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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Nothing up my sleeve... Ľ Ľ Create our own magic? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Cpontz
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There is nothing wrong with learning someone else's sleights or routines. You have to know the basics before you can move to the next level. However, creativity is a strange thing. I do not believe it is something you can teach someone. I think it may be a talent some people have more than others.

What is your opinion?

Craig
Eric Jones
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I agree and disagree with Craig's opinion. Yes, you do need to know the basics before you can move on to the next level, but I don't think that the next level is creating your own magic. I believe that the next step would be to go out and get caught. Start performing the sleights and routines regularly. Remember strong points and weak points of each routine. Know the published material inside and out. Understand what works, what doesn't, and why.

Once you've done that, you should sit down and ask questions like, how can I get a bigger reaction here, or how can I end/start clean here? Those questions may lead to the invention of a new technique/effect/gimmick, but I believe it to be a futile journey to onl;y ask, "how do I create my own magic..."
ďWe're two tigers away from an act in Vegas.Ē Greg House M.D.
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<BR>http://www.ericjonesmagic.com
Mediocre the Great
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Rich Hurley
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There's no question that some people are better at inventing than others - Consider the art of making music. Some are writers and performers, some only write and some only perform. Everyone has their own uniqe set of talents. Part of the fun is disovering what your strong points are and developing them to the max.

Someone once said (was it Thomas Edison?) that creativity was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. I have found creative ideas often arise after a lot of hard work has been done. Often that "lucky" find happens after months or even years of experimentation.
Mediocrity is greatly under rated!
--------------------------------------------

Rich Hurley aka Mediocre The Great!
www.RichHurleyMagic.com
tommy ng
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I agree Godhandz said, try do you magic and make is fit for you, better than try to create your own magic!
rutabaga
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Interesting. When does "creating magic" start? We begin with established material, then adapt it to our own needs - to what extent does this "adapting" evolve before it can be called "original" magic?
Spydur
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Check out the book, "The War of Art" for an interesting look at creating.

C
Jonathan Townsend
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? the war of art? can we get a citation or link for that?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
rutabaga
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I was just looking at that on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/War-Art-Through-Cr......46691437
Fingers
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I too agree with Godhandz, especially the go out and get caught part. Actually performing really lets you know exactly where you are at and what you may have to do to improve your position, then once you have it down you should have the tools to go beyond.....
Where I go, so do my coins.....
Jonathan Townsend
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Till you know what you're holding onto, you will be unable to move.

Moving requires letting go of some things in order to grab hold of others.

If necessity is the mother of invention, do you really want to meet the father?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Rindfleisch
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This has been a topic I have talked about for a longtime.

Is creativity a gift or is it learned and honed through the years?

I believe anyone can become creative. A few things need to happen first. In order to go past what has been already created you need to have a working knowledge of most if not all of the basic principals in magic. I have found the best thing to do is read as much of the classics as possible. Since we're talking about coins I recommend, Bobo's Modern Coin Magic, David Roth's Expert coin Magic, Shigeo Futagawa's introduction to coin magic, Rubensteinís intermediate and advanced coin magic. Learn the basic effects and the methods that make them possible - learn whatís out there.

Once you are knowledgeable on the basics and the classic effects that are out there then you can consider creating. It has been said in order to be a good leader you must first learn how to follow. I say the same is true for creative artist in magic. In order to create good magic you must first learn good magic and perform it for people. As you're reading through these effects listen to the comments written by the author of WHY the construction of effect is the way it is and how by doing "this" it makes it more deceptive.

Become a fan of a magician's creativity.

When I was coming up I admired Paul Harris and Jay Sankey and still do. They had such an eclectic approach that you almost knew it had never been created before. They looked far past the effect and found techniques and methods that were so far out there. I admired them for that and it gave me the right direction to point towards on my path of inventing.

Get a Mentor.

Mentors are important to the creative process. With the era of technology and the fast paced world of information it is possible for someone to learn magic from DVD's with no interaction from other magicians at all. I think this is unwise, DVD's can help and I would never say for people not to buy my DVD's Smile but if that is your only interaction in magic you are limiting yourself to the feedback and constructive criticism that wise magicians can pass onto you.

