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Mark Wilden
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Quote:
On 2007-04-01 11:35, Hoagini wrote:
I find that once I get on a roll I pull out tricks I'm still developing to give them a little treat and they may even figure it out but the next time they see you, you'll have perfected the trick and they'll love the fact that they get to see you improve as a magician.

I strongly disagree with this.

Magicians have a responsibility to each other not to expose methods, whether on purpose or by screwing up. When I got my first Invisible Deck (lo these many weeks ago), I practiced my ass off with it. I realized that if I exposed it through ineptitude, I'd not only be ruining my chances of ever fooling that audience with it - I'd be ruining all magicians' chances.

Second, I don't think screwing up endears us to audiences. Instead, it ruins that illusion that we're trying to create: of having special powers. They're not there to watch us perform a tricky puzzle - they're there to be amazed by the impossible. And once again, every inept magician simply makes it harder for all other magicians.

It's just too easy to perform a trick before it's ready. Performing, after all, is most of the fun of doing what we do. But we must all have the discipline to finish preparing a trick before performing it. It's good for us, it's good for our audiences, and it's good for other magicians.

///ark
Led Heflin
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I've performed as a musician for years, and I left stage fright behind long ago as a musician through being onstage so much I sort of just ran out of anxiety. But then I noticed something weird last year (after some 17 years of performing, no less)-- I had to play in Godspell at a church, and there's a little, totally exposed guitar part in the middle of a song. It's not particularly hard, just a little awkward and probably not written by a guitar player. I was pounding with anxiety-- something about the entire church full of people turning their attention to me and listening to me nail or screw up that little part all of a sudden was awful. (I got through it OK.) I've found magic to be that way sometimes, too, because I feel like everybody is looking to "catch" me.

What I've come to learn is that what I do as a (sort of) jazz musician is completely applicable to magic-- most every screw up goes by quickly, and if I just ignore it and continue, people never, ever notice except my bandmates. If, before I play, I've found the song is beyond me, I drop it from the set list until another gig.

I always remember this: you know what you're doing and when you've screwed up, but your audience doesn't actually know it's a mistake unless you cue them in to that by getting flustered.

I just read about Herrmann screwing up the production of a bowl of goldfish by dropping its rubber cover. He placed it on his head and said he never performed the trick without his trusty beret. Probably seemed a little weird, but hey, the audience will give you the benefit of the doubt if you take the authoritative role they're expecting. If you develop a state of relaxation (through breathing calmly, etc.) and keep your mind on the whole song (or the whole routine in this case) instead of the individual notes or moves, screw-ups, I've found, can be floated over with grace. Now if I could do sleight of hand as well as a harmonic minor scale, maybe I'd have a chance...
Let him borrow and return his handkerchief like a man, and trust to his sleight of hand.
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<BR>--Edwin Sachs
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<BR>http://www.myspace.com/ledheflin
Mark Wilden
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I've read (and believe) that the big difference between music and magic is that one mistake in a music piece doesn't screw up the whole thing. But most mistakes in magic do indeed screw up the whole trick. Now, you can certainly change the trick at that point or make a joke about your own ineptitude (which you can't very well do in music), but it's not going to be as effective as if you'd just done it right in the first place.

That said, it's pretty clear that the more you perform, the more mistakes you're going to make, and trying to carry on as if no one noticed is often the best solution. It's not the end of the world.

However, I think the opposite problem, of going out and performing (for friends or whatever) without proper preparation, is far more common.

///ark
Led Heflin
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Quote:
On 2007-04-02 22:57, Mark Wilden wrote:
I've read (and believe) that the big difference between music and magic is that one mistake in a music piece doesn't screw up the whole thing. But most mistakes in magic do indeed screw up the whole trick. Now, you can certainly change the trick at that point or make a joke about your own ineptitude (which you can't very well do in music), but it's not going to be as effective as if you'd just done it right in the first place.


