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Topic: What if someone demands to examine my cards or coins
Message: Posted by: georgecha (Mar 16, 2006 01:52PM)
Hi Greeting

1 week before, I encounter an embarrassing situation.
An audience just demanded to check my cards . :(
I didn't know what to react..hence I just rejected to let him checking...

Any solution on this situation???
Message: Posted by: NeoMagic (Mar 16, 2006 02:30PM)
You might find these helpful...

[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=109964&forum=106]When they want to examine your props[/url]

[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=58942&forum=2]What to do when a spectator asks to examine the cards?[/url]
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Mar 16, 2006 02:38PM)
You're right, don't let them.
Magicians are known to use gaffs and gimmicks. It's no big deal to just say no with a smile.
That's my opinion.

However, if you really feel the need to prove everything is on the up and up then you might try these options.
In this case it would depends on if this happens before, midway or after an effect.

If in the beginning or midway you can say, "Wait until I'm done."
At the end you might possibly switch out the gaffs in your pocket or wherever acting as if you forgot.
At the ending you can simply gather up your props and put them away.

Another idea is to do something with regular props where someone gets to handle those props and ring in the 'helpers' later.

I'm not sure of what type of magic you do or props you used so I can't be of much help here.

Nice posts on the above links.
Message: Posted by: DomKabala (Mar 16, 2006 02:40PM)
On 2006-03-16 14:52, georgecha wrote:
Hi Greeting

1 week before, I encounter an embarrassing situation.
An audience just demanded to check my cards . :(
I didn't know what to react..hence I just rejected to let him checking...

Any solution on this situation???

[/quote] Your reaction was correct, just politely say NO and continue. If they have a problem they will usually do one of two things, walk away or stay and be amazed with the next effect.
:bikes: :bluebikes: :bikes:
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Mar 16, 2006 08:29PM)
Rats...I have an entire essay on this somewhere...sigh...There are two ways I suggest the you handle this situation.

#1- This is already noted above. You simply say no. Being asked to see something that they just cannot look at generally comes after the trick is over. You can:

a. Try to go into another trick that uses something normal and misdirect away from the other. If you are using a gaffed deck....ALWAYS have a normal deck that matches in a right hand coat or pants pocket. 'Gafted' goes in and you simply switch bringing out the normal deck and saying something like, "Here let me do it again." And, just do something else.

b. Place the gafted item in your pocket saying, "I can't do that, it's a trick!" Why say this? Think about it. If you simply say 'no', the next phrase is, "Well, then it's just a trick!" Well, duh! So, just cut to the chase and avoid the entire question of pretending you are back in fifth grade.

Now, sometimes the ask you before. My experience has been that this does not happen that often, but it does happen. What do you do? See b. above. Put the trick away and don't do it. If it's a deck, pull out a matching normal deck and go into something ungaffed and as strong as you have. Generally they will forget what happened. When done leave the deck on the table and turn and walk away to 'do' something. Let them touch the deck on their own, etc.

A lot of this can be avoided if you plan your routines to move from gaff to ungaff and ALWAYS end with something that can be examined. I like Chop Cup for instance. I finish and then step back so they can touch the cup, etc.

Never, never, never, never, NEVER use the word EXAMINE when performing. Once you have given them permission once you are dead. Ask them to shuffle the cards, cut the cards. Place coins in their hands so they can look at the date or warm them up or whatever you can think of to let them examine the props without saying the dreaded word: Examine. People are not stupid. If you start a routine by saying please examine this deck....well, why can't we look at THAT one???

All I can think of now, but that's most of it. All best,
Message: Posted by: sethb (Mar 17, 2006 08:02AM)
Brad -- These were excellent thoughts & ideas on audience/prop management, thanks for posting.

I had always looked at audience participation as just a way to get the audience involved in the performance. But now I can see that, in a very subtle way, it also may help to defuse the "Let me see that" syndrome. Thanks! SETH
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Mar 18, 2006 03:32PM)

Exactly. Consider the that the 'silent' magician has both a harder and easier row to hoe with the audience. He has it harder in that much of who we are as humans is reflected in our voice. How do we sound? Grating or smooth? Glib? Compassionate? The silent magic performer has to push forward and out to the audience with ever gesture of face, body and hands. They have it easier in that on what can only be characterized as a more personal level they do not have to reach the audience! They don't have to worry whether someone will misremember or miscall their card or whether they will grab a prop from your hands, etc.

The close-up worker is their man. Right under their nose. Right in their face for good or evil. It is magic at IT'S most personal and thus in many ways it's most dramatic.

