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Topic: What Was The Best Advice You Received As A Beginner?
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Dec 8, 2018 07:57PM)
Not wanting to hijack or take the other thread off topic, I thought I'd start this one. As newbies soon learn magic is not just about the tricks but the presentation, amazement, and wonder. While everyone starts with easy to learn or basic tricks and hopefully progresses, this is about advice, presentation or execution as you were starting out.

What advice or insight do you feel was the most helpful to you in the beginning stages? Or even in the returning stages when you decided to become more serious about your interests?

Was it different as an adult vs. when a kid?
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Dec 8, 2018 10:36PM)
Things that were said to me by mentors, and which stuck with me:
[list]
*"Twelve tricks make a career." -- Dale Salwak

*"I AM the coyote." -- Pop Haydn

*"What's holding you back from following your dreams? It's all just excuses." -- Jeff McBride

*"Be more Dana. I want to see more Dana. You are magnificent, darling. Let everyone see how magnificent you are." -- Eugene Burger

*"Magic is only 20% of it. The other 80% is how you present it." -- Mark Wilson

*"Most musicians play an instrument. Only a few musicians are so good that they no longer play their instruments, they just play music. Be so good that you don't perform tricks, you just do magic." -- Teller

*"The thing about show business is, no business, no show." -- Dana Douglas[/list]
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Dec 9, 2018 06:27AM)
"Get out there and do it" "ours is a performing art, if you not performing your not doing anything" "you can practice till your fingers bleed but until you perform it just self indulgence" (He actually put it in a more expletive way) ;)

I won't tell you who told me those things as you wouldn't believe me but be assured the advice was and is sound.

danaruns, your list of mentors reminds me of a Mystery School line up. Were you a student there?
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Dec 9, 2018 08:17AM)
Hi Dana,


Like Burger, I want to see how magnificent you are. Has anyone recorded your performances?



Thanks,


Bob
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Dec 9, 2018 09:43AM)
[quote]On Dec 9, 2018, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
"Get out there and do it" "ours is a performing art, if you not performing your not doing anything" "you can practice till your fingers bleed but until you perform it just self indulgence" (He actually put it in a more expletive way) ;)[/quote]

That is the best advice of all.

[quote]danaruns, your list of mentors reminds me of a Mystery School line up. Were you a student there? [/quote]

I was, but only Jeff and Eugene mentored me there. The others are friends and/or mentors from elsewhere in my magic life, mostly in L.A.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Dec 9, 2018 09:45AM)
[quote]On Dec 9, 2018, Bob G wrote:
Hi Dana,


Like Burger, I want to see how magnificent you are. Has anyone recorded your performances?



Thanks,


Bob [/quote]

Trust me, Bob, I'm not magnificent. LOL! :D Eugene was just a sweet, dear and encouraging man, who was trying to bring out the best in me. And in so doing he taught me to give more of myself on stage, which was very valuable.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Dec 9, 2018 11:52AM)
Ah well, you're good enough to be a performer, Dana (professional, I assume). That's pretty darn good in my book.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Dec 9, 2018 12:55PM)
I was fortUnate to have several well qualified, successful professionals in the area of the business which I was planning on working in.

It would take a week, and/or a book to write them all.

Mainly it was, "study the classics. Learn the fundamentals. Keep your basic criteria in mind as you produce a show that can be done almost anywhere for anybody.

Talk WITH your audience, not TO or AT them. Treat spectator helpers as your GUESTS.

Don't buy TOYS. Buy props with which you can perform MAGIC.

GENERIC PROPS, PLUS KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS ARE MORE PRACTICAL THAN MECHANICAL WONDERS.

KIS MIF!

ETC.
Message: Posted by: Sharktale (Dec 10, 2018 03:17AM)
- Try not to copy others.
- Learn one trick well!!! Learn how to present it... Practice, practice,practice... Only then move on to the next one.
- Think about the trick- what are you trying to show? How else can you present it?
- Learning the mechanics of trick is only first step- now, how will you present the mystery?

Learn to listen!!!

When you meet someone who is wiser or knowledgeable then you are ask him:
- What do you think, what I need to know?
Hope it will help someone.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Aug 27, 2019 02:57PM)
"If you can do anything else for a living and still be happy, then you really should do that instead of magic." ~ Duke Stern

"When you hit your mid-fifties you are going to need to reconsider what sort of performing character you want to be as an old man and start developing that." ~ Billy McComb
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Aug 27, 2019 07:59PM)
Wow... so many wonderful notes! For me there are so many ...

Don't study magicians or you'll just copy their style. Study the best performing artists in other fields and figure out what makes them great then apply that!

When an effect is 80% ready... get it on stage. The final 20% will never come to you in rehearsal.

Listen to your audience, they will tell you everything. If you video tape your show (which you should do every time you can!) Don't watch it, close your eyes and listen to it. Hear where the reactions come, where the laughs are, then build off of that.

When you're first starting out... no one cares what you think. Prove yourself with your opening few effects, then your opinion will matter more

Find a point of view that is unique and use that to help define your personality.

An act has a character, a show has a personality.

Each routine can show them a new and interesting side of you. In the end, they feel they know you better and that's what they enjoy.

