Friday, September 17, 2010

Who are you listening to?

When it comes to advice about magic...everyone has some. With online forums, chat rooms, social networks, youtube, etc. We are bombarded with information on how to look, how to talk, how to script, how to advance our technique, how to structure our show, what tricks to buy, which tricks suck, what works, what doesn't and why "every magician" should do this, purchase that or avoid this and jump on that.

When it comes to the magic that you perform, the magic that you add to your show and the things you keep in the show and take away from the show, there should be only two voices you listen to above any others.

You and your audience.

It's easy to take advice from anonymous and virtually anonymous 'experts' online. The hard thing to do is to take a routine/effect that we've put some thought into and then put it into a performance and see if it works. After that performance you have to listen to your gut, your heart, your instinct and be brutally honest. Does it work for your personality? Does it work with the flow and/or theme of the show? Is the reset, pre-show, prep time and effort to pull it off worth it? And have to listen to the audience. What was the general audience response (weak applause, laughter, silence, etc.) and was it a response you wanted, were expecting and does it motivate you to continue to polish and perfect the routine? Did you get some honest feedback from people after the show regarding the effect? Are you still motivated after that feedback?

Obviously you need put together your own criteria to analyze audience response and your own feelings about the routine etc. Just remember that the loudest voices dictating your decisions about your show and the routines in that show are YOU and your AUDIENCE.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stop The Insanity!

You've just picked up your suit from the cleaners, put it on, packed the car and are on the way to your gig. You pop in to Starbucks for that Grande decaf and settle back into your car ready to face the hour long drive to the venue. About half way into your journey, your notice your cup is leaking around the lid...and for the love of all that's good and pure, there is now a nice large Rorschach coffee stain on your newly pressed dress shirt!

Okay, I'm not going to tell you how to get the stain out. Just Google that. I am going to share with you my hard earned knowledge of how I have been preventing this scenario over the past couple of years (and several leaks and spills later).

Step One:
Buy your hot drink of choice (see photo).

Step Two:
Add stuff to your drink and stir (see photo).

Step Three:
Looking down on the top of the cup, locate where the cup is 'joined' together. See the black arrow pointing at the 'join' in the photo.

Step Four:
Now place the lid opening 1 centimetre (about 1/2 inch my American friends!) to the right of that 'join' and firmly press the lid on the cup. The black arrow shows approximately where that should go in the two photos above (side and top views).

Step Five:
Now take a napkin and lay it flat on a table.

Step Six:
Fold the napkin in half.

Step Seven:
Now wrap the folded napkin around the side of the cup, close to the lid and centred at the cup opening.

Step Eight:
Enjoy your drink. The lid placement shown should cover most leaks and the added napkin 'safeguard' will catch the rest.

Final Thought:
Before I get comments about being environmentally unfriendly, let me say that the best way to prevent a leaking and spilling cup, is to invest in a non-disposable, re-useable, ecologically mature, travel mug with a good tight lid that is easy to drink from. But you already new that.