5 Points for beginners

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jok3r, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. lately I've been thinking back to when i first starting getting in to magic, and the looking at the things i wish i would and wouldn't have done. The stuff i wish i didn't buy, things like that. So i thought i would put together some quick tips for beginners.

    1. Books vs dvds

    Get 3 books for every dvd you want to buy. There's nothing wrong with dvds, but they shouldn't be your main source of information You can get that dvd you have been looking at, but get some books as well.
    To be honest there is a lot of junk out there, but there is a lot of great stuff as well. You just have to do the research and find out whats good and whats not.
    Don't just look at the preview and immediately buy it. Find reviews, look at some other stuff first. Same goes for books. It's easy to get sucked in to the world of online magic buying, there new stuff coming out everyday.
    I would avoid any dvds with *single tricks. I would get the most material you can for your money.
    Also Don't just buy the books to say you have them, read and study each book before getting something else.

    2. STAY away from youtube

    Do not, and i repeat do not learn any tricks from youtube. If you really want to learn that trick someone did for you, find where it's published and learn it the right way. There is nothing wrong with watching magic on youtube, i often watch peoples performances they have posted. but never go there with intent to learn a trick.

    3. You don't know everything

    Be humble. If someone tells you something you don't want to hear, don't immediately discard it or argue with them. Think about it. If you really feel they were wrong or they didn't have the best intentions behind what they said, then you can then decide to ignore it. When i first started flourishing, so many people said i shouldn't use it in performances. I argued and argues, because i was going to do things my way. but as time went by, i started to understand. out people were trying to help. now my view on that has completely changed, but it took me awhile to understand. I'm not saying change what your doing because someone says to, but evaluate what their telling you and find out if it's the right way or there is a better way to do it.
    Don't push it on people who don't wanna watch, they will just make you feel bad. If you do a trick for someone and they start to heckle you, or you just know they aren't interested. Don't try to keep pushing it with trick you think will fool them, or they will like. Just don't perform for those people, it makes things much easier.

    4. Practice Practice Practice

    Seems simple enough, but it over looked sometimes even with simple tricks. I had a problem with learning a trick, then immediately showing a family member. Nothing wrong with showing a family member, but i wasn't ready to do that trick. So when i wouldn't get a good reaction, or they figured it out it was frustrating. But even worse then that, when you do get good at that trick you can't show that person again because you have already ruined it.

    Also, Practicing in the mirror only goes so far. You can't see all the angles look in a mirror. Get a video camera, or borrow one. Film the trick at different angles, see which angles are good or bad. You don't have to go posting videos all over youtube, find magicians who know what their talking about to critic your work. Theory11 is good place to start.

    5. Get out and Perform

    There is no better way to learn, then just getting out there and doing something. After your comfortable with a trick, show it to people. Figure out what works and what doesn't. I know going up to random people on the street isn't as easy as it seems. Get friends and family to watch, show anyone who is willing to watch.
    Don't get discouraged if things aren't exactly how you expected them to be. If something doesn't work, figure out why. You can even ask the people you are performing for why they didn't like the trick, or what they saw you do wrong. Don't just listen to what they say then forget about it. Really listen and try to learn from it.

    These are some things i really wish i would have grasped earlier.
    I hope this helps someone. I might come back and add some things.
  2. I agree with a lot of this, and think that its good advice in general. However, I think we differ on #3. Argue everything, question everything. When someone tells you to change something, argue with them. This forces you to evaluate your OWN decisions, and think about why you're doing what you do. Never take what they say for given, no matter who they are. Question everything, and argue your own points. I feel that these types of arguments give us insight that we didnt even realize we had into a matter. I have definitely come up with things, or reasons for doing things during an argument with someone. You do, however, need to remember to keep your mind open, and that even though you should argue and question your own standpoints, not everything (and probably a lot of it) is right. So keep your mind open during these arguments, but be sure to think about why youre doing what you do.

    Also, a good point is to remember that youre a beginner. The most important lesson anyone can learn is to be self-aware. Make sure your know where you stand. Dont pick up a deck and learn hard moves right away. Start simple, perform simple. Just because I can do something doesnt mean you can. You need to be able to find your place with a deck of cards first, get to know the deck inside out. Spend thousands of hours with that deck in your hand. Then move on. Obviously I'm talking card magic here, but this applies to everything. You arent good yet, remember that. It takes time to get good, so dont get ahead of yourself.

