Saturday Night Contest - Roundtable with Jason England

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
My question was simply trying to get at how you choose to present your card magic (non gambling demos)? I often find myself wandering down a gambling/cheating themed presentation even if I’m not actually presenting a traditional gambling demo and was interested in how you (as someone with so much knowledge and experience in methods of cheating with cards) present card magic (if and when you don’t present it with a gambling theme)?

Phil,

Sorry for misunderstanding your original question, but I'm glad you got something out of my answer anyway.

In response to your actual question above, I don't have a "set" way of performing for people when I do magic. It depends on the specifics of the venue. For instance, am I the only magician on the bill, or are there several of us working walk-around magic at a corporate function? Have I been advertised/introduced as a magician, or do I have to "educate" each group individually when I approach?

Having said that there is no set way, I will tell you that I almost invariably mention, in one way or another, several things early in the performance.

1. That I've been doing this for over 20 years. This in itself doesn't guarantee that they'll sit up and pay attention or respect you, but it does let them know that you're obviously serious and presumably have something worth watching/listening to. Of course, I don't offer that for the bulk of that time I was an amateur that made my living in the Air Force. They don't need to know that (yet).

2. That I live in Las Vegas. To those of us that live in Vegas, this is a big "who cares" revelation. But, to most of middle-America, Vegas is a cool, hip, fun and mysterious town, and anyone from there must be those things by extension. I try not to disabuse them of these notions. Again, I don't offer the fact that I've only lived here for 3 years. The romantic pseudo-reality is a lot cooler/more interesting than the fact that I grew up in Tennessee and traveled around a bunch with the military for 15 years.

From that point on, I try and let the magic speak for itself. By that I mean I choose material that is visually impressive, is seemingly impossible (as all magic should be), and has something interesting that the spectator can relate to in the presentation.

People are interested in many things, but we all know the major themes: business, money, sex, love, happiness, etc. It's tough to work these things into an effect, and I don't believe every effect needs this type of presentation, but these things are all good tools to have in your toolbox.

I'm not above showing something to an audience that is "just cool" and I don't offer, or even have any "higher" justification for it, but these types of things usually come later on in the show when my status and credibility are no longer in question. Opening with a mindless, thoughtless presentation, even to a great trick, is just asking for people to view what they've just seen as little more than a puzzle. Even though they might've been fooled by it, it didn't engage them and they may want to go back to their conversation. So, if I do something like this, it's virtually always only with audiences that have been with me for many minutes and whom I've already "won over."

Finally, to touch on something you mentioned, yes, I have used gambling-themed presentations for effects that didn't really have anything to do with gambling, just to capture or keep an audience's interest. This isn't ideal, but I've done it.

Thankfully, I don't perform in too many places where mentioning gambling would be frowned upon (i.e. I don't do any church shows), so many times I've been hired to do a magic act and wound up doing 20 minutes of gambling material in a 40 minute "magic" show. If the audience is digging it, I say roll with it and have fun. The host sees amazed looks and smiles on everyone's faces and they're happy too. How do you go wrong?

Hope this helps.

Jason
 
Apr 5, 2009
874
1
27
Illinois
Web,

There is no flaw, because there have been no promises made. I'm not claiming that posting under your real name is going to change your life for the better beginning immediately. I simply pointed it out as something that many internet forum regulars do without thinking about the possible ramifications.

But weren't you saying that if we used our real names. our credibility would be at stake?

What I'm saying is that using our real name wont put our reputations or our credibility as magicians at stake. because nobody knows us.


PS: You said in your quote that people don't know you. Any guesses on what I'd recommend you do to make sure it stays that way?

:D ok i get it. :p
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Web,

I never used the word credibility, you did. But you're right, that's essentially what's at stake here.

Credibility, like respect, is something you build over time. The point isn't whether you have any NOW or not, the point is that by remaining anonymous you limit your ability to earn any in the future.

You're right that most of magic doesn't know who you are today. Assuming it's important to you, what are you doing to change that?

Please keep in mind, my suggestion was aimed at those of you who aspire to something beyond the amateur or hobbyist stage. If you're not looking to move past that, then I admit, the argument to drop your screen names isn't as compelling. I would have thought that was understood, but the resistance from certain folks, not just you Web, seems to indicate otherwise.

Remember the rule: Figure out what the morons are doing, then do the opposite.

Jason
 
Dec 18, 2009
399
1
I just wanted to let everyone know I changed my screen name ;). I encourage you guys to do so aswell. (just PM Jon Raiker)

Corbin
 
Jun 1, 2009
1,068
6
You know you're reaching the upper echelon of card moves when you rarely run across a move you can't handle. This is especially true of the notoriously difficult moves like the false deals, the false shuffles, passes and riffle shuffle work (to include tabled faros).

