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Topic: Purchasing Question (Strong Magic vs. More Material)
Message: Posted by: Richard Schneider (Jul 19, 2009 10:43PM)

I finally got some spending money for magic, and I'm researching what my next purchase should be. For reference, major things I already own are the Royal Road, the Complete Course, Bobo, and Patrick Page's sponge DVD. I started out doing only card magic, but now I'm branching out to lots of other stuff and barely do card stuff any more (although I still enjoy it).

[i]Strong Magic[/i] really seems interesting to me. I understand presentation to be the most important thing in the art, and I really want to get mine as sharp as it can be. That book seems like a good place to start.

However, it's $40, and for that price I can also get the other stuff I'm wondering about purchasing: thumb tips (don't have any), the Page DVD on thumb tips, rope, and the Page DVD on rope.

I want to branch out into other things besides cards, coins, and the odd trick from the CCIM. Although I own several references, I feel like I could expand my repertoire even more to help me advance closer to my desired venue (walk-around, maybe in restaurants). However, I also really want to work on my presentation skills, as I figure that is what will really matter most in the end.

Any help making the decision? At the risk of making the situation worse, any other suggestions? Preferably economically efficient items (the reason I like books and Patrick Page).

One final thing... $40 for [i]Strong Magic[/i] is a lot for a single book. Is it worth it? Can I find it cheaper somewhere?

Hopefully that wasn't too much for a single post...
Thanks in advance,

Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Jul 19, 2009 11:26PM)
Strong Magic's a great book. If your eventual intent is to perform seriously, it's worth having on your bookshelf. Even if you don't agree with everything in there (I certainly don't) it'll get you thinking on the right wavelength. One thing to consider... as with most theory, it helps to have a bit of performing experience under your belt, so that you're not overthinking things too early and freezing up wondering if spongeballs are a good enough trick to be doing.

The books you've listed have in them a lot of good magic. Unless you find yourself in a situation where you can't yet string together five really solid routines from those resources, including a strong opener and closer, you might want to consider holding off on getting more material.

Can you list off what's already in your performing repertoire? It would help to gauge where you're at.
Message: Posted by: nachotuoni (Jul 19, 2009 11:43PM)
If you want to achieve a great level of magic, you should earn some level magic. As you know, magic is not cheap. If you want cheap magic, you'll get cheap books and cheap props so you'll be performing cheap magic. I know it is hard to decide when you have to buy magic, but first of all decide and focus on your style and on your preferences. For example, is it close-up? Or is it mentalism? What is it? Defining your character and the magic you want to perform is going to help you a lot. One of the best way of looking for presentations is youtube. Watch as many performances as you can, and when you believe in what you just saw, get those details in your repertoire. I think thump tip is a great source of magic. Look for things of Jay Sankey for example, he has great walk-around magic. Also David Williamson.
Hope to help you Richard.
Que viva la magia!
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Jul 19, 2009 11:54PM)
If money is tight, I would just stay away from DVD's. You get far more bang for the buck with books. There are lots of books that will eventually wind up in your library.

Some will recommend DVD's, but I think that it's because those folks are lazy. I've heard some doctors at magic club meetings (I belong to the Boston SAM Assembly and the IBM Ring) say that they have a hard time learning from books. I just have to laugh at that. These guys have learned from books their entire life, there aren't any DVD's (at least there weren't any when they were learning) on how to do surgery or that showed how to diagnose disease.

If you need help, then the best thing to do is to find a local magician to help you out. Just a few minutes will allow you to work out a lot of things. If you think you should pay for it, but the guy/gal a drink or take them out to lunch.
Message: Posted by: Ronald72 (Jul 20, 2009 01:58AM)
Hi Richard,

Books are the best way to understand real magic. Some worry about if our magic now is expose by youtube or the mask magician. The answer is no because the real magic you will find in books. And no one in the audience will lookt there. So I believe that purchasing books is a real good investement. Here on the forum there is a secret session (you have to have 50 post at least to get there) where magicians are selling there stuff. Also there will be books. Then there are also cheaper books to start with like magic and showmanship by Nelms.

If I have to do it all over again, I would start with books, learn from them and it would have saved me also a lot of money from magic props that are just market by magicdealers or from magiclectures.

Just my thinking, welcome to magic!

my best,
Message: Posted by: Richard Schneider (Jul 20, 2009 09:53AM)
Thanks every one for their replies.

