No Stupid Questions

May as well toss in my two cents.

Why is Learning magic on YouTube bad?
It's a good way to learn a bad trick. Most people putting stuff on youtube are either inexperienced themselves, having just learned a trick, or are in violation of ethical behavior, which is never good to begin with. If you're going to learn something then do it the proper way, and learn from the source. In most cases the same place the people on youtube got it from. I recommend starting with Tarbell or Mark Wilson and go from there.

Why is riffling down the back of the deck to get a pinky break wrong? If the spectator doesn't know what they are looking for and I won't get caught why can't I do it?
It's bad? Huh. I've never been caught or questioned by a laymen before. And I've done a lot of crap right under their noses. Magicians would care, sure. Especially the ones who thumb their noses at technique as if it were high art. But at the end of the day, know your audience.

Why is it wrong to teach a spectator one measly trick?
Magic exposure dates back hundreds of years. Magi were advisors to kings, and often their "tricks" were acts of divine inspiration or messages from the gods. If a king found out you made a fool out of him by doing basic tricks you could expect a swift, all-be-it brutal execution. So magic is real right? Self preservation. In the modern age of information I don't believe there's any secrets left in magic. It's been said that we guard an empty vault, and it's true to a degree. If someone wants to know something bad enough, there's a way to find the answers out.
Does teaching a trick hurt magic? Is it wrong? Not really. Penn & Teller have made a career out of teaching their audiences how magic is done. Doing so just upsets the anal retentive members of the society, that's all. There are plenty of tricks out there that teach a false solution only to go one step further and end with something magical once again. Dot's Next is a GREAT example of this. If you want to teach something, either teach something really basic that we would learn in a 4th grade science class (for the kids in the audience), or go with one of those false tricks if you want to play it safe.

Why should I read magic books instead of watching DVDs?
You should be doing both.

Why is it wrong to do a trick with my mouth?
In this covid sensitive time? Yes. Otherwise, not really. Just don't ask the spectator to handle anything that's been in your body without cleaning it off first.

Who is this Dai Vernon everyone praises?
Old card guy. Took a lot of gambling secrets and repurposed them to be magically entertaining. One of the masters. If you're going to pursue magic as an artform then you should know your history, and he's a big name to know in recent history.

Is it normal to get nervous and shaky before every performance?
If you didn't then I'd say you weren't human.
 
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Nov 3, 2018
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Magi were advisors to kings, and often their "tricks" were acts of divine inspiration or messages from the gods. If a king found out you made a fool out of him by doing basic tricks you could expect a swift, all-be-it brutal execution.
Could you provide some sources for that? I'm not questioning the information, but I've never heard of this and would love to do some reading on the topic.
 
Jun 18, 2019
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Most people putting stuff on youtube are either inexperienced themselves, having just learned a trick, or are in violation of ethical behavior, which is never good to begin with.
I agree. 95-ish% of the magic 'tutorials' out there are pretty bad. They teach wrong techniques, or bad habits, or they're just in bad taste, as in they don't make the viewer actually interested in the art of magic, regardless of how good the 'trick' itself was explained. I also agree that learning from books has several advantages (intricacy being one of them).

But what's your opinion about the few channels which are taught by magicians who genuinely do love the art form, who teach their own/public domain material, whose instructions (and video) have high quality and so on?
Because thanks to You Tube's algorithm, these are the videos on top of the search results when looking for magic online in general.
 
Nov 12, 2016
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I just wanted to say that this thread was not at all what I was expecting from the title alone, and that it is an awesome thread :)
Thank ya Thank ya. I'll admit shortly after posting I realized it should've been: "Stupid Questions don't exist", but oopsie.


Question round up once more. We only have 1 question this time around:
What about learning things from legitimate magicians who give credit/teach their own stuff on YouTube?



Rusty’s note: I would like to say, I typed everything above late last night(I do this often, because I like my post to go live at noon rather than when everyone is asleep).

