Putting together a routine

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

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Putting together a routine

Postby Nic Castle » Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:08 pm



This year, for the first time I watched Britains "not" Got Talent. Hearing the panel talk about their views of magic, watching the people who took to the stage and performed, at the time I cringed at the thought of calling some of it magic, made me stop and look at what I perform and why.

I thought I would put some of my thoughts about putting a routine together here and others will add to it as a reference for people to read and give them something to think about when putting together a routine.

    What character am I to play?
    What do I want the people who experience at the time and what do I want them to take away with them?
    What am I capable of performing at a standard acceptable for performing?
    Where will I be performing
    What style of magic will I perform?
    What is my reason for doing what I do?
    What effects will I perform, how will I perform them and Why?
    What order will I perform the effects
    ?


What Character am I to play.

This can vary from being a regular person through to a character that is dressed up in a special role e.g. clown, mine, wizard. No matter what you decide you still need to look at what you want to portray to the people you will be performing too. I frequently hear people say I am just me. If you are going to just be you it is just as important to stop and look at what you are going to show off. Are you a happy or sad, are you laid back, or a little nervious, the boy next door etc. Knowing your character will help you adjust to different situations because your character may or is likely to react to situations in a different way to what you would in your every day like. Being someone else or portraying yourself as a different type of person can help you perform without being to nervous or self conscious, because you are not being you

What do I want the people who experience at the time and what do I want them to take away with them?

By knowing what you want people to experience at the time you perform and take away with them will help you choose relevant effects and script your performance. Some people will say they should walk away remembering you because then they will think of you if they need to book a magician and call you. Others will say they should walk away astonished at what they have seen and their experience of magic is the main element that they should take away. Do you want to cause a spooky enviroment, slightly scary, dark, comedy, puzzled, tricked, bewildered etc.

What am I capable of performing at a standard acceptable for performing?

it is important to ask yourself what am I capable of performing before you start to put together a routine. Do not put anything into your routine unless you know you can perform it perfectly, that you have everything perfected as much as possible e.g. patter, sleights, flourishes and how you will move during the effect. You can always add more technical elements at a later date. Do not think that your routine is too easy? performing an easier routine well is better than am more complicated routine to a poor level.

What style of magic will I perform?

This is a question that you need to ask yourself early on because it needs to be congruent with your character. Can you really see a clown performing a seance? You may feel that you are not suited to some styles of magic or that you can pull off the effects well but you for some unknown reason can't perform them to the audience you have. It may be that you need to practice a specific style of magic to bring it up to a level to perform it well enough to perform it because you need it to pull off you character or fulfill producing the experience you want for your spectators.

What is my reason for doing what I do?

This is a question that you should be asking at every stage of putting together your routine. Everything you do should have a purpose/reason, whether it is misdirection, perform a sleight, to accomplish a joke. It really is an important aspect of creating a routine. Whether it is a movement or a spoken word you should know why you are doing or saying it. This is why in my opinion you should have a script whether you have a single effect or a routine.

What effects will I perform, how will I perform them and Why?and What order will I perform the effects

It is easy to just put together you favorite effects or the ones that you think get the best response. Sadly that may not be the best and not fulfill the other aims and objectives you have for your routine. There are other thread on this forum that discuss what effects you should open, full and close with.

These are just some of my thought and a basic outline. I am sure others will have their own ideas and will add to this to help people start building routines that will fulfill a magicians dreams and help them develop and the create magic routines that give magical experiences that we have all experienced.

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Postby Magical_Trevor » Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:28 pm

I found this really helpful - I try really hard to routine my tricks and even when I'm out and performing for mates etc I try to keep in a little routine so that things make sense (start, middle end etc) ...

This seems like a slightly different methodology / thinking to mine, but its a great read - great post :D

Dan

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Postby SpareJoker » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:27 pm

Just a note on nomenclature:

Trick: A single one-off magical event (e.g. a card inserted in the middle of the deck appears on the top)

Routine: A series of tricks held together with a dramatic narrative (e.g Everywhere and Nowhere).

Act: A series of routines performed with and underlying theme. (e.g. Gambling Act, Mentalism Act)

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Re: Putting together a routine

Postby CArlight1958 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:07 pm

This is really helpful Nic, as always.
I'm in the middle of putting together a routine at the moment. My first.

Trying to look at all the material I have learned. material I can do well, & without mistakes.
Material which I can comment on whilst performing. It's getting there.
The biggest hurdle for me has been.
Stopping the hands from shaking. I'm 6ft 2inch tall, & I train everyday.
I haven't what one would call "a nervous disposition", but put a deck of cards in my hands, put me in front of a few people,
& I become like a sh-t--g dog. Having said that, it's getting easier.

Not sure yet how I want to come across. Though I do like women's clothing. Especially pink. :D :D
I'll put a list of the routines I am putting together, see what your thoughts are.
I'm trying to get a good mixture together, without trying stuff which is a bit beyond me at present.

Still this is all very helpful. :wink:

Edited to thank the right person....Sorry Nic :?
Be Well.

CArl...

Last edited by CArlight1958 on Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Putting together a routine

Postby Stephen Ward » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:40 pm

That was a very good piece of writing Nic.

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Re: Putting together a routine

Postby Paul Temple » Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:46 pm

If I was a real magician...........

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Re: Putting together a routine

Postby jakubr » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:48 am

Very nice post. I think all of this question each one of us has to ask himself, and try to answer. But what you talk about is very helpful. :)

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Re: Putting together a routine

Postby Failed Magician » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:27 pm

Or, if you want to dig deeper, I would suggest this book "Magic and Showmanship" by Henning Nelms.

I know there are tonnes of books that might offer the same contents, but this is a great book. Don't underestimate the dull-looking and oldish cover design of the book, or maybe the low price of the book. It might teach you a lot of things, things that are overlooked even by experienced working magicians.

As a hobbyist, this book is really fun to read. It gives me insights on performing, starting from managing crowds, misdirection, body language, and it also provides some explanations of some great effects you can use.

Anyway, what Nic has written is also great. It gives us a time to think and look at ourselves about our performances, styles and perhaps visions.

Hope it helps.

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Re: Putting together a routine

Postby westmidslad2011 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:46 pm

hi i have a basic routine to wich i have added to over the years it consists of mainly card and coin magic and also a few rope tricks and recently i have become hooked on calen morellis illusions i am after something bigger with more wow factor as i believe i have enough card coin tricks etc any suggestions wouild be greatly recieved????

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Re: Putting together a routine

Postby Rob » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:03 pm

westmidslad2011 wrote:hi i have a basic routine to wich i have added to over the years it consists of mainly card and coin magic and also a few rope tricks and recently i have become hooked on calen morellis illusions i am after something bigger with more wow factor as i believe i have enough card coin tricks etc any suggestions wouild be greatly recieved????


Welcome to TalkMagic, WML; perhaps, if you pop onto our 'Introductions' thread (here: forum18.php), and tell us a little about yourself, we'll be better able to advise effects which might appeal?

Look forward to reading about your interest in magic on that thread soon! :D

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Re: Putting together a routine

Postby ruben » Tue May 01, 2012 5:34 pm

One important note,however.

1. never copy others.

2. A well built routine,and there are many books on such, should be like a concerto, irregardless if your a solo or not.
(small,crescendo,climax)

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Re: Putting together a routine

Postby HeronsHorse » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:53 am

I'm bookmarking this page. I'm sure it'll be useful again and again. That Henning Nelms book is definitely worth getting, I love it.

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