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 Post subject: Jack of all Trades
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:19 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 642
Location: God's Country
Jack of All Trades

Someone once told me that if you can do something absolutely perfectly 15 times in a row you're a master of it. I can see that, we walk all the time and I reckon it'd be a difficult task not taking 15 perfect steps one after the other. And we could all take 15 perfect breaths in a row, filling our lungs and breathing properly. Thing is, I'm racking my brain and I can't think of anything else I can do absolutely perfectly 15 times in a row.

Away from biology and life basics, and moving more in the direction of things we learn, let's look at magic (knew that was coming eh?).

Could you do 15 absolutely perfect double lifts one after the other, no flashing, no suspicion, no fuzzy edges?

Could you do 15 absolutely perfect false transfers one after the other, without once giving the impression you never let the coin go?

Could you do 15 absolutely perfect classic forces one after the other, without ever giving the game away even a tiny bit?

I doubt it. Let's be honest with ourselves, this is no easy task. To take one action and repeat it 15 times absolutely perfectly would take a mastery of the action. You would have to be able to do it in your sleep. I can DL don't get me wrong, and could probably do 15 decent ones in a row, but they wouldn't all be perfect. Ditto the false transfer and the classic force. I accept that I am in no way a master of these things. I am compentent, I am skilled, but I am not a master.

Let's try not to get tied up with the Kung-fu film fuelled connotations of the word master here. We are not talking old thin men with long white eyebrows who are referred to as Master in a expertly dubbed film that looks as yellow as a Guy Ritchie offering by accident. We are talking here about someone who is defined by the following quite nicely:

master (SKILLED PERSON)
noun [C]
1. a person who is very skilled in a particular job or activity:
He was a master of disguise.

(definition taken from the Cambridge Dictionary)

Very skilled. I think we all like to assume we are skilled at what we do, magic or otherwise. We learn something, we stick at for a while and one day we kind of say to ourselves, I can do that well now, I'm quite skilled in XYZ. I would like to think I am a skilled magician. Disgard the pesky psychology of it all, super-ego it may be, and focus in on the idea of skilled and very skilled.

I would say that a professional magician who can take a packet of cards to a table and create incredible magic for the seated, managing his audience to garner maximum participation and reactions, performing his sleight of hand with a manual dexterity that shows many years of experience and practice, acting his part so naturally that you allow yourself to be drawn in to believing his magic is real is a skilled magician. Similarly the mentalist that can state outright before his performance he is not a psychic and still have people contest his claim telling him he must be at the end of his show is a skilled magician. Does that mean that those of us who are hobbyists or amateur performers cannot be skilled? Far from it, we can be as skilled as these behemoths of magic, past and present, so long as we practice, think and work hard. However, one thing I would urge you to consider is that if we are asking for 15 absolutely perfect repetitions in a row, do you really think in all honesty that these magicians could show you 15 perfect double lifts, false transfers or classic forces? Watch any Jay Sankey DVD and you'll see he often messes up his 6th 7th or 8th move when he repeats it to show you over and over. Let's say we need a false transfer in a routine, he will show us the move and it will be flawless. He will repeat the move 3 or 4 times and it will be very good. He tends to go back to the start of the effect to carry on to the next part and it is often here he will either execute a rather poor transfer, or completely mess it up and have to start again. Even he can't be called a master by our definition.

So don't strive for it. Skill takes time and dedication, and when you can perform a card or coin or stage or mentalism routine with complete confidence things will work, and nobody will spot you or look bored or not react, you should be very proud of your achievement. As you become more skilled in magic, so you become more confident. Confidence does wonders for your performance, it boosts you, increases your appeal, and allows to enjoy yourself even more. A magician enjoying himself encourages spectators to enjoy themselves, it's simple NLP. It's true the spectators have all the power but you my friend are in charge. And to be in charge takes skill. And you have that skill in you, use it. Don't hide it away and hope the audience like you; make them like you!

