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Book Review: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe

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Book Review: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe
Scripting works well in theater, television and movie production, so why not in magic? Pete McCabe drives this home in his excellent "Scripting Magic," a thorough and thoughtful 450-page book that offers scripts for well known effects by skilled magicians and insightful interviews and essays.

With "Scripting Magic," McCabe has created a must-read book that will inspire you and help script and burnish your magic routines.

It's in the Script

McCabe says it best on the book's second page. "The goal of this book is to help you script your magic better, so what you say during your tricks makes the trick more effective." In presenting scripts, McCabe follows traditional screenplay scripting format for TV dramas, which he feels applies best to magic. He defines scripting magic as “deciding how you’re going to present a trick before you perform it.”

A good part of the book is dedicated to showcasing scripts by McCabe and other well known magicians for popular effects. The book includes scripts for "Coins Across," "Torn and Restored Card," "Gypsy Thread," "Triumph," "Self-Cutting Banana," "Gemini Twins," "Hot Rod," "Svengali Deck," "Chop Cup," "Koorwinder Kar," "$100 Bill Switch," "Out of this World," "Ace Assembly" and more. Many of the effects have multiple scripts so you can compare the approach of two or more magicians.

To Use or Not To Use?

The scripts not only serve excellent presentations, they can be sources for themes and provide inspiration for your own scripts for the same or different effects. There are some well known scripts such as Eugene Burger's "Cosmic Thread." Although it's published here, no-one would probably want to present "Gypsy Thread" as Burger does. And should magicians simply perform the scripts as they’re presented here?

Here’s how McCabe answers this question. "So if you want to perform one of the scripts in this book, I think that’s great. It's a terrific way to really appreciate the power of scripting. And it will give you excellent practice at performing a script, which is an essential skill that many magicians don’t get much chance to practice."

"After you have some experience performing other people's scripts, you'll probably want to adapt the script for yourself... Although creating original presentations from scratch is the highest level of magic, adapting scripts is the most efficient way to improve." Supporting this, McCabe offers notes with many of the effects to help you adapt specific scripts for your use.

Who's Who

Some of the contributors include Michael Ammar, Jon Armstrong, Rafael Benatar, Michael Close, Bob Farmer, Paul Green, Guy Hollingworth, Kenton Knepper, Jonathan Levit, John Lovick, Max Maven, Eric Mead, Gary Ouellet, David Regal, Jim Steinmeyer, Jamy Ian Swiss and more.

The book features informative interviews with Eugene Burger, John Lovick, Jonathan Levit, Jon Armstrong, Max Maven, Teller, Rafael Benetar and Michael Close, and essays by McCabe and Jamy Ian Swiss. Indeed, McCabe has compiled scripts and advice from some of our era's most talented magicians.

Stronger Magic

I found the scripts to be thought provoking and inspiring and the interviews informative and compelling. In this book, McCabe succeeds at demonstrating how scripts will improve one’s magic and offers a foundation that will allow magicians to apply this powerful tool to their effects.

In all, "Scripting Magic" is a milestone book that will make your magic stronger and more entertaining. It's required reading and study for anyone serious about entertaining with magic.

-Wayne N. Kawamoto

MSRP: (US) $39.95

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