Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Josh Burch, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Okay, this is a rant. I still love all of you.

    Whether you have been performing for a few days or a few years we can agree that there are spectators out there that are obnoxious to perform for. These are the, "I saw that!", "I know how you did that!", or "I'm going to look that up on You Tube!" spectators. Whether it's been ten years since you've had that kind of an audience or yesterday you know they are obnoxious. There's a variation on it. The slightly kinder, "Tell me how you did that!", "Come on I can keep a secret!", and "Oh man if I could just do that one trick I wouldn't have to learn anything else".

    There's something I want to say to these people. The experience is better if you don't know the secret.

    The biggest offenders of the above are magicians. Guess what!?!?! Just because you're a magician, doesn't mean you get to know the secret! Magicians, out of everyone out there should know that. Magic is generally better when you don't know the method, and even if knowing the secret would enhance the trick in some way, there is NOTHING that entitles you to the secret.

    I remember an interview a few years ago with Michael Weber and Derek Delgaudio. If you don't know who these guys are you should. Michael Weber is good friends with the legendary Ricky Jay. He is who Luke Jermay calls the smartest person in the world. He is brilliant and has worked with the best magicians out there and created some epic magic for television and for his live performances. This guys is brilliant.

    Derek is one of the best card guys who has ever lived. He just finished his off Broadway show directed by the guy who played Yoda, Frank Oz. Derek is one of the greatest magicians alive, no contest.

    Well, Derek told a story about a convention where Michael Weber was talking to another magician (I don't remember who, I want to say Eric Mead or Mike Caveney). As Derek approached the other two magicians went silent. Michael Webber asked him if he knew why they went silent. He explains that it was because the method they were discussing was not something that they felt should be shared with Derek.

    Derek Delgaudio is without question one of the greatest magicians alive and he wasn't aloud to hear a specific method!

    You know what Dereks response to this was? "Oh, of course! I wasn't ready to hear that."

    I love this and I wish it was more widely felt in the magic community. Magic's secrets are not for everyone and that is fine.

    Magician's are the worst offenders when it comes to fishing for methods and I think we need to stop. We need to teach each other how to be tactful with feedback and to be a good audience. Just because we call ourselves magicians doesn't mean we get to know it all.
  2. I agree with your point to an extent but I feel like there is a double standard in the magic community when it comes to this.

    Take Jibrizy for instance. Paul Vu and him did a video to the mass public where they copied the video format of the infamous two Chinese magicians and revealed the secrets and inner workings of several workable magic effects. None of which were their own creation. But instead of being scorned, several magicians of the magic community still give high praise to Jibrizy for his efforts. You have guys like Adam Wilber that complimented Jibrizy on the hustle of it all (everyone knows that magic reveal videos do better than other types of magic videos) but at the same time will complain about those that aren't as famous as Jibrizy for exposing methods. You have guys like Rick Lax that will defend Jibrizy until his dying breath but at the same time complain about people doing the exact kind of thing that Jibrizy and Paul Vu do. There is a very obvious double standard in the magic industry.

    My point is either it's all okay or none of it's okay. So while I agree with your rant that magicians aren't entitled to know the secrets to magic just because they are magicians, I think we first need to address the real issue of the double standard because when you get up on a soapbox like this and preach one message but at the same time support someone that does the opposite, it sends a very confusing mixed message.
  3. For me personally, if I dont know how a trick is done and I have no plans to use any of the ideas in said performance, then I prefer not to know how it is done. Keeps a bit of the magic alive for me lol

    And if I do want to learn it I usually ask “what is the name of that trick and where can I purchase it? This takes the responsibilty off the person who just lerformed it’s hands and simultaneously allows me to learn the effect while supporting the creator.
  4. My point is that it's bad form to ask how anther magician does a trick, to their face or otherwise.

    To your above points I disagree with at least one main point. It's not all or nothing. There is something big or little that I can fault in any magician's career. That doesn't kill it for me.

