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Topic: How do you develop your presentation?
Message: Posted by: Neil (Apr 16, 2012 02:07AM)
We're all aware that mentalism requires strong presentation to be effective and have any resonance. I'm interested to hear how you approach developing a presentation for an effect and how you practice it. Do you script them word for word and practice in a mirror, or do you go in with a rough idea and learn "on the job" as it were?
Message: Posted by: Rod Quiz (Apr 16, 2012 02:10AM)
Usually, I would think about a plot, and from there I would develop the entire presentation. Other times, I would ask myself "What do I want the audience to experience?"....
Message: Posted by: chill (Apr 16, 2012 08:19AM)
The neighbor lady believes I'm crazy. I walk around talking to things, handing them little pieces of paper, telling them not to let me see what they write.... do you know how hard it is for a bookcase to decide on a single card?...not to mention the lamp always criticizing my performance.

I start playing with the effect, trying to weave a story around it to fit my style. then I practice it for my "friends" at home, trying different lines and timing(hint:the dresser falls for almost every force) before trying it on real people.

I write everything (i hate writing) to strengthen my presentation. I start with an outline of the effect and add words about how 'what I'm doing' fits the context of my chosen line of babble, editing and adding to the outline. this goes on until I have a play-like script(act1 thru act8, my show)...and by this time it's memorized. when I don't have to think about what I am going to say and do next it makes it much easier to connect to the people I'm playing with.

on the other hand, sometimes you'll pick something up and it just works for you(i do go back and write those down too)

....maybe the neighbor lady isn't the crazy one
Message: Posted by: Dreadnought (Apr 16, 2012 09:12AM)
With me it all starts with what does the audience want to see or experience. From there I plan backwards starting with the revelation, how do I make this happen. Then along the way the plot unfolds.

Peace and Godspeed.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Apr 16, 2012 10:32AM)
When I order a prop, I have a good idea of what it can do. When it arrives, I examine it before reading the instructions. Then I see if the presentation I had in mind is going to work. After that I work with the prop and see the (usually MANY) things I can do to make it fail. Then I look at the prop and think about the presentation. Once I have an idea, I'll write it down in a script. I'll work with the script until I'm happy with the presentation. I'll usually test it out with some friends and people from the neighborhood. Then I'll write the final script and put it into my book.

David
Message: Posted by: Rebecca_Harris (Apr 16, 2012 10:49AM)
I always start with a plot or a story and work out how I want it to look. I practice the routine and work on the presentation of it and only then do I start to think about methods and how to make them do what I want to do. Doing things that way might seem a little back to front to some but it lets me really concentrate on what I want the audience to see without getting distracted by methods.
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Apr 16, 2012 01:20PM)
[quote]
On 2012-04-16 09:19, chill wrote:
The neighbor lady believes I'm crazy. I walk around talking to things, handing them little pieces of paper, telling them not to let me see what they write.... do you know how hard it is for a bookcase to decide on a single card?...not to mention the lamp always criticizing my performance.

I start playing with the effect, trying to weave a story around it to fit my style. then I practice it for my "friends" at home, trying different lines and timing(hint:the dresser falls for almost every force) before trying it on real people.

I write everything (i hate writing) to strengthen my presentation. I start with an outline of the effect and add words about how 'what I'm doing' fits the context of my chosen line of babble, editing and adding to the outline. this goes on until I have a play-like script(act1 thru act8, my show)...and by this time it's memorized. when I don't have to think about what I am going to say and do next it makes it much easier to connect to the people I'm playing with.

on the other hand, sometimes you'll pick something up and it just works for you(i do go back and write those down too)

....maybe the neighbor lady isn't the crazy one
[/quote]

:bg: - Reminds me of practicing 4D in my study. I have a print of the Mona Lisa in that room (She's actually drinking a Guinness in the print!), she always writes the childhood friend, Harry Houdini gets the pet, and I always tell him to lick his own! & one of my minature Russian Matryoshka's does the drawing! (Nuts or what!)

