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TheAmazingStanley

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I know that the best way to overcome fear of failure in any endeavor is to just do it, and when you fail do it again better. All well and good. But someone pointed out to me (might have been a famous magician, I don’t remember) something that makes performing magic inherently nerve wracking. That is the fact that the tiniest little slip up can ruin the whole effect. It is not this way I other art forms. I am acutely aware that I am no Hendrix on guitar. But if somebody asks me to play something I will because even though I will make a mistake it won’t ruin the whole performance. In magic, one card not perfectly straight, or a glimpse through your fingers at something you’re palming, and it’s all over. It’s not just that you made a mistake; the illusion is shattered. There’s nothing left to save. Unless it’s the most subtle little slip, you flash you lose.

Well this is quite intimidating. So is the answer don’t bother with magic if you can’t put in hours of practice a day, or perhaps stick with easy tricks? Or is the answer to take a deep breath and accept that you’re going to get caught, just hopefully less and less over time?

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Magic Harry

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If a mistake is made just move on without making a big deal of it. Some reduce the tension by making a little joke about it.
Magic Harry

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JoshP06

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Reply with quote  #3 
Oh boy.

If you make a mistake, you obviously didn't practice enough.

Sorry to say, but there really is no excuse for messing up a trick. That is completely on you.

You also shouldn't do sleights at the peak of what is called "tension". I'd suggest looking into theory books such as Strong Magic/Designing Miracles by Darwin Ortiz or Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber.

Best regards,

Josh

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TheAmazingStanley

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshP06
Oh boy.

If you make a mistake, you obviously didn't practice enough.

Sorry to say, but there really is no excuse for messing up a trick. That is completely on you.

You also shouldn't do sleights at the peak of what is called "tension". I'd suggest looking into theory books such as Strong Magic/Designing Miracles by Darwin Ortiz or Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber.

Best regards,

Josh



I totally agree partly. The more in a tizzy you are the more likely you will botch it. This is why I make my wife sit and watch me. Even if she’s not really watching, just pretend she is so I can get over the fear of burning eyes.

I agree also, no excuses. If you take the risk of performing, you accept the consequences. But that just brings us back to the question. What do you do until you reach a level where you never make a mistake? You need to be performing as much as you can to hone your performance skills. Assuming you’re beyond the stage where you will give a trick away it is so bad, what do you do? Maybe only subject sympathetic audiences to your blundering?

That poor woman.

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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic Harry
If a mistake is made just move on without making a big deal of it. Some reduce the tension by making a little joke about it.
Magic Harry


I’ve read a lot of posts from working pros pointing out that it’s a lot different if you’re getting paid. If you mess up a paid gig you’re not going to get repeat business. If you mess up a trick at the family dinner table, yeah, you just chuckle and ask them to pass the potatoes. I’ve just come to see this as an unforgiving art form. That sounds dark and harsh and I don’t mean it quite like that but you can get away with a lot more in other performing arts.

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chris w

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Reply with quote  #6 
I totally relate to what you're saying here.

An illusion is a very delicate thing. More, I think, than most magicians realize. The smallest thing can make it perfect, and the smallest thing can ruin it. That's what makes magic a deep, abiding, lifetime pursuit for so many. There is just so much to it.

I think the best solution is to perform for people only material that's well below the level of technical proficiency you exhibit when sitting alone, practicing. If it seems almost too easy, there's no chance of you blowing it and you can attend to all the psychology, storytelling, etc., that make it interesting and fooling for an audience. In performance, you shouldn't have to think about mechanics. This doesn't necessarily mean you only do self-working tricks; it means you grow your capability so that what you do perform for people seems much easier than the leading edge of what you think you could perform for people (if luck were on your side and the wind were blowing just right). The mechanics need to be automatic because there's so much else to attend to in the moment.
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Intensely Magic

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Reply with quote  #7 
I just finished a two part interview / podcast with Teller. I recommend it highly.

The line I remember most was:

Getting busted is part of getting good.

I loved it!

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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Intensely Magic
I just finished a two part interview / podcast with Teller. I recommend it highly.

