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Topic: Buying Magic (A how-to Guide)
Message: Posted by: Aus (Jan 6, 2016 08:18PM)
Buying Magic

One of the most gratifying things in magic for me is the ingenious ideas and methods that fellow magicians put out in magic shops and other outlets in there effects and the seeming boundless of creative minds that these people seem to process. To me, learning the secret and looking at the effect it creates is not only part of the fun, it creates a glimpse of the creativeness and thought process of the inventor himself. Like a kid in a sweet shop, I have a great eagerness to take the trick home from the post office and learn the contents of the package, with all these thoughts in mind.

But as good as all that sounds, the negative side is that this could be creating a cloud in your judgement that may not bring about the best purchase for you. Many times I have the heard people taken in by hype and the buzz words of ads with the end result being something that now collects dust in the bottom of a draw somewhere. This is due to no application for the trick like a act, unfulfilled high expectations in method, and something that’s not suitable for your persona and style of performance. So the first thing in buying magic is to check all feelings at the door as they will not help you.

What’s next is a set of rules that you can apply that will make your magic purchase a good one and not something that you will regret later. But before that, you have to understand things that are not seen that you are paying for. Have you ever thought where these effects came from and how they came to be? The most obvious is other magicians as to where they come from, but how they came about could lead to many enjoyable stories to be told at your next convention or club meeting. Despite these things, time was spent in there conception and magicians minds and souls have poured into what your placing your hard earned cash for. A fine example is Mark Mason’s marketed effect called “Float” which a card floats about the rest of the deck without any means of support. But Mark spent five years in this effects development, so when you scuff at how expansive a item is, just remember this fact.

How would you feel after all this time, someone at your next meeting exposed an effect you created after you spent so long in its development, just because someone wanted to know? You would naturally feel angry and I wouldn’t blame you if you decide to give the double under cut a new meaning. But this is precisely the reason why magic shops don’t reveal how an effect is done until it is sold. They have a responsibility to reward where it is due to the creator in terms of income, not to mention their own interests which include lucrative deals to have exclusively selling rights as well as sealing supplying contracts that can be up to thousands of dollars. So from there prospective, like you, they have a reason for keeping secrets as their money is invested in them.

Which brings us to the next thing you are paying for and that is the secret. The thing about once knowing the secret is you can’t unlearn it unless you have a sudden case of memory lose, it’s there for good. So if you find that its not to your liking or to what you expect, well that’s just tough for you since you can’t return it. However in terms of faulty goods, you have every right under the law to have them replaced or if agreed a refund. But in the end it’s just about making the right choice.

It’s interesting to note that beginners and pros alike take little into consideration when buying magic and this leads to Disappointment by the aspects already talked about. But by applying the following rules, this can be considerably reduced.

Rule 1: Ask yourself honestly weather the trick, not matter how spectacular it sounds, is really for you. The best way to describe this is picking a video from a video store. As you go about your selection and scan the titles to see what you like, there is an element of judging a book by its cover, but you can still get a good indication what things are about. In the video scenario you’re a action man, so the pink cover with the goofy girl and guy on the front will not be to your liking. Get the drift?

Rule 2: To the best of your knowledge and ingenuity, try to work out how the trick works. The chances are you’ll be right, or at least very close. If so, do you really want or even need to buy this trick? This is asked because many things on the market can be made yourself and also helps in some questions you might have in rule four.

Rule 3: Make sure the price is not too low. This may sound odd since everybody now days is looking for a bargain, but there is no such thing as a free lunch. That is not to say there is no good quality magic out there that’s at a reasonable price, but as you go down in price and starts to become a more of a hit and miss affair in terms of working the good from the bad.

Quality is an easy thing to gauge since you can see the workmanship or the quality of production and see if it looks like it will hold up to repeat performances. Some packing of the effects sold in shops do completely enclose the props that accompany the effect, there for making viewing of them difficult. In this case its simply asking the shop attendant if he would oblige to take them out for inspection. Most shops keep one effect aside for demos, so this should not become a great problem.

Rule 4: If ordering by phone, ask the dealer any questions you may have about the trick and don’t be afraid to sound ignorant. After all, it is your money. Ask him frankly about the quality of the product. Make sure you’re clear about the construction materials and size. Forget about the ad, make sure you learn about the conditions under which the trick can be performed. Surrounded? Half-surrounded? For just one person?

If these rules are followed, you will have made a good and safe purchase that should hold value for you for a long period of time. One of the most obvious reasons that many overlook is having a good reason to buy the effect in the first place. It seems these days that the only reason needed for some is that the effect fools them which is really no reason at all. So make sure you have a reason.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: bowers (Jan 6, 2016 09:43PM)
And rule #5 Don't rush buying a effect.
Wait on the reviews to come in and see what others think
about what they purchased.I agree about all you said above Aus.
Todd
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jan 6, 2016 10:04PM)
Dear friend Aus!

I offer my praise, and, thanks for your post. You have over the past several years provided some very worthwhile suggestions,information,and, even encouragement to the people who come to the Café for such "nourishment". It is apparent to me that you have done a lot of thinking before you write!

Here comes the "but", and, I have no desire to start a battle of minds when I say this, because your good intent is also quite apparent to me.

My professors, especially, "them that teached" philosophy, invariably reminded me to DEFINE TERMS, before a discussion. I, too, have done my "homework". I have read, no, STUDIED, Fitzkee, Maskelynne & Devant, Nelms, Tarbell, Ken Weber, et al. I'm 84, and, I've studied magic since I was about 9. I began performing, for money, when I was 13, as a part time professional, and, am/was a full time successful professional performer since my 30s. I toured the USA, coast to coast and border to border, until I retired at 76.

I just published, at Jon Racherbaumer's insistence, an autobiography, which includes, not only "my story", but also "hundreds" of anecdotes of things that happened "on the road", so that readers might realize what "really happens" when one performs for real people! Also, included were complete routines that I developed and used successfully all those years, so that new or young magician "wannabees" might realize that it's not necessary to present the "latest and greatest" tricks. A majority of my repertoire originated from reading Tarbell! (Naturally, I updated the "patter"!!!!! and style of presentation!!!!!)

Therefore, I submit that I can speak with some ability when I define some terms which, I hope, will help to clarify some of your statements.

I have lectured for Rings, Assemblies, Regional and National Conventions, even twice at the Castle, since the '60s, and, have had return bookings at many of those events. For many of those lectures, I began with a definition of terms, like "magic", "trick", "prop", "effect", etc.

When I "came into" the magic Café, Michael BAKER welcomed me, and, wrote that he had "experienced" my lecture in Birmingham, AL, when he was a teenager. He told me that, that lecture had "changed my thinking about magic"! (I had defined some terms!)

I have written what I'm about to write, many times, in posts.

So! "Magic" exists only in a spectator's mind. One cannot buy "magic".

One cannot buy a "trick" either. One cannot buy an "effect". One can buy a "prop" or a "secret (in a book or dvd).

A trick, like music, exists while it is being performed. When one stops dragging the rosined horsehair over the catgut, the music stops!

An "effect" is what the spectator sees, or THINKS he sees". An effect is subjective. No two people in the theater will see exactly the same effect. They will ee according to their own imagination, intelligence, and experience.

A magic trick is "5% sensory illusion, 5% esoteric science principles, 5% sleight of hand techniques, AND EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT P S Y C H O L O G Y! (I'm a rather poor mathematician!)

A qualified "performer of magic" (a magician) using his personality, lots of psychology (!) and a good presentation, can, using a prop or secret, perform a trick.

If he keeps his presentation SIMPLE, so that his performance is relatively easy for him to do, and easy for the spectator to understand what he has experienced, the magic will happen, in the mind, of the spectator.

If he makes his presentation FUN, it is likely that the spectator will be entertained.

MAGIC IS NOT INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING! (Dr. A. M. WILSON, editor of the "SPHINX" magazine was WRONG, when he wrote: "Magic is an art that sometimes instructs, often amuses, but always entertains.")

Anyone who has been "around", and seen a few magic shows, will agree with THAT statement!

The acronym "KIS MIF" (Keep It SIMPLE Make It FUN has guided my life in magic.

So, if you would be willing to re-define your terms, I could ENDORSE your essay!

I hope that I haven't upset you with these comments! I congratulate you for taking the time to express your thoughts!

Dick Oslund
Sneaky, underhanded, devious and surreptitious itinerant mountebank --and, soon to be certified as a qualified quacksalver!
Message: Posted by: Chano (Jan 6, 2016 11:34PM)
Very helpful post, Aus. I definitely have a tendency to compulsively buy effects and tutorials. Hopefully, these rules will help keep me in check.
Message: Posted by: Aus (Jan 7, 2016 12:00AM)
Dick

I concede my terminology is loose and in hindsight I should have double checked it more thoroughly then I did, unfortunately since people have already posted a reply the time frame for editing has passed unless a grammar host is willing to make the necessary edits for me which I would appreciate. Alternatively I could get the topic deleted and re-post the thread again.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 7, 2016 10:50AM)
One is to wait a certain period of time on most purchases.

Sometimes I have thought about a routine or a prop and come upon it at ie a convention or shop.

An example was for a few years I have thought about getting Nigel a Grand Puppet.

At the IBM convention in KC. I saw the perfect puppet at the right price at Lafflin's Magic.

It was not in my "scheduled budget" but it was in the thought process a long time.

Many times I look through old magazines ads rather than the "newer stuff."

In fact some of the new is the old.(???)

Just my two Liberty Half Dollars worth.

Harris
Message: Posted by: magicfan456 (Jan 7, 2016 10:50AM)
Hi Aus: Another great post! Thank you so much for providing this how-to guide for beginning magicians. I'm sure this will save a lot of people (myself included) both time and money. Keep up the good work!
Message: Posted by: Aus (Jan 7, 2016 10:51AM)
Hi Guys

Just would like to add that one plus of those who make educated choices in purchasing by following my steps, can take advantage of those who bought the items in a less educated way. They have walked the path you are considering already, so make good use of it.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 7, 2016 10:51AM)
Purchases...

Somewhere after the Tarbell Course... and Greater Magic comes 'stuff'.

I'll go with Aus on the how to buy 'stuff' advice.

-jon
Message: Posted by: dillib (Jan 7, 2016 10:52AM)
Good advice Aus, thanks for contributing your thoughts!
Message: Posted by: rcad (Jan 7, 2016 10:53AM)
I don't know if it's only me but I also find that when I figure out how to create a specific effect by watching a video of a performance over and over again, I find it much more satisfying. I may not even use the same techniques but as long as it works, that's good enough for me.
Message: Posted by: RiffClown (Jan 7, 2016 10:53AM)
I have to agree, Aus offers some quite sound advice that's well worth a read.
Message: Posted by: adrianbent (Jan 7, 2016 10:53AM)
I would like to add that your purchase should have an [i]aim[/i]. By that I mean, (from personal experience) I got into a rut where I had budgeted XX amount of money from each paycheck for magic. After a short while, I had [i]more magic than I could master[/i] (for the present time). I am still a bit "addicted" to my regular purchases, and really I should be scaling back now, because my purchases are lacking purpose... I must now ask, "WHY am I buying this? Is it just because it is cool? Shouldn't I be practicing and mastering the stuff I already have?"

For example, my next purpose was going to include Easy to Master Card Miracles, Volume 2, and Basic Card Technique, with the following aim: I want to be better with cards. I was tempted to also purchase
"Misled", which I could afford, but why? I mean other than the fact that I have heard great things about this gimmick, I don't really need it now, and so it doesn't fit my aim. Also, I wouldn't be able to
"Digest" 3 volumes of EZ2MCM so I am deciding to buy them one at a time.

I hope my 2 cents has been worthy to some. :wavey:
Message: Posted by: Marcus Taylor (Jan 7, 2016 10:54AM)
Well said Aus! I completely agree. What is the pont of buying something if you have no intention in using it in your act? It is a waste of money! Don't just buy things for the sake of buying things!

