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Topic: Any show you walk away from....
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Nov 21, 2010 07:58PM)
Warning: This may make you wince a few times... I'm telling it here because I want the beginners to know that sometimes you DO have days like this... but its really okay...

So, tonight I did the first kids show I've ever done and the first parlor show I've done in ages. It was a charity show for a home fro single mothers my wife works at.

Most of the kids were quite young, 3 and under, one junior highschooler and one ADD 8 year old.

I opened with a color changing scarf just to ger things rolling. Not a lot of response. Okay move on. My next up was the invisible deck. I'v done the invisible deck before and its gone off flawlessly.

Tonight however, when I did the deck appearance from my sl****, it went flying. Okay, pick it up and go on. I ask the nice young lady which card she turned over in her imaginary deck. She names the Queen of hearts... which happens to be my bottom card. That's never happend before. Okay, I think to myself, just cut the deck.

I start to cut the deck normally and reveal a reversed card. I quickly cover it realizing my mistake and do what I need to to make sure the second attempt at a cut is clean. I then fan the cards.... and I can't find the *** queen of hearts. It seems to have totally disappeared from the deck. I get flustered and drop the cards on my table revealing quite a few backs. Okay, this is now totally ruined. My patter was about "Imagination" so I just give up and make a gag out lf it. "Lets just imagine all this never happened..." which gegts a few chuckles and I move on.

Next up is my color changing CDs routine.... that's going well though now Im nervous when, somehow, I manage to drop the last CD on the floor. Of course it lands wrong-side up. I scoop that back up and continue, praying no one noticed anything. It goes off okay so I guess I got away with it.

From there things picked up and went off pretty well. I had soem trouble getting the second grip right for The Thing but nobody noticed and that went over quite well. The appearing tiger (stuffed tiger.) went over pretty well though I need to practice ditiching the mp3 player I use for thr growls more effectively. My bad puns in my large production went over well, but the hghlight of the act was Sunny the Magic BIrd.

Sunny is my lutino cockatiel. He appears out of the dove pan, climbs to my shoulder and, wonders of wonders, deigns to talk, saying "pretty birde" and few of his other phrases. This leads wonderfully into my secondary production because the routine is that Sunny whispers in my ar that he brought a surprise and when I open the dove pan again,. its full of salt water taffy.

The end of the act was the balloon animals which were also a great hit.

All in all, I think I could have just brought the bird and the balloons and not have done that much worse... but the kids were all smiling and happy at t the end and I was still alive.

And I guess that's an adequate definition of a good performance. People sincerely thanked me for coming and, all in all, I think I was my own worst critic of the night.
Message: Posted by: Mowee (Nov 21, 2010 09:14PM)
You know sometimes S*** happens. You survived and no one was hurt. overall a good day.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 21, 2010 09:30PM)
Hey Cyberqat,

You lived, you learned. The show ended well and you've realized the kids aren't dangerous.

One time I fell apart badly in front of a Magic convention crowd. I lived too and I found it very freeing. The world didn't end. I've never been as nervous (or bad) since.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: ablanathanalba (Nov 21, 2010 10:13PM)
Wow, glad you made it out okay. I'm sure I'm due.
Message: Posted by: Erdnase27 (Nov 22, 2010 09:16AM)
Instead of looking at some tricks failing and some backs showing look at what you have done.. you turned a disaster into a hit man! great job.

like a gambler said to Darwin ortiz: "Show me a card cheat who never got caught, and I show you a card cheat who has never cheated" Ortiz mentioned that the same could be said about magicians "Show me a magician who has never screwed up, and I show you a magician who never performs".

We all have these days. But your class shines trough by turning the tables around!
Great Job in my opinion!
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 22, 2010 09:48AM)
The first time I ever performed my signed card to orange routine for an audience, I was lucky enough to have a spectator I knew on stage with me. It wasn't planned that way, it somehow just happened.

