A question to pros about magic theory books

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.
Glenn Bishop
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Glenn Bishop » April 2nd, 2008, 3:30 pm

JimChristianson wrote:Glenn...How wonderful for you! You had what must be one of the very last old-style magic apprenticeships we are likely to see.

Thanks for the kind words Jim. Yes - I miss those old times - more than I can say.

Getting back to one more thing that comes to mind. And this is just my opinion of something that I have noticed through the years that I think has to do with magic and magic theory.

And that opinion is that often performing professional magic - or doing shows for a living is often confused with the magic business.

Performing magic as a living is part of the "entertainment business" in my opinion. Yes we do magic but we make a living selling a service to the entertainment business if we perform magic shows for a living.

In my opinion because amateur magicians and professional magicians are both magicians. And many magicians write magic books. Not enough professional magicians I might add. That often the magic business - (That is - selling magic to magicians - and the hobby of magic - lecturing on magic - magic conventions etc.) Is often confused with magic and making a living performing magic in the "entertainment business".

In my opinion the entertainment business is a completely different market than the magic business - that is to me the partly the social side of magic - that could even be called a sub culture of magicians.

Having said that I think that with all the books that are published in magic. I think that is where the student of magic can often get confused. Because magicians write books and often in life - opinions conflict. Doing magic as a hobby when ever the magician wants to do it is very different than when it is your job and the magician has to be there Friday at 7:00 PM.

There is hobby magic and there is performance magic in my opinion.

In my opinion knowing the difference and having clear goals to me was an advantage.

Just my opinion.

Glenn Bishop
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Glenn Bishop » April 2nd, 2008, 3:48 pm

This is just an opinion but step one - I might suggest - to take the time to write a clear business plan and set some clear business goals.

Just my opinion.

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Michael Kamen
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Michael Kamen » April 2nd, 2008, 4:31 pm

Magic theory
Business plans

I wonder if these are are the same subject matter. Not to diminish the importance of either in the scheme of things. Both magic craft and business have theory. Few are likely to question the importance of business theory to a business enterprise. Why does there appear to be question about the value of magic theory to the enterprise of magic craft? Or, is magic craft irrelevant once one enters "the magic business?"

This is certainly not the case with business theory, when one enters <any business you care to name>. Or is it?
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JimChristianson
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby JimChristianson » April 3rd, 2008, 1:09 am

Why does there appear to be question about the value of magic theory >>>>

Ever read Fitzkee?

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Geoffrey Durham » April 3rd, 2008, 4:49 am

Surely, it's not theory that we want, is it? It's an understanding of good practice we really need.

That's why Gus Rapp will always be of use to magicians whatever their chosen field, and why Henning Nelms remains sterile and unhelpful. Any book that theorises about performance must by definition be valueless.

In my experience, what magicians most need when they start out is help with holding their nerve. That, fundamentally, is why stage magic will always throw up more difficulties to newcomers than close-up magic. And it's also the reason for the need to learn how to relax while you're performing.

Any book that starts with the word "showmanship" presents a danger, because it's putting the stages of the rehearsal/performance process in the wrong order. At least, that's how it appears to me.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby David Alexander » April 3rd, 2008, 11:35 pm

Geoffrey was extremely generous in writing his book and putting to paper much good advice. In relation to its true value, it is quite inexpensive.

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Cugel
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Cugel » April 4th, 2008, 7:10 am

David Alexander wrote:Geoffrey was extremely generous in writing his book and putting to paper much good advice. In relation to its true value, it is quite inexpensive.


Yes! Agreed.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Glenn Bishop » April 4th, 2008, 10:19 am

I wrote this up in my blogs several times. It is my opinion of part of what it takes to become a successful performing magician. And perhaps become a professional magician that is making a living off performing magic shows for the lay audience.

To me there is a difference in doing magic as a hobby for fun - and doing magic for a living and selling it as a service in the entertainment world that is part of SHOW BUSINESS!

It has been often said in magic books the secret of how to become a success in magic is to- Practice, Practice, Practice.

