Setting The Stage – Ideas & Tips for Magicians


The success of your magic present hinges upon your viewers being able to obtain it. I’ve a 4 section course of I take advantage of to develop a relationship with my viewers, preserve a optimistic temper, and roll out the pink carpet for a magical night.

Take heed to episode 4 of Principle & Ideas for Magicians!

Episode Transcript

I spend quite a lot of time considering, writing, and now talking concerning the course of of creating magic. Some actual high-falootin’ stuff! Nevertheless, regardless of what a few of my theoretical discussions might recommend, I don’t contemplate myself a very creative magician.

I’m simply your common magician. I don’t work significantly fancy gigs. The factor I’m actually, actually good at is pulling as much as an empty group corridor, loading in some gear, and turning it right into a theater for the evening. I’m a one-man crew; lights, sound, and magic. I goal to placed on a present which can be a night of laugh-out-loud leisure for hard-working folks and their household. Or lazy folks and their households… who am I to guage? Within the magic biz, we name this a “real-world present.”

It’s not likely about what I wish to obtain as an artiste, not if I’m promoting my providers as a magician. Audiences are in search of an answer to their leisure drawback. It’s about what they want and what it takes for me to ship one of the best expertise for them.

I’m Ryan Pilling, that is Principle and Ideas For Magicians.

On this episode I’m dangerously near crossing over from idea to actual sensible recommendation. Nevertheless, it’s chock-full of ideas. That is my course of, which I’ve used for a few years, to ship one of the best magic present I presumably can.

I can’t name it components, it’s not so restrictive, however I do comply with a common guideline when planning out how my present unfolds. The Set-Up, the Heat-Up, the Pump-Up, and the Contact-Down.

The heavy payload of leisure is packed into the Pump-Up part of the present. All of the wrappings round it are strategic selections to organize the viewers to obtain this supply, and carry it with them into their lives. It’s not likely about what I do, magic-wise, however how I bundle it right into a present.

The Set-Up

Probably the most missed a part of the night could also be a very powerful. I really feel The Set-Up section actually begins when your particular person viewers members go away their properties, as they arrive on the venue, settle into their seats, proper up to date when the curtain opens and the performer steps out. It’s all the present earlier than the present, and it determines the mind-set with which your viewers joins you, and the way seemingly they’re to return alongside for the trip.

That is much less about your expertise as a magician and extra about your expertise as an occasion planner. Assuming most viewers members can be excited and looking out ahead to the present, a optimistic state by default, most of that is about avoiding issues which might bitter their expertise.

Issues like selecting an accessible venue. Struggling to seek out parking will deliver you a grumpy viewers. Poor signage to get to the theatre could have folks dashing in all flustered, and their thoughts received’t be open to you till a number of minutes into the present.

I attempt to do a psychological walkthrough of your complete front-of-house course of for folks arriving on the present and look out for pitfalls. From the car parking zone to the foyer, via the ticket line, via the doorways and into their seats. How will we make that have clean and painless?

Pre-show home music helps folks transition from the busy world and settle into your magical house. Gentle leisure, be it dwell or pre-recorded, gives a nice distraction for the early-arrivals to remain linked.

Lastly, the sleek transition from pre-show to show-show has been perfected for a century or extra; The comfortable home music turns to a loud overture, the lights dim, the viewers is of course hushed, the curtains open, the stage lights come up, and… showtime!

If this entire course of rolls out easily, you’ll have an viewers full of individuals primed to take pleasure in your efficiency. You’ve rolled out the pink carpet for them, however… they’re not able to commit simply but.

The Heat-Up

At this level you and your viewers are strangers. Very similar to actual life, you possibly can’t simply leap into their arms and provides them a bear hug. It received’t go over nicely. Like two wild canines assembly, there are specific social maneuvers which have to be made earlier than you’re keen to belief each other and expose your stomach.

(let me stress, “expose your stomach” is meant purely as a metaphor.)

This relationship-building course of could be damaged down additional.

First, you should declare your house.

Categorical your proper to be the one in management for the subsequent hour, and provides the viewers a motive to belief you’re able to doing so. Observe, belief can’t be taken, it should be given. False bravado, and pretend, loud enthusiasm shows a insecurity. Calmness, and being in no explicit hurry, recommend you realize precisely what you’re doing.

Popping out and fumbling along with your microphone will torpedo every part you’ve constructed up immediately, and also you’ll be beginning by digging out of a gap.

As a magician, I really feel it is extremely useful to start with a fast show of your competence. Do some magic, magic boy. Present me in case you’re any good.

I realized this lesson the onerous means. For years I might plan a clumsy begin, faking an absence of talent. Wanting again I see how my comedic rouse failed, because it lacked any sense of irony. I simply seemed like a straight-up disappointingly unhealthy magician. If I had begun with a fast flash of talent, then my tongue-in-cheek tom-foolery would have landed on extra stable floor. The viewers desires to really feel like they’re in good palms.

Second, you set expectations.

Now that the viewers is aware of they’re in your home, they’re able to take heed to your guidelines. You determine your present. The who, what, the place, when and why of this theatrical world.

