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Topic: Hi everyone! I like most magicians and I hate their magic!! Who else does?
Message: Posted by: The Unmasked Magician (Dec 27, 2017 04:26PM)
Goeienavond from Amsterdam! City of sex, drugs, rock 'n roll and a nerd typing his introduction for a magic forum.
I was a pro from 2000-2006. Had a great time performing about three times a week on average, mostly strolling & table-hopping at corporate gigs, did a 20 min. stage show about two times a month. Good times and good money. But one thing I really disliked: the fact that magic inevitably creates a distance between the performer and his audience. When you play music (as I have done professionally as well), your audience "melts" with you in a shared feeling. Singing a song is sharing emotion. Music is great for that: the audience sings along with you, they say the same words, you all can feel as one. I loved that! I still think nothing beats the feeling of hundreds of people singing with you in one voice.
When you perform magic, they will admire you (or hate you, that happens more than some magicians realize). But you won't feel as one with the audience. You are a unicorn. They are staring at you, marvel at you. Even when you are funny and they laugh at your jokes, they might feel you are more "accesible" but you are not one of them. You are The Special One. And you know what? I did not necessarily like that feeling. It made me feel a bit lonely, to be honest.
When I did an open mike stand-up comedy night, just for fun, an artist management approached me afterwards, booked me for fifty shows and for the next ten years I was suddenly doing comedy. And you know what? Humour also has that wonderful quality of creating a feeling that you and the audience share something. It proved to be even better times and even better money than magic. I developed a special stand-up concept which included music (I sing, play guitar, piano and some percusion) and even ... a little bit of magic. :-) But done in a very comical, off-beat way and never, ever with the attitude: "Look what impressive feats I can achieve!" or, even worse, "Look how impressive I am!"
So I hope by now you are beginning to understand my ironical subject line. Because I read a lot on the forums here and I love the friendly, helpful atmosphere. People brainstorming together, sharing knowledge , sharing reviews to distinguish the honest advertisements from the Sansminds-stuff... great.
But if there's one thing I'd like to contribute to the magic society it's stressing that most magicians are better off not taking themselves too seriously. Especially not in their acts. Don't be The Mystery Man. The Wizard. There are very few guys that are good at that. Gerry MacCambridge, David Blaine, and Criss Angel are some guys that can carry that "I am real magic"-aura. But on most of us it just looks a bit stupid, like you're trying to inflate yourself into something that everybody knows you are not. People know you are human. Even if you do stuff they don't get. They probably think you are a bit of a nerd. Because most of us are. And nothing is more cringe-worthy than a nerd who thinks he is Miracle Man. If you have a good mentalism trick you are not a Miracle Man, you are still just a nerd with a good mentalism trick.
My advice: be a nice, modest guy when you perform. Admit to yourself that you love attention. In a childish way. "Look, mammie!" All artists have that. Be vulnerable about it. You will be amazed how much deeper your connection with the audience will be. And most importantly: have a sense of humour about what you do. People love performers who don't take themselves too seriously. I'll make a bold statement right now: one good joke in a your set is worth more than three good tricks. I have the money to prove that. :-)
Well, that was quite serious, I realize. But then again: I only do jokes when I get paid to do 'em. And magic these days is only a hobby for me.
Thanks for having me here and hope to share some thought with you soon!
Message: Posted by: Boomer (Dec 27, 2017 09:29PM)
Yay, more Dutch Magicians.

Jacobus Maria Bemelman was one of my favorites. Great sense of humor, guru of timing and (mis)-direction.

Glad to have you here.


Dave
Message: Posted by: The Unmasked Magician (Dec 28, 2017 02:03AM)
Thanks, Dave! I was lucky enough to spend some time with him at the late Richard Ross' Magic Art Center. When I was well into my comedy career they even had me perform there for the Dutch Magic crew.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 28, 2017 12:05PM)
Welcome The Unmasked Magician,

I like most Magicians and have some problems with the performances of many. I'm sure many feel the same about my performances.

I hope they like me anyway.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Dec 28, 2017 12:50PM)
Hello from da frozen nort'...