Remember that there is no shame in admitting you are, infact, not perfect. You are instead human, liable to make mistakes, forget things and screw up completely. In the immortal words of Douglas Adams: "Don't Panic". There you are brain the size of a planet and you drop your palmed coin on the floor. Or fail to find their card. Or show them both cards you took off the deck when you said you took one. Who cares? This is part of the learning process. If things went swimmingly all the time life would get real dull real quick. Learn to take the rough with the smooth, and to take command of such a situation and you will become even more skilled. Turning bad things to good is a skill in itself and once learnt it's never regretted. The ability to think on your feet will be of great importance to you at least once in your long and sordid career.

So you're not perfect, that's ok. But what are you then? You are skilled. It's a very unfair saying that 'Jack of all trades, master of none' as really, mastering a trade would probably require huge amounts of time, money and effort. Forget friends, pints down the pub, country drives, a love life, any of the other things that make life fun, if we were to become the master of the DL, training our hands to the point where 15 in row was 15 absolutely perfect performances, we would know nothing else. Magic is like capoeira (google it), it is many things at once. Just as the capoeirista has to become more than just a good fighter, learning songs and dances and instruments as well, so the magician has to learn more than just sleights; audience management, performance skills, acting, public speaking, misdirection, all of these things come into the equation. And these extra skills nobody tells you about can be difficult to do well when put together. Obviously good practice makes these things easier, but there is one thing we must strive to avoid as magicians - self doubt. If we become relatively skilled at managing our audience and our public performance, as well as our routines, and we have a bad day we must not feel that it is because we are no good at what we do, that we will never master the art. Allow me to stress a point I feel is extremely important, WE MUSTN'T THINK LIKE THIS AT ALL!! Ahem. You see, a professionally minded serious passionate magician will allow his bad day to encourage him. It might point out a flaw he maybe didn't know was there and give him the opportunity to sort out this minor detail before it happens again. It might encourage him to play with the script or the routining of his act. Maybe it will do none of these things, except give the magician a new skill, dealing with defeat and dissapointment.

I performed in Leeds not too long ago now and forgot to check a prediction number I wrote in huge numbers behind some newspaper before I started. We got to the second effect of the night, I did my routine and the second I saw the numbers I had 'predicted' being written on the piece of paper I realised I had been a complete moron; I had written the wrong prediction down. I prepared my audience for this with some careful improvised script and revealed the prediction with all the gusto of a man who knows he is right. Obviously I was wrong, and it bugged me. The next two effects I performed went as they should and then came the encore. I had a 16 number magic square prepared in my mind, all I needed was a randomly selected number to finish it off and I could write the whole thing out in less than one minute, all the rows, columns, diagonal lines, corners of the 3x3 squares, corners of the big 4x4 square, little 2x2 squares etc adding up to the number shouted from the audience. I started the clock. I began to write. I got less than one row in and realised I had forgotten my square. It was like being given the number to remember had pushed the square out of my mind. I didn't panic, I carried on, adding in numbers I knew were in the square in what I hoped to God was the right place. I failed, and a little simple maths later ruled out any chance of redemption. I walked off stage to huge applause after declaring in a great cry that "well, that's just utter rubbish! Thank you and good night!". I turned the bad situation into a relatively good one by turning the humour onto to myself and laughing with the audience.

Afterwards (seeing as the comic that followed me was beyond rubbish) I nipped to the toilet, stared at myself in the mirror for a few minutes and resolved to remember that blasted square. 10 minutes later I had it written out in full in my pad of paper I had with me, every single sum I had planned to show my audience of 30-40 people checked by my audience of one and found to be correct. Once I'd got the square written out I could carry on with my night. Having learnt to take success and failure in the same sted, all I needed was to lay my wandering mind to rest about the stupid square and I could ignore the fact that my finale had crashed and burned like nothing I've ever screwed up before in my life. Having performances under my belt from both music and magic, as well as playing competetive sport and exibition sport from time to time, I am well prepared for losing. Not that you can lose at magic, but it's essentially the same feeling. A sinking dissapointment that can eat you up if you let it.

