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lumberjohn
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On another board, I posted what I would buy if I were starting out in magic and only had $100. I've been asked to post it here as well, so here it is for the benefit of any beginners that might be interested. I think the list is useful for those with limited resources (and what beginners don't fall into this category) who are bombarded by web sites selling single effects for $50 or more and do not realize that they can get much more for much less.

Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic: $30
Practical Mental Magic by Annemann: $10
Royal Road to Card Magic: $10
The Expert at the Card Table (Erdnase): $10
Bobo's Coin Magic: $10
Fulves Self Working Ropes and Paper Magic: $15 (around $7 ea.)
Thumb tip: $5
Invisible Deck: $10

I would also suggest picking up a pack of Bikes at Costco. I realize that most of Erdnase isn't exactly beginner material, but it does contain an enormous amount of useful information for a very reasonable price, and can serve as something to strive towards. While the Invisible Deck is a single trick, it is difficult to think of a more powerful effect that takes so little effort. Also, it can serve as a great out in case a "find a card" trick goes wrong. Every beginner can use a security blanket.

Since making this list, I have thought about where to go from there. For the person who hasn't identified an area in which to specialize, I would suggest spending a year developing card skills. Just about every plot in magic can be accomplished with cards. Moreover, they are cheap and readily available. If one has completed Royal Road, he or she should have a basic skill set. I would then begin buying up Ammar's Easy to Master Card Miracles set one DVD (or even cheaper - VHS) at a time. One of these per month would be a good rate, as it should allow enough time to learn the effects and perform them before moving on. Most card plots are covered in this series, and Ammar is a great teacher. If one remains interested in cards, there are many directions to go from here.

My area of interest is mentalism, and I can think of no better resource to begin with than Corinda's Thirteen Steps. Once this is exhausted, I would move on to Water's Mind, Myth, and Magick. From there, I would begin purchasing the Osterlind DVDs (Easy to Master Mental Miracles followed by Mind Mysteries) at the same rate as I suggested for the Ammar DVDs. I would also pick up Elliott Bresler's "Switchcraft" Ebook.

For coins, I don't think you could do much better than David Roth and his excellent series of DVDs. For impromptu effects, I would go with Greg Wilson's On the Spot and Jay Sankey's Anytime Anywhere.
mitchb2
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The Mark Wilson book is available used for under $5.
jimhlou
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Good advice.

You may also need a regular old deck of cards.

Jim
lumberjohn
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One other thing. After the first year or so, I would stop learning new effects and techniques for awhile and focus entirely on presentation. I would spend six months to one year performing what I know and finding ways to make it as entertaining as possible. During this period, one will learn audience management skills and should find a perfomance persona that suits him. Once the aspiring magician get back to the learning of new effects, he will better know what effects fit his persona and which don't. A good book on this subject is "Maximum Entertainment" by Ken Weber.

Taking a break from learning new effects and "moves" will also allow for creativity to blossom. That's hard to do when all your free time is spent learning someone else's material.

In this way, someone could become a very good magician in a matter of two years without spending more than $200-$300.
Brad Burt
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Other books I would add:

The Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay if ONLY for the first couple of chapters on theory. The paperback is fine for this. For the magic a hardback if available used is almost a must.

Showmanship for Magicians by Fitzkee is another seminal work that every magician who plans on performing should read over and over.

The Tarbell Course in Magic if ONLY ... again... for all the seminal information not just on the 'tricks', but on the underlying principles of so much of magic.

Of course the above additions 'do' add somewhat to the cost, but I would certainly eschew the DVD's in favor of the above books. Thanks for the post,
Brad Burt
Andy the cardician
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A very cheap way of getting information is the learned pig online library.
Cards never lie
ElliottB
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Quote:
On 2007-09-28 11:57, lumberjohn wrote:


My area of interest is mentalism, and I can think of no better resource to begin with than Corinda's Thirteen Steps. Once this is exhausted, I would move on to Water's Mind, Myth, and Magick. From there, I would begin purchasing the Osterlind DVDs (Easy to Master Mental Miracles followed by Mind Mysteries) at the same rate as I suggested for the Ammar DVDs. I would also pick up Elliott Bresler's "Switchcraft" Ebook.





lumberjohn, thank you so much for recommending Switchcraft. It's really flattering to see my book mentioned in the same paragraph as those classics you referred to above.

Thanks again,

Elliott Bresler
lumberjohn
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While Switchcraft may not be considered a classic (yet), it definitely fits the bill of packing a lot of useful information into a very affordable package. Elliott has provided a wonderful resource with this book and the included materials.
pradell
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Another cheap way of doing this is to go to 793.8 of any library and check out some magic books! Used bookstores have magic sections too.

You can get a lot of mileage out of two sponge balls!

And there is a lot one can do with two rubber bands, the coins and bills in your wallet, paper napkins, and many other things readily available in your universe, without spending a penny.

Ironically you can often get more out of manipulation of the ordinary objects that people can touch, feel and hold than the spendy stage illusions.

:magicrabbit:
Magnus Eisengrim
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I started with Mark Wilson's book and items from around the house. It is a very good idea not to spend the rest of the $100 until you need to. (e.g. when you discover that your cards are in worse shape than you thought, that you would prefer cotton rope to shoestrings, etc.)

