Strolling ... vs... Stationary

Post topics about the business side of magic.

Postby Guest » 07/16/03 07:47 AM

I'd like to see more close-up magi try the stationary approach. I'm convinced this 'form' can become more popular (perhaps more popular than 'strolling' ?)

I'd hazard a guess that past masters (think: Don Alan , Del Ray, Al Goshman, etc.) would love to see the ball continue rolling along a stationary path.

I'm curious as to how many current 'magi-pros' work stationary. I know most "trade show magi" work this way. Any others?

&/or

Has anyone tried working stationary and decided against it (in favor of strolling.)

the floor is open ;)

Doug Conn
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/16/03 08:56 AM

Good question.

When I am booked to entertain at a party or corporate event as a "strolling magician," I always have a table set up at a location somewhere between the bar and the finger food. Then I use it as a "home base," working stationary at the table. I do not like approaching a group of people engaged in conversation, interrupting with a line like "pick a card."

Later in the evening I will stroll among the tables, entertaining the guests who choose not to dance. This works well for me.
Guest
 

Postby Joe M. Turner » 07/16/03 12:23 PM

I've worked both ways and sometimes you just have to roll with the flow of the event. I prefer to have the convenience of a table and to avoid interrupting groups, but there are some venues where the traffic flow just doesn't seem to work out to support that very well. I like to be seen working the entire room if I have been specifically hired to "stroll." I may try to sell them on a stationary set-up but generally I am finding that they want me to walk around.

JMT
...doesn't mind hoofing it...
Joe M. Turner
 
Posts: 418
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Atlanta, GA

Postby Paul Green » 07/16/03 01:58 PM

Hi,

I've decided to add my opinions to the mix...

I think that the host decides what is appropriate for the event. In a small party--less than 100, I think that a stationary location can work quite well. A formal show given at a specific time will be appreciated by those that decide to watch.

It is when we get larger audiences, that the concept of strolling works better. In order for the client to receive the benefit of your entertainment, one must be on the move targeting groups for which you can perform. More people entertained=a happier client.

I have done both, many times, with my preference going towards strolling. The intimacy of the performance and numbers entertained always make it better for me. However, if a client wants "station" work--they are the boss!

Regards,

Paul (I always have comfortable shoes on) Green
Paul Green
 
Posts: 291
Joined: 03/15/08 08:29 PM
Location: California

Postby Guest » 07/16/03 02:11 PM

Joe,

I understand your point. (I find myself 'hoofing it' about 10% of the time.) When they request it, I make one shot at the stationary 'sell' if they don't bite, I give.

Note: I think most agents/clients request strolling is because they're used to seeing at other events.

My hopes are that more magi will consider bringing a table to events and give 'old school' a try.

...

Paul,

True, the client is boss. As mentioned above, my concern is that they're just booking 'status quo' (not realizing there's more than one way to skin a cat.)

Note: I haven't had any probs w/ large crowds... in fact I've found bigger venues to be more rewarding (gimmie a corner in a grand ballroom w/ a thousand people in the room any day of the week.)

Which brings me to a nice bonus point: Working stationary allows you to pick a spot away from the noise.
I don't know about you guys, but 99% of the gigs I work feature an obsurdly loud music source (band, dj, etc.)

speaking of gigs, I have one tonight (Working a heavenly (Microsoft) event where people will be ushered into a room for a sit down 20 minute 'experience'(crowds will rotate for 3 hours.)

Call time is 45 minutes... GOTTA GO,
Conn
Guest
 

Postby Shawn Preston » 07/16/03 05:10 PM

I am curious about the idea of being stationary as opposed to strolling. One of the advantages to strolling is the fact that one's material can be repeated several times throughout the event, each time for a different group. Thusly allowing the performer to carry his/her props on their person. If one is stationary, much more material would be necessary in order to entertain the watchers. I can imagine some people standing there watching the show for 30 to 45 minutes or until the material was exhausted. How would you get past this? short sets? stationary set followed by a strolling set followed by a stationary set etc?

in the faith
Shawn
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. - Einstein
Shawn Preston
 
Posts: 56
Joined: 02/20/08 01:00 PM
Location: Colorado

Postby magicbar » 07/17/03 12:52 PM

Listen to Paul Green.

