Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jevonsp, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. I love it when I can't think of anymore tricks to do and I just improvise one that knocks the socks off of the audience or when I mess up halfway through and save the trick through improvisation.

    Do you guys do this often? What are your favorite ways to improvise your way out of a sticky situation?
  2. I just had one! I was doing a trick and forgot exactly the card that I had forced. I set up a situation where I had an out, my spectator actually chose the out, which was amazing, and what made it better was that the choice that was supposed to be made would have been the wrong card. Basically, I got really lucky, and that will never happen again.
  3. I just go out and improv just for the heck of it. Kind of a "Jazz Magic" sort of thing. You should check out "The Trick That Cannot Be Explained." That is an effect (Well, more of an idea really) that can be found in Vernon's "More Inner Secrets of Card Magic." It's a good read all the way through. That is what got me seriously thinking about improvisation.
  4. So here is my question, when you improvise is your patter more than "when I do this" then "look what happens"?

    Improvising just for the sake of improvising seems to be presenting a self indulgent version of "look what I can do with my props." I suspect that most improvisation with card magic is some variation on find a card, lose a card, find wrong card and a color change.

    If your magic is routined and rehearsed, you won't have any problems thinking what to perform next. Practice will help prevent making mistakes that will require an out. Also, most outs should be known (and specific to an effect) and practiced.

    As a final thought, your audience wouldn't know if you are improvising. The chances your improvised performances are are not as good as something that has been practiced. Although you may think that improvising shows you are a good magician, your audience may think otherwise.
  5. You are obsessed with "saydosee" magic. Not everyone are professional magicians, they do not care about patter being flawless.
    There was a horrible example of say do see on "The Magicians" last week and he's on TV, so it clearly doesn't matter as much as the magic being strong.

    And to answer the question, I improvise all the time and not because I want to but because sometimes things don't go to plan.
  6. However since magic is a performance art, shouldn't we all be doing our best to perfect it (magic) as much as possible regardless of whether we're performing casually or professionally?
  7. Of course we should all try our best to do the best we can William. My point is that people who perform more casually don't have the time or desire to perfect their patter to a high level. It's a good thing though, it separates amateurs from professionals and that is why one get's paid and the other doesn't.
  8. I am obsessed with pushing people to present magic in the strongest possible way. But I'm not shooting for flawless patter. I'm just shooting for something interesting. I'll take any attempt at being interesting over say-do-see patter or what Eugene Burger calls "telling the story of what is happening to the props in my hands."

    But think what would happen if you paired strong magic with strong presentation.

    An a lot of people that perform casually don't have the time or desire to perfect the necessary sleight of hand. That doesn't mean we should encourage performing without sufficient practice. I think the same goes for presentation -- people should put as much effect into developing and practicing presentation as they do sleight of hand.

    Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of professionals with crap for patter and a lot of amateurs with excellent patter, so I don't think whether someone is an amateur or professional makes a difference.

    I realize that I'm jousting at windmills most of the time, but if I can get a couple of people to think about how they present magic, then my time isn't wasted.
  9. I agree with you, but there is a time and a place to preach your teachings. Jevonsp asked a simple question about our experiences with improvisation. He wasn't asking for your advice on how he shouldn't improvise. It's a hard thing to judge over the internet when we have little or no idea of someones skill level but I think you was given and inch and took a mile this time.

    And yes, there are a lot of "professionals" that aren't very good but when I say professional I mean a professional in the true sense of the word, not just a successful magician because as I pointed out with the magician on "The Magicians", successful doesn't always mean good.
  10. There is a video on youtube that has David Williamson doing random effects on the street from a magic kit. He also uses things like the plastic that the magic kit was wrapped in and some ones straw. I mean it was not perfect magic but it was entertaining and the people seemed to have fun. If you wanna see the video I will find it.

    But mind you it was David Williamson!

    I don't know what side I am on with this ... maybe a mix of both?
  11. Fair enough. I didn't mean to focus this on patter and presentation. As a general matter, I don't like the idea of just going into a performance and improvising the whole thing because the performance would rarely be as good as a practiced and rehearsed performance both in terms of plot and presentation.

    I don't have a problem with improvising when you have to and have come up with good methods and good ideas for improving my performances based on my reactions to mistakes.

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