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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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DWRackley
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Javier has the right angle. Remember that to a stranger you will be a performer of magic. To your friends and family, not so much. They’ve seen you when you’re not being “magical”. They’ve watched you fall down the steps, spill your coffee, break a shoelace and walk around with your fly open. To suddenly expect them to respect you as a master wizard is just unreasonable on your part.

I haven’t performed for friends since I was a teenager, and they don’t ask. As mentioned above, if you have a wife or girlfriend who doesn’t mind, she can critique you in a helpful manner, but don’t burn her out. I show my wife two or three (tops!) new effects, together as a set, maybe two or three times a year.
...what if I could read your mind?

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Kuzushi
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If your friends are a tough crowd, then look at it as an opportunity to fine tune your skills in front of a critical and demanding audience. Check your ego at the door and don't try to impress them. If you can do that, then not getting positive praise will not disturb you. It's the practice that counts, and honestly sometimes a critical and honest friend or family member can be better than 20 well meaning people who will gladly overlook any perceivable flaws in your perfomance out of sheer empathy and an unwillingness to "hurt your feelings".
TomasKancyper
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Thank you guys for all the advices!
Terrible Wizard
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It's really difficult.

A beginner had to perform for someone, but who? They need to develop real world performance skills, but have a safety net where failure isn't such a big deal. Family and friends seem to be the only option to begin with ... Yet they are sometimes the very worst audiences! The beginner gets a negative reaction and loses the confidence they so desperately need to progress.

It ain't easy ...
Jason Hutton
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My wife and son are tough critics and they have seen every illusion that I know. They really point out any mistakes that I do and that has helped me tremendously. I know I can go out and preform when I can get my family "wide eyed" after a performance.
TomasKancyper
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Quote:
On Mar 9, 2015, Terrible Wizard wrote:
It's really difficult.

A beginner had to perform for someone, but who? They need to develop real world performance skills, but have a safety net where failure isn't such a big deal. Family and friends seem to be the only option to begin with ... Yet they are sometimes the very worst audiences! The beginner gets a negative reaction and loses the confidence they so desperately need to progress.

It ain't easy ...



Wow, you really understand me
Terrible Wizard
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Thanks. I wish I could offer an easy solution. I suggest, very tentatively:

a) Stick with a core set of easy, well mastered effects to begin with and build your confidence with those

b) Try them out with acquaintances, work/college folks, pub/bar friends, neighbours, strangers even - the sooner (once mastered in practice) and more you do them the better

c) If your family and friends are negative, grabby, or deliberately try to mess you up - don't do tricks for them.

Good luck! Smile
Dr Weevil
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My brother is an excellent critic of my technique: so I perform for him, and it's very worthwhile doing so. However, my motivations are very different from performances for the general public. I'm not trying to elicit the same response as I would usually, but in terms of getting some good honest feedback on technical aspects, it's really useful.
Raisul Mushfeq
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Quote:
On Mar 1, 2015, Marcus Nogueira wrote:
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.


Very good advice for a beginner like me!
Lance Boyce
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I've found performing for friends and family is a great place to start. Some might try to figure out your secrets or might not be into it, but if you sit them down and tell them how important this is to you and how much you'd appreciate it if they gave you their undivided attention, most people will be respectful toward your performance. This is also a great way to get feedback early on.

Another suggestion, is to join a Toastmasters group. That's part of how I started practicing. I'd create a 7 minute routine for one trick to perform in front of the group and they'd give helpful feedback. The fact you're learning public speaking skills also helps tremendously.
AlvinMaker
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Wow- some great advice here! Unlike myself, my brother never "put magic on hiold", so he's great for a magician's perspective. My wife, on the other hand, is a scientist. She's UBER analytical, but this actually encourages me to find unique and entertaining wats to present ideas to her- she DOES enjoy magic, just not when it decends into what I would call "hokey/super-serious" type stuff.
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Feb 28, 2015, Prometheus wrote:
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.


I beg to differ with your OPINION. You are certainly entitled to have an OPINION. However, before you express your opinion, you need to gain some experience!--experience in PERFORMING, AND, in EXPRESSING that OPINION. It is MY OPINION that your sentences above, are rambling and a trifle unclear.

Kindly, scroll up to my post about NATE LEIPZIG. Read it again. Leipzig was a "standard act" in vaudeville. He was extremely successful. --and a "nice guy" also.
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Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Feb 27, 2015, Dorian Rhodell wrote:
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.


Dorian is a successful young professional performer. We don't always agree on minor points, but, I must admit that when he expresses his OPINION, he expresses himself clearly! Perhaps his opinion of my advice is a bit enthusiastic, however, I do appreciate his "endorsement" of my thinking, AND, Nate Leipzig's!
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Prometheus
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Dick, in my post I was refering to a certain kind of friend. The guys that want to make some trouble, always. My post was just about them.
-

Prometheus
Dick Oslund
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OK, Thanks for the clarification! I'm sorry! I did come "at" you rather firmly. Young Tomas is rather new, and my sole purpose was to help him, and to let him know that he is not "alone".

