what about patter

Dec 17, 2017
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cardiff
ok ive been doing card magic for quite some time. However i feel like i lack ALOT of confidence and practice in my patter. i use the words ( but, however, if you do this then) ecs so could anyone help me get a head start in how to practice where to start and so on
 

WitchDocIsIn

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Sep 13, 2008
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How to practice?
By saying your script, out loud, as you run through the routine as if you were performing for an audience. You'll feel silly at first, until you get used to doing it. Personally, I usually just go into my office or bedroom, close the door, and run through the entire performance as if I were doing a show. Keep doing it until you are effortlessly going from start to finish.

Another tip - when practicing routines or shows, even if you're only doing one trick out of several - start with the last line of the previous routine. That continues to build the trigger in your mind that when you say the last line, you go right to the next routine.
 
Jul 26, 2016
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ChristopherT has made very good points, IMO.

I would add to try to avoid "explanatory" patter/scripting, such as, "All I have to do is wave my hand like this," or "OK, we'll bury your card into the middle of the deck, like so etc." It is not entertaining to the spectators to be told what is already obvious. People love stories. It has been that way since time immemorial. Get creative and try to make up interesting, amusing, or even inspirational stories to go with the magic, to draw people in.
 

RealityOne

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Nov 1, 2009
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ChristopherT has made very good points, IMO.

I would add to try to avoid "explanatory" patter/scripting, such as, "All I have to do is wave my hand like this," or "OK, we'll bury your card into the middle of the deck, like so etc." It is not entertaining to the spectators to be told what is already obvious. People love stories. It has been that way since time immemorial. Get creative and try to make up interesting, amusing, or even inspirational stories to go with the magic, to draw people in.

I keep hitting the like button, but it will only allow me to like this one.

+100 likes
 
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Aug 15, 2017
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ok ive been doing card magic for quite some time. However i feel like i lack ALOT of confidence and practice in my patter. i use the words ( but, however, if you do this then) ecs so could anyone help me get a head start in how to practice where to start and so on
Go ahead and say what you want! And the more weird, the more gutsy, the more YOU, the better.
Never (or I should say 'try not to') use patter that explains what is happening.
Stuff like,
"I take your card, put it in the middle, and give the deck a great shuffle!"
The audience has got fully functional eyes, thank you very much.
I mean, you need to say it sometimes, but a whole patter made out of it? Your sanity will be questioned, that's what will happen my friend.

No, your patter can be
1) A story. Take the audience on for a spin! People LOVE stories. And you can say the stupidest stories, don't worry! People love unbelievable stories MORE than the sensible ones. That is why a movie with talking animals or talking cars or men who have been bitten by radioactive spiders make for better movies than movies which are sensible. Experiment. As long as the story is SIMPLE, anything works. But simplicity of the story you say is VERY IMPORTANT.

2) Say a stupid scientific fact. Half of the time I start by saying things like ''Science has proved that cards can actually feel'' or ''If I rub this coin with the other, it develops a strong magnetic power''. Make up wacky scientist names. Do anything you want with science. MURDER SCIENCE for all anyone cares. But know that when you say "Science has proven..." people are immediately engaged. Also, as you say stupid facts, you might get a laugh too...sometimes I have seen the audience nod their heads knowingly as I rattle of the most idiotic facts. What do people not do to appear smart sometimes? *sigh*

3) Say wrong methods. You may use a string for levitation, or you may not. But sometimes when I perform the muscle pass, I say "I have got an invisible string" and then I proceed. Once I said I had wires attached to me when I did the Balducci. It gives them a method, they see NO possibility of that method being used, and this adds another layer of magic. Because it shuts them down from thinking too much. They stop thinking about what my hands were doing when I did the muscle pass. They are more concerned about how I pulled the coin up. Because I have made them believe I somehow THREW the coin up.

4) Don't say anything. Sometimes I just look at a person's eyes. Show them the top card of the deck. Push it in the middle. Look at them again. Look at the top card of the deck again. Turn it over to show the same card I just pushed in the middle. No words, but works great.

DO whatever feel you to you. If humour is your thing, don't try to be all serious, it appears fake.
Be you. Have fun.
Record yourself, works better than anything else.
 

Biz

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Jun 13, 2013
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Everybody has pointed out some fine facts, but it draws down to the point: how do you actually come up with stories.

Do you take them from other people? Do you change what other magicians have made and add a bit of you in them? What if this doesn't satisfy you?

Tip #1: "I want to have different tastes, but I only eat almonds. How can I have different tastes?" Obviously, anyone would point out that you have to eat different things in order to have different tastes. If you wish to find things that you like, you must not only taste out of your personality (meaning, you should not just behave like you would behave) but out of other personalities as well.

