O Iiauna

Jop movie stars will avoid film roles „■ . theyVe built uP. (You'll never TchTI^T^ % schoolteacher.) They wiD only endorse

They hire press agenta to plant stories inT ■fit thai*. ' «t their ,mages, and eyen tosist Dn v " ™ that accompanying articles about them, lest a pic JT, """ «Mbta? message contrary to their image. |n S™«™«« tl^ be just as conscientious about selling yoJ ob * «'y, Jo."4' ever,- action and word-even your appear^'C £

What You Wear

"Rabbi^-in the-hat tie clips or cuff [inks are mt to h nng should be similarly eschewed 1 can,Z bZ^.n 1",°™' ^ JT apon ties with patterns portraying playing VrdZ T'" * » not necessary to caution the ££ moustaches or capes." caramon agai,m ^

David Beniii sr.^¿tfJEh^r^te be a fashion oiXSri,?,^" ' Pretedl°

your appearance aifects how 1 i COnCem myaGlf™«il™

how they see yo^Sc 886 y0Ur chmr sol"6 mJhiS T- Phonal con™ hours succeedTn eon ^ ^eaaman and, within a couple of large «!f ™ T^1 With°Ut ^ to turnover iv:\educato1 and «f strangers in 1,™ !l billing to put thoir trust in complete

'^i/SXiyirtrth^rmen — to that thev were (h„ liIr0llgh the,r d™», grooming, and demesne! y Were the same typ* of mm as themselves and therefore

Strong M<»9ie nUnB„ that aU of u. draw firm conclusions often draw concisions

<„CwSCp^s°na' „ vou? Most close-up magicians think lCHe«° , "costume surprise you ioians fcave to worry

'<>«'» 0ne™ragaii, Unless you perform in the nude-

i" «"TV^evenlf you dc^-you perform in costume. pCf®metothiakof't.ov«nl y performer to make a f-S- — ^ver. whatever you're itCJsr hnp«»W" m make an impression on an audience,

«ring >'he0 y0U P It tou chose it with that thought in mmd.

wtatotr «aS when you perform is your

C°*,ra,e' , that your attire not send messages that undermine the Iti«porUnt ^ y™ This mean8 you-ve g0t to ask yoursett

'»"^.'"Tf to ies jewelry, and accsssones would my character he start to put together a wardrobe along those

|,et . .„ T think a word of warning is in order. Your

Jn this ccharacte, But as with everything We appearance has ^.convey y tiQn JS credibility. There is a

S b Sftoo'^atrJl in your attir. Wearing a turban and £ robes is not the best way to convey the character of an occ^t magician just as dressing Like a nineteenth-century riverboat dandy is not the best way to convey the character of a gambler, feuch tactics will only convince your audience that you're a cliched imitation rather than the genuine article.

To successfully put together a wardrobe that reflects your persona, you have to develop a sense for how our reactions to others is molded by appearance. A good exercise is to watch other performers and ask yourself what messages their appearance is sending to the audience. If you commute to work on the train, observe other passengers and play Sherlock Holmes. Try to deduce everything you can about them from their attire and grooming.

It doesn't matter whether your conclusions are right or wrong. The deductions you draw consciously in these exercises are the same kinds of conclusions your audiences will draw un they look at jw. Indeed, they're the kind of conT'QUs|.v already drawing unconsciously every day as you inter 0118 y ' What these exercises will do is help you raise th^With conscious level so you can start using these insights to6 f?att<!r to oiiHipnoes. ln"Uen.,. . 5


I also recommend you pick up a copy 0f John Molb Dress for Success and study it carefully. I'm not classic book automatically adopt every suggestion he makes, but raff.u11 ft« study his thinking. Molloy's recommendations are designed »*»» you "look like a WASP corporate executive. Unless that's th mak-persona you want to convey (and it may be, if you want to e ^Pe of in trade show work), there's no reason to do everything he 8Peciali?< There are any number of "power dressing" books that will telf"1 how to look like corporate VP material. The unique value of M n book is how deeply he understands the way attire and groomin be used to psychologically manipulate people, much like the old^" con men did. That's the lesson you want to learn and apply e magic. your

Of course, if you don't do magic for a living, your costume is uaualk-just whatever you happen to be wearing whenever you have th„ opportunity to do a couple of tricks. That doesn't change the fact thai it's still a costume. It simply means that you should go over y0Ut whole wardrobe to make sure it's consistent with your persona. That shouldn't mean that you'll have to burn everything in your closet and put together such a radically new wardrobe that none of your friends will recognize you. If it does, you've settled on a character too radically removed from your true self to really work. It should mean instead that you start making your clothes-buying decisions to reflect fully those aspects of your personality that you want to emphasize when you perform magic.

