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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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lika scence
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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)
ThatsJustWrong!
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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: How many of you develop your physical presentation in a rehearsal space of similar size to your average rehearsal space? 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?
Joe Leo

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

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Scott Burton
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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.
Jeff Christensen
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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.
Neil
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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.
ThatsJustWrong!
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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.
Joe Leo

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

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mastermindreader
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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.


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.
DWRackley
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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”.
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Steve_Mollett
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I start with my persona; weaving a theme.
I then select the effects, blocking and scripting to support that.
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
insight
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A lot of good things to remember in this thread...

Regards,
Mike
MSaber
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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.
Looch
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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.
Senor Fabuloso
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Figure out what story you want to tell and then tell it.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
IAIN
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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...
John C
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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.
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
IAIN
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Led zep already had a following before hand though, in the sense that Jimmy page was popular in the yardbirds...
IAIN
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Tiny Tim was the niche within a niche and borne from the big folk scene...
IAIN
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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...
kidnapped1853
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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."
kidnapped1853
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I meant to write "mentalism."
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