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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Buying Magic (A how-to Guide) (40 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Masterallen
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Amazon.com offers many magic books and if your an ereader this is the place to go.
skoldpadda
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Indiana
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I have found that when I look up most magic items (including books) on Amazon that their prices are not as competitive as penguin or hocus-pocus (with member discount). Since I'm so new to magic, I've been trying to save by buying returns/open box items. 1. Penguin 2. MagicAndSuch 3. hocus-pocus are sites that offer these (add .com to these if you're not aware). Some newer releases can be had at greatly discounted prices. What other good sites are there for deals like these that others have found?

This whole thread resonates with my initial experience with magic and buying magic. I'm trying to cull whatever useful nuggets I can by reading these forums. Someone mentioned MyLovelyAssistant. I've used that but find that simply using the search bar in this very forum is generally much more helpful along with the youtube reviewers (MagicOrthodoxy, Ekaterina, and WorldMagicShop (Wizard Product Review/WPR) in particular).
JimBeta
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Thx all for the many sources of information.
todsky
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I, like many here, spent a small fortune on magic purchases over the years, and probably 90% sat on the shelf. This used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore for the following reasons:

1) As a professional magician, if it requires that I buy 10 tricks to acquire 1 that will be used in my show, then there was a reason for the 9 shelved tricks if they lead to a new effect that will be used. And after years of buying experience, I think I have the buying to using ratio down to 50%.

2) Tricks are like toys for magicians. Just like kids, we get a trick, play with it for awhile, and then put it aside when we are bored with it. And then we look for another cool toy/trick to play with. Tricks are fun!

3) And as the mother of a young man who frequents my magic shop tells me, better that he has an expensive magic habit rather than an expensive drug habit!

Todd
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We carry Murphy's Magic, Ellusionist products, Bizarre Magick, etc.
www.magicstore.ca
Wx4usa
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As has been said in this thread already; many folks buy things and they just sit in a box or shelf. I have been guilty of this. As I’ve matured...Ok I haven't yet. I have narrowed my skill set to what I call my HVTs High Value Targets….those skills that I like and I am better at. For example, I had a very bad wrist break in 2000 so certain sleights are very difficult now that were much easier before that injury. Sadly, this makes cards and coins more difficult than before.

Therefore, I do not get enticed by everything in the wide field of magic or I would go broke.

There should be a purpose other than just a mad rush to obtain knowledge of how a trick or effect works. When I was younger, I would dash to the local shop to see the newest, latest and greatest. The only magic that would happen...my wallet would magically get thinner and my magic box of junk, fuller. Don’t be focused like a laser beam...shotgun…lol Smile

As todsky states, There could be much worse things to spend money on.
diamondjack
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I pretty much just stick with Penguin, Vanishing inc., and The Magic Warehouse.
LoganPorterMagic
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Recently amazon has a lot of magic shops...can we trust those or they are fake from china?
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Jan 4, 2019, todsky wrote:
I, like many here, spent a small fortune on magic purchases over the years, and probably 90% sat on the shelf. This used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore for the following reasons:

1) As a professional magician, if it requires that I buy 10 tricks to acquire 1 that will be used in my show, then there was a reason for the 9 shelved tricks if they lead to a new effect that will be used. And after years of buying experience, I think I have the buying to using ratio down to 50%.

2) Tricks are like toys for magicians. Just like kids, we get a trick, play with it for awhile, and then put it aside when we are bored with it. And then we look for another cool toy/trick to play with. Tricks are fun!

3) And as the mother of a young man who frequents my magic shop tells me, better that he has an expensive magic habit rather than an expensive drug habit!

Todd
www.magicstore.ca


I have never spent a small fortune on magic props. Most of the props used in my show are generic (silks, rope, "golf" balls, etc. Most of the tricks that I perform, I learned from Tarbell, or other professionals.

I have never considered the tricks that I perform as TOYS. They are TOOLS that I perform to create ENTERTAINMENT. I have never bought a PROP to find out how a trick was done, or to entertain myself.

