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New user
Jenison, Michigan
46 Posts

Profile of Bardin
My question might get answer based on individual taste, but what do you find is the best way to delevope a good patter?

In other words do you just come with what to say for an effect in your head or do you sit down and outline it out on paper like you might for speech or business presentation?

I know some people might even admit that they borrowed anohter performers to a certain extent, but there are a lot of indivdual created routines out there.
Steve Haffner
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Regular user
108 Posts

Profile of Steve Haffner
I'm not a professional, but here is what I've learned about patter and presentation in my time as a hobbyist.

What I usually do is learn a trick with the suggested patter, if there is some. Once I have the mechanics down, I get exisistential on it. I look at the effect to see what at its core it is presenting. Is it making something disappear? Transform? What? and Why?

Then I look at the components - such as silks, rope, cards, etc., and see if it
makes sense for me to want to change or vanish them as they are, or would it make more sense if I presented them as something else. Sometimes I see some potential in the tirck where maybe if the component was a little different it would make more sense and I could present it as a story about....

An example is a card trick I learned that I wanted to do for a kids show. The final revelation as written is 3 cards transforming into 3 other cards. I changed it to a deck of alphabet cards, and three "s" cards transformed into a final revelation of "F" "U" "N". I said a magic teacher had given them to me and only told me that they were really "FUN" cards, then I reiterated that before the final revelation. My story came from needing a 3 letter word that kids would know and relate to. FUN seemed the obvious choice and it took off from there.

Once you get an idea of what it is you want to represent as actually happening, then you WRITE down the words to present it. Try to be as entertaining as possible in your script, but definitely do script it. Then practice it and be super critical of it. Where is it weak? Is there anywhere it could be strengethened with humor or something clever or bizarre?

There are lots of books on the creative process, and it would help to see what they offer.

I guess my best advice is this: 1) Spend a lot of time thinking about it and don't let yourself get pigeonholed by the patter written in the instructions. You have to take the time to work on it. Sometimes something will come to you in a flash, but most creative endeavors take deliberate work which can be tedious and at times frustrating. 2) don't rush it. Let your mind chew on it and see what it can come up with.

Good luck.

- Steve
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Elite user
Boston area
462 Posts

Profile of rgranville
For presentation, the first question you have to answer for yourself is: Who are you? Why can you make magical things happen? Do you have some power? What is that power? Are you a skilled manipulator? Are you as confused as the audience as to what's going on? That is, what role do you want to play?

Once you identify the role you want to play, then make your patter fit that role. How would you react if the magic really happened? What would you say? What would you do?

Read the provided patter - especially the parts that set up the spectators' thinking and expectaions a certain way, or provides critical misdirection. Then think about how to achieve the same results as the character you've identified for yourself. That is, make it YOU.

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Inner circle
Olive Branch, Mississippi
1317 Posts

Profile of rikbrooks
What I do is super impose my character on the trick. First I learn the trick as it is written. Then I play with it, and play with it, and play with it. Sometimes it takes weeks or months before suddenly a little something will spur the idea.

Let me give you the example of my chop cup routine. I wanted to make sure that the spectator is never wrong. I wanted to completely eliminate the "Where do you think the ball is?" and then show them that they are wrong. I was so impressed with Don Allan's routine that I couldn't think of anything but that.

Then one day I was watching an old tape of Michael Ammar performing cups and balls and he did one phase that should have, but didn't, get applause. His response was, "Oh, come ON, THAT didn't impress you?"

The whole routine swept into my mind at once. It's called, "Would You Be Impressed?" and the idea is the magician asking the user over and over, "Would you be impressed if the ball vanished from here...?" vanishe the ball. "...and showed up over here?" produce the ball.
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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6112 Posts

Profile of Jaz
Any patter I use, and I don't use a lot, usually comes by using an idea that I feel relates to the plot or props used for the routine. Often I will remember something from my personal life that seems to fit and use that.

Any lines I decide to use are usually for specific moments of the routine. I don't make a complete script but prefer to leave a lot of room for interacting with the folks.
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