#34 - How to Structure a 15-minute magic/mentalism set

Updated: Nov 8

In this episode, Ryan Joyce and Graeme Reed talk about How to Structure a Fifteen-Minute Magic/Mentalism Set. Listen Here:


LISTEN HERE:

Episode 34 of Magicians Talking Magic


Magician Feature Topic of the Week

How to Structure a fifteen-minute magic or mentalism show?


1) Start with a short and punchy opener

It's essential that you get attention fast. Teach the audience how to participate in your performances.

2) Select the right material

Your stage personality and unique style should influence your choices.

3) End with a strong closer

You must end strong, it's the last thing they will remember. Make it strong!

Things to consider:

  1. Balance (card tricks vs non-card tricks, talking vs non-talking, Volunteer vs non-volunteer, etc)

  2. Scripting

  3. Call-backs

  4. Time

  5. Find the light!

Thanks for listening to the Magicians Talking Magic Podcast


Audio Transcript


Ryan Joyce: Hello, welcome to Magicians Talking Magic. My name is Ryan Joyce, wherever you are listening in the world. Thank you so much for being here. This is episode three four 34 I've been doing magic for 20 years. My name is Ryan Joyce and this is


Graeme Reed: My name's Graemazing and I left a full time career in TV broadcasting to pursue this, well not this, not pod podcast department pursue magic to pursue doing magic tricks for a living at events and things like that. I gave up TV to do that and part of that is this podcast and this community of all you. Fantastic listeners, everyone. Thank you so much for listening. It's episode 39


Magic Video Clip of Week: Blast Off - Penn & Teller Blast Off



Ryan Joyce: for has tricks will podcast devil snaps for being here. Thank you so much. We're glad you're listening to episode 34 lots of talk about on this episode, but first let's just recap what we talked about last week. We shared our concerns over the Corona virus we talked about inside Carto Monday's Epic house of cards and magic event.


Graeme Reed: We also chatted, Steve Cohen celebrates 20 years in New York. Unbelievable, huge milestone. And Ooh, also new trick release on the market. You can get my opener that I did for years. Beer bag, get it now. Penguin magic.com beer bag by Graeme read. It's only nine 95. Get it now.


Ryan Joyce: That's amazing. Congrats on the first download, uh, the release. And listen, we also shared one big topic feature and that was, is your magic business ready for 2020 essential survival skills for magicians. So go back and listen to that episode to catch up on all of those headlines and more if you let us dive deep. Uh, on this episode we are going to talk about Richard Turner was recently on Tim Ferriss' podcast.


Graeme Reed: Uh, we're also going to be talking about a new trick. Well, it's not a new new trick. It's a little bit of an older trick, but unplugged this, it's a hot topic right now. Social media. We're going to talk all about it. Yup.


Incredible Coin Vanish

Simonov released his work today on this. I think you guys should check it out (link) u/Neil_Balanon




Ryan Joyce: And there was an articled prototype put out on this S a M I just discovered on the Sam Facebook page, the oldest magic shop in the U S so we're going to talk about all that and our big topic


Graeme Reed: the day is going to be how to structure a 15 magic or mentalism set. We're going to talk about how to put it together, what to think about some ins and outs and some little bonuses on just some stage tips. Stagecraft. Stay tuned guys, that is coming up in this week's episode. But we are coming at you first revealing last week's video teaser of the clip, the clip of the week. Uh, one more time for you. Here is that teaser clip. Did you know it? D you know what it is.


Ryan Joyce: Ooh, toughie me. I don't


Graeme Reed: know. Uh, this one is of course Penn and teller's blast off classic illusion. One of my favorites. I first saw this on a Montreal just for laughs festival. I remember that's when they would do it. When you see these two guys do illusions like this, it is, no one at her teller has had to get the back surgeries he's had to get. Oh yeah. Oh wow. Yeah. Fantastic. Everything, all the illusions that they do are just so awesome. So awesome. So well thought out. I love the jingle in that. I love the jingle is so good. It's going to be in your head in my head. You know, the rest of the day. You're welcome. Awesome. But let my next trick. I will conjure ear worm. You're warm. Oh no. Anyhow, we're going to switch it over to this week's magic headlines. Magic headlines. Let's start with Richard Turner on Tim Ferriss's podcast. Unique guy. Richard Turner is everywhere right now. How cool is that to have a,


Ryan Joyce: yeah, an amazing magician on as such, um, you know, mainstream podcast of such popularity. He's got such an adventurous background,


Graeme Reed: great, really adventure. He's one of the most interesting people on the planet. And what's the kind of memory he says he has was an idyllic or I do something like that. I wish I hadn't. I would know. I know. Well, he described it on the podcast is he visualizes everything in his head almost as virtual reality. So say he were to shake your hand, he's then forming an image of you inside his mind, but if he were to turn his head one way or the other, you would then also disappear in his vantage point as the way he was describing it. And he can visually map out and build things in his mind and then describe it with the technical requirements to somebody like he's describing, building a deck and just an instructing his father to build it with exact measurements and things. Weird, crazy, unique, unbelievable part that I fastened was fascinated about, which,


Ryan Joyce: and it in a really bizarre twists. He was chatting, I believe, about getting his Brown belt at this point, and he was already losing his vision and he described it as having like a hat right in the center. He had no vision in the center, but he had some vision on the outsides. But everywhere you look, there'd be like a hat right in this learning. And so he's fighting this guy. And I guess just, just a brutal match. Um, and he's exhausted at the end of it. He needs water and he ends up drinking,


Graeme Reed: get out of the toilet, the toilet. And the guy's like, you know, whether that's a toilet,


Ryan Joyce: I don't care. I'm just like, I'm so, so parts like I, he was


Graeme Reed: clearly very like neither that maybe got gonorrhea. Oh,


Ryan Joyce: he said that in the podcast, so, Whoa, Whoa. Hm. Uh, so interesting. It was a very interesting, listen, I'm looking forward to hearing the whole, the whole thing on the plane.


