Who should we emulate, exactly?

Jan 1, 2009
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Back in Time
Almost. I want to know why that when he was completely unknown, like you and I are today....why did corporate America decided that he was worth a bet on 1 season of Mindfreak?

You have given a lot of....information (I won't say bragging) of who you know, where you've been, and how many people you performed for.

I'm asking the board and those who have said Angel just got dragged along by the media and given a marketing team, etc, etc.....why Criss and not you?

That's a very reasonable question since both of you have performed for a lot of people. Surely you have performed for someone who knew someone that could have gotten you a shot. Jay Z is one of the most influential men in entertainment....why didn't he think you would appeal to the public consciousness?

Also, as you have pointed out, Angel has a lisp and I assume you don't. So he even has a slight disadvantage in that sense. So why a guy with a lisp and not you?


This is not a personal attack, I'm simply using information you provided to ask a question to the members of this board to illustrate my point.

Not everybody wants to be on TV or be famous. Fame has a high price and not everyone wants to pay it. Stop thinking that everybody who does magic wants to be famous.
 
Dec 14, 2007
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I've never seen either of your guy's material, except running your mouths off. The quintessential asset for a magician is not how he/she talks... It is if they can do a magic trick...

Except we are not performing now. We are discussing magic. We are trying (some of us) to look at a phenomenon and determine what we can learn from it - hopefully to then apply to our own work.

The discussion of magic is the domain of ideas. And ideas are either valid or invalid. they are backed up with facts and appeals to logic or they are not.

I know some very smart people who never perform whom some of the leading names in magic consult because their IDEAS are good.

Please stay on topic - and that topic is NOT anyone posting in this thread. Let's keep this discussion productive. You are welcome to disagree, but please keep this about ideas.
 
Sep 3, 2007
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Please explain what you meant by it.

(And while no one should fault you for trying to understand someone's motivations for writing, you can't claim to know what they are and use one's baseless conclusions in order to support a claim. They can and should inform your writing, but the moment you claim to know, you have shot yourself in the foot.)

I'll go ahead and explain for him.

While no one can/should fault you for an attempt at understanding how someone else feels, they still cannot understand your feelings. A comment should be made. However, the comment should not be as strong as the giver.
 
Dec 14, 2007
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I'll go ahead and explain for him.

While no one can/should fault you for an attempt at understanding how someone else feels, they still cannot understand your feelings. A comment should be made. However, the comment should not be as strong as the giver.

No. I meant what did he mean by his film student remark
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
The only thing I think we should take from people like Criss Angel is that when he started he was doing something different with the magic (and this was sort of before he resorted to enough Camera tricks to make George Lucas blush.). I personally enjoyed some of his close up stuff and his stage illusions were something that got people's attention for awhile.
 
Apr 27, 2010
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baller08.blogspot.com
I am staying on topic. I've been on topic for 3 separate threads.

I said that Angel is famous because he has no competition. Think back to before even Blaine was really well known. The person who brought magic back to the social consciousness was the Masked Magician.

How can that be? That shows you how bad and wrong our culture is.


Angel has been able to capture millions of fans around the world. He has his critics, just like every other well known celebrity in other industries. There are people who didn't like Michael Jackson, he's been made fun of plenty, but that doesn't mean he didn't have a great impact on music.

So on topic: Angel has an ability to be cool, relevent, and engaging to his audience. He can command a large audience, his style and edge appeals to a wide audience today.

What magicians do today doesn't work....as apparent by the showing at the David Letterman show. Great magicians, but completely irrelevent to connecting with the audience.

Bottom line: We all can learn from the body language, speaking style (not the lisp), pausing, movements, etc from Angel. I've learned a ton of that from Copperfield.

The bashing doesn't help us, instead we have to focus on why what Angel does works, because what we are doing doesn't. I don't care if he threatens to punch a camera man out and I don't care he is being sued by someone....that's the life of celebrities. Instead I want us to focus on why people like him make it despite not having perfect technical ability.

And you know what? If Angel is a bad word, replace everything I said with Cyril. Same thing over there for that guy...he's great. But so, so few of us make it despite our years of hard work....there's a reason why.
 
Dec 14, 2007
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And while there is value in studying Criss, he is not the only person we should consider.

Do you think being different is the best approach to being successful? Do you think being different is the best approach to landing a TV show?

Many entertainment people only want to do what they know works. If you recall, Angel's first special was a direct lift of Blaine's work. (Which was disappointing to me personally, as I was hoping to see an hour of the work he had developed up until that point.)

