Sparking Interest in My Magic

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CPUYEAR, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. How do I spark interest in my magic among my friends? I recently rediscovered magic after over 10 years of not practicing. (I’m 25). Getting back into it has brought me an immense amount of joy but it’s alot less rewarding when there is nobody to perform for.

    My girlfriend loves it but whenever I show tricks to my friends (all working professional types) they kind of shrug their shoulders say “that was cool” and we move on. I’m no David Blaine, but some of these tricks are total self workers such as Diary by Chris Crossgrove. I also take my performance seriously and spend more time on my patter and presentation than anything.

    Has anyone experienced this same thing? I’m curious how young adults have cultivated interest in their magic among their friends?
  2. I am in highschool but most of my friends love my magic. I usually take the cards out and wait for them to say something because if they don't want to see something or don't like magic and you ask they want to be polite and say yes. Also, you have to try and create the idea that you are a magician not just the guy that does some card tricks. Try and show them a routine of a couple tricks that have a story. If the story can relate to them it will also intrigue them.

    Hope this helps!
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  3. I mean, the answer is kind of circular. You spark interest by being interesting.

    Some pitfalls I have seen happen regularly -
    1) Performing too often. It's said that professional magicians perform the same tricks to many audiences, and amateur magicians perform many tricks to the same audiences. Related to this is the tendency for folks to use magic as a substitute for a personality.

    Don't constantly perform for friends. They're clearly not wanting that. Sounds like your girlfriend is pretty much always up for it and that's awesome - perform for her. If people aren't showing interest, there's no reason to perform for them. Personally, I rarely perform for friends - A woman I met nearly a year ago, who lived with us for 5 months and with whom we have done multiple collaborations, saw me perform magic for the first time last Saturday. My general rule is, if I am feeling up to a casual performance, I will wait until people have asked me at least twice before doing anything.

    2) Not scripting. Lots of people think they can improvise a script and do just fine. Very few people actually can. Mostly what you get from those "I like to improv" folks is, "Uh, uhm, so, here, you take a card. Ok, uh, I'll take your card - everyone remember this card - I'll take your card and put it in the middle of the deck, here. Like that. And then, here, you tap this little button here on the top of the deck, just pretend there's a button there, here, and look! Your card is back on top!"

    No. Just no.

    Script everything. A script, when properly learned, is one of the more sure fire ways to improve your performance and make it more interesting. It doesn't have to be a super wordy thing, either. Look at Eugene Burger's Gypsy Thread. Beautiful. Brahma and Vishnu in as few words as possible is how he describes it. Just give it a premise that people can relate to. Once you know a script well, you can go off script whenever you want to respond to people's comments or whatever, and then always have something to come back to.

    3) Too many card tricks. Joshua Jay somewhat recently published and article about a study they did. In it they found that unless there were other things involved (Like a lemon for card-to-lemon) people generally lumped all the card tricks into one thing. They can't tell the difference, and when they think back, they just remember it all as pretty much one trick. So if someone mainly does card tricks, and mainly performs for their friends, their friends will probably remember it basically constantly repeating the same trick.

    Get some variety in there.

    4) No social skills. This goes back to my point above. Don't use magic as a substitute for a personality. Learn to hold a conversation without doing magic. Once you learn to be interesting without magic, being interesting with magic is easy.
  4. I want to respond to the previous comments to add some clarity and provide a better idea of the problem.

    I have excellent interpersonal skills for my job (I work in politics) and have no problem connecting with people in an ordinary setting.

    I don’t think I’m to the point of pestering people. In fact, since I picked magic back up I’ve only performed for a couple of friends on two different occasions. I don’t want to be the guy pestering people by asking them to do a trick, which is why I want to creat organic interest in magic among my friend group. I want to get to the point where people are asking me to perform.

    I thought magic would be a great thing to bust out at the brewery or a friends house to entertain people, and may possibly lead to more invitations to dinner parties, etc, but it’s really awkward to blatantly ask if someone would like to see a magic trick.

