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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » So much magic...So overwhelmed!! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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2new2magic
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St. Pete, Florida
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Being a beginner to magic and also having just discovered this forum, I've spent much of my free time over the last few days prowling the various sections of this site, reading old threads and catching up on current discussions. The sheer number of tricks is so overwhelming that I have to ask....How do the pros do it? There are literally thousands of effects from thousands of magicians....How should I choose what to work on and indeed how should I choose what to even look into? It seems that even when asking about a single effect (copper coin to silver) there are hundreds of different variations!! Scary!!!
Lion Dope
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York PA
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At the risk of sounding Zen, your tricks will find you. Meet/ talk with other magicians (IBM/ SAM meetings), go to conventions, if you're lucky enough to be close to a brick and mortar magic shop, network with people there, see as many performers as you can. Over time, you'll find the material that suits you.
Also- buy BOOKS. Fitzkee trilogy. Magic and Showmanship. Tarbell. Royal Road. Mark Wilson Series.
Cheers;
Mike
jtb
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I am still fairly new to magic and have gone through the same thought process. (I have a fairly large stack of magic that I will never use to prove it.)

What I first had to decide was what type of magic did I want to do and what I felt comfortable in performing.

Mentalism, close-up, parlor, strolling, stage?

Cards, silk, ropes, coins?

The first step is to figure what you want to perform and what magic makes you feel that you want to perform that.

I now know the workings of about 50 tricks but I am focusing on learning three good routines. I chose to do parlor and now I'm devloping a silk routine, a rope routine, and a money-themed routine.


The other advice that worked for me was I now watch a performance video of a trick before I buy it. This has saved me from a lot of bad purchases. The tricks were good tricks but they were not a good fit for my style of performing and my tastes.

John B.
urbanillusionist
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I completely understand what you are saying and have come across this problem many times. But the statement above that the tricks will find you is absolutely true. First off decide what types of magic your are into whether its close up, mentalism, card handling, etc. I would recommend checking out a few tricks and seeing what catches your eye the best. Start there! If you enjoy watching the tricks you will enjoy performing them. Don't try and learn to many tricks at once. Take your time and find out what fits you and practice that trick till you get it down. Develop your own patter to the tricks and make them your own. Then you will start to develop your style and after a while you'll have routines down fast then you know it.

http://www.gregrileyonline.com
http://www.imaginetheimpossible.us
dsalley13
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Buy a set of cups and balls (or a chop cup), make or buy a wand, buy some appropriate books for learning C&B work (and general Magic) with and spend a year learning primarily that. Every once in awhile, treat yourself to a new trick, but study the C&B daily. Do the moves until they become automatic and you learn how to script them.

You will gain so much from the cups. All of Magic seems to start there, from simple misdirection to complex sleight of hand. They help you hone your audience skills too.


dsalley13
Brad Burt
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The best and most useful definition of the difference between amateur and pro goes thus: The Pro does the same act(tricks) and changes his audience. The amateur has the same audience and thus has to change his/her act/tricks.

Look at any long term pro and for the most part they are will be doing more or less the same act they have been doing for years. That's WHY the act looks so, well, professional! Changes to a pro's act as a general rule happen very, very slowly with new material entering the act carefully so that it can be tested and either changed or set aside for something else.

Pro's are often very 'up' on what is out there, they are just not spending a lot of time on it unless they really, REALLY think that it will be of overall value to the act they are doing now.

Best,
Brad Burt
othelo68
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North dakota
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Learn what resonates with you no matter how simple, complex, or silly. if your like the effect and think its magical. then your halfway to making it magical for your audience.

sponge balls as simple, childish, funny, magical and I love performing them so I do.
and buy books theres lots more magic in them then in dvds and you can get them from the library or used for cheap.
just my two cents
Jaz
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Ask yourself,
"Who will I be performing for?" Kids, adults, both?

"Where do I want to perform?" Parties, restaurants, at work, on the street, receptions, dinners, just do some impromptu stuff, etc.

"What type of magic?" Close up at a table, strolling, parlor, stage, mentalism, bizarre magick.

