Food For Thought

Aug 1, 2009
136
0
I was able to listen to a interview with Joshua Jay the other day and he answered a question and his response really made me think. He said that magic today has had a influx of creators. Which is very true and is also very good in my opinion. But at the same time we are losing so many performers. Everyone is worried about creating or performing to a camera on youtube and not to real people. I feel like the spread of magic and the art of performing has gone down hill even since I've been it. Which has only been about 7 years, and I am no expert at all on this. I was just wondering what everyone elses thoughts on the subject was. Thanks!
 
Jul 13, 2008
383
0
I definitely agree with you. While I somewhat see the appeal of creating a magic video for youtube to get critique, I don't think it's right when that's all a magician does. Like every other talent, magic is meant to be shown to other people and not just kept to yourself or kept between other magicians. I'm starting to perform more often, and I hope other magicians will do the same. Otherwise, magic will become a dead art form.
 

RickEverhart

forum moderator / t11
Moderator
Sep 14, 2008
3,655
465
43
Louisville, OH
I would have to agree with that because I think everyone wants to become "the next big thing" and see their creation hit the market like Calen's Dresscode did. It is easy for us to sit behind keyboards and monitors, but it takes guts to actually get out there in the trenches and perform for live people full knowing that you could make a mistake. I guess I just get more appreciation when I know I am out there making someone else's day special and sharing my magic.
 
I find it very sad! I saw on these forms like 3 different times in the past few weeks I click on a thread asking about how there performance is and the ALL look the SAME. Not the tricks performing but the movements before during and after it just they all copy how they move there style is like a copy. They don't have any originality or anything. I love to watch youtube videos of people PERFORMING magic for PEOPLE that is great! But I almost wish I was a magician in the past where you had to hang out at the magic shop forever and get to know people before you got a chance to learn any real magic... It was special....
 
Sep 1, 2007
733
2
Daniel Garcia posted about this on his twitter a while back, he said something like - young magicians used to dream of having their own show and being a great magician, now they dream about being a creator and having a DVD out.

It's hard for me to consider people who don't perform magic, magicians. Magic is a performance art, if you don't perform magic, you're not a magician.

a small secret about creating - the best creations come from those who perform. Most of the best moves come out of necessity.
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,578
3,849
New Jersey
Beans post made me think of this quote from Marc DeSouza:

If you don't perform magic for people, you are not a magician. Magic is a performance art. If you love to read magic, practice magic, collect magic or are a historian of magic and you do not perform, you are not a magician. You are a magic fan, a magic nut, but you are not a magician. I am not denigrating these people. I have many friends who are great technicians, who know more of the history of magic than I ever will, who can cite book and page when discussing obscure moves, but they are not magicians. If you love magic, take the time and effort to try to be a magician. Even if you just perform for a few friends, treat your magic with respect. Don't just rush out to show off your new toy... take the time to craft your presentation. Practice it. Learn to do it justice. It may give you a very different view of magic as a performing art. At the very least, it will give you a new respect for those who do it. It is hard, but ultimately so rewarding. MUM volume 94, June 2004, p. 34.

I'll update this. If you only perform for a camera, you are not a magician. If you sit in your magic room and try to come up with new sleights, you are not a magician.

I don't think people should try to create without the proper foundations. When you are starting in magic, your time is better spent learning what others have created. That way you don't spend weeks developing something that has been in print since the 1940s. If your goal is to perform, your time is better spent learning what is out there (and there definitely isn't a lack of material) that reinventing the wheel. If you don't know whether the move has already been invented, chances are you shouldn't be trying to invent moves.

Further, I don't see any usefulness in purely developing a sleight (usually a color change or a control) without an effect to use it in. Again, you don't (or shouldn't) perform just a sleight for a real audience. As Beans said, the best moves come out of necessity. You are trying to do something, you research methods and then combine or adapt those methods to use in a routine. Your time is better spent thinking of new presentations or effects using sleights that have already been discovered.

Finally, all this focus on creating is a focus on the method and that is contrary to our goal of entertaining our spectators. We end up caring more about how it is done rather than what the spectators see. I'm all for ingenious methods and enjoy a clever slight as much as the next person, but I can floor an audience of spectators using good presentation, a one-way forcing deck, a single sleight found in Mark Wilson's book and a set of nesting boxes that my wife got as a holiday gift that looked like this:

51Y1CX%2B5DHL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
 
Dec 18, 2007
1,610
13
61
Northampton, MA - USA
I believe it was in the opening pages of the Henry Hay "Magician's Handbook" that says, "To become a famous magician, write a book."

