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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » How do you pick subjects and bring them up on stage? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Alexxander
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Frankfurt, Germany
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I've a gig coming up (the very first, as some of you know).
I will do a 10 minute set consisting of warming up with psychological forces and a psychometry/graphology routine with 3, maybe 4 participants.
So I will need 3 people to join me on stage with a rather demanding task (as opposed to holding and object etc.).
How should I pick them and bring them up on stage?

I thought about doing it like this, tell me what you think:

- I do a psychological force with the whole audience
- I let the people who "got it right" raise their hands.
- I look out for people who look interested and cooperative and ask 3 of them to stand up.
- "You three will be perfect for this, will you please join me on stage for a little experiment..."
-.I lead the applause for the participants and look away. (this makes it very hard to say no, because they would have to wait until the applause subsides)

How would you do it?
Just pointing to people and calling them up?
Paperball?
Letting a member of the audience choose the participants?


Any advice appreciated.
Not just for this kind of routine, but in general. I found very little information in the literature about spectator management.
mastermindreader
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Seattle, WA
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Do it the way your outlined. DON'T use a paper ball or allow the audience to select the volunteers. Pick the ones YOU WANT after the opening segment based on the criteria you outlined.

I'm surprised you haven't found much information about this. I've written about it extensively in my books.

Good thoughts,

Bob
innercirclewannabe
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Ireland
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Try not to go for the "needy" looking, they will try & steal YOUR show. Also, if you do choose someone that says no way when you point to them, don't force them up because they can wreck your show and your confidence.

Get them to like you and trust you early on, this will work in your favor throughout your show.

Good luck and enjoy it.
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
Mindpro
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Eternal Order
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First determine all you can about what you WANT - male-female, young-old, glasses-no glasses, trendy-traditional, locals-foreigners, blue collar-white collar, skeptical-believers, shy/timid-outgoing and so on. You actually may want to outline or profile your ideal choice or cjhices. The more control you have over seeking such prospects the better. Then using that information of choice create a method (as you say psychological forces, certain predetermined responses, or simply just casual exchanges from the stage to steer your choices in their direction while it seems casual, non-threatening or pre-decided. I always prefer to make the whole process casual, light and fun, but that works for me and my persona.
mastermindreader
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All good advice, but again, NEVER pick people at random unless you don't mind the drunk who can't speak English assisting you on stage. Or the women without glasses who can't read when you select her for a book test.

And be observant. The most embarrassing thing that happened early in my career was when I asked a friendly looking gentleman seated in the front row to hold onto the envelopes for 4DT and make sure they were all sealed.

It wasn't until I extended the envelopes to him that I noticed he had no hands.
Magic.Maddy
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Quote:
On Jul 21, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
All good advice, but again, NEVER pick people at random unless you don't mind the drunk who can't speak English assisting you on stage. Or the women without glasses who can't read when you select her for a book test.

And be observant. The most embarrassing thing that happened early in my career was when I asked a friendly looking gentleman seated in the front row to hold onto the envelopes for 4DT and make sure they were all sealed.

It wasn't until I extended the envelopes to him that I noticed he had no hands.


Oh goodness, how did you recover from THAT!?
Marmen
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I used to have terrible trouble getting volunteers in my early days. All I would get up to help were obnoxious drunks and hecklers galore because of the places I was working in. I learned a few things over the years though. One of the most important being to check out the audience beforehand and select who I thought might be a good volunteer. Like Bob, I am not keen on the flying paper ball method either because it tends to slow up the show and if you are not careful you can end up with the biggest drunk or stupidest person in the room. Too chancy for me.

When it is time to select a volunteer I make sure that I have done something else with them beforehand without getting them up on stage. It can be to call out a number or do a quick mindreading thing with them while they are in the audience. Anything to break the ice with them rather than baldly asking them to come up without any interaction beforehand. When it is time I will say something like, "You called that number out very well (or whatever). In fact you called it out so well that I wonder if you would help me do something on stage? Would you mind very much? Give him (or her) a big round of applause."

Never any problem. They come up straight away. One thing though. Treat the person with the utmost respect and consideration. If you do that it will come in handy if you need a second volunteer later on. They will not be scared off and be happy to cooperate in volunteering since they can see how considerate you are.

Once in a very rare while you will despite checking your audience out beforehand you will get a very difficult person on stage possibly even intoxicated and you have to get rid of them. In my early days I tried to send them back to their seats but they refused to go! Here is a better way. Ask them to take a card and go to their seat in the audience and sit on the card. Tell them you will reveal the card in due course. But of course from that point on ignore them. You will lose a card but it is worth it. He will call out from time to time, "what about my card?" and you hust say, "later" and forget all about him. At least this way you get rid of him. I have only had to use this a very few times and I got the idea from old pro Jerry Bergmann when we were both working US army bases in Germany.

Another idea along the same lines I read recently but have never tried might be more suitable for a mentalist. It comes from Joe Stuthard. You get the idiot to write down any date in history and go back to his seat with the piece of paper. Tell him that eventually you will reveal the date to him. That way you get rid of him. And of course like the last example you just ignore him. After a while he will want to know the date so you reveal TODAY'S date! The date of the performance. It gets a laugh and more importantly you get rid of him.

I hope some of you find this helpful.
mastermindreader
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Maddy-

I didn't miss a beat, fortunately. I just handed them to the guy next to him and told the first guy to keep an eye on him. Luckily, when I first asked him to help I was some distance away and it wasn't all that clear to the audience exactly who I was talking to.

But I could have saved myself a bit of thinking if I'd just been paying attention in the first place.
mastermindreader
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Marmen-

You just gave me a great idea. Next time I have an obnoxious volunteer I'll just ask him to go out into the parking lot and concentrate on a word. As soon as he leaves I'll yell to the bouncer, "Don't let him back in!"
Marmen
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Yep! That would work!
Chaz93
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...Thats really pretty brilliant.
Rolyan
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I'm fencing in my land; so far there are
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Quote:
On Jul 21, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
The most embarrassing thing that happened early in my career was when I asked a friendly looking gentleman seated in the front row to hold onto the envelopes for 4DT and make sure they were all sealed. It wasn't until I extended the envelopes to him that I noticed he had no hands.

As an aside, I had a similar experience.

Many years ago I was demming some items in Birmingham. I explained that it was easy to do, concentrate on presentation, anyone could do it, etc. One guy asked "can it be done one handed". I wittily replied that it could be done one handed, with one hand tied behind your back, with one eye closed...it could even by done by someone with only one arm. I then noticed that he only had one arm.
Slim King
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Orlando
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I begin looking for volunteers the second I hit the stage. I look at eye contact, facial expressions,and an ever changing list of qualities... It will be out in my new book ... COMPLIANCE due out in June of 2019 ... When I retire.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Syndrome
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CANADIAN IMP
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Only to echo the sturdy...be as casual as you are observant...find the one-armed man...and listen to Slim here. As soon as you arrive...find your mark(s).
Live well,
Laugh often,
Love always.

"Illusion is the first of all pleasures." -Voltaire (1694-1778)
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