So I was left with one of two options that night; 1) go home and fret about the fact I messed up two out of five effects, one because I was stupid and the other through a mild case of nerves, lose sleep or 2) go home and think "next time I'm taking a note that says check your prediction and a crib sheet", sleep easy. I chose number two. And because of this I'm eager to perform again. I feel prepared to take on the challenge of new material, new audience, new show. I know that when I step on that stage in a month and a bit's time I shan't have mastered these effects. But I will be skilled in them, in the script, the misdirection, the mechanics. I will have a whole other show's worth of experience to add to my skills set of audience management, acting, public speaking, performance and misdirection. I know that if I performed every day from now til the ninth of never and I would still never master these things. I could become very skilled in them, a dictionary master, but 15 absolutely perfect performances in a row? No chance.

Such is the beauty of magic performance; it's organic. It grows, changes, flows and responds to its environment. Your script should only ever be half written, leaving plenty of wiggle room for when spectators are encouraged to join in, speak up and say something. You should be able to throw in that joke that will only ever be funny in the exact situation you are in at the time, without it sounding like it wasn't in the script. Everything you say should sound natural and unrehearsed. If we try to master magic and magical performance we will take away all of its spontaneous beauty. Magic shouldn't be about making everything happen perfectly, if things are too perfect they become unbelievable. Magic should be about entertaining, enchanting and emoting. Magic that is fluid, natural, organic will do this, and coincidently I feel it is much more fun to perform. So ditch the idea of mastering your latest trick, or perfecting your next stage routine. By all means make sure it will go smoothly, I would never suggest to you ditching all preparation in favour of winging it, just don't stifle the magic by dictating the smoothness. You'll never give 15 perfect performances anyway, why try? Something always happens that keeps us on our toes, be it a heckler or a spectator not quite doing as asked, or even an effect breaking down so spectatularly you'd have done better advertising yourself as the next Tommy Cooper and donning a fez.

Don't try to squeeze into a suit that doesn't fit. Neither you, nor I, nor anyone famous you could name drop here, will ever become a master, by our definition, of magic. Experts they may be. Very skilled they may be. Very skilled you may be, but you will do more harm than good desperately seeking to master everything. Remember a specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less. Specilaise your magic, seek out learn and perform magic that excites you by all means, but don't worry if things aren't perfect before you kick them out of the nest and watch them fly; truth be told they probably never will be perfect. Personally, this is how I like things to be, I like the element of danger if you will. When I perform I enjoy knowing that the effects I do require me to think and react to the environment I perfom in. I enjoy knowing that if I don't react properly I might set fire to £100 of spectators' money. Or I might drive my finale into the ground. Or I might seriously harm my own health. I enjoy having a performance that lacks perfection also because I enjoy looking realistic on stage. I approach my magic knowing what I do is impossible, it is really magical and I enjoy my own performance accordingly. But at the same time, I try to portray a character that is no different from the spectators watching. I like to look human, and to this end I relish those little mistakes I make, deliberate of not. So I drop a card on the floor shuffling the deck. So I miss a predicted 3 digit number by transposing the 2nd and 3rd number. So I don't quite get the card the spectator's thinking of. All of this makes me look more like what I am, a human being. We make mistakes, and when dealing with mentalism especially, making one mistake amidst 10 effects strengthens your position.

Don't strive for perfection, and don't try to become a master. You'll only end up with long white eyebrows and no friends except a young asian lad who will avenge your death. Enjoy your position as a jack of all trades, for that is what magic is all about - the many faucets that make it up. Allow yourself to be spontaneous, and your magic organic. Enjoy reacting to what goes on around you. And finally, remember that you are a skilled magician, and take pride in that; you deserve to.