Graeme Reed: Yeah. It's, I haven't listened to whole, I've only kind of gonna skim through it is very fascinating. I, everyone should go check out that the Tim Ferris, he said other magicians on there too. I think he said David Blaine and Penn Jillette on there.


Ryan Joyce: I believe you're right. Yup. I believe you're right. He is a popular in the development space. Yeah. So go check that out. We've got a link in the show notes. Also, don't forget if you are interested in getting shown us delivered directly to your mailbox, I'd go ahead and head over to magicians. Talking magic.com and sign up just takes 10 seconds. We'll send you all these links with the episode. No spam, just the shovel,


Graeme Reed: which is a huge value. These show notes. So you get all the behind the scenes of the podcast and it's kind of like a little newspaper, little newspaper that you get right to your email. It's free, just free. Go to the website, subscribed. There it is. Moving along in the news, uh, this trick, I saw this pop up all over social media this past couple of weeks, um, with two incredible performances. The first one I saw, this was shared by spidey. I'm pretty sure spidey shared. This is from Chris funk and Chris funk. If you don't know, if people don't know he's a magician from Winnipeg, Canada, if I'm pretty sure. Uh, very talented, very original too. Creates a lot of original pieces and of American like funk, like funk. Right, right. Uh, but so his, the East, there's this trick out there called unplugged and what unplugged is, I think it came out about a year or two ago and it's prevails walking not so, but with an extension cord.


So you have the plug in, the plug is the thing that visually moves down the they'll rope and then you can unplug it anywhere you want along the rope. The original routine. Of course those people that don't know prevails walking nut, you would tie a knot in the rope and then you can slide the knot down anywhere and untie it. Amazing trick. So what Chris will do is he plays a guitar loop cause he's also a guitarist and he combines a lot of music in his show too. He does a whole violin piece and everything. And then he'll play with the plug in that adjust the sound and everything you should have. You should watch it for sure. But then I saw shared was the routine from the creator, the creator of the trick. Um, Oh snap. So if you can say his name right, you, Oh shoot.


Uh, it's slipping me right now, but it's Ruben. Uh, I'm going to find you got one snap. Yeah, I got one. I got one snap, but his routine was from the magic castle. This was shared by Paul Romani because Paul had re reviewed, reviewed this trick a year, last year in vantage magazine. Um, and it's a brilliant routine and he does the whole thing where he's got a vintage radio that's playing and as he slides the cable, there's all these amazing sound effects. He acts it out really well. I both routines are some of the best magic I've seen in a long time. It's great when you get these full, complete well thought out pieces.


Ryan Joyce: I too enjoyed that. It was so fun with all the sound effects. Uh, and just the, you could tell he was a very good actor and you rehearsed this piece and just all the details. Then the layers were really, really enjoyable.


Graeme Reed: It's Ruben Villa Grande Villa Graeme. There you go. Pro Blue's clues solved, but it's wow. Double snaps, double snaps. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a couple of magicians this become a popular piece that we see and I bet it might be on fool us or something. I'm pretty sure Chris is doing it on masters of illusion later this year.


Ryan Joyce: That's really great. I've always always enjoyed pavillas walking out and I didn't know this was even out. I have performed the walking down hundreds and hundreds of times. So this is a really fun piece. I watched and enjoyed every minute of Ruben's routine. Really great. And the, I wasn't sure how it was going to look, I guess cause you described it as we just did here on the podcast and then when you see it makes so much sense and it's really cute ending with super, I have not seen Chris routine, but if, I don't know if it's a standard ending, but we hadn't really cleaned and took all the heat away from


Graeme Reed: it does have the same end, but he does, he finishes a different, there's a little bit difference. Hmm. That's great. Solid,


Ryan Joyce: fascinating. I enjoyed that greatly. Well, the other news, uh, which was fun to hear about. It's always fun to hear a little pieces of local news like this. If we quizzed you, could you answer the question? And the question is, what is the oldest magic shop in the USA? And this piece, this article we found on the society of American magicians, right?


Graeme Reed: Yeah. The society of American magicians, which if you don't follow them, incredible source for magic news. They do a great, great job.


Ryan Joyce: So if all of them on Facebook and I'm sure everywhere else, I follow them also on Twitter. I'm sure they are also on Instagram. I will, if I'm not following them on Instagram, I will do that myself. But they were chatting about this location, this oldest and location. Pardon me, the oldest magic shop in the U S which is in Minnesota. So how fun was that? We'll leave a link to the show notes, but it's fun to flip through the pictures.


Graeme Reed: It's the Eagle magic and joke store. Um, and yeah, to see the original photos. It's kind of like here in Toronto. We all know the browser's Dan, which is the longest running magic shop in Canada, I'm pretty sure. And when you go to the browsers bash, you get to see the all the old photos, the videos. So it's great scrolling through this article to see the oldest magic shop in Minnesota is still going and um, I'm pretty sure who was it run by again? It was in here. We will find it. DOE. I encourage everybody to go on and, and head through and count the dragons, the drag to prop. Good dry. Larry Colao is the current owner and began working there nearly 40 years ago. That's incredible. It is incorrect. Wow. And you know what, to be the dragon thing now, word of a lie.


Count them. There's, there is so many dragons count. Count the things that you think are squishy. I am a big fan of squishy magic perhaps. Oh, who isn't, who isn't true. But that's, that's a fascinating piece of mat. That's probably a magic shop that most of us in the magic world should seek out to go visit the oldest magic shop in the U S absolutely. In fact, they have a website. So if you want to go over, you can go to Eagle magic store.com and uh, I have to be honest with you, I cannot believe this, but until I saw the phrase, the face on picture on Eagle magic store.com. Yeah. I've, I didn't realize I have met these lovely individual, this, this man I met on a cruise ship and his wife. Oh really? Yes. I had wonderful conversation with them. They were so, Oh, this Briggs.


