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Peter Marucci
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For a long time, I have kept silent about this issue.
(Well, a "long time" for me! Smile )
But what ever happened to original thinking?
I read dozens of posts a day here, with statements like: "Has anyone seen X's levitation?" or "Here's a twist on Y's coins across," or "I like Z's cards to pocket."
Why does it always have to be somebody else's routine or handling?
Aren't we supposed to be creative people?
Sure, there are a few -- a very few -- effects that are identified with a specific magician: Houdini's straitjacket escapes; Siegfried and Roy's huge illusions; Harry Blackstone's floating lightbulb.
But now every dork with a video seems to have staked a claim on some area of magic.
I have had other performers ask me, "Do you do W's 20th Century Silks?"
Well, I may -- but not in any form that the questioner or W would recognize.
Over time and long before I present anything to the public, I work on it so that it becomes mine and not somebody else's.
A suggestion:
Throw out all your magic catalogs.
Now, follow these four steps:
1) Decide what effect you want to do (levitation, vanish, production, etc.)
2) Figure out how to do it (IT, magnets, pull, TT, body load, hidden compartment, etc.)
3) Create an effect using the two steps above and polish and perfect it.
4) Perform it.
In other words, make the effect your own!

Of course, I realize that, for most performers, this just isn't going to happen; they will opt for the easy route, the road well travelled.

So, end of rant. <G>

"A poor original is still better than a good copy."

cheers,
Peter Marucci
Matt Graves
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I'll have to agree, especially with the quote at the end. What I like doing is going through some older magic books that nobody pays enough attention to and taking techniques or effects from them and dressing them up in my own weird way. I don't like using "traditional" playing cards, either. I use Cheeto's or Coca Cola cards, usually. I found a pack of cards the other day that said "Proud to be an American" on the back. Heck, I even saw some Elvis cards the other day . . . long live the king . . . Smile
But really, if you look at the really successful magicians, that's what they do - they make things their own. There had been tons of levitations before David Copperfield did his big "Flying" illusion, but his had a special flavor I guess you'd say. The trick that Eugene Burger calls "Thought Sender" is not a new thing in itself; there's a version of it in Mark Wilson's course. But I could watch that video clip on Mr. Burger's website all day long . . . he makes it look really good . . .
ah well enough rambling . . . I figure you get the point by now . . .
I'll just have to finish off with a quote of my own . . .
"Be original . . . an individual . . . like Dr. Pepper . . . "
Smile Smile
Smile
Huw Collingbourne
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As a newcomer (which I have been for quite some time now - and I expect to remain so for at least the next few years!), I initially found it odd that many other newcomers wanted to buy ready-to-run tricks rather than learn the essential principles of magic by reading books.

Personally, I would get no satisfaction from attempting to duplicate a trick that numerous other magicians already perform (and, in all probability, they perform it very much better than I could hope to!)

I view the process of learning the essential skills of magic as equivalent to a composer who must learn music theory or an artist who learns perspective. The aim of the composer and artist is not to duplicate the works of Mozart or van Gogh but to create something new.

That said, it is certainly true that learning the skills of magic can seem enormously difficult and frustrating. You (at least I...!) can put in a lot of effort to very little effect. So it's understandable that beginners may want to take encouragement from 'foolproof' tricks.

Personally, slow progress doesn't worry me too much - maybe because I've done quite a lot of learning over the years and I am well used to the idea that it will be a long and slow process.

While it's understandable that beginners may want the instant gratificatuon of ready-to-perform miracles, I find it strange that so many experienced professionals also seem to be suckers (no offence meant!) for all the latest and trendiest gimmicks - which, all too often, seems to be whichever trick David Blaine did on his last TV special!

I'm not sure how you can teach creativity in magic (or in any other field of human endeavour). What I do feel, though, is that while the Internet gives us all ready access to a vast amount of magical information and opinion, I haven't yet discovered any sites that really aim to teach magic from the ground up. Perhaps what we need is a modern equivalent of the Tarbell Course for our online world?

best wishes
Huw
Dolini
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Peter,

I enjoy reading your philosphy and agree that magic can be much more if the individual looks beyond the simple purchasing of a "trick". Oh yeah by the way did you get my order for that "Mirror Monte"????
Just kidding. Well did you ......?

Dolini Smile Smile
John O'Shea Dolan
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Peter Marucci
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John,
Yep, got your order for Mirror Monte and it was shipped out the same day. You should have it in a few days.
Aren't I the speedy little devil! Smile Smile
cheers,
Peter Marucci
McCritical
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Quote:
On 2002-08-04 07:14, Peter Marucci wrote:
Aren't we supposed to be creative people?

A suggestion:
Throw out all your magic catalogs.
Now, follow these four steps:
1) Decide what effect you want to do (levitation, vanish, production, etc.)
2) Figure out how to do it (IT, magnets, pull, TT, body load, hidden compartment, etc.)
3) Create an effect using the two steps above and polish and perfect it.
4) Perform it.
In other words, make the effect your own!

"A poor original is still better than a good copy."



I have a more radical idea

1. Keep the magic catalogs
2. Look for a killer, jaw dropping card effect.
3. Buy it and deconstruct it.
4. Leave the cards at home.

After reading Neale's "Magic Mirror" and Chelman's "Capricorn Tales," I went back and watched a few of my video tapes. The first part of "Mirror" really sets the gears in motion about what a magician should be conveying in a performance. With Chelman I see it in action. He pulls off a great Svengali force with knick knacks (no cards involved) and reconstructs a nativity with a simple card location (he's not asking you to pick a card with this bit).

Then I rewatch Videomind, Maven recycles a classic card location into a mind reading bit that requires no cards, and pulls a classic billet switch without billets.