Valid points, but what if you come across a move that is known to be difficult (i.e. S.W.E shift or Clip Shift) and you do have difficulty? Granted, starting out on almost any move is a bit difficult, but having a general skill set can aid in others (like the false deal family.) If you are not familiar with the Clip Shift and attempt it and have great difficulty, does this not mean you're one of the best? (A bit of a sarcastic tone, many people say you must know the clip shift, but I disagree.)

I believe I read this quote in a John Carney book once, but I can't actually remember the source right now. I'm paraphrasing.

"It's okay to think that you're good. Just never allow yourself to think you're "good enough."

That quote pretty much sums up what I think of my abilities with a deck of cards.
That pretty much answers my question as well, great quote. Always leave room for improvment even though you know you're still well grounded.

PS: you were given a piece of sound advice, and you were smart enough to realize there was no real downside to acting on it immediately.

You're a very persuasive man, Jason England. :D

Another question:
You have met and "jammed" with Steve Forte, the best person to handle a deck of cards in your eyes. When you have contributed all you can to the art and (sadly) leave this earth, how do you want to be remembered? As another Forte/Erdnase, or create your own image in Jason England that people reference?
A list of pros and cons for each would be nice as well.

Thanks for your time,
Jacob
 
Mar 29, 2008
889
2
Hello Jason,

“If you want to progress beyond the amateur stage in magic...you did something without thinking, and without considering whether it was a good idea or a bad idea”.

I did put thought into it – I have a hard time believing that your user name will lead to success or failure. The same thoughts shared on this forum can be shared by the person in lecture format under their own name. The thought should be of value, not the name.
On a side note: I have connected with many at conventions based on user name familiarity.
However, at your request let us discuss the benefits.

I consider my anonymity important on the internet for a number of reasons. Safety – both from angry posters and sharing openly without political persecution (as we all know the politics in magic). I like that my ideas are judged for their merit, and not attached to my social status, having my ideas read in this context disconnected from how they relate to who I am. Remember, not all of us have popular reputation and web site familiarity to back us up and give us instant credibility with the words we write or thoughts we share. I think the internet provides a safe environment to test ideas with real people – just because my user name is Morgician doesn’t mean you don’t get to know the real me – as my words, ideas, and thoughts are from the real me. However, by using a user name you don’t get to judge the person who is sharing them.

Also, I am not sure you take the context of what it is to be in a forum with much thought. Imagine jumping into a room full of strangers and declaring your name – I AM JASON ENGLAND – now imagine you aren’t well known. Think about how your words can be taken out of context – actually Jason, if I didn’t know how smug you are in real life, and how that is part of your charm, I may have read your words as insulting. How does that benefit your image or creditability?

I think sharing ideas should be free from any social attachments – as you will view my words differently if I am a man or a woman – black or white – gay or straight - and so on. These social uniforms allow you to judge my words differently – not looking at my ideas, but how those ideas are a part of my back ground – the strength of the internet is the common ground we can share. Actually, by putting your real name, it only lends to decrease or increase your credibility. In your case Jason, it may increase the context in how people write to you, as they carefully write their words to not offend the living legend. THIS is actually unfair, as in a room – your thoughts will carry more weight than mine – and that should not always be the case.

It seems to me that the reason to use your “real name” stems from being taken seriously, and marketing yourself properly. My credibility comes from consistency and accuracy of information. These things don’t change based on a username....actually, at this point if I did change...I would have to start all over again! Now there is some food for thought.
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
I have a hard time believing that your user name will lead to success or failure.

Thanks for the straw man. I never said anything remotely this strong. I feel usernames enable childish behavior/comments, restrict your access to information from certain people that feel similarly to me about them, and do nothing to let people get to know you and associate your thoughts and writings with a real person.

If you took away from my previous posts that I think a user name will "lead to success or failure" in any sort of direct manner then you are mistaken.


The same thoughts shared on this forum can be shared by the person in lecture format under their own name.

This may be true, but what does it have to do with my overall point that the guys what desire visibility in the magic world shouldn't post anonymously, or that it is a FACT that certain people share my disdain for internet handles and therefore refuse to participate in any meaningful way with people that insist on using them?

The thought should be of value, not the name.

You'll get no argument from me here. Now let's start sifting through the thousands of "thoughts" available on the internet. If you've got the time to analyze each thought individually, then more power to you. I hope you'll understand that I'm going to take the statistically safer road of filtering out thoughts that come from anyone who hasn't demonstrated their experience, knowledge, and expertise ahead of time.

