Friends vs Strangers

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RediSpades, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. I have noticed over time that my performances with friends vs strangers is slowly having a huge line drawn in the middle of it. Granted, I am still learning a lot so I perform more for friends that I do strangers. But the other night I was performing and one of my friends had no qualms with being up front and rude (ie grabbing the cards out of my hands, calling me out without even knowing what the trick was, just all-in-all unwillingness to get with the flow of a trick). But with strangers I can easily deflect and move onto the next trick before anything is asked. Has anyone else had these experiences, or am I just completely crazy on this one?
     
  2. Here's the thing (as I've experienced), friends know you have no 'magical powers'. They've known you for a long time. Suddenly trying to tell them that you can make cards change, or coins vanish and reapppear is a challenge. You're presenting a conflicing image to what they already know you are.

    My suggestion is to find a balance. You need to find a way to present your magic so that it doesn't seem to challenge people you already know. Either that, or (1) admit to existing friends that it's just a trick, or (2) never perform for friends that already know you.

    Personally, I try always to come up with presentations that will work with people that've known me for a long time as well as strangers.
     
  3. I find that performing for friends is relatively easy. They've always seen me play guitar more than anything and other than that I'm really quiet so whenever I started doing magic for them it was entirely different for them. It was like, The quiet kid does some crazy things. I guess how I acted normally affected my situation.
     
  4. Heya, I worked at a Boys and Girls Club of America last year as Junior Staff and there I practiced all the magic on my mind that I practiced and wondered what reactions it would get. I know all of the kids there and they know me so they are closer to me than a stranger would be, that is why I think friends are more comfortable in calling you out and such. A stranger wouldn't know how you would react.

    There definitely is a line between them and that is why when I perform a routine for laymen whilst strolling the Magic Castle I get amazing reactions and when I do the same for my friends I look much less professional.
     
  5. I think you pose an interesting question, and you have an interesting experience.

    From my own experience, a few things come to mind...

    1) I pride myself on my friends. I love them dearly - I would consider myself to have a large number of friends, but my "inner circle(s)" so to speak are few. But the friends I do choose to have in that circle know me well - and I know them well - and I know that none of them would deliberately do something like that just to be a "bad guy" or for the hell of it - they're all extremely good people. So, answer one, it may just be the person (not to criticise or otherwise reflect badly on your friends or anything - that's not my place, but definitely be aware obviously that some people are more polite about these things than others).

    2) I am keen to stress to everyone that I perform for how much it means to me. I'm serious about what I do (although note that this does not mean my performances are always serious!), and it shows. I do what I love - I perform mentalism because I have a genuine, real life, passion for psychological knowledge which would exist if my passion for mentalism did not, and indeed predates me picking up mentalism. This is important because I base my performances on real psychological phenomena, that really interest me, and that I love talking about. I could easily talk for an hour on various psychological phenomena that interest me, just as I could perform them. So, this passion and respect that I give what I do, I'd like to think, shows. It's exciting for me to perform effects and watch reactions - but it's also exciting for me to talk about these things in my patter during what would otherwise be dead time too! Psychology has played a very important part in my life (I know that's a very general statement, but it's changed who I am dramatically), and as such, I respect it. This sort of thing shows. If you perform tricks as tricks, then they will be treated as such - tricks. If you respect your magic, it will show as well. Obviously I don't know you or how you perform, but that's another potential answer.

    3) Another thing mentioned above is how presentation dependent it will be. Obviously, as a mentalist, I could never pass for a psychic. I can't pull off that persona, because everyone knows that I can't read minds, I'm not a medium, I don't talk to the dead, and so forth. But, my friends also do know that I'm a psychology major. Some know of my history with abnormal psychology. They also know that I read widely on these things. So when I present it - it's realistic. I don't claim to have magical powers, or parapsychological powers, which they could call me out on. Rather, I perform realistic but nonetheless astonishing mentalism, that I don't get called out on.

    As a side note, it's a little difficult and different for me too because I progressed from sleight of hand card magic to mentalism - therefore, they already know I can manipulate cards and so forth - so I have to be very careful in differentiating one from the other. I can show sleight of hand magic, and do, but when I do, it's very clearly differentiated.

    Anyway - obviously, if you present sleight of hand as magical powers ("Watch - if I wave my hand, the card comes to the top" - it doesn't take a genius to know that you waving your hand did nothing), then by virtue of elimination, your performance has already degraded into a puzzle ("He has no magical powers. Therefore, he must be using sleight of hand. I KNOW he's using sleight of hand. I wonder how he does that?") Therefore, they will be much more likely to do something like this - and feel more comfortable doing it because they know you. Strangers will not do it as often, because we are more liberal with those we know than those we don't. To get around this, you have to approach magic in a different theoretical and presentational mindset - and there ARE a few ways to do this. Just depends what suits.
     
  6. How to work successfully

    I have been doing magic for half a year now, impressing a fair few with being a thirteen year old doing tricks, some on theory11 and etc.

    The big red line is determined on this:
    How MUCH you perform

    Note: I do lots of tricks, so my answer may differ

    Friends:
    It's nice to be good at magic, but the more you perform, the easier it is for friends to catch you, especially if they start to see the 'moves' (double lifts etc.) necessary for the trick to work. If you always perform a lot in front of your friends, they will catch you all the more easier, that is, unless you're really good and practice a lot. Here are only two of the basics you need, but there are a lot more.
    Rule No. 1
    Practice
    Rule No. 2
    Don't Repeat

    Strangers:
    They don't know what you're about to do. They don't know your moves unless VERY observant or the fact that you might not practice or experiment enough.
    They won't be able to manipulate you psychologically or cause as much trouble as your friends do.

    Those are my tips as a beginner, enjoy :D
     
  7. I believe your case is isolated. At least I think it is.

    Truthfully, I don't perform for strangers very often. Nonetheless, I pride in performing in school, specifically for my classmates. There are, no doubt, certain people who will go all out to expose your trick, call out on you, or just plain discourage you all the way... However, my classmates do not fall into this category. Even when I flash, or screw up totally, they take me extremely patiently, and just laugh it off. Just like how entertainment is meant to be. On top of it, my friends give me so much valuable advice and encouragement, I can't even thank them enough. Their words have allowed me to gain so much more confidence as compared to when I first started off, as well as drilled me into a better magician by informing me about my angles etc. Overall, I love performing to my friends, simply because they enjoy what I do, just like how I enjoy doing it for them.

    Zooming into your case, I feel that these hecklers are just out to humiliate you. My suggestion to deal with these people would be to finish up the trick, and get going. Find another spectator, someone who is willing to watch magic and enjoy watching it. Nonetheless, strangers won't do so much of exposing you etc. because they don't actually know you. They think twice before humiliating a street magician, unlike people who are closer to you, who believe that it is just pure fun and entertainment when they try to expose you etc.
     
  8. I know how you feel - it sounds like you have great friends. :)
     
  9. I can't entirely agree with you on this one. This "heckler" is a close friend of mine, and she was the only one present at the time. Throw in the fact that it was one o' clock in the morning and you have a recipe for disaster. I feel she just didn't get into the mood of the act, and she was just feeling silly at the time (which all friends do at one point or another). She wasn't trying to humiliate me, just trying to poke fun. It happens at times =P
     
  10. @ Prae: Yea, I really appreciate them!

    @ Redi: I guess this is really a tough situation to be in. Since she's a close friend, why not try talking to her on it? I think this will sort out matters really quickly.
     

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