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Mind Phantom

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We hear the term talked about here and there and applied to some performers but, I am not sure really what the term Showmanship really means, and what are some good ways we can become better showmen with our close-up performances.

A long time ago I read a book by Henning Nelms called Magic & Showmanship but the main thing I remember from the book was that you "open" which gets there attention and you "close" with something they'll never forget. I don't have the book anymore because maybe I could find a definition of what the term Showmanship really means.

What do you think? Why do we say that " so & so " is a great showman? Is a great showman someone who really connects with the audience? What is a great showman?

Logan,
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Dustin White

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Reply with quote  #2 
Howdy,

This is something I spend a lot of time pondering myself. To me, it kind of falls into the same murky world as "structuring a routine properly so no one asks questions" and "make sure you bring meaning into your performance". By that, I mean it seems to mean different things to different people.

To me, showmanship is the ability to get the audience to buy into your act - not so much that they believe you're doing real magic, necessarily, but that you've created an environment, theme, and character that makes it worthwhile for them to suspend their disbelief for awhile. When the show is over, the highlights they talk about are the stories and the emotions and the reaction: " did you SEE that girls face when he fed her engagement ring to his dog?!"

An act without the presence of showmanship, or the wrong kind of showmanship, doesn't have these things to focus on. As a result, the audience only has the props, the tricks, and the movement to focus on: "it was pretty cool that my signed card ended up in his pocket. I wonder how he got it there."

Showmanship is about building an entertaining show and incorporating your craft into it, as opposed to building your trick sequence and building justifying stories around it (which, so far, is where my skillset lands me).

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this idea.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hmm... I am reminded of U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart who, when asked to define pornography, said, "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."

Showmanship, I should think, is one of those almost intangible qualities that are bestowed only to those who have earned the honor. Elements would include a sense of timing, a relaxed and comfortable stage presence, the ability to establish and maintain rapport with the audience, confidence without arrogance, trustworthiness, and at least an underlying demeanor of humility. Of course, technical mastery and proficiency should also be considered. 

One of your deeper questions, Logan. Interested to see where this discussion goes.

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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #4 
Using techniques that give you the ability to pull applause from your audience??


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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #5 
Suzanne is very charming and fun. She displays plenty of showmanship (showwomanship?
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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelblue
Suzanne is very charming and fun. She displays plenty of showmanship (showwomanship?


Yeah, sometimes there's simply no synonymous gender-neutral term available. In this case I think showmanship needs to be understood as such. Sort of like mankind. And this is coming from a cis male who thinks we'd all be better off in a matriarchal society.

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #7 
Anthony - I think you nailed it. I'm putting your post in my file of "Read this again"

"An underlying demeanor of humility" is a well conceived concept. "underlying" allows for characters to have an air of arrogance when it's clear that the real person isn't arrogant. Real arrogance will turn the audience off.

Mike
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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #8 
Sorry. i didnt mean to say anything stupid
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Blathermist

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelblue
Sorry. i didnt mean to say anything stupid

You didn't.
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #10 

The "man" aspect wherever it crops up is marginally interesting, but for my money life’s too short to spend–actually I mean waste–time on discussing/debating the matter.

"Cardwomanship," by Al Leech anyone?

Yes I know for some folk it’s a "serious" issue, and that’s fine. But not for me.

Regarding showmanship itself, it’s yet another indefinable. I know it when I see it, but really it’s invisible. It’s there or it ain’t.

Twisting a common enough phrase on its head: I don’t know anything about Art, but I know it when I see it.

Incidentally, who’s Suzanne?

There's a comedian over here called Susan Calman. Hmm.

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelblue
Sorry. i didnt mean to say anything stupid


Not in the least! And I hope what I wrote in response did nothing to make you think so. But if it did, I assure you that wasn't my intention. I actually interpreted what you wrote as comedic satire. 

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Anthony - I think you nailed it. I'm putting your post in my file of "Read this again"

"An underlying demeanor of humility" is a well conceived concept. "underlying" allows for characters to have an air of arrogance when it's clear that the real person isn't arrogant. Real arrogance will turn the audience off.

Mike


Thank you, sir! Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, right?!

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #13 
I think showmanship is that quality a performer has where they over-deliver to their audience, and even then, the audience wants more.

Elvis Presley was a singer, but he was also funny, he made sure the members of the band got noted during the show. He reached out and connected with the audience leaving them with souvenirs if silk scarves and kisses.

I don't like Barry Manilow but he was a showman too. He sang, danced, chatted and connected with the audience.

Docc Hilford is another example. He's good at what he does, he goes beyond just performing and turns being with him into an experience.

So maybe that's it. Showmanship is being good at what you do but going that extra mile or two to turn your show into an experience that no one wants to end.
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ZAVIADELITA

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Reply with quote  #14 
Fred Kaps,Fred Kaps,Fred Kaps Great performer, Charisma, Stage presence and execution of each effect with perfect timing
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