Is exposure a significant problem in magic?

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by kingdamian1, Jan 1, 2018.

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  1. Why?

    I've invested a very large amount of my resources on learning my skills and knowledge. I am happy to point people in the same direction, but there is absolutely no reason I should give them the knowledge without similar investment, just because they want to know.

    If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets.

    Which is a strong de-motivator for releasing products. I know plenty of guys that have amazing stuff that they worked on, performed for a few years, then shelved because releasing it wouldn't be worth it. This is a big reason there's a lot of mediocre junk out there, because the guys who are really creative aren't encouraged to release their good stuff. Better to release the OK stuff and make what they can on that.

    To expand on one of RealityOne's points - There's stuff I've managed to get my hands on that if you aren't either extremely lucky, or friends with the right people at the right time, you'll never even hear of. And I'm at the bottom rung of that ladder - I've made some really good contacts, but there's stuff that's only been obliquely referred to around me. There's other stuff you have to learn in person, because only one person is teaching it, and you have to sign a contract to learn it, and they never put it on paper.

    I've been pretty clear that I am not worried about exposure, because the method is only a small portion of what makes magic magical. But that doesn't mean I'm going to condone or encourage it. Exposure is a direct display of disrespect to the magic community, and it undermines what magic is supposed to be about. And he's absolutely right - if you start talking about all the stuff you've learned from YouTube, you're going to get a lot of cold shoulders.

    As David mentioned, you seem to be on the path of a secret collector. Once you realize what magic is really about, I think your views will actually change.
    RealityOne likes this.
  2. So many good thoughts already. I wonder if in the not too distant future, a larger wave of magicians will start clamping down on their material again, instead of just trying to make a buck (As many many fantastic magicians already do keep hold of their secrets). To be honest, the best secrets keep being put out in book format to combat the lax attitude towards the art. It's a double edged sword because it's kept more under wraps, but at the same time it misses out on the valuable teaching tool that is video.

    Honestly so much of the discussion of the ethics of exposing magicians is just hair splitting hypotheticals with no desire to see both sides of the coin, and no desire to advance what magic is (probably as Chris you mentioned, stems from a lack of understanding and knowledge of what it is).
    DominusDolorum and RealityOne like this.
  3. Point taken.
    RealityOne likes this.
  4. All of you seem to miss my point. To address @RealityOne comments... I do NOT support exposure. My point is that it doesn't affect me at ALL! I rarely learn from YouTube... My point is COMPLETELY different... @ChristopherT also got it wrong!

    I am NOT saying that people are entitled to know how magic works. But if someone wants to know how it is done. And the information is out there for MASS CONSUMPTION... why is it wrong for wikipedia to publish these tricks and methods? That is the point.

    Now to go on to the larger point... Both @RealityOne and @ChristopherT have the same mentality... You guys repeat that exposure is not a problem for you, BECAUSE you guys perform stuff that are not exposed... Well, what if they were? That is my point! Penn and Teller have shown how some of their illusions are performed... Isn't it a more liberating feeling when your show is constructed in a way that you DO NOT care about whether someone knows or doesn't know?...

    If people want to be entertained, they will not look up things. Also, having an original touch could help...

    My point is, does it matter if it is exposed or not? I do not necessarily support it... But after the Masked Magician, which failed to ruin magic, how could magic be ruined?

    It is out there... And someone could look it up. I just cannot imagine, me performing, and then someone investing the time to research those tricks, understand them... Find all of them. I mean, this is so unrealistic.

