# of Tricks for Walkaround?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by towcheeze, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. This may seem like a silly (and possibly over-asked) question, but how many tricks should one perform for a group during a walkaround situation? How long should the tricks be?
    bonus question: How should I approach a group?

    I really want to start to get into this, but I would like some pointers first. Any other sources for this kind of info are greatly appreciated as well.

  2. My advice may be weak due to my relatively recent introduction to magic, but I think I still have some to give. For me, length of time performing for a group really depends on how they seem to be responding. If they seem uninterested, I'll wish them a good night after finishing the effect I'm currently in, and leave. If their really into it, I may show them all my night's material. To qualify this, I perform walk around in a restaurant as a job. I'm unsure of what you mean by walk around. Is it working at a restaurant or club, or something along the lines of busking or street magic? As for the tricks individual length, I have tricks of various lengths, and apply them when I feel it's the right time. I usually have a given opener for the night, and a given closer that I will usually perform for every table, and one in between trick that I want to fit in, and I'll always have more on hand for when its necessary. My advice is to over prepare and bring more than what you think is necessary. I'm not saying having your pockets bursting at the seems, but be prepared for some longer performances if the occasion arises. Hopefully you could get some ideas from this somewhat lengthy post. Good luck!
    TulumMagic likes this.
  3. 3 effects ( 4 at the most) should be fine, The effects in my mind should also have something in common with each other. Either they build upon the other towards the finale "Reveal" or they share a common theme. This should roughly take around 4-5 min at the most and that's pretty much it.
    TulumMagic likes this.
  4. i would say do between 4 to 8 tricks at your own discretion of what the audience needs. the tricks should be varied and should last no longer than two minutes. your job is to get in get out and make them believe in the time in between that you are the greatest magician they have ever seen. to aid that your tricks should also be extremely visual and really pop. strong simple effects are what you should be aiming for as well as tricks that are impromptu or little to no reset time since you will be performing the same thing numerous times. also don't do just one medium of magic. if you do cards a lot also think about doing some coin, ball, silk, or rope routines. that way they get to experience a lot more magic in less time and they get to see good classical magic because everyone knows about those iconic mediums of magic. i personally add in a sponge ball routine (visual, good with kids, and funny), a classic rope routine (very visual and magical), one of many coin tricks that i've learned over the years (visual and mystifying) and a few card tricks to ice the cake (and totally fry their mind).
    TulumMagic likes this.
  5. There are a few topics recently packed with great advice (perhaps search the forums for Jamie D Grant). I also talked about it a little in a recent thread : http://forums.theory11.com/showthread.php?35509-My-New-Years-Eve-Show-(In-detail!)

    As a general rule of thumb, working in restaurants and doing corporate and family gigs, you usually have about 4-7 minutes depending on how many tables you have to hit in the time frame that you are hired for. I wouldn't do more than three effects for a table at a time (unless they are tipping well! At the restaurant, I once got tipped $20 five times from one table. I ended up doing about 40 minutes of magic for them). The reason being is that if you show anyone six tricks, they might remember two and be tired of all the tricks. If you show them three, they will be left wanting more, but feeling satisfied. As well, often, you have interrupted their conversation. So keep it short and sweet.

    I have three main sets, each with three effects, and a fourth set with two effects. I have done some gigs, where I use one set all night long because the tables are well spaced, however, most of the time two sets will work perfectly. At my last gig, I spent some extra time at one table and did all four sets over the course of the night.

    Simply put (and Jamie says this too in his post), nine effects will be great. Make sure you perform them all well, and your patter is solid (your patter will also develop and change as you perform for real people and hear/see reactions to the lines you speak). Remember the goal is to be entertaining, not just have an impossible illusion.

    As to your question, about approaching tables, this isn't easy. Eric Mead in his book talks about his approach, and he says it's like you need to sell your show to a new group of people over and over through the night. As soon as you finish one performance, you must find a new audience, and convince them that your show is worth watching. Eric's approach is brilliant.

