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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Performer vs Sophistication of Effect (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Scott Horn
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Dallas, TX
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Profile of Scott Horn
I was in a discussion looking for a trick to give as a gift to a non-magician friend and an interesting discussion (to me) emerged.

What criteria, if any, should be in play when buying a magic effect, gimmick, etc. as a gift for someone else.
- Interest in performing the effect
- Commitment to practice / competence
- Commitment to not revealing the secret
- Pre-established skills
- ???

How does one gauge the sophistication of an effect relative to the recipient so as to not damage the art? Is it OK, or inappropriate, to gift a Triple TUC, Quiver, or Sub Trunk to a total novice? What about to someone who may not have any interest in magic? Tenyos's whole line is marketed to the lay public; are they the baseline of what is OK for "non-magicians" to have? Of course this is all hypothetical as no one can impose "rules," so we are talking ethics and "self-policing."

From my perspective its not a good thing to have magic "overly accessible" (however you define that), and there is way too much open exposure which I define as revealing methods for no purpose other than to reveal the method. I have not gifted much magic at all, but I have tried to "align" things so the effect is one that will hold the recipients interest (commitment), is readily within their capabilities (mental, dexterity, etc.), and the recipient will honor the "secret".... BUT... I have no empirical criteria, just my personal judgement.
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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Profile of funsway
??? their reason for communicating with others in a unique way.

a person may have an interest in performing magic for a number of reasons, e.g. overcoming stage fright, enhancing storytelling, entertaining friends, commanding student attention and many more.
Gifting a magic device, gimmick, prop or even book should be aligned with what that person intends to use the performance for.

by analogy, if this friend wished to play music at senior centers, a gift of a drum set might not be appropriate.


with the field of possible effects narrowed, the question of sophistication becomes, "will the performance of this effect be consistent with the image this person wishes to convey?" Or contrast.
Might might project that a psychologist comes across as being too serious and desires to "lighten things up." If that is the case then magic effect that employs unusual props would be "too sophisticated."
Pulling unusual coins from a special pouch might say, "I am going to be professional again all over again in a different way."

I may not be helping here ...Smile

I have received gifted magic effects over the years by well meaning friends/relatives. None have ever been "me." Gifting a magic trick/effect is difficult. I would suggest a book from which he might choose something such as Mark Wilson's Complete Course -- or take him to a brick and mortar magic shop (cue in the owner as to price range).

kudos for wanting to help a friend pursue a new passion/interest. DItto for having ethical concerns. No easy answer.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
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Profile of warren
To my mind if someone is truly interested in learning magic then they should show some patience and learn some basic sleight hand first before moving on to gimmicks etc as people are to quick to use gimmicks and usually make much better magicians by learning the basics first. Funsway gave a very good example ie The Mark Wilson complete course in magic which was my first proper magic book, I still have the book today and cherish it.

I understand some people lack dexterity and there fore they maybe better suited to other types of magic as there are many different branches of magic ie mentalism etc that don't require so much dexterity compared to say coin magic, they still require skill but in a more subtle way.

One example I knew a magician who used to perform Black Magick type shows who only used very basic sleights however what he lacked in so called skills he more than made up for in his presentations he would give you chills, also the lengths he would go to in order to set the theme were out of this world.

If someone is just interested in learning a few tricks to show their friends etc then I would point them in the direction to the local joke shop where they can pick up some very basic effects such as Dynamic coins or vanishing a silk via a TT, notice I would not be showing them the true miracles that we can perform with a TT.

My reason for this is that I'm still passionate about magic even after all these years, it has helped put food on the table when I was struggling, it has given me something to focus on when other things were not going as planned and it pains me to see classics getting butchered by bad performers. When I got started there was no google, youtube etc you had to earn the secrets so to give them away so freely to people who just want to be able to show a few things to there friends without putting in the required practise is wrong on every level. Giving away effects such as Invisible deck, Quiver and the like is in my opinion wrong if the person isn't serious and does more harm than good to the art.

Now going back to your friend, if he is genuinely interested in learning magic then put him on the right path to begin with, save the gimmicks until he has learned some basics as he will then have the tools to use them far more effectively, if he is serious he won't mind taking things a little slower and if he has you as a mentor then he'll have a head start over most. Also if they haven't got the time right now to put in the practice then my advice is to wait until they have the time.

At the end of the day it's up to you what you want to show/give away to your friend and there is nothing I or anyone else for that matter can do about it so it's your call as you'll know better than all of us if your friend is serious or not.
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