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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » When to stop the paranoia? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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WazMeister
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When do you know your good, and pulling things off?

When I perform to family or friends and with recent as I feel more confident to a few people I would never perform to, I tend to get the paranoia they saw something or how I did it...

Example last night I did my ACR for my wife's friend, now she is the type which watches every move you do, does not take eyes off hands and guesses how I did it.

I did my full routine, the pass and so forth and I noticed I messed up a bit.

At the end I did not get the reaction I expected, I thought she would have been more "wow".
Never is not that kind of person to be over excited, so I asked so I could get feed back 'was it any good'.

She told me yes, it as good and asked how I did it but I felt as if she noticed things, maybe its my paranoia.
I asked her if she saw how I did any of it and if I messed up anything and she said "not that I noticed".

But I felt deflated, she was more interested with the Crimp move more than the pass... and I thought the pass would ahve shocked her.
Really showing the card in the middle and wham!


What I'm trying to ask really is, when should I give up on my constant paranoia and thought sof "oh they saw what I did, how no... " or "How did it look, did it work are or they pretending to be nice and say it all looked good just to be nice..."
The Futurist
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WazMeister, that is a great question, and as someone new to magic (or at least the serious practice of it) myself, I have been mulling over these issues.

What I have been doing is things like wearing a TT when out at work, having coins palmed, etc! Of course, no one ever notices anything 'funny' about you. It is just a satisfying field lesson in human perceptual psychology I guess.

I also have been experimenting in misdirection. I just ask friends "what is 34 plus 21?" and watch their eyes move upwards. I do something silly at this point. Some people are distracted so much I could rearrange an entire deck and go and put the kettle on at this point, and they'd be none the wiser! OK, I'm exaggerating about the kettle bit Smile Now, you may not want to ask an arithmetic question in the course of a trick, but some sort of - seemingly off-the-cuff Smile - question requiring visualisation may throw your spectator for a brief moment where you can do a sleight with confidence.

And, perhaps you could find some people who are more like acquaintances than people who are really close to you, people who may at some unconscious level have a more honest reaction to the magic, to perform for. They may see you more purely as "magician" and not as "husband", "friend's husband" and so forth. Though I'll forever relish the time I got my stepdad saying "&^%* off! Where's the ^&^$#*£ elastic band gone?" with my first TT trick Smile
jake.o
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Try videoing your self performing or practacing then you will see if you are flashing or performing flawlessly. if you do this it can give you the greatest amount of confidence when performing because if you didn't flash in the video then as long as you are doing the same thing then you wont flash when performing.
WazMeister
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Brilliant,

I start recording myself!

I do love the pass move, its so unreal.. its like real magic happens.!

A lot books I read state its the pinicle of being a card magician and takes years to master.

I been praticing it briefly for a few weeks and got the basics down, I can see where it takes years to really define it.
really feel great my ACR is getting to a brilliant standard and my routine is starting to be produced with normal decks and not gaffs.
Well excluding Anver waltz by Doc Euson.
I can never drop that trick, I love it!


That leads me to another question.. For another time I suppose!
Mr. Mystoffelees
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While you are waiting for your pass to be completely burnable, learn to do it without looking, so you can look the spec right in the eye when you do it. It is on the offbeat, and the second best thing after looking them in the eye, is asking them a question...
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
WazMeister
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Should all the tricks be done looking at the spec and never the hands?

My book says you shouldent look at hands, but at times some of the tricks I feel you have to... its essential.
I notice a lot on dvds magicians do look at their hands sometimes....
JamesTong
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It is the presentation that counts and in order to entertain with any card effect or any other effects, your sleights have to be flawless. And if you feel uncomfortable or having paranoia with any techniques it only indicates that you have not practice enough to be second nature (looking at the audience, talking, etc, while executing the technique). Besides practicing, rehearsing the entire routine (with well thought out scripts, proper execution of timing and pacing, etc) many times is crucial. Too many people work on the practice phase more than the rehearsal phase.
jhudsy
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I reckon that looking at the hands is also a form of misdirection; if you look at them when you're clean, and the spec follows your gaze, it can actually add an extra sense of wonderment to the performance.
HerbLarry
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Quote:
What I'm trying to ask really is, when should I give up on my constant paranoia and thought sof "oh they saw what I did, how no... " or "How did it look, did it work are or they pretending to be nice and say it all looked good just to be nice..."