  3. I am gonna say something and maybe I´ll get flamed

    I think it´s OK for somebody that want to start learning magic to watch some tutorials in youtube...I am not saying the kind of tutorials revealing some of the greatest tricks around...I mean the simple ones, like a french drop, a self-working card trick, some gimmicks...

    I think it´s not advisable to suggest books at the very beggining...the reason is that it could look boring and uninteresting, like doing homework, I really understand why a lot of pro´s suggest books, but when I was starting somebody told me to get magic books, like Erdnase and Bobo´s and I really thought it was boring,I didn´t realize this is an art, I just wanted something then because I was curious and buying expensive books wasn´t my idea of magic...I think that in order to spark interest you need something fast to perform right away, then the feeling is like a drug...you want more and more...and eventually you get to love the art and respect it, I know some people will continue to check youtube tutorials, but I feel those are the kind of people that leave magic more fast and the ones that remain are the ones willing to endure the practice and the hard experiences...

    The other thing I could suggest for this tips is that you should get together with a magician that has experience and can mentor you...
  4. Very good point. I think what i was trying to say was don't argue with people just to argue.
    I think what i was trying to say is don't be cocky and ignorant
  5. Yeah i can understand what your saying.
    I do disagree tho, like i said its ok to get dvds but you need books. Even as a beginner, i wish i had books. Now that could just be me, but i think theres a balance.

    I also see where your coming from on the youtube issue, but the problem is being taught the wrong way to do something. Then you have to go back and re learn it.
  6. You kind of have a good point here, but I believe it could have been worded a bit better. I would not say, "argue everything." Everyone needs a mentor and anyone starting out in something new will not understand everything being told to them, but a little bit of trust and faith in one's superior must be given. For example, if I am teaching a newcomer to magic and he is convinced that doing a death grip DL will be fine and that there is no need to work on getting a break, or learning a strike double, etc... and that newcomer dismisses my advice and argues his idea to be better, he is 1: showing disrespect, and 2: impeding his own progress. This is the connotation that the word "argue" brings with it.

    However, telling newcomers to magic to "raise their points in conversation" or to "seek explanations and reasoning why some ideas are good and bad," then yes, that would be correct. You never know who is teaching you well and who is teaching you poorly, when you are someone new to a field, thus, having a little bit of skepticism is for your own protection, but you shouldn't be skeptical and argue to the point where you are just being stubborn and disrespectful.

    This goes for areas other than magic as well, especially in school. Challenging some ideas is very important, but in a respectful manner that allows you to truly learn and develop your ideas rationally. Always avoid arguing for the sake or arguing.
  7. very well said, i completely agree.
  8. I like the point about buying books and DVD's. Specially because beginners are impulsive buyers, they will buy everything that is new, nice and shiny, and waste A LOT of money on DVD's that they will just throw away. I made couple of mistakes myself, specially when I started earning comfortable amount of money, so at least I could afford to make a mistake. That happened somewhat with "Panic" by Aaron fisher, and definitely with "Ultimate Oil and Water" by Anthony Owen and "Hawk 2.0" by Alexander Kolle. So to make a point, some effects are just made for the camera and can rarely work in the real life performance environment. So don't be fulled by an effect, just because it looks good on a trailer or in the performance for the camera. Do some research, and definitely read reviews before buying anything.
  9. I agree with your suggestion to research products and read reviews before buying. But I disagree about Panic. I have seen Aaron perform Panic in person and it looked awesome. Aaron tells a great story about how he came up with the effect late one night and thought it was amazing. The next morning he looked at it and thought no one will ever fall for this. Nonetheless, he tested it out at Kinkos that morning while he was having copies made and it floored the staff. It takes some work to pull it off well, but when performed right it is a great effect. I can't wait until it is rereleased.
  10. Over all, good advice. Though I would have to change the wording of Lucas's disagreement with number three. I wouldn't say that we should argue with everything, but I would say that we shouldn't agree with everything we hear from others. We should learn how to test these things out and find our own styles from it. To truly make the effect our own, instead of coping everything word for word from a performance that we saw some else do. It is the people that think out of the box that create the best magic and you can't really do that while you are agreeing with others all the time (please note, I am not saying that you should disagree with everything because that is ridiculous). Though I do agree with Jok3r about being humble about it. Too many arguments are brought up because "such and such worked for this guy" and "this and that didn't work for this other guy." We should be willing to hear each other's criticism and move on with it, thanking the person that we got one more side of the table.

