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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #1 
You know you've lost control when a spectator grabs your props...

You also know you've lost control when the spectator say's to you, " Can you tell me what I am thinking of " or something along those lines.

You also really lost control after a spectator say's to you..." May I shuffle your deck, please ?" after you have false cut & false shuffled the deck to do your memorized deck routine.
 
What are some of the things you can do to stop the above from happening to you. What are some of the things you can do to better manage your audience ? How would a pro handle the above conditions in a performance ?

Have you ever lost control of your audience ? What went wrong ? You get the idea. What are your thoughts on the matter ?
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #2 
Good questions Logan Five. I haven't encountered these issues very often but I think it's worth spending some time thinking about both what to do and how to avoid these situations.

Only once has someone asked to shuffle the deck. I was caught off guard but luckily I had controlled the selection to the top. I did a one handed to palm as I dropped the deck from R to L hand. I handed him the deck and prayed that I wouldn't get burned holding out the selection. Things went well and I supposed he was more amazed at the outcome since he shuffled.

I think that the probability of this happening has a lot to do with how you are perceived by your specs. It may also be related to how much alcohol they have consumed. I rarely encounter inebriated specs, so I'll address the former instance i.e. how do the specs perceive me. Of course this is conjecture, since I'm not in their heads!

The way I approach a table hopefully leads the specs to see me as a fun guy that the house has provided for their entertainment. I'm very comfortable about interacting with these new "friends." I hope to be welcomed into the group in the same way that a group tends to welcome a friend of a friend when s/he's introduced for the first time. We have all been in groups where one of the group has brought someone new. We are socialized to be very welcoming of the new person. I am hoping for that same dynamic to happen when I "break in" to their space. This seems to work most of the time. If they invite me in, there's generally a welcoming feeling. I try to magnify the feeling by introducing myself and getting a few names in my memory. The best interactions occur when people reveal things about their personality. Someone in the group will be a jokester. You have to be careful not to take over his position. You can play with him, but you acknowledge that he's a funny guy.  Someone will reveal their skeptical nature. You can play off of this by openly taking note and giving him or her special status as the "designated skeptic."

All this is to say that you need to take the roll of "playmaker" but not step on anyone else's toes. Once you start to have fun WITH them you can really rock their world and they'll respond. It's possible that someone will ask to shuffle the deck or tell you that they saw how you did something. Just roll with it. Allow them to shuffle and say things like "That's too bad. I hoped that you'd have seen magic" which acknowledges that he may have seen something and also conveys the idea that it doesn't embarrass you in any way. The only negative is that he didn't get to experience magic.

These are just some thoughts. I'm looking forward to what others may add to the discussion. Not everyone may see things this way.

Mike
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prestigiazione.it

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Reply with quote  #3 
i'm in the lucky position than i'm not a performer but just a sincere amateur. That's mean that i don't do paid gigs, but just i do some magic when "needed", so in controlled situations with friends, some parties, but nothing paid, no customers no money!

So if i'm really in trouble i can just say "i don't want to do tricks".

But... i just do card magic, i love card magic, and most of time i force the card or i glimpse it. So the spectator can ask to shuffle whenever he wants, i also stress the situation "you shuffled". And if he really bother me i'm just sincere, "No you can't or it will mess up the trick" or something sillier "next time bring your own deck" or "did you sign the card" after he shuffled or "did you show the card to the person over there? No? ok, choose another one" or something like that.

I think that the spectator should be entertained by "me" not from the prop or the "trick", so i really don't care.

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Craig Logan

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Reply with quote  #4 
Andrea, NEVER call yourself "Just" an amateur. Some of the greatest minds in our craft were "just" amateurs!

I think there are things we can do to reduce the probability of having grabby spectators, but there will always be some who are skeptical. 
That said, Peter Turner has a very interesting response to the question, "Can you tell me what I am thinking of?" He's discussed it in his lectures, and I believe it to be a great response.

One solution I've used if the spectator is asking if they can shuffle is to permit the shuffle and move into another effect. This doesn't always work, but it does soften the spectators a bit.
Also, simply handling the cards in a very relaxed manner subtly implies the cards are above board.  

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #5 
The key is NOT to lose control.

I believe a lot is in how you present yourself and how you present your magic. If it's all in the spirit of having a good time, people won't turn on you. However, if you make them feel stupid, that's the quickest way to get someone against you.

Someone grabs your props.....they were too close and you weren't managing your props well.

