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Topic: The high price of DVD's
Message: Posted by: Slide (Jun 27, 2011 12:08PM)
The other day I was watching a magic dvd. It was a very good dvd: the instructor was an excellent magician, great with a crowd, it was recorded with a "real" audience (not like an L&L audience) so you could really see how he performed. He taught about 6 tricks.

One of the tricks was a marketed gaff coin trick that cost about $60 on its own. Another trick, the magician said: I learned this in the pages of Genii. I was able to look up my AskAlexander subscription to the complete Genii, and sure enough, there was the trick, just as he taught it.

Another trick was from Phil Goldstein's Focus. I pulled the book down from the shelf and sure enough, this great trick is sitting there, just as the magician performed it.

As I looked at the Focus book I see that it had about 60 or 70 other effects. And then I looked at my library of a hundred or so magic books and my collected Genii and I'm thinking... you know. This DVD cost me $30-40 bucks and I learn half a dozen tricks, most of which are already sitting in my library, in books I haven't looked at in years. How many thousands of great tricks are just sitting there waiting for me to uncover and make my own.

then I started thinking about just how inefficient and costly learning tricks from DVD's actually is.

Then I started thinking; I really don't ever need to buy another book, or DVD for the rest of my life. All I really need to do is open the vast library of information at my fingertips and do the hard work of going through the tricks, changing them to make them my own, and creating my own repertoire that is not based on mimicking this wonderful magician who is just trying to add to his revenue stream through teaching.

All I need to do is just do the work.
Message: Posted by: Hugokhf (Jun 27, 2011 12:15PM)
Good luck with that
Message: Posted by: ASW (Jun 27, 2011 12:28PM)
Hardly an original observation but, yes, spot on Bill.
Message: Posted by: splice (Jun 27, 2011 12:58PM)
[quote]
On 2011-06-27 13:15, Hugokhf wrote:
Good luck with that
[/quote]

You're right, it's just so much easier to grab the latest, hottest DVD and bang - magic! Who needs books, anyway? Historians and no one else, that's who.
Message: Posted by: Paul (Jun 27, 2011 01:03PM)
What was the DVD, Bill? Were the tricks taught with permission?

Paul.
Message: Posted by: Slide (Jun 27, 2011 01:36PM)
Paul, I have to assume they were. It is a popular DVD. The actual dvd doesn't matter, I think it applies to most DVD's.
Message: Posted by: fonda57 (Jun 27, 2011 01:58PM)
Sounds like you are at the point where you will just start creating your own stuff, if you haven't already.
By the way, Focus is a great book
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Jun 27, 2011 02:02PM)
I probably did something wrong!! Just checked Vol. 1 of my 4-vol. "Best Ever" DVD set, and - there are over 30 items, plus - "Over 40 sleights fully exlained!" it says on the cover. Cost to the retail buyer is much less that $1 an item. The cover of Vol. 4 says "30 Routines! 14 Sleights Fully Explained" (and there's an hour of me doing memory stuff in front of a lay audience. I did SOMETHING wrong! HL.

PS: Is Splice serious or is he joking?
Message: Posted by: Slide (Jun 27, 2011 02:05PM)
Harry,

I think Splice was being sarcastic.
Message: Posted by: Swann101 (Jun 27, 2011 02:29PM)
Dvd's and magic books are selling too cheap in my opinion, the prices should be much higher to protect our secrets more!
Message: Posted by: splice (Jun 27, 2011 02:31PM)
Yeah, just a bit of sarcasm. But I'm perfectly fine with people waiting for someone to put, say, the Stevens Cull on DVD while I personally wait for David Ben's oeuvre (after tracking down and reading a bunch of other references, I do love treasure hunts and what you find that you weren't looking for).
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Jun 27, 2011 02:36PM)
You do get far more material from books than you can from DVDs--at least dollar for dollar. This can be expensive for hobbyists. But if you are working for money, even getting one item for your repertoire repays the price of any DVD.

John
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 27, 2011 02:37PM)
Just a bit about the L&L comment. I know it was just an aside but....

I've been in an L&L audience a number of times.

The shoot is grueling for the performers and it was often really hot and quite a long set for a mostly lay audience ( sometimes an 8 hour day with a generous lunch break) as well as starting at an unusually early hour for most Close-Up guys. Despite that, these guys were genuinely entertaining.

There are reasons from a video editing point of view to want to start an effect with some applause but generally speaking those people were having fun and the applause and reactions were genuine. Yes, they were an unusually good looking crowd but they were really enjoying themselves.

While the seating is better than most Close-Up guys can expect, the audience had no alcohol (a frequent advantage in the real world).

I just get tired of hearing the casual put down of L&L audiences. Louis went to a lot of trouble to get an audience so that Magicians could see a better performance from the Talent. Any one who has ever performed for the camera alone knows how it can kill a great effect. I've seen some great effects come of very poorly when done in this manner and a magician might easily pass an effect over when it is potentially golden.

Is it real world? No, no Magic on Video is real world but I'd rather see the Magic in a good light than see an uncomfortable Magician getting no feedback going through the motions.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jun 27, 2011 02:37PM)
Perhaps DVDs have to be expensive so the producer can make a little profit while the going is good. After all the odds are that within a few months the *** things will be copied and distributed all over the place for virtually nothing. And books are beginning to go that way too. It is a pretty terrible thing for the creators and very bad for magic since the creators will be discouraged from creating any more because it isn't worth the hassle of being ripped off.
Message: Posted by: Slide (Jun 27, 2011 02:48PM)
Mary,

My comment was not meant as a swipe against the L&L audience. What I meant was that the audience in the DVD I'm referring was at a bar, some were a little tipsy, some were heckling the perfomer, some weren't paying attention: in other words, a real life situation and you got to see how the performer handled those situations. the L&L audiences always seem to me like they are having a good time.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 27, 2011 04:26PM)
Thanks Bill.

-Mary
Message: Posted by: motown (Jun 27, 2011 04:40PM)
The moment you put a camera in front of people and their aware of it, you won't totally get a real life situation.

While I like DVDs, I would agree books offer a better value over all. A great example is the New Al Schneider book.
For the cost of 2 DVDs youe can buy this huge tome and many others.
Message: Posted by: Cameron Francis (Jun 27, 2011 06:12PM)
DVDs and books have different advantages, Yes, you can fit a lot more material into a book. On the other hand, some tricks and sleights are better taught on dvd as they can be difficult to explain in the written word.

Another thing to consider: it is very expense to produce dvds. Well, professional dvds, anyway. And you simply can't fit as much material on one dvd as you can in a book.

And, it should also be noted, not all books are created equal. While there are some books loaded with great stuff for a fairly reasonable price, there are also a lot of over priced books that contain about as much material as a two dvd set.

But look at the new Solomon dvd. 3 discs. 23 effects. $50. That's comparable to a good magic book both in content and price. And it's an awesome set.

At the end of the day, guys, the market determines what producers produce. Lately, people want dvds. So producers produce dvds. Hard copy books simply don't sell as well anymore.
Message: Posted by: aussiemagik (Jun 27, 2011 08:39PM)
I agree with you Cameron. Sometimes I wish that I would have had dvd's available back in the day. Growing up in Wyoming there aren't an abundance of mentors around. I first learned the Elmsley with Twisting the Aces, meaning it was at the fingertips. No big deal since cards weren't my thing. Now, however, several years later I'm turning back to cards and that's a hard habit to break. I can't help but think that if I had something to see then I would've learned the proper form.
Message: Posted by: motown (Jun 27, 2011 10:32PM)
And of course not all DVDs are created equal even though they cost the same. There are way to many out in the market place that are poorly shot, poorly lit, where the performer hasn't taken the time to rehearse the material or understand how to teach the material. Like anything, how good a DVD is depends on who's involved in the project.
Message: Posted by: Alel (Jun 27, 2011 11:39PM)
Well, I much prefer books myself, but there are certain cases where DVDs are more practical, though.

Take Bill Goodwin's 'Reflections' for example. He is known for just publishing a trick just once, and never again.

Yet the DVD offered the chance for us to enjoy some of his best works in one purchase, and at much lower price than tracking down copies of his out-of-print lecture notes which only comes up rather rarely.

Sure hunting down and acquiring your own copy of the printed material would be MUCH better, for the same reason why we love books over DVDs. But again, buying the DVD is easily the most practical route. Pros and cons.

Simply, there ARE stuff that are easier to get hold of in the form of DVDs than in printed paper.

Yet, +1 for books! (And I agree 'Focus' is amazing)
Message: Posted by: scott0819 (Jun 28, 2011 12:20AM)
[quote]
On 2011-06-27 15:02, Harry Lorayne wrote:
I probably did something wrong!! Just checked Vol. 1 of my 4-vol. "Best Ever" DVD set, and - there are over 30 items, plus - "Over 40 sleights fully exlained!" it says on the cover. Cost to the retail buyer is much less that $1 an item. The cover of Vol. 4 says "30 Routines! 14 Sleights Fully Explained" (and there's an hour of me doing memory stuff in front of a lay audience. I did SOMETHING wrong! HL.