Heqq yes! I like you anyway! (hee hee)
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Dec 28, 2017 01:02PM)
I also like most magicians. Some, I like a little more than others. In 70 years of performing, all over the USA, I never found that magic created a distance between myself and folks "out front". It was MY responsibility to create a rapport, a bond, with them. It was sometimes, due to physical circumstances, a challenge, but, I succeeded 99% of the time.

Perhaps you should look inward.
Message: Posted by: The Unmasked Magician (Dec 28, 2017 03:54PM)
Hi Dick, thanks for your comment. If you read my post well you should notice that I do look inward. In fact the entire post is about looking inward instead of outward. Maybe you should read a book by Keith Johnstone to learn about the dynamics of performing and human interaction in general. Sounds like you don't have any knowledge on this subject or the lingo involved. You can PM me for a list. Cheers!
Message: Posted by: The Unmasked Magician (Dec 28, 2017 04:01PM)
I'll give you a small example: the fact that you have a SECRET for your audience is a huge influence in the whole energy of the interaction. A secret always creates a distance. It just does.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 28, 2017 04:35PM)
I respect your experience is true for you but that may be your issue.

Dick has been a full timer for many years and I've learned from him myself.

I have an easy rapport with my audience and Dick does as well. (I've made my living from Magic since 1980 myself).

"A secret always creates a distance. It just does.", seems like a flat statement that I don't believe.

You are coming off as little condescending. Perhaps it is a language thing. That usually creates a little distance here but everyone has their own style.

Best Wishes.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: The Unmasked Magician (Dec 29, 2017 04:38AM)
Thanks for your reply. I get that you two are on the same page on this issue. Well, let's agree to disagree on this matter then. Before we create any more distance :-)
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Dec 29, 2017 05:36AM)
[quote]On Dec 28, 2017, Mary Mowder wrote:
I respect your experience is true for you but that may be your issue.

Dick has been a full timer for many years and I've learned from him myself.

I have an easy rapport with my audience and Dick does as well. (I've made my living from Magic since 1980 myself).

"A secret always creates a distance. It just does.", seems like a flat statement that I don't believe.

You are coming off as little condescending. Perhaps it is a language thing. That usually creates a little distance here but everyone has their own style.

Best Wishes.

-Mary Mowder [/quote]

I was a part time professional for 20 years, +/-, from 1945-1965. In '65, I decided to "go pro", and, finally retired in '08. I still do an occasional gig. I toured the USA, coast to coast, and, border to border. (roughly 20,000 shows, mainly in school assemblies, but also club dates, fund raising shows for lodges, etc., even circuses.)

My "definition" of "how magic works" is: 5% sleight of hand skills, 5% sensory illusion, 5% esoteric principles of science, and >>>85%<<< PSYCHOLOGY. I use all of those principles, when I perform (especially PSYCHOLOGY).

I have lectured and performed in national conventions, and, the Magic Castle. I have written a book about my life on the road. I think that I have enough credentials!

Dick
Message: Posted by: The Unmasked Magician (Dec 29, 2017 10:49AM)
Hi Dick, great to hear your dedication to magic.
It doesn't take anything away from my statement that keeping a secret for your audience automatically creates a theatrical distance. You are not "one" with the audience, which is a great difference with music and comedy. After enjoying a great music or comedy performance an audience member feels united with the other members of the audience and the performer. They sang the same songs, shared the same sense of humour. After a great magic show they feel joy, admiration, bewilderment (if that's a word, pardon my English if it isn't) etc. But a layman doesn't feel like he "melted" with the performer. In terms of status the performer is miles above the audience (this is Keith Johnstone-lingo, I take it that being a pro you're familiar with it). There are great magicians like David and Leeman who almost manage to close this gap by being really nice and modest and almost "un-dramatize" the magic they perform. I think that is wonderful. And I also think it's the way to go for most of us, instead of pretending to be a Miracle Man. Watch Jerry Seinfeld's take on magic and magicians in his latest special. It's quite harsh, but it's also very funny and like with all good jokes... he has a very valid point.