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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » How do you go about choosing or auditioning a new trick? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Foucault
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I have a devil of a time trying to select tricks to work on. I have what seems at times to be some kind of mental deficiency (in some fields it can be an asset) in that I want to the first thing first, then the second, working very methodically. But I have lots of books and videos, and therefore many tricks to choose from.

I understand that it's best to find tricks that suit your personality, but when you're starting out, your magical persona is not that well developed. I also understand that sometimes when I read a trick's description and it sounds like it would impress me, it's not going to impress everyone.

So, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff when auditioning tricks? I need some kind of direction.
pasharabbit
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Quote:
I also understand that sometimes when I read a trick's description and it sounds like it would impress me, it's not going to impress everyone.

I am beginner too and find myself in the same boat. As a beginner I grant myself the right to play around and see what genre of magic I enjoy. Some cards and coin tricks but who knows where I'll wind up? That's the fun part of magic. If a trick or effect impresses you, your far more likely to impress your audience because you will transfer that emotion to your audience. If a trick bores you like I find counting with spelling card tricks there is a zero chance your audience will find it interesting. I have some of the classics in magic and if I wanted to master all the tricks I would have to learn and present 500+ magic tricks. I scan -- read what looks simple and I might enjoy presenting. You'll learn after awhile that you like one kind of magic over another, but a first it all appears so magical.

You might want to look at Henning & Nelms Magic and Showmanship, it's a cheap paperback and you can download it from the net. It will give you some idea of what a personna is and how to make one. I am still light years away from presenting a formal show but this book lets me know when I am playing around and when I am working on being a professional.
Foucault
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Quote:
On 2005-08-06 17:25, pasharabbit wrote:
If a trick or effect impresses you, your far more likely to impress your audience because you will transfer that emotion to your audience.


That's a very good point. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Quote:
On 2005-08-06 17:25, pasharabbit wrote:
You might want to look at Henning & Nelms Magic and Showmanship, it's a cheap paperback and you can download it from the net. It will give you some idea of what a personna is and how to make one. I am still light years away from presenting a formal show but this book lets me know when I am playing around and when I am working on being a professional.


Funny you should mention that. I'm reading M & S right at this very moment (I'm a little under halfway through). Maybe that will help me in this quest for the right trick to spend my time working on.
pkg
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Quote:
On 2005-08-06 17:25, pasharabbit wrote:


If a trick or effect impresses you, your far more likely to impress your audience because you will transfer that emotion to your audience.
[/quote]

that's true to a certain extent! take for an example ur clothes! it might "impress" you but not others, it's all a matter of taste. now what counts is the way you perform things, as far as for "finding" urself all I can say is to experiment, read, experiment again, read, experiment on and on and on and on, AND watch others perform! see what enchants you (i know I am contradicting myself but you would be good at it) it will come naturally! just like choosing a career! (well it's not that easy for all, but eventually it does come along)
I started off with a thumbtip went through hell and back (but did enjoy the ride) and now all I do is bizarre/storytelling (enjoyed card magic, coin magic etc etc but bizarre is what attracted me the most!)

hope this helped in a way or another, all I can say is good luck and don't LOSE HOPE! if you do, pop a dvd in and watch an act, it will give you enough motivation to continue what you started!
Double posters should be shot!

No really!!
cmwalden
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When I first started in magic I was interested in everything. This was good, because it taught me a lot about the different kinds of magic and gave me a broad view of techniques.

Next I learned about having balance in a show. I tried to vary my effect across the different basic concepts: appearance, transformation, penetration, etc... That was good because it helped me to create a sort of structure to the show and look for tricks to fulfil a specific need rather than just a group of things that I liked.

Now I am looking much more at the overall show. I am adding variety acts besides myself and protraying more than one magical character in my shows. Now I am looking at effects that fit a character. I'm also looking for things that will fill a particular void. For example "I need a larger scale effect that has a good impact and only uses a couple of people here. It needs to be fairly fast paced and able to be done to music. It needs to fit the 'Chris' character." I'm find myself more often deciding what I need to accomplish and finding something that fits rather then finding ways to squeeze in the things I like. Starting to write shows rather than coreograph them made a lot of difference.

