What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Struggling with an effect? Any tips (without giving too much away!) you'd like to share?

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby fiftytwo » Feb 27th, '14, 06:26



mark lewis wrote:Just my opinion but of course I am always right.


*nods* I think it's important for the quality of sound. If I'm projecting then, sure, I'm audible but I'm restricted to one style. With a mic, even just a lapel one, I can make asides, stage whisper, say things under my breath.

And with handheld I can point it at the person whose name I just asked.

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby mark lewis » Feb 27th, '14, 11:20

There is something I like about a handheld microphone. It gives you an air of authority I think and when you need the other hand you just plonk the microphone into the mike holder around your neck. I used to get one from Joe Lockwood in Britain but I am not sure if he is still around but I think not. There is another thing around though called a "gimcrack" and they are fairly cheap. Do a search for it and your problems with restricted hands will be solved. Or clever people can actually make them out of a coat hanger. I am not that clever so I don't know how to do it but ask around and someone will tell you. I have noticed that buskers sometimes use something along those lines.

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby Mandrake » Feb 27th, '14, 16:29

Google shows several designs of neck holder - and several places to buy from.

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby MrCat » Dec 10th, '14, 18:48

Wel, I'm new haha, but...

I've done house parties, down the pub, and one gig where I was surprised I didn't know many people.

I feel I may be jumping in a bit early here buit hey I think I've advice so I'll give it; So far I've found them all to be pretty much the same.

From my minimal experience I'd say that I discovered recently that it can be good to spring your best stuff first whilst everyone is sober enought to concentrate and, more to the point, see the magic, as opposed to what I did. (They were all baked by the time I got round to some stuff beyond my casual warm m up tricks.) I think my tuppence worth here from what I gather would be have a good set for un-baked, and a good set more quick and flashty for your baked crew... And don't give them too many cards to handle, not good. Trust me :D

I would ultimately say; expect everything and nothing, have a few routines you're happy with and are in your style, but have one Totally differnt routine worked out so when you see your cards and coins or whatever aren't going down any more or just aren't the right flavour, rock up some crazy predictions form newspaers, and you can't fail in the end. Variety is the spice of life.

That's what I've found so far.

As for 'annoying drunks', I've now a selection of tricks I'll ofer to show folk, offer them a puzzler to go figure out and tell them you'll show them later and it can be their new party trick, they'll instanly love you. :) If they manage to find you later, well done them, and they'll never remember anyway :D

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby TSHINDO » Mar 10th, '15, 11:57

Without wishing to sound like one of those fake psychics (though I guess that supposes there are actual real psychics), there is the old trick of checking up on who you are doing the gigs for. The explosion of social media is a boon for this. I generally do the fortune telling thing and there are nuggets to be found. There was an occasion were I cancelled a gig where I read news report after news report about a particular family and their penchant for violence and how no venue would house any of their entertainment or gathering needs!
Also there is something to be said about cutting your teeth on hard won gigs. They teach the value of developing personal interaction skills, on the fly, what doesn't kill you and all that. The toughest for me was Gypsy Weddings especially as a fortune teller. Drinking, violence, long standing feuds all under one marquee and hiring a fortune teller! I thought it was kind of like taking coals to Newcastle (though when I said that to one Matriarch who did not find the comment funny, I barely got away without a lynching).

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby Philpot » Aug 19th, '15, 16:18

Some really outstanding advice here. I would add my experience with the following.

Have a backup, as in perhaps a packet trick or three, just in case something breaks or some other problem occurs (voice of experience speaking) I was set to appear on stage and realised something wouldn't work, venue was wrong. I had no choice but to drop the routine, this shortened my show and screwed up my music. Had I had something in the way of a Magical First Aid Kit, I could have substituted something else and continued perfectly. Something worth remembering.

If you're working on small stages, schools and little clubs, beware of electrical problems with any FX you might use. I once needed a smoke machine for my opener. I plugged in the machine into the stage board and switched on, nothing. The machine was fine at home and working perfectly, the same after the show, when I went home again. The problem was in the wiring of the stage, it turned out that my machine needed just a little more juice from the mains and so it wouldn't produce smoke, it lit up, but failed. Many FX problems can be avoided by asking the question @Is this Effect needed and does it enhance the routine?' Often the answer is no, you just think you need it.

Audiences can feel, sense the tension in a nervous performer and they feel for you. This puts them on edge and it becomes something of a two-way street, you get more nervous sensing their anxiety and they wonder what's wrong with you. I like Paul Daniels attitude. He always says that it really doesn't matter what happens on that stage or in that room, not really, not in the scheme of things.

If you drop something, expose something or even fall over, you won't be put in prison or beaten. The worst is you might get laughed at or not get paid. But one thing is certain and that is you'll learn from the experience.

The most important attitude to have when going out to perform is one of fun. You must enjoy what you're doing. If you have a good time the audience will. I mean isn't fun contagious?

The big one in my book would be to make certain that you know everything you're doing very well, not as individual effects/tricks, but as complete routines. And always where possible script the show, allowing for audience pieces and adlibs of course.

And one final one. If you feel something isn't quite ready, don't put it in the show, don't show anyone, not until it is ready.

Just my thoughts...

Cheers, Phil

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