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akschulz
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Hello all! Curious how others deal with this situation: in a table-hopping scenario, I sometimes encounter one person at the table who insists on trying to steal the show. They sometimes will begin by hanging on to props if they are given the chance and comically demonstrating their ability to fake hide/vanish things. That's not too bad, but most often this person will have a running commentary about how "the coin is not in that hand anymore" or "you switched that there". Never mind the fact that they are most often completely wrong in their theories, they continue to blurt them out at every instance and it seems like I'm always playing catch-up trying to demonstrate their theories are wrong rather than progressing with the routine. I've tried working with it by acting as if they know exactly what I'm doing and suggesting that they just don't tell anyone else but I feel like there might be better methods of dealing with this person. For example, do you try to ignore this person and just focus on those willing to enjoy the show? Or do you, as I am most often tempted to do, focus on them and get them to be as involved as possible. My favorite strategy is to get them involved in one of my safe, stunner effects, in the hopes that I might really WOW them thereby communicating to the rest of the table that this effect really was something amazing. But that is rather hit or miss to be honest. So I'm curious how others deal with this in general. Mostly I am able to completely negate their theories by showing the hand empty, say, or surprising them with an unexpected production. But, even when I know I've impressed the rest of the people, I sometimes go away feeling as if I'd failed in some meaningful way. There should be a way of dealing with this through the structure of a routine or careful choice of material. Is there a go-to routine you all have when encountering this person? Or are there other strategies you employ as soon as you realize you've got this person at the table?

Any comments greatly appreciated.
Dannydoyle
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If it is happening regularly the problem might be that your script has dead spots that they are trying to fill. In general scripting works to quell this problem.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
akschulz
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Thanks Danny. Sorry, I know my question was kind of general so I should try to get it more specific. Most often, if I've got a person like this at the table, they make themselves known very quickly so scripting hasn't come into play much yet. I'm not bothered by the fact that this person exists and am happy to deal with them as I usually do but am just curious if any good insights can be garnered from the community. Specifically, I'd like to have a script or routine to go to as soon as I realize I've got this type of person at the table.
davidpaul$
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Quote:
On 2012-12-21 22:13, Dannydoyle wrote:
If it is happening regularly the problem might be that your script has dead spots that they are trying to fill. In general scripting works to quell this problem.

I agree... Meaningful action and the words you use with those actions are crucial.

Yes, you do get those people that say "I saw how you did that" when you KNOW they didn't. (maybe they did) Sometimes I'll say "I'll do that again" but use a slightly different method as in a ring and string routine. Then the other people at the table will get that shock look and say "Now how did he do that?" Then silence from the not-it-all.

Other times when there is a grabby person or someone is trying to mess with me, I'll say in a comedic tone: " I see we have a heckler at the table" and usually the other people at the table will tell the person to QUIT IT. I ALWAYS keep a smile on my face and NEVER show frustration when it happens.........IF you just get a bad table, I cut my show short (with a smile on my face and a have a great evening farewell statement) and move on.

Tactfully ignoring the person and engaging other interested parties works well. Also just keeping the effect moving or switching to a different effect can diffuse the person. You have to keep it entertaining. I sometimes will tap the perpetrator in a friendly way on the shoulder and say to everyone at the table "I like this guy, we could be a team" this also diffuses the person and gets him on my side. Everyone (for the most part) wants to be liked. I just told him that I like him even though I'd like to dump his beer over his head.

Just my opinion, it works for me, but as Danny said; Make sure routines are tight and scripted!!!
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
akschulz
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Thanks both! but...hmmmm...not sure I've made my particular question clear. I'll think about it a bit and maybe come back to it here later. I'm certain its not dead space in the script they are trying to fill as this person tends to interrupt the "script" while its in full swing.
Magic Patrick
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I go by the old adage of, "if they like you they will like your act". When I approach a table I introduce myself, thank them for coming in, get each persons name and ask if they are here for a special occasion. At this point I can read them pretty good. I ease into the act. I thank them and move on after my act.

