10 commandments

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby MiKo » Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:02 pm



I frankly do not see any contradiction, just some misunderstanding. Especially considering what at the time Lady of Mystery had posted earlier (i.e. that *believing* in your magic helps to sell the illusion. And I think that in Mark Lewis comments the mistake (I'm getting in really bad waters I'm afraid) is assuming that having a script (silent or otherwise) means that you think about it when you are performing. As anyone with some acting experience can tell, when you are performing, you are not thinking about the script anymore, since it has become second nature (provided you have practiced enough, of course). Same should go for the silent script: while practicing and developing the routine, it helps understanding what to do, how and why and, supposedly, makes your movements more believable. When you have practiced enough, all this has become second nature.

Of course a bad script (internal or external) will make for a bad presentation, no matter how practiced. Garbage in, garbage out.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Max Gordon » Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:24 pm

I think if someone is going to take a quote from a previous topic it should be made clear that it originated elsewhere. Without this rule, it allows a psot to include quotes made by someone else on another topic that they may not apply to the new post. No matter what it relates to.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Mandrake » Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:48 pm

OK folks, can we all back off a bit now please and get back on topic. Assumptions are being made which simply aren't true, one of which is that the Mods have access to the Admin Log - they don't, that's an Administrator facility only on TM. Also the amount of moderating which goes on would probably amaze most of you. l personally have to edit and delete up to 300 new registrants/spammers each day so to track back through the logs would take some time and would not show what was edited as all details are deleted. Lady of Mystery does not need to be exonerated by anyone, for the past three years of Modship she, and Rob, have done an excellent job under circumstances which are, to say the least, personally difficult at times.

None of the Mods are perfect, none of us are paid in any way, we all have family and other interests and, whilst we strive to be as fair as possible, there are always going to be times when things don’t work to everyone’s expectations. If there’s a problem with that then please tell me or, it that’s not enough tell Support.
As for the current topic, obviously there are differing opinions and the golden rule on TM is that all opinions are valid, if anyone disagrees then it’s down to them to continue to put forward their opinions in a polite and courteous manner.

I couldn’t do any routine without having a basic mental road map of what to do and when to do it – without one it would be a total shambles, a bit like someone telling a joke and when the punchline doesn’t get a laugh realises that part of the ‘plot’ was missed out!

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Max Gordon » Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:39 am

Let me explain the background to the origination. I teach magical methodology (sleights and principles not tricks), and wanted to create a set of protocols that would apply to any effect. Hence the 10 Commandments. Not laws per se but rather a set of guidelines which if followed would ensure a better performance assuming the performer has the core handling skills.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby mark lewis » Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:16 am

OK. What IS a silent script? How the hell can you be talking about one thing while thinking about another? I know when I sell svengali decks I am chattering away and thinking about what to eat for lunch but I have a feeling that is not what is meant somehow. Sometimes I am thinking about how to make the crowd move where I want and how to get rid of non-punters while I am chattering away but I don't think that is what is meant either. As for "Scripts" you should have a rough idea what to say and NEVER learn it by rote otherwise you will sound stilted and artificial and ten to one you will forget what the hell you were supposed to say anyway. If you follow this more sensible plan after a few performances you will say the same thing, more or less anyway.

How the hell you can concentrate on presenting your work and manipulating the people while you are chattering to yourself inwardly like a mental patient I have no idea. I suspect this twaddle comes from people who have acting backgrounds. I have noticed that contrary to standard wisdom trained actors are by and large lousy magicians. They are overloud and artificial and they tend to talk too much because they are so enamoured by their "script". And the word is not "script" anyway-it is PATTER. Magicians who come from an acting background sound as if they are playing Hamlet instead of doing the cut and restored rope and I cannot possibly approve.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Max Gordon » Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:11 am

OK Mark, I'll reply in the same tone. We do one thing and say another all the time. Or more correctly we should be thinking of the moves (internal script) and delivering the "patter" (Script referring to the actual written not spoken word) The lack of such a process shows when less experienced performers have no patter and revert to verbalising the handling they are thinking about.

My main issue with the performance of a lot of new stuff out there is it has no premise on which to hang patter on. A preconceived theme will aid the performer who is less skilled in ad-libbing to have something meaningful to say during the routine.

