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Martin_H
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or the "don´t do" rules in magic...
What do you think should a magician avoid when performing (some other view of the "what makes a good close up magician" thread). There are still so many magicians offending or boring the audiance, maybe we can find some rules what to avoid, also to check back our own behaviour...??
What do you think about it Smile?
Martin
life is real magic
David Fogel
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Wow -- where does one start?! So many "don'ts," so little time!

My number one *don't* when it comes to magic is don't perform your tricks with a 'smart-alecky' attitude! It sounds trite, but if they don't like you, they won't like your magic.

A corollary to this is: don't perform magic unless you truly, genuinely like people. I've seen magicians that go through the motions, they even have the smile pasted on their face. But you can tell that it's work for them. And you can tell that they're not enjoying themselves. You must enjoy yourself, or your lack of enjoyment will come through.

Reminds me of the old joke "it's all about integrity; once you can fake that, you've got it made!"

Despite the fact that an essential ingredient of what we do is fool people -- you just can't be a phony and be a good magician!
davidfogel@attbi.com



"I'm not a praying man, but if you're up there, Please save me Superman!"

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Burt Yaroch
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I agree with Dave. I would add that if you're going to make someone look foolish with your sucker effects, make sure it's you. Smile
Yakworld.
Eric Starkey
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Here's a DON'T and a DO for when you're not performing.

DON'T perform at a venue where another performer is being payed to work.

DO learn how to behave like an adult when you're in another performer's audience.

After 3 days of trading stories with Jamy Ian Swiss & Simon Lovell (at the Deception Convention) I have come to realize just how big of a problem this is for professionals and amatuers alike.
Scott F. Guinn
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DON'T get me started! Don't EVEN get me started!
"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
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Martin_H
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Scott, don´t hesitate.....
Martin
life is real magic
Peter Marucci
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DON'T go on too long.
Three minutes can be a long time for a performer -- and an eternity for the audience.
Remember the old show business adage:
"Leave 'em wanting more."
cheers,
Peter Marucci
M.P.D.
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Well... I perform in comedy clubs mostly so I can get a way with a bit more than usual. even still you cannot cross the line in offending people with some smart remark. when I perform, several tables are watching at the same time so I have to pay attention on what I say, who I am laying the jokes on, and how I routine things for that particular crowd... otherwise.... i'll drop dead on stage. Smile
ColinB
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All good points posted above, especially David Fogel's.

For "Worse Behaviour" in magic performance, I would say pomposity and arrogance. I once saw a very highly-skilled magician giving a lecture at a magic club meeting, who expresssed half-joking irritation when the audience didn't applaud in the "right" places.

During his act, he also bemoaned the fact that he didn't do kids' shows any more as children were too badly behaved these days.

The icing on the cake came after he made a balloon dog. In the audience sat a 14-year old magician who earlier had demonstrated some quite advanced card manipulation skills, well beyond his years. The Great Master asked the young chap if he would like the little balloon doggie to keep. When the boy politely declined, the lecturer seemed visibly offended.

All very sad, really, as I came away with some excellent tricks and ideas from this man, but also a good lesson on how not to perform them.
Tom Cutts
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Rule #1 in my book
"Don't get Scott started."
Smile
ColinB
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Well how do we get Scott started?
Tom Cutts
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Smile NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Smile
Scott F. Guinn
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Don't be a jerk.

Don't treat people as if they are stupid.

Don't believe your own promo material.

Don't be a jerk.

Don't think that just because YOU can't see your pass, nobody else can!

Don't do someone else's routine, move for move, word for word, especially if that person's personality is not all like yours.

Don't try to be funny if you're not.

Don't be a jerk.

Don't assume constructive criticism from another magician is actually just "professional jealousy."

Don't ask someone for their name, forget it, ask them again, forget it again, etc.
Don't use political or religious humor on an audience with which you are not very familiar.


Don't assume that everyone thinks you are as witty, charming and talented as you think you are.

Don't be a jerk.