Kids’s entertainers usually take this time to actually clarify the principles of the present. (“clap if you see one thing you want!”) Adults additionally want this form of steering, although not so bluntly, to be taught they’re allowed, and inspired, to have interaction. (“Everyone put your palms out in entrance of you, thumbs pointing down…”)

One factor I like to determine right here is that I don’t imagine in actual magic. It’s an enormous a part of my science-minded character, but in addition lets the viewers know that I do know that they comprehend it’s faux. I ship this message whereas performing a magic trick, and I ask them to drop their skeptical guard. (“For the subsequent hour or so, let’s simply loosen up and luxuriate in.”) That is considered one of my home guidelines.

Now, within the third section of the warm-up, we’re able to start with the warming.

My purpose right here is share my persona. For me this implies extra goofy comedy and fewer jaw-dropping magic. They get to know me, and I get to know them.

I’m additionally seeking to progressively ramp-up my viewers engagement. Very similar to the bear hug I say it’s an excessive amount of, too quickly to ask for a volunteer from the viewers at this level. You most likely received’t get any palms raised, at the least not from folks you’d need. They don’t know you nicely sufficient. They don’t belief you.

I begin with low-commitment engagement. I ask questions and communicate on to people of their seat. No stress, no spotlights of their face. I goal to indicate that I deal with folks with kindness and respect. That they received’t be the sufferer of a joke.

Subsequent, I’ll go into the viewers to work together with anyone. I come to them. They’re nonetheless of their protected consolation zone, however I’m coming into the viewers’s bubble. I’m gently advancing our relationship and belief.

My “Energized Playing cards Throughout” routine was born out of needing to unravel this actual drawback with chilly company audiences. Over the course of seven minutes I goal to take them from a collective of strangers to a bunch of associates. It progressively invitations the viewers to take part each individually and as a bunch, ending with excessive fives throughout the group like I’m Wayne Newton in Las Vegas.

Each transfer is strategic, and it really works! By the top of that routine, the viewers is totally engaged and prepared for a magic present!

The Pump-Up

For those who’ve finished your job proper, and your viewers is on this extremely engaged state, you’re set to ship the efficiency of a lifetime. You’ve nurtured your relationship along with your viewers, and now they’re able to spend money on you. Because the show-biz saying goes “In the event that they such as you, you will get away with something!”

They’ll comply with you on the dramatic roller-coaster via excessive vitality romps and quiet, mysterious moments. They’ll chortle at your jokes, gasp at your magic, and be able to catch you in case you attempt crowd-surfing.

This part is fairly loosey-goosey on construction till it will get to the top. After all, you’ll finish the present along with your blockbuster climactic routine, your most superb, inconceivable magic. Nevertheless, simply earlier than you begin into that you simply’ll wish to sign the present is on the house stretch.

That is the best time to make any bulletins, and ship info the viewers would possibly want instantly after the present. (pitch your merchandise, meet and greet, and so forth.) That is the time to thank the individuals who made the present attainable. Your viewers will get an opportunity to catch their breath earlier than your finale, however watch out your speaking doesn’t drag on or they’ll begin to wind-down. Not but!

Your grandest routine of all is fast-paced, excessive vitality, and pulls out all of the stops. You are able to do this and not using a Broadway funds. Have a look at Martin Nash’s “Ovation” routine, or Jorge Alexander’s “Sympathetic 10” as mere card methods delivered with the vitality of a better.

All the things about your supply indicators that there’s completely nothing you are able to do which could possibly be higher. That’s the way it must really feel to the viewers. The reality is subjective. Watch avenue performers to see how they construct up finale vitality round a comparatively lame stunt. It’s not what you do, however they means that you simply do it.

Together with your second of triumph, you graciously settle for all of your well-earned applause, however… the present shouldn’t be over. Not fairly but.

The Contact-Down

Whereas your climactic routine might have been a landing, as in soccer, your present nonetheless wants a touch-down, as in airplane. You may’t simply drop out of the sky. You must land it and pull into the gate earlier than your viewers might depart.

You’ve received yet one more efficiency to ship. In case your grand finale required one of the best of your thoughts and physique, this ultimate routine requires one of the best of your coronary heart.

I name it the “stool nearer,” in honour of Lance Burton who ended his grand phantasm present sitting on a stool, beneath a single highlight, performing some small magic. It went from an enormous manufacturing present centered down into one tiny second. With out that ultimate piece, you’d keep in mind all of the superb magic. With that stool nearer, you keep in mind Lance.

That is the hug, lastly, on the finish of your journey collectively. You join along with your viewers, heart-to-heart, human-to-human, to make it private. To make it matter. They received’t keep in mind what you do, they keep in mind the way you make them really feel.

With that, you deliver the viewers again right down to earth and ease them again into the actual world. The houselights come up and the spell is damaged. The background music, with subdued vitality, escorts them out into the foyer and on their means residence, having had an actual magic present expertise.

Finally, entertainers are within the enterprise of creating reminiscences. The deal is in case you spend your time with me, I’ll offer you a return on that funding. You get to revisit that point down the street, assume fondly of it. You squeeze extra expertise out of your life. The extra useful entertainers create stronger reminiscences. Legendary entertainers might create reminiscences to span generations!

This present course of is de facto about working to keep away from the negatives. Eradicating potholes from the trail in direction of a memorable expertise on your viewers, so you might maximize your impression.

I hope this made an impression on you, too, and that it’s one thing you’ll keep in mind fondly and mirror upon. It’s no coincidence that I take advantage of music all through this Principle & Ideas for Magicians podcast. I wish to management the temper, to take you away out of your regular life for a second, and put together you to be open to some new concepts. I recognize the time you spend with me. As at all times, you possibly can be a part of me for extra magic at



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