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Archive for November 16th, 2009

Powerpoint or Keynote Slides

2009-11-16Where in the world am I today?: Limon -> San Jose (Costa Rica) -> Miami, Fl, USA

Almost a year ago when I was working on the GRAND Princess the image that accompanies this post was created to promote my show in the Princess Theatre. The technical staff of the theatre asked me for a photo then took that image and created a Powerpoint slide to project on the side screens of the Princess Theatre before the show began. The ability to quickly provide them with a jpeg to use in the slide meant that they had an image of my selection to use for the slide and at the time I was happy to have them create the slide that got used to promote the show.

I’m now thinking that with a little bit of effort I could come up with something far better in the way of a Powerpoint or Keynote slide or perhaps even a full slide show that could run for the 15 – 20 minutes prior to my show starting much like those trivia contests that run in movie theatres before the feature begins. People are in the theatre, if the side screens are available people will get sucked into watching them… Why not take greater advantage of this as a resource for not only promoting the show, but also engaging the audience, and prepping them for the nature of the show to come?

I’ve just finished a contract aboard the ISLAND Princess and thoroughly enjoyed working with comedian Jim McDonald who, to my mind, has taken the concept of using a slide show to a whole different level and has incorporated it into his act. The slides get such a strong reaction from the audiences that this is what he uses to close his shows.

Now stand-up comedy is quite often an art form that primarily appeals to the sense of hearing. Sure the gestures a comic makes on stage ad a certain visual component to the act, but it’s amazing to watch the audience get sucked in to not only the words that Jim is saying but also the visual clues that are provided by the slides and video that he has prepared for the end of his shows. By increasing the scope of the visual appeal of his show, he increases the overall resonance of his show.

This notion of audience appeals is discussed in a great book geared primarily towards performers of magic called Showmanship for Magicians by Dariel Fitzkee. Though this book is now decades old, it does a fantastic job of discussing various ways to appeal to an audience and suggests that the more ‘appeals’ you can incorporate into your performance the greater the impact you’ll have on your audience…

All this from the original concept of projecting a slide (or slides) before your show to promote to the audience what’s to come. I’m fully prepared to admit that I haven’t taken full advantage of this appeal to the audience and view it as a potential gold mine opportunity to market myself, my website and my sense of funny to each and every audience that I play to when projected images are possible prior to the beginning of the show. It’s not possible in every venue to be sure, but where it is, why not take advantage of it.

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