I Don't Want To Just Learn Another Trick...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by notsoltd, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. So, most of you have probably seen my thread about Christmas and probably saw the things I am wanting. I have been thinking about it, and I decided against everything except Metal (I really want to advance my coin magic) and possibly Seriously Silly (I think kids shows would be fun and great side income)!

    The main reason I decided against everything else is because I don't want to just learn another trick...I want to advance myself, and my performances and my audience management as much as possible.

    I have plenty of magic tricks, but without proper performance and patter and audience management, that is all they will be - magic tricks. I want to learn to turn what I already know into true miracles and memorable experiences for my audiences.

    So, this brings me to my question - What would you guys recommend for me to advance ALL my magic? Something to teach me to truly make me a performer and not a guy doing tricks. Well I do perform, but it could be better and I want to be the best I can be!

    Thanks guys,
  2. The Five Points in Magic by Juan Tamariz. My favorite book in magic so far. I would recommend Strong Magic and Designing Miracles (both by Darwin Ortiz), but I do not currently own them (I should slap myself now) so I cannot recommend them to you. A lot of members here recommend them, so expect to get a lot of those recommendations!

    Five Points in Magic has made me such a better performer, I cannot even begin on how much it has helped me. Do yourself an amazing favor and pick it up for Christmas.

  3. Casey has pointed out some of the best books for starting your way towards being a better performer overall.

    I do own Strong Magic and Designing Miracles, and they are phenomenal. I don't, however, own Five Points in Magic yet (...and for that I should slap myself ;)) so I can't recommend it at this moment in time.

    Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe is also a great read that has insightful essays on building your performances by scripting your magic before performing.

    There are a few others that come to mind, but I would start with one of the ones already mentioned and really study it. I spent 2 days reading Strong Magic the first time through, took a week away from it and then studied it very carefully over a few months. It kept me away from buying new magic and helped strengthen everything I was currently performing. I did the same with Designing Miracles and Scripting Magic, and I'm always referring back to them when creating or practicing magic.

    Just a few suggestions.
  4. So we are looking at:

    Strong Magic
    Five Points of Magic
    Designing Miracles
    Scripting Magic

    I know it probably wouldn't be smart to get these all at once haha.
    Which do you guys think I should start with? Should I get a few at a time?

    Also, I have read Sankey's book "Beyond Secrets" a few times and it was awesome!
  5. #5 RikAllen, Nov 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2010
    I would reccomend one at a time. This is true of every book you'll ever buy too, don't get Card College 1 and 2 ...get CC1 and after you study it and get everything you can from it-pick up CC2...it seems simple, most magicians never catch on to the process.

    Designing Miracles is a book filled with strategies that will make your effects stronger, it doesn't go over presentation tips, it explores why one version of OOTW is going to be stronger than another version.

    Strong Magic is Darwin's book of everything but effect design. He covers everything from creating dramatic tension and knowing how to build it up to character and why you need one. A lot is covered, and wouldn't be a bad starting point at all.

    Scripting Magic teaches exactly what it says, how to script your magic. This will help your presentations, consistency of performances, and it also has some essays on a few other things. Each script is followed with WHY the script was written that way or some other essay about why the effect is designed this way or that way. It's a good book, but I probably wouldn't start with it.

    I don't own Tamariz's Book so I can't say, for sure, if it's good starting material.

    Henning Nelms book Magic and Showmanship might be the best (and cheapest) starting point, a lot of magicians praise it highly (though somewhat dated? correct me if I'm wrong) and it can be picked up new at a third of the price of any other book. :)
  6. I will check out that last book you mentioned but right now I am leaning towards Strong Magic to start.

    I was also kind of thinking about picking up AoA books instead of Seriously Silly not because I want more tricks but because I think it will get my creativity going. It would be awesome to create some effects. I'm still not sure though
  7. Five Points, Designing Miracles, Scripting Magic--all great books. However, they all assume a certain level of understanding to be of real value. I would hold off on these for now and check out Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz. It's an excellent book with which to start as it touches on a little bit of everything: clarity and conviction in an effect, how to make your magic meaningful, character, timing and pacing, audience management, style, etc. It will give you a real foundation. In my opinion this is the best theory book to start with. It's readable enough for a beginner, but meaty enough for a veteran. Read it, think about it, and apply it, and you will be on your way to becoming--as you said--"a performer and not just a guy doing tricks."

    As Juan Tamariz says about the book, "It enriches you as an artist (and therefore as a human being.)"

    Gook Luck & Happy Reading,

  8. Thanks guys for the help! I will be getting Strong Magic to start! I can't wait to start reading!
  9. This might sound like odd advice, but sometimes the best way to advance yourself in one area, is to actually focus on completely different areas.

    For example, one thing that has helped me to become a better performer, was actually after I spent time working on improving myself as a university teacher. Learning how to manage a classroom of uni students of various levels, various attitudes, various personalities, etc... is extremely difficult and a lifelong learning process. Focusing on teaching techniques, student development, impromptu teaching techniques, on the spot level assessment, etc... has really helped me in learning how to handle the various unpredictable situations hat can occur when doing a magic show.

