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Profile of Martin_H
I will get back on a question that spfranz came up with...
Why do some tricks need a patter and others don´t (eg Ambitious Card)? At what point does a trick cross that barrier of being so good it doesn't need patter?

What do you think?

lets discuss Smile

life is real magic
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Profile of Paul
I don't think it is a barrier for tricks to cross, good or bad. There are some tricks which are so good with patter but they would be meaningless without. Some quick visual tricks are self explanarory as to the effect that has been created.

Patter for tricks may be needed for different reasons. If you are playing a character perhaps, to help fit the character or be part of an explanatory story for bizarrists.

For the rest of us it depends whether the trick is lengthy or not. If it is lengthy or procedural it needs patter to entertain or fill in time that would otherwise be dead time, to maintain the spectators interest or help point up and sell the actual impossibility of what is happening.

For a speedy visual trick, perhaps all you need is a single line. Why speak for five minutes then produce four aces. Generally you want to go the quickest route from A to B with the only pause or line being to make sure they fully understand what is supposed to be happening.

I've seen inexperienced magicians adding lengthy patter to tricks that don't need it and the audience is clearly thinking, "Just get on with the magic will ya!"

Alex Elmsley has a great article on act construction/routining in volume one of The Complete Works of Alex Elmsley that is well worth people seeking out and reading.

Paul Hallas
Peter Marucci
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Profile of Peter Marucci
Paul's right; it's not the trick as much as the performer that determines patter.
For example, Martin suggests the Ambitious Card as a trick that doesn't need patter. In my handling, the patter is essential, because the routine is part of a greater routine, referring to the jobs held by my mythical Uncle Linguini.
Patter won't save a badly performed trick, any more than a specific trick will save a poor performer.
Patter is the choice of the performer.
The one closeup trick I do with no patter is Hofzinser's Four Ace Problem. But, even there, I explain why there is no story attached.
(So, I suppose that would be patter!)
Bottom line: It's an individual call -- but make sure you fully understand why you are making that call!
Peter Marucci
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