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Topic: People you practice on.
Message: Posted by: Double O Magic (Aug 20, 2010 10:45AM)
Is it common to have someone you practice your magic on when there is a risk of messing up? My mother is a very trustworthy person so she is mine. And many times she finds some things out and sometimes I am soft and explain to her many tricks. Which I very regret doing. Is there a way to stop myself from doing this? I find it sometimes a lot easier to practice if she knows what she is looking for in the trick.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 20, 2010 02:36PM)
I would think it is very common. My "magic assistant" is my sigmificant other, who is willing to (a) watch, (b) comment on whether or not I flashed or otherwise gave away the effect, (c) promise not to disclose anything she ferrets out as to how things are done, and (d) suggest improvements, etc. (the part she likes the best). This happens after I have the effect pretty well practiced and have satisfied myself in the mirror that nothing shows.

I generally do not tell her the secrets, as I think any magic loses too much in the knowing to be useful. I know I will want to show her again, with more practice and the tips she gave me, and I believe I would not get the same response if she knew how it was done. It is easy to feel you need to reveal the secrets as a "payback" but there are other, and better, ways to do this, I find...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 20, 2010 03:50PM)
My partner Tom and I show each other new effects. While I have surprised him, after 52 years as a Magician, I think he has always been able to figure out how I did things retroactively. The converse is not always true. If I don't guess how it was done, I don't ask and he won't offer.

By the time I've watched it the 10 or more times he'll ask me to watch to get an opinion on the various details or I watch him show others the effect, over the course of time, all illusions will be gone. I love to preserve the Magic as long as possible.

Why tell?

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: TheGreatRaymondo (Dec 1, 2011 11:50AM)
I practise with a good magician friend of mine. We perform to each other and immediately point out any errors, flashes etc whilst doing the routine. If we get 'caught' we go straight back to the very begining of the trick and start again.
Trust me - you need to be good friends with whoever you do this with but it certainly sharpens you up.
Like professional sports people say - you can train all day and night but its only real, competitive participation that brings out the best in you and shows you what you are capable of...
Message: Posted by: motown (Dec 20, 2011 09:32PM)
I tend to try things out on a variety co-workers. Seems to work.
Message: Posted by: Andy Young (Mar 15, 2012 07:08PM)
Well I practice on my dog and a friend from work. The dog is nice because he won’t interrupt me. My friend is nice because no matter how it goes she is always ok with me showing her another trick.
Message: Posted by: Believing (Apr 15, 2012 05:12PM)
I usually practice alone, but when I do practice with someone, I usually practice with a close friend of mine.
Message: Posted by: pepita (Apr 23, 2012 11:40AM)
I find it quite hard to find someone with whom I can practise...I ask my life partner, but I am very annoyed when things don't go as smoothly as I'd expected and I see he's trying to find the secret !
Message: Posted by: Ray Bertrand (Apr 24, 2012 12:33PM)
I learned to first of all practice in front of a mirror. One of my mentors told me to practice to the point I could wake up in the morning and do my routine perfectly before having my first cup of coffee and I would do fine. Having fellow magicians to practice in front of is invaluable. They provide feedback (and you needn't worry about exposing the secret/method). I will perform my effects in front of my spouse before going public. She enjoys seeing the magic and is not interested in knowing the secret.

Ray
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Apr 26, 2012 12:04AM)
Being a two person act, I practice in front of my son and he practices in front of me.

When we feel we are getting ready to take it public, we try it out on my husband /son's dad.

Since my husband does not like performing in front of people, he is quite happy helping us behind the scenes. He is very good at understanding the mechanics of magic, so if we can get a new act past him without him figuring out how we do it, we know we are ready to take it out.

~Nanci
Message: Posted by: Simon Southern Moss (Jul 18, 2012 07:40AM)
I feel the trick is to practice with a few very different people: start with excitable people to boost your confidence on a trick, then shift to a couple of children, then older and skeptical people. You experience different emotions with different people and, during performance, need to feel comfortable with all shapes and sizes
Message: Posted by: Philip Busk (Sep 8, 2012 02:17PM)
Not my wife.

Used to be my brother, then a friend, and then my kids.