I pulled out an oversized knife (for comedic purposes) to cut open the orange - and managed to slice cleanly around the orange, and right through a good portion of my thumb. The routine went off quite well, and I'm lucky I knew the person on stage because she could see the amount of blood gushing from my hand (the orange looked more like a ruby red grapefruit by the time it was all done) but I played it off as a joke, thanks to my seemingly high threshold for pain. The audience loved it.

The thumb began to bleed about halfway through the second show of the night, but I kept it under control and I finished off the weekend nicely and got great reactions. That said, you can cut your own fingers off on stage and still walk away feeling good about a performance.

By the way, citrus + giant open wound = ouch.
Message: Posted by: Lash (Nov 22, 2010 09:59AM)
I had a similar experience once performing for some college kids. Polished routines and jokes that I had done time and time again that had always worked on gone over well seemed to fail me that day for some reason. But over things in the act went well and overall I got a good reception and many thanks despite the screw-ups. Those days happen. We live and learn and life goes on.
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Nov 22, 2010 11:07AM)

By the way, citrus + giant open wound = ouch.

Major ouch. That was quite something that you were able to go on.
Message: Posted by: DanielCoyne (Nov 22, 2010 01:39PM)
As both a juggler and a magician, I've learned that part of the attraction of a live performance is the risk of a mistake.

Plus, when dealing with kids, making mistakes is not just ok -- it's essential! And to let them see you recover with honesty, humility and humor is a great service.

Nice job. : )

Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Nov 22, 2010 10:22PM)
I'm a new magician at age 62 and retired into magic. In a recent audition for two shows for a local library in the spring, I screwed up the simple Milk Pitcher by permitting the party of three judges to see the gimmick as I poured; then screwed up the followup Multim in Parvo by permitting the gimmicks to be seen AGAIN; and the balloon didn't even break when I did Air Head Rudy! (I left the dumb protective cork on the needle!) But they loved the simple D'Lights, vanishing bandana, lota bowl running gag and six card repeat. Also loved my dove pan producing candy for the kids, and my fire wallet going into a money trick. In the end they hired me. They didn't care about my mistakes, they just liked the fact that I was honest and were sympathetic to my nervousness. And on top of all that, my on my entrance to set uup my stuff, I spilled a quart of milk that the maintenance guy wasn't pleased about having to clean up. This was my very first audition. Yet they still liked me. I was thrilled and still am. Bob
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Nov 23, 2010 04:30PM)
So... the end of the story.

24 hours later my wife tells me everyone is still talking about how fun the party was and no one is even mentioning my flubs.

So it was a success in every way that mattered :)

I think the most valuable thing I've ever learned about performing, which this reminded me of, is that if you can relax and have fun then whatever happens so will your audience!
Message: Posted by: HerbLarry (Nov 23, 2010 06:34PM)
"Most of the kids were quite young, 3 and under, one junior highschooler and one ADD 8 year old."

WoW! You Sir have far more intestinal fortitude than I will ever possess for even performing for that group. I couldn't possibly fathom how that could even begin to work out well. I tip my oversized hat to you!
Message: Posted by: kendavis (Nov 23, 2010 07:25PM)
You have more courage than me. I never do shows were the majority of the audience is under 6. I refer the prospective client to a clown friend that specializes in pre-school shows.

I have never forgotten one of my corporate kids holiday shows. I had to do three separate shows in one day in order to accommodate all the guests. During the first show my Zombie fell apart, Fraidy Rabbit was loaded backwards, when I did fire bowl to flowers the flowers caught fire,didn't have enough room for the floating chair, etc. etc. The odd thing was that the next two shows were completed without a single error! I was even hired back for four more years!

I saw David Copperfield stop an illusion because it wasn't working and it would have killed him. So it happens to all of us at one time or another, but because we care and take pride in what we do, it really hurts and tears at our hearts when we have a bad day.
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Nov 23, 2010 07:40PM)
Well, I had a bit of a gentle start in that the last show I did for my wife's Seminary was majorly adults BUT my routine was routined so that each of my spectators chose the next one or ones. I didn't know it at the time, but our friend and co-seminarian April is an ex kindergarden teacher. When I asked her to go find me four kor volunteers for my Director's Cut routine, she cam back with the 4 littlest kids in the room.

