Sure, we all make mistakes. We magicians in the Philippines, no matter how experienced, regardless how well we practice our acts, can mess up a trick in front of a live audience.
Nobody is mistake-proof. Nobody’s exempt from Murphy’s Law. Everybody stumbles, even the best of mortals.
Sometimes we just let our guard down. Or maybe we just go out of sync. Our bio-rhythm is out of whack. We stumble and fumble and make a fool of ourselves in front of the audience.
Messing up a trick is humiliating. It guarantees a roar of laughter. However, it is not the kind of laughter we would like to hear. That is why messing up a trick can be psychologically and emotionally painful, especially to those who are not prepared to handle its effects.
But I have never gotten around to doing it.
Instead, I decide to learn from my mistakes and then quickly get over the trauma. I move on. After the initial hair-pulling and banging-my-head-on-the-wall session, I gather my wits and look forward to the next shows. I resolve not to commit the same mistake again. I do that by practicing the routine all over again as if I’m just learning it for the first time.
I never wallow in self-pity. I never talk about these mishaps in public, or with other magicians. I downplay my show bloopers. It’s not good marketing to announce to the world that I fumbled. Over the years, I have built a reputation for being an excellent performer. Why would I sully the esteemed image the public holds of me just because I had one snafu in my show?
Yes, it is sometimes good to laugh at one’s mistake. But to “cry over spilt milk” and swim in “water under the bridge” are, for me, not good prescriptions to becoming a better performer.
As I was growing up, my folks had counseled me. If I stumbled, I had to get up and continue my journey.
Later, I found out that this folk advice is not exclusive nor original to my parents. All Filipino parents have counseled their children the same way.
So with this golden advice etched on my mind, after a bad performance, I flush quickly out of my system the trauma it left in my consciousness. I don’t dwell on it. I don’t whine and complain about how unfair life is. I correct the problem, I polish my act and I prepare for the next shows.
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, because I don’t understand why other magicians would want to pillory themselves in public for performing magic that went bad. I’m baffled even more why they would show on YouTube, for the entire world to snicker at, their bungled performances.
I know millions of people around the world are enamored with YouTube. What I don’t know is the extent of their narcissism. I haven’t the slightest idea it is to such length that they would publish videos of their humiliating moments as performers on YouTube so millions of strangers could laugh at their lack of skills.
I know some performers want to learn lessons from their mistakes. But I don’t believe humiliating oneself in public is the way to do it.
The following video, one of several on YouTube on magic-gone-bad genre, seems to indicate that is the case.
- Magician’s Without Guilt (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- The Courage to Perform (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- A Client’s Letter Makes Leodini Glow (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)