What You Say

The Script: In this section we're going to talk about how to fashion what you say during an effect in such a way as to convey your persona to the audience as effectively as possible. You can't do that if you say something different every time you perform the same effect. It's imperative for conveying your character effectively (and for other reasons we'll be discussing) that you have "set" patter for each effect. The underlying premise I'm working from is the belief that, whatever you have to say at any point in an effect, there is always one way of saying it that is clearer, more dramatically effective, and more in

,„r thfln any other way. If that's the ca«o. then you „hou,d d**** !, what that way is. and always say ,t that way. That mean« d°tera"£r should be written out.

f"' then- are some people in magic who strongly oppose senpted I ^ The usual argument .« that scripted patter sounds memorized PfltWr ise I would point out first that all the best profeMional cW

I,1 '^^«anfl work from scripts. Not all work from written serin.*

'ifou w^e to see any really good pro perform the same effect on |}U liferent occasions for three different audiences you would f,nd lhree,herc wouldn't be more than a half-dozen words difference ln the

II,91' performances. Indeed, amateur magicians are often shocked to flwer that's the case when they have the chance to see a magician the same act repeatedly, for example, in a trade show or if they Jm # the same performer from station to station at n mag,c «nation close-up show. It's a revelation to them to discover that all ^SdeveradUbs aren't adUbed.

o,mc pros just evolve their patter through repeated performances rwr time it settles into a set patter which, through constant petition in performance, is committed to memory. There is no written script, but there is a memorized script. Many other professionals do script their patter on paper. Either way, if the performer is good, the presentation won't sound memorized when it is performed.

The notion that scripted patter must sound memorized is disproved every night on Broadway. All those actors on stage are working from scripts they've committed to memory, Yet, every night they make the words come alive and deliver their lines as if they're saying them for the first time.

Ironically, the biggest reason why a magician's memorized patter may sound memorized is that the performer hasn't memorized it well enough. He's continually struggling to remember what comes next. The audience senses that and realizes that he isn't speaking spontaneously; he's reciting memorized lines. That problem is easily avoided. Really memorize your patter. Memorize it to the point where you could virtually recite it in your sleep, to the point where you could recite it while thinking of something completely unrelated. (Occasionally, you'll have to do just that. Something will go wrong with an effect and you'll have to deliver your patter "on automatic pilot" while you concentrate on figuring out a way of solving the technical problem.)

Once you can deliver your patter without thinking about it, don't. Instead make sure that when you perform you are thinking about what you're saying. Concentrate on communicating what you have to say to your audience. J„ other words „ whenever you talk to peonle V°u the .

have to decide how y„uv7go^ T* come automatically because v0uVe fe The ' ^ ffl#m<in, JVU ve already

«¿MB* ^«» Km** 0' »vmrThese »¿rds all convey essentially"^ same - nc v.. .<V. ollt a «pa°'coatey different messages about the person using . tlie" '------J 1--------11 " 1


And you won't run the risk that after -co , you could have expressed you, though t ,„ , *

more dramatic or more enterfpi-v, S that ""I r,.„ thinking beforehand. YouIIataad'T'' }°U'U Wh O written that way down, Z «» ^ * <

In addition to the "sounds memorized" objection raised against soring_M„a«>™ent,

Objection raised against scripted patter\ t>T' °«*r „ memorized you won't be able to adapt to urie» " if «Ur ?"»»«, -1 s,Uy argument used by people wh„ pe°ted ®=CnPa,tt'4 patter and are hying toju^hat llf his patter (and reaI]y »hoS ^

