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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Completely froze up (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

jeffdell
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Nashua, NH
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Good morning!

I was hoping to get some advice on something that happened to me the other night. Recently I was visiting some relatives and they asked me to do some magic for their friends. I grabbed a deck of cards and was about to get started and I completely froze. For about 3 or 4 minutes I could only remember how to do one or two things (and I milked it). After I got into the grove it started to come back to me.. Anyone have this happen? I assume its mostly nerves, though lack of a consistent card routine probably hurt some too. How have you dealt with this in the past?

Jeff
Mowee
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Personally I got drunk....only kidding. But you hit it on the head you did not have a routine. That is what helps the most. I write out my routines so I know where everything goes. As for impromptu stuff, I simply have a couple of things that I can do at a moment's notice and do them then stop. The key is practice and performing will get you through it. We are all going to "freeze up" at some early point. The main cure is to have a routine and keep performing it. Besides, it sounds like you got through it...you have learned keep pushing forward.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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That can happen very easily, and to anyone. I keep a packet trick in my wallet along with a list of things I feel ready to do at a moment's notice. That gives me my first effect AND a refresher on what to do. I find once I have the memory jog, I can totally remember the workings of the effects. In addition, I almost always have several rubber bands, good for five or six tricks to help me get on track...

Just find some way to jog your mind, be it the list, or a mnemonic, etc. and you will be fine...

Jim
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Jaz
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Quote:
On 2010-10-24 07:35, jeffdell wrote:
Recently I was visiting some relatives and they asked me to do some magic for their friends. I grabbed a deck of cards and was about to get started and I completely froze. For about 3 or 4 minutes I could only remember how to do one or two things (and I milked it).

After I got into the grove it started to come back to me.. Anyone have this happen? I assume its mostly nerves, though lack of a consistent card routine probably hurt some too. How have you dealt with this in the past?

Jeff


Yes, and it was because I practiced a lot of tricks but never really focused on learning a couple really well.

My advice is to learn a few short, [b][i]easy to remember effects[i][b]. Practice and rehearse them over and over. Two sets of 2-3 tricks is fine to start with.
Don't show them all at once. Show one or a couple and save something for another time.
If asked to do something, by friends who have seen your routine, to do some magic for their friends then do the same set or ones they haven't seen.
There's no shame in not knowing a zillion tricks.
Even if you only have one good trick that blows their minds then do that.
If asked if you have any new tricks by relatives, and you don't, then simply say so.

I let people I know that what I do are illusions of magic or tricks if you will.
Telling them I suddenly did 'magic' didn't feel comfortable for me and relatives knew they were tricks but ...appeared magical to them.
StephenP
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I'm glad I saw this before I tried sharing a couple of tricks with my extended family. It makes me realize I need to hone in on a couple of things and make sure I know what I'm doing.
Mary Mowder
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I also have a list of my ready to go effects. Don't include effects that are almost ready.

I haven't had to refer to it in a few years but I know it's there. If you have a list you can do a link memory system to remember the whole list (in the order you'd probably do them if possible).

That freezing feeling goes away with experience. Keep heart.

- Mary Mowder
jeffdell
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Nashua, NH
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Thanks everyone for the great advice! I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to perform over the weekend and its a good starting off point for me to continue to work from. I have ideas for routines in my mind, but its not something I've ever really practiced fully. This will be my incentive to do so and to write it all down!

Jeff
scottds80
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Hi Jeff,

I know exactly what you are talking about and what you said is what I went through 5 years ago. I actually used magic as a tool to help me overcome my panic attacks when facing any type of public speaking.

This is how I overcame it - I started performing to just close friends and family for a while first, nervous as hell as I was, they were forgiving and encouraging. You can't just stay in that rut though - you need to begin doing magic for unfamiliar people. This could be with opportunities at casual social gatherings like parties or bars, etc. This is essential to keep moving on to bigger and more challenging scenarios. Eventually (if you wish) you could do small gigs for church groups, kids birthdays, community events, where there is a substantial audience. EXPOSURE to all this is mandatory to get to a point where you are used to it. You need to do this for a few years! It's definitely not an overnight thing, but it will happen where you can just whip out your magic and be confident with anybody. You will learn how to read their body language and how to entertain them. There will be no need to freeze up because you break those barriers with exposure to many different audiences over years of time spent on it.

