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Paul Shirley
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Inner circle
Melbourne, Australia
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This thread probably ends with Bills advice Smile Spot on Bill

Like most of us, I am sure, I love performing magic. To see a look of total amazement on a spectators face is why I do it. I really love it.

Mentalism is a style of magic that A: I love to watch, B: I love performing and C: I find creates the strongest reactions from spectators.

This however doesn't stop me performing close up... 'Hollow', ... using a TT to vanish something,... or some rubber-band magic. As long as I am creating that 'moment' for a spectator.
Al Straker
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Grammar Host
Australia
1119 Posts

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Great advice above.

At the end of the day the person who does the most performances tends to find their character at some point along the journey and also end up with well developed, suitable material. Step one is always to perform as often as possible.

May help to ask yourself...

If you asked your best friend to describe your character in detail, what would they say?

Apart from your magic/mentalism what are your other passions, skills & talents?

How do you want to make your audience feel and what kind of experience would you like them to have of you?

How are you going to 'stand out' from the crowd as an entertainer?

Now join the dots and use the responses above to guide you in creating a show that is as original as possible and then perform it 500 times. Try to enlist the help of people who know show business. You will then have begun to make the changes needed but this process will continue on indefinitely.

Cheers,
Al
Al Straker
Resident Mystery Entertainer at Multiple Venues
Music & Mentalism Specialty Act 'Completely Mental'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyGhApqnG7I

(Old clip, show has changed quite a bit since then!)

Jazz & Contemporary Musician/Composer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnN3JNmeKns

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU_zfOvpneA
mindpunisher
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Quote:
On 2008-07-17 18:10, jstone wrote:
Quote:
On 2008-07-17 17:43, mindpunisher wrote:
The truly great performers, communicators, sales people know that is never about them but about your audience.

Being a veteran sales person myself, I know that you are correct. However, there is one thing missing from your statement. In order to focus on the audience/customer, you have to understand how to do that the best way for you.

For example, It's clear that illusions of levitation on stage and quick changes and vanishing assistants can make an audience gasp and leave them walking away with a feeling of awe and inspiration. However, not every magician can pull that off, because it's not "them." It's not who they are.

There are a lot of tricks that I don't do because they don't fit into who I am, and I don't enjoy them even though the tricks themselves are incredible tricks. For example, sponge bunnies. I know they kill, but I feel uncomfortable or out of my element when I do them. It's just not my style.

The same is true with sales. There are many, many types of sales people, and each of them can sell in a way that the others cannot because it is not "who they are."

When I sold, I was very direct and even blunt with people, and it worked. I did it with a smile on my face; my customers liked me, and I was very successful.

There are other sales people who take the more hands off approach of "I'm here for you if you ever want to buy something," and they did just fine with that, but didn't feel right selling the way I did and vice-versa.

However, having said all that, you certainly are correct that you don't want to spend so much time figuring yourself out that you never perform. But you certainly don't want to go to the other extreme of performing (or selling) without having any clue as to who you are as a performer.

Paradoxically, some of this stuff can only be found out by performing, so your advice of "Now stop moaning and go kick some ***" certainly has merit. You just have to be careful where you draw the line.


Actually I totally disagree with the above post...
Everything you say is focused on you. I was blunt ....I was this...I was that

Its not about tricks its not about character.

Its about creating an experience for your audience.

Biggest mistake sales people make is that they think everyone is in love with their products as much as they are. People really don't care. What people care about is whats in it for them.

The first step is to learn more about how your audiences minds work so you can present your act in a way that has maximum impact. What dyou want THEM to experience? The effects are secondary.

I know this I do it for a living. I watch ordinary sales people double and triple their sales once they grasp this. Forget about old style sales training. Forget about your character master your audience instead.

YOU DON'T CREATE CHARACTER YOU BUILD ONE.....GET OUT AND KICK ASS..
jstone
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Someday I'll have
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Quote:
On 2008-07-18 12:20, mindpunisher wrote:
The first step is to learn more about how your audiences minds work so you can present your act in a way that has maximum impact. What dyou want THEM to experience? The effects are secondary.

