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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Freaking out spectators (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

emptyroom
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I'm fairly new to performing magic, although I've been practicing sleights and scripting for the last few months. Today I performed for someone very close to me who hasn't seen me perform magic. Just a short three coins across routine, with the last coin ending up travelling to their hand to join the other two. They jumped back and screamed, apparently very surprised and somewhat frightened. I know this is the reaction many magicians want, but I felt horrible about it. Thinking about how they yelled like I hurt someone, I can't sleep now. I told them a few times that it was just a trick so they could calm down. I'm starting to wonder why I want to learn magic. Do I just want them to think I'm clever? Dani DaOrtiz says he doesn't want people to say he's fast with his hands, and I agree with that, but I don't want people to actually think I'm doing the impossible. Anybody else have this problem, and what you want people to think after a trick? Thanks for the help!

-Andrew
- Andrew
Poof-Daddy
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The important thing to remember is that it is "their problem". You can't beat yourself up because somebody freaked out over a coin trick. (Now if you did "My Pet Borris" or Jim Paces "The Web" then its a different story) Smile Smile since this person is "very close to you" ask him/her what freaked them out so bad about that. Although you don't need to give explinations, if it is somone "very close" and you feel this event can cause a ripple in your relationship (friend, relative, significant other...) a simple explination of "its sleight of hand, I didn't sell my soul" is good enough without exposing any secrets. If its just a random co-worker or sort-of good friend, don't even explain, just don't do magic directly for them in the future. Maybe if you do some effects for someone else and that person watches, they may eventually open up to it more. Smile

As long as you have good intentions in mind as you present it. You have done ok. Some people have very deep religious feelings (I once made a young lady cry as well as think I was posessed by Satan himself over an Ambitious Card Routine). Some folks have "issues" believing that what you did was even possible. In the end, YOU DID A GREAT JOB. You made it look and feel believable.

You will learn with time how to judge (or get a feel for) your specs and can then routine appropriately. It is however a learning experience. You certainly know that particular person will probably only "enjoy" simpler effects (if any at all) (there are many people out there who DO NOT like magic in any way shape or form) too bad for them because it really is a wonderful form of entertainment. As far as what people should think of you ie... "clever" "fast with hands" "sneaky"... I just do what I do and hope that they think I was "entertaining" that's all. Try not to lose anymore sleep and don't overthink it. A great phrase to remember is "Don't Run If You're Not Being Chased".

Good luck, welcome to the Café and keep up the magic. It sounds like you are on a good road so far. Smile
Cancer Sux - It is time to find a Cure

Don't spend so much time trying not to die that you forget how to live - H's wife to H on CSI Miami (paraphrased).






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ruediger
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Well written, Poof-Daddy
regards

ruediger meier
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Dick Oslund
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Guten tag! Herr ruediger,` and anyone else who cares to read my nefarious (!) thoughts.

Ja! Poof Daddy, "done good"!

Especially to empty room:::

In ancient days (a long time ago!) Wizards, thaumaturgists et al used their rather primitive knowledge ("knowledge" IS "power")of natural science to "awe" the people. Over the centuries, they became quacksalvers, & mountebancs, etc. Today, magicians are (or at least are supposed to be!) entertainers.

Poof Daddy's quotation (Al Baker's line: "Don't run if you aren't being chased".) sums it up well.

I will differ with one of Poof's sentences though! "...because it really is a wonderful form of entertainment..." I'm well aware that a few will disagree with me, but, I have realized after 69 years of performing (both semi professionally for about 20 years, and professionally for 49 years) that MAGIC IS NOT INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING! I have "witnessed" more "magic" shows that were anything but entertaining, than I care to count! (I prefer to forget them! Some were so bad that I would cheerfully welcome amnesia!) Whether a "magic performance" is entertaining or not, depends on the performer and his presentation.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
MRSharpe
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Al good comments. You have to keep in mind that the entertainment value comes from how an effect is presented. Also, the history of magic, as Dick Oslund succinctly stated, goes back in history so far we don't know where a lot of the basic effects originated. And in primitive prehistoric times, it was used, along with music--particularly drumming--and dance in religious ritual. Today's magic can still be used to give the effect of supernatural powers, ESP, or just something fun to watch. A card revelation can be presented so that the spectator(s) interpret it as any of those three. A lot of this depends on the individual performer and spectator. To say anything definite about this one performance I would have to have been there. Try the same effect using the same presentation on a number of people and see how they react. If you don't like the reaction, change your presentation so you get the reaction you desire.
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
Poof-Daddy
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Quote:
On Apr 10, 2014, Dick Oslund wrote:

I will differ with one of Poof's sentences though! "...because it really is a wonderful form of entertainment..." I'm well aware that a few will disagree with me, but, I have realized after 69 years of performing (both semi professionally for about 20 years, and professionally for 49 years) that MAGIC IS NOT INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING! I have "witnessed" more "magic" shows that were anything but entertaining, than I care to count! (I prefer to forget them! Some were so bad that I would cheerfully welcome amnesia!) Whether a "magic performance" is entertaining or not, depends on the performer and his presentation.


