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snap
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Okay, I know someone has probably posted this before, but I tried searching for it and I didn't find it. anyway, does anyone have any good comebacks or phrases for when an audience member(usually a child) wants to examine your props? thanx guys!!
**--snap--**
Eric Leclerc
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I never have this problem to tell you the truth... You have to make your presentation non confrontational... And you have to know more than 25 tricks... I find when I do a trick and the props aren't examinable, at the end, I say a joke and look amazed myself when the magic happpens. Why do you think people want to examine your props?? Think of that firstly..

Second, if you follow up with another effect right after you are good, they'll want to see more magic and will forget about the trick they want to inspect. If you put a gimmicked prop away, then do a card trick with real cards, then give them the cards, you're good..

ok I re-read your post and saw "mostly kids".... Well in a kids show, you are the boss, you don't have to let them talk and say "i want to see that screen!!!!" you are in control.. In a casual enviroment, try and use un gimmicked props...sponge balls, paddles, vanishes...etc...

hope it helps.... bottom line, if they like you, they will like what you do and wont even care to try and ruin it for you...
Nemic386
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What about close up cards (like Svengali) I have a real bad problem with someone trying to grab the deck before I finish anyone got any lines??
"Magic is knowing it's impossible, but believing in it anyway"
snap
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In answer to your question, eric, I do a lot of kids shows as you mentioned, so, it is mainly them that want to examine it. and once in a while, I'll get a real trouble maker who actually tries to grab my props. I want to be very strict with them and tell them they can't be doing that kind of thing, which I have a couple of times, but, since I am performing for 10 year olds, I feel like I'm being to mean. I'd just like something nice but firm to say, perhaps something that adds a little humor. thanx for the posts!!
**--snap--**
BarryFernelius
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I remember the words of one of my magic teachers, Jeff McBride:

"If the audience wants to examine your props, you've done something terribly wrong. Take a close look at your act, and fix it."
"I don't teach people stories about the coyote for them to tell. I AM the coyote. They tell stories about me."

-Pop Haydn
Eric Leclerc
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See if you're using a Svengali deck, and using the old "look all the cards turn into your card" of course they will want to examine it!!! Althought if you don't show them all the cards can be the same and just do an awesome forcing and ambitious card, they would be less likely to want to examine it..

As for kids shows... They are usually sitting on the ground, I don't see how (and why) someone would GET UP and come handle your props..Its YOUR show, you are in control. The only time this happens to me is at the very end of the show, when the teahcers are just sitting there not doing anyhthing to control the kids. Still then, a firm look and gently saying "don't touch my tricks its disrespectful" will get the message through to any child.

If its your assistant that you summonned on stage that's being the trouble maker, you can turn it into a joke in front of everyone or better yet, learn how to pick your assistants..Girls and shy boys are the best for me.

If you make magic fun for everyone no one will care to examine your props.. that's my 2 cents
Enigmo
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The answer to that question is twofold.

First, as was alluded by others, you need to question why this is happening. There are many possibilities:

1) As Eric and others suggest, maybe it's the way you present your magic. Are you confrontational?
2) The surroundings plays a big part. This is obviously much less likely to happen in a stage/parlour show than in a close-up performance.
3) Who is your crowd? For example, if you perform mostly for friends or family, that crowd, in my experience, is likely to respect you less than perfect strangers would. What I mean, is that they will be less shy about asking you to examine your props or actually grabbing your props. If people have paid to see you, they will tend to respect you more than if you're showing them something in an imprompty setting.
4) Age also plays a big part. From another thread, I gather you are in high school. The older you get, the more respect you're likely to get. It's sad to say but I wasn't taken seriously when I was 10 years old. At 38, 6'2", 200lbs it's not as much of a problem now.

All that being said, however good, entertaining, non-confrontational, confident and in-control you may be, it will happen. Do not believe any magician who tells you otherwise. They either have selective memory or do not perform or whatever. Overly curious but non-attentive kids, drunks, people with a confidence problem, smart alecs, etc... are everywhere. There are so many variables that magicians have to cope with that it is impossible to control them all. Maybe they've seen a bad magician in the past. Maybe they were harassed when they were a 10 year old magician Smile . Who knows? Believe it or not, some people actually think it's fair game to heckle the magician and it has nothing to do with you. You just don't know what their previous experience might be. In other words, don't forget Murphy's law; if something can go wrong it will happen.