You must also be open to this wisdom and not shut it down if it doesnít sit well with you. The last thing a creator wants to here is that their effect is no good but if itís no good Ė Itís no good! Donít fall in love with your own material try to be non-partial to your effects. You could think you have the next evolution in magic on your hands but when you show it your trusted mentor and friends they may not feel the same way. Which is not entirely bad, you want their honest opinions. Of course this may feel like a set back but itís better than them saying that itís great and you go in front of an audience or put it out on the market and it bombs. Instead of getting upset, think of this as an opportunity to make the routine better.

Vince Mendoza sent me and Dan Harlan a link to a ring and rubber band routine. I looked at it and submitted my honest opinion to him, which was that the routine was excellent but the ending was anti-climatic, there was something missing. Instead of Vince getting discouraged and throwing in the towel, it forced him to re-evaluate the ending. Some time had passed and I received another clip this time with a new ending. Man! It was wonderful in fact the weakest part of the effect became the strongest. He challenged himself and searched for an answer and he found it.

The only thing to be careful of with your material is to make sure that the feedback youíre receiving is sincere and constructive. Unfortunately there are some that have their own agendas or maybe are jealous of your creativity or how quickly you may be progressing. Also donít be so quick to relinquish creative ownership of a method or technique. There are some out there that are quick to say, oh itís in this book or Marlo did this and Jennings did that. The best suggestion I have is to do your research. Ask for book and page numbers if someone thinks that the credits in a certain book but not sure, or they donít have the book anymore ask someone on the cafť. There are a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum that would be more then willing to help you track down a credit. Most of the times youíll find out that the information cited to you about a credit may have similarities but are not the same. In this case you credit the efforts of people before you and submit your contributions to the art for the community to enjoy. If however it is the same you should not put it out.

Ethics in magic have gotten a little lax. People being more concerned with allegiances and the feelings of the offender. The fact of the matter is we are a tight community that is held together by a thin nylon thread of recognizing the efforts of inventors before us.

If I break a law but I didnít know I broke the law would I still go to jail. Most likely yes!
Ignorance is no excuse! Thatís why it is important to do your research and make sure you get the credits right. Now if an injustice is made then it must be rectified. The cafť is a great place to make amends. If you put out something and people have viewed this martial and have associated this martial with you it has become a public issue that I believe needs to be resolved in the public arena. You can also clarify things on website or in upcoming projects as an erratum.

I have put a lot of attention in this post towards crediting because I feel it is import that the newer generation of magicians understand how important it is to our culture. We as creative inventors want to see our art evolve and grow but would like the recognition for helping that happen. For the most part, magic is intellectually property and many have been ripped off because someone thought it was ok to steal another personís Intellectual property. Also as magic consumers people are too willing to purchased the rip-offs even though they now there knockoffs. Ethically the people buying the knockoffs are just as bad as the person manufacturing, distributing and finally selling it. On the other hand, if you Buy, Manufacture, Distribute and Sell ethically I applaud you.

So why create?

My first effect was an effect called, ďConnect FourĒ was published in Apocalypse.
It was a little convoluted and move-E but it started me on the process of coming up with new ideas and effects. I remember showing Tony Spina some of my new material earlier in my development for inclusion as a lecturer at the Jubilee and he told me I wasnít ready. So I worked harder and my creativity began to evolve I honed my skills and practice intensely and I kept my mind open. Over time I did lecture and perform at the jubilee on more then one occasion. I say this to say, you need to be dedicated to this art and at times it may seem like there is no payoff, but if you persevere you will be rewarded in the future. Donít give up until that miracle happens for you.

Three reasons why to create:
Usually new effect born out of the following ways and reasons:

1. Come up with something completely original.
a. Create a new plot that has never been thought of.
b. Create a new effect that has never been thought of.
c. Create a new move that has never been thought of.
d. Create a new gimmick that allows for advancements in that realm.

2. Come up with better variations.
a. Create an easier or more simplified method.
b. Overcome an inherent flaw or discrepancy.
c. Eliminate the need for a gimmick.
d. Add a gimmick to improve the visual nature of the effect.
e. Add a revolutionary sleight that will improve a plot.

