Nervous Performing

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Sk8r_St3v3, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Ok so i used to be a really shy person when i was younger. Most of my life i was quite shy and although i was good at making friends after the initial meeting i would still be nervous around new people, let alone talking to them.

    I overcame this and am now perfectly comfortable talking to anyone i have never met before regardless of the situation.

    Since i started magic a little over three months ago, i have worked incredibly hard at it so that i could get to a level worthy of performance.

    I have performed to family and relatives, even ones i havent met before, and a couple of close friends. These performance went well and i was pleased with them, although i still had a tonne of stuff to touch up.

    Anyway, tonight i was at work and had promised a mate there who works as the store security guard, that i would bring my cards in to show him some tricks and flourishes i had learned.

    I thought this would be a great chance to kickstart myself into performing out of my home or in a crowded place, and sat down in our staff cafe to perform to him. Another one of my friends who works stacking shelves was also there so i said that i would show him too.

    Now this is where it went pearshaped. I am usually fine around these two guys and am good mates with both of them, i mean i spend 4 hours 5 days a week talking to them. My flourishes went fine, although a little rough because i had sweaty hands from working. When i attempted to show them a couple of small tricks involving false shuffles they failed horribly and i blamed it on my hands being sticky. I then embarked upon performing 5speed, which i can do really well at home or to my family. Yet although i pulled the trick off, my sleights were poor, i flashed cards a tonne of times and i got hung up on parts of it that i usually perform the best.

    I couldnt believe, and i blamed it on the truth, that i was nervous because i hadnt performed that much. Which is true of course, i was nervous and im sure everyone is on their first 'real world' performance. But what really pissed me off was that i am fine around these guys yet i couldnt pull of a simple card trick. My hands were even visibly shaking and i dont have a clue how i lost my nerve so easily.

    Now i know for a fact that the more i perform the easier it will become, but i was wondering if any of you could provide me with guidance or advice or even personal experiences that will help me to improve my confidence when performing.

    Cheers for any help.
     
  2. All I can say is to just do it. You're never to going to stop being nervous when performing. Pretty much ALL entertainers get nervous when they perform and no matter how long they've been doing it. They still get the jitters and shakes from time to time. Hell, there was an article about Mick Jagger talking about how he still gets nervous before and during shows, and the man has been in the business for decades.

    Just keep at it and you should do fine. If you flash a palm or a sleight, who cares? Most people will tend to forget about it soon afterward if you don't make it such a big deal.
     
  3. Thanks for that man.

    Yeah i guess its all to do with controlling yourself when you are nervous instead of actually not being nervous at all.

    I just couldnt see how i screwed it up in front of my mates at work when i have done it fine to my family, i mean i could understand more if they were complete strangers but they are good friends.
     
  4. As Randy said, you're always going to feel nerves when performing but the shaky hands and racing pulse etc will lessen as you get more confident. There's really no substitute for just getting out there and performing for people.
    The thing to remember is, if you do flash a card or a move don't dwell on it. It's happened and you can't change it. If you keep thinking about it, the nerves will only get worse. Also, just because you saw something, doesn't mean the spectator did. Remember, you know when and where the moves are happening so you know what to look for.
     
  5. Hey man, I think any magician who has performed for a real audience, has had their share of nervousness, but you will conquer it. Don't just practice until you got the effect right, practice until you just can't screw it up anymore. That's when you will truly master an effect and your personality and showmanship will start shining through.
     
  6. Thanks for the advice guys! I am very greatful for it, as my poor performance earlier this evening had really dampened my spirits. Now you guys have cheered me up :)

    In a strange way, although ti put me off performing for the first few hours, what happened earlier has now made me realise that the more i performing the sooner i can get a grip and start enjoying leaving my comfort zone.
     
  7. Look at it this way---if every magician, mentalist, etc. quit because they screwed up once, twice, three times....there would be no magicians, mentalists, etc.
     
  8. Remember you can not succeed if you have not failed. So keep at it! I have messed up for complete strangers and stuff. Just say "let me show you another one!" and just keep it casual being nervous only means u care! but also try to not make it that big of a deal. thats my problem i take it too seriously. Its for that great feeling in the end. The more you relax and have fun the less u think about your nerves and you wont even realize you where shacking until your finished! good luck!
     
  9. best thing i read all day!!
     
  10. If you ask me, your mistake was starting out with false shuffles and 5 Speed. Neither of those are exactly 'base' material. Why start out with the hard stuff? Start with something very simple, but also strong. A simple DL, then have them hold the card and change it in their hands can be very strong, and is nearly self working. Or (as I like to do) a simple inversion plot with a couple selections hits hard and requires very little technical work. Chicago Opener is another simple one that people love and takes almost no skill. All of these are things I like to open with, because it gives my nerves a little bit to calm down, and also makes a strong impression.