How does one balance the need to be different with jumping through the hurdles of the TV executive?

Is it better to take your marching orders from the suits and get the show, or follow your vision and be true to yourself?

One magician whom I have referenced cowtowed to the suits. He got his show, but at what price?
 
Apr 27, 2010
229
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baller08.blogspot.com
The only thing I think we should take from people like Criss Angel is that when he started he was doing something different with the magic (and this was sort of before he resorted to enough Camera tricks to make George Lucas blush.). I personally enjoyed some of his close up stuff and his stage illusions were something that got people's attention for awhile.

Fine. I don't care if he's gotten lazy, relied on camera tricks too much especially during Season 4 and 5. You guys don't think I know that?

But what he did worked, his first season and most of season 2 is what got him into the public consciousness. When he came on board, Blaine already made a name for himself so Angel was playing catch up, but he had a different persona and it worked well.

I just don't understand the slamming, the hate, the "apparent" jealousy. What's the point? Learn and evaluate.
 
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Sep 1, 2007
3,818
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This is what you wrote.

Please explain what you meant by it.

I'm heavily involved in several media. Movies, metal, video games... I talk a lot with the fans as well as up-and-coming artists themselves. And they all speak their own language. It comes from speaking the language of your medium of choice.

What impresses one filmmaker won't necessarily impress a guy who just wants to go to the movies with his friends. For example, I really enjoyed Avatar in part because I thought it was a triumph of elevating the movie-watching experience through innovative use of film technology. But I'm outnumbered by people who liked the movie for the aerial dogfight sequence but still want to wank the "Dances with Smurfs" joke.

I love metal. I write my own music in the genre. One of my favorite bands is Savatage. But among casual metal fans, they're pretty obscure. More people are familiar with their side-project The Trans-Siberian Orchestra and aren't even aware that Savatage exists. Until I started telling people, I was the only one of my friends and family who knew the significance of the cover art for TSO's third Christmas album. When you say heavy metal, most people think of Metallica or Black Sabbath.

Magic is no different. We know what goes into it. We see performances differently from how the audience sees it. Garrett Thomas made similar comments on Live at the Jailhouse. But our community is very insular. We don't get to hear outsiders' perspectives enough. Wallmott told me he was banned from the Magic Cafe for conveying the sentiments of people who watched Letterman's close-up magic week.

Brad, you alluded that you fancy wine. This is an area I know almost nothing about. I know other wine enthusiasts, though. At a party once I heard a couple of them talking about wine, and I had no idea what they were saying. And the wine they enjoyed, I couldn't stand. It tasted to me like battery acid. Last year's Christmas rolls around and the wine drinkers at the party hated the blackberry merlot, but I loved it. They let me have the bottle pretty much to myself.

It's the same thing.

(And while no one should fault you for trying to understand someone's motivations for writing, you can't claim to know what they are and use one's baseless conclusions in order to support a claim. They can and should inform your writing, but the moment you claim to know, you have shot yourself in the foot.)

I stand by my statements.
 
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Sep 3, 2007
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I'm heavily involved in several media. Movies, metal, video games... I talk a lot with the fans as well as up-and-coming artists themselves. And they all speak their own language. It comes from speaking the language of your medium of choice.

I believe you Alex. I actually trust you although I haven't yet met you. Strike that-Reverse it. Finish school and learn some magic before you give advice on either/or.
 
Dec 14, 2007
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thanks for keeping this about Criss, lets look at your comments

I am staying on topic. I've been on topic for 3 separate threads.

I said that Angel is famous because he has no competition. Think back to before even Blaine was really well known. The person who brought magic back to the social consciousness was the Masked Magician.

How can that be? That shows you how bad and wrong our culture is.

Actually, that's not true. The WGM specials were major ratings successes. Unreal, really. In fact, this spurned several other magic variety shows on cable TV (most of them poorly produced) and even the tremendous PBS and A and E specials on the history of Magic.

It was because of this success that the MM came along.

As to Angel's competition, it's hard to compete when he has a clause in his contract that prevents A and E or any of it's sister networks from producing shows with magic content.

Now, as Steer has pointed out, we can ask why did Angel come along and what competition did he have at the outset? Well, the answer to that is Blaine. Angel did not come on the scene with the MindFreak series. First, he appeared on one of those magic variety shows and then was featured in a TV show (sponsored by WWE who was letting him do a show in their basement at the time) where he did none of the material that made him interesting, but instead took the BLaine formula.

