Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Do Something!"

Many, many times have I seen magicians who simply don't do magic. They talk, they do funny bits, they give too much damn exposition and do not do magic...

They do 10 minutes of stand up magic and within the 10 minutes there are 2 effects. I am not kidding. I have seen a spoon/fork transposition (two effects, although it is perceived as just one effect) that lasted 12 minutes. The story that went with it was supposed to be funny. But it was not.

Here is how I solved the problem for me to not step into the same trap. I got this theory, that within one minute, there should be 4 effects. That's seems right for me. Now that doesn't mean that there should be an effect every 15 seconds, but on average this should be the amount.

To keep up to that rule that set up for myself I need to do quickies. And trust me, sponge balls, rope, coins and cards are so great to hit the audience with effects every freaking 5 seconds. This is exhausting, but if I have done so, I "buy" myself more time, to do a much more relaxed effect a little later. That rule of 4 effects per minute (the epm index as I call it) serves me well with my pacing and my choice of effects.

4 epm might be a bit to much for the average magicians, but it should not be less than 1.

And one effect in ten minutes... Honestly, what can you do to make up for that?
If you are a magician, you are hired to entertain the guests with magic. Not with funny antics or boring stories.

If you call yourself a magician, you better live up to that. Otherwise you are just a comedian... And o boy, I hate those. The failure rate among comedians is bigger than among magicians. With an interesting shared middle. *cough* Jay Sankey *cough*


Tribun said...

my epm is 1.4, yey!

Kamal said...

I couldn't disagree more.

Magic is not inherently entertaining - if Dai Vernon were alive, he would say the same thing. In fact, I'm pretty sure he says the same thing when explaining the Gambler Vs Magician effect to Ammar on the Revelations series.

Magic is the wow, but that's all. Add suspense/comedy/wit/story-telling/whatever and then you *could* be considered an entertainer. Otherwise you're just another trick-monkey.

Roland said...

"Magic is not inherently entertaining" Really... While I agree that is not as entertaining as other arts, I kindly disagree with the oversimplification in this case.
If you show a coin, (no big woo woo, just showing a coin) and then you vanish the coin it is entertaining, as the surprise or the suspense that is created actually makes people wanna see it again. This is what entertainment means. It doesn't mean laughter. It means to have the urge see the act again. And if you do really solid magic they will wanna see the act again. I am not saying you are not supposed to be funny or anything like that. I am saying that humor is secondary... A client hires a magician, not a comedian. If you think that humor should be first, than you are a comedian. And not a magician. This is an oversimplification from my side. And I know there is a lot of ground in between. Yet I feel, that too many so called magicians lack the magic in their show. There should be a constant stream of magic effects otherwise the show is not really perceive as magic show, but rather as a comedy show with magic bits in between the jokes.
And just because Dai Vernon said so.... well I have disagreed with Dai Vernon on a few issues. He was not almighty you know.
If you think that magic has no entertaining value, you are not doing it right... The magic that is.