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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magic...at a moment's notice! » » Uneasy Impromptu (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jeff
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My opinion is if you are not a pro, then performing a magic trick for someone that asks to see something is fine.

But if you are a working pro and you are in the grocery store (dressed in your shorts and t-shirt) and someone recognizes you as the magician from Bubba’s Ribs and Sushi and asks you to perform you should bow out gracefully, ask them to visit the resturant and you will perform something special for them.



I think we need to remember that magic is more than just doing the sponge balls in the produce section. Magic is an aura, an image that you just can’t portray outside of your element.



Jeff
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Harry Murphy
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Jeff, I am a part-time pro and have to struggle to get paid shows. Frankly I would like to work (magic) more than I do. I need all the advertising I can get and word of mouth is great advertising. I don’t have a big advertising budget either (er...almost none in truth!). Also, I love to perform. I have always hated it when a magician says “Hey I can’t do anything because I don’t have anything on me!” What? You need “special” things to be magical? Thinks the spectator. I also don’t like putting someone off with “I work at Shooters Bar and Grill on Wednesday nights, come on down buy a beer and enjoy the fun.”



And I don’t go out in public looking like a dirt ball. Even going to the lumberyard calls for a clean shirt (I favor long sleeve t-shirts) and clean jeans in good repair. I am a public person and believe (vainly) that people are looking at me. It’s all image, I guess.



So, I am ready to perform. The easiest and quickest trick that I do is simply say “Hey, before I left the house, I put a card in my wallet (taking out the oh-so-thin-wallet) because I had a notion that you (say the persons name) were going to ask to see something. Ok (say the name) think of all the cards in a deck of cards…(Pause, a couple of gags, and…)OK, now mentally think of just one card. Name the card you are thinking of." He/she does so. I open the wallet and immediately reach in and pull out a single card. It is his/hers! I give him/her (and anyone else standing and watching) a business card and THEN I invite them all (because by now I have gathered a small crowd, I hope) to come on down to Shooters Bar and Grill on Wednesday night and watch some real mysteries!



By the way, whenever someone stops me to talk, I ask for their name and use it!



Jeff, this is simply a difference in philosophy. I think that if I was being mobbed and all my privacy was being intruded upon, then I’d sing a different tune. I love it that people come up to me and want to talk about anything. Frankly, it doesn’t happen as often as I would like. I know so many “impromptu” tricks that I would love to perform!



“What? Yes I am that magician. Oh you’ve seen me before? Excuse but what is your name? OK, so Jeff, you say you would like me to show you something magical. Well, buddy you came to the right guy! Do you have a $10.00 bill to loan me for a minute? I’ll give it back I promise (stupid grin). Thanks, Jeff, now watch your $10 spot closely…”
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Jeff
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Mumblepeas, no problem. Maybe if I was a working profesional I might feel different about it but I see your point.



Jeff
Available for order now:
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See new, used, and collectable magic and books for sale at:
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Scott F. Guinn
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I don’t mind doing one or two effects for people who REALLY want to see something, and ask nicely. I don’t care to do something for rude folks or those who demand it, or if I think they’re just being polite.



The biggest problem most magicians, pro or amateur, have is NOT KNOWING WHEN TO QUIT! I’ve seen guys get asked to show A TRICK, who then go on to do a 45 minute act! Even at paid performances, I’ve seen many magicians who were booked for 30 minutes do 45 or even 60 or more, thinking they’re doing the client a favor and giving him more value for his money. WRONG! You’re cutting into his time, devaluing yourself, and making everyone resent you by exposing how big your ego is--surely everyone must be enjoying you so thoroughly that they’ll be eternally grateful if you just keep going forever. Sorry, but that is just not the case, and it’s time most magicians wake up and realize that they are not the most important idolized people in the world.



Another thing is, if I’m giving them a whole close-up act for free, why in the world would they ever want to book me and pay me? They can just walk up to me anytime and ask to see something!



