These are new rules I’m implementing for myself. Help correct me if I break any. Yesterday I broke all three.
I need help.
New Rule One
Expect Nothing From The Audience
I’m born of the streets, a court where clearly defined applause cues are king. Whereas stunned silence, laughter, or sudden obscenities are fine reactions to magic in other contexts- on the street, the performer wants to convert as many reactions to applause as possible. People who clap pay more, and more clapping people attracts more people to be inspired to clap and pay.
But myself, and my character, have become too needy for this applause. No more. From now on, my character will expect nothing from the audience as a whole. Although I reserve the right to praise and set expectations for individuals. Why? Because interacting with an individual creates a plot with clearly defined characters. The audience remains an audience and can react however they wish. I still expect nothing from them as a whole.
I also reserve the right to ask for applause for other characters/people. This applause isn’t for me.
New Rule Two
I am usually pretty good about cutting poorly performing jokes and pieces from my show, but lately I’ve been slacking. Friend and fellow magician Robert Strong pointed out that I could up my standards for my own material and I agree.
If a joke fails three times in a row, it’s out.
New Rule Three
Don’t Ask Questions, Write The Story
Open ended questions have their place in exit exams and Platonic dialogue. In a magic show I feel there are better ways to develop character and plot than asking a volunteer where they are from or what they do. Yes, this knowledge makes way for a litany of follow up jokes, but I can also create a story for the person myself and skip the boring question/response step.
I could ask a woman wearing a black and white stripped top where she is visiting Pier 39 from and get a possibly humorous answer. Or I could cast her as an escapee from Alcatraz and create my own fiction about her past. This second option seems preferable to me.
Most of the time, fiction is more fun than fact. I have no obligation to create non-fiction.
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