The Free Hyper-Critical Test Audience
In the last post I talked about how valuable a hyper-critical audience is and I mentioned how I go about obtaining one.
Over two and a half years ago I also talked about this concept, but I mentioned another way to obtain such an audience without paying for it. And that is just to strip your performance of any presentation and just be a dick during it. This is another way to encourage brutal honesty from the people watching your trick (while it's in its developmental stages, I'm not suggesting you do this all the time).
As I wrote in this post:
I then came up with a little test for the effects I would perform. Before working on a real presentation for them, I wanted to evaluate the foundation of the effect first. So I would perform it a few times with this style of presentation: "Hey, ya big dingus. I'm going to read your mind now, because I'm a genius and you're a fucking idiot, so brace yourself." Maybe not those exact words, but that attitude. Now, just try and do one of your cute prop-less math-based "mind-reading" tricks with that presentation. You will get eviscerated. But when you find material that stands-up to this type of antagonistic presentation -- where the spectators are blown away despite themselves -- and then you add on a presentation that is personal or emotional you will find yourself getting those explosively strong reactions you've imagined.
So if you don't have money to buy a hyper-critical audience, just be an A-hole. (Paying for one or being an asshole is also a good strategy if you're trying to meet a girl with low self-esteem.)
Earlier this year I wrote quite a few posts about using Google Home in the process of a magic trick. (Here's the first post, there are others.)
Friend of the site, Nick Olson, wrote in to tell me you can do the same (or at least similar) things with Alexa now.
This should get you started in the right direction if you have an Alexa.
In a previous post I mentioned my friend Andrew's vintage board-game themed "wonder room" concept. I also mentioned that each open deck in his collection is prepared for a specific trick with an extensive set-up, so he can ask someone to grab any deck and immediately be ready to go into a trick that is dependent on a significant or full-deck stack.
He has a good way to rehearse and remember what deck is set for what trick as well. Since these decks are on display and meant to be handled by laypeople, he removes any double-backed, blank-faced, or other extra cards the decks may come with. Then on one of those cards from each deck he adheres the name of a trick and the stack for that trick.
So he has a whole group of cards like this with different backs and trick set-ups on the front. This way he can use them almost like flash-cards to associate the back design with the trick name, and he can cycle through this group of cards on a regular basis in order to practice each effect. And, most importantly, he doesn't have to break out a book, DVD, lecture, or manuscript to re-set the stack. He just refers to the card. It's a very tidy system for rehearsing and keeping track of stack-heavy card tricks.
Do you suffer from depression? Are you suicidal? Did your old middle-school bully just withdraw all your money from the bank and use it to start a fire with which to burn the love of your life to death?
Cheer up, pal. Do what I do when I'm in a bad mood. I look at the cover for one of the fake-as-shit books that came with Larry Becker's Final Flashback and it always brings a smile to my face.
Guys, this wasn't some sort of rough draft. This was the final product. Yes, it looks like it was thrown together by someone who got their first computer within the last 3 weeks and banged this out on MS Paint. It looks like the type of thing you would hand to an actual graphic designer and say, "This is embarrassing, but it's just so you get a sense of the general layout I'm looking for. Obviously the final product won't include this idiotic stock photo, this terrible font, or these meaningless quotes on the back."
If you paid someone on Fiverr to create this book cover for you, you would expect at least three dollars change.
Seriously, let's look at some of these quotes on the back cover.
"Like a movie, without the noise." So... like a silent picture? A movie without the noise? What could they possibly be trying to say here? "This book is like a movie without sound. It sucks."
"[New York Stock Exchange] fast food." Does the person who put this together know that the quotes on the back of books are generally complimentary? Not confusing or meaningless. "A thrill-ride that grips you by the throat and doesn't let go!" See? It's easy. Can someone explain to me why these are so goofy? It must have something to do with the method, right? I get the sense there is a crib on the back with the numbers and letters, but is there some reason the quotes had to be so stupid?
"Bad vibes for common groups." Say what? This doesn't even make sense as a fucking sentence, much less a quote to put on the back of a book.
I understand that it's very difficult to make a fake book (or magazine) that looks legitimate. But at least try a little bit if you're going to sell that shit for $175. This cover screams fake book even more than this cover does. Even from a distance, in a parlor situation, this is obviously phony. Normal, everyday, common groups of people are definitely going to get sketchy feeling from this cover. It's certainly something that will generate bad vibes for common groups. Oh shit... that's where that comes from.
This image of the Band of Brokers really gets around online.
They're trial attorneys.
They run a talent agency.
They also offer corporate spa packages. (The guy in the blue shirt will jack you off for $10)