Performers Should Be Less Boring

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ben Long, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. There are some interesting and well expressed points here.

    First of all, I would like to say, in defence of myself and several people I personally know - I can't record live performances, for the simple lack of a camera. Due to the position of my computer and webcam, to the computer is really the only possible angle. Nonetheless, this does not speak to your very valid argument about going out and performing, which by and large I feel is very correct.

    As for your urging to be yourself... Well, firstly, I agree. But secondly, I'd like to see this develop further.

    As you've noted, and as you're urging, many Theory11 artists have urged people to be themselves.

    Well, that's all fine and dandy. But what does it mean to be yourself? Who are you? And more importantly, how does one be oneself? This is an issue too often neglected in favour of "Just be yourself". Whatever that means. As most of the members here are in their teenage years, myself included in the upper echelon of such a group, many I would say do not understand what it means to themselves, and they do not understand who they actually are - which is natural considering we're in adolescence. How then can you be yourself? Act naturally? That's another thing that's said a lot. Well, approaching someone and performing magic for them really isn't a natural thing we're accustomed to. The thing is, being yourself is far more difficult than we might think - few things in magic can be expressed so simply and yet be achieved paradoxically with such difficulty.

    I don't really know what the answer to my question is. I've sort of managed to develop myself through my experience in acting and theatre, such that honesty to self has become easier. But that's a personal experience.

    So what does be yourself actually mean? If you're a funny person, make a joke?

    I would perhaps submit that to be yourself takes practice. Because really, while we all should be ourselves - not all of who we are is suitable for magic. You must come out. But who my audience sees, and the person my girlfriend knows I am, coming from years of friendship and experience, in all its nuances and subtleties, will ultimately be different.

    So then, I think we return to the first part of your post - go out and perform. Hopefully, from that, I'd say, is how we practice being ourselves.
  2. Ben... I am going to be as straight to the point as I can.

    I hate this thread.


    I planned on writing about this topic on here myself.:p Good points Ben.

    People on here always say to be themselves, but they themselves aren't themselves because they copy every line of patter given to them by the creator of the effect. (If this stuff was brought up already, my apologies.... Didn't read the whole thread. Only Ben's post right now.:p)

  3. i think this was a great post with a lot of very helpful tips. thanks gusy!
  4. First of all, good to hear from you again. How have things been on your end?

    Now, I don't think that I stipulated anywhere that one needs to garner the sort of reactions that you described. You are right in that these reactions are less astonishment and more shock.

    What we're all really trying to get at is less how one causes their audience to react and more so how one interacts with his or her audience.

    I see what you're saying in that changing one's performance won't necessarily give them the sort of reactions that they're, as you put it so nicely, conditioned to. My (or anyone for that matter) simply suggesting that one change his or her manner of interaction with a spectator won't change the fact that people only think of a "reaction" as someone very clearly displaying emotion on their sleeves. It is indeed a damn shame that people are so shallow.

    Praetoritevong, I'm not suggesting that you need to record anything. I simply cite videos because they are the only evidence I have of this disappointing trend.

    As for someone being their self, I suppose it means to indicate that one shouldn't think that they have to necessarily interact with others in a way that would alienate them. I remember seeing a magician last year who was the token magician, booming voice, cheesy tricks--he made a little girl nearly cry and went on with his act oblivious because he was so deep into his act. When you see a person you know in a coffee shop or bar or wherever you hang out, you would interact with them, treating them like another human being (which they would supposedly be).

    So now, when you perform you should interact with your spectators as if they are human beings. I guess I'd say that I personally take "be yourself" to mean "be down to earth," or "be willing to connect." I'm not going act the same around a spectator as I would around my friends, just like I don't act the same way around my grandmother as I do around my friends. The real me is lazy and irreverent, but when I do magic for people I'm a professional.

    Doug. Sorry. I promise, you can take the next deeply philosophical topic.
  5. First of all, I kind of doubt seeing us performing is going to inspire the mediocre masses.

    Second, I'm a filmmaker. I have other projects that I'd rather use my tape stock on than vanity tapes to amuse anonymous blocks of text on a message board.
  6. Great, I understand that completely, but then don't complain about people doing tricks for a web cam, and not live audiences...
  7. I totally agree with you Ben, the problem is the media that people are putting out that are just demonstrations. My camera broke so I can't show off my mad skillz *sarcasm* but when I start to talk I am a little different. I am usually a goofy and fun-loving guy, when I bust out my mentalism then I have an edge to me something that just puts a aura around the tricks I do, the pauses, the suspense, the anticipation is all built around.

    People may need to get an avatar, I really do not know if people are scared because they are so concentrated on a single trick or what. When people are so into their trick they forget about performance and what being a magician is about. This is for everybody, reflect on what you said and how you said it, your body language, your attitude, everything. Do you think it was interesting without the effect? The problem is that many people love magic but are exposing it as a simple trick rather than a performing art, maybe like ballet or breakdancing w/e your choice is. Make it a miracle or maybe a amazing feat and not a simple trick they want to look up.

    I did Biddle trick and got great reactions, I built suspense and got the spectator involved with more than just having them pick a card, they did part of the magic and made them believe it was by their hands.

    Quick recap, anticipation, involvement, suspense, edge, and interest are the keys to becoming a magician than a guy who does card tricks or w/e you do.
  8. This discussion is pointless, since magic itself is pointless anyways.
  9. Why are you here then? :rolleyes:
  10. If that had a leg to stand on, I would cut it out right now.