Today at whatever o'clock you are reading this. Serious right now. Just stop it.
Got any good reasons to continue? Didn't think so. Your mind set is every bit as important as your passing ability, if not more. Magic isn't about what you are doing as much as it is about what your audience is thinking. Keep sending subliminal and liminal (see what I did there?) signals that do you no good and see where that gets you.
Do your best from every aspect; physical, mental, hygiene, wardrobe, etc. and afterward, AFTERWARD, do your self evaluation or better still obtain the keen eye of a knowledgeable person to critique your performance. During performance you are bullet proof, confident, and spot on.
You know why don't act naive.
abc
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Forget about it would be the best advice to give but the worst to follow purely because all of us know it is easier said than done. I still catch myself asking my wife "how was that?" "Could you see anything?" or whatever.
Just let it go. I guess the best way to summarize my opinion is, it actually really doesn't matter once you are aware that it does.
Ed_Millis
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The fear of failure leading to rejection (which is what you're really feeling) is very difficult to overcome. It's based in the feeling that we will be rejected if we do not perform well. That's why people can do something spectacular when relaxing among friends, and totally freeze in front of an audience - among friends, I am confident of my acceptance, but no so in front of an audience.

So if we are performing something we know is not perfect, the fear begins to creep in that we will be rejected because our performance is bad. Theere are only a few things you can do to overcome this:
-- Practice until everything is perfect and you never make a mistake - which will never happen
-- Decide that these people and their approval means nothing to you - which turns you into an arrogant fool
-- Remove who you are from the magic that you do and quit rejecting yourself when you perform less than perfectly. If someone rejects you because your pass didn't go well, then _they_ have a problem, because you are much more than a pass or a crimp. If you reject yourself because you didn't perfrom to perfect expectations, then you need to realize that you are much more than any magic trick.

When you get off the stage - whether it be aliteral stage for a real performance, or you simply put the cards away after showing someone a trick, you are still completely you. The world does not stop spinning and you do not stop breathing if you make a mistake.

Yes, I like to do my best. But I am very aware that at this time my best is far below any professional standard. And the best I can do today may not be as good as the best I did yesterday. So I do the best I have today and I am satisfied.

Ed
DWRackley
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Futurist makes a great point. Most of the time people wouldn’t notice a skunk in a perfume factory unless they tripped right over it. The ones who “watch you like a hawk” are often easiest to fool, because they’re usually watching the wrong things. (Nobody’s attention can be two places at once.) Occasionally you’ll get someone who “sees” everything, often when there is nothing to see. With experience you’ll begin to recognize who’s who, and take your cues from there.

Practice with a mirror and with a camera until your technique is down. (Don’t forget to shoot from different angles!) Rehearse your timing and misdirection until every performance looks identical. (You can loosen up on the “identical” part later, but for now it’s important not to slough off on the timing.)

Then start using fewer friends and more strangers in your audiences. First, it’ll give you practice at reading audience reactions. Second, friends know your “tells” whether they’re consciously aware of it or not. This is why it’s often easier to fool complete strangers.

If you have a friend who is also a magician, have him in the audience when you perform, then ask for HONEST feedback. Friends often don’t know whether to say anything or “spare your feelings”, so make him understand he’s not sparing you anything if he lets you perform poorly.

That’s it. When you know you’ve done what you intended, in both the technique and the presentation categories, the rest is pure audience control. After that, be sure not to confuse what you called paranoia with “stage fright”, which is normal, and for some people never goes away completely. If your hands and your face have done what you wanted, you have nothing to be paranoid about.

All the best

Don
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The Futurist
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Quote:
On 2009-11-06 13:32, Ed_Millis wrote:
If someone rejects you because your pass didn't go well, then _they_ have a problem, because you are much more than a pass or a crimp. If you reject yourself because you didn't perfrom to perfect expectations, then you need to realize that you are much more than any magic trick.


Nice quote, Ed! If you write a book - and I think you should give it serious consideration; I don't know if you're already an author or not, though - this should go on the dust jacket.

Quote:
On 2009-11-06 14:35, DWRackley wrote:
Futurist makes a great point. Most of the time people wouldn’t notice a skunk in a perfume factory unless they tripped right over it. The ones who “watch you like a hawk” are often easiest to fool, because they’re usually watching the wrong things. (Nobody’s attention can be two places at once.) Occasionally you’ll get someone who “sees” everything, often when there is nothing to see. With experience you’ll begin to recognize who’s who, and take your cues from there.


It is truly surprising, DWRackley, what I am learning about people through magic! Maybe it stems from parents and teachers constantly bluffing their young charges that they can "see everything you're up to" and are "watching you like a hawk" but I guess people think they're scrutinised much more than they actually are. Of course many thieves and conmen know that the "panopticon in the head" is a lie; people are bringing a lot of internal stuff to the table as they are interacting with you face-to-face most of the time. So a lot gets by them typically!

Quote:
On 2009-11-06 14:35, DWRackley wrote:
When you know you’ve done what you intended, in both the technique and the presentation categories, the rest is pure audience control. After that, be sure not to confuse what you called paranoia with “stage fright”, which is normal, and for some people never goes away completely. If your hands and your face have done what you wanted, you have nothing to be paranoid about.


