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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » How to get Good- Really Good (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

will lane
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I've practiced close-up/stand-up magic off and on for well over 10 years now. Yet I still feel like I'm only at an amateur level of ability. I've worked through many of the classic reading materials, like MCM, Maximum Entertainment, etc..., practiced the fundamentals over and over again; yet I don't feel comfortable performing much more than a criss-cross force or a french drop. Performing a DL or even a double undercut makes me nervous.

So I've re-read some of my posts from a few years ago, and wanted to try to take the late Dick Oslund's advice yet again: "1. Learn how the TRICK is DONE. 2. Learn how to DO it. 3. Learn how to do it, so that it ENTERTAINS people... You and I have never met. I don't KNOW you. But, in reading your comments... it's apparent to me at least, that you need to develop some GUTS! A nicer word would be CONFIDENCE... Keep It Simple Make It Fun"

So I've put mostly self-working or otherwise very easy tricks underneath my fingers, so that I might build my confidence and focus on making it entertaining and fun. Key cards, slop triumph, pencil-paper mental epic, etc... I don't know how this approach will work out as I just started it. But hopefully I can build my confidence this way.
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In your journey of magic, when did you feel like you were "good"? Confident, could entertain people, etc... Was there a moment everything clicked for you? What resources or teachers helped you along the way? What built your confidence? When did you feel like you could advance to "harder" methods?
Bobby Forbes
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virginia beach, VA.
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Unfortunately you're never going to be comfortable performing in front of people unless you...perform in front of people! Practice your routines until you get the moves down, video tape yourself if you have to, then just go out and have fun. If you have fun and seem enthusiastic about what your doing, your likely to make your audience feel the same way. Your going to screw up eventually in front of someone, just accept it and move on. Whats the fun in practicing for half your life if you never go out and try and have fun with it and entertain people. Smile
will lane
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Quote:
On Aug 27, 2021, Bobby Forbes wrote:
Unfortunately you're never going to be comfortable performing in front of people unless you...perform in front of people! Practice your routines until you get the moves down, video tape yourself if you have to, then just go out and have fun. If you have fun and seem enthusiastic about what your doing, your likely to make your audience feel the same way. Your going to screw up eventually in front of someone, just accept it and move on. Whats the fun in practicing for half your life if you never go out and try and have fun with it and entertain people. Smile

That's great advice. Thanks! Smile

I see you're in VA Beach, I'm just an hour away. Is there a place you regularly perform at?
Lord Anacho
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Kessel-Lo, Belgium
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Yes. One of the things I would advice is to perform and get a trick horribly, unredeemably wrong. Not a nice occurence, but hey! It's only a card trick. Your life will not be over if you fail at a trick. If you are nice with your audiences and not play the smart-alecky know-it-all as in "Look what I can do an you cannot". Then... then people will be nice about a botched trick. They want you to succeed.

Ciao for now

Erik
"The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything" (Alfred Borden in The Prestige)
funsway
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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Consider performance magic as a form of communication. Who you are perceived to be is always more important that the choice of trick or the mechanics.

How do you orchestrate the conditions in which the audience wants magic to happen? How do they "know" you are a person capable of "a real experience of magic?"

Are you a person they instantly know is worth a few minutes of their time, attention and appreciation?

Part of projecting confidence is being self-assured and competent to be sure. You can't fake that.

How about posture, hygiene, diction, voice quality, eye contact, spacial awareness, gestures, listening skills, empathic awareness?

All of these can be practiced on a daily basis. You don't need expensive props, gimmicks or marketing.

Yeah, doing tricks is fairly easy. Doing tricks well can be entertaining. Presenting magic Effects is more difficult.
Creating a 30 year memory of an illusion of impossibility is tough. How do you want to be perceive and remembered?

At an early age I was mentored, "Don't try an entertain people. Make them want to spend time with you - to learn the secret of who you are. Then do some magic to reward their interest."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
Harry Lorayne
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Start reading the good stuff!!!
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
Russo
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So.California / Centl.Florida / retired Florida
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Like Harry Lorayne's Books ???? Good stuff - though I don't have any.
Ronin
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To directly answer your question (and to sort of echo Erik, Bobby and Ken above), I started to feel I was good after I'd gotten experience performing regularly. It sounds like you've done a lot of good groundwork, learning methods and techniques and reading up, but I think there's no substitute for real world performance experience.

[Obviously: everything that is to follow has to considered with the pandemic in mind! But in the spirit of "this thing can't last forever," I offer the following....]

One thing I did a few years ago was to set up a series of living room performances, in collaboration with several other performers. This was inspired by an article in MAGIC magazine about the national circuit of private living room based music shows, and how it might be adapted to magic. I teamed up with several fellow magicians, and we hosted a monthly performance, either in the living room of one of the performers, or occasionally in a small performance space at a theater where I was working. I've since also used a meeting/party space at a friend's condo complex and a church space.

We'd each invite friends and family for an evening of magic and dessert. As an enthusiastic baker, I would make the dessert, and we'd set up to make coffee and tea. No reason you couldn't adapt this with store-bought dessert, or pizza and beer or whatever would suit your audience/social circles. By pooling our various social circles, it wasn't that hard to get a dozen or more people in for audience. It made for some fun evenings, and a great way to get the material out there. There was a little bit of cost for ingredients, napkins, coffee cups and such, and some extra work setting up and cleaning up, but nothing too bad.

If you don't have other magicians you can team up with, I think that this could work just as well (maybe better) by teaming up with non-magician performers--musicians, comedians, dancers, whatever. Again, the idea is to be able to combine your various social circles (who may have seen your entire repertoire, but would have the added draw of seeing your partners' work for the first time).

In these pandemic times, no reason this couldn't be adapted to an online Zoom format. In fact, I can think of at least one magicians' open mic on Zoom. Can't do pie and coffee over Zoom, but at least your audience doesn't have to worry about finding parking.

One of the biggest hidden secrets of magic is that, if you're going to get performance experience, you have to put some work in to getting (or making) performance opportunities. This was one way that wasn't too bad from a work standpoint, and I have fond memories of those shows.
David Hirata
www.thingsimpossible.com


"Life is a combination of magic and pasta."
--Federico Fellini
ajb6864
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Greece
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From experience, I would offer up the following advice; I think most people are put off by any task because they see it as too big a problem. You won't be Bill Malone or Tommy Wonder on day one, but they weren't either!!

Break down the task of becoming a 'magician' by really focusing on ONLY one trick/effect complete with some form presentation that suits you. Show that ONE trick to as many people as you can for a month.

Ideally, choose something that isn't too technically demanding, which will allow you breathing space to relax whilst you are presenting it and smile a lot!

By the end of that month, I will guarantee you two things! Your presentation will have changed dramatically and you will feel comfortable enough to do that trick for anyone at any time.

Hopefully you will feel motivated enough after that to continue adding material to your 'repertoire'.

Rinse & repeat. Smile

Good luck Will,
Alan
Hookem
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Here is what I do, FWIW. I work backwards. I focus on effects that I believe will blow audiences away. Then I work to perfect them. By that, I mean practice them until I believe I'm ready to perform them. That means when I can do the necessary sleights and misdirection and articulate an effective and tight script that I believe works for me, without thinking, and can focus on "selling" the magic. Depending on the effect, that could mean as much as six months to two years. Then comes the acid test to addressing the objective of getting "really good." That is only measured by audience reactions. When your audience gives you "the love" (e.g., the gasps, the dropped jaws, the spontaneous applause, and, yes, the standing ovation), THAT is when you KNOW you're "really good."
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