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Mike Wild
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I'm always on the outside looking in with these types of threads. My way must be wrong. Numbers don't lie, and counting down the suggestions here, I find my position on this subject to be very singular and separate.

My act is 90% coin magic, 10% other close up stuff. I don't memorize patter, as I mentioned in another thread. I don't spend time "getting into character", choosing instead to be my wise cracking, coy, and extroverted self most of the time. I never commentate on the coins, that is I don't state the obvious, saying things like, "here's a coin, now it vanished, now it's over here, now there's two coins..." I small talk with the crowd, makes jokes, tell stories, basically whatever comes to me at the time. My routines have premise, but it's so loosely scripted in my head, that any routine could go anywhere, anytime, depending upon the situation. If I'm doing a coin assembly routine, and the idea to take that into a production/vanish sequence strikes my fancy... I do it.

Everyone else seems to put so much time and effort into the routining, scripting, patter, etc. etc., I must be doing something wrong... and have just been extremely lucky up to this point Smile

Best,

Mike
<><>< SunDragon Magic ><><>

"Question Reality... Create Illusion"
RBerteig
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Mike, you've nailed the essential difference between a Jazz Gig and an Opera. Both have their place. Both require immense ammounts of practice and skill to carry off. Done well, both are entertaining.

Most of in the scripts are good camp have learned the hard way that without one we get lost.

I follow your plan in one regard. I don't have a set show. Sometimes, I make notes before a gig about what will open and close the show. Usually I just bring what I need for the routines I am willing to do for that crowd, and play it by ear.

So I don't script the show, but I do script each individual effect. I also feel free to interact with my audience, even to the point of wandering off script occasionally, but more often between effects.

But where do the scripts come from? Some are published, but tweaked to fit my character. Some are my own work. A small number are silent, in the sense that I don't have words that must be said, but those are much more carefully blocked and choreographed.

Write about things that interest you. Make the effects illustrate and support the tale. Avoid like the plague the temptation to describe what you are holding and doing. Break any of these rules, but break them on purpose. Above all, remember that you need to have a performance character (even if that is just your "wise cracking, coy, and extroverted self") and that it is through your effects and their presentations that your audience will come to know that character, so remain true to that character in your selections.
Ross Berteig
Wizards in my Parlor
Mike Wild
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Ross:

I think that scripting doesn't work for me because I work in the same bar and coffee shop, and deal with a lot of regulars. I need new things to say and do every time I perform. Additionally, I'm the bartender, so I have a literally neverending stream of material and inspiration coming right up to me and ordering drinks. It's very easy to mix things up, and give the appearance of fresh and new material.

I do perform many of the same effects night to night, but it's all in the presentation... a coins across is not always a coins across, if you take my meaning Smile

If I did stage magic, I would script it out, but working a bar and/or coffee shop is literally a daily crap shoot of people, attitudes, relevence, etc.

I like your analogy though... I'm a "jazz player".

Cool daddy-o, real cool...

Best,

Mike
<><>< SunDragon Magic ><><>

"Question Reality... Create Illusion"
Big Daddy Cool
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Quote:
On 2004-07-31 15:46, WildStone wrote:

Everyone else seems to put so much time and effort into the routining, scripting, patter, etc. etc., I must be doing something wrong... and have just been extremely lucky up to this point Smile


Yes, you have been lucky.
Mike, I am 99% positive that you are really talented and kill your audiences. However, every top pro making major dough says the same thing - develop a strong character and script your performances. I can think of no exception to this.

Here is the thing about jazz - it is not completely improvised. Jazz players follow a chart. They know when they are supposed to play certain notes and how. But, because of their technical skill and the safety net of the chart (script) they are able to taken liberties and improvise from time to time. NO JAZZ PERFORMANCE IS EVER 100% IMPROVISED. And some are not at all. Improvisation is not what makes it jazz. And every famous jazz player is known for a specific kind of style and repetoire - character.

