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Profile of AAC
First off, this is a long post, consider yourself warned.

So this is how the story goes.

My best friend came over and he wanted to go see his girl-friend who works at wal-mart.

So we make the trip, and I know that I'm going to be wandering around the store aimlessly for about an hour while he goes to lunch or whatever with her.

I go around the store about four times looking for somebody who is sitting down or just not busy in general after deciding I'm going to do something for a total stranger.

I saw the store greeter, a dad and his kid playing with one of those robotic dinosaur things.

I step in and make small talk with the two and decide I'm actually going to do this after saying to myself "You practice all the time, whats the use if you never actually do this."

When ever I leave the house, I always have my prediction in wallet ready to use.
So with my heart pounding I approach the little kid and did my trick.

It worked perfectly, expect for the fact it took me forever to get the little piece of paper I had wrote it on out of my wallet, it was on a piece of paper that couldn't have been any longer than an inch, I'm not quite sure the kid knew what was going on, I questioned myself on doing it for a young-in, he had to have been about 5 or 6 but, I knew the father would understand it, so I just wanted to make the kid a part of it, basically, I was doing it for the father who just said "yep, that's the card" and the store greeter seemed most impressed who said "Wow, how did you do that?". But all possible tension build-up was killed by how long it took me to get the piece of paper open with a deck of cards in my hands. Based off of the reactions, I felt like an idiot inside but didn't show it visibly.

Next I decided to do a trick that I have preformed perfectly for my best friend and his jaw dropped. He isn't impressed easily so I figured this trick would get SOME reaction, but one small problem, I had never done this with out a table.

So I do a torn and restored card trick that involves one card healing, and another tearing by riffling the deck. I had to have been visibly nervous but I was confident in my ability to preform the trick...So after showing the first card, and searching desperately for about 5 seconds for a place to "set-up" and place the cards, I stick it in my pocket, show the other, stick it in my pocket as well, my double lifts were bad I figure the dad had to have see me fishing for two cards as I know I did...But I went on. At his point I'm preforming bad and I get extremely disheartened and start to really question what I'm doing...momentary panic sets in...and...I forget the blasted card I had just shown using the double lift, THEN, I realize I just stuck two cards I usually have set side by side on a table, into my pocket, and forget which was shown first. I just looked at him and said "I just messed this up real good".
I don't know why, but I continue on with the motions of the trick even though I have just stated I messed up. This was extremely embarrassing, the guy looked at me like I was an idiot and I can't blame him. I try to lighten it up by saying "Did that make any sense to you, cause it didn't to me" or something like that, trying to induce a laugh by making fun of myself. Nope, not even a chuckle. He just looked at me like I was an idiot some more.

Thankfully, the store greeter didn't see any of this trick as she was busy checking some body's bag.

The guy walked off and it was just me and the store greeter.

Talked to her some more and asked if I could show her another trick, she happily said "I'd love to see another".

I had already set-up "The world's best card trick" that was featured on youtube, with my own twists and variations put into it. This trick is much easier to pull off if you are not at a table so you can go through the cards and tell somebody to touch one to pick it. The card changes in some body's hand when you do it away from a table as well. ( for those of you who don't know what I'm referring to)

WOO HOO! SUCCESS! I felt like I had redeemed myself for my failure before, the store greeter busted out laughing and said "That's not possible! How in the world did you do that?!".

I did various "Mind reading" tricks to determine the card in her hand using different forces every time, one had her holding the card up to the lights and checking for marked cards. I just stood there and grinned.

She became more and more impressed, I guess at this point she hasn't seen a single failure from me, even though I told her that I failed with the one she didn't see and thinks I'm a full blown card magician. She even asked me if I did this to make a living.
I felt more and more "unstoppable" with every effect, even though my first failure was REALLY bugging me, I was determined not to fail again.

She eventually asked me to do this for the customers walking into the store.
With my confidence through the roof and my nerves near totally gone I do what seems like a great idea...stupidly agree to do it for people I've never met in before in my 21 years of existence on the spot, with no planned patter what so ever.

