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Snoogansgt
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So I've been practicing some card routines religiously for about the past 2-3 months or so, and I finally felt like they were performance ready. Well I failed miserably! Thank goodness it was in front of family and they were very understanding. During my practice, I would execute every move flawlessly (overhand shuffle control, classic pass, double lift, etc.) At the very beginning of my routine I got so nervous I completely lost dexterity with my hands. My hands got sweaty and very shaky from my nerves. Needless to say, I found it very difficult to execute these sleights with cards and botched 2 out of the 3 tricks I did at that time. I felt horrible and embarrassed!!!

Is there any advice from you guys about how to possibly overcome this fear and anxiety? I can execute card moves precisely in my practice. I just get so worked up and nervous when I start to perform that it causes my to mess up the effects. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you.
Sackninja
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Start by showing them self workers. Gemenii twins would be a good one. Focus on some presentation while you perform it. It wouldn't matter how nervous you are, no sleights needed. http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/3756 That could be a good purchase if you need some self workers.

Then move up to some tricks with minmal sleights, a dl here, a control there. Simple stuff, just a bit more complex. Work your way up if you're nervous.

The tricks you were performing could be useful information, if they were super sleight heavy suff, maybe not the best trick to show. Smile
TickTock
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Ah ha! Something I finally have some experience with!

It's been my experience that this sort of thing works itself out the more you do it. I had similar issues with speaking in public, which was also a real stumbling-block for my magic when I was a teenager. I could barely hold the projection-clicker, much less handle a pack of cards! As I took some public speaking courses in College, and got more comfortable with it, I found that my magic performance (at the time just little limited tricks among friends and family) got better, too. I'm still not up to Street-Magic, walk-up-to-total-strangers comfort-level yet, but it's still a work in progress!

Lately, I've been running my new material and new slights past my wife who, while not a magician herself, has a good eye, clever mind, and a kind heart. She tells me right where my flaws are, which allows me to really concentrate on them. For instance, I had a Haunted Key routine I was working on (rolling key and moving teeth), and she saw right through it. But we sat down, and she helped me develop a new way to hold the key, and some better patter. We re-visited it a few weeks later, and even though she knew what she was looking for, she couldn't see it.

So those might be two things to look into: Public speaking, and finding yourself a trustworthy Magic-Buddy.

Good luck!
Snoogansgt
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. In the past I have found it much easier to get into a comfortable rhythm if I start out with easier or self working card tricks in the beginning and then work my way up building confidence as I go. Just so happens I was pressed for time this weekend so I didn't have the time to really warm up. No excuses really. As much as I practice it should have worked.

The tricks I performed were two card monte, which I failed. I set up the deck, handed off the spectators card, and failed the triple lift twice in a row. First time I performed a double lift and the second I picked up four cards. After I failed to turn over the proper card I just told them I was going to move on to another trick. The second trick I did doesn't really have a name. It was just an improptu choose a random card, pass it to the top, double lift and show a different card and act like it theirs, turn them both back over, hand spec the top card (their real card), and keep going through the deck looking for their card only to reveal in the end that they had their card in their hand the whole time. The 3rd trick was Design for Laughter from the Royal Road. Due to my sweaty and shaky hands for some reason my injog on the overhand shuffle didn't go so smooth so I picked up at the wrong location thereofore missing their card completly. Made it all the way to the end to find out I missed it. When I did the injog while shuffling I knew something didn't feel right. I kept going with it hoping I would be able to locate the injog. Didn't happen.

TickTock I don't have any magic buddies unfortunately, but my wife also helps me with my tricks as well. While she is great and helping me to some degree, she doesn't have the magic mindset to really help me improve the effect. She just doesn't really get magic. For example, I showed her a youtube video of Dai Vernon's cup and balls routine and she was lost. Even though he explains everything as he goes she just didn't get it. Love her to death, but magic just isn't her cup of tea. lol
professorwhut
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It will get better in time. You are not unique to this problem.
Take a deep breath, call upon your skills, focus, and just try and have FUN.

Keep in mind that your goal is to entertain, which is a worthy goal!
After much soul searching about a signature, I decided not to have one.

TG Pop [aka ProfessorWhut]
Kbuck54
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Quote:
On Jul 28, 2014, Sackninja wrote:
Start by showing them self workers. Gemenii twins would be a good one. Focus on some presentation while you perform it. It wouldn't matter how nervous you are, no sleights needed. http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/3756 That could be a good purchase if you need some self workers.

Then move up to some tricks with minmal sleights, a dl here, a control there. Simple stuff, just a bit more complex. Work your way up if you're nervous.