Can you tell me what I'm thinking? - "I can, but I don't think you really want your friends to know what you REALLY think about them or they might not be your friends anymore."
OR
"No, it doesn't work that way."

Can I shuffle your deck please? - No.
OR
Always force or peek a chosen card so you KNOW what card has been selected. If their shuffling messes up what you were going to do, finish the trick another way.

How to avoid trouble...
I don't let people inspect anything. I don't hand them props asking for them to make sure it's a real whatever it is. I think doing so draws suspicion; if not to the prop you're handling at the moment, then to the prop you're handling before or later that you don't give out to examine.
My Rule #1 - don't offer anything up for examination.

Rule #2 - don't be afraid to say no. There are some pain in the neck people that will badger you to death on everything you do. Can I check that out? Can I shuffle? Can I see that? - No, NO and  hell

Rule #3 - be likeable. If they like you, they'll want you to succeed, will be on your side and will have fun watching you do magic.  
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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #6 
Great advice from Evil Dan.

Rarely in a professional performance would someone ask to shuffle the deck you're using. I think in over 40 plus years it might have happened twice in strolling magic. I don't even recall whether or not it was within a trick or in-between tricks. 

Of course, usually within a card set I ask people at some point if they want to shuffle the cards, so you're not likely to be asked after that. Of course you cannot do that if you wish to retain your deck in a full stack order. 

I think I might ask, with humor, "Do you REALLY think that will make a difference other than slowing down the show?"

Or say, "No, I've seen 52 card pick up before"

Carry a second deck (I usually have one anyway in a paid gig). You can say, "Sure, shuffle them as much as you want and I'll continue the show with this deck so we don't all have to wait for you."

If just doing stuff casually for people you may be hanging with in the future, and it was a stacked deck, I'd let them shuffle it and then just do different stuff. The effects you were going to do with the stacked deck you can always do for them at a future time. The person who asked to shuffle will not ask again at a future time because he is then satisfied you can entertain him with a deck he has shuffled. People like this you win over can be the source of some of the highest praise later. 

NEVER, EVER, get bothered or worried about stuff like this. Also, pick up this little booklet: https://www.lybrary.com/outs-precautions-and-challenges-p-27987.html
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #7 
On one occasion I was performing for the Guest of Honour at the retirement party for one of my colleagues.  She was really into magic and had asked me to perform - a small circle gathered, including one of the people EVILDAN just charitably referred to a "pain in the neck" ... I would localize the pain somewhat further south.  As soon as I took out my cards, this helpful person started in loudly with "Oh, trick cards!  I had a deck of those!  Can I see them?  Can I shuffle them?"  I was opening the set with "Play It Straight Triumph" in which the deck is not only stacked, but very obviously so.  There was no way I was going to give this person the deck.  I should mention that this person, despite some positive qualities, is widely regarded as an irritant ... and I confess I was irritated.  I wanted to end the interruptions and get on with entertaining the GOH.

I said, "Look, when you go to a concert, do you go on stage and interrupt the musicians and ask if you can re-tune their instruments?"

The person said, "Yes!  I do!"

I said, "Fine.  Why don't you go do that now?" ... then I spread most of the deck face up between my hands and said "Satisfied?" and ignored that person for the rest of the set.

Afterwards I felt that I had been a bit brutal - not my normal behaviour at all - but after I finished my set, one of the other audience members made a point of quietly apologizing for the behaviour of the interruptor so I know at least one person felt my shut-down was appropriate.


This was a very unusual circumstance - everyone in the group had known each other for years.  I didn't have to get them to like me ... I already knew they did.  I would not be so adversarial with strangers, but I completely agree with EVILDAN - it's perfectly fine to say "No".

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #8 
Further thoughts on saying no.....

One time I was working a festival and was performing the egg bag. I had this teen age girl come up and verify the bag was empty. Magic. Reach inside and pull out the egg. She dropped it. It was an expensive Eggs-actly egg. She looked down and said, "It's not real." I told her that it was, it was a blown egg so that no one would get messy if it accidentally cracked. But thanks for breaking my egg.

That was my breaking point. After that I don't let people touch anything except to shuffle cards...and when I want them to.

People may ask: "Can I see that?"
The last time I let someone see something they broke it. So no.

Cards - "Can I examine them?"
For one, I don't know how clean your hands are. I need these for the rest of the day. (at a fair/festival) And when people ask to examine cards, they usually mean they're going to ruin them by bending and twisting them every which way....so no.