    Let me ask you this @RealityOne you have wife, kid etc I am assuming... And you have mentioned that you have a lot of magic books. Do you ask your family to verify to you that they have interest in magic before picking up a book? What if they are just curious? Would you stop them from reading this book just because they haven't shown enough interest yet?
  5. Youtube search "how the Chinese linking rings work." I bet you will find a ton of exposure videos with someone basically just showing you how it works. The Chinese linking rings are a staple effect in my close-up act. Very rarely do I ever have anyone call me out on how they think it works. I have even had someone (a magician friend) tell me, "Dude, what kind of rings are you using? Because that is not a regular set is it?" It doesn't effect my act at all that it is exposed (and it is prolly one of the most exposed effects ever) and yet I am able to continually blow peoples minds with it. How you ask? Because I have learned how to perform the effect differently than most people are performing it. I have taken the time to adapt my routine to make it bulletproof against people who may know (or think they know) the method. So trust me, I am not just performing my own stuff I created. I also perform a classic that has been exposed since the beginning of time and still get away with it. If you know how to approach exposure it will never be an issue for your act.
    kingdamian1 likes this.
  6. If it doesn't affect you, why have you spent so much time discussing it?

    Actually, you did, quote below...

    Asked and answered. To put it simply, if you know the method to a magic trick, it is no longer magic. The method is not as exciting as the illusion. When the audience if focused on the method (through knowing it or trying to figure it) the performance suffers.

    Spoken like a true secret seeker.

    If my exact methods were exposed, my show wouldn't be magical. I don't care about exposure because I use methods that are not exposed and use techniques that disguise any methods that are exposed. I started out magic doing shows for Cub Scouts for an elective requirement were they were supposed to learn magic. I would perform effects and then show them how some of them (simple effects that a 6 year old could do and that no magician would ever perform) were done. I noticed that their reactions declined the more they learned how stuff was done. I've since changed how I do those shows. First I perform the show and then I teach some effects that I didn't perform.

    Penn and Teller only expose certain effects because the method is just as interesting as the effect. Do I agree with this... no. It is like an actor stopping a performance of Peter Pan to show the audience how cool the harness and cables he is wearing are and how it allows him to "fly." It ruins the illusion of magic. Notice that Penn and Teller don't reveal all their effects. Why do you think that is?

    I'll let you answer that question by telling us about the shows you have performed where the audience has known the secrets. If you haven't performed shows, your opinion has no basis in fact.

    You are just quoting back to us our responses to your threads. Let me ask you, how do YOU make your magic performances entertaining so that exposure doesn't affect you? What original touches have you added>. Please provide specific effects and presentations and how people have reacted to them. If you haven't performed effects in that manner, your assertion has no basis.

    If you don't support exposure, why are you intent on justifying it as having no affect?

    Your argument also has a logical fallacy. Just because something hasn't "ruined" magic, that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a detrimental effect.

    We've listed the various detrimental effects that exposure has on magic and it doesn't seem that you have paid any attention. You simply return to rephrasing the same questions.

    Do a search for threads on hecklers, where someone calls out a method (accurate or not) when someone is performing an effect. Do you think those people who are calling out a method learned it from books or videos they invested time and/or money in? Or do you think they learned it on YouTube?

    My wife's interest in magic is limited to helping me fine tune my performances. She has no interest in learning secrets beyond what she stumbles upon in me get the scripting, blocking and performance right. She is the typical spectator and her feedback allows me to construct my performances in a way that appeals to a typical spectator. My 15 year old son enjoys watching magic, but has no interest in learning it (seriously... how many of you younger guys would love to have a dad that is obsessed with magic, has a closet full of magic props, dozens of DVDs and hundreds of books?). I remember his reactions upon learning the secrets to the Hovercard and Zombie Ball - sheer disappointment. He knows that I won't show him how anything works unless he decides he wants to perform.

    I'll close with a couple more questions:

    1. How long have you been learning magic>
    2. What effects do you regularly perform and where did you learn them?
    3. What is your presentation for those effects?
    4. What is the average length of your performances and average size of your audience?