:magicrabbit:
Message: Posted by: Douglas Bench (Jan 7, 2016 10:54AM)
Thank you all for the advice, I must admit to being a victim of the effect rather than being able to use the item myself. Can I add a point? Do fellow coffee drinkers ever find that killer prop, gone and practiced, and then when performed been faced with
"can I see that....... whatever it may be" from the layperson? I personally find that the effect is then severely diminished.
Message: Posted by: adrianbent (Jan 7, 2016 10:55AM)
I find I always get that when I use something that looks like a prop... like a hot-rod, or color deception brass, etc. I have never gotten the "lemme see that" with the invisible deck. The "beat" of trying to figure it out plays to an easy transition of putting it away. Their head is more on
"how did he do that" than "how is that gimmicked". Look for props that make you look like a star. Your performance and presentation of an effect is huge in this area.
Message: Posted by: ninjaduffy (Jan 7, 2016 10:55AM)
Hi...
I am new to magic and have spent a bit of money already... the things I have bought are.

Butter coin..... brilliant, just don't spend it when you are drunk at a wedding. I did, but will definitely be buying another... well worth it.

Brainwave deck...... also brilliant, but practice.....

I bought the prop to make a lit cigarette disappear... people love it.... I will always have one handy..... I don't wanna say it's name, but you all know what it is.

Lots of cards..... a blank deck is a neat buy..... a few tricks really lend themselves to them.... I do a trick that asks "think of a card"

They do.

I hand them four from a deck

Ask them to shuffle.

I tell them to pick a card from the four they have

It's their card

Then they get their card and the other 51 are blank.... cool, and good for us beginners.

I have bought only a couple of silly things... a little disappointed, but... hey.

And now I'm to get back into cards for another 6 months using Royal Road to Card Magic and Ammars dvds, Easy to Master Card Miracles.......

I think I am being wise.

The best thing I have found so far, is this forum... thanks for all the help guys.

kev.
uk. :bluebikes:
Message: Posted by: crazyhands (Jan 7, 2016 10:56AM)
Thanks for the info, I'm sure the next purchase will be more informed.
Message: Posted by: The Magician (Jan 7, 2016 10:56AM)
Brilliant advice Aus, it will come in handy for a beginner like myself and all the other magicians just starting out in magic.

Best Regards :bluebikes: :dance: :bikes:
Message: Posted by: Magicol-1 (Jan 7, 2016 10:56AM)
The advice is so true, I have a closet full of my purchasing mistakes.

M1 :bawl:
Message: Posted by: Spider (Jan 7, 2016 10:57AM)
A rather old but still very useful book is Marvin Kaye [i]Catalog Of Magic[/i]. This book, available only in trade paperback (octavo size) is a general description of the effect, difficulty level, necessary skills the magician must possess for the item, and relative expense of some 150 popular and/or classic magic tricks, circa 1977. The title is somewhat of a misnomer, since it is not a catalog in the ordering sense, but only in the arrangement of the entries. A better description would be "buyer's guide."

No secrets are given away, but there is enough info to make an informed decision about choosing to purchase a trick. Nearly everything in the book is still available today, which makes it great to consult before making a purchase.

Even the pricing is relevant: rather than quote prices, each item is rated from one to four moneybags, which is a relative way to express how expensive each item is. An item which was $10 30 years ago and is $40 now has more or less maintained its same value relative to the USA dollar's buying power then and now.

I bought it new in 1977, but it is easy to find in used book services like:

http://www.Powells.com and http://www.Bibliofind.com

Jon
Message: Posted by: Naven (Jan 7, 2016 10:57AM)
Wish I would have found that out before I packed a room with tricks that never really fit the bill. Live and learn. Finding a good friend that has been doing this a while ended up helping too.
Message: Posted by: troppobob (Jan 7, 2016 10:58AM)
Giday Aus

Great advice. I find myself reflecting on a couple of expensive things I have purchased at convention-type events which have potential but do not fit me as well as I first imagined. Your approach is more or less where I have ended up but I would like to have learned from you experience (at a lower cost to myself).

After doing five years in mainly children's shows I recognize that I do need to update as I am now getting return bookings and it appears that some of these will continue to rebook if I can supply a different show.

I find myself very much in agreement with the other theme of the value in constructing your own props, it brings a lot of satisfaction.
Troppo Bob :jump:
Message: Posted by: Insanity_Inc (Jan 7, 2016 10:58AM)
Very sound advice all around. Though I wish now I had heard it sooner. I have on occasion fallen victim to flashy ads and bought tricks that are even now collecting dust somewhere. Adrianbent, I found your tip about purchasing with an aim especially helpful. Hopefully I can avoid repeating my past purchasing mistakes. Thanks for the help.

Insanity Inc.
Message: Posted by: Renegade (Jan 7, 2016 10:58AM)
I think an important component of the decision process is to ask yourself how does this effect support and/or relate to other effects I have? Rather than buying individual tricks, try to purchase those effects that support a theme in your magic. Make your magic tell a story rather than being just a series of discrete "tricks."

Renegade Mike
Message: Posted by: mystic mickey (Jan 7, 2016 10:59AM)
Best advice to new magicians...get a mentor...someone in the field you are interested in...someone who's working...join a club...or at least go to open meetings. These are the folks who can help you with your purchases...most magic dealers don't bother with demo-ing tricks anymore. When I started some 30 years ago magic shops were user friendly, they didn't just push product...those days are mostly gone...now most magic is bought on the web from ads in magic mags...these are to sell product...you need a guide...clubs and chat rooms like this are the way to go. Never buy anything based on it's ad alone. Check out mylovelyassistant.com. The site reviews lots of stuff...but most of all get a teacher. It's worth all the mispent money in the world.
Message: Posted by: Renegade (Jan 7, 2016 10:59AM)
One of the best criteria for me has been to ask myself how the effect fits into the "theme" of my act or the storyline, if it doesn't fit don't buy! :fruity:
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 7, 2016 11:00AM)
I would also recommend one other thing. Find a good magic dealer locally and support him, if there is one available. Yes, you will pay more from a magic dealer than you will from an internet store. But a good magic dealer can often tell you when something isn't for you. He can also tell you if a prop is well made and, often, how to use it. You can't get that from an internet dealer, unless he knows you personally.

Sometimes we buy things with only the goal in mind of finding out how a trick works. That is the WORST reason to purchase a trick. The best reason is because it fits your act.
Message: Posted by: JJDrew (Jan 7, 2016 11:00AM)
Gimmicks are fun and can be useful tools, but working in a magic shop I've seen too many people sucked into the idea that they can buy magical skill. I applaud those of you who limit the bulk of your magical investments to books and videos. You get a lot more information for your money and often you can find ways to construct your own gimmicks, not only saving money but allowing you to 1) have a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of the gimmick and 2) Adjust it to suit your individual needs.
Message: Posted by: ABlair36 (Jan 7, 2016 11:00AM)
Also don't buy a magic book or magic video in book or video stores. Only buy them from magic shops.

Only get a book/video from a different store if you have gotten recommendations for it. Most magic books in book stores have tricks just made up by non-magicians to get money. A lot of them have a lot of tricks with the step "Now Turn Around" or "Now Riffle" to make it look like you are shuffling the deck. Start with [i]RRTCM[/i].
Message: Posted by: Chickens and Beandip (Jan 7, 2016 11:01AM)
I was taken in to buying a stripper deck by a lot of flourishing. Some shop owners will go all out in showing a simple trick to make a product seem better than it is. I already had an idea of what a marked deck was and then the stripper deck was a modified version. I thought all the actions were part of the trick, but in the end, well you know how a stripper deck works.

Needless to say I don't use it because in order to use it I need to know tricks that I can do with an ordinary deck, and there isn't a whole lot more of "trick" as a failsafe. I might use it some time in the future, but needless to say I was rather disappointed. The magic shops I've seen will only let you see a demo, but as far as inspection, you usually can't touch till you buy.

late.
B)
Message: Posted by: Ember (Jan 7, 2016 11:01AM)
Over here in the UK if you walk into a magic shop you are most likely to be sold an invisible deck. Personal point of view but I hate the effect and have never seen anyone perform it even remotely convincingly. However, Eugene Berger has a great version called Devil's Deck in his [i]Experience of Magic[/i]. Buy this book. I am not Eugene Berger and make no money on this sale but this is one of the best books I own. In addition to Devil's Deck you will get his wonderful insights into magic as well as some stunning effects.

If you are starting out the most important thing to remember is that you are buying knowledge not the piece of plastic that might be sold with the effect. The best quality props I have are those I have made myself. Not only because I have made them for me but because they are customized for my performance that you will not get from a shop.
Message: Posted by: NYKnicks5 (Jan 7, 2016 11:02AM)
[quote]
On 2003-09-09 13:33, adrianbent wrote:
I find I always get that when I use something that looks like a prop... like a hot-rod, or color deception brass, etc. I have never gotten the "lemme see that" with the invisible deck. The "beat" of trying to figure it out plays to an easy transition of putting it away. Their head is more on
"how did he do that" than "how is that gimmicked". Look for props that make you look like a star. Your performance and presentation of an effect is huge in this area.
[/quote]
Very good point. I am a strong believer that certain gimmicks cause people to say, "Let me see that!" This CAN be good at times, but overall, I think it disrupts the flow of a routine. If someone is playing with a prop, they are not focusing on the next trick. However, if you work restaurants, regulars might like to see props, since you are "testing" material and usually do not have a full routine for them.

Just my two cents.
Message: Posted by: Aus (Jan 7, 2016 11:02AM)
I don't agree, if this is what's happening then I'm guessing that the prop is more making the magician than the magician making the prop. If your props are getting all the attention, ask yourself what am I doing to make this so? More times than not you'll find a soultion.

Magically
Aus
Message: Posted by: Richard Lucas (Jan 7, 2016 11:03AM)
Excellent advice. Between Aus and Mickey. Well, if only I had known... I recently stepped back into magic after a 20 year hiatus and was awe struck with the amount stuff on the Internet and before I knew it I had bought a few items that were big disappointments. However, it is never too late to learn how to buy wisely and how to learn. A big round of applause and THANK YOU for all those who contributed.
Message: Posted by: Black Hart (Jan 7, 2016 03:24PM)
I've just browsed through this thread and believe me from a dealers point of view it was very interesting. At Black Artefacts we are always very interested to get a handle on the customers point of view.

I started Black Artefacts 8 years ago because I was interested in weird and bizarre magic, but in the UK and Europe there were no dealers specialising in this genre. I had no idea that it would grow the way it has. I had no real idea about the business of magic dealing. I wanted to be able to supply the kind of effects and props that I myself would like to purchase. I also wanted Black Artefacts to be the sort of magic dealer that I would like to deal with.

My philosopy was: good quality, fair price, honesty, a range of exclusive effects.

I never wanted to be the sort of dealer who buys cheap wholesale packet tricks and then sells them to all and sundry.

Let me state now that Black Artefacts is a commercial business. We invest a lot of money in equipment, stock, time developing new effects, general running costs including credit card transactions and one full time member of staff. All of this has to be taken into account when setting prices.

However I do feel that over the 8 years we have stuck to our principles.

For example how many magic dealers offer an unconditional 90 day money back guarantee? Yes, you can return any product within 90 days and we will refund the purchase price in full - no questions asked.

Why do we do this? Simple. We want our customers to be able to shop with confidence. As has been mentioned if you purchase something you are dissapointed with, you (the customer) feels cheated and you may not deal with that dealer again. However if you can send it back and get your money back or request a different item instead, then the chances are that you will use that dealer again. It is a win win situation.

Of course we are open to the devious person who may want to copy a book, steal a secret or copy a video. But we feel that people trust us to send them the items ordered so we must trust them as well. In actual fact we get very few items returned because we are honest in our descriptions and dealings.

Also we never try to sell customers anything that we do not think is suitable for them. What is the point - you will have a dissatisfied customer.

At Black Artefacts you can speak by telephone or email to the person who actualy developed the effect, purchased the props and uses them in real life preforming situations.

I believe that all of this makes a real difference to the experience of buying magic.