Unfortunately too many in today's world take that idea literally, resulting in hundreds of pieces of drek compiled by 14 year old kids (many of whom reside in 40 and 50 year old bodies) based on their two years of tinkering and three birthday party gigs they've recently done. The very reason why a good number of genuine workers out there are reverting back to yesteryear publishing modes and releasing their work to a very limited number of patrons at a rather steep price. For that matter there are eBooks out there going for over $1,000.00 each for this same reason; to keep the real magic close to the vest and out of the hands of the wannabes.

Elsewhere we have a thread about AGT to which I attached a couple of videos, one showing a spoilt child with lots of money tied up in big funny looking props that he hasn't a clue how to present. He's a 21st century "Illusionist" -- the sort of mentality we are finding all over the internet that basically says, "If I can buy it I can use it". . . an obviously selfish, ego-driven frame of mind that not only reveals the individual's disrespect of the craft in general but their disrespect of their would-be audience and YOU! Yes, every single person that claims to love magic; everyone here that believes they have the stuff needed for being a MAGICIAN.

ORIGINAL? That is to say, with all these "creative" folk hitting the scene, how many of them are actually "original" when it comes to their offering?

I've seen at least two effects being sold for a bit too much cash, that comes directly out of a 6th grade science class. . . I'm talking about classroom demonstration stuff that we all should basically know, that's been put on the market and made appealing by some kind of hip-slick & cool video footage the seriously obfuscates an actual presentation in such a way as to not tip what it really is. . . while magic merchants have skirted around things forever, they've also had the integrity to give you enough insight to allow those that are in the know to understand enough of the effect's workings so as to decide if or not the piece is practical to them; not so with today's dealers and "innovators" several of whom will lie blatantly to your face when you are making a serious inquiry about an effect you are interested in. . . and worse, not realizing your jerking around a major player in the biz because you're new to the game.

There's a whole lot of JUNK coming onto the market, most of which seems to be very elementary variants to established techniques that someone is trying to lay claim to, less the historic lineage behind said pieces. There are several noted personalities that roll their eyes when they hear of "New" and exciting Mentalism effects oozing out of the UK in that it seems no one over there reads or pays attention to basic history associated with the craft let alone one's obligation to give credit where it is due. I'm not saying this is true of all, but pay attention to niche elements and you'll find such patterns. But we must likewise bear in mind another very important point; if the person is young in years and has time to pen three to five eBooks annually, when do they have time to actually perform and work out their material?

Older gents can have said luxury in that we've had our day in the sun and can look back at things we did long ago and give them new life; we have the time as well as the resources, the most important of which is knowing who to speak with in order to validate information and give credit where it is due (if you haven't caught on, this is a big issue with me).

QUALITY is a big thing. You can produce a single eBook every 3-5 years that will gain more kudos & sells because it contains solid perspective, than you will pooping out those half-dozen compositions that are incomplete. I will point out however, some of we old guys poop out stuff that ain't ready as well. . .


My book EASY READING, while a solid concept, still needs a ton of "editing" and perspective set into it. This is the curse of being a writer however, the projects are never finished and always need certain additions, detractions, etc. in hind-sight. In this case, I am in hope of making those corrections in the not so distant future, but we'll not get into that just yet.

The more I sit here looking at this issue the more my head seems to swim in thought. While I still have much to say on things I think I'm going to just leave it here.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Feb 4, 2008
959
2
I'm just going to preach with the choir on this one. I think too many people are coming up with ideas for three seconds of magic and not enough people are building shows and characters. I have a friend who is a young magician that has a real natural way with people. He is a natural performer. Sadly he hasn't been focusing on developing his character nearly as much as he has been trying to create original magic. His performances are not suffering but they are starting to stagnate. He has been coming up with effect ideas and then back tracking to find a presentation for the effect as opposed to thinking up a good presentation and then fiddling with effect ideas and methods that could create that presentation.

I think from the late 90s through to about 2005ish there was a group of young creators who just happened to hit the scene. Lee Asher, Aaron Fisher, Danny Darcia, Wayne Houchin, Luke Jermay and I could probably name a few more. Anyways, each of these guys really broke some ground in their own field of magic. They also revolutionized the way in which magic training videos were presented. Though they were not well known outside of magic circles they certainly became superstars within the community. That plus the fact that it was well known that many of these guys were on the creative teams behind some of the most well known TV magicians (Blaine, Angel, and Brown) and anyone who was inspired to learn magic by any of those three guys would quickly learn of these "Young Turks," once they hit the magic websites and started buying products. Put all that together and add to it the fact that many people start magic to combat a natural shyness in the first place and shazam! You get kids thinking they can get a modicum of fame and even money without needing to go through the process of performing live in front of 50+ people all burning your hands and every move you make. I personally think it is a shame that that is happening in the new generation of magicians but I certainly think it is understandable.
 