So many flood of memories back. This was recently. Oh, how awesome. Wow. Weird. Full circle. That's podcast fate, right? Oh, I love this moment right now. This was such a great moment on ships to cha to have a chit chat about magic with somebody. Oh wow. Clearly knew, Oh, this is great. So definitely go to the Eagle magic store and go look at the about page. Just go look at Larry ghost shop in the shop and you'll have to send them an email after all this. That's fascinating. That's really fun. You know what? Triple snaps for Eagle magic triple snaps for Eagle magic store, the oldest magic store in the United States. That's, Oh, that's so incredible. It's so fun. The magic happening on magicians talking magic and if you sign up at Eagle magic store, you get $5 off your first order. Look at that.


That's amazing. There you go. Over a hundred years of magic is their slogan there. So that's really great. But this week it's been a little bit slower for the news. We don't have too much, although keep in mind we are recording this in a time travel device. So if crazy magic news happened and we're not broadcasting it, that's why I will just be returning from a cruise ship while this is dropping and I'm going to be in the Sahara desert wrestling snakes and the Corona virus and the Corona virus. Uh, so should we flip over to the Reddit? You want to flip over to the red


Ryan Joyce: at topics of the week? Sure. Well let's do that and well, let me tell you, let's do magic you want to do a quick man? You know what, before we do Reddit, let's do the magic sound clip of the week. Sound clip of the week. Let's do that because, uh, last week I got a chance to chat with sauce and Victoria, have you seen Sawson Victoria? I have, yes. When you first one has seen, yeah. So Austin, Victoria, right. Americans got into were that America's got talent. They were, I believe all the way to the third line to the live rounds. Really incredible. And I was just blown away to have a conversation with, um, with them both because they both have very extensive like family backgrounds in entertainment. It was wild. He, his dad owns like a circus in Armenia that's, um, they believed, he believed it as the most modern circus in the world.


I believe it was the translations, a melee that it's in its own theater and like super, super popular. And they've been like, he's grown up in that family of entertainment life. So he was a juggler. Uh, he's approved, proliferate, Rola Bola. He was a ballet dancer. You did all the sows, all the costumes. He's big manipulation fan. Does a manipulation act. His idols, Jeff McBride, I mean, who's, who is definitely wished I was Jeff. Me pride, I've always wanted to be, you know what I mean? Yeah. That's, I think that's most magicians if not, if you're a magician and you're like, Ugh, that Jeff McBride, you're not a real magician. I, yeah, I still back Palm, you know, just sitting, you know, in the airplane or whatever. If I've got my debit or credit card. Absolutely. We do a little 10 Chi. Absolutely. It was really great to chat with, with, with them both. And, uh, I wanted to, well, the first thing I wanted to share was one little soundbite of, we were talking about branding and how important is it for magicians to brand themselves. And this is what's awesome is you've had a very distinct brand. So how important is a brand?


Sos & Victoria: I think it's the most important scene. Yeah. I think, uh, if you have something to show to the people, it has to be a good sir. It has to be not good. Even when I am out of this stage, my image for the public, it's really important, you know?


Ryan Joyce: Well, you know what, that's great. And that fits in perfect. With last week's episode two when we talked all about branding and personal brand. Um, but it's great to hear from more professionals about how important that really is. Yeah, it was really great to chat with him about all sorts of things. You know, how busy are like 300 plus shows. Well, a year is what they maintain the schedule and this interview was a little clip that'll be coming out or has maybe already out by the time this podcast comes out on FISM North America, uh, and the grand championship of magic Facebook page. So that's FISM and a cm 2020 on facebook.com. That whole interview will come out and you'll get to see all of that and more. I wanted to give one little clip. I'm going a little teaser though of that interview. Something that I'm really stuck out in my mind. I thought this was so fascinating. We were chatting about the dynamic between the two of them and how you, you know, working together, et cetera, et cetera. And he shared


Sos & Victoria: this little tidbit personally when we are on stage like a half hour before, one hour before, we never talk to each other. Like we ignore each other. So it's not specially, but it's like during the years it's interesting. Yeah. They age, we are kind of like, we'll meet the other one more time. Yeah. It's like a one more time, you know, it's like a challenge. So wow. I love that. Can we heard beautiful eyes on the stage giving me an impression, you know, so I do my best. She do her base, so we don't do it like your neck. We are of course as a human, we do sometimes mistakes. You know, sometimes people don't realize their mistake, but uh, for us, more important this attitude to each well, because I think you're on the stage a man or woman, it has to be a small conflict. You stinker. But it tends to be a small conflict. Uh, I have to gain her, you know, it's not easy to get even pride. We are married 25 years. Every, every day I open for me, uh, something new from, she's in kilo more and more, you know,


Graeme Reed: that is fascinating. Oh my gosh. Whoa. I think that's so interesting. That shows you like a couple things just, but the one is the mindset, like the F the total character that they're putting themselves into. It's really awesome. It's interesting to think about what, how people handle backstage differently. Uh, cause we've seen different performers backstage as well, right? Yeah. I never know how to interact


Ryan Joyce: because I'm so casual and calm. I feel.


Graeme Reed: Yeah. I tried to just be as calm as I can before I go out. I think I don't need to start, but, uh, when we did Oh wow. Festival, we've got to work with different entertainers and it's fascinating to see. Uh, Chris a Hendricks turned into Lucy darling backstage and, uh, Paul Romani, when he becomes Charlie Chaplin, he really becomes chaplain backstage and he looks amazing. Nick Wallace backstage is creepy and sings or Nick walked over, flowers just died. Yeah, they just, and he had like a mannequin, like a ventriloquist dummy that just followed him. Yeah, that's creepy. And for some reason I just knock on wooden things all the time.


Ryan Joyce: It is, it is super weird to be backstage with other performers because you don't know how everybody is going to interact and you don't want to, you know, bother anybody or be in anybody's face.


Graeme Reed: I feel like with a sauce in Victoria though, the way they handle backstage is a true professionalism. And you can, it's from their background. It's from their background. Wow.


