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E.C. Valdemar
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Orange County, CA
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Hello everyone,
I've been heading out into the streets a couple times to perform some of my Street Mentalism. I bring along my buddy with his camera, and afterward we've been posting them on YouTube and other places. So far it's gone good, except for approaching certain people. You see, I can go up to younger guys and girls, and they are happy to be taped and watch the stuff I do. BUT a lot of times with the older people {and I'm talking about 30s and up}, they just don't even want to talk to me. I'll come up to them with a deck of cards in my hand doing a spring and say something like, "How's it going? Interested in seeing something?" And they just say, "NOOOO. No thanks," and just keep walking.

Does anyone have advice on what's the best way to approach people on the streets?

Oh...and let me also add that I do know that some people just don't want to be talked to or interrupted in their day to day life. But I'm sure some people here have ideas of what is that best way to approach people on the streets. That's what I'd like to hear. Any advice.

Thanx!
~Robert EC
Rob-ing you of your thoughts www.themindofrobert.weebly.com
the levitator
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Spellbound Productions
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The camera may have more to do with certain people shying away from helping you than anything. Can I ask how old you are? I've read about a lot of younger magicians having a hard time with audiences outside of their own age group. One of the more popular subjects over the years that I've seen here by younger magicians is how to develop rapport and establish credibility with an audience who is older than the performer. I think some people may feel challenged by a teenager who is able to fool them, so they are more resistant. And unfortunately, there are a lot of "older" people who just don't really like teenagers for one reason or another, so they may be reacting to their own stereotype and not to you in particular.

The only thing I would try if I were a teenager trying to get people on camera for my performances would be to spend a little time building rapport with them before asking to perform for them. Rather than just walking up and asking them if they want to see you perform, perhaps you could just engage them in conversation. You might find a way to show them that you are a serious performer, and not just a "kid and his friend goofing off". I'm not saying you are a kid, and I'm definitely not saying you are goofing off. I'm speaking from the perspective of some of your potential audience members.

Some people are just going to say no, no matter how old you are, or how charming you are, or even how famous you are. Even the big guns like Criss Angel get shot down when they walk up to complete strangers with a camera crew, so don't get discouraged. Try to pick people who don't look like they are in a hurry. Try to find people who appear to be in a good mood. If you are trying to get "older" people for an audience, try finding older people who are with younger people. Get the younger people on camera to watch an effect, and then invite the older people to watch a second effect.

Just don't let anyone discourage you, and remember that persistence pays off. You'll find your audience if you look hard enough for them. Good luck, and be sure to post links to your videos in the "You Ought To Be In Pictures" forum here so we can see how things are going! Smile
"It's all in your head...."



James Anthony
www.spelz.net
Devin Knight
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SHAMELESS PLUG: Cloud Busting Secrets (book) has a complete section on how and who to approach on the street. Although geared toward cloud effects, the methods will work for other forms of street magic.

Devin
JohnWolf
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Robert,
You have half the battle won already if you have those under 30 happy and willing. Always remember to see it from the other side. 30+, many are in a hurry pushing to make a living. (What time of day/afternoon are you approaching them?) Many times in a job they have hated for quite a few years. They are naturally suspicious of anyone approaching them. Sometimes it can be helpful to take the reverse approach. You can catch more interest out of the corner of the eye then you might think. I have had more trouble keeping spectators out of the loop when I was just trying out a new effect for friends in public. Keep a weather eye out for those in the crowd that glance with wonder at what your doing, and just smile to draw them in. Simple comment from you like, "It's really weird... I can't figure it out, can you?" If you push hard, they lock the door. If you lean against a door that's part open, you fall in.
John
Unidan
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I find the best way to approach people is with infinite respect, calling anyone older than you "sir" or "miss" and being apologetic about taking their time. This way, when someone finally bites, you might wow them with the trick, and they'll be happy with your humility, as well.
Alex Linian
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You approach people with common sense.
E.C. Valdemar
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The Levitator, that was a wonderful post. I can't thank you enough. I do think you came very close to some of the issues. I'm not a teenager, but even though I'm 25, people have said I look younger. Also, I'm sure my manner of dress has something to do with it. {Criss Angel stole my look. LOL} But I wouldn't say I have trouble building rapport with people. I think I do that very well. It's always been an issue of getting that down open with them first. And I don't walk up with my friend and the camera. Usually, I have my friend hang back while I engage them to see if they'd be willing to be taped.