AND, to dispel the mythos of me using a trick deck, I usually use a red backed deck and shove the box front from a deck of TV MAGIC CARDS in the cellophane. I take them out, lay it on the table and proceed with the trick. Since I started doing this, NOBODY has ever asked to see the cards or called me out on using a trick deck. I guess it's reverse psychology.
Why would I advertise that I'm using a trick deck?
Why would I let them shuffle if it was a trick deck?
Why would I let them sign and keep a card if it was a trick deck?
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #9 
Evil One: What a wonderful idea you came up regarding the TV MAGIC CARDS front!

Logan: In addition to the many great bits of advice already presented here, Roberto Giobbi has included a Theory section in CCII that contains some great thoughts about control, unruly spectators, and such. Worth checking out if you own the book.

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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #10 
Regarding Dan's TV magic cards -That's funny!
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #11 
While I'd love to take credit for it. I read it somewhere in passing, probably a magic magazine, and thought it was a great idea.
Back then I hunted down a deck of TV Magic Cards on ebay.
Then a few years later the store Five Below had some decks for sale.
I like it, it works for me.
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ianmcrawford

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Reply with quote  #12 
I think we can all take a lesson from some teachers we have had in the past.  Teachers know how to control a class, including bullies through sheer will (and perhaps a little terror).  A commanding voice, lots of instruction and careful planning.

For years I performed for libraries and had many librarians ask if I was a teacher (I'm not).  I simply made sure the families were entertained and energized all the time.

The one time I lost total control and energy, was when I asked for the bravest child in the room.  A very polite boy about 11 years old came up.  I started suiting him up with safety gear (gloves, protective glasses, hearing protectors, and a construction helmet).  All the while building up just how brave the young man was.  I then reached in my box and pulled out a balloon to do needle through balloon.  The kid lost it and started crying.  I felt terrible for the boy.  The rest of the show was dead and without energy.  Afterwards, I apologized to him and tried to teach him a trick.  I then apologized to his mother who said "don't worry, he cries all the time".  Yikes.

I learned a lot about volunteer selection that day.  I still occasionally do the trick, but with older kids and usually the bully.
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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #13 
Personally, I am of the opinion that if the spectators like you, they won't try to catch you out like that. I make it a top priority to be seen as an equal, not a performer they can boss around! I would also like to echo EvilDan. As performers, we should never be afraid of saying "no".
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DJ

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Reply with quote  #14 
For those who subscribe to Lybrary.com, the most recent newsletter has a section titled "HOW DO I CONTROL MY SPECTATORS? Part 1" by Paul A. Lelekis.   
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #15 

Sorta fits here:

Last night I was showing off a new piece for my wife. It is a prediction effect that requires a card force. She knows all about card forces naturally, so I decided to throw her for a loop. I had intended to glimpse a card, control it to the top, and then half-pass the deck so it was cheek-to-cheek. (Most of you see where I was going with the force.) I did everything except for controlling the card to the top…

When the time came to reveal her “freely and fairly” selected card I was momentarily confused when it failed to appear where it was supposed to. Without losing a beat I began eliminating cards in bunches until two remained. At that point I offered her a “choice” and brought the trick off despite goobering it up by neglecting to properly set-up. Lesson learned.  

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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #16 
Anthony:
What was the reaction? [smile]
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Gerald Deutsch

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Reply with quote  #17 


 

With Perverse Magic the magician doesn’t act as if he’s always in control and there is little a hostile spectator can do to embarrass a magician with that attitude.

 

But there are things a magician can do if a spectator takes the deck and shuffles it and challenges the magician to do something.

 

I published this on the Perverse Magic thread of the Genii Forum on July 1, 2011 and on the Session Room section of this forum on February 21, 2016:

 

Effect

 

1          “I’ll show you a great trick,” says the magician. “With your deck. Shuffle it.” The spectator does.

 

2          “Good. Now cut the deck into four piles. Good. Now pick up any pile and spread the cards in front of you as if you were playing cards. Now just THINK of any card.”

 

            “Do you have one? Now please don’t forget it because you’re the only person in the world that knows that card. Good.”

 

3          Now I’m not going to ask you any questions at all but I want you to remember the position of the card you are thinking of in this packet. This top one is ‘one’, this one is ‘two’. Okay?”

 

            The magician deals the packet of cards face up one by one on the table counting each card as it is dealt.

