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Gerry Hennessey
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Congratulations Neil.

Gerry
"Every discipline effects every other discipline. You can't straighten out the corporation if your closet is a mess" Jim Rohn

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NeilS
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In addition to all that I have gained personally by stepping out of the comfort zone, this show I gave also made me seriously consider which effects best suited me and had most entertainment value but also the format, routine, scripting together with the impression I wanted to create. And in all my reading and research I found a real gem - Taking Center Stage by Floyd Collins. Well written and informative this book is specifically about performing mentalism and how to present and routine a show as well as how to publicize and market it. The book contains some real nuggets (spread over 18 different lessons) which I, and I am sure many others, can benefit from. Further details can be found on

http://stores.lulu.com/thecenterstage
Nick Wait
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I haven't read all the posts on here, so apologies if I am repeating others.

Firstly, I think it is important to remember nerves are designed to help you, not hinder you. The feelings you experience, I believe, are your body kicking into some sort of hypermode, gearing itself up ready for the performance. It is importatnt to recognise, that once harnessed they can help your performacne immesurably. When I perform, I am funnier, cleverer,more confident and more articulate, than I ever am in my bedroom mirror.
For me personally, the best way I have found to overcome nerves is firstly super prepare everything, so I know I am certain that I am ready to perform. That way when my nerves kick in, I can silence them as my own irrational insecurities. I also shadow box(in private) as well as take some calming breaths. But perhaps the most helpful technique I use, was picked up from Michal Ammars book. Which is visualisation, I see myself performing routines in my head over and over again, visualise every different scenario and see myself acting out the perfect repost.

There are litterally hundreds of techniques you can use, and the only way to find out what works for you is via trial and error. My only real advice to you, however, would to avoid alchohol as a way of combating nerves. I know a couple of friends on the comedy circuit in the UK, who rely on Alchohol to combat nerves, and they are suddenly finding themselves having to perform 400+ shows a year! Trust me that turns into a lot of alchohol, one of them has recently joined the AA. It very much turnend into a case of find a way of dealing with your nerves without alchohol, or self destruct.

I would also avoid medication,as I have alrealdy stated I belive using thouse nerves can be incredibly helpful and invigorating, and secondly I very much see this as a delay tactic not a solution. You will still feel nervous, you just wont be exepriencing the side effects. Problems are generally best solved at their source.
Floyd Collins
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Thanks Neil for the comments about the book, the response from those who use the methods in my book has been very positive. I am humbled that you posted about it here Thank You.

I have found over the years that if you are well prepared well scripted and well rehearsed then your nerves are less likely to get in the way of your performance, this is key and should be the goal of everyone performing.

As Dan Harlan has said many times, it is ok to have butterflies in your stomach as long as you get them flying in the same direction.

By making sure the following few items are checked way before a show will guarantee your show to be much smoother and you will be more comfortable as a result.

The Material must be appropriate to the interests of the audience, and it must relate well to the persona of the performer.
The Audience must complement both the material and the presentation style of the performer.
The Performer must present the right material to the right audience in the right way.
Also known as the MAP (Material, Audience, Performer) theory.
When a performer feels as if one of these items is out of sync with their show then nerves seem intensified and as a direct reflection the performance can suffer causing even more feelings of nerviness. In other words when you stand up there waiting for the round of applause and there is very little or none at all, you know something is not working. This is the biggest fear of most performers, and covering the three items listed in the MAP will limit that from being a fear for the performer.

I have covered my tips for combating this in my above post so I will not go back over it again. I just feel that I needed to state why the book Neil speaks of is so important to those performing in our art.

This is a very positive thread and one that will come in handy for anyone who performs.

-Floyd
No one said it would be easy, or did they?

Check out my all new book "Chicken Scratches" visit my lulu store for more information.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/thecenterstage

http://www.collinscomedymagic.com
MagicMikeMartin
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Great thread, one thing I was wondering....I notice that sometimes my hands will shake....the more I focus on it...the worse it seems to get.....Is there anything anyone can recommend for that occassion when you are on stage and notice the shakes?
gadfly3d
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The suggestions about breathing are quite likely to work, have you noticed that people under stress who are speaking tend to be short of breath? Many often tend to tighten the chest muscles and hold their breath. So deep breathing will loosen you up and keep you from holding your breath, and just knowing you might do it helps.

Gil
mindpunisher
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The best way for nerves is a two step process.

