when are you ready?

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

when are you ready?

Postby Guest » December 22nd, 2002, 3:59 am

How does one know when you are ready to perform a trick(s)? Even if you can do your tricks perfectly during practice, something might go wrong during the actual performance, right? I have been practicing a trick for about three weeks now and I have done it for 3 people and went well. But tonight when I did it for another person, I bombed it really bad.

So how long do you practice before you perform a new trick? And when do you know that you are ready and won't make any mistakes? I don't want to bomb it again like I did today. I have been at card tricks for about three months now. Please help with some constructive help. Thanks.


Re: when are you ready?

Postby Guest » December 22nd, 2002, 10:25 am

I have been taught to always have an out. By this I mean to practice, and when something goes wrong, try to work through it. When you're ready, you should be able to get through anything (almost) that can go wrong.
I personally practice it to where I can do it flawlessly about 50 (though some more difficult things I do about 500 times) times. By combining these 2, I seem to be able to work things out.

Bill Duncan
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Joined: March 13th, 2008, 11:33 pm

Re: when are you ready?

Postby Bill Duncan » December 22nd, 2002, 2:03 pm

As a general rule spend one hundred minutes of practice for every minute of performance. Spend another one hundred minutes thinking about the trick itself.

Think about why you like the trick and why someone would devote their personal time watching you perform it. Until you can answer both those questions don't perform it.

That means for a three minute routine you need to devote at least ten hours (600 minutes) of serious time to the trick before showing it to anyone.

Of course that's just my opinion. I could be wrong...

Jeff Haas
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Location: San Mateo, CA

Re: when are you ready?

Postby Jeff Haas » December 23rd, 2002, 12:51 am

My experience is that, the first time you do a new trick, something will go completely wrong that you didn't anticipate.

Then you fix the presentation so the problem won't happen again.

Sometimes you get lucky, and a new trick is similar enough to ones you already do that your experience helps you get over the bumps, and you never screw it up the way you do other stuff.

But remember that you will get burned on every trick you do, someday, by someone. Especially in closeup magic. Take these experiences and learn from them; there's no substitute for that kind of experience.


P.S. Remember, it's only a card trick!


Re: when are you ready?

Postby Guest » December 23rd, 2002, 4:07 am

No matter how well prepared you are, you will find that performing it for an audience will yet be a different experience than performing it in front of a mirror. Granted you should know the routine inside and out but there comes a time when you ought to test it out on real people.


Re: when are you ready?

Postby Guest » December 23rd, 2002, 4:27 pm

My attitude is not to let the trick out for public air until you're thoroughly satisfied that you can do it to the point where you, as a member of the public, would be both amazed and entertained by someone else doing it at your level of expertise.

So be highly critical of yourself....because your audience will do the same. If you're flashing, work and work again to cover it. If your handling is not as smooth as you know it should/could be...make it better.

Notice I didn't say "perfect." If you wait until it's perfect , you'll never do anything.


Pete McCabe
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Re: when are you ready?

Postby Pete McCabe » December 23rd, 2002, 5:49 pm

First, learn the physical mechanics until you can pick up the prop(s) and do it ten times in a row without fail (and without warming up).

Then, write (and edit, rewrite, etc.) a script so interesting/compelling/humorous/entertaining/whatever that other people enjoy reading it.

Then rehearse the trick so completely that you can perform the trick perfectly while only concentrating on performing the script (i.e. with no attention to the moves or the coordination of moves with script). BTW rehearsing means performing the trick exactly as you would for a live audience, except they are not there. If you don't actually say your words out loud, for example, then you are practicing and not rehearsing.

Then try it out on the public.

This is if you want to give a professional-quality performance. Thank god I'm just an amateur!


Re: when are you ready?

Postby Guest » January 4th, 2003, 6:28 pm

What great responces !!! I personally think that you shouldn't be to hard on your self when you bomb a trick/effect. There is life after a trick gone wrong !!! There would be no magicians working right now if they all packed it in after they bombed a trick. If you can't deal with failure, then you need to get out of magic. Failure is part of learning. Its not always going to go right. In fact sometimes its going to go wrong and wrong BIG TIME !!! Do enough magic and you'll know what I'm talking about. Pick it up; suck it up; and move on. I always tell myself that next time I'll be better. Always a next time!!! Learn from it.


Re: when are you ready?

Postby Guest » January 5th, 2003, 4:51 am

The ability to think on your feet (when something goes wrong, or when an opportunity arises) is the "real" secret in magic.
And this you get only from experience.

Old joke:
Question: "How do you get good judgment?"
Answer: "From experience."
Question: "And how do you get experience?"
Answer: "From bad judgment!"

Be prepared to fail but, even more important, be prepared to learn from those failures.
When it becomes second-nature, then you're ready.

Someone, posting on another forum, gave this difference between an amateur and a professional; the same may be applied to a hobbyist and a worker:

"An amateur practices a trick until he's got it right; a professional practices a trick until he can't get it wrong."

Rafael Benatar
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Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain

Re: when are you ready?

Postby Rafael Benatar » January 5th, 2003, 4:06 pm

Do it 50 (or 20 or whatever, but do count) times for yourself to get acquainted and to be able to do it without thinking. after those , say 50 times, stop and think, make adjustments, and ask yourself. Is it any better now? It will be. Then go for another 50 and so on. When you can do it 50 times without significant improvement it must be pretty good. This doesn't substitute the experience in front of an audience but be sure it's better than nothing and it'll give you a head start. Regarding the last line of the post above, my guitar teacher used to say it's like doing push- ups. You don't practice them until you get it right. When you get it right is when you begin to practice.


Re: when are you ready?

Postby Guest » January 30th, 2003, 2:58 pm

Well, my instructor always told me to practice until you can do the trick perfectly blindfolded. This does a couple of things. When you have it mastered to that point, you can concentrate on presentation and interacting with the audienc, and you will also, during performances, not have to think about what you are doing. I also test myself like this. When I am doing something, cleaning, doing homework,ect. I will randomly stop what i'm doing and go run through my routines, and if I can do them perfectly then, I will be almost ready to slap on the blindfold.

John LeBlanc
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Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: when are you ready?

Postby John LeBlanc » January 31st, 2003, 4:21 am

Originally posted by MagicStudent:
Well, my instructor always told me to practice until you can do the trick perfectly blindfolded.
This would take to a whole new level doing the trick Color Vision.

John LeBlanc
Houston, TX


Re: when are you ready?

Postby Guest » February 1st, 2003, 2:56 pm

Hehe, good one. Given there are exceptions, but, you get the idea (I hope).


Re: when are you ready?

Postby Guest » February 7th, 2003, 11:18 am

I see this topic alot and thought Id make a comment on it.
When your learning a effect and can do it well most think this is the end of there practice.
But what you have to relize that performing it well will also take practice.

I find learning the effect is only half of the practice you really need as the other half is perfroming.

SO when first performing something think of it as pratice when you first were learning you didnt do it great off the bat so why would you perfrom it great off the bat.

it take time to learn the speed the timing of a performace for a effect to get the maximium effect from your spectators.

This is very important in the end proccess as you may beable to do the effect like a pro by yourself but when it come time to perfrom it you may fumble.

I also suggest sure do the effect a few time for friend or family but really you only find out the true reaction to your perfromace from a stanger.

Well these are a few of my thoughts I hope this helps and my points came across well.

Michal Mystic

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