Monday, February 06, 2006


The Magic of the Moment

To improv or not to improv? As a performer, I hope that all of you know your show, act, tricks that you do inside and out. Lots of you call for stuff for a show the next day....well.... Paul would mention to me that when he performed he would rehearse and rehearse and would never think of adding a trick to his show until he rehearsed for at least a year or so. When I worked in Las Vegas its all about doing same act day after day so from time to time you could slip something new in your show to see if it worked. Then if it did you could refine it in and work new lines and movement each day 3 to 4 shows a day.
Either way you routine a show, you better know what your doing on stage!

This past weekend for an example showed me what so many years of performing gives you. Knowledge and wisdom can turn into happy moments for your clients and hopefully repeat bookings for you.

I had to work a party which really had no normal setup (that I would be used to on stage in Las Vegas) as a show would go. Party for both adults and children, but really a task to be there for the kids for two maybe three hours. Nothing really set be ready to be flexable ..I am told. So Do a Show? Do Close-up? Balloon Animals? Play games? Yes all of the above! Packing my van with everything (I just mentioned ) and have it all set off to the side and be ready to go as the party goes on.

In the two hours it started with close-up magic for about 30 min., the balloon hats, a game for the kids. Then it was time for dinner for the kids in this wonderful home's "Pool House" which could easily be a hall for a King and Queen's Feast. Back on the patio, I was setting up for a show for the kids as soon as they were done eating. I had the show ready and seats set up for them. Now I was also told that I was also to "giveaway" a rabbit for this event for the host's little gal. No stage! No showgal helper! No Backstage! Ahh, what's this? A Ping-Pong Table on the Patio. Well, a improvised idea comes to mind. Fold the table up, it becomes a sidewall. Folding the ping-pong table up and putting it next to my case/backdrop (see my pictures from a earlier blog) I had a backdrop and stagewings.

So my show goes on and I had a backstage to load up the rabbit into a "Confetti Production Box during the show. I did my Rabbit Wand Routine (also explained on this blog a while back) and then after the Rabbit Wand I joked that we really needed a magic box to produce the rabbit. Went backstage really fast and loaded the bunny into the box. Bringing out the box and I produce the rabbit for the host's little daughter's delight. Being able to improv turned a patio into a little Vegas stage for these wonderful kids.

Now the kicker was to make sure all the kids remembered me and tell their parents for their parties, don't forget the gifts. I had Ziplock bags with custom coloring books and magic books (both with my logo and telephone number), yo-yo's (from those catalogs I told you about) and a magnet card with my infor.

Many of you may think our favorite comics and entertainers do wonderful Improve comedy, well you would really be surprised how much is really been planned and done many times before. The magic is to make it look to the audience that its done for the first time for them. My 30 yr.s finally starts to pay off ...what do you think. This week we will skip the Tony's Picks part of the blog. The website was not on-line for a few hours when I usually write this column at night.

What makes the timing perfect (again learning to be flexable) was a call from Bill Abbott today to offer more tips for the blog tonight. Again timing plays well into my life to be able to improvise. What Bill sent to me for all of you as a tip for this week's blog fits into exactly what I just wanted to write about tonight.

Thank you very much BILL !! You proved my point that timing is everything!

This Weeks Tips

Guest Ideas from Bill Abbott

Selecting Material

Before selecting your material (ie. tricks & routines) you should make a list of criteria that will help you narrow your search. This list will be dependent upon the performing environment and audience you wish to perform for. I will give you my criteria for the table magic material I would perform in a family restaurant environment.

Remember that this list is especially suited to me and the environment(s) that I use this material in. Please think for yourself and come up with your own list. Here is my criteria for selecting material for my close-up repertoire.

The material I choose must...

-reset automatically

-work straight from my pockets (no hip pack, briefcase, or nap sack, etc.)

-have the capability to be performed absolutely surrounded (from the top, sides, straight-on and underneath!)

-be completely safe from harming the spectator. (all fire must be contained, knives out of reach of small children and drunken adults, etc.)

-have an inherent character based plot. (does this trick, or can this routine reflect my persona in some way?)-use examinable objects (within reason, again knives, matches and exploding paper not withstanding)

-must engage the audience on some physical and/or emotional level (what do they DO during the trick to involve them personally?)

-be mastered from a technical standpoint (can I perform these sleights with ease, is there something I need to work on, etc.)

-absolutely and positively deceive EVERY member of my audience (from the intellectual to the slow of wit, this trick has to fool them all!)

-be visible for the size of audience I am performing for (table magic generally entertains groups of between 2-20)-have a beginning, middle and an end (introduction, build up to the conclusion, then a definite finish)

Making list of criteria for the selection of material will save you time, creative energy and money. Take this list along with you to the magic shop or keep it by your computer for those internet purchases and have it accessible when you're researching for new material.

Above all whatever the piece is you are thinking of adding to your act, keep the mindset that this one trick might be the one trick that they see you perform. Ever. Your magic must be an extention of who YOU are.

Being Organized

Organization starts with a choice of A-List material. Once you have this in place your travelling case or table is the first thing to organize. Look at the physical actions of each of your tricks and find out where the most accessible storage would be. Pocket organization comes next again dissecting the physical actions of each routine and figuring out which pocket a prop will rest until it is performed AND where it will end up after it’s performance. Kids can smell a disorganized peformer like a skunk during a heatwave.

Being organized = a more professional performance.

Being organized= a more relaxed and focused performer.

Being organized will help in focusing you on the most important thing. Your performance.

Next week I will have some tips gathered from our Hocus-Pocus members. Thank you all for reading each week.

Want to share a tip write me:

Thank you all for making Hocus-Pocus your choice for you magic products and knowledge and growth as a performer.

Tony Blanco

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