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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Enhancing Your Ability to Work Wonders - by Brad Burt » » You screwed up...don't panic (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Brad Burt
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Yo, gang:

The question was asked: "What do I do if I flash a sleight or drop something, etc."

I've answered this probably a dozen times, but I like to rewrite stuff on the off chance that I see a new angle. Well, not so much this time, but here's my answer:

This has been covered before, but it's a real problem when you are just getting started. The solution is oddly simple: Never, ever, ever admit you have made a mistake no matter how blatant it might seem to YOU. Always, always, always proceed as if the mistake did not happen. In the vast majority of cases the audience will not know that anything untoward has happened UNLESS YOU TELL THEM! Don't TELL THEM! (Doctor, doctor it hurts when I do this...Don't do that!)

Here's an example of getting out of the worst possible senario. This actually happened to me. I had the card selected, signed, placed back in the deck. I started the routine proper and ..... flubbed. I literally lost the deck from my hands and it fell to the floor. I don't know, just a bit nervous..whatever, but it happened.

Here's how I recoverd: Without missing a beat I looked at the audience and said the following (more or less), "O.k., does everyone understand what is going on? The procedure, etc.? GREAT! O.k., let's start again and do this." Until you tell the audience that you did in fact screw up they mostly won't know. You HAVE to work past what you preceive as a problem and 99.5% of the time it will work itself out. Look in the case just noted...EVEN if they intuit that you DID in fact screw up they will give you props for not acting like a jerk and just going on. It's called professionalism and people recognize it and appreciate it.

I just picked up the deck and started the entire routine over again and did just fine. I did it as if it was 'kind of' a joke, but very, very low key.

What throws a professional show off are stage waits while the freaked out performer tries to figure out what he should do. You gotta KNOW what to do. Anything, even if it's not the best thing...you gotta DO SOMETHING with out hemming and hawing about like a doofus.

You have to stay in the moment. Stay in the stream of the performance. Stay in the relationship that you, hopefully, built with the audience. They are amazingly forgiving if you don't act like a jerk. Stuff happens to the biggest names in show business.

Funny aside: One time I screwed up so badly that I just couldn't recover. I mean they knew it. I knew it. So what do you do then? Again, you CAN NOT miss a beat. I looked at the audience. I gave them the YIKES WIDE EYED LOOK and as I started to smile in chagrin in THIS very specific case I just said, "Yikes...I just totally screwed that one up!...What do you say to just starting over?"

Now, you might think that this goes against my concept of never telling them you messed up. Yes and no. 99% of the time if you don't tell 'em they won't know, but you HAVE to flexible. The professional thing to do was to RECOVER in a manner that ENTERTAINED the audience, made me look good, because I didn't freak out, I just kept in the moment and went from there. As a rule you should ALMOST never break it, but if you have to TURN THE SITUATION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Do NOT take yourself so seriously the you can't make a joke out a mistake. Be cool. Be professional. Don't whine.

Be well and all best,

Brad Burt
Brad Burt
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Enhancing Your Ability to Work Wonders - by Brad Burt » » You screwed up...don't panic (0 Likes)
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