Is exposure a significant problem in magic?

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

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  1. There is a reason that you will also find magic exposed for beginners on YT. Not many professionals go to YT to learn magic.

    A for ethics of exposure, imo if you are exposing something someone else created or something you do not have permission to expose then you are definately not allowed to do it.

    If you created something yourself using methods that are already in public domain then there are two answers to this (I say two because this is where people truly disagree.)

    1. You are allowed to release it how you please because it is something you created yourself and is already available to the public if they wish to pop it up.


    2. You should not release it because it may tip the method for something someone else is doing (example being the Double Lift. If I teach it only trick you now know the DL and can call anyone else out that uses it because of my tutorial.)

    I guess the moral of the story is that you have to be careful with what you put out into the world and consider whether it will effect others or not. And if you are going to expose anything you should at the very least teach it well so that people can actually learn how and why to use it rather than just learning the secret and not ever bothering to perform it.

    This goes back to another thread someone started awhile back (either here or on Facebook, I cannot recall) that was “so you teach people a trick if they ask you to?” My answer was “I will if I truly believe they want to learn it because they want to perform it. If they just want to know the secret then no I won’t dhow them.”

    As for “making people pay” I don’t necessarily agree that magic isn’t exposure simply because it had a price tag on it, but it will deter people who just wanna know the secret. Only those who actually want to perform it will tend to be the people who pay.

    But again, it isn’t black and white. It really depends on several factors.
    RealityOne likes this.
  2. I don't know if I necessarily agree with your conjecture here, but I do understand your points and thought process. I may be naive, but I don't think people are that critical. With the advent David Blaine, and performers on shows such as AGT and Fool Us, I think the masses have an understanding of how entertaining magic can be. Seeing one lame magician won't necessarily taint their view of magic in general.

    I don't think so. Your posts are usually always well thought out and written. I can't say the same for the proponents of YouTube exposure on this thread.
    Maaz Hasan likes this.
  3. #63 RealityOne, Feb 1, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
    This is one of my favorite quotes:

    "Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the Divine."

    ~Ludwig van Beethoven​

    The real secrets aren't on YouTube. They are buried in books, on in-depth videos and in the knowledge shared on these forums.
  4. Stay with me, this turned in to a bit of a journey.

    But it does. People don't make choices about their entertainment based on logic, they make it based on emotion. Even I do it - I went to see Paranormal Activity in the movie theater, not long after it first came out. There was a couple there talking almost the whole way through. That movie came out in 2007. The next movie I paid to see in a theater, was Fury Road, 2015. To this day I still avoid movie theaters, because of that one experience pushing me over the edge.

    When it comes to niche performance like magic, there just isn't enough out there for people to make a nuanced decision about whether to see a particular performer or not.

    David Blaine's special "Beyond Magic" had 8.7 million viewers. That's a little over 2.6% of the US. Pretty good for a magic based show.

    Fool Us' episode on the 19th of Jan had 1.01 million viewers - 0.3% of the US population. Blindspot, a show about a woman who has amazing skills but total amnesia, who is covered with tattoos that give hints about her past, got 3.55 million viewers that same day.

    AGT is notorious for portraying magicians as losers, which is fully within the contract, btw.

    Statistically speaking that means that maybe 3 out of every 100 people have an opinion regarding magic based on something they actually saw themselves. The rest are either totally lacking an opinion, or will base their opinion on what those few who have actually seen it, say about it. So that whole thing about 1 bad review negating 10 good reviews really needs to be remembered here.

    This is why I emphasize that the vast majority of magicians are casual performers. Most magicians aren't taking it super seriously - they've learned a few tricks, and they just do those tricks. No real concern about making it meaningful or powerful, they just execute the secret method.

    Which means in a situation where maybe 10% of the population will see a live magician, the vast majority of their options will be people who just aren't very good performers. And the reason they are not good performers is at least significantly due to the fact that the easiest sources to learn from completely lack any real emphasis on the importance of a good performance for magic.

    The sources people find first, and the sources most people start to build their foundation of knowledge on, focus completely on the method. The highest quality of tutorial available out there, for the casual performer who is going to think $25 for a magic book is highway robbery, will at best mention the names of resources that teach the important skills.

    Because, once again, those tutorials on YouTube and such are NOT for the benefit of the newbie. They are there so the people who post them can make money or gain social status.
  5. You're listing TV views. Fool Us Shin Lims video on YouTube has over 47 million views alone. I know there are going to be some replays here, but the way YouTube works is that after a certain point it stops counting views and even subtracts views from the same IP Address or range of IP Addresses. Especially if you don't delete your cookies. So we can say that this did reach quite a large number of people. If even half this number at 23.5 million. This isn't counting magic performances on shows like Ellen, The Late Show, etc.

