Performing at School
During my almost year here at Penguin, I have heard many people say not to perform in school... and I have to kindly disagree with these people. Although you may encounter some very, very bad hecklers in school, it can also be a great learning experience. Performing at school will teach you many things a magician needs to know in order to be successful with his magic; crowd control, presentation skills, and how to handle hecklers are some that pop into my head as I'm writing, so I'll cover each one in brief:
Many school-age magicians hardly even know what this means, nonetheless how to use it. Many of those guys come on here and complain about how some "stupid kid" grabbed their gimmicked prop or whatever, and then some people on here recommend that the kid only uses sleights from now on. Although I would think it were great if all school age magicians had many sleights in their arsenal, I don't think you need to rule out gimmicks for school. With the proper presentation and crowd control, you won't have a single audience member ever grab your prop. Just remember... you are in control... they didn't choose for you to do some magic, you chose to show them some magic.
This, IMHO, is the most important part of magic. The simplest of tricks can really hit hard in school if you present them right. Just today at school I used my Invisible Deck 4 times (not for the same group, of course), and they never even began to suspect the deck. If you use a strong enough presentation, it will take any and all heat off of the gimmick. I think this is the perfect time for a shout-out: somewhere online... I can't remember if it was here or not, I read about a presentation for the Invisible Deck involving telling the spectators about NLP, and how you can influence their thoughts and stuff. If you came up with this presentation, please tell me so I can give you credit... or, you never know, maybe that was for another effect. I don't know, but if this is your presentation for the ID, tell me.
Uh oh... this is the part that most school-age magicians are worried about. People that are constantly pointing out how you did the effect, interrupting you while you're performing, and just being a pain in the [edited]. Although, you could try to out-heckle them... I suggest 5 easy steps I picked up from one of the podcasts here on Penguin:
Step 1: Acknowledge the heckler.
This means when the heckler spots a method and points it out, just say something along the lines of, "Good eye." But do it in a nonchalant kind of way, and just keep moving along. Odds are they will keep their mouth shut for the rest or you performances.
Step 2: Ignore the heckler.
This step is, I feel, very self-explanatory. Just ignore them, and either the crowd will hush them up, or they will decide that it's not worth it and either be quiet or leave.
Step 3: Out-heckle.
If there was one step here that I would recommend skipping for a school-age magician, this would be it. Trust me, I've tried it, odds are it won't end pretty.
Step 4: Educate the audience.
If at this point Mr. Heckler is still bothering you, just stop wherever you're at and tell the audience that you cannot perform with Mr. Heckler in the audience. Like Step 2, either the audience will shoo the heckler away, or the heckler will leave on his own.
Step 5: Have heckler removed.
If it really comes to the point where you have to have the spectator leave, you're in trouble. Because in school, people don't pay to "get in" to your show, they just stop and watch... therefore, without the audience's help, odds are you will never get the heckler to leave.
Now, for some magicians these 5 steps may work very well, for others, they may not work so well. For those of you who don't like these steps, simply don't use them. There is another method for dealing with a heckler that I have yet to use, because I haven't yet encountered a heckler since reading about this method.
If and when you encounter a heckler, simply say, "Sir/ma'am, it is apparent that you do not want me to perform for you, so I will leave you alone and perform elsewhere... thanks for your time." I bet 9/10 if you do this, the heckler's friends will have you come back, and you won't hear another peep out of that heckler.
"People Think I'm Edited Because of Magic"
I've never encountered this situation personally, so I honestly don't know how I would handle it. Odds are those people are just jealous of the attention you get because you perform magic... so, to put it simply... don't perform for them. Anytime you're performing and they come around, pack up and leave. There's no use in showing people magic while they're around, you're not going to have any fun. Also, if there is another magician in your school, and people are saying things such as this about him because he's not as good as you, or they don't know him as well or what-not, please defend him. Nobody likes to be picked on.
This is a really touchy subject if you ask me. If you are scared of approaching upper-classmen with your magic, only perform for the ones you know well and their friends. This way you're performing for someone you're comfortable performing for, and it starts to give you a reputation. Eventually, upper-classmen will start calling you over to perform, and then there's no reason to be scared of being made fun of, or rejected, because you know they want to see your magic.
Well, that's pretty much my post. It turned into a much longer one than I expected, but oh well, long posts never hurt anybody. Please, add some discussion to this... what are your thoughts on performing in school?
Last edited by adjones on Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.