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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I want to see the manager! » » How to put a show together? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of glenwoodMagic
Is there a forum on creating a stage show? Some things of interest are the following:

- It seems a show should have an overall theme - something - tying everything together from start to finish. Maybe three acts? Or an intro, body, conclusion...? How does one put together a full show so that they don't look like they're just demoing a handful of tricks just purchased?
- How to dress?
- What kind of help might the magician need? When to use assistants, how to find them... How much does the magician reveal to theater personnel?
- What to do, not to do on stage?
- Funny lines.
- What to do - or how to recover - if a trick fails.
- Encouraging audience participation.
- How to get (the right) volunteers.

- etc. ...
Dave Scribner
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Profile of Dave Scribner
If you are new to magic, you can try the New to Magic forum. Some of your questions have already been answered there. You could also try the Food for thought forum. You are asking a variety of questions however and there are individual forums to discuss each. For instance you asked "how to dress" we have a forum "the clothes we wear". For funny lines you could try "now that's funny". In short, each of your questions are covered in a variety of forums. Look at our Odds and Ends section. It covers quite a bit of what you are asking.
Where the magic begins
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Profile of sirbrad
Well there are a lot of books, DVDS and other material out there on such topics, and most of that is actually put together and learned on your own through trial and error. At least for me it was back when I started almost 40 years ago, long before there was an internet, DVDS, or even VHS tapes. Your best place to start though that covers a lot of that stuff would be the Tarbell Course in Magic which is the Bible of magic, and coveralls all aspects of every genre of magic and all the questions that you asked.

Also there are not dead set universal rules that are one-size-fits-all, styles, clothing, acts, and presentations all vary. But these books will set the foundation for you and give you a general idea of where to start. Books on magic theory (another subject I write about often) cover stuff like this also. Books like Maximum Entertainment, Strong Magic, Shattering Illusions, Mastering The Art of Magic, and all of Eugene Burgers books, The Highway To Success, The Success Books etc. Books/CDs/courses like Jim Snack's Success In Magic Course covers how to start a career and what types of venues to perform at as well as much more.

Or you can just do what us old school pro's did, start out with a few good books or the Tarbell set and go form there. What usually happens is the information comes to you when you are actually ready to receive it, kinda like the saying goes "when the student is ready the mater will appear." As opposed to someone else laying it all out for you based on their own personal experience. Everyone is different, and every presentational style is different as they should be. So most of that stuff is learned through experience, as the other saying goes "you need some place to suck first". Once you get out there with a good base program though all the pieces will eventually fall into place.

Start with the Tarbell Course though as that is best overall work written on magic as a whole, as addresses most of those questions as I said. After that you can pretty much figure it out on your own, and through experience. Experience is your best teacher. You can watch other magicians also for sample presentations, tricks, props, patter etc. You can even copy them at first until you are able to create your own persona later on. We all did it when we were kids, or beginners. Then eventually your find your own character and magic persona, and create your own tricks as well, although not necessary to succeed, that is why we have creators and magic shops. Then you can work on scripting, and taping yourself to see how you do and then start taking some small shows, or doing free shows for family and friends at birthday parties, which I did as a kid.

I also got tips even for them, and I knew shortly after that it was time to start doing paid shows, and started doing Nursing and Retirement Homes in my teens, as well as birthday parties, kids shows, pre-schools, adult parties, and later on corporate shows, bigger stage shows at fairs, restaurants, schools assemblies etc. So once you have a base show really experience is your best teacher, and finding your own style and what works for you. There are tons of books and now DVDS out there on the subject, I only listed a few off the top of my head. But learning on your own is also a great thing, as you can't copy anyone else and forces you to become more creative and original, as well as use your own imagination instead of just copying others, which is fine at first and in practice.

So I would just start with Tarbell and go from there, many have made a living out of Tarbell for over 50 years, even I use stuff from it till this day, and I did complete shows for many years solely from Tarbell. As Jeff McBride or Eugene Burger said in a video, "If you want to learn new magic read old books, if you want to learn old magic read new books."
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
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