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Ross G
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Exeter, England
40 Posts

Profile of Ross G
I was in the local magic shop yesterday messing around and doing a few tricks for some customers when a few other magicians arrived. One is quite a respected card guy and he asked to see my coins through card box routine that he had heard about. Cue the shakes....

I have no idea why, but I always get nervous in front of other magicians, especially when showing my own routines. I get the shakes, my breathing goes funny and I generally make a fool of myself. These are routines I have done hundreds, maybe thousands of times, but I hate going through all the patter in front of magicians as I know they have heard all the gags far too often and this seems to throw me off.

Just wondered if this happens to anyone else and what approach do you take to performing for magicians in informal surroundings ?
Jaime Pirnie
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Tracy, CA
65 Posts

Profile of Jaime Pirnie
Ha, I have this same exact problem. Although I'm still very new to magic, I have a much easier time performing for laymen. I hate showing tricks to magicians because I have this hangup that they already know what I'm doing and thus it makes me feel stupid for showing someone something that they already know. I guess it will go away with time, but man I don't like it. Someone suggested that I perform at a local club meeting and I laughed. I'd never want to perform there - for a bunch of magicians. I don't know what it is, but it sure is difficult for me to perform for other magicians. I'm interested to hear what other experience folks have to say about this.

-Jaime Smile
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405 Posts

Profile of Allan
Please try to perform at magic clubs & for other magicians. I understand how you feel, but don't let it stop you. When performing for other magicians it is normal to be a bit nervous. You must try to get past it. The main problem with performing for magicians is that you will not get normal reactions to play off of. This will interfere with your timing & possible comedy. You will however learn to tighten up your routines. If the magicians on hand are friends, they will try give you help with your routines. You might be surprised with some of the suggestions you get. Don't disregard them without thinking about them first. This is the best place to get real input about your angles, routining & different ways or sleights that can help in the trick. Try it, I think you can only benefit.
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A good lecturer at your service!
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Profile of Paul
"but I hate going through all the patter in front of magicians as I know they have heard all the gags far too often and this seems to throw me off."

Then come up with some patter of your own rather than the tired old gags they've heard before. Smile

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Alabama, USA
174 Posts

Profile of Timothy
Once, a respected card man came to visit me when I worked in a magic shop, too. Click the link to find out who: Magic Shop Photo

I used to get nervous when experienced magicians came to visit the shop, too. I was only 20 years old in that picture and pretty new to magic. But if you take a deep breath and relax, you can turn it into a chance to learn something valuable. I learned a card trick from the man with "Million Dollar Hands"...Frank Garcia.

At the time, I was a member of the local magic club also. Members were encouraged to perform at meetings. I loved it because among your magical peers, brainstorming ideas, or showing how you do it can be valuable. Smile

Fear not, you are among friends!
David Fletcher
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238 Posts

Profile of David Fletcher
Two reasons I don't perform for magicians.
1. They don't pay
2. They steal my material

When I started out I spent time with other magicians sharing and learning. Still do. After 35 years at it, 28 as my job. Hang with the winners - the best you can find.
You have to give it away to keep it.
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Profile of metaphyzix
Hey Ross,

I worked in a magic shop, too, and I would also get the occassional magician dropping by to see what the deal is (no pun intended). I've grown over the fear of performing for other magicians. It's simply something that comes with time and experience. And it goes without saying that if you don't perform for magicians ever again, you're not gonna conquer this fear. And hey, you might even impress them.

If you're uncomfortable performing your own material in front of them, do something simple that every magician knows, but do it well (this includes putting up with the patter--its' just good showmanship). I'd rather see that than see somebody screw up their own routine and give me a bad impression.

Whenever I'm stuck performing for magicians at conventions (or where I worked) or where ever, I perform for them as if they were regular spectators--same patter and all. That's what the "pros" do. You shouldn't alter your presentation because they're magicians. After all, they requested to see YOUR routine, so give it to them =).
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A good lecturer at your service!
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Profile of Paul
On 2002-12-03 15:22, David Fletcher wrote:
Two reasons I don't perform for magicians.
1. They don't pay
2. They steal my material

When I started out I spent time with other magicians sharing and learning. Still do. After 35 years at it, 28 as my job. Hang with the winners - the best you can find.

Good advice, unless you work in a magic shop like Ross. He HAS to demonstrate. lol

Peter Marucci
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Profile of Peter Marucci
David Fletcher wrote:
Two reasons I don't perform for magicians.
1. They don't pay
2. They steal my material

Well, I happily perform (lecture) for magicians because:
1: They DO pay.
2: I certainly hope they use my material; after all, that's what I'm there for.

About the only reason I can think of for not performing for magicians is that they are usually solely interested in the method and not the presentation.
And that's unfortunate.
Given the poor state of most magicians' presentation abilities, one would think this is an area where the desire for improvement would be the greatest.
Sadly, no.
But, other than than, performing for magicians should be no different than performing for laymen.
Of course, those words -- "should be" -- can be an awfully high hurdle sometimes.
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Henrietta NY / Chicago Ill
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Profile of jlareau
Well put, Peter.

I love performing in front of magicians, for the sole reason that I can get feedback from people who really know the intricacies of what I'm doing.

