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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Real, LIVE, Audiences...A Dying Species? (13 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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eralph357
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To return to the elephant metaphor, I believe mentalism-presented-as-real (not a trick) is like the elephant in that younger generations believe less in religion, spiritual concepts, etc. A 'realistic' mentalist is therefore a harder sell (like elephant acts are a hard sell to more animal-rights-oriented folks).

I think it is also common sense that younger folks are less likely to know how to act at a live show. They are less likely to know how to act at virtually anything (since people learn such things over time as they age). I'm quite certain that when I was young, older folks were similarly bemoaning how my generation doesn't know how to act. Every generation believes the next is terrible (even though collectively we improve over time).
Mindpro
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On Feb 6, 2017, eralph357 wrote:
I think it is also common sense that younger folks are less likely to know how to act at a live show. They are less likely to know how to act at virtually anything (since people learn such things over time as they age).


I have to disagree. We were taught it at home or school and for most situations. How to behave when we were over at a friends house, how to act when you went out to a public restaurant or a nicer restaurant, relatives house, at school we were repeatedly taught what proper behavior was at assemblies and how to treat and respect any appearing guests (speakers & entertainers). We were taught from a very early age to sit on our rear ends (not on our feet so those behind you couldn't see). It was "Indian-style" (which is now forbidden as it is politically incorrect - the correct way to now address this is "criss-cross applesauce") (if what isn't going form bad to worse) and it continued to be enforced even through high school, both at home and in school. Groups like scouts used to also support this.

I think it's the lack of structure and formality that plays into most of this. I work many schools and many schools do still teach this, the problem is they only see it as "proper assembly behavior" and don't see it carrying though to other things and levels. So some could say the schools are still doing their role, it is the parents that are to blame and have dropped the ball creating this more casual, acceptable world without structure, rules, consideration of others (only me). Dress also comes into play as one behaves differently when dressed up. This carries through to not having sit down dinners at the dinner table, to kids that come out of high school that still can't do the laundry, fold their clothes or any basic considerations.

Also don't fool yourself about "common sense" as shown even here, common sense isn't so common any more either.
WitchDocChris
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I keep trying to type up a response to this and I can't get the words right. So here's the cliff-notes versions:

Mindpro - I suspect this is more regional than generational. I never had "lessons" in what you're describing. I was never told to sit cross legged in assemblies. I was only ever taught that I shouldn't disturb other people (by my parents, not schools) - so yes, I try to be quiet at restaurants and I respect other people's experiences in shows - but I don't see that behavior in other folks in my age range. I'm 35, by the way. I have no idea how old you are. Also, I grew up in a military family, so that probably plays into it as well.

eralph357 - I respectfully disagree. I think playing a "realistic" mentalist is the -only- way to sell it to a young audience. And by realistic I mean taking your genuine beliefs and weaving them into your show so you are presenting an authentic character. Whether that means you're doing supernatural style presentations or skeptical/cynical presentations. I skate the line between those two, but it works and I don't run into the problems expressed in this thread.

In general I have to put forth an idea that will probably annoy people: Is it really the audience's fault if the person on stage is less interesting than their phones?
Christopher
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Boffo eBook: https://tinyurl.com/387sxkcd
CurtWaltermire
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I haven't checked in here in a minute or two, and it's interesting to read all of the follow up comments. I thought this thread was dead and buried, or at the very least well on it's way to dying a slow and certain death.

WitchDocChris the idea of the entertainer not being as interesting as what is on the phones of the audience members isn't annoying, really (to me as the OP). However, as to this specific topic which I've endeavored to address it is somewhat slightly irrelevant. It's very easy to point a finger, so-to-speak, and say "well if a performer doesn't attract the audience's undivided attention, who's fault is it really?" But that is not really the issue up for discussion here, though comments tend to swerve occasionally in that direction.

I've endeavored to make clear in previous posts that the thread isn't about audience management in the traditional sense, but rather about the mindset of the individual and collective audience members themselves nowadays and a sense of behavior, expectation, etiquette, etc, that is changing, lacking, or what-have-you, compared to audiences of yesteryear. I'm of the mind that understanding this is an important part of how we manage our audiences as performers, especially on a professional level. All discussions of "how to be a better performer and manage your audience" aside. There's plenty of that already discussed here.

I attend regular meetings of business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, etc., locally where I live when I'm in town. Some of these people are even professional speakers and presenters. The majority of them are 30 and under, though there is some older (retirement age) people present as well. Even still, each time the meetings begin it takes SEVERAL MINUTES for the announcer/moderator/host (using a microphone and a loud PA system) to get everyone to shut their babbling mouths and quit talking amongst themselves so that the first presenter can begin and we can all do what we are there to do and dismiss at a decent time. Why? Because way too many people there think that what is being said or announced, the etiquette, rules, etc., don't really apply to them, that they're not nearly as loud and obnoxious when they're talking as they actually are, what they have to chat about is important, or whatever. They often seem to forget they are in a group environment, are assembled at a certain time and for a certain purpose, and that there are certain things that must be observed in order to maintain a sense of order and decency so that the best result can be achieved for everyone involved.

I'm by no means saying it's just millenials or any specific generation necessarily, but there is definitely a tremendous sense of detachment from reality that people in general seem to have these days (for a host of reasons) that bring about a lot of problems when they suddenly find themselves facing reality; whether that reality is the person performing on stage in front of them or the traffic light that just turned from green to red that they were oblivious to.

