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Adding patter to your routine is not difficult. But adding one that sparkles and entertains is.
I’ve known magicians in the Philippines who squandered their productive time learning sleight-of-hand and complicated routines. When time comes for them to face an audience, their act bombs even though they have executed beautifully all the right moves.
Oh, their sleight-of-hand is beautiful to behold, their movements elegant, their skills incredible. But their performance flops because they mess up their lines.
What a pity, because composing and delivering scintillating lines are far easier than learning and perfecting sleight-of-hand.
Messed-up lines can be avoided. All one need to do is admit a great truth that, like everything in our performances, one has to have a plan—that is, a plan for the words to say.
Sadly, many magicians under-appreciate the usefulness of planning their patter.
When you drive around in this megalopolis called Metro Manila, you plan your trip. That way you don’t find yourself trapped in the infamous traffic snarl-ups of the city.
When you take a family vacation, you draw up a plan. You figure in advance when you are leaving, which exotic place to visit, how much you will spend to fly and stay there, and whom do you ask to watch over your house while you are away. You scheme and strategize all these things in advance.
Driving around the city and taking a vacation are far less predictable than performing magic for a live audience. Surprisingly, most people plan their trips and vacations, but shirk from planning their patter.
Once again, with feeling…plan what you say when performing a trick.
Write a script of your patter. It need not be a detailed script. It can only be in outline form. If you are really lazy, and not convinced of the usefulness of a script, write only the things you want to say in bullet form.
Or if you hate writing, at least plan your patter in your head. Think in advance what you will say, run it through your mind several times, and rehearse it silently—and mentally—with yourself. This mental calisthenics will help you exercise your brain and keep it sharp.
A blank paper and a blank mind lead to a bland performance.
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