 

4          “Okay, let’s assemble all the packets like this. Now let me see,” The magician runs through the deck looking at the faces and then places the deck on the table.

 

5          “Please give me half the deck.” The Spectator does. “Okay, now, what NUMBER was it?” the magician then deals that number of cards face down on the table and when he’s done he tells the spectator to do the same. He does.

 

6          “Now, for the first time, what was the name of the card you were thinking of? The spectator names the card. “Good, now in which pile do you want your card?” the spectator points to a pile and the magician turns over the top card. It’s not the card. The magician is confused. He turns over the top card of the other pile – not the card.

 

            “I don’t think that card is in the deck.” He spreads the deck. “That card is in my pocket!”

 

            With his hand obviously empty he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the thought of card.

 

 

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blathermist
Anthony:
What was the reaction? [smile]


Honestly it was bizarre. She opined that the trick must be complicated indeed, and congratulated me for successfully pulling it off. Of course I never said a word otherwise!
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JustChico

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Reply with quote  #19 
Reading through the thread (with great interest) I had a couple of thoughts and then lo and behold, a couple of responses kinda sorta fell right in line with my thoughts. So, a couple of questions, if I may...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald Deutsch

 
With Perverse Magic the magician doesn’t act as if he’s always in control and there is little a hostile spectator can do to embarrass a magician with that attitude.


I was thinking that in light of the comments about getting the spectators to "like you" or "be on your side," why not try to start a "routine" with a new spectator with a Perverse Magic effect. That way, they're kinda in your corner from the jump. After that, they should be cheering you on and hoping you get better as you go and don't mess up anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
I was opening the set with "Play It Straight Triumph" in which the deck is not only stacked, but very obviously so.  There was no way I was going to give this person the deck.


Could we avoid this situation entirely by not opening with a stack effect? I mean, if you have the pocket space, why not just begin with something that can be done impromptu if needed, go to a coin or sponge effect, and then switch in the stack? If you have, say, 2 red bikes...one stacked, one not, I would think it would be easy enough to keep them in separate pockets and I wouldn't think the specs would remember that you put "your deck" into a different pocket than you pulled it "back out of." Even if somebody said, "Hey, didn't you put the deck in your back pocket but then you pulled it out of your inside jacket pocket," you could redirect by saying, "Well...it is a magic show."
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Gerald Deutsch

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Reply with quote  #20 
Reading through the thread (with great interest) I had a couple of thoughts and then lo and behold, a couple of responses kinda sorta fell right in line with my thoughts. So, a couple of questions, if I may...



I was thinking that in light of the comments about getting the spectators to "like you" or "be on your side," why not try to start a "routine" with a new spectator with a Perverse Magic effect. That way, they're kinda in your corner from the jump. After that, they should be cheering you on and hoping you get better as you go and don't mess up anymore.


I posted this on the Perverse Magic thread of the Genii Forum on February 1, 2009:

 

Perverse Magic and Sucker Tricks

 

In defining the categories of Perverse Magic (see this thread above December 2005 under “David Roth’s Legendary Four Coin Trick”) I note that the fourth category is “Performer is caught – he admits it – then he and the audience are surprised”.

 

This category would also include “sucker tricks” where the magician explains “how it was done” only to be surprised with the audience that they’ve all – the magician too - has been “suckered”

 

Sucker tricks are well known. They include the Breakaway Wand and Fan, the Die Box, the Torn and Restored Napkin, the “Light-Heavy” Box, the Silk to Egg, etc, etc. What I’ve always hated about all of these is that they can embarrass a spectator in front of friends. I say something about “sucker tricks” above on this thread in describing my routine for “The World’s Fastest Card Trick” (September 1, 2004):

 

“let me say something about sucker tricks

When I met my wife, Linda, she did not like magic and the reason was that when she was a little girl, she was called up to assist a magician and he made of fool out of her with his breakaway wand and fan, blaming her and embarrassing her in front of the laughing audience.

Perverse magic lets the magician be the brunt of the sucker situation. The wand and fan break is against the magician not the spectator.”

 

Having the magician the brunt of the “sucker gag” can be used effectively in many of the above effects. For example, in the Silk To Egg effect, after showing the hollow egg shell the magician can explain that he is holding it over a dish because he has to act “as if” it was a real egg to further the illusion but unlike a real egg, he doesn’t have to worry about it breaking and making a mess--- and then he squeezes the egg and to his amazement – and the audiences’ it has somehow become a real egg.

 


   
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