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Profile of Gaeil
I have a whole bunch of questions and I'm not sure where to put them…and I also thought making a thread for each would be considered obnoxious, so I'll just put them all here.

1. Is the sawing-somebody-in-half trick so over done that its not worth building a box, borrowing a saw, and trying to get a good reaction out of it?

2. I heard the Urban Hypnosis Manual was good, but is it good for someone who knows absolutely nothing about hypnotism?

3. Can anyone recommend some good tricks that don't involve speaking at all?

4. And, bear with me all Criss Angel haters (he's not the first magician I watched, I don't think he is the best ever, however I do find him mildly entertaining at times). I know we're not supposed to ask how a trick is done, and buy the book and everything, but what is the name of this trick so I can find the book/ gimmick/ thingy?

5. Is there any such thing as- too old to start picking up magic?

6. What do you do if someone starts shouting out how you do the trick while you're in the middle of performing it?

Thank you for looking at this. I'm sorry if they should have gone in another section, but there are so many I'm kind of lost. I am trying to be respectful of this place.
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Profile of Jlowhy
1. I don't think Sawing In Half is outdated. It's really about the presentation and what ideas that can be added into it to make it fresh and appealing.

3. Usually, if an act has no speech, it usually has music as an ingredient. Still, if you're interested, there's a trick called the Silent Treatment that uses zero verbal speech, however, it still requires presentation like in the form of facial expression.

4. The effect is similar to something called Surgical Reveal.

5. I don't think it's too old to pick up magic.

6. If someone starts shouting out, it either means that you either gave yourself away, do not have a good presentation and thus gives others the opportunity to start heckling you or you're just having a bad spectator.

If you just started in magic, here's my 2 cents, read the guide here on the magic Café on the best ways for beginners to start. I don't think that any of the effects above that you asked about would be of any value to you unless you have a strong grounding and understand magic and how to present it well.

Also, use the search function to find what you need. A lot of the answers to your question can be found simply by using the search function dilligently.
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Profile of Gaeil
I'm sort of starting and sort of already kind of experienced. Let's say its been a long time. And you're right, presentation is an issue. Right now a friend of mine who is an actress of sorts is helping me out with that.

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions.
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Yorkshire, UK
162 Posts

Profile of tony2514
Yeah, Gaeil. You need some stage confidence. I read your unfortunate experience in the intro section of the board and my heart goes out to you.

I don't think cutting out the verbal aspect is necessarily a good idea - you need to get over the nerves. If you are too nervous to talk, you are too nervous to perform.

Having said that there are numerous stage magicians who do their entire acts to music with no verbal interaction with the audience. I personally think that is much more difficult because you have to find other communication skills to engage your audience without appearing to overact or (frankly) look ridiculous.

I saw a guy in Edinburgh (Scotland) last year doing street magic dressed in a long leather trench coat, shades and slicked back hair - looked Matrix-type-sinister and never said a word. When anyone spoke to him he put his finger to his lips then held his hand out in a "HALT" gesture, then carried on with his trick. Ultra-cool but, again, really difficult to pull off unless you are super confident.

Sawing someone in half is never out dated!!!!!

Hypnosis is a bad idea for someone with confidence issues and stage hypnosis needs patter if it is to be entertaining and funny rather than creepy. You need to gain the confidence of your subjects/marks as well as the audience with stage hypnosis.

Dove work, candle work, card manipulations, sponge-balls, even - these are all great done to music.

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is the worst kind of propaganda intended to keep people passive. I work with elderly (and I mean people in their eighties and nineties) and I can categorically say right now that it is never too late to start or restart something anew.

