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Topic: Professor's Nightmare...
Message: Posted by: Nat (Jul 28, 2018 01:09PM)
I will be performing for a gentleman's 80 birthday party -- looking for appropriate "patter" with Professor's Nightmare -- your ideas would be welcome -- and any other effects for the 80 year celebration.
THANKS!
Message: Posted by: cbguy (Aug 25, 2018 04:01PM)
Cody Fisher 3 ropes and 1000 laughs
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 27, 2018 01:16PM)
Nat, what do you mean by appropriate, as it really sounds like you are asking for inappropriate patter. The Professor Nightmare, usually is performed with descriptive patter. Just because some on is old, does not mean it is okay to make fun of them, or their physical condition. There is a time and an place for everything, and I believe you are going in the wrong direction with this idea.

You better re-think this, and if the client is asking you insult the person publicly, then I would refuse to do so. You may have be asked to do a show again, as your reputation will be spoiled for good.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 29, 2018 06:08AM)
Nat!

I'm certain that you aren't looking for "inappropriate patter", as has been inferred above.

You might check out the very simple "descriptive patter" that I've used since about 1971 for the Nightmare. I've used it, successfully, in elementary schools, high schools, colleges and senior citizen assisted living, and, nursing homes.

It's on page 290.
Message: Posted by: BeThePlunk (Aug 29, 2018 07:03AM)
Hi, Nat -- I think that your use of the word "appropriate" is being misunderstood. I take it that you want to present PN in a way that is relevant to a birthday and maybe (but not necessarily) the birthday of an older man -- to say something general about life's progress or to say something that honors the man himself.

Can you first describe how you want to perform PN? Will you end with the three ropes back to their original lengths or will you end with the three ropes joined into a single long rope? Or maybe there's another end you like.
Message: Posted by: HeronsHorse (Jan 9, 2019 12:21PM)
Watch performances.
It's all there. Most use descriptive patter as suggested by Bill and Dick. I'm just learning this and I'm going to go with that. You can make it funny, if you're a funny guy. I love making folk laugh so I'm sure there'll be a few laughs in there.
Watching performance answers questions like this though ;)
Message: Posted by: Kaliix (Jan 10, 2019 05:01AM)
I found this...

In the hardware store, a clerk asked, "Can I help you find anything"?

"How about my misspent youth", joked my husband.

The clerk shot back, "We keep that in the back, between world peace and winning lottery tickets".

Leslie McRobie, Lee, New Hampshire
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jan 10, 2019 06:59AM)
HA! Great line!
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Jan 10, 2019 10:11AM)
Darn. Bill jumped on the word "appropriate", and it all went pear-shaped. I was hoping Nat would tell us how it went. Myself, I like Daryl's mechanics, but the patter has always eluded me. "I got these scrap pieces of rope at the hardware store the other day..." There are better stories. I find it frustrating I cannot seem to be creative, as Walt Anthony tries to teach in his book. Thinking along the lines of a STORY. A REASON the ropes change length!

Walt is the consummate PERFORMER! His whole THINKING is artistic and enthusiastic ENCHANTMENT! I have tried. I get a dull "thunk". Sometimes I need a prod in the right direction.

Still, I'd like to know what Nat did.

Doug
Message: Posted by: murf (Jan 10, 2019 11:50AM)
I present Professor's Nightmare as a lecture on optical illusions; you can find details here
<http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=106316&forum=9&35>.

Murf
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jan 12, 2019 08:03AM)
My "Necklacy" routine would work as it can start with all of the items a "senior" might need during the day strung on a tied rope loop -
think "Soap on a rope" on steroids. The rope is C&R several times ending with three equal lengths (cut "on the fly" for PN)

At the end the entire rope is restored to a single length and retied into a silly necklace.

At Assisted Living Centers a favorite item was a toilet paper tube on the rope used to trumpet call for supplies.

For a simpler approach, borrow a bathrobe tie to use instead of a rope. There are several techniques for secretly cutting the tie into the proper lengths

In both cases the story can be varied to the setting, also "on the fly."
Message: Posted by: countrymaven (Jan 13, 2019 08:55PM)
Just remember. An eighty year old often pretends to understand, but often they do not understand or hear what you are saying. so be sure you are visual along with your story. wish you the best.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jun 3, 2019 11:14AM)
[quote]On Jan 10, 2019, murf wrote:
I present Professor's Nightmare as a lecture on optical illusions; you can find details here
<http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=106316&forum=9&35>.