Take actors if you want: think of Jim Carrey in Ace Venture and perform your routine how he would. Think of personalities that are easy to portray, like The Joker in Batman, or Rick in Rick and Morty. Go from there to well nown personalities, like political figures or social figures. If you feel like you know well how other magicians behave, impersonate them and perform things how they would do it.

At certain points you will feel like that is the kind of thing you would like to say, or you would like to do. Note those things down and finally take what you've learned from these characters and put them into yours.

Tip #2: Give yourself time.

"Master, I have counted them - they are in total 1522 rice pieces. I understand now what you wanted to point out." the student says.

"You have done well, young one. Now do this every morning for the next month and your learnings more deeper shall they become."
 
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Biz

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Ok, now comes the initial question: how do you come up with ideas regarding patter. How?

Tip #3: Create a box for yourself to better focus your creative energy.

They say, "What makes a good artist good are the limitations he creates for himself.". Take a piece of paper and write all of the subjects that you have an interest for. Things like, "monsters, Egypt, constellations, music, sofas, couch-potato-ing, ...", then make a row with attributions, "levitate, magnetic, sticky, repulsive, attractive, lovable, dumb, ignorant" - these are things you will either attach to the spectator's card or to the subject you will choose. Finally, make a row for your effects.

Take some dice, or make some small papers so you can choose randomly between these three rows. Alternatively, you can make an extra row for the people you could impersonate.

Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Be weirded out. Search to feel new emotions. These will enrich your life experience.

that's my 25 cents.
 
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RealityOne

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1) A story. Take the audience on for a spin! People LOVE stories. And you can say the stupidest stories, don't worry! People love unbelievable stories MORE than the sensible ones. That is why a movie with talking animals or talking cars or men who have been bitten by radioactive spiders make for better movies than movies which are sensible. Experiment. As long as the story is SIMPLE, anything works. But simplicity of the story you say is VERY IMPORTANT.

I disagree that you can "say the stupidest stories." You lose credibility UNLESS you develop a context in which the story is plausible. Think about what would happen if Lightning McQueen appeared in the most recent Star Wars film or Spiderman appeared in Snow White. Those stories are plausible within the context they were developed. You need an anchor to truth in the stories.

Also, I think that simplicity for simplicity's sake removes the context and meaning from a story. It becomes a "throw-away" that is separable from the effect. Give the stories sufficient detail and context to link them inseparably with the effect. Make the audience believe the effect cannot occur without the story.

2) Say a stupid scientific fact. Half of the time I start by saying things like ''Science has proved that cards can actually feel'' or ''If I rub this coin with the other, it develops a strong magnetic power''. Make up wacky scientist names. Do anything you want with science. MURDER SCIENCE for all anyone cares. But know that when you say "Science has proven..." people are immediately engaged. Also, as you say stupid facts, you might get a laugh too...sometimes I have seen the audience nod their heads knowingly as I rattle of the most idiotic facts. What do people not do to appear smart sometimes? *sigh*

By saying a stupid scientific fact that gives ridiculous attributes to your props, you have just become a cliche. Do the research. There is enough real science out there that you can use. A great effect if B. Smith's Frequency -- check out his performance where he talks about the theory of "Joint Attention."

3) Say wrong methods. You may use a string for levitation, or you may not. But sometimes when I perform the muscle pass, I say "I have got an invisible string" and then I proceed. Once I said I had wires attached to me when I did the Balducci. It gives them a method, they see NO possibility of that method being used, and this adds another layer of magic. Because it shuts them down from thinking too much. They stop thinking about what my hands were doing when I did the muscle pass. They are more concerned about how I pulled the coin up. Because I have made them believe I somehow THREW the coin up.

If you present methods, that makes the audience think about what the method is. That is not good magic because it comes across as "I know the real method and you don't." Good magic is where the audience doesn't think about the method because they are enjoying the magic.

4) Don't say anything. Sometimes I just look at a person's eyes. Show them the top card of the deck. Push it in the middle. Look at them again. Look at the top card of the deck again. Turn it over to show the same card I just pushed in the middle. No words, but works great.

Maybe for part of a presentation, but not for the whole thing unless you are doing the routine to music or are intentionally pantomiming. In some of the effects I perform, I say something, pause and watch the spectators realize what happened and then check to see if what they think happened actually did.

Record yourself, works better than anything else.

And ask someone to give you an honest opinion. Is your presentation just filling space with useless babble or are you adding to the strength of your effect?
 
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RealityOne

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Ok, now comes the initial question: how do you come up with ideas regarding patter. How?

Read. Everything.

