Being a performer or even a speaker or presenter has this unusual paradox; you know no one in the crowd and the entire crowd knows you. If you perform often you will begin to forget all your volunteers from the audience, much like the university professor who knows can’t remember your name the on the first 100 days of class.
Chances are you are not a world famous star studded performer. Chances are you are not shooting for that title. You’re just trying to make your way in the world, doing what you enjoy for a living.
The routines, skits and puns you do in your show maybe so burned into your memory that you’ve become numb it. Sometimes you’ve done what you do for so long its so routine that you may have thought about taking a break for a change of scenery.
Burn outs happen.
Rarely do we take note of the impact we have on the crowds that come to see us. You may have seen your routine a million times, each crowd looks the same – guess what – each member of the crowd, more times and not is seeing everything for the first time.
There are emotional triggers that come with what magicians do. You have seen it on TV – David Blaine reveals the name of a deceased individual and the spectator runs screaming or crying. Many magicians fish for these kinds of reactions. Often time they don’t really happen as dramatic as they are seen on TV – many magicians like Jon Armstrong and myself try avoid triggering extreme emotions.
But with emotions – comes memory.
Emotionally charged memories are extremely powerful and often last longer.
I saw David Copperfield live in Las Vegas back in 2003. I remember his Portal Illusion ( you can look this up on Youtube) and I remember Randy Edelman’s Dragonheart Theme playing as the background track. I remember being there and watching everything unfold – sitting there front row seat to the right side of the stage’s wing. (I was wheelchair bound due to a severely broken leg bone and the MGM Resort & Casino made special seating arrangements for those wheelchair bound which meant front row seats). Every time I hear Edelman’s theme I think back to that moment.
On a frequent on going basis I get emails, facebook messages, phone calls, etc from people who have seen me perform as far back as 1999! My exact memories of these shows and people have long faded and I certainly don’t want to call a fan a liar.
This isn’t just limited to my shows – I do talks in local facilities about reptiles. I had recently done a talk at Critter Day for the Land Between The Lakes Nature Station. The talk was before nearly 15000 people, all day from 10 AM – 4 PM. Everybody looked the same after a point and I had given up trying to remember names and faces. 48 hours passed after that day and someone came up to me and asked if I was the one with the turtles and snakes at LBL that other day – I could not deny this.
I tell this a lot to my younger performing peers and to those who are none the wiser – people do not remember what they are told, they may forget your name but they will never forget how they were made to feel.
Making memories is a great marketing tactic and I have capitalized on it and my promise has not yet failed to live up to expectations.
You may have done your act a million times, but to those who are watching – they are seeing this for the first time and they will remember you and how you made them feel.