I was at a showcase last week for performers trying to get booked. I watched all of the magicians showcase (that I was aware of) and while I had a crappy showcase spot, I pulled a bigger crowd then all of the ones that I saw.
They all had long presentations, where mine while they can be long, have jokes in them. In addition to that what I selected to use in my showcase all had big unique visuals. This comes down to what I call the “stroller test”.
How the stroller test works is you have to imagine mom pushing a stroller down the walkway with a kid or two. Would she stop at your show. You have say 50 feet to catch her attention and get her to sit down. If she’s travelling at around 1 foot a second, you’ve got about a minute to catch her attention.
If you are standing up there talking about poetry for five minutes before the trick happens, you aren’t going to grab her. If you are standing up there talking and have a joke every 45 seconds, you have a much better chance of getting her attention. If you have a joke every 45 seconds AND an interesting visual you will have an even better chance of getting her attention.