The best way to reduce this problem all together is to use ungimmicked items, at least in the beginning of a show. Either start or end clean or both. Even then, you will have people who will question the card you placed down, will pick up the chop cup, will look from behind, etc... If someone attempts to grab an item during the performance at the inoportune time, tell them they'll have a chance to examine them at the end but that you would like to finish your performance. Even if they do pick an innocent item, tell them that this is yours and would prefer that they don't touch any of your props unless you ask them to. Look at them, smile and add but since you seem to be a nice person, go ahead and examine it.

To conclude,

If this happens rarely, don't worry too much about it. If they uncover something, just laugh and just say you didn't feel like doing it the hard way today or whatever and move on. If this happens regularly with the same one or two individuals then stop performing for them. Even if they promise not to do it again; don't believe them. They will try to screw you again. For whatever reason, they don't respect you or your art and it's not worth your time changing their perception. If this happens regularly with various people, you need to question your presentation.

I hope this helps.

Jean-Luc
snap
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Thanx, jean-luc, that does help. and, as you said, I am in high school. that being said, I do have a small business where I perform for money. but I am also known as "the magician" in my school and the school my mom teaches at. therefore I quite frequently perform impromptu for people. I tend to keep a trick or two in my purse and pull them out if asked for a trick. I try to pick and choose who to perform for, but maybe I'm not doing a good enough job. right now I'm trying to avoid a performance for a group of guys in my school who have been recently asking me for a trick everyday, and one of these guys I know will try to heckle me, if not worse. so,anyway, this does not happen on the regular basis, but I am still learning, so maybe I am doing something wrong. thanx for the advice!!
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Enigmo
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By the way I wasn't pointing the fact that you are in high school to imply anything with respect to your skill. I was just saying that age does have an impact on the respect people might have for you. It's unfortunate but it's true, especially with people the same age. I don't think that's how you interpreted my comment but I though I would clarify anyway before I get flamed Smile

Since it appears you have done a good job at marketing yourself at your school, I would consider performing on request only when it suits you, ie. when you're testing a new trick or for the people who truly appreciate it. Performing for free gives you experience and exposure but it also somewhat devalues your product. It's a fine balancing act... Next time the group you're trying to avoid asks you to see a trick, maybe you can mention that you now take bookings. They'll probably accuse you of being cheap or say "Yeah right" but then again, you will send a clear message that this is a serious activity for you... All that being said, I must admit I would not have been confident enough to do the same at that age.

After rereading the thread more carefully, I realized that you seem to experience that problem more during you kid shows. In that case, I would suggest that you should ask that a parent be present during your kid shows to prevent that sort of incidents. Your first few effects should be with ungimmicked items. You'll be able to identify the grabbing kids quickly and the parent will be able to address the situation.

Keep up the good work!

J-L
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I tell them, "i don't play with your toys, please don't play with mine".
snap
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I like what you say, joseph. but back to enigmo, I understand that as I get older, I will probably get more respect from my audience, but one thing I think I need to work on is looking like I deserve it at my shows. and, by the way, when I said I was still learning, I meant I really am still learning, and I appreciate any and all advice anyone will offer.
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irishguy
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Quote:
On 2005-03-31 21:36, BarryFernelius wrote:
I remember the words of one of my magic teachers, Jeff McBride:

"If the audience wants to examine your props, you've done something terribly wrong. Take a close look at your act, and fix it."


That has always been the classic advice...but I don't think it is necessarily true. For one thing, people just naturally like to know how things work. Curiosity is something that cannot be avoided. For another, audiences aren't as polite and respectful as they often were in the past. No amount of skill and presentation will be able to overcome overt rudeness on the part of a spectator.
BarryFernelius
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I'm sure that you have the real world experience and keen insight that Jeff McBride so sorely lacks. Smile The classic advice on this is, as you've correctly pointed out, not 100% true. Based on what I've seen and experienced so far, I would say that it's better than 95% true.

