Messing Up Big Time

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Lord Magic, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. I have messed up sometimes and recovered. But those few times when I did mess up BIG TIME, I really had no way to recover except smiling (like a buffoon, must I add) and accepting my mistake and then complimenting the spectator or something. And then, of course, moving on.

    What I wanted to ask here was, what did YOU guys (who are really so much better in sleights and performing than me) do if you EVER messed up so badly that you couldn't ignore it or pretend to steer the trick in a different direction?

    I really want to hear about such times and reinstall my faith in:-
    1) The fact that the best of magicians make some big mistakes (and can also deal with it without becoming egoistic).
    2) The fact that I am not the most unlucky human out there.
  2. I was at a lecture with Darwin Ortiz. About halfway through an effect, he stopped, spread the deck face-up and then said, "I don't think this is going to work this time. Maybe, I'll come back to it a little later in the show."

    I've had props fail, methods fail, spectators do the unexpected, etc. There are three categories. The first is the times you can recover and nobody will notice. The second is where you have to alter your performance and recover. I've had a force fail and had to say, "you know what, I want everyone to be sure that you could have picked any card... let's put that one back and pick a completely different card. Then there are those fails where you have to claim partial success, do what Darwin did or just say, "usually this turns out differently, but something went wrong. Let me show you something that I'm sure will be amazing." Performing the same material repeatedly gets you in the first two categories.
  3. This happens to everyone. Here is a conversation David Copperfield had with Oprah.

    RealityOne likes this.
  4. I remember when I was doing my suggestion routine that a guy's leg would stick to the ground and the guy lifted his leg without any problems.I said "you can lift your leg, in fact lift it again.Now I want you to focus on your leg..." and then the second time he couldn't lift his leg.What I did was something we call utilization in hypnosis.whatever happens you acknowledge it and go on from there.You never signal failure.You may change what you are doing but you never act without in control.
  5. Sometimes I feel like I screw up more than I succeed haha
    There have been times when something goes wrong or I flash and my brain is going NUTS because I feel like everyone saw what I saw but usually that isn't the case and those times I have kept going even though in my head I think I should just stop and that's when you realize that a lot of people don't actually know what to look for. Part of that is in how you present it.
    I have however had things go so wrong where I have had to stop and say, "Oh crap, I messed up." Going straight into something else usually deflects from the mistake though!
    I have noticed those annoying shakes return the second I mess up though!
  6. Yes, if you perform long enough you are going to make a mistake, error, an issue with a spectator or have a prop fail at some point. It just happens and there isn't much you can do at times.

    I've had a time when my force card wasn't the right one, but I didn't realize that they weren't holding the force card. I had this big building up with them wearing a cowboy hat, and western music playing, and when the spectator went to shoot the "forced" card out of my deck with a cap gun...when the big reveal came...the crowd went silent.... talk about sweating bullets and feeling awkward. There was no way out of it because the card I was holding with the big hole through the middle wasn't the one I had forced. :(

    You better believe when I went home that day I pencil dotted my force card in both corners so that it would NEVER happen again. 10 years later and it hasn't.
  7. It really depends on what the routine is.

    A lot of my work is suggestion based, so if the suggestion fails, I can either take another approach to the same suggestion, or take a different route and eventually work it back to the desired solution (systems - not tricks)

    If it's a more mechanical routine, and there's a -possibility- I might fail, I plan for that and if it happens I already know where I'm going to go. When I first tested out The Solution I knew what I would go directly in to if I botched the method, for example - the intended result of that routine is the volunteer is standing there with with a solved cube. If I put that cube in their hand and it's not solved, I wait a beat and said, "Of course it isn't solved. That's impossible, just like you said it would be. But now you're warmed up and following my directions perfectly, we're ready to do this for real ..." and I'd go into my backup plan. In the quoted conversation above, Copperfield mentions "plan B and plan C" - his crew rehearses possible screw ups regularly. They know what to do if something starts to go off the rails, because they prepare for that.

    My persona is also built around the show being kind of real. So if I screw up, or if a routine doesn't quite go right, I can chalk it up to, "Well, if it was a trick it'd work every time." (Which is a line I came up with when a trick didn't work right several years ago, and I kept because it got a good reaction)

    I'll tell you what I don't do, though - I never make it seem like the volunteer is at fault. I always take the blame for the screw up. This maintains the trust the audience has in me, because they understand that even if it goes wrong, I won't make them look foolish for it. It also is a bit endearing - it shows a certain degree of humanity and makes them feel like they can relate to me.

    I also never end the show on something that can fail. My finale is always something that I absolutely, 100% know will have a successful conclusion. Even if I have an Amazing Johnathan style train wreck of a show, the last routine -will- succeed (Listen to his interview with The Magic News Wire where he describes his high school talent show - good lord, train wreck.) (In fact, these interviews are great and I recommend them to everyone - here's the one with Amazing Johnathan -
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  8. This has been something I have been working on lately and maybe some of the best//simplest advice I have received from this forum.

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