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Magic.Maddy
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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.
sandsjr
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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!
Rolyan
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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.
Magic.Maddy
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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.


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.
C.J.
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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.


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

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.
Connor Jacobs - The Thought Sculptor
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur
Be fondly remembered.
sandsjr
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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.


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.
Magic.Maddy
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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! Smile

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.



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.
C.J.
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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!
Connor Jacobs - The Thought Sculptor
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur
Be fondly remembered.
Magic.Maddy
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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!


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 Smile
Stu Montgomery
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[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!
"Round about what is, lies a whole mysterious world of might be" Longfellow.
ed wood
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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.
psychicir
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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.
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