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Small Hands
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Profile of Small Hands
I have done some searches here but have not really found anything that quite matches what I am looking for.

I am keeping an electronic workbook of sleights/tricks as I learn them for future reference when practicing or refreshing my memory. Presently I find myself writing out the trick in a longhand description which sometimes can get a bit long, so I was wondering if there was a standard notation that magicians use to record their tricks routines.

I have noticed that that publically here certain moves/techniques are abbreviated and there has been difference discussions of using code words or a difference language to preserve secret moves or techniques but I am not interested in reopening that discussion as it has been addressed here many times.

I am simply looking to find out if there is an already developed/accepted system of notation that I could use, and where that could be referenced, or does each person simply develop their own system?
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Profile of Bill Hegbli
There is no popular method for tracking the tricks one uses. It is personal choice. As you found out, writing out in long hand for even retyping is a laborious ordeal.

What I have done in the past is make copies of tricks I leaned and put them in a binder. Before computers, I used a copy machine. Now we have scanners and computers to put them on DVDs disc.

The simplist method I originally uses was to make notes of the book or DVD a trick was taught in. This can be as easy or as detailed as you like. Although I think a data base or worksheet is a waste of time, but others said they do do it that way.

Just list the name of the trick, the book or DVD it is in/on, and a very short description that you will understand later.

Good luck.
Small Hands
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Mr. Hegbil, thank you for your response.

As you suggested I like the idea of making notes of where a specific trick can be found in a book, on a DVD etc. rather than writing them all out long hand. This is quite workable when at home and ones reference materials are available, however, I wanted to upload some notes of tricks to the cloud that I could quickly review when away from these resources to help with practicing or refreshing my memory about something previously learned.

As such, I will probably try to avoid writing things out in long hand but see if I can develop a personal set of "crib notes" just to remind of any key moves/set ups I need to remember when practicing.

Sometimes I just have a hard time remembering the list of tricks that I actually know and I have "brain cramp" when trying to recall one when simply asked to do an impromptu trick. LOL!
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Washington, DC
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Profile of pmarzionna
I use Evernote to organize my magic. Besides describing the trick and writing down my patter, I also take pictures of the book pages where the tricks come from, or make reference to the DVD and minute where I can find it. Moreover, I'm slowly developing my own tags, to help me find more easily the trick that I'm looking for. The tags include the sleights used (DL, Elmsley Count, False Shuffle), and sometimes something about the effect (transformation, reversal, vanishing, etc). Finally, I divide the tricks in different notebooks at Evernote, following the A, B, C ranking suggested by Dan Harlan at "More than meets the eye".
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Profile of ThSecret
I am a little old fashion in the sense the I prefer to write things down on paper, rather then on my computer. The pros of using a computer, is that you can easily search through documents using the Search/CTRL+F functions. I recall googling this topic a few days ago and there is quite the myriad of threads discussing this in detail. There are a few programs out there that people seem to be using, I have not really searched to much about them as of yet. However, I feel Microsoft Excel, if organized correctly would be a strong tool for storing/organizing information. (I do want to shift over to computer based notes though, are at least use them as an organizational-key-card.)

As of recently, I've been trying to organize myself in a more structured way. I have one section of a binder for card tricks that interest me and one section for illusions/gimmicks/props that interest me. I then made a separate section for any ideas, thought-provoking things that come to my mind, whether it be an idea for a trick, something I want to try in the future, whatever it may be, usually some brainstorming, notes or sketches. I am also starting a section for script/patter where I can write down different ideas for engaging the audience, scripts for certain tricks, jokes for entertaining, etc. And eventually one to help me brainstorm my character, acting, dress-code/ appearance, etc.

When watching a video, I take time-stamped notes for sections of interested, so I will put for example; Name of author/performer, Name of book/video, time in video/page number of book (i.e.: 5m:34s, or pg.34 p2.), and then a little note of what is at that time (i.e.; False Cut tutorial, or important note on engaging audience members. .
"A play does not take place on stage but in the minds of the spectators."
Small Hands
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Profile of Small Hands
I also like writing them out. For some reason even tricks that I have bought that have written instructions I need to re-write in my style in order to learn them. Even videos, I watch them, stop them, and write down each step.

I fooled around a bit with MS excel and access but they are somewhat limited to handling text. Currently use MS word and then cut and paste into Evernote, the system recommended above by pmarzionna and others which is very simple to use and configure to one's preferences or needs. I also tried MS onenote (similar to Evernote) but IMO not as easy to use as Evernote.

Of course , depending on one's preferences and abilities any of the above systems can be made to work.

What I personally was looking for was not so much an automated system (as already noted there are plenty of options for that) but I was looking to see if there was any generally accepted standard or format for magic notation. From what I have learned and seen from various things I have purchased, the short answer seems to be no. After learning and practicing (or practicing and learning) by following my long hand notes I was hoping there was something like the following to briefly review and recall the mechanics (not the full script and patter) of a learned trick say after 6 months.


The following routine (name/creator) allows a spectator to randomly choose a card, return it to the middle of a deck, and then have it "magically" move and be revealed at the top of the deck:

WFA (wait for applause) LOL!!!

Perhaps I am on the wrong track and the key is just to thoroughly commit a trick to memory before leaning another.
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Profile of jljones83
I have an excel spreadsheet that allows me to keep my library organized.
Columns like Name |Cards |Coins |Paper Money |Silks |Requires Gimmick? |Impromptu? |Source |Strength |

Most of the columns are just x for yes blank for no, but some are text entry. This lets me keep things way more organized and searchable. I can even sort by cards, coins, etc to build sets or look at what I have that I haven't played with for a while.
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