Dealing with awkward people

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by philmb, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. Hellooooooo everybody =)

    So I've only been doing Card Tricks now for about a week. I have a LOT of hobbies and interests, some stick, some don't. The latest is card magic.

    My friends are getting married in December and i'm probably going to take a long a deck of cards. Just for a bit of fun.

    One thing i'm finding very interesting is different peoples reactions. Some people go along with it and are entertained which is great! while other people look at it like its some kind of competition and have more of a "F you, your not tricking me" kind of attitude and are super awkward.

    Any general tips on dealing with these kinds of people? I'm thinking of just not wasting my time and when i get some one like this, just stopping the trick and telling them to get lost the miserable a holes.

    OR telling people something like negativity influences the magic and the tricks wont work with those kinds of attitudes around.

    Or is it just a case of after time you get better at controlling the cards so if some ones card is on the bottom of the deck for example and i have the person on the knees looking under the bottom of the deck ( had a guy at work doing this morning) i can control the card into other positions, then to the bottom of the pack after?

    Any tips would be awsome.
    Thanks =)
    Mark likes this.
  2. If someone is doing that, I like to do a round of three card monte with them (which I happen to just have a knack for.) and trick them that way.

    Basically, what I'm saying is, if it looks like they are taking it as a challenge, challenge them. If it looks like they are just going along for the ride, take them on a ride.
  3. Part of the problem is that magic often is portraited as a game -- magician tries to trick spectator and spectator tries to figure out how magician does it. I've sat by people in magic shows who guess how things are done -- most of the time they are waaaay off. Part of the problem is that most card tricks are presented as "look at what I can do" with a "and you don't know the secret" kicker. Challenge magic is never entertaining because someone always loses -- the spectator is made to feel like a fool or the magician is made to feel like a tool.

    The solution is to try to be entertaining. Have fun. Also, learn some self working card tricks - check out a book called Scarne on Card Tricks or, if you have some money to spend, check out Card College Light.
  4. Another great way to prevent hecklers is by having a "lets go on this journey together" type of mentality rather than a them vs. me type one. For example: Lets say you are doing a cup and ball routine. Rather than saying "is the ball in my pocket or under the cup?" you can take that same routine and say something like "I didn't think it was under the cup, but then he snapped his fingers and there it was!" so like you are walking them through an experience rather than showing off.
    Damangomagic, Martin Eret and Mark like this.
  5. Learn more social skills. I say this not in a negative way - social skills are far more important to a magician than any sleight, and many people don't learn as much of them as they could.

    Very few people who call out methods are hecklers. In fact, in the years I've been performing, in many places on both sides of the country, I don't think I have ever encountered a real heckler in my performances.

    My personal philosophy on the subject is that it's quite simple: If someone is dead set on figuring out my method, I have failed to engage them. So I simply put more effort into engaging them. If the crowd is on your side, they don't actually want to know how you did your tricks - they are happier for you to succeed and everyone to have a great time.

    So if you find yourself being challenged on a regular basis, look at what it is in your performance that is giving them the idea that the goal of the interaction is figure out your method. Stop tricking them, and start entertaining them.

    As an example I used to do the "is the ball under the cup or in my pocket?" line with a chop cup. I actually did it 4 or 5 times in a row, pretty quickly. But I started the whole routine off saying I was going to show them a kind of game, and that we could play it, but I'll be cheating so they can't win, so there's no point in playing for real. Then when I'm asking them where the ball is, I answer before anyone else could. "If you said it was under the cup, you'd be wrong, see? Of course if you said it was in my pocket you'd be wrong then, too." etc. People enjoyed that routine because they understood that I was showing them something, and it wasn't an actual game of trying to figure it out.
    Martin Eret likes this.
  6. In the words of Jim Jefferies: "You can't fight hate with hate, it will only cause more hate. The only thing that can beat hate is love. Now love doesn't always beat hate but it does do something. They may not love you right away but something will eventually happen. Everyone will see this person as the a**hole."

    Remember this quote while performing magic. If you are entertaining, having a good time and you're fun, people will like you and want to take your side. If you act above everybody then no one will side with you and will want to bust you even more. So just have fun with your magic and try to ignore the jerks.

