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Theodore Lawton
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Thanks Mike. I thought about sharing these thoughts for a couple of days before I did. Sometimes you just wonder how things will be received here at the Café. Smile

I'm glad I decided to roll the dice and go for it. I'm really benefiting from organizing my thoughts in writing and it seems to be a positive contribution to the community. Smile

Smile
Mike Gilbert
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Absolutely. Don't be afraid to be you! If someone has a problem with it, it's because they have a problem with themselves. You're good to go my friend Smile
-Mike Gilbert Smile

"Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance."- Steven Pressfield
Mortimer Graves
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This thread has warmed my heart. So much.

I was taught early on that the best cure for stage fright is admitting it. And it does make you more human to your audience, because they can't help but sympathize; if they were up there, they'd probably be nervous too. Even Johnny Carson had stage fright on many occasions on the Tonight Show, and he was performing before thousands, many years before I was even born. When I found that out it helped a lot.

What finally got me over a lot of my own nervousness in performing was when I asked my mentor, who had 25 years on me as a magician, how he had overcome his nervousness in performing for crowds of strangers.

His reply? "What are you talking about? I still get the shakes every time I go on! You just gotta work through it!"

Hearing this from a man I regard as a master of the craft fixed a lot of my own problems in coming out of my shell in front of people. My superman had admitted to being human, and had told me that I was allowed to be human, as well.

Thanks for an excellent thread, guys!
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
Theodore Lawton
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Welcome to the Café Mortimer! I'm glad you're enjoying the thread! Smile

Smile
Mortimer Graves
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I appreciate it!

I've run across this place several times in the past, and I know that a lot of my friends are longtime members, but I never thought to actually sign up. I guess I got over feeling like I had nothing to contribute.

You might say I've overcome my stage fright. XD
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
quietriot
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Examining your show after it is done, is one of the most useful things you can ever do as an entertainer. And if you see yourself as a magician, and not an entertainer, stop reading here. I can't teach you a thing.

But otherwise, replay what you did, and your audience's reaction to whatever happened. What worked, and what didn't is important to note.

But to understand why one thing worked and another did not, takes insight and thoughtfulness, and experience in dealing with people.

David
Pepsi Twist
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Great thread! I just wanted to add that one thing I find useful to overcoming nervousness is to just stop and take a few breaths, even in the middle of a trick! A lot of people when nervous start rushing to get the trick over with, which obviously does a lot more harm than good, so taking a moment just to show that you can and there's nothing going wrong and to relax a bit helps me a great deal.
Mortimer Graves
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That's actually really good advice. I've known lots of guys who were excellent at magic, but always seemed a bit rushed.

You have to at least give the audience time to realize what's happening, and being relaxed and taking your time is important.
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
Dick Oslund
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Very interesting thread!

The great Howard THURSTON, would stand backstage just before the curtain opened. The pit band was playing the overture. Thurston would jump up (and down, too! repeating to himself: "I love this audience!" Of course, the show was well rehearsed, but this action got his heart pumping a bit faster, and when that proscenium rose, he was READY!

Occasionally, I would be booked in a high school, where, when I entered the school, I could feel the tension. There was some sort of local problem, and, I knew immediately that I would have a challenge in getting the audience "with" me. To get myself "psyched up", I would use Thurston's technique. It really helped! (psychology "works"!

Mike Caldwell was a very funny comedy magician. Well, he only did one trick! --but he killed with it.

Mike weighed over 300 lbs. He broke in, as a kid, in outdoor show business. I remember a picture of him juggling while balancing on a slack wire. I slso remember him, absolutely destroying an audience at Abbott's, years ago. He had gotten a kid up to help with his trick. The kid was really hyperkinetic! The kid was all over the stage! Mike handled the situation, and never used a stock "heckler" line! It was a real lesson in showmanship and presentation. But, here's the reason that I write this:

When introduced, Mike would come on, looking nervous. He would immediately tell the audience that he was, "so nervous, I could just FLIP!" --AND HE DID! He had had acrobatic training as a youth, and he did a "flip". His WHOLE BODY REVOLVED IN THE AIR, AND HE FELL FLAT ON HIS BACK! The audience screamed! Mike would stand up, brush himself off, and say, "I feel better now!" The laugh could be heard outside on the street!!!

He now "had" the audience! He would start with several gags, and the act would be moving! Before the act, he had stooged a man to come in late and seat himself in a front row seat. The audience, naturally, saw the man's late entrance.