    If you answer these questions, I'll answer them. I'm sure others who have posted in this thread will be glad to do the same. That way, everyone can get a sense of the level of experience that stands behind everyone's opinions.
  7. I understand what you're trying to say but that's a bad analogy. There are tons of "making of" and "behind the scene" videos for movie and in general it has been shown to increase people's appreciation of movies, not decrease it.
  8. My comment was specific to exposure DURING a show. I've never seen the "behind the scenes" footage during a movie.
  9. Whoa whoa...first off...if we are talking about exposure, then atleast let us list the good exposers out there!!!
    I'd rather die before learning a trick from WikiHow or Wikipedia!

    Aah, but it doesn't always. Then Richard Turner's Fool Us act wouldn't be so crowd-pleasing and amazing.
    I just wanted to add that, a well choreographed Chinese rings act, whether you know the secret or not, looks BEAUTIFUL.
    Because if they expose, they should atleast teach it well.
    I don't give a damn about KNOWING how to do a second deal...give me a magic routine with it and some tips, I'M IN FOR IT!
    Also, nobody's got a problem with it just BEING on Wikipedia or YT, I guess the problem is it BEING bad or it not teaching the intricacies of our art OR even it producing a lot of BAD magicians, who become ambassadors of magic for their audience...of course giving the whole community a bad name in the process.

    No one likes their work being exposed. I am with you when you say,
    (it gives me strong U.S. and French Revolution vibes tbh...freedom is a fundamental right!!!)
    But I would not think on those lines if someone stopped me during my performance saying, "Oh I know how that's done...saw it on You Tube...but I won't spoil it for you, go on!"
    As I think I mentioned before, it doesn't matter whether you are for this topic or will happen. It is inevitable. But of course the reason I support these threads and posts is because it gives people to put out their views in details and explain it, which in reality (as someone mentioned before) goes far beyond just saying "Free magic tutorials are bad" or "good" (I say free magic tutorials online, because exposure is just bad, it doesn't teach. I think the actual purpose of the thread is actually talking abt these.)

    I honestly dunno, majority of my performance may be google-able...never bothered to find out. But the reason I still say what I perform is NOT in YT videos is because I perform it in a style different to that what is taught in it. For some incomprehensible reason, laymen viewing a DL tutorial won't understand that the DL can be used for a HOST of other reasons.

  10. Anyway there is an old saying that says "information wants to be free" and I think now that pandora's box has been open the important question is not "is exposure bad" but "How as a community do we deal with exposure".

    I think there are multiple ways to see this. Penn & Teller doing routine like their cup and balls is a good example of amazing people despite the method being so visible. And, let's be honest, people have always known that cups and balls or card tricks are sleight of hands.

    I am also aware that this issue probably has nowhere near the impact on me, a simple hobbyist, as it has on people trying to make a living from magic.
  11. To be honest, why will ANY layman go beyond a video titled,
    Like, whenever I see a footballer kick a ball so that it becomes an in-swing or out-swing, I make a mental note to google a tutorial, at least to know the theory. But whenever I go online, the wish just dies out! I mean, I will never do that!
    It'll be really boring for me to watch!
    But if the video says something like,
    "You have GOT TO LEARN how to do this trick shot! It looks like REAL MAGIC!!!"

    So it doesn't really matter anyway, tbh.
    As a way of producing bad magicians and teaching wrong or bad maguc technique it does matter...
    But exposing magic so as to make magic magic-less...err...not so much.
    ncaron likes this.
  12. You need to understand the difference between a right (which is something possessed by an individual that government should not be able to take away) and an entitlement (which is thinking you should be able to have something because you want or need it regardless of the cost to others). To put your statement in that context, you are saying, "I want to be able to learn magic for free regardless of who is affected."

    We have already explained how the income of creators is affected and how the price of magic is increased and how real secrets are being held more closely through restricted distribution or pricing well beyond the budget of anyone who isn't a professional. I also think it leads to the distribution of a lot of crap. There is a market for magic and people don't want to release the good stuff - so what is left? Garbage.

