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Giving IT Away

Mar 29, 2008
Recently, I mentioned an effect out of the Harris books in an A of A thread. I had someone PM me and ask me what the effect was. I replied, “I will give you 3 guesses” and he replied back, “It would be more useful if you just told me”...that quessing 3 out of 70-80 effects was "hardly odds (he) was prepared to take on" Now, this isn't meant to trash him, as it is a common approach. I went to just tell him, but then realized something.

Why should I? Why is it that Magicians feel they have a right to demand methods or effects that others have discovered or learnt? I put the work into researching it, finding it, learning it, putting it into use, discovering if it would play...then someone asks “What tricks are good” and I am supposed to forego the process of learning and growth for a simple post of “HERE THEY ARE”?

There was a time you would risk insulting someone when asking them where to find something they did professionally. Magicians these days seem to have the approach of a child nagging their mother for McDonalds. The ease of access to POOR QUALITY information has created a spoiled and smug generation of magicians, one that has many methods, yet NO knowledge of the art of magic. I find EVERY video I watch (with a few exceptions) lacking. Actually, if my magic was that poor a quality, not only would I not think of filming it, I wouldn’t show it to anyone but myself until I felt it was perfect.

IS THIS REAL LIFE? Yes David. Why is this happening? David, it is not because of the drugs the dentist gave you, it is because people are lazy, and just want to be told the easiest path. They don’t want to read a book and work for it. They want to learn methods, because somehow...down the line, it became methods that made you better, and not doing JUST ONE or TWO tricks better than anyone else. It became about learning for cheap and easy – rather than investing in a book and struggling to learn the methods of a secret nobody else knows. It is about having self respect for your magic, and seeing the value in doing something that takes effort. I know you practice your effects, but you miss the bigger picture of magic when your views are so narrow on this site and what is expected to become a great magician.

Why do I bring this up? A few reasons. It seems in magic now, the only thing that separates us is how we deliver an effect, our presentations, our character. We can get our hand on almost anything, when you guys name newer effects I don’t know. I YOUTUBE ‘em and see them 3 minutes later. This is the culture magic has become. As any effect performed and/or seen by the general magic public, is copied the next day. David Blaine bites a coin...for a year or so, a whack of you bit saw him do bought see Blaine do a one card transpo...every kid has a video doing a one card tranpo (or 2CM – which I hate that name for it, “Be Honest What is It – Eddie Fechter...we should all know that now, I digress). This is more evidence that you are all finding the same sources, and sharing them. It is sad to see how much information is out there, how little it is respected, and how so many of you can’t find that information – thank god
Mar 29, 2008
Which brings me to my second reason for bringing this up – I am taking a marketing program from a guy that speaks to the top 1% of all people that work in Financial Planning. The course isn’t cheap, and it is promised to triple your business or your money back. He said something about his ideas and business tricks in one of his seminars that made me want to write this in magic. He said, “I will share these ideas with you, but don’t share it with people outside the course. Here is why, it is not fair to me, as I make my living off these ideas. (Sound familiar magic inventors) Secondly, it is not fair for you. You lose your competitive advantage. You are the one that worked hard to pay for this course, so you could gather these ideas and you should benefit from it”. Yeah, so why should YOU benefit from it? There was no test to join this site, nor any measure of your commitment...but because we all log on to this forum, you get the doors of all secrets open to you? Shame.

So now I am looking at the brotherhood (and sisters) of magic and think. How has it got this far? Remember in the good old days – you would kindly ask someone for help and feedback. They would ask to see something to prove your level of practice or knowledge. You would cautiously beat around the bush on how to find information leading to that idea (and be willing to hund it down the path) and when someone said “I am not sharing that” you didn’t take it personally. Actually, because of this you respected secrets more, because they were a gift – not a god given right to be stolen or bought cheaply. Magicians would share, but it was mutual. For those of you that ARE in the upper crust of studying magic, why have you read all those books, put in the effort – to share ideas like they have no value to you?

For those that haven’t put in the effort to learn more...that say, “books are too hard to learn from” or “I learn better from videos” (Where we all know the same value does not exist in material quality OR quantity) – why do you expect the answers handed to you so easily? Why am I giving up my competitive advantage, my valuable time, and my efforts for you to take a short cut that leads down an empty path?

Sure, we aren’t in direct competition – but this gift you have been getting through questions, youtube, downloads – why do you not appreciate it, and act so smug once you learn it. Why do you not value the secrets? Oh, because they cost you no effort.

As Bruce Cockburn said in the song Lover’s in Dangerous Time – “Nothings worth having if without some kind of fight” – and how little did you struggle for those videos, online tutorials, exposure through this forum just by asking? Then wonder why your magic is empty when you don’t value it.

