Saturday, January 9, 2010

Some Folk

Often the spectators are mixed. That means that you got children, teenagers, adults, old folk, smart people, people who think they are smart, dumb people, people who know they are dumb and the average Joe. But sometimes you get into audiences who are pretty much all of the same kind. And I am not talking about a booked show at a KKK-meeting; Which I would go to, but charge about 10 times more (yeah I am a consumer whore).

What I am talking about is the gathering of people who have a shared interest not because of the interest but because of a feature that they have which drove them to that particular interest. Those audiences need special care. Here is a list of those groups that I have encountered so far.

1. Teachers:
Yes they are weird. Driven and lethargic at the same time. Knowledgeable in one field, a "don't care"-attitude in the remaining fields. Usually at the end of a school year I am booked for that type of people. And boy they are strange. They sort of like what the magician is doing, even enjoy being fooled, but still there is this rest of doubt. And this doubt is more about the other teachers that are present. Basically they are talking to each other if they all understood the effect. (not method) At first it was odd for me. But then I learnt the proper way of dealing with that phenomenon. Tell them the effect, right after the effect! "Oh look the coin has travelled from this hand to the other hand!" Somehow this gives teachers what they need. BTW: That one person which totally enjoys your magic during such gatherings is the janitor.

2. Psychologists:
Talk about weird folk. The job of psychologists is to read other people and to help accordingly. Most often those psychologists are unable to read themselves. But apparently they cannot take a break from work. I had a show for that kind of folk. They didn't watch the magic, they watched me. And one guy asked me: "Do you like what what you are doing?" well I was tempted to say. "No I am only doing this for money." or "Yes, and in my spare time take magazines with pictures of beautiful people and cut out the eyes.", but I didn't. Here is how to deal with them. Avoid them!

3. Esoteric people:
They believe everything that you are doing. And I am not kidding. Especially if you are a mentalist. I had a show and did PK Touches. Damn it, I got such weird reactions. Not "Wow" or "Awesome" but that look that is saying "So what? I can do that too!" They seem not to enjoy magic. At least not the way that the common people do. Because they actually believe in magic, so if you perform magic for them it is nothing special. They are surrounded by magic all day. Here is how to deal with them. Talk bullshit. Read a self-help book or two and use that stuff and you are an instant hit.

4. Sceptics:
One would assume that sceptics are the opposite of esoteric people. Not really! The also believe in something and are not open for new ideas. So doing PK Touches for them also results in that "So what? I can do that too!"-look. A typical line from those folks would be: "I can do that too, if I could do that!" Tell them that your magic is achieved by a clever application of scientific principles and you are good.

5. Policemen:
Policemen are people who probably got beat up as a kid. A typical victim. It might be a gross over simplification, but if you are a policeman take a look at your peers. If they are the kind of person who got into police work to take revenge, if you have to nod your head silently, then what the hell makes you different from them? Anyway... policemen hate to be fooled. They do. They hate it. To them it is an attack on them instead of an attack towards their logic. If you perform a magic trick the subtext of your show might as well be: "Look at me, I am so much smarter than you, you dumb idiots, get a life!" It might not be your intend, but if you ever had contact with a policeman you know that they tend to "use" your words and actions "against you!" So here is how to deal with them... keyword: Scam! Tell them about scams. Like the three shell game and actually perform it and then - and this is important - explain it to them. Tell them what to look for and all of that. It doesn't have to be a real explanation, but it has to sound real. And then they are happy.

6. Lawyers:
Lawyer are the exact opposite of policemen. They were the kids in the school that were smart and beat up the kids that later would be policemen. They also hate to be fooled. So the same method applies. Tell them about scams and how to mess with policemen. They will love you.

7. Scientists:
Scientist cannot be fooled. That is what a majority of them thinks. Because they know much. But knowing a lot, doesn't mean you are smart. It also means that their own thinking makes it impossible for them to figure out a simple coin vanish. Because they take so much stuff into consideration, before they get close to the answer you are already doing the next effect. How to work for those: Fast paced. Don't give them much time to think about stuff. Always confront them with new material. Do that until you BREAK them. There actually is this point where they stop thinking and start to enjoy the magic.

8. Politicians:
Politicians are great. They also know about the lie as a tool to get greater reactions. They don't like to be fooled, but they lie so well about it, that it won't diminish the impact of your show. They react accordingly and are pleasant to work with. Aside from that, they are assholes.

9. RPG-Players:
For those of you that are not in the know: RPG stands for "Role Playing Game" and there are two types of players. The table top players and the video game players. It doesn't matter which one you encounter, both can tell you about orcs, elves and dwarfs. Those players are the best audience you can get. Seriously. They are like kids. The game of magic, the game of "let's pretend" is not a new concept for them. In fact they breathe that concept. But they are not dumb. They are smart and childlike. They actually enjoy a magic show, love to be fooled and react like hell. Here is a hot tip, how to be an instant classic among them: When you mess up a trick say this: "Oops, my mana is low!"
The unfortunate thing about this awesome crowd. They usually do not have the money or the time to book a magician.

10. Magicians:
A magician performing for magicians has to choose his material carefully. Here the list that will help you:
- avoid routines that are great for laypeople.
- choose material that use difficult sleights.
- you do not have to master the sleights. If they see it, the better it is.
- have one self working trick in there, but hide the self working miracle and call it your own "technique" that you keep a secret.
- explain one of your "secret tricks", choose the most difficult and most complex one.
- do not worry about flawless technique, as you are merely explaining.
- tell them you love them and that they are the best crowd ever.
- Fool them into believing you are doing a double (do it really bad) and then second deal the card.
But all of that you do at your own risk. Because magicians tend to "borrow" your stuff without asking.

1 comment:

Wai Lap Michael said...

Very, very impressive effort in directing attention to the impact of common characteristics in particular crowds.....I'd always thought as a young kid (that braggy show-off who thought he is really cool with a bag of tricks) there needs to be taken care of.

Have seen your videos in magicvideodepot around 2005-6, but never knew you had a blog.
Had a really nice laugh reading your stuff. Major props man.