Big trouble w/ hecklers

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.
John LeBlanc
Posts: 903
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby John LeBlanc » July 18th, 2007, 8:46 am

The first secret is A-Hole Management. If you can learn to manage the one in the mirror, you've eliminated 90% of your potential future problems in front of an audience. Almost 100% of what remains is covered by Richard's advice above.

John

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 18th, 2007, 11:17 am

Keep another deck of cards nearby. Suggest they show you a trick with that deck. "Ah, your a magician, too? Great. I love magic. I'll watch and you can show me a trick."

At the onset, offer a deck of cards for inspection. Say, "If you would, please shuffle this deck of cards. While you are doing that, I will use this deck." Then pull out the deck you want to use to do your trick.

I think being one-ahead is good. Having one more line to mess with them is better than being one short many times, however - often times being wise with lines makes you a wisecracker and people do not like entertainers that are wisecrackers. You can come across to arrogant or "sharp tongued" at times. I know that from experience.

"Do I go to McDonald's and tell you how to flip burgers?"
"50 million sperm and you won, eh?"
"Ah yes. You remind me why some animals eat thier young."

Learn one or two tricks that do not need a set-up deck. This way - when they ask to shuffle the deck, you smile, let them shuffle the deck and then say, "well, I will now show you a different trick (or a lesser trick - or a trick designed for lesser minds - how about idiot proof?). You certainly screwed that one up". This validates them, at the same time it tells them they won't be seeing that trick now...

"Well, I was going to entertain you, but if your mission is to just screw me up, then I will move on to someone who wants to be entertained"

Simplicity is the most entertaining. I, personally, am most entertained by the person that does tricks using a staight deck and does not add all that finger-flicking and juggling into the presentation. Sure, smooth presentation is nice and little enhancements go a long way - but if it takes so much skill to present that it "looks like it took a lot of skill" or it appears like you are doing moves - then I'm not impressed really. The best magic - in my opinion - looks amazing, not elaborate and filled with embellishments.

I do two simple tricks that need no set-up. One is a Three-Card Repeat and the other is called "Do-As-I-Do" written by my dad, George Sands. (found in his book 52 Years of Magic) This way, if they ask me for the deck, I ask them to hand me four cards and take four cards for themselves and I go int "Do-As-I-Do" and then I do a quick Three card Repeat, and then I'm out of there and I save the more skilled, set-up tricks for another time.

Huggs - AwS

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 18th, 2007, 2:09 pm

I was in Vegas at the weekend, waiting in line for the rollercoaster at NYNY. There was a large group of deaf kids (about 18-19 years old). We started talking and I they asked to see a trick. So I did a colour change routine my Uncle taught me. Multi phase but obviously no patter needed. After the first change, a guy in the line next to us said 'Oh man, that old thing? It uses a short card and a magnet I was doing that years ago.

I replied saying how lucky for him to be so knowledgeable at such a young age, but would he minded if I carried on showing the routine to my new friends.

I finished the routine, it ends with a rub a dub vansih on my (manly) thigh).

All the deaf kids were going crazy, laughing and smiling. I looked at the 'haggler' (sic) he looked slightly ashamed and said 'You know, that isn't the trick I thought it was, sorry for interrupting you'.

:)

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 18th, 2007, 2:19 pm

I would never let a spectator know he'd messed up a trick by shuffling the cards. That's as good as telling him the deck is stacked. From there, he can figure out the whole trick.

I made this mistake when I started "Out of This Universe," only to be stymied when the spectator cut the deck before dealing the cards into four piles. Instead of doing what I should have done and seamlessly gone into another trick, I let him know that that cut messed me up.

From there (and having seen the trick before), he was able to completely figure out one of the best tricks in my arsenal. :(

///ark

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 18th, 2007, 2:22 pm

The other thing I wanted to say comes from the world of animal training: It's never the audience's (animal's) fault.

You're the performer and you need to be able to handle whatever happens when you perform. If someone grabs the deck, it's up to you to get out of it. "The show must go on."

///ark

Jim Morton
Posts: 178
Joined: February 7th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Jim Morton » July 18th, 2007, 2:41 pm

I used to worry a lot about hecklers, and I used to have problems with hecklers. A funny thing happened though: the better I got, the less heckling I encountered. The little that I still do encounter is easily managed. I seldom feel threatened in those situations anymore.

If someone is completely unmanageable, don't perform for them. If you have good people skills (and you better), you might try talking to them about it (yeah, even the biggest a-holes as long as they are not drunk). Sometimes that is all it takes. You want the audience on your side.

A common error, especially among younger magicians, is the tendency toward smugness during presentations. As Jerry Seinfeld put it: "Here's a coin. Now it's gone. You're stupid." At the local magic store, I even heard one magician telling a female reporter that magicians are superior to non-magicians! No wonder people like this encounter hecklers, and then provoke these people to paint he rest of us with the same brush.

