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magicfish
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Hey folks.
Here is a question for discussion.
Can every card effect ever devised be improved on?
Rupert Pupkin
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To paraphrase Ascanio: "Magic isn't architecture -- it's gardening."

In other words, magic is -- like any craft or artful endeavour -- constantly growing and evolving. And it needs gardeners to tend to it. It's a deliriously fun job, no?

Vernon was well into his nineties and still creating, thinking, and improving. And what about Marlo? Or Lorayne?

Those are the folks we should model our magic after. We should strive to improve every trick, always, because they will never be finished.

In the words of one well-known "fixer": Onward...
landmark
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Fun question. Just to be contrary, I'll mention this:

I think it was George S. Kaufman, who after a month's run of one of his hit plays, called an emergency meeting of the cast to remove all the "improvements."

As with any work of art, part of the process is knowing when to stop.
Rupert Pupkin
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Important question: What do you mean by "improve," Magicfish? When it comes to a magic trick, that could mean any number of things!

Quote:
On Mar 11, 2019, landmark wrote:
Fun question. Just to be contrary, I'll mention this:

I think it was George S. Kaufman, who after a month's run of one of his hit plays, called an emergency meeting of the cast to remove all the "improvements."

As with any work of art, part of the process is knowing when to stop.


And I'll add that knowing when to stop and striving to improve aren't mutually exclusive.
magicfish
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Quote:
On Mar 11, 2019, landmark wrote:
Fun question. Just to be contrary, I'll mention this:

I think it was George S. Kaufman, who after a month's run of one of his hit plays, called an emergency meeting of the cast to remove all the "improvements."

As with any work of art, part of the process is knowing when to stop.

I tend to agree with this.
magicfish
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Rupert wrote:
"We should strive to improve every trick, always, because they will never be finished."

I agree with the first part- that we should strive to improve. But the second part has me wondering. Some effects, I believe, are finished. Surely, there must be a point in which an effect cannot be improved. Changed?, adapted?, tinkered with? Absolutely. But improved? Possibly, but always? I'm not so sure.
Poof-Daddy
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I don’t think “every effect” can be improved. I think some effects are “as good as they are gonna get”. I do however believe most effects can be “tinkered with” to be updated or modernized to whatever the state of great magic is at this time in history. Many of the “hot new items” these days are simply adaptations of good effects hidden away in older books. I really like the quote Lance Pierce printed in his “Recharmed, I’m Sure” directions while comparing to Troy Hooser’s “Charming Chinese Challenge” — “Troy’s routine is already classic and well formed, and it isn’t in need of much tinkering, but as magicians with the spirit to explore, tinker we must”.

Tinkering, updating and modernization of effects may not really “Improve” an effect for the sake of making it a better effect than it originally was. It can however make a great older effect more palatable or understandable to a new audience. At the same time, I wonder, is it the effect, the method or the presentation that makes the biggest difference.
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Rupert Pupkin
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Quote:
On Mar 11, 2019, magicfish wrote:
Rupert wrote:
"We should strive to improve every trick, always, because they will never be finished."

I agree with the first part- that we should strive to improve. But the second part has me wondering. Some effects, I believe, are finished. Surely, there must be a point in which an effect cannot be improved. Changed?, adapted?, tinkered with? Absolutely. But improved? Possibly, but always? I'm not so sure.


I'll ask again. What do you mean by "improved"? A trick is made up of a dozen little components: premise, presentation, method, handling...

Also, I don't believe that tricks exist independent of their performer and performing contexts. I can't think of a single trick that is one-size-fits-all in either respect. But hit me with any examples if you can.
puggo
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To follow PD's comment, I take it that the main question relates to method, in which case, maybe. To say that something can't be improved may be limiting, but it does make sense to listen to those who have the 'flight time' under fire before trying to change stuff.

Also, many seem to perform for a camera rather than for real people. In such cases, there are a new set of limitations and freedoms which would suggest more scope for 'improvement'. There is also the performing for other magicians element - in this case, there may be ways to 'improve' the method to fool magicians which may actually make the method worse for lay people.

As someone who does not perform for a camera/instagram etc. (or magicians), my main question with every effect is 'can I improve the experience for the audience/participants?' With this question, the answer is much more likely to be a yes as it is rarely focused on the mechanics/method. Part of the reason that I like the Jerx is that even although he states that he focuses on the casual/social performer, he inspires me to think much more about the experience (for those that don't know his work, Google 'Jerx Spectator Cuts to the Aces' as an example of his thinking - you may not like the swearing, the style or whatever, but take a moment to consider the experience).