I always write a script, and, nearer the show it can be subject to change. I am never comfortable unless I know it back to front. Of course as we all know, it may have to be rearranged "on the fly" to suit the mob (sorry, audience) in front of you. :)
Message: Posted by: maxpax (Apr 16, 2012 01:39PM)
Yeah I also work with practicing "for" objects. It becomes more "improvised" if I perform it a lot without a script infront of stuff. The thing I improvise that is good is what I keep and add to the script and most of the fluff is mostly useless but still nice to work through. Themes often come along these "shows" mostly from using metaphors to try and explain stuff to my mirror (I always have good rapport with that guy;).

This is a really interesting topic. Good initiative.
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Apr 16, 2012 02:34PM)
Like Chill, I talk to things. My kids think it’s funny to “catch” Dad practicing, and I often get spontaneous reviews.

Generally I’ll work with an effect long enough to get a feel for it (NOTE: This is NOT enough practice to perform, I’m just looking for how it plays and any special movements or handlings). Then I’ll pick a spot (usually my audience is the pool table) and go over and over different lines, pauses, and gestures until a script begins to form. I’ll take notes, but it is in the form of an extemporaneous speech; there are some things that MUST be said, but not everything is a verbatim recitation.

Often while I’m doing this, other effects will come to mind that this could play off of, and I may alter a lead in or an exit to form a proper segue, and this is also where ideas for a set up to a running gag will come in.

At this stage I am not using a mirror (that comes later), I’m just focused on internalizing the material.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Apr 16, 2012 02:38PM)
You'll learn a lot more watching videos of yourself performing that you ever will by practicing in front of a mirror.
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Apr 16, 2012 02:45PM)
VERY TRUE!!! (I wish I could get some!)




...videos, I mean...
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Apr 16, 2012 02:48PM)
[quote]
On 2012-04-16 15:45, DWRackley wrote:
VERY TRUE!!! (I wish I could get some!)




...videos, I mean...
[/quote]

I sometimes ask the manager/owner of the venue that I am playing to record some of the show on my phone. It is not always possible of course, but, as Bob stated, it can be a real "eye opener", and not always what you expect, at least for me.
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Apr 16, 2012 02:58PM)
[quote]
On 2012-04-16 15:48, innercirclewannabe wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-04-16 15:45, DWRackley wrote:
VERY TRUE!!! (I wish I could get some!)




...videos, I mean...
[/quote]

I sometimes ask the manager/owner of the venue that I am playing to record some of the show on my phone. It is not always possible of course, but, as Bob stated, it can be a real "eye opener", and not always what you expect, at least for me.
[/quote]

It's a "real killer" when he/she returns the phone, and you realise it is not switched on! :goof:
Message: Posted by: ddyment (Apr 16, 2012 03:55PM)
The important thing to remember about presentation is that it doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's not simply an interesting story line (or whatever) that you somehow graft on to what you already have. Rather, it's inextricably bound to every one of [url=http://www.deceptionary.com/performance.html]the other aspects of performance[/url], all of which must be honoured in its development.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 16, 2012 04:18PM)
For me, everything starts as a third person story...from opener to finale, however low-key that may be...

and when I'm happy with that narrative, I make bullet points, and then onto testing-rehearsals-writing it again and so on..until I'm happy with it...
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Apr 16, 2012 04:29PM)
I decide what I want to do and make sure it is consistent with the character I want to portray (so a memory stunt or magic square, which I love, do not work for me).

I then practice any moves that are needed. Then I decide on a rough presentation, and go for it.

But I had fifteen years training in Toastmasters, so I can do a solid presentation without a script, once I know what I want to say.

After four or five performances the nuances that make it great begin to kick in. Otherwise I tend to drop it and move on to something that suits me more. Bank Night is a lovely routine, but I have not quite made it suit me, so I tend to only do it if I need to fill time. It is not part of the regular set. A three envelope test, on the other hand, worked from day one, and gets stronger and stronger.
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Apr 16, 2012 06:38PM)
I first envision the response I want from the audience at the very end of the effect ... Basically THE EFFECT OF THE EFFECT ... Then I work In reverse ...what are they thinking at each point of the effect from the end to the beginning. After designing it in reverse I begin running it in my mind looking for better choices and providing believable reasons for each and every step.
Then I rehearse with magician friends many many times before I perform for Muggles.
Message: Posted by: ThatsJustWrong! (Apr 17, 2012 12:00PM)
I'm with Slim on this one as I may have mentioned on these boards before. I spend a lot of time on the internal pacing of my show and each effect falls into one of four categories: Big & Fast, Big & Slow, Small & Fast, and Small & Slow. A show where everything runs at one manic pace exhausts an audience and doesn't give them time to digest. It's an upward staircase, of course, each 'big' is a little bigger, etc.

