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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » How to start a routine in a walk-around setting (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

erlloyd
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Hi everyone,
As you can see, I'm relatively new to the Café, and also relatively new to magic in general. This upcoming weekend, I have my first real public performance outside of my family and friends. I'll be walking around at an outdoor event for a Collie Rescue Organization where I volunteer. I don't have very many routines, but the ones I'm planning on performing I have down well. The only thing that is concerning to me is how to start doing tricks for people in the first place.

For some reason I'm a little uncomfortable just walking up to people and asking 'do you want to see a magic trick'? Partially because there is no way for them to know I'm not just a stranger, I'm actually part of the event (no special outfit, etc). Partially because I don't have a good response planned if they just plain say 'no'.

What are some suggestions you guys have for how to start an short routine in a walk-around setting? If there's a specific type of act that lends itself to a smooth opening, I have a couple coin routines, a rope routine, a sponge ball routine, and 5 or 6 card routines.

Thanks in advance.

~Eric
george kaye
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Hello Eric,
I also find it very difficult to break into a group of strangers who are talking! I was brought up never to interupt and old habits die hard.
The way I get round it is to take a pocket full of 2x60 balloons. Just stand between as many groups as possible and blow up a balloon, by the time it is blown up you should have somebodies attention! Quickly make a simple balloon dog, give it to a lady and say "Here, let me show you ........." and you are away. Try to make at least one trick funny and then some other groups will wonder what the laughter is about.
I hope this helps.
George
Jaxon
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I just made a post about this this morning. It explains why we sometimes feel this way and gives a few suggestions on how to improve on it.

I'll put the link below so you can read it in more detail. But if this is a real problem and you seem to need a "Quick solution" to get through this upcoming event. Georges advice has some merit but be careful with starting with a balloon or you might end up getting requests for nothing but balloons.

Basically if you can build up the courage to approach and perform for one single group then you're at least in the door. Be sure to make them laugh because laughter is contagious and will generate attention to others near by.

If you go to a group and they don't seem to respond to strongly. Don't let that get to you. Finish that one trick and move on with a friendly "Have a nice night". You don't want anyone to feel you're pushing yourself on them. So keep going and you'll find that group that really gets into it. Once that happens you pretty much "Own the room" and will even start to get requests (Can you come to our group when you're done here?).

Believe me I know it's hard. Imagine you have to do it when you're deaf (Like I am). If I can overcome this anyone can.

Read this below post. I know it'll start kind of boring but read it all the way through suggestions at the end are designed to "Help" with this (Not a short but some steps to actually eliminate the problem in the long run).

Here it is:
http://themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic......41&0

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
erlloyd
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Ron,
I saw your post almost right after I posted my original message! That is definitely some good advice, and I'll make sure to keep it in mind this weekend.

The other way I was hoping to get people's attention was similar to the balloon idea. I was going to do something flashy behind or off to the side of a group of people, and then introduce myself when they turn and look. I have a couple productions with flash paper down, but the event is outside (outside = wind) and flash paper seems to me to lose some of it's 'wow' ability outside.

Any other thoughts?
Jaxon
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This is only a suggestions. I don't know you or your personality but it's just another possibility for you to think about.

Since it's outside I'm thinking it's kind of like a picnic atmosphere. I may be wrong on that but I'm assuming that it'll be similar in a way that people will just be socializing. If you don't put yourself into the "I'm a Magician" state of mind right away it might help. In other words you're just one of them talking and meeting people. Just walk around a little and nod and say hello to people. Chances are someone will eventually offer you a hand to shake or you offer yours to them. They might even start a conversation (Where are you from? Do you think it's gonna rain" etc...). So you're not yet being a magician. Just meeting the crowd.

Now you're not a complete stranger to everyone there. At least a few of them had said hello to you in some way.

Now it'll be much easier to get into the performers mode. If you're hired to be there (I'm guessing you are) you can casually mention that to some people when you meet them. "I was asked to come and do some magic here today". This alone might get you started. I especially like to target a group that has kids to get started. I'm not even a children's magician but if I'm talking to a couple that have their kids. Once I mention that I'm a magician it's easy to look at the kids and ask, "Do you like magic?"? Then do a trick for them. Make sure it's something that'll make them laugh and watch out for shy kids. Make the kids happy and you'll make the adults happy.

So basically just be social and "Wing it" as far as when to start performing. Be friendly and fun to be around and the rest will fall into place once you're a likable person.

Another thought. If you know at least one person there. Perform for them. Even if they see you all the time. Show them your latest thing. This might catch the attention of people near by.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
erlloyd
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Great ideas! Thanks for the help! You're exactly right about the picnic atmosphere!

To follow-up, though, I pose another question: I've found that kids seem to like sponge ball routines (especially when the balls multiply in their hands). Any suggestions on how to make my routine 'funnier'? Right now I do pretty standard patter about putting one ball here, one ball there, 1, 2, 3, and the ball moves magically.

I also do a 'counting' bit where I count the number of balls that go into my hand (1) and my pocket (2), and magically there are always 3 in my hand.

As I said, I'm just starting my public performance of magic, and I'm not looking to steal lines from other people's routines, but if anyone knows of some good 'funny' ideas of how to spice up a sponge-ball routine, I would appreciate it.