32


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:18 pm 
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Joined: 29 May 2007
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Location: California
Yes I can do 15 double lifts in a row without flashing or having fuzzy edges.
Yes I can do 15 false transfers in a row without messing up.
As a matter of fact, I can do more then 15.
There are a variety of moves that I can do flawlessly every time. I have dedicated years of practice to be able to do these things. Would I call myself a master? No. There are still to many things I cant do and don’t even know HOW to do.
Yes, magic is organic and growing. In 5 years, if I am using exactly the same routines as I am using now, I will be unspeakably disappointed in myself.
But there are moves I have "mastered".
Don’t give me that "Don’t strive for perfection" bullsh1t.
Perfection is the ONLY thing to strive for. In anything you do.
I don’t practice in front of mirrors, and cameras, and friends to get "alright".
I practice to be perfect. Will I ever be a "master"? I doubt it.
People don’t pay me to be ok. They pay me to be good. And in order to be good in THEIR eyes, I have to be perfect in the moves and routines I perform.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:17 pm 
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You will never be perfect, but always strive to be so.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:36 pm 
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Another great essay! I always love the endings, they make me feel good inside. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Jack of all Trades
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 10:34 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 2608
Location: My Mommy Says I Can't Tell You
povallsky wrote:
Jack of All Trades

Someone once told me that if you can do something absolutely perfectly 15 times in a row you're a master of it. I can see that, we walk all the time and I reckon it'd be a difficult task not taking 15 perfect steps one after the other. And we could all take 15 perfect breaths in a row, filling our lungs and breathing properly. Thing is, I'm racking my brain and I can't think of anything else I can do absolutely perfectly 15 times in a row.

Away from biology and life basics, and moving more in the direction of things we learn, let's look at magic (knew that was coming eh?).

Could you do 15 absolutely perfect double lifts one after the other, no flashing, no suspicion, no fuzzy edges?

Could you do 15 absolutely perfect false transfers one after the other, without once giving the impression you never let the coin go?

Could you do 15 absolutely perfect classic forces one after the other, without ever giving the game away even a tiny bit?

I doubt it. Let's be honest with ourselves, this is no easy task. To take one action and repeat it 15 times absolutely perfectly would take a mastery of the action. You would have to be able to do it in your sleep. I can DL don't get me wrong, and could probably do 15 decent ones in a row, but they wouldn't all be perfect. Ditto the false transfer and the classic force. I accept that I am in no way a master of these things. I am compentent, I am skilled, but I am not a master.

Let's try not to get tied up with the Kung-fu film fuelled connotations of the word master here. We are not talking old thin men with long white eyebrows who are referred to as Master in a expertly dubbed film that looks as yellow as a Guy Ritchie offering by accident. We are talking here about someone who is defined by the following quite nicely:

master (SKILLED PERSON)
noun [C]
1. a person who is very skilled in a particular job or activity:
He was a master of disguise.

(definition taken from the Cambridge Dictionary)

Very skilled. I think we all like to assume we are skilled at what we do, magic or otherwise. We learn something, we stick at for a while and one day we kind of say to ourselves, I can do that well now, I'm quite skilled in XYZ. I would like to think I am a skilled magician. Disgard the pesky psychology of it all, super-ego it may be, and focus in on the idea of skilled and very skilled.

I would say that a professional magician who can take a packet of cards to a table and create incredible magic for the seated, managing his audience to garner maximum participation and reactions, performing his sleight of hand with a manual dexterity that shows many years of experience and practice, acting his part so naturally that you allow yourself to be drawn in to believing his magic is real is a skilled magician. Similarly the mentalist that can state outright before his performance he is not a psychic and still have people contest his claim telling him he must be at the end of his show is a skilled magician. Does that mean that those of us who are hobbyists or amateur performers cannot be skilled? Far from it, we can be as skilled as these behemoths of magic, past and present, so long as we practice, think and work hard. However, one thing I would urge you to consider is that if we are asking for 15 absolutely perfect repetitions in a row, do you really think in all honesty that these magicians could show you 15 perfect double lifts, false transfers or classic forces? Watch any Jay Sankey DVD and you'll see he often messes up his 6th 7th or 8th move when he repeats it to show you over and over. Let's say we need a false transfer in a routine, he will show us the move and it will be flawless. He will repeat the move 3 or 4 times and it will be very good. He tends to go back to the start of the effect to carry on to the next part and it is often here he will either execute a rather poor transfer, or completely mess it up and have to start again. Even he can't be called a master by our definition.

