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Rick Holcombe
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Michael,

Did you choose to go with the book format instead of video because it was easier, or just because you didn't have the ability to film everything?

I'm wanting to produce my own material and I go back and forth between video or book. Video clearly has a much larger return on investment for the creator, but I have a love of books. Books leave a better lasting record of someone's material in my opinion, but you leave a lot of money on the table so to speak.

Interested in your thoughts...
Bill Citino
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I had been working on updates to my website. Now that it’s done and live, I’m on to the next project to finish the 2nd [eBook] edition for COINsomnia. I’m working on revising the write ups, making a better layout, adding changes I’ve made over the years, and putting in some bonus material. Effects/Routines-wise, I’ve been playing around with the Gadabout Coins plot and different ways of doing that with different endings. I’ve also been re-working a traditional wild coin idea that I’ve had for a while. I’m also working to tweak an Okito Box routine that I worked out a while back that has a Cylinder and Coins feel to it.
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Michael Rubinstein
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Bill, congrats on your new site! And is that coin book the one for three coins?
Rick, I have always stated, dvds and downloads come and go, but books last forever. A good book is treasured and passed down. A dvd or download has a limited life, then disappears with your next computer and the next new thing.Of course, now very cheap to do which is why so many go this route. With a dvd or download (especially when filmed by someone else), it glosses over details and credits, and instead of describing the nuances, most people do the move and tell the people to "watch as I do this".
With a book, you can go over the printed page over and over, and rewrite until everything you need to describe is correctly described and written down. You can think about credits, and add or revise until it is all as you want. You have time to reflect and edit,to make sure your explanation is crystal clear (unless you are not a good writer). Filming is usually one or two takes. Usually the performance is filmed a few times, but the explanation is a one and done, unless you film yourself, and look it over, redoing until satisfied. Easier to do this now than in the past, as phones have become more sophisticated, and allow you do do this without expensive video equipment and a videographer as we needed not so many years ago. It is never as precise as a good explanation in a book. In a good book you have photos or illustrations that show exactly what you want. With a video, you just do the trick and hope the person watching the video gets the important points.
Obviously this is in general. There are bad books with poor photos or illustrations and not written well, and great teaching dvds and downloads. But the points I make are valid, and again, dvds and downloads come and go, but a good book lasts forever.
Commercial tricks for sale do not necessarily fall into this category. I know people like to see a trick performed, and economically a quick download probably beats poorly written instructions. For my own commercial tricks, I have put some of my older releases into my book to give them new life, and intend to eventually do that with commercial material released after my book for the same reason. Of course, my techniques are described in detail already in my book, so people have that for reference. Hope that answers your question, and I would love to hear your own thoughts on this.
And on that note, back to this thread. Rick, what are you working on now?
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Rick Holcombe
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Thanks for that advice Michael, I think you've nudged me in the direction I was going.

The work I have specifically is 4 small booklets (maybe 5) each with 3 fully fledged routines and scripts. Probably at least one essay in each booklet as well. The concept is that each booklet focuses on one set of coins, or one concept/theme, and that the routines all flow together while still being strong on their own.

One thing I think people seem to be interested in is making routines out of tricks. This is a concept that kept be very busy trying to figure out when I was younger, so I like to teach things in that way to hopefully show people how to connect ideas.

As I mentioned, I've always had a love for books and that is how I learned magic for the most part. I went to college for illustration, so I also have a deep desire to marry two of my hobbies together and make book like no one has ever seen.

One booklet would be on the same set of coins used in Geoff Latta's CopSilBrass. I was once obsessed with this routine and over the years created many different routines with that set of coins.
Another booklet would be on my ideas with the Okito Box. Some routines use the same CopSilBrass set with an additional gaff, and other routines with just 4 silver coins.
Another booklet would be on Wild Coin/Spellbound ideas (my favorite coin effects)
And another on all-in-the-hands effects with 3 silver coins.

Now I gotta just sit down and do it!
Bill Citino
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Quote:
On Jun 24, 2022, Michael Rubinstein wrote:
Bill, congrats on your new site! And is that coin book the one for three coins?


