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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » How do you guys handle very bad people attacking your performance. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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gaddy
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As a busker, which is a rather different environment than a lot of magicians perform in, my "secret plot" is to provoke these sorts of interactions very early in my show and deal with them mercilessly right then and there, before they ruin critical elements later on in the show. And I have to do it in such a way so that the rest of the audience doesn't get scared of me or begin to sympathize with the jerk.

For a street performer, a heckler is essentially stealing money out of my hat, and unless I use a sort of "verbal judo" on them, I may as well just pack it in and go see a movie or something. I'm wasting my time, and my audience's.

There are good stock lines for hecklers that will take you a long way, such as:

"Listen, lady... I don't come around and jump on the bed while YOU'RE trying to work, do I?"

Good luck! Don't let 'em push you around. You are the magician, you are in charge.
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
Dougini
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And, remember...you can do WONDERFUL things with TASERS these days...

Doug
Wanlu
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I just learned today the best way to handle hecklers...

http://wanluthemagician.blogspot.com/200......cor.html


OF COURSE, I'M JUST KIDDING. Smile Smile Smile
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Dougini
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Wanlu...that's the best idea I've seen! At least, if you don't have anything to do for twenty years! LOL!

Doug
Wanlu
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LOL, Doug. Smile

In my country, you won't do anything the rest of your life if you use this anti heckler method. Smile Well...maybe dig flat a few mountains.

Wanlu
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magic-wkr
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There are many ways to deal with this type of person, as a magician, I have never just stopped a show because I was being heckled; not saying that's a bad idea or not justified it's just something I haven't done.

My answer to this problem is:

1. First knowing this is a possible scenario and a solution for this, needs to be worked into your routine.

2. When developing a solution keep in mind what type of person your dealing with ie.. Arrogant, obnoxious, doesn't like to be fooled or (made a fool of), wants attention (and in my experience,) some people just don't know how to process the effect and it truly scares them; and to feel control they have to prove you a fake.

3. Use your skill as a performer, your presence as a magician and include them into your show.

4. Validate their remarks; let them know you realize that they have a keen eye and a sharp mind, ask them for their help.

5. Ask them to come up and be in the spotlight - its one thing to be a heckling spectator and another to be in the spotlight. (They just might leave) If not, get them up in front of everybody and make a star out of them; when your done make sure they get recognized for their participation and let them know you couldn't of done it with out them. I have done well using this approach.

Things to remember!
Most of the time people just want to have fun and when their defenses are lowered they can have fun. A lot of the time the magician/performer loses control due to their own frustrations, emotions or just not having the confidence to handle a situation like this; once you are prepared, you have the skill, confidence and mindset - there is nothing you can't achieve. Challenging a person like this only makes it worse and could have a drastic affect on you as a performer. Remember having fun with your audience is the key to success!

I have built a routine around the finger chopper it's not meant to fool anyone but instead offers me a chance to build trust, work with a difficult person, continue to entertain the audience and is an easy to control routine. Note: No matter how big or bad your heckler is, even if they know the trick, it's hard for them to put their finger into a mini guillotine - I cut a carrot, make reference to one of us putting our finger in it, milk it if I can and end up letting him perform the trick congratulating him on his ability to perform the trick and not cut off my finger.
Wahooka
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This may sound strange, but I actually think this girl who approached you and started heckling you was intrigued and impressed, and may even like you... when females see a male who is displaying characteristics of confidence and leadership, such as performing in public, her first instinct is to test you and see just how strong you are..

She was breaking your balls, basically, to test you and see how you would react... if you had reacted with assertiveness, you may have had yourself a new girlfriend Smile

Wahooka
happyslappys
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It is quite simple. Never perform fo anyone that does that. When you get experienced, you will be able to "scan" your audience even before you perform.
Mumblemore
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I agree that you gotta just use some verbal judo. With kids - the population I know better - it's less malice (like this young woman) and more just "ants in the pants" or poor manners (parents' fault if they're under a certain age). Silly Billy's book has the best ways to anticipate and defuse these problems before they happen. With adults (including college age people, which it sounds like you are), I would say, hold a commanding presence. I am a college professor when not working as a "part time pro" in magic on weekends. My student evaluations have improved markedly over the last few years, and I have avoided challenges in the classroom, by commanding students more firmly (gently but firmly). If I don't know a fact, I admit that, tell them I will look it up, and then get back to them next class. But I don't BS them, I don't tolerate nonsensical challenges (I answer challenges which I see as ego-driven rather than knowledge-driven by telling the student it's a complicated queston I'd be glad to discuss with them after class). When you act with confidence and control, that becomes "true" even if you don't feel so certain when you start. Confidence projects and when you have that and clear rules, you can afford to relax a little, let down your guard, and enjoy your public performance - as a magician or public speaker.
Mumblemore
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I should add that when you relax this allows your natural best to flow, making you a better magician and showing your audience that you're enjoying yourself which also makes them more likely to.
Drakmor Kain
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Advice you should never follow is to say, "Heh, little brave to be calling me fake when you're walking around with those." (Though the reactions would be -priceless-)

You should of course follow the advice given above, pack up, walk away and most importantly: Don't react, that last bit being what seems to drive that kind of person up the wall faster than anything.
Andy the cardician
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The Rambo method - Shut up - and meet me backstreets after the show.