So don't strive for it. Skill takes time and dedication, and when you can perform a card or coin or stage or mentalism routine with complete confidence things will work, and nobody will spot you or look bored or not react, you should be very proud of your achievement. As you become more skilled in magic, so you become more confident. Confidence does wonders for your performance, it boosts you, increases your appeal, and allows to enjoy yourself even more. A magician enjoying himself encourages spectators to enjoy themselves, it's simple NLP. It's true the spectators have all the power but you my friend are in charge. And to be in charge takes skill. And you have that skill in you, use it. Don't hide it away and hope the audience like you; make them like you!

Remember that there is no shame in admitting you are, infact, not perfect. You are instead human, liable to make mistakes, forget things and screw up completely. In the immortal words of Douglas Adams: "Don't Panic". There you are brain the size of a planet and you drop your palmed coin on the floor. Or fail to find their card. Or show them both cards you took off the deck when you said you took one. Who cares? This is part of the learning process. If things went swimmingly all the time life would get real dull real quick. Learn to take the rough with the smooth, and to take command of such a situation and you will become even more skilled. Turning bad things to good is a skill in itself and once learnt it's never regretted. The ability to think on your feet will be of great importance to you at least once in your long and sordid career.

So you're not perfect, that's ok. But what are you then? You are skilled. It's a very unfair saying that 'Jack of all trades, master of none' as really, mastering a trade would probably require huge amounts of time, money and effort. Forget friends, pints down the pub, country drives, a love life, any of the other things that make life fun, if we were to become the master of the DL, training our hands to the point where 15 in row was 15 absolutely perfect performances, we would know nothing else. Magic is like capoeira (google it), it is many things at once. Just as the capoeirista has to become more than just a good fighter, learning songs and dances and instruments as well, so the magician has to learn more than just sleights; audience management, performance skills, acting, public speaking, misdirection, all of these things come into the equation. And these extra skills nobody tells you about can be difficult to do well when put together. Obviously good practice makes these things easier, but there is one thing we must strive to avoid as magicians - self doubt. If we become relatively skilled at managing our audience and our public performance, as well as our routines, and we have a bad day we must not feel that it is because we are no good at what we do, that we will never master the art. Allow me to stress a point I feel is extremely important, WE MUSTN'T THINK LIKE THIS AT ALL!! Ahem. You see, a professionally minded serious passionate magician will allow his bad day to encourage him. It might point out a flaw he maybe didn't know was there and give him the opportunity to sort out this minor detail before it happens again. It might encourage him to play with the script or the routining of his act. Maybe it will do none of these things, except give the magician a new skill, dealing with defeat and dissapointment.

I performed in Leeds not too long ago now and forgot to check a prediction number I wrote in huge numbers behind some newspaper before I started. We got to the second effect of the night, I did my routine and the second I saw the numbers I had 'predicted' being written on the piece of paper I realised I had been a complete moron; I had written the wrong prediction down. I prepared my audience for this with some careful improvised script and revealed the prediction with all the gusto of a man who knows he is right. Obviously I was wrong, and it bugged me. The next two effects I performed went as they should and then came the encore. I had a 16 number magic square prepared in my mind, all I needed was a randomly selected number to finish it off and I could write the whole thing out in less than one minute, all the rows, columns, diagonal lines, corners of the 3x3 squares, corners of the big 4x4 square, little 2x2 squares etc adding up to the number shouted from the audience. I started the clock. I began to write. I got less than one row in and realised I had forgotten my square. It was like being given the number to remember had pushed the square out of my mind. I didn't panic, I carried on, adding in numbers I knew were in the square in what I hoped to God was the right place. I failed, and a little simple maths later ruled out any chance of redemption. I walked off stage to huge applause after declaring in a great cry that "well, that's just utter rubbish! Thank you and good night!". I turned the bad situation into a relatively good one by turning the humour onto to myself and laughing with the audience.

