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chucklerich
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I thought there was a better place to ask this but I cannot find it so...


REALIZING:

1.knowing how to do an effect or a trick does not make it "magic"
2. That magic is something that happens in the spectators mind.
3. That good magic is entertaining performance art and not just the showing off of sleights,

...I have finally come to the point of realizing I need to add some patter to my performance if I hope to make what I do magical for my audience.(I am not able to pull off the silent performance of effects ive seen from other magicians).

What resource would you use for a coin worker who uses coin boxes a lot and wants to add some gentle humour to his routine?
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1KJ
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This is a great topic, and I agree with you. Greg Wilson talks about "being in the zone" with an audience. That is not done through magic tricks. It's done by connecting to people. He talks about how comedians can get in the zone quickly by connecting with an audience in a humorous way that people can relate to. Some magicians never get in the zone because they don't connect. I have a little story that goes along with my coin effects.

Here is an example: I do an effect where a coin disappears, then multiplies, then is passes through something, like a glass, table, cloth, peoples hands, etc. However, I start out the routine by asking if anyone in the audience has any super powers. Then, there is some humorous banter about how we're not talking about "Superman" type superpower, but something a bit less. I tell them that I have a superpower, but.. frankly, I don't talk about it much. My superpower is my breath. I can breath on stuff and my breath is so strong, it makes stuff appear invisible. The whole routine is humorous and engaging.

I also do a hopping half routine with a silly love story with the coins representing two lovers from different worlds. I make it a combination of something that sounds like it could come out of Romeo and Juliet, but it has a modern feel, with Twittering and Facebooking. I get the audience members to give the characters names. This one is fun too.

I hope this helps.

KJ
Dorian Rhodell
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If you do coin magic with boxes (Okito, Boston etc.) you're already fighting an uphill battle.
Magician: "Here I have a little box."
Spectator: "Okaaay. Doesn't look like any box I've ever seen. And it's not even a box! It's a round...thingy."
Magician: "If I do this with a coin and the box, then this happens."
Spectator: "I bet it's a tricky box."
Magician: "And now this happens."
Spectator: "It's gotta be the box. Betcha I could do it if I had one."

My point is that if you're going to use a prop that has never been seen before, you may want to explain what it is, where you got it and why you have it.

Consider an Egg Bag for example. It's another prop that people are not familiar with. But suppose you were a collector of magic artifacts / pieces.
Suppose you were to explain the fact that it's special is because, unlike a normal bag, there is a type of stitching on the bag. It's a double stitch that is stitched on the inside as well as on the outside.
Not only is the bag constructed in a special manner, but it does something as well.
It allows a person to pull out an egg!
No more starving artists!

You get the idea. Don't just whip it out your pocket because it's there.

Best,

Dorian Rhodell
Dick Oslund
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Sorry Dorian! I'm sure that your intentions are good (HERE COMES THE 'BUT') BUT, You are putting too much emphasis on the BAG!!!

It's an EGG trick! It's NOT a BAG TRICK! Play "down" the bag. The bag does not "allow" anything!!! The bag is a PROP! The MAGICIAN "does" the "MAGIC" NOT THE BAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Dick Oslund
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CHUCKLERICH~

You have started a good thread, which may get a few people THINKING!

However! (refer to #1 in your post. Not YOU, or anyone else, can DO an EFFECT. An EFFECT, is what the spectator sees, or thinks he sees. If you perform a TRICK properly and well, with a good presentation, the EFFECT, which the spectator 'sees' MAY even ENTERTAIN him.

Using incorrect terminology causes problems.
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Dorian Rhodell
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Hi Dick,
There aren't really a lot of options here.
Suppose we introduce the bag and pull an egg out (or a small dog, whatever).
After they check the egg they may want to check the bag. If they do that means we either handled the bag poorly or didn't allay their suspicions. After all it is a bag they never have seen before.
Suppose we introduce the egg first.
Why would I carry an egg around except to do a trick?
To my way of thinking, I'd rather go with the lesser of two evils.
Whatever is produced of the bag think of the moves magicians to hide the egg while in the bag. Pull it inside out, slap it, etc.
If we totally play down the bag, just take a regular bag, pull the egg out and be done with it.
Again, for me it's just the lesser of two evils.
But...enough about grown men and silly bags.
Let's get this question answered for this guy.
But we should correspond soon!
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As for the coin box, I agree with Dick when he says "Don't put so much emphasis on the bag" (substitute bag for box). The box can be anything you want it to be, or nothing at all. Like Greg Wilson says, I like to give meaning to what I do. That means either telling a story, or giving some sort of explanation (false explanation). In the case of the box, you could simply convince your audience that you are going to try to get into their head to make them see something that isn't there, or not see something that is. The box, then doesn't even need to be explained. In you mind, the box is merely a source of distraction, and that would be the explanation if ever one was needed.

