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dader76
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Okay, so I've got several DVDs -- Bill Malone, Michael Ammar, others and don't get me started on YouTube. I am practicing the basics of SOH but find myself distracted by all the tricks out there....cups & balls, sponge balls, ropes (love Sander's Fiber Optics), coins and the list goes on. How do you focus on perfecting a very effects vs, in my case, being allured and distracted by everything else I see? I sometimes just say to myself -- do no more than five tricks and put away all the others. That works for, oh, a few days but then I watch a DVD or read a book and I'm back to breath vs. depth. Any advice or similar experience?
MVoss
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I'm not sure you can ever defeat the distractions. The best advice I can give is to find out what you want to perform, what your "character" is, and then build around that. Remember that as fun as learning the secrets are, nothing beats a good performance. Also, by character, I don't mean, "I'm a magical ninja" or something, but rather, what your voice is as a performer, it can be very subtle, but you'll find that certain things make more sense for who you are. Also, decide what effects you think are the best, and focus on those.

So, what makes a good effect? I like Eugene Burgers thinking on this, http://secretartjournal.com/selecting-magic-to-perform/ .

Also, setting a monthly spending limit is a nice habit.
Dick Oslund
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You're acting like a little child in a candy store! Grow up!

Now that I have your attention, (I hope.)

You will do well to to listen to the (very) late S. H. Sharpe:

"Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks, are strangers to magic. Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained."

You need to get a copy of "Our Magic" (Maskelynne & Devant) and read (study) those first 150 pages by Nevil Maskelynne!!!!! (The art and theory of magic)

Otherwise you will remain what you apparently are, NOW. (a guy who owns some books, DVDs, and toys (props) to play with.)

I have a meeting which I must attend. I'll return in about 90 minutes, if you're still here.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
dader76
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Ah Dick you are tough love but all sensible. I'm a 56 year old kid in the candy store. I'll pick up a copy of that book to add to my collection. Can I interest you in any of the DVDs and toys I've accumulated? I'll stick to a deck of cards, a handful of coins, and cups -- I love cups.

PS My wife tells me to grow up, too!
Terrible Wizard
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I totally sympathise, dader! I too get distracted easily, and it's been hard to limit myself to a few things to really work on.

I tend to feed the magic bug now with a mixture of reading history, developing performance skills, and trying out cheap, silly little tricks for a bit of variety - but basically I think I've got all the major effects I'll ever need.

Basically, Dick is right. I've found the hard way that chasing distractions hurts the magic - I could have been twice as good as I am now if I'd focussed earlier upon a few effects instead of chasing distractions.
widuk
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Your first mistake is to have a lot of DVDs (mine too) But What I do is choose the effects that go with my taste or at least can go. And, of course, what we have to do first is focus on techniques and not on tricks or effects. But I suppose that you already know this.
Dick Oslund
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Hi friend Widuk!

Yup! Focus on the basics. Learn principles!

BTW: A TRICK is performed. An EFFECT, is what the spectator(s) see, or think that they see.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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So! Dader and Terrible:::

I've been "at" this magic "stuff" for 70 years +/-, and I estimate that I've presented about 20,000 shows, in just about every situation that can be imagined.

There's an old "story" about a young lad, visiting THURSTON back stage. The lad asks Mr. T., "Mr. Thurston! How many tricks do you know? --I know 275!" Thurston smiled, and replied, "I know about 10, but, I can do them anywhere, for anybody!"

I figure that I must really KNOW about 10 tricks myself. I've done them almost all my life.

Jay Marshall had just finished a children's party in a wealthy apartment on Chicago's "Gold Coast". A polite young boy walked up and said, "Mr. Marshall! When I grow up,I'm going to be a magician, too!" Jay smiled, and replied, "Well, young man! You can't do both!"

P.S. It's OK to be CHILDLIKE! Of course, "childlike" and "childish" are not the same!!!

PPS...I grew up in the "era" of "dollar tricks", Much of my "act" is "cheap, silly little tricks". But, they've made me a good living!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
GreenKnight33
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Excellent advice so I'll only add a bit of my strategies to stay focused.

