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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Dealing with Stone Man (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Eddie Torres
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New York City
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How do you all deal with stone man? The guy who sits in the restaurant unimpressed by anything you might do while everyone else is going nuts. Usually I don't care about it if everyone else is reacting, but sometimes stone man will bring the entire act down and get the rest of the people at the table staring blankly at you at the end of a routine. USually I'll just leave the table early because while they asked for magic they don't seem to care for it and while the most important part for me is getting paid, blank stares don't feel very nice at the end of something you've put your heart into. So besides simply cutting the set short, any suggestions?
Eddie Ivan Torres
Daegs
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USA
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Get him out of his shell and on your side, as indirectly as possible but be direct if needed.

Generally "stone men" aren't really bad, they just have a different way of appreciating the magic, however if they are bringing others down, work them into routines in a way that will make it impossible for them to bring everyone down.
denny_Corby
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PA
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I like Bill Malones line for someone like that. " Sir either laugh it up, or get out"!!!!!!!!!!
Leland Stone
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My wife deals with The Stone Man by covering her face with her hands and screaming, "NO! NO MORE MAGIC TRICKS...PLEASE!!!" Smile

Leland
Alan Munro
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Kentwood, Michigan, USA
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If he's not the type who will perk up when involved in a routine, it's best to focus on those who are reacting. Those who react have trouble relating to someone who isn't reacting. "Stone man" has little influence on their behaviour.
patrick flanagan
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Majikabra,
We've all run into these types. Honestly, it is the most rewarding experience to flip someone from complete apathy to being totally into the magic and wanting more. Your comment about the "most important part is getting paid" is somewhat disturbing. The most important part, in my opinion, is providing your services to the best of your abilities. Everyone enjoys magic on a different level (and some don't enjoy it at all). I think that is something that we, as magicians, forget. We LOVE magic, but not everyone does. Many people LOVE opera; I would be a "stoneman" if I were approached by an opera singer.
Patrick
Ron Giesecke
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If they're truly that hard to crack, then move on. You're vexing yourself and wasting perfectly good energy on them.

Of course, they may be an organic part of your paid experience, and perhaps you can't "move on." It is then imperative that you compartmentalize and try to re-create the rest of the people into a separate "theater" and make them feel independent of the drag. It's not easy, but it can be done many times.

We are, however, limited, and sometimes find these situations horribly depressing. Fortunately, the majority of our performing experiences are not as such.

One last thing. I've had these exact moments, where I plodded through, with little or no feedback. But I DID maintain my professional demeanor and presenation. I've later run into people from that lifeless party who recall it as one of the best things they had ever seen. So I've learned that what we percieve to be a bad venue may not be seen the same way by the recipients.

Best to you . . .
BrianMillerMagic
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CT
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In addition to doing things such as bringing people into a "separate theater" and such as some have brought up, but I always love to use one line on these occasions. The line is Greg Wilson's (or at least that's who I have heard use it often):

"This guy's sitting here goin, 'You can't fool me, I'm stone man! I budge for no one; you'd better be good magic boy!' "

I'm sure many of you have seen Wilson do this. It often does help to loosen the stone man up as well as get a good response from the rest of the group, which will also loosen things up.
TheAmbitiousCard
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You can give them something easy to do and see if they change their mood.
give them a selected card to hold or cover up with their hands. Have them hold something temporarily. This tells them that you don't mind that they are not reacting strongly. You're still including them.

I have a few thoughts:
They could have been put off by your approach and/or your opening effect. Did you walk up like a rock star (like the book says to) and do something flashy and talk like a used car salesman to get everyone's attention and let them know that you are ultra-nifty and fun? I don't think that approach works as well as most of us like to believe. That sets up a wall that now needs to be taken down for a lot of folks.

Making comments can sometimes make things worse. They could be self-conscious about their own inability to react strongly. They are not necessarily tyring to bring down the show. Commenting about someone that is self-conscious already is a bad idea.
If this is the case, Bill Malone's line, of course, is a completely ridiculous choice and Gregory Wilson's line is not far behind. It's your job to decide and take the chance on those. They could be great but you'd better know exactly who you're up against by that time.

Quiet with arms crossed is not the same as quiet with arms crossed, eyes rolling, and smirking.
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Leppy
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Eden Prairie, MN
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I've watched a few people watching performers just to guage their reaction. Some people just don't know how to react to what they've seen sometimes. My son used to be like this for the most part, now I get a grin from him that tells me he's lost. My wife is the same at times. Al Schneider had given a lecture that she attended with me. She was surprised, but no reaction from her very much at all. I later found out that magic was so new to her, she didn't know how to react to what she saw. After watching me practice on her, I now get the surprise look on her face. I don't think this is true for all Stone People, but for some, I think it is valid.