If you truly enjoy what you're doing, that's infectious and they might as well!

People don't care about all of the other shows you've done in the past... they care if you can create a special moment just for them that will live on in their minds forever.

If you do magic only in an attempt to fool them and try and show them how cool you are, that's just being selfish. My goal has always been to give them the gift of wonder and amazement which is one of the greatest feelings ever!

I could go on for days but I need to eat now... good luck everyone!
Message: Posted by: Drylid (Aug 27, 2019 09:27PM)
"Don't ever think you're smarter than your audience." Followed By "you Don't make the magic, the spectator does"
Message: Posted by: Laughing (Aug 28, 2019 05:38AM)
Interesting advice and some are at cross purposes.
There is a disconnect between the advice to "go out and perform" and "practice until you are 80% of the way there". They are "almost" mutually exclusive.

My one bit of advice, as a beginner - If a spectator asks to shuffle the deck, let them, or you are dead in the water! If necessary segue into another trick, the invisible deck give you 52 outs!

Whilst I am a beginner I have been caught out with someone asking to shuffle the deck and I refused. It is a killer. For this reason I feel, at least, partially qualified, beginner or not.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 28, 2019 07:54AM)
[quote]On Aug 27, 2019, Pop Haydn wrote:
"If you can do anything else for a living and still be happy, then you really should do that instead of magic." ~ Duke Stern
[/quote]

Thank you. I have been trying to figure out who said that for ages.

Mine would be to always be prepared to adjust on the fly when you start performing a new routine.

Also, rehearse until you're sick of it, and then rehearse some more.

And lastly, make the deceptive actions look like normal actions, and also make the normal actions look like the deceptive actions. Meet in the middle.

Oh, and a bonus, which I figured out but was never explicitly told: consistency/congruence with props, presentation, and character will do far more to hide any discrepancies than pretty much anything else.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Aug 28, 2019 12:08PM)
[quote]On Aug 28, 2019, Laughing wrote:
There is a disconnect between the advice to "go out and perform" and "practice until you are 80% of the way there". They are "almost" mutually exclusive.[/quote]

Maybe I wasn't clear enough. In order to perform you need SOME for of a cohesive product so as not to be a burden to the craft. I wouldn't think it was out of the question to ask you not to buy an effect and perform it on the first person you meet after getting it a few minutes earlier. Why is that? I feel you need to practice it enough to feel qualified to do it justice. If you can't understand the reason for that, that's another issue. I don't think any good magician has ever translated "go out and perform" as a means to negate any rehearsal and practice. If you're goal is to be a musician, you don't buy a guitar and go out on the street and start playing it as soon as you leave the store. I hope you can understand the reason why. Anyone in any craft or art requires the dedication of practice to get to the level where it is worthy of public viewing or even by your friends. I sincerely hope you understand now why these two quotes are most assuredly not mutually exclusive.
Message: Posted by: Laughing (Aug 28, 2019 12:32PM)
Ray I don't necessarily disagree with you, of course get a level of competence with the material you are performing. However there is something to be said about actually taking the chance and go and perform, even if its unpaid on the street or in a bar. There is no substitute for experience. Which is why I said they appear mutually exclusive.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Aug 28, 2019 02:46PM)
[quote]On Aug 28, 2019, Laughing wrote:
Ray I don't necessarily disagree with you, of course get a level of competence with the material you are performing. However there is something to be said about actually taking the chance and go and perform, even if its unpaid on the street or in a bar. There is no substitute for experience. Which is why I said they appear mutually exclusive. [/quote]

I absolutely agree with performing. My only request is that you do due diligence towards competence before showing others. You owe your audience, either paid or not, friends and family or strangers, the care to at least achieve a level of competence with each effect before just going out and "winging it". Anything less and you're weakening the public perception of magic. after it is well rehearsed, then by all means, get it out there! You will always learn more in front of an audience then you ever will in rehearsal.
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Aug 28, 2019 03:28PM)
[quote]On Aug 27, 2019, Ray Pierce wrote:
Wow... so many wonderful notes! For me there are so many ...

Don't study magicians or you'll just copy their style. Study the best performing artists in other fields and figure out what makes them great then apply that!

When an effect is 80% ready... get it on stage. The final 20% will never come to you in rehearsal.

Listen to your audience, they will tell you everything. If you video tape your show (which you should do every time you can!) Don't watch it, close your eyes and listen to it. Hear where the reactions come, where the laughs are, then build off of that.

When you're first starting out... no one cares what you think. Prove yourself with your opening few effects, then your opinion will matter more

Find a point of view that is unique and use that to help define your personality.

An act has a character, a show has a personality.

Each routine can show them a new and interesting side of you. In the end, they feel they know you better and that's what they enjoy.

If you truly enjoy what you're doing, that's infectious and they might as well!

People don't care about all of the other shows you've done in the past... they care if you can create a special moment just for them that will live on in their minds forever.

If you do magic only in an attempt to fool them and try and show them how cool you are, that's just being selfish. My goal has always been to give them the gift of wonder and amazement which is one of the greatest feelings ever!

