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Topic: Bad habits worth breaking
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 26, 2014 08:56AM)
I wanted to start a conversation about bad habits that are worth breaking for mentalists. There have been a couple of things I've made a conscious effort to work on over the past year or so, and while they might seem obvious, I believe they have made a difference in the way my performances come across. One is to completely eliminate the often unconscious urge to move my hand to my mouth. This seems to happen to many performers, and is a manifestation of guilt.

Another thing that has benefitted my performances is to learn to relax my eyes, the muscles in my face, forehead, shoulders, and arms. In other words, trying to emulate the physical demeanor of a relaxed person who is not concealing deceit.

I know that these are small things, but I do think they make an important difference.

I am interested to hear about any of your own observations and subtle tweaks such as these, and how you've applied them to your own performances.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: bond19 (Apr 26, 2014 09:03AM)
I've learnt to element the phrase 'would you be impressed' e.g. 'So if I could read your mind would you be impressed?'
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Apr 26, 2014 09:16AM)
The key to overcoming nearly all of these problems is to have a fully scripted act that you've done so many times that you can do it in your sleep. Then the only thing you have to worry about is staying awake. :eek:
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Apr 26, 2014 10:05AM)
[quote]On Apr 26, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
The key to overcoming nearly all of these problems is to have a fully scripted act that you've done so many times that you can do it in your sleep. Then the only thing you have to worry about is staying awake. :eek: [/quote]

:lol: This, & make sure your audience stays awake too!
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Apr 26, 2014 10:14AM)
Actually beyond the script - record and watch yourself, get feedback from peers, and hire a director in many cases - and improve. Also, if you are introducing interactivity - then you will never be able to fall asleep if you have engaged the audience... as you won't know for sure what will happen....!
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Apr 26, 2014 10:23AM)
Are you kidding? I can interact, improvise and tell jokes in my sleep, too! It used to drive my wife crazy!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 26, 2014 11:01AM)
Certainly great advice given so far, but I fear that my intended point for this thread may have been misinterpreted. I wasn't looking for advice, specifically, but rather for other performers to share their personal observations of subtle things they see in their own performances (or those of others) that are often not considered, but easily corrected.

I'll give another example: smiling.

I was giving a lot of thought to the use of a smile as a tool. First, I asked myself how often I smile during a performance. This thought extended into reflecting on what is being communicated when I do so. This led further into a realization that there are different kinds of smiles, and the type of smile I use and when I use it can communicate different things. For instance, there is a type of smile that communicates "all of this is silly, trivial, and we're just having fun here." There is another smile that suggests, "I know something you don't know, sucker." Yet another type of smile communicates, "hey, this is working well - you and I are really connecting on some level," etc.

This doesn't cover them all (not by a long shot), but simply being aware of something as simple as the use of a smile (or other congruous facial expression), and being able to control it properly, is something that can make a big difference, seemingly out of proportion to its simplicity.
Message: Posted by: RedDevil (Apr 26, 2014 12:28PM)
There is no doubt whatsoever, with all serious, that a smile is a rhetorical device, and like its cousin irony can be used in kinds of interesting ways. And like a fire, it can warm you or burn your house down. Totally agree Ben that a smile's use, whether randomly or intentionally is having consequence on not only performers, but leaders, workers, lovers, etc.

You want to see the purposeful use of a timed, intentional smile for a rhetorical purpose? Go to a Jon Bon Jovi concert and look at the mega screen. Then look over at your wife. I s*&^t you not.

;o)
Message: Posted by: D.J. Ayur (Apr 26, 2014 12:48PM)
Ken Weber's Maximum Entertainment is something you should look into!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 26, 2014 12:51PM)
I've been meaning to.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Apr 26, 2014 02:23PM)
Often, a performer's "bad habits" shows up in his or her speaking delivery.

In terms of speaking style, the worst unconscious offenders are usually speaking impromptu--making it up as they go along. Since the grail of effective presentation favors the prepared mind, the impromptu style probably cannot be fixed or notably improved. One needs to break the Impromptu habit in toto.

