No Stupid Questions

Nov 12, 2016
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1,610
LA (Lower Alabama)
The magic community has always been fairly close, and often called a brotherhood. That being said I have always had a small problem with the community: JUDGEMENT! I've always felt that newer magicians are often confused, but also too afraid to ask questions. I have been on many negative magic forums (this is not one of them). Many of them involve a nice newer magician ask what I believe to be a reasonable question, but is immediately met with rude and disrespectful know-it-alls. That is why I have created what I believe to a fine solution. I have made a google forum where you can ask a completely anonymous question. Every two weeks or so I will come back to this thread and post all the questions that have been gathered, and everyone on the forums can then answer these questions (no one will know who wrote what. Not even me). I do believe this is a perfect way for curious magicians to gain necessary information in order to become better performers.

To begin here are some of the common questions magicians have that receive occasionally ugly responses.

Why is Learning magic on YouTube bad?

Why is riffling down the back of the deck to get a pinky break wrong? If the spectator doesn't know what they are looking for and I won't get caught why can't I do it?

Why is it wrong to teach a spectator one measly trick?

Why should I read magic books instead of watching DVDs?

Why is it wrong to do a trick with my mouth?

Who is this Dai Vernon everyone praises?

Is it normal to get nervous and shaky before every performance?

So, there they are I understand many reading this very well may wonder these vary same questions. However, many probably have answers. There we have it you may ask, you may answer, or you may do both. Just remember there is no such thing as a stupid question.
 
Jun 18, 2019
544
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West Bengal, India
I have made a google forum where you can ask a completely anonymous question. Every two weeks or so I will come back to this thread and post all the questions that have been gathered, and everyone on the forums can then answer these questions (no one will know who wrote what. Not even me). I do believe this is a perfect way for curious magicians to gain necessary information in order to become better performers.
...this is a really excellent step.

I'm not sure if you posted the sample questions with the purpose of them being answered too those are definitely valid questions. I think the reason discussions around those topics get heated are because those are typically controversial issues.

The only thing I'd be careful about is questions which have been repeated a lot in the past and whose responses don't typically change, for example tips concerning a Classic Pass or merits and demerits of different ways of getting a pinky break, probably haven't changed drastically in the last couple of years.

Discussions and opinions around the whole You Tube topic however keep flickering because with every year something or the other happens that makes both the naysayers and yaysayers question their opinion.

But again, people getting into magic should totally have the freedom to ask anything at all. (regarding magic as an art form)

Great idea!

:)
 

Leo-P-64

Elite Member
Feb 16, 2018
23
12
Where do magic babies come from?
And
What's the difference between street and parlor magic? I've heard they are different categories but usually associated as the same thing
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,583
3,857
New Jersey
Where do magic babies come from?

Magic storks, of course.

hat's the difference between street and parlor magic? I've heard they are different categories but usually associated as the same thing

Street magic is done outside on a street. Parlor magic is done inside in a parlor.

But seriously, street magic can really be one of two things. It can be busking, which is very close to parlor magic. That is, the magician is standing up in front of a group of people (10 to 50) performing effects such as cups & balls, linking rings, etc. The performance space is delineated and set up so all the people can see what is going on (think Gazzo). Street magic can also be stand-up close-up magic. That is, the magician is with a small group of people (3 to 5) and is performing magic standing among the people (think David Blaine)
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,750
2,859
Why is Learning magic on YouTube bad?


Because the quality of instruction is generally very poor and focused on the physical method, which is only a small fraction of what is needed to perform good magic. There is also frequently a complete lack of crediting, as well as outright exposure of commercial or unreleased effects or routines that the 'teacher' has no permission to be revealing. Doing so is extremely demotivating to the creators and is part of why there is so much crap on the market - creators don't want to release material they actually are proud of because it's upsetting to see it revealed shortly thereafter.

Why is riffling down the back of the deck to get a pinky break wrong? If the spectator doesn't know what they are looking for and I won't get caught why can't I do it?