I highly recommend looking at the behind the scenes stuff for the Lord of the Rings films to see how art design and performance experience work together. There is a lot of gold there about how to invent your world.
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

- William Shakespeare
Herrick, Jeff
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After a while, you'll know if a effect is right for you. Its a lot of trial and error.
Jeff
I'm not looking to be a big star in magic
and that's working out REALLY good so far.
Foucault
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Thanks for the advice guys - it really helps.

cmwalden - I'll have to look out for the LOTR DVDs. Sounds like an interesting source of information.
jcards01
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I started out very young. If I read an effect and I really liked it, I learned it no matter what. I had the time then. Could I do that now? No! The minor responsibilities of life do not let me have the time to sit around for 6 or 7 hours a day and practice like I did then.

If you are reading an effect and you like it but it requires riffle stacking. Do you pass it up immediately because you are not there yet with those sleights. Perhaps! I didn't. If the effect is really something you want to do, there may be a substitute way of getting to the 'astonishment' or 'surprise' without hurting the effect by other methods.

I didn't worry about personality back then. I was too young to have one yet! (now that I re-read that, it didn't sound at all flattering!) If the trick impressed me, and I was easy to fool, I could show it to others and the presentation and my excitement of the effect would do the job.
Jimmy 'Cards' Molinari
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Foucault
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Quote:
On 2005-08-11 09:39, jcards01 wrote:
I started out very young. If I read an effect and I really liked it, I learned it no matter what. I had the time then. Could I do that now? No! The minor responsibilities of life do not let me have the time to sit around for 6 or 7 hours a day and practice like I did then.


You've brought up a very relevant point. I'm a beginner, but I'm not young. I do have those pesky responsibilities of life eating up a lot of my time. So, I need to make effective use of that time. Do you have any advice?
Kipp Sherry
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I too started out very young and experimented with new magic only when I could afford a new one. Sometimes it worked for me and it was money well spent (I still use the dove pan I purchased over 30 years ago). Sometimes it didn't work for me and it was money lost (maybe money spent on education).

You have a great resource here at the Café. Take a look at the reviews of others before you make a decision to buy.

That's a tip on how to save money, but you wanted to know about choosing the right effects.

After I have practiced a new effect long enough to perform it, I watch the reaction of the audiance. If they say "Oh, that's neet", I may or may not keep that effect. If they say "Oh my G**, how did you do that", then it's definately a keeper.

The reason I say this is based on my philosophy of magic.
To the magician it's only principles, routines, techniques and execution. The magic happens in the spectators eyes. So, if you want to perform "magic" then you have to be able to create "magic" for the spectator.

Watch their reaction and you will quickly decide what to keep.

Kipp Sherry
What is Kings Fool?
The only business card you'll ever need!
http://www.kippsherrymagic.info
pedrothegreat
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Quote:

To the magician it's only principles, routines, techniques and execution. The magic happens in the spectators eyes. So, if you want to perform "magic" then you have to be able to create "magic" for the spectator.



Couldn't agree more. There's a lot of good advice in this thread and a combination of all the advice here should give you a great start at choosing a great set. I would start off by sticking to tricks that impress you. There should be a lot to choose from. Then take them and perform them (after practice of course) to friends and family. Then stick to the ones that get a great reaction. This way you are performing tricks that YOU like which also get great reactions. This combination should form a cracking set and really help develop a performing style suited to YOU.

As for trying to fit it around your life, I would suggest keeping a deck of cards and a coin or two on you at all times and whenever you have a spare 5 mins, or when your watching tv etc, practice then. that's the only way I have found so far.
pedrothegreat

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don't have a magic website but i have a cool car styling website at www.autobulbsdirect.co.uk
Chrystal
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Hi,

All good responses and advice so far!

I always think of projecting magic the way a salesman/woman does when they feel passionate about a product. If it's something you don't use or believe in yourself, it's far harder to convince others of how facinating it is. Sorta the same thing with a magical effect if you really love it. If you like an effect - your enthusiasm will shine through.

