• 6 Questions you should be asking yourself regularly

  • June 08, 2020

  • I’ve talked before about some questions I think we as performers should ask ourselves if we haven’t already. So today I wanted to bring up the fact that there are some questions we should be asking ourselves regularly.

    I mentioned then, and I’ll re-mention it now, but I think questions are a great way of getting to the root of a problem, and for motivating us into action. Our brains do not like an “open-loop”, such as an unanswered question or unfinished statement. I’ll give you an example, “their heart was as cold as ......”. You were probably able to complete that sentence knowing the answer, but did you see how quickly you filled that gap?

    This phenomenon is the very reason why it can be so frustrating trying to ignore an over-heard phone conversation. Our brain continually works to fill out the missing the space with the rest of the conversation, making it impossible to ignore.

    So, here are some open loops you should think about trying to finish yourselves!

    1) Which parts of my performance are the strongest/weakest?

    I always try and ask myself this question after a performance, not before, and definitely not during it! Focus on the task at hand, would you!

    But review your performances regularly, watch how it affects the audience and be honest with yourself about which parts got the biggest reactions, or elicited the most laughs. You may just discover that some of your effects may not be creating the desired outcomes.

    Then, focus on what is working and update or redesign what isn’t. Do this regularly, and you’ll have a well-polished routine in no time.

    2) Are people likely to recommend me to their friends?

    Again, this is going to need to you be honest with yourself. But you’ll also want to ensure you are making it easy for your audiences to recommend you. Is there anything about you that stands out from other magicians? Is your magic unique enough to make you stand out from the crowd? Maybe you could start doing some magic that involves leaving props behind to allow people to take a souvenir with them that they can show off to their friends.

    3) Who is my preferred target audience?

    It is worth thinking about who makes up your preferred audience. After all, you should be marketing yourself, your character and your effects directly at them. So take the time to think about who you most enjoy performing too, or who you think will pay you the most, or who will give you the most work. Find what kind of audience aligns with your goals and the results you want to see.

    4) How would I describe my biggest fans?

    On the flip side of the previous question, who are the people who are already cheering you on and supporting you? You can’t ignore these people, so take the time to be aware of their wants and needs. Be sure you are addressing them and performing the right kind of magic for them. We are performers, and magicians cannot perform if no-one is willing to watch us!

    Also, answering this question will make it easier for you to find your biggest fans at an event, and if you can do that, play up to them, get them cheering nice and loud, then the rest of the room will be ready and primed for entertainment!

    5) Are there any artists I could collaborate with on a new project?

    I need to do a lot more of this, while I’ve done it in the past, it has been far too long. Still, I like to think I’m always aware of the benefits to be had. Collaboration has always been a good thing in my experience, usually leaving both parties off better than when they started. You get to see a different style of performing, and will almost certainly learn something from the experience.

    6) What am I avoiding doing right now?

    I ask myself this question, or a variation of it, almost daily, if not hourly. There is always something I should be doing, something I should be practising, a post I should be writing, and this question is one that makes me groan, complain and drag my feet like a spoiled child. All the way up until I start doing what I know I should be doing. Face those tricky things you don’t want to do head-on, get them done, otherwise they will sit under the carpet growing worse and worse every day.

     

    There are of course a multitude of questions we could and should be asking ourselves every day, but hopefully, this short list has given you some to start with. So come up with some of your own, send them out into the world and see what comes back!

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