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Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 10:46 am
by Lawrence mark
I have been meaning to review for some time this particular book which I have had in my possession. The trouble is that I haven't actually read it. I shall try to do so in the next few days. The trouble is that I was discouraged from doing so by the scripts themselves which I found very uninspiring and some of which made me cringe.

I suppose I should have turned to the subject matter first before being tempted to read the scripts themselves. I am a great believer in knowing what you are going to say before you say it. I differ in how you go about that in the sense that I abhor learning a script off by heart and reciting it parrot fashion as many do. And I abhor the word "scripting" which implies boredom and prefer the traditional word "patter" which implies amusement However that last point is a semantic matter and is of no real importance. Call it anything you want.

But at least make the "scripts" if that is what you call it interesting and enetertaining. I find the scripts in this book fall short in this and do not sell the personality of the performer. In fact is the "performers" really talk like that they sound terribly dull and in some cases pretentious personalities. And I have actually seen a few of these supposed big names perform and I think they have a lot to learn.

Still I must be fair and will try to overcome the bias which these sub standard "scripts" have instilled in me and read the book properly before commenting further. At least Mr McCAbe is writing about a subject that needs writing about. And his own "scripts" seem slightly better than his contributors though I am not sure being the best of a bad buch is anything to celebrate.

Still I will read the book properly and report back.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 11:24 am
by Bob Farmer
Lawrence: you haven't read it except for the scripts which you have read. Wouldn;t that mean you've read it?

I loved the book (of course, I had a trick/script/patter in it, which means anything I say should be considered sacrosanct).

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 11:56 am
by James Cotton
Maybe you should read it all before posting, Lozza?

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 2:00 pm
by mrgoat
I have read it and it's brilliant.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 2:21 pm
by Mark Lawrence
Cotton old chap. I do not appreciate being addressed as "Lozza" even if I knew what it meant. It strikes a derogatory and disrespectful tone and it would behoove you to show a trifle more respect to your elders and betters.

Furthermore I would advise you that if I read it all before posting it would never get reviewed in the first place since it would take several centuries before I got to the end. So the best I can do is give impressions as I go along. I have to be honest and say it is not exciting reading or edge-of-the-seat material. I am not holding this against the book. Maskelyn's Our Magic is also exceedingly boring to read but it has very valuable lessons in it. I hope Mr McCabes book has similar lessons since it took him a very long time to write it.

I now feel quite a bit of sympathy for professional reviewers who have to wade through stuff they are not particularly interested in so they can give a fair and objective evaluation.

Of course Mr Farmer is quite correct to a degree. The main idea of the book are the scripts contained therein and if they are not inspiring then it doesn't exactly encourage the reader to read the points that illustrate the script. It does tend to dent the credibility of the book somewhat.

I did make some inroads today by starting at the beginning and trying valiantly to get to the end without skipping ahead. I am afraid that I doubt that I will be able to finish the book. I find myself disagreeing violently with some of the concepts and the strain of not allowing my bias to influence me is becoming quite difficult.

I have read the first two scripts of Pete McCabes and find them adequate but certainly not enthralling. I really cannot approve of the first as it has an unseemly sexual tone to it which I think would only appeal to the lower classes. The second is a trifle better although it seems you have to wander about with a candle to get the full effect of it. I don't really perform in enough venues with candles abounding and I am certainly not going to carry one with me. Mr McCabe assures us that the same results can be achieved with a pile of salt on the table but I rather think the candle is better.

Anyway although parts of it are fine I really don't approve of the licking of fingers he recommends as this is a rather ugly and unseemly gesture which does not fit in with the arty-farty candle presentation. Licking one's fingers may be appropriate for a fried chicken commercial but not for artful, tasteful magic. The gesture should be eschewed immediately. It really is quite disgraceful.

As for the chatter of "silent scripts" during the routine I have never approved of this claptrap ever since I read about it in that awful book by Henning Nelms which purported to teach showmanship when the author had never done a show or captained a ship in his life.

Magic is PEOPLE and you can't concentrate on the people while you are chattering to yourself. I bet great performers like Matt Schulien or Eddie Fechter weren't indulging in such silliness as "silent scripts"

Sorry to be the little boy who sees the emperor has no clothes.

I am quite sure I will never wade through the book properly although I shall make an attempt. I suppose I had better say something nice about the tome so it seems at first glance that the best part of the book are the interesting interviews with various notables. I see that most of the said notables have been sensible enough not to provide scripts. After all what suits one person does not suit another and the concept of giving other people's patter isn't a good one anyway. Besides I expect the interviewees realise that there are lots of copycats out there who would be dumb enough to steal their patter.

So far all I can give this book is a mere five out of ten. I may improve this rating as I go along. The worst part of the book seem to be the scripts themselves.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 2:39 pm
by Doug Thornton
Uh, is Mark Lewis back for Memorial Day weekend?

I like the book.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 2:44 pm
by James Cotton
Thanks for the details, Lozza. Write back when you've read it.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 2:52 pm
by Mark Lawrence
Thank you Cottonhead. Methinks your brains are full of the stuff that makes up your surname. I have already written about the parts I have read. Later I shall comment on the parts which are yet unread. So far we have lousy scripts and interesting interviews and valiant attempts by poor McCabe to write intelligently about stuff he knows nothing about. I suppose it is a learning experience for him and I shall be delighted to help him find his way.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 3:03 pm
by Richard Kaufman
I believe it is Mark Lewis ... or his twin.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 3:45 pm
by Bob Farmer
Damn -- I should have checked the batteries in my MLD (Mark Lewis Detector) -- they were dead -- usually it works fine (e.g., use of the word "abhor" in post).

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 30th, 2010, 11:09 pm
by Pete McCabe
Lawrence mark wrote:Still I will read the book properly and report back.

You better. I gave you the book on the condition that you promised to read it and review it. If you don't then please return the book to me. I will sell it on eBay with the description "not read by Mark Lewis" and give the money to a charity you don't know anything about.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 31st, 2010, 2:48 am
by Bill Duncan
The "Pete and repeat" script cracks me up.

I bought turtles for it.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 31st, 2010, 6:23 am
by James Cotton
Well I'm looking forward to the full write up after he's read it. Nothing wrong with honest criticism, but to start before you've finished the book...? It's as bad as all the clones online who rave positively about stuff they've never seen or not used in a real world setting, as occasionally here and every minute on the Cafe.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: May 31st, 2010, 7:33 pm
by flynn
Most everybody's living a fantasy over there.

Re: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

Posted: June 1st, 2010, 12:36 am
by Richard Kaufman
You won't be reading any more from Mark Lawrence, or Lawrence Mark.