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nectazee

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Reply with quote  #1 

Hello!

How do you deal with curious audience? For example,

"Let me choose the card" rather than saying "Stop"

"Can you do it this way as well"

"Show me again"

And so on and so forth. I try to say "Magic is only shown once" or distract them with another trick, but still having a hard time especially for the cases when they try to take the card rather than saying "Stop"


PS: Sorry if it is not under the correct category. I am new here and having a hard time exploring. 

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #2 
Curious is cool. Rude not so much. Honestly, audience management is one of the most difficult aspects of performing magic. Most people, in my experience, are open to the experience of magic. Those who are not can sometimes be brusque or hostile. Respect their boundaries. Don't take it personally. 

If someone doesn't appreciate the way you're asking them to make a selection, then change it up if you can. Or do another trick. For instance, let's say you're attempting a classic force and the spectator expresses suspicion about the procedure. Fine. Switch to a riffle force. This might seem difficult initially, and that's because it is. But if you are prepared for the possibility, and manage the situation, you will gain confidence. It'll happen. It really will.

One thing to avoid is hostility. Don't be rude yourself. Remember, you do not have to perform. You can put away your cards and talk about the weather. And again, don't take it personally... unless it is, and usually it's not. 

If you own or have access to Volume II of Card College, there is are excellent series of essays covering this topic, about thirty pages worth. Giobbi, the author, goes into great detail and his insights are well worth considering. I have often gone back to read the section, or parts of it, and always come away with something.

Av 
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Bmat

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Reply with quote  #3 
Really what you are asking comes with experience.  That said, from based on the reactions you put forth, it sounds like you are presenting puzzles to your audience.  When we do that, (and at the beginning we all fall victim to this) the natural reaction is to solve the puzzle. 

So what is your attitude when you perform?  What is your patter?  Believe me when I tell you it makes a difference.  Are you focused on method, meaning are you thinking about method when you are performing?  If you are, chances are so is the audience.  The method for the particular trick should be second nature.  It is difficult and hard to explain.  

Starting out go for really easy tricks that you don't have to think about.  Have fun, don't worry about getting caught right now just perform as often as possible.  View every performance as a learning situation.  Relax, breathe, perform.   

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
Curious is cool. Rude not so much. Honestly, audience management is one of the most difficult aspects of performing magic. Most people, in my experience, are open to the experience of magic. Those who are not can sometimes be brusque or hostile. Respect their boundaries. Don't take it personally. 

If someone doesn't appreciate the way you're asking them to make a selection, then change it up if you can. Or do another trick. For instance, let's say you're attempting a classic force and the spectator expresses suspicion about the procedure. Fine. Switch to a riffle force. This might seem difficult initially, and that's because it is. But if you are prepared for the possibility, and manage the situation, you will gain confidence. It'll happen. It really will.

One thing to avoid is hostility. Don't be rude yourself. Remember, you do not have to perform. You can put away your cards and talk about the weather. And again, don't take it personally... unless it is, and usually it's not. 

If you own or have access to Volume II of Card College, there is are excellent series of essays covering this topic, about thirty pages worth. Giobbi, the author, goes into great detail and his insights are well worth considering. I have often gone back to read the section, or parts of it, and always come away with something.

Av 


Excellent advice AV.  We should never, ever, be rude or "stoop to their level".  Yes, there are some famous magicians who can get away with confronting hecklers and make it funny, but most likely, the rest of us will end up looking bad.  So just don't.

Mike Skinner, one of the most respected close-up magicians ever used to approach tables with a close up mat rolled up and held behind his back.  He would chit-chat with the table and if he felt they were good candidates, he would then begin to entertain them.   Other times he would thank them for coming and move on.  He could tell if they were going to be receptive.

Not everyone likes magic (shock!) and when you find those folks they sometimes can be ignorant.  So do one trick and then politely move on.  If they really want you to stay, they will let you know.  

Audience interaction can be tricky.  Managing audiences comes with experience.  It is unfortunate that you've had to deal with those issues.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmat
Really what you are asking comes with experience.  That said, from based on the reactions you put forth, it sounds like you are presenting puzzles to your audience.  When we do that, (and at the beginning we all fall victim to this) the natural reaction is to solve the puzzle. 

So what is your attitude when you perform?  What is your patter?  Believe me when I tell you it makes a difference.  Are you focused on method, meaning are you thinking about method when you are performing?  If you are, chances are so is the audience.  The method for the particular trick should be second nature.  It is difficult and hard to explain.  

Starting out go for really easy tricks that you don't have to think about.  Have fun, don't worry about getting caught right now just perform as often as possible.  View every performance as a learning situation.  Relax, breathe, perform.   


There is a lot of wisdom here.  Attitude is key.  Remember to smile and be engaging.  And maybe act as surprised at the outcomes as your audience.  That takes the sting out of being fooled.  Some just don't like it, and depending upon the performer, they feel made fun of.