That's one of the reasons that I usually use an anecdote or an example to help clarify my comments.

I think the best way to "handle" friends (?) of the kind you mention, is to simply ignore them.

I remember playing a midwest Senior High School about 20 + years ago. It was s Friday afternoon, in a gymnasium,and the students were a fine audience. (Responsive and appreciative!) It was the last school period of the day, and, although I can pack and leave in 2 minutes, I was taking time to stow the silks, etc. for the weekend. A young teacher walked up and said, "I do magic too." My first thought was, "Fine! Someone to have a cup of coffee with." His second sentence killed that thought. He said, in a rather smart aleck way, "But,I only do BIG tricks!" I came back with, "Oh! You haven't learned how to do small tricks, yet!" I slammed the lid on the prop case, and left him standing there with his mouth open.
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Dick Oslund
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OK, Thanks for the clarification! I'm sorry! I did come "at" you rather firmly. Young Tomas is rather new, and my sole purpose was to help him, and to let him know that he is not "alone".

That's one of the reasons that I usually use an anecdote or an example to help clarify my comments.

I think the best way to "handle" friends (?) of the kind you mention, is to simply ignore them.

I remember playing a midwest Senior High School about 20 + years ago. It was s Friday afternoon, in a gymnasium,and the students were a fine audience. (Responsive and appreciative!) It was the last school period of the day, and, although I can pack and leave in 2 minutes, I was taking time to stow the silks, etc. for the weekend. A young teacher walked up and said, "I do magic too." My first thought was, "Fine! Someone to have a cup of coffee with." His second sentence killed that thought. He said, in a rather smart aleck way, "But,I only do BIG tricks!" I came back with, "Oh! You haven't learned how to do small tricks, yet!" I slammed the lid on the prop case, and left him standing there with his mouth open.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Prometheus
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Quote:
On Mar 13, 2015, Dick Oslund wrote:
OK, Thanks for the clarification! I'm sorry! I did come "at" you rather firmly. Young Tomas is rather new, and my sole purpose was to help him, and to let him know that he is not "alone".


No problem, I wasn't clear enough, so thank you for commenting on my post!
-

Prometheus
Amrit
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On Feb 18, 2015, RedHatMagic wrote:
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.



Have to agree with RedHatMagic on this completely as it's exactly the way I approach this. As he said, friends and family who can be ruthlessly honest with you about how well (or not so well) you performed something is gold. If you are performing something badly or there's something that could probably be changed to enhance things or if you're making a mistake you don't realise if they will honestly tell you, it means you can improve and fix it. Saying this, and answering your question more directly - if they are going to give you constructive feedback then it's gold but if they are watching just to cause disruption or take your act apart in the hopes of finding out how you do something those are the kinds of friends I avoid showing magic to. An example, last year a friend of mine asked me to show her something, so I did a card routine I use regularly. Went great. A week later she messaged me telling me sho knew how I did it because she looked it up on Google/Youtube. I had decided from there she was not someone I would perform again for and I never have even when she asks me to show her something.

When I learn something new and feel I'm ready to give it a go (or I'm unsure how well something will work and need to give it a test run) I perform to a specific group of my cousins. They can be difficult to perform to sometimes (family usually are and I have to work extra hard to ensure I'm keeping them entertained and managing them properly - this is good experience in my opinion) but at the end of the effect they will give me honest feedback. If one of them caught a glimpse of something, thought I did something that looked out of place or need to change something they will approach me later on and quietly tell me about it. This has helped me a huge amount with not only improving on things but also helping me decide what I do want to include in my repertoire and what I should take out.

As for the quote above from RedHatMagic, this is exactly what I keep in mind when I stroll around performing for people, which I tend to do a lot. Sometimes you can't always tell how which of the 4 groups a person (or persons) will fall into until you start talking to them but if its group 3 I'll do something to test the waters and see how they react and how things go but if I suspect they are from group 4 then I will simply walk away without doing anything which I have had to do before.

The most important thing to learn and remember is that YOU are the magician and that means YOU are in control. Managing your audience is very important and as scary as it can be at times you will find that once you are able to maintain some control over the people you are performing to, things go a lot smoother and easier.
Terrible Wizard
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Good points Amrit.

Can I just note, though, that both your googling friend and you have missed out on magic because of YTube exposure. That's sad Smile
Amrit
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Quote:
On Mar 28, 2015, Terrible Wizard wrote:
you have missed out on magic because of YTube exposure. That's sad Smile



How do you mean Terrible Wizard?
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