The most obvious alternative is the memorized script. Some performers, like actors, pull that off admirably; others, even a couple of well known mentalists, sound mechanical--exactly like they are delivering rehearsed lines.

The golden mean for some of us is an Extempore speaking delivery. It is a planned approach to speaking, typically supported by at least a script treatment, with many lines learned, with some or many lines improvised in the context, always in living touch with meaning of what one is saying. When I speak extempore, I have the most articulate energy, but there is a tradeoff. I can be vulnerable to excess verbiage. The cure, each time, is the discipline of cogency, verbal economy.

George
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 26, 2014 03:21PM)
People that over look writing a script, even for a in a bar with friends of friends, are missing out... just because you have a script, doesn't mean you stand there stiffly, trying to "act", the script is there so you can map out everything clearly - and focus on what you want to say, when you want to say it...just like knowing when to gesture, when to make something important or unimportant by physical behaviour and language... scripting supports everything...

you might have something you can do at a moment's notice - but challenge yourself, write it, script it, and re-rehearse it and you will always find something to tweak and to make better...

i have evidence to support this...

each and every top pro, each and every top actor does this...we can certainly do it our own way, (just like some actors like to method act and others don't) - but you need a backbone to work from...scripting does that, and more besides...
Message: Posted by: C.J. (Apr 26, 2014 05:01PM)
Smiling is a good one. When I started performing, I loved it so much that I would grin from ear to ear the whole time I was on stage. I suppose it wasn't a "bad" habit, but it limited me in how much I could take my audiences on an emotional journey. Learning to change my facial expression (at deliberate times) raised the game considerably, without affecting the overall sense of fun and friendliness.

A big one for me was the word "Okay", which slipped through even after I developed scripts. With a background in acting, I'd never struggled with the dreaded, "Umm...", but the process-ive nature of my effects led me to start overusing the word okay as a comma between stages of an effect: "Can you face the audience, please. Okay, you've been thinking about the name of your childhood sweetheart? Okay, I think..." etc.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Apr 26, 2014 05:02PM)
Completely agree with the idea of a well thought out, tweaked, rehearsed, performed, tweaked again etc., etc. script. Know it like you know your name. One very important point I've found to really matter... make sure the words and actions you write into the script are 100% YOU! I personally believe this is HUGELY important. (So to the original post, I might review my scripts and replace anything contrived with something that is me.)

Compare it to playing an instrument. If you barely have a piece memorized you'll be more concerned with playing the notes right than with making the piece "say something." Now, if the piece isn't something you relate to deeply, how can you put your whole self into it?

Ken Weber talks about showing the audience who you are in order to connect with them. Again, that's something I feel is extremely important. I also believe contrived words and actions serve to put a barrier between you and the audience and have the effect of disconnecting. (You might call that an "Illogical Disconnect") :-)

Because I feel it is such an important concept, I will once again refer back to Bob Cassidy's comment on a question about stage freight from another thread. He said something to the effect of, "Remember how much you love your audience and how much they love you." That's not just a throwaway cornball line. It's a very "wise" idea! That's what performing is all about... making a connection with others and sharing a little piece of time.
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Apr 26, 2014 05:59PM)
Hi All,

One behavior I've had to adjust is the speed at which I speak. A student came up to me after my very first guest lecture as a grad student (many, many years ago) and indicated that he thought my topic was interesting, but that I spoke much too fast and it was difficult to understand everything I said. I thanked him and began to monitor how fast I spoke when lecturing. It took some time, but I was finally able to get that under control. I've heard many performers who speak too fast... whether it's out of nervousness or that they simply aren't aware of how fast they speak.

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Apr 26, 2014 07:10PM)
Smiles, gestures, etc., should all be in the script as well.

And watch the pitch of your voice. It is common to hear nervous performers speaking too fast and their voices usually rise in pitch. (Think of Don Knotts as Barney Fife.)

Another bad habit that has developed over the past decade, at least here in the US, is a tendency to end every statement with a rising inflection as if it is a question. It's "I'm doing a show tonight," not, "I'm doing a show tonight?"