This is the way I look at it - Practice Practice And build up a Practice!

1, PRACTICE - Writing, Scripting and practice the magic routines over and over again when they learn it and then add it to their show. This would be the scripting and the rehearsing part as they learn magic tricks and learn to structure a magic routine - for close up or stage magic.

2, PRACTICE - The magic routine in front of people as they perform the routine in a live show. As a magic show, there is a beginning a middle and an end. And the magic show should build to a climax or a final.

This is a very important and often missed form of practice. Because as they perform the routine over and over again in front of people they will learn new bits of business and lines and how to make the magic effect more entertaining.

This is the re-scripting part where the magician should make changes and edit the show based on the reaction of the audience. Keeping in the strongest magic routines and bits of business as they perform magic - over and over again over time. And taking out the items that dont work.

During this time of editing new bits of business can be added because through the performance in front of the live audience. New bits, gags, jokes will be thought of by the performer as they perform and also said by members of the audience. But also over time the magic, the act, the technique and the magician get better and improve as the act gets honed and sharpened with a professional edge.

The magician will also learn what kind of magic and magic technique will work in the real world of performing magic - in the non theater style venues and real life performing situations - in todays modern show business world.

And they will learn about what magic tricks and magic technique that doesn't work for them while performing and editing their show - in front of real audiences over time.

In my opinion the magic, show, technique and the magician must meet the demands of the market, and the demands of the business.

(This part is not in my blog - remember what I wrote above about Charles Chaplin and how he filmed the same movie and added bits and changed things and re-filmed the same movie and added to it over and over again? In my opinion this was his way of re-scripting and editing his movie until he was able to re-write, re-script it to become a masterpiece of entertainment).

3, BUILD UP A PRACTICE - Now that the magician has an audience tested act that will meet the demands of most of the clients by pleasing and entertaining the audience. They add to their business knowledge and build up a practice. Like a Doctor or a Lawyer using Direct mail, advertising and other promotional ideas.

And they build a Practice of satisfied clients. Then perhaps as a business man they can make money (and maybe a living) off this wonderful art that is sold as a service to the entertainment market as part of show business!

Practice - Practice - Build Up A Practice!

Just my opinion.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby erlandish » April 4th, 2008, 2:40 pm

Glenn Bishop wrote:1, PRACTICE - Writing, Scripting and practice the magic routines over and over again when they learn it and then add it to their show. This would be the scripting and the rehearsing part as they learn magic tricks and learn to structure a magic routine - for close up or stage magic.


This is the thing I'm having trouble understanding. Designing Miracles is a great help for figuring out how to structure a routine, and Scripting Magic is a great book for learning about, well, scripting your routine.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby David Alexander » April 4th, 2008, 6:43 pm

Glenn gives the game away. Great advice all the way around.

Erlandish,

Don't expect to start with "the best," (something that amateurs are forever hunting).

Before you appear before the public you have your performing persona well-established in your mind to the point that you remain "in character" for the length of your presentation without fading in and out.

Further, you have the physical aspects of the presentation well-established in your muscle memory so you don't have to think about what you're going to do and how and when you're going to do it.

You have the presentation well-scripted so you don't have to worry about what you're going to say and when you're going to say it.

You have everything blocked out so that all your movements are efficient and you don't have to wonder where something is.

You should be at ease with your props. They should be familiar in your hands and comfortable there.

Once you have all that done, you're ready to try out the presentation so you can learn and refine the timing. That, in many ways, is the hard part. This requires dozens of shows with the performer willing to adjust the presentation and timing as needed. Bits you may be in love with, but are not successful, must be excised.

A well-presented magic effect is not something that happens by accident. It is the result of the performer paying attention to a hundred-plus details. You must know yourself, your material, and your audience if you are going to be a successful entertainer in front of a paying public. Unfortunately, too few want to take the time or effort, so we end up with the mass of crap you see on YouTube.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Cugel » April 4th, 2008, 7:29 pm

David Alexander - I suspect the point Erlandish was making in his last post was an ironic one.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby erlandish » April 4th, 2008, 8:04 pm

David, I'm not quite sure what you're getting at in the rest of the post, so I'm going to focus in on this bit.