As in most hobbies, most beginners buy too much product, with much of it being poor purchases.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
lumberjohn
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There are two things about magic (among many) that never cease to amaze me:

1. How easy it is to spend an enormous amount of money very quickly on total cr*p.

2. How unnecessary no. 1 is to being a great magician.

Everyone posting in this topic has offered excellent advice to beginning magicians to get up and running without huge capital outlays, but the marketing machines continue to seduce and enthrall. That is one of many reasons that I am glad the Magic Café exists.
ElliottB
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Quote:
On 2007-10-01 11:28, lumberjohn wrote:
While Switchcraft may not be considered a classic (yet), it definitely fits the bill of packing a lot of useful information into a very affordable package. Elliott has provided a wonderful resource with this book and the included materials.


Thanks again. I saw on another thread that you are already putting the techniques and ideas to good use. Excellent!!

The book that really got me started was "Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic."

Nicholas Einhorn and Jon Tremaine also wrote some great introductory books, which I read later.

The "Self Working Card Tricks" books by Karl Fulves also had some good stuff. Those tricks worked nicely together with some simple shuffling techniques taught in the Wilson book.

A thumbtip is a truly versatile prop and is really easy to use. If you have small hands, you can try a vernet fingertip instead of a thumbtip.

Elliott
lumberjohn
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Over a year has passed since I posted my initial list of suggestions for the new magician with only $100 to spend. Revisiting that list, I would replace Erdnase and the Fulves Paper Magic book with Joshua Jay's "Magic, the Complete Course," which I've found for less than $15 at Costco. It is a fantastic book for beginners containing not only excellent effects (well credited), but also good advice on presentation. I would suggest Hay's "Amateur Magician's Handbook," except that I haven't been able to find it in print recently. So the new list is:

Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic: $30
Joshua Jay's Magic the Complete Course: $15
Practical Mental Effects by Ted Annemann: $10
Royal Road to Card Magic: $10
Bobo's Coin Magic: $10
Fulves Self Working Ropes Magic: $7 (or Hay's Amateur Magician's Handbook)
Thumb tip: $5
Invisible Deck: $10
mmreed
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For $100...

Get the Mark Wilson book
Bobo's Coin book
L&L Royal Road to Card DVD
a deck of cards
a dozen half dollars
a set of sponge balls
Mark Reed
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Harry Lorayne
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DON'T get LORAYNE: THE CLASSIC COLLECTION, VOLS. 1 & 2, or THE MAGIC BOOK, or... HL.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
timdini
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Here's what I'd do if I could do this all over.

1. $14 (amazon.com): Mark Wilson Complete Course

2. $3: Goshman Supersoft 1.5" Sponge Balls (for the Wilson routine, which I've used for 18 years)

3. $10: Cups and Balls (any cheapy set that is metal, for the Wilson routine...which I've also used for 18 years) You can spend more on these if it's your thing later.

4. $14: Daryl's Rope Routine. This is all the rope material I have really ever needed, in addition to a C&R routine & comedy C&R routine. Abbott's Book of magic is huge and awesome for rope too, but I've read that entire book and use just 2 tricks out of it...but I use them frequently. You really only need 3 rope effects for your life in magic: A resetabble effect of some sort (Prof. Nightmare/Daryl/Colombini/Others), a cut & restored (Abbott/Wilson) and a comedy cut and restored (a bunch in Abbott).

5. $5: A lemon & coin envelopes from staples (Wilson Bill in Lemon routine)

6. $10: TT & TT book (tons of stuff you can do with this)

7. $8: Invisble Deck

8. $17: Misc items --- 6 Half Dollars ($3), 4 Decks of Cards ($6), 50' good rope ($8)

9. $10 (amazon.com): Royal Road to Card Magic, skip Erdnase.

10. $9 left for whatever you prefer, if coins: bobo, if rope: abbotts. If neither, send to me for saving you lots of time!

~T
Yekrats
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How strange. I was thinking about posing this question just today. And voila, it was asked over a year ago, with some pretty complete answers.

After a 20-year hiatus from being a hack magic hobbyist, I'm definately picking up Mark Wilson's book. Royal Road is in my public library. (Alas, Ammar's "Coin Magic" DVD is there, too, but someone scratched up the DVD -- intentionally from what I see -- making it completely unwatchable.)

So, here's my shopping list:

Books: $36.70 (prices are from Amazon)
$13.57 : Mark Wilson's CCIM
$13.57 : Bobo's Modern Coin Magic
$ 9.56 : Royal Road (for my own copy)

Equipment:
$ 5 : Some rope. (50' Uday?)
$10?: Sponge balls (What size would be ideal for a beginner?)
$ 5?: Half-dollars (Are they still in circulation? Where would I get some?)
$ 5 : Silks and...
$ 5 : T**** T** (or P**mo for ~$10?)
$ 5 : Some lemons! ;-)

That's 70 bucks or so. I think that's going to get me going for a start. Since I'm a tightwad, I'm only eying what I need, and trying not to be distracted by cool and flashy stuff. (I'm looking at you, Mr. Sanders, with your shiny "Extreme Burn" and "Fiber Optics".)
--
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Hansel
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Good advice
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MagiClyde
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To answer your question, Yekrats, YES! The fifty cent piece is still being made and are in circulation. A trip to a local bank or three might turn some up.
Magic! The quicker picker-upper!
Juliegel
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A good size sponge for a beginner would be the 2 inch. I know people that started with 3 inch and moved down to 2 making their vanishes a lot nicer.


Juliegel
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