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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Street Magic » » I need help with people taking me serious. (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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BrentC_Magic
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Hello, Café. I have done magic for 4 years now, and I am 12 years old. I have a great arsenal of tricks, and I do cards, coins, mentalism, and general magic. (I.E organic effects, like using a tic tac box, paper clips, etc)
Everyone I have performed for loves it, and local magicians think I'm really good. The thing is, probably since I'm so young, most people I perform for don't take me seriously, thinking I'm just a kid doing a really cheesy magic trick that will be horrible and just wastes their time. Because of that, when I ask people who aren't busy if they want to see some magic, most of the time they say no. How can I make it seem like I'm professional?

Best,
Brent
Dick Oslund
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Brent! A WISE SALESMAN, of ANY AGE, N E V E R asks, "Do you want to buy this "gizmo"?" --That's a "closed question", and, the "customer" can just say, "NO!"

Go to the library, and ask the librarian to suggest a book on SALESMANSHIP. It's very likely out of print, but, Elmer Wheeler, a GREAT SALESMAN, wrote a book (in the '30s!) titled, I THINK, "SELLING THE SIZZLE". His point was, a wise salesman doesn't sell a "steak", a wise salesman sells "the SIZZLE"!

In the circus, we don't sell refreshing ice cold pink lemonade, first! NO! First, we sell fresh, hot, salty, crunchy pop corn! THEN, we sell refreshing, ice cold, lemonade!

When I was 13, in 1945, I had done a few shows successfully. I asked the principal of our local Jr. High School (about 550 students) to book a school assembly program. I was a Scout, He was a Scout leader. He did. We charged ten cents admission. I booked it on percentage (50/50). I made $26.00 in 40 minutes. In those days, grown men were working all week for that! (I could get a "coke" and, a burger for ten cents, then!)

Through high school, my buddies were making fifty cents an hour, bagging groceries. I was getting $10 with a 30 minute show for church groups, Rotary,Kiwanis, Lions (etc.) meetings, birthday parties, ETC!

IMO, you are a bit young to present mentalism. I suggest that you stay with tricks that are more suitable for a young man of your age.

In a casual situation, you need to learn how to "sell" YOURSELF, not TRICKS!, not "some magic". Sell the sizzle! I think you would be wise to do "little shows" for "little kid birthday parties", and old folks nursing homes. (Older people generally like to see a young person who is polite, neat appearing, with some talent, and, who can make a few minutes, FUN!

Eventually, as you gain experience, people will hear about YOU, and, will ASK YOU to do "something". --Then, THEY are "BUYING" instead of being "SOLD".

"PROFESSIONAL" is a matter of "attitude"! Ken Weber, a very successful professional, wrote, a few years ago, "MAXIMUM ENTERTAINMENT". (It's priced between $30 and $40.) He wrote it for people much older than you, BUT, you seem to be a bit "old for your chronological age". Note! There are no tricks in his book! It's about making magic ENTERTAINING! (MAGIC IS N O T INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
MaxfieldsMagic
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You heard it from the man...

All I'll add is "good for you" for getting serious about the art when you have time to really perfect your chops long before people expect you to be good. You're at that age where your nerves, brain and muscles are still developing, so what you practice and accomplish now will remain hardwired into you at a very deep level. And you can get a few years of performing experience under your belt before you're judged by the same standards usually reserved for adults. Make the most of that window of time.

There are a lot of quick, eye catching tricks you can get across to establish credibility and generate interest without asking permission. Find one you like, the shorter the better, and try working it as an opener.

You may consider also reaching out to someone like Joshua Jay, who probably dealt with some of the same issues as you, due to the fact that he established himself at a very young age. He has taken a personal interest in helping young magicians, so I bet he'll give you some advice if you contact him.
Now appearing nightly in my basement.
BrentC_Magic
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Thank you guys for your advice! I will definitely look into Ken Weber and Joshua Jay. I already have some of Joshua Jay's books on performing.

Best,
Brent
Ado
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Listen to Dick.
If you want to be taken seriously, read books about being taken seriously, not books about magic. A good sales book will teach you how to lead a conversation. So will improvisation theatre lessons. It's not necessary a lot of fun at your age, so if you don't go with it, well, wait for you to look older!

P!
AsL
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Quote:
On Mar 24, 2016, Ado wrote:
Listen to Dick.
If you want to be taken seriously, read books about being taken seriously, not books about magic. A good sales book will teach you how to lead a conversation. So will improvisation theatre lessons. It's not necessary a lot of fun at your age, so if you don't go with it, well, wait for you to look older!

P!


I completely agree with Dick and Ado!
funsway
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Looking back at my early years I would say the key to be taken seriously is "respect." If you wish to be respected as a person and as a professional performer
you must respect your audience and yourself. It is not a matter of how you treat people when performing, it is how you treat them every day.

