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jonhson
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I really enjoy to see people new and new people in magic (this is not the same) interested in magic and appear in a magical universe, this means that our art wonīt "die".



Today the information about the topics about the art of the illusion is abundant and for that the newly arrived learn thru videos and books. It is also possible to get a lot of information from the internet.



I donīt want to say with this that I am against the fact that the information is not so avaiable. What I think is that exist a excess of knowledge, which could confuse the beginners and wonīt let them appreciate and respect the tradition or preserve and perpetuate that knowledge.



Like this they donīt feel any obligation with the inventor of all the ideas, effects and illusions that they now by know.

They can, whatever to thank the person which has borrowed that photocopy or videos, but... nothing more.

Smile
Dennis Michael
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There are other reason why Magicians copy and the fault is in the seller.



By putting the label "Magic" on it, the price is above normal costs for videos, books, and the Magic tricks.



How many times has a Magician paid the price only to learn the "trick" is worthless, the Video is the poorest quality, and the book and picture is so confusing it is again worthless. Or $10.00 for an 8 page pamphlet that is nothing more than a collector's item.



Dealers state, no return policy, you pay for the secret. So the new magician is stuck because of his lack of knowledge or inexperience. Mentors are not readily available to guide him to the "right" products or steer him in the "right direction. (Not all dealers conform to this policy, but most.)



This by no means justifies copying, however, the system sometimes forces the beginner to take steps to preseve his hard earned money.



There are hundreds of thousands of "Magicians" out there and only a handful know about this excellent source of information (The Magic Cafe). As a group we can mentor, the new, the beginners, our "secrets" are really not "secrets", only a means to perserve the illusion of Magic.



We can be our undoing or we can strive to make it better.
Dennis Michael
Paul
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Dendowhy is right to a degree. Howevever he sounds very negative, few tricks are worthless, and a secret surely does have a value, you are purchasing a creative idea.



If you buy the effect, it's because you couldn't think of the mechanics yourself, plus may get handling tips etc, the result of which have come from performance. You are saving yourself the time and thought that someone else put into that research.



Even an 8 page booklet, can be valuable, are you trying to say it is only worth the paper it is printed on? The information in that booklet may have been the result of many years research and performance given in a concise manner without any padding.



Perhaps the problem now is that a lot of youngsters are coming to magic through the internet, and not getting advice from magic club members. Here of course, The Magic Cafe is acting as a substitute for a real world magic club so is providing a worthwhile sevice.



Often it is not the publications and tricks that are worthless or overpriced, simply that in the newcomers buying frenzy he is buying material that is totally unsuitable for him at this moment in time. Later he may appreciate it more.



To newcomers I say, hold back on your purchases, try to avoid impulse buys. Be aware that adverts are usually hyped to the hilt and great quotes on the packaging are often from friends!



Look back at some of the older tried and tested stuff, study some of the classic books, don't spend highly on the latest wizz bang hyped book if you don't even have The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks in your library yet.



Magic videotapes are now cheaper than they have ever been, the early ones were about $60, look now at the Mike Ammar Easy To Master series. Took me over 30 years to seek out the good material on the first tape and now someone can get that info instantly! Superb value.



As for books, any specialist books are higher priced. They are technical books for study not novels. Often the print runs are very small which means costs are higher. Then there is the cost of promoting them. Advertising is not cheap, a full page advert in Genii, Magic or Linking Ring can cost several hundred dollars.



With the odd one or two exceptions these items do not sell in the vast quantities you imagine. As a writer and creator of tricks I would say generally the only time you are getting short changed is



a) The effect you buy is actually a rip off of someone else's work.



b) Someone has created a trick to sell simply to magicians and it has never been performed for the lay public.



At the end of the day whether it be tricks, books, videos, films, football teams whatever, one man's meat is another man's poison. A trick you hate, someone else can get a great reaction from.



As for copying, some people will copy no matter what the price of a tape or book was.

It's wrong, simple as that. We've probably all done it at some point in the past, but some of us mature and realize it really is wrong and damaging to the art.



