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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The tricks are on me! » » Complete Beginner - Where to start performing? (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Lefebure
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Lille, France
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=> Children : they see things adults can't see (your hands is at their heads level !), actually working with them is hard, but they are generous and the light in their eyes after a trick is a real reward !
=> Friends and family : choose 2/3 close relatives or friends (someone you trust) who enjoy your interest into magic and "test" on them every new trick. Look at their reaction, ask them if your speech, your movements were okay. They will critisise you and will help you to progress
=> Talkative people : I mean, people with networks, example bar managers (perform magic with coin, bills when you pay after a drink or a meal), they meet a lot of people and can talk about you and make your reputation grow
=> Café or restaurants customers : with the agreement of the management, it's a good way to perform lot of sorts of magic : stand up magic, cards, mentalism, comedy, sponge ball. That's where you will meet a large panel of different people, with different expectations of magic.
But for a beginner, I would not recommand street magic and parlour with more than 20/30 people.
bowers
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Oakboro N.C.
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I work in a plant with over two hundred people.
I started performing magic with all my co workers.
sometimes a few and sometimes 20 people would watch me perform.
this helped me get started with performing for a crowd of people.
granterg
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I would recommend public waiting areas. When people are waiting they are bored and can appreciate entertainment. If you are waiting like them then this creates instant rapport because you are both going through the exact same experience, and therefore they will be more susceptible to saying yes to your invitation to watch a magic trick. You will be performing for one person but you will see that a crowd will begin to form around you. This is much easier than going up to a random stranger on the street or even in a Café.

granterg
Zebaztian
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The Netherlands
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Open Mic Nights! The audience cheers up when not another guy with guitar playing 'Hey Joe' gets on the stage. But keep it very short and use a bit of stand up comedy. Two tricks with a joke between them.
My mind reading routines: http://www.basjongenelen.nl/goocheltrucs/. Scroll a bit down to the English routines.
Zebaztian
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Most of the times on open mic nights you hear: 'I wrote this song when my girl left me.' Or: 'I wrote this poem when my girl left me.' Do a trick with where a girl leaves you (a card trick with a dissapearing queen, or mental effect with a girl from the audience) saying: 'I made the next trick when my girl left me.' Or something like that.
My mind reading routines: http://www.basjongenelen.nl/goocheltrucs/. Scroll a bit down to the English routines.
MentalMidget
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As I practice effects & mini-routines, I tend to make use of some area colleges for gauging responses and working out bugs -- here are a few tips for anyone that might like to try doing the same.

<>

--WHEN to visit a campus--
Mid-afternoon to early evening is your best window of opportunity. The main reason for this is (obviously) because of class schedules. *Most* classes are going to wrap up around 3 or 4 pm. At that point, students have an hour or two to kill before dinner. Immediately after the main 'dinner hour', a lot of students will want to socialize a bit before returning to their dorms & apartments. Either of these periods is a great chance to approach a small group to try a couple of effects. Going too early or too late in the day means you're more likely to encounter students that are in between classes (short on time) or neck deep in homework.



--WHAT TYPE of college to visit--

Tech Schools --
NOT your best option. Most tech schools focus on 'furthering education' programs, very few have on-campus housing, student recreation areas, or any of the other elements that contribute to a good testing ground.

Any "4-year" school --
The main elements you want to look for when trying to find a good campus for practice will be on-campus housing and an active "student center" or "student union". Most students that attend a community college will live off-campus BUT, if the students that live in its dorms make use of student centers, it could be the perfect place to mingle. A college could have tons of dorms and student housing but, for one reason or another, it could be completely deserted whenever classes end. Every college is a little different when it comes to where its students spend their free time... try a couple and find one or two that are well-suited.


--WHERE to go (and not go) to find good participants on a campus--

1. "Student Centers"/"Student Unions" -- GO
Students usually go to these facilities for the purpose of socialization, hanging out with friends, and meeting people. Certainly, some will be studying and working but even those students deliberately chose to do that in an open, public place. All of these things come together to create the perfect atmosphere for approaching a small group, working in one or two effects, and moving on.

2. "Department" or "Program" buildings -- GO
This doesn't apply to every school but many colleges have dedicated "math" or "music" buildings -- some of these have commons, study rooms, student lounges, etc. These are typically less raucous/crowded than the student centers but there will usually be a few people that are there to socialize. As long as the person/group doesn't seem completely preoccupied with work, these are perfect venues for gauging reactions in a calmer environment.

3. Cafés & Caféterias -- DON'T GO
Caféterias: There are a LOT of reasons not to use Caféterias but the biggest one is easily because most people are there to eat (quickly) and leave. Beyond that, the angles are probably going to be terrible (for sleight work), they're usually very loud, sitting/ table space is limited, you often have to pay/ be a student to enter, .... Caféterias are just more trouble than they're worth.

Cafés: While some use cafés as social gathering places, many students will be there (at least nominally) to 'study' or work. A coffee house certainly isn't the worst place to go but... you'll have better odds of finding readily available spectators in more recreational areas.


4. Dorms -- DON'T GO
Some schools have student center-like areas in their dorms but many don't. That being the case, if a college is even remotely concerned about security, dorms tend to require some kind of access or permission to enter. Even if that's not the case, 70% of the students use their dorm as a 'retreat' - a place to relax, do homework, etc. Most social interaction in dorms is more incidental (i.e. bumping into friends in the hall) than deliberate recreation.

--Approaching students--

Tips on approaching strangers are covered in other threads but here are a couple quick thoughts for a college environment.