David Alexander wrote:Unfortunately, too few want to take the time or effort, so we end up with the mass of crap you see on YouTube.


Here's the funny thing. I don't believe that the junk we see on Youtube is a result of people who've tried taking shortcuts by studying magic theory. Frankly, I think a lot of that comes by people winging their performances or doing poor copies of other people's performances.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby David Alexander » April 5th, 2008, 12:54 am

I never suggested that those who crap themselves on YouTube tried shortcuts by studying magic theory. I thought I was rather direct in that they did not follow the protocol I laid out.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby erlandish » April 5th, 2008, 3:21 am

I must have misunderstood. Your posts thus far have been fairly critical of magic theory texts, and your development plan didn't include any of them, and in turn was critical of those whom you believe don't follow your plan. Since the discussion is about theory texts, and since you were responding to my question to Glenn about theory texts, I thought you might be making a corelation.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Cugel » April 5th, 2008, 5:36 am

erlandish wrote:
David Alexander wrote:Too often, books on theory are written by people who have little to no stage experience and are writing about how it should be, rather than how it is.


Would you be able to comment on which books of the above list, or other popular magic theory books, were written by the sort of author you described?


I'm still keen to see David Alexander's answer to this question, which you have asked on two occasions. I'm not sure who he could be talking about. Weber, perhaps?

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Glenn Bishop » April 5th, 2008, 8:53 am

erlandish wrote:I must have misunderstood. Your posts thus far have been fairly critical of magic theory texts, and your development plan didn't include any of them,


Yes, most of them were not written at the time I started magic.

However, when I asked people like Don Alan, Jack Pyle, My Dad and many other magicians that did magic as a living. How to become a professional magician? Not one of them said - read books on magic theory.

I would like to add - had any of them wrote a book on magic theory or any kind of magic I would have purchased a copy and read it.

Most of them said - "Find the magic I like to do - put together an act that will please an audience - and then get out there and get as much stage time performing magic as I could. And to never turn down an opportunity to perform magic for an audience."

Why?

What they were telling me - the more a magician performs for an audience - and at the same time "does the homework" to improve each time they perform for an audience - they will get better!

If magicians enjoy the "activity" of reading magic books on theory - I have no problem with that - go on and do so. Enjoy magic as a hobby.

However doing a magic show in front of a real live paying audience - that in my opinion is an accomplishment.

I find many amateur magicians often confuse doing magic as an "activity" with the "accomplishment" of "doing magic" as a "performance art" in front of a live paying audience.

I would also like to add something that Don Alan said to me - "Glenn (he said) a lot of young amateur magicians ask how they could become a professional magician? - Or they tell me that they "want" to become a magician - and they are sort of looking for the way - but if you really "need" to become a magician - you will find your way"!

I guess I "needed" to become a professional performing magician like I need air to live.

As a business man that makes a living off performing magic shows for the lay audience - In my opinion the show must meet the needs and the demands of the client and the demands of the business.

I have worked hard for years to get an act that will please most audiences (the lay audience not the magicians audience). I have an act - several acts - close up - stage - comedy hypnotism that meet the demands of the business.

And yet I continue to work on it - do my homework and try to improve and get better!

It's not easy - but as I said - the rewards can be great if the magician is "strong enough".

Just my opinion!

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby David Alexander » April 5th, 2008, 11:07 am

As with Glenn, most of those books were not written when I started in magic. My education in magic came from mentors and a long apprenticeship, not from reading books on theory.

I've written elsewhere that theory is a topic that amateurs endlessly debate and professionals generally ignore and get on with their performing careers. Glenn observed that reading books on magic theory is a good hobby. Well said.

The few theory books I've read either validated what I already knew or said things that were contrary to my education and performing experience. The latter books were usually written by someone who had a far different performing experience than I did, perhaps far less.