Paul Hallas.
Burt Yaroch
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Very insightful Paul. I agree with the majority of what you stated but if I may instigate amplification on a few points with a rebuttal:
Quote:

On 2002-01-15 09:56, Paul Hallas wrote:

If you buy the effect, it's because you couldn't think of the mechanics yourself, plus may get handling tips etc, the result of which have come from performance. You are saving yourself the time and thought that someone else put into that research.




It has been argued here, quite vehemently so, that even if I CAN construct the mechanics myself I still must purchase the effect. This perspective will certainly cause a dilemma for the new magi.

Quote:

Be aware that adverts are usually hyped to the hilt and great quotes on the packaging are often from friends!




Are these the same magicians who stand upon their soapboxes condeming the slightest ethical infringement upon their intellectual property?



First they decieve me on how good their effect really is (hype to the hilt) and then they find some other magicians to do the same. And then we blame the newcomer in his buying frenzy for actually believing these testimonials? Who do we think these marketing schemes are intended to decieve, the seasoned vet?



And I don't mean to imply that all effects are hyped and all testimonials lies. "Usually" is the word you used Paul, and I think I concur. But "usually" unethical is enough that the magic consumer should never have the finger pointed in our direction. Seems it always is though.



To conclude my rant (I hope I wrote that so it didn't seem directed specifically at you Paul. If it read that way I apologize.),

I really have to agree with DenDowhy that a lot of this hyped stuff is worthless. If it was good enough material to sell itself it wouldn't need to be hyped. My point is further evidenced by the fact that a lot of magicians don't perform this overhyped material themselves. If it's so good, why aren't they using it? The fact is they marketed it just to make a quick buck, not to share the wealth of their knowledge.

And that is why we all have a drawer full of this stuff.



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Home of the famous Floating Goat and a wife who thinks Iím an a**.
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p.b.jones
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Hi,

Surely dealers have the right to describe their effect (and remember that's what you are buying) in the best possible light.

I have rarely seen an ad that is a lie, often they play up the pros and keep quiet about the cons but all sales people do that, not just magic dealers.

The truth is we read a description of some wonderous effect and, in our mind, we are like the lay spectator that sees a simple trick. We create all sorts of wonderous ideas as to how the trick must be done, then when it turns up and it's a thumb tip we're disappointed.

It is not that the trick is rubbish or junk, just not what we expected because all we can now see is the simple method and not the wonderful effect that the audience sees.

phillip
Paul
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Yes, I really should be more specific/careful about what I say rather than give a personal general overview. As someone who does deal himself, and believes he does so ethically, I felt I had to answer the negative generalizations made, and believe me, I am far too busy to be spending as much time on this site as I do! Itís addictive! Smile



Regarding the first quote of mine you used;

On 2002-01-15 09:56, Paul Hallas wrote:

If you buy the effect, itís because you couldnít think of the mechanics yourself, plus may get handling tips etc, the result of which have come from performance. You are saving yourself the time and thought that someone else put into that research.



This, in most cases, is surely the reality. I donít see what issue you have with that, and your following statement;

It has been argued here, quite vehemently so, that even if I CAN construct the mechanics myself I still must purchase the effect. This perspective will certainly cause a dilemma for the new magi.



No, I stated the way things are.

I personally WOULD buy the effect even if I reckoned I knew how it worked, if I was truly interested in making that effect part of my repertoire, then I would be interested in what tips and experience the originator could pass on to make my performance of that effect better. Not only is it the right thing to do, it is the common sense thing to do.



Some pro entertainers interested in a particular effect, will buy all available versions of that effect, or read as many versions of it as they can. The performance is the important thing, and just copying the mechanics will lead in most cases to just a poorer copy.



If you are doing paid shows, and surely that is what being a magician is about, getting enjoyment from your art, and earning a living from it, whatís the big deal about not paying for an effect? Whatever you pay for an effect,for the most part your next fee covers it. Anyway, hope that clears up any contradiction you thought there may have been there.