The line I remember most was:

Getting busted is part of getting good.

I loved it!


Is this available somewhere?

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chris w

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Reply with quote  #9 
Teller interview, parts one and two.
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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris w
I totally relate to what you're saying here.

An illusion is a very delicate thing. More, I think, than most magicians realize. The smallest thing can make it perfect, and the smallest thing can ruin it. That's what makes magic a deep, abiding, lifetime pursuit for so many. There is just so much to it.

I think the best solution is to perform for people only material that's well below the level of technical proficiency you exhibit when sitting alone, practicing. If it seems almost too easy, there's no chance of you blowing it and you can attend to all the psychology, storytelling, etc., that make it interesting and fooling for an audience. In performance, you shouldn't have to think about mechanics. This doesn't necessarily mean you only do self-working tricks; it means you grow your capability so that what you do perform for people seems much easier than the leading edge of what you think you could perform for people (if luck were on your side and the wind were blowing just right). The mechanics need to be automatic because there's so much else to attend to in the moment.


Delicate is the right word. I keep bringing up other performing arts but that’s something I’ve thought about a lot from the start. A performance in any art creates a bubble, some might call it a space, that you enter into with the artist and their art. It’s the “place” where the tactile experience of beauty transpires. And in some arts this bubble is more easily burst than others. It’s hard to burst the bubble of a rock concert; that would take something like the singer passing out mid set. Stand up comedy is pretty robust too, even surviving aggressive attempts to destroy it; in fact the best comedians turn hecklers into the highlight of their act. I think dance is one of the more delicate arts. The grace and intricacy of choreography can be lost with one stumble. One skwawking note can burst the bubble of an otherwise heavenly concerto; but then a skilled musician can usually recover.

But with magic, one errant finger out of place so they see how you did that half up half down shuffle, and your Triumph becomes anything but. One split second error in timing and the audience sees your assistant climbing into the box. Then, and this was what really freaks me out, it’s totally destroyed. A figure skater can crash land and sprawl across the ice broken and bleeding, but she can get up and still finish the routine in glory. When a illusion is broken it’s a popped balloon. Gone. All you can do is damage control, perhaps with humor, and go on to the next one.

One thing in a magician’s favor when he fails is that so many tricks have failure built into the plot that they might think it was intentional. Hence the importance of outs. A botched trick can just be the start of plan B.

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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #11 
Mistakes are funny things. If we are supersensitive, we are likely to replay our mistakes over and over, when everyone has forgotten, if they noticed to begin with. In magic, like life, I think it’s helpful to learn from mistakes and move on, to a more improved version of yourself. So if we ‘translate ‘no excuse’ as “I’m taking responsibility for the mistake, so I won’t make it again”, I agree. So for anyone of us who made a mistake in our magic (my hand is up) , be gentle with yourself.
“The Boeing Company, one of the largest airplane design and engineering firms in the world, keeps a black book of lessons it has learned from design and engineering failures” (‘Making Things Happen’, Scott Berkun). They don’t beat themselves over the head with it, but use any mistakes as valuable learning moments, as a ‘gift’, if you will. Remember, if we make a blunder, a plane doesn’t fall out of the sky.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #12 
I disagree. 
When you practice, you get to know your material inside out. 
When you practice, instead of always buying and jumping into new magic, you get to know where the critical points are and then you figure out what you're going to do if you miss that critical point. 
And you rehearse messing up and recovering. 

Gazzo is a well known busker famous for his cups and balls routine. On one of his DVDs, I caught a moment where some kid called him out saying that he saw him put something under the cup. Gazzo turned to the kid, said, "So what, you can't do it" and continued. Wow. What a moment. Not bothered in the least. I've adopted that attitude about not getting bothered about getting caught and it paid off in spades on one occasion. 

I was performing walk around at a local festival (PAID GIG). It's a small town festival set in a park and I was going around with my inStand in hand so that I could perform my chop cup routine. At one point I had a nice crowd. I was mid-way through the routine when I lifted up the cup to show it was empty and that that ball was in my pocket. At that moment, the ball somehow dislodged from the inside of the cup and came crashing down onto my table. Two balls now in view.....trick exposed. 

