Confidence is vital to be a successful performer but there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, between being a showman and being a show off!
Any professional magician will tell you that they quite regularly have to overcome a spectator’s belief that they “don’t like magicians”. I have covered this in a previous blog but it seems there is a common supposition that magicians are cheesy and think very highly of themselves. It’s down to an individual’s performance style and choice of material whether they come across as cheesy but what is the line between being a confident performer and coming across like you think you’re god’s gift to entertainment?
Personally, I think the key is intention. If you’re only performing magic for someone to make them think YOU are something special, that you are clever, skilful, talented or whatever, then that will come across in your performance. If you are performing magic for someone because you want THEM to have a good time, you want to make them laugh, be amazed and have an unforgettable experience, then they will realise that and love you for it!
Another thing to consider is the choice of material – both the feats the magician presents and the patter that goes with them. If a magician’s set is full of ‘sucker’ effects (where the audience thinks they know how a trick works but are then shown to be wrong) and challenges that the spectator can’t complete but the magician can, or if the jokes are all at the expense of the spectators then the magician is probably going to seem like a dick! I think it’s important that the spectators are the stars of the show, wherever possible they should either make the magic happen or it should happen right in their hands; even if it’s something like a gambling routine they should win in the end. Also, the humour should mostly be self-deprecating and if a spectator is the butt of a joke it should be someone who seems confident, comfortable with it and just generally up for a laugh.
The confidence of the performer should only really be used to make the audience feel comfortable, to make them feel they can have confidence in the performer, they are in safe hands and they can just relax and enjoy themselves. This way the performer comes across as a showman and avoids looking like a show off!
Do you agree with my assessment? If you have any thoughts about the difference between a showman and a show off please let me know in the comments. As always please like and share, and remember: be humble in your confidence yet courageous in your character.