Yeah, providing context probably would be beneficial. I'm actually kind of at a crossroads in magic right now.

I've been performing magic for almost a year now, mainly card stuff. I spent several months working through the Royal Road, and am now going through it again at my leisure. I practiced and learned a good selection of tricks from the book, and constructed and scripted several routines from them.

However, I eventually realized that the majority of tricks I was performing didn't seem right for the venue I wanted--most required a table, and some had angle problems. I kinda of scrapped most of the card stuff I was working on, and decided to learn other stuff besides cards.

Since then, I've gone through the Complete Course more and started working on things from that. I also got Bobo, and I've been practicing some coin routines, but don't have any up to speed yet (man, they take a lot of practice to be able to perform well).

I perform a lot in front of family and friends--sometimes maybe more than I should. Some of the stuff I'm more or less confident about, that fits in a walk-around venue:
[*]My version of Patrick Page's sponge ball routine--definitely gets the best reactions... people love those little guys. At a recent family gathering, I performed for one person, and it kind of went around, with me being called over to perform, people asking other people if they've seen it yet, and that they really should see it, etc. (that's a great feeling).
[*]Chicago opener
[*]Triumph (slop shuffle)
[*]Color-changing Aces (or whatever it's called where the reds swap places with the blacks)
[*]Kolossal Killer (this also really kills them)
[*]Invisible Deck
[*]Copper-silver penetration (although this is kinda short to be included in a routine by itself, isn't it)
[*]Gadabout Coins
[*]Various small coin stuff from Bobo (coin through leg, vanishes, etc.)
[*]Bill in Lemon
There's more, but hopefully you get the idea. I want to focus on a small selection of tricks, and really master them--but I want them to be the [i]right[/i] tricks, which is why I'm wanting to expand my library.

I definitely don't mind learning from books--in fact, I prefer it. The reason I'm considering purchasing Patrick Page stuff is that I've had good experiences with his stuff (Sponge Ball), and that they're as cheap as a book ($10). The problem with books is that everyone seems to be talking about DVDs nowadays, or expensive books. What are some cheaper books that I might be able to benefit from?

Thanks again.
Message: Posted by: mmreed (Jul 20, 2009 10:02AM)
Strong Magic is a great book.

I might suggest a different approach however...

While Strong Magic is certainly a must have book, consider that book "ground level" material. There are materials that are "foundational" that go even below ground level. These foundational resources are where many of the resources above them spring from. Think of the foundational books as the seeds you need to sprout anything forward.

I consider the Tarbell series foundational. They offer diverse topics - not just coins and cards. They go into presentation, patter, scripting, effects, business...

Most of what is on the market today is a sprout from Tarbell.

Build the foundation first. Ive had many world famous magi tell me that everything they ever needed could be found in Tarbell.

Just start out with volume 1... and build the library.

You can find them used on ebay fairly cheap... and my store sells them new at a great price.

After Tarbell, then branch out to the books like Strong Magic, ect...
Message: Posted by: Richard Schneider (Jul 20, 2009 10:45AM)
I've always thought Tarbell was basically another form of the CCIM... looking at it now, I guess not, haha (a [i]little[/i] bigger).

How deep does Tarbell go into things (like thumb tips, coins, etc.)? Is it just a survey, or is it very detailed and complete? Also, do they need to be bought in order?

Finally, I see they were published in the twenties... I don't mind old books (learned from Royal Road, Bobo, etc.), but how dated is the materiel?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 20, 2009 06:36PM)
Mark Wilson is way worth the price of $20. or so. Then, get a 50' roll of magicians rope for $12.50 and you have the perfect balance for all of your card stuff. Ropes play big in all venues, and Wilson's book is the real deal. If you have funds left, sponge balls...

Good luck!

Message: Posted by: funsway (Jul 21, 2009 06:45AM)
On 2009-07-20 00:43, nachotuoni wrote:
As you know, magic is not cheap. If you want cheap magic, you'll get cheap books and cheap props so you'll be performing cheap magic. I know it is hard to decide when you have to buy magic, but first of all decide and focus on your style and on your preferences. [/quote]

I think he is speaking of buying 'tricks' not 'magic'. You can find as much magic in performing with a piece of rope and a couple of walnuts as any fancy prop you can waste your money on. Cheap is in the eye of the beholder as well as value in simple things. Exhaust all of your nearby libraries first. You should be able to put together at least three 1/2 hour shows using items found around your house that won't cost a dime. Then, you can shop for inexpensive books like Wilson's for $5.00 on Amazon, and paperback versions of several "Encyclopedia of ..." and Bobo's.