The tricks you were performing could be useful information, if they were super sleight heavy suff, maybe not the best trick to show. Smile


I just picked this up. A lot of great stuff.
Keith Shazam
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Snoogansgt
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Thank you everyone for the feedback.

Professorwhut you are 100% correct about the entertaining goal! I'll keep that in mind.
gomerel
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People who get nervous performing (any kind of performance) try to put a lid on the nervousness. After practicing as much as you have, the key is to tell yourself "Wow! This is exciting!" Most people do something scary for fun - horror movies, carnival rides, downhill skiing, etc. They define the activity as "exciting" even though it is scary.
sirbrad
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Having done magic for 34 years now and almost 25 years professionally, I still get nervous also at first. But after the first or 2nd effect there is no stopping me. Way back when I first started it was the same way, but I made sure that I was truly ready and practiced several months every day with mirrors and video tapes. When someone is too afraid of getting busted that fear only sets you further down the path of actually getting busted.

But we tend to make it a lot bigger than it really is, and usually we imagine being completely humiliated which in turn makes the performance suffer. But after enough experience and practice this tends to go away mostly, especially after you successfully perform a few tricks and shows and your technique and presentation become a lot more polished. So basically you just have to practice, rehearse, and perform often. Kinda like the guy who hits amazing golf shots on the driving range but then chokes out on the course. Technically you are doing the same exact thing in both cases, the only difference is your mindset because you know out on the course it counts.

So you tend to psyche yourself out. Also if you have practiced and rehearsed long enough usually your skill and experience will take over, almost as if your body has a mind of its own. That is how you know that you have practiced and rehearsed enough. Most honest people feel guilty about "lying" or getting caught lying, but you an "honest liar," and doing it for the sake of entertainment so that is a great thing.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
kekoa1
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A lot of good advice from different magicians. That's what the Café is all about. I like to believe that we all go through this phase where we are so nervous and anxious about performing magic...that everything that can go wrong...does. It seems as if you have the "moves" down and can execute the effect when practicing by yourself. One question that comes to mind is, how do you practice? Do you just go through the moves? Or do you imagine that you are performing in front of people? I tend to do the latter when I'm practicing. I literally imagine that there is someone there and watching. I talk out loud to this imaginary person/people and even go to the extent of handing them cards for whatever the reason...such as having someone sign the card etc. It has to feel so real...that when it comes time to perform in front of real people...it doesn't feel that scary.
Although, there really isn't a "magic" cure for your situation. I wouldn't even call it a problem...it's quite normal. Personally, I don't get nervous performing in front of people at all anymore. Anxious...yes...but it's a different kind of anxious where I'm excited...not nervous. Have I screwed up a trick that I've performed a few times already? Yes. But it is few and far between nowadays...I practice A LOT!
To sum it up. Don't give up. Go out there and keep performing because there is no shortcut to overcoming the jitters or mistakes. Think of these issues as a stepping stone to becoming a better performer and magician.
Aloha and good luck on your journey!
Snoogansgt
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All wonderful advice! It's nice to know I'm not alone doing this. Magic is a very rewarding experience when you can finally pull off the numerous effects over and over again. I will just keep practicing and keep building my muscle memory so that hopefully this will become second nature to me. When this finally happens, I may finally be able to get my nerves under control. I guess there is no such thing as too much practice. Thanks everyone!
kekoa1
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Hang in there! Here's another thing to think about. After you have performed an effect in front of real people hundreds of times...and can do it in your sleep...what then? What I mean is...how do you perform the same trick...AGAIN...and still make it feel fresh and new? How do you overcome feeling bored with a trick?
I bring this up to make a point. That point is...we never stop learning. Right now, you are at the stage where you will need to overcome nervousness and not screwing up a trick. With practice and performance time...this will hopefully dissipate.
As for myself, I've performed several of my pet routines literally, thousands of times. After each performance, I run it back in my head...things that went right and the things that didn't go so right. What could I have changed or done differently to make it better? I keep a mental note of these things and change accordingly. Another thing I'm constantly keeping in check is my attitude. I perform 6 days a week. There are days where I stand in front of my audience and wish that I were at the beach instead. Mostly due to being tired, overworked...fight with the girlfriend...whatever. Then I realize that I have the best job in the world! I get to perform magic for a living. Some audiences are awesome...some are not so great...but hopefully, I've given them my all and have no regrets. Which I do not.
Never give up and keep at it...eventually you will learn and grow as a magician. It is hard work...but worth it.
sirbrad
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Yeah after 34 years I go burnt out a lot and many days I did not even feel like performing but still did. As I stated many times before I was about ready to quit and do something else but then realized how bad regular jobs suck. But I also had many other talents to capitalize from to take a slight break if needed which I did. Around that time David Blaine surfaced and reignited that magic fire under me as he did the same types of close-up magic that I did just not in a street but at paid gigs. But I also realized that as far as job it did not get much better than plating around on stage doing magic for people. But it is also easy to take it for granted if you make something a job it is not as fun as it was as only a hobby. So you have to find a balance. Eventually I stopped doing so many shows for too little money as my reputation got better and my magic got better I was able to do less shows for more money.