Of course we ARE human and will occasionaly mess things up. Sometimes we will be waiting for delivery of an item that we need to manufacture an effect. But we will always tell you if there is a delay and we will do whatever is possible to rectify a problem. We find that our customers appreciate this and we find that we have many regular customers who are now more like friends than just customers. It makes the business of magic dealing an enjoyable exberience for BOTH the customer and the dealer.

Our genre of magic may not be to the liking of all magicians, but it was never intended to be so. We are a specialist dealer for a niche market and we intend to stay that way.

Anyway there has been some good advice on this thread, especially the bit about asking questions. Ask away, it's your money bt remember there is a bit more to being a magic dealer than just buying in cheap tat and bumping it out again at twice the price...at least for some of us anyway.

:)

Black Hart
Message: Posted by: nakulshenoy (Jan 7, 2016 03:30PM)
Hey Aus,

Another great post. Way to go!

Keep up the great work.

Nakul
Message: Posted by: GavinK (Jan 7, 2016 03:30PM)
Great advice. I only wish I could've read this when I started.
Message: Posted by: Azheim (Jan 7, 2016 03:31PM)
Good stuff here. I'm still left wondering where to actually [i]buy[/i] magic though.
There's a magic shop about 30 miles from my town-the only one in the area. It has rather high prices as compared to penguinmagic.com. However, as I've looked around this board I've read a lot of anti-penguin/anti-sankey/anti-everything-I've-heard-of posts. Naturally, I want to save as much money as I can, so what other good magic sellers are ther online?

BTW, I'll be going to Minnesota this summer, and I've heard there's a great magic shop in Minneapolis that I should check out. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
Message: Posted by: alextsui (Jan 7, 2016 03:31PM)
Hi,

I think that if you have a magic shop in your city or neighborhood, you should definitely check that out on a regular basis. 2 reasons:

1. It's always better to be able to check out a trick physically (at least sighting the display item) rather than just ordering online with not much idea what will arrive at your doorstep.

2. The demo guy would usually have worked with the trick for a while. You can let him know what you're looking for and sometimes he'll be honest and tell you that this trick would not be right for you.

However, if you have no choice but to order online then at least read the reviews about the trick in the forums and try to view some demo video clips of it. They can help you to minimize the chances of making a bad buy.

Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: hokeypokey (Jan 7, 2016 03:32PM)
As a beginner, I actually found it better to order online because I got better quality and better service. I went to a few local shops to get advice and ended up buying inferior products (which I only discovered after doing online research).
Message: Posted by: Oz Fan (Jan 7, 2016 03:32PM)
Thanks for the great advice!!!!!!!!! I will definently use this! Thanks a lot!

-Blake-
Message: Posted by: celloboo (Jan 7, 2016 03:33PM)
As like many, I have now aquired quite a few purchased never to be used again magic tricks.
However I have purchased some very cheap excellent packet tricks. As a beginner I have found their use very beneficial in giving me the confidence to progress to more difficult close up magic. A good example would be "2tenty one" two cards six changes, easy to carry and perform at anytime.
So I would say don't always be put off by a trick being cheap just remember the advice given in this forum. I have learned a lot. Well done Aus, like Gavink I only wish I had read this before I started
Message: Posted by: paulajayne (Jan 7, 2016 03:33PM)
Cheep tricks with BIG effects and always favorites.

Sponge balls
Th*** T**

A challange for your self - design a 10 minute close up routing using just those two items.

We all have cupboards full of magic which was tried once and then never used.

Paula
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jan 7, 2016 03:34PM)
Aus,
Some excellent points.
But I have to disagree very strongly with one:

"Which brings us to the next thing you are paying for, and that is the secret."

If that were really the case, then I would buy the "vanishing widget" for $10. If I wanted another, it should be less than $10, since I already know the secret.
But it isn't.

I market several of my own creations. At lectures, I demonstrate these effects at the end and then explain in detail how they work and how the magi at the lecture could make them themselves if they wished. However, several would require the destruction of, for example, several decks of cards and the final price would be higher in making one for yourself than buying one from me (because I make many at a time).

The hapless magic public have for ages been sold a bill of goods when it comes to "buying the secret". Frankly, that point is a load of rubbish! (But, as I said, the other points are excellent!)
Message: Posted by: Aus (Jan 7, 2016 03:34PM)
So the hesitation in the magic shop owner to give away the secret would be why Peter? Why do magicians and creators and magic shops push the perception that this is indeed the case? If not for the secret then the effort it took to develop it maybe? Just would like to know your reasoning for this Peter

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: Derek Dean (Jan 7, 2016 03:35PM)
A wonderful discussion. Personally I still enjoy the many things I've bought over the years. In fact I've come to the conclusion that I'm more of a collector of magic than a performer. But even as a collector I've found it wise to be skeptical of ads.

For years I've made the journey to a particular magic shop in San Francisco and spent the whole day there. I know the owner and his assistant/demonstator well, and they know me and just what I'm looking for.

They show me stuff, tell me the "secret", and let me handle everything before I make any desicions. They steer me away from inferior quality items that they might sell to "tourists". Yes, it does cost more, but I always come away happy and I always return the following year. I just feel lucky to have found such a nice shop to deal with.
Message: Posted by: stuper1 (Jan 7, 2016 03:35PM)
Excellent post, Aus, and thanks to the others for other good posts. In my hometown, we used to have a good magic shop, but they have closed their doors and now only sell on the internet. I can buy things cheaper from other internet dealers who have lower prices and don't charge for shipping. I don't feel any loyalty to a shop that closed its doors on me.
Message: Posted by: Sam Griffin (Jan 7, 2016 03:36PM)
Aus,

Which Dealer is your local? I also live in Australia, N.S.W. - I'm Loyal to Hocus-Pocus. Why? Cause I don't think there is any shops around me. I live in Sydney.
You know of any?

Thanks man.
Message: Posted by: Aus (Jan 7, 2016 03:36PM)
This thread should answer that question: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=30674&forum=41&13

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: Sam Griffin (Jan 7, 2016 03:36PM)
That's Great Aus, Thanks heaps. Most appreciated.
Message: Posted by: JJP161 (Jan 7, 2016 03:37PM)
Aus, thank-you for such a great post, like many here I've learned the hard way from years of buying magic I will never use. One fantastic point is the magic must fit you and your act. I may read 20 reviews of an item that everyone loves to only find I don't like it at all and of course the reverse is true as well. For instance I heard many bad reviews of the Sanada Gimmick and then saw it but "didn't see it" in the hands of Dan Garrett and Scott Guinn and saw what a powerful tool it can be. Nonetheless thank-you and all that have contributed to this post very much, to many this advice will be priceless.

Joe
Message: Posted by: DrNorth (Jan 7, 2016 03:38PM)
I know that some, having mentioned it here, and heard it elsewhere, do not appreciate Eugene Burgers approach will fail to see the idea of "You own too much magic already" as being valid. God knows I have a basement full of stuff ZI have yet to master. I find that I end up spending money I can ill afford to just to learn the method more then anything else. Now I am scaling back to 5-6 well rehearsed effects and sticking with them. Polishing the performance rather then changing effects. With one or two back ups for returning viewers, in restaurant work for example.
Another trap even seasoned magicians fall into is buying magician foolers. Good God how many brain wave deck methods does one need? All lay people see is an odd backed card in a given deck, they don't care how it got there, but I knew a guy..ok it was me, who had six different brain wave effects just to fool the guys at the club, what a waste of my time and energy!! But, in clubs some guys get too focused on the contests, and the "judges" get too focused on was I fooled ort have I seen it before, rather then was it a good performance. Just because you know how cups and balls was done don't discount the effect or the performers handling. Oy but that's a whole new thread.
In short, look at what you want to achieve ask for a demo if you ar eat a live shop, if not, ask here I am sure you'll get enough feedback as to if an effect is good or not, last..don't be dissappointed by the method, you may look at it and think That's it! That's all? How easy! So what, did it look good? Did it fool you? It will probably fool them.
Message: Posted by: Justin S E Hardy (Jan 7, 2016 03:38PM)
Hay aus Great post and thanks for tips all I am just starting off.
Seen my brother in law use this post because he does magic all the time so I thought I would check it out.
Seems to be working great on my end. Thanks all!!
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Jan 7, 2016 03:39PM)
When starting out or just getting back in to magic there is nothing like a swapmeet or flea market to get great deals on a huge array of different things. If this interests you, you might want to check out this thread.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=80631&forum=30&0


Cheers,

Tom
Message: Posted by: magicbymccauley (Jan 7, 2016 03:39PM)
I agree with Dr. North, and I have something to add:

Packet Tricks are the absolute nut low awful badness.

You should never, ever buy a packet trick.

Okay, I have found two good packet tricks in all of magicdom. One is B'wave by Phil Goldstien, and the other is Michael Skinner's Ultimate 3 Card Monte. That's it. If you want those, buy them, they're the only good ones out there. The rest (including ones that I've never heard of, and haven't been invented yet) are all awful.

Here's the thing. If you are really interested in packet tricks, go out and buy Nick Trost's book. He is an authority on Packet tricks and he will tell you how to make them in his book: "The Card Magic of Nick Trost". Another good book with packet trick in it is Phil Goldstien's "Focus". Buy a "mixed" deck of cards, some double facers, double backers, blanks and so forth. Then buy some roughing fluid. That's your best bet. If you get really into it, you can buy entire blank decks, entire deck of double facers and so forth.

$15 for a set of four or five cards is a awful financial transaction from your perspective. One packet trick is equal to 1/2 a book or video. Think about what you could be getting for your money instead of five funny looking playing cards that can't be examined and require sleights you're no good at anyway.

If all this fails and you still have an urge to buy packet tricks, try this:

Go into a room with very little furniture a nice big hardwood floor. Bring three brand new decks. Open the decks and cascade them randomly all over the floor. Then spray your entire body with roughing fluid and lay down on the floor. Roll around in the cards until the urge to by packet tricks diminishes.

It really works for me, I haven't bought a packet trick in years.
Message: Posted by: lynnef (Jan 7, 2016 03:40PM)
I've noticed that Michael Ammar's card miracle series usually includes a packet trick as one of the bonuses. His advice is to use the packet tricks sparingly as part of a set. Darwin Ortiz says you must have a reason to bring out a packet (eg "I saw this guy play 3 card monte like this...."). So I'm not against packet tricks at all; but they should fit into a routine and not relied on. About buying the packets? why not make them.
loved all discussions on this topic of buying magic.
Message: Posted by: blade (Jan 7, 2016 03:40PM)
[quote]
On 2004-04-08 02:21, Black Hart wrote:
I've just browsed through this thread and believe me from a dealers point of view it was very interesting. At Black Artefacts we are always very interested to get a handle on the customers point of view.

I started Black Artefacts 8 years ago because I was interested in weird and bizarre magic, but in the UK and Europe there were no dealers specialising in this genre. I had no idea that it would grow the way it has. I had no real idea about the business of magic dealing. I wanted to be able to supply the kind of effects and props that I myself would like to purchase. I also wanted Black Artefacts to be the sort of magic dealer that I would like to deal with.

My philosopy was: good quality, fair price, honesty, a range of exclusive effects.

I never wanted to be the sort of dealer who buys cheap wholesale packet tricks and then sells them to all and sundry.

Let me state now that Black Artefacts is a commercial business. We invest a lot of money in equipment, stock, time developing new effects, general running costs including credit card transactions and one full time member of staff. All of this has to be taken into account when setting prices.

However I do feel that over the 8 years we have stuck to our principles.

For example how many magic dealers offer an unconditional 90 day money back guarantee? Yes, you can return any product within 90 days and we will refund the purchase price in full - no questions asked.

Why do we do this? Simple. We want our customers to be able to shop with confidence. As has been mentioned if you purchase something you are dissapointed with, you (the customer) feels cheated and you may not deal with that dealer again. However if you can send it back and get your money back or request a different item instead, then the chances are that you will use that dealer again. It is a win win situation.

Of course we are open to the devious person who may want to copy a book, steal a secret or copy a video. But we feel that people trust us to send them the items ordered so we must trust them as well. In actual fact we get very few items returned because we are honest in our descriptions and dealings.