You're quite right. One uses the analogy one has experience of, I guess! Still, I find that a trick I've used for really bad musical screw-ups does work for magic, just as you point out-- now and then I've hit a magnificent clunker in a solo, and instead of responding with a grimace, I've raised an eyebrow, then come back to the clunker, using it as a humorous point of departure. I've had similar success in magic by repeating and exaggerating a mistake and trying to come up with a new ending from it. It's worked at least sometimes. But you're right-- when something goes really, really wrong, sometimes you can only change the subject and make sure the car is warmed up for the getaway.
Let him borrow and return his handkerchief like a man, and trust to his sleight of hand.
<BR>
<BR>--Edwin Sachs
<BR>
<BR>http://www.myspace.com/ledheflin
rpierce
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I just came back from a mission trip to DC(Washington). We chaparoned a group of teenagers from chruch. I used this as an oppourtunity to perform many of the effects I have been working on for months. My nerves were going and during my ambitious card routine one of the chaparones shouts out, he's got two cards there(jerk). I was a train wreck after that, but for myself, I learned something. Out of a group of 30 people, I learned who was really interested. So for the rest of the trip I concentrated on doing effects for just the interested parties. So in isolated corners I did one on one routines, which went great, even when I screwed up. I know nerves is a huge issue for me, and if it means starting small and hand picking my audience, that's what I will do for now. In one of my ellusionsist DVD's Brad Christian's advice for hecklers was, if you run into one, finish the effect and stop. It's not worth it.
JamesTong
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Performance anxiety is a common thing to all. The above tips are certainly helpful. You have to find your own way to deal with it. Over time and through more performances it will go away.
Brent McLeod
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Agree with above comments

In time you will overcome stage fright-we all get the "feeling" before we go on no matter how many shows we do!!

I find having your first effect as fail safe that you know well ,have rehearsed & is good magic will help you so much

Cheers
Justin Style
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Quote:
On 2007-03-27 19:47, Jake12 wrote:
I'm here to ask what any of you have done to get over stage fright and what you think is the best to do so. Thanks


NEVER HAD stage fright. Sorry, I don't know how to answer that. The best thing I can say is; be prepared, enjoy what you are doing and have a clear plan before you hit the stage. I believe the only reason for fright is uncertainty. I’ve always had more balls than brains! If all else fails, just imagine the audience naked!

Good luck -
Froste
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I'll tell ya what my mentor told me. Get out in public and do it. He said the way to get over being nervous was to do it until you stopped being nervous, and then do it some more, naturally... Then he suggested I contact the local farmer's/arts/crafts market organizers and get myself a place there. So I did.

It's been an amazing experience. Every Saturday morning, I start out with some "self-working" card effects that play well and put me more at ease. Then I move to some harder stuff and get fully into my "magical mindset" so to speak. From there, it's all fun and magic until the market's done. Then I walk around buzzing from the magic all day and practice my head off to tighten up rough spots and grow as a magician.
Jerrine
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Re: magic vs. music & the shakes
I was taught in Music that no note was a bad note if you got off it fast enough.
Mr. Phillips was fond of saying that Farmer Jones(it was in the country)doesn't know what note comes next so move along as if what you played was on the page.

While the exact same is not true in Magic I think the principle applies. Joe Blow doesn't know exactly what you are going to do till it's done so if you make an error move along as if it was planned. Armed with this knowledge you can gain confidence and settle the shakes.
A major player in Magic is deception so get to decieving and lie lie lie both in action and word.
rpierce
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I started Magic in College in 1976. I was young and immortal, had no issues about failure, new little about magic except that it was fun, and oddly enough, never had the shakes. I eventually settled into a rountine of effects, from cards, sponge balls, billard balls, rubber bands and an assortment of effects from the Little Jack Horner Magic Shop in Boston(no longer exisits). I became very comfortable with those effects and my magical growth slowed to a snails pace. I stopped in about 1995 because of work and lack of a new and willing audience. When I picked it up again in 2006, now we had the internet and DVD's. I have learned more in the past 6 months than the last 30 years, only now I have nerves and the shakes. When I perform any of my old effects from the past, I have no shakes or nerves, it is just second nature. Just my new effects give me the shakes and I practice endlessly, for hours and hours, daily. The old effects, I guess are like riding a bike. I liked the idea of the farmers market, I need a place to perform and practice. Has anyone tried hospitals?, cancer clinics, VA centers etc. After all this rambling(sorry), I just thought I would share my personal experiences hoping others may be able to relate and possibly share their own, and ultimately help me find a way to solve this. thanks for reading this.
PirateJohn
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Have you thought about joining Toastmasters or a community theater? If you can get experience being in front of people and performing in that sense, then it can make you more at ease when you're performing magic.