When you get on the "For sale" forum post a WTB request for several gaffed coins (hook, shell, C/S) and you can get a starter ChopCup with balls for $4.00, and an old magic set on auction for pennies. Start 'inexpensive' until you know yourself, and never play the 'cheap' game. There is nothing cheaper than an expensive watch if you always plan to be late, and vanishing a bottle cap will have just as much 'magic' as vanishing an gold coin.
Message: Posted by: Richard Schneider (Jul 21, 2009 08:40AM)
Thanks to the recent responders.

In case it's been missed, I do own the Wilson course, as well as Bobo and the Royal Road. Right now I've been performing magic for about a year, and do cards, sponges, a little coins, and some other stuff (see above). The original question was asking if I should purchase the magic theory book [i]Strong Magic[/i] or the Patrick Page DVDs on ropes and thumb tips, both of which are cheap, quality, and would get me into branches of magic I'm not currently involved in, expanding my repertoire.

And yes, I'm more buying "tricks" or material, not actual props. I know that some quality tricks cost more, but there are also a lot of gems printed in the classic books.

I went ahead and bought Tarbell volume 1, as mmreed suggested. I'm still contemplating buying [i]Strong Magic[/i] or the DVDs, but I'll maybe spend a little time with Tarbell first, and see how it is.

Again, thanks to all.
Message: Posted by: sethb (Jul 21, 2009 06:04PM)
I also vote for Tarbell. For the same price as "Strong Magic," you can buy two volumes of Tarbell, which will introduce you to a LOT of different types of magic (ropes, balls, cards, mentalism, coins, silks, etc.) and all the necessary sleights and moves. The patter is dated, but you will eventually do your own patter anyway. At $20 a volume, it's a lot of bang for the buck and a reference set that you will go back to time and time again.

BTW, I'm not downing "Strong Magic" in any way. It is a wonderful book, well worth the $40 price, and you should definitely buy it at some point, but not right now. Get a little more knowledge under your belt and a little more performing experience, then treat yourself to "Strong Magic"; it's a powerful book and will improve your presentation 200% if not more.

Good Luck and welcome to the Café'. SETH
Message: Posted by: Yekrats (Jul 22, 2009 10:43AM)
When you get on the "For sale" forum post a WTB request...

I haven't seen the "For sale" forum. Is it one of the ones that's hidden until you get so-many posts?
Message: Posted by: Richard Schneider (Jul 22, 2009 11:47AM)
Yeah, I believe it's 50 posts. You're almost there... I've got a ways to go.
Message: Posted by: mmreed (Jul 22, 2009 08:53PM)
You wont be disappointed with Tarbell... a magician could have only the tarbell set and have a lifetime of professional magic at his disposal.
Message: Posted by: Richard Schneider (Jul 22, 2009 10:27PM)
My only worry is that after working through the Royal Road, and having experience with the CCIM and Bobo (among other stuff), Tarbell will start out too basic. Ah well, if it does, re-learning the basics is good, and it will give me a more formal course. Do you think this will be the case?

Thanks to all for the help.
Message: Posted by: Ronald72 (Jul 23, 2009 02:00AM)
Hi Richard,

It is what you state under basic. Like Nelms as basic literature, I feel every magician should reed this. This will give you a impression and some directing tips to start. For example destruction. Do you know what destruct a audience so that the focus on the magic will stay? Do you know when you do a flourisch or a extra riffle, if it is there for a reason or that it really is nervous behaviour what will destruct the audience?

To much basic technique will do you no good I believe because the real secret is that you don't need that much. Like card magic, when you are able to force the card up and under the deck, one good false shuffle and palming then that will be enough. So the rest of your technique you can put in presentation and making the trick orginal and personal. That will bring real magic to your audience.

Just first find out what you fit, then you can do the research. If for example silk magic or dove magic is really your thing just dive into. Look for tricks that fits your character.

Enjoy your way to find your magic!

my best, Ronald
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Jul 24, 2009 05:42PM)
May I suggest you to buy books and to start with Designing Miracles by Darwin Ortiz before his Strong Magic (I love both books).