The medium is the message with most illusions (i.e. a trick that relies on cards usually looks like a "card trick"). If I can shift a great, but timeworn, principle into another field of magic, I figure I might have a small miracle.

Just my two cents.
Peter Marucci
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McCritical,
You've pretty much got it with your comment: "If I can shift a great, but timeworn, principle into another field of magic, I figure I might have a small miracle."

You might, indeed.

And that's what (you should excuse the trite and shopworn phrase) "thinking outside the box" will do for you! Smile

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Devils Advocaat
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Huw said..."As a newcomer (which I have been for quite some time now - and I expect to remain so for at least the next few years!), I initially found it odd that many other newcomers wanted to buy ready-to-run tricks rather than learn the essential principles of magic by reading books."

If somebody gave me a choice of using, say, a Prophet 5 or a Yamaha CP30, I'd go for the Prophet first time. Why? You could play with it for years and never get bored. Same with magic. Newcomers need a certain *something* to ignite the spark. You can always go back to the Tarbell's later and hone your skills if you so wished.

Frank.
"My Karma ran over my Dogma..."
DarryltheWizard
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Peter,
I agree that there are too many magicians, old and young alike, presenting re-runs of purchased magic videos, complete with moves and patter. Being successful in magic, takes an investment of time, and a large dose of creative thinking. For example, in my cups and balls , I use a baseball theme, complete with miniature bat, ball glove and Blue Jays banner. It was a winning routine until the Blue Jays were eliminated. Not being a true baseball fan , it took time to research baseball terms and connect them to my patter in an entertaining manner. Even with a good routine and interesting patterline, one's success would still be minimal. To get the most mileage from this routine, you must inject "high energy" and involve the audience. The audience volunteer becomes the pitcher throwing the invisible balls to me and when the large balls appear under the cups I am singing "Take Me Out to the Ballfield."
Darryl the Wizard Smile
DarryltheWizard
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with a snuffed out flame." Albert Einstein
RandyWakeman
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Quote:
On 2002-08-04 07:14, Peter Marucci wrote:
4) Perform it.
In other words, make the effect your own!


Not the wildest rant ever, Peter! Perform it is the best advice.

Don Alan did very little that was not originated with others. But, he performed / polished / and fiddled with his chosen material until it was just right - - for Don Alan. Though Al Wheatley, Malini, Roy Benson, Al Koran, Joe Berg, and many others were the basis for his routines . . . he really did make them his own.

And, of course, he had talent and personality to spare.
Peter Marucci
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You got it, Randy!
I did not mean to imply that every, single trick you do should be originated by you; that's asking a bit too much (Sinatra never wrote the songs that he sang!).
But you CAN put your stamp on every, single trick you do.
All too often, we see cookie-cutter imitations of "name" performers, doing the same trick the same way.
My signature piece is the Professor's Nightmare; but I have NEVER seen it done the way I do it, no do I think I ever will, because it is tailored to the character that I am playing and simply wouldn't fit anyone else.
Don Alan may have done the tricks that others created but, very importantly, as Randy points out, he created a handling and a style that was his alone -- and a very good one, I might add!
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Payne
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Is it fair to expect us all to be creative when the top performers in magic fail to do so?
Recently the Family Channel (not John Edwards but the cable network) ran all five of the "Worlds Greatest Magic" specials back to back.
How many Interludes did you count? Three? Four? All presented exactly the same way. All of them even painted the same colour!
It appears that Interlude is the Zig-Zag of the Nineties and Double Zed's.
How many of the magicians had slicked back hair, open shirts and danced to rock and roll music? What is the difference between Rick Thomas and David Copperfield anyway?
How many of the acts blur together? Why did Galina stand out so much more than many of the others in the shows?
Until the people at the top start living up to the expectations they seek in their lesser bretheren the performance of magic, and the lack of creativity therein will remain unchanged.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Steven Steele
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Thank you Payne...
Xerox made millions without being original. Sorry, couldn't resist. Actually, many different performing artists all look the same. Not just in magic. Look at all the "Britney Spear" acts or all of the boy groups. The music is the same, the dancing is the same. Producers used a formula for many of the early 60's artist (anybody remember Phil Spector?). It makes milllions quickly for a short period of time. I'm not sure why some enjoy such staying power.

Anyway, I also like to see creativity and originality, but that in and of itself is no guarantee of success. Just self-fulfillment.

Everybody's posts have such exellent points, but I think creatity and originality came to me when I acquired an adequate background and education in the art of magic. Once I learned the various methods of selection, controls, and revelations...I could build my own combination for a routine and then as I performed it more and more, it became more of my character...which in turn grew.

Maybe we as "mature" magicians (are we mature Peter?) should teach the beginners principals rather than tricks. (Our Magic, Showmanship for Magicians, Strong Magic, The Art of Close-Up...there are so many).

I know for myself, I'm not interested in acquiring tricks or copying tricks. I have grown as a magician that develops acts for my clients' needs.

Maybe that only comes to certain individuals working in a certain market. I don't know.

Great thread though!

Steven Smile
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Payne
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True creativity in magic comes only after you decide to stop just fooling people but entertain them as well.
When you start to look at the "Effect" rather than the "Trick"
When you start to combine effects into presentations.
When you start to do only those presentations that fit into the confines of your character.
When you put down the magic books and start reading Novels or Mysteries or Science-Fiction or any other form of literature you can get your hands one.
Creativity is not born in a vacuum but is nurtured by knowledge, the more diverse the knowledge the greater the creativity.
You know you're on the right path when you start looking at other magic performances as theatre not potential catalogs of material.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Peter Marucci
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Payne writes: "You know you're on the right path when you start looking at other magic performances as theatre not potential catalogs of material."

Amen, brother!

Smile

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
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