Whenever I hear this verbal tick I usually respond, "Are you asking me or telling me?"
Message: Posted by: Syndrome (Aug 19, 2014 10:46AM)
I used to say, "For the first time, please tell us ..." I always felt weird saying it, but I get a chuckle if it comes to mind.
Message: Posted by: Heka Siosiri (Aug 20, 2014 05:19AM)
[quote]On Apr 26, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Smiles, gestures, etc., should all be in the script as well.

And watch the pitch of your voice. It is common to hear nervous performers speaking too fast and their voices usually rise in pitch. (Think of Don Knotts as Barney Fife.)

Another bad habit that has developed over the past decade, at least here in the US, is a tendency to end every statement with a rising inflection as if it is a question. It's "I'm doing a show tonight," not, "I'm doing a show tonight?"

Whenever I hear this verbal tick I usually respond, "Are you asking me or telling me?" [/quote]
Totally agree with the inflection matter. It's very accentuated in the west coast. I hate it.
Message: Posted by: Amirá (Aug 20, 2014 09:07AM)
Great theme of conversation Ben and I congratulate you to be conscious about your mannerisms and communication to feel improvement and reminds us to be critical about ourselves.

Verbally, I tend to talk too much and I am working in trying to be synthetic and let the silence speak.


Best
Message: Posted by: Anthony Jacquin (Aug 20, 2014 10:20AM)
Delivering jokes with comic timing and space for laughter rather than scurrying past the punchline.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Aug 20, 2014 10:37AM)
Good point, Anthony. Too many performers step on their own lines. Watch old Jack Benny shows for examples of perfect comedic timing.
Message: Posted by: phillsmiff (Aug 20, 2014 10:45AM)
OK guys, OK now, could I just stop saying OK now as a verbal tic, that would be great OK now?

Also: To add this on to Anthony's plea for space for laughter, a lot of performers are (I think) a little uncomfortable with the amazement at the denouement of an effect and have some kind of joke or little phrase that breaks the tension and makes everyone laugh - actually letting this space hang and acknowledging it can be very powerful. It's not just jokes that need some space.

Phill
Message: Posted by: illusions & reality (Aug 20, 2014 10:45AM)
I would also strongly suggest video-taping your performance. When video-tape first started becoming popular (late 1970s), I recorded myself for the first time. I felt like I was watching a horror movie! Who was that guy pretending to be me!?!

One of the things that I learned was that I cut off the audience's applause too soon. It feels odd to be still to allow the audience to fully express their appreciation for an effect, but it is critical to learn to allow that to happen. Don't rush! As Bob suggested above, watch the consummate entertainers -people like Jack Benny, who knew how to allow silence and pregnant pauses speak volumes.

Lou
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Aug 20, 2014 10:59AM)
I always need to remind myself to interact and really listen to what any audience volunteers say - and not to miss opportunities for some humor.

Sometimes I am so wrapped up in what I plan to say or do that I forget that there is a living/breathing person on stage and that some of the best ways of getting the audience to connect with me, is by having some fun and respectful interaction with the volunteer(s).
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Aug 20, 2014 11:16AM)
Script it, record it, and review it. Rewrite and do it again.
Repeat as needed.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Aug 20, 2014 11:35AM)
For those that haven't considered fully scripting, here are a few reasons why you should...

1. you get to slowly and methodically consider exactly where you want to take the audience and why
2. you get to pare down your words and actions to make them as concise, effective and powerful as possible
3. you get to consider any misdirection carefully
4. you get to underscore pauses for humor and aha moments
5. you get to eliminate any knee jerk words/movements, ie; the praying hands, is that fair?, Ok now, rocking your body, and on and on.
6. you can ensure you're doing everything you can to keep the audience enthralled, laughing, or astonished while thwarting any chance of their becoming bored.

This short list should be reason enough to consider scripting out your stuff and stop "winging" it.


As Lou stated above, watch how many performers step all over "aha" moments by quickly moving on to something else. Yes you've seen the effect a thousand times, but the audience hasn't. So while it's natural for "you" to want to quickly move on, they need time to absorb. Full script... built in pauses.

