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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » "Where do you learn from" Question (12 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Anandhu
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When someone asks me where learned the trick from, how should I answer? I really fear to tell anyone about the books(Bobo or ECM) or that there are DVDs teaching magic! I fear they will go after it.. A simple Google search may ruin everything!

If I refuse to tell they will probably assume I'm learning from the Internet.. I really don't want them to think that way.. hate it...Any help? Have anyone asked this before?

I'm not a professional, Just a boy with a lot interest on coins...
Mb217
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Hi V…Welcome to the Café. Smile

People will routinely ask this question…Just say that it is "Magic." And that your grandfather taught you long ago, or something mysterious like that and leave it there. Don't entertain some spectators badgering as to it as they might nudge at you to get you to tell…Tell them nothing! And don't linger long around such folks, just do your thing and move on. The longer you keep your secrets, the longer people will enjoy your magic. When they know the secrets, they tend to be destructively/callously dismissive of your feats. Tell them nothing! Smile

They will shortly forget the little interaction and go on their way, so don't worry about it too much. Just do the magic well and it will leave them more in a since of amazement than anything else. Most of all, don't let them control the situation…YOU control it, verbally, confidently and respectfully.

Again, welcome… Smile
*Check out my latest: MBs Morgan w/ BONUS: Destiny, Copper Silver INC, Double Trouble, FlySki, Crimp Change - REDUX!, and other fine magic at gumroad.com/mb217magic Smile


"Believe in YOU, and you will see the greatest magic that ever was." -Mb Smile
Dick Oslund
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Good morning Mb!

"Youse" said it VERY WELL. I agree 101%!

WELCOME "V"! You've asked a good question. --And, Mb has given you some very good answers.
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NicholasD
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I read this long before there was access to Youtube and DVD's, but it's still pretty much true: Just tell them that they can learn about magic at their local library. If they do, they may develop an interest. Most won't.
Dick Oslund
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Hi Nicholas!

I don't even tell them THAT! --If they are just "curious", They get the sort of answers that Mb gives.

After a lifetime performing magic for a living, I can usually determine whether someone is serious about learning, or is just curious about how a certain trick is/was done.

Over the past 70 years, I have mentored many young lads. Some of them are now full time professionals, and some are avid amateurs.

I am always polite, with curious people, but, I don't tip them anything. You tube does enough of that!
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silvercup
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1 word, books.
Ray Haining
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Good question about a question.

It's got me thinking because I've been confronted with this question now and then, and haven't really decided on the best response. I know it always makes me feel uncomfortable because of the various, and unknown to me at the time, motivations behind such a question.

The idea would be to tell the truth, but to give as little information as possible. I've told people that when I was in my late teens, I met and got to know a magician who got me started, which is true, but really tells them nothing.
Dick Oslund
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I like that answer, too, Ray!--I mean about "meeting a magician".

I'm sure that you've been around long enough to recognize the attitude of the person asking the question.
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tyler_rabbit
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Hi Anandhukrishnan. You usually can gauge if someone is merely asking a polite question, has a genuine interest which might be encouraged, or just wants quick answers.
I think usually when people ask me it's sort of a combo of being polite, and mildly curious. I often tell them "I learned magic from hanging around crusty old men in smoke filled rooms." Which is pretty much true.

Quote:
On Apr 20, 2015, silvercup wrote:
1 word, books.


..and yes for sure books. Tell people books.
Dick Oslund
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Sorry, but I can't agree with even telling them; books. IF they are really interested, they will be intellectually curious enough to 'dig' for some answers! I KNOW that that is how I got started.
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tyler_rabbit
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Hey Dick Oslund, I have a lot of respect for that kind of dedication to secrecy as it's rare these days- though I'd imagine most lay folk are somewhat aware that there are books available about magic.. but yeah man, let 'em dig!
SmileAndNod
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Is this really an issue though? None of the stuff I'm performing currently really comes from any 1 book, but if it did I would have no problem telling them the exact book. Or DVD, or whatever. If they go through the effort to locate it and read/watch it, then they deserve to know. The idea that the methods matter in the sleightest (heh, pun wasn't intended but I'll leave it) is naive and foolish.

