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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Request for Guidence on Patter (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MRSharpe
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You're in a position that all of use--well most of us--were once in. You're working for your adolescent age mates and you can't really tell stories about world travels or other presentational angles that require life experience along with acting ability that requires a little more maturity at least for most people. Acting is a skill that has to be learned through hard work and so does story telling. Also, it is very difficult to work for family and friends since they know your tells that give away when a secret is getting ready to be deployed. I don't usually recommend process patter--describing what you are doing while you are doing it--but when you are starting out, it is acceptable. One other point, if you can tell a good joke without distracting from the magic use that. Humor makes for great misdirection as well. If it comes naturally from the effect then even better. And keep in mind that you may struggle with presentation as long as you are in magic no matter at what level. I have many effects that I can perform technically, but I don't perform because I haven't yet discovered the presentation that fits my character/personality. Keep working and it will come.
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
KirbyKoolAid
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Aus: Funnily enough, I ended up with Royal Road from a chirty shop, along with (the majority of) Tarbell, for next to nothing. Looking over the trick you mentioned, I can see both how it would need to be changed and how the 'Face on Mars' story could fit into it. I've been trying out fitting stories to my tricks, and having some mild success. Overwhelm me all you like, it's all interesting and useful stuff. The linked posts were also very interesting as well. I like the hat idea.

MRSharpe: While I have been to 33 countries (not spoilt, I'm an only child, and we rarely go back to the same country twice), I understand your point about world experiences and life achieves etc. It's something that'll happen eventually, as you say.
Gbhunter77
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I struggle with talking to people as well. Should I write what I will say down and then memorize it? This way one can concentrate on what is happening instead of constantly inventing dialog.
My youtube channel check it out its magic.
im not great but getting better.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMvQIycva0rFOIdArln7lEg
Andy Young
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I always have a base of what I want to say and then ad lib some small things.
Sackninja
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Gbhuter, I would actually say the opposite. You should have the effect off to a level where you don't have to think about it so you concentrate on a little bit of improv latter and keep them entertained. Just my opinion of course.
55Hudson
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GBHunter77-
Write it down. Overtime you will make edits to your script. Always have a script, but allow for variations as you go. This will reduce nervousness and allow for better presentation. Also, keep a notebook with your scripts/ideas and such.

Hudson
KirbyKoolAid
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I can very much understand that logic. The evolution of the trick would come over time, and reviews can be made. Tip dutifully noted.
55Hudson
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Kirby - the other thing you will find with a notebook (I recommend a bound one like Moleskin) is that you will work on a routine, develop a script, and then set it aside in favor of some other trick. Two or three years later, you will decide to go back to that original trick. Having the notes - script, actions, secret moves, etc, written down will save you loads of time and frustration.

At first this practice will seem like a waste of time because, 'of course you will remember a routine'. Well, take a look at the guys & gals on this forum that are in their 50's, 60's, and older. Pretty sure they don't recall all the workings behind routines they developed when they were 16! I predict that after 6-8 months of good magic journaling, you will find its value and keep it up for a lifetime.

Enjoy the journey!

Hudson
KirbyKoolAid
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That sounds like a great idea. I saw a notebook today (in an Italian leather shop, admittedly) for €45. I think that may be a bit outside my budget... But a bound notebook does sound like a great idea. I shall start as soon as I can purchase one (either Monday or Tuesday when I get home).
Andy Young
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The notebooks I use are three ringed binders. I also use computer paper to write on. It takes awhile to learn to write straight on it, but I love it because I can write as large or small as I want and to draw pictures it works great. Just use a three hole punch on the paper. The great thing also about a three ring binder is you can move your notes around to better organize them. I also use the computer as a source to keep track of where to find effects.
Dick Oslund
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Right! I was going to 'talk about' the importance of starting a journal or notebook--and for the same reasons the 55Hudson mentioned. You will never regret having recorded ideas, routines, scripts, ETC!!! DATE EVERYTHING!!!

We didn't have xerox when I was starting out, but when that marvelous copy machine 'arrived', I made use of it!!! I only subscribe to Linking Ring and MUM. (That's all I have time to read! Whenever I come across something of potential interest, I xerox that page and file it. I file any and all instructions sheets BY EFFECT. --producions, vanishes, transpositions, transformations, animation/levitation, sympathy, combination, weird/geek, gag props, etc. The xerox copies file in the appropriate folders.

Coming up, I hope to amplify a few things that Dave Wilken said about "types" of patter.

yrs.

