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P4A

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Reply with quote  #1 
Welcome everyone!

I need some advice again. Yesterday I was performing in front of a few friends. None of them had ever seen me doing card tricks, but after the first trick almost the whole group wanted to figure out how I was doing this stuff. They insisted on shuffeling the cards from time to time or wanted me to show them the top or the bottom card, some of them even didnt want me to touch the cards anymore...
And one also told me to stop telling the story and just do the moves... Altogether they made a really crappy audience.
I am used to handle one person of this sort, but I had no Idea how to handle this group... I mean, most of the tricks I can do were way to risky to do. So I decidet to finish the whole thing with a funny and waterproof effect, that worked well.
But I fear I wont show them any more card tricks, because I really didnt enjoy performing that way.

Now... I just wanted to know if you would have acted different and if so, why. I guess you all agree that it is better to show them no more card tricks, dont you?

Sorry for the english, I was in a hurry [smile]
Phil
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Gerald Deutsch

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Reply with quote  #2 
I believe that the purpose in performing magic is to entertain.

When you finished with " a funny and waterproof effect, that worked well" that's what you did and you should plan your performances with that in mind.


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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #3 
Friends usually make the worst audiences.
Especially since you mentioned that they never saw you do card tricks before.
The performance of card tricks then turns you from Mr. Ordinary into Mr. Cool Performer.
So, they'll do their best to knock you down to Mr. Ordinary.

I would have done one quick thing and then that's it.
One time. Blow them away. Wait for the dust to settle for a few days or weeks.
Then hit them again.
Best if they ASK to see more. Then you're more in control of the situation.
If they start getting rambunctious and annoying....you stop.
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #4 
You do a sucker trick. There are plenty of them. That will shut them up. However, if you have particularly nasty friends you do something known as the Banana Trick. I haven't the energy to describe it but I think I have described it in the past anyway in connection with a most wondrous book called "50 Crazy Card Tricks"

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #5 
P4A, I pretty much agree with the comments and advice already given by our members.

There are various reasons that could come into play for why your "friends" reacted the way they did.

First, you did not mention how long you have been doing magic, and especially how long you have been performing magic.  Oftentimes, when one is just starting out or has little or no experience, the tricks are not going to be smooth and impressive to the onlookers. When certain people (especially young and/or immature ones) see that you are not skilled, it is like a shark who sees or smells blood - they attack. That is the unfortunate reality, and the only cure is to keep practicing and performing until the tricks you do are flawless.

Second, you did not mention your age or the age of your friends. Generally, young people between the ages of 12 and 16 are the toughest audiences, particularly when the performer is in their age group.  This has a lot to do with their lack of maturity and wanting to show how smart they are, and to try to boost their own lack of self esteem by putting others down.  Sad, but true.  It is especially true when they are together in a group.   I suspect that your friends fall within the approximate age group and maturity level I mentioned.

Third, if it were me, personally, I would not perform for that group again until if and when I knew that I had one (maybe two) tricks that I was sure that I could perform flawlessly and that would blow them away.  Even then, I would not perform for them unless they specifically ask you to do so. And be careful of long stories, especially with audiences of a younger age group.  Make your effects simple, direct, short and sweet and powerful. There are plenty of tricks where you can let them shuffle to their hearts' content after a card is chosen, if, for example, you learn how to do a good force of a card.

In fact, it may be best to perform for them (if at all) on an individual basis in the future (one person at time without any of the others present) because people (especially younger people) act differently in groups than they do on an individual level. That is a sociological fact. That way, you can get some performing experience without the group intimidation that might discourage you, or shake your confidence and love for magic.

Magic is not a competition, nor should it be an endeavor in which one feels he has to prove himself.  It should be fun, and it is about ENTERTAINMENT.  It is an honor, or at least it should be an honor, for people to be entertained by magic or any other art form.  If they do not appreciate what you have to offer, then they do not deserve to have you share it with them.  

But I must emphasize that there are no shortcuts - the only way to get good and to be a successful entertainer, whether amateur or professional is to work at it (mastering ONE TRICK at a time, including the moves, the patter and showmanship), so that you truly have something of value to share, and for your audiences to appreciate. 

Good luck!
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #6 
When I was around 16 years old or so I was performing a lot for people of my own age group and of course was challenged repeatedly. It was wonderful training for me and kept me on my toes. The constant heckling was actually a good thing and it helped me learn strategies on how to deal with it. In fact I expected it and indeed it became the norm. I would let them bully me letting think they had the upper hand and then I would go in for the kill. The use of a sucker trick is a splendid way to handle people like this. They will think you got it wrong and start to mock you particularly if you are a good actor and it really looks as if everything has gone haywire. They will fall into your trap and when the tables are turned you will become a hero. Trust me on this.
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark lewis
When I was around 16 years old or so I was performing a lot for people of my own age group and of course was challenged repeatedly. It was wonderful training for me and kept me on my toes. The constant heckling was actually a good thing and it helped me learn strategies on how to deal with it. In fact I expected it and indeed it became the norm. I would let them bully me letting think they had the upper hand and then I would go in for the kill. The use of a sucker trick is a splendid way to handle people like this. They will think you got it wrong and start to mock you particularly if you are a good actor and it really looks as if everything has gone haywire. They will fall into your trap and when the tables are turned you will become a hero. Trust me on this.