To recap:
Practice x 3 (as Gord said)
Be friendly
Don't be smug

Jim

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 18th, 2007, 3:48 pm

Hecklers...

That depends on if you are doing magic for free or doing a money gig where you are paid to do a show and perform.

If you are doing magic for free and it is for your own enjoyment before doing the magic ask yourself if the audience really wants to see it?

People will heckle more if magic is forced on them by a show off or a person when they really are not interested.

If it is a paid gig then my suggestion is to choose the right time to go over and show the people magic.

The best way to stop hecklers is to have good performance material. And be able to do it well but it is also a good idea to do magic for an audience that really "wants" to see it.

Just an opinion.

Onward and upward.

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 18th, 2007, 4:37 pm

Again some great advice from all. After all is said and done, I do believe it comes down to...
Well, practice. :) Those of you that got that, thanks! And again thanks for taking the time to help out this hopeless novice. I trully apprecitate it.

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 18th, 2007, 4:48 pm

Does anyone know of a magic club (is that what they're called?) in south fla?

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 18th, 2007, 5:17 pm

Practice is important. But it doesn't substitute for performing.

Practice, practice, practice. But also, perform, perform, perform.

///ark

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 19th, 2007, 2:02 am

Practice, practice, practice. But also, perform, perform, perform.
That is such good advice.

Practice gives one the confidence to know that one can execute the effect perfectly technically.

Performance gives one the confidence to perform. Some people seem to have been born with such confidence, but most of us (including myself) werent. I can look back on specific performances of mine years ago that were seminal moments for me they made me realise that I could do it.

Dave

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 19th, 2007, 6:11 am

Great point, again. Mark and Dave.

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 19th, 2007, 5:24 pm

n9soto,

You have received some great advice from some wonderful pros. Much of it is gold and well worth listening to.

BUT, right now you say you are new to magic and I assume you are still an amateur. Well I envy you my friend because right now as an amateurs you have one of the greatest luxuries that many of us that work full time do not. As a matter of fact, I am slightly jealous of you.

As an amateur who is learning a craft and art you hold the esteemed position of lord and master over your magical repertoire. If some one is being a world class A-Hole you feel free my brother to let that person know, "You know what? You don't deserve to see this." and then walk away holding your head up with the satisfaction of knowing that you just shut that jackass down.

Show your stuff to people who are deserving and enjoy it. Work on your sleights and banter with them because THEY are the people you are comfortable with. They will help you while you are beginning to be comfortable and polished with your material. You are under absolutely no obligation to entertain jackasses at this point in your career.

When you are a bit more polished, comfortable, and confident, you can learn to work for jackasses at your leisure. As a matter of fact, at some point you may find yourself in a "jackass mood." You may be wondering if you have this thing managed to the point you can work it for jackasses. Then, if YOU FEEL LIKE IT seek one out on your own terms.

Sometimes the hardest thing when you are beginning is to walk away, trust me it is an important lesson to learn.

When you are ready for jackasses then you can smoke them but do it always ON YOUR TERMS. ;)

Because trust me, when you go pro and YOU MUST deal with jackasses because it is your job you will fondly remember the old days. Like the time you told the guy who was giving you a hard time that there was a booger on his shirt and when he looked down you flicked him on the nose, grinned, and walked away. Okay that was what I did but I still remember it, fondly, every time I am faced with a drunken corporate executive who wants to shuffle the cards or show me this crazy thing where you make several rows of cards and you just think of one....

Enjoy the power you have right now, it is an exciting time for you and I wish you the very best.

Best,

Dan-

Guest

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Guest » July 20th, 2007, 6:32 am

Thanks Dan. You're right,.

Spoook
Posts: 34
Joined: March 1st, 2012, 1:45 am

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Spoook » March 1st, 2012, 2:30 am

Here are a few ways to handle challenging spectators

1 - Blow there mind with the first trick. Once you get a WTF moment, you will gain their respect and they will let you do your thing.

* Two Card Monte is a great opening effect for this very reason.

I show the spectator a card (Ace of Spades) and ask him to remember it.

Then I give the card to the spectator, if he turns the card over when I give it to him, I explain that normally this game is played for money and turning the card over early would have cost him $20. I tell him, I will let it slide this time. (amazing how the thought of losing money just snaps people right into line, now it's serious it's for money ).

Then I show them my card (Ace of Hearts).

I tell the spec I am going to show them in slow motion the first time what is going to happen. I explain "now I slide my card underneath your thumb while taking your card"

Then I turn the card I am holding over to reveal I really did take their card.

Now I advise the spec to "get ready because I am now going to do the move at regular speed." I tell them to hold their card tight because I am going to do it on the count of three.
(now is a great time to pretend like your stretching your arm or to simulate some motion for warming up)

I motion my card towards their thumb ... one,
pull it back and push it forward again ... two....
pull it back and give just a pause just long enough to throw off their timing .... three.

