"Stealing" routines

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by guiguimanu, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Yeah, you're probably right. The next time I want to perform the Anything Deck, I'll just toss Paul Harris an email to make sure he's cool with it...
  2. If he published it, then of course you are free to use it. His publication of it is his granting of permission. If you bought the trick, or the book that describes it - go for it.

    Ricky hasn't published any of his routines. Until such time as he does, it's hand's off.

    There's a HUGE difference there.
    My issue of motivation clouds it thusly: If you were to see a magician (not Paul Harris) perform the Anything Deck, and he or she is the reason you want to perform it - then you should ask them if it is ok. After all, you are benefiting from their work, research, and vision. If it is ok with them, then go for it!!!

    Anything you learn via your own research, assuming you have ethical access to that material (you paid for the DVD, for example) is fair game.

    Does that clear that up?

  3. I'm not saying that somebody should take a routine that they just see. I mean, most of what Jay does is already published in some form or another. he does his own versions. The 3CM he does is Vernon's and is, in fact, available for anyone to learn.

    What I'm saying is that if I see something that I really like, it should be fine for me to look into how to learn it. If it's not published, then it's not published and there's not much I can do about it.

    It's like I said before about how many people get into magic. They see something cool and want to learn to do it. So they look into it.

    Is it wrong to take something that is somebody's own piece of original creative work? Yes. So one should never steal a magician's presentation or patter. But if the routine that the magician is doing is a Triumph routine and it's the trick itself that sparks interest, what is wrong with somebody trying to learn Triumph and then figuring out how to present it originally?
  4. .

    Well.. i think it's ok if u remember to give some credits for the inventor!
  5. Magic tricks i see done on T.V but I had before it was on I wont do anymore eg. cig thru quarter.. It takes alot away from my "umm O.K let me try something a li'l different"...when someone realizes they seen that someplace before and call me on it.
  6. You are hitting on something here. So many times people say" I figured it out on my own. I don't know if it's really the way that he does it. I should be able to do it."

    If it's not published, then it's hand's off. Too many people think that gives them permission to try and figure it out and do it anyway.

    Sorry, you are stealing someone's work then.

    Hopefully, we agree there.

    Now, here is where this argument gets fun...ok, complicated.

    (The 'you' here is an imaginary person, not implying you would do this)

    You go to a magic show and see someone do Triumph. You have never worked on Triumph but you know the basic idea behind it. Now, after the show, you totally want to start doing Triumph.

    Do you see the problem here?

    You have had access to Triumph all along. You knew what it was, you may have eve had a version of it on your shelf. But for whatever reason, to you, it was not worth looking it.

    Now, someone else had the artistic vision to see the power of this routine. He worked it up and added it to the show. You never did.

    Had you never seen this performer, you may well have never thought about looking again at this trick. But BECAUSE OF THIS PERFORMER, you are now pulling out the book and learning this trick.

    Did that come from you and your labors, or does this result really stem from their work and their performance?

    In my view, if you want to work on Triumph, and it's because of them, then you should ask. Now, no one in their right mind would refuse you. It's Triumph for God's sake. But at least you are acknowledging their work and their vision. They may offer you a few tips. They may teach you their whole routine. But they might say, "Sure, but that moment in the middle where I do blah blah blah, that's mine and I'd rather you not do that part."

    Now, you go forward and at least one other person in the magic world knows you to be a stand up guy.

    Now Triumph is a bad example because it is such a classic. But I know of one AMAZING performer whose act is almost all other people's published stuff. But it's stuff most magicians have forgotten, overlooked, or it's really obscure. He hates working for magicians because someone will see him kill and then "remember" where the idea is in print and go out and start doing it. This guy spent thousands of hours of his life researching material that no one else was doing. He honed it to perfection. Now people are playing scavenger and taking those hours of investment away. The stuff is in print, but let's face it, it was the performer who introduced them to it.

    That, to me, is wrong.


  7. You make an interesting point there. I believe that the inverse is true for the same exact reason.

    A good performance can open your eyes to something you've overlooked.

    I just feel that it's a stretch to need to ask a performer to do a trick that is already published.

    A good performance is like somebody saying, "hey, look how good this effect is that you overlooked."

    If a performer is performing a piece that is already published, it almost seems like an invitation to magicians.

    Citing David Blaine again, I think that he did a lot more for magicians than for laymen. He seemed to say to magicians, "look at what you can do. Look at these reactions from these simple tricks." A lot of the material he did is published by Paul Harris and is readily available in print. It's like Blaine is saying, "look at what you forgot about."