Also we never try to sell customers anything that we do not think is suitable for them. What is the point - you will have a dissatisfied customer.

At Black Artefacts you can speak by telephone or email to the person who actualy developed the effect, purchased the props and uses them in real life preforming situations.

I believe that all of this makes a real difference to the experience of buying magic.

Of course we ARE human and will occasionaly mess things up. Sometimes we will be waiting for delivery of an item that we need to manufacture an effect. But we will always tell you if there is a delay and we will do whatever is possible to rectify a problem. We find that our customers appreciate this and we find that we have many regular customers who are now more like friends than just customers. It makes the business of magic dealing an enjoyable exberience for BOTH the customer and the dealer.

Our genre of magic may not be to the liking of all magicians, but it was never intended to be so. We are a specialist dealer for a niche market and we intend to stay that way.

Anyway there has been some good advice on this thread, especially the bit about asking questions. Ask away, it's your money bt remember there is a bit more to being a magic dealer than just buying in cheap tat and bumping it out again at twice the price...at least for some of us anyway.

:)

Black Hart
[/quote]

and now, a word from our sponsors... lol... just kidding... can't find your site... do you have a link? I want to look around your shop Black Hart...
Message: Posted by: cerberusdog (Jan 10, 2016 05:44PM)
This will show to anyone how new I am to magic, but I have to ask, "What is a packet trick?" I've seen the term in a few posts I read but don't know what it means. Can anyone help me?
Thanks
Message: Posted by: SamChak (Jan 10, 2016 07:41PM)
[quote]On Jan 10, 2016, cerberusdog wrote:
This will show to anyone how new I am to magic, but I have to ask, "What is a packet trick?" I've seen the term in a few posts I read but don't know what it means. Can anyone help me?
Thanks [/quote]

Packet tricks are effects that do not use an entire deck of cards, only a few cards, such as Three-Card Monte, 21-Card Trick, Oil and Water, Dai Vernon's Twisting the Aces, Paul Harris' Re-Set, John Bannon's Twisted Sisters, and so on. You can find many effects of this kind in the "[b]Deckless![/b]" section.
Message: Posted by: Dr SH (Jan 11, 2016 06:27AM)
[quote]On Jan 7, 2016, Sam Griffin wrote:
Aus,

Which Dealer is your local? I also live in Australia, N.S.W. - I'm Loyal to Hocus-Pocus. Why? Cause I don't think there is any shops around me. I live in Sydney.
You know of any?

Thanks man. [/quote]

Sam , there were a specific topic about magic dealer in Australia ...
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?forum=41&topic=489710
Message: Posted by: MaxfieldsMagic (Jan 14, 2016 10:44PM)
The "wish list" button on most magic sites is your friend. If there's something you really want, dump it into your wish list for a while and let it marinade in your mind. Once you have more info and you've slept on it a few times, sometimes you'll decide you want it after all, but other times you'll come back to it later and say "nah!" or even "why did I click on that?"
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jan 23, 2016 10:45PM)
There was some discussion earlier in the thread about tricks that are purchased and never used. Let me suggest a few uses for those:

* You could donate them to your local magic club for use as prizes in a contest.

* You could trade them for another magician's unwise purchases. That way you each get to enjoy the initial rush of a new trick before putting it back in your junk drawer.

* You could bring them with you when you attend a magic convention, and see if any of the dealers will swap with you. Years ago I traded a "Diminishing Deck" to Dan Harlan for one of his hexaflexagon color mixers. He hadn't seen "Diminishing Deck" yet, and built the color mixers himself, so we both walked away from the deal with something new to play with.
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Jan 24, 2016 05:14PM)
[quote]On Jan 14, 2016, MaxfieldsMagic wrote:
The "wish list" button on most magic sites is your friend. If there's something you really want, dump it into your wish list for a while and let it marinade in your mind. Once you have more info and you've slept on it a few times, sometimes you'll decide you want it after all, but other times you'll come back to it later and say "nah!" or even "why did I click on that?" [/quote]

Best advice ever. I just started using the Wish List feature on my regular go-to sites. It gives you the satisfaction of shopping, but not the guilt of impulse buying. You can come back and think, "do I really want that?" Also, I've now put several effects on Wish Lists right after they came out, only to read poor reviews a week later...or, see the same effect for sale here on The Café for a reduced price. The Wish List rocks.
Message: Posted by: JonathanMage (Jan 24, 2016 07:30PM)
As a beginning magician, one of my most important discoveries was this forum, and this thread has helped crystallize in my mind some truths that I was already beginning to experience the hard way. I am finding that more education (books/DVD's) and practice on the fundamentals and classics is far superior to impulsively spending money on over-hyped products. I have made a few errors in this regard early in, but thankfully recognized the error of my ways quickly. Thank you to all of the contributors in this thread for your insight and advice.
Message: Posted by: ColtonRaelund (Jan 30, 2016 07:19PM)
My advice is this: [b]HASTE MAKES WASTE![/b] So, you must make haste [b]SLOWLY![/b] [i](I got that from Dick Oslund :) )[/i]
Message: Posted by: plink (Jan 30, 2016 08:39PM)
I have a 'NEW' section in my 'favorites' list on my computer that I use like the dealers 'wish list'. It works great! I have set a two week minimum before purchase. Very few items make it that long. A problem I have is seeing a 'sorta want' item in the Deals section of the Café. If you don't buy it soon it may well be gone. Any suggestions on buying smart there?
Message: Posted by: pmarzionna (Feb 4, 2016 05:25PM)
Some really great tips in this topic!

One thing that has worked for me recently is to create a buying list, basically an excel spreadsheet with the products, suppliers, and prices of the products that I want to buy in the near future. What I do, whenever I want to buy something, is to look at the buying list, and check if the item is already there or not. If it's not, I simply don't buy it - although I might add it in the list for a future "buying round". This procedure has saved me from making impulse purchases, and has helped me prioritize effects, props and books that I really need/want.
Message: Posted by: Eillo (Feb 10, 2016 03:52AM)
As a complete newbie to magic this thread has been a goldmine of information. I impulse-purchased a couple of products, luckily all but one of them has been getting regular use. (I should add the one that isn't being used regularly isn't due to the quality of the product, but down to my own skill level and the time needed for the particular product). One very simple thing I've started doing is when I see something I want to get, I check that it's within my skill level, read a few reviews on it, all the usual stuff. I then totally ignore it for two weeks, if my desire for it has gone away then I take it that it just isn't right for me (at the present time), if I do still want it then it goes on the wish-list for when I've become competent with the tricks I already have!
Message: Posted by: magicsachin (Feb 16, 2016 12:08AM)
These days there any are many dedicated Websites & Youtube reviewers for all new Magic Tricks coming out to market....Keep checking the Honest reviews before taking any decision...Always stay away from knock-offs....Support the Original creators...
Message: Posted by: Aus (Feb 19, 2016 05:57AM)
[quote]On Feb 16, 2016, magicsachin wrote:
These days there any are many dedicated Websites & Youtube reviewers for all new Magic Tricks coming out to market....Keep checking the Honest reviews before taking any decision...Always stay away from knock-offs....Support the Original creators... [/quote]

Doing your research is VERY important and The Magic Café is a great place to start doing that, but another site I wont to bring to light is the web site My Loveley assistant which is exclusively dedicated to magic reviews.

http://www.mylovelyassistant.com

Also scan the Wizard Product Reviews on youtube and any review sections in Genii or Magic Magazine.

Also I wont to add another perspective to doing your research, and that is don't just look at a product in terms of good or bad but if this product offers better value for money then an alternative product.

To illustrate lets take the product I Hate David Copperfield Trick by Geoff Williams which sells wholesale to your local dealer for $20 US from Murphy's Magic, for the uninitiated details for the product can be found here: http://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=43351

With a little research you would also find out that this trick is a extraction from Geoff Williams other recorded works namely his Miracles For Mortals Volume One dvd which contains ten other tricks including the I hate David Copperfield card trick.

http://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=43502

This dvd sells for $35 wholesale which works out $3.50 per trick, compare that to the single trick dvd for $20 which works out to be 57% of the price of the Miracles For Mortals Volume One dvd the value should be clear to anyone which is the better buy.

Another example is Tony Clarks Paper Balls OTH download (its also on DVD) for $19.95 http://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=56570

A much better choice in my opinion would to get The Annotated Magic of Slydini ebook for $29.95 which not only explains the paper balls over the head routine but other routines that Slydini did as well. http://llepub.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=6

Not everyone has the luxury to spend that little bit extra money which is totally understandable but we should not waste good money on things because of ignorance of the alternatives.

Do your research.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: jamieguitar (Mar 25, 2016 12:48PM)
Great advice, Aus. Thank you.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Mar 25, 2016 01:50PM)
[quote]On Jan 30, 2016, ColtonRaelund wrote:
My advice is this: [b]HASTE MAKES WASTE![/b] So, you must make haste [b]SLOWLY![/b] [i](I got that from Dick Oslund :) )[/i] [/quote]

Ha! I'm being "quoted"!

The original " " was an old Latin proverb: FESTINA LENTE! (Make haste, slowly!)
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Mar 25, 2016 02:31PM)
[quote]On Jan 6, 2016, Dick Oslund wrote:
Dear friend Aus!

I offer my praise, and, thanks for your post. You have over the past several years provided some very worthwhile suggestions,information,and, even encouragement to the people who come to the Café for such "nourishment". It is apparent to me that you have done a lot of thinking before you write!

Here comes the "but", and, I have no desire to start a battle of minds when I say this, because your good intent is also quite apparent to me.

My professors, especially, "them that teached" philosophy, invariably reminded me to DEFINE TERMS, before a discussion. I, too, have done my "homework". I have read, no, STUDIED, Fitzkee, Maskelynne & Devant, Nelms, Tarbell, Ken Weber, et al. I'm 84, and, I've studied magic since I was about 9. I began performing, for money, when I was 13, as a part time professional, and, am/was a full time successful professional performer since my 30s. I toured the USA, coast to coast and border to border, until I retired at 76.

I just published, at Jon Racherbaumer's insistence, an autobiography, which includes, not only "my story", but also "hundreds" of anecdotes of things that happened "on the road", so that readers might realize what "really happens" when one performs for real people! Also, included were complete routines that I developed and used successfully all those years, so that new or young magician "wannabees" might realize that it's not necessary to present the "latest and greatest" tricks. A majority of my repertoire originated from reading Tarbell! (Naturally, I updated the "patter"!!!!! and style of presentation!!!!!)

Therefore, I submit that I can speak with some ability when I define some terms which, I hope, will help to clarify some of your statements.

I have lectured for Rings, Assemblies, Regional and National Conventions, even twice at the Castle, since the '60s, and, have had return bookings at many of those events. For many of those lectures, I began with a definition of terms, like "magic", "trick", "prop", "effect", etc.

When I "came into" the magic Café, Michael BAKER welcomed me, and, wrote that he had "experienced" my lecture in Birmingham, AL, when he was a teenager. He told me that, that lecture had "changed my thinking about magic"! (I had defined some terms!)

I have written what I'm about to write, many times, in posts.

So! "Magic" exists only in a spectator's mind. One cannot buy "magic".

One cannot buy a "trick" either. One cannot buy an "effect". One can buy a "prop" or a "secret (in a book or dvd).

A trick, like music, exists while it is being performed. When one stops dragging the rosined horsehair over the catgut, the music stops!

An "effect" is what the spectator sees, or THINKS he sees". An effect is subjective. No two people in the theater will see exactly the same effect. They will ee according to their own imagination, intelligence, and experience.

A magic trick is "5% sensory illusion, 5% esoteric science principles, 5% sleight of hand techniques, AND EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT P S Y C H O L O G Y! (I'm a rather poor mathematician!)

A qualified "performer of magic" (a magician) using his personality, lots of psychology (!) and a good presentation, can, using a prop or secret, perform a trick.

If he keeps his presentation SIMPLE, so that his performance is relatively easy for him to do, and easy for the spectator to understand what he has experienced, the magic will happen, in the mind, of the spectator.

If he makes his presentation FUN, it is likely that the spectator will be entertained.