He knows more than he reveals in his reply.
magicbar
 
Posts: 179
Joined: 03/13/08 02:55 AM

Postby John Smallie » 07/17/03 09:40 PM

One advantage I find to the table approach is that it allows the use of a cervante. A cervante not only greatly facilitates ditches, but can also aid, in productions by keeping the items to be produced close at hand until the last possible moment. A table might also be useful for introducing magnets, as well as other gimmicks into a performance. Consider, the type of table used by Cellini in his street performances. Such a table is portable, fairly spacious, and aids in preventing uncle Bob syndrome by providing a means of identification.
John Smallie
 
Posts: 9
Joined: 07/15/08 12:16 AM
Location: virginia usa

Postby Guest » 07/18/03 09:53 AM

As is usually the case, Paul Green is correct in what he says however, I too prefer to work in a stationary position if possible. Many hospitality suites (after the trade show) are easier to work if one has a stationary position somewhere that is not in the wa. It also provides you with better avoidance of "interuptions". The same for working larger events HOWEVER, if it is a sit down, dinner event, then walk around IS needed, not stationary. When booking the event however, one MUST go with what the host wants although you will usually find that they would like your input as to what works best. Remember, you are "working" and the space that you are working in is in effect YOUR office space for that time and you know what works best for you and places you in the best "light" as far as how you look and that if you look good and impress the guests, then your host looks even better for hiring you, which is always of importance to them.

Also in reply to the question about whether or not the station as opposed to walk around requires additional material - NO, but you better make sure that the material you do is bullet proof and repeatable.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Unique Mentalism World-wide - featuring the Jack Dean line of products.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/19/03 12:19 PM

I'm sure you agree that you have to be prepared for both stationary and strolling.

Most of my clients request strolling, but sometimes, they put me in a stationary situation.

I did that at a 12-year-old grad party in May, for example. For three hours, 12-year-olds strolled by my table and I performed for them. As you can imagine, it became quite a challenge. A few kids stayed around for most of the three hours, so at the end of two hours, I was well into "B" and "C" material. That's the problem with continuous stationary performing--you can't make an excuse and steal away. Strolling gives you flexibility.

After two hours, of course, kids get tired of you getting the right card. At that point, I launched into a spelling trick that's on the Michael Close videos (can't remember the name), and it's a trick that I don't often perform, and sometimes I'm off by one. So I had the 12-year-old spectator spell to the selected card.

"That's not my card," the spectator said.

And a row of 12-year-old boys all said, "That's not the card, that's not the card, that's not the card."

Oh gee, I thought, I'm off by one. So I picked up the card and did some magical transformation (can't remember its name) to turn it into the next card. Voila!

"No, haw haw, you got it right the first time!" they said, and they all walked away from the table, getting the better of the slightly pissed off magician.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/21/03 10:09 AM

David,
All children (especially boys) are lairs and thieves...

All of them ;)
Guest
 

Postby Gary Freed » 07/22/03 07:03 PM

I love children..I just can't eat a whole one.
Gary Freed
 
Posts: 73
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Endicott, NY

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/25/03 12:55 PM

Originally posted by Gary Freed:
I love children..I just can't eat a whole one.
Has anyone done a Hannibal Lechter type thing where the performer is wheeled around all bound up and does a 'no-touch' mentalist type act?

"... and your wife gave that cologne?? "
Mundus vult decipi
Jonathan Townsend
 
Posts: 6764
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Westchester, NY

Postby Guest » 07/31/03 09:30 AM

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
Originally posted by Gary Freed:
[b] I love children..I just can't eat a whole one.
Has anyone done a Hannibal Lechter type thing where the performer is wheeled around all bound up and does a 'no-touch' mentalist type act?

"... and your wife gave that cologne?? " [/b]
Not that I've seen, but it's a GREAT idea!

"Remember, Freakazoid - Revenge is a dish best served cold... with fava beans and a nice chianti - slurpslurpslurp!!!" - from an episode of Freakazoid with Ricardo Montalban doing the voice of the bad guy and which caused me to almost aspirate an entire cheese sandwich!

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.ledarrow.com
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 08/05/03 06:43 AM

Both Strolling and stationary have ther problems. At gigs with children, many times I am followed around from table to table by a group of kids, who will invariably say "Oh I already saw that, I know what you're going to do" So what I generally do is enlist their help at a table in exchang for leaving me alone. I'll expl,ain to them that the people at the tables want to be entertained privately, and ask them to help with a trick at the next table, then not follow me around, and I'll do some special stuff, just for them later. I'll secretly tell them the name of a card, have aspectator select a card at the next table, but not show it to the kids, but then have the kids name it. This usually does the trick.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 08/29/03 08:24 PM

I think a stationary magician should stay put and a strolling magician should do the walking. When I perform at a table I am stationary, I just don't need or use the table to make magic happen. For magicians who do stationalry table work at corporate of private events, they should just do a couple of shows and not mix the walk around with it, I don't think he will have tons of people approaching his magic stand at the average corporate event. Especially if there are tons of people.
Guest
 

Postby Herman Koster » 09/01/03 05:10 PM

Isn't stationairy magic more of a theaterform than strolling magic? I liked the close-up room at the castle and also at Caesar's Magical Empire. It just feels more like watching a show than strolling magic does. Maybe it's less interactive for most of the audience.
Strolling magic gives more audience members the chance to participate in the magic, so maybe it's more rememberable for them.