Fiction, non-fiction, news. Pick up a copy of magazine like Reader's Digest, Discover, Nature, National Geographic Smithsonian, or Popular Mechanics. Read classic books. I love the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Read books like Blink, Freakonomics, or an amazing book called How Real is Real. Read folklore. I have a book of classic folk tales. I love The Book of Virtues. Read about religion and philosophy as well as psychology and communications.

Learn all you can about the world and reflect your learning through your presentations.
 
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Aug 15, 2017
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I disagree that you can "say the stupidest stories." You lose credibility UNLESS you develop a context in which the story is plausible. Think about what would happen if Lightning McQueen appeared in the most recent Star Wars film or Spiderman appeared in Snow White. Those stories are plausible within the context they were developed. You need an anchor to truth in the stories.

Also, I think that simplicity for simplicity's sake removes the context and meaning from a story. It becomes a "throw-away" that is separable from the effect. Give the stories sufficient detail and context to link them inseparably with the effect. Make the audience believe the effect cannot occur without the story.



By saying a stupid scientific fact that gives ridiculous attributes to your props, you have just become a cliche. Do the research. There is enough real science out there that you can use. A great effect if B. Smith's Frequency -- check out his performance where he talks about the theory of "Joint Attention."



If you present methods, that makes the audience think about what the method is. That is not good magic because it comes across as "I know the real method and you don't." Good magic is where the audience doesn't think about the method because they are enjoying the magic.



Maybe for part of a presentation, but not for the whole thing unless you are doing the routine to music or are intentionally pantomiming. In some of the effects I perform, I say something, pause and watch the spectators realize what happened and then check to see if what they think happened actually did.



And ask someone to give you an honest opinion. Is your presentation just filling space with useless babble or are you adding to the strength of your effect?
It works with MY character, and I have seen quite a few people who DO it, so I am pretty sure it is prevalent and okay.
I mean, the audience KNOWS no scientific studies have proven that if you bend your hand in a particular way and pass its shadow over the deck, the cards will change colours, but they just PLAY ALONG...like they play along the fact that you had just eaten a coin and spit it back out.

And about the method thing, I think (from your previous replies and stuff, sorry if I am wrong tho) that you have this thought that as soon as any mention of the method (REAL or PRETENDED) comes up in a performance, audience gets in the competition mode and wants to find out the method. I dunno if that's happened to you, and am ttly fine with your line of thought, but that has never happened to me.
INSTEAD I have seen magicians wanting to show what they are showing is impossible get more hecklers! So this means whether the audience gets into competitive mode or not depends on your character and performance.

MOST patter out there consists of some stupid method.
So I think you may be misled there.

HOWEVER, each person has their own stye and persona and again, what looks okay on the majority might not look good on one, what looks bad on the majority may look good on one, all am trying to say is BE YOU.
As long as that condition is fulfilled, anything's okay!

Also abt the recording part, you are right. It is great to have someone review it. But if someone ELSE has to review it, why a recording, do it live for them!

Btw, if anyone is interested, Vinh Giang has an AMAZING TedTalk on this. Any performer should check it out!
 
Jul 26, 2016
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@Lord Magic: "Also abt the recording part, you are right. It is great to have someone review it. But if someone ELSE has to review it, why a recording, do it live for them!"

Yes, live is good. But as to the question "why a recording?" Well, because when you record it, then YOU can review it.
 
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WitchDocIsIn

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Sep 13, 2008
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If you're just filling your performances with babble and obviously fake information, the audience will assign to it the value you have shown them it has - as a triviality to temporarily distract them, nothing more.

Give it meaning that resonates with them and they will remember it forever. Not for what you said or did, but for how it made them feel.

Recording the performance in some way gives you a better ability to experience the performance from the audience's perspective. This is very good for seeing when lines don't actually work well, or when there's awkward blocking that you don't notice from your perspective. We tend to blind ourselves to problems if we only examine the show from our own perspective.
 
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Jan 14, 2017
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I absolutely agree that repetitive practice - practicing the actions WITH the associated patter, in concert - is the best advice.

An approach to developing patter, which has not yet been mentioned, is to 'explain' the effect in the context of "Look at this strange thing that I cannot quite explain or do not quite understand". For example, "I don't quite know why, but even when I put this card in the middle of the deck, it JUMPS right back to the top! Isn't that weird?"
Share your [supposed] wonder with the audience as opposed to demonstrating your superior abilities. It is a more humble approach.
 

RealityOne

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Nov 1, 2009
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It works with MY character, and I have seen quite a few people who DO it, so I am pretty sure it is prevalent and okay

****

MOST patter out there consists of some stupid method.
So I think you may be misled there.

You can do like others do and be ordinary or you can challenge the assumptions that everyone makes and be extraordinary.

If you're just filling your performances with babble and obviously fake information, the audience will assign to it the value you have shown them it has - as a triviality to temporarily distract them, nothing more.

