Author Topic: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act  (Read 3452 times)

Danny the Idiot

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July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« on: June 30, 2008, 11:07:52 AM »
Hi All,

Graham has asked me (and I have accepted) to run this section of the forum.

This months topic is one several people have expressed interest in discussing already.

Building & structure of an act

So before I put my views up - any thoughts?


best wishes
Danny
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Graham Lee

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2008, 11:15:54 AM »
Is this dealing with just a stage act or also the building & structuring of an act when performing & entertaining in a shopping centre, trade show, fete etc etc

This looks like a good one to get our teeth stuck into :D

Graham Lee
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cashmagic

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2008, 12:12:47 PM »
well heres my view i have around 4 dvds on this

this one is my fave I use stuff from it all the time.
but the best thing to do is sit down think about
what you want you act to be eg;funny
then who you are eg; clown
then you can start putting all your thoughts down
kick the rubbish out like (I want to flote on and make 40 balloon dogs with one hand)
you can use the internet for help like balloonhq or youtube these are all good help
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Danny the Idiot

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2008, 12:22:37 PM »
Building an act -
Quote from: "Graham Lee"
Is this dealing with just a stage act or also the building & structuring of an act when performing & entertaining in a shopping centre, trade show, fete etc etc

i think its all up for grabs. There will be differences and I think its great to discuss them!

Quote from: "cashmagic"
but the best thing to do is sit down think about
what you want you act to be eg;funny
then who you are eg; clown
then you can start putting all your thoughts down

Great thoughts CashMagic - in addition
Who is your audience? Where is your act to be performed? How long do you want it to be?


Danny
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Smiggle

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2008, 12:40:12 PM »
Good thoughts - I've used a couple of books to help me develop as a performer - they were both aimed at Magicians but the principles behind them are the same - how to change from merely 'doing tricks' to becoming a performer.

How to develop your Character - identify your audience - develop routines - what is the reaction(s) you want from your audience etc

Nearly everything in there would apply to balloons, most people can do a simple card trick - lots of people can do a dog or flower - not many can turn the simple card trick or the production of a balloon animal into a performance.

The two books are 'Maximum Entertainment' by Ken Bucher and 'Beyond Deception' by Tobias Beckwith I'm at work at the moment and won't be home till late but I'll put a synopsis on here later.

Beyond Deception has a web site with some details of the book and the thinking - *here*
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Graham Lee

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2008, 02:45:27 PM »
Quote from: "Smiggle"
'Beyond Deception' by Tobias Beckwith

I think Tobias Beckwith is Jeff McBrides manager (Jeff is a top Las Vegas act who does master classes worldwide on how to structure & improve your act)

Ian, did you buy the book from the UK?
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Smiggle

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2008, 09:27:27 PM »
Quite right Graham Tobias does work with Jeff McBride and has worked with many others too - I got the book directly from his website - no problems at all. Of the two books I mentioned this one is more magician targeted - I found Ken Buchers' approach easier to relate to non-magic performance.

If I put the Chapter headings up tomorrow it may help shape the discussion on here?
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Stevie_Babe

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2008, 08:35:57 AM »
Hi, thanks for this idea Danny. Fantastic subject. I'm sure there's more than just me that is going to be watching this avidly (or at least I think so ,I think I seelt it right :D )

Cashmagic, I've been looking at buying that DVD. You would highly reccomend that, would you? What sort of material is in it?

 
Steve
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Danny the Idiot

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2008, 09:06:40 AM »
So who is your audience?

adults
kids (age group?)
family
hard of hearing
non English speakers

are they?
sitting down
standing up
on their way somewhere
busy
partying and relaxing

anything else I've missed?
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Stevie_Babe

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2008, 09:41:37 AM »
Hi Danny,

for me it's family. At the moment its birthdays. although I've ventured into doing fetes somehow :?:  :)  But I want to get into doing restaurants.

Is this not specific enough?
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Pam Pearce

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2008, 04:51:48 PM »
Can I add to the thoughts that when you have made you decisions of what you want to do and target audience etc that you then write it all down in a format not unlike a teacher would write a lesson plan:

An introduction! - You and what you are going to do

a begining! - How will it start to get going

A middle - whats going on and when

an ending! - a lot of people can run a show but dont seem to think about how it will finish and just seem to let it dwindle off......

Write it out - with timings - after you have done it a few times it will change and develop into the act you will preform.

We have recently taken an adult teacher training course to get approval to teach balloon course and where totaly surprised to find our childrens parties format was exactly the same as a teachers lesson plan.

And last but not least - Our favourite thing of all
Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) anything complicated will mostly end in disaster as you wont remember it

Pam
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Smiggle

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2008, 06:10:08 PM »
some good stuff coming out here

OK as promised - the headings from Maximum Entertainment

The book as I said previously is aimed at magicians and is as the title suggests about getting the maximum entertainment out of what you are doing - one magician can do a card trick and the audience will feel they have witnessed an intriguing puzzle - another magician will do the same trick and absolutely stun the audience. Similarly for balloons one entertainer will produce a dog or something simple - it will give pleasure - an entertainer will produce something similar and get a much bigger reaction - anyway - here goes.