And just to clarify; I am not and never have been an actor. On the magic side I am a past winner of the IBM close-up trophy, a Magic Castle performer, and a magic Circle award of merit winner. As a mentalist my show has been sponsored by The Famous Grouse Scotch Whisky for the last 15 years and I have been the director of an Event Consultancy business for 24 years.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby MiKo » Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:38 pm

I just lost a very long post that took me more than an hour to write due to an internet failing. I will take that for a sign to shut up. :evil:

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Johnny Wizz » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:13 am

Mods, lock this post please, it is getting stupid!

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Mandrake » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:40 pm

MiKo wrote:I just lost a very long post that took me more than an hour to write due to an internet failing. I will take that for a sign to shut up. :evil:


I normally type up my posts in MS Word which not only gives a better spellcheck facility but, in the event of an internet failure, I don't lose the text!

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby mark lewis » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:46 pm

Max. I wasn't referring to you when I was complaining about actors. It didn't even cross my mind. Mind you, I wish you hadn't mentioned performing at the magic castle. That is not always a good sign, I am afraid! I understand from a friend who visited that the performers there are bloody awful! Still, I wasn't there myself so I cannot comment. However, winning competitions conducted for magicians is a VERY bad sign I am afraid. I am sure you are an exception but I have seen some pretty atrocious winners of these competitions. Winning competitions for magicians smacks of the blind leading the blind you know. Still, I must not let my biases show. If you have been a successful event consultancy personage no doubt that makes you a good businessman but then so is Donald Trump but I haven't seen him do much in the way of mentalism. As for combining magic with whiskey as a psychic reverend of some note I cannot possibly approve of an association with the devil's buttermilk. Still, I wish you luck with it.

I STILL don't know what a "silent script" is. I have figured out what a spoken script is. With regard to the "moves" I am not sure why one has to think about them. I would have thought that they should occur automatically if you have practiced them. Concentrating on a move while doing it is fatal. It should come without any thinking at all. On the other hand perhaps when you say "move" you are not referring to sleight of hand but something else I know not what.

I still can't figure this "silent script" business out. I remember when I was a young magician being driven nuts by it when I read Henning Nelms awful book about showmanship which I took far too seriously at the time. Then I found out that the author had never done a magic show in his life and my sanity was restored.

One script is enough for me. That is the verbal script. Having to learn some other daft script which nobody hears anyway appears to me to be a complete waste of time. Besides it distracts you from concentrating on entertaining the people. And the people are outside your head not inside it.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby MiKo » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:45 pm

Mandrake wrote:
MiKo wrote:I just lost a very long post that took me more than an hour to write due to an internet failing. I will take that for a sign to shut up. :evil:


I normally type up my posts in MS Word which not only gives a better spellcheck facility but, in the event of an internet failure, I don't lose the text!


You are right, I just did not expect the post to take that long.

Mark, as far as I understand, the silent script is the scripting of the external reality. I.e. it is exactly meant to take your thoughts off the "moves". If you want to drop something (say, an elephant, for the sake of discussion) into your pockets while pretending to look for a sharpie, your silent script will tell you something along the lines of "where the hell did I put my sharpie?". The dropping of the elephant, as you say, should happen automatically and thinking about something else should help selling the illusion (and reinforcing your belief in what you are trying to sell).

I'll try to briefly summarize a few of the points I had written. Except when obvious, these are my personal opinions.
- Clearly, Mark, you do not need any script internal or external for selling Svengali decks, as I do not need to prepare notes for a lecture in basic algebra. The script is the starting point, once you are an expert in what you do, you do not need it, unless you want to test/try specific experiments.
- Roberto Giobbi has the same more or less the same ideas about actor training and magic as Mark, but at the same time is a strong advocate of the silent script
- I tend to disagree on the first part: in fact as much as I think that Giobbi is a stellar magician, I do not find his performances as entertaining as they could be. In Eugene Burger's words, they tend to be "stunts", more than magic moments.
- To me the first point in creating a magic performance is having either a good script (à la Burger) or good improv skills. The latter are anyway required to a degree, but are usually more difficult to have and develop. Hence the usefulness of a script.
- Regarding Mark's complaining towards actors, I think that they not only are bad magicians, but mediocre actors, too. A good actor can recite Shakespeare and make it feel a natural way of speaking, a bad one will always sound artificial. Also, most of the time, if one sounds artificial, is usually because he/she is still relying on rote memorization, instead of actually having internalized the script. Or, simply, the scripting is bad. There's no going around a bad script, it will always sound bad.

