(Close Window)
Topic: On buying stuff...
Message: Posted by: Mr Amazing (Mar 7, 2002 07:55AM)
Ok, I just noted this particular "beginners" forum so I thought I'd just share one small bit that I would have appreciated to hear when I was new myself:

You will proabably regret 90% of the props and tricks that you buy for your magic!

First of all, you will fall for the ads. Second, after a few years your interest and persona and taste in magic will have evolved, so that most of the stuff you bought simply doesn't "fit in" with what you like or do.

While these tricks do contribute to your magic development, I would instead recommend that you go for books (and videos). Yes, you may find these "wrong" also, but instead of spending X dollars on a single trick, the same amount can give you a book with numerous of tricks and thinking behind them.

Other than that - ASK, ASK, ASK! Ask the experienced guys for instance on this forum. Read reviews. It's better that you ask specifically because some of the stuff that the experienced guys say is "superb" may only be superb if you are an experienced guy and not at all for a beginner.

Of course - you will need [i]some[/i] props and tricks, but you'll find that surprisingly much can be constructed by yourself or (even better) borrowed during a performance (at least for close-up).

Additionally - read magic performance theory! This will separate you from the average magicians.

Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Mar 7, 2002 11:17AM)
Second, after a few years your interest and persona and taste in magic will have evolved, so that most of the stuff you bought simply doesn't "fit in" with what you like or do.

Hehe... that's what "swap meets" are for! :devilish:

(Although, somewhat ironically, whenever I get rid of something, invariably I find a need or use for it a couple of months later.)
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Mar 7, 2002 05:07PM)
Sigh! How true, Philemon.

Matias, that is one way to go; and it is probably a good one, in the long run.

But I see two problems:

1: First of all, it's just downright FUN to accumulate all that junk and go through it from time to time.

2: More important, by buying everything in a search to find the area that interests you most, you are exposed to things that you would normally miss.
And, what may not suit you in one area (say, manipulation) may be usable in your real interest (say, mentalism).

But, most important, is Number 1, I think.
Because, when it stops being fun, then stop doing it!

Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: Alewishus (Mar 9, 2002 01:09PM)
I have tons of books - not only magic related - that I have never read, but may some day. It's comforting knowing they are around. I just found out that I own three TT and have never used one!
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Mar 10, 2002 10:46PM)
What Alewishus!

Never used a TT? And you call yourself a Magician? :rotf:

Well anyway, I agree with Peter about the fun part. It is a real hoot to sit down and remember how you got "that one" and recall the ad or presentation that caused you to buy it.

Overall I think Matias gives some really good tips for the New to Magic Folks.

But there is another rich resource right here to tap also. Look at the Good, Bad and the Garbage forum, and take the comments as good qualified experince. They have already saved me a bunch. And they have encouraged me to buy things I would not have considered because folks I respect have said "it works!"

And I would take the last one of Matias' comments "Learn magic performance theory", a step further and say; learn presentation, public speaking, controlling a meeting, and everything related to how to manage an audience. Don't ignore good teaching just because it doesn't start out with the word

Message: Posted by: Dr. TORA (Mar 11, 2002 09:10AM)
Hi Matias,
I agree with you on certain points but I want to remind you about just a single point:
"Magic shops sell the things which magicians will buy, but not the things they need to buy!!!"
That is; it is inevitable to buy junk for the sake of magic. How many of the magicians do you think that have got always what they dreamed. I bet there is no single sample.
I remain magically yours. :magicrabbit:
Message: Posted by: David_Libertine (Mar 12, 2002 03:15AM)
I personally love to dig through the "trash box" occasionally. I have often found a use for something totally unrelated to what it's original purpose was. I love to look at old "junk" or cheezy/broken effects slightly askewed.

I've even caught myself buying something intriguing and before I've had it a day, I've already decided how it won't work in my show, but if I "do this" to it, I can use it this way, etc.

As for TT's, I, too, have found an unused TT rolling around in the drawer. I used it to make a gaff. Never thought of using the TT that way until I found the one I bought and never used. I guess I never think of "modifying" the ones I carry.
Message: Posted by: Mr Amazing (Mar 16, 2002 03:23PM)
Peter (and everyone),

While I do agree it is fun both to have and "dig around" in the 'garbage', I really believe I would [i]rather[/i] have useful stuff [i]instead[/i] of the useless. At least for me, my economy is a very limiting factor to how much and what I can purchase. This latter point (about $) is probably extra relevant for many beginners as many are below "full income age".