Hecklers are a bit like the bogie man. They are made invisible by self confidence. If you get someone shouting out (and it's not because you are truly terrible) they will probably be drunk and someone in their party will shut them up for you. It is probably best to ignore them as attention is fuel to their flames - they will stop. Some people go for the put-downs and I have done my fair share. I onnce said to a guy who shouted something like "you're useless" at me: "Hey, I don't come to your place of work and tell you how to flip burgers". He was a suited and booted type bloke and his friends laughed so hard at him that he walked out. This is a risky strategy, however, because you don't want to:
A) get into a war of words with one audience member.
B) encourage others to join in
C) get your teeth kicked out of your mouth at the stage door.
The best strategy is to ingore hecklers and if they get out of hand, the venues management should deal with them.
HAVING SAID ALL THAT. If you are confident and competent, you shouldn't get hecklers. Why? Usually they have chosen and, more importantly, paid to come and see you. They want to be there and have no reason to be antagonistic.

Hope that helps
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Profile of Billgussen
3. Linking rings, card manipulation, silk magic, magical productions of flowers, animals, etc. Most of these are very visual, and don't really need words.

5. Here in Japan, most of the magic hobbiests who are just starting the practice are grandparents who hope to connect with their grandchildren through magic. In fact, for the past several years, there's been a "magic boom" fueled by grandparents. Also, I attended meetings with a couple of local magic clubs recently, and at 45, I felt positively young. So, no... I don't think there is any age limit to starting magic.

Father Photius
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El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
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Profile of Father Photius
1. No
2.No, if you want to learn hypnosis get hands on training from some competent source (We have a hypnosis forum, called "your getting sleepy" much posted there on this.
3. Any manipulation routine, many stage illusions, and the ones mentioned above.
4.Answered above, Criss rarely does new tricks, just presents old ones re-worked, as do most of us. Do a search on Criss on the forum you will find many many posts on "what is this trick called" in refererence to his tricks, I think most have been answered about 5 times each.
5.If you are breathing ur not too old. I started young but have been doing it for over 50 years and have many friends who picked it up later in life and have done very well with magic. It is such a wide field everybody who wants to can find more than enought they can do and enjoy. It is a fantastic field as a hobby or profession, and on these forums you will find people of all ages with all degrees of experience, amateur and profesional alike, jump in, read, and enjoy.
6. Answered many times in the forums, do a search using the forum search engine and you should find an incredible number of posts on this topic.
7. Welcome to magic, welcome to the forum, we are glad to have you and look forward to exchanging more with ou over time
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
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Profile of pradell
The fact that you have a number of questions means that you are doing something right: thinking deeply about magic and how you want to allign your unique personality and artistic talents with this art form to create something worthwhile. There are no tricks which are "overdone" to the point where they are not worth performing, providing that you can find a way to make your presentation something that is different from the way others are doing it, and ensuring that your performance is entertaining. There are many ways to "saw somebody in half." For example, check out this video clip of the Wakeling Sawing, and the reaction he garners from his audience:

You are never too old to begin magic, or the violin for that matter!

There are many threads as to how to handle hecklers. For example, you might want to look at

Enjoy your magic: that's the point. If you don't enjoy it, your audience is going to sense this and be turned off too!

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Profile of MagiCanada
I just want to comment on question 5.
"Is there any such thing as- too old to start picking up magic?"

Are you kidding me? Smile Let me put it this way.....

I think having a few years under your belt is an advantage to your presentation - doesn't mean magic is easy to learn at ANY age though.

If you go to a doctor and he's 28 and hardly needs to shave and he's JUST graduated school - Do you trust him? Maybe?

If you go to a doctor and he's 40, has a lot of gray hair and he's ALSO JUST graduated school - Do you trust him? Probably....

You probably BELIEVE in and trust the 40 year old doctor a little more than the 28 year old even though they could have sat next to each other in class.

Am I right or am I right?

Use your age in your presentation to your advantage.

Neil Kremer
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Profile of Gaeil
You guys are brilliant. Thank you for your time. I appreciate the responses.


I have a friend who is rooting for me on this (lucky me). She thought that having an assistant up on stage, mainly herself because she volunteered, would help slow me down because she could kick me in the shins when I started racing. But I definitely see your point.

That matrix guy sounds really awesome. There are so many incredibly inventive people out there. And I would never try to pull that off. Obviously that man put some work into his image and the last thing I would want to do is try and infringe on his idea.

