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Profile of adrianbent
I want to thank YOU again. Your earlier post helped me get out and do it.
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Profile of Metatron
Your welcome. Smile
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Profile of courtmagician
I think one of the best bits of advice was given by MichielTummers, although I wouldn't recommend Mystery (of VH1 and The Game fame), but guys who learn to pickup women are always told to do as many cold approaches as possible to help eliminate their "approach anxiety".

And, yes, this does work specifically with Metatron suggestion, as the idea is to approach as many people as you can to help break that fear.
Learning that all things magical are not limited to card tricks.

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Profile of 55Hudson
On 2010-03-29 21:37, adrianbent wrote:
I think I agree with and completely understand the previous post. As has been said before, its less about where to perform and a lot about WHEN to perform.
... so here it is, time for a follow up. I went out and did it! I'm travelling currently so I arrived at my hotel tonight, checked in and got comfortable. I decided to go down to the bar for a bite to eat and a beer.
The place was not very busy at all, and after the waitress took my order, I asked her I for a favour, ...

I travel a lot and have found that people in hotel bars are very happy to be distracted. They are away from home and can either sit there and strike up a conversation with someone or sit in their room and watch TV. Over the past year (was away from magic for along time), I've had a number of occasions to entertain in hotel bars and have never had a bad reception.

Good luck!
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Profile of Vick
On 2010-03-27 07:27, mrsmiles wrote:
"... Here is my dilemma: I don't feel it is right to assault strangers out of the blue with magic."

That's not a dilema, it's good manners and breeding.

It is not socially acceptable to go up to anyone and force yourself on them
Nothing you can say can change that

If you are so desperate to perfrom that you even consider forcing yourself on other unspecting people .... ....well please stop

Learn to busk, get a crowd that wants to see you
Do free shows for retirement homes

But please PLEASE stop even thinking about walking up to strangers and forcing yourself on them.
Substitute a banjo for a deck or cards and see how you would feel about someone forcing their banjo playing on you

It reflects badly on you and on the art of magic as a whole

In fact it removes magic from the realm of art

I'm an artist and entertainer, I would NEVER go up to someone I don't know and try to force my art on them

Why would you?!
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Profile of BAGWIZ
I don't know how the rest of you feel about it, but I learned a lot about how to approach people with magic by doing walk around at private parties. A private party is a lot more "controlled" than a busy street and people are usually more accepting of being approached by the hired magician. But even so, you still have to learn to tactfully approach, introduce yourself, get into a routine, etc. The limited restaurant and bar work I've done over the years, offered similar lessons.

I think the private party/restaurant/bar scene is a step towards street performing. Build confidence in those environments and then take off the training wheels when you hit the street.
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Profile of Erdnase27
On 2010-04-01 13:21, courtmagician wrote:
I think one of the best bits of advice was given by MichielTummers, although I wouldn't recommend Mystery (of VH1 and The Game fame), but guys who learn to pickup women are always told to do as many cold approaches as possible to help eliminate their "approach anxiety".

And, yes, this does work specifically with Metatron suggestion, as the idea is to approach as many people as you can to help break that fear.

thanks! approaching girls eeh people cold is my speciality Smile Smile
Perry D Winkle
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Profile of Perry D Winkle
I make them approach me. I just finished a fez hat that has a lamp with a flowered shade on the top. I'm what you might call 'highly approachable.' This may get you killed in other areas, but in Louisville we pride ourselves in such eccentricity.
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Profile of mrsmiles
Hey, Adrian... just wanted to say well done. Very pleased for you! Keep up the good work.
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Profile of adrianbent
Thanks mrsmiles!
I just wanted to provide another update again. Its been a few weeks since my two outings, the first of which was luke-warm and the second which was a homerun; from those experiences I've learned that if I wanted to push the issue and keep gaining experience "cold-approaching" people at large, I could... but that I learned a little more about the situation of it; that -while not completely rude or unsocial- it is a little out of context. People on the street just doing their thing, well I think it will always be hit or miss. There's something a little unsatisfying about that. I think its because we could really knock out a great performance and at times only be met with (at best) an un-hostile response. I think it will always come down to being prepared for magic, and always watching for "when" the right time to perform is, but not trying to MAKE that time "now".
Instead, I have been exploring another venue. I had called it "booth" magic, but I have come to learn in the busking forum that what I was calling "booth" magic is called by a majority of buskers a "trickle" show or a "rotational" show, also known as a Doorway act. This might be something up my ally.
In the meantime, I am still following up on the Seniors residence venues and Children's hospitals. I'll find a way to balance my family life and still gain some performance experience. Cheers!
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Profile of Logan Five
Nothing should be forced. Forced magic is for strange people and for people who shouldn't be doing " magic " in the first place. It needs to be a mutual thing between you and the spectator.
Self concept is destiny..
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Profile of urbanillusionist
You've received much feedback from your question and I am gonna try and give mine in a simple straight forward answer. You do not ever want to force magic on someone. It is not wrong in my opinion to ask someone to stop and watch, but if they say no STOP. That is not forcing them. When approaching someone have cards in your hand so they know your not crazy or gonna rob the. Try and get chatty on your own and that will help a lot with the nerves. If you are able to find a good public spot with there is high traffic set up a table and just stand there doing simple flourishes. This will stop people on its own and when they come over just ask them to give the cards a shuffle. You don't need to ask if they want to see a trick they would not of stopped if they did. If you want to talk further just hit me up on my site

I hope this was help

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Profile of Ejay
Pick a very public place. Sit, or stand, there with a friend, or two, or three. Perform some really visual tricks for your friends who pose as strangers. Passersby will notice the tricks, stop, watch, and approach you...giving you change, asking for your business card, or giving you theirs, and asking you to call them about doing a show at their home, church, or such.