But yes... diggin around in those trunks and closets sure is fun... I found a pair of those glasses with ping-pong balls attached to spirals the other day. Ho ho ho - when they are on and you lean the head forward so only one falls out, I just can't stop cracking up at myself! :D

Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Mar 16, 2002 10:03PM)
Matias writes: "At least for me, my economy is a very limiting factor to how much and what I can purchase. This latter point (about $) is probably extra relevant for many beginners as many are below "full income age".

The main reason J.B. Bobo got into coins was because, as a youngster, he couldn't afford the expensive props that other magicians used.
And look what he did!

Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: Mr Amazing (Mar 17, 2002 09:48AM)
You mean, instead of putting his savings into that little piggy bank he put them into use? ;)

Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Mar 18, 2002 11:47PM)
I still have my first hot rod, I got it when I was about 13 or so. If I had not gotten it then I could not look back at it now. plus I think it is good to get a simple self working prop once in a while, Instant gratifacation, toy, thingy once in a while so you can work on performance right off. this way you can work in front of the mirror for as long as it takes, yet still have something to show off with now.

Oh, and I also found an un used TT, back in the box with that.
Message: Posted by: vovin (Mar 20, 2002 03:50AM)
That's the good thing about the forum here before I really consider buying anything I post a question about it here. I also go to my local magic store and discuss it with the owner. This forum is a excellent resource I suggest you use it as often as you need to.

Another thing that you might consider if you can afford it is buying video's Many of the tricks I have are because I seen it on a video and said oh man I gotta have that.
Message: Posted by: Gawin (Mar 20, 2002 09:37AM)
Couldnīt we open a topic about tricks - how good they are and what the problems are with them?

E.G. Vanishing a elephant : Great Trick BUT you need a stage and a elephant :rotf:

Wouldnīt that be a good Idea :confused:
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Mar 20, 2002 11:33PM)

There already is such a forum here.

Check out the Good, the Bad, and the Garbage. You will find exactly the kind of discussion that helps decide what to buy, and what to avoid.

And don't forget, another drawback with the Vanishing Elephant effect, is that it is a two step process, first you Vanish the elephant by your favorite means, and then you need a really big shovel to rid yourself of ALL the .... Uhm, the.... well, er.... the evidence...

Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Mar 21, 2002 07:21AM)
To allay suspicions that I may be using some sort of gimmicked pachyderm, I usually borrow an elephant from someone in the audience.
:rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: Gawin (Mar 23, 2002 02:19AM)
:rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
O.K. I found the topic and -well since yesterday I borrow my elephant from the audience too!!

Sorry - but as a new member in here you donīt find everything in the first because this Cafe is so big! :bigsmile:

Message: Posted by: Tricky (Mar 23, 2002 05:18PM)
I think that part of the fun of magic is the dumb little gimmicks and props you buy.
Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Mar 23, 2002 10:44PM)
About the Elephant, If you borrow one from the audience, you will have to return it, right, so how do yo get it out of the TT? :lol:
Message: Posted by: Gawin (Mar 25, 2002 04:02AM)


:rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Dr. TORA (Mar 29, 2002 03:16PM)
Noooo I never return the elphants I borrow from the audience. I say it is gone and now, I have a collection of elephants in my home. Dried and kept among the pages of a thick hardbound book. :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile:
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Mar 30, 2002 11:20AM)
Pressed pachyderm, eh?

Message: Posted by: Mikael Eriksson (Mar 30, 2002 12:47PM)
Matias, I agree with you that most of what we buy can end up in a box.

This is my view on books however:

If you buy a book that contains a lot of tricks, if you find ONE trick thatīs useful, youīll have to be satisfied. The truth is, that what you said about regular tricks are true for books as well. Most of the stuff in the book would end up in a box if they could.

Message: Posted by: saglaser (Apr 5, 2002 10:19PM)
Personally, I recommend that beginners buy tricks. Just not a lot of [i]expensive[/i] tricks. And, of course, not [i]only[/i] tricks.

Starting out with tricks allows a beginner to more easily do two things:

1) concentrate more on presentation skills from the beginning, and

2) explore the different types of magic and determine what style appeals to them most

Let's also keep in mind that magic can be very difficult to learn from written explanations. It often takes a certain amount of experience to understand what even the most clearly-written directions are really saying. And an awful lot of directions are far from clear. It's like reading technical writing -- not so hard once you know the field but sheer gobbledy *** to beginners.