It was actually fun, the kids wer great, and it helped ease my mind going into this.

The kids really were great here too. My wife says that's the most attention she's seen the ADD 8 yr old ever sit and pay to anything outside of the TV set :)
Message: Posted by: Vick (Nov 24, 2010 12:18AM)
As long as you learn from it and the audience has a good time. Really helps you hung in and ended strong

We've all been there at some time

The experience you gain from challenges allows you to learn more than when everything goes perfect.

It also helps build confidence if something ever goes wrong again (and it will) your mind goes into the I've been here and succeeded

Just part of the reasons that time on the boards is soooooo important

Nice to share your experience Cyberqat
Message: Posted by: volto (Nov 24, 2010 02:35AM)
On 2010-11-23 20:40, Cyberqat wrote:
My wife says that's the most attention she's seen the ADD 8 yr old ever sit and pay to anything outside of the TV set :)

That's well worth falling on your a** few times for.
Message: Posted by: BarryRice (Nov 25, 2010 08:37AM)
My take on it is an expert is a person who has made all of the mistakes enough times to know how to (generally) avoid them. I think I am well on my way to making enough mistakes. I just wish I would learn from them quicker.
Message: Posted by: teedpop (Nov 25, 2010 09:51PM)
They are only mistakes it you don't learn from them.
so you make a mistake now. In a few years a colllection of mistakes is what we call experience.

Message: Posted by: KMFrye (Nov 26, 2010 12:32PM)
I did wince a bit but I'm glad you finished strong.

I wonder if Invisible Deck is too abstract for young kids? Even if successfully done, is the response strong enough to make it worth keeping it in a Kids Show?

Anyway, Bravo Encora! You had your Children's Baptism of Fire. :)

Keith F.
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Nov 26, 2010 12:50PM)
On 2010-11-23 20:25, kendavis wrote:

I saw David Copperfield stop an illusion because it wasn't working and it would have killed him. So it happens to all of us at one time or another, but because we care and take pride in what we do, it really hurts and tears at our hearts when we have a bad day.

Btw Ken, a little late but thank you for this!

I am and will always be a major DC fan. I was fooling with magic before he came onto the scene but he has always embodied to me what is my ideal. I can't do what he does, I don't have the same performance skills, but if the devil showed up tomorrow and offered me the performance skills of anyone in the world he's probably who I would chose to emulate.

So knowing that with all his ability and resources, even he has had an off show once in awhile is very heartening :)

Posted: Nov 26, 2010 2:48pm
Just a note.. I really should have said "less the perfect" not "bad."

Because that's really the theme of all this... it doesn't have to be perfect to still be a good job
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 26, 2010 02:12PM)
I really agree. I feel this attitude can be beneficial before anything "less than perfect" happens.

I noticed this very thing at our thanksgiving family gathering. I had been asked to say a few words, and decided to recite a poem of my mother's about thanksgiving.

This poem seemed to go well with Hindu Thread, and so I decided to do them as an act of sorts. All was well until about three days out. Then, at each practice session, the thread kept tangling no matter which technique I used. I went into my performance with serious misgivings.

On the cusp of bagging the "act" I decided instead to focus on a "who will remember in a hundred years" approach, so long as I carry it off with an upbeat and fun attitude it will end upbeat and fun.