Dariel Fitskee listed the 19 EFFECTS in one of his books in the early '40s. NO ONE HAS ADDED ANY NEW EFFECTS TO FITSKEE'S LIST. AN "EFFECT" IS WHAT THE SPECTATATOR PERCEIVES.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
bdungey
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"Rule 2: To the best of your knowledge and ingenuity, try to work out how the trick works. The chances are you’ll be right, or at least very close. If so, do you really want or even need to buy this trick?"

I always felt kind of bad for doing this - but it makes sense, right?
Aus
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Bdungey the reason for rule two was based on my experience of buying magic that could be reproduced or made at home with alternative methods.

To be clear this wasn't an attempt on my part to subvert a creator and his work but rather a contingency I adopted to avoid profiteering from regurgitated ideas that are common concepts in magic. To illustrate the genesis of this rule and the experience that created it I will relay the story.

I attended a convention once and in the dealer's room I came across a card rise called "the Ultra card Rise", the sale hype was quite alluring for me at the time, the deck could be shuffled and freely handled and could end clean yet apparently a gimmick was used. To me at the time with my newbie ignorance, I thought I had come across the holy grail of card rises. Having more money than sense at this stage I purchased the trick and found the gimmick to be nothing more than two cards with a rubber band stapled between them. Their improvement made to this basic idea was that the two cards of the gimmick were rough and smoothed and had a corner short so they could be located and palmed out as a unit making the deck clean and examinable at the end. I paid a little more than $20.00 for this at the time.

So my question to you is this? Was it worth the money?

This basic idea is common and easily found among magic literature, and I sometimes wonder if magic is sold to magicians to profiteer off their ignorance.

Also, this rule is used to propagate the idea of how important is the method for you to the effect the trick creates. If for all tenses and purposes the effect is aesthetically the same to your audience what value is there in an alternative method? Does it add additional proving conditions and therefore extra conviction to the trick? Does it add smoother facilitation of performance than your current or alternative method?

Essentially if you can't find a good reason for buying it then you probably shouldn't.

I hope that clears up my intention for the rule.

Magically

Aus
judeh
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Quote:
On Mar 25, 2019, diamondjack wrote:
I pretty much just stick with Penguin, Vanishing inc., and The Magic Warehouse.



I second this, but it doesn't stop me from buying things I regret!
Kbuck54
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I just bought the new Bias Pad. How many of you did the same? I have found that for every 3 effects that I purchase, one ends up being a real piece of misrepresentations and hype, one is cool and doable, but doesn't fit my show. Finally the third effect fits the bill and might make its way into my line up. We all do it.
SHAZAM!
Jed Maxwell
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I never buy a prop till I have seen it in action in real life or a lecture video or some other video. I never buy expensive information products till I have gotten a review from someone I trust (a magic club member in real life).

The internet is too full of shills, product producer cartels, and bought/bartered reviews. Even people I respect as content producers have sold themselves out as shills for other shoddy content/prop producers.

Never be afraid to ask for a refund. These sellers value their internet reputations a lot and would probably rather refund you than have you cause a stink on the forums, shop sites and YouTube.

Think about your core performance persona you are presenting. Is this item *really* something they'd carry? I've done this recently with billets/business cards. I present myself as nothing other than an intuitive person. No mention of psychic, readings, mentalism, mind reading, clairvoyancy, magic...none of it. So why am I walking around with business cards with my name/number on when I don't run a business? Or a pocketful of "billets"? Who does that? Mentalists. Performers. So I ditched all that and focused on the IP. I have always carried a notepad. That is me.

This overspending on information products does have one useful benefit: you now have a library of knowledge. So many times I have read of a handling that suits a new routine and found that I have the exact source material in my library. All the old billet and business card books are proving useful for my IP routines.
"You're a mentalist!"
The Mysterious One
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This a really good thread. I have spent a fortune on books, apparatuses, and gimmicks. I have more magic and books than I will probably get through in this lifetime, but I am going to try dang it!
The Mysterious One
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Quote:
On Jan 2, 2019, skoldpadda wrote:
I have found that when I look up most magic items (including books) on Amazon that their prices are not as competitive as penguin or hocus-pocus (with member discount). Since I'm so new to magic, I've been trying to save by buying returns/open box items. 1. Penguin 2. MagicAndSuch 3. hocus-pocus are sites that offer these (add .com to these if you're not aware). Some newer releases can be had at greatly discounted prices. What other good sites are there for deals like these that others have found?