Ryan Joyce: That is so fast and really great to chat with them. And I'm really looking forward to seeing them live. I really, I really enjoy clothes, a costume change acts and they build themselves as to, what is it, the world's greatest costume change illusionists or the world's best costume change. Delusion. It's really cool. And he's


Graeme Reed: does like magic full, like full on and out. So it's not just a silent show. I learned also he's versed in every variety or it sounds like, yeah, I mean


Ryan Joyce: it's, I'm sure there's full show is incredible. Um, and I think I would have to learn German to understand what that really awesome. I was so thrilled to chat with them.


Graeme Reed: Well, let us move on now then to the magic Reddit. So let's flip through the Reddit page. We go here, we are flipping through the Reddits this week and you pulled this topic out, uh, how Doug Henning changed magic and this user Dino Plex commented say what you will. But Doug Henning is the man who broke us free of the straight jacket escapes and greasy tuxedos. I like that image of greasy tuxedos. I like the greasy tuxedos, the straight jacket escape. Um, I don't know the grease he talks, he doesn't like how true. There's this clip and the link is in the notes or if you get the show notes, which you should do and you can go to the website and subscribe and you'll get them sent to your email, which is awesome. But if you go to the link, there's this classic video of Doug Henning dealing close at magic. It is beautiful. I love his windbreaker. He's wearing a windbreaker to do ma. He looks unbelievably comfortable. Before color spectrum in it. Yeah, and it just looks like he's wearing athletic pajamas magic as comfortable as possible. He does a great Rubik's cube routine and this clip is from


Ryan Joyce: so irrelevant and that was just to think the Rubik's cube just came out then and magicians we're doing magic with the Rubik's cubes. Look at, we have to go back and shame ourselves from a previous episode.


Graeme Reed: Right. I can't believe that he was doing the Rubik's cube self back on this special. I hadn't seen this clip before. Had you seen this before? I hadn't know. And then after that he does a chop cup, which is the classic Larry Jennings routine and if you don't know the Larry Jennings routine, that is a great instructional video to watch at home. He teaches the routine so casually while smoking the whole time at just like a regular thing. It is amazing.


Ryan Joyce: I haven't seen that, but I guess I could recall back too, I recall back to a few Rand Woodbury illusion is building DVDs or VHS tapes at that point where he's making illusions and smoker that the ashes is falling on his illusion. That's


Graeme Reed: amazing. That's amazing. What a time. One at a time, but incredible clip. Do you have any, do you have any big Doug Henning memory? To be honest, I grew up just to, like I S I grew up with copper field and stuff, so I didn't see a lot of Doug Henning until later when I would research magic I guess


Ryan Joyce: I would say the experience was equal for me. I got a copy after DVDs became a thing of the full, like all of the episodes and I sat and watched them all and that was probably the first time I saw any Doug Henning in great length. I say. Uh, so yeah man, I didn't have any of that knowledge or experience. It was Copperfield first. So it was interesting to go back and see so many David Copperfield pieces were influenced by their canning. It's really fascinating.


Graeme Reed: And watching Doug Henning is a great magic lesson just to see how he presents in scripts is routine. It's all very simple


Ryan Joyce: and direct and that's great. It also is a clear indicator. Just shows you the age old wisdom of like a, he was as just as authentic as possible. Oh yeah. He was also really different and it's, those are the, we talked about it in great length last week. Those are the things that you really got to do to stand out. I mean, he achieved it at a national level that none of us will, you know, you achieved the impossible. But in our own individual niches, that's what we're aiming for. Right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's good. Good lessons from Doug Henning across the board, and I had not seen that routine. I was not familiar with this smoking explanation video, so I enjoyed every minute of it. I know it was a classic in a routine, but I just thought it was great. You said something that I thought was really smart and should we share this with you? You have to go watch this. Make sure to go check. This routine that we're talking about is of course in the notes you mentioned something. Do, should we share it?


Graeme Reed: Yeah, sure. What's that? I don't remember this. The ending where you thought, Oh, the ending. Oh yeah, the routining, it was bizarre. So if you watch the routine he does, he starts off with an impossible Rubik's cubes, all of which looks great. Rubik's cube goes away. Then he pulls out a chop company. He talks about the history of the cup and ball. The whole setting of this too is that like they've set up a uh, like a chess game in a New York park. I would say it's got two park benches with kids sitting on it and then the kind of cement chess table, which looks great. And then the background is all very far out for us graphics. Um, but at the end of the routine, if we all know chop cup, it's a one cup and ball routine and the cop keeps coming back. And then there's two or three impossible loads you would imagine. You would imagine the final load would be a Rubik's cube. No, sure would. It never came back. The Rubik's cube never came back. It didn't, it didn't come back. He was weird. I was really, I assumed the second he pulled out that chop cup. Oh he's gonna that Rubik's cube is coming back. It never did. No, I never did. That would've been a nice little touch.


Ryan Joyce: Full circle is always good. We'll talk about that maybe a little bit later when we talk about how to structure a 15 minutes.


Graeme Reed: Yeah. Our 15 minute sets. You found this incredible link on Reddit. I didn't say this, but this when you shared it with me. Whoa. I didn't read the description. I hope this isn't like CGI or anything cause this was really cool. Oh yeah. I didn't read it either, but it's this incredible coin vanish.


I'm Simon of Simon off. Is that his name? I'm sure or released his work today on this. I think you guys should check it out. So clearly it is not a fake, but it looks visually amazing. So check that out. We'll make sure to leave that in the show notes if, yeah, it looks crazy. It looks basically toss a coin. Closes his hand in the coins gun. Looks really good. Woo. Hopefully it's not one of those, like we took 400 takes to get this one orange and you can only get it from this one specific angle. Right. But it looks great on a video on Instagram, so that's cool. So that's great. Did you want to talk about this in depth article about children's card? Magic this


Ryan Joyce: was just interesting. We don't need to go in great length on it, but um, there's a very in depth article on Reddit and I, that was great. Covered a whole range of topics. It was basically like a propaganda piece for getting kids to like magic I guess is how you could just basically say it. And it was great. So a couple of the headlines, things like new requires minimal equipment, like minimal starting skills is something you enjoy lifelong. It's great for helping to interact with people and entertaining other people and it's rewarding. Hobby builds self-confidence. I really like topic heavy point by point. There's, I think like 14 or 15.


