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Topic: First mentalism act
Message: Posted by: Baha (Oct 24, 2014 01:48PM)
Hello everyone
Soon i`m planning to hold my first mentalism act on the talent show of my university. However, I have never acted on the stage before, and although I have the routine already, i`m thinking about the ways in which I can interract better with the audience and be more confident. Could you provide me some advices about the things that I should take into consideration ?
Message: Posted by: frankvomit (Oct 24, 2014 04:09PM)
Put some holes in your script and leave those spaces for improve and audience interaction, and always have a couple random gags handy if it suits your style.
Message: Posted by: frankie5aces (Oct 25, 2014 10:54AM)
A shot of whiskey always loosens up my vocal chords and helps me to look people in the eye more. Play off your audience by looking people in the eye. Its easy to fall into a blind gaze toward the back of the room when stage fright kicks in.
Message: Posted by: Prometheus (Oct 25, 2014 12:18PM)
Hi guys,

Don't forget that it can take a bit of time when you invite someone on stage, do not fill that time with stillness. That's something I absolutely do not like in a show.


Message: Posted by: Baha (Oct 25, 2014 12:46PM)
Dear Prometheus
How can I fill that time ?
Message: Posted by: Prometheus (Oct 25, 2014 12:53PM)
Applause, a short story or joke... etc. Or invite them a bit before you need their help and go on with the routine. Or don't use spectators which are far away from stage.


Message: Posted by: Baha (Oct 26, 2014 02:25PM)
Can someone provide me an advice about how can I act more confident on the stage since I have a stage fright?
Message: Posted by: Prometheus (Oct 26, 2014 02:41PM)
A friend of mine at school got the same problem when doing presentations. It helped when I assisted him or was seated close to him. Also it gets better the more often you perform on stage and to foreign people. These are my experiences, hope that helps on.


Message: Posted by: bartleby (Oct 26, 2014 08:22PM)
[quote]On Oct 26, 2014, Baha wrote:
Can someone provide me an advice about how can I act more confident on the stage since I have a stage fright? [/quote]

Two things.

#1: I have to do a lot of public speaking for work. When I mentor people on public speaking I usually advise there is no secret - the more you do it the smoother and confident you will look. So the question is, are there any opportunities for you to cram extra public speaking events between your performances? Church, school, work? Find a way to speak in front of crowds about ANYTHING and you will look and feel more comfortable each time.

#2: Until you are comfortable you should consider making "stage fright" part of your act. Make your onstage "personality" someone who is scared to speak in public. Then you can be nervous and not worry about it showing. Consider making it part of your patter. At least that works for public speaking. I have no experience as a magic performer.
Message: Posted by: CraigMcK (Oct 28, 2014 09:30AM)
Believe it or not but you can feel really nervous but still come across as calm and confident in stage. When I first started presenting (admittedly not magic tricks) I was a wreck. I was convinced I looked like a rabbit in the headlights. However some of my friends assured me that I was fine. I know everyone is different but the point is you will feel nervous (that's natural) but it doesn't always show. Just keep practising your routine so that you can do it on autopilot and I'm sure you'll be fine! Good luck, btw!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 28, 2014 11:14AM)
Have a "shot" of whiskey! Hey, cooool!

Bert Allerton was a TOP close up magician. He worked in the best dining room in Chicago. He worked tables. Customers would offer him a drink. He accepted them. Then,one night, he fell off his chair. That was his last night, working.

A fine performer who "did" doves, kept a bottle of Scotch on his dressing room table. He would open a new bottle every night, draw a pencil line "half way down" on the bottle. He would drink until he reached the line every night. Then, he would go on. He finished the other half, after he performed.

Then, one night, on his way back to his home, he drove down the free way in the opposing lane. It was his last drive home.

I could go on and on, but, I'll quit with those two stories.

Now, If you're going to be on a telent show, you would be wise to break in your act, well before the talent night. Going on "cold", you're heading for disaster--especially trying to do a mental act.

Try to find a TOASTMASTER'S CLUB. At least get some experience talking WITH an audience. (WITH, not, TO!!!!!)

Magic is not inherently entertaining. MENTAL magic is definitely not inherently entertaining.

I presented mental magic in my college program for several seasons. It was entertaining but I had had years of experience performing (and entertaining).
Message: Posted by: Baha (Oct 28, 2014 11:25AM)
So you recommend me to not go to the talent show just because being afraid of failure?
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 28, 2014 12:39PM)
Baha! Read again, my post(just above).

Read paragraph #6, again, carefully and slowly.

I said, "...if you're going to be on a talent show, you would be wise to break in your act, well before the talent night. Going on "cold", you're heading for disaster. --especially trying to do a mental act."

Nowhere did I recommend that should NOT go to the talent show.

