How to make the first 30 seconds of your show as good as it needs to be…

The first 30 seconds of your act is the most important. That means that the way you look and the manner in which you walk onstage are vital. If you really mean business you had better get that down immediately.

caseWear a good-looking outfit that works for the image you want to project to the audience. If you want to be Mac King don’t dress like Lance Burton and visa versa.

What music are you going to use for your entrance? Why are you using it? It is my belief that the most important use of that music is to get you in the mood to perform. Use a piece that you enjoy listening to and can move to in a graceful manner. By the time you begin your show your persona is pretty much established in the audience’s subconscious mind. Unless you plan some kind of nifty switcheroo in your character then you had better establish it quickly and effortlessly.

It is an old fashioned notion but I am a great believer in the idea of doing some deep, slow breathing in the wings. Just slow your IMG_5779breathing down and exhale more air than usual. If you concentrate on the feeling of your feet on the ground and it will quite literally ground you,
 I go a couple of steps beyond this and an hour or so before the show I do some breath work.

There is a marvelous app for the iPhone called ‘Breath Pacer’ that allows you to easily and systematically take your breathing from where it is to where you want it to be. Your whole show is fueled by breath so you might as well get it right. It is a lot more important to your show than your double lift and you probably spent a whole bunch of time working on that.

I also have a pre-show ‘warm-up’ playlist on my iPod that I like to sing along with (in a private spot of course, dear God) as I like to work on the upper and lower range of my voice. I like to add lots of texture and tones to my delivery because it can really punch up your show in a big way. Sometimes the difference between a chuckle, a laugh or a round of applause is in the mechanics of the way you deliver the line.

Live/Enchantment - 001It is useful to know how long it will take you to walk briskly to the center of the stage. This can help you tailor exactly how long your intro should be. This is especially true if you have live musicians playing charts for you. Nothing looks better than having your intro music 
end exactly as you hit the microphone stand.

The great British actor John Mills performed a one-man show well into his last years. One thing the audience probably never realized is that he was almost totally blind. They would never have guessed it from the way he walked quickly and confidently to the center of the stage and the waiting microphone. He would always arrive early at the venue and count exactly how many steps and the exact orientation of his path.

Well, there is a few thoughts that you probably haven’t heard of before. They get you to the center of the stage ready to perform. That doesn’t sound like much but don’t forget that these are the most vital moments in your show.

Just watch the way that a professional magician begins his show and then watch a non-pro do the same thing. I totally reject the concept of the semi-pro. They don’t exist in the real world only in magic clubs. Even if you don’t want to be a pro you might as well learn how to behave like one. Be kind to your audience.

The Row of Nicks



~ by Nick Lewin on March 18, 2016.

2 Responses to “How to make the first 30 seconds of your show as good as it needs to be…”

  1. More great stuff Nick!

  2. Well said, as always, Nick. “Be kind to your audience”. I love that line.

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