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Topic: When some jerk is hip to your methods
Message: Posted by: JohnLamberti (Feb 27, 2005 11:23PM)
So I'm doing a bit of mentalism for a small group of people. Basically making predictions with the help of a Swami Gimmick, pretty easy stuff. I've done a lot of practicing with it, and my fiancee (who knows the trick) says that she can't tell what I'm doing with the gimmick. There was this one guy there who kept trying to deliberately screw me up (I was performing for some friends, but this guy I had never met before.) He kept saying things like "Why don't you use a pen?" And "Hey, why don't you show us what you wrote first?" I got really flustered and didn't know what to do, so I just ended my little "show" early and put everything away. I didn't want to perform anymore.

The guy obviously had done a bit of reading on magic and mentalism, and knew how a Swami Gimmick works, but I can't imagine why anyone who knew what the trick was would deliberately try to ruin an effect for everyone else.

How do you deal with a jerk like this?
Message: Posted by: ashah (Feb 27, 2005 11:31PM)
Always a difficult situation. Also something that has been discussed here many times. To give you a head start, I offer these threads:

Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Feb 27, 2005 11:48PM)
I would ask him why he feels the need to interrupt what is going on and spoil other people's entertainment.
Message: Posted by: TommyTheTremendous (Feb 28, 2005 12:18AM)
Put him on the spot. He probably wants the attention...so give it to him. One of the posts that has been given said to just tell the guy "I am doing magic for these people who seem to be enjoying the show. Would you please quit ruining the show for everyone else and quit trying to get attention? Thanks. Now where were we?" >continue trick<

Then of course you have your one-liners that are all over the Café.
Message: Posted by: Joe Mauro (Feb 28, 2005 12:22AM)
If you were not being paid, but doing it for friends, then I'd stop. No sense in competing with someone that is rude and needs the attention.
Message: Posted by: Shnarker (Feb 28, 2005 08:27AM)

As far as handling the question of "Hey, why don't you show us what you wrote first?". One suggestion would be to say, in a polite way, that people have changed their mind after seeing the prediction. Just a thought.

Ink loaded swami's are made. I cannot recall where I saw them online.

For my curiousity, were you using a pencil or a china marker type?
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Feb 28, 2005 08:41AM)
"Why don't you use a pen?"
'Because I have a pencil.'
'I used to but sometimes I have to erase my first impression.'

"Hey, why don't you show us what you wrote first?" (before something is named?)
'If my prediction is wrong I want to know before I show it (laugh).'

I think that this guy was a good test for you. Other people may ask themselves the same questions.
It seems to me that you may have done one too many 'successful' predictions. If you must do more than one, fail on an attempt or two.
Also using the pencils eraser on the first prediction may silently answer the first question above about why you use a pencil.

Letting them know that the experiment you are doing is not always 100% during your opening patter can be the the lead in to the answer I suggested for the second question.

Without the proper audience management you're likely to find these testy people quite a bit. Think about problems that may arise and try to eliminate them prior to presenting the trick.

I hope this helps.
Good luck.
Message: Posted by: Reis O'Brien (Feb 28, 2005 09:08AM)
That's when you take the swami and write him a little note. Then say that the spirits have given you a message from beyond. Then hand him the note which reads, "Shut the **** up, or I will beat your ****ing skull in, you misanthropic little neandertal."

See if he feels like reading out loud to the group.
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Feb 28, 2005 09:29AM)
You could blame the spectator and carry on with life, or you could take the comments to heart as being indicative of weaknesses in the effect or the presentaiton. In either case, comments like this can come up from time to time and it is part of your job to develop appropriate responses to them. When you are performing, you are in control and you must stay in control at all times. Otherwise, your spectators will lose confidence in you.

This is especially true with mentalism - What? You tell me you can read thoughts, but you didn't see that comment coming?
Message: Posted by: calexa (Feb 28, 2005 11:28AM)
@ Reis O'Brien:

Very good advice....*lol* I like that!

Message: Posted by: BerkleyJL (Feb 28, 2005 01:01PM)
These two examples use techniques taught in "Wonder Words" by Kenton Knepper. I don't get any royalties for this plug, but I think it's one of the best things you can learn for enhancing your magic performances...especially if you perform a lot of mental miracles.

"I [i]could[/i] show you my prediction first, [b]but[/b] it will be more dramatic this way."
"This way everyone will know at the same time if my prediction was correct, and it will make the show better, [i]don't you think?[/i]"
Message: Posted by: MattWayne (Feb 28, 2005 03:07PM)
Now, I'm a nice guy- but some people just push me too far. I enjoy performing, but then you get the jackasses (Sorry if that word should be censored); as everyone has come accrossed in their magical endeavors. But very rarely do I get those kind of people- so when I do; I get annoyed. Because in my mind; the idiotic person could've been prevented. "I must've done something wrong," I usually think to myself. "Oh, I'm just not entertaining tonight." Because at any time during my shows- someone is bored; we have a problem. I dislike it when people aren't satisfied. Perhaps I'm just to concerned with my spectators. It's a rare occurance, but like I said- it happens.

