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sandsjr
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I think Chaz is failing to get the idea that failing on purpose might not be a good idea. Are you doing that on purpose Chaz?

It's all good. Smile
mastermindreader
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I'd agree with you Chaz, but then we'd both be wrong.

The day I don't do my best in EVERY show, will be the day I know it's time to quit.
Chaz93
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I get that you don't think it is a good idea sandsjr. I still stand by my advice. For the guy who just got corinda and annemann and wants to get out there and start performing, I think it could (Could... not is) be valuable advice. I get that people disagree with me, and that's fine. I am happy to agree to disagree. I don't have much more to say on this subject that wouldn't just be repeating myself and trying to convince people to do things my way, and I don't think either of those are useful for a discussion.
sandsjr
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No problem Chaz. No big deal man.


Bob I like that line!
Chaz93
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Quote:
On Jul 30, 2014, sandsjr wrote:
No big deal man.




Finally something I think we can agree on Smile
mastermindreader
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Yes, it is a useful discussion, because it goes right to the heart of what it means to be an entertainer and the obligation an entertainer has to every audience.

If I blew a show I certainly wouldn't sit back, have a drink, and decide that it didn't really matter because the world didn't end. OF COURSE IT DIDN'T.

But I'd be mad at myself and would do everything I could to analyze everything I did to find out what was wrong and needed to be fixed. That's what failure should do- motivate you to work harder, not to teach yourself that failure doesn't matter.

It's not about you, the performer. It's about what you give to an audience. Every time, from your first gig to your last.
sandsjr
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On Jul 30, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Yes, it is a useful discussion, because it goes right to the heart of what it means to be an entertainer and the obligation an entertainer has to every audience.

If I blew a show I certainly wouldn't sit back, have a drink, and decide that it didn't really matter because the world didn't end. OF COURSE IT DIDN'T.

But I'd be mad at myself and would do everything I could to analyze everything I did to find out what was wrong and needed to be fixed. That's what failure should do- motivate you to work harder, not to teach yourself that failure doesn't matter.

It's not about you, the performer. It's about what you give to an audience. Every time, from your first gig to your last.


If you're serious about what you do, I wouldn't take these words lightly!
Rolyan
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Having read his comments I believe he still recommends failing on purposes in front of an unsuspecting audience, which I still find sad and disappointing. I just hope that the original poster doesn't take his misguided advice.
mastermindreader
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Don't be too harsh on Chaz. He means well because a complete failure will indeed convince a new performer that the world won't end because of it. The problem is that it's unfair to an audience and certainly not good for a performer's reputation- at least not at that venue, where he'll always be remembered as the wannabe mentalist who screwed everything up. And, as I said a few times, you'll never know for sure who'll be in an audience.

(I got one of my biggest breaks working for free at a Christmas party on Pier 40 in New York, back when I was just 22. [My wife's father worked in the baggage department there and asked if I would do a twenty minute set at the party.] Turns out that the entertainment director for Holland America cruises was one of the guests. As a result of that show I was booked for three years on the Holland America ships.

I wonder what would have happened if I intentionally screwed up at that show?)
IAIN
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I would say that if something doesn't go according to plan naturally in some way, within the first half dozen performances, then you're either extremely lucky or unlucky - depending on how you want to look at it...

something will go wrong, sooner than later...
MatCult
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While I agree that purposefully fluffing (especially in front of a paying audience) is not a good idea - I do think that the spirit of Chaz's post rings very true. There is something incredibly empowering and liberating about having been through a performance where things go very wrong. Not that we should ever become complacent about making errors - just that we shouldn't let fear of errors cloud our minds during performance. One way to get over that fear is to go through a f***-up and realise that the situation was potentially recoverable or at very least, nobody died and everyone went on with their lives just fine afterwards.
"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business."
mastermindreader
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No one has argued with that point. My disagreement was solely with the assertion that it would be "good advice" to tell a newbie to fluff a show on purpose just to show that nothing bad will happen.