Then I look to the reaction I want to achieve, as Slim put it, the effect of the effect. If you do three 'utterly amazed pow in your face' or 'I win - you lose' effects in a row, you will tire your audience and, likely, start to **** them off (in fact, I work hard not to have losers). Why work to connect and get the audience on your side then mock them? Anyway, I look at what I want to achieve... Uproarious laughter? Quiet amazement? Bang, take that!? Slowl realization Huh moments? If I do "Impossible! Impossible! Impossible!" then by the third time, it's become a magic show because they know there has to be a trick. If I achieve "Unlikely - Improbable - Impossible" then to my way of thinking I'm a Mentalist who may just have abilities, if that makes sense?

Do you have a three stage routine? Each stage should pace differently or it gets very one-track. It's a microcosm of the pacing of your show. As for show pacing, if it's a ten minute set, Pow - POW - POW!!! is fine - kill 'em and let someone else clean up. That's how you start getting the closer slots. You can't do that in your own 50 minute show.

Only afer I know what type (pacing) of routine I need to fill and what kind of audience reaction I wish to obtain do I start to look at effects. I have so much stuff laying around now that I tend to look at what I can do with what I have these days. Try it, it makes sense. As an exercise, take an Invisible Deck, we all have one, and try to come up with six routines, each with a different combination of pacing and audience effect. Small & Slow will lead you to a conversational presentation. Small & Fast may lead you into a story about a sidewalk hustler. Big & Fast may result in a presentation an audience-wide mindreading experiment. You get the idea. One trick with multiple presentations to fit your act. Never jeopardize the routining of your act to include a trick, no matter how much you love it. Change the trick.
Message: Posted by: Neil (Apr 17, 2012 12:08PM)
This all great info. Thanks so much for your responses. I think I need to be more planned in my scripting/stories.
Message: Posted by: false_shuffle (Apr 17, 2012 10:05PM)
Video is great. You can tape eyes from magazines up on the wall, and face a wall while you practice to practice eye contact with the audience. Practicing in front of a mirror isn't always the right thing to do.
Message: Posted by: lika scence (Apr 19, 2012 04:12AM)
Some great tips and advice in this thread, very useful.

Most of my routines are, like most people, a structured outline of what to say, which I improvise around depending on the situation and the participant. I find it useful to have the patter of the tricks themselves perfected, but to, outside of them, have very little planned, it forces me to react to the audience themselves and craft a routine just for them, which I feel helps build a very strong rapport with them all.
(my first post on here so sorry if its not perfect)
Message: Posted by: ThatsJustWrong! (Apr 19, 2012 09:19AM)
While you're practicing using eyes or pictures on a wall, remember this important tip: When you make eye contact with someone, hold it for the entire sentence. That's something I remind actors of often but have to constantly remind myself to do in rehearsal. Don't shift between people mid-sentence, maintain the connection. If you find this is uncomfortable, look back at your script. Your sentences may be too long.

Next question for all of you: [b]How many of you develop your physical presentation in a rehearsal space of similar size to your average rehearsal space? [/b]Presentation is more than the trick and the words, it's Presence too. Body language says a lot. Many magicians I know practice in their den, surrounded by the clutter of books and props; then they appear lost when they get on an actual stage and have no idea how to use the space to their advantage. Do any of you address that in your development process?
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Apr 19, 2012 07:48PM)
I speak to myself and act it out. I'm pretty good at modelling what I would do on stage.

I usually develop a script first through speak, then writing, then refinement via speaking, then editing the writing, etc. There is a reality however you must be prepared for: there is a good likelihood that the first attempt at developing your presentation will be completely different in a matter of months to years as you figure out better ways of presenting the routine.

