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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #1 
Trying to approach something from a different perspective.  I promised myself that I would quit posting about exposure.  So for the purposes of this thread, let's work under that assumption please.  So I'm not debating exposure bad versus exposure good.

But this caught my attention.  I was looking up something on youtube and without even wanting to (and that is part of the problem) I came across a website that seems to focus pretty exclusively on exposing all of the recent magic on television.  I have no idea who the host of the channel is nor do I care.  But here's what got me.

One video has now had more than 12 million views and it was posted last December, so it is almost exactly one year old.  The channel owner has 1.2 million subscribers, btw.

Contrast that with another channel I saw where a PERFORMANCE by Dai Vernon of his iconic Cups & Balls has received only 345 thousand views in the last 11 YEARS.  The owner of the channel has 606 subscribers.  BTW, I think I watched the video a bunch of times so you can subtract some of my views!

So here's the question.  If an exposure video generates 12 million views in a year and the channel has 1.2 million subcribers, how does that compare to the number of actual magicians in the world?

I am of the opinion that the vast majority of people viewing the exposure site have no real interest in learning magic.

In the end, I guess all I'm doing is complaining, because things have progressed to the point where we can't turn it back.

A person can make a nice income with over a million subscribers, so obviously there's incentive to keep going.

So what is driving people to click?  Idle curiosity?  Genuine interest in learning about magic and methods?   Just wanting to know how it is done because they hate being fooled?

Why aren't more clicking on Vernon's performance?  Because those doing the clicking are searching out secrets?  Because he is just an old guy messing around with cups on a show that was discontinued decades ago?

Now to be fair, the Vernon routine has been posted to a number of sites.  Still, added together it comes nowhere near 12 million.  It doesn't even equal the number of subscribers on the other site.

And I didn't even attempt to add up all the views of other sites that exposed the same performances as the one in question.  I don't have a calculator that goes that high.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #2 
I feel the pain too. But think about this: There are over 330 million people in the US. So if all 12 million viewers are from the US, that's 12/330 or 3.6% of people saw the video. If it's out of the world where there are 7.5 billion people, it's minuscule. Finally, there's nothing that can be done about it.

Mike 
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
I feel the pain too. But think about this: There are over 330 million people in the US. So if all 12 million viewers are from the US, that's 12/330 or 3.6% of people saw the video. If it's out of the world where there are 7.5 billion people, it's minuscule. Finally, there's nothing that can be done about it.

Mike 


Those numbers help put things in perspective. Thanks Mike.

Over at the Cafe, I was in a little argument with someone who believes that I am part of the problem. My short-lived "Old Is New Again" series is public so anyone interested in learning some very good tricks can easily do so.

I'm not sure if he's right. Maybe he is (even though he went about in an immature and trollish fashion).

I do feel better that the videos that I'm doing for Reel Magic are available via a subscription. That says something, I suppose.

Rudy

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SamtheNotasBadasIWas

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Reply with quote  #4 
Edit: I just realized I went off-topic with my post. My apologies, my brain took a left turn and didn't tell me.  To answer your question RayJ, I think fans of the various shows look them up and the algorhithims put the exposure videos up in their feeds and people watch it. There is a great satisfaction in hearing a secret, even if in the end that secret isn't so special. Speaking from experience, I didn't know who Dai Vernon was back in April, and I assume most people haven't heard of him either, so they aren't looking for him and he doesn't pop up in people's feeds. The 12 million views are probably from people who are interested in pop culture and those talent shows that are so popular. I suspect most of them won't remember how the tricks were done in a couple of years.

Note: I am going to edit the following and try and make it more on-point...

I think people are disconcerted with Youtube because it has thrown things into flux and t broken the old ways of doing things and people haven't quite figured out how to deal with the change. The change brought on has been rapid and sudden. I think it is true that the world of magic is still in reactive mode and not in proactive mode, but that won't last forever and is beginning to change. Hopefully, this will limit any damage being done by those who don't care about the art. This forum is a good example of an internet positive. To me, it looks like Rudy is trying to bring the weekly/monthly club meeting and even the local magic shop hang out into a digital format. This allows established magicians a chance to mentor new magicians and socialize with other. Rudy and the moderators are doing it right by keeping things friendly and open here. That I think is a very positive thing.

