This essay is HIGHLY opinionated, so if you don't agree then let me know your own personal list...
The Classics - effects that move you beyond "a weird kid doing magic"
Certain effects, books, and videos I believe move you beyond some weird guy doing card tricks or some strange kid who's bored enough to stop random spectators and perform his latest YouTube discovery. These timeless classics are mandatory, and will progress your magic faster and better than picking up random E-l-l-usionist trash and pretending you're a real magician. If you grab these effects/books/videos, study them page by page, word by word and practice until your hands ache every day until mastery, your magic will take on a completely new level.
So let's begin in order of importance:
#1 - Card to Wallet
I believe this to be the golden child of all card effects. If you can pull off a professional quality card to wallet, it'll save you from horrible situations gone wrong, provide an impromptu strong closer to any card routines, and overall be the single effect you're known for no matter where you go. Been around since the early 1900's I believe, or even sooner? Re-created and modified by countless magicians and appears in almost every major card book. The wallet is closed, zippered and sealed. It's "card to impossible location" personified, and will leave your spectators confused, bewildered and talking for hours upon hours, possibly even days.
Some posters ask repeatedly what type of wallet is best, or which one would be superior, constantly searching for that perfect wallet before they will begin to learn this. Seriously, just buy a high quality one that you can wear around town, and have with you at all times. Spend enough money to avoid the cheap, crap type that you'll throw away and save up for a nice card wallet. Trust me, this is your bread and butter, don't skimp on quality for a prop that will last you for 10 years to come.
Just buy the right wallet for you, practice, practice more and then practice more. Trust me, it's worth it in spades.
This DVD received good reviews, and is cheap:
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=9308
#2 - Metal Bending
The average spectator has never seen any type of metal bending, and is completely amazed when someone volunteers a great performance. A lady at work actually has a fork that I bent up for her Liquid Metal style from 2 years ago at her house, on her mantle. I kid you not, it's that powerful. Done well, metal bending leaves the specs breathless, wanting more, and wondering what the ^#$% just happened. They stare at each other, smile, jump up and down, and talk about the performance later. A waiter at my local mexican restaurant, to this day, still asks me how I did it every time I walk in for dinner. I've never really talked to him, other than doing Liquid Metal once, yet he runs up, smiles, shakes my hand and insists I sit in his section.
Why? Because yes it's that powerful. You have a variety of great bending material to choose from:
- Liquid Metal, a fast, furious and younger hip type of bend
- Banachek's Psychokinetic Silverware, a more serious, mentalism routine
But take this very seriously, so you don't look like a complete boob:
#3 - Entertaining
Since most of you guys are male, I'll cut to the chase and tell you precisely what will bring your magic to a level insanely higher than you are now, and best of all in a very brief time: Girls. That's right, you need to be an expert at conversation with girls.
Start out with a single girl at a time, preferrably ugly so you're less nervous. Once you can talk comfortably, carry on a fun conversation and be a fun guy to hang with, then move on to slightly prettier girls. Then groups of two girls, then three, four, etc until you can easily walk into a crowd and be that fun guy that everyone wants to hang with.
Depending upon your current expertise at this, it can take a year or more. But it's worth it, not only in magic but getting dates, friends, jobs, and life in general. This one thing will excel your abilities with people, and make you a thousand percent more confident in yourself.
Don't get me wrong, you're not picking them up (unless you want to), you're merely learning to be comfortable with people, and lead social interactions with confidence. If you cannot do this, then you'll forever have a dent in your magic, in crowd control, nervousness approaching spectators and a horrid feeling in your stomach when wandering around doing professional gigs.
Many of you are slapping your head saying, "it doesn't HAVE to be girls! You can entertain guys". Well yeah - start out with guys then move onto girls. You must be comfortable talking to anyone, approaching people and being their friend needs to be natural. And girls are more difficult, especially the socially savvy ones. If you can obtain mastery over this, then you've achieved what many, many other guys dream.
#4 - Card Under Watch, Paperclipped, Bill under Watch (Asi's "Time is Money")
Another impromptu classic - card to impossible location part 2 but sans wallet. Visit your local Costco or Sam's Club and buy 13 Bicycle decks for $14, then use up one deck per day learning the Mercury Card Fold. Once two weeks have passed and you're exceptional at it, then migrate in shoving that stupid card under someone's watch. It takes misdirection, timing and enough one-liner jokes to keep the spectator busy as you're jamming it in. A signed card under watch kills. Paperclipped by Jay Sankey kills - both use the Mercury Card Fold. Master it, use it often.
#5 - Billet peek/tear
A billet is a small slip of paper, business card, anything that the spectator wrote their "secret" onto, and you have burned, teared, held for a second, etc without unfolding. This is HUGELY unappreciated in my opinion, and doesn't get enough good press. Yet you find it buried in effects like Stigmata, Ashes on Arm, BELIEVE by Aaron Long, Osterlind DVD's and countless other major effects.
It's explained "ok at best" in so many places, yet nobody seems to take this very seriously. So why is it so important? Because in the spectator's view, you really did read their mind. Not once did you open up that piece of paper, so how could you possibly know what they wrote down? If you spend the time to master this one thing, your mentalism will take on an entirely new level, and average mind reading tricks will turn extraordinary.
I'll post # 6-10 later this week. IMHO on all of the above of course.