I'm new to magic, any advice?

This is such a tricky subject because it's such a personal and unique journey. I suppose if you gave us an idea of who you want to be as a performer, or rather what you want to achieve even outside of performing we can better help you on your path.

With that being said, when I first started I had not a single clue where to begin. That's when I discovered penguin magic and bought my first effect which was Dresscode. From there I would watch performance tips from DisturbReality in his Approach Anxiety series and just how to come out of my shy and introverted shell and into a street performer. From there I started looking into magic effects that are labeled beginner friendly and I specialized in organic magic because I was more impressed by it and card tricks had long plots that I worried would bore my audience. I have later learned that card tricks are okay for me it's just that they have to be super simple for an audience to understand as well as play big. Examples include Invisible Card, Invisible Deck, Angle Z, Camper, Vortex, and Perfect.

To answer this question with a general sense, you can't go wrong with Tarbell. Some of the material in the original volumes is outdated but luckily Dan Harlan has excellent video series on everything in Tarbell. Don't fall into the trap of buying The Expert At The Card Table just yet, it's not beginner friendly. Card College is a good place to start as well as Jason England's recommendations which can be downloaded for free on this site.

If you are into organic magic (like me), this can be a little bit more trickier to navigate than card magic since most organic effects use gimmicks and gimmicks vary in all sorts of difficulty levels. When I was first starting out, I began to learn how to create my own effects that were suitable to my beginner level experience. My first release entitled Doubting Thomas is a utility device that allows for super simple methods that play big in front of spectators on the streets. If you look into the most recent Saturday Night Contest Creator Challenge, my entry to that entitled No Pressure was an effect I created a while ago that is extremely easy to do and can be performed on stage as well as on the streets with a borrowed water bottle. I'm also planning on releasing Camper at some point when I'm ready. It's my only card effect that I've come up with it but I love it since it's my bread and butter reputation maker. The effect varies in difficulty level so the basic effect should be super simple for beginners since it's self working. Let me know if you want anymore help beyond that!
 
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DominusDolorum

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Don't fall into the trap of buying The Expert At The Card Table just yet, it's not beginner friendly.
Absolutely. Unless you are very dedicated to working with cards in this context, put off this book until you have firm grasp on the basics. But who knows, you could be the next Dai Vernon; who memorized the book by 12 years old.


No Pressure was an effect I created a while ago that is extremely easy to do and can be performed on stage as well as on the streets with a borrowed water bottle.
That was one of the tricks that worried me the most on Sunday night xD
 
That was one of the tricks that worried me the most on Sunday night xD
If penguin and Theory11 will allow me, you may be able to have that effect for next to nothing (I'm almost hoping to put it out for free depending on how hard it is to produce and market). Right now I'm waiting on a very popular magician in my state to get back with me because I want him in the trailer as well as potentially Eric Ross since he is from Grand Rapids where we might be shooting it. It hits all the checkmarks for me since it can be done with a borrowed object, it's angle-sensitive free, it can be done on stage or the street, the magic takes place in the spectator's hands, and it leaves a spectator with an impossible souvenir of a tightly sealed crushed bottle. I think people are going to have a lot of fun with it.
 
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Tower of Lunatic Meat

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Oh! One big thing I meant to put in my last post but forgot to was that PERFORMANCE is 80% of what we do; it's out bread and butter. The tricks we do and everything else are secondary. I mean, and this isn't to say that not I or we can and should underestimate our audience, is that we can just do EASY tricks for our audiences and it'll work. I know it's easy to get caught up trying to do HARD sleights for our audiences thinking they will work better. I mean, I'm trying to learn 'Raise Rise' for chrissakes.
But honestly, I would ONLY learn knuckle-busters for only TWO reasons:
1) you have made a routine in which said knuckle-buster actually has a solid reason in your routine for being there.
2) personal challenge, to which YouTube and Instagram and Vimeo ARE NOT involved.
I'm learning 'Raise Rise' for both. But enough about that. The big point I'm going to drive home is that one MUST learn how to make a routine and structure a script and learn how to play with it and make a good show for the audience.
To paraphrase Houdin (to which I encourage everyone to think about and even read further into), 'we are actors playing the part of a magician.'
We are ACTORS. Learn your lines. Learn your role. Learn what it means to have a CHARACTER.
I cringe every time I see a video of someone trying out the newest trick in the block with the STOCK performance lines ('pick a card', 'think of a card', 'now I'm going to...', etc.). Your audience isn't daft and you don't need to telegraph what you're doing--unless you REALLY want them to analyze what you're doing as opposed to enjoying the show.
Spoiler alert: you DON'T want that.
A while back, I was recommended 'Maximum Entertainment'. I haven't got it yet. It's a bit pricey if you're into cheap books (I haven't found it for under $40), but I have been told that it is absolutely worth it.

