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Philemon Vanderbeck
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Profile of Philemon Vanderbeck
Pressed pachyderm, eh?

Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Mikael Eriksson
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None of your business
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Matias, I agree with you that most of what we buy can end up in a box.

This is my view on books however:

If you buy a book that contains a lot of tricks, if you find ONE trick that´s useful, you´ll have to be satisfied. The truth is, that what you said about regular tricks are true for books as well. Most of the stuff in the book would end up in a box if they could.

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Profile of saglaser
Personally, I recommend that beginners buy tricks. Just not a lot of expensive tricks. And, of course, not only tricks.

Starting out with tricks allows a beginner to more easily do two things:

1) concentrate more on presentation skills from the beginning, and

2) explore the different types of magic and determine what style appeals to them most

Let's also keep in mind that magic can be very difficult to learn from written explanations. It often takes a certain amount of experience to understand what even the most clearly-written directions are really saying. And an awful lot of directions are far from clear. It's like reading technical writing -- not so hard once you know the field but sheer gobbledy *** to beginners.

But I do agree that none of us should ever blow money on any effect based on the ads alone. See it demonstrated first if you can, otherwise, get the opinion of others in a forum like this. That can save you lots of money and aspirin.
Jimmy Lee
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My views...

Like some of the guys had mentioned. Fun and passion for the art is very important. The moment you find it frustrating, you will give it up! Go slow, think long term.

Yes... buy some stuff and read some books, but you must enjoy it! There should not be any stress or pressure!

Jim Smile
Magically Yours,

a guy from a tropical island in South East Asia
..oops...where did he disappeared to????
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Profile of Rcitgo
Getting back to the vanishing elephant you'll also have to borrow an elephant trainer to vanish along with the elephant or your very expensive box might get the c*** kicked out of it. Smile
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Profile of BillParky
This thread set me thinking of my packed drawers of unused effects and I dread to think how much I've spent. But I reckon that about 10% of what I've bought has been good stuff and about 2% has been brilliant (for me that is). The problem is that we can't tell beforehand what is likely to suit our style and personality so it has to be a process of sifting through tons of junk to find the odd diamond.

One thing I've noticed though is that my most popular and enduring effects were also the cheapest to buy such as CMH, Invisible deck, etc.

Bill Smile
Alan Wheeler
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In answer to a "Frequently Asked Question" at his website, Michael Ammar writes that just reading book after book can be a trap too. He echoes the advice I have heard here before (I think from Tora) that it's better to work on developing a few effects you can do powerfully than to amass a lot of unused information.

I guess it must, in the end, be a balance. Buying stuff, reading, and working on skills probably each influence the other.

alleycat Smile
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
Christian Reflections on Tarot
Word Crimes
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Profile of magiciandude
Thank you for letting me know and I can see that it will probably be true!

Lance R. Wilson
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Magic is the psychology of the audience.
-Lance Wilson
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Profile of Payne
Hey without buying all that silly stuff in my youth I would not be the loveable cynic that I am today.
I still remember all those marvelous garish ads in my old Abbotts catalog. . . .

The Amazing Floating Ball!!! uses NO WIRES.

"Wow it floats and uses no wires, I gotta have that" so I'd plunk down my hard earned money and anxiously await for the arrival of that wonderful box in the post. When it finally arrived I'd tear it open to reveal the hidden treasures hidden therein and to my disappointment realise that I'd just been took. 12.95 for a styrofoam ball and a piece of string.

But then my eyes would fall upon the supplimental advert stratigically placed within the parcel.

The Amazing Floating Ball!!! uses NO WIRES OR STRING!!!!!

"Wow no wire or string! This has to be good" and the whole cycle would start anew.

This time the parcel contained the brother of the first styrofoam ball but this time in place of the string was a stick.

15.95 spent on my education. Needless to say I got real good at reading ads and deciphering what was written between the lines.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
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Profile of kaznzak
As a beginner, I find that you need to buy both books and tricks (twice the fun!). There are some tricks you can just never get the hang of by reading about them, the working will only be clear if you actually see it - maybe it is just me but I struggled with the paddle move for months until someone actually showed me the move and them I got it in 10 seconds!

Like everyone I have bought a lot of rubbish, and been disappointed in some of the stuff, but often the disappointment is in the shoddy manufacture of the trick itself not the way it is supposed to work. I don't mind that so much becuase I can often make a better one myself and design it to fit into my act - but you need to see the working first!
KAZ Smile
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Profile of Chessmann
Listen to the advice of those who have been there/done that. It will be invaluable, though some of it you will later ignore or modify based on your own God-given abilities and nature.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
Peter Marucci
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Trouble is, some of us -- who have been there and done that -- are still going there and doing that!
And after 50 years, too! Smile
Peter Marucci
Matt Graves
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One thing I'd recommend above anything else as far as "buying" would be to buy at least one book or video by Eugene Burger. He has some incredible observations about the "showmanship" factor. He points out things that seem like they should be obvious, but they're not obvious until he points them out.

