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Strange Tasting Fish Sticks
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1988 - 2013
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Am I a beginner? I've been doing magic off since I was around age 9. I tooks everal years of breaks, off and on for 10 years. I remember reading mark wilsons book when I was around 10 and just practicing in front of a mirror sponge ball sleights for hours... I recently got back into magic, I'm now 19. The only thing I'm good at (or at least until recently I THOUGHT I was good at) were sponge balls. I Thought I was good at those, until I Posted a video and the majority of people said I really sucked with them. Imagine practicing sponges for years and then people tell you you suck. It really hurts. But then again I only got back into magic recently about a year ago, I've also revised my retention vanish to a better renntion vanish which I learned in jay Noblezana's SPONGE video.

A little background on mysself. I like to do flourishes such as the four coin roll down, card cuts, etc. I thought I was at least decent with sponge balls until I posted the video and a few people said I was decent at them but the vast majority said I was no good.

That's all I'm really proficient in (at least I think so) are sponges.

So you be the judge, do you think I'm a newbie at magic?
Here's a link to my tricks:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Fishsticks911

Again I'd appreciate any feedback.
mrsmiles
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Well, I think they were being a little hard on you, though the quality of the moving images made it hard to judge totally. I think a better judge, given you have practiced this a lot on and off, are a 'live' audience - i.e check out how your sponge work actually comes off in live performance. Even if that is confined to just to family & friends, get feedback from them - see if they think its good and certainly if they 'saw' through your moves. If you've already received positive feedback 'live' from them - I would view that as more illustrative than a 'youtube' audience. The next thing is to volunteer for charity events and build up your experience. I am advising all this because after practicing a lot at home there is a limit to how far practicing will take you... You're probably best concentrating on live performance; provided you've practiced a lot at home as per with your sponge work. It's actually doing it 'live' where you learn misdirection (which is impossible to do on 'youtube') & how to entertain. In response to live feedback you can then (afterwards) practice in much more applied and focussed ways. The 'youtube' audience can be pretty unforgiving - and it is not a 'real world' audience in many ways (eg the ability to deploy misdirection is seriously reduced) My own sleight of hand is average - but my misdirection & perfromance skills mean I don't get caught - and believe me, where I perform if they saw something, they'd tell me! So don't be discouraged. You seem conscientious enough (i.e you do practice a lot), so go out there and hone your skills a bit more live. Give 'youtube' a miss - just watch the pros like Bill Malone, Tommy Wonder (RIP), Daryl etc do their thing on youtube.
Good luck! Don't give up - and don't be discouraged.
mrsmiles
(UK)
Jaz
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From what I'm reading here and the sponge ball video you posted elsewhere I would say that you're a beginner.

Don't take the criticism too hard. That's how we learn. Yes, it can hurt a little but you suck it up and try to improve.
Andy the cardician
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Are we not all beginners in one way or the other?
Cards never lie
Jaz
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Quote:
On 2007-10-25 09:39, Andy the cardician wrote:
Are we not all beginners in one way or the other?


Students yes, beginners........Smile..no.
Jerrine
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Remember...you only begin once.
WagsterMagic
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Jerrine hit it on the head.

Guys, remember when you started out. How did you want to be treated.

Even Copperfield, McBride, Burton and many others were beginners once too.

Constructive critisism is the key.

Best
Brandon
The Wagsters: World Class Magic & Illusion
www.wagstermagic.com
mrunge
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Take the criticism for what it is. One persons point of view.

As mentioned, everyone is a beginner at something...once. Then you begin something else. After that, you're a student, as Jaz mentioned, and continuing to get better at it.

As mrsmiles mentions, the BEST judge of your performance and presentation are those living and breathing who are in front of you as you do it. Get out there and see what others think of you. Then, listen and learn.

Keep in mind that magicians are some of the hardest critics around. Many with good intentions, others with malice and an attempt to bring you down to make themselves look better. It's too bad, but it happens.

The main thing is, don't be too hard on yourself, practice, perform for others and listen to what you're hearing in order to learn and better yourself. That is, after all, what a good student does!

Good luck. Mark. Smile
gaddy
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Video of the performance of magic is essentially worthless in my opinion.

For what it's worth, your second retention was a little better than the first. Your hands look slightly more relaxed.

Unless your name is Chris Angle or David Blaine, perform in front of people, not cameras.

Good Luck,
G
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
Montethrower
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We're all beginners. Everyone on these boards. Everyone, even the veterans, the pros, everyone.

Yes, you're sponge routine needs to be cleaned up a little. It was choppy and unnatural in parts, but tell me of any magician who's routines have always been picture (or camera) perfect their first few tries. I don't think ANYONE can do that.

Just practice, practice practice. And when you have it down, practice more. I still attest to the fact that posting a video of things in progress on the Café will let you know where you need to improve, despite the occasional barb.

