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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #1 
Refining:  Definition (my underlining)

-remove impurities or unwanted elements from (a substance), typically as part of an industrial process.

-improve (something) by making small changes, in particular make (an idea, theory, or method) more subtle and accurate.

While reading a post on TMF and also a post on The Jerx blog, I got to thinking that we haven't necessarily talked about this topic a lot.  Many posts have to deal with how to make magic better, but not many discuss it systematically.

Magic, like golf and many other pursuits is a process where the goal is to get better and better, even knowing that perfection is likely to never be achieved.  I've played enough golf to believe that!  The fun is in practicing, tweaking and improving.  it is both process and pursuit.  

I underlined what I believe are key parts of the dictionary definitions.  The first definition talked about removing 'unwanted elements' from a substance.  Well obviously removing unwanted elements in magic would be to remove something such as an obvious "tell" that occurs just prior to executing a sleight or move.  By removing the unwanted tell, the magic is improved.  

The second definition really nails the idea of making 'small changes' that make something more subtle and accurate.  Again, the example of eliminating a "get ready" might be a small change, but it can have huge effect.  

There are other refinements to be made of course.  Some might have nothing to do with the mechanics of a trick and everything to do with the presentation.  Perhaps a change in patter?  Perhaps taking a trick that is normally done on the table and bringing it to your hands.  Maybe using a spectator in an effect normally done without.

In a recent blog post on thejerx.com, Andy described one of his strategies.  I think it is worthy of pondering.

"
So the first few times I perform a new trick, I will almost always talk about it with people afterwards to get their best guess at how it might be done. If they speak with confidence about any solution, right or wrong, then I re-work the trick (to eliminate that as being a potential solution). And if that doesn’t work I ditch the trick altogether."

Now obviously this isn't something you do to just anyone.  I think he mainly is talking about friends and those friends probably have seen more magic than the average bear.
I wouldn't hand out a questionnaire after your performance and ask strangers to describe what they saw and what they thought with regard to method.  But in the right setting and circumstance, maybe an informal conversation might yield some interesting and perhaps surprising feedback.

Golfers will continue to work at perfecting their swing, their tactics and ultimately their performance.  Nobody will ever shoot 18 for 18 holes, but the goal is to get closer and closer to it.

What's the goal in your magic?  Are you satisfied to just get through the thing without totally blowing it?  Are you at a point where you begin molding and shaping routines to suit your style?  Are you looking for ways to eliminate confusion, to become more economical and eliminate difficult sleights in favor of subtleties?

In the end, it's a process.  For many of us, it never ends.
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Magic Harry

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Reply with quote  #2 
Interesting post. I like it. You've given us a lot to think about.
Magic Harry

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RayJ

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Originally Posted by Magic Harry
Interesting post. I like it. You've given us a lot to think about.
Magic Harry


Thanks!  That was the goal.  If it is true that most magicians stop thinking too soon (Al Baker), then perhaps it is time for all of us to keep thinking.
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