-J4- it easier to respond to unforesee^, Of course, you have to deviate from i ■

thread of the prepared patter at m n sn°othly Cicl ym">-

you're in a

"f" wh° « always making it up aX ™ TPWetl thank

Chet Miller once said. "When I'm performing r Sraat about than whatlCC^L*'^ ^

SS ^^^^ ^e the professional has the taurv „? I P0ten"al ^ * performer. tZ

Wet, during which heZTefile C-S °f

"TtualJy Without tryme nTZ P ? an<i commit t0 ^"i' The best way to ^' f esnt that advanta^

possible into the paCTZ 'tt IV mvest Is ^ thcughtas script is an absolute necessity Perfo™ance- F°r that, a written wrten^t! are "I C T^ ^ f™nds **

entertainer the person offering th' w y0uraelf Jua« how good an believe the use of pZ^ZZr^ d™6 1S' ' Can te,i 1

.n becoming a strong 7 SCnpt*,'s "'the most important steps 'he pros know but that sT"' °"e °f 'he that

"e tiling at the same point in each trick you do.

of the ways we reveaL ourselveB to the world is by olcgy1 0Mj, Almost every word in the English language has

. ,,f W- _____. all nnnv»« _________... .u c „„E, t»1 roore likely to be used by a well-educated person, «Jorf. SoSli! ducated person. Some are more likely to be used bj ^Lrs hy an ^"gndly person, others by a formal, reserved person.

inforBia'' likely to bo UBed by s<,meone in a particular profesaion '¿tan """¡dollar field of interest or a particular way of looking at Vr'ith a Par rjun!!b . 0 makes a specialty of gambling routines, one of my goitieone ™ .£fflIig who pose as gambling experts yet use all the pit pecvea ,B. logy in their gambling patter. Gamblers have a ireone own; one of the best ways of projecting the persona

Inngf"®" (or someone who has spent a good part of his life around „f a tlo ]ear[1 that language and use it.

gafflblmSi ^ matter of technical terms, a gambler is likely to use Even beyon a non-gambler wouldn't. Thus, if your persona is certain Phr . |t gbould affect even your patter for non-gambling that of» the classic pick-a-card plot. A magician might say, tricks. to exchange that card for a different one or do you want

D°y°k"rth your original choice?" A gambler might say, "Do you 10 to eichango that card for a different one or do you want to stand "'.I- i'magician might say, "I guarantee it's the right card." A Lmbler might say, 'Til lay you odds it's the right card." R til a psychic and an occultist might perform a mental effect. But . two different personas and therefore should use different terminology. They might both do a blindfold trick, hut the psychic minht call it a demonstration in "remote viewing" while the occultist Mils it a test of "second sight." They might both do a prediction trick, but the psychic might refer to the phenomenon as "precognition" while the occultist calls it "the gift of prophesy." Now that you have all your patter scripted, you should go through those scripts searching for every opportunity to sell your character through your choice of words and phrases. Just as important, check to make sure that you're not using any words or phrases that clash with your character, things that character just wouldn't say. Anecdotal Patter: Whenever a magazine does a profile on a celebrity or other interesting person they always rely primarily on one tool for giving the reader a picture of what kind of person he is: the anecdote. Every profile piece is loaded with them. Anecdotes reveal character hy showing how a person reacts in a particular situation. That s why anecdotes can be a very effective way for you to an audience. 0 reveal i'Olif i'Olif

We magicians often use anecdotes as patter the but we don't call them anecdotes; we call them sto* °Ut cf already analyzed story patter in depth as a technic , Patt«r \!S

effect, with meaning. In that section I recommended Iv '^Uii/'-

possible, you fashion your story patter so as to mak ' ^n^" protagonist of the tale. Whenever you do that, y0uV y0Ur*;lf opportunity to sell your character to the audience. 6 got » gt^ Ask yourself the same question every novelist, p]a screenwriter continually asks himself: "How would my ch^^t M in this situation?" If you really understand your persona*^ r°act easy to answer that question. Once you've got the answer m'u that's the way you respond in your patter story. You don't look like a coward or a buffoon in your patter story Unie3^ant ^ trying to project the character of a coward or buffoon. 8 y°Urt you'n