    We'll agree to disagree on this point. I really don't think people are that critical about magic as a whole because of one bad performer.

    I concur.
  6. These are just small hypothetical situations...
    The idea is that people want to know how things work. YouTube is a place for that. There is a lot of things, both good and bad.
    Would you be against the tutorials of card fans, second dealing? Some people want to know card tricks. Why is it bad to have this information for them? Some people want to know how to perform a card trick. And there is someone like, say, mismag822 teaching how to do tricks... How is this bad for magic? Why would a layperson sit down through these videos, watch them, memorize them and hope he gets to heckle a magician?

    Maybe some people just want to know some card tricks. How does this matter to magic?
    Magic was once a VERY secretive art. In the times of Egyptians and even middle ages magic and witchcraft were almost inseparable. Magic was not available as readily. Yet its popularity has NEVER been higher than in recent years.

    Again, I am not into "politics" of magic... The commerce in magic etc... I do not understand too much in these, so I may be biased...
    There are some tutorials on YouTube and people who are interested in magic go watch these tutorials...
    How many of you can list all 5 known prion diseases in humans (CJD, V-CJD, FFI, GSS, Kuru)... This is readily available information, on youtube. There are documentaries about this... One was on BBC. I am sure most of you know about a related disorder, Mad Cow Disease (BSE, a prion disease in cows)... not only have you not researched this, you also happen to know a RELATED disorder and you have NOT looked into it... ALMOST ANY ARTICLE about mad cow disease (BSE) would suggest human prion diseases. That is my point... You are not interested in this. If you happen to know about these disorders, then think about something like chess openings. There is enough information on the internet and youtube on the internet, that if studied enough should give MANY of you international chess titles... How many of you would beat 1600 Elo Rated chess player?

    See how absurd it sounds to talk about this... This is how absurd double lifts and Marlo tilts sound to a layman!
  7. Type Shin Lim into the search bar of YouTube and what is the third available option? "Shin Lim revealed" People are searching to know the method of how he does what he does. You said it yourself:

    Well if they see Shin Lim perform, then they want to know how it is done. So what are people doing on YouTube? Revealing methods. Does that sound like a good or bad thing to you?
    RealityOne and Al e Cat Dabra like this.

  8. First of all, I made it CLEAR I was talking about tutorials NOT REVEALS...
    But even then, my point applies... Search ANY ARTICLE about Mad Cow Disease... You will GET information about human prion diseases, yes it will "suggest" CJD and FFI to you... But you do not know (I am assuming stuff about it)
    This video is made in an interesting manner ( ), a.l.a masked magician... And it aired on BBC... But it still something that has not "ruined the experience of knowing" FFI...
    What I am trying to say is... Masked magician and exposure roughly sound equal to laymen as FFI sounds to you... Though, after watching that video, no doubt you are interested!
  9. Don't tutorials reveal magic? What is the difference?
    Maaz Hasan and Al e Cat Dabra like this.
  10. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - William Shakespeare -

    "Exposure by any other name would smell as foul." - Al e Cat Debra -

    (I spoke with a Moo-gician about this, and asked him what made him so mad? He said it wasn't a disease at all, but rather all the rampant exposure going on.)
    Maaz Hasan likes this.

  11. Going back to medicine...

    Think about these 2 videos.... Both of them are about heart...

    Take a look at this...

    Then look at this....

    The first one's purpose is NOT to teach students.... The second one's purpose is to teach the students... Try watching both... Tell me, as a layperson, which one interests you more... If you see the difference between 2 videos that deal with the SAME subject thatn you know the difference between "reveal" videos and "tutorials"...

    That being said, tutorials on TV would still be exposure... Bcs TV is not a library like medium (as is YouTube)...

    So, videos with titles "Shin Lim Revealed"... Are exposure...
    Teaching how to fan out the cards = Tutorial
  12. There's quite a large difference between the methods of medicine and magic mate...
    Al e Cat Dabra likes this.
  13. I'm tired of repeating myself. So, YOU ARE RIGHT. You should learn from Mismag's tutorials, use his technique and imitate his style. It really won't matter for magic as a whole. At some point you will either quit magic because you don't get the reactions you think you should (for some reason you don't understand) or start learning from legitimate sources and realize that those of us who are experienced actually know what we are talking about. If you do quit, please promise us not to be a heckler because of the knowledge you gained from YouTube.