Will I lose out on some good ideas from anonymous sources this way? Of course I will. But the time I'll save by not reading inane posts from goofballs, while concentrating on posts/thoughts from people with established credentials will more than make up for my losses over time.

Safety – both from angry posters and sharing openly without political persecution (as we all know the politics in magic).

I was wondering when the first "you gotta be concerned for your safety" shot would be fired. I'm surprised it took this long, frankly.

If you're a 12 year old girl posting online, I get it. Otherwise, I think you're ridiculous worrying about physical safety from people on a magic forum. If you're also posting to the local Crips and Bloods forum, things might be different.

Even if you were correct about safety online, isn't that an argument for simple anonymity? Wouldn't "Joe Smith" provide you with all the anonymity you required for safely cruising the dangerous Theory 11 wastelands? Is it really necessary to name yourself awesomemagicdude69?

My anti-username stance is as much about elegance in what we do as it is about the other things. I have some good friends that anonymously post to message boards. They have their reasons and I can respect them, even if I think they're being overly cautious. Not a one of them posts under a ridiculous name that makes me sorry to be associated with magicians.

-- Continued next post due to length issues (can't exceed 10,000 characters.)
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Continued from previous post due to length.


I like that my ideas are judged for their merit, and not attached to my social status, having my ideas read in this context disconnected from how they relate to who I am.

My initial instinct was to say that this is the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life, but I've been sitting here thinking about it for several minutes and it's occurred to me that it isn't stupid, it's simply naive. In a perfect world, it would be a swell thing if thoughts and ideas were judged based solely on objective criteria and not clouded by who said them. When the perfect world arrives, I'll reconsider my stance.

Until then....

I'll choose to spend my time reading and listening to established professionals that I know have the know-how and experience to provide me with a better-than-average chance of finding some good information.

This whole thing started as my sharing a way for people that wanted more visibility to get more visibility. Keep in mind, your thoughts and ideas are competing in a virtual marketplace full of other thoughts and ideas. If you want to increase the chances of your being heard, anonymity isn't the way to go.

If you're not interested in increasing your visibility or knowledge over time, then anonymity isn't likely to hurt you or matter one way or another.

Remember, not all of us have popular reputation and web site familiarity to back us up and give us instant credibility with the words we write or thoughts we share.

You lost me at "instant credibility." In my experience and opinion, that's a contradiction in terms. My argument has been about building credibility when you have none, by removing the electronic barriers that are preventing some people from developing a rapport with you.

I think the internet provides a safe environment to test ideas with real people – just because my user name is Morgician doesn’t mean you don’t get to know the real me – as my words, ideas, and thoughts are from the real me.

Here we go with the safety thing again. Between this and the perfect world of "unjudged thoughts" I think you may be the only person I've ever met that is looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, and yet sees bad guys lurking in every bush.

However, by using a user name you don’t get to judge the person who is sharing them.

Wow. You really have missed the point of all this, haven't you? No one is suggesting that you "judge the person" vs "judging the thought." This isn't a court of law. My arguments have nothing to do with the quality of the thoughts in an absolute sense (of course good thoughts can come from anonymous sources and bad thoughts from established sources) -- they have to do with the likelihood of getting a quality thought from an anonymous source vs a source that you can relate to in some manner.

But, let's take your stance and explore it.

The subject is chess. You can read the advice of Garry Kasparov, or of a random internet person posting in a chess forum. Choose.

The subject is medical. You can take the advice of someone that you know to be credentialed, board certified, and highly respected in his field, or an anonymous internet poster. Choose. By the way, your life depends on it.

The subject is "how to produce and run a show of grand illusion all over the world." There are 2 doors. Anonymous guy is in room number 1, Chris Kenner is talking in room number 2. Where do you go?

Now then, before anyone tries to pick apart the obviously lopsided choices I've presented above, I'll save you the trouble. They are lopsided. And they're lopsided on purpose, to prove a point. Sometimes, all you have to go on is the name and reputation of the person giving the advice. Many times in life, there is no method by which you can weigh all your options and then choose, or run experiments until a clear victor emerges in a battle of competing ideas. You just have to take advice and hope for the best.

When it comes time to do those things, I'll choose the statistically safe (and time-proven) way all day long: listen to the established experts.

Imagine jumping into a room full of strangers and declaring your name – I AM JASON ENGLAND – now imagine you aren’t well known. Think about how your words can be taken out of context – actually Jason, if I didn’t know how smug you are in real life, and how that is part of your charm, I may have read your words as insulting. How does that benefit your image or creditability?