Interestingly, my 9 year old has a VERY critical eye. She can catch things others don't. Maybe it's her height that gives her a better perspective. Reminds my of the Williamson video of the little kid busting him. Anyway, my 9 year old requires perfection and she is very hard to misdirect.
Message: Posted by: lotusFox77 (Oct 9, 2012 10:23AM)
Don't wifes know us to well to realy take it searously ?
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 14, 2012 02:49PM)
[quote]
On 2012-10-09 11:23, lotusFox77 wrote:
Don't wifes know us to well to realy take it searously ?
[/quote]

lotusFox77,

With attention to detail like that, how can anyone take you seriously? LOL

Use your spell check! Read your post.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: bigcheese (Oct 23, 2012 02:13AM)
I'm not sure why the OP regrets sharing secrets with his mother when s/he admits it helps to have her looking for the trick with that insider knowledge! Anyhow I personally like to practice with close friends but if they don't figure it out I've achieved my goal.
Message: Posted by: nathanmorris (Jan 12, 2013 02:19PM)
I'm lucky to have very supportive friends and family, I test tricks and new ideas on them. They offer advive, criticism and even help me strengthn the effect ( even tho they are laymen, their suggestions really take my magic up a gear)
Message: Posted by: Darkart (Jan 13, 2013 03:32PM)
My son helps a lot. I often wont tell him what I'm going to show then do it, that way I feel I'm able to see what its like for the audience etc. Also gives me points from different angles I may not have thought about.
Message: Posted by: Proximo (Jan 24, 2013 02:06AM)
Lots of things said in this topic that I can relate to!
Me too I practice in front of my significant other, yet I can get very annoyed when things don't go like they should.
However, like Mr. Mystoffelees said, I also like to get as much feedback as possible. So I do insist she tells me whenever she noticed some fishy handling or whatever. And I also try not to explain lots of stuff (maybe sometimes something small), but I too find that when you explain something it makes it harder when you want to do it again at a later stage after more rehearsal.

One problem though, is like lotusFox77 said, I don't feel too relaxed: I can't do my usual patter because it feels "strange".
Maybe I should practice in front of someone else though...

Lastly, I always have a weird feeling when I'm showing a stand-alone effect, like a packet trick. It just feels weird to me because I want to tie it in with a full routine rather than just showing "one thing"... Does anyone else have this problem?
Message: Posted by: dorian_faust (Mar 27, 2013 01:27AM)
I use a mannequin, I got it a few years ago for free when a local clothing store was going out of business, when practicing new parts of my show until I have it down to my satisfaction; then, I bring in my girlfriend or trustful friend to watch and make comments on what I can change.
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Pog (Apr 7, 2013 10:17AM)
Well, I try things out on my family, but it often doesn't go too well because they're not really into magic. I'm gonna try and do more at work, which I hope will be more fruitful. I know someone who also, like me, is a magic beginner, so we can share ideas, but we're both so busy it's hard to find time to get together ...
Message: Posted by: Habbrock (Apr 9, 2013 04:27PM)
I practice on my wife when I feel I have it down. She knows enought to catch flashes and is happy to see me do it again. I keep it to a minimum so I don't drive her crazy. Works good so far.
Message: Posted by: CJRichard (May 6, 2013 10:14AM)
My daughter is pretty willing to help out. More than I need her for watching, I need her because she has to play the part of my audience "volunteer" while I'm rehearsing something that has participation by a spectator. It's particularly hard to practice the opening section of Pop Haydn's linking ring routine without somebody holding "Ring Number One."

I also chop her hand off now and then.
Message: Posted by: Spock10194 (Jul 17, 2013 03:01PM)
I practice initially in a mirror until I'm fairly confident that I can do something without giving anything away. Then I'll practice on my little sister (who absolutely hates things she doesn't understand and will sometimes try to steal my cards or whatever I'm using). If not my sister then my mom. After I successfully perform it for them I'll perform it for a girl I tutor in math, her sister, Hannah, who is a good friend of mine, and their mother. (Respective ages of 15, 19, and probably about 50). The final group is my favorite to practice on since they (especially Hannah) are generally absolutely delighted when the trick is over and only go as far as to ask me how I did it in attempt to find that out. (To which I of course reply, "Magic!")
Message: Posted by: aheads (Mar 22, 2014 07:26PM)
I'm working on a whole new show from scratch. I've been practicing on my own, in front of a mirror and using a cam. After that I showed little bits to my wife to get feedback.

I changed some bits, improved others and felt that I had come so far that I could show it to selected others. I invited two friends over this evening to be the first outsiders and to treat it as a rehearsal rather than a practice. Everything went wrong. Everything. I wasn't nervous but I forgot elements of my story, missed a few moves, found loads of stuff that just didn't "flow" and feel now generally dispondent about the whole show. What I had in my head didn't come across at all.

Back to the mirrors and cam I think.
Message: Posted by: wilcom629 (Mar 25, 2014 07:48PM)
Can't practise the MailBag Escape....my new Puppy absolutely freaks out. I just have to wait for some performances to work on elements. A little bit of flying by the pants but really exciting that way. As long as I get the audience on my side -just be myself - then the exact details of every effect don't have to be carbon copies of a rehearsal. I only have 4 years experience doing this - mostly for the local hospital and seniors facilities - so I wouldn't want my opinions to be regarded as the voice of experience BUT I do find that not having a carved-in-stone routine forces me to look up and out and engage everyone - and then I go from there.....so far so good
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 25, 2014 11:20PM)
Aheads,

I think you were nervous.