Keep going.

Best wishes to you,

Monte
sethb
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Quote:
On 2007-10-25 02:15, Strange Tasting Fish Sticks wrote: Imagine practicing sponges for years and then people tell you you suck. It really hurts.

Don't forget that practice doesn't "make perfect," it just "makes permanent." Even though you practice diligently, you could just be reinforcing bad habits. I know, I've been there, and so have most of the rest of us!

If there's a magic store near you, ask about getting some private magic lessons. If there's an IBM or SAM club near you, consider joining up and getting some performance time and intelligent, consructive feedback. Failing that, get a three-way practice mirror (click HERE for more info) and watch yourself.

And don't give up the ship. If magic was easy to perform, then everyone would be doing it! Smile SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Father Photius
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Let's see, I knew Mark Wilson before there was even thoughts of Magic Land of Alakazam, let alone CCIM, started learning magic from my Mark Wilson Magic set which he and Nani put together in their Dallas apartment and sold through the Dallas Tiches Dept. store in the early 1950's, can honestly say I was taught magic by Harry Blackstone, Sr., been doing magic for well over 50 years, and I'm still a beginner, so it is possible that you are still one too.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Brad Burt
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Jazz's comment was brilliant: We're all students, but not all beginners. If one is a beginner after years of study, practice and performance then the term is meaningless and we have to search for something better.

Beginner doesn't tell us anything. It just notes a starting point. The post that began this thread was obviously not written by a beginner as the poster knows enough to show material that can be commented upon. The technique can be either bad, good or something in between. If bad or something in between then constructive comments like those above can lead to improvement. The one thing most needed for improvement at any stage of development is not in fact practice. What is needed most is the belief or knowledge that one in fact NEEDS improvement and then why and where.

The true beginner does not in fact 'need' improvement because the beginner has nothing to improve. Improvement implies that one has learned something on which to improve, but once that happens one is no longer a beginner even if the thing needing improvement is a single sleight, etc.

I don't believe that anyone should be thought of as a beginner for very long. They may start and then stop. They may be a 'quitter' or just resolved that magic or typing or playing the harp is not for them and move on, but once committed to craft or art and once involved in the perfecting of any technique they have left 'beginner' behind and entered some other state.

If one could really be thought of as a 'beginner' for any extended period of time they would have to be learning nothing, moving towards the perfection of nothing, having nothing to show for their journey. But, if that was true wouldn't it be better to simply describe them as never having begun at all? Sincerest regards,
Brad Burt
Strange Tasting Fish Sticks
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The Big Brother is watching you
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Quote:
On 2007-10-26 22:56, Brad Burt wrote:
Jazz's comment was brilliant: We're all students, but not all beginners. If one is a beginner after years of study, practice and performance then the term is meaningless and we have to search for something better.

Beginner doesn't tell us anything. It just notes a starting point. The post that began this thread was obviously not written by a beginner as the poster knows enough to show material that can be commented upon. The technique can be either bad, good or something in between. If bad or something in between then constructive comments like those above can lead to improvement. The one thing most needed for improvement at any stage of development is not in fact practice. What is needed most is the belief or knowledge that one in fact NEEDS improvement and then why and where.

The true beginner does not in fact 'need' improvement because the beginner has nothing to improve. Improvement implies that one has learned something on which to improve, but once that happens one is no longer a beginner even if the thing needing improvement is a single sleight, etc.

I don't believe that anyone should be thought of as a beginner for very long. They may start and then stop. They may be a 'quitter' or just resolved that magic or typing or playing the harp is not for them and move on, but once committed to craft or art and once involved in the perfecting of any technique they have left 'beginner' behind and entered some other state.

If one could really be thought of as a 'beginner' for any extended period of time they would have to be learning nothing, moving towards the perfection of nothing, having nothing to show for their journey. But, if that was true wouldn't it be better to simply describe them as never having begun at all? Sincerest regards,


Well said.
Strange Tasting Fish Sticks
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Quote:
On 2007-10-25 07:20, mrsmiles wrote:
Well, I think they were being a little hard on you, though the quality of the moving images made it hard to judge totally. I think a better judge, given you have practiced this a lot on and off, are a 'live' audience - i.e check out how your sponge work actually comes off in live performance. Even if that is confined to just to family & friends, get feedback from them - see if they think its good and certainly if they 'saw' through your moves. If you've already received positive feedback 'live' from them - I would view that as more illustrative than a 'youtube' audience. The next thing is to volunteer for charity events and build up your experience. I am advising all this because after practicing a lot at home there is a limit to how far practicing will take you... You're probably best concentrating on live performance; provided you've practiced a lot at home as per with your sponge work. It's actually doing it 'live' where you learn misdirection (which is impossible to do on 'youtube') & how to entertain. In response to live feedback you can then (afterwards) practice in much more applied and focussed ways. The 'youtube' audience can be pretty unforgiving - and it is not a 'real world' audience in many ways (eg the ability to deploy misdirection is seriously reduced) My own sleight of hand is average - but my misdirection & perfromance skills mean I don't get caught - and believe me, where I perform if they saw something, they'd tell me! So don't be discouraged. You seem conscientious enough (i.e you do practice a lot), so go out there and hone your skills a bit more live. Give 'youtube' a miss - just watch the pros like Bill Malone, Tommy Wonder (RIP), Daryl etc do their thing on youtube.
Good luck! Don't give up - and don't be discouraged.


