Far more important than the slickest new card move or latest stage effect is our ability as magicians to entertain. For this, Ken Webers Maximum Entertainment offers solid advice for improving ones show and is must reading for anyone who performs magic.
If you havent heard of him, Weber has had a successful career as a full-time magic entertainer, having appeared at some 500 colleges and universities and for hundreds of corporations and resorts. With his two theater degrees, Weber knows what he is talking about from both theoretical and practical standpoints.
To begin, Weber asks what constitutes good entertainment and makes the regrettably true statement, most magic sucks (considering all of the magic performed by pros, semi-pros and amateurs and hobbyists). From here, Weber works as a virtual stage director to offer advice on improving and honing ones performance skills and stage presence.
More Extraordinary Moments
Weber defines magic as working at three levels: puzzle, trick and extraordinary moment, and strives to help create more extraordinary moments. He offers examples of work by David Copperfield, David Blaine and Kreskin, which most magicians will be familiar with. He also provides examples of well known magicians and throughout, critiques with a no-holds barred, but constructive eye.
He distills and presents his Six Pillars of Entertainment Success that offer goals to improve ones act. In the second half of the book, Weber discusses scripting and rehearsal, the selection of material, appearance, use of voice, language skills, humor, sound, lighting, show preparation, stage positioning and more. There is seemingly no aspect that he doesnt cover.
The book is an easy initial read but one that you will open and study again and again. Ken Webers Maximum Entertainment is a book that all magicians, regardless of style and venue, can use. In fact, in an ideal world, it would be required reading by all who want to perform magic. Now, if you can please excuse me, I have a lot of work to do on my act.
-Wayne N. Kawamoto