TOP 20 TIPS ON PERFORMING MAGIC IN PUBLIC!
1. NERVOUS ENERGY IS GOOD ENERGY
You will get nervous and anxious before you perform — one of the best ways to overcome anxiety and nervousness is to USE the energy that your body generates as a result of you being so nervous.
Your body produces a loads of chemicals when we anticipate something we’re afraid of… and this actually results in an increased amount of adrenaline and energy. The brain needs these chemicals in a heightened state.
Do not be afraid of this! Most people are too busy being afraid to actually think about channeling their anxiety into energy, enthusiasm and positive thoughts. You can use that energy, it will always be there, even when you become confident. Nervous energy is your magical friend.
2. BE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR MAGIC
The best and most natural magicians love their (and all) magic.
When it comes to performing your passion must be equal to the effort that success demands. Have enthusiasm and want to amaze. Simply put, if you are not motivated and passionate, why are you standing there?
3. KEEP ON PRACTISING
NEVER STOP PRACTISING, a badly performed effect is just unforgiveable. Set aside time to practice, try it out on friends and only do what you are confident in doing. On a continual basis go through the whole routine, not only the “moves”. If you don’t practice, your anxiety will be much worse than it would be if you had.
4. UNDERSTAND YOUR MAGIC
Make sure that you are very familiar with every aspect of every effect that you perform do. Read up about the effect. Do not watch a teen giving lessons on YouTube, but if it is a mentalist effect and there is footage of Max Maven, watch that (I think you know what I mean here). Learn from the Pro's!
5. THINK ABOUT HOW YOU ARE GOING TO USE YOUR PROPS
A well made prop can help as a “crutch” if you are a nervous performer. Make sure your handling of the prop is done with confidence. Having a good prop, that is interesting to look at can help you reduce the feeling that everyone is watching you. It does work, spectators will look at the prop and free you up.
6. DEEP BREATHES TO START
This is actually very important and you should get into a routine of doing it before you step up:
Breath in deep through your nose (inhale),
Release slowly through the mouth (exhale)
Do this roughly 10 times before you begin
Focus on your breath while you do this. It helps. Big time.
7. FEEL LIKE THEY ARE PRIVILEGED TO WATCH YOU
Act as though they owe you cash, feel like they want you to succeed, they are on your side. You are the in charge, the performer that they want to see. Just feel in control and yes your whole mental attitude should be – these people owe me big time!
8. NIKE IT
Just do it. Confidence grows over time and over performances you must take the attitude of just getting up there and doing it. Practice, over time, will tame fear.. Remember that even experienced public speakers get anxiety, but they have the "Just Do It" attitude.
9. MAINTAIN FOCUS
Your focus must be on your audience and their reactions. Be laser focussed on giving them the best show every single time.
10. REMEMBER YOU ARE AWESOME
You’ve prepared to the best of your ability. You do something very few people can!
A great state of mind, is a habit and initially you must force yourself to get into this positive habit, after a while it will come naturally to you.
Google “The power of attraction”, and you will see that what you Think, Say and Do will affect everything in your life. No more negative thoughts.
Top tips for performing Strolling (street) Magic
11. Location Location Location
When performing for the public then always make sure you know the area well and that you are not in a risky environment. Do not go to dodgy areas end of story. There have been stories of magicians choosing the wrong area and getting robbed and roughed up. You can get so many different reactions from your audience so you need to be somewhere safe, preferably somewhere where there are lots of other people around.
12. Be careful with props
If you do anything with fire or with borrowed goods make sure that you have some form of Public Liability Insurance. Do not do anything that might damage a borrowed item of value (this does happen).
13. Be personable and approachable
It is important that you have fun yourself. If you don’t allow yourself to have fun, how are your spectators to have fun? Make sure you smile and that you are personable. Be kind, pay people compliments, maybe address how weird this situation is in a friendly way way.
Make people feel at ease and part of the entertainment, let them know the next couple of minutes will be enjoyable. If you are very nervous and quiet, looking down at your props rather than making eye contact then you run the risk of making them feel uncomfortable. Spectators that feel akward will not give you a good reaction, and that may make you lose confidence a bit in what you are doing making the next approach harder. It can be a downwards spin. So make sure you are personable and approachable and get them on your side.
14. Put yourself in their shoes What Would You Do if someone walked up
For a moment think of what you would feel like if someone walked up to you and approached you how you are approaching people. Would you feel uncomfortable?
It is a good idea to spend a bit of time thinking about the approach technique you use. Is it to brash? Is it intrusive?