And Devin, thanx for telling me about the book. It answered my question before I even asked it.

All the posts here have really been helpful. I'm going to try again today. I'll be sure to leave the link to my YouTube channel later in the "You ought to be in pictures" forum, like The Levitator mentioned.

Thanx again!
~Robert EC
Rob-ing you of your thoughts www.themindofrobert.weebly.com
Jaz
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Quote:
Also, I'm sure my manner of dress has something to do with it. {Criss Angel stole my look. LOL}


I'm 55 and went thru the greaser and hippy looks when I was younger, so I know that the first impressions I gave to older folks weren't very good.

If your target audience is teens and young adults, then your look will likely be OK. However, if you're looking for some monetary compensation for your performances, then I'd suggest you find a look that gives a good impression to a wider audience.
Drew Manning
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Go up all smug like and seem disinterested, and ask them if you can show them some magic. It works for David Blaine. Smile

Seriously, though, I agree with approaching with respect and humility. Maybe tell them what you're working on, and ask them if they'd like to participate. I think that once people know what you're doing, they'll be a lot more at ease with the situation.
I live my life for a layer of ice
Just like those poured by my bartender vice
Any taste of vermouth would be really sublime,
When you have a good martini time!

-The Reverend Horton Heat
Alex Linian
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I just re-read my post and realized it wasn't constructive...

What I meant by common sense is actually not common sense, as not many people are not aware of the fact that in order for people to care about you, you have to first care about them.

So, when approaching strangers, you should first address what their concerns are; you are a stranger who just interrupted them. Take care of that first, then go into what you need from them.

Be polite and have confidence.

Alex
E.C. Valdemar
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Good idea, Alex! I'm going to consider how to handle that.

If anyone is interested, I posted a link to my YouTube channel on the "You ought to be in pictures" forum.

~Robert EC
Rob-ing you of your thoughts www.themindofrobert.weebly.com
MagicSanta
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Criss Angel's look? You wondered why people were not responding to a femme punky, draggy-looking fellow wanting to do a trick for them? If you lisped like Angel, then they likely would have beaten you with something.
the levitator
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Quote:
On 2007-08-07 17:23, E.C. Valdimar wrote:
The Levitator, that was a wonderful post. I can't thank you enough. I do think you came very close to some of the issues. I'm not a teenager, but even though I'm 25, people have said I look younger. Also, I'm sure my manner of dress has something to do with it. {Criss Angel stole my look. LOL}


I know how you feel! Even though I'm 37 (well, 38 this Saturday), I have a very unique look. Looking the way I do requires me to be sensitive on how I approach people, too. With a big and kind personality, I've found that it really doesn't matter what I look like. I've been told by some in the past that I would never get corporate gigs with my look/attire, and I've performed for GM, Isuzu Motors, Holiday Inn, etc. I was told by another magician that no church in their right mind would hire me with my look, and I do at least a half dozen church gigs per year.

If a person is confident in themselves, I think people are generally more accepting of people who aren't someone they would normally converse with. The best "tactic" to use is to just be honest with people. Drew gives solid advice. Just tell them what you are doing, and most people will be helpful. The ones that don't want to help aren't worth having in your video anyways.

I personally wouldn't change your look to accommodate others if you feel strongly about the character you are presenting. I've looked pretty weird my whole life, and I've never had a problem dealing with people who would normally find someone who looks like me difficult to deal with. I just had a meeting with our Deputy Chief of Police last week to discuss a publicity demonstration. He is in his 50's and extremely conservative. I appeared in jeans and a red flame silk shirt (coincidentally, the one I am wearing on my website). Not only was I able to get him on board with the stunt (it's a blindfold drive with people as the obstacle course), it was his word to the Chief of Police that got us the final approval. I seriously doubt that the Deputy Chief of Police and I are ever going to have dinner together, but I was professional, humble, and respectful and, most of all, honest. He was a very nice man to talk to, and we had a lot of fun talking about the upcoming event.

