Let Them See You…

At the showcase that I was at last week, one of the performers wore sunglasses while he performed. Personally I think in 99.7% of all instances there’s no reason for a performer to wear sunglasses. The only acceptable reason is for a character thing, like Rudy Coby and that character must be strong. Other than … Continue reading “Let Them See You…”

At the showcase that I was at last week, one of the performers wore sunglasses while he performed. Personally I think in 99.7% of all instances there’s no reason for a performer to wear sunglasses. The only acceptable reason is for a character thing, like Rudy Coby and that character must be strong. Other than that, you better be a huge celebrity like Metallica…and I’ve seen Metallica twice, they don’t wear sunglasses on stage.


The big thing is that sunglasses block your eyes. When the audience can’t see your eyes, it’s a lot harder for them to connect with the audience. You’ve essentially put up a wall between you and the audience, and you have to break that wall to connect.


If you are wearing sunglasses, take them off and look at your audience. Yes, even if you are outside with the sun in your face.

No, I Won’t Use It…

When it comes to comedy, one of the things that I hate is when a variety performer doesn’t get a laugh or gets a groan and says something like, “you’ll use it”. I don’t like this for several reasons, but the main one is that it’s really only appropriate at industry events (and barely there). … Continue reading “No, I Won’t Use It…”

When it comes to comedy, one of the things that I hate is when a variety performer doesn’t get a laugh or gets a groan and says something like, “you’ll use it”. I don’t like this for several reasons, but the main one is that it’s really only appropriate at industry events (and barely there). This line is probably the ultimate hack line. It’s a stolen line about how people are going to steal bad material!


The performers recently saw do this line was doing a show for the general public, not at a magic convention. First of all without context, it means nothing and it means nothing to all of the soccer moms in the audience. Where are they going to use it…in their next show?


The other big problem I have with this line is that they imply that I’m going to steal a line from their show and a line that doesn’t get a good reaction. Why would I steal the line that doesn’t work? They are alienating me as an audience member with that line. Sure, you can argue that working for magicians is different from a normal audience, however I don’t agree with that. Magicians will like a good, tight act. A sloppy, hack act they won’t.

Using Music…

Not too long ago I worked with an act that was a talking act, but used music. He did used music as a background to talking pieces and also did acts to music. The music should have added a lot to his show, however it didn’t. The way he used the music wasn’t “seamless” and … Continue reading “Using Music…”

Not too long ago I worked with an act that was a talking act, but used music. He did used music as a background to talking pieces and also did acts to music. The music should have added a lot to his show, however it didn’t. The way he used the music wasn’t “seamless” and it wasn’t loud enough.


Let’s tackle the last problem first, since it’s the easiest. There are times when you want music quiet, there are times when you want it loud, and there are times when you want it to vary. The simple solution is to re-record your music tracks at the approximate levels you want them. Background music tracks are quieter than tracks for acts to the music. Simple…Yes, however I’m always amazed more acts don’t do this.


Now for the problem of using music seamlessly. The act I saw had an ipod in their case, and whenever they needed to play music, they had to stop what they were doing, run to the case and change the music. This created a lot of dead time and took the audience out of the moment. The first solution is to use a cue sheet and give it to the sound person. The next solution is to use a remote control. This is one of the better solutions because you can make sure your cues happen when you want them to. It also allows you the freedom to go off script.


Using music effectively from a technical standpoint is easier than ever to do. Years ago recording your tracks with varying audio would have been insanely expensive and using a remote control is simple and reliable now.


Connection!

One thing on stage that’s important is connecting with the audience.  It’s 90% of the game, if you do that, you really have to try to make an audience dislike you.  However there are some acts that don’t have anything to really connect with, and that makes the audience have to work to like you. … Continue reading “Connection!”

One thing on stage that’s important is connecting with the audience.  It’s 90% of the game, if you do that, you really have to try to make an audience dislike you.  However there are some acts that don’t have anything to really connect with, and that makes the audience have to work to like you.


Recently I worked with an act that was a silent act to music and a short act.  The act focused on a particular skill. Unforunately the skill was just OK. Without getting into who it was, the act is visually interesting, however the repeated thing over and over.  There were really only two moves before the act got repetitive and boring.



What this act needed to do was look for some sort of personality within the act…oh, and it was a costumed act, but they didn’t really go into the character the costume was.  Let’s say you are wearing a dracula costume, you need to act like dracula, not just wear the costume. People form long term relationships personalities, not costumes.

Magically Sound Magic

One of the things about doing magic tricks is that you can do some amazing things and you can do them fairly easily, but that doesn’t make it good magic. What’s got me thinking about this, is that with the internet, magic is very accessible to people that perform other variety acts, and it’s easy … Continue reading “Magically Sound Magic”

One of the things about doing magic tricks is that you can do some amazing things and you can do them fairly easily, but that doesn’t make it good magic. What’s got me thinking about this, is that with the internet, magic is very accessible to people that perform other variety acts, and it’s easy to add magic to their show and get a good reaction.


Being able to do a trick, and present it is only part of the game if you want to be a magician. It’s OK to do a magic trick in your show, but once you basically start doing a magic show, it’s time to actually learn how to do magic.


I recently saw a card trick where the performer did the trick in the easiest manner. Fine, but watching I could think of 3 better ways to do it. Three better ways that were more deceptive and none of them that much harder than what he was already doing. He wasn’t in a magic show, he was doing a magic trick within a larger show, so he get’s a pass.


TLDR: if you’re going to call yourself a magician, you need to learn to do magic.

See Shows!

If you know me, you know I frequently go out to see performers. I think it’s important to support variety acts, and it’s always inspiring to see good acts. I performed at an arts festival earlier this week and I went out and watched a bunch of the shows and had a blast! I found … Continue reading “See Shows!”

If you know me, you know I frequently go out to see performers. I think it’s important to support variety acts, and it’s always inspiring to see good acts. I performed at an arts festival earlier this week and I went out and watched a bunch of the shows and had a blast!



I found it interesting that I didn’t see any other acts out seeing shows. This festival was an all day festivals, so there was plenty of time to catch shows. To me the value of these festivals isn’t the paycheck, but seeing, and networking with other performers.



Towards the end of the festival, I had one of the board members pull me aside and mention they the whole board noticed me at shows all day. They thought it was great that I wasn’t just there for my show, but to be part of the whole festival.


I think to grow as a performer you need to be exposed to other acts. Not just magic act, but all variety acts!