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Chris Spencer
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Pickering, Ontario Canada
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Hi friends,

I am new to the Café and this is my first post.

So to date I have only performed at a few parties and have not charged for them. I have just been booked to do a strolling gig in 3 weeks for an anniversary at a country club. There will be 10 tables with approximately 8-10 people per table. Now that I am receiving compensation for my performance I have an anxiety about the event and am doubting myself. I have read many good posts with lots of good advice. I have created 3 sets of about 3 or 4 effects and one set for young children. I realize that once I'm there I may resort to only using a few of these effects however I want to be fully prepared.

Is there any advise to help me conquer my anxiety/doubt in my ability. I have not had these feelings in some time. I have been around Magic for about 19 years but have never attempted to do it Professionally until now.

Thank you any advice would be helpful
Chris S.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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I would suggest you "hit the streets" so to speak. If the weather is problematic, hit the malls. Set up a table and do random busking until they throw you out. There is nothing like working for the passing public that will prepare you better. I find the best cure for nerves is doing. The more you do it, the less nervous you will be. You have 3 weeks to shake the nerves issue by performing for strangers in a public forum. It is actually easier than you may think, great fun, learning and rehearsal all in one. Just do it!

P,S. Welcome to the Café- great post!

Jim
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Chris Spencer
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Pickering, Ontario Canada
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Thank you Jim.

That is great advice that I will definitely do. I'm sure I am making a mountain out of a mole hill but the mind can be a difficult adversary to overcome.

Thank you again for the advice

Chris
Chris S.
1KJ
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Quote:
On Mar 26, 2015, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
I would suggest you "hit the streets" so to speak. If the weather is problematic, hit the malls. Set up a table and do random busking until they throw you out. There is nothing like working for the passing public that will prepare you better. I find the best cure for nerves is doing. The more you do it, the less nervous you will be. You have 3 weeks to shake the nerves issue by performing for strangers in a public forum. It is actually easier than you may think, great fun, learning and rehearsal all in one. Just do it!

P,S. Welcome to the Café- great post!

Jim


I second this advice. But, remember, strolling is not the same as busking. Be prepared (how to approach, what is the best first trick, how many tricks, etc.), and try to see things from the audience's point of view. I Engage the table by asking how's everything, etc. I then say: "Would you like to see my favorite quicky magic trick?" The reason I do that is because some tables may be having a serious conversation about something they don't want to be interrupted. Do a short but strong trick. Don't do a lot of tricks. A few good ones are better than many so-so ones. I personally like to leave interesting souvenirs. Have fun with them. For example, I don't do balloon animals, but I tear cards in the shape of requested animals. Kids love it. Think about how you can leave adults with something that they can use to entertain themselves when you are gone. I also use the animal cards for this, by leaving them with a suggestion. For example, they can toss the animal from one person to another and answer an unusual question about themselves.

KJ
Chris Spencer
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Thank you KJ,

Also excellent advice that I will take to heart. I like the idea about approaching the table. Thank you I will use that. I do have a minor concern about the table lay out. It is a round table with 8 to 10 people. I am performing during dinner so I worry about background noise and making everyone at the table part of the effect.

Thank you again for the sound advice.

Chris
Chris S.
1KJ
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Chris,

Hi. You will want to iron out the logistics. Are you performing as they are waiting for their food? After they have eaten? I think it is best not to perform during the meal. 8 to 10 people is great. Have fun with the group. If you can get people involved and keep it lively, all the better. One way to do this is to maybe have an effect that involves more than one person. I like to do a routine similar to Aldo Colombini's Fireworks. It involves every single person at the table, and they really enjoy it. In fact, I will generally just do three tricks. I usually start with an effect similar to Mark Mason's card opener. I can't remember what he calls it, but you can see it on his Penguin Live Lecture. I then do a coin routine, either Hopping Halves where I get the audience involved in the story about two lovers from different worlds, or a variation of Mark Mason's Double Deception. If the audience is reacting well to the first quickly, then I'll do Hopping Halves. If not, then I'll do Double Deception where the involvement isn't as much. I then end with the Fireworks routine. Depending upon the crowd, I might then take one or a couple of their cards and tear them up to make requested zoo animals. BTW, they barely look like the animal requested, it is more for fun and laughs. I am always prepared for 9 tricks. I also, always alternate between different types of magic, like card and coin. Modern audiences require variety. You could do nothing but card magic, as long as there is a wide variety.

BTW, I'm not suggesting you make any changes to your set, just food for thought for how you structure your set of effects.

Above all, enjoy yourself, don't take it too seriously. Make your main focus: "I'm going to have fun." If you are having fun, then they will have fun.

KJ
Chris Spencer
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Pickering, Ontario Canada
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Thank you again KJ.

Unfortunately the client wants me to perform during the meal. I explained the difficulty with this and suggested after dessert however he is admit I do it during the meal. I'm planning to work tables between courses the best I can.

Though I am nervous I am equally excited. I love performing Magic and have done so for a long time. It's just the financial compensation that seems to be adding a new element of stress. Also the approaching a table full of strangers. But the advice I've received thus far will be very helpful.

Thank you again

Chris
Chris S.
mrsmiles
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During the meal is not so bad; each table is likely to receive and finish each course at slightly different times (unless it is a buffet) so you can 'hop' from table to table according to which table is in between courses. If you misjudge it once or twice slightly and the food arrives at a table where you've only managed to do one trick (this happens to every pro sometimes!), you can make a mental note to come back to them later.

