"Just Cut to the Chase!"

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by James Smith, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. I'd add something else to that.

    It seems to me, from what you've mentioned about your presentations, that your presentations just aren't convincing.

    Honestly, this is a pet peeve of mine. Take for example, the Time Machine trick. First sentence:

    "This Ace is a time machine."

    In that one sentence, you've just lost your audience. Congratulations.

    Presentations must must must make sense. No-one in their right minds will believe that the Ace of Spades in your hand is a time machine. Don't get me wrong - the presentation doesn't have to be exactly what's happening - they don't have to believe every single word of it - but it has to involve a logical enough leap so that it makes some sort of sense. Even if you take a story presentation - at least a story makes sense and explains what's happening.

    But these guys have seen playing cards before. They know that Jokers aren't actually wild cards. They know that if they hold them, they won't change. So they don't care about the presentation, they just want to see the change. They know you're not invisibly transporting cards from one hand to another. The card is not invisible. When that happens, they stop caring about the effect, and latch onto the only thing they CAN care about: the expected moment of magic.

    That I think would be my explanation for what has been happening to you.

    Quite honestly, if someone walked up to you and explained that the ground underneath you could be a magic carpet - how would you feel?

    Irrelevant patter created solely for the sake of having patter has two effects: Firstly, it appears contrived. Which destroys the illusion of magic - they just wanna see "the cool part". Secondly, it actually insults them - it's an incredibly patronising thing, to have someone explain that your card is a time machine, and it's an insult to their intelligence.

    The only way that presentation exactly works, is if you perform it tongue in cheek - à la Gregory Wilson. But that's a different story altogether.

    Anyway, the point is this - your presentations have to make sense, or they'll be dismissed, and the magic will be gone - because, in reality, to be completely truthful, your patter will in fact be contrived and patronising.
  2. Good points. I completely concur with what you've said. Well done.
  3. I completely agree with this. In my opinion, using these absurd statements are one of the worst things you can do in a performance. They are offensive to your audience and confirm all their negative preconceptions about magic. Also, as soon as they hear something like this they know it's just a line and you obviously say it every time and the performance will no longer be perceived as spontaneous or organic but forced.

    Using some bs story about the Joker's isn't presenting, it's just guaranteed to insult and bore your audience. As soon as people hear you tell them a playing card is going to turn back time they're just going to be extremely irritated and will no longer care what you have to say and will want you to just cut to the chase.

    You say that people are saying stuff like 'Find the ****ing card'. That's a statement from somebody who is getting really irritated with you and clearly isn't enjoying the performance at all.

    It's not the spectators fault if your boring them. It's yours. If they tell you to cut to the chase then something's obviously wrong. It's not up to the magician to decide if the presentation works.

    If I was already bored with a performance and the magician says 'Hey, do you want to see magic or not?' Then I, and I suspect most others, are going to say no and walk off, as not only are you boring you're also extremely arrogant as you can't accept that your performance is boring and decide it must be the spectators fault.
  4. #24 James Smith, Aug 26, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2009
    Where did I post the size of my "arsenal?"

    Thank you for the post, there was some very good info in it. I do not have a reputation for bad magic, I have a reputation for good magic.

    I appreciate you taking the time to write that, you definetely have some very good points. I've never seen this "Time Machine" effect before, and I don't like how you asume that that is the kind of patter I use, it's not. I absolutely hate that patter. Maybe I should clarify what my "Wild Card" patter consists of:

    "Would you just take out any card? Ok thanks, don't let me see it. Ok, place it back, good. Now, do you play cards at all. You do, ok, so you know that sometimes they will have a wild card, and for the wild card you can say that's the queen or that's the jack or whatever card you need. Hold out your hand. People often use the joker as the wild card, so we'll use that. Hold on to that. We'll also use a random card." I then wave the random card over their hand and turn it over, revealing that the random card has changed to the joker that was in their hand, I then say (deadpan) "Look in your hand."

    Does that make sense? I think that patter is interesting, people I've shown it to outside of school have liked it a lot.

