Learn the routine first

Sometimes you can only perform a routine in front of a live audience.
You cannot practice it without an audience.
For these types of effects - you must go over the routine in your head again and again until you understand everything about it to the point where you think you have performed it a hundred times. Only then will it become natural - and appear very smooth and polished.

I once performed a routine such as this to an audience of 120 people - at a dinner. I borrowed a $20 from one person - and convinced everyone that the bill had been burned - by his choice. After some byplay - I offered him a banana in place of the $20 - more byplay - then broke apart the banana only to find his bill. The audience was convinced it was the same bill - as the serial number matched.

I had read and rewrote this routine until I knew it inside and out.
I could visualize it so clearly - that I felt that I had performed it many times before. It went very smooth - everyone was entertained by it - and I had a reputation maker in my bag of tricks. I'm still working on this one - and will have this as my key routine for this type of venue.

Look for this at my next performance - you won't want to miss it.



Stage Craft

What is Stage Craft?

If you ask me - it is the process of preparing for a performance.
This covers every detail from organizing your show - getting all the props in their proper place - and setting the stage, lighting, and sound.

Not all shows have the same requirements - so you have to consider what your specific show needs in order for it to appear professional.

I recently performed at a block party - as a walk-around magician.  Stage setting, lighting, and sound had no relevance to my performance.  But, the selection and placement of my magic props did take some planning.

I thought I had it all set until I realized that I was searching for props in my over-crowded pouch.

When I got home I started working on the pouch so it will be more organized for the next show.

It's an ongoing effort - trying to improve my performance each time I do one.



One aspect of preparing for a show deviates from magic - but is none the less necessary.

You need to learn how to operate a sewing machine and use an iron.

I can't tell you the number of special "pockets" I have made over the years for hats, jackets, vests, pants, and pouches.  Anywhere there is material that will be within easy reach of me while I am performing is a likely spot to add a pocket.  I have pockets in my table, servante, and have even had them on the back of a chair.

Place them in strategic locations where natural movement places your hand for an easy load.  Flowers, doves, rabbit, bottle, ball, cards, coins... - anything you use in magic is fair game for loading from a hidden pocket.

Besides learning how to operate a sewing machine, you need to learn patience - as you will no doubt have to undo much of what you sew after you try to use the pocket.  Suggestion - use a wide stitch at first - they are easier to undo if you need to move the pocket or adjust the size.  Once you know the pocket is in the right place and the right size, you can make the sewing job more permenant.


Know Your Audience

Your audience can be catorized into several types.
Learn how to recognize them and how to deal with them.

There are people who enjoy magic for the entertainment value.
They would rather not know how the magic is done.
They know that learning the secret would spoil the effect.
For these I say - Don't disappoint them
- give them the entertainment they enjoy

There are people who want to believe that it's real magic.
For these I say - Don't disappoint them either.
- make everything you do look like real magic

There are also people who don't like to be fooled.
- they MUST know how it's done.
- they'll burn holes in your hands with their eyes.
- they'll try not to blink for fear of missing the "trick"
For these I say - Be careful.
- don't embarrass them.
- don't call attention to them.
- don't try to fool them.
- avoid them if you can.
- be prepared - they come in all ages.
- learn to recognize these people immediately
- and guide your performance around them.
And you also have the non-believers - the "I'm not interested" type.
- they think that magic is for children
- it's beneath the dignity of an adult to watch.
For these I say - Entertain the rest of the audience.
- You just may win these non-believers over with the entertainment.

Finally - there is one more type that you have to learn to deal with.

The heckler.
- they're jealous of the attention others are paying to you.
- they want the attention aimed at them.
- they'll try to expose you as a fraud
- that want to show everying that you can't do "real" magic.
- in order for them to have the spotlight on themselves, they need to bring you down.
For these I say - Play to the better side of your audience.
- Don't let the heckler pull you down to their level
- Don't let the heckler break your character.
- Focus your attention on the rest of the audience
- Focut your attention on your performance

Know your audience.
Learn what they like.
Give them what makes them happy.

It's part of being a Professional entertainer



Cold Audience

 "a Cold Audience" - That sounds like a strange Title, doesn't it?
But let me explain what it is and how to deal with it.

If you have ever done or thought of doing restaurant magic, street magic or any type of show where the audience did not come to see magic - then you have dealt with or will deal with a "Cold Audience"

As I mention in an another post - you have to "Know your Audience"
Not everyone in a "Cold Audience" has come to see magic - nor do they all necessarily enjoy magic.

You have no way of knowing the types of people in a "Cold Audience"
And you don't know how they will react to your special talent. (aka "of being fooled")

Some people can't stand to be fooled - they can't stand to not know how you did whatever you did.

Some will persist in trying to discover your secret.

   "Let me see those cards"
  "Let me try that"
  "I think I know how you did that"

As I've said before - you have to know how to deal with the different types of people in your audience.
And, you have to know that in a moment's notice.

I like to try to diffuse the potential situation before it has a chance to get started by letting the audience know right up front that what I will be doing is technically just "TRICKS"

But, if they want to - They can witness the beauty of Magic.

I want them to know that I am there to entertain them.
I am there to show them something that they don't see in everyday life.

For adults I let them know that if they wish, they can experience the imagination they had when they were children.
For many - imagination is something that got lost somewhere between being a child and being a grown up.
Reality was too important to spend any time imagining.
I also want the audience to experience a mental sigh of relief, so that during the time they watch my show, they will be mentally relaxed.

Afterall, entertainment is meant to divert one's attention from the serious side of life to a relaxed and enjoyable state.

I believe that if you go in to any entertainment career with this sort of attitude - and believe it - that you will win your audiences over. 

Of course, you still need the talent that goes with the show - so it's up to you to polish your act, develop your character, and win your audience over with performance charm.

Be sincere in your desire to entertain and it will show.

Imagine - if you can win over a "Cold Audience" - just think of what you can do when your entire audience has come to see and experience a Magic show!

~ Mysterio ~


Professional Approach to your clients

Some thoughts on the business side of magic.

A simple fact - In order to succeed as an entertainer, you have to be able to please your audience.

Pleasing the audience should start to happen from the first moment of contact between you and your client.

Give them every reason to love you and no reason to say NO.

When dealing with potential clients - it is extremely important that you allow them to fully see your character as a magician – not as a business man. It will either guarantee you that they look upon you favorably - and hire you --- OR --- they will send you a signal that you should learn from. If you can't sell yourself to your customer - you won't succeed. Change your character and choice of magic to fit the client’s expectations - and you will succeed.

Once you have a feel for the venue ( occassion, location, setting, time of day, size of audience, age of audience ) consider routines that fit the occasion. Customize your act to be a perfect fit for the client’s entertainment need.

Plan for a follow-up meeting to show them how you would fit in – How you would entertain the audience.
Bring some tested "audience pleasers" - that can't lose. Woo them and wow them at the same time. After all, you are a magician and that is what they expect. Give them a sample Program or poster - and walk them trough your basic routines - like audience participation, special tricks, and lessons taught (Kelso)