As for my quote:

Be aware that adverts are usually hyped to the hilt and great quotes on the packaging are often from friends!

You replied:

Are these the same magicians who stand upon their soapboxes condeming the slightest ethical infringement upon their intellectual property?

For the most part, I would say NO! MOST of the hype comes from dealers rather than originators. The bit about quotes from friends was perhaps an exaggeration for emphasis (but I am sure it does happen from some!) I was trying to be helpful to beginners by suggesting they should read advertisements for miracles with a touch of salt.



Look around at posters and TV adverts for other things. Almost all advertising uses exaggeration (at least magic doesnít try and add the sex appeal as well, er, apart from a recent video I saw advertised on using magic to pick up women, yeah, right.)



In life, anything that sounds too good to be true is. This latter trend towards hype has become more common place in the past decade or so side by side with the commercialization and mass marketing of magic. It appears to be the downside of magic becoming more accessible for everyone.



Yes, there ARE some unethical dealers. Some dealers have ripped each other off for over a hundred years. If you had read much of what I have written over the years in newsletters, editorials etc. you would know I have NEVER pointed the finger in just one direction. In fact one other thread I started somewhere here was about dealers who are pirates!



I personally do not agree with the hype at all, in fact if you look at my own advertisements you will hopefully see a marked difference to the sort you are used to! Also, any quotes I use on my own products are genuine unsolicited comments!



You say;

The fact is they marketed it just to make a quick buck, not to share the wealth of their knowledge. And that is why we all have a drawer full of this stuff.



Again, this to me is a very recent phenomenom(did I spell that right?) Smile It has started to happen but I donít think as widely as you think.



The reason peopleís drawers are full of tricks, and donít forget many of these will also have been bought after seeing it demoíed at a convention or magic shop - not on the strength of quotes on a packet), can also include the following.



1) People buy on impulse because they are fooled by something, rather than whether it will fit in with what they are doing, or the conditions they generally work in or their personality and style.



2) They think it will be "the one" trick, the holy grail of magic that will set their act above all others, make them really stand out. Either that trick doesnít exist or it is one already in your drawer that needs working.



If you feel youíve been ripped with particular effects, then discuss it under The Good The Bad and The Garbage.



Chances are, some of the effects you have in your discard drawer, you could look at again in the future and really make something of it.



Some people are upset when they find a simple method to a trick they bought, but they forget how good they thought it was when they saw it demoíed. Buying on line or mail order is not the best way, unless you know what you want. A GOOD dealer will answer your questions and be as helpful as possible. After all, they SHOULD want your repeat business.



John Mendoza put a book out in the seventies called Close Up Presentation which discussed in one chapter the smart way to buy magic!



Anyway, Iím glad you said you AGREED with the majority of what I said!!! Smile Smile



Paul Hallas
Burt Yaroch
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Thanks Paul. Well thought out and well said all around.



One thing to remember though (from the non-dealer/non-pro perspective) is that not everyone purchasing an effect is going to see a monetary return for their investment. Newbies clearly fall into this catagory as do hobbyists, folks that probably buy a good portion of marketed effects (perhaps not, you dealers out there can tell me). So when I read "This is as real as magic gets" on a product by a respected magician I expect something better than average. When it is not (clearly not, not just my opinion of it)I feel decieved, and rightfully so. Do I care if it was the dealer, the manufacturer, or the magicain who made this claim? Nope.



And I certainly don't buy into the concept that they have a "right" to describe their effect in it's "best light" (read hype). Truth in advertising is about ethics. And I think in a market that deals in secrets (non-returnable secrets) where dealers/magicians are expecting so much from their consumers in the way of ethics, they have an obligation to extend to us the same courtesy. In this way, magic is different than other markets where stretching the truth has become acceptable. And as Paul said, in many cases they do. But that still leaves us with all those in which they do not.



So to return to the point of the thread (finally) newbies should take Paul's advice and find a dealer that you can trust who will steer you in the right direction. They will be more than happy to help you select effects that fit your personality and performing style and sift through all that hype. Smile



And if you're still going to rip me off I would appreciate a hot chick adorning your effect! Smile Sorry Paul.