The Dundee method - THIS is a knife

The sensible method - Bye folks
Cards never lie
Magicguy40
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I have found that the Sedona Method is great for releasing unwanted emotions and not allowing them to destroy our good lives, or be destroyed by rotten people.

I think it is really good to train people to treat us with respect and refusing to perform in hostile environments is the best way to go, then the focus becomes on them for wrecking everyone elses fun time.
Haardwire
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This is always a toughy.

I started to perform at children's parties at the age of 12. I soon learned how to control the audience, but never fell out with anyone. These days, having taken about 20 years out due to work, family & other commitments, I am just starting up again. My approach and target audience have both changed, as I enjoy the opportunity for a bit of grown up banter with my audience. I do magic for friends, but have started approaching people in bars etc to test myself. I always perform "experiments", or ask if I can "show them something interesting". I find this sets a more relaxed atmosphere to start off with as they don't feel the need to take up the challenge of discovering how it's done, as they might if I tell them I want to show them a trick or announce that I'm a magician. Once the first one or two are out of the way & they've enjoyed the effect & the chat, I find they want to see the next one play out so the fun can continue.

Real hecklers have been very rare for me, but to involve them is without doubt the best way to stop it. They won't heckle themselves, and when they are part of the fun and the action, they'll have so much more respect & often end up your biggest fan at the end.

Whatever, DO NOT let them put you off, & whatever you feel inside, just relax & give everyone the impression your confident and in control.

Above all, have fun & keep on keeping on.

Good luck

Nick
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JC Johns
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Quote:
On 2008-02-12 04:48, Haardwire wrote:

Real hecklers have been very rare for me, but to involve them is without doubt the best way to stop it. They won't heckle themselves, and when they are part of the fun and the action, they'll have so much more respect & often end up your biggest fan at the end.




Good point Haardwire. On a similar note, I had a buddy who could care less about magic because he did does not like “being tricked” with “slight of hand” garbage. However, I performed a self-working card trick on him and he was blown away. He liked the trick because he held the deck in his hand the whole time.

Point being, each person (audience member) is different, and it is important to realize what makes them interested. While this may not be applicable to the really annoying heckler, I think most people will enjoy your magic if you take the time to figure out what makes them tick.
MattSconce
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Quote:
On 2007-07-01 11:32, renzheng wrote:
If I meet those people, I will end my trick.
I donot like to perform magic to who donot enjoy magic


That is hard to do for me, because I feel like the others deserve to enjoy it. I guess it is the right thing to do for the sake of maintining the mystique.
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Paul Budd
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Y'know, I love these types of discussions.........there've been a'lot of good comments here........some magic buddies and I had breakfast this morning, and a topic roughly like this came up.
It's hard to offer a Perfect Answer to this question.....and I'm reasonably certain that (experience-wise) I'm not the person to perfectly answer it....but, y'know.....so many magicians forget that magic is supposed to FEEL GOOD to the audience members.....I've seen guys who just drip with, "God I'm cool....can't you see how freaking cool I am?!" ......and certain people can sense that.

There will always be people with delicate egos......I like to say that some people just aren't confident enough to allow themselves to "fall into" a good performance. Really, when you think about it, and audience has to "play" a role as much as the magician does.
His face isn't really this long in-person!
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Stmarkus
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Discussions like this are always helpful, as there is much to be learned about situations like these...It's not always true that theres "one in every crowd"....But you have to be prepared for one, in case there is....Just about a month ago I was doing some card magic for a waitress in a restaurant, fooled her with a few effects, she seemed to be loving it, then suddenly without warning, she grabbed for my cards!!I was totally unprepared for this, but luckily I was able to turn my body to the side in the motion of protecting the deck, while at same time grabbing about half the deck and doing a half-pass...I then just played it off and told her, "of course its a trick deck...when you spread one way, you see the back of the cards,,,,Then when I turn the deck over, you still see the back of the cards"!! She was floored....And that was the end of the show for her...My point after all this is I learned a lesson I will NEVER forget, and that's always keep the spectator at a dictance and be ready for the unexpected...Sometimes also, magic can be presented in a challenging way (intentional or not)....This often brings about a bad reaction in an insecure spectator....Darwin Ortiz..(Strong Magic) and Tommy Wonder (The Books of Wonder ) have written about the psychology behind this...Great reading...Anyway, I hope I've helped some....

Mark
PepeRuizSJ
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I haven't read every answer but here's my two cents:
I've noticed that the hecklers have considerably lessened as I became a better magician. One thing I've learned is to tell them, if I know the trick was well performed that "of course, it is an illusion, but the thing is, it looks like magic" and I seek everyone's approval with my eyes (I might finish saying "Right?" most times everyone is already agreeing or nodding). This normally achieves two things 1) It puts most people on your side (you're showing your self somewhat vulnerable, but you know you did a good job), and 2) brings everybody back to a place where they can "suspend their disbelief," and where they know it is ok to be amazed. After I say that, normally the Heckler is able to enjoy it too actually, and if he doesn't most people will get annoyed by him.
If he persists I will stop and say, "we don't have to keep going" and then everyone will most definitely get really upset with the guy. Smile

Anything you can do to achieve those two purposes will be very helpful.
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