15 Second Theory
This theory was created from my interest in what makes people respond and how to keep them engaged throughout the performance.
I must also alert you that it could possibly change to the 10 Second Theory in the near future. Hopefully, by the end, you will understand why it has changed and will most likely keep evolving.
Most say that they just don't "like" kids. It would be a truer statement if they said, "I just don't like the response their giving me." Why don't they? Probably because the performer is doing what he or she wants to and not what is needed for the youngsters to be captivated and entertained. I always say, if you can learn to captivate, control and be accepted by children, entertaining adults will be a cake walk. Mind you, this is not just a hypothesis, it is a hard learned fact during my ten year career in the kids birthday show biz. Sometimes I call it the boot camp of a performer's career. It can be painful at first, but the rewards are priceless!
30 years of my never ending pursuit trying to improve my performances and understand what spectators need to be satisfied.
can my act be slowing down? As a matter of fact, when I watched myself on tape, it started feeling slow to me, too. What was going on? Was I losing my mind. Was my tape or CD slowing down with usage? I had to find the answer because I knew it couldn't have been my fault because as I mentioned, my music has been perfect for the last decade, so why should I change it? Well, remember earlier when I mentioned that you should focus on what the spectator needs to be captivated and entertained? That's exactly what I began to do.
I started watching what the majority of people spend their time watching ... TV. I watched with the intent to notice the tempo or speed of what was on the screen. It was an eye opener to say the least. I noticed that most "shots" or camera angles changed every 5 to 15 seconds. Why did the TV producers instruct the editors to do this? To captivate and keep the attention of the spectators! Ah ha! That was what was happening to my live audience. They are being conditioned to receive new information every 5 to 15 seconds! It's a fact that modern spectators spend most of their time watching TV instead of live performances. Even the evening news is bombarding us with information. They have the TV channel and logo and the right bottom corner of the screen, while the temperature is on the top right corner, and across the bottom is a breaking news story. During working hours you may even see the stock market numbers somewhere else on the screen. Wow, can we absorb all of it at once? No, but it gives us choices to focus in on new information, which allows the TV network to hold on to a larger demographic of viewers. In the meantime, we are getting conditioned to see multiple pieces of information coming at us. If you watch shows like MTV or action type show, it's even faster. They will change from camera angle to camera angle as fast as two seconds at a time. Much different from TV shows ten years ago. So, what does this mean to us as performers? Should we be concerned? What should be done? I had the same questions Until one day I discovered the answer.
At last we come to my 15 second theory!
with TV Global Conditioning.
Many magical wishes!
By Bob Sanders
Sometimes finding sources of good tricks with doves is a trick in itself. When you don't know what you are doing, the risks are high of buying what may not match your needs. Unfortunately in magic, the trick is sold when the secret is told. However, knowing the secret is exactly what will keep you from using some tricks. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the trick except that it won't fit your routine. You may think a dove trick starts and ends with an ungimmicked silk you can use in your next trick. Then find out that there is nothing else you can do with it because it is full of holes, plugs into the wall, or is made of fiberglass and whipped cream. You get the idea - some tricks are limited and have attachments and accessories that limit its use.
This is a good reason for buying from a swap meet or an auction. If you accidentally buy something that won't fit your routine, odds are good the next highest bidder would like another shot at buying it. Try it, and if it doesn't fit, put it back up for sale. I don't know a cheaper way to get to live with a trick for a while. Remember... good quality magic tends to appreciate in value.
There are several rules I count on when buying magic tricks that I know little about. First I make sure I understand what the seller claims the trick does. Forget the pictures and read closely. Do the claims solve any problem in my routine? How well do the claims address my problem? What would I ask if I could? What must the trick absolutely enable me to do? How does it finish? Will I be left with something in my hand to use in the next trick? Will I be left with something I don't want in my hands or on stage? What are the time constraints? Can I do this anywhere in my routine? The sooner it has to be done, the less interested I am. Delays can be an embarrassment and unfortunately they are a fact of life.
A major concern to me is knowing who made this product. There are some manufacturers that could sell me anything based upon their reputations and my experience with their products. There are others you learn are hit & miss. Unfortunately, there are some to avoid. Dove magic is not peg board magic. If a vendor does not carry a lot of magic for working magicians, it is unlikely he carries quality dove magic. Dove magic is essentially for the working magician. It takes too much commitment in dove care, practice, and equipment to interest a hobbyist. Watch magicians who get paid to perform. They have to have equipment that works.
The next problem is learning what to look for. Remember the good advice you got in Alice in Wonderland: "Start at the beginning, and when you get to the end, quit." Look at the routine you would like to perform the same way. Examine the routine you already do? What are your other needs? How does it fit in your routine? This will help you decide what you are looking for.
Ideas come from several readily available sources and almost all are available on auctions or local magic get togethers. Videotapes of both full and partial routines are very good for idea generation. Books are another very good source. One overlooked area is from old magic publications like Linking Ring, MUM, Genii, etc. Back issues are available. There are reseller markets for all of these. Look for techniques and presentation rather than specific tricks. It sharpens your shopping skills. Later you will know what tricks, if any, you may actually need to buy. Remember that you are not looking first at the trick, but at the performance.
There are usually many ways to do the performance. There are usually several versions of the same trick. Collect magic catalogs and read them over and over. Cross-tab them. Learn to recognize the same trick sold by another name. Get familiar with the catalog prices. In many cases the consequences of a bad decision are nothing compared to no decision. Don't waste your time. Instead, take action and get some results. Stay in forward motion.