    As they say on Shark Tank, I'm out.
  14. Irrelevant examples. A cardiologist's ability to treat you is not in any way affected by how much you know about his trade - it does not depend in any way, shape, or form on secrets. A tutorial (which I suppose exist, though I doubt they would be any good outside of a higher learning institution) for heart surgery isn't ever going to be considered as exposure because secrets don't matter here.

    A magician doing a simple card trick absolutely relies on the secret. If your spectator knows the trick because they watched a tutorial on YouTube, you as the magician can no longer do your job effectively. Yes, there are ways to try to circumvent this, but the point stands. Magic requires that the spectator not know the method in order to be effective - medicine does not.

    Exposure on YouTube puts magic secrets out there where any random person can find them. Tutorials on YouTube do the exact same thing. What difference is there really to a person who is casually searching to find out how that card trick was done? There is zero difference. Show how the trick is done (what you call exposure) or teach how to do it (what you call a tutorial) - both expose the method to a layman and hurt said layman's ability to be receptive to other magic tricks.

    The difference between a YouTube tutorial and selling tricks here on theory11 or other sites? Barriers to entry. YouTube presents nearly zero barrier to entry. Want to find out the method to a card trick? You go to and search for "how to do the card trick with the ace of spades." The result? 7000+ "tutorial" videos at your finger tips in seconds. Want to know why sometimes when you perform a trick, a spectator will say "I know how you did that"? THIS is how that happens. Instead of being amazed, your spectator disregards your performance as a trick they already know the method to. Harmful? This is the magic equivalent of your cardiac surgeon getting ready to do surgery, and the patient saying "Actually, I know how you did this from a YouTube video. Not going to work on me!", and then leaping off the operating table.

    On a magic website, tricks are behind a paywall. If free, they are at least on a website that your spectator has to discover before they can see how it is done, unlike YouTube where most people default for video searches. In a book, the barrier is the fact that you can't magically search for the content you want. That, and you have to actually read. Magic from an actual teacher? You have to invest time and energy. Barriers to entry. That is a major difference between exposure and real tutorials.

    Now, lets look at the other side of the coin - ethics. Imagine this - You write a book. You put months and years into that book. You post it for sale. Someone buys your book, scans all of the pages of it, uploads it to the net, and then makes this copy of your book available for free. Is that right or ethical? Of course not. The law even extends protections against such things. If you film a video, and someone steals it, making it available as their own? Again, not ethical. Also illegal.

    Now, kingdamian1 - lets look at things this way. Imagine that YOU came up with this crazy new magic trick. Took you years to create it and perfect it. You decide to release this trick to the magic world. You start to sell your trick, and after a couple weeks you find your trick exposed on YouTube. Soon, when you try to perform it, your spectators stop you mid trick and say "I've seen this before! You are going to ________ the ________ and ______ is going to happen!" Your pride and joy, your creation, is ruined for that performance. How do you feel?

    Then, you go to a magic convention. You show off your trick, and discover that there are a bunch of kids performing your trick poorly. Why? Because they didn't purchase your trick - they watched the YouTube tutorial. Instead of getting good, solid info from the official source, they just got the basic method from YouTube. They perform it badly, and you do not get paid or get the recognition you deserve from your creation. Everybody loses.

    The law does not cover every scenario that exists, and that causes issues in magic. You can copyright specific text or a video. You can trademark a name. You can't copyright a method. They law doesn't help magicians there. That said, it doesn't make it any more ethical. Exposure hurts the industry every single time. It hurts the spectator experience. It hurts the people who learn from it. It hurts the artists who created the original material.

    Lets look:




    Yea, I think it is a problem. Is 28 million videos significant enough for you? This doesn't mean the magic industry will die as a result - we will adapt and overcome.

    // L
  15. Ok... But this person has to study techniques, understand them, try them out... How many people are there doing it just to heckle a magician? If someone finds out how a trick is done... that is just one trick. If they do this with a lot of them, most probably they are practicing it... This makes them magic enthusiasts... I started by learning a secret and then learning more secrets... So did you!
  16. This has nothing to do with heckling magicians. I have performed a trick for a spectator, and have watched them walk away, pull out their phone, search for the method on YouTube, and come back to me with an exposure video a few minutes later. Magic ruined for them, nearly instantly. Most people don't look up magic methods to heckle - they look up magic methods because they want to find out the method for themselves.

    Your original post asked if Exposure was a problem. Yes, it is, and I outlined multiple reasons why it is. You asked if it was significant, so I did 10 seconds of YouTube searching to find out that there are literally millions of exposure videos on YouTube. That is significant.