3. To solve the puzzle -The challenge factor.
a. A problem is posed by yourself were restrictions or stipulations are placed on the effect.
b. A problem is posed by someone else were restrictions or stipulations are placed on the effect.
c. Cross Invent creating plots and effects that are usually used for one type of object and adapt the plot, effect method to accommodate the characteristics of the prop. An example of this would be creating a wild card routine with coins-See David Roth for his original take on this.
d. Combining multiple plots into one effect.

I believe everyone is born with the same amount of creativity (which I think is very small to begin with) it is what we do with it that will determine how inventive we become. So how do you strengthen your creative muscle? You must think! Thatís it thatís the secret! Think Think Think!

From the time you wake up till the time you go to sleep. Even when youíre sleeping you should be thinking. I have created some of my most powerful routines after waking up.

It takes discipline to think about magic all the time. You must force yourself to look at situations and objects for not what they are but how they can be manipulated to produce an effect or exploit some principle in magic. One of my mentors in magic, Ken Krenzel, told me early on,Ē Always try to find the magical potential that an object possesĒ. Some examples of this concept are:

1. Does this object have something unique about it that can be used to create an effect which can be used as a hidden mechanism or gimmick?

a. A card box is glued together at the manufacturing plant. If you look at the side where itís glued you could put a card in between there and hang that off the side of a table. Your audience wonít see the card but by using your knee you can make it look like the card box is moving on its own. This first appeared in a Jon Racherbaumer column Inside Out in Magic Magazine.


2. Does this object have something unique about it that can be used to create an effect in which the object can be used as a prop?

a. Ken Krenzel used a coffee mug to do a ring and string routine in his lecture Ė very clever.


3. Can this object be modified to allow for a creative principle to be exploited?

a. In my lecture notes and on my L&L extreme coin magic DVD I teach a method of using a copper crayon and tin foil to create a fake penny or English Penny. This concept opens up a variety of new effects and ideas that you can use this gimmick for.

4. Can this object be modified to look like another object so a magical Principle can be exploited?

a. Take brass tips from an expensive wand and place them on a towel dried Slim Jim to create the best darn varnished wooden wand. During the middle of your routine you can put out a challenge Ė if this trick doesnít work Iíll eat my wand! With some Tic-Tacs you could eat the tips too! ;-) This effect was published in the Minotaur and it was called, ďSlim to NoneĒ.

How do you foster creativity?

1. Always keep the props with you.
Hold them in your hands carry them around with you during your day. Youíll be surprised by doing just this you will create some new things. Itís easier to keep you mind focused on exploring a prop and how to squeeze the creative juices out of an overly squeezed prop like coins. I always keep my coins with me. If you live with the props you will be more familiar with then and also more comfortable with them too.

2. Read books and magical periodicals especially the old one.
Thereís a saying, ďIf you want to see whatís new in the market read the Phoenix MagazinesĒ. Thereís a lot of great material in the old mags and you can sometimes track down where the first appearance of an effect or plot has been created. Sometime by reading an effect in a book it may trigger an idea that has nothing to do with what youíre reading. The concept here is if you surround your self around creative ideas, creative people and places that foster creativity you too will start to think creatively that is if you Think.

3. Go to the craft store at least once a week.
This would be an example of a creative place. You can come up with so many gimmicks and props by spending 20 minutes and a couple of dollars each week.

4. Try creative brainstorming techniques.
Write down on flash cards:


a. objects
b. combinations of objects
c. plots
d. effects
e. moves

Try to come up with as many flash cards as possible. Shuffle them up (no Zarrowís). And deal out a few cards and see what shows up. Most of the time itís gibberish but sometimes it may spark your creativity and start you in an area where you wouldnít have explored otherwise. I got this idea from a book called, ďWack Upside the HeadĒ and it has been helpful.


5. Get together with other magicians and session regularly.
This of course should be with people you trust and it makes for a great sounding board to see what people think about your new material. Again donít get discouraged. This honest critique will only help you on your way to creating more wisely and efficiently.

Donít let others take the credit.

Gene Maze taught me to never take an effect, plot or move for granted; always try to take it to its fullest potential. A lot of people come up with an idea and rush to put it in print. The idea was great but thatís all it was Ė an idea then someone comes behind you and takes your idea and creates a masterpiece. There is nothing wrong with this if they have properly credited you and waited for you to publish your routine. But if you had taken a little more time and thought it through that masterpiece might have been yours.

