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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » Which do you prefer? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

cbguy
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I hope this will be a good conversation.

When it comes to performing, do you prefer to have your script memorized word for word or do you prefer a more loose script?

Here is why I ask: I've been a full time performer since 1998. Prior to that I performed part-time from 1992-1997. I got started working restaurants and bars and grew from there. I read something, I think it was from Eugene Burger, that the best way to script is to have a solid outline of what I'm presenting and to let the performance be based on that framework, but also have the room to improvise.

As I evolved as a performer, I began busking and this loose script worked very well. It allowed me to play with the audiences, yet always keep the framework. This was a HUGE help in keeping consistent, As I continued to picking up more shows and seeing other performers, I noticed that most of them either had what seemed to be no script or framework and these people were a haphazard mess. At the other end of the spectrum I've shared the stage with performers who have a super tight script, every performance was word for word, memorized and their shows were very, very tight. However, they performed more along the lines of a theatre actor with a fourth wall because they had very little interaction with their audiences and no room to go off script if needed.

Both styles: loose framework and every word memorized has their advantages and disadvantages. The way I see it is the highly scripted shows are also highly technical, with little room for audience interaction. Which results in a very tight act, but not as personalized to the audience.

The looser script/framework is no where near as tight, but is much more personal for an audience and is like working without a net. Still to this day, I use this loose framework and it continues to work great...for me.

Which style do you prefer and why?
Dick Oslund
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I regard my performance as a conversation WITH my spectators. I am not making a speech. I learned early that an audience is much happier, responds better, and is more easily entertained, if we are having a conversation. I ask questions, sometimes rhetorical questions, but, I get them to respond. Sometimes, it's just by nodding their heads, other times, it's more vocal. I learned, years ago, about tearing down that ("fourth") wall"

I've found that this works for children, teenagers, and, adults. or any combination.

I definitely have an outline, with funny lines planned, but, by conversing WITH, and, not TO or AT, the show is much more ENTERTAINING.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
cbguy
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Dick, we share the same ideas when it comes to performing. I have no fourth wall and as a result, I can really connect with the audience. This means sometimes I run a little longer or a little shorter than the allotted time, but not by much; maybe 3 or 4 minutes long or short, depending on the situation.

For 6 weeks, I'll be sharing a stage with another act who works exactly the opposite. They are very tight and scripted to the second. Yesterday, I went over on my show by about 2 minutes and one of their performers flipped out about it. Everyone thinks they're Dvias these days...LOL
WitchDocChris
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In my opinion and experience, the idea that a tightly scripted show is more "Technical with little room for audience interaction" is just not correct. It really comes down to the performer.

My approach is to fully script, but not be so rigid that I can't respond to the audience. My shows are usually pretty tight, with maybe a couple minute variation possibility, which I account for so I'm not going into someone else's time. I will say the same things for each routine, every time I do a particular routine, but I also can easily banter with the audience and build that connection, then bring it back to the script to finish.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Dick Oslund
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Working school assemblies, which I did for about 50 years, is very much like working a TV program.

When I was in Chicago (usually Christmas season) Howard Schultz would book me on BOZO (WGN TV). When I checked in, I would check with Al Hall, or the floor director, and just say "Time?". It was usually "Six" or "Eight" (minutes). They never "went to black" when I worked!

I KNEW the playing time for the routines that I planned. I usually did not do any ad libs, but, if I did, I knew that I had to cut, somewhere, that many seconds. It's just THAT SIMPLE!

"TIME, TEMPO, TIMING" are the THREE "Ts", that you had better UNDERSTAND.

With schools, the FIRST THING that I asked the principal, when we met, was: "DEADLINE TIME?" In some schools (usually HIGH SCHOOLS, which are tightly scheduled, he would say: "Lunch is next. Finish by 11:30 AM", or "Dismissal is next. Finish by 3:00 PM SHARP". I ALWAYS DID.

In elementary schools, scheduling is often a bit more "loose". But, I always asked my question. (Especially if the program was late morning, or late afternoon!

I KNEW the running time of the tricks/routines, and, with a glance at my watch, I KNEW if I needed to pad a bit, edit a bit, or just stay on "schedule">

Too many part time pro's., or hobby performers, don't understand the three 'Ts"!!!!!

I remember a small town High School, in Oklahoma. They were a great, responsive group, but, it was a last morning period. The principal had said: "11:30". At 11:29:30, I was saying "bye bye". The applause lasted 45 seconds! (Obviously, they wanted "more"!) The principal was in the aisle against the wall, and, he was smiling. I gave him a ??? look, and he nodded. I did my standard 60 second encore. They applauded again, then filed out. The principal smiled as he handed me the check. He said: "LUNCH IS NEXT! THEY REALLY LIKED YOUR PROGRAM!"

A young principal of a K-2 elementary said, "25-30 minutes, will be just fine!" (I realized that he was concerned about the attention span of the "primaries".
At 25 minutes, I looked at him, and he nodded. I did the full 45, and he was very pleased, when he gave me the check.

I planned the program to be "good" for almost anyone, of almost any age.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
debjit
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I do mainly walkaround gigs so I have no script whatsoever. I ofcourse have a few phrases which I use for each effect but since I incorporate a lot of banter with my participants, I can't really have a fixed script.
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