Thanks and take care,

Patrick
AaronTheMagician
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First: Leland, I know exactly how you feel...you know, having the same last name and all...

Anyway, keep in mind that some people actually judge people or do reviews for a living, and it's common practice to keep a straight unbiased face. This is VERY common in good speaker judging in debate or interpretation events. Judges will frequently make no noise, no facial expressions or anything during the performances, so their true reactions don't bring the weaker performers down (just as a fairness tactic to make everyone feel like they have an equal chance). While other judges may, in fact, over exert their reactions for the same effect.

The point is...some people actually wire themselves to be Stone Men and to get them out of that requires you to make them feel comfortable with the situation. Granted, in most cases it Is best to just back off. Personally, I don't think anyone is completely uncrackable. Just remember what the person probably thinks about you:

1. You are a magician. That means it's for kids.
2. You're trying to fool him or her, want to make them look dumb (a past experience can cause this thought). You're not an entertainer.
3. Magic is nothing more than an overrated dime-store hobby, and simply can't be interesting, and people are stupid for thinking it is.

These are sad points, but very true for some people. As the old adage goes: The first step to recovery is identifying the problem. Once you know that it isn't you at fault (after you've made sure your approach, demeanor, and material is not brickwalling), all you have to do it crack the code to their firewall. There is no certain way to do this. If you read people well, it'll be easier, but if not...try not to risk it. Some people can get upset very easily.

One of the best way's I've found to crack such people is to find something that is relevant to them. Ask them and the people around them what they do for a living. What brings them to town? How's the food? Haven't gotten it yet? Well, what did you order?? (Don't use more than one question unless you have to. K.I.S.S. Just make small talk, learn about them for a minute or so, and look for your key element to relate to that person to let them know you're a regular guy just like him and you just want him to have a good time...on HIS level, on HIS terms, with words He'll like to hear). Boom. Best audience you'll ever have if you nail it.

That is, of course, if you decide to try it. Be careful, still. You don't want to put someone in a tense situation. Don't put them on the spot. Keep everyone involved.

Magically,
Aaron Stone
twistedace
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Without going into much detail: Do one or two tricks...if he is unresponsive but the rest of the table is into it do one more. If the rest of the table is not responsive move on. You have all night to amaze people and make them laugh.
Skip Way
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"Please sir, try to control yourself."

"Highly emotional, isn't he?"

"Do you often travel with your statuary?"

"Has anyone recently checked his pulse?"

"I got a better response than this at the catatonic ward."

"Does he bite?"

<Twilight Zone Theme> " Doo doo doo doo doo doo...."

To the stone man, "Hello! Welcome...to...Earth. Shazbat! Nanoo Nanoo!"
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
RicHeka
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Quote:
On 2007-01-05 11:32, Skip Way wrote:
"Please sir, try to control yourself."

"Highly emotional, isn't he?"

"Do you often travel with your statuary?"

"Has anyone recently checked his pulse?"

"I got a better response than this at the catatonic ward."

"Does he bite?"

<Twilight Zone Theme> " Doo doo doo doo doo doo...."

To the stone man, "Hello! Welcome...to...Earth. Shazbat! Nanoo Nanoo!"


:rotf: Great Skip!
TheAmbitiousCard
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Northern California
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Nice post Aaron Stone.
All well said.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
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meyegr
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I hate to be the one that breaks the news, but not everyone is excited with magic. Even if you are good (yeah there are a couple truly good performers out there), some just don't care for it. So what? Does it bruise your ego?

Making comments about them and their 'stoneness' I think is very immature and makes one look like a jerk.

Just ignore them or walk away. Remeber you are probably representing and establishment other than yourself, so show some respect.
patrick flanagan
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I agree with meyegr. If "stoneman" can't be flipped and the rest of the table is enjoying your routine, go on as planned. If the "stoneman" is deflating the performance for the rest, wish them well and move on. It doesn't matter to me, I have about 100 other tables to approach.
Patrick
twistedace
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I wouldn't use any of those lines on an already unimpressed or not that into it spectator. I think that if someone uses those lines, it makes the table laugh at that person's expense...which definitely will not get stone man on your side. Just my 2 cents.
ToasterofDoom
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I think trying to involve someone that's obviously not interested will only have negative results. It's been said here, but I'll say it again. Leave...
Skip Way
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Humor is subjective and it's use in any situation is a matter of common sense. A pro should know when a person may be turned or is dead set on being obstinate...and act accordingly. These lines may and have done the trick...in the right situations. Frankly, if the rest of the table is having a good time, the sourpuss is their problem...not mine. I'm not going to sacrifice the fun-loving majority for a grumpy old fart unless he's on the verge of violence or outright anger.

I'm not saying that Ace or Toaster are wrong...simply different strokes for different personalities. I love a challenge.

Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
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