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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » How many tricks to perform at a casual party/gathering of friends (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of mikenewyork
I am wondering what people think about this. I often go to a small party/gathering with friends and am asked to do magic for them. I love the reactions I get and being able to practice so I often end up doing a bunch of different tricks for everyone. Like maybe 6-10 tricks. Is that too much? Sometimes I think we’ll if I do “everything” now I’ll have nothing next to me I see them. But when I get great reactions and they want to see more it always makes me want to do more. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Is it better to just do 2-3 things and keep them wanting more?
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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Profile of funsway
Important thought, and great as you recognize that magic requires engagement and participation of the observers.

But, "when I get great reactions and they want to see more" can be easily misread - an assumption based on immediate reaction
rather than appreciation of magic. Do they like the diversion from boredom or the challenge of the impossible?

Also, doing a lot of effects in succession can lead to overload and even fear or rejection.
Ideally, you build towards a long-term memory of "must be magic" - but that may be what this particular audience wants.
Many today prefer 'magical" and even puzzles -- and their attention is easily diverted.

I similar situations years ago I would no more than three effects, then take a break. Later I might do more for a smaller group if prompted and "get to the good stuff."

But, today I am not sure with the concepts of "friends" and "gathering" both in doubt.
Allow your intuition be the guide, but be wary of hubris. A good routine can also be superior to "a bunch of tricks."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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The Beautiful State Of Maine
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Profile of Dougini
Welcome to the Café Mike! Very good question! I wish more people thought like you do! To tell you the truth each situation is different! After being a magician for almost 50 years, I find less is more.

I hold off on doing magic until I have something that will blow everyone away! For example the Balducci levitation. I've only done that once in 10 years. It was at a restaurant and it blew everyone away! Waitresses, other customers. The time was right and I had the corner! Perfect angles!

Another time I was at a bar. Set up to do a certain trick, somebody mentioned Magic! I did only one. Prohibition, by Charlie Justice. I did something I normally don't do. I repeated the trick! And you know it really worked! I did it a second time and immediately left. That was another time that timing was perfect!

Firmly under the belief that less is more, if you do three or four tricks and then leave. Let them beg you! No! Will show you more next time! If you are firm about it, they will salivate next time they see you!

The one thing I did learn early on, too many tricks? They actually get bored! I actually had them disband and walk away right in the middle of another trick I was doing! That is the worst thing that can happen! Well not the worst thing! Pretty bad though! It happens! Last week I was doing the amazing jumping arrow for my friend, and he got up and left to go to the bathroom right in the middle of it! He really wasn't interested! That's my fault! I wasn't paying attention! I should have read him up front and not done the trick at all! But I'm stupid like that sometimes!

My advice would be three or four tricks, and end it while they still want you to do more. You can't lose that way!

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Profile of mikenewyork
Thank you guys! All of my friends know that I’ve been studying magic a lot over the past two years so now it’s like anywhere I show up everybody says “Magic Mike let’s go do some magic”. I love to do it because I think I’m getting pretty good, I love the reactions, and it’s great practice. However, last night I did about 10 different tricks and afterwards I thought *** now next time I see them I’m gonna need to do 10 more? I can’t keep up a pace like that haha. I think that advice is very good. Less is more even if you’re tempted to do more
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Profile of charlie_d
Strongly agree with Doug. Less is more, for sure. You want to avoid being the "guitar guy" at the party, you know, the guy who casually strums and sings some agonizing version of an already mediocre "counting crows" song, but who everyone is too polite to kick out on the street. The guy who demands everyone's attention, even those who are actually talking to someone else at the time, basically pleading "look at me! look at me! like me, like me!". Don't be that guy. Smile

Make them ask you, and then bring your a-grade miracles. But stop after, say, three things, because you're not "guitar folk guy". Then ask your audience about their thing. And, if it's guitar folk, run.
Dave Scribner
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Profile of Dave Scribner
Mike, you said you often go to small gatherings and parties and are asked to do magic for them. Are they asking you before you go or is it just an after thought on their part once you are there. If it happens often and they always expect you to do magic for them, it seems they are taking advantage of you. You are not going to be a performer. If you were, you'd be getting paid for doing a show which is basically what 6-10 effects are.

When I go out, I usually carry a couple of effects and a deck of cards but no more. If requested to do something, I do but don't turn it into a show. I simply do one effect and keep the others in case later in the evening someone else requests to see something.
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So.California / Centl.Florida
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Profile of Russo
I used to get "do a trick"- do a TRICK" - "Do a Trick", well, I then asked for a dollar bill or large coin - did 'a trick' - and put the coin/bill into 'MY' Pocket. When guestioned - My answer was, "this is a living, I thank you,my family thanks you". I remember when a good friend (Max Turhune) told me - he was invited to a party - asked to entertain - he then sent them a bill - When he was asked why? Max explained, When My Wife AND I are asked to a party I'll entertain a little - If ONLY I'm invited - then I charge. RR
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Toronto, Canada
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Profile of MGordonB
Some observations:
I think context is key, if you’re at a party, or with family, friends or coworkers n an informal setting, then short, sweet and visual is the way to go. If its a more formal ‘show” then expectations are higher, and more involved tricks and more of them are expected.

Also, if you’re at a party or gathering and you’re planning on drinking, do your thing before you’ve had too much. There is no greater magic turnoff than watching a tipsy dude fumble his way through a bunch of card tricks.
Mr. Woolery
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Fairbanks, AK
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Profile of Mr. Woolery
Is there a buddy you trust to be honest who is also often at these get-togethers? Ask that person to tell you if it feels odd. Just say “I worry that I’m sort of monopolizing the party with my tricks. I need you to be honest, is that happening?”

I’ve met the guitar guy. I’ve also met the guy with the guitar who makes the event special. Same amount of playing, different connection with the group.

There’s nothing wrong with doing a dozen tricks, but make sure that’s not all you are doing. And make them ask for each one. If you feel too much like the performing monkey, say “I can do more later, but my magic mojo needs to recharge first.”

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Profile of AsadUllah
I guess 2-3 are enough for every party, because you are right if you show them everything you shall have nothing new to show them. It's just that when you are doing tricks try to gather as many spectators as you can, because obviously it will cover more ground and also it prevents bullying like most people do,
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