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 Post subject: Akira's treatise on approaching strangers with magic
PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:33 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 10 Jun 2006
Posts: 4333
Location: Arlington, TX
Before I get started on techniques, let's dive into some theory:

Most people live boring lives. They wake up to a boring house, dull parents or spouse drive a boring commute to their boring jobs. Then arrive home to watch re-runs of the same boring shows, and goto the same restaurants they always have, because it's habit. But we don't want to be bored, instead we strive for excitement, adventure and other "vacation" dreams. If you can take them away from their dull existence, even for a brief moment then you possess abilities that attract, spark the imagination, and can bring true magic to people's lives.

Thus the need to live an interesting life. Performing magic is so much more than showing a "trick" - if you yourself are a boring person then any trick you do will come across as a dull idiot doing an act. Instead, you must be interesting, create mystery and touch that side of people that they've been missing for so long. One of the best books I've read is Never Be Boring Again by Doug Stevenson. Designed to be about business presentations, it actually contains valuable guidelines for bringing people's imaginations to the forefront, telling engaging stories and entertaining.

Isn't that essentially what we're doing here? Entertaining?

You must be enthralling without magic. Have the heart, desire and passion to be that interesting person, go from the random guy who's performing tricks to the true magician. Once you've obtained that, or even begun the journey toward this ultimate goal, you will elevate yourself beyond what most other magicians have achieved and gone from shuffling street magic to being the guy people seek out. Your rejection rate approaching people will fall to near zero, and your abilities outside of magic will blossom. In business, school, relationships, you'll be glad you stepped out of the boredom box.

Little things make a huge different as well, does your body language speak of confidence, desire and ambition? Or do you look like a low self-esteem kid who so desperately needs attention that he'll happily do a magic trick to please?

- Don't suck

Your opening trick must be as good or better than the demo video you saw. If it sucks, nobody will want to see trick #2, nor ever talk to you again. Just because you watched the explanation video doesn't mean you're good, it just says that you know the trick. Have a friend videotape you doing the trick, and play it back with a watchful eye seeking out any errors or flashes. That opener must be your best and most practiced trick. Period.

- Have people approach you

The best street magic technique by far, is having guys and gals approach you instead of spending your time walking up to other people. Things like Hummingbird Card or Long Distance Spinner, fanning cards, STS or even XCM - all create interest and bring random groups of people to you.

- Learn to recognize the difference between boredom and busy

If you must approach, finding your spot amongst the community is easy once you can discriminate boredom in people's eyes. The guy on a bench reading the newspaper, the woman waiting for her husband to get out of the bathroom. These are your prime targets. Busy restaurants on Friday or Saturday night have leagues of deathly bored families waiting outside of them for example. I also carry around my Two Dollar Window and GREED setup for when I'm waiting in a grocery store line.

- Keep it lean

People don't want to see 8 tricks in a row. Do a couple, move on - leave your audience wanting more.

- Volunteering

One of the best ways to start practicing is to volunteer at places. Community outings, church picnics, hospitals, daycares, nursing homes, and hundreds of other events would love to have you volunteer to entertain people once in a while. Call these places, talk to management and set something up. If you can paid, even better. Just cater your material to your desired audience - obviously performing SAW in the hospital may not be the wisest choice. Also become an expert on outdoor social events. Grab the community paper and peruse what's coming up in your local towns. Many times, they'll be an outdoor free concert or big celebration of sorts that will bring hundreds of people ready to be entertained by some magic.

- Private Property

Parking lots, inside malls and clubs - these are all private property accompanied by security personnel who won't like you. If you must perform here, remember to keep moving and don't be a stationary target irritating random people who walk by. Stores that aren't busy (luggage stores, candle stores) offer a perfect opportunity for bored-clerk-magic, but remember to keep it quick, do only a couple tricks and then move on. Cameras are everywhere.

If your favorite performing spot involves security (mall addicts?), then get to KNOW the security people. Casually introduce yourself and once you know them, be the guy who brings donuts sometimes on Saturday morning. If a guard is "stationed" at one spot and looks really bad, bring him a coke. Or have a job at that particular mall, in a store someplace so you see them often. Social networking can be your best friend, and the guy who everybody likes will get a very easy time doing tricks in the mall.

But overall, respect other people's property. If you're booted, be cordial, cooperate and follow their instructions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 3:18 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Posts: 2247
Location: Bath, UK
Nice essay, thanks.

Not sure about the bribing security guards, I would expect any decent security guard to be VERY suspicious of people who obviously try to befriend them and give them stuff.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:14 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 04 Oct 2003
Posts: 3550
Location: President of the davidcon fan club. (Always welcoming new members)
Wow, great essay! I certainly learned something. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 12:50 am 
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Penguin

Joined: 24 Jun 2006
Posts: 13
:D good one

thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 6:48 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 18 Oct 2005
Posts: 127
Location: Hackensack NJ
Very solid advice.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 9:58 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 877
Location: Canada!
I was scanning through the Essays section hoping to find some good advice on performing and what-not. So I came across this and I say 'Awesome! Just what I was looking for!' Great advice.

I noticed how easy it is to get a little attention so you don't even actually have to approach people to do magic. I was at school in class and I was done my work and had a couple mins of free time. So I took out a Loonie and just started to practice my coin roll. It's not that fast, but pretty fluid. All of the sudden a bunch of my classmates came over and just started-well just 'reacting' almost. It seemed like it was the coolest thing they had ever seen in their lives. I didn't bother doing any tricks but it was a good lesson for me to find out how to attract people's attention. It's actually quite simple. Try it yourself sometime and find out.

It may also depend on the kind of people your around. So be warned.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 9:59 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 877
Location: Canada!
**Double Post**


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 10:41 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 26 Sep 2006
Posts: 3289
Location: The Shire
I agree wholeheartedly with everything, especially the part about being interesting. That's make or break, right there. I know that everyone said I was a born performer (actual quote from teachers) long, long before I got into magic, and it's helped so much to have a good personality.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 8:07 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 20 Apr 2004
Posts: 2592
Location: Herts, England
good essay, when is used to perform in shopping centres (aka malls) i was eventually known to the security and we go on, kind of, but at the beginning i loved the thrill of doing the magic, seeing security and dissapearing, only to do it all again 2 minutes later.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 8:30 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 25 Dec 2006
Posts: 1722
Location: Canada
You're one of my very respected penguins, akirafist. Amazingly excellent essay. Congratulations!

~Z


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 6:56 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 238
Location: Well I was thinking about it but, I like your moms house
I know I am bringing up an old post but I had to comment this I really liked it and it opened my eyes good job not sure about the sercurity thing though but other than that I loved it :lol:


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