I am seen SO much bad magic on this forum, it makes me hate magic. However, I don’t hate MY magic...just the magic that is constantly empty and unoriginal in how it is show. We should all be able to do the same effect and appear a little different – instead, we all do it like we learnt it – cheap, lazy, sloppy, and unoriginal. Why wouldn’t we – we didn’t really do much to get our hands on it, so why would we respect it and treat it like it could break – it isn’t priceless, it is of NO value.
So, I can’t force you to change how you share, as I think it is important to support the guys that want to grow. I can’t force your hand, but I will force mine. I will be sharing, but more cautious on how I do so, more strict on PM’s and wording, and I hope some of the others will as well. Think about what you are sharing and offering. This is an open forum, one that all can read. Think about how you share your ideas. Even in this forum, I have seen change. We once wrote ID – for Invisible Deck...or use other acronyms to hide names of sleights. Now I read full out methods and technique names.

Don’t devalue magic for yourself, by so easily giving it to others. People may call this idea elitist, but it isn’t, it is actually just reminding you of the oath (that seems to get spit on and laughs when brought up) and a reminder of a system of values, morality and respect that has seem to disappear from our craft.

No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunnelled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.
Mar 29, 2008
We are all responsible for each other - if we care about magic - we care about how it is approached. Sure, we can't stop exposure, but we can create a culture. This culture can exist in this forum. It demands respect from members, not only in how they treat each other, but how they share ideas...who they share it with...and finally honours the heritiage of our craft.

I still like to share magic, but my knowledge and experience is a gift...just like yours - it is time we give the gift with thought, and it is received the same way, with apprecaiton and respect for that gift added. Magic, and those whose ideas we use to entertain, deserve it.
People have drifted away from getting actual knowledge to just wanting the effects. I recently got Annemanns Practical Mental magic and ive got to say the book is more of an inspiration than a goldmine of effects(which it is too but knowledge beats effects).

I love how Annemann talks about magics loses and wins when that actually go together with our current state of mind in magic. People overthink the method and forget about the actual knowledge you need to perform it. Eg. i would have no idea on how to correctly perform a blindfold routine without looking into about 3-4 resources, it would have been so difficult to start over, you can make your life easier by just finding resources and making use of them.

Sep 24, 2007
But there's a quandry there- if you restrict all or most magical knowledge to already experienced magicians, how do people get started in magic?
Jan 13, 2008
But there's a quandry there- if you restrict all or most magical knowledge to already experienced magicians, how do people get started in magic?
By picking up a book (or a DVD).

There doesn't seem to be an issue with providing resources. The issue is with people asking for specific effects in specific resources; they don't want to take the time to sift through a few books to find the method. They would rather know exactly what it's called, which book it is located in, it's page number, etc. They want to do the minimal amount of work.

It's like when people don't use the search feature, or Google, and just ask a question that's already been answered--very annoying.

I don't mind steering someone in the right direction, but spoon feeding them is just unnecessary. If they lack the capacity to sift through a book, then I would question their ability to actually perform any effect from said book.
May 3, 2008
But there's a quandry there- if you restrict all or most magical knowledge to already experienced magicians, how do people get started in magic?
The same way people did back in the days before the internet: read a book or go to a magic shop.
I was at a magic shop once and one of the guys there showed me a trick that fooled me completely. He then told me that it was in the Card Magic of Lepaul and didn't tell me what the name of the trick was because he wanted me to work for it. I already owned that book and only checked out the techniques rather than all of the tricks in the back. I thank him so much for letting me find it on my own because while trying to find that particular effect, it also forced me to go through the rest of the book and I found a ton of stuff that I overlooked in the past.
Jan 1, 2009
Back in Time
They should sort of do it like they did in the old days before the internet and before Theory11 and E or the Magic cafe. You buy the Book.
Sep 20, 2009
I Somewhat agree

but i think magicians should always be willing and ready to help out other magicians, what kind of "magic community" would it be if we didn't help? if a laymen asked me how i did a trick, or where i learned it just to know how i did it i wouldn't tell them, but if a fellow magician asked me i would help them out. i believe thats how it should be, if we want to have a strong "magic community" we should be sharing our knowledge with each other.

if i ever created my own effect, i would for sure give it to any magician that wanted it for little to no money.. probably no money a'tall.

i would want to share with others who are as passionate about magic as i am. if your only creating tricks for money and profit thats just wrong in my eyes. i understand people have to feed their families, or whatever else they need money for, but i don't think of magic as just a job, it's creating experiences for people, some that they remember for the rest of their life and that is priceless
May 3, 2008
There's a difference between telling them the resources and telling them exactly what to do. People need to think for themselves.
Mar 29, 2008
There is also a difference in people that find the resources, and people that LEARN the resources.

You can own 1000 videos and 1000 books, and still suck.

If this is true - why should we spoon feed?

There is a big difference in being stuck on something and needing help, and just answer shopping for things you are not ready for.

I get asked all the time about restaurant work - when I can tell by the quality of discussion that the guy is too young, not knowledgable enough, too socially awkward, etc - to be working like this yet.

Everyboby is trying to run before they even crawl...and you learn to crawl on your own...once that happens, we can teach you how to walk.
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