Thursday, April 06, 2006

Make 'em Beg

Just got back from the doctor's, where I had to deal with a substitute. (I hate it when my doctor goes on vacation!) He saw my copy of M-U-M ( http://www.magicsam.com/ )and asked if I was a magician. For some reason, I seem to have come up with the perfect answer - at least until someone comes up with a more perfect answer. I said that I perform the splashy magic for the kids, and mind reading & mental work for the grown-ups. This intrigued him, so he all but begged me to show him some proof of my "mental powers." Afterwards, when I was leaving, he was begging me to come to the race track with him. (America has become gambling-addicted, hasn't it?)

Now this doctor's initial reaction when he saw M-U-M was not enthusiastic. As a matter of fact, he sort of contemptuously spoke about a relative who annoyed people with card tricks. Yet immediately after I said That Perfect Answer, he was dying to see some magic. This got me to thinking that there are ways to overcome the initial prejudice against magicians.

Partly, it's how we present it. By distinguishing - in a SHORT answer - differences between kids' magic (which I love; I love the splashy, over-the-top stuff, and I'm good at it) and "grown-up" magic (which I don't perform that differently, but "grown-ups" think I do) he wanted to see what "grown-up" magic was.

I'm also intrigued by how we can tap into specific audiences' expectations. For example, Cherie & I plan to move back to Arkansas or Missouri in the near future. We've tried and tried to get an assignment to St Louis. When we do move back, I plan on taking advantage of the closeness of the Ozarks and all the superstitions and legends with which I'm familiar. I may even present myself as having been trained by one of the old weird women of the mountains. Steve Pellegrino tells me that St Louis tends to perceive magicians as children's entertainers only, but I'll bet they'd react differently to Ozark magic!

And that's a key idea, I think. Find what's in their hearts -- everyone carries some superstition with them. This doctor was a horse race fan, so mentalism really touched his "greedy li'l ol' heart." There's some way of presenting magic to every person, I think.

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