I have noticed some kind of "adversarial" language describing the magician/spectator interaction in a lot of posts on this forum, with the idea that you are out to "fool" the spectator and they are there to "catch you out". I possibly might have used these words myself in my forty-odd posts here, and in my diary. But that model does makes it sound a bit like a zero-sum game of sorts. I hope this needn't be so; I hope instead that I can find a model of presentation that allows myself to interact with the spectators and co-create something excellent, high-falutin as that may sound! A model where I don't have to worry too much about my "hands being burned" or such, because I have the audience on my side.
ldrosenblum
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As a newbie, I'm having a difficult time imagining how my sleights look to other people. Even when my sleights look clean in the mirror, it's hard for me to ignore the FEEL of my hands performing the sleights. This leads to an experience of never believing that what I'm doing can convince anyone.

I imagine the solution is to start videotaping myself to see what my effects look like, while I'm not getting the tactile feedback from my hands.
Check out my new book on our 'perceptual superpowers': www.LawrenceRosenblum.com . It discusses new research on the psychology of misdirection and the neuroplasticity behind expert motor skills.
DWRackley
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Futurist,

I hope I didn’t really sound that way. If so I apologize! I don’t it think it needs to be adversarial at all. It’s about having fun, for both “us” and for “them”. But some measure of control is absolutely crucial. We build playgrounds for our children to have fun on, but we don’t let them run roughshod with inappropriate behavior.

If I couldn’t have fun with my audience, I’d go do something else. In my best Fantasy, I play the part of Mr. Roarke, providing my guests with an experience they’ll remember (hopefully pleasantly) for a long time to come. BUT, they don’t get to see what’s behind the curtain. Even DisneyLand has places you don’t get to see. The well behaved guests understand that, and play by the rules, and get to have even more fun.

Part of my services involves giving them an experience they can’t explain by natural means. To do that, I have to know how they think, what they’re looking for (and at), and what they might or might not know about a number of subjects. As a Magician you’ll become part juggler, part con-man, part psychologist. It’s not adversarial, any more than a teacher is adversarial to his students (well, I’ve had someSmile ), but there are roles to be played, and the “us – them” idea is a reality.

You will learn a TON about people, but perhaps the more amazing is what you’ll learn about yourself. But in the end, the only question that really matters is, “Did THEY have a good time?”
...what if I could read your mind?

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Donatelli and Company at ChattanoogaPerformers.com

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The Futurist
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On 2009-11-06 22:55, DWRackley wrote:
Futurist,

I hope I didn’t really sound that way. If so I apologize! I don’t it think it needs to be adversarial at all. It’s about having fun, for both “us” and for “them”. But some measure of control is absolutely crucial. We build playgrounds for our children to have fun on, but we don’t let them run roughshod with inappropriate behavior.


Oh no, sorry, I didn't mean you espoused the adversarial mindset in your post at all! I was just thinking out loud in general, via the keyboard, at that point. Forgive my babbling stream of consciousness Smile I'm a newbie who is forming a "magical credo" of sorts. You are quite right; the magician must of necessity be the dominant figure in the interaction.

Well, I am not averse to "sucker" effects either where the magician really does make an act of "pulling the wool over someone's eyes" - it's more the way that he does it that makes the difference. Like for example, a stage pickpocket is clearly and unavoidably going to make "fools" out of the spectators. But his personality and handling can make all the differences, overt and subtle, that leave his "victims" truly happy to have taken part.
JamesTong
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Quote:
On 2009-11-06 19:44, ldrosenblum wrote:
As a newbie, I'm having a difficult time imagining how my sleights look to other people. Even when my sleights look clean in the mirror, it's hard for me to ignore the FEEL of my hands performing the sleights. This leads to an experience of never believing that what I'm doing can convince anyone.

I imagine the solution is to start videotaping myself to see what my effects look like, while I'm not getting the tactile feedback from my hands.


We should not worry about how the sleights look to other people at all. They are not suppose to know or see there are sleights beng executed.

We should rather work on how the effect look from the audience point of view.
ldrosenblum
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Quote:
On 2009-11-07 08:18, JamesTong wrote:

We should not worry about how the sleights look to other people at all. They are not suppose to know or see there are sleights beng executed.

We should rather work on how the effect look from the audience point of view.


Thanks James - yes, that's what I meant. I'm having trouble putting myself in the audience's perspective as I practice my sleights. I suppose that simply performing and getting feedback would help, but I certainly don't want to perform before I'm ready. That's why I'm thinking videotape.
Thanks again,

Larry
Check out my new book on our 'perceptual superpowers': www.LawrenceRosenblum.com . It discusses new research on the psychology of misdirection and the neuroplasticity behind expert motor skills.
JamesTong
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But when we view the recordings we must see it from 2 perspective -

* from the magician's point of view for self-corrections

* from the audience point of view the intended effect is performed.

I remind myself on this all the time and it is so easy to be swayed into the mechanical and technical mind frame and lose focus on the effect and the entertainment.
ldrosenblum
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Great points James-

I will definitely keep these things in mind. Magic is hard. But worth it. ; )

-Larry
Check out my new book on our 'perceptual superpowers': www.LawrenceRosenblum.com . It discusses new research on the psychology of misdirection and the neuroplasticity behind expert motor skills.
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