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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Need help with Focus... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

adrianbent
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210 Posts

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I was wondering if maybe others out there have run into the problem I am facing right now. I am a relative beginner, and have purchased a number of great gimmicks, like Invisible Deck, Scotch and Soda, Stealth Pen through dollar, Twisted Sisters, etc, etc.

I have practiced these well and finally felt I had gotten to the level to which I could perform them and so I did. I got great reactions but the initial sparkle of my love affair with magic is starting to plateau.

My problem now is this. I've purchased Royal Road to Card Magic, and I wanted to read it cover to cover as quick as I could, just a once over for a first reading. I found that I was losing my attention span about halfway through because I was just sprinting to get to the end. Well, now I've completed my first quick read through and am lost as to what I want to do next.

I want to do coin magic as well, and so I bought Modern Coin Magic. I don't think I'll make the same mistake trying to rush through MCM though, but I am trying to look through it for something that catches my eye.

My problem is that I am finding that A LOT of stuff catches my eye. Also I see more gimmicks out there that I want to buy like D'Lites or Matchbox Penetration, etc etc. Also I have Color Monte and a TT that I bought but should practice with more.

I'm sure in all the magicians out there someone can relate to where I am in my development. I am a motivated, dedicated quasi-newby but am a little overwhelmed as to what or how to focus from here. Can someone help me? Thanks, A. Smile
dgiancaspro
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New York City
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I have the same problem. Go to Dan Watkins site http://www.coinvanish.com for a study guide to Bobo. I found it very helpful.
The real decision you have to make is do you want to carry around a bunch of gimmicks to make magic or be able to wow someone with anything at hand. Consider skipping the gimmicks for a couple of weeks and invest in some of Michael Ammars "Easy to Master Card Miracles" They are excellent. For the price of two packet tricks you'll get about twelve routines.
As for RRCM read with a deck of cards in hand so you can practice each sleight. You don't need to memorize every trick but run through all of them once or twice and decide the ones you want to show and really drill them.

Just my two cents

Dave
"Mommy when I grow up I want to be a magician"
"Oh sweety you can't do both."
xicepik
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Montréal
117 Posts

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I had the same problems as you.. I bought some gimmicks.. That's cool, but the basic was missing. So I bought RRTCM and I read it, but not like you.

I practiced every single sleight at least 10 times to see if I liked it or not. Some of the sleights there have the same results, so you can chose which one you love the most. But, imo, you should practice at least 1 week the first chapter (after that, you'll be able to control a selected card on the top or bottom.
After the first chapter there is 2-3 easy chapters (like controlling the top card with a riffle shuffle Smile ) and some easy flourishes that are not essentials.

Finally, IMHO, you should read RRTCM slowly and practice sleights that you are interested in. To know what you are interested in, just practice all of them a couple of times just to try, and you'll find them.

Good luck
Mark
Steven Steele
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Hesperia, California USA
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I would suggest you get a good general book on magic that would be a fun and interesting read. 'Magic for Dummies', 'Mark Wilson's Course in Magic', Harry Lorayne's 'Magic Book' are three great ones. You can't go wrong. When I was young I got a book on magic history. That kept me interested by learning who the past greats were and what they did. It motivated me to keep learning.

Don't rush, pace yourself, and enjoy your journey.
Dave Scribner
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Lake Hopatcong, NJ
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Adrian, unless you are cramming for an exam, I would suggest you slow down a bit and rather that trying to read through your books cover to cover. Read a little, absorb, practice and do a little more. From the way you have described your problem, it sounds more like rather than loosing your sparkle, you are just tired and overwhelmed.

Magic should be fun and reading books shouldn't be something that you feel you have to finish in a short period of time. Take your time, relax, practice and enjoy them like any other book you may have.

Since at this point you aren't sure what you want to do, try it all. Read a little Royal Road, then switch to Coins. Work with the items you have so far and add a few you are interested in. Very few magicians are experts in everything. You have to find out what suits you best and develope it. You'll always have the books for reference. Think about Steven's advice and get a good all around book to start. The ones he suggested are great.

Lot's of luck and have fun.
Where the magic begins
r4bid
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From learning to performance time can take a while and it is easy to lose motivation. You have to focus on learning the basics before you can go performing but it is very hard to resist the temptation. Here is what you should do. Keep practicing with the gimicks and if anyone asks you to perform use them. While this is hapening please consider doing the following.

Don't rush through TRRTCM or MCM, they are books to teach sleight of hand not how to speed read! They build up from page one and assume that you will learn all the early parts before attempting anything later in the book.

