The most amazing trick...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Morgan B, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. the devil pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist! I always liked that quote, and I hoped the subject got your attention - as I really want you to read my post. What you are about to read speaks ot the the changes that have occurred in magic over the past years – it used to be in magic that there was an order. This order has changed – and the effects to magic overall are noticeable.

    When I was a teenager (18 years), I would be at the magic shop – and a working close up professional would walk into the shop and it was like a hush fell over the shop…everyone wanted to spend time with this working pro. He was equal in prestige to those that created the magic - after all, many creators were usually not good performers and he was an example of the goal, to do magic for lay people full time – it was all magicians aspire to– having vast knowledge and experience of effects and performance…so much so, that someone would PAY to see us…REGULARLY to see what minor miracles we had in store for them – a working professional in close up magic. We would watch what he bought…and listen to his advice like it was religious ideology. It wasn’t that he was a God, as much as we respected that he was doing something that we aspired to, and respected that he was good enough to make a living doing it…he was good, so that helped – as we knew bad magicians that made a living…but they never really made THAT good of a living. People can tell bad magic when they see it, but mediocre, they need a chance to see better to compare…but I digress.

    Why did we want to perform first and foremost? Because we knew that the audience was the true judge of who was good and who wasn’t – how many quotes have you heard stating the audience IS the magic? We were magicians that wanted to fool and entertain those that mattered, that didn’t know how great magic could be until they saw it…and didn’t know that there was SO much great magic. Magicians weren’t a dime a dozen then, actually, there were few of us, at least compared to now…we didn’t compete with each other, or do each other’s most popular effects when we could avoid it, we foster each other with the goal of great magic. Sure, there were still bad magicians – 50% sucked…30% were okay…10% were good…5% okay…and 5% GREAT!

    Then along came David Blaine…closely followed by Angel…and magic in the media with Harry Potter – and the concept of magic became HUGH – too big for itself – the percentages stayed the same – but the numbers were larger – so even though half the magicians still sucked at magic…and a small percentage were GREAT…well, now we had a few more names in the business…but at the expense of MORE bad magicians. You think the increase would have been a good thing for magic that more minds, more creativity, more of all the good stuff (supply and demand)…but something happened that was not accounted for.

    Technology - Not long ago, before magic “knowledge” (and I use that term loosely) was dispensed from a click of a button – it was shared amongst the brethren…and sure – a VHS was dubbed here and there – but it was not talked about, as it was really frowned upon. When you learnt something – you cherished the secret and you respected it enough to NEVER show it to anyone without making sure it was perfect, you wouldn’t show it to anyone…especially on video - because getting caught was not only embarrassing, but was everything you didn’t want magic to be. See a theme, a lack of respect occurring, due to the lessen perceived value?

    Because magic was so easy to get – it shifted the pecking order, from those who know and have put the effort into reading and studying magic to those that supplied the magic knowledge – as the former was now assumed, often incorrectly, with publication - a large increase in magic material…some good…most bad, became available on the market. This created a new bread of magician – they didn’t respect those that were working or doing magic for a long time – because so many guys were billing themselves and working doing bad magic – this criterion no longer was a convincer on those that were good enough to command respect from their achievement. Even though, the majority of those people were from the same school of magic that they were representing – supposedly learning years of material in months and feeling they were “professionals” – all the technique, with NONE of the performance or technical theory behind it. They continually and metaphorically stand on one leg representing magic. Now you have those that have achieved the ability to perform strong magic for people in hopes to create new lovers of magic, well, they get to fight an uphill battle, constantly having to educate the public on what magic REALLY is; versus the pop culture form of magic that has overrun web sites and forums. After all, how many times do people see live close up magic in their life – I NEVER stop hearing, “You are the first live magician I have ever seen”, and over 10 years into my career in magic. However, they have seen “Youtube”, “Angel” “A novice magician” or “that guy that floats” and have preconceived notions of the negative PR magic has developed. “I saw how it was done when I watched it over again”, “He swears and uses stooges”, “It was sloppy and awkward” or “I saw how it was done on a TV special” – another trade off happening because of the speed of growth and the worker has to fight against.