However it just so happens Mohana asked that same question:
But what's your opinion about the few channels which are taught by magicians who genuinely do love the art form, who teach their own/public domain material, whose instructions (and video) have high quality and so on?
Because thanks to You Tube's algorithm, these are the videos on top of the search results when looking for magic online in general
Which I find somewhat hilarious, and an amazing coincidence if it is one.
 

RealityOne

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Nov 1, 2009
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What about learning things from legitimate magicians who give credit/teach their own stuff on YouTube?

The issue isn't the quality of the teaching / crediting. It is about there being no barriers to viewing. Although I agree with Steinmeyer's observation that we are guarding an empty vault, I think that the more people know about some methods for magic effects, the more they look for the methods in every magic effect. It conditions people to view magic as challenge to figure out the method. That is the same reason I don't like Fool Us -- fooling people isn't the point of magic, entertaining them is.
 
Jun 18, 2019
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The issue isn't the quality of the teaching / crediting. It is about there being no barriers to viewing. Although I agree with Steinmeyer's observation that we are guarding an empty vault, I think that the more people know about some methods for magic effects, the more they look for the methods in every magic effect. It conditions people to view magic as challenge to figure out the method. That is the same reason I don't like Fool Us -- fooling people isn't the point of magic, entertaining them is.
I (like to) think that we don't guard them from the layman, but for the layman.
But thanks, your point does clarify the issue, because even if I agreed with the quality of teaching being pretty bad even just 3 or 4 years ago, now it's really good on You Tube and even better on some other website (think the free tricks in the TXI marketplace). We can look at it as an improvement. Here's hoping that more issues magicians have with online tutorials get solved in the coming years!


That is the same reason I don't like Fool Us -- fooling people isn't the point of magic, entertaining them is.
While the name of Penn and Teller's show talks about fooling, the strange thing is that I've sent those videos' links to my non-magician friends and even watched the performances with them, and they almost never seem to focus on the fooling part of it. What more, they look at magic more with a better context (they realise there are different types of magic, sub-types, and so on). In my opinion, the way Penn and Teller speak at the end of the show, praising the magician for their work first THEN only hinting at the possible method, ironically makes them care less about the method and more about "what do those two expert magicians have to say in general about this performance which fooled my pants off me?".


Which I find somewhat hilarious, and an amazing coincidence if it is one.
It is a coincidence, but I think anybody keeping a close eye on the posts here was bound to ask that sooner or later, because as I said before, the quality is improving (nowhere near the optimus maximus, but getting there).
 
Sep 13, 2014
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Longtime lurker who just wanted to say there is nothing wrong with teaching a spectator a simple trick. Example: sticking a pencil to their hand by using water.

Provided the person is honestly intetested. If it gets them interested in pursuing magic that's great.
 
Jun 18, 2019
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What's the point of uncut sheets?
They are simply collectibles, often really precious and give you bragging rights because they are rare. They are like a piece of art in their own, can make your wall look amazing and are also a great point of conversation. While I'm sure a creative individual can come up with a 'practical' use for uncut sheets, but mostly, their point is to be appreciated just for how aesthetic they are, like a painting, or those 'Anything is Possible' (or 'Impossible') bottles with decks or ships inside them.
 
Nov 12, 2016
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Ok... so... Apparently after looking at the forum I missed one...

What's a mnemonica stack and what kinds of effects is it used for?

Apologies to the person who sent that. My bad.
 

ID4

Aug 20, 2010
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Dai Vernon (short for David Vernon, June 11, 1894 – August 21, 1992)

Actually the Vernon surname never belonged to him either. Dai Vernon's real name is David Frederick Wingfield Verner. Thanks to a Canadian newspaper and a ice skater the "Dai Vernon" name was created. The newspaper misprinted David as Dai and lots of people assumed wrongly that his last name was the same as an ice skater. He grew tired of correcting people and went with it.

Harry Houdini said:
Say what you want, but spell my name right!
 

WitchDocIsIn

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Sep 13, 2008
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I literally copied that from some site. I can't even remember which one, because I posted that six months ago. Props, I guess, for digging that up to respond though?
 

ID4

Aug 20, 2010
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You mean you literally plagiarized that from some site. Props I guess, for only taking less than five months to admit it?
 