I know this I do it for a living. I watch ordinary sales people double and triple their sales once they grasp this. Forget about old style sales training. Forget about your character master your audience instead.

YOU DON'T CREATE CHARACTER YOU BUILD ONE.....GET OUT AND KICK ASS..


I also do this for a living, and for the most part I agree with you. However, the audience/customer may truly want me to dance naked on the table, but it ain't my style, so it won't be happening.

Obviously that's an extreme, but I'm using it to demonstrate the point. Yes ultimately the audience's reaction is the most important. However, there are many, many, many ways to get that reaction or close that deal.

If there weren't then every single magician would be the same. Take Houdini and compare him to say Mark Wilson. Two totally successful magicians, and two totally different styles.

Since there are many, many, many ways to create what the audience or customer wants, why not do one that also works for you as a salesperson?

Any salesperson could apply any technique that is solid, but some techniques feel better to do than others. If they both work, why not do the one the feels more natural?

If it feels more natural, you may embrace it even more, and if you embrace it even more, you'll be even better at it than you would be at the other techniques that feel less natural to you.

I mean if we focus entirely on what the customer wants, we'd give everything away for free.

If we focus entirely on what the audience wants we just take requests and when they say hey make my car disappear, we would just do it.

We can't 100% discount ourselves in the routine. In fact, a big portion of what makes magic work is if we really believe that the coin is in the left hand even though it's really in the right hand. We have to believe it if we want to "sell" it.

Nothing is more persuasive than determined self-confidence, and nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm. Those things sell, and if you the salesman/performer do not have those things then you will not sell, and therefore your audience will not get what they want.

So it's all about the audience reaction, but you cannot get that reaction with spending some, not all, but some time on yourself.
jstone
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Bummer... The last line of my last post was supposed to say:

So it's all about the audience reaction, but you cannot get that reaction WITHOUT spending some, not all, but some time on yourself.
mindpunisher
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"I also do this for a living, and for the most part I agree with you. However, the audience/customer may truly want me to dance naked on the table, but it ain't my style, so it won't be happening."

You are still missing the point. the audience want ME ME ME ME ME doing something.

The audience want an experience. This is something that happens INSIDE THEM.

You build your show to create this experience FOR THEM.

Any work you do on you is so THEY CAN HAVE AN EXPERIENCE FOR THEM.

THEM THEM THEM. That focus will drive everything you do.

Why do so many people find so hard to focus away from themselves? that's why those that really get this will reach the top of their field no matter what it is. because there won't be much competition.

Sure both approaches "work". Except one is hugely more successful.

Your style will evolve all by itself as will your character. It is something you don't have to think about. Infact it will be more genuine and pure if allow it to evolve by itself.
jstone
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Mindpunisher,

Let me first say that I'm enjoying this discussion, so hopefully you are too, and you're not banging your head on your keyboard hoping that you'll "get through to that jeff stone guy."

I'm with you on this, believe it or not. It is all about the experience the audience feels inside. I totally agree. However, somebody is helping them feel that experience. They don't get there by themselves. They need me, or you, or whoever the performer is to help them get there.

If they need us, the magi, to help them, then we can't ignore ourselves as part of the experience.

You are also correct in stating that your style will evolve with experience. That's how I figured out that the best way for my audience to experience and feel inside what they want was for me to act a certain way. If I tried to act a different way that would make your audience roar, it wouldn't work on my audience unless it was YOU doing it.

So in order for the audience to experience what they want and feel how they want to feel, the person helping them feel that feeling must also be able to enjoy the experience.

If you don't like it too, then it doesn't matter if the audience likes it or not. You both have to like it or else you (the magician) will burn out, and eventually it will take its toll on your audiences.

Your move. Smile
jstone
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I've posted this in another thread as well, but I figured it's ok since both thread deal with character development.

I have an article about character development in my newsletter. Sign up for my newsletter (it's free), and you'll have access to past articles.

The one you're looking for is the October 2007 issue. The article is called "Know Thyself!".

Anyway, you can sign up for the newsletter here:
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