    I really don't like Criss Angel but I can admire his business a acumen. I don't like Stuart Edge but I wish I knew as much about film as him. I'm even okay with magicians revealing magic, but that conversation is extremely nuanced.
  5. The level of professionalism here is what I like. I also think that you'd probably be okay if the guy said no.
    Brett Hurley likes this.
  6. If they say no then that is totally fair. They are not at all obligated to tell me anything. :)
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  7. As a magician, I find these situations with other magicians who perform a bit sticky. I’ve had magicians perform tricks for me with the intent of trying to fool me and that’s when I’ll tell them “I saw how you did it”. Sometimes, a magician will just have that kind of attitude of showing off their skills and trying to one-up other magicians (I’ve had this happen to me before) which is also when I’ll call them out because it’s something I strongly disagree with.

    That being said, if a magician is performing for me or an audience with the purpose of entertainment, I’ll never tell them “I saw how that worked” because honestly there’s no point, the trick is for entertainment it’s not an exam. If it fools me though, I’ll always them them that. I think it’s alright to offer feedback on presentation AS LONG as you ask first and don’t make it sound like you’re a better magician, whether that’s the case or not. If I want to learn the trick, I’ll first ask if it’s priginal and if it isn’t, where he found it. If it is, I’ll always ask if it’s alright he teach or self it to me, but I never press.
  8. Magicians are, in many cases, the worst audiences. I think, in general, someone who does a thing is one of the worst audiences for that thing.

    I apologize in advance if I offend anyone with this question, but how is asking "What product is that?" any different than asking, "How did you do that?" or saying, "I'm going to go look that up on YouTube"? You're essentially saying, "Tell me where I can learn this secret."

    I don't ask people about their act. Personally, if I'm doing a show and someone asks me anything about methods, that disappoints me. Because that means they weren't engaging in the show, they were thinking about how I did something. So I wouldn't want to cause that kind of disappointment for someone else.

    If I saw someone do something I really liked, and I had an idea that was totally different to that routine but maybe could use the same method, -and- I happen to run into that person in a social situation - then I'd ask for advice on how to achieve my desired effect. I still probably wouldn't ask for the source of their routine directly, it would be more like, "I'm working on a routine where I want to do X. I think the way you do Y might be the way to go - do you have any advice?"

    And also, I really don't want to know how they're doing it. I don't want to be in a head space where I'm thinking about how they did it. If that's all I can think about, the show sucks in my opinion - because they're giving me nothing to engage with other than the puzzle. I don't care if I'm fooled, I care if I'm entertained.

    So there you go, I guess. A rant in response to a rant. Don't ask people how they did what they did, just let them know you enjoyed the show (or avoid them, if you didn't enjoy it).
  9. Don't mistake social media for reality.

    I do Steinmeyer's Magician Who Fools Himself with this sort of presentation -- "I saw this effect performed by a magician and he refused to tell me how it was done." The last line of the effect is to ask the spectator assisting, "so, will you tell me how you did it?" Always fun to turn the tables.

    When I get that question, the response is usually a listing of several sources or a reference to an effect with the caveat that I've modified it from the method used. That usually enough to discourage secret seekers.

    Agreed. Which is why most of my answers are cryptic and require some effort.

    I couldn't have said it better.
    Gabriel Z. likes this.
  10. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you enjoyed something enough to want to be able to replicate it, I think it shows how much you truly enjoyed that moment of astonishment they unleashed on you and you want to be able to give it back to others.

    That being said, wondering how something was done is a natural part of astonishment in my opinion. It doesn't really matter how they present the trick because in the end, something magical is going to happen that just makes you wonder how the impossible happened, it's just going to be your first instinct. Personally, when I see a magic show (except Penn and Teller's because their style is complete comedy) like Dan White's, I'm both thoroughly entertained by the plot and the moment's where I'm just like "what just happened". I don't think that wondering how something happened is separate from being entertained and whenever I ask a magician how they did a trick, it's because I liked it so much I want to able to share the experience with others.