Murf [/quote]

I do an illusion routine in the "second spot", with the old boomerangs, and the spot card. Later, when I use the big needle and balloon, and nightmare, the line after the applause is: "That must have been an illusion!
Message: Posted by: FrankFindley (Jun 5, 2019 11:42PM)
Good exercise in theming. Here is a rough analogy based patter:

[Showing ropes different lengths]
"As we go through life, events turn into memories, Some seem small; the lullaby sung by our mother or the hot dog when the family went to the ball game. Some stand out as large, like a wedding day or the birth of a child. And others are in the middle like our first job or our first kiss."

[stretching them equal]
But no matter how large or small the event, each is equally precious.

[Pause then count showing each separately as same length]
"Each deserves to be thought about. Because each had an impact on who we have become. Each is an important thread in the fabric of our life."

[Returning them to different lengths]
"So I ask you, please take the time to remember and share memories of these moments with loved ones. Regardless if they were big, small, or in the middle; they are all a part of the magic of your life."
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Nov 14, 2019 11:29PM)
Several people on this thread recommended to the OP that they should perform with a script that is just descriptive. I canít understand why anyone would give this advice. It is the laziest and dullest way to present magic effects and excising this as a way of doing your magic would create an instant improvement to any magic routine. I know that the OP has moved on but others will still read this and so I feel it relevant to state my point of view, explain it and hopefully make some magicians better performers.

If what you say is simply a description of what people can already see you are doing, you are literally wasting words, Unless you are working for the blind or performing on radio donít do it. A descriptive script is at best redundant, at worst puerile but either way it wastes the chance to give some meaning, context or a framing to both the effect and the actions needed to bring it about by using other words.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Nov 15, 2019 01:13PM)
[quote]On Nov 14, 2019, Sealegs wrote:
Several people on this thread recommended to the OP that they should perform with a script that is just descriptive. I canít understand why anyone would give this advice. It is the laziest and dullest way to present magic effects and excising this as a way of doing your magic would create an instant improvement to any magic routine. I know that the OP has moved on but others will still read this and so I feel it relevant to state my point of view, explain it and hopefully make some magicians better performers.

If what you say is simply a description of what people can already see you are doing, you are literally wasting words, Unless you are working for the blind or performing on radio donít do it. A descriptive script is at best redundant, at worst puerile but either way it wastes the chance to give some meaning, context or a framing to both the effect and the actions needed to bring it about by using other words. [/quote]

Do you feel like Pop Haydn and Mac Kingís Rope routines are just descriptive? Other than a basic intro story they seem to mostly be descriptive to me.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Nov 15, 2019 08:03PM)
[quote]On Nov 15, 2019, thomasR wrote:
[quote]On Nov 14, 2019, Sealegs wrote:
Several people on this thread recommended to the OP that they should perform with a script that is just descriptive. I canít understand why anyone would give this advice. It is the laziest and dullest way to present magic effects and excising this as a way of doing your magic would create an instant improvement to any magic routine. I know that the OP has moved on but others will still read this and so I feel it relevant to state my point of view, explain it and hopefully make some magicians better performers.

If what you say is simply a description of what people can already see you are doing, you are literally wasting words, Unless you are working for the blind or performing on radio donít do it. A descriptive script is at best redundant, at worst puerile but either way it wastes the chance to give some meaning, context or a framing to both the effect and the actions needed to bring it about by using other words. [/quote]

Do you feel like Pop Haydn and Mac Kingís Rope routines are just descriptive? Other than a basic intro story they seem to mostly be descriptive to me. [/quote]

I don't believe there is a single purely descriptive line in my routine.

[youtube]ocT0VpWwQl8[/youtube]
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 16, 2019 07:32AM)
I can understand the desire to use patter appropriate to some event.

I cannot understand one magician telling another magician a particular style to use or not to use.

Some patter themes will render the magic unimportant.
Maybe descriptive patter will emphasize the magic.
Maybe for some doing it silent would be powerful. A mime might think so.
Or do it to music from the 60's.

I can easily see a guy in a tux standing in front of an orchestra doing the nightmare.