Great idea, isn't it?

So she starts asking people, kids in particular if they'd like to see me do a card trick. So she stops a lil kid who had to have been about 10 or so, I decide to start simple and do a simple glide force, but I remember one small problem about this. I don't know the bottom card, so as I walk up to the kid I give the deck a quick flip, so quick in fact that I didn't see the number on the card, and resorted to making my best guess as to what the card was. So here I go, mister mind reader and give the kid some lines about burning the card into his mind.

Me: Burn it into your head ok? Harder, harder...there! It's black.
Kid: mmhmm
Me: high, not a court like a king queen's a a six but...upside down...9 of spades?
Kid: Nope.
Me: (blurted out) what!?
Store greeter: It's not.
(the mom of the kid laughs at me)
Me: Then what is it?
Kid: 8 of spades.
Me: Oh man, one off, it isn't easy to read a thought you know.

Confidence at this point slams into the floor, embarrassment sets in and I try my best to play it off. They walk off prolly thinking I'm an idiot as well.

She tries to stop other people, and I set up to do "The worlds best card trick" again, as that's the best effect I had done so far.

So to pass the time I ask her what the bottom card of the deck is and say "You sure?"
And I do a erdnase color change, now, seeing that I'm set up to do the trick I was going to show her that the face didn't change, but the back of the card changed. Expect nerves are running in me again because of my failure and I forget to even show her the fact that the ace is red, do the color change, and nothing exciting happens because I suddenly realize I didn't show her the back. She looks at me waiting for something to happen. so I'm like "um...yeah. the if you look at the back of your card" and momentary panic sets in and I do a face up thumb fan, or some sort of fan...lookie, two aces back to back aren't I just the greatest magician ever showing my clearly stacked deck...I don't think she noticed anything funny...I'm still trying to figure out what I was thinking when I did this...bad, bad idea.

She tells me that everybody makes mistakes don't worry about it...I had been telling her how much the first failure bugged me so she was just trying to build me back up.

So I have to redeem myself again...I step away for a few moments while she checks some body's bags and set up a classic ace assembly.

Thankfully a co-worker of her's comes by on break for lunch and I'm set up on some sort of flat surface finally, and do the trick, it goes by with out a hitch.

Then my friend finally calls and tells me he's coming...

So I head out, the store greeter tells me how much she enjoyed it and thanked me for the time I spent and effort I put out to entertain her and the customers. even though I messed up a few times, she didn't seem to care. Maybe she was just being nice?

That's the story, my first real experience with strangers.

I'm proud that I did it, I feel that I'm one small step closer to being a magician, illusionist or whatever you would want to call it, even though people just thought of me as some guy doing card tricks in wal-mart.

I'm still embarrassed over the failed tricks even though I'll prolly never meet any of those people again in my life...except for the store greeter who told me to come back any time I wanted.

A few lessons I have learned:

1. Be ready to do more than one trick, prepare at least three or four tricks you can do to the same person if you are planning on doing ANY trick.
2. Learn more than one school of magic...I know in another thread I said I would prefer to attempt to master one school before trying another, but people will simply become bored with card tricks eventually.
3. If you mess up, state that you messed up, laugh it off, and move to another trick instantly.
4. Talk to your spectators, then talk to them some more...Any time you're not talking to your spectator that's an open invitation for them to stare down your hands and watch for sleights.
5. Don't do something that you feel iffy about doing in your mind, if you can't do it with your eyes closed in practice, then don't do it for somebody in the real world.

And finally...

Just do it.

Don't let your nerves build up, don't give yourself time to think, spot a person, put a trick in your head, and do that trick then do another, do not stop except for reactions to your tricks. The longer you have to think about the fact that you are preforming for somebody you do not know, the more time you give your brain to react to that in a negative way.

If you're a beginner like me thinking about doing this, do it, you might be afraid of some the mistakes you might make, especially considering this post is little more than a horror story, but I promise you will not regret the fact you took the step to do it.