    In my opinion, magic is meant to be shared and there really is no difference here.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  11. I'm of the opinion that if you look hard enough you can find out just about anything. That said, if you do find something you better be ready to defend it. Furthermore, I think that you can know how it works especially at the smaller stages of magic , but you are looking through a different lens as a magician so you you're not saying "Yes!! I know how it works" it's more like..... "Eureka. I know how this works let me figure out the next step". So you aren't so much focused on How it works anymore .... You are focused on the end result which is a different story. I've been on this forum for 5 years, long enough to know that information gets repeated..... And once things keep getting repeated they become plentiful and eventually you are going to pick up on certain information. Don't get me wrong, I respect the art and the fact that maybe there are things that I will never know that's part of the fun.. After all what is the main motto of Theory11... Cerca Trova. Seek and you shall find. :cool:
  12. Great! Now do the work, and make something uniquely yours. (You in a generic sense, not you specifically MattieuZ).

    There's a big difference between, "How did you do that!" and "How did you do that?"

    I have gone to shows and said, "How did you do that!" The exclamation is the natural response. Though I have worked that out of my system for the most part, now I say things more along the lines of, "That's good!" or other complimentary phrases.

    I don't wonder how magicians do their shows. I don't want to know. I don't want to be seeing a show where the most interesting thing is their methods. That's a bad show.

    So yes ... Cerca Trova - search through knowledge. Read books. Learn the history. But don't search for the solution to someone else's trick. Search for the solution to that perfect trick that's in your head. Do that thing that's unique you.

    If you're figuring out other people's tricks you'll always be following them.
    Gabriel Z. likes this.
  13. Is that really true? The "magical experience" is over once they start asking for the method; at which point, the experience isn't better or worse if they know the secret or not. They've already "experienced" it. Knowing the secret won't change the experience they had. You could try to argue that the "magical experience" will go on longer if they don't know the secret, but the very fact that they asked for the secret means they don't believe in magic. They know there is a method. Thus the "magical experience" is over.

    To ChristopherT's point:

    The experience ISN'T better if you don't know the secret; the experience IS better if you don't think about the secret.
    Lord_Magic likes this.
  14. I have a go-to answer when I get these questions. I’m a hobbiest and I work almost exclusively with card magic (please don’t read that as “I’m a 20 yr old YouTube wizard” ) but it does mean that when do show a routine it’s ususally for friends or worse yet, friends of friends, and they do tend to feel pretty entitled. I’ve even gotten, “come on man you’re being kind of a jerk just tell me...”

    This is my typical reply and it works 99% of the time.

    I ask them, “do you like seeing magic tricks?”
    “Ok. So I’ll tell you if you really want to know, it’s not really hard, but here’s the thing: There are a million ways to pull off these tricks, but they all fall into about three categories. If I show you how I did it then any time you see a trick like this, you might not know exactly which method was used, but you will recognize the category. And so it’s gona ruin a whole lot of magic tricks for you. So do you want me to tell you?” -

    It works. I’m fact most ppl change their mind and cut me off half way thru my little spiel and say something like, “no it’s ok I don’t want to ruin magic for myself.” Its not uncommon for that person to back me up the next time someone else starts demanding answers!

    Saying it like that does a couple things. I say it isn’t hard wether it is or not. So those obnoxious few lay-ppl who think magic is somehow a competition between themselves and the performer can relax. I give them what sounds like a little secret info with the whole 3 categories thing so ppl who want to be on the inside get a little satisfaction. And I’m just honest about why it’s a secret, it’s for their benefit, and it seems to resonate.
  15. *Takes a really reproachful tone, much like a mother scolding her children in disney movies*

    Goodness Jason! You don't say the 'J' word!

    PS:- Not again, at least... *sigh*
  16. ???

    I was using him as a very specific point to illustrate my frustrations with people that get up on a soapbox to preach what's wrong in magic but they themselves have questionable ethics in this field. Just like making an entire rant on how asking for a method is wrong but in the same forum thread saying exposure of magic (which includes revealing other people's work) is okay. I can't tell if the author is naïve in their hypocrisy or a habitual contrarian based on the arguments made in this forum post.
  17. He was trying to make a joke.
  18. My daughter is 3 years old. I do magic for her sometimes. It is to the point that when she has lost something a toy, or her shoes she says that it must have disappeared in her ear. She is completely honest in this. She thinks that daddy can make anything vanish and appear in her ear. In her world this is reality. She has never experienced magic, it's the way the world works in her head.

