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Topic: How To Handle Requests To See A Magic Trick
Message: Posted by: Angio333 (Dec 31, 2007 04:45PM)
What is the best way to handle requests to see a specific magic trick when you don't have the gimmick or time to set up? For example, you do a trick for someone (STS, Third Degree Burn, etc) and they are blown away.

Sometime later you are with that person and one of their friends. They ask you to show the new person a specific trick.

I know you could try to do other impromptu tricks, but they really want you to show the new person the requested trick.

Message: Posted by: Jaz (Dec 31, 2007 05:08PM)
Obviously you can't.

One solution I came up with is to not make your gimmicked magic look too easy.
Struggle a bit, mention that this type of magic is very difficult to do. After all, you're not Copperfield. Maybe fail and then try again only to succeed. This especially applies to impromptu situations.

When you are asked to do the same effect later you pretty much say the same thing.
This reminds the first person who saw the effect how hard it was to do.

Now, go through the same motions you would if you were prepared.
Try a couple of times and fail.

Now do something impromptu that you can.

This is what I do when asked to float something at an awkward time.
Hope it helps.
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Dec 31, 2007 06:43PM)
Only do tricks that can be repeated. There are some effects that appear to the casual observer to be the same trick. All ace assemblies look alike. Ring routines tend to look alike. Card to impossible location (even with different locations) seem to blur.

With gimmicked tricks you can sometimes carry multiple gimmicks. As an example you can have multiple hot rods.
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Dec 31, 2007 09:10PM)
On 2007-12-31 18:08, Jaz wrote:
Obviously you can't......
.....Now do something impromptu that you can.

Yep, you gotta learn a few impromptu effects, it's that simple.

Impromptu effects usually have the added bonus of not costing as much as the Name-Brand-Magic-Tricks that you mentioned.
Message: Posted by: disneywld (Jan 1, 2008 01:19PM)
I always carry a few items with me to do. I'll say something like, "I'd love to show you that one, but here's something a little different."

I will also say straight out that I don't repeat tricks twice in the same day...week...month...etc.
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Jan 1, 2008 01:34PM)
Jaz's thinking on this is virtually identical to my own, and I can recommend it. Simply because you did an effect once does not mean you 'can' do it again. If caught in this situation I say something like, "I would love to do that piece of magic for you and Bob, but frankly I can only do it with sufficient mental preparation, and I'm just not up to it right now. Let's try this....."
And, I go into something that I can do. This has never failed me, and for good reason: The non magician may 'suspect' that what you say isn't in fact quite true, but that doesn't matter. How do they argue against it? Any argument they would have would have to assume that they know what you can do better than you do! Such arguments are easily deflected, and you can move on to whatever you can do at that moment.

This works because of what I call Brad's Rule of the Unknown. This rule says that your audience, whether one or many, WILL accept virtually ANY explanation that you give them if it makes even the tiniest bit of sense within the context of doing 'magic', which is by definition irrational.

Message: Posted by: gaddy (Jan 1, 2008 03:55PM)
Yep, Brad's right. Whenever I get, "Oh, do that again," I just selectively hear what I want to hear and I say, "Oh, you liked that? OK, let me show you something else!"

They don't necessarily want to see the same trick again. They will settle for merely seeing another trick.
Message: Posted by: R.S. (Jan 1, 2008 04:15PM)
I usually just lie down and curl up into a ball. Eventually, they will go away.
Message: Posted by: JardiniMagic (Jan 1, 2008 04:26PM)
When asked the question, I most of the time agree with the above mentioned. I just come up with something different and lead away from the effect asked for. Maybe later on, if the same audience is not there, I may do the requested effect and, most times, the ones requesting don't even realize I am doing the effect.
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Jan 7, 2008 09:51AM)
So far that has only happened to me once, just the other day. Being inexperienced, I had a complete mental block and then made up an excuse to go into another room where I had an identically-looking preset deck. That was a mistake. I do after all have an out, which is a short series of pulse reading effects that can be used as variations on my memdeck mind reading effects.

I think doing something different that demonstrates a similar ability is a good way to go. Something new that runs along the same theme. It's new and unexpected to the ones who saw the last one, and it may ruin their potential theories as to how the earlier one you did was done. It also gives the impression that this is not just a formula you repeat blindly each time. It looks like you can do it whichever way you want. Maybe you will give the impression that you don't even remember the way you did it the last time because it was just improvisation.

There is another popular way out as well, which is the deck switch. I'm usually set up for that, but this time I was not.