Mike would stop, look at the man, as he got seated, and say to him: "You missed my opening! AND, HE WOULD REPEAT THE FLIP! (It's the performer, not the prop!!!) Nobody slept when Mike was working!

Mike's trick was a "version" of the old "sun and moon" handkerchief with a borrowd gentleman's handkerchief. It was full of laughs. His flip on entering, got the audience with him. --and, he never lost them!

His "nervous" entrance, of course, was calculated to grab the audience. His actual act had been done for years. He was totally comfortable with it.

Brother Lawton (go back up and read his OP) said that he decided to try a bit of psychology, and, it worked.

IMHO, In presenting a magic show, "we" use 5% esoteric science principles, 5% sensory illusions, 5% sleight of hand skills, and 85% PSYCHOLOGY!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Mortimer Graves
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Oddly enough, the principle of "energized enthusiasm" is recorded historically as an "occult" principle necessary for the success of any magical working. And I don't mean just in magic as a "performance art".

Before I'd ever even learned or performed a single magic trick, or even considered magical entertainment as a hobby or career option, I read about it in an essay titled (of course) Energized Enthusiasm, by the famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) Edward Alexander "Aleister" Crowley. The entire essay was about how to cause people to be enthusiastic about things, an important part of what we do, if we stop and think about it, I believe.

As evil and awful as many people have made him out to be, he actually really knew his stuff (if you can sort through all of his egomaniacal ravings without going insane and sort out the good bits) when it came to the use of practical psychology, and he even thoroughly understood what in his time could be considered the cutting-edge principles of magic and mentalism.

He even advocated methods of developing characters, or personas, for various purposes (such as overcoming introversion and other hindrances to popular success), the use of acting and other theatrical techniques in shaping ordinary (perceived) reality, and was reputedly a master of disguise, as well. He even used the old trick of playing multiple games of chess with great success (it was one of his signature effects, so to speak), and was regarded as a chess master as a result. By real, acknowledged chess masters, no less.

And he did it all in the guise of an occultist. Everything he wrote, even his poetry (some of which was quite "filthy", even by modern standards), was cloaked in occult terminology, with all of the true meanings (with rare exceptions) veiled behind the trappings of black magic, kabbalism, and related arts.

Talk about living your roles! And talk about nerve! XD

Though now long-dead, he was a shining example (at least to me) of boldness in action, and taught me more about overcoming nervousness and fear of embarrassment in public performance than just about anyone. For all of his very real flaws and weaknesses and later regrets in life, he at least understood the importance of being able to get people excited and enthusiastic about things.

I'm not saying anyone should set out to emulate him as a person, or try to live his lifestyle, or do any of the freaky stuff he did, I just think he was an interesting person in this regard.
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
Shadowstalker
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What I realised is that I am only nervous before and during the first trick, after that I calm down and I only get "the shakes" if trying new material.
Smile

When a magician lets you notice something on your own, his lie becomes impenetrable.
Teller
Mortimer Graves
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Oh, I'm always nervous about new stuff. Once I've tried it successfully on every kind of person, and learned how to deal with all of the little hangups that might arise (call it "debugging" if you will), it's smooth sailing. I always tend to open with stuff I know is strong and that I can do well, for just that reason.

If it's something new, I ask them if they want to see something I'm still working on. They usually say yes. But that's almost always after the main show, when they want more. They already like me then, and it goes better.

It's much easier to be confident if you know you're going to knock their socks off right off the bat. I always open with my good stuff.

And yeah, once I know they're on my side, that's it. It's on.
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
Theodore Lawton
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Ditto! Open with the ones you are best at. Then, even if you royally mess up they still like you and you can either recover or laugh it off.

Having said that, however...

I always open my table hopping with chop cup, but not until after I introduce myself and build a brief rapport. One time I totally blew it with the chop cup, my opener, everybody cracked up because we were already having fun and it had to look funny- here's this guy calling himself a magician totally screwing up. During the laughter I was able to recover and still blow their minds with the final loads. I think they even thought it was supposed to go that way! The things you learn in the trenches!
Theodore Lawton
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Quote:
On Dec 12, 2014, Dick Oslund wrote:
Very interesting thread!

The great Howard THURSTON, would stand backstage just before the curtain opened. The pit band was playing the overture. Thurston would jump up (and down, too! repeating to himself: "I love this audience!" Of course, the show was well rehearsed, but this action got his heart pumping a bit faster, and when that proscenium rose, he was READY!

