Do You Tailor Your Routines for Social?

I'm hijacking today's normal Monday Mail Call post for a random thought or two that are top of mind lately. These are pretty unformulated and rough, but I think that writing them out will help me reach a little clarity on my side. Or, at least, will stop them from being the "song that's stuck in my head" so I can move on to better thoughts like what excuse can I come up with to not go outside today.

I'd also like to prefix this with, if you have any feedback or suggestions on these topics (or anything else even), please feel free to reach out on the Contact page =]

I've been thinking a lot about the magic I study and practice, what I perform, and what I record to post to Instagram and how they differ. 

While everything that I study is card-magic focused, I do read a decent amount of theory too. And, I've started picking up a few mentalism pieces here and there. I don't plan to do much in terms of mentalism... or maybe I will, I don't know. I like the concepts though, there's a good deal of theory and psychology behind it that can apply to non-mentalism based magic too. Like card forces. Or how to do a card (or multi-card) reveal through performance. Or predictions. So many good applications.

Ah yes, but then let's talk about what I actually perform. If a given book has 20 routines and I like 5 of them (I haven't counted, but this sounds like the right average), I'll practice those 5. I'll re-read them, and practice them. I'll try to think of different outs and alternate handlings. Maybe even different presentation patter. And then I move on to the next book (or video).

Yeah... I don't really perform anything. And that's not cool.

I'm not the person who's going to go out to the mall and try to stop folks walking by. I'm also not going to sit at a café and hope that people see my deck of cards and ask if they can pick one. I do, however, show my family every once in a while; or friends when they ask. Albeit, these are few and far between performances. So few, in fact, the average number of routines I perform from a given book is 0. However, I know why.

And that brings me to Instagram -- or, simply "social media magic".

I've joined the IG community around card magic and am pretty active. I watch others' videos and comment and provide feedback via direct messages, and I post videos pretty consistently too. A lot of routines I either make up, or they're the ones from the books and videos I've recently learned from -- sometimes, modified to be better suited for an IG video that features only me and no spectator.

Therein lies the problem. I've spent so much time and effort trying to making routines better for social media, for other magicians to consume, that I've skipped over the entire reason I study and practice magic... to perform for other people and see their reactions.

To this end, I've been thinking of changing how and what I post on Instagram to be more entertainment related -- to highlight the cards themselves -- and less "check out this routine I've been working on." After all, I normally do a routine with hard sleights and try to make it look sleight-less. The problem is, since the sleight is invisible nobody really knows that I did it. So what's the point of filming a single routine take-after-take for an hour, only to be able to produce the exact same video in 2 minutes using a duplicate card?

Dunno, we'll see.

I back a lot of Kickstarter campaigns that feature playing cards (and other things too, but mostly playing cards), and I also have a few deck subscriptions and succumb to the occasional "I really want this new release" craving.

There are a lot of them. I've spent way too much money in the past two years on cards... we're talking thousands of dollars. I stand by my statement that I open every deck too, but the problem is is that I have too many to open. I'm not going to open them "just to open them". I want to use them and play with them. I would also love to be able to take pictures with them (if not record with them). But time is an issue...

Also, the quality of card designs haven't been the greatest lately. I really, really love the KWP company and want to support them so they keep making awesome products, but last year's Standards subscription and this year's Table Players has really fallen short of my expectations. The stock they use is fine, but the designs have not been worth the cost. I also, again, open the decks so there is no resale value for them -- especially since KWP offers them to the public a month or two after they're released for members.

And Kickstarter campaigns, jeez. It's like there are two or three new ones every week. Some of the designs look amazing, others not so much. The price variations are really big too. Sometimes you'll see a single deck reward set at $12, other times it's $15 or $16... same card stock and finish, just a different design. I've seen the quote prices from USPCC and EPCC... a deck shouldn't cost $16. But hey, maybe they're hoping to make a profit from the Kickstarter and have plenty of merchandise leftover for future sales too.

I've had "Superbacker" status for a long time now, but I'm going to be scaling back how many card campaigns I support so I might be losing it this year. We'll see though, there are other things I support too =]

The moral of all of this is, I spend too much money on playing cards and have saturated my interest. Unless a new NOC deck comes out, I might not be buying many for a while.

And to wrap things up, something completely unrelated but I saw the new Dr. Strange: Multiverse of Madness movie in the theater this past weekend. I've always been a big fan of the MCU's Dr. Strange. I haven't ever read the comics so I don't know a lot (or any) of what his story is supposed to be but I really don't like how this one turned out.

I did know a lot about Scarlet Witch (I've always been an X-Men fan), so I was actually pleased to see Wanda take on those qualities. It did suck though because we've grown to like her as Wanda, and now, well, yeah. I won't give away any spoilers here, other than this movie has a lot of jump-scare scenes in it, which is very unusual for a Marvel movie.

The magic, or sorcery, throughout it is on-par for what was expected, but there were a lot of wtf moment. Like the bull-man creature guy... they never explained that. Did I miss something?!

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