I still do get a bit nervous, of course, but I'm more able to deal with it because of my experience doing other things like singing, acting, public speaking, etc.
The Amazing Noobini
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I've become a regular in a local bar since it is a quiet place and I always feel like going for a walk in the evening which takes me by there. I also cannot concentrate on reading at home because it is too quiet and just... home, not a place for studying somehow. Home is where I lie back and watch a video while fondling my cards. But thinking there is difficult.

So I always bring my notebooks and a book to the bar and sit in the corner of the bar. It's a fairly new tradition but I have already become aquainted with most of the people who work there. They have asked me what all the little drawings of cows, teabags and Amish people are all about so I have told them that I'm trying to learn a memory systems based on phonetics and mental imagery. They probably either think I'm a genius or a completely deranged person.

Anyway, today as I was over at the counter buying my cinnamon tea and exchanging a few words about studying things, I let it slip that I was also learning magic and the guy who owns the bar lit up. He LOVES magic. He wanted me to do something... anything, but I was suddenly in a state of complete panic. This I straight out told him. I am usually completely honest. So HE decided to show ME a magic trick with a napkin, which failed badly. I was supportive, wondering if he failed on purpose simply to put me at ease. He then told me of his music career and how he had suddenly one day overcome stage freight, on stage in the middle of a concert in a foreign country. It didn't help me.

Anxious to do something I took out a coin and tried to do some simple puts and steals that I do rather well. It was an emergency solution. He and his girlfriend were very impressed. But were they faking it? Were they making fun of me? It felt a bit like they were. Then again if I hear someone laughing nearby I automatically assume that the laughter is at my expense.

I realized that without my mirror I had no clue as to what it looked like from their point of view. Why coin sleights? I'm good at cards. I talked excessively, babbling. I was sweating a great deal so I took my hat off.

At this point the girlfriend leans into him and whispers "look, look, he took his hat off". Why? Has she always wanted to see the shape of my head? I was suddenly convinced that I have a GIGANTIC head. One that is the talk of the town. Honestly, it is fairly big. Or maybe she had just told him earlier that she has noticed how men with receeding hairlines often wear hats. I have very little hair. But is it so bizarre that people talk about it?

All the time I knew that I had 2 decks of cards very much ready to go in my pocket. I wanted to take them out but I couldn't. "I don't really know any coin effects", I excused myself. "What I do is cards". I then realized that this was a terrible setup for card tricks. Now they were expecting something incredible with cards. I decided to not take out the cards. But I wanted to. He was talking and I wasn't listening. In my mind I was doing Chicago Opener and Jumping Gemini, trying to panic-reherse them believing that they were suddenly somhow gone. Finally I held my hand out, surprised to see that I was shaking like an epeleptic cartoon character. It was wild. The hand was shaking so that the fingers were going invisible.

They went out for a smoke. I escaped back into the corner and when I looked up a little later they had left. Did I scare them off? I ended up feeling bad for having chickened out of the card tricks. Although it may have been the sensible thing to do. (I keep wanting to do my best stuff for people because it will have the highest chance of succeeding. But I'm also convinced that I need to save those things for when I know I won't screw them up. So I do nothing. Never have done anything with cards for anybody).

So I sat there in the corner of the bar, halfway hoping that they would come back. I felt like everybody there were quiet and staring at me. Had I shouted earlier? I tried to read but was unable to follow a single passage. After an hour of tunel vision I put the hat back on and went home.

What a neurotic babbling fool I am. Not a hip musician bartender with a gorgeous girlfriend. But a oddly dressed weirdo in a corner, drawing equations with lollipops and nuns in them. I should have asked him something about his music but I didn't give him any feedback on the story of the tour. I was only thinking of myself.
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
"You, my friend, have a lot to learn." (S. Youell)
"Nonsensical Raving of a lunatic mind..." (Larry)
Yiannos
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Noobini, I had very much the same problem as you up until recently - even though I knew perfectly well that I could do perform an effect, I got too scared when confronted with someone asking me to show them something.

I don't know if it will work for you but for me, I eventually just dived in. And yeah, I screwed up a number of times and in my mind I looked like an utter fool. But after a while you stop caring and the shakes and sweating get less and less and eventually you realise that you CAN nail the tricks, and if you don't it DOESN'T matter. Obviously you don't want to be exposing secrets to all and sundry but if you start with friends and family and work up from there, by the time you're doing stuff for strangers and friends of friends the mistakes will be few and far between.