Bmat, your comments about method are spot-on.  Magic must be fluid, matter-of-fact.  If your technique isn't up to par, moves will look like moves.

And the last part about doing easy tricks is also good advice.  Don't open with something that is "iffy".  Something that you aren't sure of hitting 100%.  Ease your way into the more hardcore sleights.  Let your nerves settle a bit first.  When you are relaxed you present better and are more likely to hit those "iffy" moves.  Good stuff Bmat!
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Bmat

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Reply with quote  #6 
Somebody one said, and it might have been PT Barnum.  People do like to be fooled, they don't like to be made fools of.  Make sure you know the difference. 
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmat
Somebody one said, and it might have been PT Barnum.  People do like to be fooled, they don't like to be made fools of.  Make sure you know the difference. 


I like that!  But I still say there are folks that take it personally when they cannot figure something out.  But the essence of the quote is something to bear in mind for all of us.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #8 
If someone expressed doubt about the freedom of selection in a Classic Force situation, I think a good course of action is to spread the deck on the table, forget the force and do a different trick. Then you've shown that you don't need to control things. I would get the deck back quickly since the person might want to test your ability to do whatever you had planned when they return the card and possibly shuffle the deck. 

The situation can get out of control once you start to empower a skeptical spec. Someone can take the deck and shuffle their selection back in. This is where your good old Invisible Deck can come in handy. You could follow up by secretly locating the selection in the original deck after the trick seems to have ended via ID. Then you have many options. A marked deck can also help solve the situation once you learn the identity of the card.

I don't consider such a spec to be boorish necessarily. He could just be a polite person who is dying to test out a theory. If you can succeed in producing magic under these tough circumstances, that guy will back off (hopefully). Everyone has seen him basically challenge you to succeed under his rules and you did.

We need contingency plans for these situations. That might make an interesting topic for discussion i.e. "How to we end up succeeding in producing magic when someone gets control and really loses the selection? What do we do when someone lies about the identity of the selection? Etc.

Mike
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
If someone expressed doubt about the freedom of selection in a Classic Force situation, I think a good course of action is to spread the deck on the table, forget the force and do a different trick. Then you've shown that you don't need to control things. I would get the deck back quickly since the person might want to test your ability to do whatever you had planned when they return the card and possibly shuffle the deck. 

The situation can get out of control once you start to empower a skeptical spec. Someone can take the deck and shuffle their selection back in. This is where your good old Invisible Deck can come in handy. You could follow up by secretly locating the selection in the original deck after the trick seems to have ended via ID. Then you have many options. A marked deck can also help solve the situation once you learn the identity of the card.

I don't consider such a spec to be boorish necessarily. He could just be a polite person who is dying to test out a theory. If you can succeed in producing magic under these tough circumstances, that guy will back off (hopefully). Everyone has seen him basically challenge you to succeed under his rules and you did.

We need contingency plans for these situations. That might make an interesting topic for discussion i.e. "How to we end up succeeding in producing magic when someone gets control and really loses the selection? What do we do when someone lies about the identity of the selection? Etc.

Mike


Mike, you bring up a good question about what to to if the spectator lies about the identity of their card.  That is one reason to have them sign the card.  Of course they can always say, it isn't their card and isn't their signature!

While I never have had that happen, I still have the spectator show  their card around, assuming they aren't the only one there.  It would be funny though to see their reaction if you said now show your card around to the others if they were alone!
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arthur stead

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Reply with quote  #10 

For me, it all comes down to audience management, and that can only come from serious study and “real world” experience.  That said, there’s always a chance that hecklers and wise guys may be in your audience …


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Nate Smith

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Reply with quote  #11 
I’m very new to magic so take everything I say with a grain of salt. But I made these observations the other day when trying a trick on my 9yo son who is a very curious spectator.

I was playing around with a Svengali deck and thought of an idea for a “shell game” and wanted to try it out. (I don’t assume I’m the first person to do this with a Svengali deck) The idea is I dribble the cards and have him say stop. The card that landed last is his selected card, which will be the jack of clubs since that’s the repeated card in my Svengali deck. Then I put down 3 piles showing their selected card on top of one of the piles. Secretly all the piles have a Jc on top. I move the piles around telling them to watch where their card is. Then when I’m done, it’s obvious where their card is but when they point to it, I turn over one of the other piles to reveal it was actually there. Then I repeat it several times. (Btw, I know this isn’t a super elegant trick...but I was just playing around with an idea).

Anyway, I first tried this on my 7yo and he was totally stumped. He loved it and he told me he wanted to learn it.

Then I went and showed by 9yo. After the first round when the card wasn’t where he knew it should be, he immediately reached out and grabbed the card, revealing that I was indeed using duplicates. I’ve been trying to teach him to be a better more respectful magic spectator, so I got pretty upset with him (not proud of that).