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RealityOne

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You mean you literally plagiarized that from some site. Props I guess, for only taking less than five months to admit it?

So the definition of plagiarism is: "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source" (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarize).

I can't find any website that has the same ideas or wording that @WitchDocIsIn used. In fact, a Google search using his wording only turns up his post. For facts like his first name was David and the years of his birth and death, no citation is necessary because those are generally available facts - not words or ideas. I don't see any plagiarism here and I think you are wrong to make that accusation.

However, your post seems to be a paraphrase of information (without attribution) contained on several websites all of which presumably are taking it (without attribution) from the introduction to The Dai Vernon Book of Magic. Of course, I'm assuming of course you don't have the original newspaper article (which if you did, you should have cited) and weren't there to see people misname "Vernon" for "Verner" or didn't hear the story firsthand from Dai Vernon himself. So where are your cites to your sources? "

But wait," you say, "those are all facts - I shouldn't have to cite them." Exactly. So is what @WitchDocIsIn posted.

These forums aren't Twitter where you get points for "owning" someone. Be respectful.

P.S. I deleted the video you posted because it was unnecessary and added nothing to this conversation.
 
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Gabriel Z.

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So the definition of plagiarism is: "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source" (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarize).

I can't find any website that has the same ideas or wording that @WitchDocIsIn used. In fact, a Google search using his wording only turns up his post. For facts like his first name was David and the years of his birth and death, no citation is necessary because those are generally available facts - not words or ideas. I don't see any plagiarism here and I think you are wrong to make that accusation.

However, your post seems to be a paraphrase of information (without attribution) contained on several websites all of which presumably are taking it (without attribution) from the introduction to The Dai Vernon Book of Magic. Of course, I'm assuming of course you don't have the original newspaper article (which if you did, you should have cited) and weren't there to see people misname "Vernon" for "Verner" or didn't hear the story firsthand from Dai Vernon himself. So where are your cites to your sources? "

But wait," you say, "those are all facts - I shouldn't have to cite them." Exactly. So is what @WitchDocIsIn posted.

These forums aren't Twitter where you get points for "owning" someone. Be respectful.

P.S. I deleted the video you posted because it was unnecessary and added nothing to this conversation.


You gotta admit though context aside the video was pretty funny.
 
Nov 12, 2016
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Ok, question round up! Only one question this time around.

Why is crediting important?


P.S.
I still forget to check The form responses so I apologize to who ever sent that because I have no idea how long its been there.
 
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RealityOne

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Why is crediting important?
There is a saying that, as magicians, we stand on the shoulders of giants. Isn't it nice to know who's shoulders we are standing on?

Crediting really is just a nice thing to do. If you came up with some idea, you wouldn't want someone taking it without giving you credit. You give credit because you respect the people who's ideas you found valuable enough to use.

Now, when performing, it isn't necessary to give credit. It isn't like going to the symphony... "for my next piece, I'll be performing a little vignette by Theodore Annemann." However, when writing or even talking among magicians crediting does two things. First, it gives credit where it is due. Second, it actually shows that you have a deep appreciation for the history and development of the art of magic.

Part of crediting an effect is to find out if what you have developed is original even when you haven't used anything prior as your source. Most of us would hate to spend $15 on an effect that was published 75 years ago in a book available for $10.

Additionally, I find researching the origin of effects to be interesting because you can see how the effect developed or, more accurately, evolved over time. For example, the Triumph plot can be traced back to a gimmicked effect that was marketed for $1 back in 1914 which evolved into a sleight of hand effect that incorporated having a card selected in the mid-1930s - about a decade before Vernon published his now famous version.

Throughout history, a lot of well known authors have not properly credited others. Jean Huggard was well known for not giving proper credit. Mark Wilson's book doesn't give credit -- in my opinion part of that is a result of his audience being beginners and part was his own ego and mystique. There are a lot of effects that cannot be truly credited and we can simply point to the first publishing of the idea. Many of the effects in books like Modern Magic, The Fine Art of Magic, New Era Card Tricks are not credited because, at the time of publishing, those effects were very well known and couldn't be tracked down to the original source.
 
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