Negative Feedback From People

RealityOne

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@Maaz Hasan I suspect your experience may be different. I work a lot with high school kids through scouting and I get the sense that there still are groups and cliques and a fair share of people who act like jerks. However, even within a group of friends, there typically is some level of competition for standing within the group. The various theories of how groups interact recognizes that this sort of competition arises soon after the formation of any group. After a group has been functioning for a while, people assume specific roles within the group and there is a level of trust. At that point, the competition is more friendly and good natured.

Any tips on how to present card tricks without seeming like you're showing off?
I think that when I perform tricks I may be coming off a bit like I'm trying to be a show off.

The first thing is to change how you view your performances and what you want to get out of them. As magicians, we want people to be impressed at what we do. We work hard and we want someone to tell us that we are awesome. The key is shifting from that mindset to a mindset that we want our audience to be entertained and to have fun. One thing that I encourage others to do is change how they talk about magic. I don't perform "tricks" because the use of that word focuses on tricking the audience but I perform "effects" because the use of that word focuses on what the audience sees. A trick is about you, an effect is about the audience.

The second thing is a bit harder. Try to get away from "say-do-see" presentation where you say what you are going to do, do it and tell the audience to see the results. Eugene Burger calls this narrating the adventures of the props in the magician's hands. When you focus on WHAT you are doing, the audience is going to think about HOW you are doing it. A good example of this is one of my favorite routines from The Jinx (a publication from the 1930s and 40s) which is called The Dead Man's Hand where the magician shuffles and deals the cards (while telling the story) with a spectator getting the hand of cards that was dealt to Wild Bill Hickok when he was murdered (with a cap gun bang going off as soon as the spectator sees the hand). Contrast that with trick where you announce you are going to deal the cards with your hand being best and then do it.

The third thing is to involve the audience. Make it seem like they are part of the magic. Part of this is showing that you are having fun by smiling. Part of this is selecting effects that the audience can participte in. Take an ambitious card routine - you could do the whole routine without the audience touching a card, or you can at various points have the audience member stick the card in the deck or turn over the top card. Even when you turn over the top card, you can have the audience member make a magic gesture or say a magic word. How about asking the audience member if they want the card to go to the top or the bottom of the deck -- if they say bottom, you turn the deck upside down and then take the bottom card with a smile. A great example of this is Aaron Fisher's performance of Search and Destroy.
 

RealityOne

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Engage the audience, elevate them with the performance so they gain social value by participating. Create a script that's more than just dictating what the props are doing. Make the audience feel good about what they're seeing and they'll never want to tear you down.

OK, so you posted in three sentences what took me three paragraphs... :cool:
 
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@Maaz Hasan I suspect your experience may be different. I work a lot with high school kids through scouting and I get the sense that there still are groups and cliques and a fair share of people who act like jerks. However, even within a group of friends, there typically is some level of competition for standing within the group. The various theories of how groups interact recognizes that this sort of competition arises soon after the formation of any group. After a group has been functioning for a while, people assume specific roles within the group and there is a level of trust. At that point, the competition is more friendly and good natured.

Oh yeh don't get me wrong, there are still a ton of Jerks and Bullies and stuff. However, it is much easier for high schoolers today to fit in with people today than it probably was for people in earlier... eras? And beyond that, it's significantly easier to deal with said Jerks & Bullies today than it was for most of you guys. They are still around, but because of the diversity of interests amongst kids, a lot of people end up going through the same things, and can become good friends since they know what the other one is going through.

As for the popularity thing, it's like you said. It exists, but it is definitely a more good natured thing between friends. No one gets kicked out or anything due to popularity (unless its a group of jerks). For the most part, a ton of the super popular kids are chill, and are actually pretty good friends with non-popular kids, etc. Its just that popularity as an overall thing in the school does not seem to have any significant value anymore (except to super insecure jerks. It's actually funny watching them compete :D). A "social status" within the high school isn't really there anymore. Instead, there are just huge groups of friends, and there friends, and there friends, and so on, and since these groups overlap, it's pretty hard to force a popularity contest onto the school.

Oh, and just to be clear, the exact opposite goes for middle school. Middle school is full of bullies, jerks, and social status. However, it gets a lot better in high school. But by the time you get to the last year of middle school, you kinda start to realize that it's all for nothing (the bullies, jerks, popularity, etc.).
 
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WitchDocIsIn

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Lol I'm not entirely sure what this means.

People who are in certain positions on the social ladder in environments like high school have a very strong tendency not to notice that others are struggling with what has, in some ways, been handed to them. Much like how a person who has inherited a large amount of money will often think that poor people are just lazy, or how someone who is naturally gifted at maths will have a lot of trouble explaining said subject to those who don't understand it naturally.
 