Patrick
TheAmbitiousCard
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Quote:
On 2012-12-21 23:25, akschulz wrote:
Thanks both! but...hmmmm...not sure I've made my particular question clear. I'll think about it a bit and maybe come back to it here later. I'm certain its not dead space in the script they are trying to fill as this person tends to interrupt the "script" while its in full swing.


Yes, you've made your question clear. Basically, you're a newbie and need time to create a character that is bigger than the spectators.
Your know-it-all is not filling holes in yoru script , but filling holes in your character.

You can argue, disagree, pontificate, re-clarify, etc... but until you acknowledge that you have work to do to fill the holes, and start to fill them, you will forever experience this.

feints, jokes, lines, one-liners, specific tricks.... all help shut down those people. but it takes time to work them all in..

good luck!!!!
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akschulz
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Hi Frank. Yours was not a very helpful message. Even if I were a newbie to this, you basically just said build character and use feints, jokes, lines, and specific tricks. Maybe you're a newbie to being helpful?

For those interested in making helpful comments I think the thing that bothers me is, (after dealing with them in the expert way Frank advises), I feel like there might be a way to deal with this spectator better. I get a glimpse of this possibility when I am able to shut them down in their commentary by a truly stunning effect or by, as I said, actually showing the hand empty or whatever. By the way, the "character" or personality I've developed over my 30 yrs in magic, Frank, is one which focuses heavily on the effect and slightly less on the big personality. Its a personal issue for all of us how we develop our performing personality, and I am always interested in improving it and refining it. Which is why I'd like specific examples, not just saying do "specific tricks". Duh.

Here's an example I love and wonder if others have incorporated similar things into their repertoire: with a two-card-monte routine, the first card handed to the spectator is often suspect in the spectators mind, and the routine is designed exactly for that. You hand them the first card, then ask them to confirm that they are holding the card we just displayed. People seem to be suspicious that maybe we've switched the card already but when they look and see it is actually the same card, they are disarmed. This sets them up even better for when we actually do he switch and tends to begin to silence the spectator I'm talking about, at least a bit. In fact, the spectator I'm talking about LOVES this type of effect, the one where they think they know what's going on and then all of a sudden they are lost. I've often had this spectator become my biggest fan, introducing me around to others as certifiably good since even they were fooled.

Or another example, in a CMH routine, sometimes we succumb to performing it just that one more time, and under full and intense scrutiny. We change the focus, for example, by telling them they are simply looking at the wrong thing. Now, suddenly. we've led them down the path to focus on some nebulous new thing instead of where they really want to look, and where they probably should look if they wanted to figure t out, which in itself throws them off.

So, what I'm really interested in are just thoughts people have on the ways they deal with this spectator. My examples are not necessarily ones I would always use (although CMH is more so than 2-card-monte) with them but they illustrate what I'm trying to get at, I hope. When I'm able to win over this spectator it feels good and I feel like I'm on the right track, and I'm sure you all, newbies or not, know that feeling.

Thanks.

P.S. if it makes you feel better, please do make comments as if to a newbie, but please be specific.
akschulz
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Thanks Patrick! That's a good adage and I like your approach. In my experience, even when they like you, at some point or another we will come up against the spectator I'm describing. What do you do when this happens?

Alec
akschulz
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Also, thanks DavidPaul. I admit I am trying to find ways of maybe not having to ever cut a show short, as I realize we have to do sometimes if we've come across a real problem spectator. All good advice though.

Alec
Magic Patrick
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Quote:
On 2012-12-22 07:31, akschulz wrote:
Thanks Patrick! That's a good adage and I like your approach. In my experience, even when they like you, at some point or another we will come up against the spectator I'm describing. What do you do when this happens?

Alec


Alec,

I am not what you would call a working pro in the restaurants. I only do a few as I get most of my work from their referrals for birthdays, private gigs and what not. So to me every table I perform at is a sales call to me. The customer is always right. I do not really give them a chance to get rowdy at all. Once I was performing Kollosal Killer after my ACR and the guy told me that I had a whole deck of cards in the wallet. I looked at him (while I top palmed off his signed card, handed the deck to his wife to hold and double folded it as I went to my back pocket to get my wallet out) and told him not the whole deck just one extra card, as I reached in I pushed his card down as if I was pulling it out and gave it to him. He was quite the rest of the night.