O
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Aus
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KirbyKoolAid just added some more info to my Presentation (How-To Guide)on my presentation construction techniques, so if your interested read them there.

Magically

Aus
KirbyKoolAid
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Andy: I will probably end up with something lined, rather than computer paper - while I can see the benefits, I also have atrocious hand writing, so would be unable without a LOT of practice to get even close to straight.

Dick: Photocopying is both a blessing and a curse. If I were to do it, I would probably end up scanning and holding the files on my laptop rather than a hard copy, unless it would be something I would use regularly.

Aus: Your guide makes very interesting reading. I have commented (I think) there about it.

Thank you all
Nathan
Andy Young
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Nathan if you have bad hand writing then you may want to go with a computer program to help with notes. There is a free program called Evernote that works great.
KirbyKoolAid
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Andy: I've used Evernote on my phone before to help with storing my song lyrics, hadn't thought about using it for magic.
Galileo
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Id second what everyone is saying about getting your trick so down to muscle memory you can do it without thinking and can just focus on talking to and involving the spectator, sometimes just making up patter as you go along about your given environment or maybe something silly the spectator does or says can really connect and help keep them engaged.
Dick Oslund
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Well Nathan, you've had about two weeks to "digest" a lot of advice, encouragement, and information!

I would like to add a few thoughts to Dave Wilken's "text book"(!) (He has given you the "real work".)

He was talking about four "kinds" of patter.
1. "silent" (!!!) yes, there are moments when "nothing" should be said! Professionals learn quickly that a PAUSE is most effective to focus attention. When I do the Serpentine Silk,I talk a bit to set up the effect, then, to focus attention on the knotted silk, I pause, and I look at the silk for about 3 seconds. Then! the silk 'moves'! just a bit, and the audience gasps! Another 3 seconds, and the end of the silk SLOWLY begins to move upwards. I say nothing! I just watch the action. The 'end'of the silk continues up through the knot,and falls, leaving the knot untied. The audience reacts. I look at the audience with an 'amazed expression"! --and the audience laughs--and applauds! PAUSING is CRITICAL!

2. "story" I have used for 40 years,Arnold Furst's adaptation of the old T&R Laundry Ticket: "FRESH FISH SOLD HERE TODAY"! The 'story' of the fish peddler's sign, and how each word is superfluous, 'makes' the trick entertaining. Without the story, it would just be another T&R paper.

3. "descriptive" Lines that just describe action can be DEADLY. "Here I have an ordinary pack of cards!" YUK!

4. "challenge" I don't happen to use any 'Do As I Do" effects, so I wont comment.

Now, let's talk about the "Three Ts": TEMPO...TIMING...TIME

TEMPO: The speed or pace of your presentation (the act,show, or just the trick) For casual 'work',it's just as important as when you're doing a formal show. Usually, in an informal or casual performance, a rapid fire series of tricks is not necessary.

TIMING: The coordination of lines and action. The late Jack Benny was an absolute msster of timing. If you can find on YOUTUBE, a video of JAY MARSHALL'S 'LEFTY', STUDY, Jay's timing. The act runs 6 minutes. It's a CLASSIC. Jay's timing was impeccable. (Lefty was a 'rabbit',fashioned from a pair of white gloves, that became Jay's ventriloquial figure. LEFTY now 'resides' in the SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM in Washington,DC! --He "sits" next to Edgar Bergen's CHARLIE McCARTHY!!!

TIME: The running time (length)of your performance) depends on your ability to entertain an audience. Nate Leipzig was a 'standard' act in vaudeville--music hall--in England. His act was a series of card tricks (in a theater!). He had a committee of spectators on stage. In casual "parlor' performances, he WATCHED THE LADIES. At the first sign that they had seen enough, he quit. All of his tricks were strong enough to close!
Somerset Maugham described a cocktail party in a play: In the scene, a young lady is saying to her friend: "See that man in the tuxedo over there? He asked if I liked card tricks. I said, 'No'. He did six!"

That's enough for this time!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
KirbyKoolAid
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Always a pleasure to hear from you, Dick. Your guidance always appreciated. And your recommendations always stellar! I watched Jay and Lefty and had to stop myself from laughing for fear of waking my parents next door. Every joke lands perfectly. That is the kind of thing to aspire to be like. My flair is poor, and he has it in bucket-loads. And if everything you've said adds to the 'flair', I need to work on everything!

As always, thank you for the guidance,
Nathan
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