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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Scattered and unfocused (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mitchb2
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Argh. There are so many genres and effects out there, I find myself like a deer in the headlights. I don't know what to work on. I haven't been practicing or learning anything new because I keep jumping around!

Anyone else have this problem?

Plus I keep buying stuff. I bought cups and balls, but haven't learned a routine.
I bought magician's rope, which is still in the package. Yesterday I almost jumped on Ellusionist's deal for the fancy cards, and decided enough is enough: I don't even know any card magic! Smile

The only thing I practice consistently is my basic coin sleights.
JamesTong
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Eternal Order
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Mitchb2, With so many things offered in the market today, it is rather tempting to keep buying.

Since you already have quite a few items, why not just pick one up and start working on building a routine. Don't stop until the routine is done. Then move on to the next item.

As you are developing your routine, you may find some things that need to be added. It's ok with that. At least you are building on something solid - rather than just going on a magic shopping spree and buying things you may not need at all.
JackScratch
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You need to put your wallet away. The only thing you should be buying is a good book. Might I suggest Mark Wilson's "Complete Course in Magic"? Then do not buy anything else. Not till you are absolutely certain what you need and what you will do with it once you have it. There is nothing wrong with buying things you need. That's not what you are doing. The first step is admitting you have a problem.
Jaz
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It's fun to explore and buy but at some point buying has to stop, at least for a while. Explore and experiment with what you already have.From your posts I'm seeing an interest in close up and impromptu type magic.

You mentioned an elastic band routine you put together and coin routines you were working on.

Slowly start putting a few sets of 2-3 impromptu type effects together that last a few moments. When you feel like performing, or are asked, then do a set. You don't need to do them all in the same time or even the same day, especially for people you are with a lot. If someone who sees you often asks you to do more then tell them that your working on some new magic and will show it to them a different time.

While you do the above, and build a reputation, work on putting together a more formal magic act, be it a 15 minute coin act at the table, a combination of coins, cards, C&Bs, sponges, etc, a stand up act or whatever. Take your time.

One problem that I find is that we can become overwhelmed by products, techniques, routines, reading posts on the Café and not stop and realize that we don't need most of what we see and hear about when performing for laypeople.
Gerald
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Mitchb2,
James, JackScratch and Jaz offer wise counsel. Don’t buy other props until you’ve learned to perform with what you have. Choose tricks and routines that are not so technically demanding that you can’t handle them. Get some experience performing some of the easier tricks (there are some terrific ones!) before you try something more demanding.

JackScratch is right on the money. There are routines which are not so technically demanding and use the props you have in the book: “The Mark Wilson Course in Magic.” If you don’t have this book, consider buying it. It is inexpensive and has a wealth of practical material which is not so technically demanding. Of course, if you have books like “Modern Coin Magic”, “The Royal Road to Card Magic” or “Card College”, these are excellent resources which should be in every magician’s library.

Adopt an intelligent, systematic, comprehensive approach to practice and rehearsal. If you focus on the task at hand in a methodical, intelligent manner, you have a good chance of mastering the task. As James suggests, keep working until you get it, but don’t lose your focus.

Jaz is right. You don't need 90% of what you see advertised. Make sure that what you are working on is worth your time and effort. Work on the classics and avoid spending money on the “trick of the day”. It is wise to spend your time and money to help you achieve your goal, not to satisfy your curiosity about the latest “miracle”.

Find a mentor who is an experienced performer and skilled in the venue in which you wish to perform. A mentor can help to keep your focus and save you a lot of disappointment, time and money.

Regards,
Gerald
mrunge
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Fantastic advice by all. Well worth re-reading and listening to what has been said.

Mark.
JamesTong
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Eternal Order
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One more thing ... don't be caught with information overload. You don't need to learn everything about magic.
Andy the cardician
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Do not be too hard on yourself - what you describe is the typical beginners curve. It is more fun to buy . . . compared with practice.

You realized that nothing can replace practice . . congratulations. A lot of beginners have a bucket full of tricks before they reach that conclusion.

So get ready to embark you second phase of the journey. Use the search function, as there are so many great advice in the Café on this one . . .

Andy
Cards never lie
superpixel
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I wish I'd had this advice as a kid! But yeah, it took me nearly 3 decades and hundreds of $$$ to realize this one truth: better to have 4 or 5 impeccably timed, perfectly routined and exhaustingly practiced moments of magic than a warehouse of tricks.
-- superpixel = Victor --
Andy the cardician
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Quote:
On 2007-09-02 22:58, superpixel wrote:
I wish I'd had this advice as a kid! But yeah, it took me nearly 3 decades and hundreds of $$$ to realize this one truth: better to have 4 or 5 impeccably timed, perfectly routined and exhaustingly practiced moments of magic than a warehouse of tricks.


on the other side, you also had a lot of fun buying new stuff . . .
Cards never lie
Aus
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Starting in magic is like taking steps as a child for the first time. You take those few tentative steps and they seem to be an overwhelming challenge. It’s not until you gain focus and determination that you achieve what you set out to do.