Give it meaning that resonates with them and they will remember it forever. Not for what you said or did, but for how it made them feel.

The difference between tricks and performance pieces.

And about the method thing, I think (from your previous replies and stuff, sorry if I am wrong tho) that you have this thought that as soon as any mention of the method (REAL or PRETENDED) comes up in a performance, audience gets in the competition mode and wants to find out the method. I dunno if that's happened to you, and am ttly fine with your line of thought, but that has never happened to me.

My issue is that a presentation talking about one method makes the audience think there is a method. Thinking there is a method is the antithesis of magic.
 

WitchDocIsIn

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Sep 13, 2008
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For example, "I don't quite know why, but even when I put this card in the middle of the deck, it JUMPS right back to the top! Isn't that weird?"

Please don't.

This invites them to pick apart your method at best, or insults their intelligence at worst.
 
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Aug 6, 2017
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Wow! There is some great ideas in here! I also struggle with this and will use some tips in here.


Ok, now comes the initial question: how do you come up with ideas regarding patter. How?


Take a piece of paper and write all of the subjects that you have an interest for. Things like, "monsters, Egypt, constellations, music, sofas, couch-potato-ing, ...", then make a row with attributions, "levitate, magnetic, sticky, repulsive, attractive, lovable, dumb, ignorant" - these are things you will either attach to the spectator's card or to the subject you will choose. Finally, make a row for your effects.

Take some dice, or make some small papers so you can choose randomly between these three rows. Alternatively, you can make an extra row for the people you could impersonate.

I love this idea! I am totally going to do this!
 
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Aug 15, 2017
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@Lord Magic: "Also abt the recording part, you are right. It is great to have someone review it. But if someone ELSE has to review it, why a recording, do it live for them!"

Yes, live is good. But as to the question "why a recording?" Well, because when you record it, then YOU can review it.
I know that...and that is what I said...that you should record yourself and review it.
I was replying to the fact that others should be reviewing you live.
And you should be reviewing your recording.
 
Feb 1, 2017
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Long post incoming, but this is how I go about scripting some simple tricks. I'm coming up with this as I type it.

The way I like to come up with a script is first starting off with where and who I want to perform for. I find myself always meeting new people through friends of friends and occasionally someone will say, "Did you know he does magic? Can you show John Snow something?"

Okay so now I know who I want to perform for: A stranger. Male. Around my age (26). In front of a small crowd. At somebody's house or at a restaurant.

Next is: what do I want to say? Do I want to perform something that will introduce myself? Give him my business card? Give him my phone number (lol)? What do I want to accomplish by showing this guy a magic trick? Something my girlfriend always talks about is how men have fragile masculinity. A lot of men are afraid to look gay, or girly in anyway. So I kind of want to play with that idea. I want him to feel some what uncomfortable while playing with this idea of fragile masculinity, but not so uncomfortable that he is turned off by me. So it has to be funny. To him and everyone around. And it can't step on anybody's toes.

Next is the trick. What do I actually know how to do? Should I create something original, or use a trick that already exists? I think if you're new to magic, and practicing scripting, you should use a trick that already exists and create the patter around that. So for this impromptu example I'll use a trick taught by Chris Ramsay here:

Now we need to break down the trick. What is it at it's core? It's a pick a card, find a card with my signature jumping onto a card with his signature. This is where creativity comes along.

Instead of having him sign the card with his name, I tell him, "I want to try something a little unconventional. Don't sign your name this time. I want you to actually write booty hole on there. If you will. Please :)". As I pull the card back, I blow on the ink and ask, "Do you like it when I blow on your booty hole? I'm just rubbing it to make sure your booty hole is dry. Okay look, I'll place your booty hole in the center of the deck where it's warm, comfortable and safe from any more harassment. For now."

I'll spare you the rest of the scripting, but basically my signature is a drawing of my p****s, I get him to hold my p****s (the drawing), throw it back into the deck, and find it on the card with his booty hole on it.

I came up with all of this just now. So what's next? Practice it! Sometimes things sound good in your head, but are terrible when applied in real life. Say it out loud. Record yourself. Listen to your recording with your eyes closed. Watch your recording with no volume. Watch the whole video in full. Keep a note pad next to you. Then test drive it!

Good luck. Get creative. Hopefully I've provided you with a sort of template to help you get started on working on your script.

Sorry for the long post.
 

RealityOne

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Nov 1, 2009
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Sometimes things sound good in your head, but are terrible when applied in real life.

Exactly. Your script is beyond cringeworthy. The goal is to entertain your spectators, not embarrass them using your position as an entertainer. Avoid going for the cheap reaction, go for meaning and true emotion.
 
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