It’s important to have a circle of magician friends that you can share ideas and tricks with and that you can get honest feedback about. This should be a very small group of friends. You should also not have to worry about anyone in this group stealing your ideas or performing these effects in front of others.

These should be friends that think like you. If you’re a gambling and card magic kinda guy, bouncing your ideas off an inexperienced kids magic and sponge ball guy won’t help you much. The feedback you get may not be in line with your thinking and style.

I’m very lucky to have a group of magicians that I can share ideas with and get insights and ideas that can improve an effect beyond just my thinking and experience alone. I share almost everything I create with Jack Carpenter, Darwin Ortiz, Mike Vincent, Andrew Wimhurst, and Tony Cabral. (Of course, all of their ideas are stupid, but still…)

Here I can get honest feedback about the premise, method, clarity, and much more. Any suggestions or improvements given are about one thing: the strength and power of the effect itself. As a group, we have only one concern: strong magic.

There’s no room for ego in this group. There’s no competition in this group. There’s no sugar-coating in this group. If something is off, we discuss how to solve the issue. Of course, if there’s an improvement to the effect, credit is given where credit is due.

One of my favorite people to hang out with is Michael Vincent. A few months ago, Mike and I spent a few days together at Darwin Ortiz’s home in Washington D.C.. Mike and I would spend a few hours together every morning at a coffee house talking about new effects and new ideas. This was mainly due to the fact that we have to wait until 4pm when Darwin finally wakes up.

I taught Mike a few unpublished routines. He agreed to keep them to himself. I knew that the next time I’d see Mike, I’d get to see his versions of these effects with his extraordinary thinking and presentational ideas that would make the effect his own. Again, Mike will be bringing ideas to these effects based on his lifetime of study. These will no doubt be fresh strong ideas that will be new to me. Mike has been studying magic for a lifetime and no doubt he’ll add to the effect in ways I wouldn’t have thought of on my own.

About five years ago, I performed an early working version of my effect Lucky Charms for Mike. He asked me permission to work on his own version of the effect. I gladly said yes! Just last year, while in London to perform at the Magic Circle, Mike offered to show me what he created. He took my idea and turned it into a stunning three-phase routine. I was fooled by my own routine! Mike completely took the effect apart and rebuilt it adding new subtleties, new phases, and new sleights. He took the core premise, but everything else was reinvented. What an amazing feeling this was to watch. Here’s Mike’s version of Lucky Charms from my book, Game Changer.

What Mike did was not because he thought his version was better. Mike didn’t want to prove anything to me or steal the effect. Mike isn’t competing with me. He reinvented the effect for the sake of the art of magic. It’s his version. In other words, I didn’t watch his version and think, “What the hell, he stole my effect!” I watched it and thought, “Holy shit that’s an amazing take on my routine!”

So, find a few very trustworthy friends and ask them if they’d be willing to share ideas and effects. All of you should have an agreement that you’re all sharing for the sake of bettering yourselves. There’s no room for stealing ideas or putting down someone else’s material just for the sake of being critical. If you find the right group of friends, your craft will be the sum of all their experience and better than you could ever achieve just on your own.

 

 

9 Comments
  1. Chris Manucal 9 months ago

    Excellent advice!

  2. Randy Naviaux 9 months ago

    Wow! Stunning performance by Mr. Vincent. Bravo!

  3. Chris 9 months ago

    I have some close friends who have helped me massively with routines and scripting. One of them gave me scripting magic which goes nicely with strong magic.
    Love your stuff buddy!

  4. Jang Jun Hee 9 months ago

    Absolutely right! What a amazing advice&nice story. It’s really interesting:)

  5. Ken Parsons 9 months ago

    Lovely. Thanks for that.

  6. Paul 9 months ago

    Really interesting blog, and agree absolutely in the most part. I’s interesting you think of Mike as a card man. I guess I do too, but also his roupe routine is my favourite of any performer. Only thing I’m curious about is the idea that you’re circle need to be exactly the same type of performer as you. Pacing, story, building of effects all transcend and translate between different types of magicians. My core friends these days are a manipulation artist (Brendan Rodrigues), a childrens entertainer (Tom Whitestone), someone who’s more about parlor/cabaret (Kerion Johnson), and two close-up guys (Chris Wood and Mike). These are the people I go to for advice and feedback, and it’s facinating. I think my magic is richer and effects stronger because of these absolute giants.

  7. Paul Gordon 9 months ago

    I used to session solely with Roger Crosthwaite in the 90s. We used to meet 3 times a week for 10 years. Sometimes we were joined by Michael (Vincent) and Justin Higham. Happy memories.

  8. Mark Lewis 9 months ago

    Under no circumstances would I allow a single opinion from another magician to influence me. Most of them are merely the blind leading the blind. Some of what they say may be right but most of it will probably be wrong and I haven’t got the time nor the energy to sort the wheat from the chaff. And most of it is chaff.

    I do take notice of what laymen say though. I know they are unbiased. I might not go along with their suggestions but I will at least listen.

    However, a very odd thing happens when a magician puts his theories into print. Somehow I read it carefully and give it respect possibly because the person is not in my illustrious presence and I can be more objective. Mind you half of the twaddle I read even from noted people concerning theory is just that—–twaddle. However, at least I can pay attention to the other half that is not twaddle.

    I don’t think I have seen 50 good magicians in my entire life. I suppose that is why I don’t want to buck the law of averages and is why I ignore them all of them to be on the safe side.

    Not that I have a cynical nature of course……………………

  9. Ron Giesecke 9 months ago

    I’m fortunate to have a group that is a hybrid of close-up guys as well as box-pushers.

    Our gatherings usually involve presentational ideas. I’ll perform a routine, and then ask more about the motivation. I’ve had a number of ideas trimmed down to something wonderful, from something much more occluded.

    Also having non-close-up guys weigh in is sometimes like getting insight from an informed layman—mainly because they aren’t keeping track of the close-up world.

    It’s nearly always a net gain.

    But this is the limit to my magician-sequel input. Laymen, and their reactions to my material are the primary wind in my sails.

    Being open to legitimate criticism is golden.

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