If your patter story doesn't portray you the way you Wa across, change the story, change the effect, or come up witf,*0 00116 story presentation. If nothing else works, drop the effect f 3 n°a~ repertoire. No one trick is important enough to justify under"1 ^ everything you're trying to accomplish in your performance. mmin? I realize some readers will object that, at least with some stories, the audience realizes the performer is telling a fanciful tal^ isn't really true. Nevertheless, if you're the protagonist of the tale your behavior in the story will color the way people look at you. Sto ' patter and background stories are among the most potent tools vou have for selling your character to the audience—if you have to u« them intelligently.

Character Lilies: By character lines, I don't mean those little wrinkles around the corners of your eyes. I'm referring to patter lines that help define your character for the audience. These are lines that reveal the way you think, the unique slant you have on life. Here is a character line I use in one of my gambling routines: Tm going to teach you how to win at blackjack. And the fastest way to win at blackjack ... is to cheat." This line always gets a laugh from the audience. What's important to us now is why it gets a laugh. The punchline is funny because it's unexpected. It's unexpected because most people don't think that way. The fact that I do, as indicated by that line, reveals something about my character to the audience. Character lines are often humorous because they reveal an offbeat way of looking at the world. Indeed, every joke and every humorous line springs out of a particular world view. For that reason, yoj> should go through every laugh line in your patter and ask yourse

* serious or

A he P0f wonder be i* oUr

^ ^^ rfe^b^P3 ^ We °^brilliant ^^^^rk has described course-1 s are a bnU q{ his work *a but

^ ^vand^.P^ ^ever heardL or £ ^ Lavand » an heard

^-iescnP^There'snoqueBt^ one example- rfully eV satrue^js Del Ray. 1****** .St One of

U we never hea ag anart»tand ^ wQrks

„ tions aa a criticism of Lavaud's

CI«. « auTarn from. Once you're clear on your persona, look tor every upp ited patter lines as subtle and clever as those ive J

Lr and the Non-ProfessM: Ha^read £ precisely you probably realize that I believe strongly in_the vai V defining one's terms. Yet, I've discussed patter this long defining what I mean by the term patter. That probably hajn surprised you. All magicians know what patter is, don t they^ Patter ¡3 what you say while you perform a trick. Actually, 1 don t happen to

Strong Magic

Arm with Harry Anderson s-same eff T ick with a pen. if you want to m™nS that°ncc we're reaUy di* . eo>ng to P^^^ mfght pull a plastic Bic pen out presentation package. As with themes, W^ f^S/S average Joe. a8Paffluent and upper class now lar you can change the nature of«er- thPP,. lhfc ^S .-"P1' ,,-ross l,K,i ,,nU want to oe V

vou're oersona is that of a

how far you can change the nature of an effect thr ls aW You'll never be able to successfully give a ani°UBh P^ae* * k "Hippity-Hop Rabbits." 0,e®« to^S

It's certainly not necessary for every effect you do to K tone. However, some tones are simply incompatibl ^ u personas. It would be as out of character for René Lay6 <*tfc * an effect with a farcical tone as for Harry Anderson?1 ^ Pe>C effect with a romantic tone. Anderson's character ia man. You can't be both a cynic and a romantic. ^cal ^

Your persona should not limit you to one tone, but will lim> of tones you can effectively adopt in your presentations. If , ar-fc understand your persona you'll know what that range is. >0U deePlv Selecting Effects: All of this leads us to an important truth- th that an effect is a great trick doesn't mean that it's a great rV^ you. The fact that you like a trick is not enough reason to perfo^ This is a lesson verv few amatguj ^ffif2—

Tins is a lesson very few amateur magicians ever u! . someone else do a great trick, so they have to .! ^ themselves. This exemplifies the amateur's seU-iXlTl *** « to magic. The professional realizes there are many a 11 have to admire from afar with™,* r .Beat ^'cks thai

---------«.^.c me many great tricks thai he'll have to admire from afar without ever performing them because they're not right for him. This approach takes discipline, but it's the only path to strong magic.

