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Profile of SmithMagicMan
I'm not new to magic, been in it for about two years (I'm 15).

I've experimented with many different types of magic.
I guess I "specialise" in cards, I'm pretty good at them, but the tricks I do are reasonably simple, and not amazingly challenging or visual etc.
I then tried experimenting with coins, and I learnt a few sleights, but for some reason I just can't get motivated to really stick at learning a routine - I know I have to practice, but I just don't, and don't know why.

I then tried kids magic, did one show which was a bit of a disaster, and havent had any more bookings and I'm not mad on doing any again.
I then wrote to all of the restaurants/hotels in my area offering my services and had no response whatsoever.

I just don't really know where to go and would love any advice.

Cheers, James
Mr. Mystoffelees
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Profile of Mr. Mystoffelees
Hi, James!

I guess the question I would ask in response to your last sentence is, where do you WANT to go?

If you have no answer to that, or a fuzzy one at best, no worries- at your age you don't NEED to have one. I am much your senior, but from early on felt the first 30 years were to be used to explore and try to figure out where you would like to go.

I will tell you that I have never known anyone, in any endeavor, who has risen to being expert without practice. Author Malcolm Gladwell has a fairly well-known theory that a person needs 10,000 hours of practice to become truly expert at anything. I tend to agree.

For some love of topic, or love of practice, makes that much easier. Dai Vernon said he really loved to practice his card magic for hours on end. Sounds like you are not there, at least not with magic or not at this time. Neither was I. What I learned to do was develop a solid routine of practice- in other words a HABIT of practice. Do most anything once a day for 15 minutes and in a few weeks you feel odd if you miss a session.

So, don't be too hard on yourself, but see if 15 minutes a day of practice does anything for you in a few weeks- you will be amazed...

Good luck,

Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
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Profile of SmithMagicMan
Ideally, I'd love to be a really really skilled magician, with amazing tricks that fool laymen and badly fool magicians.

Ive seen a documentary where teenage magicians literally practice for 5 hours a day - I get bored after half an hour practicing, I'd want to practice for 5 hours a day, but I don't know what to practice.

I know what it means to practice, I've got Distinction in both Grade 7 Piano and Trombone, but I just don't get motivated to be better, I'd happily just stay doing no practice, but I know I will not get anywhere.

I also know that I don't know what magic I want to specialise in, I've tried a load of different things, without much great success.
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Profile of davidpaul$
Well James......No one gets anywhere in life with a negative attitude and not pursuing and doing what it takes to get there. Maybe magic isn't for you. There may be something else that you will have a real passion for. This art-form does take time and LOADS of practice, as you know. BUT you've got to love to practice.........When I first started, I got a hold of a VHS tape, now on DVD by Paul Harris. (Stars of Magic) I was fooled badly by a routine he performed called "Tap Dancing Aces" it was technically demanding but I was determined to learn that routine to perfection. It was a real challenge. (I like challenges) Sure I got frustrated, but after months of practice, I learned so much and improved significantly that, that became my motivation and hunger to learn more.

In the beginning, I rarely performed for anyone, but I just loved practicing by myself. I loved watching my skills improve and the sleights I thought I would never learn, I was getting.....James, if you really love this art, make it fun, challenge yourself.

There is a great DVD called "The Movie" by Flicking Fingers. It's fun to watch and a wide variety of magic to learn. It may give you inspiration. also, do you have any friends or a possible mentor that you could hook up with that are really into magic? Do you have any magic clubs in your area. I know being 15 doesn't give you many options as far as travelling, but if you REALLY want to be a skilled magician you HAVE to find a way that works for you. There are no shortcuts.

When you put together some routines that you know WELL and you can present in an ENTERTAINING way that fits YOUR personality then your motivation will multiply when you experience the reactions from your spectators. Attitude is everything and in magic effective practice is a must. Just no getting around that I'm afraid. Best of luck to you James.
David Paul
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
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Profile of Ed_Millis
I wonder if you have anyone giving you any decent feedback? Performing for friends and family and especially classmates at your age can be a real downer sometimes. No one takes you very seriously and few really encourage you, especially when you're not quite perfect.

Something about magic grabs you, or you wouldn't have gotten this far and come out here to ask for guidance. I think what may be lacking is the motivation of reward for all the hard work, like you had with the trombone. My son played trombone, so I know the work that goes into being good.

Here's my thoughts: Get two or three tricks that you can do well. Don't worry about perfect just yet. Then find some place like a senior center (not a rest home for elders who are slipping in and out of here, but a place for elders who just need some daily help) or perhaps the children's ward at the hospital. Ask if you can come show your stuff. For the seniors, I'd recommend table-hopping at mealtime.