Yearly budget of X dollars. Can't go over it.
Ask your wife to keep you accountable. My wife has a spreadsheet of every magic purchase so even though I don't go over, I also don't want to have to deal with explanation and excuses if I did.

Focus for me is, each year I write down three sleights, three effects, one magic book, one theory book (I second Our Magic) to read, study, learn. Committing something to writing makes it more real and commits you to it.

If I see something that I think I have to have, I write it down in an excel spreadsheet... So not saying "No", just " Not right now.". Doing this also helps bring down the hype machine. The effect I'm dying to get, after a month of not getting it, suddenly seems not as necessary...I survived without it.

Best to you, and know you are not alone in this struggle,
GreenKnight
Steven Leung
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Quote:
On Mar 10, 2015, GreenKnight33 wrote:
Excellent advice so I'll only add a bit of my strategies to stay focused.

Yearly budget of X dollars. Can't go over it.
Ask your wife to keep you accountable. My wife has a spreadsheet of every magic purchase so even though I don't go over, I also don't want to have to deal with explanation and excuses if I did.

Focus for me is, each year I write down three sleights, three effects, one magic book, one theory book (I second Our Magic) to read, study, learn. Committing something to writing makes it more real and commits you to it.

If I see something that I think I have to have, I write it down in an excel spreadsheet... So not saying "No", just " Not right now.". Doing this also helps bring down the hype machine. The effect I'm dying to get, after a month of not getting it, suddenly seems not as necessary...I survived without it.

Best to you, and know you are not alone in this struggle,
GreenKnight


I do almost the same thing myself since last year, but I cannot let my wife take otherwise she will kill me definitely. LOL

I also want to add if there is an effect I still want to have it after one year, then I will buy it when it has discount after thanksgiving or magic shop anniversary sales as you can imagine.

The best of course try to buy it directly from the creator to show your sincere and support.

Exceptional case, I will try to buy lecture package who ever stop by the town to do lecture. It is a hard living doing lectures for magicians that choose such career.

Just my 2 cents.
Most memorable moment - with Maestro Juan Tamariz & Consuelo Lorgia in FISM Busan 2018.

"Being fooled by a trick doesn't always mean they are having a good time" - Homer Liwag

https://hhpresents.com/
https://www.glitchstudiohk.com/
dader76
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What it comes down to is a bit of discipline. I like the idea of choosing a book, DVD, and not get mesmerized by "Oh, I love that, I mean that one. NO, that one!" I started last night, wrote down a few effects that I've meant to work on and am sticking to them. Thanks all for the advice and admonishment.
BeThePlunk
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I think you can't help the candy-store syndrome in the beginning. How can you know what you like until you do a good bit of trial and error? Selecting your magic surely isn't an intellectual process -- it's the feeling of experience. After a couple of years of trying this and that, I've settled down and I understand the advice that the masters give us. But I couldn't understand untio I had made my own journey, cold I?

Now, I rarely see an effect or DVD or book that I want to buy, so my spending has essentially come to a halt. I know that I don't much care for cards except for the occasional clever packet effect. I know that I love cups and balls but that I must practice continually. I know that I like some things about coins, but, again, I need a ton of practice. Lots of books all of which I'll keep. Lots of DVDs but now I'll start selling off some of them. I'll also start selling off effects that I tried and don't really care for.

But again, I think an initial period of exploring and gathering is natural. Those who have been involved in magic since they were kids might not see all the exploration they've done because it extended over a ong time. Those of us who are entering magic later in life see our exploration in a more compressed and expensive time frame, so it looks much more bewildering.

Only my humble opinionof course.

David
Terrible Wizard
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I think you make a good point, BethePlunk (David). It really is a balancing act - exploration is needed, as you say, but too much flitting about leads to wasted money and time ...

I guess this is why having a mentor is soooo useful!
Dick Oslund
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David!

Good post!

