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The magician Pete McCabe describes the art of scripting magic as ‘[the decision on] how you’re going to present a trick before you perform it.’.

Scripting exists because there’s an understanding that, on some level, the presentation is every bit a part of the work itself.

Book publishers understand this when they hire designers to create multiple prototypes of book covers before converging on the best one because the cover does matter.

Comedians understand this when they spend an equal if not greater amount of time prepping the parts of a joke leading up to the punchline because humor doesn’t live in the punchline alone.

Delivering magic is a two-act endeavor involving the initial earning of attention and the holding of it. Performing both acts well requires that you care about the cover as much as the book, the story as much as the punchline, and the choreography as much as the music.

This video offers a fine example of the magicians Penn & Teller who, in mastering the art of scripting, have mastered the ability to deliver magic.

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)