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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » How do you develop your presentation? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Neil
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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?
Rod Quiz
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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?"....
chill
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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
I spent most of my money on magic and women, the rest i just wasted
Dreadnought
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Athens, Georgia
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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.
Peace

"Ave Maria gratia plena Dominus tecum..."

Scott

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David Thiel
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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
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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Rebecca_Harris
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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.
innercirclewannabe
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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


: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. Smile
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
maxpax
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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.
DWRackley
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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.
...what if I could read your mind?

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mastermindreader
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You'll learn a lot more watching videos of yourself performing that you ever will by practicing in front of a mirror.
DWRackley
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VERY TRUE!!! (I wish I could get some!)




...videos, I mean...
...what if I could read your mind?

Chattanooga's Premier Mentalist

Donatelli and Company at ChattanoogaPerformers.com

also on FaceBook
innercirclewannabe
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Quote:
On 2012-04-16 15:45, DWRackley wrote:
VERY TRUE!!! (I wish I could get some!)




...videos, I mean...


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.
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
innercirclewannabe
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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...


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.


It's a "real killer" when he/she returns the phone, and you realise it is not switched on! Smile
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
ddyment
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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 the other aspects of performance, all of which must be honoured in its development.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
IAIN
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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...
TonyB2009
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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.
Slim King
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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.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
ThatsJustWrong!
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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.
Joe Leo

All entertainers can benefit from some help from an experienced stage director. How about you?

www.MisfitMysteries.com
Neil
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This all great info. Thanks so much for your responses. I think I need to be more planned in my scripting/stories.
false_shuffle
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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.
Daniel Rasmussen
Omaha, NE
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