Need some ideas

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by RalphB2, Feb 27, 2020.

  1. So I’m a intermediate magician and have an uncle that is a major heckler. He does not listen to instructions and will touch everything. Even if you put the card fair in the middle he will want to see it to make sure it is his card and not switched. So what I’m asking is are there any books that have really good hard hitting self working tricks or easy slight of hand tricks. I would like to learn some so I can do hands off trick that are hard hitting. Thanks.
  2. Ideas:

    1. Ask your uncle privately to not try to ruin your performances. Explain to him that it isn't a game where he is supposed to try to figure things out. Explain that by doing what he is doing, it makes you not want to perform.

    2. If that doesn't work, don't perform for your uncle or if he is around. If anyone asks, just explain that it isn't fun for you to perform when your uncle tries to ruin it for everyone.

    3. Change your performing style. Most of these problems result from performing "tricks" with nothing more than a presentation that narrates what you are doing with the props. If you are only talking about what you are doing, the audience is going to focus on how you are doing it. Also, evaluate your style to see if you are inadvertently presenting magic as a contest where you try to fool the audience (i.e. make a fool out of them) and they react by trying to "catch" you.

    4. Develop audience management skills. As a magician, you are responsible for having total control over your environment.

    ~If a spectator asks to handle the cards, the answer is no. The the spectator asks to shuffle, the answer is no. If the answer is to see the card that is inserted, the top card, the bottom card, the card on the table, the card in your pocket, etc. the answer is no. EVEN IF THERE IS NOTHING TO SEE!!! If you let them control your performance when it doesn't matter, you lose control when it does matter.

    ~If you give the spectator an instruction, tell them what to do by saying "when I tell you to, I want you to help my by [insert instruction]." Then ask them "do you understand what you are going to do?" or "will you do that?" Then say, "OK, I want you to [insert instruction] now." They hear the instruction, consent to it, and then hear it repeated.

    ~Control where you put props. They should be within your sphere of control, so that you can grab them before the spectator can get to them.

    ~Don't pick people who look like they may be trouble to help you. Pick someone else. If the potential troublemaker tries to interfere, just say, "I'm doing this with [insert name of other person], I'll do one with you later." You decide when later is (next effect, next day, next month, next year, etc.).

    5. Perform effects where the spectator is the hero. If they think you are going to make them look good, they won't screw it up. Remember, their goal is to be the center of attention. Now, this needs to be done after #1 through #4, especially #4. It won't work if you are not in control of your environment.

    6. Focus on openness, design and presentation. By openness, I mean the motions you make with your hands need to be relaxed and have an open feel to them (one of the ideas of the Madrid School that you will find in Giobbi's Card College). Also, make sure your attention is not on your hands. Many people who have learned from YouTube learn slights that have a closed feel to them (quick motions, smaller motions, lots of tension, etc.) and focus on their hands (because every YouTube video focuses on the hands, it is only natural to look at your hands because that is how you learned it). Also, get over magician's guilt. Many "intermediate" magicians get stressed when they are "dirty" and it draws attention to that moment. Enjoy being "dirty" and make sure you don't act differently if you are pushing their card or a card you swapped out into the deck. By design, make sure the design is fair. Build in opportunities for the spectators to observe the fairness (e.g. showing the deck as shuffled, letting them shuffle before the effect if it doesn't matter, having them push the card into the deck if it doesn't matter, etc.). You are showing them fairness on your terms so they don't demand to be shown the fairness on their terms. For presentation, make it more that say-do-see patter. If you engage their brain with the presentation, they will focus less on the how.

    7. There is a reason this one is last, because it just escalates the issue by trying to come up with things that your uncle can't figure out so that you win (i.e. he is the fool because he can't figure it out) unless you do #1 through #4, especially #4. Get Scarne on Card Tricks. It is all self-working and they are great effects.
  3. May the Force be with you.

