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Wandering Man
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I'm learning that not all of my friends want to see a successful bit of magic from me (a totally new amateur). From those who are open to watching the new things I learn, if feels great. But, from those who want nothing more than to spoil the effect, it is pretty discouraging. Right now the supporters out number the spoilers. But of course, it is the spoilers that I have to work hard not to dwell on.

I am fortunate that I have a small group of friends that I usually get to see two or three times a week for Pickleball, board games or dinner. I am unfortunate in that some of the friends get their entertainment out of seeing what they can do to mess things up when I pull out a deck of cards, a piece of rope, or some other instrument of magic. At first it was just one person, and I was very careful with what I did around her. But this afternoon I was surprised by a second friend who was successful in spoiling the effect. There is a third who pays little attention and then remarks at the end his hypothesis (usually wrong) about how the effect was done. With them in the area, it has started to feel more like conflict than entertainment among friends.

I guess the key is to time any effects so that the spoilers are distracted by something else. It is usually, just one or two effects, and I'm close to running out of new stuff, anyway. Maybe it is time to put this hobby back in the closet, but when I have a receptive audience, the response feeds me really well.

So tell me, how well do your friends receive your magic? Is this just a friend thing? Or are there spoilers everywhere?
Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
Joeni
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Maybe you could sell yourself a bit more expensive. With this I mean: your above post sounds like every time you meet friends, you do some magic, or nearly at every such meeting. That is not wrong per se, but I'd say that it would be better if you did that just once in a month or so. This gives you more time to practice and so not to run out on new tricks, and then they start to value your magic better. If they can have some every time, they don't consider all your work behind it, and also don't value it. Besides, though, I'd say that such people are in every crowd of friends or strangers. The only difference is that mostly strangers don't tell you what they think how the trick worked. Maybe you can also spend some more time on presentation and misdirection, so that these friends are less likely to see anything they could suspect as the trick "behind the scene".
davidpaul$
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It sounds like you are setting up or training your friends for the reponses you are getting.
When you introduce a new effect it's almost like you are asking them to figure it out.
Your approach to performing or mindset,I should say, should not be challenging rather
sharing something amazing or out of the ordinary, so to speak. It may be too late for your
friends so you might have to find new spectators and change the way you present your magic.
IMO
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
55Hudson
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Don't perform for friends who aren't interested. There are some people who just don't enjoy magic - for what ever reason there is absolutely no way you are going to have a good experience, for them or for you, if they don't want to be entertained.

Also agree with Joeni - fewer occasions will help. David Paul may also be correct, I couldn't tell if that was a specific issue for you, but that is a common problem with friends.

Hudson
Wandering Man
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Thanks for the advice. They seem to be expecting something from me every time we meet now, so this is probably a good time to cool it for a while.

I'm not going to become an entertainer, so the people I know are the only audience I expect to have. But I can start saving it for special occasions and for my granddaughter (my excuse for getting into magic). This will also help me put on the breaks, as I'm spending way too much time reading and learning about magic effects.
Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
Julie
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You might also want to research some tricks where your audience is intentionally led down the primrose path to thinking they know the secret, but in the end you totally fool them. For a group (2 or more) the McCombical Deck is a good example.

The somewhat harsh term for the kind of magic effect where the audience is fooled in the end is "sucker trick". Using that terminology in your search through magic literature should give you several more choices.

Above all, have FUN. Smile

Julie
Signet
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Whatever you do, don't give up on studying magic. I bet if you stop doing tricks in front of those people, they will be begging to see more after a short time. If not, it's their loss. Try some gimmicked self working tricks, until your sleight of hand develops. If you like cards, try the Phoenix deck and get the video "One way street". With Steve Youell. They'll never figure out how you can find their card. It will drive them nuts. John Bannon's "Move zero", videos.
Some people get jealous when they see a friend improving themselves. They know they would never have the brains or discipline to learn magic. You are moving ahead and leaving them behind. When you get going with magic, you will make some new friends.
danaruns
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Friends and family are both the best and worst audiences for new magicians. Best when they are safe and supportive; worst when all they want to do is bust you, and don't seem to have any respect for your efforts.