Focus on small/medium groups -- It's simply easier to step into a conversation that's already in progress than it is to try and start one from stoney silence. Also, a group of friends will be more at ease/comfortable with a stranger walking up than someone whose by themselves -- if your 'audience' is relaxed and comfortable with the situation, you probably will be as well.

Also, focus on people that are obviously goofing off, playing a casual game, or at least TALKING WITH EACH OTHER. Why is that in all caps? If everyone in a group is texting, on Facebook, or otherwise occupied... even if they're not actually working, they're still going to be closed off to the environment. People that are actively interacting with each other, joking around, etc. will already be primed and ready to go for a 'random' conversation with you. If you're going to try a couple of effects in a student center, spend your first few minutes there just getting a feel for the environment and approach the right people -- don't just walk up to the first person you see.

Finally, put some thought into how you're going to introduce yourself/ what you do AND how you're going to make your exit once you're done.
-Be brief, direct, and honest -- Tell them who you are and why you're there.
-Unless you truly just want to see the reaction to a cold run of a specific effect, start with one you know you can do well (preferably one that has a strong visual impact) and then transition to the new one. That will let you get a point of reference for how the group is going to respond, give you your best shot of making a good impression, and let you get comfortable with the situation before you try something that might not go as planned.


That turned into way more of a ramble than I had planned but... hopefully some of that will be helpful to someone looking to find good ways to practice and get comfortable with effects/performance.
thementalcoach
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Sacramento, CA
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MentalMidget, those are great tips for colleges, thanks!

I'll add that breakfast times at fast food restaurants can be good (8:30 - 10:30 AM). A lot of seniors/retired meet to talk and socialize and I've discovered if I walk up to one or more and ask them if they can help me by giving me feedback on an experiment I'm working on (mentalism is my thing), usually they are thrilled to do it. Plus I've met lots of really interesting people.

Another thing I do, with wait staff or people around me, is I'll ask girls/women if they consider themselves intuitive (not as effective with guys). If they say yes, then I'll ask them if they'll help me with an experiment and I'm off and running.

Sitting in a coffee shop, playing with a set of ESP cards is a good way to get people to approach you with questions, too!
David Kenward - The Mental Coach
Clinical Hypnosis
Magic, Mentalism and the Bizarre
Sacramento, California
http://thementalcoach.com
robvh
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Calgary, AB
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MrHoudini666, where in Alberta are you from? Both Calgary (where I live) and Edmonton have magic clubs and you're welcome to check out your first meeting for free (i.e. without first becoming a member). PM me for more info.
Garbo
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The airport idea is a good one - nearly everyone is bored at an airport!
MrThomas
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Magdeburg
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Quote:
On Dec 5, 2013, thementalcoach wrote:
I'll add that breakfast times at fast food restaurants can be good (8:30 - 10:30 AM). A lot of seniors/retired meet to talk and socialize and I've discovered if I walk up to one or more and ask them if they can help me by giving me feedback on an experiment I'm working on (mentalism is my thing), usually they are thrilled to do it. Plus I've met lots of really interesting people.


Thanks mental coach for this great idea. As I am looking for ways to perform close-up mentalism for my education in this art, I realy appreciated your thoughts on this.
Best, hans
Kbuck54
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Garbo has a good idea, the airport.
SHAZAM!
Terrible Wizard
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I've had similar problems - and I appreciate all the good advice on this old thread Smile

Family can be difficult, especially if they're not really into magic or bored of seeing your tricks.

Work depends upon many things - time, colleagues, space etc. many work places aren't the kind where one can do magic (no time, work alone, etc).

And if, like me, you live in a rural or isolated location ...

But - there's always more places and people to perform in and for than you think. Maybe not as many or as good as you'd like, and maybe not as 'safe' as family or friends, but still enough to learn from. I'm just learning that you need to grab what opportunities you can.

And that means two things: always be prepared (carry your cards and have a ready-to-go trick, or whatever), and be bold. Smile
D.J. Ayur
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If they exsist in your area, try the local YMCA or Boys & Girls Club
thielo
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Germany
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Hi, performing for family may be good or bad. In the close up area it never happened that anyone of the audience was touching my cards or equipment but in the circle of family it happens. To astonish colleagues is mostly very easy because they are knowing only my "working side" and so they are surprised about my magical skill.
So I try to get better in performing magical tricks for example in performing them towards young people who are members of a theatergroup who meets in our nearer region.
This young people are able to have a very close look to the quality of my performance, give me very fresh and direct responses and they are not so heavy cought from by paradigm thinking.

Greetings Heinz
MrJay
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What if your wanting to perform for kids what advice do you offer to get started, do you offer birthday parties for free how about houses of worship, hospitals,ect but strickly children
DrMidnight
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Arkansas
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I had the same dilemma as I just recently started magic. I have decided to put on a 'parlor show' as part of a Halloween party at my house this October. That gives me plenty of time to get better, practice on my friends, and have a mixture of people who know me well and may not know me at the actual performance.
thielo
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Hi DrMidnicht,
what was your experience during your mixed spectator show?
DrMidnight
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Arkansas
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Thielo,

I haven't performed it yet. I'll let you know how it goes!
thielo
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Sorry DrMidnight,

I didn't saw that your show will be in Oktober. What kind of tricks are you going to show. Are there Halloween-typical elements?
DrMidnight
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Arkansas
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I don't want to hijack another man's thread, but I'm thinking of maybe a couple of illusions interspersed with card tricks. Houdini's needle trick and Aunt Mary's Terrible Secret to name a few.
Always open to suggestions
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