Of course, I'm lucky in that I don't do anything that cannot be done with one out of two different preset decks.
Message: Posted by: vpatanio (Jan 8, 2008 09:53AM)
The input everyone is giving is extremely helpful to me, as I frequently run into this situation. What I was doing about a year ago was just decline the performance and say, "Maybe later." I hated having to say this because I love performing magic and my inexperience was my worst enemy. Over the past year or so, I have improved greatly. LOTS of practice, reading, using mirrors and cameras, and of course utilizing the great knowledge of the Café members.

I now try to be prepared with other effects to use as alternates (I always keep a TT or 2 in my pockets, some sponge balls, and an ungimmicked deck) just in case I cannot perform a requested effect that requires setup or props that I don't have with me. I have also been trying to obtain more impromptu material, but this is still an item that has not (and probably never will be) marked off of my magic to do list.

Message: Posted by: Corbett (Jan 8, 2008 12:50PM)
I used to have this problem as well; how to respond to random requests to "do a trick." So, eventually I committed myself to learning a good repertoire of impromptu and sleight of hand routines with ordinary stuff. Then, if I am out and don't want to worry about carrying stuff with me, I am ready to go at any time. If I can borrow some coins, cards, bills, pen and paper, finger ring, rubber bands or whatever, then I'm ready to go.
Message: Posted by: acesover (Jan 8, 2008 01:16PM)
This may sound like it would not work, but it does and very well.

Respond by saying, "Magicians cannot do magic on request. Remember, what we do is magic. Therefore, many things have to be present before we can use our magic. It may not be the right time of the day, week, month, year, or the planets many not be aligned correctly. Many of you think all of our effects are done with smoke and mirrors...you are wrong, it is real magic. Here, I will show you what I mean," and continue with something you are prepared to do. You do this with tongue in cheek, and it works.
Message: Posted by: MrFye (Jan 8, 2008 05:10PM)
You know you were being set up, right? The first person who saw you perform it merely wanted a repeat showing. This would give them a chance to figure out your method. You are lucky that you weren't prepared to do it again. I usually say, "Sorry, I don't do requests. I'm a magician, not a musician." Then pull out a deck of cards (or anything else that you have) and say, "If you want, I could show you something else that you might like." Lead, don't be led.
Message: Posted by: Denis Bastible (Jan 8, 2008 07:23PM)
I would say with a straight face: "I sold the rights to that illusion to David Blaine, and I am contractually restrained from performing it any longer, sorry."
Message: Posted by: KidMagic (Jan 8, 2008 07:56PM)
On 2008-01-01 17:15, R.S. wrote:
I usually just lie down and curl up into a ball. Eventually, they will go away.

HAHA... I got a good laugh out of this one.

Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Jan 9, 2008 09:56AM)
Whenever someone asks me to do a magic trick, it is always sort of a small shock to me. I kind of panic a little. It's a complete surprise each time, and my brain starts racing and racing while I stutter...well...

Hopefully, this will get better with time. Anyway, for a while I had a short list of magic trick names in my back pocket, because when I am ambushed like that I cannot think. I don't remember what I do know that could fit.

I will write a new panic list with a few easy but good effects that can be used with borrowed decks and whatnot. Anytime, anywhere.

I think it is a mistake to refuse to do something unless you feel that the situation is a really bad one. I have said no more times than yes, and afterwards I always regret it. I hardly ever get the chance to be brilliant, so why waste the few chances I have?
Message: Posted by: Austin113 (Jan 9, 2008 02:12PM)
I think it's illogical to ALWAYS have something on you to perform. There are always those moments when you just run out of the house with your wallet, keys, and cell phone. The best thing I could suggest is to learn a handful of impromptu effects with common, ordinary objects. Rubberbands, pens, money, etc. There are some really strong impromptu effects out there. Occasionally, you may have to borrow something from the person asking to see some magic, which could make the effect seem even more amazing.
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Jan 9, 2008 04:53PM)
On 2008-01-09 15:12, Austin113 wrote:
I think it's illogical to ALWAYS have something on you to perform....

I may be taking this quote out of context, however...

In their book "How to Play in Traffic", Penn & Teller discuss the danger of being a "performer out of habit" - they call it being a "Parrot Guy". A good read, y'all should check it out!
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Jan 10, 2008 09:55AM)
Rubber bands and pens and whatnot is a good idea. I agree that it is natural to not always carry cards, for instance.

My only non-card material is with coins, but I have now become so accustomed to using old silver half dollars that I suppose they have the same prepared impact as carrying cards. Maybe I need to work a little more with local coins.