I'm also not trying to make the case that audiences are somehow "bad" or "worse" somehow. They are, however, quite different these days and I believe in such as way as to warrant special attention as to how they're dealt with, approached, seduced, tamed, etc.
WitchDocChris
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I don't think people are less engaging in general these days, though. The scenario you described with the business people - the reason it takes them that long to quiet down is because those people are not attending those meetings for the meetings. They are there to chat with other business people, network, and generally rub elbows. They probably put up with the meetings in order to have those social opportunities.

Probably a similar scenario was happening to you - they weren't there for your show. That was just a nice bonus.

I see how people engage these days. They tend to really engage is what interests them, and kind of put up with anything that doesn't. Perhaps the tactic we, as entertainers, need to employ is being more selective with our audiences and venues? Either that or learn to get comfortable juggling the moments of attention being focused and then drifting.
Christopher
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Boffo eBook: https://tinyurl.com/387sxkcd
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Feb 8, 2017, CurtWaltermire wrote:

I've endeavored to make clear in previous posts that the thread isn't about audience management in the traditional sense, but rather about the mindset of the individual and collective audience members themselves nowadays and a sense of behavior, expectation, etiquette, etc, that is changing, lacking, or what-have-you, compared to audiences of yesteryear.

I attend regular meetings of business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, etc., locally where I live when I'm in town. Some of these people are even professional speakers and presenters. The majority of them are 30 and under, though there is some older (retirement age) people present as well. Even still, each time the meetings begin it takes SEVERAL MINUTES for the announcer/moderator/host (using a microphone and a loud PA system) to get everyone to shut their babbling mouths and quit talking amongst themselves so that the first presenter can begin and we can all do what we are there to do and dismiss at a decent time. Why? Because way too many people there think that what is being said or announced, the etiquette, rules, etc., don't really apply to them

... but there is definitely a tremendous sense of detachment from reality


I agree and this is the point I was making. When told to "turn off cell phones at this time" whether at a performance, movie, library or on a plane, it just amazes me how many act as if they don't hear or see the announcement or act as if it doesn't apply to them. It's almost challenging like "who says so" or "who's going to make me." It is particularly annoying and angering to those of us that do respect and follow and respect such rules or guidelines.

This also applies in so many areas of society. I see it daily with drivers too. Drivers absolutely do not seem to understand the concept of solid white lines, slowing down in construction or school zones, buses stopped to unload, turning right on red, u-turns and so many other examples.

Everything seem to be about "me" and what and how "I" want it. It does make a difference in society. I don't think people respect respect or are taught respect and proper etiquette.


WitchDocChris, I have to disagree with you, I don't think it's a regional thing. I have performed across the country at thousands of schools since 1976 hitting all states but Alasksa. And I can honesty say what I referred to has been taught and seen in every state and area I've appeared.

I think an underlying element is the belief that it is cool to oppose authority, rules, and to question them. This has been a huge societal change in recent generations. Sure there have always been a few "rebels" and those that buck the system or authority, but I think what we are seeing is it becoming more of the masses. Acceptable.

Look at the Presidential situation. Look at the lack of respect towards law enforcement. It, including our audiences, are part of a bigger picture.
Djin
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The culture is changing and public behavior is a symptom of that change. People seem totally self absorbed and unable to interact. It's worse than just excessive cell phone use at inappropriate times. Today it's common courtship behavior for a young man to send a young lady a picture of his *** before they meet in person. (Or "meat in person"??) How are we to expect these people to behave in an audience? Is a couple who met this way going to raise children who will behave well in public? The answer to that is clear enough. We have serious hurdles ahead and they are bigger than "how do we get them to sit in the front row?" It's overly dramatic and probably incorrect to say that the sky is falling, but we are witnessing a dramatic social evolutionary paradigm shift.

On another note that this thread brought up, I took my kids and grandchildren to the Ringling Brothers circus this weekend in Raleigh. It was, to me, a stark reminder of the changing times. I went with my parents and grandparents in my childhood. My parents went with theirs. Now it's a passing artifact of bygone days. My daughter allows her 5 year old spend all *** day with his nose in an old cell phone that he plays games and watches videos on. He liked the show, but thought it was too long. He couldn't wait to get his nose back into his phone in the car. I thought about my dad watching the circus in the 50s and remembered a small travelling tent show I saw in the 70s and my first Ringling bros show in the 80s. I thought about my grandparents and the great grandparents that I was lucky enough to know while gritting my teeth to the sound of some electronic game back in the third row seat of our truck and *** near puked.

Yes, the times are changing.
Sudo Nimh
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Quote:
On Feb 6, 2017, WitchDocChris wrote:
In general I have to put forth an idea that will probably annoy people: Is it really the audience's fault if the person on stage is less interesting than their phones?


I think this is flawed. People are killed regularly because the phone is even more important than the road in front of them when driving...
WitchDocChris
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I think part of the flaw here is that folks who have lived for a while look back on things with nostalgia, and tend to filter out the negatives.

I went to a Ringling show a few years ago. It was ... not great. Regardless of how much fondness you look back at their shows with, that doesn't change the fact that maybe now they just aren't that good. I went with the circus troupe I performed with at that time, and we were all just kind of "eh" about the whole show.

The same idea applies to people looking at their phone in the car. Before phones people were distracted by other things - eating, drinking (with or without alcohol), reading the paper, reading their mail, doing their make up - I've seen all of these things while driving. Can you really blame the phone?

Maybe the style of live performance is changing? Maybe we need to focus on smaller, or at least more targeted audiences? I like my small shows, up to about 50 people. I find the audiences really engage with me when I'm more easily able to engage with them.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Boffo eBook: https://tinyurl.com/387sxkcd
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