These are some performing tips originally posted by Guy Savoie to a magician's-only
mailing list. These are here with his permission...
Not every hint applies to every performer and there are many that tips that
aren't here, but should be... Email
if you'd like to suggest a tip to add to this page.
Carry a disposable camera in your gear. If nobody has a camera in the room,
perhaps offer it freely to the paying adult, or whoever makes the impending
comment of "oh, I wish we had a camera with us." $5 for some
goodwill goes a long way.
Secure your gear right away after a show - If you have cake and chat with
the kids for 20 minutes, somebody is probably getting into your stuff. "Hey,
Great Whizo! Why do you carry this mask in your bag???"
Have the adults clear the room of dogs or cats if you've got live animals
in your show. Chomp, chomp. (I've heard at least a dozen horror stories.)
Wrinkled silks are disgusting, and a paying audience might perceive
them to be "used handkerchiefs." (I've actually heard this from
friends who have seen other performers locally.) Oh, and normal people don't
know what a "silk" means, but they do know what a "silk handkerchief"
Use deodorant, shave, comb your hair, brush your teeth, and use breath spray.
Make chatting close up with you a pleasantry.
Pay attention to your clothes, and your shoes. Dirty white sneakers
are fine for a spectator. And buy good shoes, polish them if applicable,
and yes, they WILL notice if you just wiped them with a wet paper towel.
(Nod to Simon Lovell on the shoes.)
Always have an extra set of keys to every lock/handcuff/case. Cheap insurance
against a stall in your show. [n.b. My dad was talking with a cruise ship
magician who ended up a transposition trunk effect by having to get the
crew to carry the trunk off stage with him inside because of this... Glenn]
If you use a national flag in your act, handle it with the utmost in respect,
even if you don't feel that way. If you drop a flag silk on the floor during
a production, you WILL insult a veteran someday. In the same way, be aware
of national and cultural differences. It might not be okay to kick their
Thank your clients for their business!
When planning "outs" for your act, make believe NONE of your tricks
worked, or they were stolen at the restaurant you just stopped at. What
would YOU do for a show? Could you still make the audience happy with napkins,
a deck of used cards, and 10 feet of clothesline rope?
Cue the camera-laden Mama's with "Isn't this a beautiful snapshot?"
and build some photogenic moments into your act. (Nod to Larry T. for this
Bring extra matches/napkins/flash paper/rope, and pack it separately. If
one gets wet, or destroyed, you are still in charge. Have extra copies of
any music you use! (Nod to Boy Scouts)
Smile, and engage audience members in eye contact. They will open up to
you. If you stare at your props the whole time, there's lots to improve
in your show. If you aren't really a talker, work on it. Anybody can become
better at it.
If an adult female (or male) is flashing you the way they are sitting with
shorts/shirts/dresses/skirts, either ignore it or ask them to volunteer.
It will give them a chance to re-adjust after they help out. If someone
catches you scanning their wife, you could be in for a beating. (Nod to
Pamela Anderson Lee.)
If you have to cancel, can you get someone else to fill in? Even if another
performer costs a small amount more, you should pick up the tab to cover
it. $10 or $20 out of your pocket to bring in a friend is cheap compared
to the bad-mouthing you'll get if you just bail out. Just tell your friend
that they have to say your name 10 times during their act :)
And the most recent: Bill Packard, in the last issue of the mailing list,
mentions some good points if you allow camcorders:
Help the camera operator to select a good viewing angle to catch the spectators
well (and possibly to cover some angles, hmmm?)
Remind the operator that the spectators are the real highlights when videotaping.
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