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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » What are "your own words?" (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

sega
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Hello,

If I hear someone use a word with emphesis, and I begin to use the same word with the same inflection in another context, is that theft? For example, Chef Anton says "this is something which is a [legitimate] con game..." Then if I were to say, "I want to show you a [legitamate] feat of telekinesis," with the emphesis on "legitimate", would that be theft?

-Sega

Good joke (possibly from George Carlin, though I don't remember): "What does it mean to "use your own words," anyway? I was under the impression that we all used the same words."
PaulSharke
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It's a simple question with a complex answer. A linguist would be able to expound upon it at length without providing you an answer you could really use (as I'm tempted to do -- did you know the theorist Mikhail Bakhtin would describe "your own words" as being "internally persuasive?" -- well now you do!).

I sense you're looking for practical information -- legal or ethical. I'd say if you're using someone else's words in a way you consider unethical, you'll feel/hear it yourself. It will "ring false," to put it another way. But sometimes you'll hear someone use a word in a particular way and it leaps into your own vocabulary, unbidden. It just feels right, somehow. It fits, snugly, inside your lexicon. I'd say that, ethically, using that kind of word is just fine.

In short, unless you're lifting someone's whole presentation, I think you're in the clear.
yachanin
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Hi Sega,

As Paul said, you are fine with putting the emphasis on "legitimate" and so long as you emphasize it in a way that you might ordinarily speak, you shouldn't give it another thought. If, however, you would not speak in that way, leave the emphasis out or it will come across as sounding forced or unnatural.

I would say the same thing when it comes to all your patter. For example, imagine you were to perform an effect and the creator provides some patter as follows: "To exclude the possibility of gleaning any subtle facial clues regarding the identify of the card you select, I will place this hood over my head to occlude my vision." Even though you have permission to use the patter, do you really speak like that? Do you ordinarily use terms like "occlude"? If not, it will sound odd when you repeat the sentence, even if you practice. It is also unlikely that all the patter for your other effects will be spoken with the same style and tone and you run the risk of sounding like a different person for each effect.

Even though it takes a bit of time and effort, you should always try to make each effect "your own," including the patter, even if that means simply rewriting the words in the way you ordinarily speak.

Regards, Steve
sega
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Thanks for your replies, PaulSharke and yachanin,

I understand what you say about the naturalness of my speech, but I feel very unnatural to begin with! About two years ago, I was a socially blank slate. I could hardly talk to the person at the grocery store check out!

Now that I have done probably thousands of cold approaches at bars and clubs and stores and streets, I feel I have fallen into this trap of mediocrity. I have normal social routines (like saying hello and goodbye, good morning/afternoon/evening, how are you, how's it going, what's up, etc.), can handle a conversation reasonably, and most people would probably consider me normal.

But is one's personality (stage or in-person) even consistent? I am under the impression that people simply affect the personality that's instantaneously convenient. That is, people are NOT consistent. But they certainly percieve themselves to be. Which is why cold reading works so well. Most people can probably think of a time they were depressive and a time they were manic. And whatever the reader says can be made to hit, if the reader has won over the sitter, or the sitter has pre-concieved success. Conversely, if the sitter is skeptical, everything can be made to miss.

In a performance situation I understand from reading Maximum Entertainment, Strong Magic and the like that I must communicate a (SINGLE) personality to my audience. If I'm funny, I better keep up the funny, look funny, dress funny, etc., or they'll get a "funny" feeling, so to speak. If I'm mysterious, keep up the mystery, look mysterious, and if I'm a suit, I'd better shop at Bloomingdales.

By this philosophy, a show that includes both mentalism and coin sleights and card manipulation is heresy! Is it possible to do a show by entertaining people with your interests?

End series of vaguely connected ideas

-Sega
yachanin
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Hi Sega,

Many people use phrases like, "how's it going," "how've you been?," etc., automatically to meet the social expectations of courtesy, so I'm not sure I would consider that a "trap of mediocrity."

As far as "consistency" of personality, we surely wear different masks depending on the situation. For example, I would not act particularly outgoing when at a funeral, even though I consider myself to be rather social. Nor would I "act" exactly the same way when visiting my mother as I would when out with some old college friends. However, even though I might seem different in those situations, my underlying personality is still present and detectable... I'm simply displaying varying "shades" of my core personality.

Whether you can develop a show that includes mentalism, coin sleights, and card manipulation would depend, I think, on the character you portray on stage. For example, if you present yourself as a super-secret agent (think James Bond-ish), you could, potentially, have the skills of a world traveller that has mastered sleight of hand (coins and cards) and know much of what people are thinking (mentalism) through your powers of keen observation and understanding of people's natures.

Another character that could pull off such a combination of effects might be a "wizard." The "legilimens" ability of a wizard could handle the mentalism effects and surely a wizard could make coins and cards do miraculous things.

Does that make any sense?

Regards, Steve
Photoboy
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Ask yourself how you want to come across. What you are doing is a performance and should be something enjoyable for you to do. Something that comes natural will be more believable. I have found taking bits and pieces of acts and performances form others and mixing in part of myself has worked the best for me. Using a word that someone else uses regularly and framing it with in your own story is fine. Just crack open a dictionary and find a different word to express your meaning if you are having a hard time. Good luck remember character development takes time. You don't become the person you are over night so experiment see what works best for you.
Chamberlain
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I see nothing wrong with using a few choice phrases that you've heard others say. Just don't copy their whole act/mannerisms. I've watched videos of magicians who are considered the top in the business and recognise them using lines from other magicians who predated them.
John C
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Quote:
On Jul 16, 2013, yachanin wrote:
I would say the same thing when it comes to all your patter. For example, imagine you were to perform an effect and the creator provides some patter as follows: "To exclude the possibility of gleaning any subtle facial clues regarding the identify of the card you select, I will place this hood over my head to occlude my vision." Even though you have permission to use the patter, do you really speak like that? Do you ordinarily use terms like "occlude"? Regards, Steve


Hey, I've said that before!

How about, "...I'll look away while you pick a card, memorize it, and place it in your pocket."
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Shy
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Quote:
On Jul 16, 2013, yachanin wrote:
"To exclude the possibility of gleaning any subtle facial clues regarding the identify of the card you select, I will place this hood over my head to occlude my vision."


That could be a pretty fun line.
yachanin
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Quote:
On Jun 2, 2014, John C wrote:
Quote:
On Jul 16, 2013, yachanin wrote:
"To exclude the possibility of gleaning any subtle facial clues regarding the identify of the card you select, I will place this hood over my head to occlude my vision."


Hey, I've said that before!



Hi John,

Yes, that is a pretty standard line Smile

Regards, Steve
TheRaven
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In my opinion...
Legitimate con game is funny.
Legitimate telekenisis is not.

By definition a con cannot be legit.
That is why it is funny.

So you aren't really "borrowing" someone else's material, even though maybe you thought you were.

It is OK to borrow but better to think up your own.

"I think you will find this domonstration of telekenisis MOVING."

"Now for some MINDLESS telekenisis "
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