Good Patter and telling stories

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by deezy, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Hi everyone, it's been a while since I've been on the forums. I just recently got back into magic after about a year. Previously when I performed I never had a good story to tell to make an effect even better and I felt my performances lacked because of that. Does anyone know of a book that can help with improving patter or has suggestions as to good stories to go along with effects?

  2. You generally don't have to have a "good story", just have decent scripting that connects with the people you are performing for in one way or another. This shouldn't be a hard thing to figure out, just take something that you have in common with your friends or family and relate that to your magic.
  3. Just like in dance, or theater you need motivation. In an effort to make the concept clear we have broken it down into character and scripting. Not everyone tells stories when they do magic but the best always have some motivation.
  4. Scritping Magic by Peter McCabe
    Transformations - Creating Magic Out of Tricks by Larry Haas
    Oh No, Not Another Card Trick - Ed Solomon
    Magic Matters by Robert Neale and Larry Haas
    Magic Mirror - Robert Neale and David Parr
    This is Not a Book - Robert Neale

    Also, check out Exploring Magic Presentations DVDs by Eugene Burger.

    I think good scripting is difficult. Too often I hear presentations that are merely say-do-see patter (what Eugene Burger call narrating the adventures of the props in the performers hands) or something that is trite or just doesn't make sense (seriously... what does a spectator's snapping have to do with a card coming to the top of the deck?).

    Eugene Burger talks about your magic presentation having texture. To me that means that you use some stories, some humor, some effects performed to music and some effects where the magic speaks for itself. Although stories are one type of presentation, there are other types of presentation that work to elevate a trick to something magical.

    Even though I tend to use a lot of stories, the stories tend to be of different types -- some are stories about things that have happened to me, some are pure fantasy (for example the story about a little dragon who falls into a deep hole in a cave that I use for my kids show linking rings routine) and some are more generic stories told through the use of cards.

    If you are interested, shoot me a PM and I can send you some links to some threads on other sites about routining and patter. Also, I'd be glad to work with you in developing the presentation for any effect -- either in a thread or through PMs.
  5. GET AWAY FROM MAGIC BOOKS! This is the first thing you need to do if you want to learn how to speak and more importantly, tell a story.

    There's a huge lie in magic that states in part "We are but actors playing the part of a magician . . . " It's a "lie" in that 90% of the buffoons that play with tricks rarely spend 5 minutes of their time learning about theater, acting, how to use their voice & body alongside vocabulary in order to elicit feelings, emotion, and public investment in what we are doing. It doesn't matter if we are a warm-up act for Ice Cream & Cake or working a major Casino in Vegas, we owe it to ourselves, our audience and the craft to be the best we possibly can be when it comes to the truth as to what we are; ENTERTAINERS.

    Yes, there are some awesome books from within the magic fraternity but we need to consider what kind of magic we are doing in that most of this material centers on Bizarre styled performances in which the effect takes a bit of a backseat, punctuating the tale rather than being the focus. You would do much better spending time with actual Storytellers and on Storyteller or Orator forums so you can learn how to better create a magical frame of mind by way of your speaking and physical animation. I believe there's VEOH and YOUTUBE channels that address this skill that will take you a long way.

    When it comes to the Magic world and resources, I always encourage people to check out Knepper's WONDER WORDS series. It can be a hint expensive but it's a powerful INVESTMENT that will pay for itself time and again. Kenton has other works that will help improve your performance like the use of "Kentonisms", Mystery by Association, and Secret of Indirection to name a few; subtleties that put most effects into a steroid mode.

    Sadly, this is a massive area or study, there is no one answer or quick fix -- it is a lifetime of personal investment, trial & error, and simply paying attention to what you do when & how in a bit and how the average audience reacts to it. Over time you'll find the forms that work best FOR YOU.

    Enjoy the ride!
  6. Which is why I have suggested taking acting classes or even just Theater or Drama classes at the local colleges, yet so many people have ignored those suggestions. Which was rather odd.
  7. I'm with Craig and Randy. In a simple theater class you learn what it feels like to be onstage have a good script, or heaven forbid MEMORIZE lines.

    Try out for a local play. You learn how to improvise when someone forgets a line or when a piece of scenery doesn't get into place on time.

    It helps to know some theater history as well as magic history. When we see how others entertain and tell stories, whether it's dance, theater or stand up comedy, we can apply many of the same principles in our own magic routines.
  8. What I do... Is look at a trick... and try to break it all down and really look at it... then I just start to build it back up... If you are alone and can talk to yourself it helps a lot. It feels weird but just perform for a pretend person ... or even a camera or whatever just to get yourself talking and play with the trick and talk... I find myself coming up with original ... and often times funny lines! They are all mine no one elses... This works for me but I am not sure If it would work for everyone.
  9. Thanks so much for all of the responses. Craig, do you have any particular youtube channels in mind?
  10. It's nice knowing I'm not alone when it comes to such antics. Then again, given the number of voices I hear in my head at times, I have a decent sized audience when taking this route.

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