PS: Is Splice serious or is he joking?
[/quote]

Yes Harry, but I'd rather read your books instead!
Message: Posted by: Spackle666 (Jun 28, 2011 01:18AM)
Books inspire variation, because each reader can digest the material differently. DVDs inspire imitation, as there is less subjectivity in the content. That in a nutshell is the pros and cons if each format. More mechanical clarity can be found in a DVD, but more subtext can be found in a book (or print).

Personally, I prefer books both from a content perspective and an intrinsic value perspective. With that said, seeing a performance of an effect can make all the difference in the world. I wish more folks would bundle performance disks with their written tomes. Just so we all could have a visual record of how the originator intended for his effects to appear.
Message: Posted by: Vlad_77 (Jun 28, 2011 09:55AM)
I have a select few DVD video sets. They are well produced and I have learned from them. However, books are my thing. I love to engage and be engaged by the author and the text and I would contend that the best authors can teach even the most byzantine moves far more effectively in a book than any DVD. I am not a neo-Luddite. As a musician, my music production stations and studio equipment are bleeding edge technology. My attitude toward video DVDs stems from the fact that I learn best, i.e, more efficiently by reading and doing. I do however recognize that we all learn differently.

But Bill's point in terms of value for money is spot on and not just in terms of quantity of effects. Videos are constrained by the tyranny of the clock and as such there is a lot the author cannot talk about due to time constraints. Books afford the author and the reader - the partnership in a mini constructivist learning environment - the chance to have a dialog about theory, about the "why" of an effect as opposed to just the how.

Spackle, while your idea IDEALLY is ideal (:P) on a more prosaic level we need to bear in mind that producing a quality magic book is costly in itself. Bundling a well shot DVD would be IMHO quite prohibitive cost wise. Authors of magic books do not reap the gazillions of bucks that J.K. Rowling or Stephen King harvest. Put into perspective, a best seller in the magic world is approximately 1000 copies.

Swann, I applaud your desire to keep our secrets but selling magic books and DVDs at an extremely high price would actually HURT magic. We know that many brick and mortar shops have gone under with the explosion of the Internet. However, even the Internet folk aren't becoming wealthy from selling either even though their operating costs are MUCH lower than a brick and mortar. I know that the subtext of your argument is that if magic media were sold at a higher price then our secrets would be out of the hands of the merely curious. In practicality that doesn't work. As was mentioned earlier, books - and I mean HUGE books are now being scanned and put on torrent sites and other P2P services. DVDs are everywhere on usenet which is MUCH harder to police. If you can imagine the topic you WILL find it on usenet and as I am sure you know, most people are not as aware of usenet or how to use it.

However there IS one type of DVD that offers even more bang for the buck than even books: compilation DVDs! Chris Wasshuber, Martin Breese, and Todd Karr have scanned and sell complete runs of some of the legendary magic periodicals. These periodicals are absolute treasures for the serious student and the advantages of these are that the cost is realistic and perhaps more importantly the digital compilation will not suffer from acid degradation that the vast majority of periodicals do. I want to LEARN and EXPLORE these great periodicals but I do not want to have to wear archiver's gloves to do so. Imagine wanting to read the very first issue of The Sphinx. Periodicals from 1902 do not age well.

Splice: WONDERFUL sarcasm!! The subtext is a great, excoriating assessment of the "I want it now" mindset. Kudos.

Before this gets buried elsewhere I think I should say something about card effects ;)

In the New Tops DVD compilation you get GREAT card magic from Nick Trost as well as the complete M.I.N.T. and L.I.N.T. [N.B. This of course is true of the other compilations as well. I just wanted to insert a card bit and The New Tops popped to mind.]

Finally, why is the name Lorayne red underlined as misspelled on The Cafť. I think that the coders need to add the names of our V.I.P.s to the system parser!!

Ahimsa,
Vlad
Message: Posted by: fonda57 (Jun 28, 2011 10:45AM)
One reason I think dvd's are so popular now is that it doesn't take much to watch a dvd, whereas reading a book takes time and thought and you need to be able to see in your mind what the effect should be and how to approach it and make it your own and to carry the creativity into your own work.

I also like books because you can simply carry one around and read it anytime. Sure, some of them are no good, but you have to be thoughtfull in what you purchase. For example, chances are extremely high that if you were to purchase a Harry Lorayne book that it would be great. The books I've purchased of Richard Kaufman's have all been good. I'm fully expecting the upcoming Al Schneider book to be a good one.

I don't really need to say anything after Vlad's great post, but I thought I'd weigh in on this, for what it's worth.
Message: Posted by: Leland (Jun 28, 2011 11:18AM)
With DVD's you get to see the performer in action. Not sure that's a good thing. When I perform the effect that I learned from a DVD, I have a tendency to have that performer performance in my head. So as Iím going through the routine I tend to take on that performer actions and style.

When I learn from a book I only learn the trick. Now itís up to me to make the routine my own.

That having been said, I do own lots of DVDís because itís easy to sit down view them and learn it. I know Iím lazy. There's good DVD's and some bad one's. I own both types.
Message: Posted by: lynnef (Jun 28, 2011 05:50PM)
I own some DVD's with tricks I don't even plan on performing. But I love to watch the performance, anyway. The patter, the back and forth, etc. Yeah, the effects are in the books, but I love the way Juan Tamariz says "NO NO NO WAIT WAIT" as he enhances cards across or how Harry Lorayne says "Now were coming in to miracle territory folks" in one of his HaLo effects. But I do feel Bill's frustration with some DVD's, esp when you might buy it for only one effect; and don't really care for the performance all that much. Lynn
Message: Posted by: R.E. Byrnes (Jun 28, 2011 06:24PM)
The idea that essentially applying an "exposure tax" on DVDs and books would somehow "protect secrets" is patently absurd, not least because those whose interest is solely to find out secrets will disproportionately obtain them through the illicit downloads that are available for everything that can be converted to a digital format, which is to say everything. There are few more futile expenditures of energy than lamenting exposure that is incapable of being contained.
Message: Posted by: TomasB (Jun 29, 2011 12:46AM)
Bill, I'm also curious about the name of the DVD.

Thanks,

/Tomas
Message: Posted by: TomasB (Jun 30, 2011 12:49AM)
Bill? Or does anyone else know which DVD he was talking about?

Yes, I've PMed him the question and he read it several days ago.

/Tomas
Message: Posted by: Vlad_77 (Jun 30, 2011 01:28AM)
I wrote about DVD compilations and wanted to comment that I just received The Goldston Journals today from Todd Karr. 9000 pages of magic wonderfulness are aching to be browsed. I know that in my life +10 more that I will never get through my library. That said, there is a joy in not only randomly browsing monster compilations like the above, or The Gen, Magic Wand, The Sphinx, etc., but also, when I see something referenced in the literature, I like to go back and read the effect before the improvement.

As far as video DVDs, I am having a BLAST with Malone Meets Marlo. This is truly worth the money. Like lyneff I also like to watch the performances as entertainment. Still, nothing will ever replace printed magic for me - analog or digital. :)
Message: Posted by: Josh Chaikin (Jun 30, 2011 01:39AM)
DVD compilations are amazing, when I was in Vegas a friend advised I pick up The Jinx & The Phoenix at Houdini's, which I did - $20 apiece. Holy crap! A wealth of information, DECADES worth of articles, essays and effects, for a little more than the cost of a one trick DVD.

It's amazing to see that even in the 50's magicians were quibbling about the same sort of malfeasance in the art that we are today. (Not to mention the patent misogony in some of the descriptions).
Message: Posted by: Hugokhf (Jun 30, 2011 12:39PM)
That's why it is better to choose DVD's with entertaining performance (love bill malone, LMAO every time I watch it)
Message: Posted by: IllusionsMichael (Jun 30, 2011 12:57PM)
As someone without a natural gift for presentation and performance, I can say that if it weren't for DVDs, I would get caught twice as often, and my effects would be half as entertaining.

DVDs are great for getting a feel for how body relaxation works to misdirect, and how looking up at an audience works, and of course: angles! Books are great for getting in-depth descriptions of positioning and timing, for encouraging creativity, and for getting more material per dollar. They each have their pros and cons.
Message: Posted by: JoeHohman (Jul 1, 2011 12:42PM)
Josh, I believe you meant to say "CD ROM compilations," right?

I agree with you totally, I just don't want students unfamiliar with Jinx or Phoenix be confused....
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Aug 2, 2011 03:08PM)
Vlad wrote: the digital compilation will not suffer from acid degradation that the vast majority of periodicals do.
True. But DVD formats change and in 10 years may be as dated as video tapes -VHS and Beta versions - have become. So, video must be updated in its format [anyone got an 8mm film machine and using it nowadays - ha!].
On the other hand, while print media can suffer degradation, paper quality can/is being improved, and reprints of classics happen from time to time.

