Memorization

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.
Bill Mullins
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Memorization

Postby Bill Mullins » March 5th, 2018, 12:20 am

Ken Levine is a really talented script writer (M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier) with a good blog. He recently did a couple of posts on how actors memorize their scripts. Possibly of interest . . . .

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Memorization

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 5th, 2018, 10:07 am

Interesting. And I found the audio clip Levine did with Andy Goldberg, on Improv, even more so...

performer
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Re: Memorization

Postby performer » March 5th, 2018, 12:28 pm

I consider learning patter by rote or off by heart in the way that some magicians do to be a very serious mistake. Even the word "script" fills me with horror. It has connotations that make me shudder. I prefer the less pretentious word PATTER which imply a certain spontaneity and flexibility that I approve of and furthermore has connotations of carnival showmanship and a colourful personality. Just a semantic matter I suppose but I have a tendency to make rude remarks about people who use the word "script" and have a cynical attitude that if they do they are probably bad magicians. Not a logical point of view I grant you but magic is not a logical business. Besides gut feeling is often a better marker for these things than logic anyway .

But to my point. Whether you are an entertainiing performer who uses "patter" or a dull type that uses a "script" you do have to say something. I do not approve of people making it up as they go along and neither do I approve of that awful laborious business of learning it off by heart like a bloody actor. The best method is, as I have always maintained, that recommended by Wilfrid Jonson in his various books. I have already posted his method on previous occasion and I suggest if anyone is astute enough to be interested in it do a search of this forum for it. It is the best method I have ever come across for learning patter.

Brad Henderson
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Re: Memorization

Postby Brad Henderson » March 5th, 2018, 12:33 pm

i recall a vintage game show where the guests had to guess the word patter. the descriptors used were to the effect of 'meaningless' 'trivial' etc

as we have no problem discussing the 'technical handling' of a trick, perhaps we should think in terms of our word choices and delivery there of as our 'verbal handlings'.

performer
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Re: Memorization

Postby performer » March 5th, 2018, 1:09 pm

In magic the world has ALWAYS been patter. It should be left the way it is and pretentious substitutes should not be brought in to taint the art and make it even boring than it already is. As for patter being "meaningless" I am in great favour of this. The more meaningless the better. I still remember a very boring mentalist with the personality of a dial tone complaining that I was full of "meaningless patter". I then saw him perform impromptu before a group and was greatly gratified when half of them walked away after a very short time because of the tedium he generated. I was even more gratified when he stormed off in an almighty huff when I gently pointed this out to him.

Actors have an excuse to learn things off by heart. They have to since the script has all been written out for them and they cannot deviate. Magicians don't need to do this. They can alter a word here or there according to the mood or the moment. And actors don't make good magicians anyway despite the standard tosh that they do. I am still reeling from watching Orson Welles trying to do mentalism on late night television and the horror of the tedium still lives with me to this day.

I bet he never used the word patter...........................

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Memorization

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 5th, 2018, 2:44 pm

i am with Performer that the word, patter, conjures up colorful banter and business that should go with the trick, be engaging and/or witty, amusing, intriguing, and above all, be entertaining. I mentioned the improv audio from the Levine blog because so often spectators like to interject comments and be involved. I learned a long time ago that this is not an affront or intrusion, but an opportunity. Good improvisational skills are invaluable, and can take the performance to another level.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Memorization

Postby erdnasephile » March 5th, 2018, 4:49 pm

Thanks, Bill! Great read.

I thought this tip from the articles was interesting:

"Normally, there is an objective to whatever I am saying in a scene (ie: I know what I want to say) so the lines are obvious to learn."

The way I interpret this is: if you write a script that has real meaning to you (and hopefully to your audiences), it will appear more motivated and natural, and the emotional sense it makes should make remembering it that much easier.

The problem with most patter (especially improv patter in the hands of those less gifted) is that it frequently lacks many of those traits.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Memorization

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 5th, 2018, 5:28 pm

I don't really see improv as patter. Improv is what happens when the comments and participation of the spectator (s) and the interactions between magician and audience take the magician out of the set patter. Patter is rehearsed; improv, by definition, is not...

Bill Mullins
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Re: Memorization

Postby Bill Mullins » March 5th, 2018, 6:51 pm

This has an obvious relevance in the context of remembering a script or patter or whatever you say while presenting a trick.

I wonder how useful it may be in memorizing other things a magician may need to know.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Memorization

Postby erdnasephile » March 5th, 2018, 7:29 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:This has an obvious relevance in the context of remembering a script or patter or whatever you say while presenting a trick.

I wonder how useful it may be in memorizing other things a magician may need to know.


I've used the emotional resonance part of the essays when memorizing the Aaronson stack in the last few months. The more vivid, personal, and emotional I made the link between the key words, the easier the memorization became. As I recall, I first read this instruction in Harry Lorayne's "How to Develop a Super Power Memory"

(That's why I personally didn't care so much for Geoff Williams' work on the subject because those were his images and his associations. Mine were just for "right" to me--Kind of how the way I envision characters in a good book are almost always more "real" to me than a director's version in a subsequent movie.)


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