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KirbyKoolAid
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Hello all,
AS it should say in my banner below (why it isn't working properly I don't know), I'm sixteen years old, relatively new to magic, and primarily perform to friends at school etc. (read: anyone who stops long enough). My only problem (I know enough of a variation of tricks to suit needs, though you can never actually know enough) is patter. For example, I do a trick where I end up coughing a mini card out of my mouth. Simple enough, no patter needed. But tricks where I get them to do things (I do a variation of 'Do as I Do') feel lacking without patter, and feel stupid with, especially when they're people who have knonwn me since I started school. Does anyone have any tips to overcome these problems? DO I need to figure out a way to cater for my needs better through my tricks? Any guidence appreciated.
frankvomit
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You want to learn patter then check out the guys that are really good at it. micheal finny and bill malone come to mind. pay attention to how they phraze and there general communication with there audience, what they say to keep the attention, and how entertaining it is.
KirbyKoolAid
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Thank you for the quick response. I have heard that Bill Malone is very good at it, but haven't heard of the other. I will check them out.
Dick Oslund
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Hi Kirby!
Michael Finney is a very funny guy. His humor comes from within! In other words, he didn't just read a patter book. As a matter of fact, I haven't seen a "patter" book published in years. When I was your age, George McAthy published SMART TALK, SMART COMEDY SMART BUSINESS AND SMART TRICKS. George was funny too. Robert Orben published dozens of patter books, eventually, he had a gag service for DJs. "More eventually". he was President Ford's joke writer. That's history. (I bought many of those books, as I had the same problem that you're having, now! Guess what!!! The gags and patter lines were funny (in the books) but, when I used them in my show, THEY WEREN'T FUNNY! It was a case of a 16 year old (yes, I was 16 once)trying to be 25.

I suggest that you, as that "other guy" just ahead of me suggested, study as many of the funny magicians as you can. DON'T TRY TO COPY THEIR GAGS, OR STYLE OF DELIVERY. Just study them, see how they create a humorous situation, and then they "play" with it. Notice how they time a gag. Notice everything that they DO to make people laugh.

Go to the library and read the life stories of comedians like George Burns, Jack Benny, Red Skelton--in England, Tommy Cooper,Pat Page, Benny Hill, et al.

I have an appointment that I must keep. I'll come back later, with a few more thoughts.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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I'm back!
If you see Mike Finney orBill Malone on a dvd, odds are that they are performing, not demonstrating how to develop patter for an act. Watch them, & learn!

Now! Let's talk about YOU. You're 16, and, in high school. You, at this point, are not doing formal shows. You're doing casual, informal presentations for your friends. You can experiment. You can try a presentation. (You're using your friends as "guinea pigs"! If the presentation entertains them, try it on another group, or two groups. After the "show" make notes. You are "testing the market". if a presentation flops, try something else. You're providing a free show--they can't ask for their money back! Don't be aftaid to ask them, why they liked something.

I have a relatively funny mind. I can usually tell a joke or funny anecdote that fits an occasion. --and it plays, because it fits the occasion--it's TOPICAL. When I'm doing a show (a professional paid date) I only "ad lib" a line, if I'm absolutely sure that it will play. The show is scripted, and I'm cautious about deviating. This comes from years of experience.

I remember,in 1948, doing a club date for a fraternal organization. It was a lodge "ladies night". I wss 16. A member of the lodge had a new device that made "records"! He offered to record my show. I agreed quickly. Well, it was a thrill to hear my own voice. I still have the record. Whenever I start thinking how great I am, I play that record! OOOOH! It wasn't very funny! I did get better! (I couldn't have gotten much worse!)

One show at a time, I tested concepts. I listened to the audience's responses. I improved. 20,000 shows later, I'm a little better (!)

If I could do it,--and YOU WANT to do it--there's no reason why you can't do it! The "key" is to just be yourself! At 16, I didn't "know who I was!" I learned one show at a time!

You will be surprised at how well the peer group will like you, if you aren't trying to be more than you are.The very fact that you realize that you need to "do something" is a step in the right direction.

