Maximum Entertainment

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Maximum Entertainment

Postby JohnnyMac » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:05 pm

Maximum Entertainment
Director's Notes for Magicians and Mentalists
by Ken Weber

Cost £35 (Vanishing Magic / Davenports)

I did a search and found just the one review on this book, so as I've just finished reading it, here's another. Perhaps 'finished' isn't the right word, this is a book I will continue to revise and learn from.

Ken Weber is a very successful mentalist and entertainer, and it's clear from his writing that he has tremendous attention to detail. His thouroughness in preparation and execution seems to leave nothing to chance.

Although Ken is primarily a mentalist, the material focuses on the skills needed for entertaining, so concepts and techniques apply very well to other forms of magic, such as close-up and stage.

The book comes hard-backed and with it being quite high quality, I decided I wasn't going to scribble on any of the pages. At least, until I reached page 13, where it recommended never to pick up the book without a pen, pencil or highlighter in your hand. It encourages 'messing' the book up, dog-earing the corners, etc. I found this quite refreshing. After all, a book is only worth the knowledge you can take from it (excepting rare books).

The book contains no magic tricks. What it does contain is far more important. There are thousands of books on tricks and techniques, but very few on how to become a successful entertainer.

The key points I've taken from the book after a single reading:

How to critcally analyse your own performances and those of other magicians.
The dangers of success - how it can stop you becoming self-critical.
Scripting your performances so you always have a framework to fall back on, even when ad libbing.
Understanding your audiences reactions and what they mean.
The six pillars of entertainment success. This covers the vital skills to make you a successful entertainer. Number 2 for instance, goes into detail on communicating your humanity to an audience.
Making a performance flow, so that you keep your audience's attention.
Language skills. What you say, how you say it, tone of voice. Eliminating words and phrases that add nothing to the performance.
Opening and closing a show.

For those who do stage work, there are also sections on lighting, sound, and make-up.

Throughtout the book Ken has included highlights of other magicians performances and gives his own critique, both good and bad.

Is there anything I don't like about the book? No. I did have to search the dictionary for several words used in the book but that's perhaps due to words more commonly used in The States and a lacking in my own literary knowledge. There are a few things in the book that I probably won't ever use. I don't do big stage shows, so I'm unlikely to need make-up, etc. Nevertheless, I still found it interesting reading.

If you're someone who's looking a shortcut to success, then this book probably isn't for you. But, if you're prepared to put the work in, this material has the potential to enhance your performances significantly.


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