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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Uncooperative Spectators (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

TeddyBoy
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For close-up workers, I was just wondering what is the frequency of coming across spectators that actively try and make you mess up? Maybe I should phrase it as what percent of spectators either heckle or subvert your performance? For example, I learned a trick requiring taking or replacing a card near the middle of a spread. Then when I gave it a tryout at least one of the "spectators"would select or replace the card near the end/beginning of the spread. Being a newbie to this art, and one with no performance experience, I had to punt and go to another trick. Man, I felt foolish.

How often does this kind of stuff happen?
So many sleights...so little time.
Cheers,

Ted
Dannydoyle
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You're going to hate the answer. It almost never happens to me.

But the real answer is it is different for everyone depending on 1,000 plus variables. First are you being paid to perform? How much experience do you have? Are you doing puzzle magic or engaging them.

It will happen less and less with more experience.
Nobody can give you a number relevant to you situation without a lot more knowledge of that situation.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
TeddyBoy
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Thanks for your input. I thought it may be a difficult question to answer in general terms. I guess I was correct.
So many sleights...so little time.
Cheers,

Ted
imgic
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Awhile back I was performing John Archer's Deja Too routine. It requires a volunteer to write down a card they'd selected earlier in the routine. I handed her pen and pad and asked her to write her card. She drew something else. Upon reveal, I was surprised, and asked if that was card she'd selected. She admitted it was not, but it was "her" card (her favorite card)...and she told me I hadn't said to draw her selected card. While it ruined the trick, I did get some playful banter out of it.

A few weeks later I was in a magic shop and talking to a much more experienced and wiser magician, and I was lamenting over the uncooperative spectator, when he chastised me. He told me it was my fault. Audience management is a key aspect many overlook. You have to be specific with instructions. You have to try to "idiot proof" your routines. You have to be aware of who you're asking to volunteer. You don't call up the kid who's running around screaming. In podcast interview for Practical Magic, the Amazing Jonathan offered the advice "never pick a guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt" It was his experience that guys who were such loud shirts seek attention and are more likely to be uncooperative.


It does happen to me, but upon reflection, it happens a lot less now than when I started out. Danny is right...the more you perform, you'll learn where in the routine there may be problems and fix them. You'll also gain confidence which impacts how people interact with you.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
davidpaul$
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I took a key word from Danny's post "Experience" and a word that stood out to me from imgic's post
"Confidence". I'll add a " Friendly and engaging personality" If you come across as a person with a certain arrogance, people are more likely to mess with you. Experience,confidence and a likeable personality, oh yes "CHOPS" will go a long way in performance an successful interactions.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
MeetMagicMike
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Danny and Imgic are correct. It will happen less with more experience. But even now there are a few things that might help:

Perform for people other than relatives and close friends. People who know you are more apt to try to bust your magic.

Choose a volunteer who seems interested in the trick but not overly interested in being your volunteer.

Choose a girl or woman to be your volunteer. Boys and men sometimes think if it a contest for attention. This is not always true. Some females can be just as adversarial as any male.

Michael Ammar talks about taking the sting out of your magic. When doing three-card monte for instance tell the story of how you were folle3d rather than putting your spectator on the spot.

And finally, Learn your routines well enough that you don't have any awkward pauses that give the spectator a moment to jump in. When I first perform copper silver brass I often had people wanting to inspect the coins at the worst moment. As I got smoother with the routine and kept things flowing that never happened again.
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TeddyBoy
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Thanks All, much interesting comments to think about. Right off the bat, confidence will be a problem but I am working on it.
So many sleights...so little time.
Cheers,

Ted
davidpaul$
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Teddy,
The "ONLY" way to gain confidence is to get out there and perform. You'll experience failure and success. The more you perform for different people
with different personalities you'll eventually know, over time, what to expect. Sure you have to know the effects as well as outs in case you run into trouble
which you will. We all do, no matter how experienced you are. But.. you'll have been there done that. Your confidence level "WILL" increase, over time. There are no other short cuts.

I've learned that I can practice effects at home, in front of a mirror, for hours and days. But it is totally different when in front of spectators. Find opportunities.
Know what you are going to perform to the very best of your ability then "Just Do IT" BUT HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
TeddyBoy
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David, thanks so much for your encouraging insights. Apparently, performing for people will have to wait until after the pandemic. Until then, all I have is my wife.
So many sleights...so little time.
Cheers,

Ted
gotgot
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You can mention beforehand this is very tricky, almost impossible, and this is something "we'll try and do together, if you don't want it to work, it'll not work" (at least this is what I ask for mentalism routines)
ringmaster
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It happens, cut and run.
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Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Nov 9, 2020, gotgot wrote:
You can mention beforehand this is very tricky, almost impossible, and this is something "we'll try and do together, if you don't want it to work, it'll not work" (at least this is what I ask for mentalism routines)


Why would you want to show such weakness?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
gotgot
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Quote:
On Nov 17, 2020, Dannydoyle wrote:
Quote:
On Nov 9, 2020, gotgot wrote:
You can mention beforehand this is very tricky, almost impossible, and this is something "we'll try and do together, if you don't want it to work, it'll not work" (at least this is what I ask for mentalism routines)


Why would you want to show such weakness?