Practice, then try it again on other friends. There is no other way past this.

I've been terribly embarrassed by a couple of performances falling apart but it can be freeing.

I found out that the world kept spinning and I had very supportive friends.

After those experiences I've never been quite as nervous again.

Just like the best jugglers are the ones who are most willing to pick things up, the best Magicians are the ones who can get past the fear of being embarrassed.

It does get better.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: aheads (Mar 29, 2014 06:16AM)
[quote]
On Mar 26, 2014, Mary Mowder wrote:
Aheads,

I think you were nervous.

Practice, then try it again on other friends. There is no other way past this.

I've been terribly embarrassed by a couple of performances falling apart but it can be freeing.

I found out that the world kept spinning and I had very supportive friends.

After those experiences I've never been quite as nervous again.

Just like the best jugglers are the ones who are most willing to pick things up, the best Magicians are the ones who can get past the fear of being embarrassed.

It does get better.

-Mary Mowder
[/quote]

Thanks for the support, Mary. I'm sure you're right. I have perfromed in front of thousands of people during the years, been thrown into situations where I am totally unprepared yet still hold my cool. I'm quite proud of never being flustered. This was the first time, however, that I felt unsure because I couldn't just "make it up" as I went along. I had marks to hit, timings to remember etc.

I think I was excited to show my new creation. I reminded myself of a kid showing off a new toy. I couldn't speak for the words falling out of my mouth. It was a strange experience. I've since tweaked, moved around and ironed out some wrinkles. I'll see how it feels next time I invite someone in.
Message: Posted by: Intrepid (May 8, 2014 06:24PM)
[quote]On Mar 22, 2014, aheads wrote:
I'm working on a whole new show from scratch. I've been practicing on my own, in front of a mirror and using a cam. After that I showed little bits to my wife to get feedback.

I changed some bits, improved others and felt that I had come so far that I could show it to selected others. I invited two friends over this evening to be the first outsiders and to treat it as a rehearsal rather than a practice. Everything went wrong. Everything. I wasn't nervous but I forgot elements of my story, missed a few moves, found loads of stuff that just didn't "flow" and feel now generally dispondent about the whole show. What I had in my head didn't come across at all.

Back to the mirrors and cam I think. [/quote]
This is exactly what test audiences are for. To educate you on where the areas of improvement are. This is a good thing.
Message: Posted by: aheads (May 9, 2014 11:18AM)
[quote]On May 9, 2014, Intrepid wrote:
This is exactly what test audiences are for. To educate you on where the areas of improvement are. This is a good thing. [/quote]

True.

I have reworked a lot and now it's working. The bookings have started to come in too which is great news.
Message: Posted by: tvmikek (Nov 13, 2015 03:53PM)
I'm working on a show right now and wondering if I should invite some friends over for dinner and then do the show for them in my home. They're all magic fans, so they might find it a fun evening.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 13, 2015 06:29PM)
Glad it worked out for aheads.

tvmikek,

They will probably love the show. Visualize the show going over great and your friends being entertained and happy.

Let us know how it turns out.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: MagicSarah (Nov 15, 2015 12:54AM)
I practice on my husband. He is always willing, but I mainly choose him because his memory is so bad that any secrets he spots are instantly forgotten so I can catch him out again next time. ;)

tvmike - good luck with the show. Sounds like a fun evening. Wish we could all come along. :)
Message: Posted by: tvmikek (Nov 19, 2015 11:57AM)
Thanks Mary and Sarah! I'm excited to try out the show this way because it's a bit more formal than saying "let me show you a few tricks...." If I can make it as close to the real show as possible, I can get a good sense for what works and what doesn't.

Since I work in the TV biz, I'm also considering recording the whole thing from different angles to see how it looks. That way, I can correct mistakes and weird performance things that don't come across well.

If I do that, I'd love to send you guys a link so you can tell me what you think!
Message: Posted by: pcrpttc (Dec 10, 2015 07:55PM)
I like to practice with my closest friend, which is my bedroom mirror :D
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 11, 2015 12:33AM)
Awww, Jean, that is so sad. But good for you for practicing in front of a mirror.

I get so uncomfortable doing that.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Soniczjx (Dec 13, 2015 01:55AM)
I practiced magic on my family member and my friends in college, and they don't care you flashed or not, they will not laugh at you(well some friends do that!), and they always give you some performing or timing tips, really good!