Tell me about your first time...

Jun 13, 2013
12
0
35
Fort Myers, Fl
Performing! Your first time performing!

I've been strolling my downtown area for a long time and booked my first restaurant gig for tomorrow. I have spent the past few months practicing and have my tricks scripted so I can table hop for the hour and a half they want me for. I am keeping it simple with auto reset tricks. (bunnies, Greg Wilson's Quicksilver, card stuff, ect.) The client is a very (very!) friendly non profit that keeps telling me that they will "LOVE ME!" soo....

WHY AM I STILL NERVOUS?

Workers, how was your first time performing?

Non-workers you have the same feeling? Is this feeling what keeps you from crossing the hobbyist line?

yay discussion!
 
Nov 26, 2013
207
2
I have realized that the nervousness will never completely go away. Not necessarily because you are "nervous" for the rest of your preforming life. When you first start preforming, you will be nervous. The more you preform, it will eventually evolve into being excited. When I first started doing street magic, I was nervous every time I was showing someone a trick, and that made me hesitant to show people magic. Now I can show someone a trick without skipping a beat, but while I am doing the trick my heart is beating faster than normal, but it is not because I'm nervous, it's because I'm excited. I believe it will always be like this, because showing magic to people is what makes me happy, so I believe I will always get excited when preforming. If you are not excited while showing magic to people you need to change jobs. My first time doing a stage performance was Friday night. Before preforming I was nervous, but as I got into the act it turned into excitement. I believe the more I do stage performances, I won't be nervous before the act, but excited.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,739
2,854
You're nervous because you're doing something new and it's unknown territory. Don't worry about it. Most people get nervous before a performance. Just make sure you know your material inside and out and you'll be fine. Probably once you get into the swing of things, and you have done a table or two, you'll relax and realize this isn't much different than any other performing you've done.

Everyone figures out their own way to deal with nerves. I tend to get really antsy until after my first routine. As my girlfriend puts it, once I get the first laugh I relax. This is why my first piece is always a character piece that involves no sleight of hand and no audience interaction. It lets me get into the groove of performing.
 

RickEverhart

forum moderator / t11
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Sep 14, 2008
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Louisville, OH
Ha Ha. You want to know the way I felt before my "first" paid gig like that? Okay you asked for it.

About an hour before...I was sick to my stomach and had diarrhea. My first table or two I had shaky hands and cotton mouth. Ha Ha. Don't worry my friend, the nerves are completely normal and definitely kick in when you know you are being paid to entertain. It's a whole different avenue than the kids sitting at home filming their crotch on youtube showing their newest custom deck with a crappy sleight.

The more you do it, the better you become and the nervousness does eventually turn into an adrenaline rush. I, along with many other performers I know, normally choose to eat a light meal or nothing at all prior to performing just because of the upset stomach thing.

By the time you get home you will be riding an emotional high from making people's night. It is so rewarding intrinsically. Learn not to beat yourself up over any mishaps or effects that you botch up because when you perform enough...it can and will happen. Just move on to your next effect.
 

RickEverhart

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Sep 14, 2008
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Another helpful hint to boost your confidence is don't start changing your sets and effects up every time you go out and do a gig. Once you think you have the 3 strolling sets down that you want, keep them in the same order, with the same patter EVERY time. The props go back in the same pocket area EVERY time. The repetition of many times throughout the night will help you learn the ins and outs of each effect and the set as an entire routine. If you switch things up every time out there you aren't giving yourself a change to truly master your sets. It will become easier and easier from there.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
If it's going to be your first couple of performances, then it's fine to have some overlap with your effects. People generally don't care if you performed the same stuff at the last 5 or so tables that night. Specially if it's your first couple of nights there.

Also, remember to take your time and breath deeply when you are performing. You need to learn how to shut down your reptilian brain and just constantly tell yourself that everything is going to be OK, even if you run into a skeptic or screw up a trick.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
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One tip that seems odd but is pretty solid is to eat a banana like half an hour before you perform. The potassium helps reduce shaking.

Many performers have nerves before and during a show. Harry Anderson has to have water on stage because he still gets cotton mouth every time he performs.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
One tip that seems odd but is pretty solid is to eat a banana like half an hour before you perform. The potassium helps reduce shaking.

Many performers have nerves before and during a show. Harry Anderson has to have water on stage because he still gets cotton mouth every time he performs.

Water can also help calm down your stomach too. Though try not to over do it, otherwise you'll end up shaking and trembling for OTHER reasons.

One thing that has helped me is to meditate for about 5-8 min before doing anything stressful. It tends to allow you to focus more and shut out all the voices in your head. (which was the deep breathing does too.)
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
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I get dry mouth a lot (even when not performing) so I generally have water to sip during performances anyway. The day of a performance I make sure I have a good amount of protein, b12, iron, calcium, and potassium. Nutrition has had a big impact on my ability to perform.

Rehearsing until you know you've got your material so well that you can sometimes forget you've executed some of it is a good place to start, but you have to take care of your body as well.
 
Nov 15, 2007
1,108
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33
Raleigh, NC
I get dry mouth a lot (even when not performing) so I generally have water to sip during performances anyway. The day of a performance I make sure I have a good amount of protein, b12, iron, calcium, and potassium. Nutrition has had a big impact on my ability to perform.

Rehearsing until you know you've got your material so well that you can sometimes forget you've executed some of it is a good place to start, but you have to take care of your body as well.