Afterwards (seeing as the comic that followed me was beyond rubbish) I nipped to the toilet, stared at myself in the mirror for a few minutes and resolved to remember that blasted square. 10 minutes later I had it written out in full in my pad of paper I had with me, every single sum I had planned to show my audience of 30-40 people checked by my audience of one and found to be correct. Once I'd got the square written out I could carry on with my night. Having learnt to take success and failure in the same sted, all I needed was to lay my wandering mind to rest about the stupid square and I could ignore the fact that my finale had crashed and burned like nothing I've ever screwed up before in my life. Having performances under my belt from both music and magic, as well as playing competetive sport and exibition sport from time to time, I am well prepared for losing. Not that you can lose at magic, but it's essentially the same feeling. A sinking dissapointment that can eat you up if you let it.

So I was left with one of two options that night; 1) go home and fret about the fact I messed up two out of five effects, one because I was stupid and the other through a mild case of nerves, lose sleep or 2) go home and think "next time I'm taking a note that says check your prediction and a crib sheet", sleep easy. I chose number two. And because of this I'm eager to perform again. I feel prepared to take on the challenge of new material, new audience, new show. I know that when I step on that stage in a month and a bit's time I shan't have mastered these effects. But I will be skilled in them, in the script, the misdirection, the mechanics. I will have a whole other show's worth of experience to add to my skills set of audience management, acting, public speaking, performance and misdirection. I know that if I performed every day from now til the ninth of never and I would still never master these things. I could become very skilled in them, a dictionary master, but 15 absolutely perfect performances in a row? No chance.

Such is the beauty of magic performance; it's organic. It grows, changes, flows and responds to its environment. Your script should only ever be half written, leaving plenty of wiggle room for when spectators are encouraged to join in, speak up and say something. You should be able to throw in that joke that will only ever be funny in the exact situation you are in at the time, without it sounding like it wasn't in the script. Everything you say should sound natural and unrehearsed. If we try to master magic and magical performance we will take away all of its spontaneous beauty. Magic shouldn't be about making everything happen perfectly, if things are too perfect they become unbelievable. Magic should be about entertaining, enchanting and emoting. Magic that is fluid, natural, organic will do this, and coincidently I feel it is much more fun to perform. So ditch the idea of mastering your latest trick, or perfecting your next stage routine. By all means make sure it will go smoothly, I would never suggest to you ditching all preparation in favour of winging it, just don't stifle the magic by dictating the smoothness. You'll never give 15 perfect performances anyway, why try? Something always happens that keeps us on our toes, be it a heckler or a spectator not quite doing as asked, or even an effect breaking down so spectatularly you'd have done better advertising yourself as the next Tommy Cooper and donning a fez.

