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Audience Management Review

Official Review

July 5th, 2010 11:07am
Reviewed by Tracy Atteberry
I’ve seen many performers who would be great entertainers if wasn’t for that pesky audience. Actually, all of us would likely benefit from some improvement and reminders in this area. Gay Ljungberg has written such a book centered around the idea that the audience experience is what it’s all about.

When I read books like this (Magic & Showmanship, Strong Magic, Magic & Meaning, etc.) I don’t always agree with everything the author has to say but I always end up thinking more deeply about my own beliefs and feelings about performing magic. Having said that, I believe that Audience Management is a worthy addition to this genre.

Below is a short description of each of the book’s eleven sections.

Starting Point
This section addresses the questions: Who is this Gay Ljungberg guy anyway? What is this book about? and Why? As a preview, Mr. Ljungberg has been a full-time professional entertainer since 1986, including 12 holiday seasons on 24-hour cruise ships, three years with the Swedish National Touring Theater, and the production of several touring variety shows. He has also served as a judge for international magic competitions every year since 1985. He was the stage manager for all main stage events for FISM 2006 and competition manager for stage magic at FISM 2009.

The Focus
In this section, the author lays out the mission statement of the book: "I want the reader to become a better performer, by focusing on the audience and learning to connect and communicate with them." He then helps the reader create their own mission statement.

Homo Ludens
The playful human. This section is about the games humans play and how to find the game hidden in each routine and trick. "To regard magic as an intellectual game, is to take the art of magic seriously."

The Invisible Contract
In this section the author explains how to create an invisible contract with the audience and establish the rules of the game you wish to play with them.

Stage Presence--to Have "It"
Here the author expounds on the idea that stage presence is about communication with the audience and that the basic ingredient is energy.

Conquer Stage Fright
Here, of course, the author talks about conquering stage fright, or what he re-frames as as fear of the audience. He then offers "10 Ways to Win Against Stage Fright".

Connect with People
While this section is perhaps the shortest (five pages), I believe it contains the most critical information in the book. Based on the simple premise that "people like people who like people", the author offers some practical advice, including a list of ten short cuts to creating an audience connection.

Assistants on Stage
In this section the author discusses the reasons for using an assistant, how to choose an assistant, and how to control assistants on stage.

Crowd Control
Here the author offers advice on how to handle various disturbances, emergencies, and other unexpected problems.

Strategy for Success
To ensure your success and minimize your failure, the author offers advice for five critical times: When you design the show, when you accept the booking, at the venue before the show, during the show, and in the dressing room after the show.

Learning Games
This final section contains a collection of eight learning game the author uses in group training sessions for performers. These are theater and training games that the author has adapted to better serve the magical performer.

As I suggested above, I think a measure of value for such a book is whether or not it makes you think more deeply about your own beliefs and feelings about performing magic. In this regard, Audience Management was a complete success for me. If you’re ready to be challenged to think about how to better connect with your audience, I’m sure you’ll find it a success as well.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Audience Management

Author: Ljungberg, Gay
Publisher: Gycklaren Magic Marketing AB
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $34.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

A Guide for Magical Entertainers

In this book, Gay Ljungberg shares his performing experience with the reader and reveals a treasure of valuable secrets, about the psychology and the techniques he uses. He teaches you how to select assistants from the audience and how you turn them into instant actors to play with on stage. You will learn how to conquer your stage fright, how to connect with your audience and how to design a strategy for success. You will also discover the secrets of crowd control and stage presence.

Whether you are a performing magician, clown, juggler, ventriloquist, or stand in front of an audience for any other reason; you can improve your act by reading this book.

"I want the reader to become a better performer, by focusing on the audience and learning to connect and communicate." - Gay Ljungberg

Pages: 143 - Softbound

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