Hi mrsmiles,

As I said earlier I have been doing sponges for years. I kind of taught myself with the mark wilson book so that is why I did not have the proper technique for the retention vanish and had to learn the proper technique taught in the DVD SPONGE by Jay Noblezada.

I was doing the same retention vanish when I was 9 until just recently, I learned a new one. I've performed in front of audiences countless times. My dad and I started a magic business called London Bridge Magic (located in lake havasu arizona) and we would go to the swapmeet and do tricks there for sale. Sponges were the top sellers. I noticed it most everyone I showed the rountine to was fooled . very few people figured it out. I wasn't bad enough at sponges as to get negative reactions. I always get positive reactions, especially with children and women.

I have had a lot of experience with sponges with misdirection and that has helped my misdirection alot. A simple way to misdirert someone with sponges is to have 2 sponges on the table. You put one in your hand and one in the spectators and it travels to their hand. As soon as they open their hand you have all the time in the world to reach into your pocket and pull out another ball,w ithout them noticing. I t hen would pick up 2 sponges on the table, add the third sponge, put that in their hand. Then take another sponge out of my pocket which I show to them, and make that sponge vanish and travel to their hand.

Misdirection on youtube is a lot harder to do because you can just play it back over and over. I haven't performed in hospitals but I've performed at schools, almost got a gig at a restaurant once (but they hired the red robin mascot instead), and countless times at my magic stand and on the street.

A problem why I am probably not excellent at sponges is until recently I haven't spent hours a day perfecting my sleights. Until recently I thought I had the basic vanish decent enough to perform to audience...until other memebers critiqued me I was a bit surprised that it needed work.

But everything can always be improved.
JackScratch
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You are a beginner, and if you are smart, you always will be. Only a fool decides he has reached his destination.

Videos? Spongeballs? Can you entertain a group of perfect strangers? Can you walk up to them and immediately grab their full attention? Do you make a strong connection with them? I don't care what you can do with "spongeballs", and I'm not certain why you do either. That's not what makes a magician.
robert bianchi
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I agree that doing this on tape without an audience, presents a skewed analysis.

The patter, without a spectator, makes it difficult to review, as well.

Some of the techniques could always be smoother, but I felt that you had the moves down pretty well.

I would like to see you video a live performance, even if it is in front of 1 person.
ghostpianist
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Judging the competency in magic skill is difficult as there are no specific guidelines. What is a beginner? Any answer would be subjective if there is not a agreed standard for comparison. The only thing safe to say would be that your level in magic is in proportion to the amount of effort you put in. Say, if you spend the effort to learn all the techniques in Expert at the Card Table (which may take up to 3-4 hours practise daily for 6 months), I am pretty sure the majority would consider you 'not' a beginner.
the AuditOrr
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I wonder truly what a beginner is though. I've been involved in magic for a number of years now. Spectators love my magic, I always think I can do better, and I don't put near enough time into the study. ...I don't want university anymore!

But I consider myself a beginner. I've not yet fully experienced magic to the extent that I feel that I could at this point. However I've read books, and watched dvds. I can entertain a large group of people for probably an hour with just a deck of cards (which is something that I REALLY need to get out of the habit of doing. I should experience more types of magic). And I've worked at a restaurant doing restaurant magic. but then you go to these magic conventions like the one that I was at this summer called PCAM. These magicians have got it all down and I feel WEE bitty small!

Again, I consider myself a beginner. It shows that the book of magic is huge and I've only skimmed the back cover.

Fraser
I want to go far...
JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2007-10-29 11:53, ghostpianist wrote:
Judging the competency in magic skill is difficult as there are no specific guidelines. What is a beginner? Any answer would be subjective if there is not a agreed standard for comparison. The only thing safe to say would be that your level in magic is in proportion to the amount of effort you put in. Say, if you spend the effort to learn all the techniques in Expert at the Card Table (which may take up to 3-4 hours practise daily for 6 months), I am pretty sure the majority would consider you 'not' a beginner.


I disagree. I think what you described is not only a beginner, but the rankest of amateurs. Not a beginner? How bout someone you drop in the middle of an event in a strange town and within minutes has formed a good audience who are completely wrapped up in what he is doing. Perhaps someone who owns any stage he sets foot on. Those people I would describe as "not beginners".
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