    When I'm performing magic to a group of people, odds are one person starts calling me out even if they're 100% wrong. The best thing that actually happens a lot is that that person gets ostracized by the group. I started performing with a crowd and one kid starting going "That's easy! He just..." and before he even finished the sentence he got YELLED at. I'm not exaggerating. They yelled at him for "ruining the magic" and was thrown to the back of the crowd.
    Mark and Syd The Magician like this.
  7. I deal with those type of people all the time. That is why I carry three decks of cards two regular decks and one gaff deck, preferably a marked deck. When I am performing for a heckler, I change my focus to him. They will always blabber out that did this while I misdirect or they will call me out.

    While he does this I switch to my marked deck of cards and perform a mentalism effect. I let him shuffle, choose a card or cards and I correctly name them all. The best part about it is that before I switch the decks I let the audience inspect my cards before hand. So when I bring out the marked deck they don't expect it. After I perform the effect, majority of the time the heckler won't say a word because he did all the work.

    Basically my advice for you is to have one effect that you basically do nothing. Let the heckler or an audience member do the work for you because it gives the sense that you don't have control and everything is fair.

    If you want to know the marked deck system I use here's the link:
  8. If you have people trying to guess your methods at every performance you do - you are not engaging the audience and you need to examine how you are performing. Most likely, you are challenging the audience to figure out how you did the tricks rather than drawing them into a moment of magical entertainment.

    Think about it - If you regularly have people trying to guess your methods, then something in your performance is telling the audience that the purpose of this event is for you to fool them, and for them to try not to be fooled. They are getting more enjoyment out of guessing your methods than enjoying your performance - is that what you want?
    RealityOne likes this.
  9. Yes, I get your point but I perform at school. I already analyses my crowed while I perform and I let that guide my performance. But the people that heckle me are the ones that try to be a jerk and take my deck in the middle of the effect.
  10. I assume you mean high school? Personally, I think performing at school is a bad idea. The main reason being that when you're in high school, you are constantly working to establish yourself in the social order. This means that people are inclined to heckle a magician because this gives them social value. They are proving themselves more valuable than the magician because they know how he does his tricks. The fact that someone is performing magic tricks seems like a challenge on an unconscious level - it's displaying a social value that other people don't have and can't really compete with, unless they can prove that the magician's tricks are just silly little things which can be explained easily.

    In other words - if you perform at school you better have really amazing performance skills, because you are inviting people to heckle you.

    The problem that this can create is that you end up developing a performance style structured around the idea that you will be heckled and that people will try to bust you constantly. Then you leave that environment and realize that all of your material needs to be re-written because now you're not performing for people who resent the social status you are presenting.

    This is the kind of thing that makes people only perform material that is 100% bullet proof, angle proof, etc. which makes them miss out on SO MUCH amazing magic out there. They're too afraid of being called out because they developed their skills in a highly specialized environment.

    You would not believe the kinds of methods I get away with, because I have never performed magic in that kind of environment.
  11. What if it's a high school that specializes in performing arts?
  12. If you're not doing a specific performance for the school I'd think that makes it even harder. Performers and artists are often in possession of a rather large, and fragile ego.

    I've worked with artists and performers for a long time. When you get a lot of performers and artists in the same area, the phrase "herding cats" comes to mind.
  13. Isn't everyone on these forums both, a performer and artist?
  14. Well they perform magic, or cardistry. Magic is officially an art, and cardistry should also be considered an art.

    Therefore, we are all performers and artists. Is this not correct?
  15. I have seen posts from Laymen. Also, some people are looking at performing but aren't performers yet.
  16. Those type of people can be a little hard to handle sometimes, I usually do a few tricks and if they are still not impressed I just kind of end it and tell them to have a nice day. If you see this one awkward person a lot maybe try learning bigger and better tricks I find Sealed With A Kiss to be a good trick to impress people.
  17. Maybe a better thing to say would be most people on here are performers and artists.
  18. What we have here is a fundamental difference of definition.

    I do not consider magic to be an art in and of itself. It is a skill which can be used to create art. Much like painting - which can result in The Mona Lisa, or a pale yellow wall in the office. One is art, one is utility.

    Most magic I see performed is just stunts the performer is doing to show off. It's not self-expression, it has no deeper purpose or meaning. "Look, I wave my hand over this deck and your card is on top!" That's not art.

    So while many people on these forums are performers, that does not automatically make them artists.
  19. I see what you're saying.

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