Thanks again!
magic_man_jim
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Carl Andrews does a nice bit about Inny and Mini...he uses one regular sponge ball a smaller one and then an even smaller on for his routine...but you can build on this plot maybe use moe and curly and reference them in some way...just a idea.

As for starting in a crowd the ideas above are all things I have used...Something else I use a lot, is if I have people I know around(which you might not in this case) If not I use my first few people I meet. I do a few tricks and then I talk about how use mental infulence a lot with my magic and offer a test. I am holding a deck of card I tell everyone there that on the count of 3 I want them to react like they have seen the most amazing thing they have ever saw. You will be surprised what people will do here, all of this is disguised as a test to see how much attention we can get, and to see the amount of people that will come over to see what is going on after the yelling! Then when more people come over I bring out the good stuff to keep the reactions going!

Hope this helps
Magic is not to fool...but allows you to believe!

Jim Boothe
www.jimboothemagic.com
jim@jimboothemagic.com
JamesTong
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Since you can already do quite a few things with sponge balls, I would suggest do what you are already familiar with and focus on making people enjoy your time with them - entertain and have fun with the audience.
Jaxon
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I agree with James.

In addition let me share a routine I often do. Especially if you happen to do what I mentioned in my last post about meeting parents then asking their kids if they like or want to see some magic. I'm assuming you already know the basics from what you already told us. In other words you can have them hold one and you hold one and you're travels into their hand (They now have two). So I won't go over the method. Just the process and order of effects.

I pull one sponge ball out of my pocket. I actually pull two out but one is finger palmed. Have them hold onto the ball but secretly give them both of them (2). Openly pull another out of your pocket. Vanish it and it appears in the kids hand (They now have 2).

Have them hold onto both but secretly add the palmed ball (They think they have two but they have three). Pull another out of your pocket, vanish it and they now have 3.

Now you can go into a standard 3 ball routine (You have 4 so you're one ahead).

If the situation is right you can go into a sponge balls over the head routine.

If you have a jumbo sponge ball that can be a great finale.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
JackScratch
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Whole books have been written on this subject alone. I find it's really best if you approach people in a way that makes it seem like their idea. You want to get their attention and their interest before you actually engage them. Sound tough? It is. I would never suggest this as a good method, but I actually use a card flourish routine starting with the card spring. If I don't have the person or groups undivided attention by the time I'm done, I move on to the next group.
erlloyd
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Thanks for the help, everyone! Wish me luck, and I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!
Cody Comet
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I think it would be alright to go up and ask the people if they want to see a trick or not,as long as you have a name tag stating that you are a magician for the event. If you still aren't comfy going up and asking that,then one thing you could do would be to start with a card trick and say "I would like to show you my two favorite card tricks,my 2nd favorite card trick 1st and my 1st favorite card trick 2nd. Then I will go away." The people figure that it's only 1 or 2 card tricks, it can't be that bad. But when you fool them with you card trick or 2,they won't wan't you to leave,so you can be free to do more tricks for them. I learned this from Mark Mason's lecture "It Beats Working" Hopefully,my advice is actually good for you and not pointless.
Nedim
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Hi,

JamesTong gave a great advice. It really important. Sometimes magicians forget entertainment. But this is the most important part.


magicially yours,


Nedim Guzel
pradell
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[quote]On 2007-09-25 11:45, erlloyd wrote:
1. I don't have very many routines,
2. I'm a little uncomfortable just walking up to people and asking 'do you want to see a magic trick'?
3. There is no way for them to know I'm not just a stranger, I'm actually part of the event (no special outfit, etc).

First, with walkaround magic, you don't need many routines! Provided you work in small groups, you can actually perform the same trick over and over for each new group! What a great way to polish up on an effect! Feedback over and over!

Second, don't just walk up to someone and say, "Do you want to see a magic trick?" This allows the potential audience to say "no." Why give them the chance? Instead, introduce yourself either by name or simply by going into your first routine. Don't give them the chance to say no!

Third, why not let them know who you are? Costumes are great. They set you apart from the audience immediately, establish you as the "professional" and give you something to talk about, i.e. your silly hat, bow tie, etc. They announce you even before you start the performance. The audience is ready even before you begin simply by looking at you. This makes it easier to begin. Also, a persona allows you to more easily get into character and do a little acting. Often this is less scary because now you're being someone else, not yourself. Back in the day when I tried my first mime show it was amazing how creative having the face paint was in allowing me to free myself of old habits, patters, etc. I was someone else...I could be anything!

Good luck. Don't worry. You'll do just fine.

:magicrabbit:
JackScratch
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Important advise. Never ask a "Yes or No" question like "Would you like to see a magic trick". The answer will be "no" more often than not. If they truly have a particular disinterest in seeing your work, they wont need prompting to tell you. The problem is you are asking them a question they do not have enough information to answer. That's why I always suggest getting their attention before engaging them.
erlloyd
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Hi all,
So, the event came and went, and the results were pretty good. It turned out I had more than enough material, and there were plenty of kids around who wanted to see magic. I wanted to thank everyone here for all the advice, it really helped me out during the picnic!
Jaxon
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I'm glad to hear it turned out well. I was sure it would.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
Nedim
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Don't forget the entertainment.


magicially yours,


Nedim Guzel
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