Over-all, I feel that I failed my preformance, but it was worth the lessons learned.

Thanks for reading.
Card trick hobbyist.
Electronic music producer.
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Profile of unorthadux
That's a great story, and I'll tell you this my friend, every magician on this forum can tell you the exact same thing hapened to them their first-time. Every magician on this forum has had a first time and I gaurentee most of them were not pretty. The best thing is though, you now know what it is like to have a stranger watching you. I still get the excitement, and my hands still shake a bit, but I believe the best way to overcome this is to keep doing magic for people. Then you get to the point where your only focusing on the conversation with the spectator, and the mechanics are automatic. Don't get discouraged by messing up, we've all done it, and continue to do it. And if it makes you feel better, my very first trick for a stranger was supposed to be an ACR, but I completely lost their card in the deck, and looked like a fool, turning up card after card asking "is this one yours?
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Profile of snap
Great story, AAC, the most important thing in magic is that we learn from our mistakes. I had a similar experience my first time, but I had the misfortune of being asked to perform at the talent show (with magic, of course), and since all I knew was close up magic, that's what I did, cups and balls to be specific, for 200 people. A lot of awkward silences, and some snickering from the corners (I was 12). Anyway, great story, and in my opinion, if you learn something, it's always worth it.

BTW, you have a very interesting writing style, something else I enjoyed about your story.
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Profile of AAC
Thanks to the both of ya for replying to the story.

I'm a personal believer in the saying: "If you learn from a mistake, the mistake was worth making...But if you didn't learn from the mistake, you're just stupid".
Card trick hobbyist.
Electronic music producer.
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Profile of Destiny
You've taken the blame yourself for your mistakes instead of blaming your props, location, spectators, God or the weather. You are going to do well.

Great story and wonderful that you've looked over what went wrong rationally - you won't make those mistakes again.

Don't beat yourself up about what went wrong though - congratulate yourself on what went right and remember you made the day a little more fun for some people - that is always good.
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Profile of kimmo
I enjoyed the story too - I'd echo plasticdestiny and say its good that you are prepared to learn from your mistakes and therefore far less likely to repeat them. Things go wrong all the time. The trick is to accept this fact and be prepared. Knowing what you will do in all possible situations will help to reduce the nerves. We have to learn to make mistakes look like part of the routine. I have messed up hundreds of times and I am always the only one who knows for sure. Knowing you had forgotten the force card in the mind-reading routine, you could have fanned the cards with the faces towards yourself as if looking for inspiration. When you mis-name the card and find out what it was, look a little deflated and take advantage of this moment to cut the actual selection to the top. Then say 'are you sure it wasn't the nine of spades?' and palm off the top card. Then say 'because I'm sure there isn't an eight of spades in this deck.' - hand the deck to the spectator and as they are looking through it for the eight of spades, simply stick it to your forehead and wait for the reaction when they look up. A lame trick to magicians, for sure, but as far as the spectator is concerned your goof was part of the trick!

Well done on your first performance though - I look forward tro reading about the next one. Smile

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Profile of Nick-V.
On 2006-11-11 11:24, AAC wrote:
Thanks for reading.

Thanks for writing.
Peace on the Magical Streets
~Nick V.~
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Profile of iceblade
Thanks for writing. That was a great story
Douglas Lippert
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Profile of Douglas Lippert
Why are you doing card tricks at Wal-Mart? Anyways, keep practicing and thanks for the story.
Douglas Lippert
Former I.B.M. Ring #8 Secretary
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Profile of pjpastir
My wife and I are 54 and back in our 20ys we performed a stage act which when I look back makes you look like a "PRO" Now that I look back we were so bad, but we had a dream and it is the only way to find out where the weakness lies !!!! Then you know where you need to focus your time, it must become "Effortless Mastery "
of what you do, so that you don't even need to think of what you are doing !!!!
Brent McLeod
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Profile of Brent McLeod
In a couple of years you will wonder what all the fuss was about!!

Great story
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