It was that point that I noticed the crowd was made up of two groups. Teens to the left of me howling in laughter that the magician messed up. To the right was the older crowd with the look of sympathy on their faces that I had to endure the ridicule of the obnoxious teens. 

I picked up both balls and admitted that they got me. But that's okay. I'm going to fool them anyway. I put one of the balls away saying we won't use that one. I took the other ball and performed a modified sequence getting to the point for the first finale. 

As I lifted the cup and revealed the baseball underneath, the sight of dropping jaws to my left was one of my favorite performing moments ever. To my right, I saw amazement and satisfaction that I was able to put the teens in their place after their outlandish display of mockery. 

And then I lift the cup again and show the second baseball. The kid who was at the forefront mocking me, bowed down a la "We're not worthy" and then came over, shook my hand and told me I was really good. To say I redeemed myself doesn't quite describe the moment. It was so much stronger and more satisfying than that.

So, find the weak points and shore them up with backup. 

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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN

And you rehearse messing up and recovering.;



I like that!
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmazingStanley
I know that the best way to overcome fear of failure in any endeavor is to just do it, and when you fail do it again better. All well and good. But someone pointed out to me (might have been a famous magician, I don’t remember) something that makes performing magic inherently nerve wracking. That is the fact that the tiniest little slip up can ruin the whole effect. It is not this way I other art forms. I am acutely aware that I am no Hendrix on guitar. But if somebody asks me to play something I will because even though I will make a mistake it won’t ruin the whole performance. In magic, one card not perfectly straight, or a glimpse through your fingers at something you’re palming, and it’s all over. It’s not just that you made a mistake; the illusion is shattered. There’s nothing left to save. Unless it’s the most subtle little slip, you flash you lose.

Well this is quite intimidating. So is the answer don’t bother with magic if you can’t put in hours of practice a day, or perhaps stick with easy tricks? Or is the answer to take a deep breath and accept that you’re going to get caught, just hopefully less and less over time?


I don't see too many responses that address your central question.  You question was "Fear of failure - more reason in magic?"  (my underlining)

I can think of a few reasons why there is more "on the line" when it comes to magic performances.  First, if you are playing music and hit a bad note or break a string, it is easily forgiven and you just move on.  I remember a video of Phil Collins during Live Aid and he hit a bad not on the piano during the run up to "Against All Odds" and he just cringed, grinned and kept going.  I gained respect for him due to the way he handled it.
But in magic, the secret is the whole thing.  A mistake that gives away the secret, or at least part of it, ruins the whole thing.  I agree with Evildan and his example of his cup routine.  A blunder happened, he didn't hide from it and went on to kill them with the finale'.  But some mistakes surely spoil the whole enchilada and you can't recover from.  At least in a multi-phase routine you can regroup.

The other thing I got from your post was that you are separating your musical efforts from your magical ones.  You say you're no Hendrix.  Can I state that it is likely you aren't Juan Tamariz either?  Me neither.  Are you saying that people are more forgiving if you stumble through a song on guitar and not so much when you make a mistake in a magic performance?  

All art forms have hacks.  Painters have to deal with Elvis on velvet or the iconic dogs playing poker.  By the way, some people love dogs playing poker.  But you get my point.
Music, same thing, poor performers, over-hyped phenoms that couldn't play live to save their life, etc.  And sadly, magic has its share of hacks.  Don't be one.  

There's a lot of good advice already stated, but I'll repeat something that I've always believed and that is if you are the sort that suffers from fear of failure, stage fright or whatever you want to call it, then always begin with something that is 100% sure-fire.
That doesn't have to mean it is a weak effect.  There are a lot of reliable effects that don't require complicated sleight of hand.  Once you get into the performance and have a chance to create some rapport, then you can begin to add in some of the "riskier" stuff.
There is always risk.  You will never eliminate it.  However, you can manage it and learn how and when to do those sleights or procedures that are more likely to go awry.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #15 
Just for the record because I just go the info from my friend. 
This "practice the mistakes" was told to me by my friend Rich and he heard it from Billy McComb during a lecture of his. 
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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
I disagree. 
When you practice, you get to know your material inside out. 
When you practice, instead of always buying and jumping into new magic, you get to know where the critical points are and then you figure out what you're going to do if you miss that critical point. 
And you rehearse messing up and recovering. 