    I know you've been working your butt off, but you've only been in this 3 months. That's barely enough time to get some of this stuff done to the point of it being second nature, which is where it needs to be. Next time, I strongly suggest you slow it down, do some easier stuff first, then build up to the more difficult stuff. This does several things. First off, as I said, it gives you a bit to calm down. Second, it gets your hands warmed up and into working mode. Last but not least, it builds up the mystery for the 'bigger' effects.
     
  11. Key card + glimpse= extremely easy and one that most won't be able to figure out or see through. Then you simply work your way up to the tricky stuff.
     
  12. If it makes you feel better, I messed up a lot of times before I came to perfection as in present. All I can tell you is to practise in front of your mirror or your video camera. Just relax. Believe it or not, when I perform to people and I look at only my deck, my hands shake a lot and therefore it is a bad habit for me. But, when I talk to them eye to eye, I executed my sleights and for a very first time, my hands do not shake anymore.

    I am not sure if this is helpful, but I strongly advise you to try that method.
     
  13. hanks for all the responses guys, i will definitely take each of them into my head and remember them.

    Christopher - i hadnt even thought about doing something simpler, and i think now that i must have been way ahead of myself thinking those tricks would work. Thankyou very much for highlighting that and i think it could very well make my next performance my most enjoyable experience in magic so far.

    I was too blinded by the idea of pulling off 5 speed well, that i forgot to realise how complex it is for someone with no performance experience. I guess i thought that because i did it at home fine it would be ok to perform.

    Next time round i think i will do as you say and open with a DL or something similar and move on to hard hitting but easy tricks, im thinking most likely Witness, as it requires very little perfection.

    Cheers again guys!

    EDIT: Sounds liek a great idea SK, i shall give it a go!
     
  14. You can't learn to fall with grace unless you take a few falls first.

    keep at it, and you'll get better. Practice makes permenent, but rehearsal makes perfect.
     
  15. As everyone has said...EVERYONE gets nervous at some point and EVERYONE makes mistakes. I have been doing magic for 10 years and still do this day get nervous when driving to a gig and even have one or two flubbed effects during a 3 hour gig. It just happens. Learn from the mistakes.

    Have confidence in yourself and know they the spectators aren't trying to bust you, they just want to be entertained and have fun. They want to see magic.
     
  16. I don't exactly have the guts to perform street magic now, but I'm definitely able to perform around school! I remember when I tried some tricks I learnt on some classmates, and because of nervousness I pretty much screwed up. Big time. I felt really sucky cause it was alright back at home in front of the mirror, but it's just not as good when performing in front of a real audience. Thankfully my classmates weren't anywhere near the term "heckler", but instead kept giving me constructive comments and encouragement. Even when I screw up, we all share some laughs and it makes performing really fun for both my friends and myself.

    I've began to build up my confidence from performing to my closest of friends. Though I admit I still get slightly nervous when I'm performing for certain groups of people, I believe that by consistently performing, I can rid myself of this feeling!

    I guess what I'm trying to say is this, don't be afraid to screw up. Even if you do, walk it off. And always maintain your composure. Who knows, maybe your audience won't blame you, and instead share some laughs with you and give you some constructive feedback. From there, try to improve and try performing for them again! :D
     
  17. I think a few good screw ups are good for a performer. First it keeps you on your toes, reminds you to keep working at the technical aspects. Second, it shows you how little it usually matters. I recently started doing Doc Eason's 'Screwed Up' as an opener. Last Tuesday was the first time I did it for other people and I got to do it about 4 or 5 times. Almost every time I noticed little flashes, but the people never caught it. From this I've learned slight handling changes. It also reinforces what I already knew: If you're engaged with your audience, and you've made them your friend, they won't want to catch you. Their brains will just block out little flashes so that they can enjoy their friend's magic.
     
  18. Brilliant advice, cant thank you all enough! :)
     
  19. You know something, I wasn't sure what I was going to post here when I clicked on the topic. But having hit quick reply, I realised something. Earlier this afternoon I performed for a friend of mine some pieces I've been working on. First time performance. It's definitely not rounded or very smooth, but the basic bones are there, the presentation held up, and I didn't mess up much.

    But what I realised was this: I wasn't at all nervous about performing. I've performed for said friend before, and I've had more than my share of nerves performing for said friend and group of friends too. But I didn't notice it until now. Maybe it was just cause I'm rather sick actually :p But, I wasn't nervous at all.

    I've been acting for around a decade now and I can safely say that whilst I certainly had nerves when I started, I am happy to report that I haven't really felt nerves in quite some time. Being on stage just makes me feel alive, it's one magnificent blur.

    Stay strong, and make sure you remember why you're performing. And make sure you hold close to your heart your passion for your material, and for what you do, and for your spectators. :)
     
  20. Thanks Prae. Unfortunately for me, it is going to take a lot longer, as i am 19 and have never been good at acting at all. In fact, because i love my nerve, i have always been terrible in anything that involves performance/talking/presenting anything in front of more than a couple of people.

    However, one of the reasons i took up magic was to conquer my fear of performing through something i have come to love, and i will give it my best now i have a focus with which to overcome my weakness.

    Cheers for all the comments guys, cant thank you enough!
     

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