Thanks for Scriptwriting #3

Discuss the latest feature articles in Genii.

Postby Alain Roy » 01/15/03 08:43 PM

Mr. McCabe--

Thanks for the latest edition of "Scriptwriting The Right Way".

As I began reading it, my thoughts were something like, "Well, yeah. Duh. I wouldn't do that. Only other people..."

Then, with horror, I realized that I do exactly what you describe. More gently, perhaps, but still declaring the spectator as wrong.

"Woe is me!" I thought. How can I fix it and keep performing that effect? But a few short paragraphs later, I had one easy fix that I could immediately apply, and food for thought to come up with even better fixes.

Let's hope the message got through for good this time. Thanks for writing that article.

-alain
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/17/03 12:37 PM

Alain:

You are welcome.

I think it's an extremely natural trap, if I can use that word, to cast your presentations in the "spectator is wrong" way. Probably because in one sense, the essence of magic boils down to reality not being what the spectator believes it to be. I close my hand over a coin, and everyone believes when I open it, the coin will still be there.

So it's quite natural that, to dramatize this, you'll ask the spectator to confirm the coin is there, which almost automatically leads to them being "wrong" when it isn't.

Let me know if the suggestions work in the real world. That's what counts.

Pete
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Postby Brian Morton » 01/17/03 01:39 PM

Pete, let me also commend you on a fine column.

The idea of the spectator coming up "wrong" all the time is something my friend Chris Ivanovich and I have discussed quite a bit in the context of the "Endless Chain" (and similarly, it has ramifications on other swindles like the Monte and the shell game).

In essence, there's the need in these tricks to avoid the "jerk" factor, where the performer will come off as a jerk if not handled correctly, either through massive applications of charm, or by positing the effect as a story that happened to the performer, like in Eugene Burger's presentation of the monte.

You've probably (and hopefully) done a great service to magic if any number of magicians can scrutinize their performances to eliminate what Jamy Swiss has termed "magic aversion therary."

brian :cool:
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Postby Guest » 02/17/03 01:57 AM

Mr. McCabe,
I must say that I truly enjoyed your Scriptwriting article in the Feb. issue of Genii.

As a matter of fact, I used your advice under "The Spectator is Always Right" the very next day and saw a big difference! I used it while performing Lovell's Fingered No. Three.

At the end of the trick when I'm holding a face down card in my hand, I usually asked the spectator what card do they think it is. They usually say it's their card and I've always said "Well, actually its the card you thought was on your hand...".

Which is, when you think about it, like saying "no stupid you're wrong!" I then switched to saying "yes very good, now if you just blow on it , it now turns into the card that you were just holding...". It's amazing what changing a few words around will do. Thank you!

Roberto
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/27/03 09:40 AM

Pete, nice to meet you 'face-to-face' last night at the Castle......... Earl Nelson's new CD/book show/signing was an unexpected treat (I guess I should have read the newsletter??)...

Anyway, your article, mentioning Mike Rogers' way with the 3-Card Monte brought back some great memories (Mike and I went back almost 50 years) and reinforced (and gave me reason) the fact that of all the 3-Card Monte magic routines I have seen, his ranks at the TOP.... Closely followed by Andrew Wimhurst and Tony Georgio.

Again, great to meet you and see you soon...
Stay tooned.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/27/03 11:18 AM

Pete:

Great to see you as well. I'll get the tapes duped as soon as I can. I did watch the ring trick -- very nice!

Let's not wait another 29 years before we meet again.

mrmagik:

Glad to hear you're getting some use out of my article. It's amazing what a difference a small change of words can make, isn't it?

My wife and I have been talking recently about how a single word can change the tone of an entire sentence. For example, we were at her parents' house, and she accidentally left the front door open. Her mom noticed it and said "You left the door open." Except she didn't say that, she said "You left the door wide open." Just that one word "wide" turned it from a simple statement to a (mildly) nagging criticism.

One of the biggest challenges facing any screenwriter is to communicate a character and/or a situation with as few words as possible. One strong benefit of scripting your presentations is the ability to add (or remove) these little words, which can change your audience's mood very quickly.

Pete
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/27/03 03:05 PM

Screenwriter? Screenwriter? We need to talk. :cool:
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Postby Brian Morton » 02/27/03 06:22 PM

Norton Nork quotes me saying...
...like in Eugene Burger's presentation of the monte."
Please note. I am not claiming Eugene originated the style of presentation. I am merely using it as an example.

There ain't nothing new under the sun. Using the third person construction to avoid being seen as unlikeable is probably as old as the hills. Right off the bat, I can think of Vernon's "Cutting the Aces" from Stars of Magic. Correction unnecessary. That is all.

brian :cool:
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