I could go on for days but I need to eat now... good luck everyone! [/quote]

This is worth printing and hanging up.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 29, 2019 07:34AM)
"If you feel your speaking tempo is good, you are probably going too fast."

"always know what act will precede and follow yours."

"Never perform the effect your mother says is her favorite."
Message: Posted by: ryanshaw9572 (Aug 29, 2019 08:41AM)
Your magic is real.
Message: Posted by: padre rich (Aug 30, 2019 11:02PM)
George Clooney's father told him,"you're never as good as they say or as bad as they say."..........
Message: Posted by: Jonmaddgician (Sep 16, 2019 02:43AM)
As a kid, follow your dreams.
As an adult, chase them.

When performing, appeal to an adult's inner child, and appeal to a child's inner adult.
Message: Posted by: wulfiesmith (Sep 18, 2019 04:39PM)
Advice as a Beginner?

It's not the trick or routine.
It's the performance ...

An artist can turn a sketch, melody or routine into a masterpiece.

In short, take that effect, and "make it your own".
Put a spin on the ball.
Message: Posted by: wulfiesmith (Sep 18, 2019 04:41PM)
PM me for any support I may be able to offer ...
Message: Posted by: kShepher (Sep 18, 2019 08:25PM)
Read Card College cover to cover.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Sep 19, 2019 08:46AM)
This is the advice I've been giving myself after three years of working on magic: don't try to learn everything at once. Choose one or two tricks that are within your current skill range or will stretch it a little, but not too much. Work on them for as long as it takes to perfect them before moving on the other tricks.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Sep 19, 2019 09:02AM)
[quote]On Sep 18, 2019, kShepher wrote:
Read Card College cover to cover. [/quote]y

Well, if you INSIST! But. I don't do card tricks!

I read ERDNASE, when I was 14, but decided that a teenager wasn't going to succeed as a gambler.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Sep 19, 2019 09:18AM)
Probably obvious, but the last phrase of my message should have read, "before moving on *to* other tricks."
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Sep 19, 2019 10:20AM)
[quote]On Sep 19, 2019, Bob G wrote:I
Probably obvious, but the last phrase of my message should have read, "before moving on *to* other tricks." [/quote]

Ha! I thought that you were saving ink! (I mentally inserted the "to". (heehee)

Your post made very good sense!
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Sep 19, 2019 11:03AM)
Dick: Funny! And thanks.

Bob
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Sep 19, 2019 11:10AM)
I inadvertently forgot to include this quotation in my post of December 9, 2018, above.

Of course, I didn't get this "advice", personally! I read it, when I was a teen.

"Those who give themselves to ready practice before they have learned the theory, resemble sailors who go to sea in a ship without a rudder," -Leonardo Da Vinci
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Sep 19, 2019 11:47AM)
Here's another bit of "advice" that I didn't get, personally, but, read in DARIEL FITZKEE'S "The Trick Brain" (pp308)"

"...I must insist that tricks are but tools. This eagerness to add new tools to the workshop, at the expense of learning how to use the tools we already possess, definitely results in overcrowded workshops, but unskilled artisans."

I "deposited" that in my "memory" bank!
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Sep 19, 2019 01:28PM)
[quote]On Dec 8, 2018, danaruns wrote:
Things that were said to me by mentors, and which stuck with me:

*"I AM the coyote." -- Pop Haydn

[/quote]

This quote doesn't make much sense without the context:

"I don't tell people stories about the coyote--the Trickster. I AM the coyote. People tell stories about me."
Message: Posted by: Tom Fenton (Sep 20, 2019 01:41PM)
Work slower.
Message: Posted by: mentaldiego (Sep 20, 2019 02:04PM)
Do not hurry to act!!!
Message: Posted by: bobinsdakota (Oct 1, 2019 07:41PM)
Practice Practice & Practice.....my wife is very patient and a great 1 person audience.
Message: Posted by: vanp8 (Oct 19, 2019 07:54PM)
Pay attention to the audience they will provide you with material to make your effects memorable. Go over your act afterwards it will improve your performances.
Message: Posted by: Topper2 (Oct 20, 2019 01:04PM)
My advice would be:-

Prepare and practice your patter and presentation just as assideously as you practice the mechanics of the trick. Know exactly what you are going to say at any given moment in the performance without having to hesitate and think about it for one moment. Also know exactly what to say if something goes awry, and if you rattle it off as though you'd just thought of it you'll get credit and laughs for that.

If you want to know just how bad tricks can look without good patter and presentation just checkout YouTube and cringe at the inadequacy of the average presentation resorted to by so many spotty young bucks who think they know it all.

What's the point in spending countless hours perfecting the 'double knickerbocker kickback manoeuvre' if you can't put the effect across in an amusing and entertaining way. You'd be better off spending those wasted hours on patter and presentation and just stick to a sleightless simple trick; your audience will love you the more for it than yawning with glazed eyes over a tedious display of knucklebusting that they can't appreciate anyway.

Of course if you reach the stage where you can be technically brilliant and entertaining at the same time then you're home and dry, but just remember that many successful entertainers use simple but sure fire methods because they place a premium on pleasing their audience rather than pleasing themselves.