This is good advice for life - not just performing. Taking care of your body will help with confidence in general and can be a springboard for all kinds of opportunities.

My first time performing? I haven't done paid gigs - but the free gigs I've done at retirement homes and the random acts of magic in nightclubs downtown (that start for friends and usually attract strangers) have all started with shaky hands - it only lasts a few minutes, first positive reaction changes the game and turns the nerves to excitement and I'm able to move from opening effects (usually less slight intensive) to things that require more dexterity.
 

Justin.Morris

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Aug 31, 2007
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I get nerves before I get up, but once I'm on, I'm good.

It helps me to breathe deeply before I go on, then start with something that I am extremely comfortable with. For close up, I do one of the same few effects that I know best. For stage I start with a quick bit that get's a laugh and I also know so well. For speaking, I start with a personal story that I have scripted and know well enough that I don't need to refer to my notes for.

If I begin with confidence, the nerves dissipate. My favorite tricks, I have done literally thousands of times.
 
Jun 13, 2013
12
0
35
Fort Myers, Fl
Here we go...

Hey Rick? Do you perform mentalism? I ask because you did a GREAT JOB PLANTING THE SUGGESTION THAT I COULD HAVE PROBLEMS WITH DIGESTION! ^_-

Last night I hit up the bars that I frequent and tested my table stuff. It was weird having sponge balls at a bar but everyone knows me as the Magician ("Buy him a shot, He'll do a trick for you!") so yeah. Everyone says that I will be fine. I know that I will be fine. My system however does not care. I performing for retirees that I've been tols, but it's that "YOU ARE GETTING PAID, YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE GETTING A PERFECT PERFORMANCE" mindset that's creeping in.

Logical Brain said:
Scyne, the worse that could happen is thy decide not to call you back.
Instinct Brain said:
You could literally die. You could flash a card and drop dead.

I respect the art. I respect the creators and those that came before me. I'll be posting pictures and such from the event live on my website... Here we go.
 

RickEverhart

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Sep 14, 2008
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Ha Ha. No mentalism Scyne, but I've been doing this long enough to know what nerves can and will do to your body hence the reason I skip whatever meal it is prior to the gig I'm headed to and then pound food like a champ when I get home on my emotional high.

Have a good time and break a leg. Give us an "honest" critique on yourself later on tonight or tomorrow. Don't just come back and say. "Oh, I knocked them dead." I want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly.
 
Jun 13, 2013
12
0
35
Fort Myers, Fl
[video=youtube;kGVSLsO6U6A]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGVSLsO6U6A[/video]

Yeah. Fun.

But now I can say I've been paid to perform... Here's to parlor magic!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

RickEverhart

forum moderator / t11
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Sep 14, 2008
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Scyne, wow....talk about jumping right into the fire and yes, you are right, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong at some point or another. Nice job arriving early and seeing what the layout would be though rather than arriving 10 minutes prior like some guys and then going insane because the tables weren't how you envisioned it. It sounds like you were able to improvise and make the best of the situation. I always take some extra items that play bigger and just leave them in a brief case in the car in case something like this happens.

Thank you for the video review of your evening. Many of these guys do not get a chance to go out and work gigs and this is all great insight for them.

One thing to keep in mind now moving forward is when you are on the phone with the potential client... really get into the fine details if possible about approximately how many guests, tables, are they the round tables that seat 8, is it buffet style, etc. It might seem anal to them, but I assure you it will help you prepare mentally for what you are getting yourself into.

That's great that they are going to have you back at that venue and I guarantee you're only going to improve from here on out.

Well done my friend.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
Also make them wait for you to "check your calender". Even if your entire month/year is completely free. This was something my grandmother was told to do when she was selling Pampered Chef items and doing bookings. It works just as well for Entertainers.
 

RickEverhart

forum moderator / t11
Moderator
Sep 14, 2008
3,655
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Louisville, OH
Dang it Randy...ha ha. That's golden advice you are giving away there. I happen to use that line as well. I always make it appear like I am in high demand as well even if the month is open. I never check my calendar or phone right in front of the client. Sometimes this "checking your availability" and getting back to them makes them call you back within a day and book you right away so they "have" that date locked. Ha Ha. Man...we are just mean sometimes. Nah....all part of the business.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
One more thing is to get them to Email you all the information after the phone call. This way you can easily write it down and save it just in case they try to pull a fast one on you. Same reason to make a copy of the signed contract and bring the copy with you. If they try to pull a "I never agreed to that" attitude, you just show them the contract and the Email. (Also, you can use those two things in court if somebody tries to get out of paying you.)
 

Justin.Morris

Moderator
Aug 31, 2007
2,727
820
Canada
www.morrismagic.ca
One more thing is to get them to Email you all the information after the phone call. This way you can easily write it down and save it just in case they try to pull a fast one on you. Same reason to make a copy of the signed contract and bring the copy with you. If they try to pull a "I never agreed to that" attitude, you just show them the contract and the Email. (Also, you can use those two things in court if somebody tries to get out of paying you.)

Yes, a clear written agreement or contract is a must. I don't use a contract because I feel I'm being pretentious (just my own insecurity I imagine), however I send a formal agreement to them to look over and then verify that I got the details correct. Every change gets edited, resent and verified again. This is not only to protect you, but shows responsibility on your part.
 
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