I written here from my own education, experience and analysis. I'm not going to take the massive amounts of time necessary to comment on each of the books listed. I'm not interested, as some seem to be, in stirring up controversy which results in an endless non-productive argument, often with people who don't know what they're talking about...and I might add, anonymous individuals about whom we know nothing.

Frankly, the professionals who have posted here have given massive amounts of information on working as a successful magician, if that's your goal. You would be far better off applying what's been posted here than trying to find the "magic bullet" theory of magic. There is NO substitution for experience, hard work, and constant analysis of your performance. If you're extremely lucky, you'll find a mentor who knows what he's talking about.

Go and do hundreds of shows for paying audiences and you'll be closer to understanding what I'm talking about.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby erlandish » April 5th, 2008, 12:32 pm

If there is any question about who I am because I'm posting under a pseudonym, I might as well fix that. My name is Andrew Musgrave, I'm currently an amateur getting ready to go pro full-time, although I do have some professional experience under my belt, in the form of more than about 250 shows in Korea. I was not paid directly for these shows -- rather, I was employed by a resort that handled the payment in general, and it was my responsibility to keep the magic shows at a high level in order to add value to the resort as a whole. I understand that this might not qualify me as it might others for giving advice, which is why I've been keeping my judgments to myself.

My main reason for pursuing this debate is that, in my experience, reading some theory books would have helped me during that time as a pro -- in particular Seriously Silly (as I mentioned previously). None of the tricks explained in the book were of much interest, instead I would have benefited greatly from understanding the psychology of the audience I was performing for, and how to embrace their desire to bust me rather than run away from it. Had I never read the book, and I'd gotten a similar gig elsewhere, I might have continued my stunted development. Again, I wrote in more detail about this earlier -- I just wanted to include it as an example of how reading a book of this type would have improved my professional development.

One attitude being displayed here that I have to question is that somehow pursuing magic theory is being done at the expense of gaining performing experience. I've never understood this attitude. With few exceptions (none that I can name off the top of my head, in fact) every single person I've talked to who is passionate about magic theory is studying it IN TANDEM to performing magic, rather than in lieu of it. It's obvious that the proof is in the pudding. The question is whether or not you read a few good cookbooks beforehand, instead of sticking to a single recipe you've come up with on your own.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby erlandish » April 5th, 2008, 12:35 pm

And David, one other thing... while I understand that it might be stirring controversy, I really wish you would qualify your comment about magic theory being written too often by amateurs. A generalized statement like that taints the entirety of theory out there, and I believe it would be responsible of you to clarify which books fall into this trap.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » April 5th, 2008, 12:36 pm

There is a thing called TACIT KNOWLEDGE.

The analogy here would be learning to ride a bicycle. If you were to write a manual on everything that physically happens when you ride a bicycle (two-wheeler) and how you must then apply this information, the book would be as thick as some of those ponderous computer manuals.

Much of learning magic PERFORMANCE is even more complex and writers may be able to "unpack" the theoretical parts and write about it, but what is written (no matter how detailed and eloquent) will never (As David Alexander and others have clearly stated) provide you with the kind of unsentimental, starkly empirical knowledge (which is largely TACIT)that doing 5000 shows will provide.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby David Alexander » April 5th, 2008, 2:07 pm

Andrew, thank you for the clarification as to who you are and what your motivation is for asking your questions.

I have not read Seriously Silly but I have great respect for David Kaye. He knows his stuff and is quite successful in his chosen area of performing. Were I desirous of specializing in children's shows I would buy David's book in a heart beat as I know it contains much good advice. Some of it might be applicable to other areas of performing. As I said, I have not read his book and as a consequence do not know how much David gives away, but as I have found him an honest guy in our two short meetings, I think he would be forthright in what he says as it would come from his extensive experience.

Durhams book would be valuable had he not included a single trick. His advice is spot on, gained the hard way.