Anything that doesn't add to the experience of the effect detracts from it. Therefore, any excessive moments, sounds, etc. should be eliminated in favor of the clarity and impact of the effect.

Why is it wrong to teach a spectator one measly trick?

Not necessarily "wrong" in and of itself, but it will likely detract from the impact of the performance itself. It takes magic out of the realm of the seemingly impossible and puts it into the clearly possible but tricky. Magic should be an escape for the audience, by teaching them a trick you are removing that escapism.

Why should I read magic books instead of watching DVDs?

Cost effectiveness, quality of instruction, and sheer volume of information. Not to mention videos lend themselves to copying, rather than simply learning. There's centuries of magic in books - DVDs/video will never catch up with that.

Why is it wrong to do a trick with my mouth?

Saliva is gross. No one wants to

Who is this Dai Vernon everyone praises?

Dai Vernon (short for David Vernon, June 11, 1894 – August 21, 1992) was a Canadian magician who moved to New York, then California, and was widely regarded as one of the most knowledgeable and skilled practitioners of sleight of hand at the time. Several of today's prominent professional magicians were students of his.

Is it normal to get nervous and shaky before every performance?

Yes. This can be overcome in several ways - practicing and rehearsing properly, performing as often as possible, proper diet and exercise, meditation, and so on - but it is perfectly normal and most performers have some form of jitters. A good performer learns to control it and direct that energy into their performances.
 
Nov 12, 2016
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Okay, I only got 2 new questions. They are:
Can’t tell if 010rusty is Trolling or Serious?

Why do people not use the criss cross cut force more often? It really is an incredibly deceptive move.

Now, I actually will answer the first one. I understand how I often post satirical and silly threads. This one is not one of those. I genuinely want a place where magicians can ask the most ridiculous and outlandish questions without critism. All the way from "how do I work for criss angel" or "is it normal to like magic but not like performing" all the way to "is buying bootlegs tricks from wish.com really wrong?"
 
Jun 18, 2019
544
288
17
West Bengal, India
Why do people not use the criss cross cut force more often? It really is an incredibly deceptive move.
There are also a lot, lot of magicians who aren't confident with the idea of this move even though it's way more logical than all the riffle-types of force. Spread-types of force are of course, miles better, but then the idea of having a member physically pick out a card from a spread is so cliched that it's hard to push in any sense of individuality in there. Maybe a magician's ego gets in the way? Maybe they think they will be caught very easily?

But I'll add that people not using a particular move and you not being able to see people using a particular move, are two different things. Magicians cut more than cards, is all I'll say. ;)
 
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Nov 12, 2016
1,158
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LA (Lower Alabama)
Ok, question round up:
Do you think Wayne Houchin's French Kiss overused? If so, why?

Discuss a bit more abt the cross cut force and y its so less used. Y's it bad that it's simple?

You mentioned this on the forum, but no one answered it and I'm curious: Is it ok to buy magic from wish?? Wouldn't the creator have to give permission for it to be sold on there?

Once again, I'm leaving this up to the more knowledgeable.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,750
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Ok, question round up:
Do you think Wayne Houchin's French Kiss overused? If so, why?

Yes, it has been over used, but so has pretty much every popular magic trick on the market. Be original.

Discuss a bit more abt the cross cut force and y its so less used. Y's it bad that it's simple?

Because too many people associate difficult with good. In reality the best thing to use is the method that allows you to create the effect with as little compromise as possible.

You mentioned this on the forum, but no one answered it and I'm curious: Is it ok to buy magic from wish?? Wouldn't the creator have to give permission for it to be sold on there?

Wish sells a ton of counterfeit/pirated products. I don't actually recommend buying anything from Wish, let alone magic. If there's a magic product on there, it's probably a fake.
 
Jun 18, 2019
544
288
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West Bengal, India
Do you think Wayne Houchin's French Kiss overused? If so, why?
Yes it's overused. Because it inherently has a ''bold and romantic'' character maybe? I don't think it's a coincidence that so many male magicians do it on females.