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craig fothers
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I'm not actually suprised that effects are hyped to the hilt! What else can we expect from an art with deception at it's very core!! Smile



You know, it's pretty weird. I have a background in computers - but I've never had a real problem with piracy until I came to magic. I'm only new to magic, but there definitely seems to be much more respect for fellow magicians wares and ideas... (even if they are hyped to the hilt) and this fact alone has got to be one of the strongest things about magic I think. Maybe it's a bad example, but it is one of the first things that struck me about magic - and there are lot's of secrets in both industries!



Magic is not *just* presentation and effect... the fact that we closely guard and respect magic secrets has got to be one of the critical players in this art - just as passing down those secrets is, and even improving the secrets is. This kind of unity has got to extend to wares also - and the fact that there aren't lots of rip-offs and pirates out there (that I've seen anyway) is a strength also. The fact that people are warned away from doing so is even better - and the fact that there are forums like this to warn people away from 'rip offs' and steer us towards better effects has got to be the icing on the cake.



As I said, I'm only new to magic, and so I don't get a dollar return for something I've just bought - It's an expensive way to make me/people smile... but I am learning to be discerning - and that is largely thanks to you guys.



I don't know how you teach people to repect this stuff... and I definitely don't know how you teach someone to respect their wallet!! I know that reading and watching vids has helped me make my mind up about some of this - it's definitely taught me that I am buying into secrets that are worth keeping secret.



And lets face it - sooner or later, we're going to feel ripped off by something - or someone will be disappointed by something that probably isn't as "fully examinable" as they were led to believe. Maybe it's part of the learning process. I definitely know that sooner or later, someone here will save me some money or help me out. If I can return that favour, then I haven't really lost out (no matter how angry I am at something that is going straight to the 'drawer of no return'!
Paul
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It is true that a good number of dealers get most of their trade from beginners and hobbyists and looking in any large dealers catalogues will show you loads of stuff aimed at beginners. Which is why I don't make much dealing because I don't aim at beginners Smile



I always tell beginners, books are the best value buy for them. So to you beginners reading, buy books instead of those tricks you'll put in a drawer!!!



Come back to me for tricks later Smile



Paul.
Burt Yaroch
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And on behalf of all beginners I thank you and perform the banana dance.



:banana:
Yakworld.
Peter Marucci
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Some newcomers to magic may need an interpreter for some magic ads.

Always willing to help! Smile



The ad says:

"Beautifully decorated"

The ad means:

"Badly silk-screened with dragons, top hats, and/or Chinese characters, all of which have been used since the 1920s"



The ad says:

"We finally got X to release his famous routine"

The ad means:

"After months of having to listen to his whining and begging, we told X we'd peddle his trash, just to shut him up!"



The ad says:

"No sleights involved"

The ad means:

"The incredibly complicated gimmick takes the place of a simple sleight because we had to have something to sell."



The ad says:

"Do it five minutes after you open the box."

The ad means:

"You can do it that soon but nobody's going to be fooled by it, let alone entertained."



The ad says:

"A guaranteed laugh-getter."

The ad means:

". . . if you're George Carlin."



The ad says:

"Improved method"

The ad means:

"The old method was total c**p; the new method is just partly c**p."



The ad says:

"A breakthrough"

The ad means:

"Not a breakthrough"



There are more -- many, many more -- but those are just a few to speed you on your way to filling up that junk drawer.

(I know; I've been there)

Smile

cheers,

Peter Marucci

showtimecol@aol.com
Burt Yaroch
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Smile Smile Smile
Yakworld.
Tom Cutts
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Yak,



My advice: Buy in person at a brick and mortar store that respects you.
Paul
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Hey Tom, I respect Yak Smile Even without a brick and mortar store.