Gazzo is a well known busker famous for his cups and balls routine. On one of his DVDs, I caught a moment where some kid called him out saying that he saw him put something under the cup. Gazzo turned to the kid, said, "So what, you can't do it" and continued. Wow. What a moment. Not bothered in the least. I've adopted that attitude about not getting bothered about getting caught and it paid off in spades on one occasion. 

I was performing walk around at a local festival (PAID GIG). It's a small town festival set in a park and I was going around with my inStand in hand so that I could perform my chop cup routine. At one point I had a nice crowd. I was mid-way through the routine when I lifted up the cup to show it was empty and that that ball was in my pocket. At that moment, the ball somehow dislodged from the inside of the cup and came crashing down onto my table. Two balls now in view.....trick exposed. 

It was that point that I noticed the crowd was made up of two groups. Teens to the left of me howling in laughter that the magician messed up. To the right was the older crowd with the look of sympathy on their faces that I had to endure the ridicule of the obnoxious teens. 

I picked up both balls and admitted that they got me. But that's okay. I'm going to fool them anyway. I put one of the balls away saying we won't use that one. I took the other ball and performed a modified sequence getting to the point for the first finale. 

As I lifted the cup and revealed the baseball underneath, the sight of dropping jaws to my left was one of my favorite performing moments ever. To my right, I saw amazement and satisfaction that I was able to put the teens in their place after their outlandish display of mockery. 

And then I lift the cup again and show the second baseball. The kid who was at the forefront mocking me, bowed down a la "We're not worthy" and then came over, shook my hand and told me I was really good. To say I redeemed myself doesn't quite describe the moment. It was so much stronger and more satisfying than that.

So, find the weak points and shore them up with backup. 



Exactly, you messed up and the effect was punctured. Not to say your routine was ruined, just that one illusion went poof. So you have to be ready for “what now?” Rehearsing your failures is a wonderful idea.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cowne


I like that!


Being able to think on your feet is priceless.  If I found two balls under a cup suddenly, I probably would bend down, grab one and mumble (stage mumble) something about it becoming a little crowded under there, and then grin at the audience and pocket the ball.
The audience knows it was a mistake, you relieve the resulting pressure and turn it into something of a joke.  
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmazingStanley


Exactly, you messed up and the effect was punctured. Not to say your routine was ruined, just that one illusion went poof. So you have to be ready for “what now?” Rehearsing your failures is a wonderful idea.


But in the end, was anything really messed up? 
Or did it make the final reveals that much stronger? 

Most civilians don't know what you are going to do, what you're supposed to do, etc. 
So, maybe failure was all part of the routine? 
Isn't that the way some sucker effects are structured? 
Is a scripted failure still a failure? 

If I was that worried about failure while performing magic where it became nerve-wracking, I'd probably abandon magic and take up stamp collecting. 
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #19 
I worked backstage once helping Pam Thompson while Johnny was on stage performing. 
She was laughing and telling me he just messed up.
He skipped parts of his routine from time to time, or did things out of order. 
But he went on and the audience was none the wiser. 

If this happens to a pro like Johnny Thompson (aka The Great Tomsoni) then messing up and recovering seems to be more of the norm than messing up and admitting defeat. 
I've only seen rank amateurs totally abandon effects after things went wrong. 
These are the hobbyists at the local magic club or those with only a few shows under their belts. 
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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


I don't see too many responses that address your central question.  You question was "Fear of failure - more reason in magic?"  (my underlining)

I can think of a few reasons why there is more "on the line" when it comes to magic performances.  First, if you are playing music and hit a bad note or break a string, it is easily forgiven and you just move on.  I remember a video of Phil Collins during Live Aid and he hit a bad not on the piano during the run up to "Against All Odds" and he just cringed, grinned and kept going.  I gained respect for him due to the way he handled it.
But in magic, the secret is the whole thing.  A mistake that gives away the secret, or at least part of it, ruins the whole thing.  I agree with Evildan and his example of his cup routine.  A blunder happened, he didn't hide from it and went on to kill them with the finale'.  But some mistakes surely spoil the whole enchilada and you can't recover from.  At least in a multi-phase routine you can regroup.