Graeme Reed: Oh, there's a lot of the points of, so if you are actually a magician and you run a kid show and maybe a kid's camp or program, this article has a lot of great material that you could put. Don't copy and paste it, but I mean take the inspiration this article, put it on your website and if you need the link for this, if you can't find it on the magic credit, the easiest way to find it would be going to, uh, magicians talking, magic.com subscribe. You get the show notes from this episode and any future episodes right to your email. That'd be the easiest way. But there's incredible information here. I was doing a little bit of a kid's workshop. Um, it's on hiatus right now due to the current teachers strikes situation in Ontario. But there is some great information here if you want to put together a sales pitch or your promo material, if you're doing something for March breaks coming up to it. But you have some large break things planned. But if you're planning these summer camps and things like that, great advice ad copy right here in this article.


Ryan Joyce: I like this header card magic is more than the 21 card trick. Yeah, yeah. Oh my gosh. Um, well, okay, so let's go back to our, our magic video of the week. Cause this week is a real flashback. Did you have anything else to add to that last red at the top?


Graeme Reed: No, that's all I have. Because this one like this,


Ryan Joyce: probably the most iconic moment from the world's greatest magic series. Would you agree with that?


Graeme Reed: I can't. I don't think it's the most iconic, but it's one that burns in your memory. It's burned in my brain.


Ryan Joyce: It is etched in there like gold foil and a dragon.


Graeme Reed: Are we like a dragon on a square and circle prop?


Ryan Joyce: Yup. Just beautifully etched in there. So here's your clip.


Steve Wyrick: I bet you're wondering what our P L S stands for. Let's show them guys.


Ryan Joyce: I bet you're wondering what RPL he stands for.


Graeme Reed: Do you know this illusion? Have you seen this before? And do you know what that stands for? But more importantly, can you name who who, who is the illusionist? If you know, submit your answer to us on Instagram or you can do it on the website page. Leave us a voicemail. Magicians masterclass.com or magicians talking magic.com there it is. Yeah


Ryan Joyce: I did. We'll just be walking down the airport or whatever cause it usually at the airport is when I think of it, but that's where


Graeme Reed: I'll say that just randomly to myself. One of the shiny his shirts on the planet to this video screams the nineties it sure does. Pointed out something.


Ryan Joyce: Two I thought was fun when we were discussing this before recording and that's, it's a two minute video.


Graeme Reed: It's very, it's like a 32nd illusion, but it's like boom. Yeah. So it's awesome. So if you know who that is, send in your answer. You will get 6,050 to two diesel points.


Ryan Joyce: You sure will. And we'll give you a couple of triples snaps on the next episode. So why wouldn't you?


Graeme Reed: Why wouldn't you? Why wouldn't you? Yup. Well let's


Ryan Joyce: dive into important topic of the week. What do you think this one is something you do


Graeme Reed: a lot. I do this a lot. This is my current wheel house. I started doing restaurant magic and close up walk round and I had been in the past maybe four years, five years, been doing a lot of comedy clubs, sets and sets in montage group shows. So that requires structuring usually a 15 minute set and that's what we're talking about today on the podcast is how to put together a good 15 minutes set and things to be aware of as well when you're performing with others. And you were asked to do say 10 1215 minutes. Um, so I should, do you want to start off? Well this, I like


Ryan Joyce: to think of these as breaking it down into three right? Everything seems to be, have a pattern of three three's work great. Yeah. So I would approach to 15 minutes set with the emphasis of three an opener, the Steph in the middle and the closer that's I, I'd start there. That's where I would start.


Graeme Reed: And I usually batch it out as like the openers quick. The piece in the middle is nice and long and has a good story and the closer is also quick. That's the way I like to work in. Yeah, you gotta get your attention fast. The hook


Ryan Joyce: is you would call in pretty much any other industry. Um, do something that grabs their attention. That usually requires minimalist talking and a lot of action usually in magic.


Graeme Reed: Yeah. Or for me, I use my beer bag opener and I just directly go to the audience. It's a little bit different because you don't expect someone to come out and just start, Hey do you know it's on this paper bag? I do that a lot for my openers. I go out and I directly address the audience right away. I think it's just, it's fun to do something different to um, you play around with some, sometimes you'll start in the audience. Right.


Ryan Joyce: I do love starting in there. Anything that throws them off their balance that's very different from what they've expected in the scene before. Like I would always greet people on our tours. I was greet them at the door and take their tickets cause it was just something they'd never seen or experienced before. And uh, it just, I have, so I enjoy doing that in the audience to start if I can or, um, or something that just immediately, just so uniquely different that they have no other option to devote all of their attention to you. And if it's like a group setting, if it's like you're in a crowded room, my default opener would be something that gets everybody to probably do an action together. You know, something like if I was walking out into a really crowded environment and I needed to own that before I even started my gig, for example, that I would do something to get everybody in sync.