Be different than stock performers.
 
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Oh! One big thing I meant to put in my last post but forgot to was that PERFORMANCE is 80% of what we do; it's out bread and butter. The tricks we do and everything else are secondary. I mean, and this isn't to say that not I or we can and should underestimate our audience, is that we can just do EASY tricks for our audiences and it'll work. I know it's easy to get caught up trying to do HARD sleights for our audiences thinking they will work better. I mean, I'm trying to learn 'Raise Rise' for chrissakes.
But honestly, I would ONLY learn knuckle-busters for only TWO reasons:
1) you have made a routine in which said knuckle-buster actually has a solid reason in your routine for being there.
2) personal challenge, to which YouTube and Instagram and Vimeo ARE NOT involved.
I'm learning 'Raise Rise' for both. But enough about that. The big point I'm going to drive home is that one MUST learn how to make a routine and structure a script and learn how to play with it and make a good show for the audience.
To paraphrase Houdin (to which I encourage everyone to think about and even read further into), 'we are actors playing the part of a magician.'
We are ACTORS. Learn your lines. Learn your role. Learn what it means to have a CHARACTER.
I cringe every time I see a video of someone trying out the newest trick in the block with the STOCK performance lines ('pick a card', 'think of a card', 'now I'm going to...', etc.). Your audience isn't daft and you don't need to telegraph what you're doing--unless you REALLY want them to analyze what you're doing as opposed to enjoying the show.
Spoiler alert: you DON'T want that.
A while back, I was recommended 'Maximum Entertainment'. I haven't got it yet. It's a bit pricey if you're into cheap books (I haven't found it for under $40), but I have been told that it is absolutely worth it.

Be different than stock performers.
Great post. I keep a couple of more intermediate tricks in my set (set loose term because all I do is preform for friends or random people I run into...) just to bust people who try to say "Oh, you are just doing a double lift there!" Whereas I can reply by doing Twisting the Aces and ask them how I did that.
 

Tower of Lunatic Meat

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You keep mentioning Limeware specifically with this analogy, personal story? :p

Back when Napster came out, Limewire came out. But Limewire was a sure fire way to get viruses and virtually destroy your computer. I ruined a laptop way way back in the day thanks to Limewire and lost several songs that, to this day, I cannot find for the life of me.
 
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DominusDolorum

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Huge thanks to everyone who left helpful advice! I definitely have a better idea on how to move forward (apparently it will involve a lot of reading). It's great that theory 11 has such a supportive community!
Anytime, friend. Of course there is always magic DVD's for step by step instruction, as well as advice from professional magicians which is invaluable. Some people learn better through watching so you may want to look into that as well. I started with Easy to Master Card Miracles with Michael Ammar.

Practice, and more importantly, have fun!
 
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RealityOne

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I can't recommend Roberto Giobbi's Card College series enough. In the five volume collection it takes you through all of moves, sleights, effects, and presentation aspects to really get you rolling in magic.

Just a general thought for beginners, try to stick with books for a while, you typically just get much more bang for your buck with books. I know it can be tempting when you see all of those epic trailers, but usually you'll only get one trick or a few sleights, with books you get dozens and dozens of sleights and effects. That being said, if you're looking for digital resources, try to get anthologies rather than single effects. This will help you get your foundations and fundamentals down much quicker.

This is excellent advice. If you can afford it, get Card College. If you can't afford to buy the whole set at once, get the first two books first -- they were designed to be a complete course in card magic... until the other books came along. Also excellent advice on getting books. I've often said we should do trailers for books.:cool:

I'd also subscribe to some YouTube channels, the ones I like are Jay Sankey, 52 Kards, and Disturb Reality (DR doesn't post much anymore, but you can work through some of his older videos).

You forgot to mention Mismag822 I don't know if this was done on purpose or if you just forgot. From what I understand many people over at Area52 scoff at the use of youtube to learn card magic. I have read many posts over there claiming that the superior route is to use books and not DVDS.

NOT GOOD ADVICE. Avoid Youtube.