The other thing I got from your post was that you are separating your musical efforts from your magical ones.  You say you're no Hendrix.  Can I state that it is likely you aren't Juan Tamariz either?  Me neither.  Are you saying that people are more forgiving if you stumble through a song on guitar and not so much when you make a mistake in a magic performance?  

All art forms have hacks.  Painters have to deal with Elvis on velvet or the iconic dogs playing poker.  By the way, some people love dogs playing poker.  But you get my point.
Music, same thing, poor performers, over-hyped phenoms that couldn't play live to save their life, etc.  And sadly, magic has its share of hacks.  Don't be one.  

There's a lot of good advice already stated, but I'll repeat something that I've always believed and that is if you are the sort that suffers from fear of failure, stage fright or whatever you want to call it, then always begin with something that is 100% sure-fire.
That doesn't have to mean it is a weak effect.  There are a lot of reliable effects that don't require complicated sleight of hand.  Once you get into the performance and have a chance to create some rapport, then you can begin to add in some of the "riskier" stuff.
There is always risk.  You will never eliminate it.  However, you can manage it and learn how and when to do those sleights or procedures that are more likely to go awry.


Thanks Ray, a lot to think about. You are right, I am indeed struck by how much less forgiving of error magic seems to be, compared with other art forms. As Evildan pointed out, a mistake does not necessarily crumble your whole routine; but it is much easier to ruin an illusion than a song.

I am indeed neither Jimi nor Juan. But compare them. You don’t have to look far to find footage or recordings of Jimi forgetting the words, fiddling with his controls, losing his musical train of thought, in short, messing up. But he got away with it because of what he did right. I don’t think Juan would have become what he did by turning in sloppy performances. In fact, maybe that’s precisely the question:

Is it possible to turn in a great sloppy performance?

In music I think it is. Another guy to think about was Keith Moon. Technically he was an awful drummer. Terrible time, major mistakes, imprecise, not versatile...But he blew audiences away.

But with Magic? I don’t know.


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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN


But in the end, was anything really messed up? 
Or did it make the final reveals that much stronger? 

Most civilians don't know what you are going to do, what you're supposed to do, etc. 
So, maybe failure was all part of the routine? 
Isn't that the way some sucker effects are structured? 
Is a scripted failure still a failure? 

If I was that worried about failure while performing magic where it became nerve-wracking, I'd probably abandon magic and take up stamp collecting. 


In the end, no. All ended well. That one illusion at that one moment when you dropped the ball literally and figuratively (sorry couldn’t resist) is all that was messed up. So I may be getting the answer without really being sure what my own question is. A magician has to put more thought into how to handle mess ups than a musician; but if he does so the day can be saved.

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #22 
Back in the 70s I hung out at this brick and mortar magic shop on the weekends. 
There was this guy that came in and was great with coins. 
One day he showed us a routine and it blew us away. 
Then he showed us, essentially taught us how it was done. 
Then he did it again, and I remember being blown away again - even though he just showed us how it was done. 

Penn and Teller have a routine where Penn palms off a card in the middle of the routine and then tells the audience that he just palmed the card. 
He then gives the cards back to Teller and palms the card off again. 

So, I don't think magic is that critical where minor slip ups can kill an entire effect.
Again, we should think and prepare for those pitfalls so that we know how to recover. 

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmazingStanley


Thanks Ray, a lot to think about. You are right, I am indeed struck by how much less forgiving of error magic seems to be, compared with other art forms. As Evildan pointed out, a mistake does not necessarily crumble your whole routine; but it is much easier to ruin an illusion than a song.

I am indeed neither Jimi nor Juan. But compare them. You don’t have to look far to find footage or recordings of Jimi forgetting the words, fiddling with his controls, losing his musical train of thought, in short, messing up. But he got away with it because of what he did right. I don’t think Juan would have become what he did by turning in sloppy performances. In fact, maybe that’s precisely the question:

Is it possible to turn in a great sloppy performance?