Graeme Reed: I actually, yeah, my, one of my other opener that I do besides the beer bag is, it's on my notes is mighty ducks, but it's a throwing of the cards and you catch a selection out of the year and they get the whole room to clap in unison together and quack like ducks as if we were on the money ducks. Um, and that's a, that is a great bit to terminally get everyone together and also wake up the audience again. Cause usually if you're doing this 15 minute set, think it'd be be conscious of where you're placed in that show. Are you in the middle, are you at the start off the top or are you at the very end? This is also a good way to choose your material as well. If you're at the end of the show, you gotta have ACE material, knock it out of the park, huge home run. If you off the top of the show, you want to introduce everything nicely, still knock it out of the park, but have a nice good clean set to start off that show. You're starting off the whole energy of this, the rest of the show. And


Ryan Joyce: we're also training the audience how do be involved in our performance. So your goal in the first opening is to get them to applaud or react as soon as possible. That's comfortable. I mean don't because you're kind of the one, right? They're expecting you, the artists to sort of make it easy for them. So that that's not ever any kind of a barrier. And like I remember sitting through one show on a cruise ship ones and their first 18 minutes there wasn't a single applause. Wow. Like nobody, nobody. And so the whole room was just felt awkward and that's because the show never allowed that moment for the audience. So we have to include that in our openings for sure because it just makes the room like it will, it's just required. But you have to build it in, you have to teach them how to react and how to enter, you know, be part of the performance. Cause there's two, two parts of that. Yeah, absolutely. Every oven that's your openers is tough man opening. So material is, yeah,


Graeme Reed: I'm going to try a new opener tonight and I don't even know if it'll work, but that's why I was part of why you got to try things at comedy rooms are where you can, you know, it's okay to not, if it doesn't work out too great, it's okay. It's not like you've been paid a lot for this show. So I'm gonna try it a whole new thing. It's a new different rhythm to that I'm going to do. Um, but I hope it works. I held, I held at work so I'm not going to reveal what it is cause it might not, I might never do it again.


Ryan Joyce: Well you have to let us know on the next button.


Graeme Reed: I will do. Absolutely. Totally. No. Another good thing to consider is your material selection, what you're going to be taking to your 15 minutes set. And there's a lot of things that kind of weigh in on this. Um, so I'm part of this comedy show. I don't want to be in the way of everybody else. There's comedians that go on, there's musicians, their sketch comedians. I want everything, all my material and equipment to be self-contained. So whether that means it can fit in my pockets, I can walk on and off the stage with it. Or can I leave just a little table out there in the corner with some props on it that it's okay if it gets bumped and maybe knocked over. It's not a big deal, but they're just out there anyhow. That's a good thing to be aware of. I've been involved with shows or some people have too many props and things and it gets in the way and it's like they're taking over. It's a shared show. You know what I mean?


Ryan Joyce: Yeah. It's tough. I've been the guy backstage with all the props and I've been the guy backstage that's the easiest, you know, less complicated. So I've definitely been on both ends of the spectrum and I really enjoy being the least complicated. It's really, I mean after going from five tons to two N road cases to a couple suitcases down to like a backpack. Oh boy. Nice. When you can refine your character enough and your show enough to be able to have a bunch of material that you can choose from that allows you to adapt to any of the kind of needs. Especially when you've got, you know, just like a 15 minute set is a really comfortable way of looking at at even a bigger show and a 45 minute show that's three 15 minutes sets and so eventually you'll get enough material you can Mitch mix and match and know how to balance those out etc. So material selection is really an individual thing isn't it? It is to choose


Graeme Reed: like cause some guys are card trick guys and I'm like I'm kind of a card trick person so I do have a 15 minute card tricks that I can deal with one of these places and it's great cause it all fits in my pocket. But these car tricks also play well on stage. They are stage card tricks. It's not really about the cards you're watching closeup, you know visual card magic it's different. That's a key thing to be aware of too. I also have a full on prop tricks and I, because of the comedy rooms I do, it's a lot of people my age in their thirties. Uh, I do a lot of things with retro objects. I like to use comic books. I like to use, uh, VCRs and videotapes and things like that. Hopefully, uh, items that you never see. And then I'm also trying to choose material that you don't in 15 minutes seem, it might seem like a lot of time to fill.


It's, it happens so fast so you don't have much time to tell whatever magical story you're trying to explain within 15 minutes. Um, and kind of talking on that too, this kind of leads into scripting a little, I guess for your 15 minutes. And really you are trying to get yourself over and get your magic over in 15 minutes. It's not a lot of time. So you gotta figure out what your story arc, what the one detail you're probably describing from your show is, or the characteristic you might be focusing on this mind reading skill tonight. So all the tricks we'll be focused on reading people's minds. And it all relates to each other or you're, you're a card magicians so you're going to demonstrate your card skills. Maybe the first thing is, you know, the flashiest thing you do in the last thing you're going to share is the most difficult thing. You know how to perform. But they'd all connects in some sort of way cause 15 minutes you can't have it go all over the place.


Ryan Joyce: Yeah. The arc of your story. Find a way to, or the thread, however you want to talk about it. But you have find a way to stitch all that stuff together so it flows nicely is definitely a bonus. And you're right, it really should be just one central idea. That's simplicity. Simplicity. I think magicians tend to overcomplicate things and I think that's just basically based on, I mean we, we have to do a lot of actions. So sometimes we think it's important to be doing a lot of things in order for it to be right. Like we, you know, like we do complicate that. We have a lot of complicated things we have to, you have to do in magic, but we seem to forget how simple things really should be appearing in the minds of the audience. So just pick one central theme. Don't over bombard them with force five, six stories and big complicated lessons and themes and takeaways


Graeme Reed: and pick something that you relate to you. There's so many magic tricks and ideas out there. We researched them all the time. Don't just pick the hottest new newest release unless of course it's beer bag on penguin magic for nine 95 but if, if you're trying to find, you're choosing magic that speaks to you and it speaks to you for some, you might not totally know why right now, but as you perform it in these sets, it'll start to mold and work itself. But you want to try and find unique material, not the same Rubik's cube thing that the other guy's doing or the same card trick that the other car did, I number, the other guy does. You want to try to make it special and unique. Think of it as if you hire a DJ and the reason you will hire a DJ is based on their taste and flavor of music and how they play it in a way that's kind of what we are as magicians. We've researched and scoured all sorts of magic and we have determined what we think is the best to share with you. And that's what you're kind of doing in these 15 minutes. That's what we're doing. Exactly.


Ryan Joyce: The goal is to get the audience to know a little bit about you for sure more so than they did when they entered the room and like not enough to want to leave the room, you know?