By contrast, from time to time you'll find a trick that works for yon brilliantly. Most often this will be because the theme and tone of the effect actually allow you to develop the character more fully for the audience. It displays aspects of your persona that haven't been developed before. Such character-defining tricks are worth their weight in gold.

Your goal should be to make sure that, at minimum, every effect you do is consistent with your character. The very best ones actually help develop the character so that, by the end of the trick, the audience has a better idea of who you are than they did when you started.

What You Use

In the Molloy book I mentioned earlier, Dress for Success, he spends considerable time discussing how accessories such as jewelry, wallets, pens, and handkerchiefs affect other people's perceptions of you-magician's props are his accessories. (Indeed, jewelry, wallets, Pen5' and handkerchiefs are often used as magic props.) 252

c° .f pocket- » y Mont Blanc pen. If you re persona is that of a

^might take out ^ ^ Benny mold yQU might ^ ^ ^ ^ tig'ltwad, in banks and post offices with the security chain

^Xe k^ found m foil "t,achedt°aY magicians perform the Bruno Hennig/Fred Kaps \-.e seen seve!. a 3igned, selected card folded up inside a small Lt of re«®,1 bsecn in full view since before the trick began. I've c0ntainer j produced from inside a ringbox, a candy tin, a shoe ,een the 03 mall Godiva chocolates box, and a tin container painted polish tin- a sll^own In each case, the effect was the same, but the 10 l0°k 'that the prop conveyed about the performer was different. message, ch 0f these props tell the audience about what kind of What d"> 6performer was? You can easily figure that out for yourself person the P gelf what kind of person you associate with each of just by assme j

¡hose pr0^V gaw someone perform the Cups and Balls with polished Suppose } ^ pape|. cup8j or china teacups, or the plastic cups that br2SS with' McDonald's "Happy Meals" promoting Steven Spielberg's «"t movie? How would your perception of that person change? q pose he did a bill trick with a one-dollar bill? Or a two-dollar bill? f hundred-dollar bill? A French five-franc note? A Malaysian twenty-ringet bill? A Confederate bill? Monopoly money? Yes, the more unusual examples I gave might have to be justified by the presentation. But, quite aside from the presentation, the prop itself ¿arries a message about the person.

David Bendix once wrote, tongue-in-cheek, "Card cases made of leather must not be used, as they suggest that the cards contained therein are the only ones the performer ever owned, leading to natural suspicion. Once, incredibly, I saw a card performer remove from his pocket a pack encircled with a rubber band! Use only the case supplied by the manufacturer, as God intended." There's truth behind Bendix's humor. A deck in a leather card case, or encircled by a rubber band, or in the original case all carry different messages to the audience, not only about the cards themselves, but also about the person who owns them.

Look at every prop you employ in your magic and ask yourself what that prop says about you. You may know a couple of great Unking rubber band effects, but does bringing those rubber bands out of your Pocket label you as a white-collar office nerd in the eyes of the uaience. In the real world, those are the only people who normally

I also suggest you study some good books on impres • Impression management is the term that psvch°? managern describe techniques for controlling how others perce"6iats u^' to Dress for Success, other books in this field r^'In a_ddf -recommend are The Secret Language of Success bv n Particu|ltl0n Powertalk! by Eisen and Farley. (This last work d '

increasing your awareness of how phrasing and choi'8 ^'Wt^ subtly affect peoples perception of your character) ? w°rds J* dressing, body language, and other non-verbal comm °n Pow help sensitize you to the way we draw conclusions about at^1015 % In this connection, an excellent exercise is to watch oth * whether they be magicians, comics, singers, or m61" Perforin«fs afterwards think about what kind of people you feel t^S'cians. and backtrack and try to figure out what factors led T,le«

conclusions. After all, you don't really know these peoi . ^ drew these conclusions on the basis of watching them ^f ^^ ^t minutes. You can do the same thing with people you ^ ^ a.fe* This exercise will help bring to a conscious level the kinds of we all have unconsciously to subtle signals sent out by othe^301'0^ This in turn will help you use such signals to control how othe PG°P'e view you. r peoPlo

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