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Topic: How long do you wait?
Message: Posted by: jhudsy (Sep 16, 2010 05:25AM)
Hi all,

I'm curious, how long do you wait between discovering a new effect, learning it, and showing it to an audience for the first time? What about if the effect requires mastering a new sleight? Or if it's just composed of a new sequence of things you already know or an old gimmick?

I guess this question is a rephrasing of the old "how do I know when I'm ready" question, but I think the answers could be interesting.
Message: Posted by: PenEnpitsu (Sep 16, 2010 05:38AM)
Like you said, you ONLY perform it only when you know you can do it without fail. I think you would be able to tell yourself after spending as much time in front of the mirror as you should be :)

After that, test it on your dog. See if you can successfully misdirect them (they have eyes too), and see if you can accomplish the "opposite end" of the trick before poochie's eyes revert back to you. Once you can do that, I think you're golden. b
Message: Posted by: jhudsy (Sep 16, 2010 05:44AM)
Hi PenEnpitsu,

I fully agree with everything you've said (if only I had a dog). Perhaps I should rephrase the question to state "On average, how long does it take you to be ready?" I'm wondering if an average actually exists, or whether the numbers will be all over the place.
Message: Posted by: dman11 (Sep 16, 2010 09:21AM)
I think its like PenEnpitsu said.... Until "you can do it without fail" and feel very confident doing it...The time is going to be different for each trick depending on how difficult it is for you.
Message: Posted by: Olympic Adam (Sep 16, 2010 11:02AM)
If you are already performing for audiences you should be aware of this already

not something that we can answer really :S

just until you are ready, I've been told a method before then done the trick straight for people. Helps me learn the trick sometimes, before practicing a MD and taking too long then getting into bad habits
Message: Posted by: dmueller (Sep 16, 2010 11:08AM)
Practice until you can do it without really thinking about it, and then practice some more. It really depends on the complexity of the routine as far as how "long" from start to finish. For example, Scotch and Soda, it was a matter of hours before I felt comfortable performing it for anyone. I have been working with my Cups and Balls for about 6 months, and no one has seen it yet.

Once you get the effect down to where you do feel comfortable performing it for others, don't stop there. Keep working on it, and refining things. Some of the best effects I have ever seen have evolved over years and years of performance and tweaking.
Message: Posted by: DomKabala (Sep 16, 2010 12:01PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-16 12:08, dmueller wrote:
Practice until you can do it without really thinking about it, and then practice some more. [/quote]Reminds me of a quote from the Great Blackstone Jr. which goes like this..."Practice until it becomes boring...then practice until it becomes beautiful!"

There to time limit involved, only you will determine when you are ready, as we are all unique.

Cardamagically,
Dom :) ;)
Message: Posted by: DomKabala (Sep 16, 2010 12:01PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-16 12:08, dmueller wrote:
Practice until you can do it without really thinking about it, and then practice some more. [/quote]Reminds me of a quote from the Great Blackstone Jr. which goes like this..."Practice until it becomes boring...then practice until it becomes beautiful!"

There to time limit involved, only you will determine when you are ready, as we are all unique.

Cardamagically,
Dom :) ;)
Message: Posted by: PenEnpitsu (Sep 16, 2010 03:01PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-16 06:44, jhudsy wrote:
Hi PenEnpitsu,

I fully agree with everything you've said (if only I had a dog). Perhaps I should rephrase the question to state "On average, how long does it take you to be ready?" I'm wondering if an average actually exists, or whether the numbers will be all over the place.
[/quote]

To answer that question, I believe it's a matter of how much you're willing to practice the sleight. It took me about a month before my pass was performance ready, but it wasn't until 2 months until I was proficient using it in conjunction for misdirection.

For easier sleights like the one required in Prohibition, I was able to do it competently after about 10 hours of practice. However I've heard others perfecting it in 2-3 hours. I think it really depends on your ability to understand the technicalities of the actions and then on how quickly you're able to adapt your body to fit, modify, or even improve on those conditions to achieve your effect.

Maybe you're looking for a benchmark to compare yourself to in learning sleights.