BTW: You split an infinitive "...to not go..." Also, it would be better to say: "So you recommend THAT..." And, the phrase following "because" really needs a subject, (e.g.: "I") and a predicste, (e.g.: "am").

I strongly urge you to find a TOASTMASTER'S CLUB, or, enroll in a remedial English class. You do need to learn how to use the "Queen's English". --Especially if you are going to speak with an educated audience.

In your first post, you asked for "...advices (sic) about the things that I should take into consideration..." I have given you some advice that I think is very important.

Mr. bartleby has offered you some suggestions that, I think, you should consider, ponder,and think seriously about. Except for the shot of whiskey, the others who have posted, have presented some worthwhile ideas, too.
Message: Posted by: russellajallen (Oct 29, 2014 05:36AM)
Hi Baha,

I know the feeling extremely well having only performed on stage twice, with mentalism. Once was for friends (well friends of friends mainly, at a party) and the other was in a holiday park for 3 people I knew and about 50 - 60 holiday makers. I felt nervous for both.

For the party enviroment, I was really scared but wanted to push myself - I expected the audience (a few who knew me, no one there had ever seen me perfrom or even talk about magic) to have quite low expectations of me. So I opened with some deliberatly terrible tricks - I messed an animal balloon up, pulled something obviosuly from my sleeve, done the spoon behind a clth thing etc etc, only for a minute or two.

Then I stopped - and said something along the lines of "I'm only kidding, I'm not into that kind of stuff, that's rubbish!" Introduced myself, and then went into an invisbale deck routine. My point being I was affraid of messing up, so turned this into joke, I got laughs from the begining, which helped my confidence, and I thought, they're not expecting me to be great, so all I have to do is be "quite good" and I'll get through fine. I did mess up a little, I kept putting my pen down and losing it, and alsorts of stupid errors, but because I played the first bit as a bit of a joke, people thought that it was a part of the act and enjoyed it, which in itself put me ease.

I'm not saying go to the extreme that I did from the start - but play your nerves to your advantage, and work out a way of tieing into your act - it will help massively. I agree with bartleby there. The second gig I was even more nervous but in that instance I kind of knew which tricks worked and didn't - I still messed a few things up, I think we're bound to in these early days, people said they could see I was nervous but still loved the show, most people get nervous before they perform so I think the majority are understanding and are on your side. If you want some ideas on hwo to incorperate your nervesinto the show PM me and I'll try and offer some help.
Message: Posted by: MichaelJae (Oct 29, 2014 12:22PM)
If your on or near a university I'm fairly certain that their are plenty of bars that have an "open mic night". Id suggest that you perform your routine three times at these free public forums. Its better to mess up and get experience infront of bar patrons as opposed to classmates. I certainly wouldnt just wing it at the talent show. Best of luck!
Message: Posted by: Baha (Oct 29, 2014 02:21PM)
Dick Oslund
The show will not even be in english... it`ll be in russian which is my second native language so it is not a problem
Thx, I really appreciate that
Unfortunately in my third-world country there are no such events
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 29, 2014 06:09PM)
Dorogoi droog (I think that's Dear Friend in Russian) I have no formal training in Russian.

If you had said in your first post that English is not your native language, I would not have raised the points that I did. I did not make the grammar "correction/suggestions to be mean. Many (too many) American magicians "offend" their audiences with extremely poor grammar and expressions.

Some audiences (and talent buyers) draw incorrect conclusions about magicians snd other entertainers from the way those performers express themselves. This hurts all of us performers.

I standby my other comments and suggestions. If you are wise, you will get as much performing experience as possinle, before you compete in the talent show.

As the old vaudevilians would say: "Break a leg"!
Message: Posted by: russellajallen (Nov 4, 2014 04:40AM)
How's this coming along Baha?
Message: Posted by: Baha (Nov 4, 2014 07:06AM)
Not bad, The show is in the end of this month, i`ve changed the routine to famous 3 envelope test. Hope I can make it.
Message: Posted by: CraigMcK (Nov 5, 2014 10:06AM)
At least you have a decent amount of time to practise - although it'll come round quick enough!
Hope it goes ok!
Message: Posted by: erikdobell (Nov 6, 2014 06:44PM)
This doesn't help you much now, but since you're at University you should take advantage and sign yourself up for some theatre. Just a little knowledge of basic acting will make you more confident on stage and automatically better than most other Magicians.
Message: Posted by: MVoss (Nov 7, 2014 01:44AM)
My advice,

1. Listen to some music that gets your blood flowing. Move around and get loose. Imagine yourself, in your head, as a boxer or a professional fighter getting ready for a fight. Get yourself hyped up so you can hit the stage strong.
2. Slow down your speech, when you're nervous you talk faster. Remember, Slow is Smooth, and Smooth is good.
3. Work the mechanics of the trick until you can do it without thinking about it, that way you can focus on presentation.
4. When talking allow your eyes to drift around the room. But, you don't need to really look at people, look between them. They will all think you're looking at someone near them and you can avoid eye contact if it is a problem for you.
5. Finally, envision yourself being successful. Mental framing means so much. If you walk on thinking you're going to do a good job, then you may. If you walk on thinking you're going to fail, then you will.