It appears that your "adolescence" is about over! Congratulations! Many "magicians" never make it past puberty!!!

May I make ONE point! You're still seem to be a victim of "DEFINITIONITIS"!

An EFFECT, IS WHAT THE SPECTATOR SEES, OR THINKS HE SEES. --You cannot sell an EFFECT. You can sell a PROP, and/or a SECRET (written, spoken, or recorded).

Have you had an opportunity to try the Hip Hop Rbt routine?
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Jason Simonds
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Great job, dader76. Like you said, focus on a few tricks and practice, rehearse, and perform those. Once you perform, critique your performance and learn from any mistakes. Then rinse and repeat.

As for the DVD's and books, you can still watch and read those. Musicians don't stop listening and appreciating music because they perform music. I love watching magic. It's entertainment for me. But I don't need to add everything I see performed to my repertoire. I can still learn things watching masters like Bill Malone perform, even if he's not performing tricks I want to perform. I see how he manages his audience and their attention. I see what works for him to be entertaining, and while that may not work for me, it helps me focus on making my performances entertaining. I might see a trick I might want to come back to later, and I note the trick and where to find it, so when I am ready to expand my repertoire, I'll have an idea already of where I want to go. And who knows, something may call to me and I may discover a new favorite trick. Just be careful to not get sidetracked.
harris
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Every once an awhile, I parallel the addict with a magician.

As Shel Silverstein wrote, sometimes both are in search of the perfect high/or trick.

I'm that way, but these days I have a more active filter.

Did I really need to rollerskating clown marionette. (no but I do use him alot)

Do I need to get a ventriloquist 1/2 mask. (so far no, but I do have a 2D laminated paper version)

Step 1 ..i'm powerless over my magic purchases and my "wife is Unmanageable. (with apologies to 12 step programs.
actually my wife encourages me to make wise investments into my Dr. Laugh Programs.)
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
BeThePlunk
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Great memory, Dr. Oslind!

As hokey as it is, I do like Hippity-Hop Rabbits.. I'm thinking of borrowing an idea from Pop Haydn and making it a teleportation story, like Vincent Price in "The Fly". The final reveal of blue and yellow are my embarrassing mistakes.

So, to return to earlier in the thread, I guess you explore and then hang on to the things you like, finding ways to fit them to your character.
Kbuck54
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So not saying "No", just " Not right now.". Doing this also helps bring down the hype machine. The effect I'm dying to get, after a month of not getting it, suddenly seems not as necessary...I survived without it.
A very wise path.
Keith Shazam
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1KJ
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I have been in your shoes. I think you can easily get yourself "sucked in" to just developing a single routine and practicing it every day. Then, go out and perform it. Perform the same routine over and over. Once it is rote, start on the next one.

The "distractions" you have were not in vain. The next step is to narrow them down to something, ONE THING, you want to do.

I have a ton of "magic material" at my home and office. However, I have distilled a few things from all that "stuff" that I really like and I've developed some routines that are mine. They are very entertaining, and I love doing them.

This would be the same with the person who wants to be a singer, but spends all their time just listening to other's sing. You have to just shift your focus from listening, to singing.

KJ
Theodore Lawton
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Some great advise from Dick, David and KJ.

Magic is fun. I think performing it attracts people with somewhat compulsive personalities. That makes it even harder to say no to all these fun tricks we want to learn.

Time is the answer. Eventually you will get jaded by the junk being pushed on us by the general market and you will settle down and realize that the advice from the old timers like Dick is the best advice you can listen to. You will focus on tested and true magic and really appreciate it. Classics are classics for a reason. Ropes, sponges, cups, cards, coins, silks, TTs... Good quality books... the basics are really all you need. Because they really are the best.

As you learn this on your own I think you should still "have fun" and experiment with some gizmo or two that catches your eye. It's all part of the experience of becoming a better magician. Sometimes you may find a gem. But from personal experience and all the voices of wisdom around here, you will eventually settle down and focus on quality over quantity. If you stay in the game that long.

Smile
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.

............................................

God bless you and have a magical day
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