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Captain Merkle
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Oklahoma
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Hello all...

Today at work, when I went on break, I went outside and there were four kids skateboarding. I walked over to them and went into my routine. Now, it was mighty cold outside, and after a few effects, my hands were freezing. They were shaking like crazy! It really decreased the value of my performance and I blew quite a few sleights. What are some other instances such as this that you guys have run across, and how should I deal with them?

Also, a few of my methods were spotted by one of the kids. I guess I just need to practice my angles with groups of people?

Later on in the day, I vanished a Kennedy half-dollar for a little boy, maybe 7 years old. He continually asked me for the coin. I think I played it off rather smoothly, maintaining my cool, but he kept insisting. I told him that the coin was gone, and even I didn't know where it was. He got behind the counter and looked around on the floor and even the drawer under the register for it. Eventually he got angry. He was practically yelling, "Give me the half-dollar. Give it to me." I mean, I'm a pretty generous guy, and would've given it to him but it was my only one. Plus, I didn't think he deserved it, you know what I mean? It stopped me from being able to perform any more effects for him. Any advice on how to deal with said situation?

I did a simple backpalm flourish for the skateboarding kids outside, and said that I'd throw it up into the air, then make it vanish. I acted as if I caught it as I reproduced it. They were going crazy, begging me to do it again. They asked me so many times. I didn't know what to do (plus it was FREEZING, so I was a bit caught off-guard), but I led it into a new effect. However, despite my misdirection AWAY from the previous flourish... they came right back at me with, "Come on, show us the disappearing thing again." I acted as though my break was over and strolled back into the store. Any advice for persistance such as this?

Thanks,
-Capt. Merkle Smile
Life is but a dream...
Chris H
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Inner circle
Melbourne, Australia
1364 Posts

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Better to leave them wanting more than to have them become sick of what you're doing. One of the golden rules of magic is to never repeat an effect, as you well know. Just flat out refuse to do it, or make up an excuse. Usually people will give up in the end (in my experience).

As far as the kid goes, it's one of either two things:
1 - He's a spoiled brat and had decided that half-dollar was his, and nobody was going to stand in his way.
2 - He was perplexed, and he wanted to examine the coin to make sure it was "real".

Hope this small bit of advice helps.

-- Topher
troppobob
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Crescent Head Australia
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Good Day Captain,

The cold weather is somehing I seldom come across, and even when it is really cold over here, usually by mid day you can get away with a t-shirt- if you're out of the wind. I have more drama with getting too hot and sweaty.


The angle thing is a real issue in those outside performances. I enjoy a sponge ball routine that often leaves the audience amazed, but I have been mucked up from time to time with people moving around during the performance. But it keeps me improving my technique and if someone says "Hey, you've got another ball in your hand", I move on quickly with out any comment. It's because not every one spotted it, and the next move has them baffled again anyway.

The 7 year old sounds like a kid with some issues. He is also almost 8 years old, and if you ask around you will find that boys at age 8 are developing cognitively from "concrete thinking" to the more grown up "abstact thinking". I reckon they have figured out that magic is illusion, but have not yet determined how to enjoy the entertainment component. Whenever I perform for a children's birthday party with a high percentage of 8 year old boys, I know I am in for a challenge.

And like Topher says, leave them amazed and wanting more.
Troppo Bob
:jump:
J773
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Belgium
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Personally I don't like to perform outside when it's cold. Your hands get cold and less flexible, and the people who are watching are sometimes more concerned with the cold then with your performance.
It will take a little bit of their concentration with sleights, but also with the presentation itself. And since a lot of magic is about presentation, that would be pity.

When it's cold I prefer to stay inside, and practice. If you really want to perform, try looking up the inside. Restaurant, bar, etc...
ashah
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Yeah, the kid was spoiled and, in that situation, you should just let him be.