Ultimately, this special was a giant commercial for the WWE (then WWF) restaurant in Time's Square. Magic specials are known to be inexpensive to produce (partly because so many magicians are so desperate that they will work for almost nothing) and this was probably the most cost effective way for WWE to procure an hour of prime time advertising for it's latest commercial venture.

Of course, once people have footage they become so much more hire-able. Angel parlayed that special into the Mindfreak series. Good for him.


Angel has been able to capture millions of fans around the world.

I have to ask for some support for this statement. I am not aware than Angel has any sort of international following, and we have had people on this forum corroborate that he is unknown in England. The premeire of season 5 pulled only 1.2 million viewers. And then, there are the demogrpahics of htis viewership.

Does he have millions of fans? Are these fans people whose opinions we as people who care about magic should respect? Ashton Kutcher has more than a million twitter followers, but I don't know if he is someone a fledgling actor should want to emulate.

What exactly are you saying when you claim Angel has millions of fans.

Are you saying he is a celebrity?

yes. We've established that. And if one wants to be famous, he might be a good model. But is that what you are trying to tell us we should want to do - be famous?

HHe has his critics, just like every other well known celebrity in other industries. There are people who didn't like Michael Jackson, he's been made fun of plenty, but that doesn't mean he didn't have a great impact on music.

Michael is a bad example because, let's face it, things kind of turned psycho in the later years. Of course, there will always be detractors because many people have a push back against fame.

But I think when you divorce the crazy celebrity aspect from the conversation and consider just the music, I think you find a lot of really positive commentary from both fans AND people in the music industry who recognize Jackson for his innovations, artistry and contributions.

When I do a google search on criss angel reviews, all I find are negative reviews. (Except one - from a magician, ironically).

I will not deny Criss has fans. I will ask, where are reviews from established critics who are not reading from press releases or are paid to do puff pieces (ie entertainment tonight, people, access etc)

So on topic: Angel has an ability to be cool, relevent, and engaging to his audience. He can command a large audience, his style and edge appeals to a wide audience today.

Have you seen Believe? I did. I saw the people walking out. I saw the people asking for refunds. I read the reviews of the show - not from magicians, but from real theater people.

I was there when Criss berated the audience for not applauding enough and even called us a profanity.

I don't know that the statement that he can command a large audience is true, especially given the results of his Cirque show. And while you say his style appeals to a wide audience, I ask, who are they?

What demographic likes Criss?

And how do you define wide? More people watched babies farting in a tub than his premiere of MindFreak.

Does he reach more than some magicians - yes. But how many people does he appeal to? What is that number and from where did you get it?

What magicians do today doesn't work....as apparent by the showing at the David Letterman show. Great magicians, but completely irrelevent to connecting with the audience.

First, this post ignores the central problem of presenting closeup magic on television. Magicians for decades have wrestled with this, and really, it was Blaine who figured it out.

Very smart.

I can't ever think of closeup magic resonating from TV. And if you followed any of the stories on the Letterman week, then you know what these performers were up against.

Do you think it fair to judge people who were not allowed to define any aspect of their performance environment and who had to contend with Dave, known for being very challenging for magicians?

So, I don't think this is the example we should use. Closeup magic is meant to be experienced closeup. (Now if you want to restrict this conversation to magic on tv we can, but what a tiny tiny discussion that would be.)

If closeup magic as done by magicians today didn't resonate with people, then why is there a company who regularly sends out sleight of hand workers to uber high end parties at fees in the 4 and 5 figures for a nightly appearance?

If closeup magic as presented today didn't resonate with people, then why is there a magician who regularly performs for head's of state and some of the wealthiest people in the world each weekend at some of the finest hotels on the planet?

Sure, these people may not be household names, but I don't think we can conclude - simply because they do not have a tv show - that their work fails to resonate with people.

Bottom line: We all can learn from the body language, speaking style (not the lisp), pausing, movements, etc from Angel. I've learned a ton of that from Copperfield.

I am again reminded of the point made by Teller - one of the smartest, most artistic, and successful magicians on the planet. (Do you wonder if he ever thinks he hasn't "made it" because he isn't featured on TMZ?)

We can learn from everyone. And while we can pick up what we like, ultimately we produce better art by avoiding what we hate. Copying leads to similarity. And while being similar to something may make people feel comfortable (and easier to land a tv show) i don't know if it produces good art.