Anyway, its not a case of DVDs or Books, really. They both have their uses.
I find books a lot easy to transcribe from than DVDs when I am writing up the personalised routines that I develop. '
Somewhat strangely, by the time I have worked on mastering a trick and working out the routine I will use the written record is somewhat un-needed. Still, I like to go back and read my routine, correct it. And for sharing with others, the subtle instructions, can be conveyed easily in a computer file - but again, these need to be updated as the years go by, or they will become unreadable.
One thing about books, we can still "read" books that are hundreds of years old. I doubt that any computerised files - written, audio, or video - will be in 'readable' -as in format, rather than the content of them - even 20 years later.
Message: Posted by: R.E. Byrnes (Aug 2, 2011 04:38PM)
I can't say that I've found "acid degeneration" to be an actual problem with any book I've owned, ever. and at least the books I own are constrained by the same "tyranny" of having to end at some point, just as DVDs are.
Message: Posted by: Cain (Aug 2, 2011 04:55PM)
Book snobs.

DVDs are superior to books because magic is a visual medium. The most important part is not the explanation but the performance, which is loaded with subtext.

The thing about books is they have a [i]mystique[/i]. Take for instance the Bible. Most influential book in history. I guarantee you that if God ever put
out the DVD (or the Blu-Ray!) we'd see either see a lot of disappointment (no chops) or an unholy number of converts.

Books leave more to the imagination, allowing room for us to romanticize what could have been.
Message: Posted by: 1tepa1 (Aug 2, 2011 05:24PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 17:55, Cain wrote:
Book snobs.

DVDs are superior to books because magic is a visual medium. The most important part is not the explanation but the performance, which is loaded with subtext.

The thing about books is they have a [i]mystique[/i]. Take for instance the Bible. Most influential book in history. I guarantee you that if God ever put
out the DVD (or the Blu-Ray!) we'd see either see a lot of disappointment (no chops) or an unholy number of converts.

Books leave more to the imagination, allowing room for us to romanticize what could have been.
[/quote]

I am afraid we would see some absolutely horrible stuff in there.
Message: Posted by: bobn3 (Aug 2, 2011 06:44PM)
I am enough of an "old fart" that I remember back when magic VHS tapes first came out. They sold in the $80 to $90 range (and some even higher). I find it difficult crying the blues about $30 to $40 on DVDs.

Bob Phillips
Message: Posted by: tedski (Aug 2, 2011 06:52PM)
It's not snobbery; books are more subject to interpretation which can lead to variation (sometimes good, sometimes not). You might be able to argue the point that a person can take a concept from a dvd and create a variation, but it is my observation that there are too many lazy people that clone performances from dvds.
Message: Posted by: Cain (Aug 2, 2011 08:30PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 19:52, tedski wrote:
It's not snobbery; books are more subject to interpretation which can lead to variation (sometimes good, sometimes not).[/quote]

In other words, the transmission of information suffers greater distortion. While it's true that some of the
most inventive discoveries in history are the result of accident, I don't think that's a compelling argument
in the case of instructional materials. What if a book reviewer said, "The tricks are complicated and not very
good. Thankfully, the writing is terrible, so people attempting to figure these things out may accidentally
hit upon something better."

[quote]You might be able to argue the point that a person can take a concept from a dvd and create a variation, but it is my observation that there are too many lazy people that clone performances from dvds.
[/quote]

So? This is perfectly acceptable for beginners performers still searching for their voice.* That's how almost
everyone begins, in magic or stand-up; after awhile, they develop their aesthetic and do their own thing. Fewer
people would even get to that stage if not for the momentum gained from effective, inspiring instruction early on.

Besides, magicians are always working on their own takes. It's that old light bulb joke about how the other hundred
magicians "explain their variation." Magicians will always make changes to a presentation or method. If more
people, learn more things then more connections will be made. Compare performers at all levels in the early 70s to
the early 90s versus the early 90s to the present day.

An advantage of books is that the material is (often) easier to relearn. I rarely go back and watch explanation
videos because they're a pain. Also, performances are usually more cringe-worthy. Carefully edited books also
emphasize key points that get blabbed over in an improvised explanation. But attentive students will study the
performance.

*Which is not to suggest all professionals have a voice: they recycle the same stock lines, and still earn a comfortable
living, which means they're not even going to bother searching for a unique perspective.
Message: Posted by: R.E. Byrnes (Aug 2, 2011 09:45PM)
DVD's are obviously useful in showing the ultimate performance, which can be pretty opaque in some books. books might "have a mystique" to illiterates. but they are just an alternate way to present information. apart from allowing people to ply a "traditional" or more modern persona, the either-or debates about books versus DVDs make magicians look pretty fatuous, and unable to accommodate the simple idea that both are obviously useful mediums
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 2, 2011 09:50PM)
Im wondering why many of you are using an apostrophe to pluralize DVD.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 2, 2011 09:50PM)
Im wondering why many of you are using an apostrophe to pluralize DVD.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 2, 2011 09:51PM)
Im also wondering why I double posted.
Message: Posted by: bobon (Aug 3, 2011 07:26AM)
[quote]
On 2011-06-28 10:55, Vlad_77 wrote:
We know that many brick and mortar shops have gone under with the explosion of the Internet. However, even the Internet folk aren't becoming wealthy from selling either even though their operating costs are MUCH lower than a brick and mortar. I know that the subtext of your argument is that if magic media were sold at a higher price then our secrets would be out of the hands of the merely curious. In practicality that doesn't work. As was mentioned earlier, books - and I mean HUGE books are now being scanned and put on torrent sites and other P2P services. DVDs are everywhere on usenet which is MUCH harder to police. If you can imagine the topic you WILL find it on usenet and as I am sure you know, most people are not as aware of usenet or how to use it.
[/quote]
Recenly I bought a book from HankLee shop which cost $70 and I paid $15 just for postage to get it in India.Think If I want to build a library like some of you ..then.. !!?? I can pay that much xtra amount for a single book but for bulk !!.In torrent sites you don't have to pay anything to download a book but I think people who really bought the book,scanned with care and then make it available to everyone who are they??And if say rare books like marlo magazine its available scanned copy as pdf which has signature of Ed Marlo.Unbeliveable!!Its not easy to collect a book like that and just for fun its scanned and posted.

All I mean to say that the people who are originally buying those materials(books and DVD's) are the creator of those torrent files/piracy.(obviously not all of them).

Prabir
Message: Posted by: Vlad_77 (Aug 3, 2011 09:12AM)
Prabir,

Obviously one COULD build a MASSIVE library through torrents and usenet IF one wishes to be complicit in an illegal activity.

What is really puzzling to me is the fact that these people aren't making any money from it either - thank heaven. But what I mean is that these people are buying books, scanning them, and posting them, and anybody can download them for the cost of a usenet service and/or torrent subscription. Even if I adopt a criminal state of mind, I cannot see the purpose in it.

These people cannot justify doing for the faux noble reason of "bringing the knowledge to the people." Pirates never have such noble justifications. The simple fact is the obverse: they simply do not value knowledge. If it can be pirated then it is fair game. Yet Lybrary.com, The Miracle Factory, and Martin Breese offer digital volumes of great books at a very low cost and it feels good to support these endeavors because people like Chris, Todd, and Martin DO care. Just this year alone DIGITALLY I have bought: The New Conjurer's Magazine, Club 71, The Goldston Journals, and a bunch of stuff from Cameron Francis, Peter Duffie, and many others. Hard copy books thus far this year have included The New Jinx, Look Ma No Hands, Al Schneider Magic, Avant Cards, Mind Warp, Pasteboard Presentations, The Essential Dai Vernon, and a lot more.

I am not rich - FAR from it. I live in a rust belt city and I am a graduate student. Because my funds are limited and because I LOVE this art, I value these digital and analog resources. But I hasten to add that wealthy members who can buy ANYTHING and do ALSO care so it is not about financial resources as much as it is about valuing the the knowledge we gain through legal purchase as well as the moral satisfaction of knowing we did not steal from the author.

Piracy has made its way even into music production! There is a piece of software that I can buy that allows me to clone the complete operating system, patches, and architecture of ANY synthesizer on the market. The software is legal and its intended purpose was for musicians to have a back up of their synths' operating systems and patches in case of a major studio disaster. But here is the REAL scam: Some people buy this software then go to a dealer like Sam Ash or Guitar Center. Each of these big retailers offer a 30 day try it before you buy it program. It's a great program because synthesizers and music workstations and production stations are very high ticket items and as a musician, I want to know that whatever I am adding to my rig suits my needs as a musician. But, these programs are in danger now because some people are bringing the instruments home, using the software to clone, and then returning the instrument. These "musicians" are pirating complete musical instruments!!

It is sad that pirates exist but no matter what we do, we cannot stop them. The best we can do is to resist these torrents. Oh BELIEVE me Prabir, I have looked around these sites and I could build a library on a scale beyond my wildest dreams and it can be very tempting. But will I be able to look at myself in the mirror knowing I have stolen the hard work of these authors? NO. And really, I would not value these works because they were so easily gotten.

I especially admire your post because you spent the extra money to buy a book that is not available in India. And you will value that book! The price one would pay for torrenting books and DVDs is a steep one really because morality transcends mere currency.

@Cain,

I agree with R.E. Byrnes that such a comparison between books and DVDs is indeed fatuous. The BEST argument any individual can make is that for that particular individual a certain medium is more conducive to learning than other extant media. The argument that DVD is the best medium for learning magic because they are visual and magic is visual just doesn't hold water. Music is aural yet music theory is taught largely through books and through practice. One could interpret from your assertion that a musician would be better off listening to audio CDs to learn music theory. Good luck with that. I can just imagine a CD where the narrator is attempting to explain even the simplest things such as the difference between 7ths and major 7ths.

