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Jaxon
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It's kind of like that. I guess you can call what I do "spontaneous patter" and yet when something works I keep using it. So they become a part of the routine or trick.

Let me try and think of some examples.

One time I was performing an outside show at a performing arts festival. During my act the backdrop (jet set) tipped over and basically fell on my head. There I was with this wall leaning against me. I looked at the audience and said, "I almost fell for it". Every since then if I see someone trip or fall (or I trip or fall) I'd say a version of that line. "Don't fall for it yet, the trick isn't over" or "I'm so good even I fell for it". Things like that.

One time I was performing for a group and they where all laughing and responding very well to it all. All except one girl that is. For some reason this one girl wouldn't smile or respond at all. Now, normally I'd just ignore that and keep performing for those who are enjoying it (That's usually the best idea in this situation). But this night for some reason I started focusing on it instead of ignoring it. I said something like, "Oh, don't worry, eventually I'll do something that she'll enjoy". I performed something else and at the conclusion of the trick when the reaction would usually come I quickly (And very obviously) brought all my attention to the girl as if observing her very hard to see if she'll react. Not much this time but my obvious examination of her face caused her to smile a little. So I performed something else and did the focus on her again. She finally smiled at the conclusion of the trick and I made sure everyone knew it. I acted like I was celebrating "YES! I got her. She finally smiled" all the while I'm patting myself on the back and things like that.

That was a spontaneous occurrence. I never done or thought about doing that before. It just happened and it turned out successful. Since then I've done the same thing a number of times and it's become a routine I go into when a similar situation arises. By the way. If any of you ever decide to try this I should warn you that it won't always work. It's the kind of thing where you need to know when to shut up too.. Smile

So these are the kinds of things that happen and sometimes a new patter or presentation develops through this process. It's an on going thing and I'll never stop looking for those kinds of things.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
Andy the cardician
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Some years ago I did fall of a stage . . . such things do happen. Always good for a laught - afterwards.
Cards never lie
Keith Mitchell
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All this time I have been studying magic for the past year, I noticed that no-one really shares their patter or prestentation. Some people do, but not many.

Is it because of some kind of challenge issue with other magicians, or is it because you guys are encouraging us newbies to write our own presentation/patter for our own benefits?

I am only asking because I am kind of curious. Makes me wonder how far a Magician would go to protect their on vision.

Would it be possible if we could pick just one trick, then everyone share their patter on that trick? Kind of like a brainstorming session. Is this a good or bad idea?

Just wondering
Keith
Gary Richards
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Ron,
I find your personal examples of "spontaneous patter" to be most insightful and helpful. One of the keys to survival in any field, I've always believed, is the ability to adapt. Your closing comment, "It's an ongoing thing and I'll never stop looking for those kind of things," is in my humble opinion what separates a real master, in any field, from a novice. Thank you for hanging around here and sharing.
Andy the cardician
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Keith,

Patter is personality related - what works for you might not work for me. Also, the impact depends not only on the words but also the intonation, the speech flow and the whole accompanying body language.

Andy
Cards never lie
pradell
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I acquired a well built Modern Art from a well known magical craftsman who insisted that I had to say exactly what Jonathan Pendragon said during on a television special, and do exactly what he did to perform the illusion. But I'm not Jonathan Pendragon. And I'm not trying to be anyone else in my show except myself. So I thought about it a bit and, being from Alaska, incorporated instead some patter about the Sleeping Lady mountain across the bay from Anchorage, and came up with a tale about cutting her in half....and the illusion began to fit like an old shoe. And my local audience could picture Sleeping Lady in their minds and relate to her, because you can see this mountain from the city on a clear day.
Magical props are just the tools of our trade. We are storytellers, actors playing the part of magicians using magical apparatus as symbols to bring our audiences to a place where they can appreciate their long lost sense of wonder. So think outside the box; come up with a theme or a story and try to relate the things you use, i.e. your tricks, into your act in a way that makes sense to you, your character, and your personality. Your audience will be more likely to travel with you to that special magical place if you believe in your words and your actions, rather than just mindlessly parroting what someone else told you to say on their DVD.
:magicrabbit:
Keith Mitchell
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I have learned a lot from what everyone is saying here. It reminds me of an article that I read in Genii Magazine April 2006. Feature story about magician Arhur Trace. He uses PostModern art for his magic. Paintings that he himself painted. His entire presentation represents HIMSELF. This is a perfect example of what everyone here has been talking about.