Pass: 2 months
Double Lift: 2 days
Overhand Shuffle Controls: 3 days to get smooth/automatic
Backpalming (Cards): 1 week
Classic Palming: 1 year (still working on getting better)
Muscle Pass: WIP (I'm guessing this will take months as well)
Thumb Palm (Coins): 5 hours

I wish I could give you a breakdown of hours, but I started learning these sleights maybe 6 years ago so I've forgotten :(
Message: Posted by: VynnCredible (Sep 17, 2010 09:09PM)
I think Lance Burton wrote a great article on this topic in his "Advice" column in Magic Magazine. Pick up this month's issure and read it because I really got a lot out of the story of how he and Mac King got their start and comparing it to how the Beatles became famous. Now I am pretty sure that I will never come close to being Lance or Mac, but it really hit home and he made a lot of good points about what to do and how to now when your ready.

Vynn Credible
http://vynncredible.com
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 18, 2010 12:12AM)
Sometimes a week and sometimes years.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Jim Oliver (Sep 18, 2010 08:39AM)
100 hours

Jim
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Sep 18, 2010 10:30AM)
OKay... here's my rules.

On slights: I practice until I can do it without thinking about it. Slights need to be instinctive. For this reason after you get the asbic moves down they are best practiced while you are distracted by something else. I often practice while watching TV or a movie. You want to know it "in your fingers." When you reach this place, you will know. Its a Zen/flow thing.

On illusions: I practice till it looks good to me in a mirror and til I can do the patter smooth. For me that's a litmus test. Then I try it out on my wife. If it passes muster with her I practice justa bit more and then try it out on someone for real.
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Sep 20, 2010 03:53PM)
Then again, there are some things that you will never master about a sleight, trick, or routine until you put it out there in front of people. This mostly applies to people who practice the spots off their cards only because they are afraid of "not being ready" - which is the mantra of the fear of making a mistake.

At some point, you have to say "I'm as ready as I can be" and just throw the thing up in front of an audience. Your dog, your wife - sure. But how about people who don't have any reason to stay and watch if you're bad?

I agree with all the "practice 'till you got it down" advice. I just know that for myself, I often have to simply say "I'm done with practice. This goes into my next show." Or else I'll keep practicing until I talk myself out of performing.

More good performances are killed by fear than by mistakes.
Ed
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Sep 20, 2010 03:58PM)
Ed is absolutely right there.

And the first time you do something for others, no matter how practiced you are, you are likely to tense up and fumble a bit.

The good thing about this is that it teaches you quickly that minor fumbles don't really matter a long as you fake confidence and keep going.
Message: Posted by: ralphs007 (Sep 22, 2010 05:22PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-20 16:53, Ed_Millis wrote:
Then again, there are some things that you will never master about a sleight, trick, or routine until you put it out there in front of people. This mostly applies to people who practice the spots off their cards only because they are afraid of "not being ready" - which is the mantra of the fear of making a mistake.

At some point, you have to say "I'm as ready as I can be" and just throw the thing up in front of an audience. Your dog, your wife - sure. But how about people who don't have any reason to stay and watch if you're bad?

I agree with all the "practice 'till you got it down" advice. I just know that for myself, I often have to simply say "I'm done with practice. This goes into my next show." Or else I'll keep practicing until I talk myself out of performing.

More good performances are killed by fear than by mistakes.
Ed
[/quote]
Great advice!
Message: Posted by: Failed Magician (Sep 22, 2010 09:51PM)
I was foolish when I started this hobby. I didn't even spend two days (I only do card tricks anyway) to practice, especially for those self-working tricks or using gaffed heavily.

Now, I've come to a point to realize that it's not only about executing the move or delivering a clean-looking effect, but it's about presentation. Script and presentation is the foundation of every trick/effect.

Let's say we do a trick using a Svengali. It would take no more than 4 minutes if you want. But then, they will got nothing, no great moment or memory, no story, etc. So, with good script and presentation, you can prolong the period of the effect to some more minutes AND it will give them one of the greatest moment of their life.