"What would amaze my audience?" It is about them and often the tricks can, and should be, easy to remember and easy for the audience to follow. Very often the simple effects go over better than those more intricate.

Most of the above should also fit your personality and who you are. One way to do this is to write a short autobiography about your background, things you like besides magic. You can work with these things.

Brad Burt say; "The amateur has the same audience and thus has to change his/her act/tricks."
If you're performing close up for friends and family then the key here is to NOT over do it. Give them a trick or two and stop. Don't do every trick in one shot. You can make them wait until another day.
If you are going to perform part time regularly then I suggest having two acts.

Good luck on your journey.
The Burnaby Kid
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St. John's, Canada
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Quote:
On 2010-04-25 11:42, 2new2magic wrote:
How do the pros do it?


I don't know how all the others do it, but the way I do it is standard for some... I choose effects which I can present in a way that's consistent for my character. Pretend for a moment that your character has specific, real powers... what would he do with them? Also, figure out why your character is doing magic in the first place... what tricks fit that motivation?

My character is essentially a tricky bugger. That's how I want them to remember me. I tend to choose tricks that play up this angle, and avoid tricks which don't. I don't do levitations or animations, I avoid magic wands unless their use is sarcastic, and I like effects which reek of trickery or cheating.

When you get this sort of focus going on, you'll find that while it still might be difficult sifting through all the material out there, once you get to a trick that speaks to you, you'll know it pretty quickly.
A screed for scams, sorcery, and other shenanigans... Nu Way Magick Blogge

JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
Father Photius
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Start with a simple instruction book like Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. It will expose you to a lot of tricks that will both teach you principles of magic and expose you to many of the various areas of magic. Most can be done with simple props you can put together at home at little to no cost. Get your feet wet that way. It is easy to spend a fortune in magic and still not be able to do a single trick, let alone a performance. My first magic was a simple magic kit that Mark Wilson put out back in the 50's, and most of its simple props lasted me for two decades. You can't learn everything in magic, so don't try. As for us old timers and the pros, well they have been at it a long time and you can sort through a lot of stuff in several decades.
I would recommend as others above have, if you can find a local magic club, be it IBM, SAM or unaffiliated, join it and get to know other magicians and experience some magic. Try to attend a few conventions, there are more local ones all over the country, and the more national ones such as the IBM Convention, SAM Convention, and World Magic Seminar. There you can rub elbows with other beginners and top pros alike. You will be surprised at how easy it is for a beginning magician to have access to some of the top pros especially at conventions where there is both instructing lectures, demos in the dealers room, sharing among magician, and to be honest some of the best instruction goes on in hallways, coffee shops and bars at the convention.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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I agree in theory with dsally13 about the Cups and Balls - although not specifically with the C&B. It all depends, as others have said, on who you are as a magician nd who your audinece wil be.

As othello68 said, "Find what resonates with you". Then find something that is practically self-working in that style. That allows you to be magical and concentrate on performance. You can do the greatest trick in the world, but if you're not worth a dime as a performer, you're not magical.

I forget who said it, but it's so true: "The worst sin of an entertainer is to be boring!"

So - what about the C&B? Well, pick something - whether C&B or an involved card routine or whatever - that just really turns you on but requires some skills you don't have yet. While you practice your self- and easy-workers, take a break from time to time and work on the skills piece.

Then you have performance, skills, and interest all progressing together.