Respect for yourself and others does not come from vicarious dabbling in the fictional existence of peers, rock stars and sports figures.
It comes from talking with people, face-to-face about real issues of concern to them.

Yes, it is salesmanship to an extent. Who is your planned audience? You must understand their real needs and wants.

If you wish to be considered a person with something of value to share, then you must BE a person with something of value to share.

For example, if you participate in a conversation with adults on an issue of national importance like the proposed raise in minimum wage, will they listen to your opinion?
If they won't give time to your voice or respect your opinion, then why should they give time to watch you pretend at the impossible?

Magic is a fine way to get attention and impress people with skill and courage. Respect and being taken seriously as a person comes from who you are when performing.

It will be difficult, but you can't look back when you are 16 and say, "I wish I had taken myself seriously years ago."
The difficulty will come from your peers and others who do not take themselves or life seriously.

My advice -- spend as much time with people over 50 as younger than 20, and no more than 30 minutes a day on distant communication.
Spend as much time on reading books as on any electronic device. Spend as much time practicing live social skills as you do on practicing sleights and effect presentations.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
ebackes88
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I don't usually say "would you like to see some magic" a lot of people think magic is cheesy no matter how old the performer. I usually say "want to see something cool?" or something along those lines, who would say no to that? You could also try something like "can I show you something I've been working on?" and people may be more receptive. Essentially stay away from the word "magic." The most popular advice out there is to not ask because that gives them a chance to say no, which I think is good advice, but it can be awkward if it's just someone on the street or in line at starbucks. What if theyre having a really crappy day and just want to be left alone, I don't really like the idea of just assaulting someone with magic in these situations.
Dick Oslund
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In general, ebackes88, you appear to be on the right "path"...Here comes the BUT::: But, I would NEVER say: "...something I've been working on..."

One DOES MAGIC! One does not "work on it"! --That's "backstage talk".

Backstage we say: "silk". Onstage we say scarf, handkerchief, foulard, etc.

Always remember: WORDS HAVE MEANING!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
ebackes88
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Good point Dick, I have never tried the "something I've been working on" but I was trying to think of a line that would be good for a 12 year old. It's hard to do because while the words are important, so is the delivery, which is hard to explain.
Dick Oslund
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Yes! It's not easy to express things in "cold print". Remember Mark Twain's remark about "lightning" and, "lightning bug"?!

Words definitely have meaning, but, you are correct! HOW one says those words, can make a big difference!

When I was young (eons ago!) I was fortunate to have several old pro. mentors. We were discussing PRESENTATION, and, how PRESENTATION could turn a simple trick into a "MIRACLE". Both Roy Mayer, and, Clem Magrum said: "It aint WHAT ya do, it's HOW ya do it!"

The same "thinking" applies to expressing an idea! "It aint WHAT ya say, it's HOW ya say it!"

Young actors, in an acting class, are given four words: (example:"What have you done?") Then, they're told to express different emotions and meanings, using timing, facial expressions, body language, tone of voice (anger, humor, etc.)

I didn't mean to censure you! I just wanted to make the point!

I performed my first "big" show at 13! I had written and memorized my lines, but, my delivery of those lines was far from the way I deliver lines after 70 years! Fortunately, the comedy was made effective by the situation!

I can readily empathize with Brent's problem. ("Si quid est in mihi ingenii" --"If I have any native talent") I will "make it".
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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Everyone else has said it best. You must learn to approach people and sell it. There are lots of great books. Look up Darwin Ortiz Strong Magic and Designing Miracles. Good luck to you
Jerry Danes
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I agree a thousand percent with Kyoki, you should purchase Darwin Ortiz two extremely good books on magic theory, Strong magig and Designing miracles.
bdekolta
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The book Dick was referring to is "Sizzlemanship". Fantastic book. Also read up on Frank Betcher. (my spelling may be off as I'm typing this all from memory.)

To be taken seriously you take yourself seriously. Problem is if you take yourself too seriously you get the opposite.

Most sales books will help you. The older ones maybe more than the newer ones.

Best of success to you.
Zack_Johnston
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If anyone is interested in "Sizzlemanship," you can purchase a used hard copy for 12 dollars including shipping (as of today's date).

Here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/......tion=all
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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There are also lots of other great books on magic theory out there. Such as Maximum Entertainment and many more I can't think of
Otto D
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Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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Wow great free resource
Dick Oslund
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Thanks for that, Otto!

I met Joshua at an Abbott GTG about '97, and was very impressed with him.

He has since distinguished himself!

One of the nicest things! --It's FREE!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
JassTan
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Ebackes88 has provide great advice on not asking for permission to perform but just attract their attention by doing magic and later involve them.
I find standing up straight, preparing and reharsing a script before hand, speaking slow and clearly really help to show your confidence.
Also, a smile and good eye contact goes a long way.
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