There is a lot of value in choosing to refine your presentations rather than finding new "tricks". Nearly all effects are "good enough" to be in a professional show - it just takes years of development and learning to make a "standard" effect something that creates great impact. Most of the material in my show has been the same for 5 years but is DRASTICALLY better than when first introduced.
Message: Posted by: Jeff Christensen (Apr 19, 2012 08:39PM)
Always a script. Remember you're an actor playing a role and the script is somethIng to use when you don't have something more interesting to say. A timed script allows you to ask interesting questions like where do the pauses go, what words do you emphasize and so on. You can't have any of that discussion without a script. In my view if you don't have a written/edited script then you likely don't have a fully polished and professional routine.

I start with a script and then rehearse it until I know it backwards. I often practice my scripts while driving the car or walking the dog. At some point it needs an audience and this is where you get to find out everything you need to know about the trick. As has been suggested already video is a good way to go. I have a friend who's a director and I often get his input into my new pieces.
Message: Posted by: Neil (Apr 22, 2012 04:39AM)
One problem I'm finding is that the scripts that seem to read well often suddenly feel forced or odd when performed for real specs. Is this common? Do you find yourself rewriting them as you realise bits don't work. I guess you get better at this the more you do it.
Message: Posted by: ThatsJustWrong! (Apr 22, 2012 09:37AM)
Things that sound fine in our head often depend on the voice of the reader in our head. When writing a script, read things out loud as you write then record it and listen to it. Listening to others read your words, with their own inflections, is another big help. This gives you a clue as to how your words may be interpreted by others. As a playwright who believes strongly in table readings of new work, I'm always amazed at how other people will read a line that can only be read one logical way in my head. This often leads to my refining and redefining a phrase, etc because we want to be clear and the words we speak are stll open to interpretation by our listeners.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Apr 22, 2012 10:33AM)
[quote]
On 2012-04-22 05:39, Neil wrote:
One problem I'm finding is that the scripts that seem to read well often suddenly feel forced or odd when performed for real specs. Is this common? Do you find yourself rewriting them as you realise bits don't work. I guess you get better at this the more you do it.
[/quote]

That often happens when you are just starting out writing scripts. The important thing to remember is that most people write far differently than they speak. You must write scripts in the same way that you speak (cleaning up "uhs" and "ers" obviously as well as glaring grammatical errors, unless they are intentional or part of your persona), otherwise they will be stiff, didactic and, well, will sound like scripts.
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Apr 22, 2012 01:22PM)
Now we’ve drifted into general stagecraft.

Connection is Key. I’ve often used this in teaching new people about public speaking or stage acting. Single out one person (find an easy one) and develop a connection. Don’t take a long time, just make definite contact. Then locate another person in a different part of the room and do the same thing. Don’t forget to go back and touch bases with the first person. Keep building your “contact list” until every person in the room can feel that you’re talking directly to them.

Also, using a script too rigidly can actually get in your way. We’ve all heard terrible presentations where it sounds like someone’s reading at a third grade level something that wasn’t even written by or for them.

When we’re starting a new production, I generally give the actors a bit of leeway to make it “natural” for them. There are always certain phrases that HAVE to be verbatim (developing a character, a running gag, or a setup to a later line), but in many other places getting the message across “in their own words” helps the flow of the dialogue and produces a smoother scene.

When I’m preparing my own presentations, I prefer an extemporaneous approach. I know the “high points” and the order of access. I have a list of gags and “bits of business”, and a clear idea of what will work where. But the tone, the energy, the pacing, some of the phrasing and vocabulary, and about a dozen other subtle things will be determined at the time of performance depending on the makeup and energy of the audience, the ambient levels of noise, light, and extraneous movement (servers, etc.), and (believe it or not) the time of day (or night). In other words, you know what you’re going to be doing, but you stay responsive to your environment.

I don’t even know if this can be taught, but it can be learned, usually by doing it over and over, and by paying attention to what works and what doesn’t.