As for your persona, there seems to be two schools of thought:
Your persona should only be a notch or two above who you really are. For example, it you are normally a very shy person it would be hard to maintain a humorous stage persona. However, if in "real life" you have that natural ability you can bring your humorous personality up a few notches when performing. Do you tend to be a serious person? Mysterious? Humorous? Serious, but with a wry sense of humor? You can ask others how they view you for their opinion if that helps.
Close friends and family especially, have a hard time believing you if your performing persona is far different from who you normally are.

The other school of thought if you can allow yourself to explore different personality types. We've often heard stories of actors whom were very shy and reserved in public took up acting to "bring them out of their shell". Viewing their performances sometimes, it's hard to believe that the person we see on the big screen as an action type may be in person very shy and reserved. Although they are only playing a part temporarily while as a magician it may be difficult for you to keep this up. I would personally find this hard myself and follow the first one.

The patter you choose comes into play regarding the persona you've chosen for yourself. I once showed a class full of magic students the same card effect and asked them to return the following week with their own patter. It was amazing how different each performance was. Same card effect - different patter. Those that wanted a humorous persona would base their patter on humor, those that went for a more mysterious persona would chose patter to enhance that ..and so on.

The more comfortable you feel performing an effect it's only natural you feel more at ease with those around you. Sometimes before you realize it, you've developed a persona without being conscious of it. It's also recommended you know at least three effects very well before you attempt more as it will only cause confusion. Knowing three and performing them numerous times will allow you to build up confidence. Each time you perform you will make adjustments in how you present the effect and your patter will flow much smoother. If you are forever trying to learn new routines you don't give yourself a chance to perfect the ones you've already learned.

Lastly, if you meant auditioning a trick for a magic ring, believe me you won't be impressing the magicians as they've probably seen it all before. They'd be more impressed with a confident performing style than the actual effect.

Good Luck to you!
Chrystal
Foucault
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Just to clarify, I'm talking about choosing a trick to work on, when you have the choice of many books/videos, etc. I tend not to buy individual tricks, but instead buy books and videos. Now, I have a huge number to choose from, and the difficult part is choosing one effect to learn next.

Your advice is really helping - thank you all.
pasharabbit
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I second the the opinion. Thanks for the help. I am coming at magic from being a serious middle aged professional. My wife would disagree with everything but the middle aged part. One thing I've noticed is that many magicians find their nitch. They try cards, coins etc and finally wind up where they want to be. Robert Houdin is sort of an inspiriation for me. The fellow started out as a watch repairman with kids and a wife to feed. He stumbled on magic and the rest is history. As for persona does anyone have a link where I can order one?
Anabelle
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http://www.magicbeard.com/view.php?id=34 read this, I found it useful and informative.

Anabelle
Foucault
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I have read that article before, but thanks for reminding me about it, Anabelle. Some very interesting points there.
sethb
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In choosing an effect, I've always asked myself these questions:

1. Do I like the props? This one is easy. For some reason, some people enjoy working with cards, or silks, or balls, rope or coins. Who knows why? Just go with what attracts you, and that's a good start. This is also a good way to find tricks that best fit your personality. However, I would avoid tricks with fire, at least in the beginning. Yes, it's impressive, but it's also very dangerous, and there are plenty of places that will not permit you to perform with fire at all. So even if you worked up a great fire act, you might not have anywhere to present it.

2. Do I have the technical ability to perform it, or can I master it within a reasonable time? For example, I love Okito boxes, but have never been able to master the necessary moves, so I don't use that prop. On the other hand, I spent a few weeks constructing and arranging a Cups & Balls routine, because I really liked it, wanted to do it, and thought it was within my abilities. The investment of time paid off. Remember, the audience doesn't care how hard the trick is to perform, they are only impressed by the effect. Better to perform a simple trick with a good presentation, than a difficult trick with a mediocre presentation.