I wish there was a "SECRET" METHOD to tell you about. There AINT! Just don't expect a miraculous lightning bolt to hit you and transform you. The old proverb: "You can't make a dill pickle by dunking a cucumber in a pot of brine. Pickling takes awhile!"

I hope this rambling "sermon" has given you some encouragement! Feel free to PM me, if I left you with questions.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
frankvomit
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Yeah pretty much take everything Dick just said to heart he's someone that has been doing this a long time,and the fact that he has freely given information that most people have to learn through trial and error clearly shows he want to help you.

thanks for being around Dick!
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You might want to watch a few performances to get a few ideas about what kind of patter to use.
https://www.youtube.com/user/MichaelAmmar/videos
https://www.youtube.com/user/HarryLorayneOnVideo/videos
Dick Oslund
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Thanks Lee! I know Michael and have met Harry. I don't know how to "link" stuff. I'm sure that Kirby will benefit.

The old "rule of three" applies again!

When you want to add a trick to your show, there are "three things necessary":

1. Learn how it is DONE!

2. Learn how to DO it!

3. Learn how to DO it, SO THAT IT ENTERTAINS AN AUDIENCDE!

--Number 3 is "where" PATTER AND PRESENTATION come into the "process"! The PERFORMER (& HIS PRESENTATION) are more important than the PROP!!!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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I won't call it patter, because I think that's an antiquated term. Not knowing your personality, humor ala Bill Malone may not be your thing. There are many entertaining performers out there. Study a variety of styles. Ricky Jay, Dan Tong and Daryl for instance. The important thing is to learn from these performers, but not copy. Pickup Pete McCabe's book Scripting Magic.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
– Karl Germain
lifeofwonder
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Since you've said you primarily perform for friends at school, I found myself (way back when I was in school) that patter is usually designed for an audience where the people you don't really know on a personal level. With that in mind, I really needed to change my patter when performing for friends or they will just look at you funny when your routine starts and it sounds like a script. On the flip side, the funniest responses I ever got was when I did mentalism and would jokingly ask "Have we ever met?" where it was obvious I knew everyone in the room. Find a magician whose personality is closest to yours to make it feel most genuine.
Dick Oslund
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Very good point life of wonder!


motown>>> I agree! I never liked the term "patter" either. It's certainly antiquated, and also rather a belittling term to describe an actor's speech as "patter". Professional theater people use the term "lines". I guess I just used "patter" as Kirby is quite "new" and I was already throwing a lot of terms "at" him! I think I also may have used "patter" because of the alliteration. (old circus habit!)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Wilktone
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Take my thoughts with a grain of salt, since I'm coming from the background of a teacher and musician (and a smattering of a theater background). So while I get the opportunity to speak to audiences/classrooms on a regular basis, I'm not usually presenting a magic effect at the same time. With that caveat in mind, here are my thoughts on developing a natural patter.

1. Practice - Duh! But I have a tendency to practice magic without speaking out loud. When I do practice with patter I often find it difficult to talk to a nonexistent audience or just a video camera. It's silly, but I find it I talk to my cat while practicing that it makes a big difference in making me feel more comfortable talking and practicing a magic trick at the same time. Also note that it's exceedingly difficult to multitask and perform the physical handlings at the same time you're holding a conversation. Get the moves down so well that you don't have to think about it and you can concentrate on what you're saying better.

2. Plan your patter - You might find it helpful to even write a script out for yourself at first. As you practice, you'll find that you want to change it to suit your style or the trick better. At the very least, I find it helpful to try to have an idea what sort of approach I'll be taking to the trick and how your lines will follow the trick and overall mood. For example, are you going to perform the effect as a challenge effect or will you present it as something you saw someone once do for you? Will you be telling a story with the trick or be giving a "color commentary" about what you're doing as you perform? Personally, I like to have a general idea of what my patter will cover and speak more or less off the cuff as I talk. This is also how I structure my classroom lectures, student rehearsals, or performance announcements. Over the years I've ended up with stock lines that I've borrowed or come up with on my own that I frequently use, but how I get from A to C might not necessarily be by going to B.

