginning?

Of course, each show and each performance room is different... but I'm interested in hearing all of the different ways shows are started.
MichaelCGM
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It works in a variety of ways. For me, usually, the client gathers the people into the performance area when it's close to time for the show. If they want to introduce me, I naturally wait while they do so, then walk to the center of my staging area and offer my standard, comedic explanation of who I am and what's in store. If the client doesn't want to do an intro, then I just go ahead with catching their attention, then going into the comedic intro.
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Philemon Vanderbeck
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I blow an antique brass police whistle; that gets everyone's attention.
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erikdobell
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I really need some sort of introduction. I have a recorded one but if I can't use that for some reason than having whoever is in charge introduce me works too. I think the show needs an official beginning where you come in with applause, otherwise it can be difficult to get the energy going.
Mindpro
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I agree and for many reasons. It sets the tone, pace, send the proper and desired signals to an audience and also serves as a prompt to lead them how to respond. I too have a pre-recorded intro which assures the exact intro tone, pace and enthusiasm each and every time. I used to also carry a typed out card with an abbreviated inrto for those instances when someone wants or prefers to introduce me live, like a CEO company President, Principal at a school, Mayor, VIP or other. The problem is while they are often respectable and authoritative to the audience, they usually funt and fumble and almost always screw it up or break the tone and purpose, not to mention mis-pronounce my name. I really don't like this at all.

I then came up with an intro to my intro. A card with a very simple, short live read opening (for those that really want the CEO or others to introduce me) that goes right into a pre-recorded produced intro with music, thunder and much more to set the pace I prefer. I still prefer only my pre-recorded into which is used 99% of the time, but I always have the other in the event of this other possibility.

It also comes down to dynamics and theatrics. I feel your intro is the real first impression of your show. How you take the stage and your first words and actions are the first impression of you, but the first impression of your show is the stage before the beginning of the show and the intro, which brings it to life.

To also address the OPs original question, yes, I also have pre-show announcements on both audio/CD/mp and DVD/video instructing them that the show is about to begin, take your seats no cell phone/cell phones off, no audio and video recording and other specifics to my show. This is of course followed by the recorded intro.
Ken Dyne
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For large rooms I use a pre-recorded voice with music etc, however for a smaller group I have the host introduce me.

The reason I don't like to begin without being introduced is that the first impression I'd have to give would be that of a shooshing parent, getting everyone settled.

That's not the look on going for Smile
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Joe Atmore
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Quote:
On Nov 19, 2015, Ken Dyne wrote

That's not the look on going for Smile


Certainly not with that hair!
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tvmikek
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These are all great answers!

The one performer I saw get away with starting the show without any formal announcement was Rob Zabrecky at The Magic Castle last year. About five minutes before the show began, he was moving throughout the audience completely in character. Most people thought he was just an eccentric guy looking for a seat... and then were stunned when he was suddenly on the stage doing magic.

It was a great way to start the show and introduce everyone to his character.
Mindpro
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It may have been a great way to start a show at the Castle for the Castle audience. But that is much different than in real world performing environments. I could also see it working against the performer as well, not to mention some in the audience or the buyer being less than thrilled with such an approach.
Necromancer
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When performing stand-up shows for a private or corporate function, I am always introduced by the host of the party.

The introduction is printed on card stock, is set in large type so the host doesn't have to wrestle with glasses, and is given to the host five to 10 minutes before curtain. Then I walk him through it, so he won't stumble on any words.

Having the host get everybody's attention and introduce me in this way sends two clear messages to the audience: (1) I am the official delegate of this person they know and respect; and (2) the content of my intro reassures them that they will be in the hands of a professional, so they can relax and have a good time.
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Alexxander
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Necromancer, or everyone for that matter...
how long is your introduction you prepare for the host?
Three sentences? One sentence?
What do you think is appropriate?
And what information should the introduction contain?
Al Straker
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For me an introduction is essential and this made clear when the booking is done for similar reasons to those stated, just the most professional way to set the tone. My host gives a scripted introduction that I have run through with them prior to the show. My first line is then "Thank you for that kind round of indifference and wonderful introduction....written of course by ME!!" Smile
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Necromancer
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Mine is no more than 15 seconds—which includes the directive to please silence all mobile devices (another excellent reason for an introduction).
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Philemon Vanderbeck
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Since I'm incorporating video into my newest show, I am thinking of adding a steampunk-style countdown timer that will be projected during the last few minutes prior to curtain. Watching the numbers countdown while the "mechanism" builds in intensity should provide an increasing sense of anticipation for the initial moment.
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Mindpro
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There is much you can do with the addition of video and multi-media, unfortunately for most performers that isn't always an option.
tvmikek
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Philemon, you might be able to find some music to go along with the countdown animation that also builds in intensity. There are composers who could create this, but different music libraries (like Dewolfe Music) might license you a track for a small fee. I have friends who are composers if you need a few names.
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Thank you for the information and the offer, but my husband is a skilled composer who has already underscored many of my routines.

You can hear one of his compositions in my "R.U.C.K.U.S." routine, which you can watch at https://youtu.be/NYDBZkh7P1c

Currently my show starts with a track titled "Ghost Train" played just before curtain, which you can find (among other pieces) at http://www.keithvankirk.com/#!underscores-1/tllo8
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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tvmikek
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That's great! I really appreciated how you timed your routine to perfectly fit the music. That takes a lot of rehearsal. Well done!

I also like how the music changed its tempo and feel based on what you were doing. Great teamwork!
thementalcoach
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Quote:
On Nov 25, 2015, Necromancer wrote:
Mine is no more than 15 seconds—which includes the directive to please silence all mobile devices (another excellent reason for an introduction).


I like the "silence your mobile devices" a lot. I'll add, for a touch of humor, that I have a storage device offstage for any cell phones that ring - also known as my big bucket of water. Then I add, I'm just kidding...maybe. My goal is to get the audience's mind to focus on silencing their phones a couple of times.
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Pop Haydn
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I have emceed in the Palace of Mystery at the Magic Castle hundreds of times over the last forty years. There is a big difference between introducing a speaker for an event and introducing an act in an entertainment venue. The introduction of the speaker is meant to tell the audience who the speaker is, what he will be talking about and what is authority on that subject might be...An entertainment venue the audience just sits and waits for the show to start. The only real rule for either is that the introduction end with the name of the performer or speaker. I often was given long intros for acts, that listed every credit the performer had. It was usually a terrible start for the show. The audience never listens to, or remembers the credits. The longer the wait for the emcee to present the act, the worse the audience response when the act walked out. A good intro could be, "Ladies and gentleman, you may have seen this performer on __________ (more or less known television show), please welcome The Amazings!" or "I am so happy to present one of my favorite acts, The Amazings!" My favorite kind of introduction would have been from Kermit the Frog, "Ladies and Gentlemen...The Amazings! Yaaaaaaaayyyyyyy" It is the energy and respect of the introducer that means more than anything said.

Billy McComb had a printed card with his simple intro "Ladies and Gentleman, let me introduce a world renowned entertainer, Ireland's Largest Leprechaun, Billy McComb!" on the other side were instructions on how to read it: "Don't tell the audience the performer gave you this to read, it makes us both look bad. Just read the line with enthusiasm exactly as written, ending with the name Billy McComb, and don't try to be funny or entertaining in the process. That is my job. Do this and we will both look like professionals."

I encourage everyone to stay connected on the phones and I-pads, to take photos, take video, or whatever. I often introduce myself:

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