This worked out great, and I worked really hard to get to that point for years doing free shows for exposure or for a small fee. But eventually the hard work paid off and then I was getting even more calls for more expensive rates which was a good problem to have, and I was able to be more selective then. I was so booked and in such high demand that people wanted me even more and offered more money to see what everyone was raving about, a problem or I mean blessing that I still have. So yeah there could be A LOT worse jobs that you could be doing I had many of them. Magic was more fun as just a hobby but also still pretty fun as a job. These phases tend to come and go. But when you are in it for the long haul "magic is in your blood, it won;t let you quit even if you tried." A quote I believe from Grand illusions the Story of Magic, or The Art of Magic maybe, both awesome documentaries but I think the first one. But after 34 years I can safely say that quote is correct. The bug will bite you over and over again until you have no choice but to get back on stage. Smile

Another thing is that I was always very shy, and what helped me to overcome that is that I was playing the part of a magician, a "character" that is an over-embellished form of myself. So I should be able to have fun with it. I am still am kinda shy although not as much as I was back then, but once I step on stage that character and personal takes over. Regardless of how great or bad that your audience is, the only thing you need to is great magic that's your job. You learn not to take anything personally as not everyone will be as enthusiastic as you are about magic but many will be, some maybe even more! The rest will take care of itself.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Snoogansgt
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I just learned a good way to escape a failed card trick yesterday and thought I would share. In the event you lose a selected card while shuffling, cutting, and etc, you can simply acknowledge that something went wrong and have them select a different card. I thing I saw yesterday said most people wont make a big deal over this because it is happening early on in the trick. Also, I heard another way to cover the failed card control was to tell the spectator that not only did you make their card rise to the top of the deck, but you also changed to the (name the actual top card). I found the second way to be more practical. This way, it seems to me, kind of relaxes people a little bit with a bit a humour. After you get the said laugh, you can actually start all over and have them select a different card stating that alright this time we will be serious. Hopefully this second time you will be able to keep track of the selected card and continue on through the effect. I like having an out for when something goes wrong, but not necessarily letting the audience know that something went wrong. They would just think you were being funny. Any thoughts on this idea?
sirbrad
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After awhile you will have far more confidence and ability that you won't have to worry as much. But I always have outs as well just in case, because after performing for so long now I know what all can go wrong and most of the time anything that can go wrong will eventually. But in that case there are many things one could do. I would never admit failure and still make a great trick out of it. I think the best, strongest out that one can have is an invisible deck ready. Then you can make your alleged failure seem like it was on purpose, thus revealing that their thought of card was already predicted.

I always have an ID on hand which only boosts my confidence even more so, thus allowing and even smoother performance. Heck sometimes you hope something goes wrong. Smile But eventually you will come up with all kinds of outs. Perhaps the spectator is not "concentrating hard enough" and then names the card, to which then you look through and it is no wonder you could not locate it, it has vanished from the deck. Or for some reason you are not getting a strong enough vibe, so have the spectator remove the card themselves then go into any number of revelations. So many options especially the more knowledgeable that you become. You could give them half the deck and go into "Mental Massage" by Harry Lorayne, where they place a face up card next to their chosen one. I have been doing that one for 34 years and still love it.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Kbuck54
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The invisible deck has saved the day for me, more times then I can remember. A lot of great advice here. Thanks
Keith Shazam
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TyTheMagician
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I like to start my shows with a self working or semi automatic trick, to help get rid of anxiety. Once I know the audience likes the magic, I'll feel more confident, and be able to do stuff with actual SOH.
Alex R. Weinberg
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I agree with start with a self working trick and build up to some easy slights then to harder slights. It will get easier after you perform for more people!
Ben Seatreader
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Whilst it might seem a tad daunting, if you go out there and fail, things can only get better. Once you have hit rock bottom on the embarrassment front, there is nothing left to fear.
sirbrad
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You could always get the fall part table and make it appear as if it is all a part of your act. Smile "Well at least things can't get any worse can they?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puTBUCGNLt0 That kills!
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
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