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The Problem of Critique
By Brad Burt


This is not meant to be a looong essay as some of the past few have been. But, I have been talking to some other magic friends and something really struck me. It struck me, because I think it could be the most powerful way to improve your magic that is available. And, it’s free!

It’s one of those good news and bad news things. The good news? This technique is free and generally available to just about everyone. The bad news? For most of us, including myself, it is a painful process. Oh, great Brad! That’s just what we want. Sure, give us a technique that’s positive, but hurts. Great. Wonderful. Can’t wait. Thought you loved magic and magicians and wanted the best for them Braaaaaaaad! Pain, that’s what your friends in magic need! More pain. Sheesh, mellow out. I’m not saying you actually have to do it. Just ‘consider’ doing it. O.k.?

Here it is. It’s coming now. Get together some magic friends and CRITIQUE each others work. Do it as positively as possible, but no pulling punches. If you see someone flash, then say you saw them flash. (Flash: Verb; To show something that should not have been seen.) If the patter used does not seem to fit say that it does not seem to fit. Whatever and everything.

But, you gotta have rules. Here’s some rules.

#1- Keep all that’s said in the group.

#2- Never attack the person, only criticize the technique, the patter, the dress, etc. Consider it bad form to say things like, "Hey Bob, not only did you flash, but you're fat also." Don't do that.

#3- Always strive for this: That at the end of the night you thought more about the ‘good’ of the other people there than you did of yourself.

#4- You HAVE to put your ego aside and LISTEN. After you get mad, think about what was said…they may actually be right! Make a change or don’t make a change, but always think about everything that was said. With practice you CAN get to the point where you set aside your negative feelings and reactions to this process and GROW from it.

Knowing who you are allows you to ‘be’ someone else for a short period of time. To take on the character of a role you wish to play in your ACT. Self knowledge is almost always bought at the price of pain. Trust me though it is always worth it.

Want to get better at your magic? Then look to rise above ego and get banged about a bit by folks who can help you look at what you are doing with different eyes. You get the right group together and it can even become fun! Take care and all the very best to you and yours,

Brad Burt
Brad Burt
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