Oct 28, 2008

It's not about hand speed it's about being natural.

Magic as most people would say, is about hand speed. Yes it is done by the hand but it is not the speed of it that makes it magical. This is actually most beginner's mistakes: doing the tricks in a hurried fashion. Because of this more often than not, the trick is discovered and the audience's reaction would surely be something that would annoy you.

So what must one do? Yes magic is usually done by sleight of hand but it shouldn't be done in a fast and hurried manner, rather it should be done in a natural manner. Natural meaning, in a normal pace. Not too fast because the audience might miss it nor too slow for they might suspect something else is happening.

When I practice my magic, I do count in a rhythmic fashion. I do it first without doing the sleight so that I'll get the feel of how should it be naturally then, I would start counting its steps so that when I do the sleight I could pace it with how I normally do it. In this way I achieve the effect of a movement as being natural.

That's it a little tip for all beginner magicians out there. Remember it's not about speed it's moving at a natural pace.

Looking for Something Better

"There no progress in art, any more than there is progress in making love. There are simply different ways of doing it." Man Ray 1948

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That is what I'm exactly feeling when it comes to magic. With all the things around us claiming to be new methods, apparently a lot of them could be traced back from all those old books some even dating more than a hundred years ago.

Maybe there are new things but I would say (not all might agree) there had been little progress in a sense that new methods are being created but the effects remain the same. Although some methods cast a new dimension to the effects, the effects are still the same. I know magicians would say that magic could be summarized into eight basic effects namely:

1. Transformation
2. Transposition
3. Penetration
4. Levitation
5. Vanish
6. Production
7. Restoration
8. Prediction

I would actually like to add animation to these effects but I think they put it under levitation. I think it is common in all art forms that it has a a basic effect like in painting it's effect should be visual appeal whether good or bad. Magic's Eight effects are just presented in different manners.

I'm not saying that new methods are inferior to older methods,some are even too good. Take for example the classic Twisting the Aces. The Vernon method is still being used until now and it is very convincing and maybe one of the best. A newer version The Asher Twist is actually very good in terms that it is clean and really surprising even to magicians.

Another good improvement is Entity. It is based on the haunted deck effect wherein a chosen card moves out of a spread deck on a table. In the usual Haunted deck effect a magician must be careful in a certain aspect but in the newer version you could actually involve more audience participation.

Anyway I'm not saying that we shouldn't create new tricks based on old methods, what I'm saying is that if we could improve the old effect with a better method it would be more interesting and thus it could give a little more progress than what was it before.

Oct 22, 2008

The Prestige of being The Illusionist

The Prestige
The Illusionist

Ok so I've watched "The Prestige" again and this time I watched it so that I could compare it with another movie "The Illusionist". Both movies are great and I'm saving you the time because I'm not writing a review here.

What I'll be talking about here is more on it's effect on me as a magician. Well the tricks done on both films were really very good. Although I'd still go for the Prestige because all the tricks here (except for the transported man) were done in the way that it would have been for a live audience. The Illusionist however used Hollywood Magic but still it is a good movie.

However as a movie both had inspired me to become a better magician. Well how I wished that Christian Bale or Edward Norton's charms rub off me so that I could charm audiences. If that was possible I would have been a high paying magician now right? Anyway what I'm saying is that it gave me ideas on presentation which most magicians lack. I remember someone told me that someone who just shows tricks is not a true magician. A true magician is someone who connects to the audiences hearts and minds by his tricks. In other words presentation is the key to become a true magician.

Also there is one important lesson I've learned from the movie The Prestige. It goes " No one is impressed by the secret's it's what you do with them" (It is what actually Christian Bale told the kid on the picture on top) Anyway In connection with what I was talking about presentation. Telling the secrets of the tricks makes you simply a presenter of clever puzzles. Magic is a form of entertainment that challenges the mind the most, so revealing it defeats its purpose.

Anyway to wrap it up, my life doesn't just revolve around magic you know. I also watch films (although these two's theme is magic) so that I could get better insight to become better in what I do.