Smile and be yourself. Magic is secondary to making the guest feel special. I guarantee that if you make them feel special they will be on your side.

Patrick
jimvines
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I hear these stories all the time, but I have to confess that this kind of thing almost never happens to me. Maybe 1 out of 500 tables there will be a mild case of what you're describing, but it's probably more like 1 in 1000.

Maybe it's the venue you're working, or perhaps something in your presentation is challenging the spectators to a game of wits. In any event, here's what I think you should keep in mind:

Your job is to provide the guests a fun bit of entertainment while they wait for their food to arrive. Your job is not to destroy them with your magical prowess (although of course you will). If the guests at the table prefer to engage in a game of hide and seek with your props rather than see the card trick you've been working on all week, that's their prerogative. Why not play along and laugh with them, have a great time, get your stuff back in a nice way and move along to the next table? Remember, if the guests would rather goof around rather than see amazing magic, just go along with it; and if you don't like that kind of thing personally, just spend less time at that table and move along. It's really easy.

And remember, any non-famous magician who takes himself really seriously is just asking to be "trolled".

But if you'll work on developing a presentation / character that's less directly challenging to the spectators, you'll find that this type of thing almost never happens.

Good luck!
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Dannydoyle
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Doesn't happen to me either. Yep about 1 in 500 is probably pretty close. But when the guy is offended by the answer nothing more can really be said.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Zombie Magic
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When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. When the teacher appears and the student argues with them....the teacher vanishes.
Sir Richard
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First, Frank is not a newbie. Second, this all about audience control. I get this from children, but not adults, however I don't work resturants, so that may be why. When a child says "I know how you did that!" I usually say something like: "I don't care." NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY handles my props that I don't want them to handle. David Paul's advice was "spot on!" If it's a problem area, gracefully cut it short and move on to where, hopefully, you'll find a better group of people.

Sir Richard.
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themagicguy
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Quote:
On 2012-12-22 01:12, Frank Starsini wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-12-21 23:25, akschulz wrote:
Thanks both! but...hmmmm...not sure I've made my particular question clear. I'll think about it a bit and maybe come back to it here later. I'm certain its not dead space in the script they are trying to fill as this person tends to interrupt the "script" while its in full swing.


Yes, you've made your question clear. Basically, you're a newbie and need time to create a character that is bigger than the spectators.
Your know-it-all is not filling holes in yoru script , but filling holes in your character.

You can argue, disagree, pontificate, re-clarify, etc... but until you acknowledge that you have work to do to fill the holes, and start to fill them, you will forever experience this.

feints, jokes, lines, one-liners, specific tricks.... all help shut down those people. but it takes time to work them all in..

good luck!!!!


Well said. Exactly what I was thinking.
themagicguy
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I will also add. Don't take yourself or what you do too seriously. Be genuine, get to know your audience first, ask their names and acknowledge them and the problem should go away. When I first started I would encounter this problem once a night now its more like once a year and now when I encounter a difficult spectator I just cut the act short. I'm not there to challenge. I am there to entertain.
bostonzero
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Alec, this is a link to one of my blog posts that touches on this subject, I think we've all been in these situations at some point in time.
http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=......42598536
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2012-12-22 07:24, akschulz wrote:
For those interested in making helpful comments I think the thing that bothers me is, (after dealing with them in the expert way Frank advises), I feel like there might be a way to deal with this spectator better. I get a glimpse of this possibility when I am able to shut them down in their commentary by . . . actually showing the hand empty or whatever.

The problem with this approach is that you relinguish control of the show: they say, "Jump" and you ask, "How high?"

Somehow, you have to establish that this is your show: you're in charge. That's as important a part of your character development as anything else.

There will be some spectators you cannot control. When you recognize such a person, you're best off cutting the show short and moving on. They've won, but you haven't lost: the rest of the audience has. Perhaps it's a good idea to let them know that.
Dannydoyle
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Don Alan had an issue with Henny Youngman of all people, when he did a TV appearance. Don took care of it the way he would anyone else. Complete silence. Just let him ramble till he was done and made it pretty clear the show wasn't going to go that way. It was his show under his direction.

But this comes with experience.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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