Magic should be the same way. Period. Making it up as you go along is unacceptable. In no other style of performing would you ever accept total improv. Even Improv groups don't perform 100% improv. Second City scripts their sketches! Gasp!

I challenge you Mike, to move your magic to the next level. I want you to succeed. I want you to make more money performing than you ever imagined! An intentional, well defined character and a well written, solid script will help get you there.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
Mark Rough
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BDC is right. 9 out of 10 magicians I've seen that don't script suck to the highest degree (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). Yes, some people can do it, and if you can I bow to you.

It's funny you should mention jazz. I've been lucky enough to see some of Lionel Hamptons old charts. It's amazing how much of this amazing improv artists stuff wasn't improved at all. Also, in another vein, Robin Williams. 99.99% of the stuff you hear him say on stage is scripted, no matter how spur of the moment it sounds. I can actually think of only two people in jazz or comedy that improved to the degree that people think all people in those areas do- Keith Jarret (although some people hate his stuff, I think he's a freakin' genius), and Groucho Marx (there must be something wrong with people that don't think he's funny).

That's not to say that if you have a script that you can't go off it. I do all the time. Yeah, you need to be able to flow with what's going on around you or you'll sound like a robot. But, you have to start someplace.

Just my .02

Mark
What would Wavy do?
rikbrooks
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Here's what I do. I find a routine that I like. Penguin has a lot of demos but they aren't really good. There are others that you can google for. See how the magician does his patter. If it's an effect that you do then mimmick him. Memorize everything about it. Once you can do it as slick as he does forget the whole thing and make your own, it will come easy then.

As you are memorizing you'll find yourself asking, "Why did he say that and not this?" You'll find answers such as, "because it leads into this" Eventually you won't look anything like your hero but you'll be just as good.
Mike Wild
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Big Daddy,

I mentioned in another thread that I was going try an experiment, and script out an evenings worth of short sets... which is what my evenings usually consist of, memorize the script, and keep to it as much as is possible. This being done to see and take note of the differences, better or worse. I do have a character, it just happens to be my actual personality, true, a bit more tattooed biker wise ass than I am at home, but still, pretty much me.

I DO NOT go into shows totally improv and/or unprepared. I just tend to let things go where they will. I review moves, lines, positioning, patter samples, premises, etc. But not to an obsessive degree... loosely, casually, as if reviewing a do's and don'ts list at a summer camp.

But, I'm going to refine the character traits and persona, memorize lines and routining, and stick to a plan next week... I really do wonder if I do it wrong sometimes, so this little surrealistic pillow of an experiment should be very interesting... and enlightening.

If nothing else, it will put me in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable place, and I want to see how I perform under those conditions Smile

Best to the Cool one, et al.

Mike
<><>< SunDragon Magic ><><>

"Question Reality... Create Illusion"
prettylady1990
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Hi,
I like the discussion which is happening about scripting and non-scripting. It was very interesting.

Personally I would probably script it but I agree with Mike saying how the routine could suddenly change. I think a script is a good idea but I wouldn't say it word for word.

In my drama class at the moment we're learning about improvisation and I think it's quite hard and that's only for a small class. But doing mostly improvisation for a bar without writing at least some notes would be very hard.

Dannielle
el toro
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It seems to me that many of the successful close-up magicians are really stand-up comedians doing some magic. I think performers like Doc Eason, Bill Malone, Greg Wilson and countless others are very skilled comedians. They certainly have a script, but they don't necessarily follow it. They interact with the audience and they take it from there. I am not sure this is something that can be rehearsed without performing. But I am sure that this comedian style is not for everybody. So my advice is: Find your way! Stay true to your personality. I really can't picture Bill Malone as the "mysterious stranger". Or vice versa.
RBerteig
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As a beginner, I was lucky to have a teacher that believed that scripts were mandatory. I bristled a bit, but quickly realized the advantages of not needed to know what I was going to say next while trying to concentrate on slights and moves.