3. Imitate, Assimilate, Innovate - This is a quote from Clark Terry, one of the most influential and innovative jazz trumpet players ever. He was talking about the process by which musicians learn to improvise solos, but in my opinion it's good advice for any art. So to offer somewhat contrary advice to what some have suggested above, I see nothing wrong with imitating another magician's patter at first. In fact, I think it's a necessary step when you're just learning a new skill. You will learn subtleties this way that will take you much longer to learn on your own. For example, why does Bill Malone ask his audience a question at that particular point or make a joke just before the next step in the routine? If you try to be too original at first you risk missing an important opportunity for misdirection or way to create tension/release in your trick. With some experience here you'll start picking up on why certain types of lines work under specific circumstances and develop an intuitive understanding of what makes for good patter. Then you'll be ready to start developing something completely original.

4. Understand your own personality well enough to find your own strengths, weaknesses, and stylistic quirks, then build your pattern on that. Sure, you should strive to improve in those areas where you're weaker, but if you're a naturally silly person trying to adopt the patter of a mystical wizard might not be the best approach for you. I've read advice on this topic that suggests it's helpful to take your own personality but highlight some area (i.e., a sarcastic sense of humor, an absent minded thinker, physical personality, shyness, etc.) and turn that into your performing character. Because it's based on who you really are it will seem natural, but because it's an exaggeration it will be easier to separate yourself the person from yourself as the performer and have that added comfort of "hiding" behind the character when you're performing magic. I feel this way when I perform music sometimes. I'm almost using my trombone or the conductor's baton as a shield or mask from the audience and feel more relaxed then when performing.

5. Involve your audience when you can - This is built into a lot of tricks already (e.g. "Pick a card, any card."), but as a rule of thumb I think magic that involves the audience in some way is simply more memorable and also gives you more to play with in your improvised patter. It also helps provide many opportunities for misdirection. Michael Ammar has a good audiobook on this topic called "Making Magic Memorable" that I really enjoyed listening to.

6. Trial and error - Try to learn from other folks' experience so you can avoid the mistakes they learned from, but after a certain point you'll just need to assess your own performances and find things that worked and what didn't. Alter your patter accordingly. It's a long term process.

7. Lastly, have fun! I'm not a professional magician. Like you, I mainly perform magic for friends, family, or students. These days I'm less concerned about fooling my audience and more so with just trying to have fun with everyone. Since I've developed this attitude to performing I find that even when I botch a sleight (or completely train wreck on a tune I'm playing) and give away a secret that if I am still enjoying myself the audience is too. It even seems to end up with me making fewer mistakes because I'm more relaxed when I perform than if I'm obsessing over what to say or the upcoming sleight that I struggle with sometimes.

That's my free advice. Remember that you get what you pay for. Good luck!


Dave
KirbyKoolAid
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Wow, thank you all very much for the response. The biggest things I have got from it are:
Practice with something.
Practice with someone.
Watch people do things.
'Patter' is an outdated term, but I don't mind.

Thank you all very much again,
Nathan
Dick Oslund
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Don't go away, Nathan! As the Svengali pitchmen used to say, to help turn the tip: "BUT, WAIT! THERE'S MORE!"

Take a few days to "soak up" the information. Digest as much as you can, If there's something you don't quite understand, make notes, ask questions! (Old "line": "The only dumb question is the one you didn't ask!!!)

Wilktone has written a "text book", As you very well may have "noticed", he has done his homework! I'm sure that if he said anything that wasn't quite clear to you, he will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

I'm sure also, that by now, you realize that there is more to being a magician than performing tricks!!! Here's a quote from S. H. Sharpe that may reenforce that thought: "THOSE WHO THINK THAT MAGIC CONSISTS OF DOING TRICKS, ARE STRANGERS TO MAGIC. TRICKS ARE ONLY THE CRUDE RESIDUE FROM WHICH THE LIFEBLOOD OF MAGIC HAS BEEN DRAINED."

Nezt week, I will expand on Wilktone's #5: Involvement/interaction with the spectators. To whet your appetite, I'll give you a hint:
In performing, you are not delivering a speech, you are having a conversation with those for whom you are performing.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Wilktone
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Hey, Nathan (et al).