Also maybe stationary magic gives more elaborate acts than strolling (like Albert Goshman) and strolling is usually faster and shorter routines.

I myself prefer stationary magic because you can control the surroundings more and also work with light and music to make it more theater.
User avatar
Herman Koster
 
Posts: 97
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Netherlands

Postby Guest » 09/02/03 02:04 AM

Strolling events make up a large proportion of my work. Don't know if things are different here in the UK but function rooms and hospitality suites are usually very crowded and people don't tend to move around very much. By being mobile I can move around the room entertaining all these groups. It also means that the magical "atmosphere" that I'm hopefully creating will spread throughout the room, rather than being confined to, say, one corner.

Doing a "show" from a stationary position might work, but in 15 years I've never seen it done that way.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 09/02/03 08:19 AM

but in 15 years I've never seen it done that way.

That's the 'prob.' Everyone (magicians, agents, etc) is accepting status quo (strolling.)

So, here's an open request to "the workers."
If you've never tried working in your own 'zone' (stationary) please do! (& then try it again and again...perhaps, at least 3 times before you decide it doesn't work for you.) I think you'll find there's plenty of (artistic, theatrical, etc) rewards to be had from working in a fixed spot.

Plus, chicks dig it.

;)

Conn

www.dougconn.com
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 09/02/03 11:03 AM

Originally posted by David Groves:
I'm sure you agree that you have to be prepared for both stationary and strolling.

Most of my clients request strolling, but sometimes, they put me in a stationary situation.

I did that at a 12-year-old grad party in May, for example. For three hours, 12-year-olds strolled by my table and I performed for them. As you can imagine, it became quite a challenge. A few kids stayed around for most of the three hours, so at the end of two hours, I was well into "B" and "C" material. That's the problem with continuous stationary performing--you can't make an excuse and steal away. Strolling gives you flexibility.

After two hours, of course, kids get tired of you getting the right card. At that point, I launched into a spelling trick that's on the Michael Close videos (can't remember the name), and it's a trick that I don't often perform, and sometimes I'm off by one. So I had the 12-year-old spectator spell to the selected card.

"That's not my card," the spectator said.

And a row of 12-year-old boys all said, "That's not the card, that's not the card, that's not the card."

Oh gee, I thought, I'm off by one. So I picked up the card and did some magical transformation (can't remember its name) to turn it into the next card. Voila!

"No, haw haw, you got it right the first time!" they said, and they all walked away from the table, getting the better of the slightly pissed off magician.
Well, there IS a response for this, and it can be a good one, especially for the 12 year-old set.

When they say, "That's not the card!" Laugh and say, "That's the one I GAVE you!" shift the card to the bottom of the deck. "I couldn't have given you anything else!" Do the all alike display. End with it on top.

Palm it off as you hand them the deck and say "Check it out!"

While they are looking at the deck, stick the card to your forehead.

Heba Haba Al used to kill with that schtick - and, with his permission, I've been using it for well over two decades.

I hope this isn't too close to tipping technique... and it's perfect for those VERY rare times when you HAVE to shut down a troupe of people who are out to "get" you.

And no, I do NOT espouse one-upmanship as a regular response. This is for extreme cases only.

;)

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.leedarrow.com
Guest
 

Postby Dan LeFay » 09/03/03 02:42 AM

I think it is true that the Client is King. But does this necasseraly (sp!?;-) mean the client always knows what is the best for his venue?
I love both strolling and stationary, admit that in 95% strolling is the thing I do, but Doug is right. I like to bring the possibility of a stationary show under the attention of a client.
There is more "show", it will attract those who really like magic and keep the uninterested away. You can do stuff that's good but unpractical for strolling and it can be stationed away from the noise of the dancefloor.

I had the pleasure to perform a couple of times with the late great Richard Ross. He simply refused to stroll and always sat down and attracted a crowd. After his performance he'd introduce me and vice versa and the crowd loved it! And the clients were always impressed and admitted this was something they'd never knew was possible...

I think it IS possible to generate your own venue in some cases.
Dan LeFay
 
Posts: 104
Joined: 03/16/08 09:01 AM
Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Postby Paul Green » 09/03/03 10:18 AM

Hi everyone,

Here is another 2 cents worth:

It is also part of the job to "educate" the client. In some situations, stationary work is best. In other situations, strolling is best. A client may not know, or have even thought of any variation. You, as the performer, need to let your client know what other possibilities exsist.