I’m not saying you should never do impromptu magic for free. I am saying you shouldn’t force it on anyone, and you shouldn’t do more than a couple of tricks that last a couple of minutes, and that if you are "loaded for bear," it is hardly impromtu and readily apparent that you are so desperate to be the focus of attention everywhere you go that you were just waiting--almost BEGGING--to be asked to do something.



Don’t devalue magic. Be nice, be prepared, but pick your spots and KNOW WHEN TO QUIT!

_________________

Scott F. Guinn

Great Scott! It’s Magic!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Chad Sanborn
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Quote:

On 2001-11-04 18:53, greatscott wrote:

Sounds oddly like Max Maven's "Positive Negative"...



actually my routine is based on a routine by Anthony Lindan from Cananda. its on his "presents of mind" tapes.



Chad
Doug Byrd
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Ouch Scott! I think my feelings just got hurt.



Well to each his own and I suppose I did post this in the wrong thread. You are absolutely right -- I don't do "impromptu", I just perform whenever I have a chance. Do I feel the need to be the center of attention everywhere I go? I don't think so. Is it apparent to others that I am allegedly begging to perform for them like a sideshow freak? I've never encountered that reaction. You must live in a tough town, Scott.



I have heard people complain after paying to see a magic show (that I attended as an audience member) that they felt ripped off by the experience.



What I am getting at here is that I hope some impressionable newcomers don't take the wrong idea and start acting like a bunch of arrogant upstarts. I think that attitude hurts magic more than my occasional free 3 effect show here and there for the sheer love of entertaining.



Just my 2 drakma worth,

Doug
"Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc"
Scott F. Guinn
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Doug,



My post was not directed at you personally, and I think you missed my point.



If someone asks to see a trick, I think it’s fine if you show them one or a few. I’m talking about the guys who can’t read an audience and keep on going long after the interest has waned, or they haven’t been asked and just start performing for people who were in the middle of a conversation, etc. And then they just KEEP going. And knowing when to quit is one of the main rules of performing. I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression, "Leave them wanting more!"



If I offended you, I’m very sorry. That was not my intent. I think we all just need to remember, not everyone loves magic as much as we do, and almost no one wants it forced on them.



Think of a type of entertainment you can’t stand. Maybe it’s polka music. What if every time you went out in public, some guy with an accordian walked right up to you and started playing and singing polka tunes, and continued for a half hour or so? No matter how good he was, or how well intentioned, that music just grates on your nerves and you just wish he could read your body language and see that you are NOT having a good time, and that you didn’t come to the park or wherever to hear polka music. You don’t want to be rude or cause a scene, so you politely listen and let him do his thing, but inside you’re visualizing yourself strangling him!



In short, whether working for money or not, whether it’s a booked gig, a street performance, an impromptu show for strangers or a card set for friends in their living room, as performers, it is our job to put ourselves in the audience’s place. Don’t do offensive material, don’t insult them, don’t bore them and don’t wear out your welcome. I don’t think this advice is mean-spirited or downgrading beginners or anyone else. I think it’s just common courtesy; something too few magicians seem to have nowdays.



_________________

Scott F. Guinn

Great Scott! It’s Magic!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Peter Marucci
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I love those guys who say stuff like "I always carry enough with me to do 20 to 30 minutes."

Smile

Frankly, I'd sooner have root-canal work than sit through that much "impromptu"!

I'm with Scott on this; not everyone is as obsessed with magic as we tend to be.

That said, I must admit I always carry a TT with me, and the coins for my No-Gimmick Scotch and Soda.

You can do almost as much with a TT as you can with a deck of cards. (Well, okay, slight exaggeration).

cheers,

Peter Marucci

showtimecol@aol.com
Harry Murphy
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I’ll try again. I don’t load myself up to do any on the spot magic. My regular wallet has the “necessary” to do the Killer effect I described. Frankly that is all the “set-up” I leave the house with. It simply stays in my wallet always thus I am always ready to perform that one effect.



Further, I agree with Scott. I don’t see responding to a nice request to “show me something” as a request to do a full show. I like to do one strong effect or one strong routine (a couple of very short effects done with one prop) and move on. I see it as advertising.