Paul (I am shut between Jan 22nd and Feb 18th) Hallas.
vovin
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One thing you have to consider, if a magician makes a video he will be lucky to sell a 1000 copies. you see books and videos are expensive to make and they don't sell too many of them. That's the main reason that magic props and or videos are so cheap.
Paul
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1000 copies??? I think even that is a vast exaggeration.

I think one of the very first Lorayne tapes only sold 40 in the first 12 months.

I once had a video out that got good reviews but sold about 12!

Most magic books published, there are probably less than 500 copies. Even Kaufman now holds back on publishing books because the market is flooded with magic books that are not selling in great quantities.

You can probably count on the fingers of one hand the people who produce the things in quantity. Most producers of original stuff are very small time, they donít make up in quantity, and often canít afford to wholesale it out to other dealers.

Tricks rarely sell in the thousands, and creators rarely make much money from them, every so many years there may be an odd exception like CardToon, which stirs a buying frenzy, Smile a great trick which is probably in many drawers because it is a one on one trick, really a hobbyists cool trick to show than a working proís tool.

But think about it, if you buy a trick that most magic shops advertise, that came from a big magic wholesaler, who in turn may have got it from the originator, who constructed it and packaged it, do you think HE is making a whole lot? And the dealer that brought it to your attention, how did he do that? Where does the money come from for his advertising?

A lot of brick and mortar shops make their living more from selling novelties and fancy dress hire, than they do from magic, to just sell magic they would REALLY struggle. Some tricks only sell in the dozens (Iíve known some sell less!)

Two effects Iíve had on the market over twelve months havenít recouped there printing costs yet. One hasnít even covered the marketing rights costs I paid yet (same with a publication.) Oh, there was only a hundred of each also.

Producing anything, (and there are many dealers now who donít!) involves outlaying capital on which there may be no speedy return, if there even is a return. Even many of the large dealers may have stock on their shelves that has been sitting there from the 1970ís! Producing magic tricks is a gamble. Sometimes good tricks donít sell yet "average" tricks or something I personally wouldnít even consider selling seems to sell tremendously well for someone else.

Most dealers deal in magic simply because they love magic. Those that jump onto the magic dealing bandwagon thinking they are going to make any kind of money are in for a big shock.

The real value of a trick is whether you can get use out of it or not. The cost is immaterial if you use the item regularly you are getting your moneyís worth.

One of my most expensive purchases was The James File retailing at over £100. Thatís a lot of money for a magic book. Was it worth it? Yes, there are loads of effects in there I can use. I doubt at the price and size there were a thousand published. And that WOULD have been expensive to produce.

Recently I purchased "The Lost Notebooks of J. N. Hilliard." Now that, I thought at around $80 was overpriced, a magic historian may disagree, but I would think Richard Kaufman published that book in a smaller quantity and because of this the price had to be higher. It is a book more for the historian. It is an interesting book, but if you are just looking for tricks to do, you would be better looking at other books. I thought it overpriced, because there was not much I got out of it from a performing point of view.

We do put a perceived value on what we purchase, but it doesnít usually take into account the cost in production or man hours spent in research or writing. The James File is a good case in point, the tremendous amount of work that went into that over a ten year period. It may be a high price, in reality it is very cheap.

It is possible to get ripped off in this business, but I think generally prices are very reasonable. The mass marketing and commercialization, I think IS bad for magic though. Newcomers should be slapped across the face everytime they ask, "Whatís new?" and be encouraged to study whatís old! Smile Smile

Lay some good foundation stones for your study of magic.

Paul (crusty old git) Hallas.
Jeb Sherrill
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Paul and Yak,

Thanks for all the comments, together youíve covered quite a bit. Itís funny how Internet buying is changing magic in so many ways. I canít even imagine buying a trick without having it demoed, with one exception, I do remember buying things from Abbottís.

We spend a great deal of time complaining about the price of magic, but ten minutes on the other side (that of dealers or creators) and it certainly does change our view. We really must remember what a limited market magic is, and the catch 22 comes in when we realize that in order to protect the secrets it must remain that way, and yet to sell we donít want it to remain that way too much.