Contact charitable organizations, and volunteer to entertain children in hospital cancer wards, elders in nursing homes, etc. You get to perform, you become known to others, audience members who see you entertain their sick child, or shut in grandmother, or such, will advertise for you by word of mouth, and hire you to perform for their nephews birthday, or such.
Perry D Winkle
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Profile of Perry D Winkle
It is not wrong in my opinion to ask someone to stop and watch, but if they say no STOP

Yeah, I've only encountered two types that are like this. First you have the gimpy folks that are normally made fun of on a daily basis. God does not distribute good genetics equally. These people spend their lives being insulted and made fun of. Now you've presented them with an opportunity to lash out. 'YES for once I can hurt SOMEONE ELSE!' Watch out for these freaks. That means a lot coming from me. You can tell if she has a chip on her shoulder. The teeth will be constantly exposed from a permanent half sneer, there is a slight wheezing sometimes, the eyes constantly darting around as if looking for a value bin of DVDs in Wal-Mart. Do you ever see videos where magicians approach these people?

The other group are zombie kids and their parents. These are the children who grow up with everything the television has to offer. Everything but an imagination. They seem well nourished enough but they have this blank look like those treasure troll creatures in Jim Henson's 'The Dark Crystal' when the evil Xerxes suck their life force dry. They are easily recognized by the blank look and a complete inability to smile unless their parents are bleeding. You are unlikely to encounter them in adult form. As they age they do not leave their homes for fear that they may encounter something 'Different.'
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Profile of JasonbytheOcean
Interesting thread, thanks for all of the thoughts. I've noticed many of the comments refer to busking environments, but what about charity events or parties, etc. where you're strolling? For example, going big - what if you were hired to perform strolling magic at a Presidential inaugural ball? People are mixing it up and networking, you don't really have a table to work at - how do you approach people to perform?
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Profile of EvanMagic
Great responses everyone! I use my approaching skills in all areas but one area that my friends are jealous of is in the bar. I approach girls and use magic as an 'ice-breaker'. Nothing girls love more than seeing a trick. It establishes a connection, allows close proximity and segways into other conversation. It's amazing how versatile and flexible magic can be. Smile
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Profile of Lavey
When I busked for the first time I had the same problem. So I started to do ballons (very easy things like a dog...) and I called a kid to my table with the words "do you want the ballon, it is free". Of course , the kids wanted to get the ballon. "But, before I can give you the ballon, I have a little competition for your parents..." and I started a short chop cup routine. When I finished the chop cup a lot of other people stand around the table and I continued the show.
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Profile of MillardGrubb
I learned long ago from my friend, Richard Webster, that you must like people... and let them know it, before you can show any magic. People have got to warm up to you and realize you are REAL.

In a personal setting, I always waited until the time was right. People got a chance to know me, talk, relax, and just chat. I would attempt to move the conversation the way I wanted it to go so I could introduce a trick and then move from there.

If I was being PAID to entertain, I would come upon some folks and ask if someone lost some money and then do EXTREME BURN, or if someone lost a knife (Thanks to Ron Wilson) and show them a color changing knife routine.

It depends on the situation every time.


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Profile of funsway
Now that this thread has been re-awakened I'll toss in an experienced view -- but not of magic.

For many years I instructed salespeople in direct call-call methods -- the ability to walk into any business unannounced and get in to see the president or owner wihtout ever making an appointment, etc. The single msot important factor is KNOWING that what you have to speak about is more important than whatever that perosn is doing at the moment. If this is not true you must either find a different prouct/service to represent, or insure that your personal presense is suffient that any interpersonal interaction with you is a benefit.

If youa re a magician with only entertainment to offer, then it is impossible to imagine a setting in which you KNOW that what you are offering is more important than the victim's plans. At an event like a Ren-Faire you can make some presumption that people are seeking entertainment but will still be wrong most of the time.

So, the only solution is to either NEVER do a call approach such as Vick suggests, or to develop your interpersonal skills/personal presense to the point that ANY interaction with you will be rewarding (and magic secondary). I have known only a couple of people in my life that had that kind of Charism and self-assurance, and they were not entertainers.

Thus, if the ideas of courtesy and humanity don't prevent you from invasive approach tactics, perhaps this logic will -- and there have been many suggestions made as to how to set up and attract attention without being invasive.

Another thought is that most people are afraid to get up in front of a stranger or croud and speak, no less perform. Your willingness to put your ego and skills at risk already makes you a distinct and unusual person. It should be enough to build on that without invading another person's space, serenity or train of thought. The sales maxim is; sell yourself, sell your company, then sell the product. Here you should sell yourself first, then the concept of entertainment, then magic last. If you must invade, at least start off with, "Excuse me please -- may I have just two minutes of your time? rather than "Wanna see a trick?"
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Profile of Cyberqat
When I was doing street magic I found the reverse was most effective.

I set up on a street corner and start doing something visually interesting and let the crowd collect. I wouldn't even look at them until I was ready to go on with the routine.

That gave them a minimum "barrier to entry."
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
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