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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » Writing a script (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MagicGirl1536
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Hello
I am quite new to magic. How do you write a script for a trick? Do you have any advice?
Bella


:tallyred:
those who don't believe in magic won't find it- Roald Dahl
Jim Oliver
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Hello MagicGirl1536,

My best advice is to pick up a copy of Scripting Magic
by Pete McCabe.

It is a fantastic book that teaches you how to write a
professional looking script and gives dozens of good routines
that serve as examples.

I have been going thru my routines lately and re-scripting them
to follow his examples, and what a difference it makes.

It will be hard work but well worth it.

Best of luck,

Jim
Ed Marlo rules
link8822
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If you're into close-up magic, Jay Sankey also has some good advice in his book, "Beyond Secrets". It's available for $15 but I think it's also included in his new "Definitive Sankey" books.
Comedy Writer
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For a beginner, it might be better to talk through a handling..then remember what you said and write it down
ApprenticeWizard
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My advice is don't try to script a trick. Aim to create a script for your whole program. In other words, try to think of an over-arching theme (e.g. the various magical skills you would probably need to learn if you were attending a school for genuine wizards who are learning to do real magic). Get hold of "Tales of Enchantment" by Walt Anthony and it may help you to realize that you need to do something more than just script a trick if you want a strong presentation.
Magically yours,
Tom Olshefski
Atom3339
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It's wise to script out EVERYTHING at first. Then identify bullet points you believe are essential in your presentation. Use unique phrases to incorporate in your tricks that will keep the audience engaged and act as trigger points for you. For example, a Card Magic routine, using the phrase, "And the Jacks came back!" throughout the effect. Keeping the audience's attention and triggering in your mind the next action for you to take. Maybe the third time you say "And the Jacks came back!", you do a DL.

A "mini-theme" per effect seems to work VERY well and keeps you organized in a casual way.

Bullet points help you "hit" your patter highlights and necessities. I usually practice my patter outloud while driving to work.
TH

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Head Case
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Best advice I have for you is to sit down, think of how you want the trick to appear to the audience, get a baseline for what you want to say, how you want to affect the audience, get a general Idea of the script you want, then pick up a voice recorder (which you already have if you own a smart phone) and record yourself (AUDIO ONLY) every time you do the trick for someone while your practicing, You will notice patterns, and lines that work, and don't work, you will be able to hear how the different tones in your voice will make what you said come off different each time.

You can then, start to write down what you recorded onto paper, and start tweaking and making adjustments to the patter.


Just my 2 cents.
Chris Philpott
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I second Jim Oliver -- Pete McCabe's Scripting Magic is great and would be on my list of essential magic books.

And very glad to hear a newbie is interested in scripting. Personally, when I started, all I cared about was fooling people. You're ahead of the game already!

-Chris
ChrisTheImpossible
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Quote:
On 2013-02-27 16:46, Chris Philpott wrote:
I second Jim Oliver -- Pete McCabe's Scripting Magic is great and would be on my list of essential magic books.

And very glad to hear a newbie is interested in scripting. Personally, when I started, all I cared about was fooling people. You're ahead of the game already!

-Chris


I have trouble scripting. Often times I try to remember what the script was that came with the trick. I find it hard to think of anything for my effects and I don't know why. I am actually a poet as well so you would think this would be a bit easier. Maybe I should write my scripts in poems? Advice?
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Chris Philpott
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Hey Chris --

I think there is something magical about poetry -- how often have you seen rhyming incantations in movies or TV? I've used poetry with effects several times -- I even have a book test done with love poetry on the market. And I think it's rarely a bad decision to follow your passions when you script. That said, there are pitfalls -- it can come off as cloying or pretentious -- it can turn your effect from a living breathing thing that's happening now to a relic that is to be admired from a distance. It's not easy to get it right, but it strikes me a poet has a better shot at getting it right than most of us.

But rather than just limiting yourself to poetry scripts, you could use some of the methods you use to write poetry to discover your magic scripts. Perhaps the next time you feel inspired to write a poem, ask yourself if you can capture that inspiration in a magic effect rather than a poem. A very simple effect can have a wealth of undiscovered meanings.

And I think learning your script thoroughly is important. In my experience directing I've found that spontaneity in performance generally comes twice -- when you're first starting out and then when you know the text so well you can forget it and just surf over the words on the emotions. Look at the films of Mike Leigh -- no one directs actors with more life and spontaneity than he does, and almost no one spends as long in rehearsal.

-Chris
Verno Inferno
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MagicGirl,

I write my scripts this way. After having perfected everything and practiced in front of a mirror over and over again, I've already seen how the trick flows and I'm comfortable with the bones of the trick. Let's say I'm performing a floating bill illusion. I've seen what it looks like in the mirror. I've blocked out what movements I'm going to make. My first step is to get those raw movements onto a document. I use Word. They are listed like this. I would list all the secret moves that I'm going to do in detail, but here, I'll just write "[magical secret thing"]:

Walk over to the spectator
Take a bill from him
[magical secret thing]
Walk to where I'm going to perform
[magical secret thing]
The bill floats down to the ground
The bill floats up
I pick the bill out of the air
Hand it back to the spectator
Bow

Now that's blocked out. I need to add words. In this case, I have to first decide, "What's happening?" A bill is floating around without any body doing anything. Am I making it do that? Are the spectators doing it? Are ghosts? Ghosts of someone in the theater/bar/house? Once that's established, you can start writing. Vomit dialogue into the blocked out movements you have in your Word document. Just get something on it. Let it be garbage. Be cognizant of where you need verbal misdirection.