We close-up types have no large boxes, no huge stages, no assistants (mostly) to help manage the problems that might crop up. Bad close-up work is far worse than bad stage work, because it IS so close-up. (I'm not dissing Illusion guys. I have nothing but the greatest respect for them. Personally I think it's much harder to be a good illusionist than a good close-up worker. The best work their rears off. I am talking about the most elementary differences between the two modes of performing. One has to reach out and bring the audience closer, the other has to guard in a way against the audience reaching forward and disrupting the stage.)

All this affects HOW we manage our audience. How we set the small stage that we use. How we handle our props and how we need an extra layer of care and wariness. By getting this close-up audience to participate with us at a level that puts them on our side it helps stabalize and defuse any 'bad' situations that can come up.

We've all had the experience of working along. Everyone is with us. Except one guy! He becomes a problem, that is almost instantly taken care of, not by us the performer, but by the rest of the audience that now acts as an extension of us! They calm the guy down, etc. That IS participation on a deep level. Best,
Message: Posted by: robert bianchi (Mar 20, 2006 08:56PM)

All of the above answers are great and I will not reiterate.

When I was younger, however, I had one of those gag shock books, that delivered a small, but startling, shock when opened. I used to carry it around to all shows.

Usually, in my expierence it is a male that is the one most likley to grab at an effect or give you a hard time. In the situation when they would try to grab, I would say "no way, if you want to grab something grab this, it will tell you how it is done." The shock book was entitled Famous Nudes and when they opened it, the guy would get shocked and the audience would go beserk laughing. I would follow up with "you see... if I can't trust you with a simple nudie book, how can I trust you with a magic trick." Don't do it anymore, but it always worked. Hum, maybe time to dust it off.

Message: Posted by: Utkarsh Sinha (Mar 21, 2006 03:37AM)
Almost all tricks can be done using more than one ways. You can read minds using a deck arranged in Si Stebbin's order... and you can also read minds by forcing a card. So if you have done the trick once with the gimmicked deck/coins, do it again.. but using another technique. This will completely blow them away!
Message: Posted by: magicdave777 (Apr 26, 2006 12:16PM)
Move on to the next trick and they will forget about asking.
Message: Posted by: Zazz (Apr 26, 2006 07:51PM)
It is a great feeling when you can astound someone with a trick and if they want to examine it, you let them.
After performing gaffed tricks almost exclusively and not letting the spectators examine the cards or prop I got to the point where I wanted to learn as much sleight of hand as I could and when I throw in a gimmicked trick here or there people that know me don't even think to ask to examine it because I have already proven I am *MAGIC*.

I like Darylís philosophy of "you finish clean and everything is examinable".

~ Dan
Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Apr 26, 2006 10:38PM)
Unless a gun is pointed at your head, tell them, "NO", and leave it at that. You do not need to make excuses. Also, do as Brad said, never use the "E" word! :devilish:
Message: Posted by: airship (Apr 27, 2006 11:25AM)
Carry a multi-page non-disclosure agreement. If they don't respond to a polite 'No', hand it to them and say, 'I would be happy to share my secrets with you. Just have your lawyer read this non-disclosure agreement, sign it, and have it notarized. In triplicate.' :)
Message: Posted by: nucinud (Apr 28, 2006 05:45PM)
I ask for $50.00.
Message: Posted by: Katterfel22 (Apr 29, 2006 06:41PM)
Try to alternate tricks that use the gaffed deck with ones that don't. Then all you need to do is delay them for a moment until your non-gafffed deck comes into play.
Still this is situational, somtimes you will be dealing with someone who if you give in once will want to examine everything you do. This will disrupt your patter and ruin your show. If you sense that this is the type of person you are dealing with, treat him or her as a heckler.
Which means while you then never show them the cards per-se you can give them the attention they crave by makeing them part of the next trick you do.
The "Flicking Fingers" have an excellent section in their book "Don't Forget To Point", that deals with handling difficult audience members.
Message: Posted by: MarvinSanRemo (Apr 30, 2006 02:24AM)
Lots of great suggestions on this page. Thanks everyone!
Message: Posted by: MattWayne (Apr 30, 2006 05:35AM)
All these replies are great pieces of advice. Personally- the more active you are with a deck- the less likely (in my opinion) the audience is likely to think there's something funny with it. Be natural with a trick deck; if it's what you're using. If the cards are stacked- be natural with your false shuffles or cuts. I don't use gaffed decks for this reason. The only deck I use is an Invisible Deck, but even then it's natural. Plus a deck switch after a series of routines. Hence- the deck appears to be random and non suspicious.

best regards,
Matt Tomasko
Message: Posted by: Devilix (Apr 30, 2006 09:55PM)
Since the beggining of my magic career, I have always been taught to never say no to a spectator who want to examine something.

