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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #51 
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Originally Posted by Bill Guinee
I really like a lot of the works that have been mentioned in this query. However, in the last few days, I have read Ascanio's Structural Conception of Magic. It is absolutely mindblowing. Although some of it initially may appear too simple or simply taxonomical, Ascanio is actually presenting a complete and complex theoretical structure through which one can view and improve magic. it is totally brilliant.


Thanks for resurrecting this topic, Bill. Some great suggestions and interesting conversation.

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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #52 
An Actor Prepares by Constantin Stanislavsky
To quote my friend Antony Gerard, "It has nothing to do with magic, but it has everything to do with magic."


I also have liked Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms


Haven't read much of my Fitzkee trilogy yet, but I've heard at least one of them is good.
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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #53 
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Originally Posted by MagicTK
An Actor Prepares by Constantin Stanislavsky
To quote my friend Antony Gerard, "It has nothing to do with magic, but it has everything to do with magic."


I also have liked Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms




Please tell me what you like the most about "Magic and Showmanship."  I am currently in the middle of it and it is wearing me out. The primary contention of the book seems to be that the only real way to make magic effective is to try to sell it as an actual phenomenon, i.e. I have super-strength, or psychic powers, or an amazing memory or some such thing. And, to try to seriously sell this idea (though he does give a very brief attention to the ethical problems of this approach). I just don't know about this and certainly don't know if it would work for me. What do you guys think?
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Mbreggar

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Reply with quote  #54 
I’m in Bill’s corner. I never got all the way through the Nelms book either. Life’s too short. If Nelms is not meaningful to you move on.
That’s where I found and jumped into the Darwin Ortiz books. GREAT stuff there
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #55 
I bought and read some of it 18 years ago, so I don't remember too much of the details.  I just checked, and I only made it just over half way through "Magic and Showmanship", then moved on.  I was less experienced, but it helped me to think more about motivation and reason for doing a routine, like the Strong-Man's Secret with the string.  I also didn't really like the super-strength, or other powers, etc that Bill mentioned.  But I did like that it opened my thinking a bit more to not just perform a routine as it is described in any particular magic book.

I agree there are many other better books on magic theory, but I haven't read many of the other books suggested yet.

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Intensely Magic

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Reply with quote  #56 
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Originally Posted by Bill Guinee


Please tell me what you like the most about "Magic and Showmanship."  I am currently in the middle of it and it is wearing me out........


Like many self help books, and it is of that genre, the author manages to stretch a two page essay into 200 pages. About halfway through, many of us move on. The basic idea is solid, but David Williamson more than covers it in less than 5 minutes.

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #57 
My take-away lessons from Nelms' emphasis on trying to sell our magic as real phenomena or powers are two-fold:

1.  Magic is by definition a violation of the laws of nature.  When performing, we should at least internally be aware of what law we are supposedly breaking.  Whether we have to explicitly state it to the audience is another matter - I think that unless our audience consists of imbeciles we probably don't need to. 

2.  Conviction is important in acting, and performing magic is a specialized form of acting.  There are lots of different opinions on this, but I think that magicians undercut the effectiveness of their performances if they perform with a visible "this is all just a trick" attitude.  (Obviously some famous and successful performers do exactly this, so I guess I am wrong!)  But in my philosophy of magic performance, there has to be a moment - even just the briefest flicker of a moment - where you are selling the idea that something truly impossible is happening.  Again, I don't advocate hitting the audience over the head with it - but internally, it should be there. 
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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #58 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
My take-away lessons from Nelms' emphasis on trying to sell our magic as real phenomena or powers are two-fold:

1.  Magic is by definition a violation of the laws of nature.  When performing, we should at least internally be aware of what law we are supposedly breaking.  Whether we have to explicitly state it to the audience is another matter - I think that unless our audience consists of imbeciles we probably don't need to. 

2.  Conviction is important in acting, and performing magic is a specialized form of acting.  There are lots of different opinions on this, but I think that magicians undercut the effectiveness of their performances if they perform with a visible "this is all just a trick" attitude.  (Obviously some famous and successful performers do exactly this, so I guess I am wrong!)  But in my philosophy of magic performance, there has to be a moment - even just the briefest flicker of a moment - where you are selling the idea that something truly impossible is happening.  Again, I don't advocate hitting the audience over the head with it - but internally, it should be there. 


Thanks, Robin. I was pretty sure that I was over reading the book because it seems to be recommended by many magicians who are more versed than I am. I appreciate your clarifications and insight. Though I still feel that Nelms pushes it further than this, the take aways that you got from the book are indeed valuable.
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