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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Advice on starting out- from a novice (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cad
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Hi,

I may well get shot down in flames here as my advice is contrary to what some more experienced and more skilled folk suggest but here goes. Often, the beginning magician is advised to get a good book. On other boards the self-working series by Karl Fulves are highly praised, as is the card bible, Royal Road. However, I found the Fulves books frustratingly difficult- as a beginner, you don't have the patter or style yet, which is often what, say, a self working mentalists' effect depends on, and thus your audience susses you. Even with practice, selling the effect is hard.

On the other hand, there are some very cheap gimmick effects that can be picked up for under 5 quid (I'm thinking something like Anti-Gravico here) which can be very effectively performed with a short amount of practice, are visually stunning, and which require no more patter than standard pub chat- ie your own personality does the work. One or two of these can give you a feel for the buzz of astounding people- it's addictive and a good motivator to learn more.

Then I'd go for a well-illustrated book (preferably with photos)- a fantastic beginners book is "The Art of Magic and Sleight of Hand" by Nicholas Einhorn. It's a large hard-backed book with loads of photos and covers cards, money, rope, table magic etc as well as some of the history and costs just 15 pounds. Choose a few of the effects you like and practice, practice and practice some more.

Once you've got all the effects you want from that book (a few great, well-rehearsed effects will be better than loads of poorly practiced ones), I'd move to the classics (and you're probably a couple of months down the road by this point). Royal Road and Bobo's Modern Coin Magic are excellent- probably a bit dry for an absolute fresh beginner but superb once you've got a taste for it and you want a comprehensive beginners book.

The last thing I'll say, when you start working with cards, get a couple of Bicycle decks. When I started I wanted to use Waddingtons (by far the most common UK playing card) because people are used to the look, but really noone cares what cards you're using (as long as you don't, if you see what I mean). Bicycle cards are stronger, more hardwearing, look good, and almost any gimmicked deck will be Bicycle (unless it's a cheap joke-shop deck). Oh, and from magicshop.co.uk they cost just £2.50. If you're based in the US then you'll be laughing with a bicycle deck because people will be used to them anyway.

Oh, and if you're in London, England try International Magic near Holborn. Great shop.

Please feel free to disagree with me- this is all just MHO.
rcad
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Hello Cad,

Sorry to disappoint you, but I will neither agree nor disagree... Smile

Being a beginer myself for less than a year, when I started, I didn't know about this forum and it was a journey of blind discovery. I did read most of the Fulves series and picked up quite a few good tricks in there. I wanted so much to learn as many tricks as I could and suddenly found myself with more tricks that I could remember.

Moreover, I felt, like you, that I was missing the point. You are on the right track as you realize that presentation, character and script are the real keys to magic. I say take the path that is right for you. If you want to use gimmicked items to help you perform right away and start learning about performance, then so be it! Some books that are often mentioned here though should still be on your shelves, namely "Complete magic course" by Mark Wilson. I also read the Nicholas Einhorn book you refer to and although it is a good book to learn tricks, Wilson's book will teach you some basic stuff that you need to know if you want to get deeper into magic. I say go ahead with any tricks you feel comfortable with but take some time to also practice basic sleights and gather magic knowledge.

You may also want to read a few books on the art of presenting magic. I've read "Absolute Magic" by Derren Brown and found it very useful. I also have ordered a few Eugene Burger books and the new book by Jay Sankey.

I truly believe that any art form, craft or skill should be learned from the bottom up. The thing is, there is so much to learn when it comes to magic that any method that allows you to learn a bit of everything at the same time is good. To each his own way of doing things. Some swear to learn better from DVDs... I don't. Some will prefer learning many sleights before they ever perform in front of an audience and that's okay too.

Just enjoy the ride...


Richard
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious." Albert Einstein
MattWayne
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RCad- I agree. The only thing I have to say- you already did. You mentioned something about the character that you are when performing- and to always be 'yourself.' It's very true. Copying gets you no where. Picking a style that suits the individual person is crucial. I'm known as being a 'funny magician'- do I like that title- no, however that's what my style infers to people.

I've had this dream of the 'big manipulation act'- and I have one. But do I ruin my already known style to make that transition from doing stand up comedy- to being the great manipulator? I love manipulative magic!- probably one of the most amazing of the many types out there. I've been performing comedy now 'eh seven years. Might be hard to make that change, but is it necessary? Style- keep the it the way the people want and like it. That's why I'll always be that, "funny magician."

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Davidicus
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I say start where you are comfortable. If a book is too advanced per se', try a video. Personally the easiest way for me to learn is by demonstration. Not just in magic, in everyday life.
Aus
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Like I have written else where, there are many paths you can travel to begin your journey, and the one you talk about is yours. If it works for you, then all the best with it.

Magically

Aus
Peter Marucci
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Well, Cad, apparently NOBODY is going to shoot you down in flames or disagree with you -- least of all me (besides, that's not the Café way).

If you don't like one book, go to another. If you don't like books at all but prefer to go to gimmicks, that's fine, too.

In other words, just about anything is fine as long as it helps you advance yourself in magic (and in anything else, for that matter!).

My personal preference, even after 50 years in the business, would be Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic, all eight volumes of Tarbell, Bobo's Modern Coin Magic, and Harry Lorayne's The Magic Book.

Just absorbing all the material in those should keep you busy for the next four or five lifetimes!


