The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Packs Flat, Plays Flat (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6
David Thiel
View Profile
Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
3913 Posts

Profile of David Thiel
I am a fan of "Packs flat, plays BIG!"

If you are fixated on the effect and NOT the kids, you're missing the boat. I would much rather be a performer the kids really enjoyed than to be considered a guy who came and did some tricks. I'll go though fourteen effects in my half hour show. But it's NOT about the effects. That they rock is just a bonus. What it's about is the ENTERTAINMENT that happens along the way.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
Starrpower
View Profile
Inner circle
4070 Posts

Profile of Starrpower
I think you need a healthy mix. If you select your effects JUST on "pack small" you are missing out because your emphasis is on the wrong thing, which is entertaining the kids. On the other hand, if you disregard "pack small" entirely you may end up with an impractical show to carry around and move.

I prefer tricks that I enjoy doing, whether they are big or small. If I enjoy doing them, I will present them better and people will enjoy watching what I do. I don't intentionally select things based on size. That is secondary.

I just returned from doing a 9 year old boy's party. All of the tricks I did, with the exception of the Rocky Mountain Magic Pizza Oven, are "pack small" tricks. But the show was not created based on them being small; it just worked out that way. I chose them because they allow me to interact with the kids, they are entertaining, and they have some good magic.
David Thiel
View Profile
Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
3913 Posts

Profile of David Thiel
Quote:

I prefer tricks that I enjoy doing, whether they are big or small. If I enjoy doing them, I will present them better and people will enjoy watching what I do. I don't intentionally select things based on size. That is secondary.



I couldn't agree more. I was thinking the other day that the effect that got me into magic in the first place was seeing a street performer doing the Invisible Deck in the late 80's. I was floored. I still perform it today and it's one of my favorite effects.

It's the same thing with kids effects. I loved the Drawing Board the first time I saw it -- and I still do. Every effect in my kids show is chosen for those reasons. Although I must admit that I don't let myself look too long or longingly at BIG HONKING PROPS since I have a relatively small car.

:)

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
Al Angello
View Profile
Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
11047 Posts

Profile of Al Angello
I like doing stuff that other magicians don't do.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Starrpower
View Profile
Inner circle
4070 Posts

Profile of Starrpower
Funny, but that has never really entered my consciousness. I think that your average person (especially kids) has not seen enough magicians to even KNOW if you are doing the same stuff. If I like it, I do it. If it gets a good reaction, it stays in.
Al Angello
View Profile
Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
11047 Posts

Profile of Al Angello
Starrpower
One thing that every member of the KGH has in common is that each one of them does original material. If I had to do one of the top ten kids magic tricks I would not feel as unique as I would like to be. My whole show is me thinking outside of the box.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Starrpower
View Profile
Inner circle
4070 Posts

Profile of Starrpower
If I knew who the KBH that might mean something -- LOL!

I do original material, but every trick is not original and that is not a priority with me for shows. All my stuff is not original. For example, like you, I have a Pizza Oven Surprise, so I guess neither of us is completely original. Silly Billy does the coloring book.

If doing stuff that others are not doing is important to you, then you should do it.
TomBoleware
View Profile
Inner circle
Hattiesburg, Ms
2805 Posts

Profile of TomBoleware
I kind of feel the same way. Kids don't travel from town to town, and certainly not state to state watching magic shows.
Every magician could be doing the same show without a problem. But then the magicians wouldn't have anything to sell each other. LOL

But seriously, most kids will grow up, get old and die having only seen one or two (if any) magic shows during their lifetime.
Yet we worry about finding something new just to be different. But I agree, self satisfaction does mean a lot. Unless we first satisfy
ourselves it's hard to satisfy others.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
Brian Lehr
View Profile
Inner circle
Edmonton, Canada
1600 Posts

Profile of Brian Lehr
I just got home from doing an after-dinner banquet show, and ended off with the straitjacket escape (nothing special, just a standard escape). As usual, it got a huge response.

After the show, one of the key people in the company came up to me as I was leaving, and said she especially enjoyed the straitjacket escape. She said that she had never seen that done in a magic show before.

To me, it seems that every second magician does a straitjacket escape, but this lady made me realize that just because WE see those magicians, doesn't mean the average spectator has seen them. So something that we use in our show, which we might think is what everyone else is doing, will often be brand new for the audience we are performing for.

Brian
Al Angello
View Profile
Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
11047 Posts

Profile of Al Angello
Tom
The people that I look up to are all originals, and I just have to do it all the way, or not at all.

Starrpower
The pizza box is not my only problem. The rest of my show is just a combination of material that I have copied from every magician that I have ever seen or read about both living, and dead.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Red Shadow
View Profile
Inner circle
1779 Posts

Profile of Red Shadow
I agree with Tom, I don't mind if the magician copies another entertainers act completely as long as the act they are coping was released by the performer on DVD (giving them the right to copy it) and they don't then release their own DVD with a copy of that act.
It's fine for private parties, just not for tv or other magicians.
Unfortunately, watching shows on BBC like 'the magician' is like watching tricks almost copied completely from their original creators and performed as described straight out of the instructions. They may impress lay people, but all those magicians on that show are ruining magic for me and I can't watch it anymore.