Quote:
Wilktone has written a "text book", As you very well may have "noticed", he has done his homework! I'm sure that if he said anything that wasn't quite clear to you, he will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Absolutely! And thanks for the kind words, Dick. I have to admit my motivations in contributing to this topic are less than completely altruistic, since writing my above post really helped me solidify some ideas I've been wrestling with lately too regarding my patter. Anyone who has taught before understands that there's nothing like trying to explain what you do to someone to really teach you how little you actually know!

But I understand your mood, Nathan. As newer member here myself, this board's culture takes a bit of getting used to. Everyone pretty much tries to follow the etiquette of not tipping off a method and so there's a tendency to speak vaguely all the time. I've sometimes had to rephrase my questions a couple of times in order to get the specific advice I was looking for.

Most of the books, videos, and individual tricks I own include suggested patter in the instructions. I particularly like learning patter from videos where a performance is shown first, followed by the detailed instructions. It's easy for me to get bogged down on the individual details of a routine in the instructions and forget how it fits into the greater whole of performing. Like I wrote above, I will usually start by copying the patter from the instructions at first.

In coming up with my own patter I try to analyze the suggested patter carefully and make sure that my lines accomplish the same thing. I've noticed some patterns to the patter (like the alliteration?) that help me with this. It seems like there are only a few types of broad shapes patter commonly takes, which of course can be mixed around in the course of the same trick.

1. No patter, just a silent trick.
2. The patter tells a story from beginning to end of the trick (Cannibal Kings is one I like)
3. The patter describes what the magician is doing ("Next, I'll take your card and shuffle it into the deck. Don't forget your card!").
4. The patter sets up a challenge effect (Your example of Do As I Do, if it's the same effect I know from Royal Card Magic, can fit this category).

I'm sure there are others, but that's what I can think of right now. Can anyone else think of others? (Notice how I tried to involve my audience right there by asking a meaningful question and getting them involved? It sometimes works here too!)

I've also come up with some different purposes for individual lines in patter.

1. To increase and release tension. A joke is a good example. Like a musical composition, I feel a magic trick should have a little ebb and flow to it that builds to a climax at some point. Most good tricks have this built into them already (like the end of the classic Cups and Balls routine when fruit suddenly appears under the cups). This is also great misdirection if you make your sleight happen during the laughter (or groans).
2. To explain why you're making a particular move. For example, in the Cannibal Kings routine there's a point where you need to move two cards from the bottom of a packet of cards to the top. The suggested line of patter for that point is something like "By now it was a feeding frenzy and the kings were jumping to the top to get at the food faster." More misdirection.
3. To get them to take their eyes off the move you're about to do. I've read advice that a good way to misdirect an audiences eyes is to stare at your hands for a moment (drawing their eyes there too), then look into their eyes and ask a meaningful question. It's a powerful psychological urge for them to look up into your eyes then to answer you and you do your pass or whatever then.
4. To involve the audience with the effect. Sometimes this is necessary and built into the trick ("Pick a card."). Sometimes it's used to improve the reaction (the card changing in their hand seems more magical than if it was simply placed on the table).
5. To set up one of the above lines. For me, this sort of category of lines is usually improvised, more or less. I have those important lines I need to get to, but in between I try to have fun and banter a bit. I still have some stock lines that could go here if I'm not feeling inspired or my audience isn't playing along.

Something else that occurred to me while thinking about this is that there's no reason why you can't create the same (or even greater) impact by not saying so much anyway. Most inexperienced jazz improvisers I teach have a nervous habit of playing constantly and never ending their musical phrase. I have exercises for music that I teach where the student is forced to leave lots of silence in their solo to get them used to using silence as a way to build and release tension. Maybe try something similar with your patter.

Quote:
But tricks where I get them to do things (I do a variation of 'Do as I Do') feel lacking without patter, and feel stupid with, especially when they're people who have knonwn me since I started school.


