How much is enough? (Long but hopefully a good read)

I was reading a thread today and this topic briefly came up, so I decided to expand on it. I couldnt find any other threads with this topic, if there is one feel free to point me to it.

"The difference between an ameture and a professional is that a professional does three great pieces, and an ameture does a zillion, but none of them well."
-Lee Asher

Here is a little background on me, to set up what this thread is about:
At first I went on cheesy websites and learned as many tricks as I could, not putting the time and practice in. Of couuse these tricks were either self working or ones a baby chimp could figure out. After I was introduced to Theory 11 by a friend of mine, I watched the "Beginners start here" video because thats what I was, a beginner. (everyone starts somewhere.).
There is a lot of good information and advice on that video, but Lee's quote stood out the most to me.

Now here is the after effect of T11 for me :)
I ditched the crappy websites, now knowing there were just cheap tricks ( I was very ignorant on magic when I started, and really had no clue just exactly what exposure was and that I was watching/reading it.) I decided to start new and put practice and effort into my work. I started off with about 2 tricks I learned early on, and decided to refine them. I worked on varying them to fit my style-which I was/still am completly trying to find- and put the effort into them to make them as best as I possibly could. Once I was satisfied enough with my works, I moved on to another trick that I tought was interesting, or let my imagination work for me and come up with an idea. Again I went through the process of refining it and making it work for me, if I did indeed like the effect.

I now have more than 3 works-as Lee stated a professional should have-and have around 9 or 10 I enjoy performing. But I still kept those first few I learned and use them as icebreakers or ones that will work for a tough crowd, because I know that I have put the work into them to make them very good effects and I can rely on them.

This quote is what molded my magic beginnings, you could say. I have friends who know more tricks than me, but I can see the flaws in the sleights, performance, etc. I am in no way calling them out or putting them down, nor am I saying that I am by any means a professional. I would consider myself an intermediate magican; but one who has put time and effort into his effects and made them the best that I can and am still doing so. The quote also is my reason for practicing so hard before showing anyone something; I want my magic to be the best it can be before I bring it out to show people. I then take the feedback, and work on what I believe needs to be touched up.

You all are probably tired of reading about me by now, and I apologize for the brief biography, but Im trying to make a point here. My point is, and as cliche as this might sound, quality overdoes quantity. As I said before, I practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and....well you get the idea...until Im almost sick of my cards (Like that could ever happen :) ) Because having a few good rock solid effects that just blow by even the biggest snot-nosed,performcance-ruining,heckler-hell kind of people beats out having 20 effects in which half of them get figured out by your 11 year old little brother who knows nothing about magic. So as a public sevice announcement; please put the time and effort into new effects you learn before moving on, because as Dan White said in the same video: "If you keep on learning tricks, once a week, twice a week, you're never gonna learn them well, and sometimes in those first few months of magic you'll pass by the best tricks you'll ever learn." And that is what, if nothing else, you should get out of this topic, beginner or veteran. For beginners, its best to learn this well so you dont do exactly the opposite of what Im getting at here. For veterans, you guys are the ones coming up with new effects to present and/or to sell to other magicians, and if you dont put the time and effort into those effects, who's gonna buy them? or want to see them?

I am in no way trying to insult anyone with this, I am just offering advice, you can take it and use it as something to think on; or you dont have to, its up to you. This is just a thought that has been on my mind for a while and hopefully you guys as well. I finally got the time to put it on paper and share with you guys. Feel free to share thoughts, feelings,stories, observations,ect. Make the most out of this thread, everyone can learn something.

Thank you for your time, I appreciate your reading, and give this some thought
Feb 9, 2009
Reno, NV
I'm a great(or bad) example of quantity > quality. I'm still quite a beginner, but I mostly perform for friends and my slights are mostly passable, it's just that everyone wants to see more.

I'm still working on getting my 3 top tricks together and make a routine out of it for other people.
Jan 9, 2008
Good stuff. I suggest, if you want to take the next step, amass yourself a little library- works of dai vernon, erdnase, roubert houdin, ortiz, etc. If you read books about magic instead of about magic tricks, you will seriously have lifetimes worth of wisdom laid down before you.

I have and still am in your situation.
I do a trick, and my friend asks "That was cool, have any new ones?" I can understand that there is motivation in wanting to impress and entertain friends and family, but why entertain when you can astound? See what Im getting at?
Plus, if you have the foundation sleights down (double lift, card control, ect.) that wil make your effects seem even more impressive, and those 3 or 4 great tricks will be requested a lot, trust me on this.
And then you can take that a step furthur by applying those sleights youve perfected into an effect you create, and it could either replace or be added into your "foundation tricks"

Best of luck.
Aug 18, 2008
Thank you for the advice. But i dont know where to gain access to ant books. Any advice on where to go? thnx

Libraries usually have some books on magic tucked away. If you cant afford new books, try ebay. I found Royal Road and Expert at the Card table for 5 dollars each. If you dont have these, you should asap
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