I've no idea what you're talking about here, but I'll say this: I've been called many things in life. "Smug" is a new one. You're welcome to think what you want of course, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out how easy it is to call someone names when you don't have to sign your own and be accountable for your words.

(I know, I know...safety and all that.)

I think sharing ideas should be free from any social attachments – as you will view my words differently if I am a man or a woman – black or white – gay or straight - and so on.

Thanks for the walk down "equality philosophy" lane. I get it -- you wish it was that way. So do I, but since it isn't, I'm sharing a strategy for doing the best you can with what we've got, assuming you're after certain things in magic (like NOT being anonymous).

These social uniforms allow you to judge my words differently – not looking at my ideas, but how those ideas are a part of my back ground – the strength of the internet is the common ground we can share.

Wake me when it's over. No wait...what I meant to say was, ah...nevermind.

In your case Jason, it may increase the context in how people write to you, as they carefully write their words to not offend the living legend.

And we're back to snarky name-calling. Living legend, huh? Uh, thanks. That's not exactly how I view myself, but I appreciate your (ahem) kind words. Sure does feel safe sitting behind that keyboard, doesn't it?

It seems to me that the reason to use your “real name” stems from being taken seriously, and marketing yourself properly.

Among other things, but those are two of the biggies. Does this mean you agree with me?

My credibility comes from consistency and accuracy of information. These things don’t change based on a username....actually, at this point if I did change...I would have to start all over again!

Terrific. Now try and export that credibility out of these forums and into something useful in the real world. Try and parlay it into a relationship with a real person somewhere. I'm not saying it's impossible to do so, but I know a better method.

Now there is some food for thought.

I'm still hungry.

I'm also done with my explanations for why I think anonymity on the internet holds you back. Do what you want with my advice, just realize it comes from years of experience and hard work in trying to get close to people like Steve Forte, Richard Turner, Martin Nash, Stephen Minch, Juan Tamariz, Ricky Jay, Michael Weber, and dozens of other people whose opinions and information I can access and depend on on a daily basis.

I choose the access, the information, and the relationships with real people. You choose...................safety.

To each his own.

Jason
 
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Sep 15, 2007
1,128
0
28
www.myspace.com
I can't believe you people are arguing with Jason England! Immaturity at it's best. I'm shocked that you all don't just listen and shut up, especially from such an experienced person. :confused::mad::rolleyes:
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Z-magic,

I don't mind the arguing, and I'm not incapable of being wrong. I should say, I don't mind as long as people clearly understand exactly what it is I'm claiming, and don't provide a counter-argument to something I never said in the first place.

Most of what I've offered is simply an opinion, and isn't subject to being right or wrong per se. The important thing is that it's an educated opinion, based upon 20 years of experience. I offer my credentials up front, not in an attempt to "argue from authority" (a classical logical fallacy), but simply to put my comments and experiences in a perspective that's useful to the majority of you. Of course, a few of the things I've said are not merely opinions, and are based on my actual experiences.

I pick my words pretty carefully, and I try very hard to just say what I mean. I also stand behind what I say and try to recognize and admit when I'm wrong.

That may not be the "safest" approach, but it's the one with the most integrity.

Jason
 
Sep 15, 2007
1,128
0
28
www.myspace.com
Z-magic,

I don't mind the arguing, and I'm not incapable of being wrong. I should say, I don't mind as long as people clearly understand exactly what it is I'm claiming, and don't provide a counter-argument to something I never said in the first place.

Most of what I've offered is simply an opinion, and isn't subject to being right or wrong per se. The important thing is that it's an educated opinion, based upon 20 years of experience. I offer my credentials up front, not in an attempt to "argue from authority" (a classical logical fallacy), but simply to put my comments and experiences in a perspective that's useful to the majority of you. Of course, a few of the things I've said are not merely opinions, and are based on my actual experiences.

I pick my words pretty carefully, and I try very hard to just say what I mean. I also stand behind what I say and try to recognize and admit when I'm wrong.

That may not be the "safest" approach, but it's the one with the most integrity.

Jason

I know what you mean. It's just that I hate that the one time someone like you comes on, people just won't take the advice and be quiet. Granted always take opinions with a grain of salt, but I would put your word higher than any average forum person. But I digress, I just don't want other people that would be just as exciting to talk too, to come on here and see this, and they won't post anything because they don't want to get into an argument with an 11 year old.
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
I know what you mean. It's just that I hate that the one time someone like you comes on, people just won't take the advice and be quiet.

