How do you get experience when starting out?

To gain experience, you need to perform in front of a live audience. 
Practicing in front of a mirror is good - but a live audience will give you instant feedback.
They will let you know if they were entertained.
They will let you know, trick by trick, what works and what doesn't.
This is something the mirror can't give.

Now unless you have paying customers lining up at your door, you're going to have to be creative and generous in booking what I call experience shows.

While I found an occassional birthday party to perform was helpful, they were not frequent enough for me to be able to smooth out my magic.
I had to find something more frequent so there could be visible improvements between each show.

Enter the Hospital scene.

Hospitals are a great place to volunteer to put on your show - no matter how big or small - they are always appreciated.

I performed at Children's Hospital once a month for almost 20 years.
I put smiles on many children's faces - and their parents too.
At the same time, I gained significant experience and improved my act.
I found what worked and what didn't.
I found lines of patter that brought guaranteed laughter.
I also found lines of patter that brought a guaranteed groan.
I kept them both in my show for years, because they each got a reaction from the audience.
This means they enjoyed it.
And that is what I set out to do in the first place - To entertain them.

Doing these shows gave me a chance to work in front of a live audience once a month.
As I said - working in front of a live audience is the kind of experience you need most.

So, look for any chance to volunteer to present your talent and entertain people.
It's nice to get paid for a performance, but with every show that you do,
you gain a little more experience.  And that my friend is priceless.

Another source for "experience bookings" is to donate your show
as a door prize or raffle prize for a local fund raiser.
Check with local church groups, hospitals, and schools.
Most would be grateful for the donation.
Go prepared with a Poster for advertising, and gift certificate with your name and contact info - and of course a small stack of business cards.
If the gift will be a door prize, people will scrutinize the door prize table looking for the gift that most suits their need and interest.  Having extra business cards can't hurt.  People are welcome to take them.

So, be creative - look for opportunities to perform - and let each performance bring improvement to your act.
Experience in front of a live audience is worth more than you would ever get paid for the show.

To improve your show - and skills, you need to understand your performance
and the audience reaction to it. Analyze the show afterwards and write down your thoughts on it.
- Again - what worked and what didn't.
Take out anything that didn't work - or change it to make it work.

Stay focused on improving your show - and before long you will be known as a Professional.

~ Mysterio ~

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