In music I think it is. Another guy to think about was Keith Moon. Technically he was an awful drummer. Terrible time, major mistakes, imprecise, not versatile...But he blew audiences away.

But with Magic? I don’t know.



When I think of great, sloppy magic performers, one that comes immediately to mind would be Carl Ballantine.  Of course it was all contrived, driven to achieve laughs.

In general, mistakes, unless they are planned "magician in trouble" are certainly not going to help.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #24 
TheAmazingStanley wrote: Thanks Ray, a lot to think about. You are right, I am indeed struck by how much less forgiving of error magic seems to be, compared with other art forms. As Evildan pointed out, a mistake does not necessarily crumble your whole routine; but it is much easier to ruin an illusion than a song.

Hey, one area I'm in agreement with where one slip up and it's ruined would be stage illusions. 
Some think stage illusions are easy, and they seem like they should be. 
But, if the timing is off or if something is out of place, that can kill the illusion and I don't think there is much room for recovery especially if it's a standard effect. 
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
TheAmazingStanley wrote: Thanks Ray, a lot to think about. You are right, I am indeed struck by how much less forgiving of error magic seems to be, compared with other art forms. As Evildan pointed out, a mistake does not necessarily crumble your whole routine; but it is much easier to ruin an illusion than a song.

Hey, one area I'm in agreement with where one slip up and it's ruined would be stage illusions. 
Some think stage illusions are easy, and they seem like they should be. 
But, if the timing is off or if something is out of place, that can kill the illusion and I don't think there is much room for recovery especially if it's a standard effect. 


I had a friend that used to perform the Asrah levitation.  There are a number of whoopsies that can spoil that beautiful illusion.  He rehearsed, rehearsed and rehearsed again and checked the sight-lines from all areas of the theater.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #26 
Let s/he who has never screwed up or been busted throw the first stone! 

Yes, you should have thought of plan B's and be ready. But sooner or later there will be the BIG one from which there's no escape. 

Eugene Burger gave me a great line for that situation: "Well, it's back to the drawing board with that one!"

I really like this. First it acknowledges a goof which everyone knows about. Secondly it moves on immediately without showing that "I'm so ashamed" face. What is of paramount importance is that you are totally unaffected by the problem and just continue into your show undaunted. If the audience starts to feel sorry for you, you're done.

M
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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Let s/he who has never screwed up or been busted throw the first stone! 

Yes, you should have thought of plan B's and be ready. But sooner or later there will be the BIG one from which there's no escape. 

Eugene Burger gave me a great line for that situation: "Well, it's back to the drawing board with that one!"

I really like this. First it acknowledges a goof which everyone knows about. Secondly it moves on immediately without showing that "I'm so ashamed" face. What is of paramount importance is that you are totally unaffected by the problem and just continue into your show undaunted. If the audience starts to feel sorry for you, you're done.

M


I like the one where you rapidly riffle the corner of the deck a few times with your thumb and say, “battery’s dead.”

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #28 
I found it's always good to have a back up effect waiting in the wings just in case you do screw up where you can't recover. 
There was one time I was at a party - mostly friends - and I tried doing card on ceiling. 
I found out quickly that it doesn't work on a drop ceiling. 
I saw the look of pity on one of my friend's faces and quickly abandoned the effect. 
I think I said something like: I should have known better than to try that with a drop ceiling. But that's okay, let me show you something else. 
I then went into Darwin Ortiz's Modern Jazz Aces and saw the look of pity change into a few double takes and WTF looks. 
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #29 
Good points EVILDAN. Back up items are a necessity. The old Invisible Deck can really help in situations in card magic where you're way out on a limb i.e. spent a lot of time getting to this place, and then realize you're screwed. Otherwise Burger's - "It's back to the drawing board with that one!" comes in handy. But you only get to use it once, and hopefully not at all.

Quick thinking is needed to see if you can salvage the situation. And, of course, having already thought of what to do in certain cases of failure is best.

M


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