Something else to consider: there is a huge difference in performing magic as a variety act in a review; as a featured act with audience interaction; as a performer who must carry the entire show; working corporate shows; working country clubs; working hotel ballrooms; or working intimate parties in private homes. Each has its own requirements and limitations. Since I've done them all at one time or another, I understand the things that each requires. Some who've written books on theory have performing experience that is not necessarily that wide ranging. Their experience might be limited to one small area of performing and they think that what they know applies across the board. Too often, it doesnt.

Again, it takes experience and understanding to be able to spot the difference. That understanding is earned.

Another subject too often lightly touched upon if at all is what I call "Adaptation on the Fly." Added to the wide range of performing venues and their individual requirements is the fact that all audiences vary. The experienced performer must be able to tailor his act to the audience that is in front of him at the moment. That means small adjustments in timing that can come only from experience. No book can ever teach that. See Jons highly insightful post above for the details.

You say you're about to turn pro. I wish you well in that endeavor, but you don't detail what your proposed market is or where. Knowing those details would help a great deal in the advice that I and others might give you.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby JimChristianson » April 5th, 2008, 2:48 pm

I would point out that Seriously Silly isn't a book of theory. It's a book of practical application gleaned from countless shows.

Andrew, congrats on your decision to turn pro! Best of luck to you!

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Cugel » April 5th, 2008, 6:54 pm

That's right, Jim. Most of what magicians call theory is craft or advice: The Weber book, Ortiz's Strong Magic, the Michael Bailey book on tradeshows, Burger's books (which are mostly inspirational but also craft related and with some theory-lite).

There are very few theory books or texts in magic: Ascanio, Tamariz, Ortiz are some I can think of. One or two others maybe.

There are other books that are trick method or craft-related but have some pieces focussed on theory or in which a serious study and thought will draw out the thinking of the subject/author. The Roy Benson book is a stellar example of this sort of work.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby erlandish » April 5th, 2008, 7:50 pm

JimChristianson wrote:I would point out that Seriously Silly isn't a book of theory. It's a book of practical application gleaned from countless shows.


I'm not sure I totally agree. He discusses principles that can be applied to many different sorts of routines other than the ones described -- for instance, his breakdown of the different elements of comedy. This is what I consider to be the essence of the benefits of studying magic theory -- the identification of concepts that are in play in one scenario and being able to successfully determine where else they can and cannot apply.

For the most part, as Cugel mentions, most of what we call magic theory actually has a heavy practical focus, and reads more like advice than an academic study. I've probably muddied the waters by including those works in the same breath as others that are much more cerebral.

Andrew, congrats on your decision to turn pro! Best of luck to you!


Thanks, much appreciated.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Glenn Bishop » April 6th, 2008, 12:38 pm

David Alexander wrote:Again, it takes experience and understanding to be able to spot the difference. That understanding is earned.

Another subject too often lightly touched upon if at all is what I call "Adaptation on the Fly."

I would like to say that I agree with everything that David has posted here. I would like to add an opinion to two of the points he made - perhaps - performing on the fly.

And that is when doing a show one of the most important things is the "timing". There is a timing that has to be learned and in my opinion can only be learned through experience when doing magic.

The timing of the magic technique or the slight. Moves like the side steal - top change there is a timing involved in the misdirection and this can only be learned by doing it for people.

In my opinion it is just as important to know when to do the move as it is how to do the move. And how to create the moment - the time of when to do the move. Because an experienced magician knows that he can use a gag - and a laugh - to cover a steal - or a move and they will get away with it.

There is also a timing involved in comedy and humor. My Dad used to use silence and the audience reaction of the helper - he was a master of timing and timing comedy - humor.

In my opinion this kind of thing can be written about in books and talked about and argued about. And perhaps even learned by reading - but in order to "use" it - in a way each performer must work out the "timing" of moves - comedy - humor in front of different audiences at many - many shows over time.

As they do the act gets honed with a professional edge.

The "Performance art" of magic is a lot like sports in a way that it can be written about and practiced - but the real game or the "acid test" of how good they are is played on the playing field - or "performed" while the magician is doing a live performance in front of a real audience.