Hmmmmmm.
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 16, 2019 07:48AM)
I suspect most magicians feel they must communicate with their voice.
One can communicate with magic.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Nov 16, 2019 11:17AM)
Pop, I love all of your routines! Maybe you can explain the difference between your routine and one that is ďpurely descriptiveĒ - I have bought your rope routine and know how well thought out it is, so I certainly wasnít saying anything bad about it (and Mac King of course has amazing rope routines as well!). But it seems much of your routine is describing what is happening. But maybe I misunderstood what sealegs was calling a script that is mostly descriptive.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Nov 16, 2019 10:21PM)
Purely descriptive patter describes the visible action: "I will now cut the rope into two pieces." "Now we will tie a knot." It is usually unnecessary commentary, since people can see what you are doing.
Message: Posted by: Topper2 (Nov 17, 2019 03:38PM)
Descriptive patter is usually tedious, dull, unentertaining and normally best avoided. If you've got nothing interesting to say while carrying out an action such as cutting a rope or tying a knot etc then it's best to throw in a one liner gag just to keep things moving. One really excellent source for such patter boosters is Si Adams's 'Snappy Rope Patter', it's positively bursting with laughs. Of course if you're not a natural comic it's best not to over do the gag business, but one or two carefully chosen quickies should be within everyone's ability range; just use them as throw away lines with a dry delivery if that's more your style.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Nov 17, 2019 07:03PM)
I consider the patter for my rope routine to be "pseudo-instructive," a comedic and false explanation. That is not what I consider "descriptive patter."

[youtube]0S9gywMK4cc[/youtube]
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 17, 2019 07:26PM)
Those that can't do magic tell jokes.
Message: Posted by: Topper2 (Nov 18, 2019 12:04PM)
Those who can do magic do tell jokes, if they want to be successful and entertaining that is!

Come to think of it, aside from silent acts and pseudo serious performers such as mentalists etc, are there any really successful magicians who never tell jokes?
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 18, 2019 12:49PM)
Del Ray
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Nov 18, 2019 01:05PM)
There is a difference between using humor and the natural comedic situations that arise from the performance of magic and joke telling.
Dr. Who might make wry and intelligent comments about what is happening, he doesn't tell jokes. Merlin might seem like a funny character in Once and Future King, but he is not a joke teller.
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 18, 2019 01:48PM)
That is kinda my point.
A person that uses natural comedic situations that arise from the performance of magic is using magic to communicate.
My goal is not to disparage anyone other than those that may tell me my style may be wrong.

If a magician says the card will jump out of the deck and sit on the top of your head, then that happens: seems entertaining to me.
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 18, 2019 01:57PM)
Here is another point.
The layman may watch a magician cut and restore a piece of rope with descriptive patter and be very stunned.
A magician will watch it and say it is boring.
Are magicians incapable of seeing what an audience sees?
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Nov 18, 2019 02:45PM)
I agree with you completely, Al.

Magic can be entertaining for its own sake. Presentations should be designed to support the magic, not detract from it. Pop Haydn is a character, but in performance, the magic is front and center. It is the important thing--the character and backstory are just dressing.

I often hear people say that the character Pop Haydn would be entertaining reading a phone book. That isn't true. It took me three years to learn how to deliver the medicine pitch so it could hold people's attention. Every line has to be constructed and presented so that it holds the audience attention, and advances the plot.

I think sometimes magicians see things from a non-spectator point of view. They ignore the magic because they "know" how it works. They forget that the magic is what is captivating.

The dressing is meant to stimulate the creative imagination, to put the magic in a fantasy context--to give a story that is larger than what is seen just on the stage.

Chris Hart produces a bowling ball, and then rolls it off-stage. You hear the sound of the ball rolling off the stage, down some steps and out into the parking lot where it hits a car and starts the car theft alarm. No one believes that it is real. It is just a comedic bit. But the spectators have expanded the stage in their imaginations. The stage is suddenly bigger and more interesting, and the fantastic becomes a part of the memory of the event. In the same way, a backstory can put the stage show in a larger context with the events leading up to the show, and what happens afterward part of the event that the spectators are witnessing.

Fantasy can be serious or comedic. Look at the range of Twilight Zone stories. Those stories could be funny, whimsical or very serious with important points to make. Magic is theater that considers the theme of the impossible, just as was the Twilight Zone. The point is to create an experience of the impossible for the audience. That can be done silently.

Acting is still important, character and backstory less so; but it is the totality of the experience that is important. I always look for the strongest and most practical effects I can find, make them as strong and deceptive as possible, and then find a way to present them the best I can to set fire to the audience's collective imagination.
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 18, 2019 03:10PM)
Just for giggles, here is my patter for PN. I do it with short ropes closeup two feet from their nose.