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People who are in certain positions on the social ladder in environments like high school have a very strong tendency not to notice that others are struggling with what has, in some ways, been handed to them. Much like how a person who has inherited a large amount of money will often think that poor people are just lazy, or how someone who is naturally gifted at maths will have a lot of trouble explaining said subject to those who don't understand it naturally.

I see what you mean, an yes there are a ton of outliers, mostly people who have had there self confidence torn from them, but for the most part, we try and incorporate them into our groups to make them feel welcome. Probably the biggest reason for this is after watching those suicide and bullying presentations, you never want to have that happen to anyone. Especially since, when I lived in North Philly, our school gave a presentation every year on it, with a list of kids who ended up taking there life due to bullying since the school district had been around (over 100 years or close to it I think). The list was so long, it took an hour or so to complete, plus a 30 - 45 min presentation. After seeing that, along with the reactions of people who had to deal with that, I think a large part of the kids in the modern school system can say they don't want that happening to anyone.

As for me, I moved to a new place only 3 or so years ago, where I stood out and knew absolutely no one, and even the mind set of people was different. I went through bullying and everything, but I was fine, not even close to the trauma I see some kids going through today. I really don't think I was "handed" anything, at least on the social ladder. Anyways, what I wrote was talking on like 95% of the people in the school. There are still bullies and horrible things that go down in the schools, but I think people are definitely more understanding and willing to help. I remember just last year, me and some kids I knew were talking about how this one kid was being all weird in our class, and we found out he was being somewhat suicidal in all of his classes at some point or another, so we ended up going to the counselor first, but then made it our goal to make sure he doesn't feel excluded out of anything, and inclusion is something I actually see happening a lot in the modern School system.
 
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@Maaz "...but then made it our goal to make sure he doesn't feel excluded out of anything, and inclusion is something I actually see happening a lot in the modern School system." That's good. It's called caring and compassion, and we need more of it in the Human Race. Isn't it odd that so many of the most important things in life are not taught in school. All those hours, days and years learning things that don't really matter and end up being long forgotten...
 
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@Maaz "...but then made it our goal to make sure he doesn't feel excluded out of anything, and inclusion is something I actually see happening a lot in the modern School system." That's good. It's called caring and compassion, and we need more of it in the Human Race. Isn't it odd that so many of the most important things in life are not taught in school. All those hours, days and years learning things that don't really matter and end up being long forgotten...

Actually the cool thing is that this year, colleges and schools are starting to change. They've started caring about GPAs less, and are now looking for people skills (obviously you gotta keep them up, and they are still very important, but colleges are now looking into people skills a lot more than say 10 years ago?). This is also moving into a lot of work places.

My AP World teacher told us the day before the AP exam that the test scores wont really matter that much by the time we get to college & work as long as we are good people (again, they matter, but now other traits are on that same level).
 

WitchDocIsIn

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but I think people are definitely more understanding and willing to help.

How many people are in your school, total? How many people are involved, directly, in the efforts you describe?

I'm not discounting your efforts. They are admirable and awesome and I have a HUGE respect for you for doing the things you described. You're awesome, and I hope so much that you are a massive influence on your peers.

That being said. I was on the other end of the spectrum. I still am, I'm just comfortable with it now. I lived in California when I was very young - when I moved to PA I was 9. I spent from 9 years old, to when I was 20, being ostracized because I was "from" California (in reality, I was from North Dakota - I only lived in CA for 2 years at that point).

Your experience is extremely specialized. It's important to remember that, so you can stay empathetic with people who are outside that experience. I am willing to bet that a significant amount of people in your own school are going through the same experience I had when I was in high school. By dismissing it, you're negating their experience. Don't fall prey to selective thinking.
 
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I agree wholeheartedly if what you say is true... Good on you. Yet I digress ChristopherT is right.. people are left out and singled out. Bullies will continue as long as people are on earth. I was mercilessly bullied most of my life.. I could rant for weeks...
In short ignorant people exist and just pick your spots carefully... Cheers!
 
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How many people are in your school, total? How many people are involved, directly, in the efforts you describe?

I'm not discounting your efforts. They are admirable and awesome and I have a HUGE respect for you for doing the things you described. You're awesome, and I hope so much that you are a massive influence on your peers.

That being said. I was on the other end of the spectrum. I still am, I'm just comfortable with it now. I lived in California when I was very young - when I moved to PA I was 9. I spent from 9 years old, to when I was 20, being ostracized because I was "from" California (in reality, I was from North Dakota - I only lived in CA for 2 years at that point).

Your experience is extremely specialized. It's important to remember that, so you can stay empathetic with people who are outside that experience. I am willing to bet that a significant amount of people in your own school are going through the same experience I had when I was in high school. By dismissing it, you're negating their experience. Don't fall prey to selective thinking.