    Try and find ways that your other hobbies can help you as a performer. Perhaps take up a hobby of reading a different book each week, a non magic book. Educate yourself in other areas so that you can use that information in your performances. One very important thing about being a successful performer is that you are impressionable as a person, not just a performer. Read BBC or CNN news daily, develop a new diction/ new vernacular, read poetry and create patter in Iambic Pentameter, etc... There are so many sources outside of magic that can be used to add to your performances and overall character in general.

    It is ok to be the Magic Guy, or the Magician! But it would be even better to That Amazing guy who is also an amazing magician!

    Some advice that you will hear later on when you attempt to enter the corporate magic world is that you should always research about the company you will be performing for. Learn their products, their company values, goals, history, etc... so that you can make conversation at the events and hit harder with your presentation of patter and effects.

    The more you educate yourself now outside of magic, the more it will actually end up improving your magic.

    Still go ahead and get Tamariz's Five Points, but I would actually suggest books on Marketing, Sales, perhaps Harry Lorayne's Ultra Memory Book / DVD series (not sure of the name off the top of my head). Books on becoming an Entrepreneur would also be really good. Learning about how to survive as an Expat overseas, etc... These are all amazing areas with an infinite amount of great knowledge.
  10. I'm going to recommend that you get 12 copies of THIS.

    It is the best book for moving your magic to a higher level.
  11. Use to take notes after a performance or when I think of new things or what?
  12. All of these recommendations are great, but what you're asking for is not something you can buy. You just can't. Props to tokyoUW.
  13. #13 b_08, Nov 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2010
    This is excellent advice. So very difficult for magicians to get this. Strong Magic is a great book to buy, but nothing will make you better at performing than having a well rounded life and other interests besides magic. A great performance is nothing more than the ability for people to relate to you but if you've got nothing going on except magic, you're never going to be able to put out good performances.
  14. #14 ChrisWiens, Nov 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2010
    I agree with everything. Although you´re not going to be a better performer just by reading, the books mentioned are required reading for any magician in my mind. They don´t just give you a manual, they force you to THINK (and work) about your magic in ways you´ve probably not considered before.
    That´s better than any trick book, because you´ll absorb that and use it for (probably) the rest of your life.
  15. Exactly. After a performance, write down what you performed, how you performed it, what went well, what didn't go well, something that the spectator said which was funny (incorporate in your patter next time) what you would do differently and what you would do again. If you see a video and like something about it, write it down. If you read a book and like an idea, write it down. If you read an article that you think will make good patter, think that two effects will work well together, get an idea for how to tweak an effect, etc. just write it down.

    A journal is the best tool for improving your performance. Rereading what you have written will allow you to see patterns of what works and what doesn't work. You will also see how your strongest effects evolve over time.

    Also, having a journal will give you something to use in trying to understand performance theory. You can read the books, but without performance experience to apply it to the ideas are just theory. The journal allows you to put the theory into practice.
  16. Personally, my favorite magic book which no one has suggested yet is "The Tangled Web" by Eric Mead. It is such a great read, and really opens your mind to a whole different perspective of magic.

    The first time I read the book, I thought it was a trick book. I got it solely for the few tricks taught in it. And I HATED it. The tricks were nothing revolutionary, I didn't find a cool new method, and a hip new plot, and I was disappointed.

    Then I decided to pick it up around a year later, after the phase of wanting a new method every week had passed, and I LOVED it. The theory, the logic, everything about it I loved. The tricks are decent, but they are tricks that work for Eric, and he explains why they work for him. The tricks are definitely not for everyone, but the theory alone is worth the price of the book.

    All in all, it's a good read, that isn't too deep, not dry in the slightest, and a great gem to add to your reading list.

    Very productive thread so far guys, let's keep this going.

    ~ Zach
  17. Zach, Irving has mentioned this book countless amounts of times, and I didn't recommend it because I do not own it yet. I plan on getting it in the future for sure (It's on my list of future books to get). From what Irving Quant has told me, every magician must read this. I agree, a very productive thread!

  18. And about maybe 5% of those people have actually read either book.

    It's true. Once someone can pigeonhole you, the mystique and charisma is gone.

    May as well throw another suggestion for a book in there because I know it will never come up by itself. "An Actor Prepares" by Constantin Stanislavski.
  19. hahahahaha. My dad picked it up a LONG time ago and he thought it would help him for his showmanship for business. I asked my teacher if it was any good and he said that it's an excellent book to read!
  20. #20 ChrisWiens, Nov 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2010
    Maybe. However, the Ortiz book are a very good read and not boring like many other magic books. Although it´s impossible to absorb all the information in these books on the first read (let alone utilizing the information), I find Strong Magic and Designing Miracles as unputdownable as a good crime thriller.
    The same goes for Tamariz writing style.
    These two authors have the ability to keep up the interest of the reader not only by the content.

    Most books mentioned here are listed -> http://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic/magic-theory/page/2/

    Tangled Web is on my wishlist, as is The magic of Ascanio

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