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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Lights...camera...action! » » I need tips for street magic (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

DarkSmaug
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A friend and I would like to produce a street magic video at a mall. I've never done anything like this before, and I was hoping to get some tips:
  1. How do you approach a stranger with a trick?
  2. What do you do with a heckler in the crowd?
  3. How do you end it?
Oz Fan
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Just do what Blaine does, go up to a stranger and ask if they would like to see something. You will not always have a positive response, but if you're doing a trick with cards just let the cards be visible to the spectator and they'll most likely say sure.
Blake S.
James F
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  1. I personally would just walk up to them with a deck in hand and ask them if they want to see something
  2. Don't show that part of the tape Smile
  3. Just say something like thanks for your time
James
ABlair36
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You need to have them sign something or have them clearly say on tape that it is OK to use them in your video. Also check out the laws in your city. It might be illegal if you don't follow special procedure.
Dave V
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You can also try posting this in the "Street Magic" forum instead of here. You might get some more responses.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
chrisrkline
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Since you are asking how to approach people in a mall and how to handle hecklers, maybe you should wait a while before you start dragging a camera crew around with you. Give yourselves some time to learn to work crowds before you complicate things with a video camera.
Chris
Adam Hince
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Good point, Chris. It's going to be stressful enough for him. No point in adding extra pressure to some first time jitters.
Partizan
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I dissagree, what better experience than getting out there and doing it.
Get down to the mall and start now. You will make mistakes, but make them now while you are getting a feel for the job in hand.
Practice with your pal getting the best angles for the performance.
How will you shoot the punter and frame what magic your showing. How will you get the punters expression when they get the kicker.
The only way to work it out is a touch of practice with your cameraman then straight down the mall.

Approach people who are relaxing or resting. Last thing you want is to stop someone who is on a shopping rush or needs ro be somewhere fast.
Old people are always a good bet. Not too old mind! or you may have to shout and repeat yourself.
Also look out for shop assistants who may show an interest if you shoot outside the shop.

Hope that's of some help mate!

PS. Your cameraman better get some skills. It's not as easy as it seems. As the other guys pointed out, If you can work the crowd then you got no problem. Just your cameraman.
If someone heckels or spoils then don't use that section of tape. Deal with them as normal and just gash that section of material.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
MichaelSibbernsen
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Contrary to what you may believe, the mall is not a "public place", it is a busisess, whether you are outside a particular storefront or not. You will need to contact and gain permission from the mall manager before you do anything.

Also, to cover yourself (and the mall) legally, you should carry general "Model Release Forms" for the spectators to sign. You can find these at a full service photography store, or even found for free download online.

As far as video goes. Consumer MiniDV cameras have wonderful image quality with the proper lighting, but without, start to look dismal quickly. You will want to have professional lighting with you. A very close second to the image quality, is sound. The mics on consumer and pro-sumer cameras are notoriously bad. For optimum sound, you will want a boom-man with directional microphone.

You may not feel you need all these bells and whistles, but if you want a quality project, they are a must.

Regarding the last poster's ill-advice; I believe you will be doing Magic and yourself a grave disservice not presenting the art in the best possible performance light. Unfortunately, this will be difficult considering the very act of foistering yourself on others.

Best of luck with your project.

Michael Sibbernsen
Starr Video Productions
Jonathan P.
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I agree with some previous post, those which manifest some wondering about questions upon "first time in a mall" coming from someone who want to make a video about it. I would advise you to become familiar with the situation (the place, the kind of people, finding comfortable spots to perform,...) before take-out the camera. (During this period you can rehearse with the cameraman the different aspects before-mentionned.)

Even with tips, a new performing situation will generate some stress, will carry some unexpected events or situations. I would suggest to become familiar with it before getting the camera-stress.

It will permit you to find, for example, YOUR best way to approach someone in the crowd, to manage the hecklers...

It all depends if your purpose is fun or commercial. But if it is commercial, I think it isn't worth to do a street magic tape which does what Blaine does. He did it already. So, get your own feeling about it, your own mood and then you'll have really something to share.

Good luck for your project,
Jonathan.
chrisrkline
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Quote:
On 2004-03-04 02:23, Partizan wrote:
I dissagree, what better experience than getting out there and doing it.
Get down to the mall and start now. You will make mistakes, but make them now while you are getting a feel for the job in hand.



There is no problem learning by doing. He can go to the mall and "practice" his crowd skills all he wants (assuming he is skilled on the technical and presentation side of things) but to drag a camera around sounds more like he wants to be an instant Blaine than that it might serve some useful purpose to the advancement of his art. At the least it can get in the way of an decent interaction with the spectators.
Chris
the levitator
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Chrisrkline makes a good observation. Why would going out to shoot a video be any different than performing an actual show? It seems like it is ok to be totally rehearsed and ready to perform magic, but anyone can just run out with a videocamera and make an excellent video unprepared. I do video production, and cameras don't lie. If you aren't prepared, not only with the effects you intend to perform but also a shot list, lighting, sound, etc., you are setting yourself up for a lot of embarassment. Or at the least, you are setting yourself up for a LOT of extra work in post. Garbage in, Garbage out is the expression. If you don't put as much time and effort into the preparation and shooting of the video itself, it will show itself painfully in the end product.

If making street magic videos were so easy, there would be a lot more of them on the air. As a professional performer, I would be concerned about going around half-cocked, stumbling through effects in front of not only a camera but a live audience. Is that the sort of image you want to portray of yourself?

Blaine makes it look easy, because he spent months preparing the show and his PROFESSIONAL crew spent months planning the shots, editing, music, etc. If you want to make a video of yourself and you don't care how you appear to the public, I say go for it. But don't expect that you and one of your buddies with a consumer camcorder are going to produce something on the level of a Blaine special.

I would agree that the best thing might be to go out and practice approaching people a couple of times to get the jitters out. Then maybe go out again with just 1 consumer camcorder so that you can review your technique and presentation. Make notes on what you like, and what needs to change. Then, spend some time actually scripting some basic shots for the effects you want to highlight in the video. Finally, take the advice given here and have REAL lighting and EXTERNAL sound recording. Even a simple clip on light for the camcorder should be enough, and wireless mic systems are very cheap nowadays.

I don't mean to come off as harsh, but good video is like good magic; it takes lots of practice and real training to be good at it. Sure, you can just grab your invisible deck and a camcorder and get some footage, just don't get your hopes up on the end product if you don't take the time to prepare and organize your shoot.
"It's all in your head...."



James Anthony
www.jamesanthonymagic.com
Partizan
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I think the advice you chaps give, while sound advice, misses the point.
I don't think he is out to do a big production with all the angles covered, shot list, make-up artist the sheebang!
He seems like he wishes to experiment with video as a medium, to feel it out and see what he can achieve with a camera and a handfull of cards.

I agree the mall would be out without permission, I would give it a go and see if I get asked to stop Smile
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
DarkSmaug
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Wow... thanx guys. I guess I shoulda specified what I was planning to do. This is definately not a big production, or anyhting that will be publically viewed. It's more or less a video for school. And my friend and I have been around magic and cameras for a while, making movies and doing tricks. We do realize the difficulty with angles, and lighting and such. That will be accounted for. But I think I will attempt just performing some magic without a camera to get the feel for it. Thanks for your input, and if there is anymore please, feel free to post here.
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