Graeme Reed: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Interesting. Another fun thing with 15 minutes and having a short set like that is it gives a lot of opportunity for callbacks in your set because you will have, that audience is undivided attention for a short amount of time and it's easy to keep them locked in. So say you have what I often will do, I will do a mind reading thing and then um, I won't get one of the pieces of information, but I will reveal it completely at the end of my full set. And it wraps in. So maybe say I did a book test, I didn't get the one word and then I do a slam down like a spike cup, a smash and stab on the base of all the things it says the word from the first trick. That's a great way to do a little callback thing. It is. Well, let's get the last of the three structures is the closer, um, this is the last of the, yeah. The closing just kind of ties into that. Yeah.


Ryan Joyce: Yeah. And I'm closing is, I'm about to probably switch up my ending. I dunno. Closing is tough closing. TEV yeah, it's on par with opening. That's why we're branching into three cause all that stuff in the middle. So easy.


Graeme Reed: There's a lot of things to think about when you're closing too. I always want to be the only person on stage.


Ryan Joyce: Yeah. The, I agree. A, um, it's always beneficial to end in some kind of a great ending like pose as well. And I don't mean don't get me, don't take that into like competition pants posing, but there is on stage, like it's, if you end with your arms open, it's just a natural applause to queue and it just heightens the whole, it just makes it better when you can work the language, body language into everything that's already at the flow of the whole event. You know, these, there are little subtle cues that we can give as artists to maximize our closer or endings and are a little punctuation points as I usually call them. Um, depending on what you're working, whether it's a stage or, you know, when you watch the Rubik's cube thing we were talking about with Doug Henning and, uh, he did a little change. His little moment is a little magic gesture or whatever it was. He had a word. And so when he restored it, it was, everyone knew it was time to applaud. Yes. Everybody knew it was time to reply because he, he'd made, it's just simple. It's like, it's like people who laugh at jokes or they don't quite understand, but they know this time to laugh.


Graeme Reed: It's almost like the simple scripting in a toss deck routine. When you say if you heard your thing sit down. Yeah. When people see those people sit down, it is understood in the room. That worked perfect. Yeah. Yeah.


Ryan Joyce: I don't know if this is maybe just more of a help for my ha my head, but after doing so many years of hypnosis shows, I've just come to realize that there's just a certain percentage of the people that just do based on command. And so I always build those into the show intentionally so that if, if they're just sitting there and there's some of them, I'm, I'm giving some of those commands in such directly into the show to, you know, be influential to those people. And so that's what we're doing essentially with applause cues in such, in those, those subtle is those people pick up on it and they start the whole trend. So these are real, I mean the all, at the end of the day, if you create a great piece of magic, you don't have to really worry about these things of course, but it's the performance in the pazazz, in the sparkle that kind of comes together when you include them that take you to the next level, the next little step. And usually those little Polish points come from doing that same thing over and over and over and over and over again. And often from mistakes.


Graeme Reed: It's always, it's either mistakes or it's also, I'm spectators, excuse me, as spectators will hand feed you lines or even ask a question like, Hey, can you do that? And right at that moment you might be like, no, but I will work on that original idea. I'm going to create that down. I'm so sorry. That's my niece when my niece like dogs


Ryan Joyce: Doug, that's well, and of course with the closer, this is just the ultimate is to have some kind of a call back. Really, that's the ultimate dream of the closer is to have something that people from, you know, kind of go, Oh my gosh, that's so smart. Or they have some sort of visceral, because they realize that what you had done earlier was to prepare them for that moment and they realize that that whole time you were in control, it's, it gets a really powerful and you have that nice full circle callbacks.


Graeme Reed: It's a fun thing to play with the timing and callbacks to, you want to almost have the audience forget about it. And then once you introduce the direction you're going into your callback, have a few people in the audience figure it out and they now figured it out for everyone else. And before you reveal it, everyone now knows that they don't want to know it's real because it's crazy and it shouldn't work. And then when you finally do your final punctuation point, everyone's onboard and then they'll lose their minds


Ryan Joyce: hopefully all together and then stand up and give you


Graeme Reed: in unison. Yeah. Although, to be honest, last show I did, I had such a strong punctuate, it was complete silent mindblowing. Oh yeah. It was just stunned and I thought I did terrible and I watched the videotape back. It was a Cricket's convention. It was, yeah, it was crickets convention. Um, but yeah, I think that's, that's super good. Now if with balance, when you talk about balance in an act like this, it's about how we've talked about texture all the time too. Right? We kinda touched on this a little bit, but what do you think about, do you do a lot of magic music as well? I don't do this. I do all talking pieces.


Ryan Joyce: Yeah. I don't know why, but I feel like I like to come out and talk and then I like to do something like talking then involve people and then I like to do something that doesn't involve anyone. It's either with music or it's just a very scripted piece where they can just sit back and relax. Cause the opening of anything is usually pretty intense. It's the second thing in just any structure of any show you see it, it's, it's an arc. It's got to go up and down. And so I often like the next little bit to be something that they can just sort of sit back and enjoy and bringing back to full circle what we we're talking about today. For example, my 15 minutes set on the cruise ship, the second point I would usually do walking, not because it was a piece of music, it was just fun and really enjoyable to listen to. And the magic is great and it's, it's really is a great piece of magic man. People just love that. I love that. It is one of my, I just love it. It's great piece. So, um, but uh, then they can regain their energy for the applause I'm about to ask for, which is easy for them to do. Shout and the next, you know, blows to the face. I don't know. I'm inspired by Richard Turner discussions. Yeah, absolutely.


Graeme Reed: I think that, um, I think you summed it up there. Perfect. With balance and everything. Um, I, this is something I don't do because I do stand up talking throughout my whole act and everything. So I tried to add the balance in with the variables of the props I'm going to use or like you mentioned, a trick will just be me a trick. We'll have a bunch of spectators and then the last trick will be me is how I usually do it. This will be all independent to everybody's zone. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I th those are kind of the key things I guess mainly for structuring a 15 minute set and to just really go over it one more time. We think the best thing is to have a, do it in threes, have an opener, have a middle, have a closer. The best way to maybe figure that bout that in time chunks opener is short and punchy.


