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Craig Logan

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Reply with quote  #1 
Just figured I'd mention there's a free ebook Vanishing Inc put out awhile ago on theory, presentation, character, and all that good stuff.  Check it out, it's packed full of great stuff. Here's the link: https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic-downloads/ebooks/magic-in-mind/ . Hope you guys get as much out of it as I did. 

-Craig

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MatthewOlsen

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Reply with quote  #2 
I downloaded it when they first came out with it and it was a very valuable collection of essays on theory.  I didn't necessarily agree with all of them but then again there are tons of different viewpoints on what makes good magic. 
I recommend any who are interested in theory to download and read this book.
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Craig Logan

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Reply with quote  #3 
I like the fact that I don't necessarily agree with everything. You're right that there are "tons of viewpoints" and knowing them will help us understand where we fit into in regards to our approach. 
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #4 
I hate it when I don't agree with things! I like to agree with what I read or better still devour it for my own use if it is something I don't know. The trouble with these "tons of viewpoints" point of view is that is generally a sign that the author has no idea what he is talking about! Still, I shall look at this theory download and hopefully won't agree with a word of it. It does save a lot of confusion that way. Alas the trouble with theory is that it is merely theory.....................
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #5 

Oh dear! Now I KNOW I won't like the book. I have just seen who some of the contributors are! I am far too tactful to name names but many of them have no idea what they are talking about. Quite frankly with regard to theory  close up magic is concerned all you have to read is the presentation section in Expert Card Technique particularly the part where they explain that you have to sell YOURSELF rather than the trick. A good magician does not present magic. He presents HIMSELF doing magic. YOU are the magic not the tricks. If you have the personality of a dial tone  you may as well give up. But you can go to the other extreme too and be overloud, talk too much and over present your work. The dial tone style is no good but neither is the screaming lunatic  or jabber, jabber, jabber style. You need the happy medium style.

Ah, but the word "medium" has just reminded me of something. In my capacity as a psychic reverend and holy man of the cloth I will be out of town for a few days to attend to my congregation at a psychic fair so you can have a rest from my irritating opinions for a little while.

 

 

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magicfish

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark lewis
I hate it when I don't agree with things! I like to agree with what I read or better still devour it for my own use if it is something I don't know. The trouble with these "tons of viewpoints" point of view is that is generally a sign that the author has no idea what he is talking about! Still, I shall look at this theory download and hopefully won't agree with a word of it. It does save a lot of confusion that way. Alas the trouble with theory is that it is merely theory.....................

You're a braver man than I.
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #7 

Quote:
Originally Posted by magicfish
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark lewis
I hate it when I don't agree with things! I like to agree with what I read or better still devour it for my own use if it is something I don't know. The trouble with these "tons of viewpoints" point of view is that is generally a sign that the author has no idea what he is talking about! Still, I shall look at this theory download and hopefully won't agree with a word of it. It does save a lot of confusion that way. Alas the trouble with theory is that it is merely theory.....................
You're a braver man than I.

I am not entirely sure what you mean. 

Anyway, I have had a cursory look at it and as I suspected a lot of it is utter tosh and you can tell that some of the contributors don't perform much in the real world. Or if they do they are doing everything wrong. Still, I must not jump to premature conclusions. I will at least read it more thoroughly before saying it is a lot of rot. I just saw too many big words and I am afraid it quite unsettled me. Big words usually mean intellectual theorizing  and too much intellectual waffle usually mean untested theories. Still, I will try to be fair, so I will read it properly before I say that it is worth the price I paid for it.

Besides it is one of those horrible e-books that you are supposed to read on a computer. I consider that to be against the laws of nature.

You will have to excuse me. When you lie, cheat and steal for a living it does make you somewhat cynical.

 

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ArchGoodwin

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Reply with quote  #8 
So I haven't grabbed this book yet, but I see it has contributions by Burger, Swiss, Maven, Carney, Harris, Ascanio, Aronson, Sharpe., Ortiz, Tamariz, Teller, Giobbi and more.... so... maybe you just skip the guys you don't like?
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #9 
I downloaded the book when it came out and personally found it to be fantastic (although that could be just because I am relatively new).  It was essentially my first exposure to magic theory, and gave me a good deal to think about when it comes to performance.  Even when I don't agree with what is being said, the best way to generate discussion is with disagreement.  I found myself more clearly articulating why I thought elements of my performance were good or bad, and identifying those elements in various aspects of it.

