Best paragraph I've read in a long time

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erdnasephile
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Best paragraph I've read in a long time

Postby erdnasephile » October 14th, 2013, 10:00 am

"...For reasons of shyness, perhaps, or lack of confidence, they [magicians] get a buzz out of showing people that they're clever. They like to look slick in front of others. I suppose I can't blame them for that. But I'm sure it won't help you in the long run to base your work on trying to look smart. That's what gives magicians their familiar reputation for being cheesy and insincere. People don't like it. They warm to entertainers who are expressing a personality with which at some level, they can identify. They want you to be open. They want to care about you. So your job is to make them care--about you and about your magic. Your job, to take Charles Reynolds' point, is to make them like you."

--Geoffrey Durham, Professional Secrets: A Life in Magic


PS: This book is an outstanding resource for performing magicians. Highest recommendation.

John Carney
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Re: Best paragraph I've read in a long time

Postby John Carney » October 17th, 2013, 8:00 pm

great quote....

And his book is fun read and a valuable resource.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Best paragraph I've read in a long time

Postby Q. Kumber » October 18th, 2013, 4:45 am

I agree with all Geoffrey says but have a comment or two about the last sentence.

In general it is important for the audience to like you. But always? And is it the most important aspect of your personality?

Certainly it helps. Being interesting would be higher up the ladder than being likeable. Compelling, higher still.

Over thirty years ago, 'Dallas' was the most popular TV show in the world, largely because of the compelling character of JR Ewing, played by Larry Hagman.

The story of Snow White is only interesting because of her Wicked Stepmother.

The late Alan King, one of my favourite comedians, hardly came over as 'likeable' but he was certainly compelling, as you can see in this brilliantly constructed piece:
http://comedyfunhouse.wordpress.com/200 ... -than-men/

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mrgoat
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Re: Best paragraph I've read in a long time

Postby mrgoat » October 18th, 2013, 8:51 am

Q. Kumber wrote:I agree with all Geoffrey says but have a comment or two about the last sentence.

In general it is important for the audience to like you.


No. I doubt people "like" Rob Zabrecky's SadMan character. I doubt many people "liked" the amazing jonathan's persona either. Impressed by, entertained by, enthralled by? Sure. Like? Not so much.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Best paragraph I've read in a long time

Postby erdnasephile » October 18th, 2013, 9:13 am

Question: In order to pay money to spend time watching someone, doesn't at least some part of you have to like at least some part of what you are seeing?

Perhaps the problem is that the vast majority are so unlikable or boring that even to shoot for basic likability is the best course for most. On the other hand, the talented pros can break this "rule" sometimes because they truly understand why they are doing it.

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Re: Best paragraph I've read in a long time

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 18th, 2013, 9:41 am

I don't know that the childlike notion of "like" really works with characters in comedy (or drama if you use the more modern sense). What it would be "like" to watch a Lucy and Ethyl team at a workplace?

It may be that on closer inspection many of the endearing characters from television and theater are not the sort we'd want to see every day at the office, live next to or trust to watch our children. Would you come to dinner if invited by Elwood P. Dowd? How about every week? Would you introduce your niece to Norman Bates? How about Hannibal Lecter as a therapist?

There's something significant between person and character, incident from life and tale as told that puts the story and the audience together for a purpose. In our case it's entertainment.


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