- Join Date
- Jul 2010
I don`t care much whether others learn from DVDs or books. Each to his own. This will keep the good stuff secret.
What makes me sad is that crediting is totally out of control in todays media. When kids with absolutely zero knowledge about the history of magic credit a move or effect they have seen to this magician, let`s call him David Blaine or Criss Angel, although it`s just a move invented centuries ago by another magician, this is a shame. They learn from youtube videos, and misinformation is spreaded throughout the web. Error propagation at its finest.
Of course it`s not the fault of these magicians, but it`s already too late to correct it. Reading books instead would have minimized this, as crediting in todays books is above average.
There can be some real treasures to be found in books, I can't argue with anyone on that front. But the main reason why I usually lean towards DVDs, is because I'm not a very good visualizer. I'm not a "lazy" magician, but I can have serious problems with visualizing exactly what text is describing. DVDs are just an better learning tool for me, I wish more books would be done as DVDs.
- Join Date
- Apr 2013
I can definitely see the value in books. There are some positives in books such as the pure amount of content, ease of portability and the occasional hidden gems that are extremely old but useful. Books teach only the technique and not the presentation so that means less Garcia clones. Moreover, learning from a book gives you that sense of accomplishment of extracting a useful skill from within the pages of a paper, something magical about it. Definitely makes you appreciate it more.
However, perhaps we should consider a few things with DVDs as well. Coming from the generation of learning through DVDs and other visual mediums, I always found it nice that I'm able to see the effect in action prior to investing precious time into it. In addition to seeing how it works, a good visual explanation has taught me precise moments of subtlety and misdirection. That sort of precision in timing is difficult to extract from a book, and often times not possible. Moreover, I'm able to see the structure of a routine, the effect within context, and the reactions possible with good presentation.
Speaking of presentation, argument against DVDs is that the student copies the teacher. I don't necessarily think that's such a bad thing. Speaking to magicians and entertainers far more talented and experienced than I am have said that emulation is a necessary part of one's growth. I can relate through my cardistry career. Emulation has helped me understand why it's important to be funny, relaxed, and engaging. It took time to find those things that are unique to me and not the person I was emulating. But the important thing is, is that a visual medium has made me cognizant of those elements much earlier which some may argue are even more important than the effects themselves. In other words, we do the right things sooner by emulating a good performance, although it'll take time to understand why they are important in the first place.
As far as amount of content in books - can go both ways. Good to have a choice between a hundred different effects, but perhaps the focus on a few would serve us better as entertainers. Of course, it's good to have a choice but speaking as someone who produces this sort of content, I can say we do our best to filter and bring our audience the best that we can find while keeping all these elements in mind. Not everybody has access to super accomplished magic mentors, but to me DVDs are the next best thing. While they don't provide feedback, the good ones give you a solid example of how to apply yourself, and make it unique to you. Add the forums and access to people like Chris Kenner and Jason England, and you have yourself some solid groundwork to build upon.// andrei jikh
vp of production / theory11
- Join Date
- Apr 2013
I get that T11 is working towards the younger magicians who have grown up on micro transactions in video games and app stores. I understand you are making money with the $10 impulse buy, but I have books from the 1930's that I can still read but i have CD's from the 1990's that have started to degrade. I can still read those old books but I have a hard time finding a VCR to watch tapes from the 90's. And now we are moving towards more cloud base storage and less on physical media it will be hard to find something to watch those DVDs on.
Now to copying someone you see on the DVDs. There is a downside to copying someone's style and effects word for word. When I was 18 I had spent years becoming me own act. Look patter effects. I do the show one time in public and the next month another guy from the ring shows up dressed like me down to the facial hair which he had to paint on with make up. He did my act word for word effect for effect. But let me quote the great Ricky Jay...
"A guy comes up and starts telling me he's a fan," Ricky recalls. "I say thank you, that's nice to hear. He says he used to see me perform in Boulder, Colorado. That's nice, too, I say. Then he starts talking about this wonderful piece I did with a mechanical monkey-really one of the most bizarre routines I ever worked out-and I thank him, and he says, `Yeah, I get a tremendous response when I do that. Audiences just love it.' And I say, `Let me ask you something. Suppose I invite you over to my house for dinner. We have a pleasant meal, we talk about magic, it's an enjoyable evening. Then, as you're about to leave, you walk into my living room and you pick up my television and walk out with it. You steal my television set. Would you do that?' He says, `Of course not.' And I say, `But you already did.' He says, `What are you talking about?' I say, `You stole my television!' He says, `How can you say that? I've never even been to your house.' This guy doesn't even know what a metaphor is. People ask me why I don't do lectures at magic conventions, and I say, `Because I'm still learning.' Meanwhile, you've got people who have been doing magic for ten months and they are actually out there pontificating. It's absurd."
With things like Skype and the find a magician feature on the SAM and IBM websites there is no reason why you can not find a mentor, local or not, who can show you what you need after trying things out from a book. You mention Chris Kenner, who in an Q and A even says go and read the books. Jason England has a list of books he thinks that all magicians should have. I have yet to see a list of must own DVDs, but there are list of books like Tarbell and Royal Road that is on everyone's list.
- #37Never show anyone. They'll beg you and they'll flatter you for the secret, but as soon as you give it up... you'll be nothing to them...The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything. Alfred Borden, The Prestige
- Join Date
- Apr 2013
well that's my point. I'm not saying that video is bad. I'm saying that people need to see that video is not a replacement for books but a supplement.Never show anyone. They'll beg you and they'll flatter you for the secret, but as soon as you give it up... you'll be nothing to them...The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything. Alfred Borden, The Prestige
- Join Date
- Sep 2008
Don't fall into the hole of thinking that your opinion (And this is an opinion) is the absolute truth and only way.
People will learn how they will learn and your preferences make no difference to anyone else. If someone wants to learn exclusively from videos, that's just fine.-Christopher