MAGIC IS NOT INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING! (Dr. A. M. WILSON, editor of the "SPHINX" magazine was WRONG, when he wrote: "Magic is an art that sometimes instructs, often amuses, but always entertains.")

Anyone who has been "around", and seen a few magic shows, will agree with THAT statement!

The acronym "KIS MIF" (Keep It SIMPLE Make It FUN has guided my life in magic.

So, if you would be willing to re-define your terms, I could ENDORSE your essay!

I hope that I haven't upset you with these comments! I congratulate you for taking the time to express your thoughts!

Dick Oslund
Sneaky, underhanded, devious and surreptitious itinerant mountebank --and, soon to be certified as a qualified quacksalver! [/quote]

To AUS, and, "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN"!:::::

I just revisited this forum, and, I found most interesting the fact that NO ONE has commented on my post quoted above!

Dozens commented on YOUR post! --I'm not envious! I just find that fact MOST INTERESTING! (I note that there have been EIGHT "likes". One of the "likes" was for my post! Your post got a whole bunch of positive comments, but, no "likes"! MOST interesting!!!

You made some excellent comments! The only thing that I did was to "amend" or "correct" some of your terminology. I am a "stickler" for using the correct terms.
See Mark Twain's comment on "the right word". ("Lightning vs Lightning bug")

I will not bother to visit this forum again. My comments were obviously, to me at least, not worth anything to the "magicians" (note the " ")who "frequent" this forum. (Well, EXCEPT for the one person who hit the 'like' button.) I wasted a half hour of precious time! I'm 84, and I'm very conscious of time.
Message: Posted by: ColtonRaelund (Mar 25, 2016 07:11PM)
[b]HEY![/b] I hit the "like" button! That "like" is MINE! Your half hour was not wasted!!! It was worth something to me, at least, I guess. :)
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Mar 25, 2016 07:49PM)
Thank you Colton!

I think we can PM each other. From your posts in another forum, re: books about showmanship, presentation, etc.,you understand what's important! --It's certainly not TRICKS!

As S.H. SHARPE said, many years ago: "THOSE WHO THINK THAT MAGIC CONSISTS OF DOING TRICKS, ARE STRANGERS TO MAGIC. TRICKS ARE ONLY THE CRUDE RESIDUE FROM WHICH THE LIFEBLOOD OF MAGIC HAS BEEN DRAINED."

DARIEL FITZKEE, in his "THE TRICK BRAIN" *pp 308-309) SAID IT VERY WELL, TOO: "i MUST INSIST THAT TRICKS ARE BUT TOOLS. THIS EAGERNESS TO ADD NEW TRICKS TO THE WORKSHOP, AT THE EXPENSE OF LEARNING HOW TO USE THE TOOLS WE ALREADY POSSESS, DEFINITELY RESULTS IN OVERCROWDED WORKSHOPS, BUT UNSKILLED ARTISANS."

Sadly, too many who start out in magic get "hung up" on the "latest and greatest". Interestingly enough, "they" don't last long. Check out some of the older threads. How many of the "names" from just a few years ago, have "disappeared"? Remember the story of the young sailor and the old sailor? Those names belong to those who only "saw the top of it"!
Message: Posted by: Aus (Mar 26, 2016 11:56PM)
[quote]On Jan 7, 2016, Aus wrote:
Dick

I concede my terminology is loose and in hindsight I should have double checked it more thoroughly then I did, unfortunately since people have already posted a reply the time frame for editing has passed unless a grammar host is willing to make the necessary edits for me which I would appreciate. Alternatively I could get the topic deleted and re-post the thread again.

Magically

Aus [/quote]


Dick

I did address your post, refer above.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 9, 2016 02:56PM)
[quote]On Jan 30, 2016, ColtonRaelund wrote:
My advice is this: [b]HASTE MAKES WASTE![/b] So, you must make haste [b]SLOWLY![/b] [i](I got that from Dick Oslund :) )[/i] [/quote]


Thank you Colton!

At least one person on this lengthy thread, read my post!
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Oct 9, 2016 04:04PM)
I read your post, Dick! I even went back and "liked" it. But I have to admit that I don't use the "like" feature on the Magic Café very often. And it looks like I'm not alone in that. This thread has been read nearly 4,000 times, and has garnered only 16 likes. The venerable "Recommended books for beginners" post has been read an astonishing 149,460 times as of this writing, and has only 36 likes total. The most "liked" post I've come across is the "Magic Wagon" post in "Secret Sessions" which has 426 likes -- still not a lot, given the Magic Café membership of nearly 64,000. For whatever reason, "Likes" for posts don't really seem to be part of the culture of the Magic Café. But please know, Dick, that many of us appreciate the fact that legendary performers like yourself and others are willing to share their hard-won knowledge and experience here. Thank you for all you've contributed to the craft, and for sharing your wisdom with the rest of us.
Message: Posted by: SevenSigma (Nov 8, 2016 04:25AM)
[quote]On Feb 5, 2016, pmarzionna wrote:
Some really great tips in this topic!

One thing that has worked for me recently is to create a buying list, basically an excel spreadsheet with the products, suppliers, and prices of the products that I want to buy in the near future. What I do, whenever I want to buy something, is to look at the buying list, and check if the item is already there or not. If it's not, I simply don't buy it - although I might add it in the list for a future "buying round". This procedure has saved me from making impulse purchases, and has helped me prioritize effects, props and books that I really need/want. [/quote]

This is really a great topic.

I'd like to add one suggestion: do not only create a buying list (or use the wish list feature of online shops). Also make a list of purchases you made, including date, origin, price and some markers if you like or use the stuff (or not).

From time to time, evaluate which stuff/books/methods/DVDs/videos you do not use and why. That can be a good personalized guide for purchases as well. Besides, you have an inventory list that might be interesting if you think about selling or swapping items.
Message: Posted by: Seung (Nov 8, 2016 09:12AM)
Hello! I've been looking for a magic book I've forgotten the title of. I remember it was in middle school I perused through the book and the book was honestly, one of the best I've read (on par with Mark Wilson's complete course!). However, I returned the book and never saw it again and my middle school shut down and threw away all the books. From what I remember the book was medium to large sized with a spiral binding. There were two effects I remember, one was the aces traveling to pocket achieved by a st**l during the display of the aces. The other was an effect where cards travel from deck to deck held by rubber bands. The card travel effect used the patter of aliens and used a flashlight. I know this is a long shot but this book has been on my mind for eons, any lead will be appreciated. Feel free to PM me if this vague description rings any bells.! Thanks!
Message: Posted by: Hakaput (Nov 10, 2016 11:01PM)
Where are some good places to buy magic resources online?
I am primarily interesting in finding books, the classics and must haves. In my area there does not seem to be any real magic shops to which I can go.
So what are some reliable and trustworthy websites I can go to?
Message: Posted by: Aus (Nov 10, 2016 11:35PM)
[quote]On Nov 10, 2016, Hakaput wrote:
Where are some good places to buy magic resources online?
I am primarily interesting in finding books, the classics and must haves. In my area there does not seem to be any real magic shops to which I can go.
So what are some reliable and trustworthy websites I can go to? [/quote]

Penguin Magic is a website that I've purchased from as have many from the magic Café, and I find them trust worthy and customer service good.


www.penguinmagic.com

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: SevenSigma (Nov 11, 2016 06:27AM)
[quote]On Nov 11, 2016, Hakaput wrote:
Where are some good places to buy magic resources online?
I am primarily interesting in finding books, the classics and must haves. In my area there does not seem to be any real magic shops to which I can go.
So what are some reliable and trustworthy websites I can go to? [/quote]

For real classics, chances are good you get them at lybrary.com or genii. Amazon is actually not bad as well. As long as I know the title I first search the net where to find it and if the shop is not known to me I do a short background check.

Besides that, I have burned my fingers repeatedly by buying from US because shipping is expensive and I had to drive to the customs office. So the country of the shop should be considered as well.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Nov 11, 2016 02:29PM)
I wrote the third post in this thread. Much of the post was to give some credentials to myself. (a diplomat without portfolio, isn't "worth much".)

Then, I clarified and defined many of the terms used by Mr. Aus, so that a beginner would be able to understand. I invested an hour of my time, in the "project".

The NEXT DAY, after I had explained that one cannot BUY "MAGIC", AZHEIM asked about '"buying magic". AZHEIM obviously had NOT READ MY POST MADE THE PREVIOUS DAY.

Later that SAME DAY, CELLEBOO asked about "BUYING TRICKS". CELLEBOO obviously had not read my post either.

Reading down the thread, IT WAS (AND, IS) OBVIOUS THAT NO ONE READ MY POST. They "all" talked about how wonderful, and helpful that Aus' post had been. It is now fairly obvious that most, if not all, of the posters on this thread have fallen into their own black art wells, as they are "conspicuous" by their absence. Well, I, for one, won't miss them.

On October 9, DOUG TROUTEN posted that HE had read what I had written, and thanked me for it. (I had posted to Aus that I would not bother to visit this thread again, due to the fact that nobody had bothered to read my post.)

I did return to comment on Colton's post. I am now actively mentoring him. He is courteous, curious, and asks intelligent questions. I have mentored almost two dozen young men like Colton, over the past 50 years. Many of them are now full time successful professionals. Three have died: Bob McAllister (WONDERAMA, & KIDS ARE PEOPLE TOO) DOUG HENNING (THE MAGIC SHOW, etc.) and Jeff Helding, (many seasons touring schools for SOUTHERN SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES, DAKOTA ASSEMBLIES, and NATIONAL SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES.)

It will be a cold day in the nether regions, before I visit this thread again.
Message: Posted by: SilverMagician (Nov 17, 2016 01:38PM)
This is some great advice here. thank you all for sharing
Message: Posted by: Aus (Nov 17, 2016 03:52PM)
[quote]On Nov 11, 2016, Dick Oslund wrote:
I wrote the third post in this thread. Much of the post was to give some credentials to myself. (a diplomat without portfolio, isn't "worth much".)

Then, I clarified and defined many of the terms used by Mr. Aus, so that a beginner would be able to understand. I invested an hour of my time, in the "project".

The NEXT DAY, after I had explained that one cannot BUY "MAGIC", AZHEIM asked about '"buying magic". AZHEIM obviously had NOT READ MY POST MADE THE PREVIOUS DAY.

Later that SAME DAY, CELLEBOO asked about "BUYING TRICKS". CELLEBOO obviously had not read my post either.

Reading down the thread, IT WAS (AND, IS) OBVIOUS THAT NO ONE READ MY POST. They "all" talked about how wonderful, and helpful that Aus' post had been. It is now fairly obvious that most, if not all, of the posters on this thread have fallen into their own black art wells, as they are "conspicuous" by their absence. Well, I, for one, won't miss them.

On October 9, DOUG TROUTEN posted that HE had read what I had written, and thanked me for it. (I had posted to Aus that I would not bother to visit this thread again, due to the fact that nobody had bothered to read my post.)

I did return to comment on Colton's post. I am now actively mentoring him. He is courteous, curious, and asks intelligent questions. I have mentored almost two dozen young men like Colton, over the past 50 years. Many of them are now full time successful professionals. Three have died: Bob McAllister (WONDERAMA, & KIDS ARE PEOPLE TOO) DOUG HENNING (THE MAGIC SHOW, etc.) and Jeff Helding, (many seasons touring schools for SOUTHERN SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES, DAKOTA ASSEMBLIES, and NATIONAL SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES.)

It will be a cold day in the nether regions, before I visit this thread again. [/quote]

Dick don't mistake temperance for apathy, I have responded to your initial post and ironically you have not acknowledged my post ether. May I suggest that well others may see and agree with you (which I am one) others may be able to see past that indiscretion and see the value of what I and others have written.

Now it maybe a cold day in the nether regions before you visit this thread again,and that's fine. No one forced you to be here in the first place.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: Matti Kaki (Dec 26, 2016 03:35PM)
I had 40 yrs break in doing magic and when I started to do it again, my first book was Nick Einhorns "The Illustrated Compendium of Magic Tricks: The Complete Step-by-step Guide to Magic, with More Than 320 Fun and Fully Accessible Tricks" which is colorful and nicely made book where you can easily and cheaply check if the magic is for you. The book is for beginners but there are some tricks and gags you can use in more advanced routines too. If you still like doing magic after reading this (or similar) book and testing several tricks in it, you can happily go ahead.