What is Entertainment? Defining entertainment - the importance of direction

The hierarchy of mystery entertainment - Identifying the extraordinary moment
Reactions - as entertainers we should be clear about what reaction we are seeking to get from our audience - is it... rapt attention, laughter or astonishment - sell the sizzle not the steak

Six Pillars of Entertainment - master your craft - be human - capture the excitement - control every moment - eliminate weak spots - build to a climax

Scripting and rehearsing

Choosing material and developing the act / show

Your Appearance

Your Voice

Language Skills

How to be Funny

Technical stuff on sound and light

Pre-show

Performance

Closing the show

Post show


I know it's a long list and some may feel it doesn't apply to what they do but I would suggest that these principals apply equally to a simple gig doing line work - it's what lifts your work up from balloon factory to ENTERTAINER

I know Malcolm Malen at Birmingham care and share and Thelma on here have said how they turned a line into an audience for a show and they and their audience got far more from the experience than just quick fire production line stuff - that said there is a place for that too if it is done well.

Hopefully this will promote the discussion a little and  we can all put that little bit of extra magic into our work as a result
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Danny the Idiot

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2008, 06:18:09 PM »
Part of article by Don Caldwell posted on Balloon HQ.
I like this article because it sets out the basic forms of a balloon show.

What Is It?
Balloon:
An inflatable bladder, typically latex. Often made in bright, vibrant colors or odd shapes for use at festive gatherings.

Show:
A public performance or display of an entertaining nature.

Balloon Show:
A public performance of an entertaining nature that features brightly colored inflatable bladders made of latex.

So much for the general description. Lets get specific.

Everyone has their own personal definition of what a balloon show is, and it varies greatly from performer to performer. Here are some of the varieties that I have seen.

Balloon Twisting:
This is a show that is based purely in the creation of the sculpture. Often set to music or combined with storytelling, the artist stands on stage and creates balloon sculptures. This is one of the more difficult forms of balloon entertainment. Although the creation of a balloon sculpture can be fascinating, it often takes a skilled performer combined with visually intriguing sculptures, to hold an audience for any real length of time.

Balloon Storytelling:
This can take many forms. It can be a story that is told using balloon sculptures as illustrations, or a story told about the sculpture itself as it is being made. One of the most popular forms is to bring audience members on stage to act out as story, and use balloon costumes and props to set the scene.

Balloon Magic:
Magic effects that involve balloons. There are two schools of thought on this. Some believe that it is merely any trick that involves a balloon, while the real purists believe that the effect should be about the balloon and not merely involve one. Ask yourself the question, "Does this effect need to be done with balloons, or would it work as well or better with something else."

Balloon Comedy:
Using balloons as a prop for comedic purposes, often physical comedy. This would include but in no way be limited to, those dumb enough to climb into a 6' Balloon.

Balloon Mime:
A mime performance that uses balloons as props within the story being told.

Balloon Puppetry:
A balloon show that uses balloons as puppets. Often uses black art or black light balloons to hide the puppeteer(s). Can be used as a form of storytelling, or set to music. I have not seen a ventriloquist dummy made of balloons yet, but I am hoping.

Balloon Games:
The performer brings people up on stage and conducts games that involve balloons. Some examples include having adults try to blow up a balloon, having people try to create a balloon sculpture, and balloon relay races. Done right these can have hilarious results.

Balloon Music:
There are a select few performers who have braved this area of balloon performance. S. Frank Stringham of Las Vegas does an amazing show where he twists while he sings. Several others have actually used balloons to create working musical instruments!

Balloon Juggling:
I have seen it done. You can find a great example on Larry Moss's "Flying An Octopus" DVD. There is a brief clip of Larry and Todd Neufeld juggling three huge sections of the tentacles during construction. It is pretty funny. This category also includes any balancing acts done with a balloon.

Balloon Science:
There are many science demonstrations and experiments possible with balloons. There are a number of performers have used these to successfully create educational programs for schools, libraries, and museums.

Now, as you might has figured out already, there is a lot of crossover from one category to another. Often times many different styles of performance are used within one show and even within one routine. If you check my past columns for my Alien Invasion routine, you will see that it combines twisting, storytelling, comedy, and magic within one five minute sketch. Larry Moss combines science, comedy, and storytelling in one of his shows. And Royal Sorell combines magic, mime, and physical comedy beautifully in his.

And I have not covered everything here. There are some acts I have seen that just defy description. And I am sure there are a few categories that I have overlooked, or have yet to be discovered.
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Danny the Idiot

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2008, 06:21:31 PM »
There are some great posts coming back.

Pam thanks for the structure/ lesson plan.
Smiggle would you recommend "Maximum entertainment" ? It does look very interesting.


So you think who your audience is and then you can decide from the list and/or add your own ideas for YOUR balloon show. Any thoughts on Don Caldwell's list?

Danny
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Danny the Idiot

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Re: July topic of the month - Building & structure of an act
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2008, 06:32:11 PM »
Quote from: "Stevie_Babe"
Hi Danny,

for me it's family. At the moment its birthdays. although I've ventured into doing fetes somehow :?:  :)  But I want to get into doing restaurants.

Is this not specific enough?


Mmmm "Doing Restaurants" do you mean eating at them!!!! Or performing at restaurant diners.
Family and restaurant work is similar but different.

danny :lol:
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Danny Schlesinger
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