Prepare very well. Both learning your routines and rehearsing them. Condition your mental states to automatically be there for you.

stage fright is emotional brought on by uncontrolable thoughts of "percieved" danger.

You can read all you want but the best way is to condition your mind to trigger the proper states and thoughts..

http://www.advancedmind.co.uk/cafeoffer.htm

I may if I get time create a whole programme around this if there is any interest.
Pete Legend
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I get a few butterflies but in all honestly I don't really get nervous anymore.Mindpunisher is right its about preparing your material.Like on stage I don't care how Im perceived.My shows have gotten complaints for type of humour I use(I don't curse,its not blue but I guess its edgy)I think if everyone likes it then your not pushing the boundaries...Im constantly learning.I'd actually prefer not being liked by everyone.

I perform mostly in comedy clubs and small theatres here...off stage I care deeply about my show and the audience but when I take the stage I lose some of that(for the most part within reason) and be me..they can like it or not...Im expressing myself and spent endless hours off stage preparing.Maybe if we don't go overboard in trying to impress everyone then maybe it will be easier on the nerves.

Anywho that's my style Smile

Pete
chrusa
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Ill be honest with you the get hammered idea is close, have a few drinks but don't get hammered. I am a DJ as well and everytime I spin I have 3 beers ort so and it relaxes me. People say I dj better while drinking. Reason is as follows I am trying to beat match the song qand blend it in and I worry too much and am nervous, also thinking if the crowd will like the mix, if they are dancing, am I playing the right song, ma I doing it right. When I have those beers it puts me in a zone and helps me focus.


Same thing when I do magic.
Thanks,
<BR>
<BR>Chris Hrusa
NeilS
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I really am glad this thread has been regenerated as there is so much great advice in it which really did help me personally and pleasingly, helped others too.

One tip I read and was given by a top speaker was that just before he started, he always moistened his lips. Just this momentary action helped him to focus and prepare himself for his act.

Whether this was psychological or not I don't know, but anything that can help prepare you and get you in the right mindset is worth trying.
Floyd Collins
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Quote:
On 2008-10-20 10:11, MagicMikeMartin wrote:
Great thread, one thing I was wondering....I notice that sometimes my hands will shake....the more I focus on it...the worse it seems to get.....Is there anything anyone can recommend for that occassion when you are on stage and notice the shakes?


A long time ago I use to get this, a friend suggested to carry a paper clip and fiddle with it as I was talking, it keeps your hand busy so your always doing something with them. It worked. I don't use it anymore since I no longer do slights but it did help back then.
No one said it would be easy, or did they?

Check out my all new book "Chicken Scratches" visit my lulu store for more information.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/thecenterstage

http://www.collinscomedymagic.com
Floyd Collins
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Quote:
On 2008-10-20 10:24, gadfly3d wrote:
The suggestions about breathing are quite likely to work, have you noticed that people under stress who are speaking tend to be short of breath? Many often tend to tighten the chest muscles and hold their breath. So deep breathing will loosen you up and keep you from holding your breath, and just knowing you might do it helps.

Gil


If you rehearse your show word for word out loud, you can control your breathing better. You are correct the muscles in your chest become tight and it makes it harder for you to breathe, learning to relax while on stage is a very important. Also controlling your speed is very important if you rush or hurry too much it will cause this same effect with the body so slow down if you feel you cant breath it really does help.
Good points Gil

-Floyd
No one said it would be easy, or did they?

Check out my all new book "Chicken Scratches" visit my lulu store for more information.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/thecenterstage

http://www.collinscomedymagic.com
Nick Wait
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Quote:
On 2008-10-20 12:29, chrusa wrote:
Ill be honest with you the get hammered idea is close, have a few drinks but don't get hammered. I am a DJ as well and everytime I spin I have 3 beers ort so and it relaxes me. People say I dj better while drinking. Reason is as follows I am trying to beat match the song qand blend it in and I worry too much and am nervous, also thinking if the crowd will like the mix, if they are dancing, am I playing the right song, ma I doing it right. When I have those beers it puts me in a zone and helps me focus.


Same thing when I do magic.


I just want to go on the record and say that I consider this very bad advice. I've seen the following scenario too often.

1) Performer gets very nervous when he performs.
2) Performer has a couple to relax - puts in a cracking perfomance.
3) Performers reputation grows. Soon he's performing 4-5 times a week.
4) Drinking 4-5 times a week, less able to relax on the a couple of pints. Increases the dose. He's now drinking 6-7 pints before a performance.
5)And an alchoholic is performed.

