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Veteran user
313 Posts

Profile of bg
I've gotten to the point that I've learned more tricks than I can always remember the names or exact methods and find myself going back thru books and videos relearning.
Does anyone keep a notebook or log of tricks learned and maybe a brief description of the method?
Is this a practical way to keep track and review tricks learned.
I'd love to hear how some of you keep track of your magic.
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Veteran user
Houston, Texas
319 Posts

Profile of manipulator
I don't really keep track of them in notebooks and stuff. When I think of a trick that I used to know how to do but forgot, I would just go back and relearn it. I think it's fun going back through stuff and relearning them. I enjoy doing that. Smile Sometimes you learn new things.
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Elite user
432 Posts

Profile of Magix
I keep two lists. The first is a list of sleights that I know. The second is a list of effects, with a short description of the method for each.

When I practice, I run through all the sleights, and then the effects.

I'm a coin guy, and I don't have a lot of effects that I use on a regular basis, so this works for me.
Jerry Hornak
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New user
Northwest Connecticut
54 Posts

Profile of Jerry Hornak
Do make and keep a list in a notebook! You will appreciate it when you find it years later.

I recently found a list I made when I started out ages ago and was almost dumbfounded by the stuff (good stuff!) that I forgot about and no longer do.

I also keep an up to date list of active tricks and routines that I always do.

It helps a lot, when planning a show, to be able to glance at what I do and pick out something appropriate for a certain group without having to think about it.
Making Happy Memories for Children since 1980!
Steven Steele
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Chief of Staff
Hesperia, California USA
1904 Posts

Profile of Steven Steele
I built three databases in Microsoft Access that catalogs all books, DVDs/Videos, and manuscripts. I have another database that contains all the effects I've ever worked on with a rating as to the proficiency I do each. My last database catologs which act I've done for whom; so when they call for another show I know what was done in the past. Took a long time to build and organize, but it maintains itself (with a modicum of effort).
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Inner circle
2110 Posts

Profile of marko
I usually do a little "house cleaning" every once in a while by forgetting a lot of tricks I've learned on purpose. Knowing too many tricks can sometimes be a burden. I like to keep only a dozen or so effects in my arsenal at one time. It allows me to focus more on those effects and simplifies my repertoire down to its strongest components. Of course this also means my repertoire is constantly changing.
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
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Inner circle
New Jersey
1739 Posts

Profile of 0pus
Stop and think about the greats of magic. Almost all of them kept notebooks -- random thoughts, variations on moves, new trick developments in process, little additions based on past and current performance feedback. If you are serious about the performance of magic, you should consider keeping a journal (and reviewing it from time to time). It certainly won't hurt your performance.

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Inner circle
St. Louis, MO
1419 Posts

Profile of MacGyver
I keep a MySQL database of all my sleights and effects, and videos/books, the contents of each that are cross referenced by the tricks.
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New user
94 Posts

Profile of Danno
I have a blank page journal that I write down anything and everything.

Sleights learned
items I want to buy
whole routines
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Special user
821 Posts

Profile of Maestro
Danno, that sounds like what I do. I keep track of routines and books/items I want to buy on microsoft word. When I buy something on my items list, I put a little strickthrough line through it so that I don't forget about it.
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9 Posts

Profile of cempens
I keep a larger sized zipper notebook (like the kind high school students typically use) that contains all the original instructions and receipts for everything I have bought. I also have a smaller sized notebook that I keep three lists in. The first lists is the name of the tricks I can perform well, the second is the list of tricks I am not good enough at yet (I scratch them off and move them to the other list once I learn them). The third list is slights that I have learned. On a regular basis I open the book and work down the list practicing each trick. If I have forgotten how to perform it I have the instructions in my other notebook.
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Elite user
Salt Lake City, UT
426 Posts

Profile of MisterE21
I keep three list also, based on Eugene Burger's idea (I believe it's original with him...if not, it's where I was introduced to it...)

list one: Tricks I can perform and do perform often

list two: Tricks I can perform but don't perform often

list three: Tricks I can't perform but want to learn

I would like to put them all into a database, searchable by type of effect (coin production, ace production, revelation, story effect, etc.), difficulty, preparation, etc...I just don't have the requisite database building skills....
Your EFFECT is only as good as its AFFECT.
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16 Posts

Profile of Mysticated
Good thing I found this post. I was just about to do the same thing but couldn't decide how I wanted to organize it. I carry my supplies in a case so I think I'll just organize my list in a pocket sized notebook. Smile
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80 Posts

Profile of per_agge
I have a notebook which I have all my effects. I look through it sometimes and see some tricks I will do more often!
Geoff Weber
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Inner circle
Washington DC
1361 Posts

Profile of Geoff Weber
I keep a list on my PDA of all the card tricks I know.. some of them I only vaguely remember and will have to relearn if I want to perform them again, but at least it helps me from forgetting them completely. I also keep a list of all tricks I wish to learn, plus my shopping wish list, if I ever am in a magic shop and not sure what to get. As for all my original ideas, I write out complete instructions as if it was going into a book, and I keep these ideas in an ever growing word document.
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New user
63 Posts

Profile of Cole
I have a notebook that I write all of my ideas in. I also write what tricks I know, what routines I think of, and what things I want to buy. I recommend writing things down. It comes in handy.
Cole Smile
Reg Rozee
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Special user
Vancouver, Canada
592 Posts

Profile of Reg Rozee
My system is similar to the Eugene Burger method above although I keep _four_ sections of a binder.

For the first part, instead of just a list, I write each effect out as an "idealized" script. When it comes time to perform it I always improvise somewhat, but this way any clever moves/phrases/jokes I come up with during practice time gets recorded somewhere so I have that to draw on. I always read these over before a performance and make any additional notes I think of. After a performance, if anything new came up like an angle to watch, a better line, easier handling, etc. I go back and add it to the script for that effect.

The first section is the scripts of the effects I perform well and often, in the order I like to do them in. The second section is the scripts for effects I could do, but am polishing up a little or don't have as part of a "set" at the moment. The third section is R&D, effects I am experimenting with or working the bugs out of. And the fourth is that "wanna" list, all the things I want to get around to sometime but haven't yet.

-bigwolf {*}
Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. -Phillip K. Dick

Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? -Chico Marx
Mark Martinez
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Inner circle
1280 Posts

Profile of Mark Martinez
I started using Michael Ammar routine sheets from his book "The Magic of Michael Ammar" but since I have modified the sheets to have: a routine number (for my database on the PC), the name of the effect, where I found the effect, the props it uses, the approximate time it takes to do, and a list of slights. On the backside of the sheet I have how to do the effect.

Success comes before work only in the dictionary. - Anonymous
Rich Fredeking
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Regular user
Jacksonville, Florida
147 Posts

Profile of Rich Fredeking
I just organize items using MS Word. Card Tricks, Coins, CLose-up, Stage. etc...
Rich Fredeking
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New user
Oxfordshire, UK
45 Posts

Profile of doofydafus
Ditto, Rich, as well as a list of sleights I know (but probably can't perform!) and a one sheet "Acts I Could Put Together and Perform Tomorrow".

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