Despite the negative things about exposure on Youtube, and there are negative things, I still think the good outweighs the bad. Also people using magic without any regard for it are easy to see, but there are no metrics for how much youtube is helping magic, so we can get an overall negative view because we don't hear or see the other side. I can only offer my story and how Youtube has affected me.

I am, if I may assume the title, a Post-internet magician (I really don't think of myself as having advanced far enough to take the title of magician and I think of myself as a student only). But whatever my status is, the question remains as to what does it mean to be a Post-Internet magician and how does it effect magic? Well, 8 1/2 months ago I had never heard of Dai Vernon or Marlo or The Magic Castle or any number of famous magicians. I have gotten to see a lot of great magicians perform because of youtube. How many of the six hundred people who saw Vernon perform would have had the chance without Youtube?  I learned about him and others
from the internet, specifically Youtube. Also, I didn't know and still don't know a single person interested in magic outside of internet forums. I did know about Houdini, Hennings, Blackstone Jr., Copperfield, and Penn & Teller and the masked magician on Fox. Obviously, I knew about them because I saw them, or shows about them, on television. However, I stopped watching TV more than a decade ago. I hadn't even heard about Penn and Teller's "Fool Us" until I typed in "magic tricks" into Youtube's search engine back in May. I have to this day never seen a magician live, in fact I've never seen a magic trick done live unless it was one of mine own. Without the internet and Youtube, I would not be doing magic now because Youtube and this forum are my main tools for learning, although I have recently subscribed to Reel Magic. Where videos kick butt is in the fact that you can see the trick performed and can get a sense of what is going on and how it should look and it can in the space of ten minutes give all of the instruction that a book can give, plus show the trick done from multiple angles, plus give extra pointers. You can even comment on a video and get an instant or reasonably quick response from the instructor. All of this makes videos and Youtube a pretty powerful vehicle for magic.

To me the question isn't if Youtube magic is going to happen, the question is are magicians of good intent going to drive the vehicle?

Anyway, I hope I have not given offense with this post. I simply wished to add to the dynamic of the discussion.

Best,
Sam

 





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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #5 

Dopamine? Money? Curiosity? Algorithms? Too many unknown variables to properly answer the core question, Ray. We can, of course, speculate, but to what end? Mental masturbation? Why not! (This from someone who spends an inordinate amount of time philosophizing about the most esoteric things.)

I would assert that exposure has never caused lasting or irreparable harm to magic. It was the venerable Svengali pitch writ large that hooked 12-year-old me on magic in the form of TV Magic Cards. Talk about exposure! I graduated to a TV Magic Set, and then on to books at the public library. If I’d had access to the treasure trove of information we call the internet I’d have been all over it like a duck on a June bug. So, I cannot blame anyone for satiating their curiosity at the 24/7 all-you-can devour buffet.

Sam raises an excellent point in his commentary: He has never seen a live magic performance. And not only he, since I would argue that most people never experience live magic. That’s one of many reasons the explosion of internet videos, even those exposing secrets, has served to strengthen magic more than weaken it. Ultimately people will be drawn to magic that might otherwise have never considered it as a hobby, art form, or vocation. Magic wins, but at a small cost. (Sam, please accept the mantle of magician; you are studying, practicing, performing, and growing. You are a magician, and I for one am glad of it.)

Like so many things, lamentations about exposure harming magic are part of a continuum. Magicians have probably always argued about the harmful aspects of exposure, and yet here we are. A fascination with learning secrets is human, and we should know. Is it really a big deal if a relative handful of people learn how this or that is accomplished? I argue that it is not. We should all strive to take our magic to the masses in such a way that it produces its desired effect. We accomplish that through practice, repeated presentation, and an attitude of humility. And we can accomplish it despite exposure on any level.

How many newly-minted magicians have popped onto this forum after stumbling across a YouTube video? How many future stars of magic are out there at this moment absorbing available content like sponges? How many of them will take our art to new heights in coming decades? The video-age has taken cardistry from flourishes to art form, and how many magicians have we seen use technology to create for-video-only effects that have wowed audiences around the world?  