As a background, I could only perform for 2 or 3 people at a time, only trusted friends. I was still nervous and often froze up. Here's the big "P" word you will hear time and time again - PRACTICE! Get feedback and don't take offence if someone tells you they saw something that you stuffed up. Work on it and show another small audience.
Anyway, now I am getting professional and taking bookings from all sorts of private parties to business organizations with audiences in the 100's.

Keep it up and all the best.
"Great Scott the Magician", Gippsland
Cyberqat
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I once totally blanked on stage. I think I was 10 years old. Forgot a line in the school play, let it fluster me and then I was totally gone. Not a line of the play left in my head.

Its called stage freight. Happens to almost everyone at least once.

Sounds like you handled it well Smile
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
jeffdell
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Nashua, NH
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Thanks everyone for the positive feedback and support. Ultimately I found there is a lot of stuff I did well that worked and a lot of stuff I need to get better at and practice more. Some of the stuff that I need to work on was stuff I hadn't considered until being in front of a live audience.

I definitely felt confident in front of the audience and not at all shy about my magic. There was one spectator that was "difficult." He would always say "I saw you do something" whether he saw something or not and I need to get better at dealing with those situations and work on the actual techniques as well so that they are imperceptible to the audience.

Then there was another spectator who was talking about the trick 10 minutes later and didn't follow the next three tricks! So a real mixed bag.

Thanks again!

Jeff
mediamonk
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My personal routine now is to play to one person. I include others in the magic, but if I can say to myself there's only one person to be concerned about it's easier for me. I guess it's like a shifting camera lens. As I look toward someone the rest of the crowd goes slightly out of focus, so less pressure on me. That doesn't come across real well in print, but it works for me in most situations.
"There are two ways of living life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is." -Albert Einstein
Cyberqat
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Good point MM< this is a trick they teach public speakers and which I have so internalized I didn't think about it til you mentioned it.

Whether a room is 5 people or 5,000 I chose a person to deliver the talk to and speak 'to them", it makes it feel more personal to everyone. The other trick I do is to purposefully shift who that one person is around the room 3 or 4 times during a 50 min speech so the audience doesn't get the feeling I'm ignoring any part of them.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
StephenP
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Speaking of stage freight, how did Morritt get that donkey to disappear? Smile

Thanks to mediamonk for the "play to one" concept. I've done that in other instances but might not have thought of it had you not mentioned it here. And to Mary for the ready-to-go idea, although at this point that's a short list!

Jeff's original comment about milking the tricks he could remember for a minute or two longer led me to realize that I also seem to go too fast, and I don't have any idea of how things will play out for an audience of 8-10 family members. I would think my tendency would be to nervously rush anyway, and am noticing (at least with my wife) that my brain lapses in trying to figure out what to do next are playing to her like I'm in deep magic concentration! Smile
jeffdell
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Quote:
On 2010-10-26 13:29, Cyberqat wrote:
Good point MM< this is a trick they teach public speakers and which I have so internalized I didn't think about it til you mentioned it.

Whether a room is 5 people or 5,000 I chose a person to deliver the talk to and speak 'to them", it makes it feel more personal to everyone. The other trick I do is to purposefully shift who that one person is around the room 3 or 4 times during a 50 min speech so the audience doesn't get the feeling I'm ignoring any part of them.


Two great suggestions I'm hearing here is 1) Slow down and make it more magical (advice I've gotten before and often neglect) and 2) play only to one person. I know when I'm in public speaking engagements I have a tendency to just speak and forget about the audience so perhaps speaking to one person will go over better Smile.

Jeff
Piqsirpoq
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You might also consider Larry Davidson's good advice (found in his excellent Scripted Insanity DVDs, they're full of great material, check them out) on the importance of rehearsing. Don't just practise your effects, rehearse them. In other words, do them exactly as you would perform them to an audience. Stand in front of a wall or a mirror and say your lines out loud.
Cyberqat
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Definitely slow down.

Half the difference between a "trick" and an "illusion" is how long you play it for and how well you build a story around it.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
KMFrye
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Another way to handle a heckler:

Heckler: I saw you do something
Performer: Are you certain?
Heckler: Yes, I saw you do it.
Performer: Good - you're on next.

Look right into their eyes on that last bit.
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