Ed
adrianbent
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The advice I give might not resonate with other "seasoned" magicians because they are way way past this stage, but here it goes...
BUY IT ALL! GO NUTS!
In the long run you may find you've "wasted" a lot of money, but I'm being frank with you here... you are starting a love affair with magic and you will soon enter a fun "honeymoon" phase of that love affair, and believe me, there isn't a magician who hasn't gone through his hog-wild gimmick and trick deck phase. Mine lasted about a year; I bought a lot of gimmicked decks, packet tricks, commercial effects, gaffed coins, etc, etc. Don't get me wrong, I researched the reviews of everything I bought thoroughly before I bought it, so I got some quality stuff, but eventually I had too much awesome stuff and started to realize that there could be no end to this "madness", and that I would never develop as a magician if I didn't slow down my buying craze and start focusing on practicing the stuff I already had.
But this phase is kind of a "right of passage". It'll help you learn a lot about the general techniques of gimmicked magic that are out there, it'll help you be conversant with other magicians, and it'll help you see what direction you want to take next.
So I say, do what comes naturally. Have fun with it. When the time is right to change your course in magic and do some "soul searching" and goal re-alignment, you'll know it.
Enjoy the ride!
-Adrian.
zhoudumu
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philadelphia
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If you do not know how to picke, go for the classic. It will not go wrong at least
DWRackley
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Adrian makes a great point. Most of us have drawers or boxes full of magic that will never be used. But in (almost) all of it there is, at the very least, educational value. I was very fortunate to have worked in a magic shop, so I got an inside look before I had to decide, and I still wound up with goods that just didn’t really work for me. But how else would I have known?

Be reasonable. This can become a sickness, like gambling, where you spend more than you can really afford. Learn to set budgets, and then start hitting conventions and dealer shows and anyplace else where you can see what’s being offered from multiple sources.

Even if you wind up with something you can’t use, you’ll have learned more about magic and about yourself. Plus you can usually find someone willing to buy it, or give it to a deserving youngster, or (probably like most of us) put it in a box and just pull it out once in a while to play with, maybe get some new ideas, and put it away again.

I also agree with the people who said “books”. Mark Wilson’s course is a great general purpose magic lesson, covering close-up, cards, even some stage illusions that you can build yourself. Tarbell’s is kind of expensive for right off the bat, but eventually it could become very valuable to you.

As important as knowing what you want, is recognizing what you don’t want to do. For example, I absolutely do NOT want to be a kid’s magician. There are plenty of people who are good at it, and I respect them highly; it’s just not the kind of “audience management” I want to fool with. I don’t want to be doing stuff in somebody’s living room. There was a time when I did that, but “them days is gone!”

For me that leaves Mentalism, Close-up, and Grand Illusion (to paint with a VERY broad brush). (I think) I excel at Close-up, and am working to build a worthwhile set of Illusions. It’s difficult for physical reasons, but it turns out that what I’m doing is unique (it has to be).

Know your strengths. I’m good at handling large groups of grownups. My wife is amazed that I can make 400 people each “feel loved” (her words). But I wouldn’t have figured any of it out until I’d tried it all.

Just starting out, read as much as you can. For that, the Café is a Godsend! You’ll learn a few secrets here. You’ll be able to figure out a lot of things, just by piecing threads together. And you’ll see a lot of opinions. Somebody will absolutely love a trick that somebody else hates. By learning about the people here, you’ll soon be able to know which ones are closest to you in style, temperament and experience.

This knowledge will help you channel your purchases. But really, to find your favorite soup, you really must at least taste all of them.
...what if I could read your mind?

Chattanooga's Premier Mentalist

Donatelli and Company at ChattanoogaPerformers.com

also on FaceBook
andre combrinck
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Go for the "classics". Books include : Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic, Henry Hay's Learn Magic and Amateur Magician's Handbook, Stars of Magic, the Dai Vernon Book of Magic, RRTCM, Card College, Modern Coin Magic, Tarbell Course in Magic and Practical Mental Magic.
Tricks: Linking Rings, Cups and Balls, Sponge Balls, Scotch and Soda, Torn/Cut and Restored...
Then look at why they work and why they keep on getting variations.
Yes there are thousands, but start with a general magic book, like Mark Wilson. Then when you know what you are interested in, go that way.

Good luck! And enjoy!
AJ
professorwhut
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[quote]On 2010-04-27 18:35, adrianbent wrote:
The advice I give might not resonate with other "seasoned" magicians because they are way way past this stage, but here it goes...
BUY IT ALL! GO NUTS!


I AGREE, have fun, and remember,
Education is NEVER cheap. Consider it as such.
After much soul searching about a signature, I decided not to have one.