Jan 8, 2010
968
5
Live and let live. If people want to make fools of themselves then let them. My uncle came home from a cruise today and said there was a magician that did 1 show a day and he was rubbish. I only spoke to my uncle for 5 minutes but I would imagine that guy watched breaking the magicians code, learnt some magic and left his job to do half arsed magic on a cruise ship.
People like that make the small percentage of good magicians look even better.
 
I was able to listen to a interview with Joshua Jay the other day and he answered a question and his response really made me think. He said that magic today has had a influx of creators. Which is very true and is also very good in my opinion. But at the same time we are losing so many performers. Everyone is worried about creating or performing to a camera on youtube and not to real people. I feel like the spread of magic and the art of performing has gone down hill even since I've been it. Which has only been about 7 years, and I am no expert at all on this. I was just wondering what everyone elses thoughts on the subject was. Thanks!

I believe now the trend has shifted from fooling laymen to fooling magicians!

The kind of stuff people have been inventing lately is CRAZY. I am sure WE (magicians) can't survive without feeding on the reactions of our audiences. So don't worry about there not being more live performances. I am sure every second a card is being changed, a coin is being vanished, a mind is being read and a person is SCREAMING!!!

:)
 
Dec 18, 2007
1,610
13
61
Northampton, MA - USA
Live and let live. If people want to make fools of themselves then let them. My uncle came home from a cruise today and said there was a magician that did 1 show a day and he was rubbish. I only spoke to my uncle for 5 minutes but I would imagine that guy watched breaking the magicians code, learnt some magic and left his job to do half arsed magic on a cruise ship.
People like that make the small percentage of good magicians look even better.

. . . and they are likewise the ones that give magic, as a whole, a horrible reputation of being "cheap, low-end, corny entertainment" especially when it is being performed by the stereo-typical drunk, womanizer that can't seem to be intelligent enough to carry on a real conversation without being a putz. Sorry, but it goes back to what I said earlier; WE (all of us) need to stop patting people on the back when they don't deserve it and we need to stop forgiving schlock (as you do in this post). If we don't start demanding that we as well as our fellows step up to the plate and live UP TO the higher standards of what magic and magicians are supposed to be (think Harry Blackstone, as an example) then we are going to continue to be looked down on by the public and the industry itself, which view us more as a "filler act" than something special.

Luke Jermay was mentioned earlier. I remember a 16 year old kid that was afraid of his own shadow but brilliant. It took some serious chats with a handful of key individuals (myself included) to get him to take that deep breath and put his actions where his mind was at. But there's another bit of greatness in Luke that I applaud more than his contributions to the craft; his willingness to walk away from all the trappings "success" can give you. He realized that he'd lost himself in that faux world show biz can be, and decided to walk away before it devoured him.

Back on topic however; Luke is an exception just as was Banachek in his earlier years, Copperfield, etc. Criss Angel wasn't an overnight sensation but a poor hardworking kid with a dream that saw little in way of fame & success for well over a decade (almost 20 years). . . I remember his earlier shows, his try-out at the Magic Castle in the latter 80's and such. . . he had some great ideas but didn't seem "ready" back then. But even at that one of Criss' early mentors, Johnny Thompson, points out how total no-talent punks seem able to grab headlines and generate media interest as the result of the Internet and a peculiar way by which to gain financial backing, be it through family or connections of some kind (not necessarily "legal" in a few instances -- the performer serving as a kind of "Washing Machine" if you get my drift).

These "Four Walled" acts -- individuals that can buy their fame -- are on par with those mass producing commercial products, books and so forth. It's no longer a matter of doing a show and doing it well, people are deluded by the thought that they must have a book, video and even their own magic kit or tricks on the market almost at the same time because "that's what the successful acts do". What's missed in translation however, is that such acts didn't do these things until well AFTER they'd EARNED their position of repute and too, "fame" does not mean you're any good. . . there's a reason why some of the more legendary headliners of the past 5 or 6 decades avoid other magicians and it's the simple fact that they can't compete with genuine talent (especially when it comes to slights).

The philosophy of accepting poor performers and second rate anything is akin to the idea of hanging with people that are physically uglier than you are so you look "better" than you actually are physically (chances are strong, you may have a nice exterior but inside you're a mess and nowhere close to the quality of person your "uglier" friends probably are). Regardless, its B.S. and far, far from reality.

Arrrgh!
 
Searching...
{[{ searchResultsCount }]} Results