I agree with that.Smile I should have added another favorite quote - "Anyone can DO magic, but not everyone can PERFORM it well" or something along those lines Smile
Cancer Sux - It is time to find a Cure

Don't spend so much time trying not to die that you forget how to live - H's wife to H on CSI Miami (paraphrased).






Smile Smile
Dick Oslund
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Right Poof! 'DOING' AND 'PERFORMING' certainly are not synonyms!!!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
emptyroom
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Wow, thanks to everyone for the encouraging and helpful responses. Poof and Dick, you've both been very helpful on the forums when I was lurking before. Thanks.

I had the opportunity to see to the spectator in question today and we talked a bit about it. I think it might have been me who overreacted to her response, rather than the other way around, haha. She clearly knows that it was a just a trick. Apparently screaming and waving your hand in front of your face as if you're about to faint is perfectly normal for some people. Anyways, I did an ACR and she reacted the same way. This time we smiled and laughed about it. Don't run if you're being chased... exactly right.

-Andrew
- Andrew
MRSharpe
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Don't run when you're not being chased you mean? Now if you're not being chaste you may have to run depending on your own circumstances!
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
Poof-Daddy
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Quote:
On Apr 12, 2014, MRSharpe wrote:
Don't run when you're not being chased you mean? Now if you're not being chaste you may have to run depending on your own circumstances!


Do you mean if my nose runs and my feet smell - I'd better turn right side up?
Cancer Sux - It is time to find a Cure

Don't spend so much time trying not to die that you forget how to live - H's wife to H on CSI Miami (paraphrased).






Smile Smile
Shy
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I agree with Poof-Daddy, even if his username is weird.

Idk about anyone here but when someone thinks that it was real magic or that I have some kind of pact with devil my only reaction is feeling awesome! LOL.

Now being serious, when someone really feels that I am a demon or something I just tell him that it's just magic and it has it's secrets, it has only happened once and she believed me.
Christian Wilde
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You are a thoughtful human being. I would probably pour it on about the dark arts og soul selling... Smile Maybe not the best approach
emptyroom
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Yes, yes, of course, don't run if you're NOT being chased. Hahaha, thanks again for the help everyone. Now it's time for me to get back to practicing the dark arts... muahahaha
- Andrew
PeterSteele111
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I get a lot of people like that through my magic shops.They get drug into by family or friends even though they clearly don't like magic. At first when I was new to performing in the shops I used to think it would be fun to mess with these people. Very quickly though I realized to not even pay them any attention when it comes to actually performing anything. Don't use them in any context and make no mention of their existence. I know that sounds mean and rude as hel but think about it. You get drug into a place you are clearly uncomfortable in. You just want to hide and not be noticed right? People with stage fright do the same thing as magic shows. They sit in their seats hoping to god the magician doesn't pick them to come up on stage. So I treat people that I feel out like this like they are just part of the background to make them feel more comfortable. Now obviously this is a little different scenario than what you have to deal with. Explain to the close person that it was just a trick. Next time though if you do perform around them ignore them and just let them observe. I have had several people who hated magic warm up to it a little at the end by just being allowed to be an observer in the back. that's my two cents on the matter.
kekoa1
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People react differently to magic. Some will visibly freak out. Some will internalize it and may not show any reaction at all. It all depends on the person you are performing for. You have no control over other people's reaction to some degree.

As far as people thinking you are somehow connected with the devil? I learned to choose effects I perform for certain people with care. By that I mean when I'm building rapport with someone...I'm trying to figure out what effect would best suit this person or groups magic barometer...and then choose the effect from there. Sometimes I'm off...or mis-judge it...but most of the time it works out.

One example of mis-judging it was when I used to work at a drug rehabilitation center. I would perform magic to some of the clients there...which would usually then build into a crowd. For the most part...those that watched me were thrilled and excited to see close-up magic! Little did I know or realize that some of that crowd had very unstable mental health issues...and later found out that some of those unstable people actually thought that I had some kind of evil force or connection with the devil. In their mind...I was evil...period. No matter how much I tried to explain myself to them...that it was sleight of hand and fun...it didn't matter. I stopped performing magic at that facility.
Now this may be an extreme case...but I still stand by the rule of gauging your spectator's to some degree based on their personality and what you perform for them. I wouldn't perform the needle through arm trick for a bunch of people in a doctor's waiting room...unless I really didn't care about my spectator's feelings.
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