As I move the card forward I push it hard enough to really go under their thumb.

As I move my arm back w the card card, I look them square in the eyes and tell them "with out looking, do you think I could have switched the black ace, with your red ace? (as i point to their card with my free hand)".

Wait for the spectator to answer (yes or no) then slide your card on top of their card.

With the spectator holding both cards ask them
(so for $20 is the red ace on top or bottom?).

When they answer be sure to point at the cards and nod (a motion indicating for them to check). Or tell them to "check it out"

Then just shut up and don't say anything when the spec turns over the two cards they are holding only to find they are holding two jokers instead of two aces..... WTF!!!!!!!!


(all reveals are omitted from this description of 2 card monte)

Spoook
Posts: 34
Joined: March 1st, 2012, 1:45 am

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Spoook » March 1st, 2012, 2:39 am

2 - Be sure to never give in to conditions for doing a trick. If you give in once the spec will think they have the right to tell you how to preform every trick.

Instead I normally advise everyone that doing magic is like being a good chef. When you make a pizza you don't bake the crust first and then throw the ingredients on the pizza. It just doesn't come out right. So if you want to experience something amazing today, I can't have any extra chefs in the kitchen.

I think giving an analogy everyone can relate to is a nice way of saying your not calling the shots here buddy.

Spoook
Posts: 34
Joined: March 1st, 2012, 1:45 am

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Spoook » March 1st, 2012, 2:47 am

3 - If it's kid (younger than you) I normally just stop and say "This is why I don't normally do tricks for kids." Now if you will all back up and give me some room I will continue. Now the ball is in the kids/hecklers court. If they stop I continue, if not performance over.

Spoook
Posts: 34
Joined: March 1st, 2012, 1:45 am

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Spoook » March 1st, 2012, 2:52 am

4 - keep a couple of self working tricks, or tricks that are not slight intensive. The Biddle Trick is normally good for when people are making guesses (random or not) about how you are doing a trick.

I find the biddle as a great trick to fool people who think they are on to me. They always think you put the card in your pocket or on the floor. It's great when they find out they had the card the whole time.

See your card over here ... oh wait it's gone ..... where is it? What I hid it in my pocket? ..... Nope you had it the whole time!

Spoook
Posts: 34
Joined: March 1st, 2012, 1:45 am

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Spoook » March 1st, 2012, 2:55 am

5 - I find doing the pop up move or the pass when someone is suspecting in the ACR routine will silence critics.

Spoook
Posts: 34
Joined: March 1st, 2012, 1:45 am

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Spoook » March 1st, 2012, 2:57 am

6 - Sometimes people walk up who haven't seen the whole routine and start challenging. Sometimes you can just tell you audience "Can someone please take him aside and explain to him why that wouldn't work?"

Spoook
Posts: 34
Joined: March 1st, 2012, 1:45 am

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Spoook » March 1st, 2012, 3:02 am

7 - Finally if I am about ready to end when they start heckling I do one last mind blowing effect. French Kiss is my favorite and I just walk away from the heckler.

You will find out the crowd will normally go w/ you and not the heckler if you moved to a nearby area. (i.e. went to the other side of the bar). They also tend to ask you to keep preforming. This is also a great time to set up a new routine or trick w/ no one around initially.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25119
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 1st, 2012, 9:11 pm

Or, you could just tell them to go suck a lemon.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

User avatar
Corneilius Jay
Posts: 90
Joined: January 14th, 2012, 3:43 pm
Location: Republic of Ireland

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Corneilius Jay » March 6th, 2012, 7:40 pm

Check out Darwin Ortiz' book "Strong Magic". Lots of good advice in there about audience management and making your effects non challenging as opossed to tricks that challenge the audience to find out how it's done.

Kind regards.
Neil.
Regards.
Neil.

User avatar
Moment
Posts: 2
Joined: December 27th, 2012, 10:08 am

Re: Big trouble w/ hecklers

Postby Moment » December 27th, 2012, 10:19 am

Anonymous wrote:
1) How do I get much, much better at my sleights so that these people can't catch me even though there sole purpose in life seems to be to bust me at that moment?
Practice, practice, practice.

2) How do I handle these people when they become a problem, or start haggling me to let them hold it or let them shuffle, etc?
Don't perform until you are ready.

No offence, but it sounds like you just aren't ready to perform yet. I know you want to. I know the need to show what you can do, but if you get caught as much as you say you are, then you just aren't ready to be performing.

Gord


I agree. I would never perform a trick until I've reached the point where I can pretty much nail it every single time which takes a LOT of practice but it's a great way to beat the hecklers.
Show me your best trick!


Return to “General”