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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Magician's Choice

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 by Andrew Conkling

This week's tip, shared by biokinton, discusses how a magician can use Remember The Milk to manage their tricks. Like many of the tips we share here, it's interesting to think how it could be applied to other things as well.

Bob tries his card tricks

So, not only is RTM infinitely useful for remembering to pay the rent, pick up the dog from the kennels, put the children to bed and, well, just about anything you can care to set a deadline for, but if you happen to be a magician who has to run out of the room screaming if his audience keeps asking for more tricks once you're done showing them your three favourites then, well, RTM to the rescue!

Some time ago I created a list called Magic and began adding tricks, one per task. To each trick I added two notes, one for the method, where the mechanics of the trick are described along with a reference to the originating magician and the page of his or her book where the trick can be found, and one for the patter, or script (or what you say to the audience to keep attention away from what you're doing with your hands). If it's a new trick that I'm not yet in a position to show anyone it's tagged with learning, and whenever I have time to practice it's a straightforward task to bring up a list of what I'm currently working on.

Once I'm satisfied that a trick is ready for performance it's re-tagged as in.rotation. After I've shown it to, say, ten or more people I generally have a good idea as to whether it's a keeper or not, and the better it's received, the higher a priority it's assigned, so at any time I can see which tricks I know play the strongest (invaluable for the occasions when I have only one chance to make a lasting impression). Tags are also useful when it comes to categorising tricks. If it's all over in under a minute, I tag it with quickie. If it involves cheating at poker, I tag it with gambling.demonstration. If it'll have people petition the relevant authorities to reintroduce burning of witches and wizards at the stake, I tag it sure-fire.

RTM is also a boon when it comes to creating tricks. The majority of magic effects are achieved through the combination of secret moves, or sleights. These sleights are a means to a particular end and I tag them as such. So, for example, if I'm in the process of dreaming up a card routine and think that a false shuffle is needed, I create a Smart List of all tasks in my Magic list with the tag cards.falseshuffle and take a look. A lot of the time I'm surprised at how much I know and have subsequently forgotten, particularly when a lot of the sleights took months if not years to perfect.

Thanks for sharing this tip, biokinton! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week.

Do you have a suggestion for our weekly Tips & Tricks post? Got an interesting set-up or idea? Head over to the Tips & Tricks forum, add a new topic, and let us know how you use Remember The Milk. Each week we'll give away a 1 year Pro account to the user whose idea inspires the Tips & Tricks Tuesday blog post for that week.

Posted in: Tips & Tricks