No matter how I spin the instances I bombed, I still couldn’t get over them. They still haunt me today.
I may be harsh on myself. I impose a high standard for performing magic. When I don’t get the number of laughs per minute I expect, the thunderous applause I plan for, and the stunned silence I direly want to envelop the spectators, I go to a corner and mope. I gave myself a tongue lashing. I nurse my hurt ego.
Failure usually happens when I’m breaking in a new magic act. I’m filled with anticipation when a I have something new to add in my program. But at the same time, I dread the day when I first perform it for a live audience.
The prospect of the new trick failing to amaze and to entertain scares the heck of me. There were times that I kept putting off performing new tricks. I would wait until I had convinced myself they were good enough for public performances.
This tactic served me badly. It did nothing to strengthen my confidence. It only prolonged my agony.
I could remember only a couple of brand-new tricks that became instant hits on their first performance. The audience roared with laughter the first time I performed my Burning Handkerchief. They also responded enthusiastically at Subano and Baleleng (both the first and second version of it) when I broke it in.
Apart from those, other newly introduced tricks would either bomb or get lackluster audience response.
My Strait Jacket escape, when I first performed it, met deafening silence that made me want to melt in front of everybody. It took several outings before it began to get scattered applause, and several more performances before it became one of the highlights of my program.
Most of the tricks that I have added to my show suffered from the same fate initially. Only stubbornness drove me to perform them regardless of the lukewarm response. In the end, by sheer number of instances they were performed, this tricks began to get strong reactions. The kind that made them worthy to be included permanently in my show.
So if at first your new tricks, gags or bits of business don’t get the planned audience reaction, don’t throw them away immediately. Perform them several times more. If they still don’t ‘t kill, rework your script and tweak your presentation, then perform them again. More often than not, the pieces will fall in place, and people will receive warmly your new act.
If, however, the trick still doesn’t get a strong audience response after several outings and many tweaks, then bin it. It will just weight down your program. There are thousands of other tricks that is worthy of your time and energy to build and rehearse.