Edit-----

Also, even though I wouldn't try to do a whole show this way, some ideas from the Improvisational groups can give you some interesting ideas. Look into things like "Listen and Change" and “No blocking” (doesn’t mean the same thing to them as it does to us). Try Googling “Rules of Improv”.
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (Apr 22, 2012 03:18PM)
I start with my persona; weaving a theme.
I then select the effects, blocking and scripting to support that.
Message: Posted by: insight (Apr 16, 2015 08:17PM)
A lot of good things to remember in this thread...

Regards,
Mike
Message: Posted by: MSaber (May 17, 2018 05:07PM)
I like to keep things mysterious and simple so it doesn't come off as cheesy. I think to myself "How would I be presenting myself, if I actually had supernatural powers?" And then I go from there. And recording yourself performing definitely helps too, so can decide what you like and don't like, and then adjust.
Message: Posted by: Looch (May 19, 2018 09:26AM)
For me I often start with a premise, something I would like to achieve and then try and build a presentation around it. The method can often become secondary, and might even be one of the latter considerations. I am very much a visual person and will often 'storyboard' some ideas in the early stages. Once I have something I feel ready to perform, I often incorporate it in during smaller performances. It is only with time and periods of reflection and evaluation do I find I begin to really develop the patter so it becomes fluid. Even now, after hundreds of performances of the same effects, I will often find myself adding new bits that work. You cannot plan for those pieces as its only through the physical performance and time will you find them.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (May 20, 2018 06:08PM)
Figure out what story you want to tell and then tell it.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (May 21, 2018 06:01AM)
Who am i
what do I want to talk about
how closely aligned is it to my beliefs and viewpoint
is what I want to say interesting, engaging and relevant to anyone else?
is it entertaining?
how can it be even more entertaining and easily explained (as in, the plot and who I am) by others that see it and that then go and tell their story to others?
story arc, both as a person and as individual chapters of that story (which are your presentations)?
how 'real' can I make it feel?

some say "give the market what it demands" and ive never understood that - if you did that, you'd never had original artists, as in, bands, artists, actors and so on...you need your unique selling point as well as commonality/relatability - even if its a niche within a niche...

find "your people"...

unless you wanna do the corporate and cruiser side of things, then it seems you need to be very commercial and more straight forward...

that's how I see...
Message: Posted by: John C (May 21, 2018 07:43AM)
I think you can give the market what it demands as well as be unique and different.

Hey, there's nothing wrong with making a living as well.

Led Zeppelin was certainly unique and different and what a market they had. Rolling stones, Michael Jackson, even Tiny Tim.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (May 21, 2018 08:48AM)
Led zep already had a following before hand though, in the sense that Jimmy page was popular in the yardbirds...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (May 21, 2018 08:49AM)
Tiny Tim was the niche within a niche and borne from the big folk scene...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (May 21, 2018 08:58AM)
And yeah, every area has its own trailblazers...but most are trailblazers because of those who came before them...

No little Richard means no Jimi Hendrix, which means no other kind of hard rock progression...no blues explosion and so on and so on...

And the 60s had a load of one hit wonders and copycats...

Besides, music biz is massively different now...it's about the niche more and more because it's down to choices...
Message: Posted by: kidnapped1853 (May 21, 2018 03:12PM)
Just curious about what you all think; If you apply the following quote from James Whistler to performing magic, how would it affect the preparation and development of your presentation? "We look at a painting to know the painter; it's his company we are after, not his skill."
Message: Posted by: kidnapped1853 (May 21, 2018 06:56PM)
I meant to write "mentalism."
Message: Posted by: CurtWaltermire (May 26, 2018 11:58PM)
It's nice to see a fairly interesting thread like this that's a few years old get revived.

How I develop my presentations are different if it is something new that has yet to be performed, or something I'm currently performing and I'm wanting to improve upon. But the overall process is basically the same.

Regardless of which it is, I always start with my performing character, which is a somewhat exaggerated version of me; blown up into a cartoonish-like image that's a bit bigger than life. Even at some times ridiculous. But that is just my performing character. I like to be funny, high energy, and a bit melodramatic. I don't take myself very seriously, and I don't want anyone else to either. I want my audiences to have fun.

Whether it's my bank-nite/chair-test routine, my personality test routine, my blindfold act, etc., I want it to create an effect that makes people want to either say or get the feeling that they "want to go see THAT GUY." I want any presentation I give to make people feel that way. Mind-blowing, of course, but mostly fun and even hilarious as well.