I have many old magic books because I collect them and some of those are still today very useable. "13 Steps to Mentalism" and "The Royal Road to Card Magic" are really good and reasonable priced old books having a lot of information. Also Bobo's "Modern Coin Magic" is a must if you're interested in coin magic. Lybrary is a good place to buy old mags in pdf-format.

1. Do not buy cheap copy tricks as they very seldom are any good. They may look nice in pictures but usually you don't enjoy doing the magic with those because they are made of cheap materials, may be wrong sized and usually break easily. Many professional gimmicks are very fine constructions, even if they look and are simple. Their material thickness and measures may be critical. The cheapos are usually made of the cheapest possible plastic and their behaviour may be erratic because of too stiff or too indolent material.

2. Do not buy tricks from market but only from a real Magic Shop because those sellers usually are magicians and they know what they sell because they usually have tested them in practise. Their prices also are usually quite friedly as they sell to other magicians.

3. Buy used professional tricks, which are well made and if you then find that it wasn't for you, you can sell or swap it. You can search internet beforehand to see if the trick is any good. Penguin has buyer's feedback scores. Not all tricks have those but most popular usually have masses of comments which you should check before buying an expensive trick.

4. Read, read and read. Watching videos help to understand how to perform the trick and good ones show much more, but reading books give you the basics and books are usually written with much more accuracy and care than videos, which usually are home videos. There are good videos too but don't base your skills just on videos. Read and discuss with other magicians and sign up clubs where you can buy, sell or swap the tricks too. Most clubs have their own Facebook group and often regional Magicians flea market group too.
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Dec 26, 2016 04:17PM)
Matti Kaki, you are making some great suggestions. No. 4 is the most important as there is so much incredible magic that one can do without even purchasing a prop. Just read a book.

But also, we should remember that the sale section right here on The Magic Café (which one needs 50 legitimate posts to access) is one of the best places to purchase magic. I've bought and sold so much here and have reaped great rewards from both transactions. There are a lot of wonderful sellers whom you'll get to know and trust. Please use this resource...it is one of the best magic shops on the internet!
Message: Posted by: Aus (Dec 27, 2016 06:13AM)
On the topic of books another little known gem in the beginners arena is a book called the "A Book Of Magic For Young Magicians" sold by Dover Publications:

http://store.doverpublications.com/048627134x.html

What I like about this book that makes it different then the multitude of beginner books out there is it attempts to teach core magic ideas and principles in each chapter with a trick that is taught to highlight the idea or principle presented. There is only one trick per chapter and there are 12 chapters in total with each topic ranging from misdirection, handling, patter, handling secrets, repetition and so on. I have read elsewhere on this forum Scott F Guinn uses this book as the study text and curriculum to set his person magic lessons for those he teaches. All the tricks don't require any special magicians props just easy obtainable everyday items found around the house or easily purchasable from your local supermarket or hardware store.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: MAV (Jan 14, 2017 07:46PM)
I too find great pleasure in reading books on magic and illusion. It is important to have that understanding from the masters to truly appreciate the responsibility any magician has to further the art. I was influenced as a child of 6 years old by my grandfather who did simple card tricks. Therefore I cannot take for granted that any other small child will also be influenced negatively or positively by my performance and behavior.
Message: Posted by: Lloyddagdag (Jan 24, 2017 02:36AM)
Learning from both books and videos has its pros and cons.

A book engages the mind since not evwrything described can be illustrated by still pictures.
A video obviously covers various angles and is very visual.

With regard to buying tricks, try buying multiple trick videos (easy to master card miracles, malone meets marlo, etc) and books (card college, paper engine, etc) rather than buying single effect dvds.

My basic parameter for buying videos is this, I want to see a full video performance and decide if its workable material or just another 1hr dvd explaining a 1 minute trick
Message: Posted by: HenryleTregetour (Feb 14, 2017 03:32PM)
As a relative beginner I am interested in this thread. Fortunately I am beyond the kid in a candy store phase and am much more circumspect in what I buy. However, one thing I am not seeing a lot of (yes, there is some) is a discussion of why a beginner should purchase something. By that I mean, what is the beginner trying to achieve when buying something? Yes, the beginner now owns a "trick" that they can amaze others with--providing they ever gain a proficiency in presenting the "trick." But does the beginner actually learn something from the purchase?

I can give no guarantee that I will finish the path on which I've started. But by my way of thinking the most important thing for the beginner is to master the basics. That can be done with a purchase of a minimal group of things--cards, balls (especially a cups and ball set), and rope. And don't forget about a handful of coins! These are all very inexpensive items, and what one learns from working with them will lay the foundation for almost everything one might want to do.

Bill Palmer wrote: "Sometimes we buy things with only the goal in mind of finding out how a trick works. That is the WORST reason to purchase a trick. The best reason is because it fits your act."

Though I don't know him, I have read plenty and respect Bill and all of the experienced professionals at the Café. However, I do have reservations about his statement. What I mean is I have bought some items to see how they work (notably a Sucker/Dice Box and the egg-shaped cup with a ball in it). But in buying them and examining them I think I have learned a lot. This is especially true of the egg-shaped cup--my path leads towards a proficiency in medieval/Renaissance magic, and this little cup is described in Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft. It is also seen in contemporary illustrations in matched pairs. Hence, this item does fit my act. And by purchasing it I have learned its secret, which I file away in my mind for future application. Maybe he was referring to expensive, new-on-the-market, one-trick props, and there I would agree with him.

The stuff I have purchased was "cheap" (inexpensive and not great workmanship) and I probably need to buy (or make) better quality items if I expect to use them long term. But I have gotten out of them what I wanted to know.

But to return to the new magician and purchasing--of course Aus's post is full of good advice. But one should also read Dick Oslund's post, which tells one HOW to think about these things. I am currently reading Tarbell and it is incredible. And one of Tarbell's suggestions is that one LEARN how to make props. This is easier said than done, of course. But there are many props that require a minimum amount of skill and which are very inexpensive. And many of these props are not just one-trick things. So maybe investing in raw materials is a better use of funds than buying a "finished" prop.

In conclusion, I would say that the beginner should ask the following questions (yes, I am redundant):

(1) What will I achieve by buying this prop?

(2) What will I learn from it?

HLT
Message: Posted by: HenryleTregetour (Feb 14, 2017 03:51PM)
[quote]On Jan 24, 2016, JonathanMage wrote:
As a beginning magician, one of my most important discoveries was this forum, and this thread has helped crystallize in my mind some truths that I was already beginning to experience the hard way. I am finding that more education (books/DVD's) and practice on the fundamentals and classics is far superior to impulsively spending money on over-hyped products. I have made a few errors in this regard early in, but thankfully recognized the error of my ways quickly. Thank you to all of the contributors in this thread for your insight and advice. [/quote]

That sounds like the right approach to me!

HLT
Message: Posted by: Aus (Feb 15, 2017 05:18PM)
HenryleTregetour I have written extensively in other threads in answering the question of what a beginner should study.

Probably the most important place to start would be my How to get started in magic (A How-to Guide) which can be found here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=40895&forum=41

Starting from the lowest denominator which is the idea that people who don't know better cant do better I set out the different paths that people can take on their magic journey . Even for the indecisive I recommend books and some dvds that offer a wide exposure of magic of various types in order that they can make a more decisive decision.

Once we have defined our focus we can start to talk more seriously about fundamentals. I have also posted threads in this regard with the Opie Hustions Study Guides (How-To Guilds) which deals with cards and coins using Royal Road to Card Magic and Bobos Coin Magic as foundational texts for their respective topics:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=220089&forum=41

As for "How we should think about about these things" I have written a Presentation (A How-to Guide) and Routining (A How-to Guide) respectively that details what needs to happen after the practicalities of the fundamentals have been learned.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=59948&forum=41

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=133685&forum=41

The beginner actually learning something from the purchase is just as much to do with mindset as it is for the instructional quality of the product purchased.

How was the creative presentation derived at?

What creative considerations did they take into account?

What refinements did they make over time and why?

What theatrical elements do they employ and how and for what reason?

Why did they use that slight in that instance and not the easier and obvious one?

It’s details such as these and the inclination to ask them that enables a person to learn from a book or DVD, and if the answer can't be found in the DVD or book then the magic Café is a better place then any to find the answer.

As for prop and trick construction the "Howie Diddits" thread in the secret sessions area of the magic Café would be a great place to start.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: HenryleTregetour (Feb 18, 2017 11:57AM)
Aus,

Thank you answering my post. As I indicated above, I am a beginner at magic, and I thank you for the links you suggest. I will definitely read them.

I certainly did not intend to make superfluous or off topic comments. As anyone who participates in online discussions knows, such discussions have a tendency to morph and branch out, and after awhile rarely retain a strict adherence to the original post.

However, I nevertheless believe I had relevant comments with regards to the subject. The subject as I understand it has to do with beginners buying magic props. My comment relates to what kind of props the beginner should buy. And my answer is they should concentrate on inexpensive props that allow them to learn how to "do magic."

Yes, the beginner is free to buy anything they want. I do not think "guidance" with regards to discerning what they should buy is off topic. And of course, this is my own opinion, and we know what opinions are worth.

Finally, I want to add that yes, people have said things in past posts, and often things that newer people say are often, maybe more often than not, simply a regurgitation of previous discussions. I am sure that it is sometimes irritating to read stuff that one feels is simply rehashing. However, I would like to point out that given the voluminous, and indeed almost infinitely large archives at the Café, that it takes months and even years to come close to reading half its contents. Things will be said once or even a hundred times again.

Perhaps we are talking past each other.

HLT
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Feb 18, 2017 01:27PM)
Aus -- Thanks for pulling together the links to these various discussions. Very helpful.
Message: Posted by: hitlab (Mar 22, 2017 10:09AM)
Thanks for this it is very useful

Rule 3 is interesting. Thinking back I definitely bought my fair share of cheap low quality products which I instantly regretted
Message: Posted by: Habanero (Mar 25, 2017 07:33AM)
Hm.... I wonder if making purchase "mistakes" is actually part of the learning process?

I know I have seen the demo of a trick, and I thought "yeah, that looks way cool" only to realize once I purchased it that it might not really work for me, or I might not currently be in a place to incorporate it into what I am doing right now.

I have one trick that basically includes the gimmick, then the video explores "moves" with the gimmick, but no routine. I actually got good enough with the moves, but I struggle to perform it because I have a hard time setting it up, and having a routine, or finishing clean, or having a purpose for what I am doing. No doubt it is visual, but I feel the product description should have disclosed that you will receive the gimmick and 7 "moves" on the DVD with no real setup, patter, routine, or finish. Maybe having descriptions like that on products could help buyers make choices. I am sure for others a product like this would be all they need because they can figure out the rest, it just wasn't comprehensive enough for me in my magic development.

I learn with each purchase what to look for, and what to pay attention to. I have pulled the trigger on items that have been really good for me, and that I really like and can use, while I have backed out of interesting items because I realized that the product wasn't for me, or wasn't for my level of development.
Message: Posted by: zachwyman (May 19, 2017 09:32AM)
Definitely check out www.dennymagic.com to support a small magic business. Denny is a great guy and the physical shop is simply amazing!
Message: Posted by: MudMedic (Sep 27, 2017 10:43AM)
I bought a thumb tip many years ago, along with a vernet egg and a set of cups and balls. That's about it for prop items... mostly I try to bankrupt myself buying up all the books I can find and am hopelessly addicted to decks of cards (not gimmicked ones, just all those nice decks that are out there).

I do confess to looking longingly at a zombie and a passe-passe set, but can live without (I think).
Message: Posted by: Tap Roniart (Oct 13, 2017 08:02PM)
Fred Kaps said that effect (results) was everything, method an afterthought.