I feel most of the time, when mentalists ask to focus on the first letter of the word and then get it right, it's kind of weak, because there's a risk the spectator is purposely not thinking of anything or even thinking of a different letter, and then getting it right makes no sense...
TheAmbitiousCard
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Quote:
On May 20, 2020, TeddyBoy wrote:
For close-up workers, I was just wondering what is the frequency of coming across spectators that actively try and make you mess up? Maybe I should phrase it as what percent of spectators either heckle or subvert your performance? For example, I learned a trick requiring taking or replacing a card near the middle of a spread. Then when I gave it a tryout at least one of the "spectators"would select or replace the card near the end/beginning of the spread. Being a newbie to this art, and one with no performance experience, I had to punt and go to another trick. Man, I felt foolish.

How often does this kind of stuff happen?


People refuse to center a card very often.
You will learn to have a “line” ready to go when that happens.

You should also know it will happen and have a plan and take advantage of those moments.

You need to remain in control or have it appear so. More experience... more control., less challenges.

Example:
I learned to add a “saw the spongeball in two” phase to my spongeball routine, purely as a “challenge detector “ , to find the person was that was willing to say “that’s only one”
And of course they would be wrong.

Spectators don’t like to challenge and be wrong. That shuts them up.... mostly.

So what’s your plan now...if a card isn’t centered?
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Dan Ford
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Quote:
On Nov 17, 2020, ringmaster wrote:
It happens, cut and run.


I agree with Ringmaster. Leave the table and let the others deal with the individual, and for missing out on some entertainment.
imgic
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If you leave because a spectator doesn't take/replace a card from the middle of the deck...you're going to look like a dick. If you tell them to pick a card...you should expect somebody to go to top or bottom once in a while.

Do you admit you can't do the trick because they didn't take the card you wanted them to? Do you call them out? Either way it looks bad.

Work on fool proofing the trick: Spread the quickly to the middle and then grip the tops and bottom of deck to steer them towards the middle. Or create an out if they take from top/bottom.

You cut and run when spectator is being malicious...rude, name-calling, refusing to replace a car, etc.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Dannydoyle
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I hate to put it like this but what style are you putting out there?

Often challenges like this happen if either you seem as if you present puzzles or challenge them. Or if you give them the impression that it matters where they take it from or put it back.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
marcomotroni
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This thread is extremely informative, and I'm learning a lot reading it. It certainly matters WHO you're performing to, and usually half the battle lies in selecting the correct spectator. IF this does not happen, move away from that person and try to get the audience on your side. It will make the process a hell of a lot easier.
Idiot-proofing tricks is difficult, but essential. It is times like these when scripting magic can become useful. For excellent stage directions, look no further than Derren Brown. Explicit, but simple.
I also agree in that effects shouldn't be presented as puzzles; if that is the case, audiences will spend less time enjoying themselves and more time trying to catch you out, which is not what we want. DOn't be afraid to let them know this. You have no idea how much a simple explanation like this could sway a spectator from cynical to carefree. Just don't belittle them: that never works.
Pop Haydn
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To become a great performer, you must be prepared to deal with the spectator assistant who fights with you, contesting every procedure. One must design a routine to be ready for the combative spectator.

Actually, conflict increases the stakes emotionally, and makes an effect play much stronger by making the story more interesting.

Protagonist tries to show a card trick, Antagonist wants to contest every procedure: conflict! Protagonist finds card anyway: Resolution!

Every magic trick is a little play. We should look for the places where an intelligent, well informed person might want to object to a procedure and make sure you can handle what they throw at you–make sure you have strategies and outs so that no matter what they do you are okay.

When you are prepared, you can relax and enjoy the exchange, and intensify the emotional conflict. Let them see you sweat. Let them see you tread water. Let them see you a little ticked off. Let them watch how you handle conflict. Let them share in your victory, without making your assistant look bad.

A good actor does this by going through the play of the routine one step at a time, playing the part and honestly reacting to what is happening.

Such conflict is your friend and can greatly enlarge your audience reactions. It is not about having the skill to think and respond on the spot; it is about planning and preparing for everything in advance. What gives magicians the seeming ability to go with the flow and respond with unflappable aplomb to anything that happens really comes more from experience and pre-planning.

The Chicago Surprise is a powerful sleight of hand card routine that can even play on stage because of its thoroughly engineered design.

I was talking with some guys on the Magic Café about conflict and complications in magic routines.

Every magic trick is like a little play, with the magician as the Protagonist, and the assisting spectator as the Antagonist.

The magician has a card chosen, the spectator wants to put it back anywhere he wants, or otherwise creates Conflict.

The magician wins, creating Resolution.

Along the way are complications.

This is how a routine is developed–by filling in the details of plot and character. Conflict and complications are the easiest ways to enlarge on the plot.

If you ask someone to take a card, and they want to put it back some place different than you suggested, this is a great moment of conflict that can be manipulated into the routine and provide engagement and emotion.

Whenever there is an emotional exchange between the performer and his spectator assistant the audience is galvanized; what is going to happen? Nothing engages interest as well as conflict and emotional drama.

The more the magician can express surprise, worry, slyness, anger or joy, and the more he can set his little play us to make the spectator respond with emotion, the more fun and exciting the presentation.
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