But I wonder if non-magicians think it's overused... o_O


Discuss a bit more abt the cross cut force and y its so less used. Y's it bad that it's simple?
Again, magicians love difficult moves for some reason. It doesn't harm to increase your arsenal, but that also doesn't mean that the forces which aren't the cross cut force are necessarily more deceiving.

But the force used should be in the context of the effect and not seem jarring to the flow of the effect.
 
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WitchDocIsIn

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Sep 13, 2008
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By reading my eBook, Boffo, and following the advice :D

The short version is that you need to decide what you are trying to say, and how best to say that. Meaning, what do you performances mean? What emotions or thoughts are you trying to invoke?

Once you've got that down, it's a matter of performing the material and making adjustments until you are genuinely evoking what you want to evoke.
 
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Nov 12, 2016
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LA (Lower Alabama)
Question round up. 2 questions this time around:

why bother with magic books at all, when the most visual magic which online magic influencers use to get insane followings are the one-trick dvd's or online videos? I don't practice magic to just get followings but it's EXTREMELY frustrating after going through book after book and then being bested by people who don't put half that time into even thinking about their magic. Yes I am sour. But I still think the question is valid. Why bother with magic books? Why bother with Strong Magic and Maximum Entertainment and not just pitch in 10$ every month for the next awesome 'visual illusion'?

What does IT stand for?
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,750
2,859
Question round up. 2 questions this time around:

why bother with magic books at all, when the most visual magic which online magic influencers use to get insane followings are the one-trick dvd's or online videos? I don't practice magic to just get followings but it's EXTREMELY frustrating after going through book after book and then being bested by people who don't put half that time into even thinking about their magic. Yes I am sour. But I still think the question is valid. Why bother with magic books? Why bother with Strong Magic and Maximum Entertainment and not just pitch in 10$ every month for the next awesome 'visual illusion'?

The ability to make an engaging video and the ability to perform magic live are two different skill sets.

Being able to post a video of a magic trick is no indication of someone's skill. It just means they were able to get at least one take where the trick looked passable.

Just like people who can perform live may be utterly awful at making videos.

It comes down to goals. Live performance requires a lot more knowledge of theatrical skills such as lighting, staging, blocking, scripting, and so on. Being a social media influencer is more about learning to work the algorithms and build a fan base.

So the reason to read magic books is to learn those other skills, theories, and philosophies.

What does IT stand for?

In this context, probably Invisible Thread.
 
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Ely

Jun 13, 2016
22
18
Question round up. 2 questions this time around:

why bother with magic books at all, when the most visual magic which online magic influencers use to get insane followings are the one-trick dvd's or online videos? I don't practice magic to just get followings but it's EXTREMELY frustrating after going through book after book and then being bested by people who don't put half that time into even thinking about their magic. Yes I am sour. But I still think the question is valid. Why bother with magic books? Why bother with Strong Magic and Maximum Entertainment and not just pitch in 10$ every month for the next awesome 'visual illusion'?

If you are looking to just be an online magic influencer, then Strong Magic and Maximum Entertainment is definitely not for you. Those books are used to develop your performing skills and widen your knowledge of theory. Online, attention spans are so short that none of that will come into play. I can give you a laundry list of reasons why books are better, but it seems your focus is more on showing magic on your instagram page rather than performing for audiences, so I'll keep it simple. Books are better because they are cheaper. A book will run you maybe 15 dollars. Not every trick will appeal to you; in fact, most of the tricks will not appeal to you. But if you find just 2 tricks in there that you like, you've already gotten a better deal than the 10 dollar video.

However, if you are actually doing magic not to get followings, then I suggest you simply forget about these influencers. Sure, they may get high praise in the comments, but guaranteed the commenters don't truly care. A real magician connects with the audience using magic just as a secondary device. Don't go through books looking for a new trick to perform. Look through them to find tricks that you will keep in your repertoire for a long time. Many of the top magicians today have hundreds of books but only perform about 10 tricks.

