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All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 07/09/07 10:33 AM

Greetings. I have a question about magic that has been eating at me lately,and I would appreciate any answer/ advice from experienced magicians that you are willing to share. My number one concern is that I don't have a repitore
of tricks that are original, that is - invented by me. I am studying what I do know with a fervor and passion so as to do the creator of the effect justice (not to mention my reputation) and trying to personalize what I've learned but originality in the creative sense - I haven't reached that level yet. My question here is one of reflection I guess. Am I fooling myself? Am I really nothing more than a carbon copy of the true Magicians whom I have come to respect and admire? I think back to a show I did for a local company here in Dothan, Al. last Holiday season. I recently crossed paths with the guy who hired me and he said the employees loved the show and still talk about it - then he asked me to perform again this year for them, which I agreed to do. But, at home
as I prepare and choose what I think will be appealing to this audience I look at myself and am almost ashamed. "I didn't create this." That's what haunts me. Maybe this is more of a statement than a question. If you have had a similar phase in your magical journey please respond. I thank you in advance.

Postby Guest » 07/09/07 11:42 AM


This is NOT something to beat yourself up about. There have only been a handful of magicians in history who did completely original acts. Most everything you see is derivative.

Your duty to your audience is to entertain them, not show them how original you are, as if they could ever recognize this in the first place.

Think of magic effects as a medium through which you, as a performer, communicate and interact with an audience much like a painter uses paint and canvas or a writer uses words. Some effects are better for this than others, some better suited to one kind of personality than another.

Instead of wasting enormous amounts of time trying to be original, something only really knowledgeable magicians would recognize, you are best advised to develop a repertoire that is uniquely adapted to your performing persona. Thats the real challenge and the real originality needed in successfully performing entertaining magic for a paying audience.

Regardless, you cannot be a "carbon copy" because if you perform something enough times, the presentation will evolve naturally, if you're paying attention.

Postby Guest » 07/09/07 12:41 PM

You are right, Dave. Thanks. I sat and read what you said about the audience not recognizing whats original and that few have accomplished this over and over. Thank you for those words of widom.

Postby Guest » 07/09/07 03:42 PM

One of the most accomplished sleight-of-hand guys in the world was Lou Lancaster. He did amazing things with a deck of cards and yet, after a performance in New York he was strongly complimented by no less than John Scarne, no small timer with a deck of cards, for his Svengali Routine that he did for lay audiences.

It is ALL about presentation and entertainment and your personality interacting with the audience. Everything else is secondary.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/09/07 03:56 PM

Per David Berglas:

1. Personality
2. Presentation
3. Method

Originality isn't even in the list!
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Postby neil.kelso » 07/10/07 08:04 AM

Any jazz musician would tell you 'taint what you it's the way that you do it. David Stone says he sees himself rather like a singer who often performs songs he didn't write. He's still a brilliant entertainer!
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Postby Guest » 07/10/07 09:21 AM

Thank you all for the responses. I do love magic and personally - I don't want to do anything else.
(I'm not there yet either, but I'm working on it.)
I think my motivation for this is that one day I will be gone and only my memory will remain. I want to make an impression, and contribute back to magic and the magic community as a whole. By the way, I haven't been here on Genii for very long but I'll take this opportunity to say that it is a welcome and refreshing change from the other forums I've been in. The members here seem to really want to help and provide useful, informed information. Thanks again,

Postby Guest » 07/10/07 02:18 PM


You sound sincere so I will be candid - you've been in magic four years which means you've only made a tiny beginning in your magic education.

Before you can create anything "new" and "original" you must educate yourself in the history of your area of interest so you won't spend your time re-inventing things.

I would suggest you study the classic effects of magic as a basis of your education. They are the classics for many reasons and can form a solid foundation for both an education in magic and a performing repetoire.

Postby Guest » 07/11/07 08:30 PM


Something else to consider is this. Few classical musicians write their own material. Yet when they perform it, if they are great artists, they imbue each piece with their own personality.

What did Luciano Pavarotti write?

What did Enrico Caruso write?

Heck, they even sang the same pieces!

Postby Guest » 07/12/07 01:29 AM

Dear Mr. Priest,
As usual, Mr. Palmer and Mr. Alexander are spot-on.

Isn't it said that there's nothing new under the sun? We ALL stand on the shoulders of giants, no?

A couple of the most-performed effects in history (for examples), the linking-rings and the cups-and-balls; have had their originators LONG-lost.
--In-fact, it happened that seeing Richard Ross perform the rings 30 years ago, absolutely-cemented for me the idea that I HAD to become a magi...

Mr. Alexander is right: in magic, 4 years is the blink-of-an-eye. Seriously hombre, you can't imagine what you'll learn these next 10 or 20 years.

As they teach in art-school: you really DO have to know the bases of the rules before you can break them--But when you get a clue, LOOK OUT!!
--Coloring outside the lines is seriously encouraged, ESPECIALLY when you know what the hell you are doing. :D

Evidently, you are humble and appreciative, and I must say that the fact you are aware of distinctions such as "doing the creator (of an effect) justice" indicates you are already WAY-ahead of many.

If everyone had to invent every trick they performed, the ranks of the fraternity would instantly be reduced by 99% or more.

--That is precisely why chaps such as Max Maven, Michael Weber, Jay Sankey, Derek Dingle, Dai Vernon, Larry Jennings, etc., are rightfully-considered to be geniuses: they have demonstrated time-and-time-again that (where devising new effects and methods is concerned) their brains twinkle just a bit differently than do the majority of ours.

But that certainly does not keep the rest of us from success!
Brother, to say you have just begun your journey is an understatement.

Read everything you can get your hands on, pick intriguing tricks, practice, perform, enjoy, and the world just may be your oyster.

Ain't that right fraters?! :cool:

Postby Tom Stone » 07/12/07 02:33 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:
Per David Berglas:

1. Personality
2. Presentation
3. Method

Originality isn't even in the list!
That list equals originality. Though, it shouldn't be listed in a sequential order like that, as it might confuse someone. The equation is more like this, I think:

Personality(Presentation + Method) = Originality

My old friend Max Milton had another take on it:

-"Don't think about originality, for the sake of being original. Just make sure you are really, really good - that alone will make you more original than most in this field."
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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 02:56 PM

Thank you all again for your candid and kind responses. In retrospect to my original post I am developing an idea using effects that I'm working on in a story-telling manner. Briefly, the plot is as follows: A young man's bride- to- be has died just before the wedding and he is spending his honeymoon with her ghost/spirit. I have chosen five effects to tell this segment of my Holiday performance. ( As it stands now.)And plan to perform it in the form of a one man play set to music (with the exception of the final effect which will require a female participant.) The whole thing is done in good old-fashioned romantic overtones and will be the show closer.
This will be the closest to originality that I've come so far. Again, thank you all for the much welcome advice. I am in your debt and you have my gratitude.
- Scott

Postby Guest » 07/12/07 11:24 PM

Sounds very interesting. I hope you work it out and pull it off. Best of luck.

Postby Guest » 07/14/07 06:12 AM

Scott, I am actually in pretty much the same boat as you. So thanks for posting, all the replies you received are helping me aswell. I also have a great quote from Michaelangelo that an old art teacher of mine gave me. Its not exact but it goes something like, "good artists borrow, but great artisis steal." :)

Postby Guest » 07/14/07 06:16 AM

Good luck w/ the show. Sounds like you have some of that originality after all! I'm sure it will be awesome.

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