But I do agree that none of us should ever blow money on any effect based on the ads alone. See it demonstrated first if you can, otherwise, get the opinion of others in a forum like this. That can save you lots of money and aspirin.
Message: Posted by: Jimmy Lee (Apr 29, 2002 04:02AM)
My views...

Like some of the guys had mentioned. Fun and passion for the art is very important. The moment you find it frustrating, you will give it up! Go slow, think long term.

Yes... buy some stuff and read some books, but you must enjoy it! There should not be any stress or pressure!

Jim :magicrabbit:
Message: Posted by: Rcitgo (May 27, 2002 05:34AM)
Getting back to the vanishing elephant you'll also have to borrow an elephant trainer to vanish along with the elephant or your very expensive box might get the c*** kicked out of it. :coffee:
Message: Posted by: BillParky (May 28, 2002 02:52AM)
This thread set me thinking of my packed drawers of unused effects and I dread to think how much I've spent. But I reckon that about 10% of what I've bought has been good stuff and about 2% has been brilliant (for me that is). The problem is that we can't tell beforehand what is likely to suit our style and personality so it has to be a process of sifting through tons of junk to find the odd diamond.

One thing I've noticed though is that my most popular and enduring effects were also the cheapest to buy such as CMH, Invisible deck, etc.

Bill :bigdance:
Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (May 29, 2002 08:39PM)
In answer to a "Frequently Asked Question" at his website, Michael Ammar writes that just reading book after book can be a trap too. He echoes the advice I have heard here before (I think from Tora) that it's better to work on developing a few effects you can do powerfully than to amass a lot of unused information.

I guess it must, in the end, be a balance. Buying stuff, reading, and working on skills probably each influence the other.

alleycat :kitty:
Message: Posted by: magiciandude (Aug 21, 2002 12:37AM)
Thank you for letting me know and I can see that it will probably be true!

Lance R. Wilson
:banana: :banana: :banana:
Message: Posted by: Payne (Aug 21, 2002 04:24PM)
Hey without buying all that silly stuff in my youth I would not be the loveable cynic that I am today.
I still remember all those marvelous garish ads in my old Abbotts catalog. . . .

The Amazing Floating Ball!!! uses NO WIRES.

"Wow it floats and uses no wires, I gotta have that" so I'd plunk down my hard earned money and anxiously await for the arrival of that wonderful box in the post. When it finally arrived I'd tear it open to reveal the hidden treasures hidden therein and to my disappointment realise that I'd just been took. 12.95 for a styrofoam ball and a piece of string.

But then my eyes would fall upon the supplimental advert stratigically placed within the parcel.

The Amazing Floating Ball!!! uses NO WIRES OR STRING!!!!!

"Wow no wire or string! This has to be good" and the whole cycle would start anew.

This time the parcel contained the brother of the first styrofoam ball but this time in place of the string was a stick.

15.95 spent on my education. Needless to say I got real good at reading ads and deciphering what was written between the lines.
Message: Posted by: kaznzak (Aug 21, 2002 07:16PM)
As a beginner, I find that you need to buy both books and tricks (twice the fun!). There are some tricks you can just never get the hang of by reading about them, the working will only be clear if you actually see it - maybe it is just me but I struggled with the paddle move for months until someone actually showed me the move and them I got it in 10 seconds!

Like everyone I have bought a lot of rubbish, and been disappointed in some of the stuff, but often the disappointment is in the shoddy manufacture of the trick itself not the way it is supposed to work. I don't mind that so much becuase I can often make a better one myself and design it to fit into my act - but you need to see the working first!
KAZ :sun:
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Aug 28, 2002 06:59PM)
Listen to the advice of those who have been there/done that. It will be invaluable, though some of it you will later ignore or modify based on your own God-given abilities and nature.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Aug 28, 2002 11:16PM)
Trouble is, some of us -- who have been there and done that -- are still going there and doing that!
And after 50 years, too! :rolleyes:
Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: Matt Graves (Aug 29, 2002 05:17AM)
One thing I'd recommend above anything else as far as "buying" would be to buy at least one book or video by Eugene Burger. He has some incredible observations about the "showmanship" factor. He points out things that seem like they should be obvious, but they're not obvious until he points them out.

