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Profile of chrispa1
I am having a lot of trouble with patter. I just want to do the magic and move on.. I know having patter makes everything more enjoyable and powerful but I am having some trouble with thinking up things to say when I do the effects..

Any books? DVD's? CD'S?

How do most of you "come up" with your personal patter? do you make it funny or what?

I need your help!

Thanks in advance!

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Profile of Regan
I believe you need to develop patter and routines that fit your character. Without knowing more about you, it's hard to advise.
Have you thought about or tried doing routines set to music? I do some routines that have no patter except for a brief introduction and then the music starts.
As for my routines with patter, I do try to make them comical. But comedy is not for every magician, it depends on your style and character, so you have to decide what is right for you.

Mister Mystery
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Profile of mattisdx
Talk to your spectators like they're your friends. just be natural, and be yourself Smile
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Profile of Roth
There is a reason a cause and result of an effect.

pre-script your patter based on the effect.

get your spec involved,comment on how good they are at following direction.

You can have the oldest $5.00 trick and with the right presentation turn it into a miracle.
2015 ECSS Alumnus


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Profile of Regan
If I want to have an effective routine, I have to write a detailed script. Then I have to practice and memorize everything before it is performed before an audience. There is usually some tweaking that takes place along the way too. Anyway, that's how I do it, I'm not sure if it's the "norm" or not.

Mister Mystery
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Profile of deerbourne
I've been trying to figure out how to write down how I write patter. I have a natural gift for stories and humor so most of my 'rough drafts' are done in my head.

There is a combination of two items you have to look at. First there is your stage persona. No matter what effect you'd like to perform it has to match your personal style. If it doesn't, the effect just won't come off right or worse yet, it may clash with your other effects or the timing of your routine.

Secondly, is the effect itself. The handling has to make sense. Are you presenting it as a bridge between two effects? Is there a linking story that you could create? You may be able to bookend the effect with two other effects. This may be the starting point for your patter.

If the effect is an opener, then it has to set the tone for your performance. If it's a closer then it needs to leave them wanting more while nicely tying up what you brought to the table.

How about an example (hopefully it's not too corny). A card freely selected by an audience member shows up back on top of the deck even though it was completely lost. Simple card sleights, but I had to tie them together to form the story.

I am a member of medieval history group and I needed to perform a trick for 'The King and Queen". I built this as a stand-alone effect (extremely nervous and I wanted one thing to go right). I started off my effect by having the Queen take all the queens from the deck and picking one to represent herself. I knew that's how I wanted to start it all. 'She' would become lost and the 'King' would find her. Along the way she would become more and more lost until she re-appeared at the very end. Here's what where I ended up.

Your majesty (King), her majesty full of grace and light obviously brightens everywhere she goes, but could you find her in this crowded hall (Of course he said yes).

Even if she changed her clothes to be commoner? (flipping the card face over to demonstate the backs were the same). He said he thought so.

(The Queen goes into the deck and the deck is cut into three piles). Even if she mingled in three cirles of gossiping ladies? Again he thought so. I had him pick one of the two stacks that was not originally the top and I complete the cut.

I suspect you are right your majesty, and you might have if the dancing had not begun. Your majesty (Queen), how many dances will you take. Her answer became a counted series of various kinds of shuffles.

Now your majesty (King). She has changed her clothes, taken to milling about the hall and has danced until she can dance no more. How would you find her now?

As expected he says he doesn't know where she is. I lean in a tell him this is his chance to compliment her on her grace and beauty. He takes up the challenge and showers her with compliments and how her features outmatch any mortal.

So your majesty (King) what I think you're saying is, that no matter how she dressed or no matter where she went, you would find her because (flip over top card revealing the Queen), she stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Write your patter to you and to compliment your audience. Bring them into the magic and make them a part of it. Nobody wants to hear, "Pick a card!" They want to be engaged in what is happening.

Peter Marucci
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Profile of Peter Marucci
Patter doesn't have to be funny, but a lot of it is; the reason for that -- probably forgotten (if ever known) by those who write the patter -- is something that every actor and model knows: Splitting the focus.

If you are an actor or model, you don't want that to happen -- it means the spectator had two or more things to focus on (rather than just you, as the actor or model).

However, as a magician, splitting the focus is a good thing -- patter (especially comedy patter) helps take the heat off the moves or props.

As for writing your own patter, the best resources you have (save your money on books and CDs) is your own persona. Build on what you are and what your interests are. For example, I told a young Oriental man to go with an Eastern set to his act; he did and it works! The Professor's Nightmare can be done by a high school student as an exercise in math gone wrong! And a banker might want to do card tricks with a story line based on banking principles.
Jonathan Townsend
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Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Guy walks up to unlucky person... screams WHY!!! Why did you make me do that!!! I was up all night and could not do any card tricks cause of you! You!

Person freaks out

performer continues... it was you that put the image of a card in my head! Are you trying to torture me???

Person looks doubtful

Performer continues... okay.. all of you think of cards... and YOU.. you know what card you make me use.


anyway... here we have a presentation for the invisible deck or whaterver...

The idea here is that all magic has a context. However you set it up, it must still be accounted for in some way. all the coins I've dropped here
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Profile of prettylady1990
Hi Chris
Reasonally I posted a similar question on how to write your own patter. her is the link if you want to look at it
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Profile of RBerteig
Peter just dropped a bit of the real work in his post above. It may be one of the more powerful magical principles out there. I have known about it for a while, but not by any specific name.

Many emotional reactions, and especially laughter, cause a lapse in short term memory. This can be a real problem if you are trying to be the center of attention; hence the advice to actors about never working with children or animals, and all the fuss about being upstaged.

In our art that moment of disrupted short term memory can make the difference between a trick and a miracle. Remember that the spectator takes away a limitted memory of what happened and possibly a small memento (the signed card, etc.). If you can arrange for his memory of what happened to differ from what actually happened, then....

It can be done with a joke at the right moment. It can also be done by creating deliberate tension, for instance by handing cards to a spectator to shuffle while subtly drawing everyone's attention to them. Their anxiety (pick the spectator who is not a card shark, obviously) will be contagious and everyone will usually suffer the break in their perception.
Ross Berteig
Wizards in my Parlor
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Profile of jrbobik
I write a loose patter to my routines. I then perform them with a live audience and make note of what reactions I get as the routines progress. I then take that night after the show and write out what happen. After several performances I have the routine polished.

It is tough sometimes. You think you have the routine down pat and you just do not get the reaction you thought. That is why I am careful and try to remember all that happens during the performance.
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted"
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