I agree wholeheartedly if what you say is true... Good on you. Yet I digress ChristopherT is right.. people are left out and singled out. Bullies will continue as long as people are on earth. I was mercilessly bullied most of my life.. I could rant for weeks...
In short ignorant people exist and just pick your spots carefully... Cheers!

1st off, I can't tell you enough how bad I feel for you guys, and everyone that has gone through bullying.

There are like somewhere between 1800 and 2200 or so kids in my school? We are expected to break 2800 - 3000 by the time I graduate, so they are actually building another one.

I totally agree with you guys, there are a ton of jerks out there that are making life miserable. I'm just saying that it is significantly easier for kid in the modern day to understand someone else's problems & interests. I know that there are kids going through a lot tougher things at my school, I just don't know who it is, or what they are going through. I don't by any means think that my school is a perfect place, I've seen some horrible things happen for no reason. I'm just saying that kids are more... understanding? Of everything, not just bullying, but also just normal hobbies.

It is really hard to explain what I'm trying to say in words. And you are 100% right in saying that the instances I have given are just what I have seen, not everything. However, as the average person, I tend to see the average things go down in the school. Yes, for sure there are kids going through what you guys had to go through. But at the same time, I think that on a large part, things have changed to try and accept more people into our society. Here is an example where almost 100% of the grade was involved, ~500 people, because it happened online. This happened only a few months ago, sometime in the spring I think.

1 Kid (whom I was actually somewhat friends with 3 years ago) started racially, religiously, gender-specifically, even ethnically bullying this one girl on Instagram. He did it publicly too. He then proceeded to attack the entire religion, race, ethnicity, and even a couple other ethnicity. Literally 100% of the grade defended the girl, and the kid got roasted the hell out, He would say something like "Go back to your country so they can shop off your fingers" or some crap, and he would get about 500 messages with great comebacks. Even the kids who didn't respond on Instagram made sure they weren't gonna stand with the bully. The kids he sat at lunch with got pissed at him. He kinda ended up alone at lunch until he found some "friends" to sit with (only a couple). Anyways, I could go on a full rant about this, but long story short almost 100% of our grade defended this girl against this bully over the course of a single weekend. This kid was left with little to no friends (he had quite a few before this). [Oh, no one bullied the bully, and we actually slowly let him back into the school's society, but at the end of the day, his image is now so tainted, its ridiculous. I actually was the same religion, race, and ethnicity as the initial "victim", along with a lot of other people at the school who shared something in-common, so I was sort of personally affected, but it made me so happy to see how many people defended equality].

That is just one example of many. There were a ton more with large groups that I could give, but I kinda want to steer this conversation back to magic.
 

WitchDocIsIn

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We're going way off subject here, so I'll just make one more point and then drop this because it's probably not going to go anywhere.

You mention one example, and in that example you are proving my point. You specify that the way the kid was punished was because his public image was tainted beyond repair.

In other words - the school body used social standing as a way to punish unwanted behavior. If your environment wasn't centered around social standing, that wouldn't have worked.

I would agree that students who are paying attention are more aware of social issues than in the past, simply due to the abundance of information available. However, humans are still humans - we are social and political creatures by nature. We form hierarchies and create social classes. We do this naturally. It's how we've evolved.

I'm not putting you or your efforts down here. I'm just pointing out that you are likely to accidentally have confirmation bias here, because the people who are going to experience the negative aspects of this environment are very likely not going to be the ones who are in your social circles and the chances are, you'll never even interact with them outside of maybe passing them in the halls. One girl being defended by the student body doesn't account for the (likely) dozens that are bullied on a regular basis who aren't popular and don't have a network of friends to stand up for them.

The danger is that when you say that it's different now, and it's being resolved, you are reducing and negating the experience of those marginalized folks who are outside your scope of observation. This perpetuates the issue.
 
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We're going way off subject here, so I'll just make one more point and then drop this because it's probably not going to go anywhere.

You mention one example, and in that example you are proving my point. You specify that the way the kid was punished was because his public image was tainted beyond repair.

In other words - the school body used social standing as a way to punish unwanted behavior. If your environment wasn't centered around social standing, that wouldn't have worked.

I would agree that students who are paying attention are more aware of social issues than in the past, simply due to the abundance of information available. However, humans are still humans - we are social and political creatures by nature. We form hierarchies and create social classes. We do this naturally. It's how we've evolved.

I'm not putting you or your efforts down here. I'm just pointing out that you are likely to accidentally have confirmation bias here, because the people who are going to experience the negative aspects of this environment are very likely not going to be the ones who are in your social circles and the chances are, you'll never even interact with them outside of maybe passing them in the halls. One girl being defended by the student body doesn't account for the (likely) dozens that are bullied on a regular basis who aren't popular and don't have a network of friends to stand up for them.