Go there with the heart and mind to brighten *their* day, not to worry aboug how well _you_ will do. You'll get some rejections and you'll flub a few things. But the sincere smiles and appreciation are more than enough motivation to stoke you to come back with more and better stuff.

Good luck!!
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Profile of 55Hudson

Please re-read Jim's (Mr. Mystoffelees) comments. Pick one trick - not a terribly difficult one - and commit to spending 15 minutes on it every day, perhaps when you get home from school or on a break between you evening studies. You will be ammazed at the progress you will make in a few weeks. Don't try to learn some advanced trick that the pros are doing, but rather a tried and true routine that has played well with lay audiances for years. A great example is Michael Ammar's DVD "the complete introduction to coin magic". It is only $15 (USD) from his website here in the USA. Not sure of its availability in other countries. Ammar is one of the best teachers and all of the material I have seen from him (video and print) has been clear and easy to understand. His beginner material also provides tips on other magic topics, like magician protocol.

Please don't dismiss this - doing "old" (I call them classic) tricks is not an out of date or stupid thing to do. Above was mentioned the video, Stars of Magic. I believe that must be from the original Stars of Magic manuscripts. They were first published in 1945! Still going strong because great magic does not age. No, you won't fool magicians. So what? They are boring anyway Smile. The look on a persons face when a coin travels to thier closed fist will make all that practice worthwhile (see Ammar's coins across). Also, you are still young. If you learn a good coins across, Spongeball, Equal - Unequal (professors nightmare in the USA), you will use that routine for the next 60 years! And every time someone screams because they open their hand and find a surprise you will have another smile tattooed on your heart.

Don't give up. Magic has got to be one of the best lifetime hobbies you can have.

Good luck!

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Profile of DoctorCognos
Use a mirror or video camera so you see what the spectator sees....

Then THINK about what you did, what worked and why, what didn't work, and why...

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. It takes a never fail attitude, and practice is what wont let you fail.

Having some kind of mentor or at least someone who has the same interest, to challenge you, drive you to get better is really the best way. But if all you have is yourself, be willing to watch a video of your own work, and demand better.
Until what you do is unseen by the camera, you aren't there yet. And even when it is unseen by the camera, can you make it easier for yourself, more amazing for spectators, can you combine it with something else you do to make it part of a routine......? Keep thinking.

And don't just do tricks. Card tricks, or coin tricks. Tell a story through the effect, capture your audience's interests, keep eye contact, smile, and amaze them all.

Good Luck

The Doctor
The Doctor Knows.....
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Profile of djurmann
Hi fella,

Head here the standard advice is practice in care homes, hospitals, charity events, work events etc. My first charity gig was OK ish....a lot of it really sucked....but I have a big smile and an engaging personality so no one cared too they weren't paying for it. My second event on the other hand don't give up.

I am also planning a busking set - 3 tricks, that's it. Why busing? Because it gives me a regular performance venue where I do not feel anyone is relying on me so for me (barring abuse) it is a safe place to learn performance and entertainment.

I have done charity gigs local fairs in two ways. Way 1 - ask the organiser. Way 2 (for a very large event) I bought a ticket, went in and did tricks.

My situation is not that dissimilar to yours so let me know how you get on.

Good luck!

PS a guy I met last week started out on a hypnotism course 3 years ago and spent a lot of time practicing performance. Apparently in the course while others were practicing on other students he went out into the street and practiced there.....after 3 years he is a working pro.
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Profile of Aus
James, there definitely needs to be a motivation for you to do magic because in my experience people who dedicate a lot of time to practicing, reading and performing magic get some sort of return out of it; whether it be the kick that you feel in getting a great reaction from a spectator, or a quiet satisfaction that you have successfully pulled off something that you have worked belligerently on, you have to find it. It’s then and only then that you will have the motivation that you need to pursue your goals and everything in between.

How badly do you want to be this skilled magician that you speak of?

If the documentary your talking of in which you saw teenage magicians practising was the documentary “Make Believe” ( )then you would know that the winner of that said contest was self-taught with no outside instruction what so ever. So the proof of success is well documented and within your grasp, even if you don’t have the best support network in the world (which you can substitute for the café if need be), the only thing you have to do is find your motivation.


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Profile of SmithMagicMan
Magic is for me, I love it, I guess I'm just struggling to find the time to practice (i do have exams etc) and I will get back into it.
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Profile of Atom3339
Smith, This is ALL excellent advice! My two cents? At this stage, also learn some self-working tricks. There are MANY. You won't have to worry about sleights, you just entertain doing something you love.

And continue to practice "behind the scenes."

Occupy Your Dream
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