I recommend giving them The Speech. It goes something like this. "Look, play along or you're not going to get to see anymore magic from me. When you watch Star Wars, do you yell out, 'That's not a real light saber! That's a special effect!' Or, 'He's not really doing that, that's a stunt man!' No, you don't. You enjoy the movie for what it is, and you take it at face value. Do the same thing with my magic. I'm trying to entertain you. It's not a contest. And whether you realize it or not, you're coming off like a jerk and spoiling my fun. I'm trying to share something with you. If you don't appreciate it, then don't watch. But don't spoil it for me and everyone else." Some people just think it is their role in the process to try to figure it out or find some way to mess you up. They think it's a contest, and their job is to win. You have to make them realize that it's not a contest, you are not working against each other; in fact, you're working together to give them an experience of wonder and entertainment. They are the winners when that happens, not when they spoil your trick, and you need to educate them on that subject.

Another thing you're going to have to do is learn to control your audience. You should know your material so well that you don't have have to think about it, and your sleights so well that they are invisible even when folks are burning your hands. Then you can spend your energy and attention on audience maintenance. If you ask them to pick a card and they try to mess you up, then don't let them pick a card. Make them hold up their index finger, then spread the cards in front of them and tell them to touch one card. You don't even have to let them hold it. You can hold it up in front of them and say, "Remember that card," then go about the rest of your trick. There are strategies you can employ to keep control of your props. I have given decoys, having led someone to believe that they know how I did something, only to prove them wrong. That shuts them up, as they start to second guess themselves after that happens once or twice.

In the end, though, it's your job to take away from them any possible explanation. There is an element of people trying to figure it out, and that's what you want. You want to leave them with the feeling that they know what you did is impossible, but there simply isn't any other explanation for it. "No, he couldn't have forced that card on me, because he let me put it back and take another, and another. It was a completely free choice." Your friends don't respect you as a magician. You have to control their experience and their participation, and give them a tale of the impossible, for which they have no explanation.

Learning the trick is only 20% of the work. Learning how to present the trick so that you don't get people doing what they are doing to you, and instead they look forward to being amazed and entertained by you is the other 80% of it.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Black Hart
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Hello Wandering Man

Coming up with new 'tricks' and presentations all the time is really difficult (believe me as a manufacturer and dealer I know that). It is difficult enough for any magician hosting a regular TV show, and they have teams of people and advisors helping them out.

Concentrate on a solid core of effects that you can perfect and get to know really well. Seek new audiences for your core repertoire of tricks, rather than new tricks for your core audience.

Above all - don't give up.

Black Hart
Black Artefacts, manufacturer and dealer of weird, bizarre and psychic magic: www.blackhart.co.uk
davidpaul$
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Quote:
On Oct 21, 2017, Wandering Man wrote:
Thanks for the advice. They seem to be expecting something from me every time we meet now, so this is probably a good time to cool it for a while.

I'm not going to become an entertainer, so the people I know are the only audience I expect to have. But I can start saving it for special occasions and for my granddaughter (my excuse for getting into magic). This will also help me put on the breaks, as I'm spending way too much time reading and learning about magic effects.


You mentioned above that you are "not" going to become an entertainer. But that is exactly what you should focus on and is in fact what you are doing , ENTERTAINING. Your focus changes from doing tricks, challenging your friends to "figure it out", to presenting an entertaining interaction. I agree with the post above mine as well. Seek out different audiences. There are so many opportunities to polish your skills and presentations. and Don't give up, rather grow and learn. Have fun.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Mr. Woolery
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There are a couple of ways I've found as an amateur to deal with this.

One is to simply refuse to do something for someone. I once had the apparatus for a trick with me and a friend asked "am I going to get a trick?" I told her "No, you don't actually like magic. For you, it is a puzzle and you just have to figure out how it is done, rather than enjoying the ride. I try not to do things for people who won't enjoy them." Later, she loved watching her daughter's reaction to the trick I wouldn't do for her.

Another is the "help me out" presentation. I first saw this well described on the Jerx blog. It works like this. "I've been working on something new, but it really isn't ready for performance. Can you give me feedback on the presentation? Keep in mind that this is a work in progress." Do something that is polished almost to perfection. The idea is that you have roped them in as part of your team. They become your advisor rather than your heckler.