Occasionally, I would be booked in a high school, where, when I entered the school, I could feel the tension. There was some sort of local problem, and, I knew immediately that I would have a challenge in getting the audience "with" me. To get myself "psyched up", I would use Thurston's technique. It really helped! (psychology "works"!

Mike Caldwell was a very funny comedy magician. Well, he only did one trick! --but he killed with it.

Mike weighed over 300 lbs. He broke in, as a kid, in outdoor show business. I remember a picture of him juggling while balancing on a slack wire. I slso remember him, absolutely destroying an audience at Abbott's, years ago. He had gotten a kid up to help with his trick. The kid was really hyperkinetic! The kid was all over the stage! Mike handled the situation, and never used a stock "heckler" line! It was a real lesson in showmanship and presentation. But, here's the reason that I write this:

When introduced, Mike would come on, looking nervous. He would immediately tell the audience that he was, "so nervous, I could just FLIP!" --AND HE DID! He had had acrobatic training as a youth, and he did a "flip". His WHOLE BODY REVOLVED IN THE AIR, AND HE FELL FLAT ON HIS BACK! The audience screamed! Mike would stand up, brush himself off, and say, "I feel better now!" The laugh could be heard outside on the street!!!

He now "had" the audience! He would start with several gags, and the act would be moving! Before the act, he had stooged a man to come in late and seat himself in a front row seat. The audience, naturally, saw the man's late entrance.

Mike would stop, look at the man, as he got seated, and say to him: "You missed my opening! AND, HE WOULD REPEAT THE FLIP! (It's the performer, not the prop!!!) Nobody slept when Mike was working!

Mike's trick was a "version" of the old "sun and moon" handkerchief with a borrowd gentleman's handkerchief. It was full of laughs. His flip on entering, got the audience with him. --and, he never lost them!

His "nervous" entrance, of course, was calculated to grab the audience. His actual act had been done for years. He was totally comfortable with it.

Brother Lawton (go back up and read his OP) said that he decided to try a bit of psychology, and, it worked.

IMHO, In presenting a magic show, "we" use 5% esoteric science principles, 5% sensory illusions, 5% sleight of hand skills, and 85% PSYCHOLOGY!


I swear Dick, your book must be at least 1000 pages long with all the stories you have! I know I'm going to love it. I'm jealous of all the great things you got to experience in magic! I would've loved to have seen Mike's act.


Smile
Mortimer Graves
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Some good lines for when you mess up or drop something:

"That's the first time that ever happened again!"

"It's all part of the act; the part I didn't rehearse!"

"There's magic in my blood, it just hasn't reached my fingers yet!"

"Now that you know the secret, I'm afraid I'll have to kill you."

"The guy who sold it to me said it worked every time... (pout) I'll bet he was lying about the magic beans, too!"

When something falls on the floor: "Oh, that's the floor show!"

Just laugh it off and move on, yeah. XD
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
1KJ
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Theodore,

Thank you for sharing your routine! It sounds like a real entertainer!

KJ
1KJ
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BTW, Theodore, I bet most people (myself included) would never have thought of using Crazy Dice for a "professional" performance. It just goes to show the value in your entertainment ability and your creativity.

While we are on the subject of Crazy Die... I'm wondering if anyone has ever seen Crazy Die props large enough to fit a "Die-Namic" die. I just love the Die-Namic die routine.

KJ
Theodore Lawton
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I think it would be cool to make a larger Crazy Cube prop. I guess no one has considered it worthwhile since it's a "kids" magic trick.

I know Christopher Lyle uses it professionally. I'd love to hear his work on it.

And thanks for adding Die Namic to my wish list!

Smile
Mortimer Graves
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You could use a well-contrasted foam or even fuzzy die (the ones people hang from their rear-view mirrors), and a couple of differently-sized coffee cans (the ones with the plastic lids...).

As long as it functions correctly, you can qualify the prop through presentation. Even the ordinariness of the props used can make it all the more entertaining and convincing.

There are a lot of options when it comes to adapting close-up magic to the stage. And a lot of them don't even really cost anything.
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.

Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See? Nothing hap-

...and if we rub each other the wrong way, let's try going in another direction. - Pokey the Porcupine
Christopher Lyle
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I use the original crazy cube as it has been sold. My routine will likely appear in my next book. Stay tuned.
In Mystery,


Christopher Lyle
Magician, Comic, Daredevil, and Balloon Twisting Genius
For a Good Time...CLICK HERE!
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