Scripting is awesome, even if, like me, you don't perform much. I take long, long breaks between performing or practicing, because I am busy. Today-Verno-Inferno really loves that One-Year-Ago-Verno-Inferno took the time to write down *everything* he needed to know to do the effect. I can just scan the book to make sure I remember all the fine touches, and then focus practice time with the detailed script.
Verno Inferno
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Quote:
On 2013-03-05 00:17, ChrisTheImpossible wrote:

I have trouble scripting. Often times I try to remember what the script was that came with the trick. I find it hard to think of anything for my effects and I don't know why. I am actually a poet as well so you would think this would be a bit easier. Maybe I should write my scripts in poems? Advice?


Chris, I have trouble thinking of things to put down in a script for my tricks when I sit down at a computer and say, "OK... SCRIPT!" The best stuff comes to me either when I'm practicing, when I'm watching other magicians perform, when I'm performing the script that came with the trick and accidentally veer off script only to find something better for me, when I'm lying in bed thinking about the performance, or when I'm driving on my commute. Are you able to just sit and write poetry on command, or do you do it when the mood strikes you? If you are creative enough, then God bless you. That's great. For me, I can't be creative on command. I have to create situations and habits where I can capture brilliant ideas when they come to me. Pens and paper next to my bed. I scribble in the books/instructions too. "This is silly, this is awesome, this would never work for me." This year my resolution is to use my smartphone and Evernote to make sure that when an idea comes to me, I record it and suck it into the cloud. If you're not familiar, Evernote is a free note taking application. I've used it for other parts of my life, but need to start using it for magic. A beauty thing is that you can be in the car, talk out the script when you're feeling creative (or heck maybe the perfect line or premise comes to you at that moment), record yourself saying it into your smartphone and it will live in Evernote for you to address later.

Moreover: no shame in using the store-bought script until you become so comfortable with the effect that you know how to change it up to match you. Also, some scripts are just awesome. Color Monte comes with a highly entertaining script I've never been able to really improve on, other than to change some nouns or places or whatever to make it Me.
XavrosStalkingwolf
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Quote:
On 2013-03-13 11:18, Verno Inferno wrote:
MagicGirl,

I write my scripts this way. After having perfected everything and practiced in front of a mirror over and over again, I've already seen how the trick flows and I'm comfortable with the bones of the trick. Let's say I'm performing a floating bill illusion. I've seen what it looks like in the mirror. I've blocked out what movements I'm going to make. My first step is to get those raw movements onto a document. I use Word. They are listed like this. I would list all the secret moves that I'm going to do in detail, but here, I'll just write "[magical secret thing"]:

Walk over to the spectator
Take a bill from him
[magical secret thing]
Walk to where I'm going to perform
[magical secret thing]
The bill floats down to the ground
The bill floats up
I pick the bill out of the air
Hand it back to the spectator
Bow

Now that's blocked out. I need to add words. In this case, I have to first decide, "What's happening?" A bill is floating around without any body doing anything. Am I making it do that? Are the spectators doing it? Are ghosts? Ghosts of someone in the theater/bar/house? Once that's established, you can start writing. Vomit dialogue into the blocked out movements you have in your Word document. Just get something on it. Let it be garbage. Be cognizant of where you need verbal misdirection.

Scripting is awesome, even if, like me, you don't perform much. I take long, long breaks between performing or practicing, because I am busy. Today-Verno-Inferno really loves that One-Year-Ago-Verno-Inferno took the time to write down *everything* he needed to know to do the effect. I can just scan the book to make sure I remember all the fine touches, and then focus practice time with the detailed script.


What a simple way to start! And great questions to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing.
Dorian Rhodell
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Verno Inferno nailed it.

From a theatrical standpoint here is what he is doing.

He sets the premise which can almost always be one sentence.
Think elevator pitch.

He sets the plot points to get from the beginning of he effect to the end of the effect.
Think navigational plot points that ships use to get from one port to another.

Then he creates a narrative to flesh out the presentation around the plot points and support the narrative. This is what will support the premise and keep the effect from going astray.
Think business plan.

Best,

Dorian Rhodell
pf70ds
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Writing and memorizing a script is very important .You can ad lib at times but you can always go back to the script .
Chamberlain
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One thing I found helps is to imagine myself in the 3rd person performing for someone. I.e I imagine I'm a spectator and I'm watching myself performing. This helps me with new lines/body positions etc that I otherwise wouldn't have been aware of.
darksage
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I tried your 3rd person visualization technigue for a new routine, and it helped a lot. Thank you!
Ralph Cos
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You may find my iPhone app, Script Editor, useful as a practical tool to manage your scripts.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/script-e......152?mt=8
Mark Boody Illusionist
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You may find this book to be helpful...I know its been beneficial for me. http://www.geraldedmundson.com/tof1/whatistof.htm

Best of luck

Mark
Big Daddy Cool
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There is a member on the Café whose alter ego is an expert in the area of theatrical presentation and scripting... His book Theatrical Magic is now available as an e-book at Lybrary.com. Smile
We'll catch ya on the Back of the Cereal Box!
John Pyka
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