The danger is that when you say that it's different now, and it's being resolved, you are reducing and negating the experience of those marginalized folks who are outside your scope of observation. This perpetuates the issue.

Yea I agree. Like I said, there is most definitely a social hierarchy, but it is not a rigid or a super competitive one, or one that is exclusive and probably a lot more "friendly" then some of the stuff that you guys went through. It is definitely more fluid.

Anyways, I think its probably best to jump back to the magic side of things (before this thread gets closed :D).

Sorry for going off track everyone!
 
Jul 26, 2016
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So, to springboard off Maaz's suggestion that we get back on the magic track as it relates to this thread. I am going to offer two suggestions for avoiding, or at least minimizing negative feedback from spectators: (1) Practice any trick you are going to perform for people until you can practically do it in your sleep. Don't do it until it's awesomely smooth. This even goes for self-working tricks. Video yourself with your phone, iPad, or computer. Watch yourself and identify the points where you are flashing or fumbling; repeat the process over and over until it's really clean and smooth. Also ask a trusted family member or friend to watch you and give you honest feedback. Don't get defensive - listen carefully to their comments; (2) Do tricks and routines in a way that involves the spectator, rather than setting it up as a you versus them challenge to show how clever you are. Tell an entertaining story that takes the emphasis away from the fact that you are going to fool them. Or, empower them by telling them you believe they have magical powers. Ask them if they have ever done magic and would they like to give it a try just for fun. Let them produce the magical effect by waving their hand, snapping the fingers, rubbing the card between their hands - whatever. Make them the star and center of attention. Just some examples. Use your own imagination. Be carefree and humble, and make it fun for them. If they are on your side, why would they want to heckle you or bust your chops?
 

WitchDocIsIn

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Oh yes - definitely good to have someone who can give you honest feedback. And also, not to get defensive about that feedback.

I am lucky to have a few folks who will flat out tell me if something isn't working, or if I'm doing something stupid that doesn't need to be done. It's amazing how much impact, "Why do you do XYZ? What's the point of that?" can have. Particularly when you realize, "Oh. I ..... don't know. I just do it."

Everything you do should be motivated. It should serve a purpose, whether the audience realizes it or not. That's how you create clean, efficient magic. And the cleaner it is, the more you can focus on creating the experience for the people to engage, which reduces the chances of someone heckling.
 
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I used to perform a tons in High School as well (5 years ago - here is where it began for me as well), so I can kind of relate to your story.

You carry a deck of cards with you, because most students do. It's not unusual for students to have a deck handy to play during recess and breaks (and when teachers aren't watching) or what-not. No reason to justify why you have a deck of cards with you. Also don't mention you will be doing a 'magic trick' when approaching new spectators, it's nice to catch them off guard.

If you perform enough, and you do it well - you will start developing a reputation around school in no time. The four mistakes I did when performing in school was:
  • I assumed my audience was stupid - I tried to get away with the silliest of things.
  • I performed too much - whenever someone asked me.
  • I performed for the same people often - they catch up on the moves eventually if you do it enough times.
  • I performed for hecklers - just identify and avoid them. Especially smart@$$ peers who think catching you out will make them cool or whatever.
You have several kinds of spectators. One of them being the one who got fooled but refuse to admit it in fear of belittling themselves. To say it is obvious after a trick is a good way to imply they weren't fooled. Don't perform for them, their purpose in watching your tricks is to catch you out and not to be entertained.

Or maybe they actually did catch you out. In which case, use negative feedback to your advantage. You do a trick, they say its obvious - hand them the deck and tell them to 'you do it then'.



 
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Jun 1, 2017
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This weekend was the 30th Anniversary of Oswego's Harborfest - the whole city turns into one giant party. So I went out in my T11 shirt, sported a few decks of Nationals, some Aberdeen Thread, and my Odyssey. You get your fun people who you have a blast with, and then if you are lucky, you get one rude heckler. So my philosophy is turn what you know against them, but be honest, be nice, be professional, and still have fun with what you are doing. Example...there was a group of 7 people, all of them were a little intoxicated. So I pull out Odyssey after a few card tricks and some fancy cardistry. The guy in the group starts getting rude and said I was palming a trick ring. I held out my hands, and showed him the solid ring and said feel free to look, exposing the front and back of my hands. He threw the ring into the grass (thankfully) and started to walk away. Right in front of them all I said, "Excuse me, sir?" He turns around looking at me all smug and irritated. I used my invisible thread to lasso his lit cigarette out of his mouth and brought it directly to my hand. I told him, "You should quit, these are really bad for you." I dropped it on the ground, and put it out, picking my ring up from the grass. His friends were dying of laughter! Then they stuck around for more fun! Patience, practice, never get angry and go 'Roadhouse' on someone - just 'Be Nice' :)
 
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