TG Pop [aka ProfessorWhut]
mrsmiles
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I can remember the natural enthusiasm of the new magician to want to look at and buy as much magic as possible. It's completely understandable but I too would advise like many here against going on a buying spree of loads of tricks & dvds - I would limit it to buying much less (see below), but to attend to guenching that natural thirst to look into a wide range of magic by buying one or two good books which will give you plenty of tricks and routines that you can dip in and out of for not only months but YEARS! By all means buy just one or two items from a magic dealer too - but be strict with yourself and keep it down to this few if you can.

The trouble with buying too much magic is that, paradoxically, you will take far longer to learn any to a good standard. Your focus will become confused, in fact you will not have a focus. Trust me, I have been there! The reason many new magicians fall into this is because of the understandable beginners dilema of 'how can I know what magic I like and concentrate on it, when I do not know what is out there?' PLus 'I'm so enthusiastic, I want to look into loads of magic - I've got a real hunger and thirst for it'.

Here's a suggested solution and action plan. In addition to constantly dipping into those books/the net/youtube/ TV to qunench that thirst for plenty of magic (which I will advise below that you time-limit) you should consider the following:

1) Draw up a top 20 list that you like from the book(s) and from what you've seen and heard of from other sources (live magicians, a magic shop, TV, the net/youtube etc). DON'T take too long to explore and draw up this list... You have to get on with it!

2) From the above list, draw up a short-list of 4 tricks/routines that you aim to seriously learn and work on asap - and add another two to 'dip in and out of' (total of 6) for variety when the mood takes you - and as a break from the other 4 that you are working seriously on. After you have got to the stage that you have nearly mastered the first 4, you can spend more time on the other 2 until you ultimately reach 6 mastered routines

3) To keep your enthusiasm for magic going, keep diping in and out of the book(s) & other sources a little - but DON'T over-do it or let it take your mind away from practicing your first half dozen routines

4) When you can tell that you are well on the way to to mastering that first half dozen tricks/routines from your list, divide the REMAINDER of your list (14 effects approx) up to decide what you will do next. Dive them into 'work on next' (have 6 in there) and the rest go into a 'future' category.

The above works for me in a modified form (because I am not new to magic and perform semi professionally in fact). I have my repertoire but I have a list of 6 I will dip in and out of that I call my 'working on' list - one or two will replace my current standard set of effects (perhaps not permanently but for a while) and in turn those one or two from my 'working on' list that have found their way into my working repertoire will be replaced from a longer list of about another 20 routines that I have prioritised from books, dvds and what I have seen from other magicians etc.

Good luck!
mrsmiles
(UK)
ddeckmann
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It is very common nowadays have that overdose of information I think...

I'm a starter. Been almost a year and half that I've discover magic, and the strange thing is my father is a magician!

But, he gave some books. Basic books that include cards, coins, ropes, a little bit of everything.

Then came the wave of information.

I started to focus on some performers that I like and started to look books or tricks from them. Eugene Burger, Tommy Wonder, Max Maven, Rene Lavand, McBride and others. Right now I think I can say that I have a little bit of each influence in my character and in my shows. A lot from my father's tutor, that's for sure.

Every now and then, I'm searching new things and by references I discover more things that suit me. Recently I've discover Shigeo Takagi and Bro. John Hamman.

That's how I'm handling it... Smile
DWRackley
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I had the privilege of seeing Shigeo Takagi at a lecture almost 30 years ago. His stuff was mind blowing, even after he showed you how it worked. I’m sure I still have his lecture notes in a drawer somewhere.

That’s another great source of info. If there’s an IBM or SAM group around you, find out who’s coming to town and when. It’s very much worth the time and the money.
...what if I could read your mind?

Chattanooga's Premier Mentalist

Donatelli and Company at ChattanoogaPerformers.com

also on FaceBook
ddeckmann
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Sadly, there isn't an IBM or SAM around here. There are 2 magicians in this town. Me and one friend...

there are still magician's "gettogether" in major cities 1 or 2 times a year...

Shigeo Takagi is just beyond excellence!
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