Don't say things like, "What, you're too good to applaud? What are you, crippled?" They just might be!

Don't assume that everyone really wants to watch you do nothing but flourishes for an hour straight--unless you're at a magic club or convention with a predominantly younger crowd!

Don't be a jerk.

Don't disparage other magicians (not even Blaine) in the course of your show in front of laymen. Whether it's true or not, this only makes you seem petty and jealous.

Don't make lewd jokes and leer just because your female participant from the audience is attractive and well-endowed.

Don't treat people, particularly the elderly, as if you are impatient with them.

Don't be a jerk.

Don't imagine that if your material is going over poorly, that you must just be "too hip for the room!" On the other hand...

If you've got a show that you've done hundreds, or even thousands of times to great response, and one night you don't get quite the response, don't assume that that show doesn't "play" anymore.

Don't let one mistake or bad performance discourage you. use it as a learning experience.

Don't be a jerk.

Don't think that you are "too good" to practice and rehearse anymore.

Don't mistake good-natured interaction for "heckling."

Don't curse in church and school shows, or any show where children are present.

And, oh yeah, I almost forgot...

DON'T BE A JERK!
"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
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trevorsmagic
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There, Colin. You were warned... hee hee Smile Smile Smile Smile
ColinB
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Well, I think it's better out than in.

But all excellent points, too!
Dennis Michael
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Come on Scott, a jerk's got to make a living too!

I kind of like Sylvester the Jester, Gallager, Chevy Chase, Don Rinkles, Jerry Lewis, The Amazing Johnathan and the many others who make a living out of being a jerk!

Smile
Dennis Michael
Jason Fleming
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I love all those guys too. Add Steve Martin.

I think that if we act crazy or push the envelope and the audience feels good, happy, alive, whatever, then we did good.

If they feel bad, disgusted, offended...we blew it.

I always loved The Amazing Jonathan's subtle eye contact with his audience foils that let them know he is kidding, and that they can feel "in on the joke" with him.



Great discussion!

:coffee:
Scott F. Guinn
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I don't think any of those guys are jerks, except Rickles (not in life, but in his act), and those who would be successful with a Rickles-type act are few and far between indeed!

The rest may tease, good-naturedly, but they are not jerks.

Maybe jerks do need to make a living, but not by performing in front of people and ruining the art that I love!
"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
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Paul
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Great advice and post from Scott.

Regarding the statement from colin B:
I once saw a very highly-skilled magician giving a lecture at a magic club meeting, who expresssed half-joking irritation when the audience didn't applaud in the "right" places.

To be honest, you never get the same buzz doing a trick in a lecture as for lay people, I personally find it difficult to switch on, plus you are doing more ,material in a lecture than you would do in your act (at least I do). But having said that,you CAN get even magicians to applaud in the right places using simple showmanship techniques. Maybe this highly skilled lecturer you refer to was not really someone that worked much for the public? What was Scott saying about jerks again? Smile

Paul Hallas
ColinB
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Well Paul, though he was not that well known to me, he claimed to perform for the general public, at corporate functions etc, which was confirmed when I checked out his website beforehand.

As you say, a magic club lecture is a different environment than a lay audience, and we were a relatively small gathering. I'm not sure a small magic club lecture is the place to expect hearty applause after every twist and trick, but he certainly seemed to expect it before he would move on to the next item, and expressed mild impatience if it was late coming. I also found it strange that a good proportion of his repertoire was aimed at children (balloon animals, silk into puppet etc), yet he made it clear he no longer did such shows for the badly-behaved children of today.

Maybe it was a case of the audiences have changed, but he hadn't, and didn't want to.

There again, perhaps he treats his lay audiences differently to the way he treated us, but I did feel he was generally giving us his "act". I can imagine that kind of superior disdain for an audience working 20 or more years ago, but not sure it would today.

I don't know, maybe I was the jerk, but throughout the act I felt I was enjoying the tricks, but developing an increasing dislike for this rather pompous man. There again, I felt that was a good lesson in itself.
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