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 Post subject: Your opening trick
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:48 am 
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Joined: 15 Aug 2011
Posts: 82
So, i've been performing effects for people but mostly with an awkward start. With that I mean I don't smoothly go into effects but just suddenly announce i have an effect and tell people they should pay attention.

As soon as i'm started things go smoothly but this opening is still one of my worst parts.

How do you open? I mostly work close-up, focussing on restaurant work. What would you recommend? I thought of swami number predictions, yet they don't feel right..

Regards,
Me


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 Post subject: Re: Your opening trick
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:34 pm 
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Joined: 23 Feb 2012
Posts: 82
Consider the performance from the standpoint of the audience. You would likely be confused if a person approached you and said, "Would you like me to show you something interesting?"

Always begin with an introduction, an explanation of what you're doing there, and a conversation. When people meet other people for the first time, they want to meet an amicable, enjoyable person. What this means is that it is best to converse with the people you meet before moving into your performance.

Something that too many performers don't realize is that the interaction is about more than your amazing skills. We, as magicians and mentalists, share our craft with audiences because it allows for rapport to form, which brings people into closer alignment through shared experience.

So this might be a good way to begin:
*Make sure the potential audience is not deeply invested in something*
Excuse me. I apologize if I am interrupting, but I know what you're thinking. ... You're thinking 'Who is this person, and what does he want?' My name is __________, and I assure you, I am not selling anything or converting anybody. What are your names? *extend hand for handshake* And what brings you to this particular place on this particular day? *listen actively, and respond appropriately. Allow a silence for them to reciprocate. If they don't, continue anyhow:* Oh me? How kind of you ask! I am a practicing mentalist, and I am touring the city, demonstrating my craft. Yes, it sounds strange, but I assure you ... *whisper* it's beyond strange! *take out pencil and card* Take an example! Let's say I write down a random number from 1 to 1000, and I tell you that this is the number that you will think of in ten seconds. If I were right, you must agree, that would be phenomenal. ... ... So, give me any number from 1 to 1000. Go ahead, whatever comes to mind! *she says her number. Hand the card to her to reveal. Try to move into a conversation for at least 2 solid minutes before doing another demonstration.*

Also, allow the audience to develop interest of their own accord. Too often have I witnessed the magician that takes more interest in the tricks than does his audience. If they are mystified or want to see more, you will know because they will demonstrate their interest. If they look distracted or disinterested, bid them a good day and make your exit, leaving them to remember what occurred.

Above all, you must accomplish these three things when you begin a walk-around set:

1. SMILE
2. Be pleasant and polite
3. Ensure that you are a human being before you are a mentalist (connect and interact OUTSIDE of the mentalism)


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 Post subject: Re: Your opening trick
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:49 pm 
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Joined: 26 Sep 2004
Posts: 224
Location: Sydney, Australia
I used to start my restaurant routine by simply saying "Hello, my name is Marc and I am the resident magician here at **** and I was wondering if you would like to see some magic ? For free !" and then when I got a "Yes" I would just go into whatever.

Might come across as really quite bland in writing but I found it was a rather polite and effective way of introducing myself. It was also general enough to then start whichever effect I wanted.

1: They know what my name is.
2: They know that I am officially a part of the restaurant and not some weirdo that wandered in off the street.
3: It is not going to cost them anything.

I know in the US some performers work for tips or happily accept them, I never did so I found this was a good thing for me to mention. Anything to sweeten the deal.

Eugene Burger from memory would say something similar I believe ending with "and would you like to see something absolutely incredible?". That never worked for me because sometimes people looked at me like I was about to open my jacket and expose myself :P
Eugene mentioned also the experience he had when he opened with an effect and then the audience member just said "Excuse me, we were having a conversation". That is a position that is very awkward and I have experienced similar things when I was first starting.

Not everybody wants to see a magic act when they are out to dinner, gosh, most of the time I wouldn't. People don't usually go to dinner thinking "Can't wait to see a magician", they go to enjoy good food and the company they keep and often that is all they require.
Customers getting the experience they want is a good thing for everybody.
If somebody says "No thank you" I would just say "Certainly, well if you would like to see something later, just let me know, have a great dinner."

I always found roping them into an effect before they have even suggested they want to see one was incredibly rude.

HOWEVER, that's just me.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opening trick
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:46 pm 
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Joined: 23 Feb 2012
Posts: 82
I agree with Incognito. In a restaurant setting, you must be much more careful in approaching the audience because it is more likely that they are there simply for each other.
I wouldn't use the approach that I suggested in a restaurant; it is only proper for the street when there is a potential audience that is not invested in other, more important things.

Again, I'd like to mention the importance of reading the audience as you go along with the introduction. As Incognito said, they often don't want to see magic at that moment. With enough practice, you'll begin to recognize the body language that signals their mood. If the rapport comes easily, the water is probably perfect. If they seem distracted, won't look you in the eye, they aren't smiling, or seem impatient, then you should wrap things up as quickly as possible and ask them if they wish to see a demonstration.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opening trick
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:18 pm 
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Joined: 29 Aug 2011
Posts: 36
open with something they know about!
how about powerball 60!


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 Post subject: Re: Your opening trick
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 5:56 am 
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Joined: 29 Mar 2011
Posts: 209
Location: Leeds, U.K
No don't open with Powerball tsshh!

Open with polite nature, remember you are going into their private space and therefore you need to create a rapport. Never open a restaurant set by having any props on display and before going near the seat you are going to sit in make sure they are fine with it.

If you approach the chair then ask its like opening someone's front door and then knocking.

Peter Turner

P.s Keep on Rocking in the free world!


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 Post subject: Re: Your opening trick
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 3:47 am 
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Penguin

Joined: 13 Jun 2007
Posts: 43
Location: Chicago
I always read and believe that you need a quick opener that sets the stage for what's coming up and creates shock and awe. I bend forks to open!


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