So, in answer to the question at hand- I normally after my demonstration; pull the guy aside and literally confront him. Now, I always remain calm- but sometimes things get 'bad.' Normally, the guy says that he was just being funny. Well, being funny just ruined the performance- thanks. I do however enjoy challenging the spectator. I often hand him the deck to do the same trick. Ha- then I feel superior!!!

Keep in touch,

Matt Tomasko
Message: Posted by: BerkleyJL (Feb 28, 2005 03:54PM)
I think this is a very bad idea. You need to be able to "fix" the situation before the performance is ruined. With appropriate responses to the questions--or better, cancelling out those questions with methods and phrases before they come up, you save the opportunity to create magic for your audience.

A confrontation later is not a professional way to handle the situation at all.
Message: Posted by: Zac Vee (Feb 28, 2005 04:51PM)
This is the best advice mate . hahaha

On 2005-02-28 10:08, Reis O'Brien wrote:
That's when you take the swami and write him a little note. Then say that the spirits have given you a message from beyond. Then hand him the note which reads, "Shut the **** up, or I will beat your ****ing skull in, you misanthropic little neandertal."

See if he feels like reading out loud to the group.
Message: Posted by: ClouDsss (Feb 28, 2005 06:46PM)
Facing Hecklers from time to time is part of a magician's life :P

Try turning the audience against them if you can. This way, it saves you trouble and you can also identify who are the ones you should be performing for

Being angry would not change the fact and will only play into the hecklers trap who is out to get u

Message: Posted by: Doc Pepper (Mar 1, 2005 07:21AM)
I did a show for a group of 10-12 3 to 5 year olds but the problem was the Dads. When news got out that a guy was going to be there showing magic - well...

When I started the show, one of the dads kept trying to stand up and look over into my `items'. Another (over and over) kept saying, "I know how he does that".

Enough was enough, I had to called out the big guns.... I simply turned to the Mothers (ahh - no - the real MOMS) and asked them to make their `Childern behave' and they did. I finished the rest of the show for the kidos and Moms while the guys spent the rest of the time out back by the Bar-B-Que pit (drinking Beer).

That young a group is tough enough even without the Dads ;-).
Message: Posted by: MattWayne (Mar 1, 2005 12:06PM)
When I said I 'confront' spectators- by no means do I threaten or harrass them! Ha ha; that'll be the day! My little thin self getting into a confrontation with some guy taller then me. I just meant that I would discuss his reasons for doing this. Asking him, "Did you see the method/how I did it? Did I 'flash/expose' the workings, etc. Almost always the people are gracious in their comments, and really help me in finding good material, and weeding out the bad. And always I ask, "So, have you dabbled around with magic as a kid, or are you a magician?" I've gotten a couple of positive replies, and have made some friends this way. Keep in touch!

Message: Posted by: Thoughtreader (Mar 1, 2005 01:55PM)
I would say "Don't use a NW" and do something else instead like Stanley Jaks "This Way Out". There are numerous prediction effects one can do that do not rely on NW. You could also resort to a double writer like the BT2.
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Message: Posted by: Mike Brezler (Mar 3, 2005 04:16AM)
I perform for kids. I always start out by asking them not to yell out or tell other audience members what is going on in case they might know (they usually don't, but think they do.) Asking them nicely to be polite and not ruin it for the other kids. This works most of the time. I always try to be kind.
Message: Posted by: Nick B (Mar 4, 2005 06:33AM)
Roberto Giobbi, in Card College, gives a couple of useful ways of dealing with "hecklers" which, if memory serves, are along the lines of "Look, I'm doing these tricks for you, not for me - I've done them before so I already know how they're done. Please don't ruin it for everyone else."

He also suggests that, with a particularly difficult spectator, you can pretend to involve him in the trick by giving him a deck of cards and asking him to shuffle them thoroughly and, so no-one can see what he's doing, to do it in another room. You say that you'll call him back in when you're ready for him and just carry on with your routine without him!
Message: Posted by: fightcps (Mar 4, 2005 10:45AM)
I generally only perform for friends or acquaintances so it's not a problem for me, but I have a friend who's a pro. The way he handles it if someone is a jerk: "I can see that you really aren't into having fun right now, so I'll just stop bothering you." He says that 9 times out of ten the others in the group protest and tell the jerk to shut up. If someone insists on saying they know how an effect is done, he says something like, "Why don't we let the others enjoy it and you and I can talk about it separately."
Message: Posted by: danelwood (Mar 9, 2005 12:42AM)
"Why don't you show us what you wrote first?"