Itís funny how much I used to buy until I worked at a magic shop for some years. So much truly is perspective. Itís hard to buy all that stuff when I can build most of what I need from old books and the creations in my own head, but I also feel a need to support the local dealers and creators or they wonít be around for long. Consequently I find myself buying a lot of magic magazines, silks, t-tips etc., just to be buying something. I complain about all the commercial junk sold to the public, but without it, the shops might go out of buisness. I complain about the costumes and jokes, but the same problem raises it's ugly head. So many paradoxes.



Sable

Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
I don't believe in reincarnation, but I may have in another life.
Paul
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I agree Sable, quite a few paradoxes.

Young magicians think the huge dealers with massive lists/catalogues are great. If only they really were all miracles Smile

Some of the really great magic shops of the past, the general public wouldnít even know were there. Ken Brookeís magic studio for instance. No window display, a doorway with a small plaque. Then you went upstairs and into the studio lounge. No joke and novelties, just the Ken Brooke range of magic. Only magicians knew he was there, only magicians purchased from him.

House of Secrets in Blackpool is similar. Not quite so Mark Masonís shop in Blackpool, but he does sell JUST magic.

Apart from these types of dealers, I always thought the mail order and now internet based dealers were a better way to trade as many magic/joke shops I have been in I have seen unneccessary trick exposure in cabinets and showcases etc. These are the places people walk into for novelties, often buy a trick to show friends, then show them how itís done, like revealing a joke.

At least with mail order the chances are it IS a magician buying, having seen ads in magic magazines etc. Again people more interested in magic are more likely to search for it on the internet, but that also encourages children and doubting Thomasí just looking to see if they can find out how Blaine did his latest, etc. In fact there are one or two web dealers who capitalize on that!!! So internet dealing in some cases is a little step backwards. And some dealers are not as careful as they should be when advertising gaffs, sometimes exposing to casual browsers.

But the internet is here to stay, and to compete or even be in the race dealers must have some kind of web presence. One of the plus sites of the web is forums like this. People genuinely interested in magic can get assistance, or at least get pointed in the right direction, mere browsers will soon tire and move on.

Paul Hallas.
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Unfortunately for a lot of newcomers to magic, buying magic is a lot like defusing bombs:

Thereís only one way to learn how to do it and thatís by doing it.

And, if you do it wrong, it blows up in your face.

One practice that is fairly rare but would probably pay off big in the long run for dealers and creators is:

When advertising a specific effect, if anything special is required, it should say so in the ads.

For example: "Requires a double lift" or "Performer has to be wearing a jacket" or "Cannot be repeated for the same audience".

That way, if the performer canít do a double lift, or doesnít perform in a jacket, or performs pretty much for the same audience all the time, then he knows this trick isnít for him.

By the same token, if this dealer/manufacturer has already given him this information, who do you think he is going to buy from when something comes up that DOES fit his needs?

Dealers are as essential to the growth of magic as performers are.

And the better a dealer is, the better magic is for it and -- more importantly to him -- the better business will be!

cheers,

Peter Marucci

showtimecol@aol.com
Paul
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Peter said:

if anything special is required, it should say so in the ads. For example: "Requires a double lift" or "Performer has to be wearing a jacket" or "Cannot be repeated for the same audience". That way, if the performer canít do a double lift, or doesnít perform in a jacket, or performs pretty much for the same audience all the time, then he knows this trick isnít for him.

I agree with Peter here, but not 100%. Any extra requirements should certainly be mentioned, certainly a jacket, as in some areas it is so warm no-one wears a jacket. Mentioning sleights I am not so sure about. But then many effects ARE advertised as self working, or basic handling required. Iíve always found the "self working" label laughable, and comments like "do it 5 minutes after reading the instructions". Even the simplest of tricks need practice to do well.

But then, if the effect requires a pass, centre double lift, ulta move and mechanical reversal..... it will probably not be on the market anyway! Most marketed items tend to use basic handling skills, which newcomers should be encouraged to learn anyway.


Paul.
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