Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Another great day

Vaclav picked me up this afternoon. We went to Santa Monica City Hall to get him a street performing license. It was a beautiful day at the beach. It would have been nice to take a walk, but we wanted to beat any traffic this Monday afternoon might hack up on the 405.

More unpacking, more hugging and kissing, rinse and repeat. (with Polly. . . not Vaclav)

Tonight at work I took some strange pleasure in pointing out and confronting rudeness at every turn. I sounded like a jerk and alienated my audience, but in the end I got their money. I was saying stuff like, "What could you possibly be thinking!? Help me out here, what reality do you operate in, where it might be appropriate for you to discuss your theories about how you think the trick is done WHILE I'M DOING IT. . . 3 FEET AWAY FROM YOU, I can hear you, I standing right here!"

But, that's the nice thing about my job. . . I can do it any way I see fit.

The crowds in general are ignorant of any common sense etiquette. Perhaps it's my job to, in a nice way, to somehow convey what my expectations are to the crowds. I've been experimenting with this, to surprising positive results. Tell'em what you want them to do and it easier for them to do that. . . even if it's as something as mundane as reacting. I shit you not! I asked them to do that tonight. . . getting very real for a moment, I told them of my frustration, night after night working for this (I give the audience a blank stare). I ask them, if they see something they like to clap, or smile, or nod, or any outward indication that I might receive as them enjoying themselves. And, guess what!? They did it! And not in a fake or overdone way, just what I asked for. I was better for me and maybe they learned something about what is expected of a audience member of a live performance.

Hell, I'm just making it up as I go, night after night. I learn a little bit about myself in each performance and I hope, as I look into the blank, vacant stares of the onlookers that I am am just as puzzled looking at them as they are of me. What a weird world.


Anonymous said...


Is telling or hinting to your audience what you expect of them, the NLP that you had mentioned earlier? I noticed Gazzo uses this techique in his routines. For example, he'll say, "when I produce the egg, the crowd will go wild" he fumbles a bit, doesn't produce the egg but has a kid in the audience produce the egg and the crowd is now programmed to aspplaud.


Amon said...

Tom...your experiences are nothing less than "rich"..thanks for the never ending good lessons and stories..it's a good story like this that gets me back up when i'm bummed and trying to get motivated.

Doc said...

Whatever you think of Kenton Knepper, one cannot disregard some of the principles he has in Wonder Words.

'you can make your audiences think, feel, act and believe anything you want them to, just by the use of the language you use. ' and yes... telling them how they *could* react and then, have them actually react that way is an incredible sense of power.