Your aim is for people to feel relaxed and say "Cool show me a trick" So think about it and change your approach if required. When you have broken the ice with some people it might be good idea to do a bit of "customer research" and ask them how they felt when you approached.
15. Respect your audience wishes
It is important that you be aware of your audiences and be respectful of their wishes. Do not force magic on someone who does not want to see it. If someone is looking slightly uneasy then be sure to reassure them. You may wish to perform a trick with an item like a ring that you borrow or a borrowed banknote, if someone obviously does not feel like they want to let you perform with what you have asked for, move on use something else. However you will find that if you are personable and make people feel at ease with you then you will find that even the most disagreeable person relaxes.
16. Have tricks that you can cut short - not long and complicated
Cruel stuff does happen, phones will ring, people can suddenly be aware of the time, they may even have a friend recognise them in the street and interrupt you. Be mindful of this, so try and do sets of tricks that are quick and can be cut off at any point, try to avoid routines that have something happen and then you do 5 other tricks before a big reveal as they may need to leave before the reveal happens. For example if you have vanished their banknote and you are going to have it appear inside something that you produce at the end of the routine make sure your method allows for you to have it already to go at any point.
17. Your opening trick is Vital!
If you can capture your spectator’s attention and make them hang around by performing a good opening trick that is something quick and snappy, then that is awesome. This does not go for all performances but it can certainly help with quick street magic performances. Show your audience that you are worth their investment of time and that it won’t be time wasted.
18. Make sure you are prepared and know what it is you are going to do
It is essential that your performances go smoothly. Really work out your pocket management, know what tricks you will perform and how you will perform them. If you are unprepared and can’t find, for example, a Sharpie, then two seconds later you cannot find a lighter or the correct prop you will lose your spectator’s attention and they will begin to feel like they are wasting their time. Of course how you address them can make all the difference but in general if you are interrupting someone’s day then the least you could be is prepared! By doing this it will make your performance stronger too. Seamless transitions from effect to effect or minimising dead time whilst you search for something will all help to keep your spectators in that ‘wonder bubble’ where they are not thinking of the time or where they have to be, you are simply helping them stay in the ‘moment’.
19. Unless asked try to keep it to a set of three effects for maximum impact
It can be very easy to get carried away when performing and keep wanting to show just that ‘one more trick’. It is always better to leave them wanting more than to over stay your welcome. Try to keep your sets to a limit of three tricks. Pepper as much magic throughout such as making Sharpies appear or vanish, decks vanishing or sudden moments of magic like a neck cracker; but always keep the sets succinct and to the point. Unless they are begging you to show more (in which case you should show just one more… maybe!) then be aware that the moment you stay to long is the moment you go from amazing and enthralling to ‘not as important as the other things I have to do’.
20. Be Gracious to and appreciative of your audience.
Be gracious to everyone who stops and gives you some of their time, if they thank you and are happy you stopped them, thank them back, after all, without their time you would not have had the chance to perform anything. Also do not be rude to anyone who doesn’t want to see magic, if they stop even for a moment to hear what you have to say then thank them and wish them well on their way. Remember that without spectators magic is nothing, it is just moves and sleights you have learned, you will not see the magic, only a spectator can so if anyone gives you the time of day to watch what you have practiced then you should be thankful and appreciative of their generosity with their own time. If you think about it, time is the most valuable thing we have and to share that with a stranger on the street really does mean a lot.
Always keep improving your knowledge and Magic skills
Books and videos are a good way to start. We recommend that you start of with easier self working magic before you decide what your niche is within the magic field.
Join a magic club or group online.
Do not get taught by amateurs on Youtube, this will harm you progress in the long run.
Before buying magic tricks, books, or videos, read reviews and get valuable opinions. Generally, books provide the best value, because they offer the most techniques and tricks for the price.
Videos may cost more than books, and provide fewer tricks, but they let you see an effect in action. Visual learners will likely find an effect easier to learn through video than reading.
Go to a Magic Shop
It's common to have the impulse to go to a magic store and buy a variety of effects to learn.
Get in with the Community
Getting in touch with other magicians is a great way to freely show your new effects to others without having to worry about failure and exposing secrets. In fact, other magicians can provide you with valuable feedback, you can learn from them.
Societies like the The Magic Circle, International Brotherhood of Magicians and Society of American Magicians are a good place to network. You can spend hours online at The Magic Cafe, post questions and learn a lot.
Develop a Good Baseline Technique
Those serious about learning magic will want to develop a basic technique. To get started on a foundation, learn all you can from the resources available at Magic Grand.