KJ
Dorian Rhodell
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Just to clarify, these thoughts really belong to Ron Bauer.

The box cannot really be anything you want it to be.
Call it anything else and they won't believe you. Try calling it an egg the next time you do the trick and monitor the reaction.
If you call it something that they don't recognize, you're going to have to address the elephant in the room. By the way, from a theatrical sense it gives you more options. It can address an unfamiliar object AND possibly help develop a premise.

Regarding addressing the audience they're still going to see and wonder what the box is no matter how you present it.
If I told you that you are going to see something there, you would still see it.
Think of mirage. You see water, but it really isn't there. When you get there, you may wonder where the water went. Then you realize it was a mirage. It has been addressed. You can't play that down.

Suppose the opposite. You want to someone to not see something that is. But they do see it because you are using it in context of a trick. This totally kills the entire concept of a suspension of disbelief. You've gotta make them buy into it in a way that they are willing to let you. What if the thing was a talisman, or good luck piece or an invention gone wrong....

So, in a way, you are going to have to address the elephant in the room. When is up to you and your script, how the premise is set and how the plot is fleshed out.
The box is not a distraction because you are using it through the entire routine. By using it you are inviting suspicion. Not that it matters because there is nothing to see anyway. If they ask to see it, they want to see if the box is funny. They're not interested in anything else.

Thanks for a good conversation. Let's keep it going!

Best,

Dorian
Yellowcustard
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Consider an Egg Bag for example. It's another prop that people are not familiar with. But suppose you were a collector of magic artifacts / pieces.
Suppose you were to explain the fact that it's special is because, unlike a normal bag, there is a type of stitching on the bag. It's a double stitch that is stitched on the inside as well as on the outside.
Not only is the bag constructed in a special manner, but it does something as well.
It allows a person to pull out an egg!
No more starving artists!

You get the idea. Don't just whip it out your pocket because it's there.

Best,

Dorian Rhodell [/quote]

Be carfull by pointing out the egg bag is specialy made just raise suspucion. Just say its a bag.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
funsway
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Getting back to the words one uses. Magic requires gaining and sustaining attention.

You can't "focus attention" if you don't have it. Patter can gain or loose attention based on the timing of what is said.

Patter can sustain attention by balancing anticipation and surprise -- this includes what you get a spectator to say.

In fact, the words said by a spectator acting as a witness may be the most important patter of all.

Thus, patter must be seen as part of the routine that must be planned and practiced just as much as the sleights.

Your voice can be a very effective tool in magic performance. Variety, tone, volume and pitch are but a few of the necessary skills.

remember the traditional communication rating:

What you say = 8% How you say it = 38% Who you are perceived to be = 54% (some studies vary a bit but not much) The 54% is often considered "non-verbal" but entails more than that.

Please note that "planned silence" is also Patter.
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Cameron Roat
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Yeah, careful Dorian. The audience might get the idea that your "Siamese Goose Egg Bag" isn't one of the normal small cloth bags everyone ELSE uses to store eggs...
Dorian Rhodell
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Eggsactly...
Dick Oslund
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Thank you Cameron!

I cannot agree with Dorian's thinking. IMHO, he either cannot, does not, or will not, understand how to manage spectators.

I may be wrong, but, I think he is a "victim" of invincible ignorance, or perhaps intellectual dishonesty. I don't mean that to be disparaging. I think that the person who showed him how to perform with the prop, or the instructions that he read, merely "told" him the bare facts of the mechanics, and none of the psychology. (I'm not a real mathematician, but, IMHO, "magic" is 5% sensory illusion, 5% esoteric principles of science, 5% sleight of hand skill, and 85% PSYCHOLOGY!

BTW, I have bought, and read, Bauer's "Siamese Egg Bag" book. I have since given it away. Ron had some very interesting and though provoking ideas. They didn't fit in with "how I work".

I was taught how to perform and entertain, with the egg bag by Senor MARDO in 1951. (For those who might not know, Harold Sterling, whose wife made the Sterling egg bags, in the '40s, credited (in the Sterling Catalog)Charlie Mardo with introducing the "outside the bag vanish". That style of bag is currently known as the "Sterling-Mardo" egg bag.

I have NEVER had ANYONE ask to examine the bag. I have used it for Kindergarten youngsters, teenagers, college students,adults and senior citizens, for 64 years. When one uses a prop so much that it wears out, and must be replaced, that's a sign that "he" has USED that prop! If I didn't get good laughs, and a big mitt at the end of the egg bag routine, it would long ago have been relegated to the trash can.