  4. Thank you for all the tips I really do appreciate it!
  5. I would recommend
    Magic With Cards: 113 Easy-to-Perform Miracles With an Ordinary Deck of Cards (by Frank Garcia and George Schindler)

    Scarne on Card Tricks

    Both books are filled with excellent self-working card tricks or only easy sleight of hand. Also they contain nice, creative ideas for entertaining presentation. With this wonderful easy to perform material, you can relax, not worry, and work on your presentation, which IMHO is the most important thing anyway when performing for people. You could get both books used in good to very good condition for a total of under $20 including shipping. That will give you well over 200 tricks to choose from, and you can pick the ones that suit you best. There are a lot of tricks that don't have the typical "pick a card" plot. But a really great one in the Scarne book is "The Upside Down Deck." The spectator can replace their card back anywhere they want, and it won't ever trip you up. Easy to do, and the revelation at the end is truly magical. Enjoy!
    RalphB2 and The Top Change Man like this.
  6. This is a Chris Ramsay recommendation for dealing with Hecklers:

    Get a blank playing card and write on it something like “shut up and let me do my act”. Stick that card in an “impossible location”, whether it be someone’s shirt pocket, maybe his pocket, inside a box.

    Then, once he starts heckling, do a pick a card trick, really make it seem impossible. Then basically say, wouldn’t it be crazy if the card were in the <impossible location>, and have him go get the card (if it’s in one of his pockets, this can be great). He finds the card. It tells him to shut up. I have found this works to shut the heckler up.
  7. Worst recommendation ever. To deal with hecklers, you want to get the audience on your side. Doing this makes you look like a jerk. Not the best way to make friends in the audience. But then again, it probably is easier than trying to make your magic more entertaining and less of a challenge so people don't feel compelled to heckle you.
  8. Which, as is imperative to add, works for him.

    It is one of those very very individual-specific methods. OP is much better off not doing this, unless they find their persona very much like Chris'.

    Chris seems like a really nice guy, I doubt if he really uses this method except when it's really his close friends heckling and even that 'Shut Up' message is guaranteed to induce laughs and increase the bromance in a cheeky way or something.
    KyleA9 likes this.
  9. Okay so I like the tips you guys are giving but I have 2 more questions that I would like to ask.
    1. So I just preformed some magic for my dad and when I was done he said how he always try’s to mess me up in some way. I asked him if it’s the way I’m doing the trick. I asked if it was because of the winning and losing mind set. He said No he does not feel like if I fool him he loses and if he makes me mess up he wins. He said he just does this just because he wants to see if he can mess me up. It’s usually not that big of a deal as if I’m doing a trick we’re the cards are under the table he will not mess with them and listen to instructions. But if I am dealing card in a pile he will wait longer thinking it will mess me up. And if I ask him for a number 1-10 he will give a low or high number thinking that it will mess me up. What are your thoughts on this and is it him or me.

    2. This next one is the fact that no matter how good my audience management skills are my uncle will still do what he feels like doing. I preform tricks with a great patter that fit the trick, give clear instructions and try to make the trick easy to follow for the audience. I make them do little work, I make it easy to follow, I do not present the idea of winning and losing. I think it’s all there but when I preform for my uncle and say “ take the cards under the table do not shuffle them, just keep them how they are” he will end up shuffling and the trick can’t be done and I fail or I have to go into another trick because of it. I try to an out for everything and every situation but I just don’t know what to do. If I say cut the cards he will shuffle. My idea is to maybe just not preform for him. What are your thoughts?
  10. Well, I think that such a strategy could work, but I’d use some “kinder” words (this is not an ad :p).
  11. Yes, probably a good strategy is not perform to him for a while, he’ll probably understand himself you got sick of that behaviour and be less annoying.
  12. What he seems to be doing is testing the strength of your method... poking to see if there are holes. He probably thinks that it is giving you good practice. It actually is, in that you make your instructions more clear and thereby have better control over the audience.

    When you give instructions, give positive instructions. Never say "don't" do something. If you tell someone not to do something, they really want to do it.

    Having cards under a table make it easier to mess with. Can you have him put them behind his back?

    What is the justification for having the cards cut? If there isn't a justification other than mixing the order of the cards, selecting a cut over a shuffle "plays your hand" as to the method.

