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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Essential Props and Supplies (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Magic Oli
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Hey guys,

What are the essential props and supplies that you think every magician needs and why?

Oli
Terrible Wizard
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IMHO:

A table, big mirrors, a close-up mat and camcorder with tripod. And time. Lots of time.

After that it kinda depends upon what type of magic you pursue, the essential props of the cardician are going to be different to the essential props of the stage illusionist, or the bizarrist or the mentalist or the kids entertainer.
MRSharpe
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Difficult question. Pick a genre of magic and the list of "essentials" is quite variable. Another factor is the individual magician and what he or shed likes. Audiences also have to be taken into consideration. For laymen, often the simplest of effect and great presentation is all that is required. For many magician audiences, nothing will suffice except for a long list of perfect card moves and a normal deck. If you're looking for practical advice, let us know what type of magic you like, your age, body type etc, how you wish to pursue magic (amateur or professional) and who you think your audiences will be.
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
motown
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"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
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Dick Oslund
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Oli!

I'm glad that you said PROPS, and not APPARATUS !!!! (Apparatus is an antiquated term, from the early 1700s. When magicians came "inside"--from the streets--and began to perform in parlors, thay changed their image from "itinerant mountebancs" to "professors" and "doctors"! They presented a "congress of cabalistic phenomens, experiments in high class prestidigitattion and illusionary science!" From "busker" to "professor" (in those days) required only putting on a clean shirt!

"Upstage center" in the "drawing room", a large "laboratory table" was loaded with "apparatus and paraphernalia". Several little tables (flowers and plant tables) were down left and right. "Apparatus was brought forward, and performed/demonstrated on the little plant stands.

It was the beginning of the age of science, and most people had had little education about science.

David Bamberg wrote a very good essay in "Greater Magic" about this "style" of magic show! Successful modern performers have learned that this Victorian and pre-Victorian style of performing is definitely "passe". Old joke: The curtain opened, with a display of "apparatus and paraphernalia", as described. A man in the audience, said, "@#%%~! Do we have to sit here for all that?"

Many 21st Century magicians still use archaic terminology! and "perform" in this style. --The correct term today is PROPS!

Your question is a bit "broad"! IMHO, whatever props that are "essential", are those needed to perform a trick!

Interesting point: Mark Leddy, an agent, and "talent buyer" for the old ED SULLIVAN TV SHOW, once told Jay Marshall (who had played the Sullivan show over a dozen times) "Every time you pick up a prop, your money goes down!"

As you progress, buy, make or otherwise acquire, the props you NEED to perform. (You can't buy, make or otherwise acquire TALENT!)

A PROP, may be something as simple as a pack of cards, a piece of rope, or a coin! It could be a "sub" trunk!

Every performer's "essential" props vary depending on his area of expertise, and the venues where he performs.

Magicians, especially beginners, tend to use terms loosely and interchangeably!

I have written many time in the Café, definitions of basic terms, like "magic", "trick", "effect" etc. But, far too many "magicians" continue to write about
"buying or owning" "magic", "tricks", or "effects". One cannot buy or own "magic"! "Magic" only exists in the mind of the spectator! --after he/she has seen a "trick" performed, and the "effect" which he/she has seen--or THINKS he/she has seen, is perceived by his mind.

Is it "intellectual dishonesty", "invincible ignorance",or "???" ? Magicians like Bill Palmer and Michael Baker and a few others who "experienced" my lecture when they were younger, UNDERSTAND! --Michael wrote, years ago, that he had totally changed his thinking about magic after attending my lecture in Birmingham AL.

Moral of this "story": Don't acquire props until you NEED them!!! The props for my 60 minute family oriented program, weigh slightly in excess of 20 lbs. They "troupe" in a 13" x 20" x 8" prop case. The show "sets up" in about 5 minutes, and packs up in less. It can be presented almost anywhere, for almost anyone--and, it has been for almost 50 years.

I hope that I haven't destroyed any illusions you may have had!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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PS
You cannot buy or own a trick either. A trick, like music, only exists while it is being performed. Stop draggin the rosined horse hair over the catgut snd, there's no music!

You can't own an effect either. An effect is only what the spectator sees or thinks that he sees.

Re "destroying illusions (above). By "illusions", I don't mean "big box" props! I mean illusions. I do an illusion in my school program that the whole audience does for themselves. I can't do it for them!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Magic Oli
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Haha, alright Dick. Atleast I won't get confused and say something I shouldn't now Smile Thanks for the replies
yair61
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The advise that Terrible Wizard wrote is the best way to practice.
Terrible Wizard
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And I learnt the hard way ... I'm still wanting a better practice space in the house, I need a better table, better mat, better mirror and a much better camcorder (so old), and if I was wiser earlier I could have spent the money I spent on not so good books/DVDs/gimmicks on a decent practice space Smile

Oh well, it's getting there, one bit at a time Smile
Dick Oslund
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Festina lente!!! (Make haste slowly!)

