Last night I had a terrible magic gig… I normally enjoy every booking I do, but this one felt very different. I didn’t enjoy a single minute of it.
The gig came out of the blue. A phone call earlier in the week from a company hosting a small company party in a pub. They didn’t have a big budget so normally I wouldn’t have taken the gig myself, preferring to contract it out to magicians on my books at Professional Magicians, but I took this gig because Julie and I have a new project and it’s going to be very very expensive. Every little helps…
I quoted the client and after a little bit of ‘sticker shock’ compared to prices from magicians working locally, they came back and booked me. All was good.. Until I got there.
No big incident happened, the terrible magic gig didn’t end in disaster, but the whole night felt ‘off’.
The first group I approached were polite, but continued their conversations whilst I was performing, greeting new people into the group and even interrupting a presentation to see if anyone wanted another drink. The end of each effect was lost as only a fraction of the group was paying attention at any one time.
The next group wasn’t any better. The spectator, I asked to sign a card signed it with the C word. Nice… Then just wanted to joke his way through the trick to the point that it stopped any magic from happening. His friend said he was a magician too, and proceeded to explain that I was doing an Ambitious Card effect whilst I did it… He took great delight in telling what he thought would be the ending of the next trick..
This went on for most of the night. Most people loved the magic, but I felt pretty much like I was ‘imposing’ on everyone as all they wanted to do was drink. I ended up walking around dropping in on groups performing a few tricks and counting the minutes until the time was up..
After that terrible magic gig had ended, I sat in the car and reflected on what had happened and how it made me feel
- I felt under appreciated.
- I was feeling like the group was rude.
- I felt better than the booking.
I drove home in a grump. However, by the time I had arrived home, I knew the REAL problem:
I was being a complete DICK
People are just people.. They are all different. Some are playful, some challenging, some don’t care to watch any magic, others are busy greeting people.. All different. But one person was constant in every performance: ME moving from group to group with a bad attitude and viewing everything in that negative light, which in turn, made things worse.
I needed to check in my ego.
I needed to reset and adapt.
I needed a thicker skin.
I needed to relax about it all.
I needed to know that I AM good and the occasional issue is just that… An occasional issue…
SO WHAT, if a few people wanted to drink instead of watching me perform. I’m there as entertainment, nothing more..
How arrogant of me to assume I have some special right to everyone’s attention, just because I’ve been paid to attend..
Normally I would be more playful, going with it and rolling off comebacks and wisecracks that I’ve developed for almost every response that can happen within my performance. Negative feelings took over and made me forget who I was performing for:
Who am I really doing magic for? Myself or the audience..?
During that terrible magic gig, I was performing more for myself and my ego than for the spectators. Every magician performs partly for themselves as they love magic and find it fun, but it should be an equal 50/50 thing.. That night I was feeling ‘better than the gig’ and as a result, I was doing magic just for myself, and the performance suffered as a result. I probably telegraphed an arrogance..
Most of all, that terrible magic gig showed me that I need to stay humble.. And remember to leave my ego behind. My attitude stopped me enjoying a gig that I could have really gotten into.
Time to Reset
If you go to a gig and for some reason it seems to be a bit ‘off’. Don’t do what I did and sink into feeling under appreciated. Just reset yourself and start again with the next group. Remember that the feelings could be coming from YOU, so make a conscious effort to change your attitude and be positive and playful. Take on the attitude that..
“Ok, that didn’t go as well as I thought.. I’m not going to give an F.. About it.. I’m going to relax, have fun and bring that attitude with me into the next group.”
People are all different and one group of people, does not reflect the whole audience.. Your ego and how you view your role in the evening’s entertainment has far more influence, and is 100% under your control.