Preventative measures and simple audience management can make it very unlikely that you'll have any pure physical problems with audience examinations of props. If your show is sufficiently good, the last thing that the audience should want to do is examine your props. They should be feeling the emotions that you've communicated and in a heavy state of cognitive dissonance. The goal is to give such an excellent performance that the audience no longer wants to examine props; instead, the audience is overwhelmed with what's just happened.
"I don't teach people stories about the coyote for them to tell. I AM the coyote. They tell stories about me."

-Pop Haydn
Enigmo
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Or that they are so completely unimpressed that they don't really care about what they have just seen.

Or they are just willing to suspend their disbelief, knowing this is a show but don't want to bother with finding an explanation, like watching a Peter Pan play and seeing the wires on the actor playing Peter Pan...

Seriously, Barry I have a question for you; Let's say you're out in a shopping centre and someone approaches you with a big apparently empty bag. They ask you to hold the bag open. They hop in the bag, asks you to close it and open it in a second. You do just that. Upon opening the bag, the person has disappeared. Aren't you not going to look in or feel the bag to see if he/she's not in there. Aren't you not going to try to find an explanation, a trap door maybe? I know it's a stupid example but I am willing to bet that you would try to seek an explanation.

Let's say it's a non-magician friend who does the same thing. Are you not going to try to feel the bag nevertheless?

Let's say it is a magician friend and they claim they have finally discovered a real magic formula and they do that. Would you be more or less convinced if you actually feel the bag.

Let's pretend that you're watching Copperfield or McBride and they do the same thing on stage. Chances are that you would not climb on stage to seek an explanation. You would probably rationalize what you saw by saying that while it did look cool there's a trap door or whatever...

OK I digress and have lost track of the point I am trying to make?

McBride's words are probably true and valid in McBride's real world performing environment but shouldn't be considered the ultimate truth. However, it's highly probable that McBride doesn't have more experience than Irishguy in performing in Irishguy's real world performing environment. Irishguy's vision of magic is thus no less valid than McBride's for Irishguy's performing situations.

I know I have been in a few situations where being McBride wouldn't have made much of a difference. I remember being examined by a bunch of under privileged teenagers who literally jumped on me and frisked me after having made only one step in the building... They knew a magician was coming and were waiting by the only door to the building. The only difference is that McBride probably doesn't perform in these environments...
BarryFernelius
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Quote:
On 2005-04-03 19:35, Enigmo wrote:
Seriously, Barry I have a question for you; Let's say you're out in a shopping centre and someone approaches you with a big apparently empty bag. They ask you to hold the bag open. They hop in the bag, asks you to close it and open it in a second. You do just that. Upon opening the bag, the person has disappeared. Aren't you not going to look in or feel the bag to see if he/she's not in there. Aren't you not going to try to find an explanation, a trap door maybe? I know it's a stupid example but I am willing to bet that you would try to seek an explanation.

... (and so on and so forth.)

OK I digress and have lost track of the point I am trying to make?


Your examples of 'real magic' aren't really relevant to the question at hand; you are, as some say, comparing apples and oranges here. But your second point had potential and is worth examining, so let's consider it.

Quote:
McBride's words are probably true and valid in McBride's real world performing environment but shouldn't be considered the ultimate truth. However, it's highly probable that McBride doesn't have more experience than Irishguy in performing in Irishguy's real world performing environment. Irishguy's vision of magic is thus no less valid than McBride's for Irishguy's performing situations.

I know I have been in a few situations where being McBride wouldn't have made much of a difference. I remember being examined by a bunch of under privileged teenagers who literally jumped on me and frisked me after having made only one step in the building... They knew a magician was coming and were waiting by the only door to the building. The only difference is that McBride probably doesn't perform in these environments...


I can't speak about IrishGuy's performing situations, so there's a chance that you're correct. But I have known Jeff McBride for quite a long time. I would guess that Jeff has been in a wider variety of performing situations than you might imagine at first, including shows where underprivleged teenagers have challenged him. Jeff has a whole set of written material that addresses something that he calls "The Commando Act.," designed for tough environments. Many of the lessons learned from this act are incorporated into Jeff's act to this day.

As a side note, I'd have an easier time taking you and IrishGuy more seriously if you had the courage to engage in discourse using your real names. Otherwise, there's not much to differentiate you from the legions of mindless trolls who roam the Internet incessantly.

