Seven steps to constructing a successful and commercial magic act.
Seven Important things to think about….
I was reading a thread on Facebook the other day where somebody was asking for advice on how to structure their act to make it the most effective that it could be. It was a very good question that got some answers that ranged from good to left field dreadful. Well I guess that is the Internet for you!
I pointed the magician in the direction of my magic Blog www.remarkablemagic.com . It contains hundreds of hours worth of writing that covers many such topics under the general tags such as ‘Performing Magic’ etc. However, I thought it was such a simple and direct question that I might have a shot at seeing how many of those thoughts I could fit into a page on this blog post.
Here are seven general rules that I have formulated on this particular topic:
1 Your opening effect is all about letting the audience get to know you. Make sure you know the trick really well, that it doesn’t run too long and also that you have plenty of chance for making eye contact with the audience. Don’t waste your best trick by using it up front in the show, the audience is primarily judging you!
2 The closing trick should be your strongest applause getting effect. Notice I did not say strongest piece of magic. It is generally best not to make this effect too cerebral, because an audience lost in thought may not be applauding as much as they should. I also 100% believe that you should never have a closing effect that leaves you with any audience members onstage for obvious reasons.
3 The show doesn’t close with your final trick, it finishes with your final bow. Your final bow should be very carefully planned, rehearsed and executed. I have seen many good magicians end their shows with terrible bows that undo all the good that went before. I have also seen some pretty poor acts save the day with a nifty final bow!
4 Make sure that all your tricks are not running the same length of time. There should be variety involved in your set list, with longer and shorter effects carefully balanced to keep the attention of the audience. There is a sometimes an unhealthy emphasis in magic on how much time you can ‘get out’ of a trick. Find a couple of effects in your show and see how short you can make them without weakening the effect.
5 Texture is a key ingredient in planning a show. Don’t allow several items in your show to involve the same elements. Don’t do three card tricks in a row, many people don’t like card trick—they might put up with one but you will loose the battle if you do three. We are called a variety act for a reason and we should make sure that we incorporate variety into the fabric of our show. Be particularly careful not to unintentionally duplicate specific genres of effects such as restorations or predictions.
6 Don’t be tempted to do too many tricks in your show that involve bringing audience members up onstage. It is fine, and indeed important, to break that 4th wall occasionally but if you keep bringing people onstage and then herding them back to their seats a short while later it can become repetitious and monotonous. At the very least never do two tricks back-to-back that require bringing assistants onstage. As long as there is no serious visibility problem it is sometimes very effective if you venture into the audience to enlist their assistance.
7 Always have one extra trick in your case/pocket that can be performed if you need it. Sometimes shows run short, tables get knocked over, things go wrong or you just simply want to do something a little extra. I always have my Ultimate Cards Across and the Six Card Repeat in my pocket, which leaves me prepared for any eventuality. Even if you never need to use that ‘extra’ it will give you a lovely sense of confidence to know that it is there.
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