If a spectator is asking where you learned it there are 3 possibilities. Either A) they generally want to learn magic. In this case I say be as helpful as you can and push them in the right direction, or B) your performance was transparent and it was obvious you were just copying something you learned, or C) they are just trying to make small talk in which you should just talk about the rich history of magic.

People don't' really know about magic books and dvds. They are often genuinely curious and you are missing out on a very interesting conversation if you are being defensive about methods.
Ado
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I just say "from books and other magicians".

That satisfies people, and I'm yet to see people who are just curious actually show up at a magic club as tourists...

P!
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Apr 21, 2015, SmileAndNod wrote:
Is this really an issue though? None of the stuff I'm performing currently really comes from any 1 book, but if it did I would have no problem telling them the exact book. Or DVD, or whatever. If they go through the effort to locate it and read/watch it, then they deserve to know. The idea that the methods matter in the sleightest (heh, pun wasn't intended but I'll leave it) is naive and foolish.

If a spectator is asking where you learned it there are 3 possibilities. Either A) they generally want to learn magic. In this case I say be as helpful as you can and push them in the right direction, or B) your performance was transparent and it was obvious you were just copying something you learned, or C) they are just trying to make small talk in which you should just talk about the rich history of magic.

People don't' really know about magic books and dvds. They are often genuinely curious and you are missing out on a very interesting conversation if you are being defensive about methods.


I've been called many things, but, never, until today: "naive and foolish". I started performing for $$$ on October 24,1945. I was 13 years old. Income from that first show was $26.00. In 2015 money that would be about $250. to $300. For 20 years, I was a part time professional. In high school, my buddies were sacking groceries for $.50 per hour. I was getting at least $10. per hour, with some silks, a piece of rope, a deck of cards, a McAthy/Windsor Insurance policy, some multiplying golf balls, and a tin can and a dozen Green River Whiskey "coins".

In 1966, I turned full time pro. I've worked everything from carnival side shows (performing as a youth, managing as an adult.)to phone promotion shows, as a performer and a promoter. (many thousands of dollars) I have booked and promoted circuses. I've toured coast to coast and border to border with a school assembly program.

I've NEVER bought a car or an RV "on time" in my life. I've always paid cash!

The effect IS always more important than the method. But, without a method, there is no effect!

If asking about how it is done, makes someone entitled to know. I suggest that you go visit a magic shop and tell the sales person, that you would like to know how a trick is done. Or, you could just make copies of all the instruction sheets for the tricks in your show, and then hand them out as people are seated. That would be much more efficient.

I submit that your reasoning is naive and foolish.
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SmileAndNod
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Quote:
On Apr 21, 2015, Dick Oslund wrote:
Quote:
On Apr 21, 2015, SmileAndNod wrote:
Is this really an issue though? None of the stuff I'm performing currently really comes from any 1 book, but if it did I would have no problem telling them the exact book. Or DVD, or whatever. If they go through the effort to locate it and read/watch it, then they deserve to know. The idea that the methods matter in the sleightest (heh, pun wasn't intended but I'll leave it) is naive and foolish. I

If a spectator is asking where you learned it there are 3 possibilities. Either A) they generally want to learn magic. In this case I say be as helpful as you can and push them in the right direction, or B) your performance was transparent and it was obvious you were just copying something you learned, or C) they are just trying to make small talk in which you should just talk about the rich history of magic.

People don't' really know about magic books and dvds. They are often genuinely curious and you are missing out on a very interesting conversation if you are being defensive about methods.