While narrative prose I would agree is more subject to distortion due to navigating extremely complex narrative themes such as those found in Chaucer, Faulkner, etc., expository prose - magic books in this case - do not IMHO suffer the same distortion. Expository prose instructs. When for instance I was learning HaLo Aces from Rim Shots, there was no way I could misinterpret Harry Lorayne's instructions.

I DO believe however that books offer much more in terms of the "why" than just the "how." It would be hard for me to imagine Darwin Ortiz's Strong Magic or Designing Miracles for instance as videos. It could be done of course at great expense. Pro rated such an endeavor would be the equivalent of the budget for The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films.

Books and DVDs work very well as adjuncts to one another and even though my preference is books, I do recognize the intrinsic value of the educational possibilities of DVDs.

Ahimsa,
Vlad
Message: Posted by: R.E. Byrnes (Aug 3, 2011 09:26AM)
"It would be hard for me to imagine Darwin Ortiz's Strong Magic or Designing Miracles for instance as videos."

great point
Message: Posted by: Indigo (Aug 3, 2011 10:10AM)
I own books and DVDs and don't really understand this compulsion to assert one is better than the other. I wouldn't give up either one.
Message: Posted by: Robert P. (Aug 3, 2011 10:14AM)
I used to go back and forth on which I preferred more, books or DVDs, they both have their pros and cons. But now, I have just learned to equally enjoy both. Just as Spackle mentioned, I think it would be great if we could see a visual performance of the effects of the book. In the past year, I saw some performances on youtube by a magician (I can provide the links later if needed, I don't have access to youtube right now) on the books "5x5 Japan", "New Magic of Japan" and "By Forces Unseen". It was wonderful, and it made me research and buy the books.

And I got to thinking, I've got so many books as is, what material am I missing out on just because I'm too lazy to sit down and start working through the book? Well, the biggest factor for most of us is time. With a visual medium, we have the advantage of watching and enjoying the effect for ourselves, we can then determine if we want to spend the effort and time to learn it.

I like the way John Bannon does it, where he offers the choice of a DVD or book. Even with his packet fractal magic, you can see what the performance is like before purchasing. As others have mentioned, producing a DVD is expensive, but providing a performance of the effects of the book on youtube would help in getting the book more exposure. Not that I am at all complaining, just what would be a perfect world for me, haha.

[quote]
On 2011-06-27 15:29, Swann101 wrote:
Dvd's and magic books are selling too cheap in my opinion, the prices should be much higher to protect our secrets more!
[/quote]

I see a lot of statements like this in here and I guess Iím on the other side of the spectrum. Unfortunately, many of these DVDs and books are already out there on the internet being pirated. Even with that being the case, most people arenít going out there and actually using or even reading the information. And the ones that do know the secret arenít doing anything with it most of the time to where it would hamper someone else from performing it. The Ambitious Card Routine is still going strong today, I wouldnít lose sleep about my favorite trick on pg. xx of book ďxxxxx xxxxxxĒ being performed by others.

For me, magic books and DVDs are 'too expensive'. But thatís the case because of supply and demand. Just as was mentioned in this thread, a best seller in magic might only be around 1000 copies. So understandably it is priced the way it is. And I am just being selfish when I say they are too expensive for me since I canít get enough. :)

Magic is something I do only as a hobby. With so many books and DVDs already on my shelf, I will probably only attempt to learn less than 5% of what I have. And Iím OK with that, the other reason I canít stop purchasing the stuff is because it entertains me. I love it. Sometimes I just have to know how it is done, and when I find out it makes me appreciate the thinking and creativity of the artist that much more.

Anyways, sorry about all of the rambling. But before I drop out, Vlad, can you tell me more about these New Tops DVD compilations that you speak of?...
Message: Posted by: Cain (Aug 3, 2011 11:07AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-03 10:12, Vlad_77 wrote:
@Cain,

I agree with R.E. Byrnes that such a comparison between books and DVDs is indeed fatuous. The BEST argument any individual can make is that for that particular individual a certain medium is more conducive to learning than other extant media. The argument that DVD is the best medium for learning magic because they are visual and magic is visual just doesn't hold water. Music is aural yet music theory is taught largely through books and through practice.[/quote]

Vlad,

My original post included this exact caveat but I excised it on the consideration that this was bleedingly obvious. I mean, we are talking about trick DVDs,
not theory DVDs. The distinction only underscores the point.

[quote]While narrative prose I would agree is more subject to distortion due to navigating extremely complex narrative themes such as those found in Chaucer, Faulkner, etc., expository prose - magic books in this case - do not IMHO suffer the same distortion. Expository prose instructs. When for instance I was learning HaLo Aces from Rim Shots, there was no way I could misinterpret Harry Lorayne's instructions.[/quote]

False. One of the most common arguments for books -- and we've seen it here -- is that people misinterpret them. Furthermore, I would
dispute your distinction between narrative and exposition; the former's easier for us to understand because it deals with story.
Indeed, this is precisely how humans have passed along hard fought moral wisdom over the years (see for instance, the Bible).

However, it's easy to make nonsense of your claim. When it comes to constructing furniture, or teaching someone how to change their oil,
which medium is easier to learn from, a DVD/youtube video or an instruction manual? I suppose a key difference in the realm of conjuring
is that that the people who create instruction manuals are generally much better writers than magicians.

I agree people learn best by doing -- which is why videos have enabled more people to progress further than ever before. Monkey see,
monkey do. Now, does this suggest we can do away with all our books? I don't see how I've opened myself up to that straw man. The fact
is there's a lot of stuff hiding in print (a fact so obvious that it's a cliche).

As for this business about how books have mystique only to illiterate -- that's just ridiculous. I'd wager the sentiment is far more
among bibliophiles.
Message: Posted by: Hugokhf (Aug 3, 2011 11:28AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-03 11:14, RobertP wrote:

the other reason I canít stop purchasing the stuff is because it entertains me. I love it. Sometimes I just have to know how it is done, and when I find out it makes me appreciate the thinking and creativity of the artist that much more.

[/quote]

cannot agree more.
You just NEED to know how it is done or else you cannot sleep!!
and also evertime recieving a book or anything from the mail makes me so excited!
Message: Posted by: R.E. Byrnes (Aug 3, 2011 02:47PM)
"Im wondering why many of you are using an apostrophe to pluralize DVD."

Because it's a common mistake; because lots of auto-correct programs presume the possessive is intended; and because there's no confusion or loss of meaning, and it's generally not worth takingnthe time to carefully proofread and revise message bored post's
Message: Posted by: clamon86 (Aug 3, 2011 10:39PM)
If you spend your time learning by DVD, you will spend your time copying other magicians.

If you learn by book, and go through and read you what you already have, you will become an excellent magician.

Just the process alone of reading and understanding is infinitely more powerful and important than watching a dvd no matter what its from.

From the point of a view of a performer, and a magical artist working hard on his material there are about 10 dvds that are excellent to learn from. That's it!

1. Bill Malone- on the loose
2. Tommy Wonder- visions of wonder
3. Don Alan- magic ranch
4. Tom Mullica- tom foolery
5. Joel Bauer- hustle hustle
6. Michael Ammar- anything
7. Jeff McBride- anything


If these are the only titles you have, you're fine. Why? Because you learn more than just tricks. You learn characterization, routining, and some of the best magic ever.

Books, over 100.
Also another point. Even if you read a bad magic book, reading alone is great practice.

Everything else steps into mediocrity.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 3, 2011 10:45PM)
Gee, sorry I couldn't be of help, clamon86.
Message: Posted by: wsduncan (Aug 3, 2011 11:05PM)
[quote]
On 2011-06-27 15:02, Harry Lorayne wrote:
I probably did something wrong!! Just checked Vol. 1 of my 4-vol. "Best Ever" DVD set, and - there are over 30 items, plus - "Over 40 sleights fully exlained!" it says on the cover. Cost to the retail buyer is much less that $1 an item. The cover of Vol. 4 says "30 Routines! 14 Sleights Fully Explained" (and there's an hour of me doing memory stuff in front of a lay audience. I did SOMETHING wrong! HL.

PS: Is Splice serious or is he joking?
[/quote]

Yeah Harry, but consider how much more stuff is in one volume of your own magazine (for example), and DVDs are still WAY more expensive.

DVDs to provide things books don't like pacing, inflection, and timing. Plus you get to SEE the trick before you learn how it's done, which is often very helpful. Mike Skinner used to fool the crap out of people wiht stuff from Royal Road because the tricks READ like a walk through the supermarket, but when you SAW them you were fooled and entertained because all you saw was the effect, not the method.
Message: Posted by: Indigo (Aug 3, 2011 11:07PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-03 15:47, R.E. Byrnes wrote:
"Im wondering why many of you are using an apostrophe to pluralize DVD."

Because it's a common mistake; because lots of auto-correct programs presume the possessive is intended; and because there's no confusion or loss of meaning, and it's generally not worth takingnthe time to carefully proofread and revise message bored post's
[/quote]

Not worth it if you have no regard for the person who has to read it.
Message: Posted by: ftlum (Aug 3, 2011 11:23PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 19:44, bobn3 wrote:
I am enough of an "old fart" that I remember back when magic VHS tapes first came out. They sold in the $80 to $90 range (and some even higher). I find it difficult crying the blues about $30 to $40 on DVDs.

