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 Post subject: GENERATION DVD - An Essay
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 6:56 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 27 Mar 2004
Posts: 347
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Dear the Magic Community of Penguins,

Is it just me, or is it apparent to everyone that there is a new generation of magicians - Generation DVD. These "magicians of today" rely solely on the instruction of DVDs, and neglect to practice, rehearse, routine, construct misdirection, and the list goes on. I'm not saying that DVDs are bad. I myself have several. The thing is, to be an accomplished, entertaining, and fluid magician, learning sleights and moves is all fine and dandy, but just a small portion of the recipe. Just like a recipe, the product won't taste good unless you use all of the ingredients to the right amount and bake it perfectly. The baking is like practicing. Your showmanship is like the presentation on the plate. So, before focusing on learning everything, put together a STRONG routine. Probably, right now, if you've been in magic for a while, you have all the sleights and tricks you need. Start routining. From people who don't know about this, pick 6 or 7 of the tricks you know best, or that you think you can flourish on, and make a full story including patter, movement, misdirection, jokes, timing etc. Until you have blocked, written down, and mastered each one of your tricks, only THEN should you start performing them. Try writing down all of your patter, and reciting it to your self. Practice time and time again, over and over the same way. Then rehearse. You all know there is a difference between practicing and rehearsing. Your rehearsal should be no different than your show. Practice is practice: do the moves, patter, all the interconnecting parts, until you KNOW them. No Pauses, no Improvisation. Performing is a very special art - Magic especially. Unlike in sports, you have complete control over EVERY SINGLE PART of your show - Make it a good one. And remember these 4 things: If you're doing something that is supposed to look normal, think about what it would look like if it was normal. How would it look if you really turned over the top card instead of doing a DL? Second, if you were doing something visual that is supposed to look magical, how would it look if you were actually magic? Take into consideration the Erdnase\Houdini color change. If you were really magic, you'd just touch your hand on top of the card, and it would change. So, make as little movement as possible, and make it natural. Third - Be Natural. You're not fooling anyone by being mechanical, and stuttering etc., when you do a 'magic' move. Even though they didn't necessarily se you do it, if they suspect it, you’re not fooling anyone. And lastly, use your head. THINK about everything you are doing. If it doesn't make sense why your hand is going into your pocket, change it. . To conclude, don't rely totally on DVDs, videos and books. Focus on your WHOLE routine. Use your head, and be natural.

Ben Proudfoot


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:16 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 27 Mar 2004
Posts: 347
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Any comment or additions are appreciated.

Ben


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:31 pm 
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Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 8861
Location: Las Vegas
Not much can be added, you pretty much summed it up. Trouble is, you're "preaching to the choir." The people who know this don't waste a lot of time here, and the ones who do hang out here don't understand what you're getting at.

A prime example is a post from a member just today asking for help on the simplest of card moves. Not "where can I read about this" but "what DVD can I find this in?"

What was equally disturbing was another person's comment on a different forum about what was the best 3 card monte routine. His answer was "Penguin's Ultimate Monte," without even a mention of Michael Skinner or any of the others who made the trick famous.

Time to wake up, penguins!

Not everything is on DVD, and not everything can be found on Penguin!

My entire show is based on things not found here. The routines are written down, some of them are on video, but none of it is "by the book" (or should that be "by the DVD," not to be confused with "buy the DVD")


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:04 am 
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Penguin

Joined: 19 Nov 2004
Posts: 65
Well said.


I think the issue at hand is a lot simpler however.

Most people here are NOT PLANNING TO BE MAGICIANS.

This is a HOBBY, among many.


I won't spend "countless hours practicing same move to make it perfect"

I was always curious about magic so I got myself a single DVD on card magic, a single DVD on coins, that's as far as I am going.

People get sucked into "ooo look mercuring, so cool" and keep wanting to buy new "better" stuff, while of course strongest routines such as ACR lie right at their fingertips.