I know many performers that refuse to stroll. I know many performers that really cannot generate enough energy to do "station" work--but are excellent strollers. One must evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses. In this way, the client wins--the audience wins--the performer wins.

Thanks for reading,

Paul (Spend the most you can on good shoes) Green
Paul Green
 
Posts: 291
Joined: 03/15/08 08:29 PM
Location: California

Postby Guest » 09/11/03 09:22 AM

Originally posted by Paul Green:
Hi everyone,

Here is another 2 cents worth:

It is also part of the job to "educate" the client. In some situations, stationary work is best. In other situations, strolling is best. A client may not know, or have even thought of any variation. You, as the performer, need to let your client know what other possibilities exsist.

I know many performers that refuse to stroll. I know many performers that really cannot generate enough energy to do "station" work--but are excellent strollers. One must evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses. In this way, the client wins--the audience wins--the performer wins.

Thanks for reading,

Paul (Spend the most you can on good shoes) Green
Paul has noted one of THE most important things about strolling (and trade show) performances - care of your feet!

While a bit off topic, this is ESSENTIAL.

Good shoes, Dr. Scholl's gel inserts, support hose and eating lots of bananas (for potasium, to keep you from cramping in the legs) all are good things to do.

When I work trade shows and the models there find out I'm a hypnotist and can make their feet stop hurting, I usually wind up with a line of them all the way down the block, all wanting to be hypnotized.

Doing a trade show in 4" mules or stilleto heels has just GOT to be a torture that's beyond anything Torquemada ever came up with!

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.leedarrow.com
Guest
 

Postby Pete Biro » 09/11/03 10:59 AM

How about your BACK?

I had the perfect set up... a major agent started to use me... I got hired to entertain, going from table to table, for a vip group from General Motors... big time... big bucks.

After about an hour of bending over I was FINISHED...I couldn't do it... next day I couldn't stand up my back couldn't take it.

I just decided that wasn't for me and told the agent I was going out of that business.

Too bad I didn't have a mentor that told me "You should set up a table and sit."

But, then the client didn't want that, they wanted me to go from table to table.

About shoes. Hahahah... doing trade shows I decided I should try to be taller. So I bought ELEVATOR shoes... four inch lift...

After about 20 minutes ( was behind a table ) I was working in my stocking feet.

Oh to have a new body with my today's experience.

:o :( :o
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Guest » 09/11/03 08:30 PM

Pete, I don't know anybody anywhere who wouldn't give a left nut for an new body with today's experience! --Asrah
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 09/12/03 08:25 AM

Pete et al,
There are situations for "strolling" where, especially in a banquet situation, that I have actually sat at the table with the audience. Not only does it make it far easier on the back (and I have back troubles) BUT it also brings the audience into a much more intimate, relaxed situation as you are not standing over them (in an authoritative position) plus it allows them to sit at ease WITH you to participate. You do have to work harder to maintain control and YOU must ask permission to sit and join them for a while but it does work very well.

One word of warning though, this does not work in all situations but particularly in a mentalism situation, it works extrememly well, although I still prefer to work in a quiet corner providing a show every half hor or every hour, the same as a trade show situation. The funny thing is that if you do your job well, you don't have to round them up because they all want to go and see where all the people have disappeared to and the hosts will know what a hit you really have been, something they must be told if you do strolling.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Suppliers of Unique Magic and Mentalism World-wide
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 09/27/03 02:12 PM

I do both but I HATE strolling. I do not like approaching perfect strangers and starting conversations.
I am not American.
Still, one has to do what one has to do. That's show business.
I do believe however that you are in a much stronger position to get audience reaction when they come to you rather than the reverse.

Ted Lesley had a very interesting idea in his book "Paramiracles"
It intrigued me quite a bit at the time I read it although I never did anything about it.
He brings with him a special backdrop and sets up a close up theatre with a table and chairs OUTSIDE the performing room. Thus he gets away from the noiseand distraction and they come to him which is much better theatrically.

I also note on browsing through a book at a magic shop ( thus no doubt irritating the owner because I never actually bought the book) that Eugene Burger has altered the dynamics of his restuarant work. He now refuses to wander up to tables. He comes by request only. The waiter has to come and get him. Not quite what we are discussing but there are some similarities.

No, I find that walking up to people is sheer purgatory. Sometimes I am hired to do palm reading at corporate gigs. There I sit down at a special designated spot and go to work. No strolling whatever.
The trouble is that I have to go through another sort of purgatory. I hate reading palms although I am pretty good at it.

Perhaps I should get a proper job.
Guest
 


Return to Marketing & Magic Business