Thanks Mike! As for the coin book, that project is still in the works and pipeline. Life circumstances slowed it down, but I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of the year.
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Michael Rubinstein
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I did want to mention a couple more things about books/dvds/downloads. With the ability of making so much on your own now (all you need is a cell phone and a computer to make an e book or download), there is now an awful lot of material out there that is hard to reference. That creates a problem for crediting. Perhaps if a "known" magician puts out an e book (like for example, Mike Close), with his large following there are enough people that have this material and novel moves and methods are more likely to be used and credited (and prior credits are most likely thoroughly vetted and documented as well). But there are a lot of unknown magicians (usually but not always), kids who have a youtube exposure to magic, who come up with an idea, and want to make a few bucks. So they put out an ebook or download on their own, and the idea presented EITHER may not be original because no effort went into research and crediting, OR it may be an original idea but not many people see or use it because of poor distribution. That idea may be reproduced elsewhere at some point innocently as independent or original invention because no one really saw the download/e book. So, my advice for those who come up with something is try to use a mainstream source to get your idea out after vetting it to make SURE it is original (a magic magazine or collection book, or a book that would be sold by a known producer of books, downloads, etc such as Murphys, Penguin, Vanishinginc and others), and not worry about the few bucks you might make by doing this all on your own. Try to build up a rep and establish your ideas.
I realize that others may have different views than mine, but I contend that it is hard to prove an original idea if your stuff is buried somewhere that no one ever sees (unless the author doesn't care about others documenting that idea or move in a future pubblication). Bottom line is that there is a lot out there already, and more from unknowns that is hard to reference.
Thoughts?
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tonsofquestions
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I know I wasn't technically asked, but I think the video vs book debate is a super interesting discussion, so I'm going to join in.

Let's be clear: they both have huge strengths and weaknesses. Text sometimes has to be super verbose ("move your fingers like [this]") when a short clip can demonstrate it all easily. But video sometimes limits imagination, and you end up repeating small habits just because it was there.
Text can be edited and restructured in a way that video cannot. Video is more approachable (in both good and bad ways.)

And then, of course, everyone has different production skills. Crediting, writing/filming, editing (word or video), etc. Few people can do it all.
Michael: you've said you prefer text because you find the video software intimidating. Absolutely no shame there.
But I know Rick's a pro at that. I've seen videos he's made (youtube, personal stuff, for Copeland), and it's all really high quality. It has a casual feeling, but I'm pretty sure it took multiple takes to get right, and it doesn't have that "slapped together quickly" that a lot of content has.
I've likewise seen badly edited books and beautiful ones. And don't misinterpret me: Rick's notes have also been high quality, as have Dr. Rubinstein's.

Then, of course, there's "Option 3", which is book + accompanying video (or video + notes) which can be powerful, but is obviously twice the work.

So it's not quite as black and white and comes with a big heap of personal skill/preference.

Rick: I love the sound of your idea. (Take my money!) Including an essay is fantastic in pamphlet form, though also works nicely as an add-on to the video - but then you wonder if anyone bothered with it after watching. (That feels a little less likely to me for someone who pre-commits to reading.) But of course, you know this already.

If you want to see how some of these could turn out in the two media, Reed Mcclintock had a "Kuckle Busters" series (not quite as themed as your ideas) in text, and Kainoa Harbottle has his "Kainoa on Coins" set of DVDs, which I think ends up rather close to your imagining - though perhaps scoped a bit smaller, and without essays.

I can't say if one was more successful than the other, but does one style resonate with you more? Maybe that's your audience.
Let us know how it progresses! Happy to read through early drafts. Smile



As far as crediting goes, I agree that's a whole separate can of worms. All of the writers mentioned in this thread (I haven't read your book yet, sorry Bill!) are solid at doing their research and talking about prior art. I thank you deeply for it. I'd also hazard that as videos become more popular, it's becoming similarly difficult to know all of the things that have been done, where to find them, etc. Searching and discovery is still hard, even in the digital world. And not all videos are widely distributed or seen.
Nev Blenk
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Crediting can be a pain but its also very interesting to find the origins of moves. I recently found out a move Ive been doing for years is the Denemark Drop.

Sounds like there is some good stuff in the pipeline from people on this thread. Fantastic !

Nev
Michael Rubinstein
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Tonsofquestions, I was specifically referring to editing software with respect to editing photos. I probably misspoke and should have said photo editing software, like photoshop. There were a multitude of reasons I otherwise gave for preferring text to video.
Nev, I not familiar with the name of that move. Could you provide a description or reference?
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Rick Holcombe
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Another thing to consider...

I see many people release a book, then later release the ebook version, and later still release video of some or all of the routines.

John Bannon is one example. A lot of material has appeared written, then re-written in other forms, then recorded on video, like Destination Zero and Move Zero.

So I guess in the end you could go with both formats. You will capture each audience that way.

And thanks tonsofquestions for the praise!