As I close this post I thank you for taking the time to read this as it was lengthy but my hope is that by taking the time to write this down it will help those that wish to be more creative to achieve their goal and add to this wonderful art.

Feel free to make any comments or additional suggestions to what I wrote.

Joe Rindfleisch
check me out on facebook #MAGICTOTD
Fingers
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Wow, thanks Joe Rindfleisch, Excellent! I needed that.....
Where I go, so do my coins.....
MagicJohnH
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Craig and Joe,
I agree with you both. I also think that it is OK to just emulate the greats as long as you give them the credit for a routine or effect you perform. By acknowledging the greats such as Roth, Kolher, Townsend, Rubenstein, et al to others you are helping to increase the awareness of others of these greats that they may not be familiar with. We must be able to play an instrument before we can actually play a song.
Mb217
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I know one thing, the more you practice and play, the better you get in all ways. Once you get down the sleights, your creative juices will begin to ooze and bubble inside and out of you. You will create things for yourself, that are already out there but you don't know it yet...When you find it out, your creativity will become sharper and you will get even better at the things you already do. Even when you thought you had some stuff nailed. There's a lot of ways to be creative, but I would say being the best you can be is all you ever have to be, to be good enough. Smile Eric and Joe said a mouthful on this I think. -MB
*Check out my latest: Gifts From The Old Country: A Mini-Magic Book, MBs Mini-Lecture on Coin Magic, The MB Tanspo PLUS, MB's Morgan, Copper Silver INC, Double Trouble, FlySki, Crimp Change - REDUX!, and other fine magic at gumroad.com/mb217magic Smile


"Believe in YOU, and you will see the greatest magic that ever was." -Mb Smile
Isramagia
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Joe;

Thank you so much for your knowledge; it is appreciated.

Izzy
Izzy
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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It is an interesting journey going from using other's ideas, to people using yours.

Though the Art of War is an interesting read, I find others such as

The Artist Way, by Cameron, Julia to be helpful.

Regarding the A. O. W. in magic one might not show all there talent such as using fumbling with coins, dropping them and the wowing them with skill hidden in ones fumbling moves.

Adding ones other interest was helpful to this nearly normal coin guy.
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
Matt Malinas
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Excellent mr .Rindfleisch.
great points.
creativiy requires first of all some out of the box thinking.you cannot come up with something new and original without providing either some original concept/approach or some original sleight.and that I think is not something everyone can do.
people think differently and that of course applies to magic as well.for some people it is just not in their nature .to other people it may come really easy.
of course it depends also upon the experience and knowledge they have about magic.
I agree with Eric, that performing is vital before creativity should even be mentioned.

-Matt
The masters make the rules, for the wise men and the fools
Rindfleisch
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Gene Maze was my mentor and passed on a lot of great information to me. I remember along time ago I asked hime to write down his thoughts on creativity. This is what he wrote me:
Quote:

Sunny today Ď96

Dear Joseph,

Well hereís a semblance of what you had suggested I puts together for you to send-out to the universe, which I hope includes, China, England, Ireland, Tibet, India, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Brazil, Yugoslavia, Saturn, Lower Mongolia, Russia, Egypt, Pluto, Italy, France, Mars, Philippines, Venus, and wherever youíre in contact with.

I donít know if this is what youse would deem appropriate but I did done the best I could with my feeble thinking. I could have added more thinking thoughts but I didnít wants to overdo it none no-hows.

I hope this finds you in the best of health and spirits and youse continues to think happy thoughts and smile a lot as the cold weather approaches.

Again, The best to you and continued success with your creative ability.


Respectfully.

G
e
n
e

Me


Recently while I was in deep thought, minding my own business and thinking of absolutely nothing, I received a telephone call from one of magicís up and coming brilliant creators, Joseph Rindfleisch, suggesting to me that I should consider expressing my thoughts and or theories regarding my approach to card magic.

I considered this very flattering request and the views I express are entirely my own but I can assure the reader that theyíve worked for me. I will say this though, that one must have a little bit of imagination and this and this can be developed with a small amount of effort.

Whenever I meet anyone thatís relatively new in magic and I realize that theyíre serious about card work, I attempt to stress upon them the importance of never taking a particular sleight for granted. On the surface this may appear to be an empty comment but if one delves into what I stated, they will realize the importance of these words.