I'm glad to hear it, because I really want to saw someone in half. =D

Stage hypnosis I wasn't about to consider just yet. I was going to start with just people around me and see how it went before thinking that far ahead.

Doves sound lovely but my parents hate birds. Candles are a good idea. I'm not going to look at sponge balls anymore (I don't want to do tricks like last time's).

Wahoo there's hope for me still! Although I must say there's been a trend lately of the elderly showing me up and then giving me a pat on the head. X)

Hecklers. So there's an official word for that. My biggest heckler so far has got to be my friend. It usually ends up with me yelling "Shut the &*$% up and let me do the *$&#ing trick", so I will most definitely try one of your suggestions. As of now, I'm not getting up on stage again any time soon. I'll just practice in front of friends and family until I build up something good enough to entertain others on a more professional level.


Thank you for the trick recommendations. I'll definitely try a bunch of those.

I'm in full support of grandparent-grandchild connections.


Thanks for giving me the name of the hypnosis forum. Its so easy to get lost in here.

I did do a search on that trick, but I think the thing was that everyone said it was Surgical Reveal, and I wanted to know how to make the coin move.

50 years? Wow. That must mean there's a lot to do in the magic field. Most other trades I know would be quite boring in fifty years. Well anyways, its good that I've been getting so many 'its never too late's.

There was a good bit on how to handle people creating a disturbance. However, I'm one of those people who oddly enough feel that if someone in the crowd can figure out a trick that nobody else in the audience could, they deserve gratification of some kind… which reminds me why I never got a dog. I would most likely reward bad behavior. =P


Thank you for such a nice opening.

I will argue on the overdone trick thing, however. I couldn't count how many times I've seen a magician vanish a hanky by stuffing it into a fake thumb and then pulling it from somebody's ear.

Thank you very much for the references. I'll definitely see how I can rework the idea and make my sawing unique.

Thanks for the references.

Neil Kremer-

You are quite right. I see your point. And you put it in a most amusing way. I've never really thought about it like that before. Though, actually, I usually trust the younger doctors with the needles. I got stabbed in the wrong place by this elderly doctor once and…wait I'm going off on a tangent here. Sorry.

But I'm not 28 so I guess I'm still fairly young. I suppose I was under the impression that most people started learning magic when they were little. Most likely because my sister and her friends all did that when they were younger.
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Profile of MagiCanada
On 2007-06-16 22:38, Gaeil wrote:

But I'm not 28 so I guess I'm still fairly young. I suppose I was under the impression that most people started learning magic when they were little.

So you're younger than 28 eh. Smile I know it's not polite to ask a lady her age, so I won't ask - you'll just have to read between the lines. <hehe>

I'm sorry, I was under the impression that you were somebody's grandma or something. I'm pushin' 30 and had no idea you were younger then me.

You're right that most people started very young - I started when I was 10. My answer remenains the same though - learn magic at any age. Smile

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Profile of Gaeil

Its not rude to ask a lady her age, only when she is pushing forty. That's when they get age conscious.

30? You're joking, right? The picture of you lead me to believe you were 19 or in your early twenties.

10 is very young.


And for those of you who who care, today I went into a magic shop for the first time in ages. Actually, I got a job offer right on the spot. It went like this: "We need female magicians. Actually, we need young people too. Kid, would you like a job standing outside and doing tricks? It pays well." And this was when I was after asking for a beginner's book. I suppose I'm not too old after all. But no, I didn't take the job (although I was severley tempted). It was too far from my house and I wasn't ready to perform in front of people yet.
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Yorkshire, UK
162 Posts

Profile of tony2514
Just one last thought on Hecklers.

I was teling a friend about this post and he lent me a book which I have been engrossed in for the last couple of days. It's called "Snappy Comebacks to stop Hecklers" by Don A Rickles.

See if you can get a copy. Even if you don't find it useful, it's very funny
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Profile of Gaeil
It sounds like a lot of fun. =) Thank you. I'll see if my local library has it.
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