I've got nothing more to say about this topic, so I'm happy to let all of you have the last word on this.
"I don't teach people stories about the coyote for them to tell. I AM the coyote. They tell stories about me."

-Pop Haydn
irishguy
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Quote:
On 2005-04-03 19:55, BarryFernelius wrote:

I can't speak about IrishGuy's performing situations, so there's a chance that you're correct. But I have known Jeff McBride for quite a long time. I would guess that Jeff has been in a wider variety of performing situations than you might imagine at first, including shows where underprivleged teenagers have challenged him.


I don't doubt that he has worked in many arenas. But he works predominately on stage. It is highly unlikely that someone is going to walk up onto the stage and start poking around.

It is far more likely that someone in a restaurant or bar would want to poke around. Bars specifically.

Quote:
As a side note, I'd have an easier time taking you and IrishGuy more seriously if you had the courage to engage in discourse using your real names. Otherwise, there's not much to differentiate you from the legions of mindless trolls who roam the Internet incessantly.


How would knowing my name make any difference? A point is either valid or it isn't. It doesn't become more or less valid based on who said it.
BarryFernelius
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Quote:
On 2005-04-03 20:10, irishguy wrote:
I don't doubt that he [Jeff McBride] has worked in many arenas. But he works predominately on stage. It is highly unlikely that someone is going to walk up onto the stage and start poking around.

It is far more likely that someone in a restaurant or bar would want to poke around. Bars specifically.


Just two quick things: first, Jeff hasn't always been the successful stage magician that he is today. He paid his dues in front of tough audiences just like everyone else. Second, you're right; particularly after consuming alcohol, audience members have a greater tendency to 'poke around.' But there are strategies to deal with this situation as well. See the fine work by my friends Doc Eason and Eric Mead for advice on how to deal with this sort of audience.

Quote:
How would knowing my name make any difference? A point is either valid or it isn't. It doesn't become more or less valid based on who said it.


The problem is simple: being anonymous relieves you of any real responsibility for your opinions. I'm certainly not accusing you of any misbehavior, but there are a lot of folks on the Internet who express extreme opinions that they'd never express if they were held accountable. I'm willing to say who I am and stand by what I say. I'm merely asking the same courtesy from you.

Besides, if I'm ever in the neighborhood, if I knew who you were, I could bring some friends and watch you do your magic at the bar sometime. Smile
"I don't teach people stories about the coyote for them to tell. I AM the coyote. They tell stories about me."

-Pop Haydn
Enigmo
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Hi Barry!

While I am not seeking to have the last word, I would like to clarify my earlier point. I was giving a "real" magic example because, some magicians are trying to produce real magic in the eyes of the spectator. Please, don't view this as a sarcastic comment. I only mean to say that some performers put more emphasis on making it look like the real thing as opposed to just being entertainers. Those who do try to achieve "real" magic will be faced with spectators who will want "scientific" proof. It's just natural. That was my point. Sorry if you think that it is comparing apples and oranges.

Regarding the Mc Bride discussion, I didn't mean any disrespect towards Mr. McBride, his abilities and experience and so on. He has accomplished a lot more in magic than I never will. I am certain that to get where he is, he had to pay his dues. I am also certain that he has faced a wide variety of situations, a lot more so than I have and ever will.

That is the very reason I find it odd that such a blanket statement would be said by him. I know better than taking quotes at face value and out-of-context. That is why I was trying to appreciate the context where such a commment would apply.

Snap originally asked a question about getting his props grabbed. Some of the replies he received seem to indicate that if this happens to him, he's doing something TERRIBLY WRONG and that it doesn't happen to other more experienced magicians. When I was starting in magic I heard similar comments and I used to feel bad that such incidents happened to me. Surely, I was doing something TERRIBLY wrong! As my experience and confidence grew and as I witnessed some of these so-called experts I realized such blanket statements were pure baloney.

I am familiar with Mr Eason's work through his video and his lectures. The fact that he has strategies to deal with people poking at his stuff just confirms that it does actually happen even to the best performers.