First off, by frequenting those channels you are ENCOURAGING exposure. That's right, the more you visit the more those idiots post more videos exposing magic and the harder it is to perform without folks doing Google searches during your performance to find the methods.

Second, Disturbed Reality and Misfit are NOT THAT GOOD. They do sleights incorrectly and sloppily. Friends don't let friends learn from someone who doesn't have any skill.

Third, Distrubed and Misfit have AWFUL PRESENTATION. They don't and most likely can't perform for real audiences. "Hellow Internet, I have a normal deck of cards in my hands, please watch my hands...." UGH!

Fourth, I disagree with Sankey exposing magic, but at least he is exposing his own stuff.

Fifth, go to Aaron Fisher's channel and watch him. He teaches the skills but not the effects. And he is technically excellent. Oh, he is funny also (at a lecture it took him over an hour to teach Search and Destroy because we couldn't stop laughing with or at him).
 

DominusDolorum

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we should do trailers for books
If Theory 11 sold books I would probably shove all my money into this site.
NOT GOOD ADVICE. Avoid Youtube.
I began with a mentor, then got a DVD, then tried YouTube. When I decided that I wanted to be a better magician I avoided YouTube like the plague. Buying books and learning from DVDs are a much better learning experience than watching someone who practised 30 mins before going in front of the camera.
 

Gabriel Z.

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But what about the little boys and girls that have a shine in there eyes every time they watch a Mismag822 video. Do you really want to break their little hearts by telling them that Mismag822 is a hack who only practices 30 min before going in front of the camera??
 

DominusDolorum

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But what about the little boys and girls that have a shine in there eyes every time they watch a Mismag822 video. Do you really want to break their little hearts by telling them that Mismag822 is a hack who only practices 30 min before going in front of the camera??
No, they'll discover that for themselves one day. That way they're breaking their own hearts.
 
I think everyone pretty much covered all the bases. One more piece of advice, practice your Up The Ladder Cuts consistently. If you pick up Expert Card Technique also by Hugard and Braue you will see they have the best method IMO. You can also download Jason Englands Push Through Shuffle tutorial he teaches it there. Record yourself performing sleights so you get an understanding of where you can improve. Here is the latest scoop on my Up The Ladder Cuts filmed about two weeks ago March 29th on my Birthday. I'm a sucker for false cuts. Hope this helps and welcome to Theory11. :)


Nice video..
 
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I imagine a lot of the people who scoff at the YouTube magicians only do so because they reveal marketed effects. Disturb Reality is probably the biggest one those revealers. But magicians who reveal their own effects is perfectly okay because it is is their own material (ex: Jay Sankey), not to mention they offer actual advice on how to perform it rather than just walking you through the method. Another thing about using Youtube is that its so accessible that you continuously move from trick to trick, instead of learning how to properly perform it.

It's like the age old story:
A new/young magician goes up to the older/experienced magician and says "I know over 1000 card tricks, sir. How many do you know?" The older magician thinks for a minute and replies "Oh. I would say about 8."
The moral being that the older magician focused on a small amount of tricks and perfected them. Whereas the younger magician is a "trickaholic" and jumps from one to the other. The later seems to apply to many of the young magicians who focus on getting their material from YouTube, which is not always properly taught.

All in all, focus on the basics, and really take your time. Learning magic involves patience, and it is something that will continuously be improved the more and more you practice. (again, directed towards mattstephens12, but also any other new magicians)

Huh. I never thought of it like that. That...actually makes magic a little more special to the one performing it. When you know how to perform a routine, the special effect is gone and you rely on others reaction to supplement it. But if it's more arcane and feels more secret, it puts you in that mindset and you can actually look more confident and mysterious to the spectators. I learned all my tricks and routines from YouTube. They all looked so amazing, I wanted to learn them all. But, now that you said that, I think I'll stop being a cheapskate and get those books. Hey, maybe I'll find a mysterious looking box to store them in so that if anyone discovers it (God forbid), they'll know it's something truly special. Like ancient secrets...

As for the OP, you're asking the masters. Everyone here already covered what I would've said and did it expertly more so. I'll save my breath. Except, may I recommend getting cards with no white borders for cardistry? I usually have three sets of cards: One set with no borders for cardistry, one set with borders for magic and playing, and one more for throwing. The reason why I say you want borders for magic, is because you want them to look as ordinary as possible. And the reason why I say you want no borders for cardistry, is for better effect when doing fans, springs, and heck, even card twirling and doing padiddiles.

Best of luck to you!
 
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