    If your audience doesn't care about the method, you have failed them. They either don't care, or don't realize that anything magical has happened. The magic experience likely never happened if they never asked for the secret. I don't believe in magic, and neither do my audiences. The sense of astonishment comes when I bring all of my knowledge to the table and I can't explain what has happened. The moment I know the secret that astonishment is gone.

    This is the exact opposite of what is true. If they are not thinking about the secret, you probably haven't done your job, or you are trying to be a fraudulent witch or psychic of some type.
    MattieuZ and Antonio Diavolo like this.
  19. I strongly disagree. If the audience doesn't care about the method, you have entertained them.

    To me, that is like saying if you see an Avengers move and don't care about how the special effects are done, the movie has failed you.

    I go for "I can't believe he did that" rather than "I wonder how he did that." Nobody ever said that a magic performance was beautiful if they were thinking about how it is done. Our job is to create the illusion of the impossible. Any breakdown of that illusion and we have failed.

    I don't think there is anything fraudulent about presenting magic as if it were real. My audiences know that what I do is theatrical magic. They are there to be entertained, not tricked. I want them to walk away with a sense having felt a bunch of different emotions and having seen things that seem impossible and that only could occur as part of the experience of my show.

    Agreed, isn't Fool Us, but let me entertain you.
  20. True, I think that somewhere in here we actually agree with each other. If the illusion breaks down, whether it is because they know the actual method or have guessed wrong, we have failed.

    This doesn't mean that the audience needs to ignore the method. This means that they need to look through every possible method and come to a dead end every time. That's not my thought, that's the subject of Juan Tamariz's entire book The Magic Way.

    My current preferred definition of magic is whether or not the magic includes deception or not. For the purpose of this conversation, I'll use a different definition. Things that seem impossible are magic.

    You may have entertained them but they may not have experienced magic

    If you want your audience to experience the impossible they need to, have to, MUST say on some level, "That's impossible". In order to do so, they must ask themselves if what they witnessed was possible. If it is possible then surely it wasn't magic. Maybe it was theater, storytelling, dance or poetry, but if it is possible then it is not magic. If you don't get them to consider the possible (the method), you can't get them to experience the impossible.

    David Copperfield gets this. In his Flying Illusion, he spends several minutes anticipating the possible methods that will occur to his audience and addresses as many as he can. He could just take off flying without having his audience come backstage. He could get rid of the rings and the plexiglass box. His audience would leave saying, "He said he was flying but I bet there were wires holding him up". Instead, they leave saying, "I know a man can't fly, but everything I just experienced tells me otherwise. As far as I know, I just saw a man fly". This experience can only be found in magic.

    I can remove the special effects from a movie and still have a movie. If I remove the method from magic, I no longer have magic.

    It's not about which is more entertaining, or which is more aesthetically pleasing. It's about calling an entertaining story with a couple props a piece of magic when it's not.

    [/QUOTE] Nobody ever said that a magic performance was beautiful if they were thinking about how it is done.[/QUOTE]

    One of my all-time favorite performances by any magician was a performance by Michael Webber on Japanese television. He hammered a nail into a board, put a cup over it, and moved the nail to another location on the board. I don't speak Japanese so as far as I am concerned that was it, no presentation to it at all. This was one of the most breathtakingly beautiful things I have ever seen. Is it because I think boards and teacups are beautiful? No. Is it because there was some sort of hidden symbolism in the trick or presentation? No. The thing that made that effect beautiful, is that it was impossible. That's it. Could I experience that feeling in any other art form besides magic? No. A description of that effect, a painting of that effect, a poem about that effect, or a dance dedicated to that effect would all come up short. They could never be considered magic because magic must be impossible.

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