Just my opinion.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Ian Kendall » April 6th, 2008, 1:47 pm

'Adaptation on the fly' is another way of saying 'correlation' - the ability to take what you know and apply it to different situations.

Take care, Ian

P.S. Apologies if this had been said before (apart from by me). I've not read the last seven pages or so.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Bill Duncan » April 6th, 2008, 2:41 pm

David Alexander wrote:Before you appear before the public you have your performing persona well-established in your mind to the point that you remain "in character" for the length of your presentation without fading in and out.

Further, you have the physical aspects of the presentation well-established in your muscle memory so you don't have to think about what you're going to do and how and when you're going to do it.

You have the presentation well-scripted so you don't have to worry about what you're going to say and when you're going to say it.

You have everything blocked out so that all your movements are efficient and you don't have to wonder where something is.

You should be at ease with your props. They should be familiar in your hands and comfortable there.

Once you have all that done, you're ready to try out the presentation so you can learn and refine the timing. That, in many ways, is the hard part. This requires dozens of shows with the performer willing to adjust the presentation and timing as needed. Bits you may be in love with, but are not successful, must be excised.

A well-presented magic effect is not something that happens by accident. It is the result of the performer paying attention to a hundred-plus details. You must know yourself, your material, and your audience if you are going to be a successful entertainer in front of a paying public.

... or for NON-Paying audiences for that matter. Success in performance doesn't require cash back.

I don't usually quote entire passages but what David Alexander wrote above is golden and should be heeded.

Oddly enough, I had read all this before in the theory books mentioned at the begining of the thread.

Funny that...

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby David Alexander » April 6th, 2008, 6:16 pm

Thank you, Bill.

Of course, other than Fitzkee and Devant, practically all those books were written well-after I was through my apprenticeship with Frakson and was a working pro.

While what Glenn and I and a few others have mentioned is the essence of what you can glean from some of those books, the problem I had with a few of the ones I've read is that they would occasionally lay down rules that I knew to be wrong...or certainly wrong in my experience. Perhaps not in the writer's, but certainly in mine. They may have been working in more restrictive venues or, and this is more likely the case, they have a different performing persona which they thought limited them. I would have, perhaps, appreciated their advice a bit more had it been better or more precisely qualified.

What I've written comes out of my education from Frakson and others as well as my own long performing experience in the types of venues that I've worked. Certainly, that's how I present what I suggest, and hope that it is how it is read.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Michael Kamen » April 6th, 2008, 6:35 pm

David,

This sounds like a worthy example of experts not always agreeing. Surely any education may include a variety of such sources. The pupil may learn by resolving apparent contradictions through their own experience. So few have the good fortune to be apprenticed to a Frakson, or a Billy Bishop.
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Cugel » April 6th, 2008, 8:30 pm

I don't get it. If many theory books - though differing in some areas of opinion - mirror in detail so much of what David Alexander would proffer as performance advice in thumbnail comments: then where's the problem with students using these books to aid their own experiential learning?

"I would have, perhaps, appreciated their advice a bit more had it been better or more precisely qualified."

It could equally be said that we could appreciate your opinions on these theory books if it could be more precisely qualified. In other words, which theory books do you find at fault and for what reason?

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Glenn Bishop » April 6th, 2008, 8:34 pm

Michael Kamen wrote: So few have the good fortune to be apprenticed to a Frakson, or a Billy Bishop.

Thanks for the kind words Michael - I don't know about David's friendship or apprenticeship with Frakson. However I never had an apprentice - mentor relationship with my Father or any of his friends.

Perhaps the exception was Buddy Farnan and the years at Old Chicago when I was working for the magic shop and Buddy was the GM and he used to spend a lot of time in the magic shop - showing me stuff.

Buddy showed me the turn over pass - Tenki palm - Tenki color change and lots of other things. Buddy was the magician that got me into the more advanced methods of card magic and close up magic.

This was about 1973 or 74 just before I met Jimmy Cards Molinari, Jim Ryan and Bill Malone.

