What should you tell a spectator

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by KingLouis, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. so when im performing to some audiences they ask me how the trick is done which is natural right? Well i was performing to this audience of around 4 people performing david blaines sandwich trick and he kept pestering me to tell him how it was done and wouldn't leave me alone at which i had to stop performing as he kept following me around asking me. I was wondering what you tell a spectator if they want to know how the trick is done... also i would like to know what you guys do when you have performed to an audience and they tell you to perform the same trick again, me personally i just move on to a different trick and show them that.
  2. I'm pretty sure that guy was stalking you... Sorry to hear this. You should get a book called Outs, Precautions , and Challenges for Ambtious Card Workers by Charles Hopkins. Hope this helps.
    Maaz Hasan likes this.
  3. In my experience, if someone is that focused on how you did a trick, it's because they feel the point of the performance was to figure out your method. In other words, you presented it as a puzzle, a challenge. You fooled him, and the unspoken deal is you show him the solution to the puzzle.

    Look at how you perform. Since you called "David Blaine's Sandwich Trick" I'm going to make the bold guess that you both learned this from YouTube, and also that you used Blaine's style of minimal scripting without understanding why that style of presentation works for him. Doing that generally means there's nothing for the audience to connect with other than figuring out the method.

    There's also a big difference between, "How did you do that!" and "How did you do that?" The first one is just an exclamation of surprise and wonder. That's not a bad thing. The second one is a focus on method, and that is bad in my opinion.

    If someone is pestering you for methods, politely tell them to leave you alone. "Hey man, I'm glad you're excited for the trick but I'm not going to tell you how I did and you're disrupting these folks' fun by following me. Please stop." A lot of people just don't realize when they are being rude and if you let them know, politely, they will correct their behavior.

    Another thing to do is use the crowd as a way to control an unruly audience member. "Hey folks, it's been fun performing for you, but we've got someone here who is just dead set on trying to get me to tell him how I do things so I'm going to have to pack it up and see ya'll later." If the crowd is enjoying what you're doing, they'll shut him up for you.

    When people ask me to do a routine again my reaction depends on what routine it was. Much of what I do is repeatable, so if it's appropriate I will just do it again. But if it's a routine that shouldn't be repeated for some reason, my easiest way to get around their request is to say, "Sure! C'mere, check this out" and then I'll do whatever I feel like doing. If the first person says they want to see that specific routine again, then they're probably just trying to figure out the secret. In that instance I'd say something like, "It's not as fun if you already know how it ends. Here, check this out" and do whatever I felt like doing.
  4. I generally work out two methods to most effects I perform. If I can't feasibly do that, I may still perform it but do so on rare occasion. I do this specifically for spectators like this.

    I totally agree with Christopher and his approach with this as well.
  5. I go for at least three methods for most of my effects. One for parlor/stage, one for close up, one impromptu. That way I can do it any situation and I can repeat if needed. Or mix and match as the situation warrants.
    DisasterTheory likes this.
  6. I've had to deal with a couple people that really hounded me about my methods but not many. The ones that do, if I see that I can't shake them with a simple, a magician never tells, or I don't want to ruin it for everyone, I have a trick I show them. It's a super simple trick but it has always satisfied them. All of my shows are close up magic any ways, so I pull out a pen and do a disappearing and reappearing pen cap routine. It's simple yet highly visual. So I do the routine for them, and immediately go into teaching it to the entire audience, focusing on the person that has been giving me trouble. I even let them have a go, while poking fun at them, getting an audience laugh for my trouble. I then go into some more difficult vanishes, leaving the pen in the nosy spectators hand to try and play along.
    DisasterTheory likes this.
  7. Good suggestions have been made here. Christopher makes an excellent point that if they perceive the trick as a challenge or believe that you are deriving satisfaction from fooling them, they will focus only on wanting to know how it's done. Giving them something to connect to means being humble and wrapping an entertaining presentation around the trick. People like stories. Come up with your own interesting, witty and/or entertaining story presentation and they will be less focused on trying to bust you or learn the secret. They will kick back and relax and just enjoy it...

    I would add a couple more suggestions: (1) When they ask to know how it's done or pester you, use a humorous line such as, "You know, that trick is so baffling that even I don't know how it's done." (2) Let them know about the magician's code of honor. Tell them you would like to let them in on the secret, but the magician's code forbids revealing it. Similarly, the magician's code forbids repeating a trick for the same person or audience.
  9. @ChristopherT pretty much said all that needs to be said.