As for the advice to go and busk, I think in your position that wouldn't work for me. However I am not you so it may work for you! Give it a go if you THINK and feel instinctively that it sounds like it will help and suit you then follow this advice. I have worked professionally since November 2007 and even now if I were to busk, and I have thought about doing so, it would make ME nervous/anxious - I think it's more nerve-wracking than performing at the anniversary or any private client party such as an adult birthday etc. At least at the latter you can introduce yourself and explain you have been hired by the hosts to entertain. Busking is a different challenge where you have to recruit, retain and motivate an audience to stop and watch your performance - and not walk out on you! Heckling at some point and distractions from people walking to and fro is a likely additional potential problem. HOWEVER maybe you are more confident about this and feel busking is good prep for you - if so, go for it!

For the anniversary what I would say is have faith and confidence that you will be ok!!! You are well prepared and have sets planned and rehearsed. What's more you have some real-world performance experience (the fact that it was unpaid is almost irrelevant, try and forget this for your sake for the night in question!) No doubt you fried them and it went well. Just believe that there is little reason it won't do so this time... Like someone else has said though - I would advise that at your first table that you start off with an easy trick that you know inside out and have no need to concentrate on the methodology even if it is not necessarily the best opener. When that goes down well, your confidence will soar. After that hit the other tables with your sets in the order you've planned but I think warming up with table 1 in this way and dissolving the nerves and anxiety is key. You yourself have identified feeling anxious about the gig is your main concern. This is how I would advise and approach it. Whichever way you go, I wish you well. I'm sure it will go well - nerves is a sign on motivation and concern to do well; perhaps lack of nerves is a sign of undue over-confidence and arrogance. So it's natural for most people to be nervous in your position. Trust that your previous research, practice and experience will carry you through.

Good luck! Let us know how you get on.

Good luck
mrsmiles
(UK)
Chris Spencer
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Pickering, Ontario Canada
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Mrsmiles Thank You,

Very well said and I will take it to heart. I have received a lot of great. Suggestions here and I will think about them all long and hard. I am sure the gig will go well.

Thank you again for taking to time to share your incite and experience.

I will definitely post how things went once it is done.

Thanks again

Chris
Chris S.
davidpaul$
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Hey Chris..
Congratulations on your first "paying" gig.
Just remember you are there to offer "THEM" a unique experience and to make the event more enjoyable and special. It's not about you.
Take the focus off of YOU and just enjoy the looks and smiles on the faces you perform for. RELAX.. just enjoy yourself. Do the stuff you know inside out. Be likeable as well as respectful. Be excited about making everyone happy. That is your goal.

I know you are nervous but I'm confident when the gig is over you will be flying high with positive emotion and you will be more on fire to perform for people.

I'm happy for you....you seem like a nice guy
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
1KJ
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Yes, don't sweat the at the meal. People will still enjoy it just the same.

KJ
Theodore Lawton
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You might want to do something self-working as an opener. You will probably be nervous at the first table. I find that once I jump in and start performing the nerves go away, but having something easy to intro with is a good way to get you confidence up and it lets you focus on the interactive/performance side of things. Following your introduction to the table, an easy, self-worker helps to continue to build rapport with the group as they start to like you even more. Then you will be relaxed enough to do more challenging things if you so desire.

Smile
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.

............................................

God bless you and have a magical day
dleiber
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Temecula, CA, USA
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I was going to say pretty much what davidpaul$ said. Since your audience didn't come for a magic show, it's more about your adding to their enjoyment and less about how perfectly the timing with the food works, how nervous you are, etc. And I'd recommend using their enjoyment to your advantage. If a table seems to be more interested in talking or eating than watching you, be polite and respectful, but don't overstay your welcome. On the other hand, if a table is really enjoying your performance, maybe do a trick or two extra. Don't throw off your overall "schedule" of getting to every table, though, but a little more here and there and a little less other places should be fine. It's likely the tables enjoying your work will be obvious to others in a wonderfully infectious way and others will soon be eagerly waiting for you to come to their tables! Have fun and that, too, will be infectious!
Chris Spencer
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Pickering, Ontario Canada
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Thank you everyone.

Sound advice. I really appreciate it. I am starting to feel better about it and to be honest am a little excited.

Thanks again everyone.
Chris S.
sjdavison
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Hi Chris,

All good advice. I would however say that being nervous is normal and nothing to worry about! In fact it'll assist you once you get started, keep you sharp and on the ball. Embrace it!

Above all relax and enjoy yourself. Once you've started out it'll absolutely fly by, I almost always end up working longer than I am hired for as I get far too into it.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Simon
Simon, 32, UK



www.sidavisonmagic.com
Chris Spencer
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Pickering, Ontario Canada
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Thanks Simon,

I am looking forward to the event and the experience to follow. I already plan on staying longer assuming the client doesn't mind. I think the related experience out ways any financial compensation.

Thanks again everyone

Chris
Chris S.
AidanHeritage
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The way to get round the inexperience is simply to get the experience - so you have to do what you are doing, bite the bullet and do the gig - but reading your posts, you have most of it covered. If you are hopping between tables, try to get some way to have a mental map of the ones you have done - that way you don't go twice to a table, and hopefully don't miss anyone out!
Chris Spencer
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Pickering, Ontario Canada
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Great point about mapping the room to have a plan. I had not thought of that. Thank you
Chris S.
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Reset and pocket management us something to consider and learn about each time you/I perform.
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
Mr. Mystoffelees
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Chris-

Lots of good advice above. As the saying goes, "Just do it". Once you get that first one under your thumb, it will be much easier. Please don't forget to let us know how it went...
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
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