Since I don't like people judging me like a book (ya know, the whole cover thing), I am very careful not to extend that same discourtesy to others. Just because my impression of someone is that they may be ultra-conservative or that they might be negative towards me, doesn't mean that I should treat them any differently than I treat my closest friends.

25? You little whippersnapper!!! Smile Smile jk
"It's all in your head...."



James Anthony
www.spelz.net
Michael J. Douglas
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Hey E.C.,
I've never been a big fan of the "Wanna see somethin'?" intro. I know that if a stranger approached me and asked that, whether he was springing a deck of cards or not, I would most likely decline. Who knows what that something is, you know? Smile
If you haven't already done so, be sure to search through the Table hoppers & party strollers part of the Café. Many tips and ideas for approaching people have been shared there.

:goodluck:
Michael J.
�Believe then, if you please, that I can do strange things.� --from Shakespeare�s �As You Like It�
JoeJoe
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Here is something I posted a while back, should help you:

I used to pitch magic at a flea market... Every morning I would walk the length of the market, all the way down to the food court where I would order an egg sandwich. Along the way, I would naturally greet the other vendors...

"Hi" ... "Hi" ... "How you doing" ... "How you doing" ... "Hey there" ... "Hey"


After a while of doing this, I began to realize that neither myself nor the person I was greeting were actually paying each other any attention. I mean, I would ask a guy how he's doing, and his response was to ask me how I'm doing without either one of us actually answering each others questions - it was one of those major "DUH" moments.

From then on, I began to make an effort to greet people in such a way that they would pay me attention. I was louder, more direct, head up when I spoke, eye contact, and I began looking for ways to be more effective when I greeted people.

And I must confess, it has greatly helped me in approaching people with magic. If you want to be a better magician, then I suggest you walk around and greet everyone you pass...whether you know them or not. Don't worry about showing them magic, just focus on learning how to greet people. Learn how to crawl before you try to walk - just learn to say "hi" in a such a way that they take notice of you and not just respond with a mindless response.

There was a timeshare pitchman that worked the landing next to me...he had an uncanny ability to greet people. He held out his hand (as to shake yours) and just said "hey" in such a way that you would swear you knew this guy and were embarrassed that you forgot who he was... Very few people didn't shake his hand.

-JoeJoe
Watch the Pilot Episode of my new TV Show:As Seen on TV: The JoeJoe Magic Show
Dannydoyle
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Your "look" has everything to do with it. When you approach people with a similar taste, it will not bother them in the least.

If you want to work for other types of people, then you have to adjust.

Think of it this way, though. If I walked up looking like I do to people who dress like Criss Angel, they would most certainly look at me with the same sorts of looks you get from the other side. It is all relative.

Yes, people may not all want to see magic, and I don't like the idea of randomly walking up to people anyhow, but that is not your question or the debate. Keeping on point, it happens in BOTH cases.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
74magic92
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Don't approach people that seem like they are in a hurry.
Padawan Geek
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I agree with 74magic92; don't interrupt people if they are in a hurry, or if they look like they are in a business meeting (like at Starbucks). I go to the smoothie shop and, while people are waiting for their smoothies, I do a quick trick like Misled or Three Ring Circus.
Magic Enhancer
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Robert Haas
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I usually look for a group of people standing together talking. I will sneak up on them, then jump right in front of them, yelling loudly. I begin to pull out my cards and, in a very loud and obnoxious voice, say, "Hey, Missy, wanna see a card trick?"

Just kidding, of course.

Robert Haas
http://www.MagicEnhancer.com
Robert Haas
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cheesewrestler
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Why don't you just have your casting director hire the people you're going to perform for, and then have an assistant director coach them in how to react the way David does?
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