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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workers » » Video/dvd are for lazy people. Books are the only way to learn! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ado
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I learn with books, but I do appreciate video for viewing performances.
I started with a t*p*t without knowing how to use it. It took me a Carl Cloutier video to understand the machanics of it (and now, I have developed my own usage of it, because I don't like his vanishes). I found videos useful many times too see what a move looks like, especially those that are technical, and whose descriptions often read as "when done by an expert, it is invisible." Incidentally, looking at many people's passes, I see they never saw what it should look like...

In the end, I wish I had books with a video of performances... I want to see if I'll be flabbergasted, or if I'm doing moves the right way. It's a good reference. But I don't think the video is critical for the explanation part. It's also often not very well polished, as opposed to many books I've read.

In the worst case, just books, and other critical magicians to tell how convincing our understanding of the book was.

P!
Cain
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Quote:
On 2013-06-16 02:55, Frank Starsini wrote:
I think this comparison is similar to the comparison between "book and movie".
A movie never has the detail and depth of a book and I can't remember any time when someone said.. "wow, the movie was way better than the book".


Jaws? The Shining? This is a false argument for a couple reasons. Novels are an excellent medium for getting into a character's head (the writer can simply tell us what people are thinking). They're also good at telling long stories with lots of subplots.

On the other hand, film is a visual medium. Sub-plots are the first things cut because of 1) budgetary reasons (each minute of screen time costs money); 2) it's a medium for shorter stories (with an upper limit of around 3 hours). While the protagonist often says what she's thinking in voice-over, this is generally considered a lazy technique; instead it's up to the actors to physically express their character's inner life. Novels are adapted to the screen, transfigured from one medium to another. And, as it turns out, popular movies are sometimes turned turned into books. One Christmas my grandmother got me the book Home Alone 2. I never read it (or watched the movie). I suspect there's also some anchoring bias. If one read the book first, then there are certain expectations for how the movie ought to look. The same attitude generally holds for cover songs, or the magicians we see: the first time we heard a song, the first genuinely good magician we see, sticks out in our heads.

Video-games, to take another medium, are primarily about playability. A game can have a compelling story and excellent graphics, but if the controls are dreadful and the play awkward... then it's just no fun.

Quote:
On 2013-06-16 00:22, Steve Friedberg wrote:
The concept of books v. DVDs is a false argument. Both have their advantages, and to say that one should use only books or DVDs is to exclude a solid method of learning. Of course, if it makes you feel better to say you *only* watch DVDs or *only* read books...well, go right ahead. True believers are always fun to watch.


Can you please point these people out because I don't think anyone in this thread has said we should only use one. Books vs. video is a valid argument if we're asking which is a more effective learning tool (say). That's an empirical question, and I think the answer is pretty obvious: videos have made magic a lot more accessible. This raises a far more interesting question: is that a good thing?
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Vincero
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Largely, it's not a matter of "books" or "videos" per se; the symptoms described in this thread amount to laziness on the part of the magic student. Assigning (allegedly) innate pros and cons to either mode of learning is a futile -- not to mention narcissistic -- endeavour. Why? because it places the onus of "bad magic" on the instructional material, as opposed to the student.

I could read a description of the pass and acquire the wrong technique because I haven't read the description correctly (laziness). Likewise, I could watch a video of the pass and settle at imitating the instructor exactly. That is to say, without due consideration of my own applications and nuances for the move (also laziness).

When approaching any text -- book or video -- I make a conscious effort to compensate for, or at east anticipate (!) said mediums' shortcomings. For a video like the above, that might mean thinking critically (moreso than with a book) about the image I'm being fed. For a book, that might mean attempting to visualise the description with extra attention to wording...which in itself might pose any number of contextual difficulties.

Importantly though, these two instructional devices are far from mutually exclusive; I could use a good video performance as a frame of reference for further reading experiences... etcetera.

For whoever said something akin to "all of the greats had one thing in common; they started by reading..." this is true, but lest we forget: most of them also had one on one instructional advice at some point in their lives. To me, that amounts to "a video you can question". i.e. not a model that exists to replicate, but rather, a fully-fledged persona designed to provoke thought and not just satisfy it. Videos can achieve a similar ends, but as far as interaction goes, it's all up to the student to go get that independence. Again, you could probably argue the same of books too... although I suspect it might be slightly harder.