Charlie
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Another point...I think every trick can be improved upon, BY A GIVEN PERFORMER. Each performer can tweak, tinker with, and update the script and handling of any trick to make it more natural and deceptive for them. These changes may not work for the greater magical community but that doesn't mean the trick hasn't been improved upon.

One man's improvement is another man's... well, you get the point.
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The Burnaby Kid
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Insofar as every trick has a weakness, and that weakness is its method, then so long as one person apart from the performer can see the method, then yes, the trick can be improved upon.
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Keith Richards says that the original Fender Telecaster has never been improved upon as an electric guitar. (He probably knows better than I do.)

I think this might apply to magic tricks, as well. I still perform the original Triumph as written up in Stars of Magic. I have learned other methods -- but I don't think they are necessarily improvements. Maybe they are variations.

On the other hand, and again using a musical analogy, some of Mozart's variations are pretty darned interesting... Less than a month ago I learned a Triumph variation that I have performed probably a dozen times since. I knew it was effective when it fooled my daughter, who usually burns my hands and lives to thwart me in every conceivable way. So was this method an improvement? Maybe so, because Vernon's original might not have survived her scrutiny.
magicfish
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Quote:
On Mar 11, 2019, Poof-Daddy wrote:
I don’t think “every effect” can be improved. I think some effects are “as good as they are gonna get”. I do however believe most effects can be “tinkered with” to be updated or modernized to whatever the state of great magic is at this time in history. Many of the “hot new items” these days are simply adaptations of good effects hidden away in older books. I really like the quote Lance Pierce printed in his “Recharmed, I’m Sure” directions while comparing to Troy Hooser’s “Charming Chinese Challenge” — “Troy’s routine is already classic and well formed, and it isn’t in need of much tinkering, but as magicians with the spirit to explore, tinker we must”.

Tinkering, updating and modernization of effects may not really “Improve” an effect for the sake of making it a better effect than it originally was. It can however make a great older effect more palatable or understandable to a new audience. At the same time, I wonder, is it the effect, the method or the presentation that makes the biggest difference.

Well said Poof.
magicfish
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Quote:
On Mar 11, 2019, The Burnaby Kid wrote:
Insofar as every trick has a weakness, and that weakness is its method, then so long as one person apart from the performer can see the method, then yes, the trick can be improved upon.
forever?
magicfish
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Quote:
On Mar 11, 2019, Rupert Pupkin wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 11, 2019, magicfish wrote:
Rupert wrote:
"We should strive to improve every trick, always, because they will never be finished."

I agree with the first part- that we should strive to improve. But the second part has me wondering. Some effects, I believe, are finished. Surely, there must be a point in which an effect cannot be improved. Changed?, adapted?, tinkered with? Absolutely. But improved? Possibly, but always? I'm not so sure.


I'll ask again. What do you mean by "improved"? A trick is made up of a dozen little components: premise, presentation, method, handling...

Also, I don't believe that tricks exist independent of their performer and performing contexts. I can't think of a single trick that is one-size-fits-all in either respect. But hit me with any examples if you can.

You tell us , Rupert. In your opinion, what improves a trick?
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Can Darwin Ortiz Pschotronic Card be improved? ive developed ways to do it other than how it is written, but does that improve it?
I j
The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On Mar 11, 2019, magicfish wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 11, 2019, The Burnaby Kid wrote:
Insofar as every trick has a weakness, and that weakness is its method, then so long as one person apart from the performer can see the method, then yes, the trick can be improved upon.
forever?


Yes. Insofar as one person apart from the performer can see the method.
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magicfish
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And when they can't?
The Burnaby Kid
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If nobody knows how you did what you did, then you've got your mystery factor figured out.

Obviously when it comes to presentation there are different things to consider. While I don't know that every trick's presentation can be improved upon -- very difficult to measure that empirically -- the trick benefits from the magician constantly analyzing it AS IF it can be improved upon. I had a pretty slick three card monte routine after doing it somewhere between one to two thousand times for spectators, but I was still eyeing changes to it even after that long. It helped, because the routine is now better than it was then.
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Kimura
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One man's treasure is another man's garbage.

Everything can be improved upon, as soon as it gets into another person's hands.

Thinking your stuff is perfect is why there is so much ego and not a whole lot of art.
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