Bob Phillips
[/quote]

$80 VHS tapes. That's what I remember and I'm not even that "farty"... yet :P.
Message: Posted by: R.E. Byrnes (Aug 4, 2011 06:00AM)
"Not worth it if you have no regard for the person who has to read it."

it's all about having regard for you. How many ways do you have to feel smart, other than pointing out the misuse of apostrophes?

(Your sentence is missing a verb, by the way. But like the misused possessive, your intent is easy to figure out, and it really has nothing to do with "regard.")
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 4, 2011 09:19AM)
WSDuncan: And Mike Skinner learned 'em from Royal Road - not from DVDs!! But, this is not the kind of discussion in which I can be of help. Really. What I can point out is that I can't think of how many thousands all over the world are using stuff I put in books - long before there was anything like videos or DVDs. I'm talking about people telling me that most of the stuff they do professionally they learned from my BOOKS, people telling me that my BOOKS started them in magic, and so on. And, I don't want to sound immodest (although modesty is becoming a drag) but I'm told that I'm pretty good with a deck of cards - and there sure as heck were no visual aids OF ANY KIND when I learned card magic. So, hey, I'm not knocking DVDs - currently, at least for the last decade or so, people tell me the same about my videos and DVDs. So,to each his own, I guess.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Aug 4, 2011 10:51AM)
I have to disagree with anyone that says if you're watching DVDs, you're copying the performers.
That's not the fault of the DVD - that's the fault of the person watching it. If you are unable to watch a DVD without copying the performance, it means you're not thinking hard enough. There are a TON of books that have scripts and lines included in the routines. So why wouldn't someone reading the book just follow the patter that comes with it? Sounds very similar to me.

Personally, I am a visual learner. I'll read books for information, but I don't do well with them. I prefer to see the motions of what's happening. I had a terrible time when I was first starting out, trying to learn Triumph from Stars of Magic. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that book - it's one of my favorites. But I had to SEE the routine in order to understand how to really do it. And then I put my own unique spin on the presentation.

While I own a lot of books, I use them as an additional resource and not my main source of information. I think DVDs get a bad rap because it's assumed that the people that use them might just be lazy. I'm not lazy - I'm a visual learner. It's like telling someone with a limp that they should use the stairs because it's better for them. Sure they CAN use the stairs, but it's going to take a lot longer to get to the top, and the elevator will get them there just the same, without the struggle and frustration.

I'm also glad that Mary mentioned the L&L audiences. I personally love those DVDs. Yes, the audiences are excited and having a good time. But I've watched performances where the audience just sits there with their eyes glazed over, completely bored. Maybe that says something about the performer. Maybe it says something about the routine. Regardless of what it is, however, it doesn't get me excited about performing. I see the L&L discs and it makes me WANT to work on those routines. It gets me enthusiastic about rehearsing and performing. I don't see anything wrong with that.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 4, 2011 10:55AM)
Completely agree, Andrew. But, and this is just personal curiousity - do you have any of my books? Just wondering if you'd feel the same about them. I'm pleased that people, many people, have told me over the decades, that when they read my explanations they practically [b]can[/b] "see" the effect in action. Just curious. H.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Aug 4, 2011 11:13AM)
I must admit I don't - and I know that different writers will say things in different ways, and not all are written the same. I certainly don't mean to paint every author with the same brush.

Given that I am familiar with the basics of card handling but am in no way proficient with knuckle-busting moves, which of your books would you recommend? I would certainly be interested in exploring your particular style.

By the way, I'd mentioned you to my mom a few months back and not long afterward she read something about you in Time magazine. Pretty impressive stuff :)
Message: Posted by: Slide (Aug 4, 2011 04:10PM)
Andrew,

Personally I think if you don't use books as a learning tool and rely primarily on DVD's you are doing yourself a huge disservice and it will hamper your progress, in my opinion.

Reading magic books is a learned thing: like learning to read a blueprint. It is a teachable skill that gets better with practice.Anytime I see something performed on a dvd, I always go back to the written description to learn it.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Aug 4, 2011 04:24PM)
I don't see it as a disservice - simply a different style of learning. And while I LOVE to read novels, I don't enjoy learning from magic books. I thoroughly enjoy the learning process with DVDs. If I'm not having fun doing it, I've lost the whole point of learning and rehearsing.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 4, 2011 04:30PM)
Andrew: That, of course, was my point. You can't, shouldn't, lump all books/writers into the same statements unless you know them all. Now, when I say "all" obviously I don't mean hundreds or thousands, but certainly current ones, and THOSE THAT ARE KNOWN RIGHT NOW - like me. You might be surprised, and pleased to find that you can "do well" with my books. Now, just for those who will start to pontificate about me plugging my own books - YES, I am, because I believe it will help Andrew, and make him look at things a bit differently - as will others who may think as he does.

Now, Andrew, try this: Go to my magic website (third address listed under this post, with the word "magic" in it) and click on "Magic Books." Check out the LORAYNE: THE CLASSIC COLLECTION Volumes 1, 2 and 3. (If you click on the picture of each book you get to see a bit more about it.) I'll make a strong definite statement - You would LOVE those books! Volume 1 would probably be best for you - as would the Best Of Friends volumes. Anyway, check 'em out. Then if you have any questions - or to order - please go to my personal email address (first one listed under this post, with the word "earthlink" in it). If you purchase more than one book at a time, I may give you a small discount. Anyway, nice to talk with you. Best - Harry L.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 4, 2011 04:32PM)
Just saw your post above that came through as I was writing mine above. Read my books - You WILL "have fun doing it" - that is, while you're learning. H.
Message: Posted by: bblumen (Aug 4, 2011 04:32PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-04 07:00, R.E. Byrnes wrote:
"Not worth it if you have no regard for the person who has to read it."

it's all about having regard for you. How many ways do you have to feel smart, other than pointing out the misuse of apostrophes?

(Your sentence is missing a verb, by the way. But[b],[/b] like the misused possessive, your intent is easy to figure out, and it really has nothing to do with "regard.")
[/quote]


You missed a comma. I fixed it for you.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 4, 2011 04:33PM)
You missed the point.
Message: Posted by: Vlad_77 (Aug 4, 2011 05:53PM)
Anyways, sorry about all of the rambling. But before I drop out, Vlad, can you tell me more about these New Tops DVD compilations that you speak of?...[snip]

Hi RobertP,

Since I have created a thread in Secret Sessions for all of us to share discussions about effects found in magic's great periodicals, not only can I talk about them but you can participate! (Yes, I know, cheap advertising!!)

Many of magic's great journals have been made into compilations. Some such as Apocalypse, MAGICK, and Trapdoor are availabe only as hard copy. Others such as Spell-Binder, Hierophant, Kabbala, Hugard's Magic Monthly, The Jinx, the Phoenix, and quite a few more are available in either digital OR hard copy.

Then there are the MAMMOTH ones that unless you are a collector and have the bucks, are thankfully available in DVD format for a wonderfully low cost.

But you asked specifically about the New Tops so I will focus there.

As I am sure you already know, The Tops was published by Abbott's Magic in Colon, MI. The Original Tops weighs in at 8400 pages and ran from the 1930s to the 1950s. In 1961 it became The New Tops and ran from 1961 to 1994 - over 20,000 pages!

The contributors to The Tops/New Tops is nothing short of amazing. Nick Trost for instance ran a card column for most of the life of The New Tops. Two complete books have been culled from The New Tops (the M.I.N.T. volumes). These are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The Original Tops can be found at: http://miraclefactory.net/zenstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_28&products_id=62

The New Tops can be found at: http://miraclefactory.net/zenstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_28&products_id=57

Ahimsa,
Vlad

PS: To Cain, I will answer your post. But in short, interpretation and comprehension are quite different. Your argument centers on comprehension. Difficult narrative prose defies mere comprehension. Rather than clutter the thread, I would love to discuss this in PM with you! ;)
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 4, 2011 07:34PM)
Impossible to do that with Cain, Vlad. He's a "clutterer."
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 4, 2011 07:57PM)
The real secrets of magic are in books. What an author can convey with the written word is far beyond what he can convey in person or on video. To merely say that they are equal teaching tools and you choose dvds over books is simply not valid in any field of study. You can listen to Stephen Hawking speak for hours. And you can take notes. And ask him questions. But if you truly want ti study his work in depth, you must study what he has taken the time to put on paper.
The great John Carney has much to say about this in his writings.
But I guess the video guys wouldnt know that.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Aug 4, 2011 09:14PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-04 20:57, magicfish wrote:
The real secrets of magic are in books. What an author can convey with the written word is far beyond what he can convey in person or on video. To merely say that they are equal teaching tools and you choose dvds over books is simply not valid in any field of study.
[/quote]

Depending upon the subject at hand, this isn't the case.

When it comes to things like theory, explanations behind routine construction, elaboration of ideas and opinions, extra nuances on moves, etc. books offer a more efficient way of conveying the information. When it comes to the way techniques should look, however, books are of little help. One may think they know how a pass should look after reading a great description, but nothing compares to seeing the pass done well by somebody.