Really want to mess with them? This is the "help me out" presentation again. Put a coin in your hand. Pretend you are making it vanish (go through the process of whatever sleight of hand vanish or gimmicked vanish you want to use, but leave the coin in your hand, clearly visible. "Can you still see it?" Of course they can. "Okay, thanks, I don't have the angles right." Spend a few minutes pretending to practice slightly different angles of the hand and coin or whatever. Make sure there's still interest, like in a lull in the conversation or something. "Okay, can you watch again and see if I have the angle right this time?" Condescending amusement. You do the vanish. Look a little disappointed in yourself. "You can still see it, can't you?" This implies a method to the vanish that is ridiculous. You might have fun with this. See how you can apply it to other tricks.

Presentation of magic as an amateur is different from as a professional. The Jerx is filled with nonsense, but it also has plenty of good material on how to think of being an amateur magician. Well worth reading.

-Patrick
friend2cptsolo
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There may also be the inherent downfall of "fooling" friends .... coworkers...family......
These people are AT BEST thinking of themselves as your Equal.... when you perform something that may seem impropable or beyond your abilities they need to bring you back down to their level by busting you.... seeing through it... figuring "IT" out

This is not always the case.... just yet another line of thinking

So when you perform for a stranger he or she has ZERO preconcieved notions about you and will only judge you and your magic based on what you are putting forth.

And THUMBS UPS to Mr Woolery.... TRY the 'Help me out' approach
danaruns
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It might just be a function of being new, and your friends knowing you are new, so they don't respect your skill. I can remember almost a discreet "click" where my friends went from challenging and heckling me, to bragging about me and being eager to see me show them something. Maybe, just as with most things, you have to earn their respect.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Wandering Man
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The big issue last week was when I used a gimmick that required the friend to write on a piece of paper with the gimmick hidden underneath. The friend intentionally wrote illegibly and then tried to erase what they’d written. The erasing attempt wasn’t effective other than to show their contempt (wife saw this, not me).

So, I’ve learned to not hand over any control.

This week, the same friend surprised me by giving me an cool little puzzle they’d been given. And another friend hinted that I might put together a routine for our Christmas party.

Still learning to judge folks’ reaction to magic.
Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
friend2cptsolo
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Several issues........
The one about asking someone to write something THEN through the powers of the mind you are going to determine what they have written?
Is that the effect?
Well now you are entering the world of mentalism and with that you need to have a lot of different skills than a presenter may need for a FUN card trick or some oddity like a spong ball routine or thimbles...right?
I will throw out some things hopefully it will help or might be a piont you haven't thought of yet or maybe it really does not help at all.... because after all I still run into these same problems....
this might not be about handing over control as you mentioned above

1.Presentation matters! a lot..... people preach this over and over all the time on here.... it does not matter what you do but how you do it.
this friend knows you are not capable of reading thoughts....this friend knows something is tricky somewhere.... so they want to play along but at the same time they don't what to be made a fool of....
try changing the way you present something.... find a new approach... a great joke or something fun or funny ... make it seem like it is less about the TRICK and more about having fun or the presentation.

2. Reward good behavior..... if the audience does something you wanted them to ...tell them something that flatters them.....
example.... "Can you shuffle these cards please? " "Wow, you really shuffled them well. Did you ever deal in Vegas? Remind me to never play cards with you."
Get them on your side by doing this. sprinkle those things into the performance... then later when you need them to write clearly on a piece of paper they will.

3. give them a logical reason to write down the thought or word or what ever ..... Look IF you can read their mind then why do they even need to write down something in the first place? Developing that routine should help with this..... why and what you are attempting ... give them reasons that make all of it possible....

4. Yes don't hand over control! you are right this is your show....you are the presenter so keep people occupied and entertained and include them... complement them.....
possible scripting here
"Thank you for taking them time today for something I find fun and amazing. The enjoyment I get from doing this is something I would like to share with you today and that is precisely why I knew you would be up for this task. Your sharp mind is perfect for a such a difficult thing. Now while this does not always work I will say that we only get out what we put in, so I will put out my best effort here. Now as you may know I have been experimenting in something new.... a new type of magic. Something that deviates far from simple trickery into the world of the strange and odd..... Into the MIND.....and I have found my mind to be strange and odd...... At times I think with such clarity it suprises me and other times I forget why I even opened the fridge. So during this brief time I will ask you do certain things.... like picking a card or writing out a name or thought.... but don't just pick the card......LOOK at it! Form it's picture in your mind. If you write something make that picture clear and bold in your mind, the same way you write. "..................