Answer: "c'mon where's the entertainment without a little suspense?"

or "Always one of you in the bunch isn't there? Get the heck outta here before I...."

or "Well I oughtaaaa..."
Message: Posted by: Brad Lancaster (Mar 9, 2005 11:31PM)
I generally stop the performance at that point, look the guy or gal jerk in the eyes. With a perturbed look I simply and FIRMLY say "relax, its just a trick. Why are you trying to ruin our FUN?!" I then pause and look at everyone with a 'why is he or she such an ass look.' This almost always create peer pressure and generally it takes the wind right out of his or her sails. If by some chance that person persists I just say "Obviously this is not a good time to show you guys something FUN, so I'll show you another time when the situation is better. I give the jerk a 'quick' disaproving look and move on with the conversation.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Mar 10, 2005 09:42PM)
For the indiviual who pulls the "why didn't you show us what you wrote before you..." try this:

"If I had done that, you guys would have started a cult around me, I'd have to open an enclave, house and feed you all and then deal with the FBI and the ATF when they came to take us all away. Don't you think the entertainment version is a lot easier to deal with? And smile, genuinely - not like a smart ***. If the person persists, look at him and just smile and say, "Do you really want me to tell these people what you were doing last saturday night and with whom?" Do a Groucho Marx eyebrow raise and grin.

If the person persists, tell them! ;)

Seriously, the person who does that is challenging you and you don't have to play. If they get really nasty, you stop. If they keep going, just look at them and ask, "do you tell people how they do the special effects while they're watching a movie, too?"

It tends to get the message across.

If not, thank the crowd and walk away.

Hope this helps!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: Erdnase27 (Mar 11, 2005 12:37PM)
I alwyas tell them not to ruin the trick for other people..

lee daarow says:
eriously, the person who does that is challenging you and you don't have to play. If they get really nasty, you stop. If they keep going, just look at them and ask, "do you tell people how they do the special effects while they're watching a movie, too?"

that 1 is good also..

Message: Posted by: Whitewolfny (Mar 13, 2005 09:00PM)
My wife and I recently had a very informal dinner with a good friend of mine and his wife. I haven't done magic in years, but I wanted to try some things I've been learning. so after dinner, I brought out a few simple tricks. His wife was all over me like stink on whatever. She challenged everything I did or brought out of my pockets. I wasn't able to start a trick without her trying to say how the trick was done. She didn't know what the trick was and she was demanding to know why didn't I do this, why wouldn't I show that. My friend tried to shut her up but she just couldn't help herself. I did a couple tricks that amazed my friend but then I stopped because it just wasn't worth the battle with his wife. Many of the posts above are good and have great ideas for general gatherings, but in this case, I certainly couldn't insult my friends's wife, so I just had to ride it out and move on to other subjects of conversation.
Message: Posted by: Rik Taylor (Mar 13, 2005 09:52PM)
I has to be said in that situation, don't let the one screw it up for the many...
Message: Posted by: Will Gordon (May 16, 2005 03:13AM)
I like the advice that you gave Jaz. I've had a couple of hecklers myself and I would just stop, thank him and finish my beer. For me I don't want to get into verbal Judo with someone who doesn't care for what I'm doing or the enjoyment of others around him.
Message: Posted by: Ednigma (May 22, 2005 03:26PM)
AHHHH...another case of the "armchair"magician ( Someone know read a book or saw someone else who messed the trick up do it, but REALLY have no clue to the REAL work behind the effect)!!!

You have to come to the realization, that , as long as this world keeps turnin', jerks like this'll always be around.

But ask yourself this...what's more important, the Art of Magic that you love, or some peon who want's to (edit) on your sunny day,man!!??
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (May 22, 2005 04:10PM)
Why is the guy "a jerk".

Maybe he is just reacting to a bad performance; maybe you accidentally revealed how you are doing it and he just happened to be the one to comment on it.

Are you sure he is a bona fide heckler? And how do you know?

Don't be too quick to judge.

Maybe he is not the one who is really at fault!
Message: Posted by: TonyBrand (May 22, 2005 05:22PM)
Regardless of whether the person is a seasoned heckler or not, the fact remains that it is rude for someone to interrupt a magician/mentalist in the middle of an effect to "reveal" how the effect is done. I put the word reveal in quotation marks because it is a very common occurrence for a spectator to claim to know the secret of an effect when, in reality, this spectator has absolutely NO idea about the actual method employed.

However, I do agree with Peter regarding the placement of blame. I've often heard that a lack of practice is the most common form of exposure. To this, I would also add that perhaps a variety of methods is in order. I would not recommend using a swami gimmick for an entire show. However, to each his own...
Message: Posted by: Ednigma (May 22, 2005 07:28PM)
Good point,Tony...Knowing or catching the secret is not the problem....the lack of CLASS is [the issue].