    The paradox here is that by expressing that you think magic secrets should be available free, you are more likely to have people be reluctant to share real secrets with you.

    Also, it appears from your frequent posts asking why you are having problems with certain sleights that learning from exposure videos isn't serving you very well.

    What is the difference between exposure and a tutorial? I define exposure as making the secret available to the general public without some barrier (monetary, time or effort).
  13. In fairness, Richard Turner got one of the least enthusiastic reactions on that show.

    You directed this at David, but it honestly would be better directed at me, since my wife actually is a performer and occasionally seeks such knowledge. If she's just idly curious, I will ask her, "Do you really want to know?" And she'll decide which is more satisfying for her, knowing the secret or enjoying the performance we're watching at the time. If it's something we're thinking about putting into the act, we'll go over the various methods I am aware of and find one that suits the way we perform together.

    If someone I know wants me to teach them magic, I'll tell them they have to put the effort into arranging it with me. They have to make the effort to find time in their schedule, they have to practice and show me they are really learning and dedicated. I don't just say, "OK! Here's my library have fun."

    Absolutely true.

    Oh - And I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why it is anyone's "right" to know what I know?
  14. Wow... Thank you for responses!

    To answer several questions about me:
    I liked magic always. Last year my brother showed several clips of David Blaine and I kind of took it more seriously from then on.
    I mostly do card magic. I think that it is easy to follow for most people, a cheap prop, and has many tricks and illusions.
    I perform for my family. Since my family is close to me, I get plenty of heckling (e.g can I shuffle, can you guess my card now etc)...
    I plan to perform some street magic, now that my skills have developed more.
    I do magic for fun, and as a hobby. I think that doing it for money takes away some fun from it, as politics comes into play.

    Actually, if I got heckled by someone who learned my tricks on YouTube that would be amazing. The most views to a magic trick on YouTube I have seen is 20 million, and these are such simple tricks, that they are sometimes classified as puzzles. I perform tricks that would probably have more like 200 000 views... I cannot imagine that there is someone in this neighborhood who happens to be a part of that SMALL group, and not only that, memorized and remembered how to perform it... UNBELIEVABLE!

    YouTube tutorials bring newer people to magic, and give them cheaper ways to learn about magic. Especially card magic. Again, I do not have to worry about my monetary gain or "office" politics, so maybe I am a bit biased. I think we are in an era where it DOES NOT matter if it is wrong that stuff is on Youtube... It is HAPPENING!... We have to get used to it. Instead of complaining why not use it to our advantage?

    No one is entitled to know... But if the information is available to masses, then it would be an equivalent of censorship to tell Wikipedia/YouTube what they can and can't publish.

    I have many (6) magic books. I am grateful for those! Books are great.
    But some people prefer to learn from videos. Additionally, YouTube is right here in front of us!
    I do not have a problem with people learning from YouTube. It is NOT going away... So why not use it to an advantage?
  15. I guess I have a bit of a different perspective on this issue. It has been suggested that YouTube provides an accessible and inexpensive way to learn magic for entry level magicians, and I get that some people prefer to learn from videos, which obviously includes YouTube. I understand that some people are more "audio-visual" learners, as opposed to the written word. And I have absolutely no problem with people learning from videos, but more with many of the people who are making them and the content. (Note that the videos posted on YouTube by Michael O'Brien are a huge exception because he understands how to make magic fun and entertaining, and the all-importance art of presentation). In my view, the main problem with people "learning magic" from YouTube is the way the magic is taught. I have rarely seen a magician on YouTube, whether doing a "reveal the secret" video, or a "tutorial," focus on anything but the method - exclusively on how the trick and/or move is done. There is almost zero focus on presentation, which is the most important element in performing magic for people. Just ask anyone who makes their living performing magic. If they didn't understand that, they wouldn't be having food with their meals.