What I do is always yes but....

I will finish this trick.

I will finish what I have begin

sure...(when they touch the cards), are you a magician? No, sorry you cant handle this card since I made this promise to my friend Potter.

Anything that can fit your style is ok in this kind of situation.

50% of the time they forget.

50% of the rest of the time...I say...


Message: Posted by: dominik (May 1, 2006 04:22AM)
"May I see the cards?" - "Yes, but let me finish the trick."

Why are they asking anyway? If you are performing "Sawing a Lady in Half", nobody jumps onstage to examine the lady, or do they?

What you can get away with depends on the situation. You may be performing in casual clothing for a group of jealous "friends". If they can smell the least bit of fear or uncertainty, somebody is likely to pose challenges because its only you and they think they can do that.
On the other hand, if you are performing in a suit for a group of total strangers, and you come across as some kind of authority, most of them will be hesitant to touch anything.

Quite often it's the first time they see a magician live. They don't know how to deal with a magician, and what they are allowed to do. A simple "No" will do, a "yes, but let me finish the trick" is better. If they really try to grab something, you might say something like "Hey, you got a backstage pass? Please stay away from my stage, I am working here.". If that does not stop them, just finish the trick and move to some other group (or just stop performing).
Since you are not the first magician running into the examination problem, most of the tricks that use gaffs will at least allow you to end clean.

If you really wanna play it safe, don't use gaffs in the first place. Learn to do some killers with an ordinary deck of cards. Blow them away, then "accidently" leave the deck at the table as you go to the bathroom or get involved in a conversation. It will not only add to your reputation, but will also bring you a great deal of satisfaction when they grab for the deck afterwards, and keep looking for the secret.

I know that some gaffed tricks are just too good not to do them occasionally. But I think it is quite reasonable to reserve the special tricks for special spectators. Those spectators who have already turned into your biggest fans are not very likely to cause too much trouble. If you have really blown them away last time, you bet they will do anything to see you do something even more spectacular. Keeping their hands off is the least you can ask them for.

You are under no obligation to perform anytime, for anybody. Unless they are offering you a thousand bucks for a single trick, that is ;)
Message: Posted by: Magicshore (May 1, 2006 02:25PM)
I agree with " move on to the next trick without hesitation"

I love your idea!!! The Non-Disclosure Agreement would be a hoot!! I'm gonna work on making one up to use when I get the chance. You don't happen to also have a " You can't use my idea" disclosure agreement, do you ?

Thanks John
Message: Posted by: airship (May 1, 2006 03:14PM)
Just hide the 'you can't use my idea' part in the fine print. In fact, I suggest starting the document with normal size print, and having it reduce in size as you go down the page until it's completely illegible. There are lots of places on the net where you could download a bunch of 'legalize' to load it up with. Have fun! :)
Message: Posted by: Magicshore (May 1, 2006 09:26PM)

Great idea! I'm definitely going to work on that. And another thing...Send me a few of your DNA cells so that I can clone you for assistance. What a mind !!!

Message: Posted by: airship (May 2, 2006 09:18PM)
Here's one you can use. It just has some boilerplate text taken off a 'free use' site on the Web. I managed to squeeze it onto one page. :)
Message: Posted by: Magicshore (May 3, 2006 09:52PM)

I downloaded the form. Outstanding !!!!!! Thanks a million. I'll definitely be using this.

Message: Posted by: Shrubsole (May 8, 2006 09:01PM)
Indeed that is a great idea!

Great comedy and they can't get out of it! :lol:

It defuses any nastiness or awkward situation and by the time the person has read even the first few lines and realised that he has been had, you are halfway into you next trick.

Nice one.
Message: Posted by: airship (May 9, 2006 10:45AM)
If the non-disclosure doesn't work, just bring out one of Higley's shrunken heads and tell them that's the LAST person who asked you to tell them how a trick was done. :)
Message: Posted by: Corey Harris (May 9, 2006 01:49PM)
Don't use gimmicks and you wont have to worry about handing your stuff out for examination. Start with ungimmicked effects offering them to examine before hand if they want. With my card in pocket routine the spectator handles the cards nearly the whole time, so this takes heat off of the deck if I do decide to use a gimmick deck or cards.