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 Post subject: The Most Important Thing of All
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:59 pm 
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The Most Important Thing of All

Often, often, I have seen ads for magic effects that proclaim loudly: "you can learn this trick and be performing it in less than five minutes!" I always cringe when I see these ads. Why? Because while you may be able to perfect the methodology in a short period of time, there is no effect on earth where the performance can be mastered in that short time. We have to remember that performance is the most important thing of all.

Houdini was once approached by a student who told him, "I know hundreds of card tricks, how many do you know?" Houdini replied, "Five, and I have dedicated my entire life to learning how to entertain an audience with them." That, in my view, is what all magicians and performers need to keep in the back of their heads. We should perform primarily to entertain, and not to show off our talent. I see that too often, especially in performers around my age, in college in high school. Yes, they can perform fancier cuts than me; yes, they can do more difficult sleights than me. But while the audiences are impressed with a magician's skill, they are even more impressed by a well crafted presentation. And a well-crafted presentation takes time and effort, often more time and effort than the methodology behind the effect.

A while ago I read a post that said that modern magic is characterized by shows of skill, and no "mouth-garbage". The person posting this was obviously a fan of Brian Tudor. Now, as a magician, I admire Brian Tudor's amazing skill with cards, far beyond anything I will ever achieve. But watching him, I find that I start to nod off. Frankly, it's boring! Audiences want and need the "mouth-garbage" (patter)! I worry that the next generation will bring a breed of magicians who focus the spotlight on themselves and aim only to inflate their own egos aren't concerned with entertaining the audience. One would seem to see this in some popular magicians on television currently.

So, my fellow magicians, when you buy a new effect, and find that it is simple to perform, realize that before you run off and show it to the world, take some time to work on your performance. An audience would rather see a mediocre magician (as many magicians claimed Houdini was) with amazing showmanship and presentation, than one with lots of skill but a dry performance. After all, presentation is the most important thing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:06 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 2610
Location: Canada
I hole heartedly agree with every part of that essay. Even though Houdini may have been known as a mediocre magician in the magic community, he was and it still possibly the most popular magician to ever live.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:21 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 18 Jun 2006
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Location: The John Hughes movie fan club.
Maloney123 wrote:
I hole heartedly agree with every part of that essay. Even though Houdini may have been known as a mediocre magician in the magic community, he was and it still possibly the most popular magician to ever live.


Why do you say that?


Juliegel


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:06 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 2610
Location: Canada
juliegel wrote:
Maloney123 wrote:
I hole heartedly agree with every part of that essay. Even though Houdini may have been known as a mediocre magician in the magic community, he was and it still possibly the most popular magician to ever live.


Why do you say that?


Juliegel


Thats what the guy stated above me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:50 pm 
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Houdini was sometimes accused by other magicians of not being very skilled as a magician, because they failed to define between skill in sleight of hand, and skill as a performer. To me, the better performer is the better magician.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:25 pm 
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Taken from Page XV of Royal Road to Card Magic:

Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue wrote:
Many years ago, David Devant, the great English conjurer, was approached by an acquaintance new to sleight-of-hand with cards. "Mr. Devant," said this young man, "I know three hundred tricks with cards. How many do you know?" Devant glanced at the youth quizzically. "I should say," the magician responded drily, "that I know about eight."

Devant was making a point with which all professional magicians are familiar. To perform card tricks entertainingly you must not only know how the tricks are done, but how to do them. There is a vast difference between the two, and if proof were needed, one need only watch the same feat performed by a novice and by an expert card conjurer. The novice knows the mechanics of so many tricks that he cannot do any one feat really well; the professional performs a smaller number of tricks which he knows how to present in such a way as to create the greatest possibly impression upon those who watch.

We cannot emphasize too strongly that knowing the secret of a trick is not the same as knowing how to perform that trick; and that knowing the secret of hundreds of tricks is of little value unless each can be performed smoothly and entertainingly. It is far better to know only a few tricks which can be performed with grace, skill, and effect.

In writing this book, we have attempted to teach you card tricks which may be performed anywhere, at any time, under any circumstances, for any company, and using any pack of cards. you will not need "trick" packs of cards, nor special cards, nor expensive accessories. This is most important, for it means that no matter were you may be, you need only borrow a deck of cards when called upon to entertain; the ability to amuse and interest will be literally at your finger tips.

To ensure that you will be a good card magician, we have introduced you to the mysteries of card magic progressively...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:18 pm 
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born to perform.

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Location: Sydney - Australia
Yeah, i thought that paragraph sounded familiar.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:13 pm 
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Huh. I've heard that exact same sorry attributed to Houdini in several sources. My mistake, everybody. But the point that Houdini was sometimes accused of being a mediocre magician is still valid.


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