3. Does the audience like it? I've tossed plenty of tricks that I thought were great, only to find that they consistently fell flat in performance. On the other hand, some tricks that I wouldn't have looked at twice have always been great audience favorites. Who knows why? But if you listen to your audience, they will tell you what goes over and what doesn't.

4. You don't need to learn 100 tricks to be a good magician. In fact, many professional magicians only do one or two dozen effects -- but they are honed to perfection by months and years of constant performance. Go for quality over quantity. Good Luck! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Dougini
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Great subject!

Hi, all...been out of the loop for quite a while. Things are still in transition, but it makes me happy to join you from time to time.

I like the above responses, and Chrystal, you bring up a great point saying, "...if you can allow yourself to explore different personality types..." Isn't THAT the truth! LOL! I had a HECK of a time early on (25+ years ago) exploring that very thing. Failed miserably there for a while, but lessons learned through experience are priceless.

Back to topic: A New Trick... Hmmm, these days I have to be quite impressed with the effect, and the "WHY" aspect of it. In other words, "Why am I doing this?" Some marketed effects these days have multiple uses, others just one effect. When I do perform, I ask myself, "Why am I making these coins (balls, cards, dice) disappear (change color, transform, travel invisibly through the air...)?"

Sometimes I see the common marketed stuff just practically thrown away (D'Lite, I.T., some card stuff) by poor presentation, or the tendency to just "do it" without cause. Coins go into other hand and disappear! No patter, no explanation, just in the hand and gone. I learned in sales, years ago, (Chrystal may agree with me on this ;-) ) to "build the value" of what you are presenting, the "close" would be the climax of the effect, which should be an awesome experience for the spectator!

Jay Sankey comes to mind. He re-sparked my interest in doing magic with household stuff, not the least of which is Three Ring Circus. Common, ordinary, everyday items with which you seem to create MIRACLES! Another person that comes to mind is Michael Close. His Pothole trick is one of the BEST I've come across in years! For coins, I've discovered Michael Rubinstein.

My purchases lately have been VHS tapes or DVD's from the above and others, and by using or constructing your OWN props and gimmicked items, you can even fool fellow magicians! LOL!

For purchased props, my criteria are as follows:

1. Must be DIFFERENT! Check out Peter Loughran's or Chance Wolf's stuff.
2. Must be ORIGINAL. No knock-offs or copies.
3. I must be able to fit this in my "persona". I don't do "blue" humor, for example. Not "geek" or "shock" magic, either. I still have scars on my lip from performing The Web!
4. Quality. Not hard to find, but you must be willing to pay more. Nothing worse than having something break, or work improperly in front of an audience.
5. Is this going to be easy to learn, or take YEARS of practice? I have no problem with either, but I accidently exposed the Zombie in front of an auditorium of 300+ people, because I prematurely thought I was "ready". Another lesson learned. That almost killed my interest in magic!

Enough. I've gone on too long. Thank you for being patient!

Smile

Doug
Foucault
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Thanks for the great advice, sethb and Doug! Distilling what you've said, I think the key to selecting a trick is setting the type of criteria you both have described here, but still allowing for the times when you like a trick, but audiences don't react well to it.
sethb
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Hi Dougini, glad to see you back on the BB's. Reading your post gave me another thought on this topic.

I try to buy effects that aren't "one-trick wonders," that is, they only do one thing and that's it. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- the Die Box, Hot Rod, Hippity-Hop Rabbits, Brainwave Deck, Nickels to Dimes, Chinese Sticks, and the Asrah Levitation are all great effects.

But especially for beginners, the so-called "utility items" are a better value because they can be used for more than one effect or routine, and can also be customized to your skill and ability. I'm thinking here of Linking Rings, Egg Bags, Cups & Balls, Scotch & Soda or Dime & Penny, Temple Screens, Copper/Silver coins, and so on.

This gets back to the "Why" question that Dougini posed. Why do this trick? Do it because it fits into what you already do, or because it's within your skills and ability. Don't do it just because it looks "neat" or because everyone else is doing it. Be unique, be yourself. Good Luck! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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