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BlindWizard
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I am noticing a problem that I think a lot of new magicians like myself run into.

When I show my magic to people they tend to see it as a trick to be debunked. A challenge. Or they feel less than because they feel fooled.

I have been asking myself if I were trying to become a real wizard wouldn't magic be an experiment or peculiaritie to share with people? A story to tell? Or something spontaneous and magical that just happens?

So I am seeking advice as to present magic in a better way as something to share so people don't feel challenged.
Andy Young
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It all depends on your STYLE. Are you funny, serious, just showing off? For me it is magic and humor. I present stories, jokes, and magician in trouble themes. If you are having a hard time with finding how to present I would simply sit down and first figure out what you want to be. Then I would go and check out other magicians that have that style. Don't just copy them though, it is easier to be a carbon copy then to be yourself, but if you really want people to notice you -- then you can't be completely fake.

The idea that people are trying to debunk your methods is probably based on your patter and/or your actions. When you say words that are challenging in nature you will get people that want to challenge you. Talk WITH people and not TO them. It makes a difference.

Good luck and keep asking your questions!
ThSecret
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I feel presentation plays a huge part in what the spectator will experience. Do you at all feel, that your spectators feel you are trying to trick them, rather than entertain or amaze? Sometimes it can just be the spectator, but if it is happening often, then you may want to consider your presentation. It could be your patter, it could be motions you make, or the overall feel you give. Having nervousness can also be sensed and may impact the way your spectators feel.

Andy makes a good point about talking WITH others versus talking TO them. I would also suggest researching and reading books on presentation. Some provide not only theory, but great examples of things like this. (Like pulling a sandwich out of no where, vs saying you are hungry and pulling a sandwich out of no where. The latter having contextual meaning to the effect. When given meaning, the spectator may be less likely towards searching for meaning.
"A play does not take place on stage but in the minds of the spectators."
funsway
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There are many postings on the Café about understanding the expectations of the audience and adapting the choice of effects and presentation to engage a particular audience.
The age old wisdom is to present new effects to an old audience to old effects to a new one.

The problem today is how to "know your audience." When you are famous and people buy tickets just to see you and your character and signature tricks it is easier.
When preparing to perform for a larger range of unknown audiences it is difficult.

Best advice is to make sure that they know you are a magician and that you have their attention,
This may suggest opening effects that draw in their attention without a lot of words or intricate handling.

When they say, "Wow - do that again," you shift to your more powerful stuff.

All of the best presentation and practice in the world is meaningless if they are on a cellphone or flirting with their neighbor.
"there is real merit in the magician who tries to be creative – from such endeavors magic sustains its life energy." Harold Rice



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Dick Oslund
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Yes! I've been "preaching" for years about the PREPOSITIONS ("TO", "AT", & "WITH") and their use in PRESENTATION.

A performer's PRESENTATION, should NEVER be a SPEECH!!! To be effective, the performer's PRESENTATION must be a CONVERSATION!
(i.e., The performer must talk WITH, the people he is performing FOR.

I constantly read posts in which the writer tells about performing TO someone, or talking TO someone! This is not conducive to to a CONVERSATION!!!

I often ask questions of my audience! e.g.: "Did you see that?" When displaying a phantom tube, I don't SAY, "It's empty!". I ask, "What do you see?" They respond, "Nothing!" Then, I ask, "How can you see 'nothing'?" --that gets a little chuckle! --they are responding! --THAT'S A CONVERSATION!!!

When you're performing, DON'T MAKE A SPEECH!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
friend2cptsolo
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The performance that pits the spectator against the magician in a battle of wits(so to speak) is just not magic, it is a trick. Unfortunately people think that magicians then are out to trick people and not entertain them; therefore they may respond initially as such.
Dick Oslund
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Old "wise saying": "You never get a second chance to make a first impression!"

YOU must be sure that YOUR audience's first impression is the one you want to make!