I truly believe that people, while they are interested in the effects, are even moreso interested in me as a character; as someone they can talk about, and not just what I'm doing.

I performed a show for a private event earlier this evening for a group of people who came to the event from all across the U.S. and Canada. As it turned out, two of them had seen me before and were thrilled to find out I was entertaining them this evening. One of them was local and said "I've seen your show at the comedy club!" and also went on to tell me how that when people she knows talk about it, they say "Ooooo, yeah! You've gotta go see THAT GUY." It's always reassuring when people tell me things like that because that is part of what I'm striving for.

When developing any presentation, I work my way through every single moment of process--from the opening lines or segues, to the things I say and do when selecting a spectator (I especially like to make this fun, interesting, and sometimes even weird), how I'm going to interact with them in the process, etc; sometimes that involves walking around the room and acting it out, other times I'm sitting down sipping a cup of coffee or enjoying a cigar, or mowing my lawn. I endeavor to write all the time; and by that I don't always mean actually sitting down with a pencil or at my laptop (which is still a good thing to do of course), but even just making strong mental notes. I endeavor to spend some good alone time thinking it through and when I feel I have a great structure, I work through all of the physical part of it in actual time, using the props, etc.

If it's something brand-new, and I'm confident that I can do it for a paying crowd, I then start performing it. And the further development process begins. I just start performing it and then studying it and go back to the drawing board after each time it's performed. Why? Because no matter how well it is put together up until then, I never know exactly how it's going to play. I just jump in with it and I perfect it as I perform it.

The best comedians do this with their jokes. Prep them as best as they can and then just start doing them. For me, actually performing the presentation before live audiences is where the real development begins.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (May 30, 2018 10:58AM)
This is a great thread. It was also fun to read what I'd written here six years ago...because that's how I still do it.

Step One: REALLY think about the prop/effect/routine. Is it a good match for me? Does it have the potential to make it into my stage show by being better/stronger/more tightly aligned to the journey I want to take my audiences on?

Step Two: If it fits me, I'll buy it.

Step Three: When it comes, I won't read the 'patter' because that's how I wind up doing the effect the same way everyone else does. I examine it from every angle first to see how easily I can uncover the 'gimmick' and second to think what else it could possibly be or accomplish.

Step Four: I sit down with my notebook and write everything I can think of about the prop. Words, ideas and rough concepts. The page is a mess when I am done because I don't judge a single concept as I write. They flow through my brain and into the page. The wilder the better.

Step Five: Eliminate 98% of the crap I've just written because it's stupid. Start to get excited about the remaining two percent...and start developing a routine.

Step Six: I present my rough idea to no one. I sit in my den and work with the prop as though I were presenting it on-stage.

Step Seven: I re-work the idea because as I rehearse with the prop, I get to know it. I understand it's idiosyncrasies and -- hopefully -- I've begun to see where it might fail.

Step Seven and a Half: Rework the idea and represent the effect to no one. THIS time I work through it trying to anticipate every possible way a spectator could screw me up.

Step Eight: Finalize the starting script and write it down. I put all these scripts into binders so that, if I retire the prop for a while because I'm not happy with it (which happens in most cases) I can come back to it later and not have to start all over.

Step Nine: IF the prop/idea/effect still excites and interests me, I'll take it out and use it for close up. I sandwich it between two strong effects so that if/when it doesn't perform as well as I thought it would, the spectators don't remember it. After each evening of performing, I write in my notebook about things I need to rethink, ways the spectators surprised me, how I could explain what's happening more clearly, funny things that happened or occurred to me etc. Sometimes this takes years. Yeah...seriously.

Step Nine and a Half: Rewrite my script.

Step Ten: I continue performing it close up until I know that sucker intimately. IF I am still excited about it, I'll incorporate it into parlor presentations. IF I am still happy with it after a number of performances I go to...

Step Eleven: I put it into a small stage show -- again sandwiched in between two very strong effects.

The issue is that I genuinely love every single effect in my show. I know how effective they are...and I've worked hard to develop each one so it does exactly what I need it to do and is placed in the exact right place. IF a new 'something' is introduced, that means I have to remove something I'm already doing. So this is pretty rare. But the process of development keeps me sharp.