But as long as it's for private parties, then copiyng is fine. Sometimes a routine is polished so much by a performer that to put your own spin on it would actually damage the impact value and ruin the trick. Sometimes it's best to perform it as the original magician did. But don't go on tv with the trick.

As for flat pack, I mainly agree with you but there are always exceptions and in the end, it comes down to mixing it up. If every other trick is flat pack, then that's okay. But you can't do an entire show off it, that's bad.
TonyB2009
View Profile
Inner circle
5006 Posts

Profile of TonyB2009
Al, I am with you 100%. I strive to have a show that no other magician has. The first step was to eliminate the magic words and wands. Then the props - no hippy hoppy rabbits, no colouring books. Certainly no rabbits or chair suspensions.

Once all those were gone I was able to build up a show based on personality. It works as a show now, rather than a collection of tricks. It packs small (into pockets, apart from the puppet) but that is just a happy coincidence. And it plays big, which is why I get repeat bookings.

I find parents don't want to see a room full of props - they don't care over here. And some houses are too small in any case. What parents want is to hear an hour of laughter and good fun. If the kids love you, their parents will rebook you.
David Thiel
View Profile
Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
3913 Posts

Profile of David Thiel
A purchased prop is to me what a script is to an actor. You don't expect that actors must write their own plays in order to perform...a magic prop is the same. I do not need to create my prop in order to do a good job performing it.

The UNIQUE thing...that which us un-"copyable"...is YOU and the way YOU present your magic and the way YOU interact with the audience. The prop is just a byproduct, a catalyst, to create that mechanism.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
Red Shadow
View Profile
Inner circle
1779 Posts

Profile of Red Shadow
Well put David.

My show is original but for my own reasons, I have no problem with someone copying my entire act should they wish. I know they can copy the tricks, but I doubt they will ever copy my personality. Beside, I'll just invent something new the next week so I'm really not that concerned about releasing stuff. I also believe that imitation is the best form of flattery.
rsylvester
View Profile
Loyal user
Trying to learn to BP a duck in
269 Posts

Profile of rsylvester
I'm on the side of whatever works with the audience. When I was a kid, I bought, "How to Entertain Children with Magic You Can Do" by "The Great Merlini," aka [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayton_Rawson}Clayton Rawson[/url], one of the premier mystery writers of the 1950s. Throughout the years, in and out of magic, I kept that book, and some of the rope tricks, like the old shoelace trick, still gets great reaction. Of course, I combine them with others and make the routines my own. But most "pack small." Plus, as a professional writer, I love having the book from a guy who help found the "Mystery Writers of America."

I was reading this thread this morning before I went to work this morning, it stuck with me, and really got me to thinking. I like to travel light as well, and respect the opinions of people here who say the props are key and people want their money's worth. I'm getting ready to do a church show and had my 11-year-old daughter helping me put the effects together. I have a color-changing cane that's older than many of the people on this forum, but it still works. I had put it in the drawer and shown it only for my kids. My daughter was insistent that I include that. She loves it. So you know what? Despite people ragging on different effects, I'm including it. I also know a pro here, who does travel to as many shows as he can cram in on a Saturday, who swears by the coloring book.

So in thinking about all the ideas here, which are so valuable, I thought: How about packing light but with some production type material that really does play big? You walk into a party or setting with just a brief case, then have to make several trips to carry it all out after the loads are produced?

People would be scratching their heads. You really travel light and have all the props at the end and people are wondering, "How did that happen?"

Get out to the car. Reset, and you're onto the next show. Not that I really have a next show to go to right now. Just a thought from a hack who's really interested in magic.
KC Cameron
View Profile
Inner circle
Raleigh, North Carolina
1877 Posts

Profile of KC Cameron
I have been a full-time pro for over 20 years, and I have been on every side of this discussion at one time or another.

Big colorful props (I call "Box Magic") are great at building excitement during the pre-show, and can be great sales tools. On the other hand, most magicians who use them end up getting lazy and less creative and original. I know I did. The magic ends up being in the prop, not the magician, and often they become puzzles.

Small props encourage creativity and showmanship, since you cannot hide behind a prop. I think one can connect better to the audience, where it becomes more of an "experience" than a "show" with smaller, simpler props. When using simple props, the magic resides in you, not the "magic box". The entertainment also rests on your shoulders with simple props as apposed to "box magic".

Let's look at the hugely popular Harry Potter series. Muggle magicians are pitied. The magic is done with simple "organic" props, and the magic rests much more in the individual than in "magic objects" - although both are used.

