Enjoy the Silence

“Patter” has always been a word that I’ve had trouble with. I think it maybe because there is a lot of pressure to choose the right word at the right moment. Don't get me wrong, beats and jokes are important for a good routine. But its easy to overload a piece with text, and rush through the important moments. Audiences crave the moment of surprise, even if they don't want to admit it. Teller created his silent character because he thought magic was more interesting void of patter. “Not talking is the most intimate thing you can do.” Silence causes the audience to use a different part of their brain. Instead of being told what will happen, they have to start to draw conclusions for themselves. That’s not to say this doesn't happen with verbal communication, but being thrust into a situation with limited words causes a shift in the way they process information.

Now I’m not suggesting that everyone out there stops talking and becomes Teller. An entirely silent character is a whole different ball game, But scripting magic with room for calculated  silence will change the way your effect is perceived. Adding a few beats of silence can make the difference between a good effect, and a great effect.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of over explaining what is happening as the audience sees it happening. Too much talking strips a magic trick of its natural state of wonder. It bogs down the effect and can cause the audience to lose focus. The old adage still holds up: K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid).

I hate to placate the millennial generation, but it’s a fact that we live in a world of constant distraction and instant gratification. So now more than ever, you need to give the audience a reason to pay attention. Giving the them one thought to focus on instead of two or three, allows for a simpler picture from the audience, and a greater payoff in the end.