    I would add one thing to this list, and it was kind of mentioned later on in the posts. Find someone in real life, not the internet, to help you along your journey. You can always find someone with the basics down, and learn from them. Go to SAM or IBM meetings to encounter people who can help you a long the beginning stages. Too many of us are floating along the internet forums and the DVD main stream and not getting solid advice for what we are actually doing. That face to face time can, and will help in the beginning.

    Jok3r, thanks for the great topic board.
  11. I think the disagreement with arguing stems from the fact that most people don't argue their points correctly. Arguing on forums is typically good advice being bashed because it wasn't praise for the original idea. If I put up a video and someone says 'You should work on the middle phase because it doesn't make sense.' The correct response would be A)Tell them why you think it makes sense or B) What do you think I could do to make it more logical? The usual response is 'I worked hard and it fools people and they love me so don't tell me what to do!' Okay, so most people aren't that articulate when they dismiss others...but you should be able to get the point.

    I think a better #3 would state something like this : Don't argue, if someone disagrees attempt to discuss the issue and see where they're coming from. If you don't agree with the advice, don't take it, but don't tell them it's stupid either.

    Books vs. Dvds is also a tough one, I have to agree that books in the beginning were not preferred, not because of the material in them but the fact that it isn't as easy to learn from books when you have zero knowledge of what you're doing. A book like Royal Road is great, but I think someone with basic sleight of hand will benefit more from it than someone who has no sleight of hand. Getting a mentor easily fixes this because they can show you the move properly, give you tips that might not be in the book, and when you go back to read the book later you know what is going on. You'll also have someone to ask questions when you're unsure about a certain move.

    One good beginners DVD or DVD Series should be the start of any new magicians library, then they can decide whether books or dvds are a better bargain for them.
  12. Thanx for the reply. I'm not saying that Panic is bad effect, on countrary it's brilliant method of achieving deck vanish. I just made a mistake because it doesn't really play good with my working environment (which is basically spectators being only inches away from me, it's really in closed space), so it is really hard (not impossible thou), to hide the nature of the gimmick, without suspicious moves (I believe that magic should appear to be effortless and without unnatural moves). It may be the fact that I just need to practice more in that environment, and get a better cover. I know it's definitely me, and not the effect. And if you know how Ultimate Oil and Water works, you can again understand my situation and the fact that spectators are all around (more than 180 degrees), few inches away. And Hawk 2.0 is just a pure disaster if you don't perform it in a night club with terrible lighting, couple of feet away from the spectators.

    So to sum up, Panic doesn't suck, I do :)
  13. Thanks man i was hoping to get someone out there we could discuss.
    Finding someone in person is important, but can be difficult in the beginning. I don't really have a mentor right now, mainly because there isn't one around me at the moment. But i think that's where the internet can help, by allowing you to have one and talk to him via webcam etc. That's what Aaron Fisher is trying to do with his skype lessons. Get teaching out there to those who don't have somone in person.
  14. I see where you are coming from. Panic would be difficult to perform in an extreme close up environment, so its not all you ;)

    I guess the take away is to do your research and make sure the effects work for your skill level and your performing environment. Every effect has tradeoffs, you need to have a sense of what they are and how they will affect your performance.
  15. I completely agree with you Luis. Luckily, my dad recommended me more of a.. fun book. It was a Collins Gem magic book so it was bright, small, and fun. Unlike Dai Vernon books where it's black and white with complicated wording. After using that Collins Gem book I did use YouTube, then I got a teacher!
  16. I got books first because I didn't know there were DVD's. The first magic book I ever got was... "Magic For Dummies" some of you might laugh but its a really good book, I definitely recommend for the beginner. But I really want to start getting more books, I only have like three, and they're not like the 'essential' ones that everyone suggests. :)
  17. #17 ChrisWiens, Oct 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2010
    Nice read!

    Read and study each book before getting something new is the best advise I´ve ever got! I think we all suffer, more or less, from the 'Next Book Syndrome'. Darwin Ortiz wrote a very nice article about that and he says that you don´t need the latest and greatest material but instead concentrate on what you have and study your material. It was very enlightening for me.
    I had to overcome the fear of missing something. My collection of books contains enough magic material for a whole lifetime.
    But I also think it´s good to have a widely varied collection of authors, insights and approaches.
    I think it was Dai Vernon ?!? who once said: 'If you don´t enjoy practicing, magic is not the right hobby for you'
    Not the original wording.
  19. But I can safely say that is a nice place to start...I started magic there and I still think is a great site!!

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