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 Post subject: An Essay on Patter
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:36 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 54
I'm not sure if I am aloud to make an essay, but if not you can delete this. I decided to make one about patter. I did see another essay on this, but I felt it didn't go into what patter really is, developing your own style, and it didn't cover any other types of magic other than close-up. This might help a little more.

As we all know, there are 3 types of performances in magic: Close-Up, Stage, and Parlor. Close-Up is where you need patter most, parlor not as much, and stage the least. The reason behind how much you need patter is simple. Patter is misdirection. That's all it is; you try to say something while doing something else. Of course it also makes tricks more exciting, but its mainly misdirection. That is why coming up with valuable and exciting patter is hard, but important. You need to say something to completely distract your audience from something else.

When performing close-up magic, patter is important because all thats between you and your spectator is your hands, or sometimes a table. Jokes are very valuable as they keep it relaxed; a tense environment makes it less enjoyable and harder to do anything. You may also want to tell stories, or even just explain why are you doing things. Like for instance, when doing the trick Triumph (like Jay Noblezada showed in the demo video), you may want to tell a story about how "this morning a guy tried to be smart with me, and shuffled the cards face down into face up. But I was ready". This sets the perfect environment to finish your trick. You could continue with "as a magician, I am ready for anything. I just snapped my figures, and everything but his card was face down". Thats where the flourish comes in.

Parlor is a bit more relaxed, as you have a large crowd, and you have more tricks to do. You can do mini-stage tricks (cups and balls, etc.), or close-up tricks. Patter is easier to do, as you really can narrate what you are doing, while cracking some jokes. Parlor is also very nice because you can have large crowds around you, which gives you many different sounds. That way, you don't have to worry about the door slamming shut from a late guest, or crying babies as the only sound.

Stage is the easiest of them all. All you have to do on stage is narrate what you are doing, while possible telling long stories of your tricks. Tricks become a lot easier because you have a big space in between you and your audience. Stories are very nice, because you actually can focus on your story rather than pulling some cards and passes behind your back. This is one reason why stage shows are some of the most mind blowing shows, because you can have many distractions (smoke, lights, fire, etc.).

Now that I have gotten through what patter does for each type of magic, I will talk about developing some patter. Patter is hard to make, as you must have the perfect wording to keep your audience's eyes off your hands. When making patter, keep in mind that words like "good" are not exciting. "Brilliant" is a better word. Things like that. It also helps to have your audience in the patter. Rather than telling an hour long story, you could have your audience put some twists in (this is especially important in kids shows). Just try to keep your audience awake and focused on the effect, not how to do the effect, and you've succeeded.

My last, but certainly not least topic, are hecklers. Everybody has heard of them. The big stupid hotshot in the back row who wants to mess up your trick by asking questions that are to reveal the secret. Hecklers are only stopped by a few things. You can 1) ignore them. This works, but not forever, as the heckler may have the audience on his side. However, if the heckler has an audience in his side, you should abandon the show, as it will never turn out as planned. Another way is to embarrass him. For instance, if a heckler blurts out a part of your secret, saying "Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, the audience's smartest member". This puts the audience on your side, letting them know that this guy is not part of it and should be ignored. Use this at your own risk, though, because outright humiliating him may make an opposite message to your audience that you are just rude. Make sure to keep it at a minimum.

I hope you liked it! If you have any ideas, please PM me, and I will put them in the essay. I also hope you didn't fall asleep while reading it!

-Aidan Errickson


Last edited by aidanerrickson on Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:00 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 04 Oct 2003
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Location: President of the davidcon fan club. (Always welcoming new members)
Wow, very nice essay! The only thing I would be a bit arguative about is how to deal with hecklers. If you have a heckler, you should just ignore them. If they have the audience on his side, just walk away and find a new audience.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:15 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 54
davidcon wrote:
Wow, very nice essay! The only thing I would be a bit arguative about is how to deal with hecklers. If you have a heckler, you should just ignore them. If they have the audience on his side, just walk away and find a new audience.

Thanks for the idea. I'll put that in the essay, and thanks for the comment ^_^


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:15 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 1450
Location: Boston, MA
davidcon wrote:
Wow, very nice essay! The only thing I would be a bit arguative about is how to deal with hecklers. If you have a heckler, you should just ignore them. If they have the audience on his side, just walk away and find a new audience.


No. That would just show you are a flimsy person with no backbone. Learn how to deal with hecklers. Learn the one liners, and learn crowd control. If you have crowd control, the audience will ALWAYS be on your side.

Also, the 'walking away' is just an easy cop-out, especially since you're doing street magic. If you're doing Blaine-style street magic, it's easy to just walk away. When you're doing a paid gig or busking, you can't just walk away. You NEED to learn how to deal with crowds and how to get them on your side.

I liked the essay. Overall, it was better than a lot of the essays I've read here. Good job!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:27 am 
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born to perform.

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Location: President of the davidcon fan club. (Always welcoming new members)
Interesting point, Fatal. Do you have a reccomendation for learning crowd control? My first guess would be Gazzo's book, but is there something better?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 3:48 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 1450
Location: Boston, MA
davidcon wrote:
Interesting point, Fatal. Do you have a reccomendation for learning crowd control? My first guess would be Gazzo's book, but is there something better?


Gazzo's book would be a good starting point, but that's for a busking scene. I'm sure there are more sources out there, but I can't really point you to a particular one. It's something you pick up with practice, aswell.

When practicing a trick, think of some questions nosey spectators might ask, or specific places where it's possible you'll flash. Then come up with some responses to them.

Also, the new DVD Penguin is carrying, I think by Darwin, has a lot of one liners or something like that. He's a great magician and assuming that's what it is, that'd be a great place aswell.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:13 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 20 Apr 2004
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Location: Herts, England
ok, story telling and narrating bores the crap out of me. Most of the magicians (the good ones) i see at the magic circle do not do this. They are entertaining.


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