“Street Magic: Here’s The Deal…”

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Zac Eckstein, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. #1 Zac Eckstein, Jul 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2011
    “Street Magic: Here’s The Deal…”

    This chapter is for beginners mainly but I have thrown a few things to help you regular street performers out there…

    Got a case of the shakes? Are you nervous when you perform? Maybe you have the shakes and you aren’t nervous, or vice versa. There really aren’t any fix quick solutions out there for this but I got some tips for you. To be honest I get kind of shaky every now and then still and I’ve been doing this for years. The only sure fire way to stop the nervousness and shakes is to keep performing and getting more experience. The real reason is because you just aren’t use to the situation yet. It’s like jumping into a bunch of cold water. You get really shaky at first and then you start to mellow out in a couple of minuets or so. Your body just had to get use to it, right? Right. For a more immediate result, right when you see the people you want to perform for, simply take a big deep breath in and let it out slowly. It slows down your pulse. Therefore by definition you are calmer. I know what you’re thinking, “Zac, you’re an idiot. That doesn’t work ever!” Yes it does. Shut up. The key is the slow exhale. There is one more thing. Going back to having a character, here is a great use for it. I am Zac Eckstein, but my character is Z-MAGIC. Once you have worked on your character for friends and family, it will seem as if you are 2 people. No, this isn’t psychotic. It would be though if you couldn’t control it though. When I go perform I think about my character, Z-MAGIC. Eventually I am Z-MAGIC as opposed to Zac Eckstein. Z-MAGIC isn’t exactly real because I control the character. Therefore I control if he gets nervous or not. Think about it. Turn into somebody else for a while and leave your nervous self alone!

    If you have just started to perform street magic or are about to, when you ask people if they want to see some magic, THEY SAY NO! I remember the first few times, I kept getting rejected from person after person, and I thought I wasn’t cut out to do magic. But I kept trying and eventually got everyone saying yes and asking for more!

    Trust me, David Blaine and Criss Angel have gotten rejected so many times when they first started out, they even showed clip after clip of them getting rejected time after time in their first show. But then they got a reputation and now they never get rejected. I can, once again, increase you chances for getting a yes out of everyone you ask.

    Here is some things you don’t say. “Hey, check this out.” “Hey, you want to see something cool” or “Watch this.”

    Here is what you say instead and I’ll tell you why after. “Hello, I am ________, I’m a magician, like David Blaine and Criss Angel. I was wondering if you would like to see a piece of magic?” Okay, here is the breakdown. “Hello”, greeting the somewhat formally is good, as opposed to “Hey”. “I am _______, I’m a magician” Now you just stated your name and what you are. You need to do that so they don’t think you’re homeless or trying to sell them something. “like David Blaine and Criss Angel” There is a pretty safe bet that they know at least one of those two names and they are now associating you with what they do, and they seem like nice guys. They also like what they see on T.V. so that idea sets you up for the next line. “I was wondering if you would like to see a piece of magic?” Here, we give them a choice to say yes or no. People love choices. Don’t say trick because it sends a negative vibe to them like you are a con artist. So just say piece of magic, and they know you are going to show them magic like they saw on T.V. the other day. Now you have a 99% chance of them saying yes every time.
     
  2. I Pm this to a user quite some time ago, and posted it several times in some relevant threads.

    For the sake of the topic I'll post them again :).

    Feel free to debate or comment any point:

     
  3. I agree with everything 100%. That almost never happens lol
     
  4. Definitely some worthwhile pieces of advice in there.

    One thing I'd like to add is attire; if you want total strangers to come up to you and let you "show them something", I would suggest you look presentable. That is, in consistency with your character. An enigmatic psychologist who performs nothing but feats of the mind and things such as mindreading most likely wouldn't have a baggy t-shirt on while sagging his pants. Darkwash jeans, a comfortable t-shirt, and maybe a light sport coat would help convey the character to the spectators. So however you want to come across, make sure you dress the part as well.

    Also, being comfortable is a huge thing. Personally I have enough to keep track of and control during a performance... I don't need my clothing to hinder me in anyway.
     