    Granted, all you have to go in is my word that I'm performing for live audiences. But I also haven't posted any videos of my hands doing card tricks with my package as a backdrop either.

    Maybe... just maybe... it's not an issue of putting my money where my mouth is... but an issue of having certain priorities when it comes to my business.
  11. Not everybody has a webcam and not everybody wants to perform in front of a camera.

    I'd perform in front of a webcam, Except I don't have one and don't have a need to hear people I don't know critisize me or compare me to other guys out there.

    Tho if I do put up a video. There is a 99% chance it would most likely be me performing for regular people.
  12. Again, I'll reiterate that I mention video performances because that's what I have to go on. That's what I get to see. I don't really get to see actual live performances by amateur magicians. So based on the evidence I have access to, I iterate that a great deal of performers are boring.

    It doesn't matter if someone posts a video of an interesting performance or not, as long as when they do perform, they are doing so in a manner that is engaging to the audience. Don't get me wrong, it would be great to see videos of good performances, but the point is that it should just be done, as a general proposition. When you perform, actually perform.

    And Steerpike, no one uses film anymore. The only people I know still on 16 and 35mm are old people and pretentious avant garde-y hippies. Hippies suck.
  13. WTF does that mean?
  14. I have a personal vendetta against hippies. It wouldn't be so bad if they took a bath every once in a while...
  15. GREAT POST. Wow that was really good, I must agree. It is difficult to completely lose your nervousness and be confident in what you do, but once you can learn to be yourself, and do great magic at the same time, you can start the road to success. The hardest part is losing the nervousness and to try relate to your audience in the time you have.
  16. Ya know man... I really think this thread is pathetic.

    I think its pathetic that this actually NEEDS to be said.... But thank you ever so much for saying it.

    I have so many thoughts on this but sadly I cannot get any of them out as it currently feels like my head is a pressurized gasket that is about to blow... Sooo... I'll just come back later.

  17. Why do you think I mentioned using tape stock?
  18. And probably most film-makers working today.

    Nothing wrong with hippies either.
  19. Oookay, back with a de-pressurized brain.

    I, myself, am guilty of having 2 camera only performances on my youtube and website. However, I will say I am VERY careful with what I put up and have my reasonings for doing so.

    One video is one I have posted here before, my version of Hedbergs Peak. This was actually done more as a project one day when I was extremely bored. However, I did use fairly in depth patter and purposefully chose an effect that is damn near impossible to reverse engineer. I also wished to share my version with my magical brothers which is another reason I posted it.

    The other video is an ooold video of a bastardized version of d+M's Lapse, which I intended to take down until it got nearly a thousand views and I have received more compliments from that performance than any other, so I keep it up.

    My other videos are live performances, my true love. I have hours of live footage but have only squeezed about 3 or 4 videos from it... one of the difficulties of live videos.

    Why did I explain all that? To show the extreme thought that needs to and has gone into posting videos. Filming magic is insanely difficult and requires allot of thought, which is highly lacking these days. Most guys grab a camera and off they go, which is disgraceful.

    If anyone would like tips for posting videos, PM or email me your questions. I have 60,000+ youtube views and would be happy to help.

  20. Awesome---love searching my name and finding a "call out".

    Prove to the masses that you are a good magician! Prove to me (Toby), so I can release or confirm my insecurities about my own magic. HOW dare you challenge us (Toby and the like minded) to strive for better magic!!

    Listen dude - many things are wrong with this concept.

    First - I don't think magic performances should be across the internet - small budget movies are are small budget magic tricks on Youtube. If I had a sit down show - in a theatre - than sure - I would put it up there for you.

    Second - I don't have much interest in releasing my magic/others magic that I do...NOR am I interested in sharing what makes me different - What I say.

    Toby - the information on how to make yourself better is out there. If you need examples - look at Darren Brown, Lawerence Hass, David Williamson....hell, looks at anyone that is semi interesting - nevetheless, it doesn't matter what you see - if you are boring, your magic will be. So, your cry for - SHOW ME - seems like - let me steal your words, because I can't figure out a way to make it more interesting.

    If more people see my magic - more people will just copy - THE GUYS YOU MENTIONED WANT YOU TO THINK FOR YOURSELF - with our coaching - that we are all lucky to have.

    Lastly, we are all still progressing - I would not want you to watch my magic and think that it is the only way - or the perfect way - as I am still working on that - so this may create a case of "DO as I say, and now what I DO" to a certain degree.

    Many of what I share is an ideal that I try to live - yet, I struggle with making my magic more logical and my presentations more meaningful - have I been successful at it? Yes - for the most part. If I wasn't primarily a restaurant worker, perhaps I would be more so - as you get away with more and can do more with a sit down theatre show...but, I still have advanced my close up to a spot where I am leaving it MUCH better than I found it.

    Here is the truth Toby - this may sound cocky - but I am an interesting person. People enjoy me speaking with them - EVEN when I don't have a deck of cards in my hand. I am educated, have had interesting life experiences and thoughts about the world around me. I bring these into my magic - and it amplifies what I do.

    If you are not an interesting person without magic...than this is the issue - not me putting my magic on display for all to see. However, i would love to show you something if we were ever to meet.


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