I'm saying that as a fellow magic beginner - not some journeyman of the art who left his stagefright behind long ago but someone who was (and still is, to some extent) going through what you are. It gets better with experience, and a little bit of self-belief.

Sorry if I sound really arrogant, I'm just trying to share what I've experienced the last few months in the hope it might help.

Cheers!

Yianni
The Amazing Noobini
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Thank you, Yianni. You don't sound the least bit arrogant. I'm always ready to hear a success story, or one in progress.

I haven't planned to give up. It's just so incredibly annoying that nerves have held me back all my life and then I go and pick a new career/hobby as a performer of all things. What kind of stupidity is that? It's just such a strange and helpless feeling when you know there is nothing to worry about and yet your hands still shake like you have caught malaria or something. I shake like that in situations when I'm not even nervous inside. My body is nervous, not me. It's like watching someone elses hands shaking sometimes.

Anyway, I have the idea to offer the bartender guy to perform for him/them one trick each time I see them if the time is good for them. Then I know that I cannot go in there without having rehearsed at least one item beforehand. And I have plenty of material really. It's really the perfect setting to begin in. Midway between friends and strangers. If I fail so badly that I can never face them again, I don't have to. And still I can talk to them like friends and get feedback the next week, and so on.

I shall return.
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
"You, my friend, have a lot to learn." (S. Youell)
"Nonsensical Raving of a lunatic mind..." (Larry)
sethb
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I think that some of "stage fright" comes from the fact that once you start performing in public, you are introducing an unpredictable element into your presentation -- the audience!

Although you can't predict what an audience will do, you can learn how to control them, with practice. And unfortunately, the only way to acquire that knowledge is by performing. After a while, you will have run into almost every possible situation, and either handled it or figured out how to handle it in the future. This will give you the confidence to perform without nervousness. It's also one reason it's so important to have your sleights, patter and routine down perfectly, so that you can pay attention to the performance and handle whatever unexpected situations may arise.

And has been said before, while nobody wants to expose any secrets, sooner or later something will go wrong. Just remember it's not the end of the world, and there's always a new audience tomorrow or next week. Just keep on going and eventually, you'll get there. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Bertrand Thornley
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Hi Noobini, You sound a little high strung. I know the feeling! I have the same problem with shaking hands sometimes. You can approach these kind of things from a psychological or merely physical perspective. Its probably best to attack it from both angles.
1. go to the library or locall bookstore( alternative health) and utilize info on such topics as Breathing techniques, meditation, etc. Your breathing is linked to your emotions and vice versa. And emotions are of course linked to physiology-hand shaking. Also try visualizing more positive outcomes for situations. KNOW that everything is just fine and always has been! Noobini, you must know the truth is that Everything Really is Fine and always has been! Isn't that the truth?

2. If your hands tend to have tremors a lot you might have a chemical or nutritional imbalance. Try taking magnesium supplements. Magnesium is a needed mineral and natural muscle relaxant. There are also completely safe, natural sedative compounds in health food stores that might help before performing. I'm sure you have plenty of such places in Norway.

Also you might want to make sure you get lots of excercise--within reason and safely. Excersise burns off excess nervous energy and calms and clarifies the mind.

By the way, these are just suggestions and not prescriptions based on personal experience, years of study and being a fully licenced massage therapist.
I really wish you all the best!

Bert
"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins

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Grahamprigg
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Perform as often as you can to real people, people you don't know who wont be kind like family or friends. A lot of it boils down to confidence and belief in yourself and belief in what your going to do. Also you can think to much, I mean if you know you can do an effect well then relax about it. Ive actually got into a really bad habbit of saying "i don't know if this will even work" before nearly every other trick, and thinking about it I guess its how I combat my nerves, I wouldnt reccomend saying this all the time but it does help from time to time.
Jay Austin
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I used to be scared to talk to any stranger or in a group setting with people I didn't know. The thing that helped me most was just getting arround people. I spent 10 years working as a paramedic. Somethig about going into strangers homes in high stress times getting over dealing with strangers. I also have had jobs such as insurance agent/stock broker. I have now gotten to the point where I talk to everyone. What I am saying is that it just takes time and getting out talking to people.
Jay Austin

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Katterfel22
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If you have the chance take an acting class or join some sort of community theater.
There are things that you can learn from acting or being around actors,( like the value of having an internal script ),that will make you more relaxed in your magic act.
Cave ab homine unius libri - Latin epigram
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