    The new breed of magician worships the guy that creates the magic, regardless of how good or bad it is – I often here on this forum how great someone is, despite his work being reviewed poorly and being impractical to perform – but the focus is feeding the hunger, so they only respect the guy that is feeding them this stuff in hopes to find that NEW and AMAZING effect. This is the magician as the audience impact in magic – YOU the magician are becoming the new audience, with magicians wanting to be famous amongst magicians – rather than with lay audiences. The cliché used to be – I don’t try to fool magicians, because they don’t pay the rent – but now everyone is selling notes…regardless of it’s originality – like a cannibalistic ritual to take money from each other – because nobody wants to learn and do magic for the public anymore…because you aren’t respected amongst other magicians unless you have a book, dvd or marketed effect!

    Why isn’t the focus making magic for people, not just the new tricks you see…but the classics? How about reading a book without tricks in it, so you can THINK about your magic? Nope – it’s too hard – I bet few even make it through this post…after all, it will take focus and dedication to read a few paragraphs…and I don’t have a DVD or Book out yet, so why bother? However, these same guys will post on the forum his opinion or beliefs on a move or performance…even if they have NO experience doing either of the two? What is wrong when someone that has a DVD says something, people take it at face value – when someone has been studying and doing it professionally for MANY years makes a recommendation, and 20 kids post their opinion over it?

    This has forced new magicians to try and be creators…the creations weren’t natural growth to offer originality and make magic an art – no it was a forced creation for the purpose of status and financial gain. I feel the focus in on the wrong spot. Everyone is SO hungry to get their name out there – but I DON’T see magicians equally as hungry to do magic well…put on a memorable show. Do you want to get your “name” out there…so people will take you serious? What is it that makes people care more about putting bad magic into circle, than doing good magic for the mainstream?

    Please don’t mistake this post as a rant – as I am not saying don’t create or that this part of magic is not important, but I do believe that because of this shift – we have taken the focus off of equally important goals – Is coming up with a new move, more important than sharing and doing of magic…creation shouldn’t be held in such high regards that it is consider the apex of our craft, but rather part of the process – and it CERTAINLY should not give you more status or make your opinion more qualified than someone that hasn’t created something or shared something in print.

    I want you to think about it – if I put out my book tomorrow and it became as popular as Jerry’s Nuggets…would you search my name and read all my posts? Print them off and consider them biblical truths (You probably should look up any thread I have started)? Would I be taken more seriously? Would that change the value of my thoughts? How about yours? Why are the creators of magic getting so much status, but those that do it professionally or are experienced/educated have overlooked thoughts and recommendations on forums? It is one of the reason that many pro’s don’t post on forums – Your thoughts (like others that have studied the art well) are equally as important as a guy that has a few coin tricks out or invented a transposition!

    The goal should be the same as before this shift - It wasn’t about being known by all…it was about being remembered by the few (or many) that were fortunate enough to see, no experience, close up magic in a way that changes them forever, that makes them love it as much as you do – there is more money in that than selling a typed up set of lecture notes…and far greater the rewards!
     
  2. Great, man! I absolutley loved reading this!
     
  3. Thanks - it's a true story, haha.
     
  4. You sir have given me alot to think about tonight. Mainly because I myself have been moving toward this trend of trying to create instead of performing.

    I agree that the main part of our art is to perform and entertain our audience. Otherwise all those hours(and money) spent into trying to perfect a trick or move will have been wasted.
     
  5. I agree magicians now adays try to perform for magicians not lay-men
     
  6. That is a brilliant post. Well done for writing it up and thanks for posting. I can't bang on about it now as I'm in a bit of a rush but it is very inspirational.
     
  7. probably the best post i have ever read to be honest its true. i am a member of the cornish magicial society the best performances i've seen are from those magicians they don't have any products out or anything like that but what they do is so mindblowing their personality shines through always.

    keep on telling your thoughts

    mAtt
     
  8. Thanks everyone - I am really glad you liked it - I was inspired to write it after visiting a magic shop...and found the ego's overwhelming.

    One of the kids behind the counter was performing a demo from Richard Sander's a new effect by him, and while people were watching, some guy felt it important to say, "You do that well, I will tell Richard some kid does it better than you, as he is a personal friend of mine" - like he went out of his way to drop his name.