It would, in fact, for the reasons I've given, be bad advice. (regardless of whether the audience was paying or not)
MatCult
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Good point, well made. Point taken.
"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business."
Rolyan
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Like Bob, I also have no issues with learning from failure. I've had an article published in the magic press about how to proactively prevent failure, and I've also led learning/training sessions with experienced entertainers where they brought along a routine, someone took a key piece out of it, and they had to then perform it. I've also run professional training courses for beginners and more experienced magicians. All great stuff and very valuable, and all covered failure and learning from it. But that is nothing to do with my strong disagreement with Chaz' recommendation to deliberately fail in front of an unsuspecting audience. That is not the place to do it, regardless of the type of entertainer you are, or claim to be.

As I say, hopefully the original poster will have realised that failing is not a disaster, but that planning to do so deliberately in front of a unsuspecting audience is ill advised, unnecessary and is disrespectful to the audience and to the art you perform.
Engali
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I think the key distinction here regarding whether to fail on purpose or not is what the hang-up is all about. Clearly, if you're just lazy or unsure of your material or unpracticed in it, then those issues should be addresed and you should prepare yourself to actually give a great performance given logistical constraints in terms of time and effort you can reasonably invest into mentalism, given the level you find yourself at. I don't think Chaz93 or the gentleman who actually deliberately failed onstage recommnended doing poorly as *general* advice for *any* newbie, nor did their posts strike me as advocating for trivialzing mentalism or wasting any audience members' time.

I think the point that both were pointing to is that IF fear of failure in a performance context is chronically blocking a person from either performing or even fully committing/investing themselves to/in the art of mentalism (since they project an inability to perform given that fear into the future) enough to even consider performing, THEN it might be a wise choice to go out and deliberately fail to get over this hang up. This is a pretty standard psychological technqiue that can be quite effective in helping people get over performance hang-ups. See, you might learn enough from failure by accident wihtout having to fail on purpose, but if someone is so paralyzed by fear of failure or judgment in the first place to even do that then deliberately failing is actually one of the few routes open to them at all. I think that is being missed--how difficult it may be for some people to even get in that "flight time" that develops skills naturally. The point in deliberately failing then is not to actually learn how to improve one's craft, but rather to help someone get to the point where they can even start on that path in the first place.

The question of what is owed to the audience is a tricky one. Obviously, I don't think you should be doing this to a paying audience. Then again, if you are crippled by performance anxiety to begin with, it's unlikely that the audience you are failing in front of is a paying one. I don't think people who go to open mic nights are "owed" anything in terms of quality performance. The whole context presupposes that there will be a wide range of acts and skill levels. As for how that one performance will impact the image people have of mentalism...I don't think it will to any greater extent than any hack comdedian or wannabe popstar impacts their craft when they get on stage and do terribly, intentionally or otherwise. At the end of the day, you have to crack a few eggs to make an omlette.
mastermindreader
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That's a well thought out post Engali, but I wonder why people who are paralyzed by fear of failure in front of an audience would want to be in show business in the first place.

There is one compromise I would agree with, though. If you really need to find out that failure isn't the end of the world, just intentionally miss on one or two things in the act and learn that it doesn't affect your credibility at all. In fact it could enhance it.

But don't intentionally screw up an entire set just to prove to yourself that it doesn't matter.

And, yes, a performer owes something to every audience. Even in a free show that audience is giving you their time. You should really try to give them something in return.
Scott Soloff
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Quote:
On Jul 31, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
That's a well thought out post Engali, but I wonder why people who are paralyzed by fear of failure in front of an audience would want to be in show business in the first place.


Bob,

Jolson had to be pushed out on stage. (Of course, once there, you couldn't get him off.)

Best,

Scott
'Curiouser and curiouser."
mastermindreader
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I'm sometimes that way before a show as well. But when I walk, the fear immediately goes away. So why would I need to purposely screw up? That would do nothing to combat stage fright- it could even make it worse. Derisive laughter from an audience, etc. certainly wouldn't help someone who was insecure in the first place.
Scott Soloff
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Agreed! No one in their right mind would intentionally screw up.

Best,

Scott
'Curiouser and curiouser."
mastermindreader
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Note- my last post should have read, "...when I walk on stage"
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