I'd certainly never ask anyone to do that. Disagreeing with one another is fine, and is a great way to learn. I know I've certainly changed my mind a million times over the years by listening to what other folks had to say.

Granted always take opinions with a grain of salt, but I would put your word higher than any average forum person.

As long as you're doing so because you know my experience level and track-record, this is fine. In and of itself, my word isn't any guarantee of accuracy of course. And an anonymous "average forum person" may still be correct on any given issue. But, I like my chances of being right against a person chosen at random off of these forums on a variety of card-magic and related topics.

And that sort of brings us back to the crux of anonymity on magic forums: there are few tangible advantages (morgician's utopian view of how the internet should treat anonymous ideas notwithstanding), but there are potential downsides that can have an impact on your ability to build relationships with other magicians.

If you want to be an amateur or hobbyist forever, stay anonymous. You'll be fine, naturally.

If you aspire to bigger things in the world of magic, begin establishing and protecting your "brand" now.


I just don't want other people that would be just as exciting to talk too, to come on here and see this, and they won't post anything because they don't want to get into an argument with an 11 year old.

Wouldn't worry about it too much. The smart ones know what they'll be getting into no matter what.

Jason

PS: Just for the record, I don't doubt morgician's sincerity or passion for magic. His previous posts demonstrate that. But I only know this from taking the time to read his posts to me. I disagree with some of his rationale for remaining anonymous, and I think some of his arguments are downright silly, but if I didn't think he was worth talking to, I would never have responded in the first place. Just ask sirfansalot.
 
Mar 29, 2008
889
2
I can't believe you people are arguing with Jason England! Immaturity at it's best. I'm shocked that you all don't just listen and shut up, especially from such an experienced person. :confused::mad::rolleyes:

This is exactly what I am talking about.

I can't have a conversation of a different opinion with someone that is considered a "name" - if you came into this forum under a pseudonym, this comment wouldn't have been made and our thoughts would have been considered of equal value to be judged by the ideas...not our branding.
 
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Mar 29, 2008
889
2
Also, I wasn't being snarky or sarcastic about being a living legend...Jason, we have spent time together at a few conventions - and it is odd how you took my thoughts so negatively.

Anyhow - thanks for your responses Jason - I don't like that you think my points are "silly" just because I think differently and less cynical than you. I am not sure how this encourages the youth to think for themselves. I have read many things on taking people's ideas for what they are and considering their merit for the idea. I guess some people like to measure themselves against tangible standards and achievements before considering an idea. I personally think that a 11 year old CAN have a good thought - and his idea should be consider for the value of that idea...not the fact that he is 11 years old.

I can understand your point of view Jason, if branding yourself is your focus amongst a group of magicians.
 
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Hey Jason,

You mentioned earlier that you spent alot of time in the military and I myself having military background this interest me do you care to expand on that out of mere curiosity so we can get a better idea of who you are as an individual outside of magic?

Shane
 
Apr 5, 2009
874
1
27
Illinois
PS: Just for the record, I don't doubt morgician's sincerity or passion for magic. His previous posts demonstrate that. But I only know this from taking the time to read his posts to me. I disagree with some of his rationale for remaining anonymous, and I think some of his arguments are downright silly, but if I didn't think he was worth talking to, I would never have responded in the first place. Just ask sirfansalot.

I have never physically laughed out loud while reading these forums until now. that was hilarious
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,761
2,865
Also, I wasn't being snarky or sarcastic about being a living legend...Jason, we have spent time together at a few conventions - and it is odd how you took my thoughts so negatively.

Did you tell him both your handle and your real name when spending time together?

A common problem of the internet is that it's very difficult to convey tone through text. Given the vaguely adversarial tone of this thread, you calling him smug (even if you include that it's part of his charm) and saying that people don't want to offend 'the living legend' is easily misunderstood because we can't hear you putting inflection into your words.

However, if someone knew you in real life and could associate your real identity with your pseudonym, they'd have a much better idea of how you meant your posts.
 

Luis Vega

Elite Member
Mar 19, 2008
1,799
200
35
Leon, Guanajuato Mexico
luisvega.com.mx
Did you tell him both your handle and your real name when spending time together?

A common problem of the internet is that it's very difficult to convey tone through text. Given the vaguely adversarial tone of this thread, you calling him smug (even if you include that it's part of his charm) and saying that people don't want to offend 'the living legend' is easily misunderstood because we can't hear you putting inflection into your words.

However, if someone knew you in real life and could associate your real identity with your pseudonym, they'd have a much better idea of how you meant your posts.

can everybody now that is changing to their real names pur in your signature your former nickname? to identify you more easily
 
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