Frequently on internet magic groups people talk about set lists. I’m always amazed at how many people just make up the show order as they go. They justify this as selecting their show to what the audience will like in the moment. In theory this is a good idea, but your show will lack tightness, and if you read this blog, you my remember me writing about tightness as one of the things that makes a show professional.
Having a set list and following it allows you to work on your show as a show, your segues get better, your prop management is better. You will have less wasted motion, than if you are randomly grabbing a prop. This gives the audience a sense that you know what you’re doing.
I really feel like my show started to grow as a show, not as a collection of acts when I started doing it according to a set list. This doesn’t mean you can’t vary the list occasionally, but you strive for a consistent, preplanned show order. This has helped me enormously as my career has grown and from when I’ve started working in venues that want me to submit a set list for the theater crew.
Put your show down on paper and learn it like a show!