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Terrible Wizard
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Constructive criticism and ideas welcomed Smile

Core Card Magic Set 1: Script A

[clear mat/table of props, make point of removing ‘fluff’ – allow a brief moment of silence – this is the good stuff!]
*smile, and make eye-contact with a few spectators* [pull deck from pocket]
[hold deck case clearly in r.hand] “I love card magic.”

[open deck case, cards fall into l.hand, case to side, casual spread and shuffle/cut sequence] + “Since the beginning cards have been used to make, lose and tell fortunes. The tools of gamblers, seers and charlatans. Just think for a second of all the songs that have used playing cards to illustrate love, chance and fate.” *said with half-seriousness, but with a true underbelly*

[deck squared neatly on the table]
“And with such a rich history behind me, I felt the need to show you a card trick that is a small step beyond most magical mysteries; a truly fantastic trick that goes further than most. Sound good?”
*ask, by name, for a number between 10-20* - do FTT, emphasising and jazzing with the refrain, ‘most magicians would stop there … but THIS trick goes FURTHER than THAT!’

Aim for rapt attention punctuated by moments of light humour and climaxing with a pleasant moment of astonishment. After each magic moment highlight the reactions of the audience – “I can tell you like that one!”, “Cool, huh?”, “You should see this guy’s face here,” etc. Try and build a genuine rapport with the audience during this trick, ad lobbing where appropriate and being natural and friendly, yet in control.
End with the flourishy display of a royal flush, the wrap-up line “No-one can go further than that!” and laugh with the audience, giving a nod to accept applause. Possible additional throw-away line, “You see why no one wants to play cards with me? Such a hard life.”

*transition to the next effect, change of gears – more serious, more elegant rather than playful. Wait a beat or two to let people settle into the new mood easily*
“Let me clear some of these cards away. I want to show you something beautiful with just eight cards.”
*pause*

“As well as wonderful tricks, cards can also be used to display astonishing optical illusions. Watch the four aces and the four spades …”
[optical illusion performed silently – aiming for an Extraordinary Moment of visual magic]
*let the final moment hang silently, then nod and smile to accept applause*

[a change of gears now, a lighter tone, with a winking eye, and more focussed on skill than magic]
“Let me take away a few more cards. By reducing the number of cards I’m handling, I’m making it more and more difficult for myself – fewer places for my hands to hide. Using a full deck is hard enough, using just eight was even harder, but now I’ll use just four. Yeah, I know … I’m either crazy, or I really am That good.  Because of the difficulty of this, I’ll stick with the cards I have most well trained – the four Aces. There’s only one of those that ever gives me any difficulty …”

[Twisting the Aces] “See, the Ace of Hearts is obedient … but it’s the Ace of Spades who’s the Trickster!”
“If I twist them round this way, I can make the Ace of x roll over. Twist the other way and now the Ace of x rolls over instead … but never the Ace of Spades. Twisting doesn’t move him at all …”
“If I tickle the cards, then the Ace of x comes out to play … But even a back-scratch doesn’t move the stubborn Ace of Spades; no, not even a double-twist followed by a massage …”
No. Instead, what you have to do is put the cards down, and act like the trick is all over … Then pounce, and catch him red-handed, looking over his shoulder.”
*make it light, quick and with no real chit-chat – this is fun transition effect, not a high point*

“I love card magic. O.K, we’ll bring in the whole deck again now.” [shuffle sequence]

“This last trick is a real classic, and like most classic card mysteries it starts with you (name?) picking a card, if you would be so kind …”
[Red Hot Mama – try to combine an air of fun with an astonishing ending; bow for applause – like it was the last effect]

*If all has gone well, there’s a good chance the audience want more – if so, then add in this final trick.*
“OK, ok. Just one more. One final wonder. And I think … yes … I think I can show you something that’s beyond normal trickery … Can I show you real magic? Would that be ok?” *a devilish hint at something forbidden and powerful and different* [shuffle sequence]
“With the tricks so far I’ve naturally been using sleight of hand, but this mystery is the real deal. I am going to create a moment of fated synchronicity; I want to bring you, for a brief moment, into the world of the weird …” [bring out prediction envelope] “We’ll come back to this later.”