What say you?
Message: Posted by: docguitarman (Nov 6, 2017 12:28PM)
[quote]On Nov 10, 2016, Hakaput wrote:
Where are some good places to buy magic resources online?
I am primarily interesting in finding books, the classics and must haves. In my area there does not seem to be any real magic shops to which I can go.
So what are some reliable and trustworthy websites I can go to? [/quote]

I'm a returning hobbyist. I've bought several props on eBay. I just noticed that the magic trick store is one of the Café advertisers. If you use the coupon code "Café" at check out you get an additional discount. I haven't ordered yet, but plan to do so.

As for classic books (Dover editions,for example) try abebooks .. lots of inexpensive magic books there.
Message: Posted by: PaulPosition (Nov 22, 2017 08:19AM)
Okay, so here I am, complete beginner, with a question about "buying magic" vs. the "Magician's secret"...

Picture this scenario: I'm looking at a neat card trick, sold - as far as I understand - with a gimmick, and it *seems* to me the card selection is actually forced. Can I respectfully ask the guy at the shop whether the trick relies on a force? More important: I buy the trick, it is a force, and I'd want to buy a second or third gimmick with different forced card but, hey, "no opening boxes". What gives? It becomes like playing Collectible Cards (Magic:The Gathering, Pokemons)?

(I've decided I'd be more wise with my purchases. First two items I bought (except for Wilson's Complete Course and the Royal Road book) were cheap house-made ones from my local magic shop, which both rely on a 1-to-6 force of number 3 (o-n-e, t-w-o, three, four, f-i-v-e, s-i-x) and it doesn't work good in french because "o-n-e" becomes "u-n" and I wouldn't know where to go from there ("Okay you say "un", now feminine of that is "une" let me spell that out "u-n-e" ah! here's your card")... Meh... )
Message: Posted by: Aus (Nov 23, 2017 07:28AM)
[quote]On Nov 22, 2017, PaulPosition wrote:
Okay, so here I am, complete beginner, with a question about "buying magic" vs. the "Magician's secret"...

Picture this scenario: I'm looking at a neat card trick, sold - as far as I understand - with a gimmick, and it *seems* to me the card selection is actually forced. Can I respectfully ask the guy at the shop whether the trick relies on a force? More important: I buy the trick, it is a force, and I'd want to buy a second or third gimmick with different forced card but, hey, "no opening boxes". What gives? It becomes like playing Collectible Cards (Magic:The Gathering, Pokemons)?

(I've decided I'd be more wise with my purchases. First two items I bought (except for Wilson's Complete Course and the Royal Road book) were cheap house-made ones from my local magic shop, which both rely on a 1-to-6 force of number 3 (o-n-e, t-w-o, three, four, f-i-v-e, s-i-x) and it doesn't work good in french because "o-n-e" becomes "u-n" and I wouldn't know where to go from there ("Okay you say "un", now feminine that is "une" let me spell that out "u-n-e" ah! here's your card")... Meh... ) [/quote]

Unfortunately with how some tricks are marketed it is sometimes luck of the draw as to if you are going to get another trick with the same or indifferent force card, but that sometimes has a lot more to do with the manufacture and the creator and if they perceive that choice to be relevant to their product.

Asking about general terms like forcing and if the trick uses one without going into details of the force is generally considered ok from my experience with magic dealers. If you have preconceived concerns about the limiting nature of the force or any other influencing factors then you need to formulate the relevant questions needed to appease those concerns.

Dealers will be more than happy to help you up to a certain point, but a large part of it is you asking the right questions and using a certain amount of deductive thinking. Let's say you're looking for a gimmicked coin that you can use with a raven and the shop owner has two coins labelled "Magnet Coin" and "Magnetic Coin". Which one do you need? What do you ask the dealer?

If you don't know the difference then you need to "RESEARCH" what you want before you go into the magic shop. A lot of information can be gleaned from reading between the lines on what people say, the effect description, the marketing of the trick partnered with a strong foundation of fundamental principles in magic. That's why you shouldn't neglect the study of classic texts like the ones you previously mentioned.

It is a very difficult thing in magic to invent something 100% original without any influence of something else. With our history reportedly going back as far as 2700 BC in ancient Egypt its safe to say that our forebears have invented just about everything there is to invent in the full sense of the word.

All we have done in the subsequent decades has been refining, adding, modifying and substituting things in varying lengths and degrees.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: John Oaks (Mar 14, 2018 07:23PM)
[quote]On Jan 7, 2016, Magicol-1 wrote:
The advice is so true, I have a closet full of my purchasing mistakes.

M1 :bawl: [/quote]

You ain't alone. I think it is a phase many go through?
Message: Posted by: Teddy Meagher (Mar 16, 2018 12:35AM)
From someone who has over 10k worth of books and DVDs and props I would say when it comes to buying magic you should wait a week or 2 and think about the effect of you really can see yourself performing it and what other ideas it might spark. I used to pre order and buy everything right away but now I only make a few magic purchases a year, not once a month like when I was younger
Message: Posted by: PaulPosition (Mar 21, 2018 07:58PM)
[quote]On Nov 23, 2017, Aus wrote:
Unfortunately with how some tricks are marketed it is sometimes luck of the draw as to if you are going to get another trick with the same or indifferent force card, but that sometimes has a lot more to do with the manufacture and the creator and if they perceive that choice to be relevant to their product.
...
All we have done in the subsequent decades has been refining, adding, modifying and substituting things in varying lengths and degrees.

Magically

Aus [/quote]
Dang, I forgot I had posted posted that question. Thank you Aus, that was a very complete and enlightening answer, even reading it four months later!
Message: Posted by: ActionJack (May 14, 2018 01:03AM)
I just read this entire thread and there was a lot of great information. Thank you Aus for all of your insight and thank you Dick Oslund for all of your wisdom. I recently picked up Modern Coin Magic , Royal Road to Card Magic and Card College vol 1 along with a few different decks of bicycle playing cards to see which decks I would prefer. Additionally I found Michael Ammars book on the Cup and Balls at a local used book store and picked that up. That got me to order a set of cups and balls which I started practicing with in addition to my cards. I purchased a digital subscription to Genii and have been devouring that. The fact that I get to read all of the back issues is amazing.

I just found a local magic store and ordered vol 2 of Card College and Expert Card Technique from them. I am a believer in supporting a local retailer if possible. After seeing some reviews this weekend on this site I purchased Bobs 3 Shell Bootcamp from School for Scoundrels. For now, I have a ton to learn and practice with what I have. I sort of went on a binge with the above purchases but after reading a number of threads on this site I feel as if I have made sound purchases that with consistent practice will give me a solid foundation.
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (May 14, 2018 07:08PM)
ActionJack, count yourself lucky that you have a local magic shop. They are few and far between now.
Message: Posted by: PaulPosition (May 15, 2018 05:41PM)
[quote]On May 14, 2018, Wizard of Oz wrote:
ActionJack, count yourself lucky that you have a local magic shop. They are few and far between now. [/quote]
I know I'm very lucky we have an unusual amount of them in Montréal... Perfect Magic, Spectram, Todsky and Trois Dragons. For a small-ish market, that seems crazy to me. I've been splitting my purchases (doesn't amount to much) between two of them and am yet to visit the other two. :)
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (May 15, 2018 08:47PM)
Looks like I need to visit Montréal!
Message: Posted by: How (Jun 15, 2018 09:49PM)
Find the magician you like and follow him like a mentor. Then establish who you are and who you want to be and search reviews on the Café.
Message: Posted by: How (Jun 15, 2018 09:50PM)
[quote]On Mar 16, 2018, Teddy Meagher wrote:
From someone who has over 10k worth of books and DVDs and props I would say when it comes to buying magic you should wait a week or 2 and think about the effect of you really can see yourself performing it and what other ideas it might spark. I used to pre order and buy everything right away but now I only make a few magic purchases a year, not once a month like when I was younger [/quote]

This is true. Some things are cool but you as a magician may never perform.
Message: Posted by: debjit (Aug 15, 2018 03:56AM)
I agree with everyone saying that you should wait for the reviews to come, as they are the best ways to decide if the trick is for you.

I also YouTube the name of the trick to see other magicians performing it to understand the skill level required. Because anything can look good in the hands of the creator who has probably been practicing that trick for years. Plus he has the advantage of editing and changing angles in the Trailer. So I never buy a trick just based on the Product Trailer.
Message: Posted by: kcbeave (Nov 29, 2018 02:31PM)
Reading old posts and I like this one the best.
[quote]On Jan 6, 2016, bowers wrote:
And rule #5 Don't rush buying a effect.
Wait on the reviews to come in and see what others think
about what they purchased.[/quote]
Message: Posted by: mlktwins (Dec 16, 2018 02:55PM)
Good afternoon! I just found this website last week while looking for some intro books on magic for my 13 year old son for Christmas. He has been expressing interest in the last year or so and he has talked a lot about sleight of hand tricks especially, but is also interested in other magic. After some research, I ordered Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic, Bobo's Modern Coin Magic, and Hugard's The Royal Road to Card Magic. I don't want to buy a bunch of tricks, etc. until he reads the books and we can search for what he really wants/needs to get started. However, to finish off his gift, I'm wondering if anyone here can recommend one or two things I could add to the books? A special deck of cards, etc.? Something I could order from Amazon today :-)? Thanks so much!

P.S What an interesting site this is!
Message: Posted by: Aus (Dec 17, 2018 04:01PM)
Mlktwins Since you have purchased Mark Wilsons Course I would suggest maybe some sponge balls (a sleight of hand routine in the book), Two decks of cards, one blue one red (there are two deck tricks in Marks Book), maybe a cheap set of cups and balls or a length of magicians rope for some of the rope routines.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: mlktwins (Dec 18, 2018 07:59AM)
[quote]On Dec 17, 2018, Aus wrote:
Mlktwins Since you have purchased Mark Wilsons Course I would suggest maybe some sponge balls (a sleight of hand routine in the book), Two decks of cards, one blue one red (there are two deck tricks in Marks Book), maybe a cheap set of cups and balls or a length of magicians rope for some of the rope routines.

Magically

Aus [/quote]

Thanks so much for responding!!!
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Dec 18, 2018 09:05PM)
I think you are going about this the exact right way. When I was starting out as a kid, I was too young to have any kind of job to buy props with, so I would ride my bike to the library, take out books and read.

I found myself gravitating toward parlor sized apparatus, and began dabbling in my dad's wood shop to see if I could build what I saw in the books. At first, I cobbled together some pretty dysfunctional monstrosities, but then, with practice, I was able to build a small show that began earning me money at parties.

Years later, my craft improved to the point where I was able to sell my hand-built props to give me some spending money for college. Long time magic dealer Joe Lefler was the gentleman I sold them to. That made me feel pretty good.

Magic books are magical, as they encourage one's imagination to imagine. They give one just enough bread crumbs to find a path. And that path leads to a trail, which leads to a road...
Message: Posted by: Masterallen (Dec 31, 2018 07:28AM)
Amazon.com offers many magic books and if your an ereader this is the place to go.
Message: Posted by: skoldpadda (Jan 2, 2019 10:29AM)
I have found that when I look up most magic items (including books) on Amazon that their prices are not as competitive as penguin or hocus-pocus (with member discount). Since I'm so new to magic, I've been trying to save by buying returns/open box items. 1. Penguin 2. MagicAndSuch 3. hocus-pocus are sites that offer these (add .com to these if you're not aware). Some newer releases can be had at greatly discounted prices. What other good sites are there for deals like these that others have found?

This whole thread resonates with my initial experience with magic and buying magic. I'm trying to cull whatever useful nuggets I can by reading these forums. Someone mentioned MyLovelyAssistant. I've used that but find that simply using the search bar in this very forum is generally much more helpful along with the youtube reviewers (MagicOrthodoxy, Ekaterina, and WorldMagicShop (Wizard Product Review/WPR) in particular).
Message: Posted by: JimBeta (Jan 2, 2019 02:30PM)
Thx all for the many sources of information.
Message: Posted by: todsky (Jan 4, 2019 10:27AM)
I, like many here, spent a small fortune on magic purchases over the years, and probably 90% sat on the shelf. This used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore for the following reasons:

1) As a professional magician, if it requires that I buy 10 tricks to acquire 1 that will be used in my show, then there was a reason for the 9 shelved tricks if they lead to a new effect that will be used. And after years of buying experience, I think I have the buying to using ratio down to 50%.