    I am not saying that someone can't become a magician from these sources. I know many who have done so. What I am saying, in answer to your original question, is that yes - exposure is a significant problem. YouTube is ABSOLUTELY not a requirement for someone to get interested in magic. I became interested after seeing a magician perform as a kid (and spoiler - I didn't know how he did his trick!). I became more interested after seeing David Copperfield, Lance Burton, David Blaine, and others on TV performing (didn't know how to do their magic then either). I purchased magic tricks as a kid because I wanted to learn more (there is that barrier I talked about). I purchased more magic tricks later in life (more barriers) as I became more serious. I now work in the industry. Despite being curious about tricks on occasion, I respect creators and do not use YouTube tutorials as a source of learning another magician's methods.

    So, YouTube can do two things:

    1. Introduces people to magic.
    2. Gives exposure an insanely easy to access home.

    Yes, YouTube can benefit magicians ethically. There are loads of amazing performance videos out there. There are many discussions on YouTube to help you become a better performer. YouTube can be an incredible tool. We aren't talking about those videos though. Your post is talking about magic exposure. Exposure hurts magic, plain and simple. Exposing magic is unethical. Just because a layman happens to gain an interest in magic due to an unethical exposure video and eventually becomes a magician doesn't mean that the unethical exposure video suddenly becomes ethical. Wrong is wrong.

    // L
  17. *drops mic*
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  18. You need to actually read the thread, @kingdamian1. Instead of responding to all of the points, you're just repeating yourself with poor equivalencies in an attempt to justify your position.

    That's not discussion.

    Oh and ...

    Fans? No - that's a purely physical skill with no secret behind it. Second dealing? Yes - that's a secret skill.

    The fact that you think those two things are equivalent is the basis of your failure to understand this problem, I think.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  19. Thank you for all the responses...
    I think all of you are missing the point. Especially, @RealityOne . to make it clear for the 100th time I do not watch many YouTube tutorials... As far as heckling is concerned, I have never had a magician perform for me. I doubt I would want him to stop performing because of my "heckling" lol...

    Believe it or not, I understand what some of you are saying. I have an aunt who simply said she hated magic. She would NOT give me 40 seconds to try and convince her otherwise. She literally sat at the table and got up saying I was really annoying. Then she sat down again, annoyed at every instruction I gave her. "I hate cards", she yelled. I wanted to show her "Out of This World"... I knew it would get her. I knew she would change her mind instantly!
    Finally she agreed for 40 seconds, sighing through every second of it... I asked her to deal the ones she thought were red in the red pile and the blacks in the black pile... Her first reaction was, "you want me to deal the entire pack?!"... I asked her to keep going... Once she finished, I asked her what percentage she thought she got right... she said something, clearly annoyed, unimpressed and waiting to finish as soon as possible... Probably to instruct me "You have such a great mind, why do you "waste" your time on such stupid things."... BUT NO! I turned the cards over and showed her that she had (apparently) dealt every single card in the right pile. She was so amazed! She begged me to tell her, she asked me not to hold grudges against her... I simply reminded her that she hated cards, and walked off. Today, she gladly let me perform for her...
    Now if at this time, she knew how to google the trick or someone tell her, I would be disappointed. Because it would ruin the magic for her. So this I understand... That being said, YouTube tutorials (I will repeat that I am not talking about videos which try to guess original methods) are not necessarily bad. Only people who subscribe to such channels and spend their time actually learning, are magic enthusiasts. What is wrong with Jay Sankey's channel? 52 kards? Nobody is going there to see them guess how "Shin Lim vanished that marker." They are going there to learn magic. Isn't that better than the opposite? Why shouldn't magicians be in charge of what tutorials are on the internet? Why should this be someone who is simply looking for attention?
    Like I am saying, YouTube is like a library. But a big library. Library that can reach many people. Why not have pro magicians teaching real magic mainly for people interested? And I repeat, if a layman were to stumble upon such videos, subscribed, took the time to heed the instructions, perform, get reactions, get excited... then he is not a layman anymore, but a magic enthusiast. People want to learn magic. That is what YouTube is for. YouTube is #1 for how to things. Why not have someone knowledgeable?

    As for my comparisons with medicine. I do understand that magic methods need to be secret and medicine's do not. But what I wanted to show you, was that something being on the internet does not necessarily mean seen be everyone.
    Like I illustrated, with tons of medicine videos. They are on the YouTube... Yes they are on the internet, TV etc. But you have not google it. Until now, how many of you had heard of Fatal Familial Insomnia? That is my point. It is on YouTube but you do not know or care about it too much.
    That is the same attitude your average Joe has about magic.
    Let me ask all of you a question. Was the protein only hypothesis confirmed in prion diseases? It sounds like a weird question right?