    Then, I decided to buy Verbal Magic by Juan Tamariz...one of the youth behind the counter, that I am 10 years their senior, felt it important to tell me his opinion on the book...but that wasn't all - "Oh, you are buying Verbal Magic - good book - I have a copy in Spanish...I speak three different languages" - and I wondered - are you an idiot in all three? I know it's a good book, which is why I am buying it - I didn't ask for his opinion, nor do I care that he has the book in Spanish - what good does that do me?

    It is funny when you go to a convention - someone can put out a trick - and the youth will listen to EVERYTHING they say about magic - and if you don't agree...they look at you like you have three heads. "Who the hell are you - you don't have a DVD - so how can you know anything about magic"? Stupid magicians.

    Glad you all enjoyed it - the sad part is - the people that need to read it - won't...those that have read it, are on the right path. However, I am glad I finally got to put in words, about how magic has changed.

    Thank you so much for reading!
     
  9. nice post :)

    I think its true what your saying, but because so many people are doing magic its kinda ruined the "undergroundness" of it.

    I mean im not gonna lie, im 13, been doing magic for, 2 years or so.
     
  10. 218 views at this time - and only 9 comments...three from me...how many out of the 218 views do you think actually took the time to read it?

    Casting pearls to swine - what a forum!
     
  11. That last paragraph really spoke to me, and because of that, I'm leaving theory11 for a while.
    Not sure when I'll return, but for now I want to focus on my performance and not what I think about the latest DVD.
    Thanks Morgician, I'll see you round.
     
  12. Definitely made me think about some things. I won't be leaving seeing as I love to check out what's going on, curiosity will be the death of me.

    Great post and I wasn't going to post anything until you said about the 218 views and the few posts. I felt that everything that needed to be said has been said, in the sense that what you wrote down should speak to all of us if you truly love magic and want to be better. I have so many effects I don't use and it was because I was becoming an effect collector. Again, reading your post made me understand a little more about magic. Thanks Morgician.
     
  13. I don't think you have to go that far, and start insulting. You made your point in more than one post. And I am sure that 80% of those viewings were accidental, or they were looking for something else, or your post was too big for them to read. But there is 20% (more than 40 people) who have red your post, and understand it, and you change their way of thinking, but they didn't post anything, because (like costaldude said), there is nothing more to add or say...

    I was one of them, and you did change my way of thinking, and im thankfull. But i wasn't gonna post anything, because there is no need... But with the swine thing, you took it a little too far, so i had to respond...

    Or maybe you want for all of the members to post how great and smart you are...
     
  14. I took the time to read it Morg - I found it a very thorough and thought-provoking read.

    Your posts are great, but it is truly your fashion sense which is of biblical greatness!

    But seriously, so many people rush to publish their work these days. Looking back now, I feel that I rushed with my first publication. Not to be deemed super-cool on forums as I didn't attend any then, but because I desperately wanted to leave my mark.

    While I still use some of the material in Prox.FX, I feel it was too early in my career - I'm now performing several gigs a week and have a wealth of MUCH stronger and much more unique material, I've been writing the full length follow up to the first book for a year or so now, chopping and changing the routines in there and one day in the future I'm sure I'll be happy enough to go to print again.

    Until then, I'm happy performing my material and occasionally releasing a single effect here and there when I feel that people my actually get something out of it, rather than just for me :)

    Thanks again for your post - I'm sure it'll give many alot to think about :)

    D.
     
  15. Hey Tumbleweed – you don’t have to leave...but what you post and how you approach the forum can be geared towards making that change. I perform weekly in restaurants and private shows – but don’t feel this forum hurts me...but what I post is an expression of my experience. You seem like a good guy, and I have read your many of your posts – if you leave, I hope you come back enriched and share with those...rather than what happens now, the blind leading the blind for the most part...and when someone with vision tries to lead them...the blind say...What the hell do you know?

    Thanks Coastaldude – feedback like that is important. It’s like when you do an effect and nobody is making noise or looking like they are enjoying it...you would rather them boo...than sit expressionless. Glad that it had the impact with you I hoped for.