"Now as you write the thought of word, I would like to also fill you in on some details. So in the late 60s a very famous univeristy, Berkely I believe,began doing experiments into thought transmission and ESP, in fact the work still goes on today and while I remain skeptical of the workings of such things I also have become fasinated by a few of it's most notable sucesses. ....... Oh did you finish writing, THANK YOU .... please just remove your paper and fold it up....guard your thought and keep it in your mind. " So as I was saying................


THANKS that is just my $0.02.
Wandering Man
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I want to thank everyone for their responses. There is some really good advice here, and I am trying to take it all in.

friend2cptsolo, you have reminded me that I have been too casual in my approach, and have forgotten what I wish for my 12 year old granddaughter to learn: Perform, don't just pop out a gimmick and say "look at this!"
Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
Joe Roberts
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This is the post Mr. Woolery was referencing above.

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/10/11/f......part-two

That blog and his Amateur at the Kitchen Table book are full of great info for those of us who perform for friends/family/coworkers.
1KJ
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Wandering Man,

I didn't read every post, so hopefully there is something new here:

- Don't always perform every time you see your friends.
- Find new audiences. I know you are not looking to be a pro performer, but I find that children under the age of around 10 are the best audience. I have never encountered a young child who didn't love magic.
- when you do perform for your friends, teach them how to be a good audience. Tell them that you are practicing a trick to show to a young person. Talk to them about how much you enjoy performing for kids because they just enjoy the magic, they don't try to "ruin" the effect. Remember, sometimes adults don't realize how dumb they are.
- Some people will never appreciate magic. I find that shallow people who aren't very intelligent generally don't appreciate magic (not trying to 'dis' your friends, but maybe they aren't the type to be able to appreciate magic). Magic is a more sophisticated art to appreciate.

Finally,

- Consider joining or starting an IBM in your area. You will meet just once per month and perform magic for each other.

All the best,

KJ
Wandering Man
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Quote:
On Nov 13, 2017, 1KJ wrote:
Wandering Man,

I didn't read every post, so hopefully there is something new here:

- Don't always perform every time you see your friends.
- Find new audiences. I know you are not looking to be a pro performer, but I find that children under the age of around 10 are the best audience. I have never encountered a young child who didn't love magic.
- when you do perform for your friends, teach them how to be a good audience. Tell them that you are practicing a trick to show to a young person. Talk to them about how much you enjoy performing for kids because they just enjoy the magic, they don't try to "ruin" the effect. Remember, sometimes adults don't realize how dumb they are.
- Some people will never appreciate magic. I find that shallow people who aren't very intelligent generally don't appreciate magic (not trying to 'dis' your friends, but maybe they aren't the type to be able to appreciate magic). Magic is a more sophisticated art to appreciate.

Finally,

- Consider joining or starting an IBM in your area. You will meet just once per month and perform magic for each other.

All the best,

KJ


Thank you for the advice. Yes, I've quit doing a little trick every time we meet. I come prepared, in case I'm asked, but I don't just jump up and show off my latest new trick.

Regarding working with kids ... I'm afraid my occupation has ruined that for me. I used to do sex offender treatment, and I still do sexually violent predator evaluations for the state. Magic tricks, engaging with kids ... that's a grooming technique used by some of the predators I've worked with. Now I'm very wary of working around kids, and always look suspiciously when I see adult men getting comfortable around kids. I know that not every man who enjoys being around kids is a pedophile. I know that! But, my work experience has warped my world-view.

I like the idea of finding other local magicians. I need to join one of the national groups and the Texas group. There are groups two hours away in Austin and in Houston. I should make the effort to visit.
Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
1KJ
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Very good. I guess I was preaching to the choir when saying "sometimes adults don't realize how dumb they are." That carries a whole new meaning in your line of work. I was simply thinking about how I have some friends who just want to get together for beers and football. Those are people whom I'm selective about what and when I show them magic. For them, I usually do more bar tricks or things where some of them are "in on it". A good example is the "Balls over the shoulder" routine. That is a good routine to do with that one person who is the most difficult because everyone else is in on it.
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