Your "entrance" (the "way" that you walk on!) YOUR wardrobe (what you wear, must "fit" your character) YOUR "person" must be impeccable (haircut, manicure, etc.) YOUR opening lines (must set the tone. You must use good, proper English.)

Too many "magicians" have no idea of good grammar, or vocabulary. If your vocabulary "depends" on current "slanguage", educated people will quickly "turn down their hearing aids" They tire quickly of "like", "you know", "cool", etc.

Find a qualified mentor, or, at least ask a qualified friend to advise you!

I'll never forget Blackie Norton, a "vest pocket" agent, who set a "showing date" for me, when I was a young guy, trying to be "swayve & deboner". The audience, a Kiwanis Club Noon Luncheon group, was polite, and appreciative. But, Blackie asked a question that caught my attention! He said, "That was very nice, BUT, can't you make 'em laugh?" I thought for about three seconds, and replied, "I think, I can." He said, "Good! Make 'em laugh, and, I'll get you lots of work!" I did, and, he did.
I hope that I never forget how to make 'em laugh!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
DaveGripenwaldt
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First, you will never be completely free of having spectators that treat a magic performance as a puzzle or challenge. That comes with the territory as some people are just like that. What you can do is tone down some of the elements that invite that kind of response from people who would otherwise go along with you on the journey.

It is telling that Seinfeld had a joke where he talked about why he didn't like watching magic and he went on to "imitate" a magician, "Is that your card? Yes? You're an idiot! Do you know where the coin went? No? You're an idiot". To him the entire experience simply existed to make a spectator feel inadequate...and enough people were laughing to tell you his audience could relate.

So think through what in your presentation could elicit that response. Does it make people feel like they are being set up to be insulted? Do you have a lot of those, "Where do you think it is?....nope, you’re wrong" moments?

BTW, one way to present an effect, like a monte or a typical sucker-type trick while minimizing the confrontational, "no, you're wrong" feel is to tell a story about it in the 3rd person so you are telling what happened to someone else and that person miscalled the card...didn't know where the coin was...didn't see the card fly to the pocket. That allows a spectator to see something surprising happen but not be asked directly if it fooled him. He is fooled, but he isn't being directly challenged to admit it out loud.
HenryleTregetour
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Nice topic, blind Wizard.

I made my first foray into performance magic about four years ago. One of the biggest problems I had was guilt over "fooling people." That is not what I want to accomplish, and from your original post it sounds that that is not what you want to accomplish either.

I overcame that guilt by introspection, thinking about what I wanted to achieve. I want to some degree to amaze people, to fascinate them, to surprise them, to mystify them--in effect, to entertain them in a very special way. From what you have written it sounds to me like you are on the right track.

Needless to say, the various writers here have given you good advice.

At this point, I practice in two modes. The first mode is simply to succeed with isolated effects. The second mode is to go through a routine--in this case, if I do it without patter, it feels really empty. And in the short time I have done performance magic (almost all practice), I have come to believe that the patter may be the most difficult aspect to master.

HLT
Doug Trouten
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I hadn't seen that Seinfeld bit. Here's a link for anybody else who wants to take a look:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoV0ZSiHIYg
It's still magic even if you know how it's done.
Terry Pratchett
NWJay
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Reading Joshua Jay's "The Complete Course", he has an excellent perspective on this to lessen any "adversarial" element in your relationship with your spectators, and that's that you should make the effect relevant to them, that you give them what he calls an "emotional hook." He says this is called the "Ham Sandwich Theory" - if you just make a sandwich appear from thin air it's meaningless, but if someone says to you they're hungry and then you make one appear it has a connection to them. The example he uses is that while people may not care if you rip and then restore a piece of paper, if you tear and restore a dollar bill that's something people can relate to.