2) Tricks are like toys for magicians. Just like kids, we get a trick, play with it for awhile, and then put it aside when we are bored with it. And then we look for another cool toy/trick to play with. Tricks are fun!

3) And as the mother of a young man who frequents my magic shop tells me, better that he has an expensive magic habit rather than an expensive drug habit!

Todd
www.magicstore.ca
Message: Posted by: Wx4usa (Jan 26, 2019 10:11AM)
As has been said in this thread already; many folks buy things and they just sit in a box or shelf. I have been guilty of this. As I’ve matured...Ok I haven't yet. I have narrowed my skill set to what I call my HVTs High Value Targets….those skills that I like and I am better at. For example, I had a very bad wrist break in 2000 so certain sleights are very difficult now that were much easier before that injury. Sadly, this makes cards and coins more difficult than before.

Therefore, I do not get enticed by everything in the wide field of magic or I would go broke.

There should be a purpose other than just a mad rush to obtain knowledge of how a trick or effect works. When I was younger, I would dash to the local shop to see the newest, latest and greatest. The only magic that would happen...my wallet would magically get thinner and my magic box of junk, fuller. Don’t be focused like a laser beam...shotgun…lol :)

As todsky states, There could be much worse things to spend money on.
Message: Posted by: diamondjack (Mar 25, 2019 07:19AM)
I pretty much just stick with Penguin, Vanishing inc., and The Magic Warehouse.
Message: Posted by: LoganPorterMagic (Apr 2, 2019 04:17AM)
Recently amazon has a lot of magic shops...can we trust those or they are fake from china?
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 3, 2019 09:23AM)
[quote]On Jan 4, 2019, todsky wrote:
I, like many here, spent a small fortune on magic purchases over the years, and probably 90% sat on the shelf. This used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore for the following reasons:

1) As a professional magician, if it requires that I buy 10 tricks to acquire 1 that will be used in my show, then there was a reason for the 9 shelved tricks if they lead to a new effect that will be used. And after years of buying experience, I think I have the buying to using ratio down to 50%.

2) Tricks are like toys for magicians. Just like kids, we get a trick, play with it for awhile, and then put it aside when we are bored with it. And then we look for another cool toy/trick to play with. Tricks are fun!

3) And as the mother of a young man who frequents my magic shop tells me, better that he has an expensive magic habit rather than an expensive drug habit!

Todd
www.magicstore.ca [/quote]

I have never spent a small fortune on magic props. Most of the props used in my show are generic (silks, rope, "golf" balls, etc. Most of the tricks that I perform, I learned from Tarbell, or other professionals.

I have never considered the tricks that I perform as TOYS. They are TOOLS that I perform to create ENTERTAINMENT. I have never bought a PROP to find out how a trick was done, or to entertain myself.

Dariel Fitskee listed the 19 EFFECTS in one of his books in the early '40s. NO ONE HAS ADDED ANY NEW EFFECTS TO FITSKEE'S LIST. AN "EFFECT" IS WHAT THE SPECTATATOR PERCEIVES.
Message: Posted by: bdungey (Apr 8, 2019 07:53PM)
"Rule 2: To the best of your knowledge and ingenuity, try to work out how the trick works. The chances are you’ll be right, or at least very close. If so, do you really want or even need to buy this trick?"

I always felt kind of bad for doing this - but it makes sense, right?
Message: Posted by: Aus (Apr 8, 2019 09:40PM)
Bdungey the reason for rule two was based on my experience of buying magic that could be reproduced or made at home with alternative methods.

To be clear this wasn't an attempt on my part to subvert a creator and his work but rather a contingency I adopted to avoid profiteering from regurgitated ideas that are common concepts in magic. To illustrate the genesis of this rule and the experience that created it I will relay the story.

I attended a convention once and in the dealer's room I came across a card rise called "the Ultra card Rise", the sale hype was quite alluring for me at the time, the deck could be shuffled and freely handled and could end clean yet apparently a gimmick was used. To me at the time with my newbie ignorance, I thought I had come across the holy grail of card rises. Having more money than sense at this stage I purchased the trick and found the gimmick to be nothing more than two cards with a rubber band stapled between them. Their improvement made to this basic idea was that the two cards of the gimmick were rough and smoothed and had a corner short so they could be located and palmed out as a unit making the deck clean and examinable at the end. I paid a little more than $20.00 for this at the time.

So my question to you is this? Was it worth the money?

This basic idea is common and easily found among magic literature, and I sometimes wonder if magic is sold to magicians to profiteer off their ignorance.

Also, this rule is used to propagate the idea of how important is the method for you to the effect the trick creates. If for all tenses and purposes the effect is aesthetically the same to your audience what value is there in an alternative method? Does it add additional proving conditions and therefore extra conviction to the trick? Does it add smoother facilitation of performance than your current or alternative method?

Essentially if you can't find a good reason for buying it then you probably shouldn't.

I hope that clears up my intention for the rule.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: judeh (Apr 27, 2019 09:23PM)
[quote]On Mar 25, 2019, diamondjack wrote:
I pretty much just stick with Penguin, Vanishing inc., and The Magic Warehouse. [/quote]


I second this, but it doesn't stop me from buying things I regret!
Message: Posted by: Kbuck54 (May 6, 2019 12:34AM)
I just bought the new Bias Pad. How many of you did the same? I have found that for every 3 effects that I purchase, one ends up being a real piece of misrepresentations and hype, one is cool and doable, but doesn't fit my show. Finally the third effect fits the bill and might make its way into my line up. We all do it.
Message: Posted by: Jed Maxwell (Jun 5, 2019 10:04AM)
I never buy a prop till I have seen it in action in real life or a lecture video or some other video. I never buy expensive information products till I have gotten a review from someone I trust (a magic club member in real life).

The internet is too full of shills, product producer cartels, and bought/bartered reviews. Even people I respect as content producers have sold themselves out as shills for other shoddy content/prop producers.

Never be afraid to ask for a refund. These sellers value their internet reputations a lot and would probably rather refund you than have you cause a stink on the forums, shop sites and YouTube.

Think about your core performance persona you are presenting. Is this item *really* something they'd carry? I've done this recently with billets/business cards. I present myself as nothing other than an intuitive person. No mention of psychic, readings, mentalism, mind reading, clairvoyancy, magic...none of it. So why am I walking around with business cards with my name/number on when I don't run a business? Or a pocketful of "billets"? Who does that? Mentalists. Performers. So I ditched all that and focused on the IP. I have always carried a notepad. That is me.

This overspending on information products does have one useful benefit: you now have a library of knowledge. So many times I have read of a handling that suits a new routine and found that I have the exact source material in my library. All the old billet and business card books are proving useful for my IP routines.
Message: Posted by: The Mysterious One (Jun 15, 2019 03:57PM)
This a really good thread. I have spent a fortune on books, apparatuses, and gimmicks. I have more magic and books than I will probably get through in this lifetime, but I am going to try dang it!
Message: Posted by: The Mysterious One (Jun 15, 2019 04:05PM)
[quote]On Jan 2, 2019, skoldpadda wrote:
I have found that when I look up most magic items (including books) on Amazon that their prices are not as competitive as penguin or hocus-pocus (with member discount). Since I'm so new to magic, I've been trying to save by buying returns/open box items. 1. Penguin 2. MagicAndSuch 3. hocus-pocus are sites that offer these (add .com to these if you're not aware). Some newer releases can be had at greatly discounted prices. What other good sites are there for deals like these that others have found?

This whole thread resonates with my initial experience with magic and buying magic. I'm trying to cull whatever useful nuggets I can by reading these forums. Someone mentioned MyLovelyAssistant. I've used that but find that simply using the search bar in this very forum is generally much more helpful along with the youtube reviewers (MagicOrthodoxy, Ekaterina, and WorldMagicShop (Wizard Product Review/WPR) in particular). [/quote]


This is great advice to save, but only if you buy things that you are going to use. Too often, I have ran into someone that bought something because it is such a great deal and then let's it sit on the shelf for eternity. If it something you cannot use or do not want to use, it is a waste of money no matter if you bought it for a reduced price or not.

Don't know if this was mentioned... Another great site for reviews was Jeff Stone's magicreviewed.com. Jeff is no longer actively putting up new reviews anymore, but it is a treasure trove of reviews. Jeff wouldn't comment if he loved an effect since that is in the eyes of the magician. But Jeff would review product quality, truth in advertising, and if one can actually perform this to spectators in the real world... Nothing is worse to me than effects that you can perform only in front of a camera to post to YouTube, Facebook, etc. Jeff is a really great performer and has tons of chops..... I enjoyed his writings, effort, etc. and he saved me from some really bad purchases in the past.

Honestly, I ignore trailers and comments from other magicians on the packaging.... I come here and listen to the reviewers mentioned earlier in this thread.

Enjoyed the OP's nuggets of wisdom, as well as Dick's (who is a wealth of knowledge and living legend).... Thanks to all
Message: Posted by: Aus (Jun 16, 2019 06:29AM)
I thought I might elaborate on some of my own personal thought processes when I select things to buy from a magic shop. First, it's important to understand that everyone has different theories in the way they approach their magic, so this isn't meant to be a strict set of rules that all must follow. Rather what I hope to demonstrate is the interlinking thought process that goes into making a purchasing decision.

For me, it simply starts with what I have in mind at that given time. What am I trying to achieve? That could be anything as simple as a presentation narrative that I want to overlay on an act I'm thinking about and looking at a trick visualising in my mind how that trick could conform to that narrative. Through that lens of observation, I would choose accordingly.

Also, it could be as benign as practical considerations of the trick in the environment in which I intend to perform it. In walk around, I look for instant or quick re-set, self-contained workings, be performed with no table and the props having multiple uses in other or completely different tricks (pocket space is at a premium).

Sometimes I'll look at versions of a trick and ask myself what does this version offer that others don't? A better stage picture? Stronger effect? Better display of the cards?

..Or it's just an intrinsic gut feeling that this trick just feels right for the type of performer that I am, and all other considerations stem from there.

On the practice side, I take a pragmatic approach of diminishing returns, asking the question of what Is the value of this trick/slight to me in relation to the difficulty of the task required to learn it. For example, a Hindu shuffle would have a high diminishing return value because the slight is rather easy to learn but has the versatility of being used as either a display, a force or card control. For the investment of learning one shuffle, I have added three things to my repertoire which is a good bang for your buck.

So as you can see, it's not one thing it's many, and given the moment in time that the decision is made, any one of the above considerations could be going through my head and influence my choice.

To give some real-life examples of purchases recently and the thought process behind them I bort Standup Monte by Garrett Thomas and Hydrostatic Pint Glass by PropDog.

The motivation for the purchase of Standup monte was to fill a narrative in a three trick act based on magic clichés. The clichés were "Seeing is Believing", "The hand is quicker than the eye", and "It's all done with smoke and mirrors". The tricks I had selected at this point was Nick Trost Observation Test for the seeing is believing cliché and the ambitious card for the smoke and mirrors cliché. That only left a trick that needed to be selected for the hand is quicker than the eye cliché. Standup monte appealed to me as a solid choice.

The Hydrostatic pint glass was selected due to an act that followed a production of a glass of water from the magician's jacket then moved into a coin vanishing into a glass of water then to the hydrostatic glass effect in aid of demonstrating the peculiar properties of water found at the geographical area that is said to be the Bermuda triangle. Again the narrative dictated the trick selection.

I hope that clarifies what I mean when I say "have a reason to buy a trick in the first place".

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: ScottMN (Sep 17, 2019 09:31AM)
I really appreciate your thoughtful advice Aus! There are thousands of us who will never make a nickel from performing (because we only do volunteer gigs or maybe just enjoy the art for ourselves) - but love it every bit as much as the professional making a living at performing... I have a "tight" budget when it comes to what I purchase, and appreciate advice on how to approach my spending.