Just because you can do the snap change in front of a camera and have commenters kiss your ass over it, that doesn't mean you are a good magician.

As a side note, if magicians are besting you time after time, perhaps you aren't as good a magician as you think.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,750
2,859
Books are better because they are cheaper. A book will run you maybe 15 dollars. Not every trick will appeal to you; in fact, most of the tricks will not appeal to you. But if you find just 2 tricks in there that you like, you've already gotten a better deal than the 10 dollar video.

With all due respect - in my personal opinion you're still missing the point of what makes books valuable.
 
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Ely

Jun 13, 2016
22
18
With all due respect - in my personal opinion you're still missing the point of what makes books valuable.

With all due respect, you didn't read my post thoroughly. I explicitly stated I could give a ton of reasons why books are good. I only stated this single superficial reason because it seemed to fit the questioner's intention.
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,583
3,857
New Jersey
why bother with magic books at all, when the most visual magic which online magic influencers use to get insane followings are the one-trick dvd's or online videos? I don't practice magic to just get followings but it's EXTREMELY frustrating after going through book after book and then being bested by people who don't put half that time into even thinking about their magic. Yes I am sour. But I still think the question is valid. Why bother with magic books? Why bother with Strong Magic and Maximum Entertainment and not just pitch in 10$ every month for the next awesome 'visual illusion'?

If you want to be a trickster, seek tricks. If you want to become a master, seek knowledge.
 
Jun 18, 2019
544
288
17
West Bengal, India
If you are looking to just be an online magic influencer, then Strong Magic and Maximum Entertainment is definitely not for you. Those books are used to develop your performing skills and widen your knowledge of theory. Online, attention spans are so short that none of that will come into play.
I haven't finished my copy of Strong Magic yet, but I have read Maximum Entertainment and while there's a ton of advice there on how to develop a real life show, there's also a ton of advice on how to become a better magician (and a better entertainer, performer) overall and i. In my opinion, being a good magician can be beneficial in social media accounts too. For some strange reason, online audience are becoming better and better at identifying when there's no substance behind an online figure.

Skill and personality should, again in my opinion, go hand in hand.


Being able to post a video of a magic trick is no indication of someone's skill.
I might be playing the devil's advocate here but I'm assuming you mean "is no indication of someone's skill in magic"** ?


why bother with magic books at all, when the most visual magic which online magic influencers use to get insane followings are the one-trick dvd's or online videos? I don't practice magic to just get followings but it's EXTREMELY frustrating after going through book after book and then being bested by people who don't put half that time into even thinking about their magic. Yes I am sour. But I still think the question is valid. Why bother with magic books? Why bother with Strong Magic and Maximum Entertainment and not just pitch in 10$ every month for the next awesome 'visual illusion'?

I doubt that the fight between skilled performers vs famous performers will ever be resolved. There's often a lot of overlap. The person wowing you with a snap change on Instagram, might just be able to wow you in real life. Maybe they select a particular visual trick just because the angles are great and the illusion really slams on camera. It doesn't always mean that they have nothing else in their repertoire.

I also believe that if somebody were to decide to become the absolute best, the most skilled in any art/craft form, the world at large will never hear of them, because they simply wouldn't have the time to promote themselves, whether on social media or for real life gigs. Genuinely loving and practising any art just for the sake of the art itself requires a huge investment of time, which I doubt could be fulfilled even after devoting an entire life to that particular art form. You ultimately have to draw a line, compromise, figure out your goals and the sweet spot where you are a good artist AND a great business-person.

In my opinion, it is tricky to juggle integrity, jealousy, envy, ambition, finances, desperation for approval and at the same time, our original and pure love for what we do. I personally don't find it easy, because all of the above are very real and strong feelings. But nobody promised me an easy and fair world. So I just keep on juggling, dropping, picking up and continuing.

:)
 
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