What's more, watching performances is vital. In no other art form is it considered a good idea to not be exposed directly to models, and since magic is a live performance art, we need to see performances in action. If you want to be a novelist, "how to write" books should only be seen as a supplement to reading as many novels as possible. If you want to be a dancer, you need to see people dancing. If you want to be a singer or a musician, you have to listen to music.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 4, 2011 09:55PM)
I disagree. Yes, seeing a demonstration of a move can be very helpful, but a talented author can absolutely create an image in your head as to how it should look. As to watching performances, I believe this goes without saying. I never implied show business aspirants shouldnt watch other showman. Of course they should. But whats more important than how a sleight should look, in my opinion, is the timing the motivation, the direction, the intent etc.
Take Carneys Book of Secrets, or Vernons essays, or Greater Magicor the Fitzkee Trilogy. These books on dvd would not carry a fraction of the weight they carry now. Yes seeing Tommy Wonder perform on tape is awe inspiring. But to truly study his magic from the inside out, his thoughts must be read.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Aug 4, 2011 10:30PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-04 22:55, magicfish wrote:
I disagree. Yes, seeing a demonstration of a move can be very helpful, but a talented author can absolutely create an image in your head as to how it should look.
[/quote]

When it comes to the pass -- and specifically how it should look from the audience's point of view -- I've yet to read a single paragraph that's anywhere near as helpful as watching it done live.

[quote]
But whats more important than how a sleight should look, in my opinion, is the timing the motivation, the direction, the intent etc.
[/quote]

Well, I'd say those things are a part of how the sleight should look. Timing in particular is a very difficult topic to attack. We've got the oft-quoted Erdnase platitude and that opening chapter from Slydini in his book, but for the most part they're poor replacements for seeing it done.

[quote]
Yes seeing Tommy Wonder perform on tape is awe inspiring. But to truly study his magic from the inside out, his thoughts must be read.
[/quote]

I can agree that just watching Wonder's DVDs and ignoring the books would be a mistake if one wants to be a true student of his. But the converse of that is true as well -- if you read only the books and ignore the DVDs, then you'll be missing out a lot as well. As an example, consider that many of his thoughts on "failureffects" are centered around the way the audience perceives the failure. What better way to get more information on that than to watch his DVDs and see for yourself the way the audience perceives the failure? There are good lessons in there despite it being an L&L crowd.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Aug 4, 2011 11:16PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-04 20:57, magicfish wrote:.
The great John Carney has much to say about this in his writings.
But I guess the video guys wouldnt know that.
[/quote]
Honestly, I find this to be a rude reply. You prefer books, I prefer watching performances, seeing audience reactions and hearing what the magician has to say. Then they can refer back to the performance if they choose to. They can discuss subtle nuances that you can see IN the performance. Just because I prefer DVDs, it doesn't mean I've never read a book. In fact John is my favorite magician, and I own everything he's put out.

I have nothing AGAINST books; I have a large library and it's important to me. But I wouldn't make snide remarks about "the book guys" because they prefer books. I learn better with visuals, and enjoy them more. Others learn better with books. They are two different mediums but that doesn't mean I'm a less serious student of magic.
Message: Posted by: clamon86 (Aug 5, 2011 12:38AM)
The whole "visual learner" is a weak excuse. The point of words and language is to form pictures in your mind. If you find dvds you're only source, I call that laziness. Look at the most(among the most) successful dvds of all time, Michael Ammar card miracles, every single trick taken from a book(regardless of permission).

You only think you learn better with instant visuals because you not constrained to books. Visual learner is the same excuse for instand downloads.

As for as the legend of Harry Lorayne: that's a whole different story. His writing style is different than everyone else in that they get straight to the point while being very conversational, like he's reading to you. Almost like a "fireside chat"- political term. This is moreso in his million book on memory, which are excellent.

For me the bottom line is that there are FAR MORE excellent books than there are dvds. There are classic books, not classic dvds.

Another way to look at it: You can learn choreography, movement, and characterization from a dvd book. You learn theory, philosophy and psychology from a dvd.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Aug 5, 2011 12:52AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 01:38, clamon86 wrote:
The whole "visual learner" is a weak excuse. The point of words and language is to form pictures in your mind. If you find dvds you're only source, I call that laziness.
[/quote]
And I call this uninformed. I am not lazy - I learn differently than you do. My mother (who has a Ph. D in education and wrote her entire dissertation on different learning styles, using me as an example in her research) will tell you that different people learn in different ways. Where's your research? Or are you just rudely sharing uneducated opinions because you prefer books?

Interesting how I can be open minded and accept that books ARE useful and DO have an important place and that some people DO learn better using books...yet the book fanatics often don't get that. Do you call someone in a wheelchair lazy because they don't stand up? Just because someone has an alternative way to function in life, it doesn't mean there's something wrong with them.

Thanks for the insult though.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Aug 5, 2011 12:58AM)
Harry - I will take a look at your site and look forward to browsing through the material! I've heard nothing but good things. Thank you for the information :)
Message: Posted by: Cain (Aug 5, 2011 03:07AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 01:38, clamon86 wrote:
The whole "visual learner" is a weak excuse. The point of words and language is to form pictures in your mind. [/quote]

And how many words is an actual picture worth? How about 24 pictures a second?

I think this "visual learner" stuff is crap because what he really means is "typical learner." Our ancestors communicated long before developing language. Literacy is relatively new, and mass-literacy newer still. When you're with a real-life person you don't ask him to write down an explanation, or draw a picture. If he can demonstrate it, then he demonstrates it.

It's perfectly understandable younger people would first consume video, and not because they're lazy. If you have no idea how a convincing control is supposed to look, then it might help to see one executed in real time. Given a limp performance versus a sterile written description, I'll take the latter: "Use a convincing control to bring the selected card second from the bottom." That's much better than two minutes of blabbing. I also prefer books when it comes to tricks with elaborate set ups. A properly produced DVD should use annotations, or have shorthand somewhere on the menu, or display steps on a sidebar.

Video also exposes the fakers and bull*******s; you can find out if this person is the real deal or just talks a good game (and I'd bet money right now that if Erdnase were alive today, we'd see a significant gap between his actual chops and what his cultists would have us believe).

!@#$%^&es may know they can't write for ****, but there's nothing stopping them from pointing a camera at their crotch and uploading it to Youtube. The accesibility of video means it probably does have a higher signal-to-noise ratio versus the people who take the time to write. If you do not have the patience and discipline to write (uh) good, then you're probably not much of a thinker (though there are exceptions). Also, the very nature of writing and editing means that the trick is examined in another light, subjected to rational scrutiny. It's no coincidence the first draft of the best DVDs appeared in book form.

You can pick up things from a video that are not mentioned in books: look at how he flips over the cards, spreads, the cards, squares the cards. It's one thing for a writer to mention a "soft touch" and quite another to see it. The mannered style magicians use to pick up objects between their middle-finger and thumb is a meme contracted via the eyes. If a complete novice read an evocative description of the same action, then he may never appreciate the words. However, if you're already familiar with the movements -- which you first learned by watching -- then re-enacting the words from the page may bring you some small pleasure.

[quote]If you find dvds you're only source, I call that laziness. [/quote]

I'd call it limiting. And I'd say the same thing for someone who only learns from books. Just because video is a superior medium to convey such information does not mean that the magic DVDs should be one's only source of study. A person can recognize that, all things being equal, videos are superior to books and yet not all things are equal: books have a huge advantage in that they've been around longer. While some excellent items appear on video, nearly every good item appears somewhere in print.

More than anything else, videos allow beginners to get better quickly. Yes, they will still probably suck 3 months, 6 months, 12 months in, but they'll see results and results encourage effort. A relatively high percentage of the folks who live at the gym are the one's who take steroids. If you ate healthy and worked out for six hours a week and achieved small gains, then you might soon conclude that "this isn't worth it." But if you ate healthy and worked out for six hours and achieved incredible results, then you might wonder what would happen if you worked out eight hours a week.

If you picked all the low-hanging fruit ages ago, then you must hunt through books.

[quote]Look at the most(among the most) successful dvds of all time, Michael Ammar card miracles, every single trick taken from a book(regardless of permission).[/quote]

And magicians complained because those tricks became even more popular. That's a virtue of books: a person can establish their material without overexposing it.