Oct 14, 2008

Old but new again- Modern coin Magic by Bobo- 1910

I've been trying to add more show stuff into my magic, that's why I decided to get a hold again of the book Modern Coin Magic by JB Bobo. I've been reading it for quite a long time, but I really never got into doing tricks with coins. One thing why I don't do it is the lack of routine on my part when I do it.

For months now, I've been busy studying and trying to master the sleights written in the book. Unfortunately, although most sleights are easy, I find some of them impractical unless combined with a trick or a routine. Also the lack of having a routine that I could create and be comfortable with, discouraged me from practicing more of coin magic.

I almost gave up reading on this book because i really find it hard to do coin tricks, I took a break from learning the stuff from it and took more time into doing other sleight of hand magic.

It continued for a while, until I saw some videos of how the tricks taught in this book still awed audiences. Being the foundation of coin magic as we know, this book is even being sold in DVD format. Because if what I've seen,I know now what really lacks into my coin magic: presentation.

Although I know how to do this trick or that trick, I couldn't present it properly. Maybe it is lack of confidence that stops me from doing such or the fact that I got so used to cards that I find it hard to handle coins. Right now I'm doing all that I can to solve these two problems and I know sooner or later I can perform a very good coin magic routine.

I have one now though and I did it for some people. It was based largely on this book and really I owe a lot to this book.

Oct 8, 2008


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Oct 5, 2008

I know how it's done- NOT

Magic is a form of entertainment and part of it is its mystery. When the audience say "How did you do that?", that is music to the ears to a magician. Unfortunately some people answer those questions, and sad to say instead of magicians hearing "How did you do that?" they would hear now from one member of the audience "I know how he did it, here let me show you..."

That is an example of an exposure and sad to say a lot of people are actually exposing the tricks because they see it being exposed too. It could be via TV specials or even via the internet. Here are a few people who had been considered as those who actually support exposures.

1. The Masked magician

Also known as Val Valentino, he starred in the FOX TV special Magic's Secrets Finally revealed. That TV special really made a lot of magicians very angry and of course that's the main reason why he hid his identity. He said that he did these exposures to encourage magicians to create new tricks. In my opinion, yes magicians should create new tricks but exposing them is not the proper way to encourage magicians.

2. David J. Castle

David Castle is a magician who has a PhD, unfortunately he exposes tricks via his website. The tricks he exposes are generally easy ones and those that are self working. It might be good for beginner magicians to learn how these tricks work but of course if these beginner magicians started performing those tricks and some of his audience also knows about it, then the purpose of entertaining is defeated. Maybe if his website would at least require a password then that would help more beginners to get into magic.

3. The Trickbusters

Probably the worst breed of exposers of magic tricks. First they are not magicians (a linguist and an engineer) and second they are just plain skeptics. If they don't want to believe then they shouldn't be watching magic in the first place. Their main reason for exposing the tricks is that they make our rational thinking stagnate in a way. I mean they should go read more Science journals that attest to the fact that magic actually helps psychologists understand better the human mind.

I believe the reason why these people still stay in circulation is that some people really appreciate (sadly) what they do. The main reason I believe is that a lot of people think that magic makes a fool out of you but in reality there is a big difference in getting fooled and making yourself a fool.

A magician's job is not to fool people with their tricks rather they mystify at the same time entertain people. If you watch a magic show and let yourself be mystified rather than think that this magician is making a fool out of me, then surely magic would be more entertaining. Entertaining of course is the main reason why magic tricks are done.

So what must we do about these people, who keep on exposing magic tricks? Well, I remember that happened one time when I was performing some tricks for my colleagues in my school organization and of course I was a bit furious but after showing more and more impressive card tricks, that guy just stayed quiet. The answer is continue performing and show to them that no matter how much you expose the tricks you can't bring down one good magician.

Honestly, I don't think exposure will and can be stopped, simply because a lot of people want to know how the trick is done. For some people knowing how the trick is done is the end of it but for some, performing it after knowing how it's done and trying to learn more magic to perform is actually good (in my opinion) because it means that this person has interest in magic.

That's the only good thing I see though about some exposures: making some people go into magic, making it survive for even a longer time.

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