10 commandments

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10 commandments

Postby Max Gordon » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:21 pm



I'm sure there are many more, but here are 10 commandments (sounds pretentious I know) I think need to be considered for every routine we do.

Preciction: I'm sure this topic will raise lots of comments

Although I’ve listed these as 1-10 they are in no particular order and should be considered equally.

Thou Shalt:

Strive to surprise. Don’t telegraph the ending, unless it forms a fundamental aspect of the finale. Where possible make everything appear impromptu and use normal everyday objects. Nothing is more memorable than using their own items so if they have a deck, use theirs. Coin magic? Borrow them for the spectator. (Assuming you don’t need gimmicks or can ring them in and out)

Be understood. Be aware of the words and diction you use. Make sure your instructions are clear and unambiguous. Ensure you can be heard and if using amplification. Learn how to use it properly.

Not narrate your actions. Have both an internal and external script for all of your routines. Believe what you are saying and pace the script to the moves.

Create a premise. Strive to create involvement and engagement and where possible; relevant, emotional and personal…..(people don’t have a favourite card….) If you are using a theme based on fact, make sure you know what you are talking about. Don’t make stuff up!

Strive to be different. By all means use the handling provided but make every effort to create a presentation that is uniquely you!

Be aware of your surroundings. Lighting, noises, sightlines, obstructions (e.g. table centres. Other performers, service staff etc. If conditions do not suit the presentation, don’t do it.

Be able to deliver. Routines should be perfected before being performed. Do not practice in front of guests. (Culls, false cuts, fancy shuffles the pass etc.) “Amateurs practice till they get it right, professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong”.

Dress appropriately. Jeans & a hoody might be fine for street magic but not restaurant work. Strive to be as well dressed as the best dressed guest. If in doubt enquire prior to the event.

Respect the timetable. Be aware that your performance time may impact on others. Don’t overrun, and always leave them wanting more. Equally if you agree to work for 45mins don’t walk off after 35 mins and expect to get paid!

Use appropriate material. This applies to both your style and your audience demographic. Ideally have an alternative premise for one or two routines which will allow for flexibility.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Mandrake » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:53 pm

Thank you Max, this is now a sticky.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Boris » Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:00 pm

"Not narrate your actions. Have both an internal and external script for all of your routines. Believe what you are saying and pace the script to the moves."

Mark Lewis wrote:That "silent script" c*** (not the best) is also in the rather useless Henning Nelms book.
Sorry. I don't believe in it.


daleshrimpton wrote:i dont think i believe that running a silent script helps.
not in performance any way.


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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Mandrake » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:21 pm

Whilst I would never advocate following a 'script' to the letter, surely there needs to be a sort of road map of what to do and the order in which to do it? There must always be room for improvisation to take advantage of any unexpected events, audience reactions etc so using a script is perhaps too literal?

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Max Gordon » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:50 am

An internal script does not apply to dialogue it's the thought process behind the moves and sleights involved. The external script being the patter.

The lack of an internal script leads to the vocalising of the moves as they are carried out in order for the novice performer to remember the moves, the tendency being to mistake this narration as patter, in other words no script at all.

Even the best improve performers have a very strong internal script which allows them to deviate their presentational patter because they always have an internal road map in place.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Lady of Mystery » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:11 am

Boris wrote:"Not narrate your actions. Have both an internal and external script for all of your routines. Believe what you are saying and pace the script to the moves."

Mark Lewis wrote:That "silent script" c*** (not the best) is also in the rather useless Henning Nelms book.
Sorry. I don't believe in it.


daleshrimpton wrote:i dont think i believe that running a silent script helps.
not in performance any way.


I totally disagree, I personally think that it's very important to have a script. You need to know what you're going to do and what you're going to say, I'm not saying that you need to stick strictly to your script, you do need to be able to improvise and adapt depending on the situation but for all my routines I spend a lot of time working on a rough script. That script should also include responses and outs to things that might not quite go as expected.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Max Gordon » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:24 am

Lady of Mystery wrote:
Boris wrote:"Not narrate your actions. Have both an internal and external script for all of your routines. Believe what you are saying and pace the script to the moves."

Mark Lewis wrote:That "silent script" c*** (not the best) is also in the rather useless Henning Nelms book.
Sorry. I don't believe in it.


daleshrimpton wrote:i dont think i believe that running a silent script helps.
not in performance any way.