You are right to want to learn about magic before learning tricks.

Now an economical advice. If you are cash tight, you can get a huge amount of great classic books in e-book form from lybrary.com and trickshop.com: it's not as pleasant as the real object but you will get content at unbeatable prices and be able to travel with them if you have a PC.
Another economical source, is here at the café. If you have a tiny bit of patience, you will get major works at minor prices.

Learn magic: don't rush into tricks: there is no end to this.
Explore the threads on the café in the Whit Haydn posts on the dilemma of magic. Great value at no cost.
Message: Posted by: NurseRob (Jul 24, 2009 07:52PM)
On 2009-07-22 23:27, Richard Schneider wrote:
My only worry is that after working through the Royal Road, and having experience with the CCIM and Bobo (among other stuff), Tarbell will start out too basic. Ah well, if it does, re-learning the basics is good, and it will give me a more formal course. Do you think this will be the case?

Thanks to all for the help.

The great thing about the Tarbell course is this, no matter how far you've gone in magic, you can have a great time taking the journey through it. You can see the principles and origins of many so called modern effects. It is one of my daily reads currently. In many ways, I am wishing I had read nothing else before starting this course.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jul 25, 2009 04:07AM)
While I was overseas during 'Nam', my bride read Tarbell cover to cover, having given me the two missing volumes as a gift. She never intended to perform at all, but to better understand 'who I was' -- perhaps considering magic as a mistress of my attention and passion, plus there had been very little magci in her early life. Must have done something, we were married 38 years.
Message: Posted by: MBilginsoy (Jul 26, 2009 08:04AM)
Thanks to everyone who answered because I also had the same questions
Message: Posted by: coolini (Oct 24, 2009 05:03PM)
I think http://www.lybrary.com is a great place for print resources for magicians...the tarbell course was never cheaper and a great reference...
I like both patrick page dvds and strong magic book...can youplease update us to what you bought and how did you go?
Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Oct 24, 2009 06:06PM)
Lybrary also has a great set of books by Dariel Fitzkee called the Fitzkee Trilogy for about $9 each in PDF format. I bought mine at the local store, now that they are in print again, for about $25 each. The Trick Brain cost a little more, about $30, because it is a bigger book (page wise) than the others. Here is a link to what they have for [url=http://www.lybrary.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=fitzkee&search_in_description=1&osCsid=940d01473df798f1ccf4b3afab90280d]Dariel Fitzkee[/url], not just the trilogy.

Another great book, if you are thinking of branching into mentalism, would be Corinda's 13 Steps to Mentalism. Anneman also put out one called Practical Mental Effects. The latter can be gotten in paperback from [url=http://store.doverpublications.com]Dover[/url]. In fact, Dover has quite a few of the old classics available in paperback.
Message: Posted by: Richard Schneider (Oct 25, 2009 12:53AM)

Well, I actually ended up purchasing Tarbell 1. Now, I don't want to commit high heresy or anything, but it actually didn't impress me too much. Given it's great reputation, I'm going to continue perusing it every once in a while, assuming that there's something in me that will "click" and suddenly I will see it's immense value.

I've actually fallen out of magic for the past month or two, but just recently I'm starting to feel it's siren call slowly pulling me back. It's interesting that a reply should come to this three-month-old topic on this day... I just ordered [i]13 Steps to Mentalism[/i], wondering if mentalism can help pull be back into the game.
Message: Posted by: jhudsy (Oct 25, 2009 11:55AM)
Hi Richard,

I'm in a similar position to you, and was about to buy a copy of Tarbell until I read your last post; what is it you don't like about the book (as I'm wondering if I'll also end up underwhelmed)?
Message: Posted by: Richard Schneider (Oct 25, 2009 02:18PM)
Hmmm, to be honest, I'm not quite sure. I got out the book and leafed around in it quickly, and there's plenty of good stuff in there. I remember thinking a lot of the stuff relied on gimmicks and such... I don't know how accurate that is, but it was my perception on the first read through.

I think more so it's probably just that I haven't devoted enough time to it. I'll go back sometime and give it another shot... unfortunately, I don't have much free time right now (classes hitting pretty hard right now).

Don't get me wrong, Tarbell is a good book. That's obvious from people's comments around here. I'm sure that in the long run, I'll view Tarbell as a good addition to my library (despite my comments, it still has taught me stuff).