Smile
Cad
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Thanks everyone for the advice [removes flameproof suit. Dons casual clothing]

Peter/Rcad- I already have Hugard's Encyclopedia of Card Magic, Expert Card Technique and RRTCM, and Bobo's MCM, as well as 5 or 6 beginners books and some of the Fulves self-working series. Not to mention a rather extensive list of internet bookmarks and the odd DVD Smile Is it still worth adding Wilson to the library? And how about Absolute Magic? I rather like Derren Brown's writing style (he used to post to Usenet) and would be very interested to read his views on performance- however I only began the journey 6 months ago (practicing most evenings & every weekend). Do you reckon it's worth getting?

Aus- that wasn't my path unfortunately- I merely wish it had been! Can I edit my post to say 'this is the path I wish I'd taken- it's the one that would have worked best for me personally but each person will have a different path that suits their style?!' Smile
Peter Marucci
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Cad,
The Wilson book is certainly worth getting; I've been doing magic for more than 50 years and I just finally got around to it about a year or two ago; I wish I had done it MUCH sooner (same with Tarbell!).
But I can only speak for me; you may have a different path. It is, unfortunately, a journey one must make alone.
RobertBloor
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Cad,

You're doing exactly the right thing. By trying things out, looking in various books etc, you're discovering what you like and don't like about magic but most importanly...

You're discovering how YOU learn new magic most effectively.

There is no right or wrong way. There is only your own personal way. Whatever works for you.

In time you'll find that taking the advice of some of the pros out there will rapidly increase your growth and skill in magic.

You'll also find pro advice that makes you shake your head and laugh.

Hey...we've all got our ways.

I'm glad that you're finding yours.

Robert Bloor, CEO
Corporate Entertainment Specialists
http://www.robertbloor.com
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Dr. TORA
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I want to add a few notes. If you are located in London, I would suggest that you have to visit the Davenports' Magic shop at the Cahring Cross underground shopping concourse. THey have a large a variety. And I would suggest a good bokk of their publications and you can find it only there...It is for manipulation but covers nearly all thge basics. I advice all my students to get one...It is around 15 Puonds if I remember correctly. You may tell Bill Davenport that Tora from Turkey has sent you there and recommended "Willane's Complete Methods of Miracles". You will never regret for owning one. Just a recommendation.
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Cad
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Thanks all for the advice- looks like I shall have to bite the bullet and get the credit card out again- give my bookshelves another two presents this weekend Smile
rcad
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Cad,

Just a final note before your run off to the book store: your personal library sounds a lot like the one I had before I bought Wilson's book. I really wasn't sure if it was a book worth buying when I did... Well, until now, I can say that this is my favorite book. Not that it is perfect nor that the others aren't good but I feel that for a beginer, this book is really, as the title mentions, a COMPLETE course. It doesn't go deeply into the art of presentation though so that is why my recent buys have been oriented towards theory books like "Absolute magic".

I don't know if I can recommend Brown's book as strongly. It did help me get a new perspective on magic and was an enjoyable read. Will it help you personaly? I cannot say. It deals with his model of magic and the importance of having a vision about your own magic. He shares his vision, which is to present magic as real, only as an example of the path an artist should take about his art.

I have just received three Eugene Burger's books tonight and after a few pages, I'm already excited! Will it help me create and perform better magic? I hope so but when it comes to performance helpers, I think it is even more personal than what tricks you prefer to perform. Except for the Jay Sankey book, those theory books were recommended to me here and sound like a good basis. If you have the chance to browse the book section of your favorite magic shop or shop on the Net where you can read the back cover information, try to see what interests you. There are numerous references on performance books throughout this forum and I am sure you will eventually find what you need.

Good luck!

Richard
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious." Albert Einstein
abc
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This has been said a few times in this thread and I have said it a few times in other threads but I bought the Mark wilson book when I started buying books (I used the library a lot when I started out as a kid) and I can not think of any better book to buy to start out. I have had it for a good 5 to 10 years (cant recall exactly) and it is a gem. I still use it.
BUY IT.
Everyone should.
JEFFC
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You guys aren't helping me here;) I have gotten a number of books recommended here and browsed through them. I finally decided to try going through the beginning of RRTCM and Bobo's MCM to make my advancement into sleight more orderly. I picked these two off my shelf because they are easy to carry.
Now I'm tempted to make room for Wilson's book in my backpack instead.
abc
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I don't want to create confusion and I don't know how skilled you are but if you master the sleights in the wilson book you will enjoy any other book more. The basics are always the most important in my opinion that is why I chase abc as my name.
I understand you really want to get into sleights but I am sure RRTCM and Bobo's MCM would make more sense and be easier to master if you have studied the Wilson book.
Just my opinion
Chrystal
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Hi Cad,

Everyone has given you great advice and I can't really add much to what's already been recommended.

I too would highly recommend Mark Wilson's book and the Tarbell volumes which I often refer to as the encyclopedias of Magic.

Good luck whatever you decide on.
JJDrew
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One book that isn't mentioned here is one that actually contains very strong material and, more importantly, focuses a LOT on the presentation aspect of magic as opposed to being a book-length list of tricks. "Magic for Dummies" is a wonderful beginner book. As far as mechanics go, it isn't at all comprehensive, in fact the first chapter contains things that aren't magic tricks at all, simply fun little things to get you used to interacting with an audience.

"Magic for Dummies" and "Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic" combined will give a wonderful grounding in magic, the former for presentation, the latter for skill.
rcad
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JJDrew,

You convinced me! I ordered "Magic for dummies" and can't wait to read it!

Richard
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious." Albert Einstein
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