IT's the performer, not the props!!! I've been reading your posts. You appear to have the "right idea" now!
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Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Nov 5, 2014, yair61 wrote:
The advise that Terrible Wizard wrote is the best way to practice.


I forgot to comment on your post. It's OK, as far as it goes.

I'm sure you meant well, but there are a few things that need to be considered.

IF the magician is going to practice only close up tricks, for a small group or guests as the host at his own dinner table I could accept your comment.

Here comes the "but"! But, if the performer is working a close up job, table hopping in a restaurant, the guests would definitely not appreciate the performer "invading their table", to place his close up pad.

Although I mainly worked platform or stage, I did work hospitality suites, cocktail hours and similar gigs when an agent called. (Never turn down $$$!) If I had limited my performing to a close up pad, I would have had to turn down a lot of work.

Most of the close up dates actually required strolling. Therefore, all tricks were done in my hands, occasionally in the spectator's hand(s).

Even on a stand up platform date, I never used props that had to "work" on a table.

In the elementary school program, the mutilated parasol needed to be set down for a moment. It was set down on the lid of the prop case. I needed no "working surface"!

Often, the audience was seated on folding chairs on a gym floor, and there was no raised platform to work on. (SIGHT LINES!!!)

So, your statement is probably only "valid" if the performer limits his performing to his own dinner table!






BUT! Not every magician limits his performances to a close up pad. Many part time or full time professionals, are platform, stage, or strolling performers.

When my agent would call with a close up type date (Hospitality Suite, Cocktail Hour, After dinner party) I never planned on working on a close up pad!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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OOPS! Those last two line should have been deleted! I'm about to fire my typesetter!!!!!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Magic Oli
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Thanks guys Smile
Wizard of Oz
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More great stuff Dick. Thank you. I think you should have your own area on the Café...like a blog...it would be the first thing I read every time I visit.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Magic Oli
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I agree with Oz, you have a wealth of knowledge that's truly indispensable Smile
MVoss
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Mints and deodorant, before anyone will watch a trick, they have to want to be near you first. Step one of ever effect is good personal hygene. Obviously not a comment on you, I just think that no matter what kind of magic you do, those will be essential supplies.
Dick Oslund
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Hekk! friend Voss! I don't need a deodorant! I take a good bath at least once a month, whether I need it or not! hee hee
At least once a week I uss a whisk broom and an eraser! double hee hee
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Dick Oslund
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Thank you for your nice comments, Oz & Oli!

I'll need to go downtown tomorrow to get a bigger hat!!!

Of course, Oli! --one must be careful not to confuse knowledge with wisdom! (I knew a guy who could speak 7 languages, but he lied in all 7!)

And,,, terrible wiz and yair 6l, I hope I didn't hurt your feelings! It's my education in philosophy, One of my professors, began every meeting of the class, with "Berore you begin, DEFINE YOUR TERMS!" His "other" bit of wisdom was "Defining, be exact and clear, don't let the term defined come near. --Essential definition mocks, all but "spec. diff" and genus prox"!

Dallas Frank has been kvetching me to write a blog or similar. That sort of thing is not MY decision! I tend to explain things better, when I respond to a statement or a question!

I must constantly remind myself that, "...A little knowledge is a dangeroous thing, drink deep or taste not the Pyhrean Spring! There, shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, while drinking largely, sobers us again" (--Alexander Pope)

Egad! it's 3 AM!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Terrible Wizard
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No worries dick. Smile. Just because one has a practice space with a mat doesn't mean one has to use it ... But one has to have one to have the option. Thus, I stand by my comment that mirror, camcorder, table and mat are beginner magi essentials Smile. Of course, if one is going to perform sans mat then one should practice and rehearse sans mat also, I agree.
Dick Oslund
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Hi TW! I wish we had had camcorders when I was growing up! ~~Mirrors helped, but the camcorder is a hekk of a lot better!

Close up mats, if I remember, were "born" about the time that Slydini "arrived" (mid to late '40a) and revolutionized close up. Much of what is now caalled a close up show, is what "we" called a "parlor show".

In those days, close up was called "pocket tricks". Believe it "or elee", I've never owned a close up pad!!!(I'm not anti close up pads! It's just that from my first mentor, I learned to do tricks with props in my hands. Many of the tricks that I do in my platform show, can be done in a walk around gig.

In the Navy, (in the days of wooden ships and iron men --and now, we're all rusty!) I had a 30 minute act, that carried in a leather shaving kitr the size of a cigar box. I worked enough gigs, that I lived on the show money. I mailed my Navy pay checks home every two weeks..

So! "all's well that ends well!"

Best wishes!

Dick
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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