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yourepiphany

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello everyone. I have a good sense of what I'd like my audience to experience emotionally in a show. For example some emotions are: surprise, fear, amazement, astonishment, relief, joy. But I have no real clue on how to structure these emotions into a routine/show. I can perform decently using patter from the books, but at some point I know it's not 'real' to me. After performing a bit and getting feedback, either from myself, the audience or both I have the tendency to pull out what worked and what didn't and write it down, keeping notes for improvement. 

How do you personally start planning out or improving upon a performance or routine?
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #2 
Audio record and preferably video record your performance. Watch and listen. Try to imagine that you're in the audience. Be realistic in your assessment both of your demeanor and your technique. It sounds like you are more interested in the feeling you're generating rather than critiquing things like whether or not you flashed or had tells.

Listen for an economical use of words i.e. are you babbling and using a lot more words than are necessary. This generally happens when the performance is unscripted. "What I want you to do is, I want you to take this deck..." as opposed to "Here take the deck."

It blows my mind how many magicians I see on TV use that exact verbose sequence viz. "What I want you to do is, I want you to..." Argh...

Regarding the emotions you're trying to have your audience experience - think the way to begin to think about that is to try to put together a show with "texture." You can use music at times, be funny at times, be poignant at times. Music is a great tool for creating an emotional response.

Find a time, maybe half way through your show, where you reveal a bit about who you are.

Make the audience feel special at some point e.g. use a poem or song that you wrote.

Also, don't forget that we're in the deception business. That means that you don't have to always be telling true stories even if you present them as true. They have to ring true, though. If you're 17 it's hard to say, "On my last trip to China..."

Your opening and closing sequences are especially important. Pay close attention to those two parts of your show. I think ending on a poignant moment, rather than a comedic moment is generally a good idea.

In the end, you win if they like you. You win big if they love you.

Mike
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yourepiphany
Hello everyone. I have a good sense of what I'd like my audience to experience emotionally in a show. For example some emotions are: surprise, fear, amazement, astonishment, relief, joy. But I have no real clue on how to structure these emotions into a routine/show. I can perform decently using patter from the books, but at some point I know it's not 'real' to me. After performing a bit and getting feedback, either from myself, the audience or both I have the tendency to pull out what worked and what didn't and write it down, keeping notes for improvement. 

How do you personally start planning out or improving upon a performance or routine?


The emotional reactions of surprise, amazement and astonishment will occur naturally in, and especially at the end of, virtually every trick or routine if the material is strong and cleanly executed.

Fear and relief more or less go together, and are automatically built into routines that involve an element of real or apparent danger, for example, Sawing a Lady in Half, The Sword Cabinet, Bullet Catch, the Needle Trick or Houdini's Razor Blade Trick, Larry Becker's Russian Roulette, Sigfried and Roy Type Tricks with dangerous animals, etc.

To create joy, illusions that are beautiful to behold are likely to do it; for example, Cellini's Linking Ring Routine which is done to beautiful music, beautiful dove productions are classically a winner, or even a rabbit out of a hat, and of course routines that have an inspiring or uplifting theme or message.

I would mix and match routines so that each one that follows the last engenders a different emotional response or set of responses. e.g. dangerous, uplifting/inspiring, comedic/funny, beautiful poetic.

IMHO, Mike Powers had some excellent suggestions.

Using spectators up on stage is a very good way to exponentiate interest and entertainment, because people are generally interested and captivated by other people.  Just look at a lot of the TV shows and magazines out there..

Good luck!
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #4 
Mike Powers made the suggestion I was going to make regarding video or audio. Used to be much harder but now with cell phones and iPads, it is easy. Just make sure you do it surreptitiously, otherwise the audience reactions might be overdone because some folks act up when "playing" to the camera.

So have someone do it covertly or hide a camera yourself. John Mendoza used to recommend having a tape recorder in your case under the table. He said he was often surprised by the reactions. Tricks he thought would kill garnered mild reactions while simple things might draw a better response.
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yourepiphany

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Reply with quote  #5 
You all rock! This is really sound advice for any performer.

RayJ -- you mention simple things getting better responses, I found that to be true at times as well. I'll be practicing a strike DL for example to get ready for the "Paint" move (sorry not sure what that is called). In live performance people go crazy in an Ambitious Card Routine when I perform that move. I personally don't like the sleight, but the reactions are too good to leave out.

Magic-Aly -- Thank you for listing some of those routines. I want to do some digging around in the books to find a few effects for Close Up & Parlor that I can weave into a 30 minute act. Love the idea of using spectator on stsge to drive home the point.

Mike P -- Thanks for the sound advice. Love the ideas of texture and music. And also revealing a bit of who I am in the MIDDLE of the show. Love that. I am concerned about the emotional response of my audience. Coming from that adage, "People don't remember what you said, they remember how you made them feel." I'm sure 'magic' already does that because if it's nature. But I would like it to be more than just the magic that does it. Because I also am concerned about technique and method and I think that'll come into play once I get more experience performing outside of just practicing. Thank you again.

Ps.
Here's a little bit about me. A video of me doing Slow Motion Card Vanish sometime a couple years ago. Never performed it in front of people because of angles but it looks cool. [wink]


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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #6 
YOUREPIPHANY WROTE: "Ps. Here's a little bit about me. A video of me doing Slow Motion Card Vanish sometime a couple years ago. Never performed it in front of people because of angles but it looks cool."

Thanks for sharing that, Ron. It certainly does look cool!  Beautifully and deceptively done. That would be a great opener 
for your parlor show where, depending on the seating arrangement, angles wouldn't be a concern.

Just thinking out loud, but perhaps as a follow-up to the vanish and re-production of th card, you could have a spectator come up and sign it, and go into your ambitious card routine, paint-brush change and all...
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alexandercrawford

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Reply with quote  #7 
All good points, particularly regarding video and audio.

But the best thing you can do is to get a non magician director (particularly if they have good theatre experience) to work with you.

Even employing a director to give detailed commentary on a single show would be worthwhile.
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