“(name), could you picture a clock face for me …” (go onto Overclock/Casino clock).
russellajallen
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Hi Terrible,

I'm by no stretch of the imagination a proffessional performer or script writer but thought feedback might be good all the same. Take it or leave it really.


I like the script overall and the tone comes across as very proffessional amd slick - presuming this is the style you are going for that's great!

Personally when I write a script, I too go into direction details with side notes but I really only go over and work from it a few times. This is because my style of performing is slightly more casual in tone and I don't want it to sound scripted. If I know my script word for word then I'm too tempted to stick to it and I risk it not sounding "off the cuff" - but maybe that says more about my acting skills than anything else.

From the script I get the impression you want to come across as someone who can handle his cards very well and are a well accomplished card mechanic - if that's your aim then you've achieved that. My only note would depend on if you want to come across as all this being improvised, or impromtu, then try not to learn it word for word.

Best of luck with it all


Russell
Terrible Wizard
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Cheers Russell Smile. I like to have a script, but not stick to it slavishly and ad lib as needed. This would be for a performance rather than an 'impromtu moment' - though even then I like to have something to fall back script wise Smile
Terrible Wizard
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Just noted that the transition from Twisting the Aces to Red Hot Mama is quite weak - will need to re-think that bit.
Aus
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Terrible Wizard here are some points I would make with your script. The first point of your script is to catalogue what you won’t your audience to see. So unless something has a significant value to your audience then it is to be otherwise excluded from your script. To illustrate this at the beginning you wrote “[clear mat/table of props, make point of removing ‘fluff’ – allow a brief moment of silence – this is the good stuff!] *smile, and make eye-contact with a few spectators* [pull deck from pocket] [hold deck case clearly in right hand] “I love card magic.”

In that example you are highlighting superfluous actions in your script that should be automatic actions to an average person. In my opinion they don’t add anything to the performance in a dramatic sense despite the pretence I think you’re trying to create of “this is going to be good” which I personally feel comes off as a bit pretentious and forced if that’s the image your trying to portray. Let’s just let your audience pass their own judgment on that front at the conclusion of your act.

Also your script seems to be a mix of action lines, patter and running commentary of what you hope to achieve ie: “transition to the next effect, change of gears – more serious, more elegant rather than playful”. “Wait a beat or two to let people settle into the new mood easily”.

Its fine to do that but your script has to detail HOW you are going to do that, to me that line really tells me nothing. It might be a case of you not knowing exactly how yet, which is fine, but it should be a priority to find out at some point in detail how that is going to be achieved. For example it’s one thing to say “transition to the next effect” then having a script of dialog creating a Segway by saying “it’s one thing to manipulate cards but it’s something else to have people see what you want them to see”, “Have you ever heard the phrase seeing is believing?”.

What I have just done is effectively created a transition from one trick to the next; it’s that level of detail a script demands. More detail means more direction to a performance and more direction in a performance creates a polished performance. There are a number of instances of this in your script which I’m sure you can find yourself.

The next thing is over emphasizing the obvious; if the spectators can see what you’re doing then there is no need to say it. Common things often said by magicians are “I will now shuffle the cards” or “I’ll give the deck a few cuts” all of which is needless. A better approach is something that adds a little novelty, participation and interest to what would otherwise be a mundane procedure. Instead of “Let me take away a few more cards” have a female spectator hold the deck for safe keeping and give her the unwonted cards saying “What's yours is ours, But what's mine is mine” “Ok?” playing off a humoristic version of a saying most people are familiar with.

In closing I will give you my 6 point check list I use in editing any script I write:

1. Establish Context
2. Develop Character
3. Moves the plot forward.
4. Clarity and emphasise conditions, procedures and patter.
5. Instructing the spectator
6. Build and release tension.

I plan to go into detail on these points on my “Presentation (A how-to guide)” on the third installment which I’m currently in the process of writing, so keep an eye on the “New to Magic” section.

Magically

Aus
Terrible Wizard
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Cool feedback, aus Smile. Things for me to think about.
russellajallen
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If you can get Maximum entertainment by Ken Webber get it. Highly reccomended, I'm most of the way through and it's full if great tips for script writing
Terrible Wizard
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Yes, indeed. You may notice certain phrases from the book within the script above. Smile.
russellajallen
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Yeah, I retract what I said about roughly learning a script having read Maximum Entertainment. Very Much so.
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