    The vast majority of what I have seen on YouTube, even in the case of very technically proficient magicians, is someone talking in a monotone, the only script being a redundant description of what is being done. In a word - Boring! The danger here is that someone who is inexperienced is going to mimic this way of presenting magic, and the result will be many clone magicians who have no concept of how important it is to entertain, uplift, intrigue, or inspire with magic and how to effectively interact with their audience - thus leaving the audience cold and flat, with a distaste for magic and magicians, and a lot of sub-par and mediocre (or worse) performers running around. Essentially because they had no true guidance and gained no perspective in regard to magic as the beautiful, wondrous and exciting performing art form it can be, their potential for maybe being truly great performers will be left untapped and unfulfilled. And I think that is unfortunate for them...and for magic.
    RealityOne likes this.
  16. I think I did mean that.
    Which means I agree with you on that fact.
    Well, first off, I ask stuff abt what's written in books as well, and I don't think it is a very good justification of facts, what you just said.
    I ask stuff about sleights because I refer to videos more, according to you?
    Did I mention I did not look up a single tutorial for Classic Palming coins and YET I got it wrong?
    I don't understand there some direct correlation with the number of times I ask questions abt sleights and my expertise in magic? Sometimes I ask just because I want general tips, because the best tutorials or the best books can't list ALL the tips in the world and everyone has something useful to add.
    Should I stop asking for tips here, because I personally don't want people to think bad abt my style or think my methods are rubbish?
    That's my statement put into wrong context mate.
    Prolly, I wouldn't know, am not a regular viewer :)
    It isn't, don't worry.
    Now that's EXACTLY the stereotypical comment online-resource haters put out!
    It's like when people say,
    "We had to look up dictionaries to find meanings! Why should you all just be able to google them? Leave that mobile and take this dictionary!"
    Impractical views.
    My elder brother had to take a bus to school for years. But after that a bike was bought and I have always been dropped to school on that. What if he starts complaining that he did not get to go to school with such ease and comfort, why should I?
    Or what if I start complaining that when I missed episodes of my favourite cartoons I'd had to either comfort myself with the idea of a repeat telecast or just tell myself "It's gone...won't come back"...while today kids can just find those shows on You Tube?
    What if a seasoned dancer complained that today You Tube teaches basic dancing (sometimes even the better moves) for free while he had to go to a dance teacher and pay him and also pay for DVD's?
    Really, really, impractical.
    No one has the RIGHT to get what you got with difficulty for free. But they CAN. And if they CAN, anyone who is sensible WILL choose the easy way out! That's the whole point, right?

    We HAVE to do that! If we don't, we will be moving against the tide!

    Also, I assure everyone that ANYONE serious abt magic will purchase books finally at some point of time, when they see everyone in the community pointing towards specific books. And people are smart. They KNOW if they want to get good at something, online tutorials won't help. So no worries there for our community.
    And as everyone points out, YT does not teach performance style, so that's one important thing not taught.
    Also, YT teaches MILLIONS of double lifts, but no that's another important aspect not taught, i.e., the secrets that matter.

    So it doesn't really harm the community, us.
  17. When did we say that they can't publish it? Pointing out that it is disrespectful to creators and to magic in general, and that it gives a certain impression to new magicians, is not the same as saying it can't be published.

    When have I ever told someone they weren't allowed to look something up? How many posts do I have on these very forums with specific resources named that are never followed up on?

    Information gained with little or no effort is not valued. If it takes nothing to get it, you lose nothing by not using it.

    You claim this is impractical, but how could you possibly know that? Have you coached anyone in magic, from beginner to competent performer? How can you know that the way folks like me meter out advice and resources isn't practical?

    Daniel Garcia was really poor as a kid. His family would get him one volume of Tarbell a year, generally. He would then study that volume all year, because it was the only new resource he had. That is why he's one of Blaine's main consultants and one of the best magicians in the world today.

