I have had the pleasure to work numerous cocktail events for private parties and large corporate events. I have had the opportunity to perform for more people than I can remember.
what I have learned, is that the large majority have never seen a professional magician, other than on T.V.
Some are a little hesitant, not knowing what to expect…others are anxiously waiting.
I can tell you, anyone who will invest one or two minutes will at the very least have a smile on their face. Most will remember this chance encounter long after the day is done.
So, the things I’ve learned are not new…just sharing my experiences. However those new to this type of entertainment may find something “new” to them.
Anyone performing for the audiences that count, (lay people) more than likely have an Ambitious Card Routine in their repertoire. Why wouldn’t you? So much magic in a short period of time. Yes, a short period of time, use discretion.
It didn’t take a lot of performing experience to realize my deck would rapidly shrink during performances. Often when performing for couples the AC routine would be followed with a Signature Fusion Effect. (The husband’s/boyfriend’s signature would be on the back of the AC.) The couples always enjoyed a cheap souvenir, and no…I am not under the impression that they keep the card for eternity.
The answer to this minor dilemma was to carry extra cards, this way your deck stays more or less intact. (Advice given by Pros since the beginning of time.)
But, and it’s a big but…saving the integrity of the deck is a bonus. My first concern is to keep my routines moving, maintaining interest for peripheral observers. There are times when the absolute free choice of a card is paramount, and at these times you may be at the mercy of the card “picker”. Certain individuals have a hard time choosing a card among 52…boring.
Solution: I carry a bunch of red number cards in a pocket…signatures show up well on a red number card. I just give them the damn card… ”Here’s a card I brought for you, it was sitting in a drawer, collecting dust. Do me a favor, sign your name as big as you can on the face of the card…now I think it’s kind of special…don’t you? (addressing the boy friend, they always agree.) Now we’re off to the races…the selection is not important to the effect/impact.
Some magicians worry about how much “time” they get out of a routine. I suggest you
only worry about the impact on your audience.
Everybody gets lazy now and then…not you of course, the rest of us. However, it’s
better to take a break, or rest if you are feeling tired, or less than inspired.
I’ve learned a few things thinking back at my time in school. Certainly not my glory days,
and not directly pertinent to this topic. What does apply was my attitude. Never
enjoying the journey, and too much focus on “being done.” As a child, being done meant
reclaiming time to do what I wanted…playing with friends, watching TV…all important,
but not at the cost of other things of equal importance.
I won’t name the “tricks”, but I am talking about the ones which are promoted as “time
consumers”. Time is important when putting together an act, even more important in
most competitions. Time is not important, in fact detrimental when viewed from a
perspective as “filler”.
(Caveat: Tricks advertised as time consumption may be, beginning to end, non stop laughs, magic…in
fact, top notch material. I merely suggest we keep our focus on our audience.Win/Win!)
The length of a routine is important information, inasmuch as we have timelines which
affect our clients needs, Not to fill a program with fluff! There’s just no room for
filler…you are making entertainment, not pillows.
What a great day I had yesterday. Call it what you want, Walk Around Magic, Strolling Magic, Close Up Magic and if you must…”Street Magic.” How much do I love this, I drove one hour and twenty minutes each way, not to mention, performing entertaining Magic for an hour and a half. There were only about 35 people in attendance. With an age span of about 13 years old to some over 50. (That’s a relatively small group) it’s not unusual to entertain 100 or more people. This means you don’t have the time to perform too much material, as you need to reach all of the guests.
Yesterday’s challenge was that I had groups of ten people surrounding me at any given time. So what’s the challenge? When you have close to one third of the attendees watching at once, you have to dig deep into your repertoire. So you better have the depth or be able to tap dance. Well there was no dancing, just magic and fun and laughs. Not just from the guests, me too! The things that people say can be hilarious.
What’s the pay off? Instant gratification. They let you know in the moment if you are doing your job. I’m not a scientist or psychologist, but this must give you those endorphins you hear about but never see. You feel good immediately.
I have many people to thank who have taught and inspired me, and I will acknowledge all of them soon, but for the moment I must thank Paul Gordon of England. Paul’s a great magician, writer and inventor of all things magical. What Paul taught me was, not just tricks. He showed me the magical use of “enthusiasm” If you don’t give it… you won’t get it back.
So, let me end with, I’ll drive almost anywhere in Massachusetts to perform some of the best close up magic you will ever see, but more importantly, we’ll all have a good time. I’ll be waiting for your call. Joe Ferranti “The Magician for all Occasions”