Good luck.
Message: Posted by: MVoss (Nov 7, 2014 01:50AM)
One more thing. Magic and Mentalism, are not like singing or music. If a singer hits a bad note, the whole audience will know. But your audience likely has never seen anything like this before. So if you mess up, they may very well know even know. So no matter what happens, keep going. You'll be surprised what you can get away with if you don't admit you messed up.
Message: Posted by: Baha (Nov 7, 2014 03:08AM)
I am really thankful for all the advices provided above and I really appreciate them. I`ve been recently asked by University commitee to add music to my show, any ideas about what music would be appropriate to mentalism act?
Message: Posted by: MVoss (Nov 7, 2014 03:28AM)
Well Mentalism often involves a lot of talking, it could be difficult to talk over music. But, if you're heart is set on music, then go for something soft and without lyrics. That way people can understand you.
Message: Posted by: russellajallen (Nov 8, 2014 06:49AM)
Add something classical which will just act as background music if it HAS to have music. OR just insist music won't suit your act.

I screwed up a few things at my last show and I was gutted, I carried on anyway and actually nobody even noticed.
Message: Posted by: Baha (Nov 18, 2014 12:19PM)
Had my first mentalism act today... Wasn`t really bad, however 1 thing went wrong almost messing up the whole show. Whilst I was performing the 3 envelope test 1 girl made a paper airplane out of the billet on which she were writing... So when I opened the misnumbered envelope she has noticed that the billet belonged to her... it was a very bad experience and I was really mad about it for a couple of hours... Just because of that paper plane...
Message: Posted by: Prometheus (Nov 18, 2014 02:59PM)
Such is life. Maybe have an out for a case like this next time. Any idea why she has done this?


Message: Posted by: Ray Bertrand (Nov 18, 2014 03:35PM)
I'm glad your performance went reasonably well. The bottom line (the paper plane) has to do with audience control and management. If you intend on pursuing mentalism I would suggest Richard Osterlind's "Field Manual for Mentalism". He shares valuable insight into the behind the scenes situations. There are no 'tricks' in this volume; just really powerful advice from someone who's been there and is still performing strong.

BTW - I can't understand all the fascination with the 'booze' in this thread.

Message: Posted by: Baha (Nov 19, 2014 12:01PM)
I have absolutely 0 ideas why she might have done this, proly just to show off with her uniqueness and stuff
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Nov 21, 2014 10:25PM)
In addition to Richard Osterlind's sage and wonderful material, Bob Cassidy has so many books and PDF's out that can help (Staging it, Fundamentals of Mentalism, and so much more). Keep at it! :)
Message: Posted by: russellajallen (Nov 22, 2014 07:27AM)
Glad it went well on the most part, for next tinme do some reading on audience control etc. Just put it down to experience. How did you cope with the nerves in the end? Did you change your act at all?
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Nov 23, 2014 01:50AM)
You have to be ready for anything. One suggestion is to pre-fold your billets. Generally people will at least try to refold them in the same way, but even that isnít guaranteed to stop a determined origamist. Banachek gives his audience very explicit instructions on how to fold the billets, explaining that itís so they will all look identical, so he can't tell them apart.

Theatre class for sure, public speaking, and audience management. Tricks will come. Learn to present!
Message: Posted by: Baha (Nov 23, 2014 02:45PM)
It was really hard to cope with the nerves and pressure. I was really mad about it... and could not calm down for a couple of hours. I`m performing every week since then in the psychology club at my university. There are lots of hecklers. Because of those guys I feel like nobody is interested in what I am doing although there are some... but they are generally quiet. I`m getting tense and angry with everyday because of those guys and I don`t know what to do with it.
Everybody, i`m really grateful for your advices and support... Thank you guys.
Message: Posted by: bartleby (Nov 23, 2014 02:53PM)
[quote]On Nov 23, 2014, Baha wrote:
It was really hard to cope with the nerves and pressure. I was really mad about it... and could not calm down for a couple of hours. I`m performing every week since then in the psychology club at my university. There are lots of hecklers. Because of those guys I feel like nobody is interested in what I am doing although there are some... but they are generally quiet. I`m getting tense and angry with everyday because of those guys and I don`t know what to do with it.
Everybody, i`m really grateful for your advices and support... Thank you guys. [/quote]

Baha. I am new to mentalism as well, but I have 20 years experience in my field, and that includes a lot of public speaking. These hours you spend with a tough crowd will only make you better. Your whole life will not be in front of the psychology club at university. We have both have plenty of opportunity ahead. These experiences are just our first steps. Do not get discouraged.