I've learned this when I do Twilight Angel. The first time, I just did the trick, no heavy script. Only something like "Hey look, I got a deck, choose a card" That's it. There was no emotional reaction, etc.

After spending months in here, I've read soooo many great suggestion and tips from veteran and pro magicians. I learn that script and presentation is the half-soul of your trick.

I did Twilight Angel, with script and storye, etc. It was worth it and d@mn great. So, there are two steps in learning a trick. First is the steps or executions of move including sleights. Second part, also very important, how you build your effect into something memorable. Script and presentation are your best weapon to stun them.

Just my 2 cents as I myself only a hobbyist but I take this hobby seriously that now my parent in laws start wondering why I still keep my job not train myself into a working magician lol.

Hope it helps.
Message: Posted by: Markkuhn2 (Sep 23, 2010 05:18PM)
Practice until you don't even have to think about what you're doing.
Message: Posted by: MT (Sep 23, 2010 05:28PM)
You really should wait a while before getting it because otherwise you'll buy everything and you'll be out of a lot of money. I learned the hard way.
Message: Posted by: molsen (Sep 24, 2010 10:20AM)
To answer the question that was asked, I usually practice daily for 3 months or so before considering showing anyone.

After that I will typically record myself on video, performing the effect a few times in a row. I wait a couple of days and then review the recording. If the first and last instance of the effect are not equally good, I take another 3 months cycle.

I only do card effects, but this has applied equally to quite simple effects like Elmsleys "Infinity: Round Trip" and more complicated items like Daniel Garcias Torn.

Of the first 3 months, I typically spend the first 2 on getting to terms with the mechanics, even if I already know all the involved sleights. This is because I will be modifying or replacing the patter line and often the whole presentational angle in the 3rd month. I can only do that efficiently if I really understand the dynamics of the effect. If this intrigues or baffles you, Tommy Wonders books should provide entlightenment.

Maybe 3 months may seem like a long time to some. But consider whether you are actually learning to perform the effect, or whether you are simply acquiring the skill to demonstrate it without revealing the secret.

I never stop practicing an effect if I keep it in my repetoire.

Note that I am not telling anyone what they should do, I am simply offering a description of what I am doing myself. It will not affect me the slightest if you loudly and vehemently disagree with me :o)

Michael
Message: Posted by: teedpop (Sep 27, 2010 08:50PM)
I really should wait to show an audience until I can do it blind folded, with one hand behind my back, asleep.
But, I usually wait just until I can fool myself.

-teed
Message: Posted by: StephenP (Sep 29, 2010 01:51AM)
All of this advice is appreciated. Molsen's idea of shooting video and then reviewing it later reminds me of something I do when I try to write an article. And Jim Oliver's "100 hours" reminds me of something John Lennon supposedly said about needing 100 hours of rehearsal to ready a one hour set.
Message: Posted by: UnderYourNose (Sep 29, 2010 02:38AM)
Not to flog a dead horse, but I agree that it's impossible to narrow practice time down to a single average. No trick is created equal, and conversely, neither is the required practice time. I also think that practice to performance time can start off very long and then shorten as you learn new tricks which use variations of what you already know.

Using juggling as an example, it took me several months just to keep 3 balls in the air for an extended period of time, and about a year to make it look good, controlled and effortless. But once I had that down, learning under hands and cascades took days to get the basic idea down, and then only months to make look good. Not to mention that the toss and catch principal transposed perfectly over to juggling clubs.

Now, I'm not saying that that's a perfect analogy. If I drop a ball or club in a performance, I haven't just exposed a secret. But I do think that the practice time lengths can be similar. But no matter what, you're either ready or you're not. Not sure, give it another month and check back in.

One other slightly off-topic note. I've been working through the Erdnase text and have been using three cameras for practice with varying angles. I have them set at the front and both sides. And two of them are full 1080p, so nothing slips by! :P All my mistakes in gut-wrenching detail. You can perform a trick to one camera and then move your body each time to get each side, but I've found that it can be far more helpful to see the same exact version of the move from all angles. And I imagine you could put together a fairly decent "Close-up Scrutinizer" for very little cash using three webcams. Those things are getting more and more hi-res by the day.