This whole thread resonates with my initial experience with magic and buying magic. I'm trying to cull whatever useful nuggets I can by reading these forums. Someone mentioned MyLovelyAssistant. I've used that but find that simply using the search bar in this very forum is generally much more helpful along with the youtube reviewers (MagicOrthodoxy, Ekaterina, and WorldMagicShop (Wizard Product Review/WPR) in particular).



This is great advice to save, but only if you buy things that you are going to use. Too often, I have ran into someone that bought something because it is such a great deal and then let's it sit on the shelf for eternity. If it something you cannot use or do not want to use, it is a waste of money no matter if you bought it for a reduced price or not.

Don't know if this was mentioned... Another great site for reviews was Jeff Stone's magicreviewed.com. Jeff is no longer actively putting up new reviews anymore, but it is a treasure trove of reviews. Jeff wouldn't comment if he loved an effect since that is in the eyes of the magician. But Jeff would review product quality, truth in advertising, and if one can actually perform this to spectators in the real world... Nothing is worse to me than effects that you can perform only in front of a camera to post to YouTube, Facebook, etc. Jeff is a really great performer and has tons of chops..... I enjoyed his writings, effort, etc. and he saved me from some really bad purchases in the past.

Honestly, I ignore trailers and comments from other magicians on the packaging.... I come here and listen to the reviewers mentioned earlier in this thread.

Enjoyed the OP's nuggets of wisdom, as well as Dick's (who is a wealth of knowledge and living legend).... Thanks to all
Aus
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I thought I might elaborate on some of my own personal thought processes when I select things to buy from a magic shop. First, it's important to understand that everyone has different theories in the way they approach their magic, so this isn't meant to be a strict set of rules that all must follow. Rather what I hope to demonstrate is the interlinking thought process that goes into making a purchasing decision.

For me, it simply starts with what I have in mind at that given time. What am I trying to achieve? That could be anything as simple as a presentation narrative that I want to overlay on an act I'm thinking about and looking at a trick visualising in my mind how that trick could conform to that narrative. Through that lens of observation, I would choose accordingly.

Also, it could be as benign as practical considerations of the trick in the environment in which I intend to perform it. In walk around, I look for instant or quick re-set, self-contained workings, be performed with no table and the props having multiple uses in other or completely different tricks (pocket space is at a premium).

Sometimes I'll look at versions of a trick and ask myself what does this version offer that others don't? A better stage picture? Stronger effect? Better display of the cards?

..Or it's just an intrinsic gut feeling that this trick just feels right for the type of performer that I am, and all other considerations stem from there.

On the practice side, I take a pragmatic approach of diminishing returns, asking the question of what Is the value of this trick/slight to me in relation to the difficulty of the task required to learn it. For example, a Hindu shuffle would have a high diminishing return value because the slight is rather easy to learn but has the versatility of being used as either a display, a force or card control. For the investment of learning one shuffle, I have added three things to my repertoire which is a good bang for your buck.

So as you can see, it's not one thing it's many, and given the moment in time that the decision is made, any one of the above considerations could be going through my head and influence my choice.

To give some real-life examples of purchases recently and the thought process behind them I bort Standup Monte by Garrett Thomas and Hydrostatic Pint Glass by PropDog.

The motivation for the purchase of Standup monte was to fill a narrative in a three trick act based on magic clichés. The clichés were "Seeing is Believing", "The hand is quicker than the eye", and "It's all done with smoke and mirrors". The tricks I had selected at this point was Nick Trost Observation Test for the seeing is believing cliché and the ambitious card for the smoke and mirrors cliché. That only left a trick that needed to be selected for the hand is quicker than the eye cliché. Standup monte appealed to me as a solid choice.

The Hydrostatic pint glass was selected due to an act that followed a production of a glass of water from the magician's jacket then moved into a coin vanishing into a glass of water then to the hydrostatic glass effect in aid of demonstrating the peculiar properties of water found at the geographical area that is said to be the Bermuda triangle. Again the narrative dictated the trick selection.

I hope that clarifies what I mean when I say "have a reason to buy a trick in the first place".

Magically

Aus
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