"I have three ropes.
A short one, a medium sized one, and a long one. (show ropes)
If I gather the ends together like this, they appear to be the same length. (gather, stretch, count)
Which is odd because a moment ago they were different lengths. (Bam they become different lengths. This has punch)"

I communicate with the props, not my voice. There are no laughs, just gasps.
Note there is no extra motion involved. Every syllable is accompanied with some hand motion.

Been doing it for over 20 years.
Message: Posted by: Topper2 (Nov 19, 2019 12:29PM)
These discussions so often turn on a question of semantics, but maybe it is better to use the expression 'running commentary' rather than 'descriptive patter' for the type of presentation line that sounds so irksome. Trying to formulate a setting for a trick, humorous or otherwise, in terms of patter presentation is usually far harder than perfecting the trick itself, but if you can be interesting while describing what you are doing then that's O.K.; however that situation is rather different from the inexperienced neophyte who just resorts to give a running commentary on what he is doing because he can't think of anything else to say as he hasn't developed a worthwhile staging for the effect. Since saying nothing isn't an option, throwing in a joke to break the monotony seems like a better alternative.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Nov 20, 2019 05:30AM)
[quote]On Nov 18, 2019, Al Schneider wrote:
Here is another point.
The layman may watch a magician cut and restore a piece of rope with descriptive patter and be very stunned.
A magician will watch it and say it is boring.
Are magicians incapable of seeing what an audience sees? [/quote]

To answer your last question, I personally believe that sometimes yes, magicians are indeed incapable of seeing or recognising what their audience is seeing, or rather experiencing. Indeed sometimes the person most fooled by the performance is the the magician.

Someone watching and listening to a performer describing the actions they can plainly see are taking place might be stunned by the end result.... but they might also be bored and left un-entertained. Itís a judgement dilemma many magicians are oblivious to. A successfully concluded magic effect doesnít automatically equate to an entertained audience.

My preferred goal, and I assume every magicianís preferred goal, is to astound and entertain. In a way I feel lucky in this regard because by clearly setting my stall out as a comedy act (and a magic act) I have a more obvious gauge at least of the entertainment quotient Iím delivering from the laughs I generate (or indeed fail to generate).
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 20, 2019 11:52AM)
I have observed that truly strong effects get no reaction at all.
I once opened with the vanishing bird cage.
When the cage disappeared, the audience looked at me as if nothing had happened.
However, after the show while walking around, everyone I encountered asked, "Where did the bird go?"
Message: Posted by: Topper2 (Nov 20, 2019 11:59AM)
[quote]On Nov 20, 2019, Sealegs wrote:
...sometimes yes, magicians are indeed incapable of seeing or recognising what their audience is seeing, or rather experiencing. Indeed sometimes the person most fooled by the performance is the the magician.

Someone watching and listening to a performer describing the actions they can plainly see are taking place might be stunned by the end result.... but they might also be bored and left un-entertained....A successfully concluded magic effect doesn't automatically equate to an entertained audience.

...every magicianís preferred goal, is to astound and entertain.[/quote]
Very well put, I totally agree.

However when you say "every magicianís preferred goal, is to astound and entertain", that may be the preferred goal but in general being entertained trumps being astounded. If you have entertainment you've got it made, without the need to astound. How many people did Tommy Cooper 'astound'? On the whole laughter was the chief goal with his act, but we still consider him a magician, it's just that he's not a magician's magician.

An 'astounding' magician who is rather tedious is never going to be a top entertainer despite the fact other magicians love him.
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Nov 20, 2019 02:01PM)
Personally, I think Nat should play House of the Rising Sun by the Animals while doing PN and other magic.
Message: Posted by: Nat (Dec 24, 2019 06:53AM)
[quote]On Nov 20, 2019, Al Schneider wrote:
Personally, I think Nat should play House of the Rising Sun by the Animals while doing PN and other magic. [/quote]

Thanks for your comments!
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Dec 24, 2019 08:03PM)
These are all such wonderful points. My patter might seem descriptive to the spectators at times but it is actually reinforcing their incorrect assumptions and setting a false memory anchor that I'll soon reinforce to make recreating the actual effect impossible. I always love having people tell me exactly what I just did, to confirm that the triggers worked. Any descriptive patter without psychological subterfuge is a waste.