I've got a strange way of going about the "learning only a few effects at a time and learning them powerfully". I'll allow myself twelve tricks a year , one for each month. But I'll practice each and every one of them all year long. I don't separate them by months or anything.

This is the first year I've tried it, but I've noticed that I've gotten sharper at those twelve than I would have thought possible. So maybe I'm not _completely_ insane. Everybody has their own ways to practice, but I'd definitely master at least six or seven effects completely, just to have them on hand if you ever want to really "knock 'em dead".

And I have to admit, I've never used a TT either. Shame on me.

Message: Posted by: Billy_zoom (Aug 29, 2002 10:50AM)
I find myself (fairly new to magic) buying a number of tricks, including many packet and deck card tricks, as well a a number of "close-up" style gimmicks and parlor tricks. I also read quite a bit on various styles and handlings.

Lately, having an interest in cards, I find myslef wanting more than just the gimmick or the packet. So now, the books become quite a resource for new techniques. I agree with most here that if you're just getting started, have fun, and pick up a few gimmicky type tricks and I agree that you should see them demonstrated first! When you are ready, books will be a very important part of your growth in this art.

Message: Posted by: bekralik (Sep 2, 2002 08:43PM)
I think this has been the most expensive month I've ever had. This hobby feels more like tuition now.

I'm all over the map still with effects. Problem is, there's not one particular area that I really want to 'specialize' in. I've always liked cards, can't do the coins yet, but then I was inspired by Pavel and Tabary so I began travelling into the realms of rope magic.

Being diverse has its advantages, too. Yes, yes, do a few tricks well rather than a lot of tricks poorly. But how do you think Michael Ammar learned that lesson? By making the same mistakes as all of us. Did you ever listen to your parents when they warned you not to do something? No! You tried it anyway, didn't you?

I think my enjoyment has finally plateaued and it's time for me to settle down and focus on books that I haven't read, review videos I liked, and practice old, solid tricks. Unless you're doing regular performances, none of your friends wants to see you do an effect you've done for them 10 times already (and how about the rule 'Never do a trick twice for the same audience'?). It's all so confusing!

But going hard and going all-out is the only way you will really find what you enjoy doing. Never thought I could be doing IT work until I tried it. And that's also where creativity comes into play, by learning stuff outside your field of expertise, and letting those methods seep into your subconscious. Combine, change, improve upon your existing effects by borrowing from other disciplines. Or when you feel like you're in a rut, sometimes you discover the simplest tricks have the greatest impacts, and your interest is renewed.

And by you supporting your local neighbourhood magic shop, you are indirectly supporting the industry, which continues to attract new talent and new ideas. There is a good side to possessive obsession.

Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Sep 3, 2002 03:52PM)
Packet tricks....no more. I have a lot of packet tricks that are designed for expert card manipulators. I am not. They are not worthless to me but I cannot perform with them since they are made for someone who has devoted the amount of time to cards that I have to other magical persuits.

I think if the folks that make these would come up with honest skill ratings, I would not have bought but a few. But it works both ways as well. If the tricks are advertised as only for the best workers, that are looking for something new, many many folks that fancy themselves as "the best of the best" would own them, and find out they really are not.

What I am getting at though is, don't kid yourself about your skill level, but do not be afraid to go a step farther than where you are now. Just don't try to go all the steps at once. :)
Message: Posted by: philipi56 (Sep 3, 2002 03:56PM)
Yes, I find myself wanting the coolest trick I see too. When I should be going after some of the videos and books. Does anybody know of some extremely superb books and videos out there? Thanks, Philip
Message: Posted by: Steven the Amusing (Sep 3, 2002 08:26PM)
If you're going to do cards, buy "Royal Road to Card Magic" by Hugard and Braue *before* you buy any other packet trick or video. For coins, buy "Bobo's Modern Coin Magic" *before* you buy any more coin tricks. And buy "Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic" *before* you buy any more stage/parlor illusions.

Or don't. This is the good advice I've received and understand now why it's solid advice. I just performed "Psycho Switch" (my own patter for "Designed for Laughter" from Royal Road for the umpteenth time and got the standard giggles (magician in trouble) followed by stunned "How the HELL did you do that" falling jaw syndrome.

It's an oldie but a goodie and it's just the tip of the iceberg. Why buy an ice cube when you can get an iceberg for half the price!?
Message: Posted by: dchung (Sep 4, 2002 05:22PM)
Why buy an ice cube when you can get an iceberg for half the price!?

'cause an icerberg won't fit in my drink.