For Royal Road, go back, start on page 1 and read about the overhand shuffle. Practice it until you can do it perfectly and then move on to some tricks with it. When you can do at least one of those tricks well move on to the next chapter and repeat. Expect to spend up to a week on two or three chapters.

With Bobo, until you can do almost every palm in the first chapter and at least a few vanishes in the second don't bother reading past chapter two. Once you can do that material go through each chapter and pick two or three effects to learn. Once you have learned them move on to the next chapter.

Oh and don't buy any more gimmicks now, save your money for when you are a competent coin and card magi. There are hundreds of BOOKS (the best value for you money with DVDs running a close second) that you will want to get once you are past the basics of sleight of hand.
Brad Burt
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Dear A:

I ran four different magic schools over a 20+ year period. Developed dozens of classes around a curriculum of sleight-of-hand and stand up magic. I offer the following.

Generally in magic as in music, getting down your 'basics' is the tough part when starting out. Most books offer a wonderful volume of material, but generally NOT in a systematic presentation. For instance, Bobo's offers zillions of vanishes, but, how many vanishes do you really need? Should you learn them all or just one or two that seem the best to you as you read the description? What are the 'basics' for any particular area of sleight-of-hand? The material that you will use basically forever, like the basic scales in music? It's a tough call.

In what may seem an utterly self-serving suggestion, I offer the following: Check out the videos at this URL...
http://www.magicshop.com/bradvid1.htm

Look at videos #'s 4, 6, 10 and 11 and then #'s 5 and 7.

The first set of four is my Basic Card Course, which you can get for $100 for all 4 or $30 each. The second 2 are coins. I offer a Guarantee. You will learn the techniques and learn them correctly and learn the material quickly and well.

Once you have your basic techniques down, you can go almost anywhere you wish magically, but with a greater degree of discernment AND freedom. It's the freedom part that will mean so much in the coming weeks and months. The material available in books and on video/DVD is simply awesome, but for the most part the authors assume a level of knowledge that is above the basic.

Have any other questions? Let me know.
Brad Burt
Brad Burt
Michaels
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If I may suggest-Start with books that teach variety and have lots of pictures. Sound silly-maybe, but I remember years ago when I picked up Bobo's coin magic. Lots of script, black and white and very few pictures. It was overwhelming and difficult to maintain my interest as a beginner. One of the reasons the "Now You See It Now You Don't series did so well is because of the large colored pictures that accompanied the instruction.
In addition to Steven's list above may I add-
Now You See It Now You Don't Series
The Art Of Magic and Sleight of Hand
The nice thing about these books and those mentioned by Steven Steele is the variey of magic and sleight of hand they offer is in an easy to follow manner.
If you find difficulty learning from books, try learning from video or DVD.
We often lose interest in things that are either too easy or too hard to learn. From the list of tricks and books you mentioned this may very well be the case.
Don't give up, it's a fun journey and well worth the perserverance.
Michaels
"Our technology is ahead of our humanity"
Albert Einstein
John Clarkson
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Santa Barbara, CA
749 Posts

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A., What a great post! How lucky you are to recognize that you are "focus-challenged!" Many of us didn't figure that out until we'd exhausted most of our bank account, had every gimmick known to humankind, and still couldn't do a decent double lift!

I was lucky, though. In the beginning, I fell in with a number of very accomplished magicians. They insisted that I eschew all gaffs and gimmicks (well, OK, I did buy "Out to Lunch".) They told me, and I believed, that I could do anything with sleight of hand that could be done with a gimmick, and do it better, and without risk of getting caught.

Today, I will use a gaff or gimmick... once in awhile. But I am glad I was steered away from trick decks and gaffed coins in the beginning.

Can you join a club and find a mentor? I am so grateful to the "ol' pros" who took time to give me focus when I could not find it for myself.

Smile
John D. Clarkson, S.O.B. (Sacred Omphaloskeptic Brotherhood)
Cozener

"There is nothing more important to a magician than keeping secrets. Probably because so many of them are Gay."
—Peggy, from King of the Hill (Sleight of Hank)
Josh the Superfluous
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I agree with all of the above. But I'll yell it:
DON'T BUY ANY MORE GIMMICKS!!!
Learn the basics, use your hands, words, and mind to create the magic. People will see that over and over you can do things with normal cards, coins, ropes and silks. Then when they give up looking for the gaff every time, bring on the gimmicks. I'm at the point where I don't even show my deck of cards front and back when I do a trick. People have seen and even shuffled my cards so much, I could use a deck of all the same card and no one would suspect anything.

Also videotaping yourself (with patter), if you can and haven't already, will open your eyes to how much work you still need to do with your existing effects.

Only then will you have my permission to buy d'lite (because it is kinda cool).
-Josh
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
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