Just to reiterate a major point: with a video, you get to see a performance. Yes, these environments are often contrived; a poor or affected audience reaction may cause you to overlook an item... but you're less likely to overlook it than if you read the book. Plus, if it sucks, then you can skip the explanation altogether. With a book you often have to read through most of the description before realizing either: 1) it's not for you or; 2) you cannot think of a way to make the trick workable.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 5, 2011 09:07AM)
" For every DVD you watch, read two classic books of magic ".
- John Carney, The Book of Secrets ~ Lessons For Progressive Conjuring.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Aug 5, 2011 03:21PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 10:07, magicfish wrote:
" For every DVD you watch, read two classic books of magic ".
- John Carney, The Book of Secrets ~ Lessons For Progressive Conjuring.
[/quote]

Well, I've got 11 DVDs of his in my collection. Presumably he understands their utility as well.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 5, 2011 04:33PM)
Yes he does. And he has written about it. Are his essays included in these Dvds? What I mean is, dvds can be helpful to show how moves should look. I think most of the time they are detrimental ti how an effect should look. The book is better than the movie so to speak. But what about Carneys essays about fear? about taking risks? And many other essays which in my opinion are the true secrets of magic? Does he stand for half hour in front of the camera and speak about theory?.
Or are the non readers among us missing out on

the good stuff.
What about Robert-Houdins memoires? What about the Vernon Touch?
What about Loraynes priceless Out to Lunch column? Or the first chapters of Bill Simons book?
What about getting to know the prevailing dynamic at the chicago roundtable? What about the endless bits of wisdom throughout The Magical Arts Journal or The Magic Menu? I could go on forevr I think.
If its just tricks you want, dvds might help, although I still believe books books to be far superior with regard to learning and developing effects.
But when it comes to the rest? Its all there in black and white.
Rod
Message: Posted by: bblumen (Aug 5, 2011 04:36PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-04 23:30, Andrew Musgrave wrote:

When it comes to the pass -- and specifically how it should look from the audience's point of view -- I've yet to read a single paragraph that's anywhere near as helpful as watching it done live.

[/quote]


Your reading on the move must be quite limited, or you do not comprehend what you read.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Aug 5, 2011 05:12PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 17:33, magicfish wrote:
Does he stand for half hour in front of the camera and speak about theory?.
[/quote]

Actually, in his Carney on Ramsay DVD, he spends pretty close to twenty minutes breaking down a simple coin vanish, including lots about theory.

The point's already been adequately made that text is the better format for topics related to theory, opinion, additional touches and nuances. However, if you're a sleight-of-hand artist, at some point you've got to do your move, and any training that does not include some visual model to study is at best incomplete, and at worst, stunted.

There's a great anecdote about how beginning martial artists believe that a punch is just a punch. Later, when they start to study, they start thinking that a punch is so much more than just a punch, and they put endless study into refinement and perfection. Once they reach true mastery, though, they realize that they're actually back where they started, where a punch is just a punch.

There are a variety of ways to interpret that. Mostly it's about the overanalysis of kata. At some point, when you're in the thick of it and performing, you've got to make do with the best you got, take your best shot at the effect, and learn from that.

First heard that great little tidbit... from John Carney on one of his DVDs.

[quote]
On 2011-08-05 17:36, bblumen wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-04 23:30, Andrew Musgrave wrote:

When it comes to the pass -- and specifically how it should look from the audience's point of view -- I've yet to read a single paragraph that's anywhere near as helpful as watching it done live.

[/quote]


Your reading on the move must be quite limited, or you do not comprehend what you read.
[/quote]

Oh, I've read plenty on it. Even if we set aside timing, misdirection, tension and relaxation -- you know, kinesthetic elements that need to be witnessed to properly appreciate them -- written descriptions on the pass involve some very complicated mechanics. Seeing it done live really drives home the point about how to keep all those mechanics invisible.

Let me put it to you another way, so that you can sense the gulf between the two. Say we got somebody who was totally green on the subject of the pass, and we showed them a deceptive pass executed live. In other words, they didn't sense the move. If you then gave them a written description on everything going on with the move, how do you think they'd react?
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Aug 5, 2011 05:13PM)
Who are these "non-readers?" Please point out where in this thread someone indicated that they do not read books, period.
Message: Posted by: Lance Pierce (Aug 5, 2011 06:07PM)
[quote]Personally, I am a visual learner. I'll read books for information, but I don't do well with them. I prefer to see the motions of what's happening. [/quote]

Fair enough. Everyone has preferred learning modes in which they find it easiest to learn; that's both obvious and inarguable. Let's be clear, though, that both reading and watching a DVD are visual activities. Envisioning what the words convey is a visual activity in the same way as closing your eyes and imagining a scene is a visual activity; you're thinking in pictures.

The primary difference between the two media is that reading requires active participation. The learner must envision what's being conveyed and has an active part in it. Watching a DVD, though is a passive activity. This is the primary reason that books foster creativity while DVDs foster emulation. This isn't to say that everyone who watches a DVD is merely a copycat or that anyone who reads a book is creative, only that the different activities tend to foster different things. This is also, in an indirect way, why I've said in the past that DVDs are great for imparting knowledge, and books are great for imparting understanding.

As with any learning, though, the best takes place when we don't engage only the mode that we find easiest or most effective, but when we force ourselves to use more than one mode and try to draw from the best of all of them. The magicians who really have the upper hand when it comes to advancing on what they know are the ones who intelligently use both media.

So, good luck. :)
Message: Posted by: bblumen (Aug 5, 2011 06:24PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 18:12, Andrew Musgrave wrote:

[snip]
Oh, I've read plenty on it. Even if we set aside timing, misdirection, tension and relaxation -- you know, kinesthetic elements that need to be witnessed to properly appreciate them -- written descriptions on the pass involve some very complicated mechanics. Seeing it done live really drives home the point about how to keep all those mechanics invisible.

Let me put it to you another way, so that you can sense the gulf between the two. Say we got somebody who was totally green on the subject of the pass, and we showed them a deceptive pass executed live. In other words, they didn't sense the move. If you then gave them a written description on everything going on with the move, how do you think they'd react?
[/quote]


Well, I was "totally green" when I first witnessed the pass 45 years ago. I had no clue of what caused my card to be on the top of the deck, after I had placed it into the center. I was stunned. I did not "sense" anything, other than my thought, How the hell did he do that?!.

When I begged for the secret, the gentleman who had performed this miracle, told me I had to read first, ask later.

He directed me to Ralph Read's description of the move in Tarbell.

I reacted by studying and practicing that what was divulged in those pages for months.

And, I continued to digest every written word I could. I still do.

I will argue that seeing it done cannot compare to a concerted study of the writings.
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Aug 5, 2011 08:21PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 17:33, magicfish wrote:
Or are the non readers among us missing out on

the good stuff.
What about Robert-Houdins memoires? What about the Vernon Touch?
What about Loraynes priceless Out to Lunch column? Or the first chapters of Bill Simons book?
What about getting to know the prevailing dynamic at the chicago roundtable? What about the endless bits of wisdom throughout The Magical Arts Journal or The Magic Menu? I could go on forevr I think.
If its just tricks you want, dvds might help, although I still believe books books to be far superior with regard to learning and developing effects.
But when it comes to the rest? Its all there in black and white.
Rod
[/quote]

You keep making the same mistake - assuming that people who prefer dvds are missing out because they are not reading books. They are reading books, articles, etc.... Recognizing that dvd's have certain advantages that books cannot touch in some areas does not mean they are not reading books. Everything you list above is wonderful, but it is not necessary to somehow deny that those who prefer dvds have no interest in reading them, though there will always be some who do not recognize their value.
Message: Posted by: R.E. Byrnes (Aug 5, 2011 08:33PM)
"You missed a comma. I fixed it for you."


Much appreciated.

As it was, I felt a little silly going back to the "missed a verb" move.

(Thanks for lots of great posts beyond grammar and punctuation, by the way. You always have an interesting perspective.)
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 5, 2011 08:55PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 19:24, bblumen wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 18:12, Andrew Musgrave wrote:

[snip]
Oh, I've read plenty on it. Even if we set aside timing, misdirection, tension and relaxation -- you know, kinesthetic elements that need to be witnessed to properly appreciate them -- written descriptions on the pass involve some very complicated mechanics. Seeing it done live really drives home the point about how to keep all those mechanics invisible.

Let me put it to you another way, so that you can sense the gulf between the two. Say we got somebody who was totally green on the subject of the pass, and we showed them a deceptive pass executed live. In other words, they didn't sense the move. If you then gave them a written description on everything going on with the move, how do you think they'd react?
[/quote]


Well, I was "totally green" when I first witnessed the pass 45 years ago. I had no clue of what caused my card to be on the top of the deck, after I had placed it into the center. I was stunned. I did not "sense" anything, other than my thought, How the hell did he do that?!.

When I begged for the secret, the gentleman who had performed this miracle, told me I had to read first, ask later.

He directed me to Ralph Read's description of the move in Tarbell.

I reacted by studying and practicing that what was divulged in those pages for months.

And, I continued to digest every written word I could. I still do.

I will argue that seeing it done cannot compare to a concerted study of the writings.
[/quote]
Bblumen, I could not agree with you more.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 5, 2011 09:13PM)
For the most part, ive never found a video lesson of a sleight that can come close to a written description by a good technical writer accompanied by good illustrations.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Aug 5, 2011 09:44PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 19:07, Lance Pierce wrote:
As with any learning, though, the best takes place when we don't engage only the mode that we find easiest or most effective, but when we force ourselves to use more than one mode and try to draw from the best of all of them. The magicians who really have the upper hand when it comes to advancing on what they know are the ones who intelligently use both media.
[/quote]
Makes perfect sense - and that's exactly what I do. Even though I find it more difficult and don't enjoy the process as much, I do force myself to read as much as possible when it comes to magic. For instance, I'm currently working my way through Royal Road to Card Magic, and am enjoying it. I have to say, I'm familiar with a lot of the material in the book from DVDs I've watched over the years. I've come to find that having seen those actions and explanations first, it now makes a LOT more sense to me when I read it. I've found the opposite to often be true when I read a book first - I'm unsure if I'm truly doing the move correctly and I struggle more with it. I may be executing the whole thing just fine but I don't know for sure if I haven't seen it.