The patter I use for this trick is essentially the lines I got from Royal Road to Card Magic. I generally don't have two decks of cards on me (unless one is a gimmicked deck), so I haven't had much experience performing it. The suggested patter essentially fits the "describes what the magician is doing" category combined with "get the spectator to help" type of lines. Obviously some of this will be essential for the routine to work correctly, since you have to instruct the spectator to do as you do. Thinking about it a bit more, however, there are all sorts of things we could play with. You could set it up as a mind reading trick and make a big deal out of staring your spectator in the eyes. Or maybe you could present it as a demonstration of this strange sort of luck you have with cards. You might tell the story of how you played cards with an old poker player who you lost all your money to in this game that you'll show your spectator. Think about a fun way to present this trick that goes beyond just instructing your audience to "do as I do" and play around with it.

Once you have an idea which direction you want to go in you can take the essential lines and reword them to fit how you want to talk during that trick. Again, it might help to actually write out a script the first time you do this. As you write your patter think about the purposes of the patter in relationship to the mechanics of the effect and make them fit with your personal style. To reiterate, I personally here try to boil my script down to the bare essentials of what's necessary and leave myself room to fill up the silences according to how the audience is responding to me and the trick. Sometimes it's more amazing to talk less.

Think a bit about the language you use, particularly when you ask your audiences questions. For example, consider the different responses you can get from asking essentially the same question with three different wordings:

1. "How many coins did you see me put in this hand?" The word "see" might imply that if they just stared closer at your hands they would have seen something different.
2. "How many coins did you watch me put in this hand?" Even if they suspect that there is not exactly two coins in your hand they will likely answer the question how you want them to.
3. "How many coins do you think are in this hand?" Invites the audience to speculate, guess, or try to call you out.

Depending on the routine, you might choose to ask your question one way at a certain part and another at the climax. If you find during performances that you're not getting the reply you want to your question or instruction, see if there's a different way you can phrase your patter to lead your spectator in the right direction.

The last piece of advice I can think of is to find a magic club or magic shop where you can practice for an experienced magician. Since we can't watch you perform it's really hard to offer the specific advice that you need here. Someone watching you perform would be able to help you tune up your patter for that specific trick and help point out what you need to practice in your presentation.

I hope some of that is useful. I know it's kind of long and therefor harder to absorb. As I said, I'm really trying to organize my own philosophy on patter and in doing so I may have missed answering your questions entirely. Please feel free to ask more pointed questions if you have them. I'll do my best to answer them and I bet some of the more experienced magicians can either clarify or correct me.

Good luck!

Dave
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"These days I'm less concerned about fooling my audience and more so with just trying to have fun with everyone."
David Wilken

Well said!
After much soul searching about a signature, I decided not to have one.

TG Pop [aka ProfessorWhut]
KirbyKoolAid
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Wilktone: Thank you very much for your in depth reply. Most of the things you said I wouldn't have thought in... Well, I wouldn't have thought at all. You answered my quesions really well, and everyone chipping in has been a big help. I was casually looking for a club around where I live and not really coming up with much, but I will find something I'm sure. The only shop I know of that 'does' magic, while very understanding, are not very focussed in what they want to do, and only one staff member actually does any magic (though I have talked with him on occasion). I will hunt down something, then find them when I get back.
Oh, and, Dick, I'm not going anywhere.
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Right Dave! I found out fairly early that the audience would fool themselves! --All I had to do was entertain them.

In high schools, I did an "illusion" routine which "explained" how their fallible senses "helped" their minds to fool themselves. I used the old boomerang sticks, the "six spot, one spot, three spot, four spot (etc.!)card, to demonstrate. It helped them to know that I planned to fool them without making fools of them. Then I explained that "magic" was 85% psychlogy. The rest was 5% sensory illusion, 5% esoteric science principles, and 5% sleight of hand. This little 5 minute "expose" (which really didn't expose anything!)played great, The poster on the bulletin board, advertised "MAGIC EXPOSED"! Well, old carnies know that "ya gotta get them past the ticket box, and, into the tent! The "expose" "bullet" on the banner line, helped "that" to happen. (Too many magicians seem to forget--or never knew--that Show Business is really spelled" $how Bu$ine$$!

