Directing Your Show

Success in business is not built on just one thing but the accumulated growth of many things. For this reason not only do the generalities have to be attended to, but also the details.

Many men have shot forward to success above their competitors because of their infinite care of details. Of course men too have failed because they were lost in a maze of details and lacked the big generalization of a business.

The big idea is that you must render better service, have a better product and produce better satisfaction than anyone else to be a leader.

To make your show, the show that is talked about, you must watch its every angle and see that it is as near perfect as possible. It must not only possess certain big essentials but to have that finish which shows the work of an expert.

Most foreign acts that come to America are particular about the amount of finished details that they place in their acts. Many of the acts succeed on the infinite pains given to certain details that other acts would overlook.

The trouble with some magicians today is that they labor and concentrate on some do-dingle sleights and live in obscurity, when they could devote the same effort in the right channels on something that would interest the public thus making them wealthy.

The magic business is no different from any other business. All businesses are based on business principles or they would not belong to that classification.

A successful magic show should cover each of its departments as efficiently as Sears Roebuck & Company or Montgomery Ward do.

A good show must have an executive-someone who can make decisions and whose judgment can be relied upon. And it needs a creator—to be ever on the alert for something new, novel, different. A salesman, a buyer, a producer are necessary. A traffic manager, etc.

In the beginning a person usually tries to assume all of the positions himself. This proves quite satisfactory in some cases where a person is trained from many angles and is very versatile but in many cases it is almost a hopeless proposition so outside help has to be called in to balance things.

Each department requires special training. Stop and say to yourself, "How well have I equipped myself to handle each department? Where am I strong, where am I weak? What can I carry on efficiently myself? Where will I have to call in outside help?"

One important item I use in classifying people is to find whether they are dependent on others for ideas or whether they can originate for themselves. Some worship the old things, others the new.

If you can create, you can greatly add to your show yourself but if you are not creative, you will have to get others to create for you.

After you have been classified then we want to sell you. Can you sell yourself, or will it require a salesman? Can you manage yourself or will it require a manager to stabilize and direct your movements?

Many performers depend on their own efforts to sell themselves; others are helpless on the selling end and must have aid in that direction. Suppose you need a salesman, which type is best?

Many angles have to be considered. Into what field are you going? In club, school, society, educational and religious work, a good all-around advance man is the best perhaps. A man or woman who can extoll your wares and interest others in your performance. Certain bookers or agencies in the larger cities specialize in selling club entertainers.

Now let us take it for granted that you are a good magician and we want to commercialize your ability. The first thing we look for is, "Into what type of magic do you belong? Are you best at manipulative, mechanical, chemical, mental or mathematical magic or the larger illusions?"

Let us say, for instance, that you are best at manipulative magic or sleight of hand with small objects. What objects are you best with? Which objects bring the biggest applause from the audience? Not necessarily what you might think will go best but what does the audience say? What are the live facts?

Suppose that your card work is best received. We classify you as a card manipulator. Let us continue. Is your work best appreciated with patter or in pantomime? Does your audience like your serious presentation or your comedy best? Is your own personality strong enough to carry you through or does a special setting strengthen your performance?

In your sleight-of-hand work which is best received, manipulative or sleight-of-hand that is mystifying, in which the audience is unconscious of any special moves to accomplish a certain illusive effect? There is a difference between a manipulative juggler and a manipulative magician. In the first case the audience gives credit for the performer concealing objects by dexterous moves, while in the latter case the audience is really and truly mystified and does not know how it is mystified. It notices no moves that are unnatural. Manipulative juggling gives rise to unnatural moves.

Continuing, where is your work appreciated the most, by men, women or children, close up or at a distance, in the entertainment, business, scientific, educational or religious circles? What class of society receives your work best?

In perfecting yourself you will run into mistakes, but profit by those mistakes. If you are not well received in one place do not worry. Learn your lesson and go to a place where you are appreciated. The fact that men have been ill-received in certain planes of life has lifted them out of those planes onto higher ones that they may never have discovered except through experience and the urge to keep moving into better environment.

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