    Magic is about entertainment, not about fooling people. If you set out to fool someone, they have two options - figure out how you did it or be a fool. Nobody wants to be a fool. If you set out to entertain, figuring out how it is done ruins the entertainment. Find a way to present your magic so that the audience wants you to show them the impossible.
    Antonio Diavolo, CWhite and ParkinT like this.
  10. The best thing I have ever had happen was that a spectator started asking me to tell him how it's done, but stopped mid sentence and said "Don't tell me, it'll ruin the experience.". If there are people like this in your audience, you might want to say "I could tell you guys (as a whole), but it would kinda ruin the trick wouldn't it?". No clue if that would work, but it might.

    Also, maybe you want to keep an easy to do trick that you wouldn't mind teaching them for this type of scenario specifically? After everyone leaves, you tell them?
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  11. Presentation is important. From my experience, the main problem is that people can just be buttholes.

    I did a thumb fan one time and a girl decides to knock it out of my hand. Could I really go back home and present a thumb fan any better? I don't think so.

    I believe all "tricks" ARE puzzles. That's the nature of our craft.

    Politely and respectfully ask them to leave you be because you are not going to expose your secrets.
    Khaleel Olaiky likes this.
  12. To be perfectly blunt, this is a very narrow way of thinking.

    Put it this way - what you perform, and what I perform, are not the same thing. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but I guarantee if someone saw you perform and then saw me perform, they'd think we're doing very different things. Yet we're both under the umbrella of "our craft".

    My material is not presented as a puzzle to figure out. It's presented, explicitly, as an experience that I will share with the audience. Something unique and cool for them to be able to talk about experiencing with others. Because I present it this way, I never get "How did you do that?" I get "That was really weird" or, occasionally, "that was really incredible".

    There are many ways to present magic. Puzzles is only one of them.
  13. In essence a trick is somewhat of a puzzle for some folks, especially when it's performed as such. There will always be people that feel the need to solve every mystery and won't let it rest until they do. I personally don't think they should be performed that way (as a puzzle) however, unless you have an out planned for that. That's just my personal opinion and preference. The entire foundation of "puzzle" is "putting pieces together until you have a solution." If you present an effect as a puzzle, you are inevitably creating the subconscious mindset that they must now put the pieces together to figure out how it's done. Obviously that's not to say you can't do this. Perform the way it works for you. However, if you don't have an out for it, you could find yourself in the shoes of the OP, having someone nag you to help them figure it out.
  14. The performance of magic as a puzzle provides the audience with a sense that you know the secret and it is their job to figure it out. It also gives the audience the sense that the magician thinks they are superior because they know the secret. That is how hecklers are made. Being puzzled or fooled isn't entertainment.

    If you present magic as a puzzle, that ruins the illusion of impossibility because implicit in the idea of a puzzle is the idea that there is a solution. Present your magic so that the joy of the illusion of impossibility is so great that the audience doesn't want to ruin it by seeking a solution.
    obrienmagic and DisasterTheory like this.
  15. THIS!
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  16. This happens to me a lot, A lot of great tips up here in the forum but the simplest advice I can give you is
    DO NOT perform in a place you know you are going to stay in it for more that a few hours, if you know you are leaving, this guy can't follow you anymore.
  17. And just in case they do, call the cops. If they start following you tell a security guard, But if they start stalking you home, call the cops immediately.
  18. I apologize guys. I don't think I got my point across clearly. I don't mean that we shouldn't strive to present magic as something other than puzzles. I mean the nature of our craft is that they are puzzles. They naturally cause our audience to wonder how in the world we did what we did. Through careful presentation, we can make it less so a "presentation of a puzzle," but my point is that doesn't change the fact that people wonder how we do what we did.

    Again, that is just my personal opinion. You'll notice the difference from culture to culture. When I've performed in America, I get less of "how did you do that?" whereas in China, literally EVERYONE is trying to figure what you did.
  19. Speak for yourself.

    The nature of "our craft" is mystery. Mystery is not a puzzle. Those are not interchangeable words.

    There is a massive difference in meaning between, "How did you do that!" and "How did you do that?"

    When I say my material isn't presented as a puzzle, I mean just that. There is no time when anything I'm doing is presented as something the audience needs to figure out. Usually I include some kind of pseudo-explanation in the script that gives them the impression they already know. So maybe I'm cheating in that regard? But the presentations feel honest to me, and that's what's important to me. I can be deceptive in my honesty and provide an experience that the audience is satisfied with, so they don't look for any other answers - they just tell the story of the experience to their friends, later. Thereby, I have given them more social value by having something cool to talk about.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  20. If you have to do that, then doesn't that mean you've recognized that the nature of our craft is a puzzle and need to use a red herring on the audience just so they don't focus on the method?

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