Again, Maximum Entertainment and Bob's Fundamentals etc, are great guides for these types of things and many, many more.
Message: Posted by: harris (Aug 22, 2014 10:53AM)
Slowing down, pauses, facial expressions and what to do with my hands, were all things I learned over time.
Message: Posted by: illusions & reality (Aug 22, 2014 03:07PM)
It is good to see all of the comments regarding scripting. I totally agree. When you are scripted, it allows the freedom for the ad-lib to surface that is just perfect. But the freedom comes from already having a script and structure. When an ad-lib works well, it then becomes a part of my script.

Don't overlook the importance of both recording yourself and listening to a director or friendly critics. We can easily deceive ourselves into thinking that something "works," when in all honesty, it is falling flat in performance. It could be a "flash"; "an obvious method"; poor timing; unconscious mannerisms (e.g., blinking when you do a move); repeating too many "uh's," "you know," or "like" words as you perform your script, or a joke or instruction that needs a more appropriate word (or words) to more clearly convey the same thought. Even actors who are memorizing a fully written script need direction.

Lou
Message: Posted by: harris (Aug 22, 2014 04:38PM)
One other important thing was the ability to take
Feedback without being crushed.


Harris
Still too old to know it all
Message: Posted by: Matt Pulsar (Aug 23, 2014 11:46AM)
I have noticed to many mentalists and magicians alike use the phrase "what I'd like you to do is..." When over used it feels like he is quickly training them to be a prop instead of respectfully interacting with them. And, on that note, I have seen many mentalists who just don't take a moment to establish a rapport with the person they are working with on stage.
Message: Posted by: Nestor D (Aug 23, 2014 02:49PM)
In Magic and Showmanship, Henning Nelms gives wonderful advices on scripting and presentation (quitte similar (but obviously vastly expanded) in fact to Mastermind's advices : great minds think alike).

You can read extracts of the book on google books.
Message: Posted by: Ben Seatreader (Aug 28, 2014 10:52AM)
Or just pick it up for a couple of pounds on amazon ;)
Message: Posted by: Nestor D (Aug 28, 2014 11:12AM)
Yes, the preview is just here to tease you : if you need to present something to someone at some point in time (this book has been recomanded to actors) then you'll get your money's worth :)
Message: Posted by: Magic.Maddy (Aug 28, 2014 05:04PM)
On scripting:

I have never ever say down and written a full script. I, instead, will get the basics of what I want to say in my mind. The main points I want to make.

During the actual show, I allow the moment to drive my actions. Interaction is very important to me so I am always listening and watching not only the volunteer on stage, but also the rest of the audience.

I have done a lot of improv, so I guess that helps. But it keeps me on my toes. I never want to feel like a robot. I have nothing against scripts, I just know that for me, they don't go with my style.

So the best advice is to play until you find what works for you.



A pet peeve of mine is performers putting up "the 4th wall." The only person the mentalist/magician ever talks to or listens to or acknowledges is the person assisting him on stage. They block everyone else out. This is entirely wrong in my book. I feel the entire audience needs to feel like they are on stage with you, or like you're walking among them.


Another big thing for me is: Power. I think power is extremely important. Magicians/Mentalists with power are successful and in charge of their show. With no power, you will have no control. You loose power when you "ooch" which basically means when you rock back and forth on your feet constantly and continually make minor adjustments in your feet. This takes away power and shows nervousness. Another thing that takes away power is stepping backwards. If you have to go backwards, turn around and go backwards. Don't just lean or step backwards. This is especially true when delivering "lines." When you are speaking directly to the audience, please, PLEASE do not step backwards. All your strength is drained from you in that moment. It makes you look weak and timid. Along similar lines, always move with purpose. Don't continually pace. It makes the audience sea sick. I see this A LOT.

Another thing people do when they are nervous is they squat slightly. I've never understood that one. When they talk they have a little bounce/squat they begin to do. Very strange.