Now, I strike a balance. I script my routines because I ordinarily work in the realm of bizarre close up, where the stories are intertwined with the effects. However, I rarely walk into a performance with an absolute plan for what effects will be done and in what order. I also never script the seques and other small-talk that inevitably happens... that is all driven by audience reactions and interactions.

Of course, my venue of choice is suited to this style. I perform as an invited guest at small gatherings, usually as a friend who would have been invited in any case, but increasingly as a friend of a friend invited because of my magic. I have yet to take the leap of faith required to charge for it... so I don't feel guilty if I am social as well as entertaining. I prefer to walk around and present things to small groups. Not everyone sees everything, and I like the conversations that result as people compare notes.

If I were working on a stage or another setting where my segment has a fixed alotment of time then I would expect to work very differently. In TV especially, it is an advantage to know to the second the length of your act, and to be able to adjust that length by substitution of effects to fit the available time. For that you need scripts, blocking, direction, the whole nine yards. That isn't my cup of tea, so I don't try to do it.

In short, I suspect Mike's approach works for him precisely because it is suited to his venue and his character. I also suspect he already has more scripted effects than he realizes. He might have to rig a hidden camera for a few nights to find out, though.
Ross Berteig
Wizards in my Parlor
Mike Wild
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Smile You know, I do believe you're correct sir. After some thought and reflection on the matter, I'd have to admit that through repetition and time, I know quite a few effects verbatim, and a few different ways to present them as well. If I ignore scripting... it just happens all on its own anyway Smile

I do need a short video for something else... maybe I'll see about getting someone who knows which end of camera is which to help me out.

Best,

Mike
<><>< SunDragon Magic ><><>

"Question Reality... Create Illusion"
prettylady1990
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Best of luck to get someone to film you mike

Dannielle
RBerteig
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I would gladly volunteer except for the small matter of most of the U.S. sitting between us. Smile

You probably have a regular who owes you a favor and has a camera they know how to operate... asking other regulars at my usual haunt for their card is how I locate all sorts of random services. At least I know they are friendly.
Ross Berteig
Wizards in my Parlor
onebark
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Quote:
On 2004-07-22 18:44, Tom Cutts wrote:
Stories Suck????

I guess that is why no one goes to movies anymore.

Or buys novels...

Or watches TV...

because afterall stories suck. Nosense.

People who can't tell a story convincingly, who then try to entertain with a story, well that might achieve some degree of suckature.

People who cop to "Audiences of today care only about three things: What you are going to do, what you are doing, and what you just did." are in immense danger of presenting mindless and souless performances.

PrettyLady, the key to finding your presentation, or as in a lot of cases it finding you, is to celebrate the things in life which inspire you. Bands write about what they are interested in. Why is it magicians tell mindless stories to which they have no connection? Why is it other magicians are doing mindless stunts to which their audience is not connected.

Tell the stories of you. Study the art of story creation and telling. From this fertile soil your presentations will grow almost as fast as you can harvest them.

Cheers,

Tom



Thank you, Tom, that was very well said...and quite true.
jrbobik
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I agree with a lot of the post here. My influences for patter come from many places.

1. Read a lot and not just mindless reads find books that make you think or challenge the way you think.

2. After a performance go home and write down everything you can remember. What jokes they liked. Did you hush the audience with an amazing ending? What lines did they look confused about?

3. Now review all of it and see what worked and what did not. Then go and rewrite your patter.

4. Just have fun at what you are doing. It can be serious but you have to enjoy what you are doing first. This will help the patter flow better and make it sound real.

I guess what I am getting at is it is not just sitting down and putting words to paper then just repeating it. It requires a lot of other factors and thought.

Just my 2 cents

John B
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted"
Jonathan Townsend
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I try to write patter in my dreams.
I can get the visuals, the feelings and the pacing...
But the words are all dyslexic and in color.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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