What is your topic and why did you choose it?
My topic for SML this year is focused around how to perform and learn magic tricks, starting from the simple ones to slightly more complicated ones involving homemade props. I selected this topic because magic has always fascinated me since I was young, but I never had the time to try it out for myself. Thus, when an opportunity as great as SML came along, I instantly thought about investigating the secrets behind magic and ended up selecting that topic as my project.
Describe your experience so far: What challenges have you faced? Did you overcome these challenges?
My experience so far has been anything but smooth. Magic tricks might seem easy, with everyone performing it fluently and making it seem as if everyone can do it. Well, everyone CAN do it. It just takes a lot of practice, which I learned when I tried the simplest trick in the second SML session: making a coin disappear. For every single trick I selected to be included in my final product – a video of me performing those tricks in a magic show – all of them had embarrassing failures in the first 30 or so attempts. I also had to find alternative tricks because I was told I couldn’t play around with fire (d’oh and ouch). Frustration and not getting the tricks right is my biggest challenge so far, and I have overcome a large part of it by practicing them a lot.
Has your project changed since the beginning? If so, how?
My project hasn’t changed majorly since the beginning. In the beginning, I wanted to make a video of me performing all the tricks I learned in the form of a magic show. Now, that hasn’t changed. What has changed was the tricks I intended to include in the video. As mentioned earlier, I was told that I couldn’t utilise fire, since it was too dangerous to play around with. Thus, I had to scrap two magic tricks and find alternatives. To answer this question, yes, my project has changed since the beginning, but not in major amounts.
What are you proud of so far?
So far, I am proud of my ability to make extremely obvious magic tricks convincing for all viewers. For example, the cliché of a levitating plastic cup is known by everyone; however, when I sought feedback for how well I performed it, all my viewers said it looked convincing and would not have figured it out if they hadn’t saw the trick beforehand. I am also proud of the fact that I was able to make a unique magic trick based on the school’s architecture, which means I already accomplished the second goal of my SML: to make up a magic trick of my own. Finally, I am proud of my ability to do two of my rather complex tricks, such as making water appear in an empty glass and making coffee turn into coins.
Do you feel creative when doing SML? If so, what are the conditions that help you to be creative?
I do feel creative when doing SML. When I encounter a problem, such as me lacking props required for specific magic tricks, I need my creativity to compensate for it. One of the tricks that required a modded object stumped me, since that modded object can only be acquired in magic shops, which are sparse in Hong Kong. Thus, I used my creativity to make it myself out of a common everyday object, and made it function properly. It is these types of situations that stimulate my creativity. Also, I need to use my creativity to figure out how I would film myself so that the secrets aren’t revealed.
Can you share any specific samples of your learning?
As of now, there are no specific samples, as I have devoted my time to practicing the magic tricks. However, in future SML sessions, I will be filming my practicing, thus making it a sample of my learning. A mundane sample of my learning lies in the SML research document, with my research of magic tricks apparent through the long page of tricks I have discovered.
What have you learned about yourself as a learner? How do you learn best? Does the structure of SML help? Or is the structure frustration for you?
I learned that, not surprisingly, I am a hands-on learner. I learn best not through tedious reading and taking tests, but through experiencing it first hand. Learning about magic tricks simply by reading will never be the same as actually trying it out yourself. The general idea of me learning better through experience is apparent in other classes as well. The structure of SML helps, as in the SML sessions, I am free to practice my magic tricks, letting me learn faster.