My mentor used to talk about performers who "inflict **** on their audiences before they understand why they are performing it." He was right...which is why I always do an internal eye roll when I read about guys who get a prop and 'put it into their show that night.' Maybe it works for them...who knows? It will never work for me, though.

Hope this is helpful.

David
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 7, 2018 12:23PM)
I consult with my REAL interests that I think might be worth sharing with others. Other times, I am externally inspired. Looking around at life and existence, it provides so much to draw from. I can be inspired from anything — a word, an idea, a quotation, something scientific, literature, pop culture, history, or even any given emotion. And that’s understating it.
Message: Posted by: pacozaa (Jun 11, 2018 11:29AM)
[quote]On May 30, 2018, David Thiel wrote:
This is a great thread. It was also fun to read what I'd written here six years ago...because that's how I still do it.

Step One: REALLY think about the prop/effect/routine. Is it a good match for me? Does it have the potential to make it into my stage show by being better/stronger/more tightly aligned to the journey I want to take my audiences on?

Step Two: If it fits me, I'll buy it.

Step Three: When it comes, I won't read the 'patter' because that's how I wind up doing the effect the same way everyone else does. I examine it from every angle first to see how easily I can uncover the 'gimmick' and second to think what else it could possibly be or accomplish.

Step Four: I sit down with my notebook and write everything I can think of about the prop. Words, ideas and rough concepts. The page is a mess when I am done because I don't judge a single concept as I write. They flow through my brain and into the page. The wilder the better.

Step Five: Eliminate 98% of the crap I've just written because it's stupid. Start to get excited about the remaining two percent...and start developing a routine.

Step Six: I present my rough idea to no one. I sit in my den and work with the prop as though I were presenting it on-stage.

Step Seven: I re-work the idea because as I rehearse with the prop, I get to know it. I understand it's idiosyncrasies and -- hopefully -- I've begun to see where it might fail.

Step Seven and a Half: Rework the idea and represent the effect to no one. THIS time I work through it trying to anticipate every possible way a spectator could screw me up.

Step Eight: Finalize the starting script and write it down. I put all these scripts into binders so that, if I retire the prop for a while because I'm not happy with it (which happens in most cases) I can come back to it later and not have to start all over.

Step Nine: IF the prop/idea/effect still excites and interests me, I'll take it out and use it for close up. I sandwich it between two strong effects so that if/when it doesn't perform as well as I thought it would, the spectators don't remember it. After each evening of performing, I write in my notebook about things I need to rethink, ways the spectators surprised me, how I could explain what's happening more clearly, funny things that happened or occurred to me etc. Sometimes this takes years. Yeah...seriously.

Step Nine and a Half: Rewrite my script.

Step Ten: I continue performing it close up until I know that sucker intimately. IF I am still excited about it, I'll incorporate it into parlor presentations. IF I am still happy with it after a number of performances I go to...

Step Eleven: I put it into a small stage show -- again sandwiched in between two very strong effects.

The issue is that I genuinely love every single effect in my show. I know how effective they are...and I've worked hard to develop each one so it does exactly what I need it to do and is placed in the exact right place. IF a new 'something' is introduced, that means I have to remove something I'm already doing. So this is pretty rare. But the process of development keeps me sharp.

My mentor used to talk about performers who "inflict **** on their audiences before they understand why they are performing it." He was right...which is why I always do an internal eye roll when I read about guys who get a prop and 'put it into their show that night.' Maybe it works for them...who knows? It will never work for me, though.

Hope this is helpful.

David [/quote]

Thank you. I admire your thought. This is golden.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Sep 29, 2019 04:08AM)
What a great thread. I like to keep my scripts limited to 3-5 bullet points and apply props that fit the story.
Message: Posted by: Ben Bob (Sep 29, 2019 06:37AM)
I will imagine that I am performing the routine with some invisible spectators .And I will assume all of the details as particular as possible.It really works.
Message: Posted by: weirdwizardx (Nov 12, 2019 11:59AM)
I think about the things that I want the participants to experience then I build upon that