That article had the strongest impact on me about finding your own presentation. Arthur Trace went to the EXTREME to make himself into something new. He did not do this overnight, he did this after years of hard core experience. This is the formula for a lot of top magician. Check out this article in the April 2006 issue of Genii Magazine.

I am just a little guy starting out, and therefore I have an overwhelming amount to learn. Will not have my 15 minutes of fame overnight, but can and will enjoy some of the magic that I have learned so far. It's important to learn the basic first and move up the ladder at your own pace. Sometimes people can give the impression that you should move up that learning ladder faster than it is possible.

Patter is an art form. Some people have natural ability to come up with Patter, while others have to struggle with it. I am one of those that have a hard time with words in general. It does not hurt to listen and learn from other magician's patter

I am just a beginner who does not have a clue, or the wisdom from experience to past down to others. Just sharing my observation from the things that I have learned so far.

Good luck
Keith
Andy the cardician
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Patter is no chatter
Cards never lie
airship
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What Keith said up there about the "Post-Modern Art Magician" is good stuff.

I perform exclusively for friends and family, and they know me too well for me to develop a character that's much different than myself. So instead, I've developed a TOPIC that I use to encapsulate my performances. I focus on the differences between perception and reality, and how our brains sometimes conspire to fool us. I craft my patter to that theme, and it always seems to work for me. It avoids that attitude I used to get: "Hey, you're just a guy I know, you're not really a magician!" Now I get the real "WOWs!"

In other words, you have to go with what works for YOU, not what worked for the other guy.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
Andy the cardician
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Airship,
good point - even a prophet has problems to be recognized as such in his hometown, leave alone a magician.

Andy
Cards never lie
the AuditOrr
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Now I'm no expert... in fact I'm fairly new to magic. However I am an entertainer. Especially for children. I worked at a birthday place like Chuckie Cheese for 4 years called "Let's Play". As I worked at Let's Play I was expected to pour the kids some juice, serve the kids some cake, and then help the children open their presents. That's all we were supposed to do. However what I found was that I was bored, and the kids were bored (obviously!) and so I stepped out and I actually started to entertain the children. By the time that I left working there I was having a BLAST doing the parties! The kids were having a blast! I got them all RILED UP and better yet I was making a lot more than my $6.00 I started out with. Usually I was getting $40 tips. (now I know that doesn't sound like a big tip, however with how much the people pay for the party already, with how infrequent tips usually are, and with how low tips are usually, $40 is a good tip at Let's Play!) But to get to the point - the patter has to be developed over time in different ways. The majority of the stuff I was doing was pure improv. But I thought about my "performance" after the party. I think if I could go back I would have actually worked harder at making the routines during the parties however what I learned I learned through experience. And everyone has to do it that way whether they've prepared patter before hand or not. So my suggestion is to grab your magic, develop a routine, and then write out patter, think about the patter you wrote, re-write it, and then try the effect out. Once you've performed it a fair few times assess how well the trick is going. If it's not working well then change it! You'll find jokes and little things to say as you go along. BUT ONE ESSENTIAL RULE!!!! - MAKE SURE YOU HAVE FUN! The reason for that is because if you're having fun your audience is having fun!

Hope that helps,
Fraser Orr-Brown
I want to go far...
jimbowmanjr
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I have learned quite a bit from reading some of the responses in this thread but just wanted to toss in some of the things I 'attempt' that involve patter.

I have some loose framework that maintains the key elements of patter involved in an effect. I will do a quick study on my audience (kids, teens, adults, elderly) gauge their attention span and interest based on body language and then make a quick decision on how much patter I can fit into the effect. If people are looking around or not paying attention a long-winded patter is probably not the best idea. If you have their undivided attention you can probably get away with something short of a novel.

I am finding that lately certain effects simply don't fit me. I suppose this is part of understanding your character in magic. I prefer to take my chances on the quick study instead of trying to create a character for the spectator that may or may not work for me. Perhaps down the road I will mature into that but for now I prefer to work with whatever audience I am given.

--Jim
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