Thanks for the insightful post Lance :)
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Aug 6, 2011 04:16AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 22:13, magicfish wrote:
For the most part, ive never found a video lesson of a sleight that can come close to a written description by a good technical writer accompanied by good illustrations.
[/quote]

Wait wait wait wait... hold the phone... You needed illustrations?
Message: Posted by: Adam1975 (Aug 6, 2011 05:06AM)
Surely theres no "answer" to this post.Some like books,some DVD`s.Personally,I like both,50/50 in fact.But in my opinion,sometimes,when it comes to learning a complex sleight,video is easier because you can pick on on timing and other nuances that the written word cant convey (easily,anyway).Surely we don't have to choose either.Both are good for me.
Message: Posted by: andre combrinck (Aug 6, 2011 08:45AM)
I think both DVDs and books have their place in magic. To argue which is better, is useless! Not everyone is an American. By that I mean, not all people use English as their first language. So comprehending the written word, isn't always easy for all. This is where DVDs come in handy.
I love both formats. For example, the Books of Wonder are great. But if you use the DVDs to supplement it, you can learn a lot from it. Plus, there were a few extra effects in the DVDs, which did not appear in the books.
To argue the point, would be like a musician only learning from tablature and not by music that he hears.

Harry said "Everyone to his own." And that's the way I feel.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 6, 2011 09:05AM)
Andre: Make that "To each his own." Best - HL.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Aug 6, 2011 12:48PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 19:24, bblumen wrote:
Well, I was "totally green" when I first witnessed the pass 45 years ago. I had no clue of what caused my card to be on the top of the deck, after I had placed it into the center. I was stunned. I did not "sense" anything, other than my thought, How the hell did he do that?!.
[/quote]

So... SEEING it done helped you understand and appreciate the effect that was possible by the technique?

[quote]
I will argue that seeing it done cannot compare to a concerted study of the writings.
[/quote]

I'd say that "concerted study" period is what's important. A really good student is going to seek out every possible resource that they can, regardless of format. The point is that downplaying the benefits of visual formats (drawings, photographs, video, live coaching, mirror training) makes no sense.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 6, 2011 01:05PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-06 05:16, Andrew Musgrave wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 22:13, magicfish wrote:
For the most part, ive never found a video lesson of a sleight that can come close to a written description by a good technical writer accompanied by good illustrations.
[/quote]

Wait wait wait wait... hold the phone... You needed illustrations?
[/quote]
absolutely! A good illustrator can make all the difference in the world, Andrew.
And an illustrator who knows the move well can select just the right moments of a sleight to freeze on the page. Richard Kaufman is very good at this.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Aug 6, 2011 01:24PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-06 14:05, magicfish wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-06 05:16, Andrew Musgrave wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 22:13, magicfish wrote:
For the most part, ive never found a video lesson of a sleight that can come close to a written description by a good technical writer accompanied by good illustrations.
[/quote]

Wait wait wait wait... hold the phone... You needed illustrations?
[/quote]
absolutely! A good illustrator can make all the difference in the world, Andrew.
And an illustrator who knows the move well can select just the right moments of a sleight to freeze on the page. Richard Kaufman is very good at this.
[/quote]

But why would you require a visual element, magicfish? Earlier you were talking about the power of the written word alone to put all the visuals you needed into your imagination.

[quote]
On 2011-08-04 22:55, magicfish wrote:
... a talented author can absolutely create an image in your head as to how it should look.
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 6, 2011 01:47PM)
Hang on Andrew, in my first few posts I conceded that sometimes seeing how a move looked couls be helpful. I found Gary Ouellete's companion video to his book Closeup Illusions to be very helpful in this regard.
Message: Posted by: mike greene (Aug 6, 2011 01:50PM)
A few people have used the analogy of a book being made into a film, and the book being better than the film.

However, Im not so sure this works. Take for example, the Narnia books. For me the beauty of reading the books over the film is that you can imagine Narnia to be however you want, based on what is written. We all read the description and we all imagine what it looks like, so it will be slightly different and personal to each of us.

But does this work with card sleights? Ten people may read a description of the classic pass and perform it ten different ways. The harsh reality of it is that some of those people will be doing it well and some of them won't. If certain aspects are not explained properly and we leave them to ourselves to fill in the blanks, as it were, some of us will do it wrong!

With DVDs this is not an issue, but it's also not an issue with properly described and illustrated books, The problem is that not all books (particularly old texts) are clearly descriped and/illustrated.
Message: Posted by: Cain (Aug 6, 2011 04:39PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-06 14:50, mike greene wrote:
A few people have used the analogy of a book being made into a film, and the book being better than the film.[/quote]

And it's a false analogy. First, books and films are different mediums. There are certain things books can do better than movies and vice-versa. Since film, like magic, is a visual medium, it struggles to get inside a character's head, so the writer/director is often reduced to a clumsy technique such as voice-over. Some stories are just better left to books, either because it simply "does not play" or because the book is too long, which leads to another point: the reason Hollywood adapts so many books in the first place is because each second of screen time is $$$$$, and increasingly risk-averse financiers prefer a proven pre-existing property (comic books, foreign films, true stories, old television shows).

So a better comparison than books to films would be scripts to films. Established producers and actors pass on good scripts all the time (the same way magicians overlook strong items on the page). It takes someone with "vision" to be able to see the page up on the big screen.
Here are a few lines from the script for a famous film:

[quote]It is late, the supermarket all but deserted. We are tracking
In on a fortyish man in Bermuda shorts and sunglasses at the
dairy case. He is the Dude. His rumpled look and relaxed
manner suggest a man in whom casualness runs deep.[/quote]

Strong writing, but it's not immediately obvious there's magic here.

[quote]The Dude glances furtively about and then opens a quart of
milk. He sticks his nose in the spout and sniffs.
...
The Dude, peeking over his shades, scribbles something at
the little customer's lectern. Milk beads his mustache.
...
The Dude has his Ralph's Shopper's Club card to one side and
is making out a check to Ralph's for sixty-nine cents.[/quote]

Read a script after you've seen the movie and it makes perfect sense -- the way the actors brought the characters to life, the set design, sharp editing, swelling music.

Why don't we just read the screenplays rather than watch the movies?
Message: Posted by: bblumen (Aug 6, 2011 07:04PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-06 13:48, Andrew Musgrave wrote:
[snip]

So... SEEING it done helped you understand and appreciate the effect that was possible by the technique?

[snip]
[/quote]


No. I didn't see a thing.

By not seeing, that is what led me to the books.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Aug 6, 2011 08:27PM)
Oh come on. You saw the card go into the center, you saw nothing of consequence, and then you saw the card on the top, right? The point is you were there and witnessed it. You didn't read about the event in a book somewhere.

That whole "nothing of consequence" thing counts. It's what one aims for when trying to perfect the pass.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 7, 2011 03:44PM)
I guess this pertains to this thread - for those who are at all interested, a friend has put up eight of the routines I do on Vol. 1 of my "Best Ever" 4-volume DVD set. If you want to see them, go to http://www.youtube.com/harrylorayneonvideo Click "for all" or scroll down and on the left is a list of the eight items. Hope you enjoy. Best - Harry L.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 7, 2011 05:17PM)
Want to take a moment to thank nooner (Jim Noon) for putting up that YouTube site. Harry L.
Message: Posted by: RS1963 (Aug 7, 2011 07:08PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-06 20:04, bblumen wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-06 13:48, Andrew Musgrave wrote:
[snip]

So... SEEING it done helped you understand and appreciate the effect that was possible by the technique?

[snip]
[/quote]


No. I didn't see a thing.

By not seeing, that is what led me to the books.
[/quote]

I'm not sure but I think what Andrew is trying to show you is that. From your seeing the pass done first and how it looked like nothing was done to make the card jump to the top of the deck when it happened. You obviously seen it done very well so that gave you the knowledge of what a very well executed pass should look like. That also helped you once you started reading and stuyding the pass. Andrew is not wrong in anything he was saying to you. Of course as you're going to say to me as you told Ben in another thread "False"
Message: Posted by: SteveFromSpokane (Aug 14, 2011 07:38PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-06 05:16, Andrew Musgrave wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-05 22:13, magicfish wrote:
For the most part, ive never found a video lesson of a sleight that can come close to a written description by a good technical writer accompanied by good illustrations.
[/quote]

Wait wait wait wait... hold the phone... You needed illustrations?
[/quote]

Speaking of illustrations. One of my major pet peeves is the poor quality of illustrations in books and some magic instructions.
Often I will redraw the illustrations as I happen to have a very good artistic talent too.
I mean, come on guys, find a good artist , not someone who took a art class in high school for your illustrations.

I once bought a magic trick from Hank's and the illustrations were so pitiful I sent it back to him and told him to keep it as it was no use to me.
Didn't even ask for my money back. Just told him to see if he could make out what the illustrations was trying to say. They spent more money and time on the magic ad than they did the product.