I have MANY more pet peeves that magicians and mentalists do (I could do a 3 hour lecture on it XP) however I think this is enough for now
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Aug 28, 2014 06:37PM)
I think there's a misconception with scripting and being able to ad-lib with scripted effects. When you do an effect over and over (without having written a script) you are in effect "scripting" it nevertheless! It just takes longer to get there and there's a bigger chance a person will miss things that script writing with concentrated effort would catch. In the end, if you perform a lot, you'll be doing a scripted show regardless of the method used to get there.

I can tell you from personal experience that once you know the script cold you can ad-lib, get interrupted, whatever, just as easily as if you learned what to say WITHOUT writing it out.

Look at any good comedian... totally scripted. You'd never know it though until you got to see the show a few times.

But in the end, to each his own. Do whatever makes you happy!
Message: Posted by: Magic.Maddy (Aug 28, 2014 07:35PM)
[quote]On Aug 28, 2014, sandsjr wrote:
But in the end, to each his own. Do whatever makes you happy! [/quote]

That is my point. :)

I, personally, have no misconceptions. I understand it very well. I write an outline. Not a script.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Aug 28, 2014 08:34PM)
Maddy, I said misconceptions because of the comment, "I never want to feel like a robot."

People have this notion you'll sound like a robot if you script your stuff. That's simply not true if you know the scripts inside, out, and backwards... hence the "misconception" comment.
Message: Posted by: Magic.Maddy (Aug 28, 2014 08:55PM)
[quote]On Aug 28, 2014, sandsjr wrote:
Maddy, I said misconceptions because of the comment, "I never want to feel like a robot."

People have this notion you'll sound like a robot if you script your stuff. That's simply not true if you know the scripts inside, out, and backwards... hence the "misconception" comment. [/quote]


I understand. And I can see how you could easily be confused.

I act so I'm very used to working with a script. All good actors breathe life into the script and every performance is something new even though there is a VERY particular script to follow with VERY particular actions. Maybe that is part of the reason I'm so turned off by scripts for magic.



The robot comment was more a crack at the magicians who speak in monotoan with no emotion or passion whatsoever. (We all know or have seen a magician like this.) And I'm not talking about a monotoan character, that's different. Those are the "robots" I was referring to, I should have made that more apparent :)
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Aug 28, 2014 09:20PM)
Writing a script that doesn't sound like a script is a skill unto itself. When I write a script, I read the lines aloud to see if I can recite them in a way that seems natural and spontaneous. This usually leads to hours, sometimes weeks, of small revisions.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Aug 28, 2014 09:24PM)
By the way, every word in my HOTOAC promotional video was scripted. I worked very hard on that script to make it sound off the cuff. I also write the lines I want my spectator to say, and the more skillfully the script is constructed, the more likely they will be to deliver their "lines" in the way you need them to.
Message: Posted by: Magic.Maddy (Aug 28, 2014 09:57PM)
I've never understood writing the spectators lines. Why do that? I LOVE the spontaneity of their answers! That's half of the fun for me!

I guess I get it if your improv skills are seriously lacking. Other than that, I don't understand why magicians write out the spectators "lines." I love how unpredictable their responses are.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Aug 28, 2014 10:52PM)
Ben, I do the same thing. I first start with a succinct outline of what I want to do with the effect, ie; what needs to happen. Then, it's almost a 3-dimentional process between brainstorming, performing the lines standing near my computer, catching an idea, writing it. Repeating that, analyzing what I have, refining it using all the essential principles you'll find in Maximum Entertainment. It takes a long time, usually weeks depending on the length of the effect, to get the first draft. That draft, which incidentally is "me" in my words (this is VERY IMPORTANT to me), is subsequently refined and tweaked over and over and over again in an effort to streamline and make the routine as powerful and effective as possible.

THEN, I work the piece into a show. After that, the tweaking, refining process continues until I've honed it into a "polished" performance. By the time it's at that point I have performed it hundreds of times in rehearsal and dozens of times in front of an audience. At that point, the script is part of me. The truth is, this is the FAST way to do it vs. winging it and making minute changes over a long period of time.