Another key point that Scott makes and Peter reinforces, is “forcing” oneself on the unwilling and un-wanting public. My earlier response was made on the assumption that someone had seen one of my shows and was asking to see a trick. That is an entirely different situation than going up to someone and forcing a trick on them.



I do a street magic act or two. In these I draw a crowd, but I never simply accost the passerby or force myself on someone. Even these are short acts designed to draw a crowd, entertain the crowd, and gather a tip from an appreciative crowd.



Finally, I think that every magician should be prepared (not loaded) to perform with common everyday objects. Call it impromptu if you want I would rather call it spontaneous. I know dozens of routines that require me to have nothing more than my skill. I do rehearse these routines regularly to maintain the timing, moves, etc. I have also thought them through.



How many times in the past week have I been approached and asked to “do something”? NONE! How many times during the past month was I approached and asked? NONE! However, I was ready (not loaded!) to show the requester something strong and on the spot.



Fortunately for me, the few (very few) times I have been approached and asked to show something, it was always by a polite and interested person.



But then, I could be wrong!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Peter Marucci
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Yakandjak,

Some good, solid advice here from Scott, mumblepeas, and others.

If you want one thing to carry with you that lets you perform, you are already doing it: It's called your brain!

No, I'm not being sarcastic (or, at least, I don't mean to be); go back and read mumblepeas' post and you'll see what I mean.

cheers

Peter Marucci

showtimecol@aol.com
Burt Yaroch
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Great stuff all around guys. Thanks for taking the time to share these terrific thoughts.



Now, where'd I put that brain? Smile
Yakworld.
Seanamon
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I do an impromptu routine that uses a pen and a quarter, which I learned from Danny Archer. Its a cute trick and if used right, it fools people, and usually gets me a quarter for doing it. First the pen "vanishes" and then the quarter. (You'd have to see the routine to know what I'm talking about).



By the way, I always make sure that the spectator (if they are a stranger) gets their quarter back. Especially if they say "keep it" because of where it is produced from.



Sean
Tom Cutts
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Y&J:

Quote:
Now, where’d I put that brain? Smile

I think the scarecrow has it. Smile

Marucci:
Quote:
...only a slight exaggeration


Or sleight Smile


-tom Smile
martinkaplan
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I have a couple of effects printed on the back of my business card and since I always have my wallet with me, I always have something to show someone.
Stephen Long
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Check this one out:



http://www.magictricks.co.uk/prodshow.asp?code=186



Almost everyone wears a ring of some description. This is the perfect killer anytime effect.



I also enjoy doing stuff with pens - there’s a nifty routine where due to a simple slight (but, if done well, undectectable) at the beginning of the routine you can make the pen lid disappear, reappear, exchange places with the pen and more.

very fun to do,

pens are definitely the way forward.

Gonz





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Hello.
Magical Dimensions
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Hello to everyone,

If ever I am caught without my wand, (not a darn thing on me) I would do a verbal card force. Derren Brown, has, I think, two in his book, "Pure Effect"

Or if I feel it is right I will do Lee Earle’s "Classic Reading"

Smile
tboehnlein
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ohio
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Tom, you mentioned earlier that you like to perform Shape of astonishment, keep in mind that the foil wrapper from many brands of gum & candy bars will work nicely for this also.
Stephen Long
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Ah HA!
Excellent point!
I am not Tom.
(it's true!)
But I do perform shape of astonishment.
I had not considered using candy foil.
Say, that one in the Hershey bar wrapper might work.
I will look into this.
Thanks,
Gonz
:carrot: Smile
Hello.
Reed McClintock
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Good old fashion center tear. a pen and any piece of paper.
In a book called lifesavors, I can't think of the author right now, ask around, there is one precious gem in there for impromptu. you know what, forget I even mentioned that book
"Stuff is anything, but magic is everything"



Reed McClintock 2003







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Scott F. Guinn
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The author is Michael Weber, and the book is published by Richard Kaufman.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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