    That's my take.
  8. #28 Brad Henderson, Apr 24, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2008
    But what about the many performers, and there are many, who do NOT want their acts to be smorgasboard's for other performers? Shall we say "to hell with you" and take from them as we please?

    Your point of view makes sense coming from the person who is taking, but please, for a moment, put yourself into the shoes of the person who spent a lifetime finding and honing a signature piece that everyone forgot about.

    This is this man's art, his career, his livelihood. It's not just about what "we" as the viewer "wants."

    Again, I have to disagree. (And I would be interested to hear how you came to this conclusion.) I know for me personally, and many of my peers, it is anything BUT an invitation to magicians. Many magicians hide their best material for this simple reason - most magicians do not respect their work and will take it at the slightest provocation. Trust me, if you see a magician perform - unless it is in a lecture setting - it is NOT an invitation to take.

    Let's look at it this way, if it's an invitation, then he won't mind you asking!

    And a valid one, but - and I don't want to sound like a dick - I wonder how in touch with the magic world you were before David Blaine. I don't think any working magician took that lesson from David. We knew about Fechter's work, we knew about the Invisible Deck. Trick selection is not the lesson David brought to the table (if it was anything, it was the power in making the spectator's responses the focus of the show.) And if anything, many magicians began avoiding a lot of those tricks, no matter how strong they were, because of their exposure on TV. (I mean exposure in the non-exposure sense of the word...wait...you know what I mean.) The last thing a MAGICIAN wants to hear is "oh, I saw David Blaine do that on TV." Talk about taking away your power!

    I do not know your background as a performer, however I can assure you that working pros do not want their acts picked over by other magicians. Most will stay away from tricks their friends do - unless they ask or trade an idea for it. It is out of professional respect and the understanding that magic is supposed to be unique. When others do what we do, it's a commodity.

    Ultimately you will decide how to approach the acquisition of the effects you choose. The only thing I hope that comes from this discussion is that - not that you agree with me - but that you consider the ramifications of your choices.

    Magic is a small world, and there is no reason to shut doors through which you may some day wish to walk. Demonstrating that you respect another performer's material - enough to ask prior to taking - will open up far many more doors than it will close.

    Just sharing from my experience.

    Brad Henderson
  9. Well, it's pretty hard to argue against most of those points, so I suppose I'll just finish by saying that I don't think that it's a black-and-white issue.

    It depends a lot on the magician and the material.

    I suppose that I like to think of the magic subculture less as a "hoard my secrets" mentality and more as a reciprocating community, if that makes any sense.

    A trick is a trick, in my opinion. It's the presentation that counts. That's the real work.
  10. After reading this thread, it seems to me that Brad and Longman are speaking of two different things.

    Brad is saying that it is unethical if you have overlooked a routine (Triumph for example) and after seeing a performance of it, you realise that Triumph is a good routine if it is done that way. If you copy "that way" you are doing wrong. "That way" might be a line, patter, move, presentational hook or whole presentation.

    Longman is saying that if you see a Triumph performed, and then you realise it is a good routine, and construct your own presentation from scratch it is OK.

    If I understood your points correctly, I agree with both of you.
  11. I am saying that if you see any performer do any routine, and that makes you want to do it, then the respectful course of action is to ask them if it is ok to work on it.

    If it is Triumph, or another classic, I know of NO pro in the world who would discourage you. They may ask you to avoid certain elements they feel are "theirs" but they know it's a classic and may even give you some tips.

    But, maybe the routine is something not theirs but very obscure - something they dug up and have made unique - then you MIGHT hear, "Hey, I have made that a signature trick and I've never seen anyone else do it. I really would like to keep it that way, if you don't mind."


    you might hear, ""Hey, I have made that a signature trick and I've never seen anyone else do it. If you really want it, all I ask is that you don't show it to other magicians."

    It's about respecting other magicians and their performance choices. Showing respect will NEVER hurt you. Remember, the original post was about "figuring out" something they had seen, something that was not in print. That to me is always wrong - again, unless you ask!

    Finally, Longman mentions the difference between communities that "hoard" versus "share." If you would like to be in a sharing community, that's fine. But you cannot expect to legislate that for everyone.

    Magic is about secrets. Always has been, always will be. And I for one believe that is a good thing. If I want to hoard, I should be allowed to. If you want to share, that is your choice. But when you take from me and my work - and I do not want you to - you are stealing from me. If you really want a community that shares, then you need to do the first thing required to share - ASK.

    If you just take, it isn't a community of sharing, it's a community of TAKING.

    Taking and sharing are two different things. Sharing implies consent of both parties. If you do not ask, you do not have consent. You are not sharing, you are stealing.

    Brad Henderson

    (good discussion, all)

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