I love the process. You can make things as great as you desire!
Message: Posted by: Rolyan (Aug 29, 2014 12:41AM)
I suspect that those who want to script will script, and those that don't want to script won't, and that everyone will think that their position is the right one, certainly for them, so are unlikely to change that position regardless of what else is said. So I see little point in posting my personal opinion on scripting.

However, I can certainly add to the recommendation to read Magic and Showmanship; the discussion of silent scripting is invaluable and can make a HUGE difference to your presentation.
Message: Posted by: Magic.Maddy (Aug 29, 2014 07:43AM)
[quote]On Aug 29, 2014, Rolyan wrote:
I suspect that those who want to script will script, and those that don't want to script won't, and that everyone will think that their position is the right one, certainly for them, so are unlikely to change that position regardless of what else is said. So I see little point in posting my personal opinion on scripting.[/quote]

Right! I think the best advice is to try out a few things until you find what works for YOU. If that means writing a script, write it! If that means going in it blind (terrible idea, but still) go for it! If it is making a basic outline, do it!

I don't think there is a secret formula for success. I think it's different for everyone.
Message: Posted by: C.J. (Aug 29, 2014 07:06PM)
[quote]On Aug 28, 2014, Magic.Maddy wrote:
A pet peeve of mine is performers putting up "the 4th wall." The only person the mentalist/magician ever talks to or listens to or acknowledges is the person assisting him on stage. They block everyone else out. This is entirely wrong in my book. I feel the entire audience needs to feel like they are on stage with you, or like you're walking among them.


Another big thing for me is: Power. I think power is extremely important. Magicians/Mentalists with power are successful and in charge of their show. With no power, you will have no control. You loose power when you "ooch" which basically means when you rock back and forth on your feet constantly and continually make minor adjustments in your feet. This takes away power and shows nervousness. Another thing that takes away power is stepping backwards. If you have to go backwards, turn around and go backwards. Don't just lean or step backwards. This is especially true when delivering "lines." When you are speaking directly to the audience, please, PLEASE do not step backwards. All your strength is drained from you in that moment. It makes you look weak and timid. Along similar lines, always move with purpose. Don't continually pace. It makes the audience sea sick. I see this A LOT. [/quote]

HOORAY! Someone else here understands the nitty-gritty of stagecraft and presence! I feel like I've found a kindred spirit! :)

I disagree with your position on scripts, but the above quote is something I would love to see people more conscious of. I was re-watching a respected DVD release of a very well-known mentalist this week, and he did everything wrong with his feet that you've just mentioned. It didn't cripple his performance, but it certainly prevented him from reaching maximum impact. To me, details like the feet are what make Derren Brown such a strong performer. Audiences can't always articulate WHY, but they will FEEL the difference between strong and weak performers.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Aug 29, 2014 07:27PM)
[quote]On Aug 29, 2014, C.J. wrote:
Audiences can't always articulate WHY, but they will FEEL the difference between strong and weak performers. [/quote]

This goes for so many things in mentalism. Gut level stuff "sensed" by the audience.

Derren Brown carry's himself like a professional theatre person in every aspect of his performing. The venues he works and the way he performs fit together perfectly.
Message: Posted by: Magic.Maddy (Aug 29, 2014 08:08PM)
[quote]On Aug 29, 2014, C.J. wrote:

HOORAY! Someone else here understands the nitty-gritty of stagecraft and presence! I feel like I've found a kindred spirit! :)

I disagree with your position on scripts, but the above quote is something I would love to see people more conscious of. I was re-watching a respected DVD release of a very well-known mentalist this week, and he did everything wrong with his feet that you've just mentioned. It didn't cripple his performance, but it certainly prevented him from reaching maximum impact. To me, details like the feet are what make Derren Brown such a strong performer. Audiences can't always articulate WHY, but they will FEEL the difference between strong and weak performers. [/quote]


I'm glad I'm not the only one! Haha! And I realize that I'm "against the grain" when it comes to scripting. It's just never been my thing. Maybe another reason is because I write a lot of script for plays so again, that may be another reason it turns me off.


Derren DEFINITELY uses power perfectly. ALWAYS moves with purpose.

