Your First Paid Show

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 09/26/06 06:43 PM

I would love to hear about your first paid, or professional magic show experience.
Thanks


I just did my first Paid, stage performance. I have never done any stage performance before, only individual and walk around close up. It consisted mainly of cards and close up material, with live video feed on a large overhead screen. The show was for about 100 people in a 250 seat auditorium with age ranges from 5-55 and it was crazy. Nothing major happened. But it was a new experience. Working with individuals on stage, while trying to keep the audience involved is harder than I thought. Just a couple of things that happened, I asked a couple of girls to pick a nubmer between 10 and 25, I thought I made that pretty clear, twice, but when I asked them their numbers the first said, 3, and the second, seven. It really did not change much, but It tought me to think on my feet. Also I burned a card and rubbed it on my arm to display the ashes and the card number did not show up on my arm. I found that my normal method does not stand up to that much time, between set up and performance. I pulled it off by tracing the numbers that were supposedly on my arm, like I could see them. They still freaked out that I knew the card. Besides feeling sick to my stomach, and being exhausted after it was all over, it was a great experience and the man in charge paid me with a smile and a thank you. It was a great time.
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Postby Guest » 09/26/06 07:21 PM

I was fifteen years old, in a bar near campus ( I know ... but 1975 was a lot more lenient concerning mature looking fellows.) I was doing card tricks for some friends of mine. A fellow was watching, and after a while he came over and said "That stuff is pretty good. Do you do parties?" While I was formulating an answer along the lines of "Sure, I would love to come to your party," he asked, "What do you charge?'

I was dumbstruck. It never occured to me that you could get PAID doing this kind of stuff. I was again attempting to formulate an answer, to ask for $25 dollars or so when he said "Is $150 enough?"

Well now, a light went off in my head. I said that sure, I could do it for that. My friends were even more shocked than I was. Something terrible was launched that day. What rough beast, its hour come round at last, lurches toward the close up table to be born...

John R
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Postby Guest » 09/26/06 07:46 PM

I recall very strongly the first time I did walk around. Up to then I had only done kids shows. I was asked by a friend to cover his shift at a local restaurant so he could have a Christmas party. (Yes, I was invited and went after.)
I remember sitting in my car out front of the restaurant and how bad my nerves were. I kept trying to think of a good excuse I could give so I didn't have to go in. The best I could think up was "I forgot," which I know he wouldn't buy.
So, with five minutes to spare I collected my wits and walked into the place. I introduced myself to the hostess, who said she was told I would be there. She asked if I needed something and i said "Yeah, some downers." Yeah, good start.
I didn't look around the place, I just went to the first table and introduced myself and ...
I changed. I don't really know what happened but the second I opened my mouth I became confident. I spoke with an authority that said "I know what I'm doing."
I got my first laugh, then my second then, well, I did a trick and when it was over I had forgotten about the sniveling coward that was in the parking lot a few minutes before.
How did I do? I killed. The manager took me to a side at one point and told me he was getting great feedback about me. He said that there were some events coming up where they would want two entertainers and asked if I could be the second. (with my friend being the first, of course.)
From that day on I was the backup magician. At least once a month I covered. And eventually I took over the job and held it for about three years, until new management took over and decided that I was more of a liability.
I look back at that day as a changing one for me. I looked into the face of fear and overcame it.
i don't do close up anymore, and I don't really miss it, but the experience I gained in those four years was priceless.

Gord
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Postby Guest » 09/27/06 10:50 PM

Thanks for sharing your stories. I would love to hear more about all of your experiences.
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Postby Guest » 10/16/06 09:18 AM

*Smiles* I love thinking about my first Gig. I don't know if it could be considered my first "Show", but when I was 16 I did walkaround in a resturant in Indianapolis called Italian Gardens. The clientel had a median age of around 80. Wonderful people to work for. I remember one thing very clearly... I knew I needed an attention getter, but most of the tricks I was doing were not the most visual from across the room. (*Sigh* I shouldn't have been working, hehe. I was using a stripper deck, a couple OBVIOUSLY gaffed tricks, and spongeballs. But the magic bug bit me, and I had theatre training) So for my visual attention getter, I realized there were hanging X-Mas style lights all over the resturant, so I started plucking red lights off of the strings and eating them. (D'Lites are fun) I had a good year there before I moved down here to Jacksonville, and won't ever forget that awesome first job.

Many other stories from there, like the magician I met who fooled me with a pass when I had no idea what it was. I still don't know who that guy was... or me, having done magic for about 6 months confidently, and having a blind kid ask to see a trick (!!!). That'll scar a newbie... but those stories are for later...
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/16/06 06:42 PM

Skipping the hundreds of shows I did whilst serving our Country during the Korean conflict (luck of the draw I served in Germany), the first show I did that was booked by a real talent agent was a near disaster.