Is it better to look back on your life having stayed true to your vision or compromised to get on the list at a club that won't be around next week?

The bashing doesn't help us, instead we have to focus on why what Angel does works, because what we are doing doesn't. I don't care if he threatens to punch a camera man out and I don't care he is being sued by someone....that's the life of celebrities. Instead I want us to focus on why people like him make it despite not having perfect technical ability.

And you know what? If Angel is a bad word, replace everything I said with Cyril. Same thing over there for that guy...he's great. But so, so few of us make it despite our years of hard work....there's a reason why.


Excellent . . .so, what's the reason?

What specifically has Angel done that resonated so well with the people? You say he is edgy, Is being edgy the answer? What makes him edgy? Is it yelling at the camera or telling us stuff is extreme when it doesn't look extreme? Are these things also the things that turn so many people off? Does that matter? Is this something that others could use? At what point does the number of people you turn off outweigh the number of people to whom you appeal?

These are great questions and I hope we explore them.

And heck, let's look at Cyril too - what did Cyril do well that resonated so well with the people? (I think I know this one, I do not have an answer for the previous)

What specifically made them the success you feel they are?

I look forward to hearing your answer.
 
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Dec 14, 2007
823
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We've managed almost 8 pages of on topic discussion with a minimum of personal attacks.

If you have content to contribute to the discussion, please do so.

If you do not, please post elsewhere.

Thanks.
 
The same could be said for you too.

That... Doesn't make any sense. At all. Where are you going with this?

Regardless my statement to Sir Fansalot, about not being Steer, and Brad's cheerleader; I mean to imply that they don't need his help to egg on this discussion and encourage them to continue to go at each other like two animals thrown into a cage fight. --Which from my point of view, is exactly what it looks like he's trying to do.

Now, as for your comment to me, I'm not trying to spark, start, or stir anything. Frankly I've seen this discussion now drag out across four threads, three of which have been shut down. Frankly, I'm just not into it. I don't give a flip about whose famous, and why. The only magicians career I care about is my own. And rightfully so. I insist on learning what I can from others experiences, but that's purely to further my own endeavors.

Kindly be a little more informed Randy before you take a crack shot at me. You should know from your past run ins with me, like Brad or Steer I won't hesitate to put you into your place, nor do I pull punches or hold back.

Like others have previously stated before, I'm all for having a reasonable discussion without the mud slinging and back handed complements, or vialed insults.

We've managed almost 8 pages of on topic discussion with a minimum of personal attacks.

If you have content to contribute to the discussion, please do so.

If you do not, please post elsewhere.

Thanks.


Henderson, I'm surprised you haven't noticed my more than polite way of telling people to avoid the insults and stick with the program. As to the point of going elsewhere; I had an elsewhere. I had my own Criss Angel thread. Pity though that my thread got shut down because of others name calling and fighting. I believe you were one of the contributing parties responsible for getting that thread shut down.

But don't worry! I know you're sorry. You're forgiven. I'm not vindictive enough to show you the same consideration here that was shown to me in my thread. Especially after a similar thread that wasn't mine got shut down first! I usually only chime in anyways when I have something worth while to say. So far, between beating a dead horse, and telling others to not try and egg your debate with Steer and Baller on, I think I've had some valid points. Wouldn't you agree?
 
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Dec 14, 2007
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My request was not directed to any person specifically, but to all off topic, personal attacks wherever they may be occuring. It is unfortunate that many resorted to personal attacks in the other thread. I am doing what I can to try and redirect those attempts and encourage positive substantive comments. I think we can do it.

Maybe.
 
Jan 16, 2008
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Brad,

I'm sorry if I'm misinterpreting your intent; but are you asking the readers to think about "How did Chris Angel get famous" or are you asking us "Do you want to emulate Criss Angel"?

IF one wants to be famous and to be a celebrity, with magic as a tool for him/her, I say go Criss Angel's way 100%. Why not? He got where he wanted to be, so others should consider him a model when wanting to be where he is now (or was...a while a go)

IF one does not want to see him/herself on TV, and purely wants to perform for a love of magic, then don't follow his example. It's not that hard to stick to being yourself, while "insisting to learn what you can from other's experience" (quote Draven).

I agree with Draven's view; I don't really care about other magician's fame or popularity, or what demographic they're aiming towards, or what go them famous. I don't want to be famous; I just want to perform and entertain.
 
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