And like you, I've seen quite a lot of well known performers doing those things. Especially when they are lecturing.
Message: Posted by: C.J. (Aug 29, 2014 10:43PM)
I'm not going to judge you on how you work, Magic.Maddy, so don't take this as an argumentative statement, but... to me, scripting is what stops me from wandering and pacing with my mouth. I consider myself a very confident speaker, and many are the times I've (successfully) given an off-the-cuff speech without umming and erring. But when I perform, I feel that if I'm going to work on blocking my movements, I may as well "block" my words. It's not about speaking without stumbling, it's about making sure that the words are tight, powerful and direct. It also allows me to use words and phrases that are not in my general vocabulary (and therefore unlikely to come out of my mouth naturally if I'm speaking extempore).

Do what works for you, but I think the two (the foot issue and scripting) are very similar.

Now back to the thread!
Message: Posted by: Magic.Maddy (Aug 30, 2014 07:55AM)
[quote]On Aug 29, 2014, C.J. wrote:
I'm not going to judge you on how you work, Magic.Maddy, so don't take this as an argumentative statement, but... to me, scripting is what stops me from wandering and pacing with my mouth. I consider myself a very confident speaker, and many are the times I've (successfully) given an off-the-cuff speech without umming and erring. But when I perform, I feel that if I'm going to work on blocking my movements, I may as well "block" my words. It's not about speaking without stumbling, it's about making sure that the words are tight, powerful and direct. It also allows me to use words and phrases that are not in my general vocabulary (and therefore unlikely to come out of my mouth naturally if I'm speaking extempore).

Do what works for you, but I think the two (the foot issue and scripting) are very similar.

Now back to the thread! [/quote]

I understand. To each his own. It's mainly my style of performing. I have a very casual performing style. I don't need to use large words or make powerful statements to be effective. My "character" is just an extension of me.

Again, I'm not arguing either. I know that I'm one of very few that feels only an outline is needed. I'm not trying to convince anyone I change their methods. Just maybe introducing them to another :)
Message: Posted by: Stu Montgomery (Aug 30, 2014 06:11PM)
[quote]On Apr 26, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Smiles, gestures, etc., should all be in the script as well.

And watch the pitch of your voice. It is common to hear nervous performers speaking too fast and their voices usually rise in pitch. (Think of Don Knotts as Barney Fife.)

Another bad habit that has developed over the past decade, at least here in the US, is a tendency to end every statement with a rising inflection as if it is a question. It's "I'm doing a show tonight," not, "I'm doing a show tonight?"

So called "Valleyspeak", originally began in Southern California and was/is common in "Valley girls". It drives me nuts! The raising of the last word by one octave really grates! Not restricted to American speech, but also very common in Austrailia where it's perhaps even more annoying! The High rising terminal, also known as uptalk, & upspeak is just so annoying. Luckily, it hasn't reached Scotland, where, due to the strong accent, it probably wouldn't work at all! A 'verbal tick'...perfect description Bob!
Message: Posted by: ed wood (Aug 31, 2014 04:27AM)
Turning my back on the audience whilst on stage. I'm getting better, and that's all down to scripting and rehearsing, but I still catch myself doing it from time to time. Caught in that tricky situation where I have someone on stage with me that I'm talking to but I still need to talk to the audience.
Message: Posted by: psychicir (Sep 1, 2014 10:40PM)
I like the way Kreskin works. I am pretty positive he doesn't use a script that he has learned by rote which truly is a really terrible way to learn your patter. Instead I am pretty sure that years ago he started with an outline of what to say and probably still does with some of his newer stuff. But after hundreds of performances he ended up saying more or less the same thing at every performance but with great impromptu variations here and there. I believe that is the correct way to go about things and I can assure Maddy that he is not alone in this line of thought.

These scripted by rote performances seem terribly artifical to me. I have seen a few that don't come across that way but "few" is the operative word. And yes, most of them do seem robotic to me. Remember, in case some of you get offended I said "most"!

I think it is a massive mistake for a performer to try and be perfect on stage. I find perfection to be an imperfection in itself. Instead of perfection a performer should try to be human. Audiences far prefer that.