Now, what do I mean when I state the above comment? Simply this. One of the basic sleights that a beginner learns is the Kelly-Ovette Replacement. I consider this to be a simple control and very effective when handled properly. This is but the starting point to other sleights. As an example: Using the same grip and showing of the bottom card of the top half of the deck, the noted card can be reversed as the two halves are combined. Another approach is to side-jog the noted card during the replacement of both halves and then during a simulated square-up, that noted card can be stolen as the halves are combined.

This is but half of the above technique as one will discover. One of the tip-offís that something may have occurred is the dropping of the left fingers during the replacement of the top half of the deck. Thereís a way to get around this and make it appear as though everything is fair and itís this: As the right hand is showing the bottom card of the top half, push the bottom half that remains in the left hand to the tips of the left fingers with the left thumb so that this bottom half is actually resting on the left finger tips. Be sure to keep the left hand completely open. Now when the top half is replaced on the bottom half, the noted card will slide under the left fingers there bye eliminating any need to drop those fingers. Now the right hand removes the complete deck along with the card below the left fingers and squares-up the deck. An alternative handling is to position the bottom half between the first and second fingers as the bottom card of the top half is noted by the spectator.

The above illustration are indicative of what I refer to as not taking a sleight for granted. In other words, see if more can be derived from the move. Possibly not the sleight in itself but maybe the grip alone will trigger an idea.

Another example that comes to mind is the Bottom Deal. Rather than use this deal in an effect that requires some sort of dealing, it can also be used as a card change, switch or force. The important thing to bear in mind is that everything should look as natural as possible and within the context being presented.

I can speak for myself, but Iím never satisfied with anything new Iíve worked on until Iíve explored all possibilities to the best of my satisfaction. Iíve also found it to my advantage to have a few close magical friends that were willing to view my latest approaches and offer their sound suggestions and advice should it be required. Iím quite willing to listen to these suggestions because I realize that Iím viewing my new approaches from my perspective and not from a spectators. Donít be too egotistical and shy away from suggestions received but listen to them and then ****yze that which youíre told. I believe that itís very important that you inform your friends that you want them to be honest with you and not say that something looks good if it isnít. By their not telling you the truth, they are doing you and magic an injustice.

Another subject that I feel necessary to delve into is the ability to discover where ones strengths lies. By this I mean discovering in what area of magic one has a more natural ability toward. If one feels more comfortable with coins rather than with cards, then one should put more effort into coin work and pursue that area as a major objective, letting other areas of magic to become secondary but of course not neglected.

Years ago I had the good fortune to have met Karl Fulves who proved to be instrumental in bringing out the areas of card magic that I had a natural leaning toward. I shall always be indebted to Karl , not only because of his constructive guidance but the patience and encouragement he gave. The reason I mention this is to give an example of the importance to encouragement to others. I believe that itís important to encourage fellow magicians but by the same token, be sincere. Iíve always made it a point to tell anyone that wishes to show me a new effect or sleight, that they will receive from me an honest response and if they canít handle the truth, then donít bother showing me what they wish to demonstrate. If that which Iím shown is bad , I donít hesitate to say so but on the other hand, should it have merit, Iím not hesitant to applaud their efforts . This is the same attitude that I have when I show something new to another magician. I want to know if a new effect or sleight is weak and by knowing so, it will force me to ****yze why. I have never been reluctant to take advice or criticism because that will force me to work harder.




I hope you find this infomation informative and helpful.
Joe Rindfleisch
check me out on facebook #MAGICTOTD
rutabaga
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Wonderful stuff... thanks for sharing Joe.
Larry Barnowsky
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Joe mentioned an excellent non-magic book on helping you become creative called "Whack on the Side of Your Head". I read that more than 20 years ago and it was among the best books I've read. Coming up with creative ideas and applying them to magic is what I really enjoy. The key is recognizing some idea or principle and finding a way to use it for deception.

Being curious helps. A leading scientist in the 1890s was told by his assistant that their film was fogging when it was near the cathode ray tube. He told the assistant to move it away from the tube. Another scientist made a similar observation but pursued it looking for an explanation. He found it and William Conrad Roentgen was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of X-Rays.
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