Sitting in the audience watching Copperfield’s Flying, I knew intellectually that he was suspended by an array of cleverly concealed wires manipulated by a backstage crew. Even so, I was amazed, awed, and moved by the performance. Copperfield transcended exposure through the artful use of storytelling and theatrics. That’s how it should be done. Let’s get at it!

 

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #6 
Just so it doesn't "get lost in the shuffle", my point is not about magic on youtube.  Learning about other magicians like Dai Vernon, etc., is possible by watching their PERFORMANCE videos.  No exposure necessary.  So again, I'm not arguing against posting performance clips.

My main point was to differentiate.  My example is clearly two distinct groups of people.  Sure, there is overlap, but there is an obvious line of demarcation happening.  Tons of people want to learn how it is done, versus a much smaller number want to see a magician perform.

So that goes towards my position that exposure on the internet, youtube or other is overall bad for magic.  Some have argued the opposite.  To me it is clear that the vast majority of those clicking to see the secrets have zero desire to ever become magicians themselves.  So they are just learning secrets for the sake of learning secrets.

I think that is a bad thing.  There are many like me that agree.  Many others that don't.

There is even a guy who has an exposure site that I think is called TheFirstRule or something like that.  He basically gives the finger to guys like me that uphold the traditional rules of keeping secrets among the fraternity.

Shame on him.


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #7 
The thread is not going in the direction I intended.  I did not intend for it to become an exposure-good versus exposure-bad thing.

Again, my main idea was to try to convey my frustration that there is magic on national television and within hours the secrets are being exposed to the masses, most of which are not magicians and that the purveyor of the site is likely making more money off of it than most semi-pro magicians that hustle to make a buck.

To me it is sad, unconscionable and unnecessary.  

It is also apparent that it is a fact of life.

I seem to be one of the few getting exorcised over this and I understand that.  I'm just a traditionalist by nature.  Sure, I love my iPad, but I also enjoy writing longhand and in cursive!  I shave with traditional soap and love it although I also love my microwave.

I think there is a way to straddle the old and the new and do it in a way that honors both.

I'm just afraid that I'm becoming increasingly alone.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #8 
Ray, your most recent post is tautologically opposed to the one with which you opened the thread. In point of fact you asked a number of questions, and in reading your OP I tried to distill them for the purposes of my post. At this point I am a bit confused...

You asked, "So what is driving people to click?  Idle curiosity?  Genuine interest in learning about magic and methods?   Just wanting to know how it is done because they hate being fooled?" And those were the questions I attempted to address. Now we're in the territory you originally intended to avoid. Apologies if I failed to understand, but apparently I am not alone. Can you perhaps more succulently state your basic question and/or point of discussion? Maybe we can get back to where we once belong?

Thanks! 

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SamtheNotasBadasIWas

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Reply with quote  #9 
Sorry, my post rambled and it was off the point. I think you are right about the exposure being bad, I don't think that it is crippling. But there are definitely some bad actors. I would assume idle curiosity IS the main reason people watch the videos.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #10 
Maybe it is just me but I have re-read my posts and to me my point is crystal clear.

Exposure videos-viewed by the masses for fun, titillation, whatever and doesn't elevate the art  VERSUS  Performance video of an iconic magician doing an iconic routine creates wonder, honors the magician and the art
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #11 
This was the first question from my original post...

"So here's the question.  If an exposure video generates 12 million views in a year and the channel has 1.2 million subcribers, how does that compare to the number of actual magicians in the world?"

What's a subcriber?  

There's a little bit of good for magic on youtube and a great deal of bad.  That, I guess was pretty much my point.  I used this example because I think it makes it clear that it isn't magicians learning from other magicians but rather Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public.  

I'm working my way off of my soapbox.  Beginning to feel like Don Quixote.  I just move along now.  Sorry for the confusion.

"I promised myself that I would quit posting about exposure."

Should have kept my promise.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #12 
Yeah, you sorta make my point. You asked a lot of questions and it was difficult for me to fully understand the overarching point of the post. So, if I rephrase: "Why are more people watching exposure videos than are watching performance videos?" Is that close? Closer? Am I even warm?!