"Attitude is more important than facts..."


ps- Of course, the thread tangled, the effect was ruined, the plantation owner refused to let such a loser marry his beautiful daughter, and I am on a bridge railing over a cold, deep river... :)
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Nov 26, 2010 03:03PM)
Lol sorry it tangled on you but glad to see you took it in good humor and you are 100 percent right. With All that is wrong with the world, a blown trick is hardly significant.... and the fact that you were trying to give something. To others you love is far more important than the goof :)

Now... Maybe someone else here who does Hindu thread ( I don't) can give you a pointer on that particular problem....
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 26, 2010 03:08PM)
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Better to do it and have learned than to have not done it and learned nothing. So it destroyed Thanksgiving and you're the laughingstock of your entire family...at least you followed through!
P.S. Don't jump off the bridge - that water is mighty cold this time of year :)
Message: Posted by: ernie guderjahn (Dec 7, 2010 11:47AM)
Children are very unpredictable and a 3 year old already lives in a state of magical wonder, no cards needed. Pushing on through was the lesson learned and a great experience to gain. My worst encounter (or one of the worst) was entertaining the ultra rich children (top 2% income earners) at a well heeled private party. One little s**t would not shut up, until I did the first pour from a lota bowl, the kid was entranced, couldn't get his eyes off the bowl, twice walked right up to the stage to grab it, and after the show clambered up on stage to get a close look, he demanded I tell him how it worked and "by magic" would not work as an answer - so I whispered that I would tell him for $50 - thought that would get rid of him, he was about 8, reached into his pocket, took out his little wallet, and took out one of his $50 dollar bills - so I sold it to him on the spot, said "use your favorite method" as I handed it over and told him he could figure it out. Everyone was happy, now here is the kicker, his Dad gave me a $20 tip for being so nice to his son - I try not to do children shows much anymore - it takes a specialized approach which I seem to have outgrown in my coothood.
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Dec 7, 2010 12:06PM)
8 yr olds with $50 in their pocket is why videogame ratings were/are totally pointless.

I have had parents tell me in all seriousness they can't police what their kids spend money on.

Sure you can, don't hand them money!

(And I just hijacked my own thread.. .but this one really annoys me. Don't pass laws that ask the government to raise your child, Raise your *** child yourself.)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 9, 2010 08:21AM)
On 2010-11-26 16:08, Andrewzuber wrote:
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Better to do it and have learned than to have not done it and learned nothing. So it destroyed Thanksgiving and you're the laughingstock of your entire family...at least you followed through!
P.S. Don't jump off the bridge - that water is mighty cold this time of year :)

In the 'fess up department, I was only joking about the family performance (and slipping in a veiled analogy for fun). As it happened, there was one little hitch, although no one seemed to notice, and it was well received. I love that effect - it is truly magical.

I agree with your outlook, Andrew, and only wish the urge to avoid risk were not so strong in me. I try to waste little time on regret, but I do regret many of the shots I didn't take...

Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Dec 9, 2010 04:55PM)
99% of my sins are sins of omission.

And they are also for the most part the only ones I regret.
Message: Posted by: ernie guderjahn (Dec 11, 2010 11:00AM)
I agree with the parents should raise their own f*^kin children, as a past elementary school educator (40 years ago) I watched as year after year we were asked to do more, paid less and given less authority over our charges. Not being allowed to discipline rowdy students led to the whole education thing taking a back seat to the social instruction that was not happening at home. Which bring us back to young audiences, they have to learn to appreciate live performance, it takes more concentration than just flicking from channel to channel, so many of my shows for younger audience include bits to help set the social guidelines for appropriate way to participate in, and enjoy, a live show.
Message: Posted by: Wes65 (Mar 27, 2011 11:00PM)
As Robert De Niro said in the Untouchables and as you've proven from your more recent post "Life goes on".
Message: Posted by: rsylvester (Mar 27, 2011 11:11PM)
This is indeed an inspiring thread. I love this story. I love the responses. We indeed are our own worst critiques. And as many threads on this state, part of the misdirection of what we do is to put some time between the dirty work and the finish. That's some of the most valuable lessons I've relearned here.

That they were still talking about it the next day is what you should take with you. Not what went wrong.

I know this thread started four months ago, and @Cyberqat has moved on, but I just wanted to keep this alive and up top, because it's such an inspiration, especially to those "new to magic."

A great lesson for all.