Closer is the same thing. And that middle section is where it's the meat and the bones of your set and you're going to have everyone's attention. You can hold onto them because they, hopefully your opener is really strong. And then once they're all on your side, hit it with a home, run with that closer and take it home and then you know, throw your confetti or throw streamers and get out of their head it where the home rom burner. Now there are two other key bonus points here that I think we should talk about while we're talking about doing sets on other shows. And you taught me these things, you told me about this because I remember the first time I was doing one of these sets and I was given 12 to 15 minutes and I was super nervous about time. I was like, I don't think I'm going to do enough time.


And you told me what's the best thing when it comes to time, right? Yeah. Always be shorter. Always be shorter. Yes. Cause you don't want to waste people's time, boy. Unless I mean there's the 80% rule of course, like don't be like if you got a 15 minutes, I don't do six minutes. Yes. But I know you'd want it if you were asked to do 15 at least hit 10 yeah. There's a threshold. There's a threshold there, but you're better to be on the lighter side than the heavy side because no one will be mad if you're a little light. If you're a little heavy, sure as hell. Gonna notice if you went way too long. Yeah, they'll feel it. They will feel it. There's a few minutes without magic is way too long. There's a fun thing to do. You notice after all your performance, do you notice, do you notice after all you're performing experience that you can feel the time that you've done now or?


Ryan Joyce: Well, I'm my, okay. My cruise ship show, I definitely, uh, I just walk off and I'm like 46, like I got to hit 45 but I, ah, man, I'm not, I'm in tune with the time, but I'm not like for example, um, this last, I did a show this couple of weeks ago here locally. I got to do a night, beautiful theater and I was certain that my time was shorter than I did. I didn't realize I had done 55 minutes. I thought I had done closer to the 46 but I had done 55 minutes. So, um, I, I'm pretty, pretty good I guess. But you know, it's a different zone when you're on stage. And I don't know if it's an adrenaline, cause I don't certainly feel like I'm flooded with adrenaline, but it's like a, you're in a different


Graeme Reed: universe, so it's hard to, you're, you're monitoring everything. You're, you're taking over the room, you're in control roll that thing. And so it's a lot of perceptions I have to drop off the list. Things that are not important, you know? And so time is usually one of those for a lot of artists I have found from doing all these sets. Now when I'm onstage, I think I've gotten longer or when I get off stage, I consistently do about a minute less than what my time was. And I liked that spot. I like that whole line. Yeah, that's, that's a good spot to be. Yeah. And it's good to watch your video tape back so you understand how long when you, we all have average times that we do for our tricks. I often do, I do a one and a half minute trick. Those are my quick ones and I will do something that's either three to eight minutes and I have these like set times that everything is always, and if you record yourself and you watch yourself, you'll see how long each thing is. So then you'll know how to structure your set so you're not chew and other people's time on the show and making an hour and a half show, three hours,


Ryan Joyce: a whole bunch of great tips in there for creating a structuring, a 15 minute set. Just to recap some of the things against it or balance your pieces. Make sure there's good balance. Also scripted and sure, that's nice and tight. Don't be too literative or illustrative or whatever the


Graeme Reed: well yeah, of ores are in there, Shelley, don't chew it. Um, Oh and then another, and then callbacks, uh, things to consider are callbacks. So if you can tell a full circle story, like think of some of your favorite movies, a lot of them will start and end with a similar visual. Uh, the perfect example of this, the most basic in magic I would think, well not the most basic, but the one that comes to mind is Jay Sankeys back in time, his version of the triumph deck, it ends and starts with the same visual. It's perfect. And if you can do that in 15 minutes, set flawless. And one more thing that we talked about too is time, be conscious and aware of your time. It's courteous to other performers and the audience as well. People want to see you, we want it, but always leave people wanting more. That's like the, isn't that Barnum and Bailey that's like classic old school sounds like it and want a little pro tip is to always make sure when you're on stage to make sure you're standing in the light. You know, it sounds basic. Make sure you're standing there


Ryan Joyce: blinded. I mean they can't really see yet. We're going to, yeah, you're not in it and you can feel it. You'll know when you're in it. But when you get on stage, make sure you're in that light. And that's a key tip that you told me early on to find the right. Yup. A lot of people avoid it, but make sure to start conditioning yourself right off the bat. Defined it. Well, this has been a great episode. We chatted about a whole bunch of magic news and a lot of magic tips and really important that you can structure


Graeme Reed: your next 15 minutes show


Ryan Joyce: whether it's going to be, you know, a comedy set, a mentalism said, a closeup magic show, or maybe it's 15 first 15 minutes of an entire 45 minute show. Whatever you're doing with it. We sure hope that some of these tips have been helpful and thank you for listening.


Graeme Reed: Thank you so much for listening. If you like this podcast, if you find it helpful and you think you know someone else that might enjoy it, we would love it if you told them about it. Make sure you subscribe to this wherever you subscribe to podcasts. There's so many ways to do that, uh, like us and share stuff over on Instagram. You can follow us there. We have a community over there of conversations. Questions. Little fun games to diesel points. That's at magicians. Talking magic you can leave us a voicemail. If you like this podcast. You have a question. You have a comment, go to magicians talking magic.com it's a one click button. You can do it from your phone. Yeah, the device you're listening to this podcast on right now. You can do that from your phone and leave a comment. One more thing, one more thing, two more things.


You can get the show notes, the show notes from this podcast and future episodes right to your email each and every week. If you just throw your email in at the top of the website, magicians talking magic, and if you liked this podcast and you want to support us even more, you can do that by purchasing my new download, the airbag that is over@penguinmagic.com it is only nine 95 thank you so much for being here with us on episode 34 we're so glad you're been here.


Ryan Joyce: My name is Ryan Joyce.


Graeme Reed: My name is Graemazing.



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