There was practical stuff in there too, such as methods on how to better misdirect, and how to tailor performances for different audiences.  It was also my first exposure to the Goshman quote about how amateur magicians perform different tricks to the same audience, while professionals perform the same tricks to different audiences.  That was something that I sort of knew, yet never really thought about until that moment.  For me, someone who at that point had been doing magic less a year (probably closer to 8 months), to be taught that lesson so early is invaluable.  Without it I might have spent the next 2 or three years just chasing books and buying tricks (not that I don't still do that, while it might be more practical to only work on old material, I think part of the appeal of magic is discovering new and mystifying things).

Since then, my wish list has been filled more with books on showmanship than books on tricks (unfortunately I went over budget this year, so I won't be able to pick them up anytime soon, but hopefully will be able to make an order for 'Strong Magic' before the end of the year!).  I don't know how helpful this stuff is for a working pro, and it's said in the very first essay (I think) that theory is no substitute for practice.  I'm guessing once you've really sussed everything out about your performance and your showmanship there isn't really much else to think about and theorize on, but I'm personally not even close to that point and I'm not sure I ever will be.  I've had this book printed out and bound, and I must have read it cover to cover at least 3 times.  I still go back and pick out essays just to refresh my memory!
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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #10 
I did download it when first offered and the gift of the book was a nice gesture. I still haven't read it yet. But I will eventually. Anything that makes you think about your magic is good, even if sometimes you're thinking about why you disagree with what you read. I remember in the book Eddie Dawes wrote on Stanley Collins that Collins had a few choice remarks for the theorists of the period and talked about the 'average' audience most professionals had to work for.  Having said that, there are quite a few names attached to the book I respect.
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Craig Logan

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Reply with quote  #11 
I want to be a sponge, soaking up as much as I can. I don't agree with everything, but that's okay. Having your ideas challenged is a great way to solidify what you believe.

For me, the greatest takeaway was the correspondence between Brian Brushwood and Teller. Learning to use lots of places outside of magic to draw inspiration from has proven beneficial. I better understand who I want to be on stage and what effects/presentations fit me best. 

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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #12 
Thanks for mentioning this. A free book with insight from some incredible magician's is a very generous gift to the magic community.

I'm looking forward to reading it...

Thanks again!

Rudy

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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchGoodwin
So I haven't grabbed this book yet, but I see it has contributions by Burger, Swiss, Maven, Carney, Harris, Ascanio, Aronson, Sharpe., Ortiz, Tamariz, Teller, Giobbi and more.... so... maybe you just skip the guys you don't like?


Exactly [smile]

Welcome to the Magician's Forum, ArchGoodwin!

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Claudio

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Reply with quote  #14 

I downloaded the eBook a year or so ago. I've read most of it and I think most essays are interesting in their own right and touch on various aspects of magic "theory". Some past masters and contemporary great thinkers/performers share their thoughts on magic, mostly essays culled from various publications.

IMHO, I would not take any of this as gospel though.  The essays are not so much theories from a rigorous epistemological standpoint as they have no predictive aspect that one can falsify, but rather sets of belief held by the authors and reflecting their own experience. There‚Äôs nothing wrong with that of course, and the pieces are very enjoyable and informative.

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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #15 
I had another look at the book. I just can't get into it somehow. Perhaps because it is in e-book format and I can't concentrate on it properly. And alas I think what may well be biasing me against it is that I have seen some of the contributors perform and have not been terribly impressed. I won't mention names of course. I still say the best advice on theory is the presentation section of Expert Card Technique. That is my bible where presentation of close up magic and to a degree stand up work is concerned. And while I am at it I might as well tell you where the greatest theory regarding kid show entertainment is to be found. It is the opening chapter of a very old British book called Open Sesame.
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