I learned by watching and asking the right questions at the right time. Growing up around it - a lot of it rubbed off. I have to say that by watching my dad and my mom do the same tricks at different shows several thousand times - over years and years - I learned a lot.

By the way my Mom is more responsible for the magician and the entertainer that I have become today. More than any other person. It is odd that because my Dad was the magician he gets the credit!

Just my opinion.

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Cugel
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Cugel » April 6th, 2008, 9:34 pm

Does it always have to get back to Glenn Bishop?

David Alexander
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby David Alexander » April 6th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Cujel,

Whoever you are...as I've previously explained, and most others seem to understand, I have neither the time nor the interest in commenting on specific authors and books. You've tried pulling me into doing that before and I didn't take the bait. With this post you're beginning to sound like a troll, rather than someone like Andrew who has a sincere interest in learning.

Finally, your snotty comment about Glenn Bishop also shows that you belong with the children on the Magic Cafe, rather than here with the adults. Glenn has generously given an enormous amount solid advice about being a successful working pro. If you actually wanted to learn something, you'd be asking intelligent questions instead of demonstrating why you don't belong here.

You should apologize to Glenn and then shut up.

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Cugel
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Cugel » April 6th, 2008, 10:59 pm

I think that's a bit disingenuous of you. I don't think it's appropriate to take unsubstantiated shots at the books listed without having the courage to state which books you're referring to and why.

Why should I shut up? It's a discussion and it should reflect all sides, not just your authoritarian views.

Getting back to Glenn (again): Glenn, have you read any of the books discussed in this thread, regardless of whether they were written after you started in magic?

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Michael Kamen
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Michael Kamen » April 6th, 2008, 11:06 pm

Well, I know nothing about your relationship with your Dad of course, but being close enough to observe and ask questions, seems pretty close to an apprenticeship, whether either of you thought of it that way or not.
Glenn Bishop wrote:By the way my Mom is more responsible for the magician and the entertainer that I have become today. More than any other person. It is odd that because my Dad was the magician he gets the credit!

Here's to your Mom, Glen!
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby David Alexander » April 6th, 2008, 11:27 pm

Cudgel,

You insult Glenn and then ask for his opinion without apologizing.

You do live up to the observation that "The confidence of the amateur is the envy of the professional."

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby erlandish » April 7th, 2008, 12:02 am

In fairness to Cugel, he's no mere amateur. He's performed professionally and he's published. I don't know if he'll state who he is for the record, but from my encounters with him elsewhere I believe that he's a big fan of dealing with arguments on their own merit.

I think his observation about Glenn has to do with the fact that there are a lot of digressions off the topic at hand and into Glenn's life. In truth, I appreciate the stories that Glenn is telling, but for the most part his position on the topic of magic theory books was stated at the absolute beginning of the thread, and hasn't developed much over the course of discussion since much then. I personally saw Cugel's remark being just as much an observation on the course the discussion has taken.

My apologies if I'm speaking incorrectly on your behalf, Cugel.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Glenn Bishop » April 7th, 2008, 9:28 am

Yes - Michael I agree - Thanks very much for the kind words. Magicians don't seem to notice how much my Mom was part of that act. And how much my Mom knew about show business. Many people today don't seem to notice that the acts of yesterday "LIVED" show business.

My Dad performed on the stages of the Palace Theater and Billy Roses Diamond Horseshoe, The Silver Cloud Room and many others. I was Reading the book called "Rat Pack" About Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. (Dad Knew them by the way) They mentioned many night clubs in the book. I said to my wife as I was reading it - Dad and Mom worked most of the night clubs mentioned in that book.

What I am trying to say here - my Mom was right there with him on the same stages and television shows. She "knows" the show business side of how to put an act together and make it go over and play well to an audience. She was a singer and a dancer long before she met my Dad and had quite a lot of her own show business success.

erlandish - Well I thought I was on topic because the topic was about theory books and if they are a part of the education of some of the professional magician of today.

And being a professional magician of today - I have tired to answer your question and the answer is "NO" not in my own personal education in magic - and then give the reason of why?