    I greatly appreciate that so many people have taken the time to read and reply to this thread, however I get very annoyed when people criticize a performance or performer they have never seen. I love hearing constructive criticism for my videos, but I can not stand being bashed for a performance no one has ever seen. Shane, you said that it's possible that I have a reputation for bad magic, yet you left this comment on a thread for a video of mine:

    Edit: I don't want to change what I said, I just want to point out that I wasn't trying to come of as a jerk, I was a little tired when I wrote this. I just finished my homework, and I'm in a better mood (didn't think that was possible) I think I might have come off as a little arrogant in this post. It could've been worded better, but I don't want to take back what I said.
  5. Actually I said "maybe you have a reputation", otherwords maybe they think that not me. I actually like your magic and I stand by comment. There's a difference in what magicians think of you and laymen think of you. I personally believe your reputation with your magic is fine but kids in high school are in my opinion cruel and over judgemental but I've seen elders the same way. I meant no offense to you I wanted you to realize what you think your level at magic is may not be the same thing others may see you at. A little humility is a good thing even if it's not the case here. Just because you know how to execute Stigmata doesn't mean your really delivering it correctly to get the best reaction from your audience. This comes from practice in performance I have to do this every day we all do anyone who thinks they can go and get maximum entertainment without practice in performance doesn't deserve to be a magician period. You're video was great.
  6. Alright thanks man, like I said, I was a little crabby (Did I just say crabby?) when I typed that. I'm still working on my presentation and I greatly appreciate guys like you who have been doing this for a long time and are willing to help annoying teens like me. ;)

    I see that you mentioned Maximum Entertainment, I'm going to get a performance book soon, but I'm leaning towards "Strong Magic." Which one do you think would be better?

    Oh, and I totally forgot to mention this. Today at school I went back with a totally different character. A commanding, and slightly more fun version of David Blaine. Things went MUCH better. I knew that character played a roll in magic, but I didn't know it did that much. Even some juniors with freakin' beards were impressed by a two-card Monte with a different character!

    Thanks again!
  7. No problem I learn something new everyday too. I'll let you in on a secret. I was over at DG's house last year and we where discussing this very topic we speak of now. I was trying to stay on topic but his collection of cards and overwhelming crystal clean house was very distracting but I managed to finish our conversation which by the way Dannys a very good driver with a cast even when hes got sushi envy, (Yes I said it Danny...tag) but back to what I was saying. One of the subjects in the conversation was how veteran practicioners take themselves sooo serious and how its important for all of us to know we all have something to learn everyday and what was his exact words to me? "Sheez where just glorified geeks with cards,...THATS IT". I would suggest for you with what your needs may be to get Maximum Entertainment first but PLEASE get both it can only help you. I by books thats it, maybe a few DVD's which I feel like a hypocrite right now cause I just ordered my Malone Meets Marlo Series but your investment is a much more lucrative one if you purchase books and ACTUALLY read them. I've spoken to certain magicians before that speak of books and what they speak of wasn't even in the book. Hope this helps.
  8. This is true... to some extent. I perform at least 3 times during a school week and have never, ever had a dry spell (meaning a phase in which the popularity of my magic diminishes)... having built friendships with nearly everyone I've performed for, we converse, magic often comes up after a while and then sure, I'm up to doing a set. But if I'm hurriedly walking to class and someone asks, unless it's a really important occasion, I politely refuse and offer magic later on. If nobody knows much about you other than that you're "the magic guy", they'll stop caring. Make a point to be friendly with everyone you meet in that special way, and friendships of all levels will develop with your spectators. That makes all the magic you do all the more personal and engaging.
  9. Boy, do I know where you're coming from... there may be a few factors at fault here... one being your presentation might lack an interesting hook. If there's one thing I've learned about presentation, it's that every presentation needs a HOOK! Be it a bet of money, the opportunity for the spectator to win a prize if you fail, something along those lines.... just make sure it in some way makes sense with the effect. It can't be something like "If these rubberbands do not penetrate each other, you get $10".... use it in the context of virtually any selection routine or even a poker deal. Trust me, the chance for your audience to win something, especially money, is enough to hold their attention if you do it right.

    Your patter might also be too long. I understand as well as anyone that highschool audiences are some of the most impatient you will find... unless you can pull them in with compelling, interesting presentation, that's short enough to hold them the whole time but long enough to make good sense, you'll be fine.

    Also, it helps if the presentation feels personal to either them or even, to some extent, you. If the presentation feels like it's a secret being told in confidence, that is also a holding factor... however, that is one I use sparingly. Pull them forward, lean in, softly say your patter in a whisper, maybe even make it tongue-in-cheek.

    Which brings me to my final point... humour.... whether it be scripted or improvised. Little of my comedy is written within the patter... I work off my spectators and get my comedy from that on the spot. And most times, if you're good at it, that can be the funniest comedy you can use because everyone can sense that it is genuine... not a script you've been saying every day over and over for 5 years.

    But then again, what do I know? I'm 16. I hope I at least make one good point here.
  10. there nothing you are really doing wrong except create new patter, not the store bought patter, but make this patter interesting link them to students, girls, boys,things they like...talk about em a bit...not bashign but tease em....i hope this helps...

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