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General_Magician
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I was curious what kind of general tips would the pros offer to newbie pros on practicing various effects. I am serious about the quality of my magic, but what are some good tips and guidelines to insure you practice right, well and become very good at an effect?
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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Michael Baker
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Narrow your focus and practice with purpose. Don't jump around randomly. Set aside separate time for jam sessions... these can be very creative times.

If you begin to tire, and/or notice that you are not improving what you are practicing during any particular session (or worse yet, notice a decline in the quality of what you are doing), stop, and take a break. It is possible otherwise to develop and practice bad habits.

Use a mirror just to check angles quickly. Don't get in a habit of doing the moves (or whatever other action) while you are looking at yourself in a mirror. It will become an element that will not be there when you perform in front of people. If possible, use a video camera to look for areas that can be improved. Record the session and view it after you are done, not over and over. DO NOT post your practice sessions on YouTube. Have a trusted friend view your recordings and see if they notice anything amiss. If you are very serious, hire a director.

Learn the difference between practice and rehearsal. Do them both, but at separate sessions.

Read "Magic & Showmanship by Henning Nelms". Then read the Fitzkee trilogy. Then read Darwin Ortiz' "Strong Magic".
~michael baker
The Magic Company
afinemesh
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Thank you, Michael!
"I've always been mental, I'm sure of it" Boris Pocus Smile


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Noel M
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Work on your weaknesses. Don't repeat things you do well over and over. Use that time to work improve those things that give you trouble. As Michael suggests, rest when you are tired and try to avoid doing the same thing endlessly. Every once in a while do something completely different. Once your effects take shape. Think about how you will present them. Where will you stand? What will you say? Etc.
Jaz
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Quote:
On 2011-07-30 16:41, Michael Baker wrote:
Narrow your focus and practice with purpose.


Yes.
If and when you have a couple of tricks that you think are workers the focus on those.
Get the patter together, work on angles and technique, make sure the magic that's happening is clear to your audience and rehearse everything.

If you feel a need to experiment with other magic stuff then do so but keep your focus and rehearsals on the workers.
Gary Kosnitzky
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An important part of practicing is to take a rest and not practice for a few days and let your body and mind process what it has been doing.
You will always come back stronger.
Rediscover a lost art.

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ChrisG
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You can't much better than what Bill Palmer posted here. It would make a good sticky note

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=37
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Michael Baker
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When I was a kid (teen), I read "Psycho-Cybernetics". This is basically a technique whereby you mentally visualize yourself accomplishing with perfection the acts you will be practicing. It is a form of self-hypnosis. There are sure to be a wide range of opinions regarding this technique and the results of conducted tests. But, I am comfortable with it as a tool that helps improve my work. I use similar techniques to visualize the props that I build and the designs they will eventually have.

FYI
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Pete Biro
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Michael: Hmmm... that's what I do... especially when I first wake in the morning... I run through various routines in my mind. I even design props like that. Currently working on a design of an item for Lu Chen.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2011-07-30 15:48, General_Magician wrote:
I was curious what kind of general tips would the pros offer to newbie pros on practicing various effects. I am serious about the quality of my magic, but what are some good tips and guidelines to insure you practice right, well and become very good at an effect?


Let's be clear here. There is a difference between practicing and rehearsing. When you practice, you take the things you are working on, break them down and polish the parts that are rough. You may practice a sleight, a move, a subtlety, etc. You can also practice a trick. When you get a large segment of material close to "performance ready," then you rehearse it. Rehearsing involves performing your piece from start to finish, just as you would if you were performing it for an audience. This means even wearing the same costume.

For many of us, our costume and our everyday clothing are the same thing, but when you are performing, clothing becomes wardrobe. So you have to work on your clothing to accommodate your magic. If you can't put your secret gaffus where you can get to it without having to burrow through your keys, pocket change and other debris, then you need to work on pocket management.

When you rehearse, use a video camera to tell you what you look like. If you can find a practice buddy, that's good, too.

But back to the practicing part.

Break your new material down into small parts. Don't try to learn a new trick all in one lump. Take a close look at it and see what information you need, what techniques are necessary and what you are going to need to have in place BEFORE you start learning the trick.

If you are learning this from a book, read through the whole description of how the trick works and see what sleights you need to know. Then learn them. Learn the sleights one at a time. Once you have the sleights down, then start working on the routine. The same is true if you are working from a DVD. Get the material you need under your belt, then learn the routine.

If it's a multi-phase routine, then learn one phase at a time.

I'm not going to go into the method here that I used when I was actively teaching, but you will find it right here:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=37

Do not try to start at the beginning and work all the way through until you make a mistake, and then start over. That will give you a routine with a good start a weaker middle and a lousy ending. Learn the parts separately. Then put them together.

There are many good methods for getting a routine down solid. Punx used to record his patter, then he would play the patter back and perform the moves to the patter. By the time he had the moves well learned, he also had the routine memorized.

One of the main things a pro does that some non-pros are not aware of is that we practice our basic act when we are not working. Most of us tend to use a firm script. That is, we say the same thing every time we do the routine. Some of us avoid this until we realize that when we have a firm, written script, we don't have to worry about what's coming next. If you know how to deliver your lines, the only people who will realize that you are working from a script are people who have seen your act before.

The script eliminates those pesky "Here we have a perfectly ordinary deck of cards" and "Let's see, er um, I have, nope, where did I put it" moments that make our performances look really awkward.