    How would it sound, if you asked a layman to demonstrate the Chinese Linking Ring sleights used by Dai vernon? Same as that prion question sounds to you!
    That is what I mean, only the ones interested look up stuff. This is true of medicine and true of magic.
  20. Man this thread has really taken a strange course.

    Can we all just agree to disagree at this point? After a certain point, most responses have just become debates where neither side is changing anyone's mind.

    My final thoughts before I hit unwatch:

    Exposure is definitely an annoyance, and as stated above, a problem. However, it is not as big of a problem if people simply learn to perform

    The Medicine argument is totally irrelevant. If someone starts talking to me about Parkinson's and I have no idea what they mean, I pull out my phone and google it. If someone shows a layman a boring version of the 21 card trick, they google "Card trick with 21 cards". Not that different. Again, performance matters. Also, one is a science where you need to know what the hell your talking about and the other is entertainment. See Lyle's post for a more in depth answer.

    You don't change someone's mind about if they want to watch you perform. If they don't wanna see magic, they ain't gonna see magic. Don't force it on them. That's just annoying, and how you get hecklers. That's also how you keep people away from watching magic.

    Not everyone wants to see magic. Just go out and perform and you'll see. If I get 10 people watching me, I probably have 20 doing their own thing, and that's fine. For a sample size you can continually observe, try it on your friends. I've developed a new rule that I've loosely been following: If they don't ask to see magic, I probably won't perform for them. Maybe a few times here and there, abut on average, they don't wanna see you perform all the time after a few times. Same thing with anything really. No one want's to hear the comedian constantly crack jokes, no one wants to see the philosopher constantly talk theory, and no one wants to see the magician constantly perform. (I'll be starting a thread on this soon).

    Not everyone wants to learn magic. If it's not a super simple "party trick level" trick that they really wanna learn, most people don't want to learn it. Furthermore, most people I've met don't want me to teach them magic, to keep it a secret.

    YouTube's formula makes it near impossible to recreate the hypothetical scenario where everyone teaches amazingly and thoroughly and perfectly to everyone they want. I'll use @obrienmagic as an example (Hope that's ok Michael , gonna use you as an example, just because I saw that your channel was hit by the whole "demonetization" thing, and you are one of the few magic YouTubers who focuses on theory probably more than technique, which is great!)
    Michael's channel teaches theory and marketing to magicians. On some videos, such as the Phone Vanish Review, he'll get 1k, or even more views. However, his theory videos get around 300 ish. Why? Because most people aren't magicians. Most people stumble across his channel after seeing someone perform on AGT, see Blake Vogt in the thumbnail, and are watching for something else. I love what Michael is doing, but I guarantee that if someone were posting weekly reveals with click-bait titles, they'd grow 3x as quickly.

    It's easy to run across magic videos. Hell, the way YouTube's algorithm works, you will most probably find them. Normal videos lead to funny videos, funny videos lead to cat videos, cat videos lead to animal videos, animal videos lead to fail videos, fail videos lead to prank videos, prank videos lead to "magic prank" videos, magic prank videos lead to party trick videos, party trick videos lead to card trick videos, card trick videos lead to everything in the realm of magic on YouTube. Not to mention that once in a while, a performance trends, or a magician releases a funny video or a vlog or something.

    TL;DR Exposure is bad unless you really know how to perform, YT's Algorithm prevents the perfect magic channel, most people don't want to be magicians, but would rather watch.


    And just as a follow up question for @kingdamian1 , How often do you actually perform to people you don't know? Or in an actual performance scenario not just for a few relatives and such when you wanted to perform. Not practice, not experimentation, not reading or learning, but actually perform. And how often? Just give me a straightforward answer, not the circumlocution you've thrown at me before when I've asked you questions like this. If you perform a crap ton more than I have, I'll take your thoughts into consideration. But at the moment, I'd rather take the advice I've seen from personal experience, from the experiences of my friends and people around my level, and that from people who have performed and succeeded way more than I have (like David, or Michael, or Christopher, or a lot of other people). Because what I see, about 80% and more of everything you have said thus far has pretty much contradicted all of my personal experiences, and most of what has been said above, so there is no way I can agree.

    I'm not trying to call you out or anything, I just want to know where your stance is coming from. If you don't wanna say it out here on the forums, pm me.


    Have hit unwatch

    Don't @ me :D
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
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