The late Ken Brooke, in his excellent monograph on the "Malini-Miller" bag, explains in great detail how to introduce, handle, and perform with an egg bag. Ken covers "all the bases"!

Martin Lewis uses a Mardo-Sterling bag. My young friend, Jeff Hobson, uses his "style" of the Malini-Miller bag, My old friend, Tom Mullica, uses a Malini-Miller bag. My OLD friend, Johnny Thompson, uses the Malini-Miller. My late friend, Charlie Miller, used (of course!) the Malini-MILLER bag. Another late friend, Jay Marshall, used the Malini-Miller. To my knowledge, NONE of them ever had a spectator demand to examine their egg bag. We all learned, early on, how to manage the audience!

Referring to Dorian's first post, I quote: "Magician: 'Here I have a little box.'" (I'm not going to retype the entire post.) ANYONE who starts a trick with, "Here I have a little box." needs a better script writer!
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chucklerich
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So can anyone point me to a resource on patter?
Ronin
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To address the original poster's question, some of my favorite sources for guidance in writing scripts for magic (in no particular order):

1. "Brain Food" by David Parr. I love the way David addresses issues like creativity and inspiration, illustrated with examples from his own repertoire. The fully scripted routines (of his own creation) offer some useful models for creating original presentations.

2. "The Experience of Magic" by Eugene Burger. His chapter on the creation of his card warp presentation, "The Inquisition" offers some useful thinking on the ways that the props and the ways we handle and manipulate them structure the script we use. I've often handed this essay off to theatrical directors I've worked with on magic, in order to start us off on the same (or at least a similar) page.

3. "Gary Kurtz: Unexplainable Acts" by Richard Kaufman. Kurtz's idiosyncratic style, shown in the routines in this book, offers a fascinating look into a creative magical mind.

4. "The Conjuring Anthology" by Jim Steinmeyer. Like the Gary Kurtz book, this gives some terrific models for study. Just about everything Steinmeyer has written has been a valuable resource to me in crafting presentations.

5. "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. Not a book on magic, but on writing and the creative process. For me, personally, probably the most important book on this list.

Some random honorable mentions: "Impro" by Keith Johnstone and "Stand Up Comedy: The Book" by Judy Carter

To be clear: there is no formula, no course, no single book that can tell you how to write scripts for magic. For me, it's been a years long process of writing, editing, writing some more, performing the material, more rewriting, more performing, ad infinitum. Along the way, I've studied models of scripting from magic, theater, stand up comedy, storytelling, and lots more. It's a process I love, which has made it a lot of fun.

As a postscript of sorts: there's also "Scripting Magic" by Pete McCabe. I haven't read it myself, but have heard some great things about it.
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Dorian Rhodell
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Quote:
On Feb 27, 2015, Dick Oslund wrote:
Thank you Cameron!

I cannot agree with Dorian's thinking. IMHO, he either cannot, does not, or will not, understand how to manage spectators.


Ummm...that's pretty much an insult so...you also forgot to mention how I don't understand production value, how it relates to premise, props and theater. Next thing you'll tell me that I don't understand a prop and how it relates to a narrative. I guess the fact that I do magic for a living proves your assessment. By the way, I have a illusion box that produces a girl. I play that shiny illusion box down because the trick is about the girl and not the fact that someone or something has appeared out of nowhere. And no one has ever asked or wondered what makes the box work? If you're going to insult someone, go all the way.

Quote:
I may be wrong, but, I think he is a "victim" of invincible ignorance, or perhaps intellectual dishonesty. I don't mean that to be disparaging. I think that the person who showed him how to perform with the prop, or the instructions that he read, merely "told" him the bare facts of the mechanics, and none of the psychology.


Since this is pretty much another insult, then you can take that up with Ron Bauer. Incidentally, you just insulted him as well. I can't believe that after years of being a mentor and friend he only "told" me the bare facts and didn't go over ANY of the psychology. By the way, if you knew Charlie, you would know how badly Ron fooled Charlie's with Charlie's own trick. You can find Charlie's actual writing in Magicana and get a glimpse of exactly how Ron's psychology is what really fooled him.

I apologize that I don't buy into the fact that an Egg Bag is a normal every day, commonplace item recognized by everyone. I also don't believe that people aren't curious to some degree about the bag. If you actually read and understood his manuscript then you would know that Cameron's statement above was sarcastic. If you think your audience believes it to be a normal bag, then go and get a normal paper bag that everyone is familiar with.

Quote:
(I'm not a real mathematician, but, IMHO, "magic" is 5% sensory illusion, 5% esoteric principles of science, 5% sleight of hand skill, and 85% PSYCHOLOGY!


