Being natural

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bliff, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. "All I gotta do is... act naturally" taken from "maximum entertainment" by Ken Webster.
    If you want to see something unnatural, just ask a magician/mentalist to perform for you and then, you will start to see the person infront of you change to become totally different person. You will start to notice, what he saying is obviously memorized and lifeless. He doesn't seem convinced by what he is saying because he is just saying it to say "something" (script). The nice person who was infront of you disappears and the guy who says mean "lines" (jokes) emerges. In your head, you are wondering why is this person acting weird and different all of the sudden. The performance will fall flat before you see the climax. So the question is, how do you define being natural? How do you make it practical, when you are performing?
  2. That's a poor performer, not necessarily just because they are a magician/mentalist.

    A well developed and rehearsed script is natural and seems spontaneous. Look at someone like Derren Brown. His show is very tightly scripted - even a lot of the "random lines to react to audience members" are actually just him pretending someone said something and responding to that. I've seen him live - when he does certain pieces, they are always the same lines, and they seem like he's just chatting with the audience. That's what being natural means.

    People who suddenly change into someone else when they start performing are just under developed in the area of stage character. They don't know what their character is, so they just become the character of whoever taught them the trick. ie: They copy the presentation on the DVD/Tutorial. So one second you're watching Danny Garcia, next moment it's Bill Malone, next minute they're Gazzo.

    But when your character is developed, you understand how that character would deliver lines. And that includes people who are "just themselves" on stage. Ok - how do you normally talk? What do you normally do with your hands? Are you loud or quiet? Is your voice gravelly or smooth? What kind of facial expressions do you make during conversations? Are you the type who can hide what you're thinking or does your face give it away like my old roommate? Are you naturally sarcastic? So on, so forth.

    When I create a new piece, I immediately ignore any script or presentation that comes with any product I'm using. The first thing I do is write a script in my own words. Automatically this will be a more natural way for me to deliver the routine.

    Then I pretend to perform the trick as if I had an audience. I say the lines out loud, do all the moves, etc. This lets me know if I am off base with any of the lines or blocking. If anything feels weird, I change it. Once I've gotten comfortable with it, I often talk about the routine with my wife and she'll give me her basic thoughts on it. Then I find a test audience and try it out. I almost always do major rewrites after the first few performances of a new routine.

    The result of all this effort is that my scripts fit in perfectly with my normal speech patterns. It's been more than once that I've slid into a performance without someone even realizing that's what I'm doing. There's no difference between my conversational mode of speaking, and my performance mode of speaking.

    So - first step to make your material more natural is to figure out what natural is for you/your character. Then change your presentations until they are in line with that.
    byronblaq likes this.
  3. Natural depends on the type of performance. Close up magic and mentalism should be like a conversation. Parlor or stage should be like a good TED talk or theatrical performance depending on the feel that you are going for.

    In both instances, proper scripting actually makes the performance more natural. As @ChristopherT said, a good script is written in your style and when properly delivered doesn’t seem rigid. It takes a combination of good writing and good acting.

    If people are left to be natural, the presentation would be narrating the adventures of the props in the performer’s hands and a lot of “umm”s.

    There also is an art to looking natural in a parlor or stage performance. There is a small level of exaggeration of gestures and expressions, slightly longer pauses between sentences when you want something to sink in and very deliberate movement and motions.
    Josh Burch likes this.

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