The truth is this: these situations will arise. Sometimes it IS the fault of the performer but sometimes not. There are ways to prevent such occurences and there are ways to deal with it when it does happen. All I am saying is that it will happen, however good you are.

By the way, knowing your name didn't make me value more or less your opinion or Irishguy's. I originally signed up with the name I sometimes use in my kids shows and because it has sentimental value to me. You will notice also that I did use my real first name in some posts. I choose not to provide with my contact info in such a public forum for various reasons that centers around privacy. I may be unnecessarily too careful but that's me. In any case, if you do PM me, I will eventually be less secretive.


Jean-Luc
BarryFernelius
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I have sympathy for your privacy concerns. I've decided to sacrifice some privacy and be more direct with the folks on this forum, but I can respect your desire not to do so.

Let's take a look at a couple of situations.

First, let's look at your 'real magic' example. If I could do real magic, I think that this power would carry with it a serious responsibility. The last thing that I'd do with these powers would be to rub people's noses in it in a 'challenge' situation. Whether or not the magican has real powers, creating a 'challenge' situation without some other type of theatrical payoff will lead to unpleasant confrontation -- with very little to be gained. In the case that you cited, the magician is veritably asking the spectator to try to catch him. If I could do real magic, I wouldn't behave that way.

Second, let's take a brief look at Snap's situation:
Quote:
I try to pick and choose who to perform for, but maybe I'm not doing a good enough job. right now I'm trying to avoid a performance for a group of guys in my school who have been recently asking me for a trick everyday, and one of these guys I know will try to heckle me, if not worse. so,anyway, this does not happen on the regular basis, but I am still learning, so maybe I am doing something wrong.

Snap is a young student performer who's in the opposite situation: there are people setting Snap up in a challenge situation. The challengers are in the position of power, and Snap is being asked to be a magician on demand. This is backwards. When you're playing the part of the magician, YOU are the person who is supposed to have the power. Snap needs to assert this position of power and quit letting other people call the shots. When you're young, that's not always an easy thing to do. I submit that my original analysis of Snap's situation was correct; he WAS doing something terribly wrong. He was letting his peers control when and where he performs his magic. He basically was giving in to a bunch of bullies. When Snap develops the confidence to present his wonders on his own terms and with a bit more theatrical flair, I'll bet that most of his problems will vanish.

Third, Doc Eason, Jeff McBride and many other pros have strategies to deal with people who behave unpredictably. Most of these strategies involve PREVENTATIVE measures so that you keep yourself from getting into these situations right at the outset. You assume that there might be trouble, and you structure your act so that even if problems occur, the problems won't ruin your act. (I'm a big fan of anticipating trouble and taking preventative measures.)

I said I'd let you guys have the last word, and I've blathered on for a few more posts. Really, I don't have any additional useful stuff to say. I stand by what I said earlier, but I'll soften it a bit based on what I've learned from all of you. If, after your performance, every now and then, a peculiar spectator wants to examine your props, I suppose that could happen. In that case, you'll need a few simple strategies to deal with the occasional heckler. If most spectators want to examine the props after most performances, you are responsible for creating that spectator behavior. If that isn't the spectator response that you desire, you are also responsible for figuring out how to get a different response, hopefully, the response that you desire.
"I don't teach people stories about the coyote for them to tell. I AM the coyote. They tell stories about me."

-Pop Haydn
Enigmo
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Barry,

From my point of view, this is not about who is getting the last word but about helping a young student performer who is humble enough to seek advices. In fact, the last word should come from Snap telling us that he has satisfyingly solved his problems.

I have found your last post very enlightening and so much more constructive than the original quote! My concern was that your original quoted blanket statement that suggested to fix his act could be damaging to a student's confidence. As I already mentionned, I completely agree that in the case of the "bully" situation, the solution was not so much to fix his magic act but to present on one's own terms.

I also agree that preventive measures are always the best. All that being said, I also agree with Irishguy that there are some people whose curiosity will be so strong that they will try to seek rationalization and explanation for what they have just interpreted as real magic. As a result they might end up grabbing props or even worse. As such, I thought his comment was as valid as what you quoted McBride as saying...

Anyway, thank you for blathering for a few more posts; Hopefully we have helped Snap and other people facing similar issues and concerns...
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