I totally disagree, I personally think that it's very important to have a script. You need to know what you're going to do and what you're going to say, I'm not saying that you need to stick strictly to your script, you do need to be able to improvise and adapt depending on the situation but for all my routines I spend a lot of time working on a rough script. That script should also include responses and outs to things that might not quite go as expected.


Thanks lady of Mystery. That's exactly the point I am trying to make. Without a mental road map and outline script/theme to base the effect on, we end up with a running commentary of the moves being performed. Yes in theory an experienced pro may well feel competent to improv a routine, but a real experienced pro knows that without a solid base to work from an effect will never have the impact a property rehearsed routine does.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Boris » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:55 pm

Seriously? You deleted a valid post? Please explain to me how that works? And if I've broken any rules that should force a deletion of my post, I'd really like to know.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby MiKo » Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:45 pm

I must say I am very confused by this potentially interesting thread. Has there been some heavy mod action?

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Mandrake » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:52 pm

Boris wrote:Seriously? You deleted a valid post? Please explain to me how that works? And if I've broken any rules that should force a deletion of my post, I'd really like to know.

Not sure who you are addressing there but I guess it would depend on what was in the post - can you summarise, by PM if it helps?

Miko wrote:Has there been some heavy mod action?
Depends on how you define 'heavy' but I'm not aware of anything other than the usual Moderation which takes place here 24/7 and which is rarely noticed.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby MiKo » Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:01 pm

Heavy as in "deleted posts": it's just that I really cannot follow the discussion, so I'm under the impression that I am not seeing all the things that have been posted. E.g. Lady of Mystery is quoting a post by daleshrimpton, but I cannot see any post by daleshrimpton in the discussion (unless the quoted part is taken from somewhere else in the forum, which means that I simply cannot follow).

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Boris » Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:26 pm

I first quoted Dale Shrimpton, along with Mark Lewis. They have both taken the position that the internal script (or 'silent script') is hogwash. Since their opinions will carry a lot more weight than mine, I naturally used their posts from an earlier discussion on this site that is pertinent to the topic at hand.

Lady of Mystery is presently arguing that the internal script (or 'silent script') is a valuable and important part of performing. However, past posts have proved otherwise and I posted her comment about how the internal script was, in her opinion, balderdash. I am guessing, but I'm pretty sure that I'm right, since Lady of Mystery is a moderator, rather than defend her position she simply deleted my comment (this will show up in the "Moderator's logs" in the "administration control panel") - my comment being nothing more than her quote that resides right here, on these pages.

Now maybe I've broken some rule that doesn't allow me to use past posts to make my point - I don't know. If so, then I would prefer to be told rather than have my post deleted and leave me wondering if I've broken a rule or if there are some regulations on this site that govern who I can and cannot quote, or a time limit thereof.

It's not my site, it's not my playground. I play by the rules of the game. I've read the rules and I don't think that I stepped outside of them. If I have, then by all means let me know. But if we're going to have an honest conversation about "The Ten Commandments" of magic, then I would think that past posts are fair game.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby MiKo » Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:30 pm

Ok, thanks for the recap. So I simply was not understanding. Please ignore my former posts and/or feel free to delete them (or I can do it, if it's the case) as they do not add anything.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Lady of Mystery » Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:34 pm

Calm down please Boris, I can assure you that I've not deleted any of your posts and would appreaciate it if you didn't make assumptions or accusations that I did.

Just as a point to note, when was your quote originally written? Quite some time ago I'd guess and it is possible that as time goes on, people's opinions can change. Although to be honest, in the context that it was originally written, I'm not sure that it was all that contradictionary to the comments that I've made in this post.

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Re: 10 commandments

Postby Boris » Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:43 pm

I am calm. Was there something in my posts that seem to point out that I am otherwise? Like I said, a simple check of the moderator's logs in the administration facility will tell any administrator who deleted my post. You can easily be exonerated and the person who deleted the post will be proved.

As to the comment that you made, it was this:

When I perform I like to really immerse myself in what I'm doing but I don't really see any need to have a script that I tell myself what it is that I'm doing. If the routine is practiced surely you should really just be going through the motions like an musician does when she plays that piece of music for the 400th time. What does a silent script really achieve?


If you need me to, I can break that down and show, precisely, where the contradiction lies.

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