Don't try to squeeze into a suit that doesn't fit. Neither you, nor I, nor anyone famous you could name drop here, will ever become a master, by our definition, of magic. Experts they may be. Very skilled they may be. Very skilled you may be, but you will do more harm than good desperately seeking to master everything. Remember a specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less. Specilaise your magic, seek out learn and perform magic that excites you by all means, but don't worry if things aren't perfect before you kick them out of the nest and watch them fly; truth be told they probably never will be perfect. Personally, this is how I like things to be, I like the element of danger if you will. When I perform I enjoy knowing that the effects I do require me to think and react to the environment I perfom in. I enjoy knowing that if I don't react properly I might set fire to £100 of spectators' money. Or I might drive my finale into the ground. Or I might seriously harm my own health. I enjoy having a performance that lacks perfection also because I enjoy looking realistic on stage. I approach my magic knowing what I do is impossible, it is really magical and I enjoy my own performance accordingly. But at the same time, I try to portray a character that is no different from the spectators watching. I like to look human, and to this end I relish those little mistakes I make, deliberate of not. So I drop a card on the floor shuffling the deck. So I miss a predicted 3 digit number by transposing the 2nd and 3rd number. So I don't quite get the card the spectator's thinking of. All of this makes me look more like what I am, a human being. We make mistakes, and when dealing with mentalism especially, making one mistake amidst 10 effects strengthens your position.

Don't strive for perfection, and don't try to become a master. You'll only end up with long white eyebrows and no friends except a young asian lad who will avenge your death. Enjoy your position as a jack of all trades, for that is what magic is all about - the many faucets that make it up. Allow yourself to be spontaneous, and your magic organic. Enjoy reacting to what goes on around you. And finally, remember that you are a skilled magician, and take pride in that; you deserve to.

32


whats that supposed to mean?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:37 pm 
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I believe he is making fun of kung fu movies, where the master is this old white eyebrowed guy and he is brutally murdered. Then Jean Claude..... I mean his apprentice has to avenge his death.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 12:49 am 
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ah ok, cause I dont want nobody to be talkin bout my asian brothers, making fun of kung fu movies is fine though.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 5:44 am 
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Yup, it's a little bit of 'flash back' humour. It's cause I mentioned the whole kung fu film master thing at the start.

Don, I'm glad my essay moved you to comment, and I appreciate you have a different stance on perfection and mastery than I do, but I would appreciate even more a mature and considered approach to your wording. You see, I read the whole thing with an angry tone of voice in my head. I have never heard you speak, nor do I honestly think I will the world being quite so large and all, but your voice in my head was angry. And this completely dulls any good points you're making.

For example

I got to reading the part where you said "But there are move I have "mastered"." and thought, ok, that's your view point and I accept that. Then you say "Don't give me that "Don't strive for perfection" bullsh1t.". I must admit, I kinda skipped over the rest.

Constructive critism is something I have learned to appreciate and readily accept, I would rather my writing improved and got better than got stuck at some stale seme-decent rate. But there are good ways and bad ways of critising someone's work you disagree with. Yours was a good example of a bad way.

I wonder if when you say you you can do 15 double lifts or false transfers flawlessly, you mean absolutely perfectly. I know that flawless is defined as "without fault, perfect" and perfect as "complete and correct in every way, of the best type or without fault" but for me there is a subtle difference. It's the "complete and correct in every way" part of perfect that does it. I could probably do 15 pretty decent double lifts in a row but they're not going to be perfect.

I'm not trying to have a go at you here, but I beg you to be completely honest with yourself, 100%. Can you really say I am a master of the DL? Or the false transfer? Or of an effect? This the point I'm trying to get across, if we say to ourselves we are masters of our magic and things go wrong all that will happen is we will dent our selfconfidence hugely. Can you do 15 absolutely perfect double lifts one after the other in a performance situation and not once screw up even a tiny little bit; performing them so perfectly that if asked the spectators would all say, he was a bit boring, all he did was take the top card off the deck 15 times.

I don't for one second want to suggest I think you are a bad magician, I'm with Sankey on the whole arrogance and egotism thing. I'd suggest you check his theory on that out.