This of course resulted in some "story" about my education in show business and some of the people that I have met. Who did not "read" magic Theory - they "lived" magic and "show business". My opinion is that magicians can read about it or "LIVE IT".

Amateurs don't seem to see the difference in reading about magic and practicing magic and "LIVIVG MAGIC" and LIVING SHOW BUSINESS. In my opinion it is not as much a choice of a job - it is more of a choice of a lifestyle.

David Alexander - Thanks for the kind words and support!

Cugel - Over the 15 years on and off I was involved in my Dads magic shop - I not only read many of the books mentioned but sold some of them.

However - I will not answer my opinion as to if I think they are useful to the working pro today or not - because I can only speak for myself - and if you read what I have posted - I have answered that question. When I posted - "It wouldn't hurt".

Also in my opinion - insulting and arguing or being rude with a pro- magician is not a good way to get ahead or learn magic. Had I been as rude as some of the people (note I dont say magicians) have been to me over the last few years - to the old school magicians that I had met - while growing up. They would have never shown me a thing.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons why many - hide behind screen names.

......................

I would also like to add that I dont think that many magicians today measure what a professional magician is today the way I do. I remember asking several professional magicians what they considered What a professional magician was or Or what makes a professional magician?

Buddy Farnan answered the question by saying, If he can get out of what he gets himself into. I think that there is a lot of wisdom to that answer.

My Dad used to say, "The difference between a professional magician and an amateur was about 200 shows." - also a lot of wisdom.

I asked a few others - And they answered something like this - "It takes at least ten years of doing shows professionally and then about ten more years of doing shows professionally - to make a professional magician."

"That is about ten years of learning how to do magic as a professional and a performance art - in the real world venues -and about ten more years to get established - build up the business - so to speak."

Thinking about it - I thought - many magicians drop out during the first five years and talk about the success they had. Many magicians dont ever quite get going.

This is the scale I go by - and going by this scale I have been a professional magician for a little more than about ten years.

Just my opinion.

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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby Michael Kamen » April 7th, 2008, 6:24 pm

Clearly, Glen's approach to magic theory is very personal. He can hardly discuss it without reference to his own life and experience. This may be annoying to some who see theory and biography as belonging to 2 separate categories. That is also my first impulse. But as David and others have pointed out here, the biographies of successful people in any field, are also a source of some of the best theory.

Cugel wrote:Does it always have to get back to Glenn Bishop?


I have read and re-read Cugels' remark and I have to admit I cannot see why it should be thought offensive. I think it is a valid response to Glen's approach -- a response that might change, as it did for me, or might not.

David Alexander, someone I usually agree with, had a rather harsh response to the comment, a response more typical of someone trying to dismiss Cugel's point of view by changing the subject and having a go at the messenger. For David Alexander, that kind of tactic seems quite unnecessary. So I am disinclined to think that about David Alexmander. David may have merely read more into Cugel's remark then I think was warranted. I feel certain there was no offence intended by Cugel.

Glen Bishop has proven he can materialize and de-materialize at will. He is a thick-skinned guy, and I would be very surprised if he even gave Cugel's remark a second thought. As Glen would say, just my opinion.
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Re: A question to pros about magic theory books

Postby David Alexander » April 7th, 2008, 6:40 pm

I read the remark as a snotty response to a sincere effort by Glenn to help a wannabe pro. I too have read it several times and don't read it any other way. Further to that, Cugel did not take the opportunity to clarify or explain the context of his remark when he could have.

Andrew has not bothered to clarify his position on what sort of business he wants to do so we can further refine our advice to him. He also states that Cugel is a professional magician. Perhaps we have a different definition of "professional," but since Cugel is anonymous, he can claim to be anything he wants.

Glenn has been more than generous on this thread, handing out insights it's taken him years to develop.

Cugel wants to argue. I have no interest in arguing my position for reasons already stated. Cugel may find it entertaining. I find it a bore. I have far better things to occupy my time than exchange jibes with an unknown quantity.

I think I've spent enough time on this thread.


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