It also makes certain that we do all the setups to all of the punch lines.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Hugokhf
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Quote:
On 2011-07-31 01:51, Pete Biro wrote:
Michael: Hmmm... that's what I do... especially when I first wake in the morning... I run through various routines in my mind. I even design props like that. Currently working on a design of an item for Lu Chen.


wow man!
you know lu chen in person??
he is like the david Copperfield in asia!
Paul Reed
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Great advice I'm just about to spend a few hours on the Mark Wilson Cups and balls routine. I'm determined to take my time and get it right!
General_Magician
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Thanks for the responses everybody.

Quote:
On 2011-07-30 23:51, Michael Baker wrote:
When I was a kid (teen), I read "Psycho-Cybernetics". This is basically a technique whereby you mentally visualize yourself accomplishing with perfection the acts you will be practicing. It is a form of self-hypnosis. There are sure to be a wide range of opinions regarding this technique and the results of conducted tests. But, I am comfortable with it as a tool that helps improve my work. I use similar techniques to visualize the props that I build and the designs they will eventually have.

FYI

One thing I am finding I am having to do is create my own magic. I have never created my own effect, but it looks like I am going to have start creating some of my own effects. Would you have any tips for that?
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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Michael Baker
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Quote:
On 2011-07-31 14:22, General_Magician wrote:
Thanks for the responses everybody.

Quote:
On 2011-07-30 23:51, Michael Baker wrote:
When I was a kid (teen), I read "Psycho-Cybernetics". This is basically a technique whereby you mentally visualize yourself accomplishing with perfection the acts you will be practicing. It is a form of self-hypnosis. There are sure to be a wide range of opinions regarding this technique and the results of conducted tests. But, I am comfortable with it as a tool that helps improve my work. I use similar techniques to visualize the props that I build and the designs they will eventually have.

FYI


One thing I am finding I am having to do is create my own magic. I have never created my own effect, but it looks like I am going to have start creating some of my own effects. Would you have any tips for that?


As I mentioned earlier... read the Fitzkee trilogy: "Showmanship For Magicians", "The Trick Brain", and "Magic by Misdirection".

These three books will allow you to create and develop magic in the proper way. You will be limited only by your own imagination.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Dr_J_Ayala
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I must agree with Michael on the Trilogy of books written by Dariel Fitzkee. They are considered to be among the best books written on those subjects.
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2011-07-31 14:22, General_Magician wrote:
Thanks for the responses everybody.

Quote:
On 2011-07-30 23:51, Michael Baker wrote:
When I was a kid (teen), I read "Psycho-Cybernetics". This is basically a technique whereby you mentally visualize yourself accomplishing with perfection the acts you will be practicing. It is a form of self-hypnosis. There are sure to be a wide range of opinions regarding this technique and the results of conducted tests. But, I am comfortable with it as a tool that helps improve my work. I use similar techniques to visualize the props that I build and the designs they will eventually have.

FYI

One thing I am finding I am having to do is create my own magic. I have never created my own effect, but it looks like I am going to have start creating some of my own effects. Would you have any tips for that?


Before you work on this, you need to read the Fitzkee Trilogy. Read The Trick Brain so you are really clear about the difference between a trick and an effect. Forget this snobby "tricks are for hookers and dogs" nonsense that some people use. The terms "trick" and "effect" have specific meanings in the trade.

If you have a clear understanding of what an effect is, then you can go about creating your own magic.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
General_Magician
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The Trick Brain definitely looks awesome. I think every magician eventually needs to create their own effects. Thanks for the recommendation Bill.
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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Rainboguy
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As Bill Palmer said.."Break your new material down into small parts. Don't try to learn a new trick all in one lump."

That's great advice, Bill Palmer!

Most tricks that I think are the most effective have a beginning, a middle, and and ending. I suggest practicing/learning a trick in each of these stages and phases....work on perfecting each stage and phrase as you go along, then blending them together along with your presentation piece.

The hardest part of being a magician is getting past the moves to where you are literally interacting with your audience's emotions and, most importantly, ENTERTAINING them.

In magic, timing and misdirection are "our hidden art"...but in entertaining, timing and presentation and "presence" are the true art forms.

You have to get to the point in your practice where "the moves" you are doing in your tricks become automatic, smooth, and well-timed and coordinated to the point where you can almost literally forget about them since you will have practiced them so many, many times. After you practice the moves a thousand times or so, you should just be getting the hang of it.

In my opinion, the goal of practice is to become totally assured and confidant that your technique has become virtually flawless to the point where you can just concentrate on entertaining.

And to be honest, that's hard, and takes time and committment, and "honesty with thyself"..

As long as you're willing to make that committment to yourself, you will be fine!
General_Magician
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I am going to get the Fitzkee Trilogy. A good book that I read (which was really two books in one; one of the books about doing street magic, the other book about misdirection) about misdirection was "The Secret Art of Magic" by Eric Evans and Nolen Craver. I really enjoyed the second book within the bigger book which was about the Art of Misdirection as applied in the Art of Magic. It provides good strategy for street magic as well if you are a street magician in the first sub-book, of the bigger book.
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2011-08-01 21:02, General_Magician wrote:
The Trick Brain definitely looks awesome. I think every magician eventually needs to create their own effects. Thanks for the recommendation Bill.


What is your favorite effect?
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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