As for the cold weather, I know that my hands can get smooth sometimes, so it would be difficult to do the glide for example. I would say just be aware of what you are able to do effectively in the cold and what you are not, so next time you will just do those that are comfortable. Good rule of thumb is not to perform something if you think you can't pull it off.
jmsilhy
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Mex
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I read that another good thing to do (in the persistance situation) is to do the same trick, only with a different method. This way, you don't reveal the secret and they are happy. However, like they say above: if you don't know how to do it in another way, just don't do it. Keep them wondering and coming back for more.
Reis O'Brien
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Seattle, WA
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I used to get so annoyed by constant badgering for the repeat of a trick. Not that I let it show, but inside I was boiling. I thought it their tunnel-visioned focus on the last trick was taking away from the start of the next one. But then I had it explained to me that the reason they are dying to see it again is because you pulled it off so well that they can't believe their eyes. This, in its way, is a great compliment, however misguided. So I usually use the old stock statement, "Ah, that's an old one. Let me show you something really crazy!" and then move on.

Hope that helps.
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Firedice27,

I think you are right. It only happened twice tonight at the Elk's Club.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

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Matt Graves
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Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
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Man, I wouldn't ever try sleights out in the freezing cold, not even if I was Dai Vernon! Smile
I can't even play guitar worth a flitter when my hands are freezing, and I've been doing that about ten years!
The guy who suggested doing the same trick with a different method, I agree totally. Maybe substitute the Downs crotch palm for the back palm.
Captain Merkle
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Oklahoma
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Thanks, everyone...I'll take your precautions to heart. Or maybe I'll just get used to doing sleight with gloves on... Smile



-Capt. Merkle Smile
Life is but a dream...
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Capt. Merkle,

When you can do it well with boxing gloves on, can I be your agent?

Bob
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
MattWayne
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Manhattan, NY | Studio City, CA
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I did a stage show one time- in the freezing cold. Plus it was windy. I was doing a dancing cane routine- it was so windy the trick broke. I found myself flying accross the stage to retrieve it! Just a horrible show! Props blew everywhere- needless to say- I don't work outdoors anymore. Not in January- as that one show was during that month.

Annoying kids bothering you? Ha- get used to it. There will always be that kid who 'knows it all.' I once was doing a restaurant one time- I performed a rising card effect- using a 'loop'/elastic- the kid told me he knew how it was done. (this kid is 8 years old- around that) He shouts out, "He's cheating! He's using a string!" Now I have 20/20 vision- and I couldn't see the string. The kid then grabs my shirt- and starts pulling on a lose thread! I couldn't believe it! Then his parents say, "Oh look- soo smart- he can always figure these magic people out." I packed up and left the table- after I had finished. Totally the worst table I've ever had. But a learning experience. PM me if you have anything else Smile
Matt Wayne
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www.CelebrityMagician.com / youtube.com/celebritymagician / twitter.com/RealMattWayne /
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Creator of, 'Got a Light?' and others.
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ashah
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Once I was doing a changebag trick for a group of kids. I brought up one of them (who was in 3rd grade I would guess) as my volunteer. But instead of cooperating, he screamed, "There's a hidden compartment in here! Look everyone, there's a hidden compartment!" as he grabbed my changebag. It was pretty funny -- I was holding on to the handle and he was holding on to the loop and it was a tug-of-war on the ministage.

That same day I had watched a friend perform for some kids. He was doing a very simple card trick, and he said "pick a card...". One kid yelled out, "I know this one! My brother showed me it!" Somehow, I doubt that my friend was doing the same trick as this kid's brother. Smile

Kids are the toughest crowd in my opinion.

Oh also I should mention: in that same show I did, one young girl came up to me afterwards, because she wanted to see the coloring book I had used for the coloring book trick. She was more amazed by that than anything else in the show. "Is it a real coloring book?" she wondered.

I tried to make her forget it by showing her a quick card change, but she said she didn't believe anything I did with cards; it was the coloring book that she cared about. But she did not kick up a fuss like some kids do, so all was well.
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