I've been called many things, but, never, until today: "naive and foolish". I started performing for $$$ on October 24,1945. I was 13 years old. Income from that first show was $26.00. In 2015 money that would be about $250. to $300. For 20 years, I was a part time professional. In high school, my buddies were sacking groceries for $.50 per hour. I was getting at least $10. per hour, with some silks, a piece of rope, a deck of cards, a McAthy/Windsor Insurance policy, some multiplying golf balls, and a tin can and a dozen Green River Whiskey "coins".

In 1966, I turned full time pro. I've worked everything from carnival side shows (performing as a youth, managing as an adult.)to phone promotion shows, as a performer and a promoter. (many thousands of dollars) I have booked and promoted circuses. I've toured coast to coast and border to border with a school assembly program.

I've NEVER bought a car or an RV "on time" in my life. I've always paid cash!

The effect IS always more important than the method. But, without a method, there is no effect!

If asking about how it is done, makes someone entitled to know. I suggest that you go visit a magic shop and tell the sales person, that you would like to know how a trick is done. Or, you could just make copies of all the instruction sheets for the tricks in your show, and then hand them out as people are seated. That would be much more efficient.

I submit that your reasoning is naive and foolish.


Thanks for taking my point as a personal attack, and applying the slippery slope fallacy to it. Those both are very helpful. (as is sarcasm on my part, sorry about that)

My main point was that the idea that once you know the method you know the trick is an oversimplification of everything that needs to go into magic. If you still think that if the spectator knows the method then the trick is ruined, I don't care how long you've been doing magic for, you are naive and foolish. A properly structured effect should not only make the moves invisible, it should make the spectator forget they are seeing a magic trick and force them to just enjoy the effect.


But I never said someone asking how something is done is entitled to know. You put words in my mouth. My point was that there is no reason for magicians to be secretive about where they learned. If someone asks where you learned a trick, you can respond with, "books, dvd's, lectures, anywhere I can find something good." and then you've begun an interesting conversation on the rich history of magic, which is something most laymen know absolutely nothing about. I do not think you should respond in an overly secretive manner just to sound mysterious.
Ray Haining
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Quote:
On Apr 21, 2015, SmileAndNod wrote:

My main point was that the idea that once you know the method you know the trick is an oversimplification of everything that needs to go into magic. If you still think that if the spectator knows the method then the trick is ruined, I don't care how long you've been doing magic for, you are naive and foolish. A properly structured effect should not only make the moves invisible, it should make the spectator forget they are seeing a magic trick and force them to just enjoy the effect.


This statement sounds like something someone who has not done very much actual performing would make. I could be wrong, but it sounds like theory concocted in fantasy land.

Secrecy is essential to magic. To a layman, if the method is known, there is no magic. Laymen attend a magical performance to see magic, not be given a lecture on the "rich history of magic," which most magicians are unprepared to do anyway.
daniel116
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I think both of you are missing the point of the original question.
The question wasn't what you say when someone asks you "how did you do it", it's "WHERE do you learn these things".
The miscommunication between you two has got you into a heaty discussion that shouldn't have happened.
Hey, some people say that miscommunication is what made Cain kill Abel.
Anyway, back to topic, When I get asked that question I explain that I came up with everything they've just seen (because I usually perform original material) but that I learned the fundamentals from old magic books in English (English is not the first language where I live, so books in English usually make people lose interest)
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Apr 20, 2015, tyler_rabbit wrote:
Hey Dick Oslund, I have a lot of respect for that kind of dedication to secrecy as it's rare these days- though I'd imagine most lay folk are somewhat aware that there are books available about magic.. but yeah man, let 'em dig!


Thanks "Mr." Rabbit(!) for your understanding, and respect. Yes, I was "duked in" (introduced to) magic, by mentors (both professional, and amateur) who understood, and made sure that I understood, that a magician does not tip the secrets to casual spectators. I also learned, even though I was not a casual spectator, that a magician never asks another magician, "How did you do that trick?".