  5. Great addition! That is important.
     
  6. Thats a good idea.. im always such a nervous wreck ;x
     
  7. Glad you found it useful!
     
  8. Great advice! Thanks Zac!
     
  9. No problem bud! Glad you liked it :D
     
  10. Well written Zac, and I can agree with most of the post, except for one small bit: I don't agree with mentioning either Criss Angel or David Blaine. You're right - they associate you with either of those guys, and I don't think this is a good thing.

    Magicians in general have a pretty severe problem of lacking personality and individuality. It's like when you get asked "Can you do that trick where...?" Many people ask what to do when you're asked. The typical answer is to divert them in some way to another trick that you CAN do, or else meet their challenge if you are able.

    However, such an answer ignores the implicit assumption on the part of the spectator when they ask that question. "Can you do that trick where..." in actual fact means, "Can you do that trick someone else did?" Which in turn implies "You remind me of someone else. Therefore, the two of you are the same. You should be able to do the same things."

    There's a lot to be said for individuality. Suffice to say I think that, especially as a professional magician, but regardless, you need to be remembered for your own material. Once you get compared to someone else, you cease to become unique, and by association, your magic ceases to become unique. When this happens, you invariably become "The magician", or worse, "The David Blaine guy". Magic is powerful because it is a personal experience. People know that magic doesn't exist. Why then, is it powerful? Because logically, people do not believe, but emotionally, people want to believe. This is a personal reaction, and being individual, and personal, helps to create this kind of ideal reaction.

    I don't think it's a good idea to compare yourself, or to be compared to, another magician, because you get judged by someone else's standards. You lose individuality. Your magic loses an element of being intimate and personal. Because personas and personalities are typically some of the weakest areas of performance to begin with. And it practically begs them to talk about that other time with that other magician. Or the last Mindfreak episode. Or the last David Blaine special. Instead of what has just happened. And finally, because magicians are stereotyped enough as it is. In order to leave the audience with the optimum image pressed into their minds, I feel that individuality is key to projecting a strong image to begin with.

    Anyway, excuse the long post, which might imply that I disagree with you Zac more than I do. Truth is, I like how you wrote the post. Just that small thing. But I agree with most of it, so I apologise that the greater body of this post is disagreeing with one point of yours - and of course, as always, these are just my thoughts and feelings, feel free to disagree, publicly or privately. :)
     
  11. I most definitely agree with Prae here...

    Reading that part of the essay made me uneasy and really doubtful. Why would I not compare myself to other magicians....Here's why:

    1. What if other's don't like Blaine or Angel. That's a major turnoff to them and they wont want to see any magic.

    2. If they love Blaine or Angel, they will want you to do the magic they see on TV. If they ask you to do something that you don't know or don't have on you, it won't meet their expectations and they will be disappointed.

    Both of these are NOT what you want, is it?

    Most definitely not, at least I hope you think the same way I do here. Lee Asher said a quote that I mostly go by when I perform.

    "If somebody hasn't told you that you are the greatest magician that they've ever seen, you failed."

    I try my best to give that end result, and most of the time I get that result. But also, if you say you are like Blaine or Angel, you've eliminated your own personal character. You are no longer unique. You could try and bring yourself to a higher standard, but all they will think at this point is that you are like THEM. You want to act like YOU.

    Hopefully what I've said here has helped.

    -Casey
     
  12. I totally see y'alls point. I think we are over thinking the room here though. If they don't like David Blaine or Criss Angel, they probably don't like magic. I am probably 80% right on that. Therefore they probably won't like what you are going to do and won't want to see it. That question gives you a gauge, whether to go on or leave. I understand where you guys are coming from with the whole being unique and not over shadowed by some celebrity, but my use for this is to get people to say yes. In my years of doing street magic I haven't been asked "Oh, can you do the on with the hat?". I might just be lucky. All I can say for sure is that I get a yes 99% of the time, they enjoy themselves, I have fun, and we go on about our lives. The thing that Lee said about being the best they ever saw, I kinda tossed that out the window. I am willing to bet I am the best street magician they ever saw in person, but with people like Angel and Copperfield doing grand illusions and things, I just disregarded his statement. It's a good goal, but come on. Maybe that's just me. Maybe I am better off listing to that. I say though that I have had fun, so have my audiences, never had any problems, if it ain't broke - don't fix it. I am sure what you said is right for you all and others, but for me, I am doing alright. I by no means say you are wrong though. I just don't follow that particular idea.
     

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