Bottom line is, your advice is good for people who are serious about magic, but then they already know this. People who are not serious about magic but rather enjoy this as one of their hobbies, they are simply not going to dedicate so much time (not to mention the younger audience here is mostly incapable of grinding repetitive work, what kind of a crappy hobby is that anyway right? :))

Well put, but I think what you and a lot of other regalars I think here might benefit from, is the realization that this is just another HOBBY. Stop with advice such as "practice 3 hours/day" and "stop wasting time on DVDs", this stuff makes people happy, so let them be :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 4:55 am 
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Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 8861
Location: Las Vegas
Alex has a good point too. That's why no matter how hard they try, Penguin will never be taken seriously by serious magicians. There's more money to be made by catering to the kiddies and hobbyists than selling better quality products to a much smaller clientele.

Trouble is, selling the "secrets" so cheaply to anyone with their mom's credit card makes it that much harder on the rest of the magicians who are trying to make a living at it. Nothing is worse than them seeing a show and trying to impress their friends by blurting out "I know how he did that!"

Magic is a wonderful hobby, if given the care it deserves. That's how I started, and realistically that's where I'll stay (unless I get a $100 million dollar Casino contract, then I might consider quitting my "day job")

Visit www.ring2100.org and look in the "Member Articles" in the "Links" section. There's a good article that supports your position. It's about "the Secret Acquisition Phase" and is listed under "Newcomers to Magic"


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 Post subject: Re: GENERATION DVD - An Essay
PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 6:37 am 
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Emperor Penguin

Joined: 22 Sep 2003
Posts: 11155
Location: Penguin's Most Feared Intellect
bproud wrote:
So, before focusing on learning everything, put together a STRONG routine.


Good essay, and the longest one paragraph I have ever seen! :) I agree with most of your viewpoints, but just a few things. One should not try to learn "everything" at once of course, but they should try and learn everything that is 'essential' to creating that "strong routine." You can't create a routine, or magic recipe without the ingredients first. I assume you meant that though, and it was just mis-worded.

bproud wrote:
No Pauses, no Improvisation.


Maybe, as far as what is "supposed" to happen during your routine. But I also believe strongly that one should be prepared to both "pause, and improvise" during a live performance should something unexpected come up. One should practice every perceivable out that could happen, and be able to continue on smoothly as if nothing ever happened without missing a beat.

A performer should absolutely not just ignore the unforeseen circumstance, and continue on like some robotic magician. He should adapt to the circumstance to the best of his ability, and go with the flow in an effort to utilize the unpredictable outcome to his advantage if at all possible. Practicing, and rehearsing improvisation can go a long way come performance time should any mishaps, or interruptions occur.

bproud wrote:
Unlike in sports, you have complete control over EVERY SINGLE PART of your show -


Do you? Well you should, but that is dependent upon the performer's ability, and audience management skills. You can't always assume you will always have complete control of your shows, but you can strive for that goal always. But as I said above, one has to be prepared, and be able to account for unpredictable circumstances.


bproud wrote:
You're not fooling anyone by being mechanical, and stuttering etc., when you do a 'magic' move. Even though they didn't necessarily se you do it, if they suspect it, you’re not fooling anyone.


True you are not fooling anyone, but "fooling" the audience is not nearly as important as "entertaining" them. Granted you most likely will not entertain them if you are not fooling them, unless you are doing some type of comedy routine. But if one only relies on 'raw technique' as opposed to an 'entertaining presentation,' this is almost just as bad.

You are only confusing your audience for the most part, not captivating, or entertaining them. Where as if a magician with a great personality may be able to get away with more stuff should he lack a few technical skills. But technical skill, and presentation go hand in hand, and both combined are definitely the best 'secret ingredient' for any magic recipe.

bproud wrote:
And lastly, use your head. THINK about everything you are doing. If it doesn't make sense why your hand is going into your pocket, change it. . To conclude, don't rely totally on DVDs, videos and books. Focus on your WHOLE routine. Use your head, and be natural.
Ben Proudfoot


Are you saying THINK while performing, or while practicing and rehearsing? During a performance one should not have to think anymore, every part of their routine should now be second nature, as all the thinking should have already been done in the practice room.

Also the 'source' of any form of education is not as important as to how one is able to 'absorb, and utilize' the knowledge acquired. The main difference between books and dvds, are simply that books are far more 'cost efficient,' as they contain a lot more material than dvds do for the price.


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