By all means have a drink when you perform, I do occasionally(never proffesionally mind) but don't let it become a crutch. I'm talking in cliches but only because this problem is so old, this advice so well tested..
IAIN
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Remember what happened to dear old annemann...
I've asked to be banned
Michael K
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Great posts above and don't want to repeat, other than doing some walk-around, if possible, is great. Here is my suggestion.

Having a ritual before the going on stage. I always do some vocal warm-ups. The "la-la-laaaaa...fa-fa-faaa" etc. And a little loosening up by shaking around which has the effect of getting a big smile on my face, since I'm being silly and that is fun. And then I'm ready with my big smile.

Many TV stars have a pre-show ritual. Emeril Lagasse hits a golf ball right before coming on stage. Mike Myers while on Saturday Night Live would run down the hall and touch every photo of past stars every time.

Michael
NeilS
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This is my 600th post and over the years I have gained so much from the Café as well as had contact with many members and which I appreciate.

But one thing I especially valued was the support and advice I was given when I had a fairly big show coming up. In the hope it will be of use to many, I unearthed this rather old thread so that it may be again be of help and value as it was to me at the time.

Neil
StuartNolan
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I only have a few simple things to add to all the really useful help that's been offered here.

The best training I've ever had in terms of improving my performance and getting rid of nerves was vocal coaching. Being in command of your voice and feeling you can use it well just feels so good. I didn't do it because of nerves but I found it helped as a side effect. Also great fun to do.

If you can, go to the room where you will be performing in advance. Stand on the spot where you will be performing and just spend a minute or two imagining what it will be like. Get to feel like you own that spot. Nerves are sometimes connected to having to do something unknown and to being in a new place. If you've been to the place before its much less scary.

Finally, and this is an approach that can be really effective but must be used carefully and must fit your style and character... tell the audience that you are nervous. Unless your character demands that you appear confidant at all times this can be an effective way of getting rid of nerves and making a truthful connection with the audience. You can of course tell them in a number of ways. You can admit your nervousness in a bold way. I used to use this line to introduce one effect, it reads a bit unctuous but said with honesty it worked well, "You might have noticed that I'm actually quite nervous tonight. That's unusual for me but its because I'm excited about trying something quite difficult, quite risky, but hopefully rather special."
It was like doing self-hypnosis in front of the audience. I would feel my nervousness turn into excitement as I delivered the line Smile
"One should always be a little improbable." - Oscar Wilde
RNK
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Such great advice here from all. Not to much to add- the only thing I have noticed is that simply: "Repetition" - I have noticed the more I do the stand-up shows- the more comfortable I am. I think it's because I get more comfortable with the material I am presenting. Before magic- I performed a lot on stage doing semi-professional theater and musicals. I know this from that experience- know matter how many times I performed- before each show was those "butterflys" in the stomach. And as someone posted earlier- those butterflys can be transformed into some (HOPE) HIGH OUTPUT PERFORMANCE ENERGY that's going to make your show great! If your properly prepared- don't frett the nerves, just know that there's HOPE that'a going to make your performance a delight for all!

Best,
RNK
PaulPacific
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This topic came up recently on another Magic Forum. I apologize in advance if I repeated anyone elses advice but I shall repost my own thoughts here:


I don't shake when I perform because I do not get nervous. I DO get excited however and that makes me hot and I sweat. Annemann used to say that sweat was good for a mindreader because it makes him look like he's exerting himself to produce the phenomenon.

Here are a few more tips:

-Keep in mind that as early as 24 hours later, they will have forgotten all about you. They will have moved on to newer things so in the grand scheme of things, it's not really that important.

-Paul Daniels says we are not being FORCED to perform.. We have NO reason to be nervous at all. We are playing with our toys! We LOVE to do this, so what have we got to be nervous about? Nothing!

-So they pick the wrong card, so you drop a prediction on the floor, so an effect fails... As Joy Behar would say, "So what, who cares?!"

-Avoid coffee for at least three hours prior to your performance.

-Remember people are not so concerned with the way YOU appear and act.. they are more concerned with the way THEY appear and act. People judge you far less than you might believe.

-Relax and have fun!

Happy Thoughts,
Paul Pacific
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Blessings on thee, barefoot boy! :-D
johnnyl
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Beta blockers?
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