Can you explain the Parrot Guy reference a little more, please?
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Jan 10, 2008 07:54PM)
Sure, seeing as how you're not going to read the book any time soon... :rolleyes:

The Parrot Guy is the guy who hangs out in tiki bars in Hawaii or the Bahamas and has a Parrot on his shoulder. He ALWAYS has his Parrot with him. He's a lot of fun, if you like Parrot related fun (and I do!). And there is one in almost every tiki bar on the island. His Parrot knows some good tricks, and he knows A LOT of Parrot jokes. That Parrot of his gets him a lot of free drinks, and that Parrot gets him invited to a lot of parties...

If he didn't have his Parrot with him, all of his friends would say, "Hey! Joe Parrot Guy, where's your Parrot?"

It's easy to become the magic equivalent of the Parrot Guy, and some magicians see this as a good thing.

Parrot Guys are fun to have around, but I don't think I'd like to be forced to spend a rainy weekend in a small hotel room with him...
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (Jan 10, 2008 09:28PM)
It does not always work out, but there are many methods to achieve a similar trick, and often, the specs do not realize it.

An example - I use the Tamariz stack to perform mind reading. You can achieve the same effect by forcing a card. Naturally, the stack has more options and will make the demonstration more powerful, but as a quick out, the force is a limited solution.

Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Jan 11, 2008 10:29AM)
The mind reading example is very close to home with me.

I did a mind reading trick about a month ago and, two weeks later, one of the girls I did it for pressured me to do it for her boyfriend, which I did with sort of disastrous results. That is, that one actually went well, but then I did a few more and he did his best to ruin those as well as tell her how it was done and so on. He was right, too. (It was an odd Jekyll/Hyde experience to see that kind, gentle man change into a complete *** and, at the time, I limped back into my room and thought I would never recover.)

Anyway... I'm half expecting him now to show up some day with his own deck and demand that I do the mind reading trick with a "real" deck, since he couldn't figure that one out. If this happens I will not chicken out, even though I know he is after me. I will do it again, either like Andy describes or by a glimpse or something.

Thanks for the Parrot lesson, gaddy. Good example!
Message: Posted by: THEGUY26 (Will Swanson) (Jan 11, 2008 12:37PM)
Just say NO.
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Jan 11, 2008 03:25PM)
On 2008-01-11 11:29, The Amazing Noobini wrote:
I did a mind reading trick about a month ago and, two weeks later, one of the girls I did it for pressured me to do it for her boyfriend, which I did with sort of disastrous results. That is, that one actually went well, but then I did a few more and he did his best to ruin those as well as tell her how it was done and so on. He was right, too. (It was an odd Jekyll/Hyde experience to see that kind, gentle man change into a complete *** and, at the time, I limped back into my room and thought I would never recover.)[/quote]
I almost never do mind-reading tricks for men, ESPECIALLY upon request.

A request is sometimes a masked challenge, and doing mentalism as a response to a challenge is a quick recipe for disaster. And men have that whole testosterone thing going on that can turn into a Jekyll/Hyde situation very quickly, especially in the presence of women.

I have a very flip and funny answer for this, and the best part is that it's (mostly) true:

I say, "Sorry, pal, I didn't spend years traveling with the gypsies, learning how to do kind of this stuff, so I could hold some dude's hand..." (A lot of my mentalism is palm reading based, but you could substitute "gaze deeply into some dude's eyes...")
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Jan 11, 2008 08:15PM)
You are absolutely right, gaddy. I wouldn't normally do a mind reading trick for a guy either, even less a pulse reading trick! But I want to get the last word basically, if he chooses to challenge me.

My initial problem with this guy got so out of hand simply because I KNEW I should drop it and say something like, "X has decided that the show is over, so that's it folks." Or, say nothing. But I wanted to do SOMETHING that could turn it around and shut him up. And, of course, it just got worse and worse.

Finally he just said that it was incredibly boring, something which I also found a little on the impolite side. Anyway, that entire experience is worthy of a thread of it's own. It became surreal. He was my first heckler, that is the essence of it. But I need to try and fight these things because I am so incredibly shy that if I start to pull the emergency break, it will quickly become a habit.
Message: Posted by: donrodrigo (Jan 18, 2008 11:17AM)
Sorry, but I'm not in the state of mind tonight (today). Next time, perhaps. Oh, and I don't do tricks, my dog does. I do magical effects.
Message: Posted by: Keith Mitchell (Jan 19, 2008 02:28PM)
I sometimes tell these people that "the train has left, and you missed it!" then walk away as fast as I can.
Message: Posted by: Johnny Butterfield (Jan 19, 2008 03:41PM)
I carry some change, and go into the tenkai pennies/gadabout coins/hanging coins bit I have ready for just such an occasion.

Then I tell them that the batteries for the small object teleporter are almost dead, so I can't do any more today.