I've got a strange way of going about the "learning only a few effects at a time and learning them powerfully". I'll allow myself twelve tricks a year , one for each month. But I'll practice each and every one of them all year long. I don't separate them by months or anything.

This is the first year I've tried it, but I've noticed that I've gotten sharper at those twelve than I would have thought possible. So maybe I'm not _completely_ insane. Everybody has their own ways to practice, but I'd definitely master at least six or seven effects completely, just to have them on hand if you ever want to really "knock 'em dead".

And I have to admit, I've never used a TT either. Shame on me.

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Profile of Billy_zoom
I find myself (fairly new to magic) buying a number of tricks, including many packet and deck card tricks, as well a a number of "close-up" style gimmicks and parlor tricks. I also read quite a bit on various styles and handlings.

Lately, having an interest in cards, I find myslef wanting more than just the gimmick or the packet. So now, the books become quite a resource for new techniques. I agree with most here that if you're just getting started, have fun, and pick up a few gimmicky type tricks and I agree that you should see them demonstrated first! When you are ready, books will be a very important part of your growth in this art.

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Profile of bekralik
I think this has been the most expensive month I've ever had. This hobby feels more like tuition now.

I'm all over the map still with effects. Problem is, there's not one particular area that I really want to 'specialize' in. I've always liked cards, can't do the coins yet, but then I was inspired by Pavel and Tabary so I began travelling into the realms of rope magic.

Being diverse has its advantages, too. Yes, yes, do a few tricks well rather than a lot of tricks poorly. But how do you think Michael Ammar learned that lesson? By making the same mistakes as all of us. Did you ever listen to your parents when they warned you not to do something? No! You tried it anyway, didn't you?

I think my enjoyment has finally plateaued and it's time for me to settle down and focus on books that I haven't read, review videos I liked, and practice old, solid tricks. Unless you're doing regular performances, none of your friends wants to see you do an effect you've done for them 10 times already (and how about the rule 'Never do a trick twice for the same audience'?). It's all so confusing!

But going hard and going all-out is the only way you will really find what you enjoy doing. Never thought I could be doing IT work until I tried it. And that's also where creativity comes into play, by learning stuff outside your field of expertise, and letting those methods seep into your subconscious. Combine, change, improve upon your existing effects by borrowing from other disciplines. Or when you feel like you're in a rut, sometimes you discover the simplest tricks have the greatest impacts, and your interest is renewed.

And by you supporting your local neighbourhood magic shop, you are indirectly supporting the industry, which continues to attract new talent and new ideas. There is a good side to possessive obsession.

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Profile of KingStardog
Packet more. I have a lot of packet tricks that are designed for expert card manipulators. I am not. They are not worthless to me but I cannot perform with them since they are made for someone who has devoted the amount of time to cards that I have to other magical persuits.

I think if the folks that make these would come up with honest skill ratings, I would not have bought but a few. But it works both ways as well. If the tricks are advertised as only for the best workers, that are looking for something new, many many folks that fancy themselves as "the best of the best" would own them, and find out they really are not.

What I am getting at though is, don't kid yourself about your skill level, but do not be afraid to go a step farther than where you are now. Just don't try to go all the steps at once. Smile
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
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Profile of philipi56
Yes, I find myself wanting the coolest trick I see too. When I should be going after some of the videos and books. Does anybody know of some extremely superb books and videos out there? Thanks, Philip
Steven the Amusing
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Profile of Steven the Amusing
If you're going to do cards, buy "Royal Road to Card Magic" by Hugard and Braue *before* you buy any other packet trick or video. For coins, buy "Bobo's Modern Coin Magic" *before* you buy any more coin tricks. And buy "Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic" *before* you buy any more stage/parlor illusions.

Or don't. This is the good advice I've received and understand now why it's solid advice. I just performed "Psycho Switch" (my own patter for "Designed for Laughter" from Royal Road for the umpteenth time and got the standard giggles (magician in trouble) followed by stunned "How the HELL did you do that" falling jaw syndrome.

It's an oldie but a goodie and it's just the tip of the iceberg. Why buy an ice cube when you can get an iceberg for half the price!?
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Profile of dchung
Why buy an ice cube when you can get an iceberg for half the price!?

'cause an icerberg won't fit in my drink.

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