    How have the members of this forums gone about building a casual reputation for magic in their social circles?
  5. I won't share it here (as it's not my information to repeat), but Jamie D. Grant has a wonderful suggestion for a structured method to doing magic for the same people regularly in his how-to book, The Approach.
    CPUYEAR likes this.
  6. Interesting is it more focused on keeping methods secret or cultivating interest??
  7. Here's a few suggestions that hopefully may help:

    (1) Get some magic business cards printed up. With Vistaprint, for example, you can easily design your own card online. Like 500 cards for around 20 bucks. (It's very easy and fun, and there are a wide variety of very nice designs and fonts to chooses from). Even if you don't intend to do it professionally, you can give out your card to friends and social acquaintances, letting them know that you are getting into magic more seriously. This shows that you take yourself seriously as a developing performer, and will in turn influence others to do so. You may find that they start asking you to do magic and to do it for others they know.

    (2) When I was starting out, I announced to my friends that I was introducing a new fun series, called "The Trick of the Week." I told them that approximately each week, I would perform one trick for them - just one trick which would be the featured Trick of the Week. Give them your new business card at that time. Then ask them if they would like to see the Trick of the Week? They are almost guaranteed to say yes. If you know any prediction effects, then before giving them your card, write your prediction on the back of your card or on several cards (one for each friend who is present), and then after showing the prediction was successful, give them the card. The magic will play on in their minds.

    (3) Do effects that involve them, or where they can do the magic, such as Out of This World or Poker Players Picnic from Royal Road to Card Magic. Or, maybe spell to one of their birthdate to reveal a chosen card (e.g. M-A-Y T-H-I-R-D 1-9-9-9, or spell the name of their romantic partner or spouse for the revelation, or perhaps make up a script that relates to one of their professions (e.g. Ambitious Card representing their ambition and perserverence and how they can't be kept down and will always get to the top).

    There is a saying, "Less is more," and a related time-honored show business axiom: "Leave them wanting more." The Trick of the Week will become a tradition, something they look forward to, and they will ask YOU to show it to them, and likely to others as well.
    CPUYEAR and DominusDolorum like this.
  8. Trick of the week is an interesting idea. I like the idea of business cards. My friends are all entrepreneurial so they might respect my trying to start a side hustle. I perform cipher and that would work awesome for the prediction.

    My only question is whether it ever felt artificial. I’m a long ways from performing professionally. Did you start this after you had already been a working magician for some time?
  9. My approach, that is unoriginal to me, is that I will wait for someone to ask me to do something. But then I won't. I'll say something "yes I'll be happy to a bit later on." If they persist right then and there then I'll go right into something because I know they are genuinely interested in seeing magic. If they don't persist, they will typically later on in the evening.

    I do this for several reasons. For one, I want them to actually be interested and not just doing it to humor me. Secondly, It gives me time to the work things out in my head for the performance. This could mean building on existing topics that came up in conversation earlier on, and also trying to see what's going to have the biggest impact. And finally, it's to build up the nerve. I'm not always comfortable when presenting new tricks, even to close friends and family, so this bit of time delay helps me focus more. This is closely tied to my second point.

    I'll never fire off trick after trick though because of this:
  10. My problem is most of my friends aren’t even aware that I’m doing magic at this point. Any idea how to overcome that hurdle without forcing tricks on people?
  11. Script a presentation that can easily be worked into conversation, and then do the trick as a "demonstration" of the conversational topic.
  12. That’s a great idea! I can think of quite a few tricks that could work well with this method!
  13. Chris pretty much just covered it :)
    CPUYEAR likes this.
  14. Just wanted to say thanks for this suggestion. Went out for drinks with a few friends and managed to steer the conversation towards Lottery Tickets to set myself up for the first phase of Cipher. The reaction I received was great and I'm hoping to do the Pin reveal next time I seem them. Thanks so much for all the encouragement!
  15. With that much time delay between your last performance and when you reveal their pin code, they will never put two and two together.
    CPUYEAR likes this.

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