Thursday, March 24, 2011

If I were to give one bit of advice...

This is a response I gave Matlin's Magic blog asking for my turning point when learning magic and what one piece of advice I would give.

The first effect that really resonated with me was the one where you seem to rub a coin or small piece of paper into your arm. Showing it has vanished, you then produce it from your ear or elbow. The method, as I'm sure you know, is that you accidentally drop the coin and in picking it up, you simply fake putting into your other hand so it can seem to vanish.

I knew several typical card tricks up to that point, but I could tell something different was taking place here. Not only did this involve acting, but it also involved true sleight-of-hand.

This meant I had to practice a bit to get it right, but I felt so empowered knowing the reaction I was getting was because of something I did; not because they just didn't know how I had stacked the deck, or whatever.

Having to practice a little to learn that effect made me realize you can get an amazing reaction based purely on your own efforts. I decided to see what would happen if I put even more effort into something. Then I began to notice: the more effort I put into learning something, the better and more satisfying the response was.

Up until then I thought you had to be born a magician. This experience made me realize it was up to me; I could be as good as I decided I'd be; success wasn't a matter of divine intervention, luck, or whatever. It was an epiphany; It's up to me, if it is to be...

If I were to give just one tip to someone regarding magic, it would be to perform as often as possible, then reflect back on the performance to see how much data you can mine from the experience. I think you learn more from 1 live performance than you can from weeks of just thinking about it. So perform as often as possible. There's an old saying, "Everybody needs someplace to be bad." Find someplace that'll tolerate your evolution, then start to build intelligent experience.