Whenever I'm thinking or practising a new routine now I'm always focussed on not just my technique and patter but why other people will care about it. If you can get that emotional hook it feels like it's no longer you vs them but rather "we're all in this together" working towards the same common goal. Some might still try to work it out but it creates a far more collegiate, happy atmosphere of sharing a wonderful magic moment.
DaveGripenwaldt
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Thanks for the link, Doug. That's a different performance than what I saw, but same basic thing. I should have thought about the fact everything that has ever been said or done is on youtube and dug it up myself.
friend2cptsolo
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So BlindWiz you should tell us about your performance style,
Funny? Wild? Serious?
And
What like cards? or props?

Personally I like props but I tend to buy them or see them explained in a book and then just reconstruct them to what I like to do.
Sometimes it is just simply a new paint job to make the box look less like a bright colored magic box.. my cards are an old bridge set of cards in a unique card case.

You also asked "If you were a REAL wizard what or why would you be doing magic." Well that too is an opened ended question with many branching lines. Some Wizards are good some are bad...some are forgetful, scatterbrained.

I think I saw another post were you may have mentioned you have impaired vision.... It may be personal but you can talk about when one sense is diminished the others will become heightened......Tell some one about the hardships you have living with vision problems but then say "I have taught myself a little trick...I can hear the card you pick."
"I used to play cards at a local tavern until one night I was using these special talents during the game and became very "lucky" that evening.... The management was not to happy and threw me out but because of my glasses I was sparred the beating. I went straight that night, no more gambling. But let me show you something...trust me all this will be a fair as possible. Since we have no money on the table(YET) we can all have fun right? "
"I can smell a liar and a cheat!!! He who SMELT it......Dealt it."

You can really ham the whole situation up.... "Sir please let me see your hand, I would like to do something." You then Reach for the lady's hand right next to him. Give her a little Eye Wink..... "Sir May I ask what type of moisturizer you use?"

But certainly I do not want to make fun any condition you or anyone else may have, Some of these lines will work during a Blindfold routine.... I am just brainstorming some one liners and scripts.
Aus
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Quote:
On Feb 13, 2017, BlindWizard wrote:
I have been asking myself if I were trying to become a real wizard wouldn't magic be an experiment or peculiaritie to share with people? A story to tell? Or something spontaneous and magical that just happens?


I think the word your looking for is premise, what is the premise of the magic you are doing which is essentially asking "WHY" am I doing this. That's a journey of discovery each magician has to find in search of their premise. How I go about this I have written extensively about on my "Presentation (A How-To Guide)" which can be read here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=41

I believe that having a structure in formulating presentations helps bring focus and better results as magic contains a lot of abstract theory.

The basic framework I weave my presentation into is the following:


1. Introduce the props and plot.
2. Develop the plot with words and actions – get the audience involved.
3. Build to the climax
4. Point Up the Climax (the results)
5. End with applause cues – a style off and/or tagline.

If you would like some help in searching for a premise let me know.

Magically

Aus
danaruns
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Of the responses so far, I like Aus's best. He gets to the "why," which is important. A magician has to know why s/he is doing what s/he is doing.

I start from the premise that you have to do two things: you have to give them a story of the impossible to tell, and you have to make a human connection with them and let them come away feeling like they learned something interesting about you. Do that and they will like you and remember you, possibly for the rest of their lives.

My job is not to "entertain" them or "amaze" them. My job, first, is to give them a story to tell. Their own story of an impossible encounter, like the time they saw a ghost. To begin with, you have to put them on the horns of a dilemma: they know the magic isn't real, but there is simply no other explanation for it. To do that, you have to take away every other explanation, so that they are left with nothing but the cognitive dissonance of the impossible. By doing this, they can go home and tell their friends about the magician they saw who did something impossible. Of course, their friends will challenge them. "Well, he forced a card on you," they might say. And the audience member needs to be able to respond, "No, it was a free choice. He even asked if I wanted to put the card back and pick a different one, and I did." You need to give them all the answers to the challenges their friends will argue. So, you don't give them your story, you give them their own story; a story of something absolutely impossible.

