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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Should I perform for my friends? (18 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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TomasKancyper
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Hi there, i´ve noticed that most of the times I perform magic tricks for my friends, they don´t really want to enjoy it, but they´re trying to ruin it or to discover the secret. Should I perform for them? Is it good to do it in order to practice for the occasions in which I have to perform for difficult audiences? Please give me tips in how to perform for them, and what to do in case they mess up my trick. Thanks
SugarRayRick
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Generally I don't perform for friends, family.
I find them grabby, and less likely to be entertained. (My girlfriend is an exception, I'm happy for her to expose me when my performance is not up to scratch)
RedHatMagic
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Dear Tomas,

In my experience mostly audiences are not difficult. They might be desperate to bust you but they are not nasty about it, they want to be entertained and they want you to succeed. Friends and family can be some of the hardest groups you will perform for.

Here is how it is for me: I have one group of friends, they love magic and are great to perform new effects for as part of the polishing process. If they see anything they will tell me. Critical friends such as these are a treasure.

I have another friend, who is lovely but his attitude is "show me something new and I will try to catch you". He is very competitive and for me it is all rather joyless and soul destroying, I very very very rarely perform for him (I don't say anything, the cards or whatever never come out).

Professionally mostly people are nice. There are four groups. group 1: Nice, group 2: drunk and unintentionally annoying but not nasty, and though I have yet to meet them, group 3 would be total arseh***s. Group 4: people who don't like magic. For the first 2 groups I perform, for the 3rd group I would do one trick, discover they were jerks and move on swiftly to another group. For group 4 I don't perform.

I know who group 4 are because my approach is along the lines of "Hi, I have been asked by (host and hostess name) to wow you with some magic, would you like to be wowed?"

There are widely differing views on how to approach groups and whether or not you should perform for people who don't like magic (the reasoning here is "they have never seen ME perform, maybe they will like me") so these are my views and experiences. I hope you find them useful but ultimately you will have to forge your own path.

This is equally true in receiving criticism from magicians, find a group of people you respect and gel with and who offer useful advice. Ignore the rest. Find your own way, sing your own song.
Let the Entertainment Commence!
george1953
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Unfortunately we all have to start off with performing for family and friends. They are harder to entertain because they don't see you as a magician, you are just the person they have always known.
Whereas when you perform for strangers, they see you as a magician because they have no idea if you have been practising magic for ten years or ten minutes. So they expect to see some good effects, because they perceive you as a magician, and not someone they have known for years who's doing a few tricks for them.
Its harder to entertain family and friends in the beginning but they will eventually become accustomed to seeing you perform, and will see that it wasn't just a passing fad, and will appreciate your new skills. Yes its hard at first but in time you will look back and wonder why you were so worried, remember, experience can't be taught. Best wishes to you on your journey into a fascinating and rewarding art.
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.
Kingman
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I have to echo what everyone says. Friends and family can be tough. My own family is big enough that I always have at least a few that want to see it, so I perform for them. I have done some of my family parties, but I set myself up with my table for that and set more of an air of professionalism so they are less likely to harass me then when I just pull out a deck at a cookout or something.
Then this leaves the other main issue, if you don't perform for friends and family then who can you perform for? There are always those that say, go to a nursing home, or walk around a mall, but we all know that is not easy to do. We are forced to perform for those close to us in the beginning and can only use it as a real live training on hecklers and disruptions.
I find that if my script is down cold and I have the moves locked in, then I don't care as much at the interruptions because I am going to carry it off to conclusion either way.
-*-The Card Magic of Kingman-*-

I took the Pledge
guyjr
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Every time I try a new trick on my SIL she is adamant about discovering the "secret". So... I don't perform for her anymore.

To me magic is supposed to entertain. Find a core group of friends whom you can perfect your craft on first, who will give constructive criticism, but remember that they will never view you as "magical". Only you can convey that sense of mystery and intrigue, and in reality, you can only do that to those who don't know you as anything other than "the magician".
MVoss
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Friends and family is tough because they don't see you as a magician, as was said above. My policy on this is to not show them anything unless they ask for it, and the first time they ask I say no. It may seem weird, but when you deny them, it raises the value of what you are showing them. It makes them want it even more because you said no. Further, when they ask and you say no, if they push it, they are setting there own expectations higher because they don't want to feel silly for asking.
Dick Oslund
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The late Nate Leipzig became a "standard act" in Vaudeville! People liked him. He often said, "If they like you, they will like what you do."