    Also, saying cut the cards is vague. I always will tell a spectator to "pick up about half the cards between your thumb and index finger", (once they have done that) "now put them down right there", and (once they have done that) "pick up the remaining cards and put them on top." See how much more difficult it is to decide to shuffle the cards when you say it that way? Also, have the spectator hold out their hand flat and place the cards on their hand "so everyone can see what we are doing." You can't shuffle the cards if one of your hands is holding them that way.

    The other option here is to just perform effects where you eliminate any opportunity for someone to mess you up. Most classic forces have the spectator taking the card out of the deck. It doesn't diminish the force if they point to the card and you take it out of the deck. Similarly, hold the deck when they reinsert a card rather than handing the deck to them.

    Review what I said above about how to give instructions and get consent before you hand them the props.

    Also, practice having him follow instructions when it doesn't matter. Give him half the deck to shuffle while you shuffle (or false shuffle or control shuffle) the other half of the deck and have him shuffle in the exact same way you do. Give some silly instructions and insist that the effect won't work unless he does that. Have him hold the deck with one hand over his head or have him hold it behind his back and stand on one foot. These strategies establish a different pattern of interaction. Using the all the strategies listed would reduce the likelihood of him wanting to interfere but also making it difficult for him to interfere.
  13. Definitely agree with what RealityOne is saying here, but also want to add a bit of my own experience with this sort of heckler.

    You might hear the saying that no matter what you do, you can't change someone. That could probably be the case with your uncle. You could do everything right, be as polite as possible, but he won't change his ways. It's incredibly frustrating, but I've had to deal with this in my own life when I first started out. We have a family friend of my dad's who has a very controlling personality, he always has to be in control of a situation and it's his way or the highway. Every time I would try to perform with him around he would try to mess me up, much like your uncle is doing to you. I got incredibly frustrated with having to deal with him being obnoxious and ruining a performance, I had to make the decision of just not performing for him or around him again.

    Even to this day, I don't perform around him, for him, or have any of my family members describe a specific trick I did to him. He made his choice to continually be disruptive even after being asked not to, so the consequence of that is no magic performances for him again. You have the choice as the performer to decide who you perform magic to and when you perform. I'd much rather focus my energy on performing magic for people who want to see it and be happy doing it than trying over and over to win over the heckler getting the same results and be miserable.

    Your uncle is just one person out of the thousands you'll be performing for as time goes on. Don't waste your time and energy on him from a magic standpoint, just keep performing for new people. You'll get more of a variety of audience feedback because you'll be performing for people with entirely different personalities that will respond differently each time.
  14. When performing anywhere I have certain effects that are "foolproof" and will help reveal hecklers. It can be any trick you feel comfortable with that if someone tries to ruin will still work, insert whatever this trick is for you personally. Once you have identified these individuals it is simply a matter of audience management. I perform first for myself because I enjoy the art of magic, but that enjoyment mainly comes from giving other people the wonderment of what I can do. Most people in the real world are simply there to be entertained. For the people who take it to far and the entertainment is not enough I simply ignore them. And by ignore I do not mean not allowing them to watch the show, I simply mean they have no chance of having any participation beyond watching. I will not allow them to pick a card, touch any props, sign anything etc. If they yell out I simply ignore them, silence is a powerful tool and they will quickly become annoying to the audience trying to enjoy the show and 9 out of 10 times will realize based on the audience's energy they are being horrible. If its a small table filled with these people I do my "foolproof" trick thank them for their time and move on. If the audience is not interested in simply being entertained then why ruin what you have worked so hard for? They are essentially saying they are not interested in Magic only the secret, this is not fun for anybody. When it is your family it is harder and I understand this as I have family that is the same way. I simply changed my mindset and do not perform for them at all. Find other family members or friends that you trust will simply watch a trick for its entertainment value and give constructive criticism as a way to practice and gain confidence in an effect your learning. For actual performances find other venues to perform for strangers. In a bar, restaurant, on the street etc. This will build your confidence and help you with the most important piece to your magic, audience management.
  15. Lol this is so funny. If he wants to see his card in the middle, best idea I’ve got is to control card second from top and cull it into the center, as he wants to see it, then cull it back up

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