Summing up, to me, a very good magic performance requires at the same time the full set of theatrical skill (writing/directing/acting) and, of course magic skills; it's incredibly difficult to have all those condensed to a very high level into a single individual. And when you are working with a team, you still have to strike a balance between the two. In this, Derren Brown is extremely lucky to have Andy Nyman and it is no surprise that his weakest show is the one where he got directed by someone with the sole theatrical training.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby mark lewis » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:06 pm

Sorry. I STILL don't know what a "silent script" is! As soon as I see fancy words like "external reality" my brain glazes over. Is this inner "script" something which is worked out beforehand or some kind of impromptu play- by- ear thing? As for Giobbi I have only seen one clip of him and he was bloody awful. No doubt he was using a silent script. However, to be fair, I admit you can't judge by one video clip. I do like his books though.

Oh, and I certainly need an external script for selling svengali decks. If I didn't I wouldn't sell a bloody thing. You do have to say something when ripping off the public. However, if I were to use an internal script I wouldn't sell a bloody thing either.

Magic is PEOPLE! You have to talk to the PEOPLE not to your inner mind!

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby MiKo » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:18 pm

Ok, I think I am not making myself clear, because I do not think we disagree that much. With "external reality" I simply mean the thing you are trying to convince your audience of, like the sponge ball is in your hand while in fact your hand is empty or the fact that you are looking for your sharpie while the reality is that you are ditching the elephant in your pocket.

With "you do not need a script" I do not mean that you do not have to talk, I just mean that I am pretty sure that you do not need to have written down what to say and you could probably sell a svengali deck while hanging upside down, if someone asked to and you were willing to. I will try a metaphor: nowadays I can drive without thinking about the actions I am actually performing; pushing the pedals, shifting gears and steering the wheels come naturally. When I was learning, I had to have someone telling me "when you hear this sound, shift gear" "push the brakes gently and in short busts", "turn the wheel in this way" etc. Analogously, when you have internalized it, you do not need the script. With enough experience, you do not need to focus on what to say, you just say it.

In some theatre plays, the silent script is the part that tells things like "Realizing he is thirsty, Character A starts looking around for something to drink". Most of the time this part is not in the script and it is (mostly) up to the director to tell to the actor what to do and, most importantly, why. So, the first few times while rehearsing the actor will consciously think along the lines of "I'm thirsty, let's find something to drink". After enough practice the need for actually thinking this will go away and the movements will happen more or less naturally.

The script is the more or less detailed plan you write down (if you do it). The "external" script is the part of the plan concerning the patter, the "internal" script is the part of the plan that concerns the reasons for your movements you want the spectators to believe in (which can and will differ for the "real" reasons for which you do these movements). In essence, when you perform, you need a patter, a series of "open" movements and a series of "secret" movements. The "technique" part of a written down routine concerns the "secret moves", the "silent script" concerns the "open moves" and the "external script" (or just script, possibly) concerns the patter.

Just to stress it once again, I am using "script" as what you plan to say and "patter" as what you actually say. I wish I had an analogous of "patter" for the "silent script".

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Max Gordon » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:56 pm

mark lewis wrote:Sorry. I STILL don't know what a "silent script" is! As soon as I see fancy words like "external reality" my brain glazes over. Is this inner "script" something which is worked out beforehand or some kind of impromptu play- by- ear thing? As for Giobbi I have only seen one clip of him and he was bloody awful. No doubt he was using a silent script. However, to be fair, I admit you can't judge by one video clip. I do like his books though.

Oh, and I certainly need an external script for selling svengali decks. If I didn't I wouldn't sell a bloody thing. You do have to say something when ripping off the public. However, if I were to use an internal script I wouldn't sell a bloody thing either.

Magic is PEOPLE! You have to talk to the PEOPLE not to your inner mind!


Mark, I think we've all got it. You don't rate Giobbi, you are assume all magical contest winners are less than credible. You slag off my sponsorship from one of the UK's most successful exporters and according to you mate, all Magic Castle performers are c*** (not the best). (OK I paraphrase) So You stick to selling Svengali decks and then rest of us will work hard at creating a magical experience for real people who pay handsomely for a quality performance.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Mandrake » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:34 pm

Shame we can't all take a deep breath and move on so....

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