I think if one were to choose which route I would ask them their motivation: are you doing this for whatever potential money, or for the love and appreciation of magic? Because one format is extremely more time-consuming and detailed than the other.
Nev Blenk
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Michael -
Its a method to load a coin into the box while putting the lid on. I discovered the name of it from Joe Cole's 'Walk around the Box' page 29. Geoff Latta also had a similar move on pages 255-256 of his book.
I believe its from the booklet 'Howard Denemark -The Denemark Okito Box Routine' but I don't own a copy to confirm.
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Michael Rubinstein
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Thanks Nev! I checked, and the booklet seems currently to be unavailable.
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Jeff O
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Denemark also produced sexond okito-based booklet in '81 called "Okito at the Fair".

Side note, I happen to have an extra copy of "The Denemark Okito Box Routine" and if anyone is interested, feel free to PM me.
1KJ
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On Jun 24, 2022, Rick Holcombe wrote:
Thanks for that advice Michael, I think you've nudged me in the direction I was going.

The work I have specifically is 4 small booklets (maybe 5) each with 3 fully fledged routines and scripts. Probably at least one essay in each booklet as well. The concept is that each booklet focuses on one set of coins, or one concept/theme, and that the routines all flow together while still being strong on their own.

One thing I think people seem to be interested in is making routines out of tricks. This is a concept that kept be very busy trying to figure out when I was younger, so I like to teach things in that way to hopefully show people how to connect ideas.

As I mentioned, I've always had a love for books and that is how I learned magic for the most part. I went to college for illustration, so I also have a deep desire to marry two of my hobbies together and make book like no one has ever seen.

One booklet would be on the same set of coins used in Geoff Latta's CopSilBrass. I was once obsessed with this routine and over the years created many different routines with that set of coins.
Another booklet would be on my ideas with the Okito Box. Some routines use the same CopSilBrass set with an additional gaff, and other routines with just 4 silver coins.
Another booklet would be on Wild Coin/Spellbound ideas (my favorite coin effects)
And another on all-in-the-hands effects with 3 silver coins.

Now I gotta just sit down and do it!


You are so right, what people need is more routines, not more tricks. I think it would be very valuable to have something that could help people put together sets of routines based on different scenarios. Personally, I have multiple scenarios that I am always fleshing out and am always looking for new ideas and refinements. My scenarios are:

Scenario one: I always carry about an hour of magic on me at all times without packing any "magic". What I mean is that I have some items that are alway in my wallet, in my phone case, and on my keychain, I don't "pack" anything before I head out the door. Nearly all of these are routines I created, but some involve purchased props. However, I frequently end up redoing the purchased prop for my own use. For example, I have copper/silver keys on my keychain that themselves could do anywhere from a couple minutes to half an hour of mentalism. However, I have an idea to remake them better.

Scenario two: I perform along with other magicians, so I just prepare to do two or three routines.

Scenario three: I perform on stage along with my children, so it requires a full show.

Scenario four: I perform charity at senior centers, sometimes alone or with one of my children, sometimes with other magicians.

Scenario five: I frequently perform somewhat casually at dinner parties.

Screnario six: Jeff McBride and I have been working on making my ranch and home that he dubbed "The Wizard's Castle" a magical tour of the property. This involves magic that incorporates nature around the ranch. This is a whole different animal, as we are planning rather extravagant things such as a space inspired by Stonehenge. It is going to be an amazing section of the ranch when it gets built.

The point of this rambling is that I'm sure there are a ton of magicians in the range of amateur to semi-professional as I am who don't just have a single show they do over and over. I would shoot myself (figuratively speaking) if I had to do the same show over and over.

I just saw the Penguin Lecture by Tom Gaddis, and at first I didn't like it, many of jokes were old and tired, but then from the explanation, I realized that it was one of the best Penguin Lectures for people who don't perform frequently or don't do the same show over and over. What I found very valuable was his discussion about how to have continuity in a show that you haven't done a hundred times before.

KJ
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What am I working on now?

I had a dream that I thought would make a great story deck routine. I have always wanted to do a story deck routine, and I really admire performers like Bill Malone, but I just can't bring myself to memorize someone else's story. So, I had this dream about seven sibling circus performers. I want the routine to be based on asking someone to shuffle a deck of cards, doing a deck switch, then performing the routine in an entertaining way. The premise is to start out with the story as if the shuffled deck is going to be magically in order, then realizing that it isn't, but the story can start at another point, change a bit, and circle back to the parts said before any card was turned over. The routine involves cards that fly from the deck and participant involvement, so a sort of combination of magic effects and a story.