But afterwards I thought about what I could done better to manage that situation.

I could have positioned myself further from him so he couldn’t reach out and grab the cards.

I could have moved on to the second round quicker so that he didn’t have time to think about grabbing the cards.

The trick itself is not that strong, just something I did while exploring the possibilities with a Svengali deck. But it taught me some important lessons about managing that curious spectator.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #12 
Great idea with the Svengali deck. I like the Monte aspect.

Here's a memorable moment for me: I did a trick that used a duplicate. It's a very strong effect. But as soon as the duplicate was turned over a guy picked up the deck, which I had to table for structural reasons, and looked for a dupe. There it was! Subsequently I solved the structural problem that caused me to leave the deck in spectator range and now palm out the dupe and table the deck.

In retrospect, I might have extracted the dupe from the packet of three so that when he found the dupe, the other one was out of play. I do think he'd have figured out my dodge though and maybe caught me palming out. That's worse than getting busted with a dupe. 

Mike
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Smith
I’m very new to magic so take everything I say with a grain of salt. But I made these observations the other day when trying a trick on my 9yo son who is a very curious spectator.

I was playing around with a Svengali deck and thought of an idea for a “shell game” and wanted to try it out. (I don’t assume I’m the first person to do this with a Svengali deck) The idea is I dribble the cards and have him say stop. The card that landed last is his selected card, which will be the jack of clubs since that’s the repeated card in my Svengali deck. Then I put down 3 piles showing their selected card on top of one of the piles. Secretly all the piles have a Jc on top. I move the piles around telling them to watch where their card is. Then when I’m done, it’s obvious where their card is but when they point to it, I turn over one of the other piles to reveal it was actually there. Then I repeat it several times. (Btw, I know this isn’t a super elegant trick...but I was just playing around with an idea).

Anyway, I first tried this on my 7yo and he was totally stumped. He loved it and he told me he wanted to learn it.

Then I went and showed by 9yo. After the first round when the card wasn’t where he knew it should be, he immediately reached out and grabbed the card, revealing that I was indeed using duplicates. I’ve been trying to teach him to be a better more respectful magic spectator, so I got pretty upset with him (not proud of that).

But afterwards I thought about what I could done better to manage that situation.

I could have positioned myself further from him so he couldn’t reach out and grab the cards.

I could have moved on to the second round quicker so that he didn’t have time to think about grabbing the cards.

The trick itself is not that strong, just something I did while exploring the possibilities with a Svengali deck. But it taught me some important lessons about managing that curious spectator.


Nate, your experiences as a "new" magician are very welcome here!  There are many times that fresh eyes are needed.  It is easy for folks to become jaded and to allow their thinking to get lazy.

So I think it is cool that you actually conducted a "magical experiment" of sorts and have now learned some valuable lessons from it.  

Natural curiosity about things, tempered with prudence, is a great thing.
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Nate Smith

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Nate, your experiences as a "new" magician are very welcome here!  There are many times that fresh eyes are needed.  It is easy for folks to become jaded and to allow their thinking to get lazy.

So I think it is cool that you actually conducted a "magical experiment" of sorts and have now learned some valuable lessons from it.  

Natural curiosity about things, tempered with prudence, is a great thing.


Thanks Ray!
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #15 
It sounds like you’re not taking charge of your audience. If you come in as the entertainer and entertain and NOT make a fool of anyone I think you’ll rarely have this problem. I know the only time this happens to me is if I have a teen alpha male or teen alpha female leading their pack around. In that case they are just trying to look cool and not let anyone get over on them.

If you let them dictate the terms of your stage it now becomes their stage. I remember one time when someone wanted to pick a card their way. I fanned the deck and let them pick a card. I told them to look at it and remember it. I then went to someone else and had them select a card under my terms and did the trick for them. This followed with other tricks. The kid asked what about him. I verified that that’s the card he just picked out of the fan, right? He said yeah. I told him I don’t do that trick until a little later. Then to earn my passive aggressive merit badge for the day, the very next trick I performed, I had someone pick a card just like he did. He eventually left.

You also get a reaction like you describe performing for friends and family.
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Gerald Deutsch

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Reply with quote  #16 
With Perverse Magic (which you might want to do if you spot a troublesome spectator) you can act as confused as the troublemaker and yet fool and entertain everyone.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald Deutsch
With Perverse Magic (which you might want to do if you spot a troublesome spectator) you can act as confused as the troublemaker and yet fool and entertain everyone.


There is no question that attitude matters.  Some even avoid having the spectator answer questions during routines such as the cups and balls or the chop cup because they feel it puts the spectator on the spot and makes them (potentially) look foolish.  

Again, that might depend upon your attitude.  If you project a challenging, overbearing attitude you just might alienate them.  So any time they guess wrong, be gentle and maybe even apologetic about it.  And smile.  



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