Think of it this way:
I have two close friends who are 'laymen' that I usually show my new routines to. Usually I'll show them the 'Beta' version of a trick, using their advice to shape how I perform the routine for a regular audience.
However, they don't neccesarily understand how complicated (or simple, as the case may be) the trick really is. Therefore, sometimes their opinions on performance aren't neccesarily feasible, although they usually are some great challenges.

When performing for a magician, your audience (The Magi) can look through a spectators' eyes and give you advice on presentation AS WELL AS advice on the handling/manipulation of the props from his/her own experience.

Jonathan Lareau A.K.A "Jonny Card Trick"
"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein

Feel free to check out my website
Jim Robinson
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Profile of Jim Robinson
I would suggest you find Eugene Burger's "Performance of Close Up Magic" and read what he has to say about performing for magicians.

I think the reason we get nervous in front of magicians is that we know that we are not fooling them, yet we are still trying to fool them. I find that there are two solutions to that. 1) Do material that they aren't familiar with and do it well. You will fool them. 2) Read Fitzkee's "Showmanship for Magicians." He says that preserving the secret of a trick should not over-shadow the presentation of a trick. He says it much better.

Or better off, just go read Eugene Burger. You'll realize that the technicalities of just being able to fool someone is like walking when what you should be doing is dancing.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.... He to who this emotion is a stranger ... is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." Albert Einstein
Eric Grossman
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St. Louis, MO
429 Posts

Profile of Eric Grossman
I look at it from the other perspective. I love seeing magicians perform. That includes effects that I do, because I always enjoy seeing someone else's take. I assume that other magicians feel the same, so I enjoy sharing my little piece of the pie with them.
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Profile of Schaden
I think it is because you are scared of giving away the method. Maybe, you shouldn't worry about the method and focus more on the art part of the trick. Because, anyone can do a coin or card trick but, the real magic present it as real magic. So, next time just think of them as laymen and not magicians.

Hope this helps
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Upstate NY, USA
746 Posts

Profile of iwillfoolu
I worked at a magic shop for a few years and I found out that a lot of people say they are magicians even if they only know a few tricks. Yes occassionally I would have the pleasure of performing for some of the local professionals and am grateful to them for pointing me in the right direction. They saved me hours of practice, hundreds of dollars, and lots of hair pulling. I cannot count the number of times a fellow magician help me work out some of the fine details that make certain tricks play well. Maybe they suggest you add a move, which may make a routine a real miracle.

Also, magicians can tell you if you flash something you shouldn't. If anything, I am more nervous in front of a crowd of paying customers. Magicians are on your side. They will never yell out, "It's in your other hand." They will watch what you do and possibly comment after you're done. It's part of our lifestyle. We all want to advance the art and sometimes one performance can spawn new ideas for others. Please perform for magicians. I look foward to seeing routines from other magicians (except the 21 card trick or the Burglars story ahhhhhhh!)


PS Try thinking of ways to fool those that should know how a trick is done. I loved fooling people with props they owned. Check out Marlo's "Without Tears"
Magician and Balloon Twister
New York Magicians
Magician New York
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Profile of Ellusionist
I like being the guy that comes in wanting to see those magicians perform for me...maybe it's a control thing Smile
ç h r ï § ç h æ f f è r
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Profile of ixnay66
Perform for magicians exactly how you perform for a layperson. Why should it be different? Have you ever seen Eugene Burger perform a trick for you knowing you're a magician? Or Johnny Ace Palmer? Nothing is different.
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Profile of KingStardog
You should be honored. If you flash flub or falter. These are the folks that can spot it and help you see it too. Just don't listen to the wise cracks.
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
Sid Mayer
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Santa Fe, NM
656 Posts

Profile of Sid Mayer
Professional magicians are professional audiences. They tend to be attentive, polite and, if you ask them, helpful. It's true that their reactions are not "normal" and, unless you've really killed them, muted. However, they are still the very best audiences you can get.

Amateur magicians are very bad audiences. Most of them, being almost by definition, socially challenged, are interested in wise-cracking and interrupting to attract attention to themselves.

Please note that I am using the words "professional" and "amateur" in context to refer to attitude rather than pay scale.

So, loosen up, know who you're working in front of, and, if you don't like it, who can make you do it.

For the thin skinned among you, all of the above is merely a personal, totally unqualified opinion.

All the world's a stage ... and everybody on it is overacting.
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
6584 Posts

Profile of Scott F. Guinn
Darwin Ortiz has a great take on this in "Strong Magic," where he says that when you perform for magicians, you should just do what you perform for laymen, because most magicians are just laymen with rabbits on their business cards!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
My Lybrary Page
Ron Giesecke
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Redding, Ca.
944 Posts

Profile of Ron Giesecke
Scott (vis a vis Darwin) is right. I'll never forget arriving early for a Jay Sankey lecture in Sacramento. You know how it goes. . .magicians hanging around two hours early, talking shop. . .all that.

I performed the cups and balls for a room full of magicians (Jay was not present) and got a killer reaction. Why? because most of them had spent very little time even exploring this classic. Believe it or not, there was a disporportionately large group of them that had no idea how I got the vegetables under the cups.

I've already said this in another area, but if you're willing to put on an honest presenation to a group of magicians, than you're probably better than most of them.
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