If it comes out ok, perhaps I will share it as a Penguin download for others to use as inspiration. I think it would be helpful as a download if in the explanation, I go through how to turn any story into a story deck routine. I found the process to be NOT as hard as I thought it would be. The biggest challenge was that some of the magic required cards at the end of the deck as well as in the middle of the deck, so I couldn't just work from beginning to end, I had to work from beginning to middle to end, back to the middle and up to the end of my cards toward the end of the deck. I hope that makes any sense at all.

The other thing I did with the story deck is using some of the cards to spell a bit. For example 6 and 9 can be upper case and lower case "G". 10 can be "LO". 8 can be "B", and so on. I find that story decks that only involve numbers come across a bit contrived and full of filler addresses and betting amounts and playing card hands, etc. This story doesn't involve a single dollar amount, address, or playing card hand.

It has been a really fun process and the story deck is complete, I just need to decide on a deck switch (I'm leaning towards The Cooler), and practice the routine.

KJ
Michael Rubinstein
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Hey KJ, I love story tricks, where the magic is used to illustrate the story (like my Twilight Zone Wild Coin). Are you working on any coin stuff?
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1KJ
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On Aug 1, 2022, Michael Rubinstein wrote:
Hey KJ, I love story tricks, where the magic is used to illustrate the story (like my Twilight Zone Wild Coin). Are you working on any coin stuff?


Yes, I created a coin pouch that I use for my "imaginary coins across". I show the pouch empty and then pour the imaginary coins into someone's hand. I then take the imaginary coins from them, and one by one, they go from hand to hand. I pretend like some can see it.. the smarter ones. I then offer to do it again, but in slow motion, and three silver dollars appear one at a time.
kj
1KJ
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My pouch is similar to quiver... but also completely different. I love quiver, but I love my pouch for different uses.

KJ
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On Aug 4, 2022, 1KJ wrote:

Yes, I created a coin pouch that I use for my "imaginary coins across". I show the pouch empty and then pour the imaginary coins into someone's hand. I then take the imaginary coins from them, and one by one, they go from hand to hand. I pretend like some can see it.. the smarter ones. I then offer to do it again, but in slow motion, and three silver dollars appear one at a time.
kj


This post has inspired me to rework an old effect as a Scaffold opener for walk-around/table hopping. But , even the pouch will be imaginary.
Getting audience members to play an imaginary game with objects they pretend to handle is very powerful engagement.

Methinks I will use poker chips that can be gifted away at the end with 3-4 spectators involved in "imagination made real."

Empty hands - an imaginary stack of R,B,W chips. Spectators 'hold' these imaginary chips and decide on the color order of the stack, even hold your wrist with empty hand now in a fist.
No movement to the body or gimmicks. The hand is opened to reveal an actual stack in the chosen color order. These are immediately handed out

The best part is that you now have enough information about this particular audience to shift to 'strong magic', mentalism, weird science, stop or schedule a later effect.

Could use C/S/B coins but can't give them away. The color of the chips could vary as to story or nationality, e.g. Green, Orange, Black for an Irish theme.

All of the sleight and moves are from eBooks already written, just in a different combination. I can 'cut/paste' most of a new eBook.

thanks, guy ...
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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1KJ
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Quote:
On Aug 6, 2022, funsway wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 4, 2022, 1KJ wrote:

Yes, I created a coin pouch that I use for my "imaginary coins across". I show the pouch empty and then pour the imaginary coins into someone's hand. I then take the imaginary coins from them, and one by one, they go from hand to hand. I pretend like some can see it.. the smarter ones. I then offer to do it again, but in slow motion, and three silver dollars appear one at a time.
kj


This post has inspired me to rework an old effect as a Scaffold opener for walk-around/table hopping. But , even the pouch will be imaginary.
Getting audience members to play an imaginary game with objects they pretend to handle is very powerful engagement.

Methinks I will use poker chips that can be gifted away at the end with 3-4 spectators involved in "imagination made real."

Empty hands - an imaginary stack of R,B,W chips. Spectators 'hold' these imaginary chips and decide on the color order of the stack, even hold your wrist with empty hand now in a fist.
No movement to the body or gimmicks. The hand is opened to reveal an actual stack in the chosen color order. These are immediately handed out

The best part is that you now have enough information about this particular audience to shift to 'strong magic', mentalism, weird science, stop or schedule a later effect.

Could use C/S/B coins but can't give them away. The color of the chips could vary as to story or nationality, e.g. Green, Orange, Black for an Irish theme.

All of the sleight and moves are from eBooks already written, just in a different combination. I can 'cut/paste' most of a new eBook.

thanks, guy ...


Wow! Speaking of inspiration, your routine sounds a lot better than mine. I might have to rethink my routine. If you have a video of your routine, I would love to see it.
KJ
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