Personally, I'd choose books if I had to, but that's just me... and I'm ok with that. Neither medium makes a great magician; I think that learning to think critically is the secret.
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Still threat'ning to devour me opens wide, To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav'n" -John Milton, (Paradise Lost)
Vlad_77
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Quote:
On 2013-06-15 18:49, Harry Lorayne wrote:
I sure hope Ihop doesn't have, hasn't read, any of my books! And I sure don't agree with "...different studies involved in education." Ridiculous! (I haven't agreed with most educators since an early book of mine, where I wrote on the very first page - "There is no learning without memory!" And educators screamed. There were many debates - I haven't lost any of those debates yet - because there IS no learning without memory! That's why I don't go along with some of the studies "involved in education." And I sure don't go along with Ihop. Anyway... Best - Harry L.


Memory is essential for learning Mr. Lorayne, and I am guessing that the educators who screamed were the behaviorists who had no interest at all in memory and other cognitive processes; as I had written, Skinner was interested solely in how "subjects" responded to stimuli. He believed that learning was a matter of behavior and it was accomplished through what he termed "operant" conditioning - sort of like Pavlov's dogs. Anyhow, Jerome Bruner in 1961 published a landmark book called The Process of Education. This little 100 page book was both a refutation of Skinner and behavioralism, it also opened the works of Lev Vygotsky and the other great cognitivists.

Ihor may have a PhD; I have no idea. But in pursuing two Master's degrees and considerable research, I have not found a single conclusive study nor even a significant body of research that states conclusively that reading is the least effective/efficient way to learn. Ihor did make valid points about learner engagement and learning by doing which you have advocated. But what is most interesting to note is that the preferred medium in virtually all major universities around the world is still overwhelmingly in text. So, the educators who screamed are the same educators whose theories have been discredited. Take heart in that. Smile

There is certainly value in video learning of course, and many have learned from your Best Ever set. I think the discussion of books vs. video has been beaten to death. It is a matter of preference at least in the context of independent learning which most magicians do. My preference is books/ebooks because as has been argued and I think correctly in this thread is that books do not suffer from time constraints and can offer more in depth insights into effects. Denny Haney and I were talking on the phone about this issue six years ago and he made a wonderful point: the reader is in control of the printed word and can work at her own pace. He also talked about the internal dialog with the author which I really like and agree with.

What drives me nuts though are magicians like David Penn who make it a point of pride to brag that he doesn't read magic books. I don't understand this mentality, but, Penn is making a hell of a lot more money than I in magic so I guess I should just let it be.

Best,
Vlad
motown
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It's been mentioned that DVDs are great for learning more complex sleights and material, which I agree with. There's also a lot material being put on DVDs that's fairly simple and self-working. Material that could easily be learned from a book, but the way the market place is currently, people want to learn it on DVD regardless of the difficulty.
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fonda57
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I have a Gary Kurtz video where he references various moves from books that he has read.

In John Carney's book Carneycopia he covers this very topic in his introduction.
I j
Harry Lorayne
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As I've written in a few of my books, Vlad, what was interesting to me is that many of the educators/teachers who screamed that memory was NOT important in learning, did what my teachers did when I was oh,so, young --- they'd tell us to think "Every Good Boy Does Fine" to "help us remember" the (I'm not sure now) the lines (EGBDF)of the music cleff (?). Or you'll "remember" the shape of Italy if you think of it being shaped like a boot. And, if you think of HOMES on a great lake, it will help you to remember the names of the five Great Lakes. And, look at this - "Never beLIEve a LIE" to help you "remember" the correct placement of the I and e in the word "believe." And more. And those are some of the same teachers who screamed that memory is not important in learning. Interesting, no?
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billmarq
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I believe that a combination of book and video is the BEST way to learn. I own both Mr. Lorayne's series of "Best Ever" dvds and the four volumes of "The Classic Collection." I recently purchased two great books by Larry Barnowski which include instructional dvds. It is fantastic being able to read a well written description of an effect and then be able to see the moves as performed by the author. The experience is enhanced when the dvd is organized so that the individual effects can be selected from a menu rather than being presented as a single series of demonstrations. This is of course why dvds are superior to video tape (VHS), or at least should be.

Truth is, if I had to give up one or the other, I would keep the books, though.
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TheAmbitiousCard
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[quote]On 2013-06-16 05:45, Cain wrote:
Quote:
This is a false argument for a couple reasons. Novels are an excellent medium for getting into a character's head (the writer can simply tell us what people are thinking). They're also good at telling long stories with lots of subplots.

On the other hand, film is a visual medium. Sub-plots are the first things cut because of 1) budgetary reasons (each minute of screen time costs money); 2) it's a medium for shorter stories (with an upper limit of around 3 hours).


I think you just supported my argument.... missing and important detail and lack of budget to do it right.