Magic is no different. Try a few things or maybe a lot of things but as you do so take notice of things you like, rope magic, card tricks or close up, and after a while disregard all the other stuff and focus more on the stuff that interests you. All the other genres of magic aren’t going to disappear on you in the time you’ve mastered one thing, so take your time.

Magically

Aus
zwong
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If you do indeed have money to spare (then again, who does?), I suggest spending them in a particular area of interest rather than sampling around different fields of magic. If I remember correctly, John Farentino did mentioned that he spent a lot of time and effort tracking down a huge range of breakaway prop to greatly enhance his comedy act. I believe it gives you a better insight into what you're doing as well!
Froste
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I'm just starting to outgrow my beginner tag, and I have throw in my agreement here. Especially with JackScratch and Gerald. Mark Wilson's book is awesome! It's got a great overview so you can explore a bunch of different aspects of magic and find out what you like best.

There also happens to be a nice cup and ball routine in there. I use it every time I bring out the c&b. Then again, like I said, I'm just starting to outgrow my beginner tag. I guess you could take that as an indication that it's not an incredibly challenging routine. I've played it for audiences and it always goes over well. Smile

Have fun!
Andy the cardician
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Another great resource is the Tarbell Course - a lifetime of magic.
Cards never lie
Aus
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Let me make a correction in light of what Zwong has said. Trying a lot of thing does not always mean a lot of money, there are many great books that cover large and different areas of magic with in the same volume, Mark Wilsons Course, Tadbell course to name a few.

Magically

Aus
Brad Burt
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It's a real problem. In psychology its called Cognitive Dissonance. The inability to chose because one is give too many choices. I have had this same problem and I solved it thus:

Don't think about it. Just select the first cool card trick you come across that sounds like fun and learn that. Focus until you DO learn it. Does it take sleights that you are not familiar with? No sweat. Focus. Learn those sleights specifically so you can do the selected routine.

At some point you HAVE to make a decision. You may make a decision in favor of inaction, but that's not really a solution to your present problem. Just pick something that engages you and STOP! Don't go any further. Once you have learned that one it gets easier to make a choice on the next one. Best,
Brad Burt
Andy the cardician
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There are also a lot of hoppers - they go from one trick to the next without really mastering it. Knowing the secret seems to be the main intention.
Cards never lie
MickeyPainless
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Mitch,
Sounds pretty normal to me! My first purchase was from Ellusionist and it consisted of a gaff deck, practice pad and Army of 52 DVD and I told my wife that should keep me busy for months (longer in reality). Then I made a trip to a well stocked magic store and dropped about $350.00 on some cool tricks, a card book, flipper coin and a DVD on cards, sponge balls and Dean Dill's Extreme Dean II. The next trip yielded more educational and less trickery. Since then I've headed off more toward coins but I'm ALWAYS tempted by all the nifty tricks and gimmicks I see on the net as well as in shops. On my last trip to the magic shop I bought almost all learning material that I am using on a daily basis.
I think it's a pretty common process and all the advise given above is sound. Good luck in your quest,
Mick
MagiClyde
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Quote:
It's a real problem. In psychology its called Cognitive Dissonance. The inability to chose because one is give too many choices.


WOW!!! I didn't know there was a name for this. I just assumed that I was a magic shopaholic!

Lately, I've finally been bringing my addiction under control because I've had to. My financial resources aren't what they once were and I have begun to ask the serious question of "How badly do I really need this?"

A great example of this deals with books on card tricks and sleights. I already have in my library two of the Card College series and Card College Light, Royal Road, What's Up Deck, etc, etc, etc, not to mention only God knows how many DVDs on just this one subject! Now, when I'm tempted to purchase a new book, I seriously ask myself two questions: "How will owning this item really add to my magic" and "Can I really afford this?" Usually one or the other will stop my purchase right in its tracks.

As for developing a routine, I did decide to join my local IBM because one of the requirements to be a member is that I have to develop a 10 minute routine to perform in front of the group to show my interest in magic as being sincere. When I first considered joining nearly a year ago, I did not consider myself good enough or think that I had 10 minutes of material that I could present. Now I'm confident that I do.
Magic! The quicker picker-upper!
Brad Burt
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What really needs to happen is that you have to focus on just one thing and get the satisfaction that comes form being able to 'fool' and 'entertain' someone or ones with it. It will be AUDIENCE reaction that will then drive your 'need' not so much to have lots of new stuff you don't know, but to learn the next thing that will then drive you to learn and perform the next and then the next and so on.

I'm a dealer....I WANT you guys to buy stuff, but I'm also a guy who loves to DO magic. I've been in both positions and I love having new stuff, but I also like to be able to DO new things. In my case even if it's only to make an online demo video! We all work 'our' venues, but the bottom line is that you have to be able to actually DO the magic. For all you hoppers....set on something and get it down. You will find a whole new feeling of satisfaction that will then drive you to learn the next cool thing. Go forth my friends and amaze the unaware! Best,
Brad Burt
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