Laughter as an Instant Reaction Meter

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audience reactions photo: audience audience.jpgThere are many ways to gauge how great a magic show is going over.

The energy of the room, rounds of applause, ovations, shrieks, screams and gasps of surprise—these are all good indicators that the show is a smash hit. As long as the magician is not as numb as a cadaver, he can tell in real-time how he is doing as a performer.

Of all these indicators, nothing beats laughter as the most accurate real-time reaction meter.

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When Performing Magic, Remember You Have an Audience

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stage magic photo: MAGIC MAGICkadabRA.jpgI had once an enlightening conversation with a waiter of a large catering service.

He said he had served many birthday parties and seen many magicians perform. His question: “Sir, bakit ang ibang magician tuloy-tuloy lang mag-magic at walang pakialam sa audience?” (“Sir, why do some magicians rush through their performance, seemingly oblivious of the audience?”)

It was not a trick question, but it took me a while to gather my thoughts before I came up with the following musing.

As magicians in the Philippines, we often become so engrossed in the details of the performance we sometimes forget we have an audience.

The waiter’s observation is spot on. I’ve watched other magicians mind so much their blocking, stage movement, choreography and sleight-of-hand that they space out. They become like zombies, seemingly unaware they have an audience to entertain.

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Security Hurdles

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security guard photo: Efficient Security Guard Services SecurityGuardsServices4_zps49377702.jpgIt was just a short hop away from Valle Verde 6, where I had my lunch time show last Sunday, to my 3 PM party.

The venue was a large function room on a high-rise hotel/condo style abode, where the upper-crust of society lives in splendor. I had performed there a couple of times in the past. Security always admitted me and my entourage into the building without so much of a fuss.

Last Sunday was a different story, though. The gate pass could not be signed quickly. They told us it needed a requirement which needed to be fulfilled by a pre-requirement.

So it happened that the gate pass took so long to secure I began to think they suspected me as a terrorist.

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How Often Do You Change Material?

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There is wisdom in not changing routines constantly and rashly. The wisdom is financial, practical, and artistic.

peso coin photo: One peso coin piso.jpgOn the other side of the coin, you need to change routines over time. You don’t want to fall into a rut. You have to reinvent yourself. You must also maintain your show’s dynamism, or it will become stale and outdated.

On top of these reasons, I change routines to get myself from being bored. Doing the same act over and over again bores me.

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What is a Good Opening Trick?

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A good opening trick must capture the audience’s attention within the first 10 seconds.

Audiences will judge you quickly. Today’s attention span is short. Win them over to your side quickly. Capture their attention before it wanders to their smartphones.

britain's got talent photo: Britains Got Talent 070608 JazzstandingatfrontwavingtoAndrew.jpgImagine you are performing for Britain’s Got Talent. Don’t drag your opening sequence or you get buzzed.

In ordinary workaday life, the audience will buzz you if you start the show with a long preamble. There’s no real buzzer. However, you know you have been shut off—and maybe silently asked to leave the stage—when you see the children gamboling around, the adults talking.

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Basking in Audience Adoration

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laughter photo: Laughter laughter.jpgAs a magician in the Philippines, I believe gunning for enthusiastic audience reactions is every magician’s goal every time he performs.

Roars of amazement, thunderous applause, screams of delight—all this energizes him. An uproarious reaction always goads him to do a better job than if the audience responds coldly.

A reaction is better than a tepid or no reaction at all. Whether the reaction you get is in the form of tomatoes being pelted at you, at least this is a real-life reaction. It means you are performing for a live audience as opposed to just dreaming about performing while you laze out on a rocking chair.

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The Magic Words Rich People Say

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shakey's busI had a show last Sunday on the sprawling lawn of a mansion in an exclusive subdivision in Alabang.

When I say “sprawling lawn” I mean the lawn was so big it could accommodate around 50 of my house with lots of space to spare.

In fact, when I arrived in the party area, there was a Shakey’s bus (they call it Shakey’s on Wheels) parked at one end of the lawn. Despite the bus’ imposing presence, a large space was left on the grounds for the chairs-and-table setup and for the guests to mill around.

You heard me right. It was a Shakey’s bus. Not a Shakey’s food cart, but a bus.

I didn’t even know Shakey’s can send to your party a bus load of pizzas, but, as I discovered last Sunday, they can.

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Don’t Step Out of Character

braveheart photo: Braveheart Mel-Gibson--Braveheart.jpgYou may have heard of the great Robert Houdin quote, “A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician.”

Well and good. But if you follow Houdin’s quote, be consistent. You can’t be a clown in one minute and be an elegant illusionist in the next, just as Mel Gibson can’t play Braveheart in the beginning of a movie and play The Patriot toward the end.

The reason I’m musing over this is that I’m reminded of a clown I performed with in one birthday party. He was hired to host the program—you know, emcee it, run the games, and twist balloon animals.

This is a true story, so I’m inviting you to read carefully…

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To Listen to Advice or Not: That is the Question

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 photo ac35f5f8-f13d-4e5b-97e0-161f96c25b4f_zpsfc967d9c.pngAs a magician in the Philippines, I am predisposed to giving advice.

I give advice to other magicians, friends and neighbors.  I even give advice to myself, which I don’t often heed. Judging from the way I disregard me, you can imagine how other people value my advice.

I’m not sure if my advice-giving predisposition is an admirable trait.  To tell you frankly, I sometimes can’t tell myself. If I could, I wouldn’t be me anymore. Continue reading

Leodini, I Want to Be a Mentalist…Do You Have Resources to Recommend?

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mindreader photo: mindreader Photo6.jpgHey, Leodini, I bought The Amateur Magician’s Handbook on your recommendation. I need to know more about mentalism. Can you recommend more resources to further my study?

Sincerely,

Mental Block

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I’m glad to know you bought my favorite book The Amateur Magician’s Handbook. It has a good chapter on mentalism, based mainly on Annemann’s writings.

The book is a good place to start. You may then decide to proceed to Corinda’s 13 Steps to Mentalism the DVD. It’s a six-volume DVD by Richard Osterlind that teaches the mentalism pieces originally found in the book, with some variations from Osterlind to update some of the materials.

osterlindSome of the best teachers of mentalism are Richard Osterlind, Bob Cassidy, Banachek and Max Maven. I have already hyperlinked their names (talk about spoon-feeding; I’m in the mood today), so all you need to do is click them and you will be brought to their sites.

Look around their sites and see what they offer. They have more than enough material to keep you busy for many years to come.

Stay magical,

Leodini

www.leodini.com

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