    I've said it before, and I will undoubtedly say it again - Being forced to take it slow and study what you purchase is a good thing. Being poor or unable to get your hands on every resource right away, is a good thing. If you get too much, too quickly, you won't respect it and you won't learn it thoroughly. That goes for stuff you get for free as well as stuff you buy in large quantities. People who buy 30 downloads are never going to perform all those tricks. Those are the same people who end up buying the same trick again three months down the line, because they forgot they even bought it the first time. I know this, because I'm the guy giving the refund for that second purchase when they realize they already have it.

    Real talk here - are you really concerned that our methods of giving out information are impractical, or are you frustrated that we're not giving you what (think) you want?
  18. Sorry - missed this line the first time.

    Yes, people who are lazy will try to take the lazy way, and they will get the lazy results. You are right about that. People who want to do it right, will do it the right way.
  19. Reread what I said above about how experienced magicians view those who learn from and/or defend learning from exposure videos. You typically don't reference what source you are learning from. So I assumed you are learning from the combination of YouTube and books that you defend. Without seeing you perform the multitude of sleights you have asked about, it appears that you are jumping from one sleight to another without mastering it. That is a characteristic of someone who has learned a lot of secrets from YouTube. If I'm wrong, I apologize but you can understand why I jump to that conclusion.

    I think asking for help is the right thing to do and I have been one of the people helping you. Why? Because you have shown interest and determination and because I think that by helping you I will expand your horizons and help you realize that there are better ways of learning magic that exclude YouTube exposure videos.

    Christopher and I began magic around the same time in 2008 and 2009. There were a lot of YouTube videos around then. We chose to learn a different way. I started with DVDs and then quickly moved to books based on the advice of some more experienced magicians (one of whom was 20 years YOUNGER than me). So it isn't a case of we had to do it the hard way so should you. It is a case of we were fortunate to have people direct us in the right direction.

    Look up Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Simply put, magic on YouTube is the shadow. If that is all you know, you think it is amazing. But when you learn what is behind the shadow, you begin to truly understand magic.

    "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty... I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well." - President Theodore Roosevelt.

    To succeed in life takes hard work. Magic is no different.

    Any perceived advantage is outweighed by the disadvantages. To achieve greatness you have to swim against the current.

    We agree on that. My sense is that you should spend less time on tutorials and get to the books and quality videos sooner.
    DominusDolorum likes this.
  20. I think that one of the best justifications for book-based education over most video-based education is attribution. Some disc-based video instruction will list the originator of an effect but every good book on magic will. It is the very rare youtube vid that will make any effort at all to give attribution to an originator.

    And attribution is important, critical even. Lack of attribution is an insult. As a student of magic you are incomplete if you are ignorant of the origination of an effect. And if you aren't a student of magic then you are, as RealityOne says, merely a secret seeker.

    In my opinion, though, the best way to learn magic is a combination of methods.

    A good book-based instruction is a foundation...a solid source to build from. And I do mean a good book. Why not learn from accepted experts in a field rather than just some guy who posts a video? Do you truly believe that you can get better insight from some guy than, say, Vernon, Gannon or Slydini? Really? And there are almost zero vids that delve into magic theory or the art of performance...what distinguishes mere tricks from entertainment.

    That said, a good video can help to fill in the gaps that may form from an individual's inability to properly/completely visualize a written/illustrated method. And there are some youtube vid producers who actually do dole out some worthwhile advice such as the importance of books, what books to acquire, etc. So, video training is not without worth but it should be supplemental rather than foundational. And even a bad video performance can be (occasionally) worthwhile if you can see why it's bad and learn from that.

    Finally, there is no substitute for feedback from a real live human. My preferred human feedback would be from fellow practitioners, especially in the atmosphere of a magic club setting. But any human feedback is better than none.

    I will finish this post out with another Dariel Fitzkee quote:

    "No trick is worth performance if the secret of how it's done is more important than the impression it makes on an audience."
    -from Showmanship For Magicians
    RealityOne and DominusDolorum like this.
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