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Profile of Erdnase27
Dear magician friends,
Like the most of you, I enjoy a great read (Lorayne, Tarbell, Ortiz, Bannon etc). I also love the Mark Wilson course in magic. There is something peculiar about it, which I'd like to quote for you.

What do you guys think this is? A bad example of how NOT to be a magician or? See if you agree with me, I quote what I mean:

"...Then I said to myself.. wait a minute. They ask me to all those parties because I am a terrific guy. I don't need that magic anymore. They like me for who I am, not for my magic! SO, when I was beginning my sophomore year at the university, I took the tricks out of mu pockets and stopped doing tricks at parties. I just went as myself. I didn't need that magic!

Sure enough, it worked! But not the way I thought it would. It worked in reverse. After a while, I was not invited to many parties. Then the invitations dwindled even more. That was not what I had expected. I learned my lesson.,"

I mean.. what magicians get taught here is "it's not about the tricks but about you". A guy named Mark Wilson claims the exact opposite basically. I don't necessarily agree with him, but what I hoped to read is what you make out of this?

"He must be content to rank with the common herd." - S.W. Erdnase
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Profile of Spellbinder
My Wiz Kids learn the same lesson once they have learned to juggle, unicycle and do magic. They go to the park to practice unicycling and they want to play basketball with the other kids. We tell them, fine, when practice is over, come back to the park and play basketball, but not as Wiz Kids. We point out that large numbers of kids are playing basketball. How many are riding unicycles? Just the Wiz Kids. How many are juggling? Just us. How many know how to do magic? Just us. Their skills and abilities make them stand out in a crowd. Other kids can only watch what they do... they can't do it themselves. These skills make them special and that's what attracts attention.

But now, once they begin performing the skills they have learned, they not only have to attract attention, they have to "entertain." If you have ever gone to a juggling convention or visited a juggling club, it's as boring as heck unless you are a juggler and can participate. Jugglers will stand around for hours and do the most boring things... now I'm juggling with my right hand, now my left, now I turn my wrist sideways, now I juggle upside-down. Boring. To make it interesting to ordinary people, you have to make it entertaining as well.

The same thing is true with magicians. You can't just walk up to people and say, "Pick a card, any card, and I'll find it. First I'll find it in the deck, then I'll find it in my pocket, now I'll find it in my shoe." Boring! You soon learn that you need to have variety, jokes, clever bits of business, and most importantly, you need to know when to shut up and sit down, leaving them wanting more, and even have them begging for more.

The tricks get you invited to parties, the entertainment makes them want you to come back again. Anybody can learn the tricks and make them boring; only those who make themselves and their tricks entertaining (it's all about you!) can have them begging for more.
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
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Profile of Flamel
I suppose it's the distinction between 'performer you' and 'you' when at an amateur level (most of us commenting in this section). If people expect 'performer you' to show at a party and you fail to deliver by coming as just ‘you’ (Mr. empty pockets)...then your social life will become a lot less busy according to Wilson’s experience. This is very likely because the context is teenage to young adult (college parties if I remember correctly?) but perhaps the concept is to merge the two ‘you’s’ into one, making both the performance much more natural and the ‘you’ much more fun to be around? Masks, identity theory, Freud, etc. etc. a whole can of worms here.
The Burnaby Kid
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It sounds as though he didn't have any connection to them except through the parties -- meaning, he probably wasn't in their circle of friends outside the parties. If that's the case, that could be why magic was the only thing getting him invited.

When magicians are talking about "it's not about the tricks but about you", the "it" that they're talking about is the type of experience they get when they watch our magic show. There's no guarantee that it'll help us gain sincere friendships.
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Profile of abc
Very few of you might know him, but I learnt magic from Graham Kirk. He was one of the greatest and if not for a very unfortunate accident, many more of you would know him.
He once asked me to think up a way to produce a sandwich. After some reading and some thought (I was a raw beginner) I did my trick. He asked me what sandwich it was and I said "a chicken sandwich" He said "I don't like chicken"
His point, and the rest of the lesson for the night was, "Your magic has to have meaning and relevance" What is the point of producing a sandwich to a man who is not hungry or who doesn't like chicken. Now it is equally wrong to let a man go hungry if you can produce a chicken sandwich.
His point was not that you had to always be doing magic, but that you have to pick the right environment and situation and then be good enough to do the magic that is relevant. A well timed joke, gag or magic trick at a party can be great. I often do them. A forced show with irrelevant magic could be terrible. You need the experience and knowledge to know the difference. That is the "IT". It is about you.
Doctor Xombie
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On 2010-05-18 15:20, Andrew Musgrave wrote:
It sounds as though he didn't have any connection to them except through the parties -- meaning, he probably wasn't in their circle of friends outside the parties. If that's the case, that could be why magic was the only thing getting him invited.

That's exactly the way I took it.
Magic may open doors for you, but it shouldn't be a crutch.
-Roger "The Doctor"

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Profile of pradell
Mark Wilson is a really nice guy. He is approachable despite his status in the magic and lay world. I'm pretty sure his words were intended to encourage readers to pursue magic as a means of standing out in the world and making their mark. As I wrote in one of my songs, "I stuffed my pockets with some animal balloons, stuck out my thumb and then I headed for the moon. . . " Magic is a ticket around the world. Doors will open. People will be excited to meet you if you have something to offer. This is not inconsistent with "its not about the tricks its about you . . . " Doing a trick by reading the instructions and blindly aping them by going through the mechanics is not what magic is about. It's like reading a joke, thinking its funny, and simply repeating what you read. Performing magic is making yourself the entertainer and using the props as vehicles to enhance your experience with an audience.

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Profile of AGMagic
While I would not presume to speak for Mark, I will second that he is a really nice guy. Beyond that, he is a truly great magician and a marketing genius. He has done literally thousands of shows and has acquired a knowledge of magic that can only be gained through experience. His TV shows, Magic Circus and Magic Land of Allakazam, were ground breaking and paved the way for magic on television. We magicians owe him much and there is much to be learned from him if you are willing to listen.

Of course, you don't need to agree with everything Mark, or any other magician says. They are simply stating their views based on their personal experiences and the things that worked for them. Your experiences will be different. However, PLEASE try to understand what is being said before you summarily dismiss it. I do believe that understanding is what you are trying to do.

As I read the quote, I think, that what Mark was trying to say is that he found something that "worked" for him. Magic made him special, popular and a stand out in his social circle. It helped to define who he was, something we all try to do at that age. This was a personal revelation, something more related to the direction his life took than to the actual presentation of magic. Magic changed his life and also helped him catch one of the most beautiful women of their era, Nani Darnell.

Remember that his experiences must be taken in the context of an 18 year old young man in Texas around 1947, over 60 years ago! The world in general and magic in particular has changed quite a bit since then. Keep in mind too, that this revelation was important enough to him to include it in his "Course in Magic" some 28 years later.

A applaud you for reading the classics of magic. There is much to be learned in them besides the tricks, methods and slights. But remember, while human nature hasn't changed much, circumstances have, and will continue to change. Examine everything before you decide to use it or reject it. Decide what is appropriate for you. Much of the "patter" presented as cute or funny in "Tarbell" would get you shot in many parts of the world today.
Tim Silver -

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Visualize Whirled Peas!
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