Nathan! I'm glad that you're still here! Dave has done--and is doing--such a beautiful job in explaining about "patter", that I can just add an explanatory note, here and there.

Jon Racherbaumer is a GREAT cardician, a very good friend, and an author of many books on magic and magicians. When I would spend the wintry months in New Orleans, as I was "morphing" into retirement, Jon and I would have lunch 4 or 5 times a week. The conversation was not about card tricks! We talked business, philosophy, technique, etc. One day, he brought in a magazine article (not a magic magazine)that made a point about the future of novelty entertainers. The writer stated that in the not too distant future, performers who presented a "watch me do this clever stuff" act, would find it difficult to get booked! In the "future", the writer said, artists who could INVOLVE people,and INTERACT with them, whether on the platform as participants,or in their seats as a participating audience, would have work. To be successful, they would have to break the fourth wall!

That evening, I pondered that article. Analyzing my own program (Lyceum performers prefer to use "program" as opposed to "show".)I realized that I had been involving "them" for years! (See my first paragraph about "illusion") BTW: I used that "illusion" routine in elementary schools,too.I just kept the vocabulary on an elementary level. (The youngsters enjoyed it, AND, teachers and school principals--who booked the program--appreciated the educational aspect.)

So! "patter" (actors "read' that as "lines") must be more than a "speech". The performer should be having a "conversation" with the audience. He must keep their attention by talking WITH them, Talking TO them, or even worse, AT them will LOSE them, faster than Blackstone's vanishing bird cage!

One of the ancient techniques (with a young audience) is, for example, to ask them to shout the "magic word" to make the silk disappear. Wise magicians exploit every opportunity to involve and interact with the folks out front. I would never hold up a hat, and say, "An empty hat!" Instead, I would hold up the hat,and ASK, What do you see?" (Now, THEY are TELLING ME that the hat is empty! --Psychology!!!)

Eye contact is just about as important as verbal contact! Our body language is just as important as oral language. Especially with tiny kids, I may direct a line right at an individual youngster. He or she immediately feels that the performer is talking WITH him or her, as an individual.

Some magicians sell themselves to the audience as "magi-comedians". They have a "joke a minute" style. Other magicians depend more on "situation comedy" (I think that I fall into that category.) The individual performer needs to find his/her "niche".

One more little point, and, I'll "get off". The late Jack Benny understood comedy! He started in vaudeville, moved on to radio, and then TV. He was a STAR. I think it was he, who said, "Comedy is like a soap bubble. When you get "inside" it to analyze it, it disappears!" He also said, "It's not important that the audience laughs at every gag or joke. What's important is: When you leave the stage, they still like you!"

The late Nate Leipzig did only "small" effects. He worked vaudeville, and was a "standard act". (An agent could book Nate almost anywhere.) Leipzig's philosophy was "Make them like you. If they like YOU, they'll like anything that you do."

I've preached long enough! I'm getting off before they get the hook!

Dick
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KirbyKoolAid
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Everyone here has had such interesting lives...

It's very interesting to read about the psycology that you and others have picked up on within the routines. I will attempt to take as much heed as I possibly can from it all. I have a long way to go, and, unlike Smokey and the Bandit, have a while to get there. Thank you all for your help. And, Dick, you can preach as long as you like. It's all very interesting, and informative.

Thank you,
Nathan
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Hi KirbyKoolAid

I have so much to say on this topic I was considering adding a part 2 to my Presentation (How-To Guide) which if your interested can be found here:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=41

To your issue at hand I can relate, I grappled with the same question for years and finally developed my own way of creating presentations. I read many of the magic texts on the topic and supplemented much of what they said with my own experiences and observations and formed processes that helped me. Interestingly enough most of those processes and the results came outside the sphere of magic which I’ll come back to later.

The fundamental question you have to ask yourself is why am I doing this and what’s my reason for doing it?

I believe that to help answer that fundamental question you need to look at the trick you are hoping to perform. I believe that presentations for magic need to be congruent with not only you as a person and the style of performer you are but also to the trick you’re performing. Anything less than that is like trying on clothing that isn't your size.