Yes, many, if not most, lay folk may be aware that there are books about magic available, but, I am not required to tell them, "792,8 at the public library!"

If they are seriously interested, they will actively pursue that interest. I have, as I think I've already stated, mentored well over a dozen young fellows who exhibited--and demonstrated--their interest. At least a half dozen of them are now successful professionals. The others are avid, dedicated amateurs.

The first thing that I explained to them was: "I can't TEACH you anything. I can only HELP YOU LEARN. because, learning is an active process." Sophocles said, several millenia ago: "One learns by doing the thing!"

Best Wishes!

Posted: Apr 22, 2015 02:20 pm Hi Ray!

Yes, I completely agree with your comments. I've not seen SmileAndNod's name before, (although, he has made 178 posts) but, he does sound like an amateur expounding a theory from fantasy land. We both may be wrong (!) but, his statement does sound like something that someone who has not done much actual performing would make.

I began my statement by laying a few credentials on the table. I did that so he, and any other beginner, would know that I am speaking as one who "has been there and done that". I have lectured and performed at National and Regional Conventions, and lectured and performed at the Magic Castle, I've had a one man Parade in the "Linking Ring", and have contributed articles to the MUM. I certainly am not "world famous', but a lot of magicians know me.

I did not consider his first statement a personal attack. I'm not sure that I fully understand the rest of his opening sentence.

I said, "IF" asking how it is done makes someone entitled to know..." I didn't assert that it did.

I, like you, and many others, use my name, not a pseudonym.

It's easy to make make anonymous statements.

Best Wishes, Ray!
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SmileAndNod
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Quote:
On Apr 22, 2015, Dick Oslund wrote:

Yes, I completely agree with your comments. I've not seen SmileAndNod's name before, (although, he has made 178 posts) but, he does sound like an amateur expounding a theory from fantasy land. We both may be wrong (!) but, his statement does sound like something that someone who has not done much actual performing would make.


Huh. Maybe you're right on that.

Btw, slippery slope fallacy means taking one claim and assuming it leads to something else. I said you shouldn't be defensive about methods and you took that to, "Or, you could just make copies of all the instruction sheets for the tricks in your show, and then hand them out as people are seated. That would be much more efficient." Do you see how you took my point and perverted it through a fallacy?

And the last part was me poking fun at myself. I was being sarcastic, and then I pointed out that sarcasm isn't helpful for this discussion.

Oh boy! Another fallacy. You may know this one. Ad hominem. Saying my point is less valid because I use "SmileAndNod" instead of my actual name. You have to realize though that this is a generational thing. My generation grew up with IGN (In-game-names) and I feel far less anonymous with the name "SmileAndNod" as apposed to "Eric Szkotak" (my actual name). But that's all irrelevant anyways.

Quote:
I think both of you are missing the point of the original question.
The question wasn't what you say when someone asks you "how did you do it", it's "WHERE do you learn these things".


This has been all I've been talking about. (Sorry, that's my mistake for not being clear)

All I was saying is that instead of answering cryptically, just talk with people. You don't have to tell them anything about how it's done, and if you really are afraid of them actually finding out the secrets, you don't have to talk about specific books or anything. But a response, "There's a deep world of magic if you know where to look. My first trick was from a book at the library in fact!" opens up the conversation while directing it away from methods and does a lot more to help instead of a defensive answer like "books" or "it's magic" It also gives people the chance to start exploring on their own if they are tempted, or gives you the option to go into another effect. "Let me show you that trick" which lets you get back into performing and move on entirely.

Am I not making my point clear?
fonda57
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I think the issue about saying you learn from books is that people will come away with the notion that it's just something you need to read in a book, so it's nothing special. All you have to know is how to do it. I have said that and people always look disappointed on hearing that. Talking to people afterwards is still part of the show, and you're still playing the part, so to speak. But they're not dumb, they can see it takes years of work to be good at a magic performance.
I j
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