2 more point about books/dvds:
1. I rarely ever go back to a video to see what I was missing due to the lack of detail found in the book.
2. short dvds are easier/cheaper to produce and we often end up with some very irresponsible product on the market that really has no business existing. jay nozebleeda's shell and sponge dvds come to mind.
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smullins
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I like both when they are done right.. I don't really have a 100% preference BUT I will say this:

I find a much better value in buying a well produced book than a dvd. Typically there is much more between the lines, the thoughts of the author and effects. With a DVD you get an example of what it looks like (USUALLY) and there some effects that just don't read well overall. How many effects have you read and said "meh" but you try it out and say "holy crap this is awesome" which leads to finding those little gems.

For me that's half the fun of reading books and well produced eBooks.

DVD's are fine and good... I have a bunch and use to work for a magic company that produced some of them. However, I like digging and finding things through books the most.
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Andy Young
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Thought I would throw in my thoughts.

I like books more then dvds, but I had to LEARN how to read a magic book. Magic books aren't like other books, they can be hard to understand and if you haven't read a magic book before it can be daunting to a beginner. But as you read more you are able to understand more.

With all that, my first book into magic was the Royal Road to Card Magic. I bought it and also the R. Paul Wilson videos that went along with the book. I would read a chapter and try some things out and then sit down with the dvd as I went through the book again. It was through that video / book approach that helped me to decode book speak. Could I have got through the book without a video? ---Yes--- , but it would have been a harder road and I would have done it. So to a beginner I think that books and a dvd combo is a great way to go.

I wouldn't call a lot of people lazy when it comes to learning magic. It is just that most people have another life to lead and magic is just a hobby. Everybody wants a quick fix or to be able to pull off amazing moves in an instant, but life isn't that way. Quick usually means less quality. So in a way they may be lazy to some, but in order to get newer people to buy magic they have to sell it as an easy way to get into it.

Now onto books or dvds. I prefer books over dvds, but not by much. I think as time goes on dvds or downloads will be the main way people get magic info. It just ends up being a very cost effect way as technology improves.

As for anyone else, I would say try out a few books and dvds. Then if you find a writer you like then get more books by them or similar people. The same goes with dvds.

And as always just check out some reviews before you spend your money and do research on the item. This will help in either buying books or dvds.
Harry Lorayne
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Gee, nobody ever told me that they had to LEARN how to read any of my books, or had any trouble learning from them.
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Zombie Magic
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I got Harry Lorayne's Close-Up Card Magic in 1965. So well written, a kid could learn from it!
Harry Lorayne
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Thanks, Zombie, that was my point. Yes, I know about "book speak" - it's what forced me into writing way back in the early 60s (with that book you mention). My definition of "book speak" was ambiguities - does the writer mean to hold the deck face up or face down, put this finger into center or that finger. My dyslexia helped - I write as if everyone is like me!
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Andy Young
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Harry I am not saying ever book is difficult. Heck I have all your classic collection books because (not for ease of read, that is a great bonus) the effect pack a heck of a punch. I simply feel that most magic books are written in language that is hard to read until you get use to it. Some people have a great way of writing. You, Al Schneider and Lewis Ganson come to mind when I think about clarity in writing.


In fact Harry I think that your after thoughts part give you ideas that make each effect seem like two to three effects. You also made some great dvds. I mean how many people could make a 4 volume set that has each dvd almost 4 hours long? Half a day to watch them.

So when you look at books or dvds you just have to do research to see if the books / dvds will be a good fit for you.

Even if a book or dvd is easy to understand or read it doesn't matter if the effect stink. And yes some effects stick, just like some variations on sleights stink.
magicfish
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Musclemagic wrote, "Anyone who tells you that its easier to figure out a move by looking at drawings over watching a live dvd demonstration, is a LIAR!"

I don't appreciate being called a liar.
magicfish
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Steven Keyl wrote," No one disagrees that DVDs are easier, but as Uli points out above that doesn't necessarily make them better. "

I do disagree that DVDs are easier.
magicfish
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Cameron Francis wrote, "For complex moves, DVD or personal instruction is the best way to go."
I disagree.
MuscleMagic
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Quote:
On 2013-06-16 15:53, magicfish wrote:
Musclemagic wrote, "Anyone who tells you that its easier to figure out a move by looking at drawings over watching a live dvd demonstration, is a LIAR!"

I don't appreciate being called a liar.
so don't lie, how in the world can looking at a few drawings or photos be an easier way to figure out how to do a move than a detailed dvd showing you live on video how to do it

gimme a break
Vlad_77
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Quote:
On 2013-06-16 16:01, magicfish wrote:
Cameron Francis wrote, "For complex moves, DVD or personal instruction is the best way to go."
I disagree.

I respect Cameron a LOT but I too disagree with him on this. That said Magicfish, our reasoning may be different. My reason for disagreeing is that a "best" way presupposes that all learners learn the same way.
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