At social affairs, when asked to "do something", he did not jump up and start doing "something"! He waited until they asked him a second, or, even a third time! He wanted to be "sure" that they were not just being polite. He did a few tricks. He WATCHED THE LADIES WHO WERE PRESENT. At the first sign that they had seen enough, he finished that trick, and quit! (Evey trick he did was strong enough to close!)

Nate had great skill, but, he was not a "show off". His basic philosophy was: If they like you, they will like what you do.
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widuk
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What you will know for sure is that if a trick is successful with your family and friends it will be successful with almost everybody. Friends, overall are the most difficult public because they will try to catch you every time.
RLMASKI87
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I have to say the same thing. I still preform for my family. My wife will point out any mistakes and helps sharpen my skill. Preforming for friends is weird becuase they don't see you as a magician it's not as impactful. Also when I would show some of my friends it's like I presented them with a riddle and they will do anything to figure it out. I have a couple of buddies that are pretty cool about it when I show them some stuff.
Philip Busk
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When I was young I used to do card tricks for my dad. Not only did I have the family issues mentioned above, my dad's brother was a magician. So, dad knew a lot about misdirection, sleights, etc. But, one day I did something for him and he stopped dead in his tracks, stared at me, and said the words I so longed to hear, "do that again!" I thought, "gotcha". I new if I could impress my dad everyone else was going to be easy.
Philip Busk
Kuroth
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Great Topic.. And was my #1 Question.. My 10 old daughter(in my Pic) is sharp as a whip and brutal on me.. Smile I don't even like preforming for her.. I guess good in a way.. Makes me REALLY practice it first..

My son is a little easier on me but I think he is just being nice to me.. Smile
Chapter 18 (Member circa 1938)
1KJ
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I would say the general rule is this:

Only perform for people who really appreciate it.

Because of this, when it comes to friends or family, I tend to mostly perform for the very young. They not only appreciate it, but frequently request it.

KJ
1KJ
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BTW, the above comment refers only to friends and family. Your average non-family member or friend is likely to appreciate magic.

When it comes to family or friends, some enjoy it, some don't.

KJ
magicalmoi
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Practice with family / friends, then perform to the rest
Kbuck54
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Only if they appriciate it.
Or if they want to pay you. LOL
Keith Shazam
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Dorian Rhodell
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Quote:
On Feb 19, 2015, Dick Oslund wrote:
The late Nate Leipzig became a "standard act" in Vaudeville! People liked him. He often said, "If they like you, they will like what you do."

At social affairs, when asked to "do something", he did not jump up and start doing "something"! He waited until they asked him a second, or, even a third time! He wanted to be "sure" that they were not just being polite. He did a few tricks. He WATCHED THE LADIES WHO WERE PRESENT. At the first sign that they had seen enough, he finished that trick, and quit! (Evey trick he did was strong enough to close!)

Nate had great skill, but, he was not a "show off". His basic philosophy was: If they like you, they will like what you do.


And that is the perfect advice. Follow Dick's advice and follow in the footsteps of Leipzig.
Prometheus
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Dick's advice does not work like that with "friends". Maybethey really want to see a trick, but not to enjoy the magic, but to mess you up and/or discover the secret.
But if you have a trick which you are able to perform that way, that they will never able to mess up or discover the secret, then it is different. They will then be amazed.
-

Prometheus
Marcus Nogueira
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As many have stated here, family and friends can be the most difficult group of people you'll ever preform for. Particularly in a one on one or close up setting. I think that Stage work, like other theater productions, may be the exception as those friends and family may be swept up with the rest of the audience and finally be able to see you as an entertainer, especially after seeing the reactions of others.

The best advice I have ever received is to be open in communicating your intent. Instead of asking a family member to view a trick, why not ask them for assistance in rehearsing the trick or state that you'd find their insight and input invaluable? Ultimately this changes nothing of how you will perform for them (I hope!) but completely changes the perspective of your audience. Now, the dynamic has changed from a competitive one to a collaborative one! And that can make all the difference.

Try this out with several of the people close to you, I'd recommend on a one-to-one basis, and find a handful that are the most supportive and limit yourself to performing for just them. After sometime, you'll only have to say, "I have something new to show you!" and they'll be ready to be both entertained and supportive.

All the best!
Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. --G.K Chesterton
Javier
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You have some good advices here!!
From my experience... at the beginning, friends and some members of my family sucked. I think because they have never seen you as a magician, but as his peer in everything, and this change of status is a big change for them and they want to check that you are the same guy... Magic is mistery, their friend isn't. Anyway, there was a time in wich I quit of doing magic to my friends, and now... they are who ask me to do a trick, and behave as good spectators!! They just have to get used to the idea... Be patient and only do the stuff you have 120% secure..
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