    For me, I am often working with adults, and I usually say something to the effect of "Good evening, sorry to interrupt your conversation briefly. Are you enjoying your night so far?" (they respond-usually good) "Fantastic. Hopefully I can make it even better. My name is Justin Morris, and I am the magician this evening, and I was wondering if I could show you a little of what I do." (Wait for a response) "Wonderful" (begin routine)

    Some people have different approaches. Professional magician David Stone wrote in his book that he approaches tables and begins the magic before they even know that he is the magician. This is 180 degrees different than Eric Mead's approach. Both work for them.

    Some would disagree with my approach and say that if you ask them if they would like to see some magic, they might say no, thinking that you are a cheesy children's magician. Although I have had this happen twice in the last ten years, I feel that asking them gives them some control and sense of dignity. I would most certainly prefer to be approached that way than accosted with a flaming wallet. And perhaps that is the question to ask yourself. If you were out with a group of friends for drinks, or a nice dinner with your girlfriend/wife, or out for dinner with your kids and things are a bit chaotic getting everyone settled, - how would you like to be approached? Would you prefer someone reaching into your ear and producing a sponge ball? Or would you rather someone strike up a conversation first and get to the magic in a bit, or somewhere in the middle? All approached can work depending on your style. But if you believe in the approach, it will just come natural to you.
    TulumMagic likes this.
  6. I may not have as much to say compared to some other guys but I feel my two cents might help.

    One of the most rewarding experiences for a magician is performing walk around magic at an event. You can get so much feedback by listening to your audience and just from performing you can gain confidence and find yourself in your element thus becoming a better magician in no time.

    I have performed walk around magic at many places and I'll tell you every place is different. You should take the venue into account before you decide what effects you will bring to the table (if there's going to be a table). For example: At the Skirball Cultural center I have about seven different effects I perform. At the Magic Castle I have many more because there's always a perfect, green felt table nearby that my spectators and I can take a seat at.

    As for how many effects you perform for a group the answer is the same: It depends.
    I do believe that a small routine of three effects that flow together nicely with a consistent begging and end is always a good way to go. However, if they are really into it you can keep going and with walk around magic it's fun to see how quick a crowd can form. This is where venue comes in though. If you are in a doorway (Which you should avoid anyway because of blocking an entrance) or in a confined space you should probably keep it short or move to a wider space to keep the show and crowds going.
    When you are done performing just say "Thank you" and the crowd will understand that the show is over and they will disperse.

    When you do approach a group you should have your opening effect catch their eyes and be straight to the point. You don't want a bored spectator yawning as you define the word AMBITIOUS. But you also don't want to talk a million miles an hour and have them ask you to 'do it over again but this time in English.'

    One of the most awkward things for me when I was first getting walk around gigs was approaching groups but when you know this formula it's so easy it's addicting.


    See possible spectator(s). If they are on the phone, REALLY into a conversation or just too busy…then they are not the Ideal Spectator for that moment. If they are eyeing a painting or having a beer then they'll do. Walk up to your unoccupied spectator and smile. Smiling is contagious when you're at an event (The only exception is a funeral, yeah…I haven't worked one of those yet.) Say hello and shake their hand. Introduce yourself. "Hello, my name is –. Are you having a good time tonight?" This is generally something I would say. Asking that sort of question says you aren't just a guest but you most likely work there. From my experience they always answer yes. "Good. I'm the magician for this evening." They will respond to this. Generally with a smile. If they are not totally ecstatic at the moment and you feel they wouldn't be the ideal spectator just say: "If you need anything just call me over." If they are excited about the magician (As they should be and generally are) offer to show them something. It's that easy and that fun.

    Hope I helped and as the voice from Star Fox says: GOOD LUCK
    TulumMagic likes this.
  7. That would be General Pepper. :)
  8. I stand corrected good sir.
  9. I didn’t mean to correct, just clarify. I appreciated the touch of nostalgia. :)

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