Then, you have to give them a character they are interested in. They don't have to like you, but they have to find you interesting. So, who are you? Why are you on stage? Why are you doing the particular things you do? Your character should be an extension of yourself, perhaps an exaggeration, but it needs to be authentic. You can do magic very, very importantly, like Jonathan Pendragon or Shin Lim. Or you can be funny, like Dana Daniels. Or your character can be complete: a plain, folksy, country guy like Mac King, or a con man transported from the 1890s like Pop Haydn, or the Marilyn Manson of magic like Dan Sperry, or a creepy Addams Family kind of guy like Rob Zabrecky.

And no matter how you present yourself, what you do with your character during your show has to tell the audience who you are, and has to make a human connection with them (how that connection is made depends completely on your character). At the end of the show they have to feel like they learned something about you, came to know you, and that they have made a connection with you.

This is how I've felt about magic for some time, but Pop Haydn has only recently helped me give it voice, and he can say it a lot better than I can, if he wanders into this thread. Smile

Smile
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Aus
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Just to expand a little on what danaruns has said I believe we accent different aspects of ourselves in different situations and this is what I believe we all do as a default position in performance. So don't think of what your doing is anything abnormal but what you feel as your most effective character in performing situations.

If you want to explore the most effective character for performance of magic that applies to you and your audience then you need to be pragmatic about it. Take your experiences well performing and use them to answer questions like:

What aspects of yourself will work best in the context of the kind of magic you want to do?
What aspects of yourself appeal to your audience?
What aspects of yourself will add to the conviction of your magic?
What aspects of yourself will best produce the kind of reactions you want to elicit from your audience?

Taking your experiences and experimenting with your character will yield you the answers to those questions and many more over time.

Also the type of magic you perform can define the character you adopt. With magic having a multitude of themes like mental effects, gambling routines , comedic magic, occult effects and others, it might be a good starting point to ask yourself what tricks you like to perform and what those tricks suggest about the person who would perform them.

I also believe "WHY" can be in the trick your performing. One trick that always seemed to have no real reason for what was happening in my view was the cups and balls, sure there was always loose presentations on it being "the oldest trick in the book" or "being depicted in hieroglyphics in an Egyptian tomb" or some version of the "three shell game" but in my view those presentations apart from being hackneyed also didn't explain why the balls traveled in the fashion they did.

So I looked at the trick and found a presentation that was new and different and explained WHY things where happening in the fashion they were.

Why am I using cups?
Why am I using balls?
Why are the balls behaving in this strange fashion?
Why do the final loads appear at the end of the routine?

All these questions in most performances of the cups and balls that I have seen have never addressed these concerns. So to remedy that I came up with a presentation that addressed all those questions.

I would explain that a cup-bearer was an officer of high rank in royal courts, whose duty it was to serve the drinks at the royal table. On account of the constant fear of plots and intrigues, a person must be regarded as thoroughly observant and trustworthy to hold this position. He must guard against poison in the king's cup, and was sometimes required to swallow some of the wine before serving it, in which case his own life and not just the kings was at stake.

Under this guise I would present the cups and balls as an aptitude test for becoming a cup-bearer, testing the audiences aptitude for the job. the movement of the balls from one cup to the next in whatever cups and balls sequence I was using was a test of their observation skills ending with three final loads of three poisonous substances at the end which the spectators miss.

Now we have a premise.

Magically

Aus
BlindWizard
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Thank you all for the wonderful responses. I haven't been able to read everything just yet but I will.

I have been learning towards the presentation of a modern wizard. This lets me present my magic in a way that isn't seen often I think. Something more light hearted then the gambler/con man. But not as spiritual or hokey as the old school mystic/fortune teller. Try to go for story teller maybe. Or someone that magic is just common place for and seems to happen without effort but always with meaning.

There is magic in the world. I have often seen it in art, music, good craftsmanship, and stories. In small careful loving deeds of everyday people. I am just trying to find a way to show others what I have seen all along.
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