Monday March 2, 2014
6:30 PM – Doors
7:00 PM – Teaching Table and Meeting
Screening Room Cinema and Café
3131 Sheridan Drive
Amherst, New York 14226
Teaching Table: Martin Hoelcle “Oldies but Goodies”
With a lecture by: Anthony Gerard
1 Andrew Wurl
5 Corey Burzynski
7 Michael Joseph
10 George Fidel
16 Mark Falzone
19 Victor Trabucco
28 Rosemary Hoffman
11 Rian Lehman
18 William Price
24 Willis Utter
28 Mike Baron
31 Terry Hofschneider
31 Edward Blaszak
3 Timothy Harrington
7 Pat Holman
16 James O’Neill
21 David Wiedemer
25 Paul Schuler
25 John Tykoliz
Hello to all,
Time sure goes by when you are having fun!!! As we are about to wrap up another year of great magic, I’d like to thank ALL of you for your support through out the year. It truly was an honor to be President of what I believe to be the best Ring in the world, Gene Gordon Karl Norman Ring 12.
Remember, we as members make it that way by sharing our talents and time to do everything that needs to be done to keep our Ring vibrant and strong. Please don’t hesitate to lend a helping hand and truly become a active member.
If you have any books or DVD’s please return them for summer break.
Enjoy your summer with your families and friends. Don’t forget to practice and perform your magic. You never know when your magic can make somebody’s day!!!
See you all soon. Thanks again.
What a rollercoaster year this has been. The loss of Karl Norman will leave a gaping hole in this ring but we went on and before that we got to celebrate Karl’s birthday. But we also had amazing lectures month after month, my only regret is that we never had an auction. I’d like to welcome all the new members who joined us this year and I hope to see you all at many more meetings in the future, you joined a great and talented group of people. I also need to thank Brian Blake for the Scott Wells articles, it really added a lot to the monthly Hocus Pocus and before that Bill Price submitted many useful articles. I’m always looking to make this Hocus Pocus a better newsletter and all help is appreciated. Thanks for reading and have a great summer!
Commercial or Practical? (By Scott Wells courtesy of Brian Blake)
I believe that magicians must hear the word “commercial” more often than a television executive. We often hear this word being used in context with selling a trick. Another word most commonly associated with promoting the effectiveness of magic effects is “practical.” When we hear these two code words together, then it must mean that it’s a powerful effect. They are used to market tricks and are also used among the magic fraternity when describing an effect to our fellow magi. But what do these words actually mean in the real world and what do they imply?
Among other descriptions, Webster’s Dictionary defines “commercial” as “viewed with regard to profit.” This is a rather precise definition as it applies to magic in that we are always looking for effects that will “get the money” or otherwise bring us profit from our audience. This profit may be in the form of 1) an enhancement to our career and/or persona or 2) as financial rewards or 3) both. We want our audiences to enjoy the trick/experience so that they will tell their friends and we can have repeat business.
When I think of the word “commercial”, I think of my audience’s enjoyment. Will they like it? If it’s commercial, then they should like it. If it’s not commercial, then I think of it as being something that will be fun to play with for my own edification and possibly the enjoyment of other magicians. If my audience doesn’t like that particular effect or it doesn’t stand out from the rest of my routine, then there is a good chance that they will see it as part of my whole act and not something that remains in their minds as particularly noteworthy. It will also contribute to making me seem like another generic magician. And if I’m viewed as just another magician, then why remember my name or ask for me the next time they need a magician?
My goal is to eliminate that which does not contribute to my audience’s complete satisfaction. “Simplify, simplify, simplify” should be our credo in each effect and in the overall routine. I frequently ask my audience what they liked best about my act. They may mention one item or another, but I feel that my best compliments are the ones that say that they liked “me” because I want them to book and recommend “me” again.
One way to find out what really mystified your audience (and if, indeed, you really DID mystify your audience) is to quickly go to the men’s room after your show and hide in a stall. You will over hear lots of talk about what they liked (and didn’t like) and guesses on how you did your “tricks.” This is perhaps the best way to get honest and immediate feedback.
If the effect is intended to “fool the boys at the local magic club meeting,” then it could be considered as commercial for those who want a reputation for always having something clever for your peers. As we all know, our fellow magicians are a bit jaded and look at magic from a completely different angle than the paying public. They relish the cleverness of the move or method rather than enjoying the thrill of being fooled. Just notice the reaction at magic conventions. The response starts at the rear of the theatre where the public is usually seated while the magicians up front just sit on their hands.
So what is “practical?” Referring again to Webster’s, it is defined as “not theoretical or ideal” and “capable of being put to use.” This also serves the advertiser well because we all want an effect that is tested and actually works. Too often we hear lecturers who show us “great” effects that have never been audience tested. They sell us lecture notes that contain some effects that are nothing more than pipe dreams. They sound good on paper but may not play well in a real world performing situation. Hence comes the name of Mike Close’s series entitled Workers. These are routines taken from his performing repertoire that are proven winners and have been successfully tried and performed hundreds of times and found to be overwhelmingly accepted by a variety of audiences. Magic from Workers is “practical” in the classic sense of the definition.
When I think of the word “practical”, I have to wonder if it makes sense for me to use it. That is, can I carry it easily, will it pack flat, is it resettable, and in other words, will it meet my unique criteria for my performing situation? Something that may be practical for my venues may not be equally so for yours. Accordingly, something that is advertised as “practical” may not be so for every magician.
Another thing to note is that although it may be both commercial and practical, it may not be within your performing capabilities. It is also possible that it may not fit within your limited space on your stage whether a large stage or a close-up stage. On an unrelated matter, you should not limit yourself due to the effect’s price because it could be worth its’ weight in gold to the right performer in the right venue.
So, when you next hear someone say that they have an effect that is both commercial and practical, you should look deeper to see if it is something that will help sell you to your audiences. Know your capabilities and limitations and know your audience.