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #13 
Let me preface this by saying that I am sure that I am as dismayed as any magician on the planet about online exposure of magic's secrets. This being said, this thread got me thinking about what motivates millions of people to want to find out the secrets. My working theory was that it might build down simply to a matter of human curiosity. It seems that curiosity it is a strong impulse in humans. So I did just a bit of research (Where else? online), and found an intriguing article in the BBC Science Focus Magazine. The article is entitled: Why are humans so curious? When I saw the title, I was -- well-- curious...

The author, Christian Jarrett, a British Cognitive Neuroscientist, states the following in the ArtIcle:

"Although it’s cats who are supposedly curious, humans are hardwired to be inquisitive and have a thirst for new information which links back to survival for our ancestors.

To the human brain, new information is like delicious food. A recent study at the University of Reading found that participants’ curiosity to find out how a magic trick worked triggered activity in the same area of their brains as a hunger for food. Those who were most curious were even prepared to risk a (mild) electric shock for the chance to have the magic explained.

Humans, it seems, are hardwired to be curious, and this instinct would have been a potential lifesaver for our ancestors – the person who dared to poke their head around the corner may have found new food or water, or spotted a predator approaching."

Interesting, yes?

Imagine if we saw someone borrow a bill, and then, with no further action like folding it or balling it up, they let go of the bill, and it slowly floated up into the air, came to a stop about 10 feet in the air, did a couple of somersaults, then floated slowly back down, and was then immediately returned to its owner. I wonder how many of us would really want to know how that was accomplished. Would we look it up online or on YouTube if someone told us that is where the explanation could be found. Or would we just say, "No, I don't even want to know. It would ruin the experience for me." To a lay person many magical feats they see performed probably generate as much amazement [crazy] - and yes, curiosity - in them, as the effect I just conjured up would in most, if not all, magicians...

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
Yeah, you sorta make my point. You asked a lot of questions and it was difficult for me to fully understand the overarching point of the post. So, if I rephrase: "Why are more people watching exposure videos than are watching performance videos?" Is that close? Closer? Am I even warm?!

Av 


Anthony, the whole premise of my post was ill-advised.  I titled it "A legitimate question" and then went on and asked several.

I'm just a guy that loves magic, sees these exposure videos as negative and wishes that I could raise enough concern that others would help take action.  I do post comments from time-to-time below videos.  I get the reactions you would expect.  I'm a fuddy duddy, a party pooper, etc.  Usually profanity ensues.  

When it is a blatant rip-off of a marketed trick I report it to the company that sells it or the magician him or herself if I can.  

I'm done with the topic, again.  It really is unstoppable at this point.  Sorry I created so much confusion. 

In the end I'm just saying that it is sad that people are profiting from giving away secrets, for free with no motivation except that they can.  They are giving away principles that once learned will cause people to be harder to fool.  It sucks for the people because now some of the fun of mystery and wonder is erased.  It is bad for the performers because many of them worked their butts off for years only to have some weasel with a PC give it all away.

As I've said before, that is why people like Armando Lucero don't even want performance videos posted because they know that magicians will try to reverse-engineer everything.

How is Armando going to command the prices he gets for seminars if everything is tipped online?  Maybe I shouldn't care, but I do.

There was the discussion about Earick's By Forces Unseen.  The book is commanding high prices to people that really want the original book.  Why doesn't someone just start up a channel and expose all of the routines?  Wait, they already exist!

Here is a snippet from the advert on the video...

"From Ernest Earick´s book "By Forces Unseen" Sleights used: - Automatic rear jog - Looy Simonoff´s flippant move - Zarrow ..."

Shame, isn't it.  
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #15 
By the way, I attempted to report the video referenced above, but the criteria for doing to isn't allowing me to do so.  There is a copyright infringement choice, but when you click on it, it clearly is intended for the originator to report the infringement and not just a viewer.

I suppose I could report this to Stephen Minch and he might want to take action.  Of course if you want to look at it positively, maybe the video will cause some to want to buy the book, well until they find out it is OOP and expensive.
I did read the comments below, which included one guy who hated the trick!  Who says beggars can't be choosers.  None suggested they wanted to learn more about Mr. Earick.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #16 
Ray,

Since this didn't go in the direction you intended, I am going to lock it up so it doesn't get any further in the weeds. If you want it unlocked, just say the word. Also, if you want to rewrite the opening and repost for a second try, please have at it! I'll take this one down when you're ready. Or not. Your call!

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