When I showed up at the site it turned out to be a Christmas Party for the local Plumber's Union.

They were all already under the influence, and when I went on they all started banging their bottles on the tables and started shouting "Show us your tits!" (I didn't know it when the agent called, but it was a Stag show and there was me and three strippers booked).

Remembering a line Al Koran mentioned under similar circumstances I said, "There are horses for different courses, and I'm not a horse for this course, F you and goodnight!"

Walked off and the agent said, "You don't work you don't get paid!" I needed the money. So, after the first stripper finished, believe it or not, I decided to work, went back on... I forget what I said, but it got a laugh and I did the act and it went well."

The bottom line?

I got paid.
Stay tooned.
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Postby Guest » 12/04/06 09:11 AM

Does street magic count? I remember thinking how absurd my friend's plan was: we would go to Times Square and show people magic and ask for money - I mean these were total strangers we'd be performing for and I had no clue how to ask for payment without coming across like a scumbag. On the train ride over, I overheard a few seconds of rap coming out of a fellow straphanger's head phones - it sounded like "How can I move the crowd? First of all: Ain't no mistakes allowed" and that rattled my nerves even more. When we got there, my friend told me to "get it started"; not knowing what to do I came up behind a couple who were standing next to each other, tapped the girl on the opposite shoulder. When she fell for the gag, I said "Gotcha! Now pick a card". She did and before long we had a crowd of about 20 people - we went back and forth and did 3 jaw-dropping effects each (things like Ambitious Card with a card-to-mouth climax) and then asked for donations. We made about 30 bucks off that first crowd and kept going for another hour or so. I don't know how much we made over the course of the night because we ended wasting most of it on arcade games and food, but the real bounty of that night was the confidence that comes with knowing that I could get a total stranger to willingly hand over their money with my skills.
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Postby Guest » 12/04/06 09:12 AM

Does street magic count? I remember thinking how absurd my friend's plan was: we would go to Times Square and show people magic and ask for money - I mean these were total strangers we'd be performing for and I had no clue how to ask for payment without coming across like a scumbag. On the train ride over, I overheard a few seconds of rap coming out of a fellow straphanger's head phones - it sounded like "How can I move the crowd? First of all: Ain't no mistakes allowed" and that rattled my nerves even more. When we got there, my friend told me to "get it started"; not knowing what to do I came up behind a couple who were standing next to each other, tapped the girl on the opposite shoulder. When she fell for the gag, I said "Gotcha! Now pick a card". She did and before long we had a crowd of about 20 people - we went back and forth and did 3 jaw-dropping effects each (things like Ambitious Card with a card-to-mouth climax) and then asked for donations. We made about 30 bucks off that first crowd and kept going for another hour or so. I don't know how much we made over the course of the night because we ended wasting most of it on arcade games and food, but the real bounty of that night was the confidence that comes with knowing that I could get a total stranger to willingly hand over their money with my skills.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 07:04 AM

About 9 years ago in a small church in california.. did a first time stage show:

Damn that Anouncer for giving me such a hyped up intro.. Anyway, stepped out, the music played at too low a volume, & I tried to move.. I guess I went into shock somewhat. My arm muscles could barely move when trying to vanish a candle, my mouth got cotton dry. I made it through the act with no Major flaws, but some minor ones.. I was just glad it was a free show..

Now got to do 2 New Year's Eve shows now.. on stage.. As long as I am prepared, I should not be very nervous compared to the previous ones..

I try to think of it as an energy which you can channel into either nervousness OR Excitement. I prefer Excitement. (think you are ready to charge out like a bull & blown em away.)


ps. my advice is never turn down an opportunity to perform if you can.. I almost turned down an opportunity recently, but some how 50.1% of me forced me to do the little show.. It ended up opening a door bigger than I could have ever hoped for!
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 09:22 AM

My first paid show was as a hypnotist Does that count?
It was 1955 I was a senior in High School My buddy Al and myself were trying to establish "careers" as stage hypnotists Our first booking was for a senior Hebrew men's group
As I was standing before the microphone doing our intro A small gentlemen in the front row was waving his hand vigorously Tried to ignore him but he persisted calling out "boychik! boychik!" (little boy! little boy!) I acknowledged him at last He said "Boychik! canst du readen da mommalanga" translation young boy can you speak the mother tongue? No I answered . neither could my partner
Practically no one in the audience could speak any English We couldn't speak Yiddish
We said Sholom, and beat a hasty retreat We didn't get paid
from
Ford
And yes I know Sholom isn't Yiddish
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