To extend the clothing metaphor a little further if you imagine the trick as a coat hanger and the presentation and your performing persona are the coat to hang on the hanger you get a better picture of what I’m talking about. I won’t go into detail on performing persona because in my experience this evolves naturally over time with each personality gravitating to one thing or another which develops you into the performer you eventually come to be.

The trick however is a different story, you are not just doing this for just yourself and isn’t solely a point of self-development like what your performing persona is, as is most often the case you’re doing it for other people. So for them to grasp that trick you need to make it coherent for them as well as yourself.

To do this, create a synopsis of the effect, what is it that this trick is doing? One magician by the name of Dariel Fitzkee had already done this and considered all magic effects could be put into one or more of the following:

1. Production (appearance, creation, multiplication)
2. Vanish (disappearance obliteration)
3. Transposition (change in location)
4. Transformation (change in appearance, character or identity)
5. Penetration (one solid through another)
6. Restoration (making the destroyed whole)
7. Animation (movement imparted to the inanimate)
8. Anti-Gravity (Levitation and change in weight)
9. Attraction (mysterious adhesion)
10. Sympathetic reaction (sympathetic response)
11. Invulnerability (injury proof)
12. Physical anomaly (contradictions, abnormalities, freaks)
13. Spectator failure (magicians’ challenge)
14. Control (mind over the inanimate)
15. Identification (special discovery)
16. Thought reading (mental perception, mind reading)
17. Thought transmission (thought projection and transference)
18. Prediction (foretelling the future)
19. Extra-Sensorial perception (unusual perception, other than mind)

Looking at each of those see where your trick sits among that list, now think about how you will justify that effect in the presentation. How you do this is the area most have trouble with and is an area that I studied deeply to overcome, if there was an equivalent to writers block for creativity this is where it would happen.

To overcome this stage I searched for tools to help me look at things differently and I’ll share those with you here now but before that I won’t to give you a more general concept.

When people look for inspiration for other things they often take a linear perspective or to use a more accurate adage of “birds of a feather flock together” look at similar areas that others have explored in solving the same problem. Looking outside the box or in our case outside magic often nets us bigger rewards. If we look outside of magic into our everyday lives we will find a never ending stream of inspiration that we can draw upon in our magic. What hobbies do you like doing other than magic? What sports do you play? What issues in life have you overcome and triumphed over? Just answering those simple questions might just be the simple seed of inspiration you need and not realise it.

To illustrate how everyday life can influence magic I was reading a book by the author Rolf Dobelli called “The Art of Thinking Clearly” which was a book I chose merely as a point of interest with no thought of anything magic related. The book itself is a list and explanation of various fallacies and sociological errors in our minds that clouds our better thinking and one that struck me practically was called “The Clustering illusion”.

To explain the concept of “The Clustering Illusion” it is simply where our brain seeks patterns and rules. In fact it takes it one step further: if it finds no familiar patterns, it simply invents one. This why we have strange occurrences where people think they can see faces in clouds and animals in rocks. More famous situations of this happening were the “Face on Mars” incident that made headlines across the world where a spacecraft took photos of a rock formation that looked from above like a face on the surface of Mars.

Having read this concept for the first time It suddenly struck me that this idea would make a fantastic presentation for the effect “Everybody’s Card” in Royal Road to Card Magic where eventually after a number of individual cards are selected from a number of spectators and placed on a table the magician eventually eliminates all others except one which at the end appears to be everybody’s card. This is in despite individual cards being selected by each spectator during the selection process which remained in view on the table the entire time.

Now I don’t expect a 16 year old to buy books like the one I mentioned since I can’t imagine it would hold much interest for a person of your age but my point I’m trying to make is be open to other influences in your life, you may never know if you stumble upon something that no one else has done before or thought of that could influence your magic.

Lightning Bolt moments like that are great to have and should be embraced when they happen but they are left to much to chance to be the sole way of inspiration and to be relied upon on a consistent bases unless you take pen to paper and analyse your life which could be another approach to take.

For more analytic approaches however I use a few different techniques which I happy to share if you would like me to, I don't wont to overwhelm you with to much information.

Magically

Aus
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