Mark makes an excellent point.
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #8 

I have mentioned before the wonderful little book, "Outs, Precautions and Challenges". I found this invaluable during the period I was working to younger people. As our original poster mentions there are a lot of challenges where people insist on shuffling at inopportune times and other irritations of the type he describes. This book will take care of it. And it is good to have a few stock phrases for the sort of things people like this say to you. If they say, "I know how it's done" you simply furrow your brow, look puzzled and say, "That's funny-I know how it's done too!" If you time it right you will get a laugh. Or if they say, "You hid that card in your hand!" or something similar, you say, "What do you want? Magic?" Huge laughs. So if you don't produce the mystery you will at least produce the entertainment. If the shenanigans of your "friends" become too much and you screw the trick up you say, "Oh, this trick never works on a Wednesday" (or whatever day it happens to be) 

I can assure you these irritating friends are actually good for you. They keep you on your toes. If they catch you out then that means they have done you a favour because it will force you to practice the move in question. They are actually doing you a much bigger favour with their rudeness than someone who knows what you are up to but are too polite to say so. At least you now know there is a problem. 

Rather than run from those situations I think you should seek them out just like I did! The battle of wits will make you a better magician in the end.

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Jdip

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Reply with quote  #9 
I agree that friends make the worst audience, because they know you well, and therefore are not ashamed to be assholes, pretty much.
When I perform for friends, I only do either, as Mark said, a sucker trick (such as TWO CARD MONTE), or something I KNOW is riskless. Say Biddle trick.
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #10 
Mark Lewis Wrote: "Rather than run from those situations I think you should seek them out just like I did! The battle of wits will make you a better magician in the end."

I would think that is true in the same sense that getting through boot camp (or, maybe more to the point, actual combat experience) will make one a better soldier.  I do really agree with Mark's advice. 

remember years ago, when I was cutting my teeth as a performer in South Florida, I got in with some event planners that booked the entertainment for many Bar Mitzvahs. It was a real eye opener when I started working those events - talk about a baptism of fire. The event planners and hosts wanted the magicians to focus on the kids, not the adults.  Most of the kids were in the 11-16 year old age range, very well educated and quite smart, but were into clowning around, making wisecracks, and directly challenging you - let's just say they were more than ready to prove that they weren't about to be fooled by the likes of some magician.  They also wanted to impress each other and, of course, their blossoming young female counterparts.

Looking back on those experiences, it did really sharpen my wits, my ability to think on my feet, and it definitely made me a far more knowledgeable and street- wise performer, so I'm glad I went through it.  But I also want to emphasize that it motivated me to practice and perform as often and for as long as possible so that I could get better and rise to the occasion.

So IMO, it's important to have some material that you can do flawlessly and to diligently study how to entertain people, because ultimately, that is what is going to command respect. This does not mean learning a multitude of tricks that you can do in a mediocre fashion, using corny lines and jokes or canned humor, or prattling on endlessly, but discovering your true character and how to do magic and perform in continuity with your own unique and natural personality. Gosh, now that I think about it, after 23 years as a professional performer, I am still learning about all of this to this day.  

People are judgmental and can sometimes be cruel, but they are generally fair-minded.  In some respects, as a performer you will be continuously in the lion's den, and either you will get them to roar with approval, or they will eat you alive...
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Kingman

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Reply with quote  #11 
Can't say I ever ran into a crowd like that, thankfully. Not sure what to offer other than I think I would agree with that earlier poster that mentioned doing one and bowing out.  Say that if they want tricks again next time then they need to provide the cards. If they come with their own cards, then they are less likely to bother you about at least that one point. As far as them trying to figure them out, you could make a very plain statement to the effect that you don't perform for people to try and guess your methods, you perform for entertainment and if they want to just sit back and enjoy then you'll continue.

Since none of your friends have ever seen you do a trick, can we take this to mean that you have not been performing very long? Were you nervous or maybe a little unprepared? That can definitely trigger a response from some spectators to challenge you more.

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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #12 
I use them to test out new material.  I'll do sure fire stuff, but I really like a tough crowd that burn my hands to see if I can misdirect, and handle their attention appropriately.  Also saying certain lines of patter like, "Let me explain how this is done, see what I do is have you select a card, then I put it in the middle..." they're not going to ask you to show them the top or bottom card, because this is an explanation, "then using a riffle I make it jump to the top.  What I don't understand is how the royal flush in spades joined them."  Etcetera etcetera.

Also having them involved, giving them instructions, telling them to see if they can cut ten cards or whatever, also distracts them.  Just a lot of audience management technique.  Do whatever you have to to keep them interested in the magic, and not so concerned with trying to catch you.
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Unfinished Sentenc

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Reply with quote  #13 
Friends are generally great but they are mostly not great audiences. The main reason is that they know you too well and they won't believe that that you have "magical" powers or something like that. But despite of that, I usually try my new effects on them to see how well I can perform them on a tough crowd. You will also improve your audience management skill.

One way to eliminate many of their suspicions (setups, trick decks, duplicates, etc.) is to use a borrowed deck that your friends provided then perform good tricks with it. You can find lots of impromptu card magic (no setups) out there. A good starting point is to read Harry Lorayne's books. Those books are about impromptu card magic at its best. You will never be short on card magic ever again if you study his books. 

Here are some of the books that I have which have several impromptu card magic and you may want to check them out:

Classic Magic of Larry Jennings
Annemann's Card Magic (Ted Annemann)
Dear Mr. Fantasy (John Bannon)
Simply Impromp2 (Aldo Colombini)
Marlo Without Tears (Jon Racherbaumer)
Card College Series (Roberto Giobbi)
Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (Hugard)
FASDIU 1 and 2 (Paul Cummins)
M.I.N.T. series (Ed Marlo)
Card Magic of Nick Trost (Nick Trost)


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