What, no theatrical elements to create any sort of fantasy? No production value? No premise, plot, narrative etc? What about suspense, leading in with a prop...If you're into show and tell magic that's your choice. But really, "invincible ignorance"? I guess show and tell magic is where it's at?

Quote:
BTW, I have bought, and read, Bauer's "Siamese Egg Bag" book. I have since given it away. Ron had some very interesting and though provoking ideas. They didn't fit in with "how I work".


If it doesn't fit in with how you work that's fine and I more than respect that.

Quote:
I was taught how to perform and entertain, with the egg bag by Senor MARDO in 1951. (For those who might not know, Harold Sterling, whose wife made the Sterling egg bags, in the '40s, credited (in the Sterling Catalog)Charlie Mardo with introducing the "outside the bag vanish". That style of bag is currently known as the "Sterling-Mardo" egg bag.

I have NEVER had ANYONE ask to examine the bag. I have used it for Kindergarten youngsters, teenagers, college students,adults and senior citizens, for 64 years. When one uses a prop so much that it wears out, and must be replaced, that's a sign that "he" has USED that prop! If I didn't get good laughs, and a big mitt at the end of the egg bag routine, it would long ago have been relegated to the trash can.


Yet no one has ever thought if the bag was "special"? No one ever was even curious about the bag? How could either of us really know? Either way it's something to consider. What happens one day IF someone does ask to see it? What's your out?

Quote:
The late Ken Brooke, in his excellent monograph on the "Malini-Miller" bag, explains in great detail how to introduce, handle, and perform with an egg bag. Ken covers "all the bases"!


I love that book! But if I were content to say it covers everything, then I would not continue to grow, explore new avenues, presentation ideas, handlings etc. Not knocking the book. That's just my choice.

Quote:
Martin Lewis uses a Mardo-Sterling bag. My young friend, Jeff Hobson, uses his "style" of the Malini-Miller bag, My old friend, Tom Mullica, uses a Malini-Miller bag. My OLD friend, Johnny Thompson, uses the Malini-Miller. My late friend, Charlie Miller, used (of course!) the Malini-MILLER bag. Another late friend, Jay Marshall, used the Malini-Miller. To my knowledge, NONE of them ever had a spectator demand to examine their egg bag. We all learned, early on, how to manage the audience!

Referring to Dorian's first post, I quote: "Magician: 'Here I have a little box.'" (I'm not going to retype the entire post.) ANYONE who starts a trick with, "Here I have a little box." needs a better script writer!


Well considering that I believe a performance script should be the highest production value then you're absolutely right! Or am I being sarcastic?

It was an example. Maybe internal dialogue on behalf of a spectator while processing a show an tell script? Ever heard of one?

If someone like myself believes theatrical elements have a place in a performance art then you are clearly missing my point.

I know I've been a sarcastic a**. I respect you. I really do. I'm sure if we met I would learn a lot from you. But if you're going to insult my friends and I you should expect me to bite back.

Sincerely,

Dorian
Dorian Rhodell
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There is also a great book entitled, "Write the Short, Short" by Maren Elwood.

It's out of print. You can find it on Amazon and it's inexpensive. I think you will pleased with what the book has to offer.

Ronin said it best when there is no "one way" to learn scripting. Having said that, I'm willing to bet that if you study a little theater, you will be able to write script a little easier and get an idea of how you can integrate that into your performances.

On a completely different note, if you're into Okito boxes, you should look into the ones that Craig Ousterling makes. They are the best I've ever handled. They make some normally, very difficult moves, almost automatic.

He is a member here on the Café. Look him up.

Best,

Dorian
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Thank you, David Hirata!
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available at http://www.davidparr.com/store
1KJ
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I see that there has been a lot of discussion about what you "can" and "can't" do. The reality is there are no real rules. You "CAN" do anything you desire, the question is to what level of success.

Magic is really theater of the mind. You can ask your spectators to pretend with you. In my Hopping Half routine, I use a little leather coin pouch that I ask the participants to pretend like it's a boat. With the help of the audience, we create a very humorous love story where the two main characters are coins. Does the audience really think the coins are people? It doesn't matter. They get wrapped up in the story and the magic to the point where they are having so much fun they really don't care about whether the coins are really people or whether the leather pouch is really a boat.

Forget the "rules" and create something entertaining.

All the best,

KJ
1KJ
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I think that if you want some good inspiration for "patter" or methods of presentation, look at some of the work of people like Jonathan Levit, Pop Haydn, Eugene Burger, Doc Eason, Mel Mellers, etc. These are just some of my favorites. You can purchase their lectures and you get a feel for how they perform and how they interact with an audience.

I think Jonathan Levit put it best when he said that his character is the person he would like to be if he had no inhibitions. So, ask yourself, who would you be if you had no inhibitions.

KJ
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