    Toby – I am not being insulting – but you said it yourself, “And I am sure that 80% of those viewings were accidental, or they were looking for something else, or your post was too big for them to read” – and this is the 80% that should have read it – that percentage was looking for “another trick to add” or saw the text and said, “wow, that is a lot of effort”...even though the follow up short posts said, “this was worth it” – not saying that it’s a “must read” – but I read EVERY thing that I click on...if the first post doesn’t catch me, I may not carry on, but I do read the original poster – if he makes a good point, I will read the following – which can sometimes be pages. Regardless, you sort of mimicked my percentages of the bad, okay, good and great – so you are in the top 20% or want to be. Toby, I was looking for feedback – but not how great and smart “I” am – but how great and smart the people that read what I write are – and I wanted to know the kind of impact hearing about the transition from “those that do” to “those that make” had on your thoughts. Thanks for posting.

    Dee – what can I say – that is a remarkable reflective post of the transition I would love to see in all. There was a quote in a Swiss lecture note – I think it was “Amateurs gloat over their victories, Professional focus on their mistakes” – you are certainly a professional and a talent, and I appreciate your feedback, always.

    So let me ask you guys this – why do we value the opinion of magic creators? Take two guys – both well studied in the art of magic.

    One guy – doing magic for 20 years – and has been successfully working professionally for 15 doing close up – but NEVER creates a trick or anything original.

    Second guy – has been doing magic for 5 years...does gigs here and there – but really is about putting out effects through the market – the feedback is mixed on his effects, some workable, some not so much – but he puts something new out every so often.

    Third guy – He never works for lay audiences, he does lectures and conventions, he puts out a great book and a few DVD’s on magic – the book is considered a must have – his DVD’s are low quality production, but decent material. He is a name in magic.

    Which one of these guys can offer the most valuable advice, and why?
     
  16. English is not my native language, so i had a hard time understanding your reply to me, but i got it... And it looks like we are on the same page, and we think alike... I just didn't like the expression with the pigs, and a whole tone of that post, but other than that, i totally agree with you, and i can sense that you are talking from great expirience.

    Well, i think it depends on what you want to be, or want to do... It really depends on what of those three guys you wanna be... And if some of these kids says they want to release a DVD, they will obviously take advice from the second guy, because that guy is managing to release a DVD every now and then...
    But most expirienced in general, of those three, is definetly the first one, and everyone who wants to be a good MAGICIAN, should listen to that guy, and ask advice from him...
     
  17. I would take advice from all of them, to be honest, the more information the better, but after reading your posts, printing them out and hanging them on my wall (ok maybe not) i would have to agree with Toby and say that First guy would be the best to learn from because he's been doing magic the most and is the most successful. It also depends on the personality and openness of each magician because i would not really want advise from someone who's very mean and snotty (just my opinion).
     
  18. Toby - you communicate well - the "pig" comment, is a common phrase for giving away something to people that don't deserve it - but it was really meant to get more posts going - and it did, so I meant no harm. We are on the same page.

    As for your responses on the scenario - it is interesting Toby didn't pick the guy that just does magic...he picked the guys with WORK experience...and another that created stuff a little, but still had work experience.

    The Dragon - very open minded approach - and it is interesting you agree with the worker - let say for argument sake...although very unlikely, all the guys are nice guys.

    SO - why do you think so many people are following the lead of pro's that don't perform or have been out of performance for some time? I think of it as a doctor that has been in medicine for a long time...but then decides to create new procedures, but never performs them on people on a regular basis...maybe a few times to make sure they work. What is it about being a "name" in magic that lends to the youth respecting them - and not those around them that have been doing it for so long? What is it that allows people to quote a Derren Brown passage when you are discussing card magic, but you would never see someone quote a forum passage? Moreover, what makes "named magician's" opinion any more valid?
     
  19. I'll talk about this from my own expirience. I live far far away, from everything... I cant go to the lectures, i cant meet with the professional magicians in person, etc... So those "not expirienced", "10 DVD's a year" type of magicians are the only ones available to me, and the only ones i can learn from...

    But if i had an oppurtunity to learn from an expirienced, working magician, i would deffinetly chose him over the other ones, because that is the type of magic that i am trying to do...

    So bassicly, the "named magician's" opinion is the only one that i have access to...

    I hope i was clear, and that you understood me...
     
  20. It depends on who they are but if people know them, there must be a reason for it. They are either respected or have contributed to the magic community. Noone spreads a word about the terrible magician apart from laymen.
     

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