Anyway, glad the majority like the essay, may the discussion continue (in a mature and adult fashion :D )

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 5:30 pm 
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DokGonzo wrote:
Yes I can do 15 double lifts in a row without flashing or having fuzzy edges.
Yes I can do 15 false transfers in a row without messing up.
As a matter of fact, I can do more then 15.
There are a variety of moves that I can do flawlessly every time. I have dedicated years of practice to be able to do these things. Would I call myself a master? No. There are still to many things I cant do and don’t even know HOW to do.
Yes, magic is organic and growing. In 5 years, if I am using exactly the same routines as I am using now, I will be unspeakably disappointed in myself.
But there are moves I have "mastered".
Don’t give me that "Don’t strive for perfection" bullsh1t.
Perfection is the ONLY thing to strive for. In anything you do.
I don’t practice in front of mirrors, and cameras, and friends to get "alright".
I practice to be perfect. Will I ever be a "master"? I doubt it.
People don’t pay me to be ok. They pay me to be good. And in order to be good in THEIR eyes, I have to be perfect in the moves and routines I perform.


No I doubt you can do 15 perfect anytime and not get caught.
People will catch you if you keep doing it repeatly (sp?).You should strive for perfection I agree but I doubt you can do a DL perfect 15 times sorry people will cacth on


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 12:47 am 
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This is an interesting and worthwhile discussion, but I think there's a flaw in the argument of the first post; namely, the definition of mastery as being able to repeat a given action 15 times perfectly.

I see two problems with this. First, this is a very arbitrary standard to hold yourself to. Why 15 times? Why not 14 or 16? Or 3 or 100? 15 is a nice round number, and it's a goal that seems both ambitious and achievable. But it has nothing to do with the performance of magic---I'm unaware of any routines that require you to do 15 double lifts.

Secondly, "perfection"


Last edited by outrageous42ne on Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 5:30 am 
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I personally don't really know why 15 either, like I said I just remember someone saying it to me once. I've applied to things like 3 ball juggling and I can do 15 catches there, but they're certainly not perfect. They'd pass in a juggling show, as would the 135 I did afterwards, but there were moments when one ball skimmed another or shot off to the left a bit more than anticipated.

I see where you're coming from with the idea of perfect being loaded with connotation and is a demon to define. I was shooting at techincal perfection, something a lot of magicians hold stock over say good audience management or being able to act the part. I wanted to make the point that to strive for perfection in mechanics is to ignore all the other branches of our art that make us good magicians. I also wanted to suggest that success is a strange thing; climb to top of any hill and all you see are the mountains above it.

To not strive for perfection because it is impossible is where we agree wholeheartedly. For me however, it is based on a vicious circle mentality that is borne of frustration when the mechanic learns his sleights, takes his tricks out for a spin, gets bad reactions and thinks his sleights were to blame; cue 6 more months striving to become 'more perfect'. The fact that if you simply learn method and ignore performance you turn into "The Great Automata" doesn't enter into their minds. As Sankey says they are librarians, and there's nothing wrong with that, just don't confused it with magician. Our clockwork magicians wind themselves up too tightly and just when they break cloud they see this mountain and think the view's clearly better from up there.

When capoeirista begin learning they watch the older more advanced players and copy their movements. They watch the mestres play and many feel downhearted, how will they ever be that good? Then the mestres will say that they do not know everything about capoeira, and that even with 35 years in the game and at the age of 55 they still have a lot of growing up to do in the art. There is no one point in capoeira in which they say you have finished, you know all there is to know. I think we could do with adopting a little of this mentality in our magic.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:08 am 
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Incredibly well said; I wish I had read something like this 5 years ago, or even, last year. If I were to read this a year from now I'd be saying the same thing, so I suppose I should take the time to understand, apply, and appreciate your words of wisdom.

If I could perform all of my routines flawlessly 100% of the time, magic wouldn't be fun. It would be predictable, futile, and boring. The reason I love the art is the notion of improving oneself, and if I was perfect, that wouldn't be possible.

Good job povallsky!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:20 am 
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Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed it and it helped. I shall be sending this particular essay over to Online Visions who are publishing my essay Impossible is Nothing in the next edition. It is because of the positive feedback like yours that I have the confidence in the essay. So thank you again for your kind words.

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