In my shows, I don't want anything to look like a magic prop. I want the kids to be amazed at my magic, not my magic boxes. This is a personal preference, and I do not think it is for everyone. Actually I am glad it is not more popular. While I have spent (and spend) tons on magic props, in the end, the ones I end up using are ones I have made.... with the exception of the Axtell Board. My props now are kitchen dishes (sometimes the clients'!), paper bags, hangers, and other household items. Some are gimmicked, some aren't, but they all look like normal objects (with the exception of my Lie Detector).

I have lightened my load considerably, and can now perform out of a briefcase. (Plus sound, posters and a backdrop.) This was not a goal, I just found myself using the bigger props less and less.

The neat thing about my current show is it works well for all age groups from 5-up. It also works well in a living room or on stage. Much of it works in walk-around as well.

Now granted, this is not just my magic preference, but I am reaching 50, and lugging a floating table does not excite me anymore.

I have found a way to make up for the fancy props. Large professional posters (5 feet high) and Jeff Jones' backdrop. I get the "bling" without the negatives of using "Box Magic".
Potty the Pirate
View Profile
Inner circle
4621 Posts

Profile of Potty the Pirate
Even when performing my "packs flat" (briefcase) show, there's still the need for a bunch of stuff. The briefcase table and stand, a PA and iPod for music, guitar, costume, balloon bag and balloon pump. And for standard parties there's also lugging in a backdrop and two side banners. Plus accessories such as batteries, cables, postcards, drawing pins, tool kit, microphone, "emergency" tricks like the egg bag and TT, cloths and colourful drapes. All of this means even the smallest shows aren't that small!
For some shows, clients ask for: Bigger Wands, Flying Carpet, Axtell puppets, Drawing Board, etc. And of course, in the standard show also a couple of larger props....perhaps "Flag-O-Matic", and "Funhouse". So there always seems to be a lot to haul in.
But a lot of packs small items work well too.
On the other hand, only performing 4 shows a week when possible, earns as much as the average accountant earns in a 5-day week. My preference is never to perform more than two shows a day, and keep weekday bookings to a minimum, or else take a day off at the weekend if If the dollar is already in from earlier in the week.
Of course, "packs flat plays big" is one of the fave topics here at the MC. No amount of props will make you entertaining, but a big colourful show is always going to provide that eye-candy that kids love. Advertising photos that include beautiful props work wonders, which also makes a show look more interesting.
There is no "right" or "wrong", but my philosophy has always been to create shows which offer as much variety as possible, include plenty of magic and visuals, gags and business. And lots of different shows, constantly updated with new routines and material.
Unusual or unique props, and limited edition props, which no one in your area has, or will ever have, can aid as USPs. If you try to make roughly 90% of the material in your shows your own original scripting and presentations, folks won't have seen every other magician doing "the same stuff".
TonyB2009
View Profile
Inner circle
5006 Posts

Profile of TonyB2009
I have always found that the biggest thing in my show should be me (and I don't mean the twenty stone!). I spend on my costumes, so that when I arrive I am the centre of attention right from the off. Twenty years ago I took the decision to work almost exclusively on my presentation skills. I joined Toastmasters and worked hard on that. When I got a puppet I took eight weeks of voice coaching to get that right. The end result is that there is less and less in my act. This year I flew to Lapland with a briefcase, containing three forty minute shows. Apart from a set of linking rings there is nothing in my act that anyone else could have, so no one can say they saw it before. That gives me my unique selling point - unless they've seen me before they won't have seen what I do.

If I needed to add bulk to the show I would go with a good backdrop ahead of any prop. Laughter, comedy and good storytelling don't need props to support them.

I recognize that this is a personal choice, and if someone chooses to use big props because they love them and can make them entertaining, rather than hiding behind them as so many do, then I respect that decision. The guys I don't respect are the ones who think that a chair suspension and a rabbit production at the end are the keys to success.
Ken Northridge
View Profile
Inner circle
Atlantic City, NJ
2304 Posts

Profile of Ken Northridge
I just read this entire thread and I am once again struck by the fact that you can have two completely different philosophies and both can be totally successful. I can’t see how anyone can disagree with that. Now, as to which philosophy is wiser, more profitable, more entertaining, etc. …the debate goes on.

Does anyone know anything about Sammy Haydn? He was a poster on page 1 that prompted Tricky Ricky to write this:
Quote:
On 2004-09-07 19:10, TrickyRicky wrote:
Hello Mr Sammy Haydn.
I have seen you perform for children and you are the best there ever will be. Quite an all rounder you are. You can do almost anything as far as entertaining an audience. I don't think the Café posters really knows how excellent a performer you are. I'd say you're one of a kind, the likes of which we'll never see again.

That is some high praise coming from Tricky Ricky!
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
Al Angello
View Profile
Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
11047 Posts

Profile of Al Angello
Ken
Ricky is absolutely correct Sammy Haydin is great, but I think Ricky is just being modest.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Packs Flat, Plays Flat (0 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.25 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL