Sign up Latest Topics Chat
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #1 
Something has been bothering me about magic.  I couldn't get my arms around it.  I thought it was the internet exposure, but that wasn't it.  It was a part of it, but there was more to it.

I thought it was the effects I was seeing that are marginally performable.  That is if you are wearing a black shirt and performing at dusk.

Maybe it was the videos or downloads that didn't contain anything original, just a magician going over already-trodden ground and making the uninitiated think it was something new.

No, it contained a little of all of that, but it was something more.  

I finally figured it out!

It's the cheapening of magic.

I was watching an interview with a filmmaker, she collaborated on 'Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay'.

In the interview you could tell she was deeply impressed by Ricky Jay.  Not only his magic of course, but his reverence for the art and its legendary exponents.  

She also commented on how much secrecy meant to Mr. Jay, something for which he was well known.

Nowadays, some of us that advocate for a return to the "magician's code" are maligned for our stance.  We're told we are "old school", "out of touch" and "unrealistic".

Well, perhaps I am all of those.  But it seems to me that it is hard to argue that magic now as compared to the way it was hasn't caused a certain "cheapening" of the art.

There was a time you had to pay your dues and knowledge was harder to come by.  It had intrinsic value.  To learn, you either had to purchase a book or ask another magician and they might or might not teach you.  But somehow I still learned.  It didn't cause me grief or frustration, its just the way it was.

Now, if you want to know something, like the latest fabulous sleight, just google it.  Might take you a minute, but you'll find how to do it.  In fact, you'll likely find dozens of videos explaining how to do it.  Some shockingly poor, others not so much.  In most instances there are no credits given.  Comments are even made below lauding the exposer for their skill and their creations.  Nobody corrects them.

Personally, I don't think I want magic to go mainstream.  I mean to where every household contains a magician.  I liked it when very few people knew much about magic and even fewer performed it.  What's wrong with that? 

Do the thousands of videos on youtube really elevate the art?  Are the thousands of posters even going to be involved in magic in ten years?  I doubt it.

I don't have all the answers, but at least I found one today.  I finally figured out what's been bugging me.  

So I was heartened to hear what the filmmaker had to say.  It gave me some hope.  Ricky has shuffled off of this mortal coil, but maybe his spirit will live on.

I pray it does.
0
GregB

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 148
Reply with quote  #2 
I agree with you Ray, it doesn't take long to go on youtube and find a bunch of abysmal magic. I was reading Jamy Ian Swiss' book Shattering Illusions and he had a great essay on the topic of exposure in magic, which I think is similar to what you're talking about. The main takeaway from that essay for me was the only way to combat bad magic, is more good magic. Clearly Ricky Jay made that lady care about GOOD magic, she isn't going to be the one to go online and watch the bad magic videos, because she saw what good magic really is. 
0
Magic Harry

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 409
Reply with quote  #3 
Your thoughts were well expressed and I agree. I remember when I started seriously thinking about magic.There was no internet only library books. My visits to the only magic shop I knew about, Phil Thomas Yogi Magic Mart in Baltimore. I remember browsing the front of the store and observing fellows going to the back room. I could only imagine the secrets being learned and discussed. After a couple of years of showing my interest in magic and being a familiar face to some of the guys I was invited back to join them. What an honor I felt in my being! 
Sadly,as you alluded to, those days are long gone. The young magic enthusiasts of today will never experience that feeling. Ah the good old days. 
Magic Harry

__________________
Harry Damareck
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregB
I agree with you Ray, it doesn't take long to go on youtube and find a bunch of abysmal magic. I was reading Jamy Ian Swiss' book Shattering Illusions and he had a great essay on the topic of exposure in magic, which I think is similar to what you're talking about. The main takeaway from that essay for me was the only way to combat bad magic, is more good magic. Clearly Ricky Jay made that lady care about GOOD magic, she isn't going to be the one to go online and watch the bad magic videos, because she saw what good magic really is. 


I hope you are right.  So let's all make sure we hold up our end of the bargain and perform some good magic, in a reverential way so that people understand its value!
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic Harry
Your thoughts were well expressed and I agree. I remember when I started seriously thinking about magic.There was no internet only library books. My visits to the only magic shop I knew about, Phil Thomas Yogi Magic Mart in Baltimore. I remember browsing the front of the store and observing fellows going to the back room. I could only imagine the secrets being learned and discussed. After a couple of years of showing my interest in magic and being a familiar face to some of the guys I was invited back to join them. What an honor I felt in my being! 
Sadly,as you alluded to, those days are long gone. The young magic enthusiasts of today will never experience that feeling. Ah the good old days. 
Magic Harry


Harry, I guess I'm at that age where I look back on the "good old days".  In some ways now is the good old days, but sadly it isn't in many respects.

I just think if you continue down a certain path, you reach a destination that isn't going to be very good.  I see the "bad side" of youtube leading many that way.

To be fair, there is also a "good side" to youtube.  I copied and pasted several good videos, none featuring exposure, to TMF today.  Those videos explained things way better than I could.  So there is value.  I just don't like the abundance of "free stuff", the seeming lack of respect for magic history and its creators and the outright theft that results when someone discloses the secrets to a trick that is still for sale.
0
Mike Powers

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,545
Reply with quote  #6 
I take your point RayJ and agree that part of what's going on is the cheapening of magic. But, as in your post just before this one, you say, "To be fair, there is also a 'good side' to youtube." Yes, there is for sure. And there's also a good side to what people are exposed to on TV e.g. Penn and Teller. I just watched the most recent show and there were some really great items there. Mario Lopez killed. And a woman doing a floating chair was fantastic - a real artistic piece of magic. I've said it before, creativity is alive and well on planet earth. Watch the 20 somethings from South Korea and China kill with FISM acts. Lots of room for optimism IMO.

M
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
I take your point RayJ and agree that part of what's going on is the cheapening of magic. But, as in your post just before this one, you say, "To be fair, there is also a 'good side' to youtube." Yes, there is for sure. And there's also a good side to what people are exposed to on TV e.g. Penn and Teller. I just watched the most recent show and there were some really great items there. Mario Lopez killed. And a woman doing a floating chair was fantastic - a real artistic piece of magic. I've said it before, creativity is alive and well on planet earth. Watch the 20 somethings from South Korea and China kill with FISM acts. Lots of room for optimism IMO.

M


Mike, I agree there is cause for some optimism.
0
chris w

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 637
Reply with quote  #8 
Despite being not too old, I came of age magically in a time when public libraries, magic shops, and mail order from catalogs were still the norm. I can't really relate to the routes by which people are finding magic today (e.g. YouTube, which I think does often cheapen it). But I get the sense that while it's easier than ever to get a little interested in magic and have your curiosity almost instantly satisfied by what technology can connect you to, the people who stay around long enough inevitably find their way to the older modes and the sort of reverence for magic as a lifetime pursuit that's more recognizable to me.
0
X

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 257
Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


It's the cheapening of magic.



100% agree, and Magicians can be part of the blame, we can also put in another factor, advancement of the techno-industrial system and technology in general
 
also, the magic "community" has a huge Gatekeeping problem
 
I don't believe in any "code" or "magicians code" but also, our performance is based on "secrets", I think I may have talked about it before but if you take a dancer. someone who is not a dancer maybe doesn't like the art or watching dance can also be impressed by the technique being shown and appreciate them dedicating the practice and repetition to be at this level
 
as magicians/mentalists if someone knows you have spent hours practicing one routing and making sure the outcome is always the same, and it will always work and will always be 100% ... where is the magic? it becomes just another skill that anyone can learn
 
to me, magic should always look like a natural skill, not a set routine you spent hours working out to always achieve the same result.
 
 
so I think that with the advancement of technology people are becoming desensitized to "magic"... when you have someone who can make a video showing a magic trick, showing how it works, or just performing it like trash and it can get shared by millions of people... it just becomes desensitized and magicians become a generalization
 
also, think back when people saw a lightbulb float across the stage, now you have video edits and camera tricks and computer-generated content, movies, videos even if it doesn't seem "logical" people dismiss it as that
 
and now you have magic being created for technology in mind, for cell-phones (which is not magic just technology) and the internet, etc
 
 
but we also have to think about the people that don't have access to magic that want to learn, take me, I was poor, houseless at times growing up, no food for days... etc
 
how do we reach them if magicians stay a "secret club" if Magicians don't want to share and if you need 'money' to join and be able to buy secrets, how do we balance the fact that we need the secrets to perform and also have them be accessible to people who want to learn
 
and also not have Magic be exposed to the point that what we do is irrelevant because people already know the secrets...
 

__________________
Professional: PK-Mentalist/Magician/Geek/Shock Entertainer

Member/Performer: Magic Castle

Creator, Consultant, Lecturer, Imagineer



0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris w
Despite being not too old, I came of age magically in a time when public libraries, magic shops, and mail order from catalogs were still the norm. I can't really relate to the routes by which people are finding magic today (e.g. YouTube, which I think does often cheapen it). But I get the sense that while it's easier than ever to get a little interested in magic and have your curiosity almost instantly satisfied by what technology can connect you to, the people who stay around long enough inevitably find their way to the older modes and the sort of reverence for magic as a lifetime pursuit that's more recognizable to me.


I hope you're right!  Certainly most people flame out no matter what they are interested in.  Those that stay hopefully gain more respect as you said.

I'm not opposed to optimism!  It's just that I get sad when I see certain things happen.
0
Mike Powers

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,545
Reply with quote  #11 
My experience with magicians is mostly at magic conventions - MagiFest, PebbePalooza, TRICS, 4F, Dan Block's Buffalo Get-Together, Abbott's Close-Up, John Luka's Detroit Close-Up, Magic Live, Genii etc. I always see young guys kicking ass with creativity and raw skill. And when I talk to them, I find that they are really well read and know where the tricks they're doing came from. They also have a well developed sense that proper crediting is important. This is where my optimism comes from. I don't look at YouTube very much, although there are plenty of videos by people who are like these guys. Also, plenty of boneheads on YouTube.

M
0
Waterman

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 707
Reply with quote  #12 
When I was a kid my "YouTube" were the joke/magic shops that I would explore while visiting NYC, the Jersey Boardwalk, and various other tourist areas where these places were quite common. 

The "tricks" I was fascinated by were demo'd by disinterested sales people usually smoking cheap cigars and wearing clothes with strange stains on them. They didn't have much of a presentation for the effects other than saying, "watch this" and commencing with the trick.

It was through these shops where I learned about Tannen's on Broadway. I realized after one visit to Tannen's that this was where the real magic was! The sales people were friendly and TALENTED. This transition from joke shop to magic shop moved me to the next level when it came to studying/performing magic as an art.

Just as those run down joke shops were a catalyst for my journey, I'm sure that YouTube is doing the same for many of todays young magicians.

Case in point...my son visited me a few weeks ago with a buddy he graduated from high school with. He mentioned before they arrived that his friend had been doing magic for about 10 years and wanted to meet me. We had an awesome visit and I have to say that my sons friend was a BEAST with a deck of cards. We have some very talented magicians in this neck of the woods, but this young man is the best I've seen so far.

Of course I asked the typical questions, including where he started his magic adventure and was not surprised when he said it was through YouTube. He was quick to point out that the videos he was learning from led him down many more paths in the context of books, performers, and other resources outside the confines of the internet that continued him on his journey. 
0
Rick Franceschini

Member
Registered:
Posts: 35
Reply with quote  #13 
RayJ:

I was really, really lucky in that I came up in magic in  80's / 90's New York City.  There were mid-week get-togethers, IBM / SAM meetings with the greatest folks, and a sink or swim culture.  On Saturday's at Reuben's I learned the Strip-Out Shuffle from Tony Mulli, the Mexican Turnover from Gene Maze, the Zarrow Shuffle from Doug Edwards, and pestered the ever patient Harry Lorayne with endless questions, who was so patient with us youngsters.  Tannen's was a fabulous hub and on a Wednesday Copperfield, or Muhammad Ali could be in the back shopping.  The way the older generation supported the younger, while holding them to almost impossibly high standards was incredible.  When I left New York I lost all of that.  I would return now and then, but noticed that incredible culture was diminishing.  It may still be there, I'm not sure how the internet changed it.  I don't know if magic has lost luster, cheapen as you say, but there are more people that can do it, because of the information age.  I would point out, however, that magic is an art form.  Not all its practitioners artist, but nonetheless an art form.  When a layman sees a true artist, they sense it.  There is a very definite aura.  I remember the first time I met Johnny Thompson.  It was at a bar and my old friend Mal Cross arranged the opportunity.  He showed me exactly one card trick, and by the end we were surrounded by people. He was magnificent, beautiful really.  There will always be that.  So, I'm not worried.  As for YouTube, I like to see what's doing there so I can avoid the pieces, or do them differently.  I also swim in the waters of the 30's, 40's, and 50s, because I love that era and it keeps my repertoire different.
0
arthur stead

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,047
Reply with quote  #14 

Excellent post, RayJ!  I too miss the days when discovering closely guarded magical secrets was something to treasure forever.  Like others, my only recourse as a child was library books, since I did not grow up with TV.  I was already well into my 20’s before I visited my first magic shop.  To me, “those were the days”.  You actually had to earn the right to learn something from established magicians.  And therefore, I feel it made you work harder to strive for perfection … precisely because that “secret knowledge” was so special.  

It makes me sad that everything has changed so much. 

Hey Rick, I too frequented Tannen's and met or hung out with some of the legendary folks you mentioned!


__________________
http://www.arthurstead.com
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Franceschini
RayJ:

I was really, really lucky in that I came up in magic in  80's / 90's New York City.  There were mid-week get-togethers, IBM / SAM meetings with the greatest folks, and a sink or swim culture.  On Saturday's at Reuben's I learned the Strip-Out Shuffle from Tony Mulli, the Mexican Turnover from Gene Maze, the Zarrow Shuffle from Doug Edwards, and pestered the ever patient Harry Lorayne with endless questions, who was so patient with us youngsters.  Tannen's was a fabulous hub and on a Wednesday Copperfield, or Muhammad Ali could be in the back shopping.  The way the older generation supported the younger, while holding them to almost impossibly high standards was incredible.  When I left New York I lost all of that.  I would return now and then, but noticed that incredible culture was diminishing.  It may still be there, I'm not sure how the internet changed it.  I don't know if magic has lost luster, cheapen as you say, but there are more people that can do it, because of the information age.  I would point out, however, that magic is an art form.  Not all its practitioners artist, but nonetheless an art form.  When a layman sees a true artist, they sense it.  There is a very definite aura.  I remember the first time I met Johnny Thompson.  It was at a bar and my old friend Mal Cross arranged the opportunity.  He showed me exactly one card trick, and by the end we were surrounded by people. He was magnificent, beautiful really.  There will always be that.  So, I'm not worried.  As for YouTube, I like to see what's doing there so I can avoid the pieces, or do them differently.  I also swim in the waters of the 30's, 40's, and 50s, because I love that era and it keeps my repertoire different.


That's a "murders row" of heavy hitters. Lucky you! I agree about art and artists. More to say on that later.
0
Medifro

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 199
Reply with quote  #16 
Ray, I agree and also disagree.

I hate cheepening magic, but disagree that it being off-mainstream is the path for respect. 

Honestly when magicians put thought into their performances, they will command (as opposed to demand) respect. Artists know this well. Joshua Jay is respected in the art scene. Derek Delgaudio had a sell-out run of his NYC show, impressing celebrities such as Stephen Colbert. Tamariz and others are extremely respected in Spain including in the film industry. P&T & Derren Brown are respected in the skeptic community, besides the general public. Mark Elsdon is respected in the art world. Marco Tempest is viewed as a tech god in the Sillicon Valley. In addition, I attended an online course on Juan Tamariz's theory by Larry Hass. A laymen who was a nationally recognized college president (also Hass's wife) attended the course. She was so impressed by Tamariz's show that she couldn't help but to attend the course to learn about his thinking. Spanish magicians produce practical theory all the time. Performers come off with depth. Magic is respected. 

Secrets are part of the mystique, yes, but its far from being the whole story. I've seen the other extreme: I jammed with guys in Baltimore discussing escotoric stories and moves of Frank Thompson. The moves and tricks are kept by one or two guys. Good, but so what? These will die with their keepers and its unfortunate. I also jammed with the "inner circle" at the NYC Saturday table with big names, who were in deep into the "secrets" bubble, and I was quite unimpressed. 

Its the romance of secres and it feels good. It makes feel special, but if we get stuck in that mentality we're not doing magic any favour either. 

With Blaine, Derrren Brown, P&T and Got Talent shows, I think magic is living its golden age right now. Youtube magic pales in comparison. No one cares about a Youtube expose' except magicians and curious laymen. Ultimately, we all know that we can fool people with tricks and sleights they know with psychology alone. 

Secrets are important but ultimately its all about the show. 

Blaine just made an amazing appearance on the Joe Rogan show. THATS what pushing magic forward right now, in real life.
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Medifro
Ray, I agree and also disagree.

I hate cheepening magic, but disagree that it being off-mainstream is the path for respect. 

Honestly when magicians put thought into their performances, they will command (as opposed to demand) respect. Artists know this well. Joshua Jay is respected in the art scene. Derek Delgaudio had a sell-out run of his NYC show, impressing celebrities such as Stephen Colbert. Tamariz and others are extremely respected in Spain including in the film industry. P&T & Derren Brown are respected in the skeptic community, besides the general public. Mark Elsdon is respected in the art world. Marco Tempest is viewed as a tech god in the Sillicon Valley. In addition, I attended an online course on Juan Tamariz's theory by Larry Hass. A laymen who was a nationally recognized college president (also Hass's wife) attended the course. She was so impressed by Tamariz's show that she couldn't help but to attend the course to learn about his thinking. Spanish magicians produce practical theory all the time. Performers come off with depth. Magic is respected. 

Secrets are part of the mystique, yes, but its far from being the whole story. I've seen the other extreme: I jammed with guys in Baltimore discussing escotoric stories and moves of Frank Thompson. The moves and tricks are kept by one or two guys. Good, but so what? These will die with their keepers and its unfortunate. I also jammed with the "inner circle" at the NYC Saturday table with big names, who were in deep into the "secrets" bubble, and I was quite unimpressed. 

Its the romance of secres and it feels good. It makes feel special, but if we get stuck in that mentality we're not doing magic any favour either. 

With Blaine, Derrren Brown, P&T and Got Talent shows, I think magic is living its golden age right now. Youtube magic pales in comparison. No one cares about a Youtube expose' except magicians and curious laymen. Ultimately, we all know that we can fool people with tricks and sleights they know with psychology alone. 

Secrets are important but ultimately its all about the show. 

Blaine just made an amazing appearance on the Joe Rogan show. THATS what pushing magic forward right now, in real life.


Thanks for your contribution to the thread, some good points.  I'll have to disagree about this being the "golden age".  I suppose it depends upon how you categorize it, but I know that there was a lot more magic in a lot more venues in the past.  Nightclubs, various stage venues, etc.  I'm not a magic historian, but I know what I've read and for example, Chicago used to have several bars and restaurants where magicians would appear nightly.  Same for New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, etc.  

Shows like Fool Us certainly have brought visibility to magic, no denying that.  But does that translate into "golden age" territory?  I'm not so sure.

St. Louis has had only one or two theatrical presentations of magic in the last several years.  There was a time when shows were more frequent and several restaurants featured magic performers.  I know because I was one of them.  So was Dan Fleshman, Chris kenner, etc., etc.  

I have to leave the office, so I'll ponder some of your other points in the meantime, but I just wanted to chime in on that point.
0
Paco Nagata

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 394
Reply with quote  #18 
Ray, I wish I could disagree with you there, but I can't.
I agree since I reckon that because of Youtube, "magic" is no longer a mystery.
It's true that news technologies have driven the Art of Magic to another dimension and to any spectators all through the world.
It's true that the Art of Magic is very popular all over the world and people like it in general, thanks to Internet (Youtube...). But...
Before all this, "magic" was, above all, a mystery; something that nobody but magicians could understand.
However, nowadays "magic" is hardly considered a mystery, since many no-magician know many magic secrets just for curiosity, not for becoming a magician.
And that's "thanks" to the easy way to get to know all those secrets nowadays.
Before Youtube magicians did Magic.
After Youtube magicians do "Magic."
(with inverted commas).

__________________
"The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician" https://bit.ly/2lXdO2O
"La pasion de un cartómago aficionado" https://bit.ly/2kkjpjn
Latest erratum corrections and improvements update, 16/06/2020
0
Socrates

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 958
Reply with quote  #19 
The real secrets of magic are invisible, yet there are many who are happy to expose the mechanics of tricks. The internet, YouTube and smartphones have changed my approach to magic. It is rare now that I wish to perform, especially with the current mindset of folk trying to figure things out - shows like Penn & Teller encourage this way of thinking in the general public... the times they are a changing!
0
Chi Han

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,082
Reply with quote  #20 
It's easier than ever to become a magician.  Or rather to learn a couple of magic tricks and call yourself a magician, and that's not something that's going to go away any time soon.

Magicians as a whole have to get better at guarding secrets.  That's on us as a community.  There are always going to be naturally curious people who want to find out how things are done.  That's not their fault.  I think before the challenge to keep magic a secret wasn't as great.  The fact that you spent time and money reading books and speaking to other magicians means that those with only a passing interest in magic fall away.  Naturally speaking the secrets keep themselves.  In many ways that's still the same.  If it takes effort to find something, it's in a book, or worse in the mind of a magician.  The amount of people who actively try and figure it out decreases dramatically.

But fact of the matter is, the genie is already out of the bottle.  Even if no more exposure videos ever got shot from this day forward, this aspect of magic has changed forever.  In many ways it helps magic, but it's also done a great harm to the art form I think.  We need to acknowledge it and move with it.

Because of this, I personally take a few approaches.  Firstly I try to elevate the quality of my magic as best I can.  I try to make it so the things I do can't be googled.  This doesn't mean I'm not doing classic tricks, but I try not to do them in ways that lend themselves to being searched out.  I don't refer to linking and unlinking of rubber bands as 'crazy man's handcuffs', I don't mention that a card is ambitious.  Secondly I really work to disguise the method so it can't be backtracked.  I don't want them to think he must have done some sneaky sleight of hand, I really want them to have no information to even google other than the effect.

Next I try not to make the magic about secrets.  My attitude when asked is that the secrets are not important, they're boring and technical, and I want to disarm and dissuade people from asking about it.  In my view the methods are fascinating and I love them.  I read book after book, watch lecture after lecture of things I'll never use because I'm fascinated by the method, but I can't imagine any lay person is.

Finally, I try and encourage as many magicians as I can to appreciate the art.  It's not really needed on this forum, but definitely when I talk to people, or they approach me after shows, or even just people I meet who are getting into it.  I don't want to tell anyone how to enjoy magic, but I do hope to impress upon them, that if you do enjoy it, to respect the secrets.
0
John Cowne

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 417
Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterman
He was quick to point out that the videos he was learning from led him down many more paths in the context of books, performers, and other resources outside the confines of the internet that continued him on his journey. 


It must have been encouraging, Waterman, to hear how this young man found his way to substantial resources. It made me think how TMF members could play a part in redirecting younger people to, shall we say, “the good stuff”. If their entry point to ANY quality magic stuff is generic youtube, then perhaps we can provide calm, respectful recommendations on their youtube discussions.

I have noticed a number of replies on some sites that obviously come from concerned -and passionate - Magicians who, having ‘vented’ their disgust, have effectively put the average youtube audience into a fairly adversarial non-listening mood. As others have said, I too think there is great wisdom in the basic Magician’s Code. But we need to apply it with ‘style’, which I think TMF has in spades. Then we might see some more young men and women like you’ve mentioned.
0
EVILDAN

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,899
Reply with quote  #22 
There is a lot of magic on the internet, especially on YouTube. At least I think so because so many talk about it. 
And yet, I've seen so little of it. 
And I'm a magician. 
I'm sure there is a lot of videos on Quilt Making as well. 
I haven't seen any of those because I have zero interest in quilt making. 

My point is, unless someone is interested, they aren't going to make the effort to look something up. 
Even with technology. 
I have friends that call me up looking for someone's phone number. 
I could easily access it off the online directory for the club we belong to. And so can they. But they don't. It's easier to call me and have me give them the information. 
I stopped doing that by the way and told them to look at the directory. 

I also don't think that Penn and Teller promote the exposure of magic. 
They also talk in code. They don't outright reveal the methods which, to me, shows that they have enough respect for the art not to do that. 
They also, when they know HOW something is done, applaud those that perform it so well. Which is similar to two bands playing the same song. One can hurt your ears, and the other can make you wish the song would never end. It shows the public that there IS A DIFFERENCE. Maybe it will even educate them that just because you hired/saw one bad magician, they aren't all bad. 
And finally, what does it mean to the audience when Penn and Teller are fooled? When they can't figure out how something is done? 
While at times it may seem that they are frustrated, they do seem to enjoy those moments when they ARE fooled. 
No, I don't think Penn and Teller promote the exposure of magic - I think they help elevate the art of magic my exposing the public to great original magic that is out there in the world and great performances. 
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paco Nagata
Ray, I wish I could disagree with you there, but I can't.
I agree since I reckon that because of Youtube, "magic" is no longer a mystery.
It's true that news technologies have driven the Art of Magic to another dimension and to any spectators all through the world.
It's true that the Art of Magic is very popular all over the world and people like it in general, thanks to Internet (Youtube...). But...
Before all this, "magic" was, above all, a mystery; something that nobody but magicians could understand.
However, nowadays "magic" is hardly considered a mystery, since many no-magician know many magic secrets just for curiosity, not for becoming a magician.
And that's "thanks" to the easy way to get to know all those secrets nowadays.
Before Youtube magicians did Magic.
After Youtube magicians do "Magic."
(with inverted commas).


Paco, thanks for your input.  I didn't begin the thread in order to try to convince anyone.  I really didn't.  What I hoped was that by sharing my "process" of figuring out what was bugging me would accomplish two things.  First, it helped me get it off of my chest.  It feels good to air out things at times.  Call it venting, a rant, call it what you will.  Secondly, I hoped to at least give folks something to think about.  I don't want to change minds, but to at least open them.  From there you can do with it what you will.

Some really cool points have been made and I respect them all!
0
Socrates

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 958
Reply with quote  #24 
P&T do not encourage exposure but the whole premise of the show is to fool them... magic as practiced for a fair while now has been about fooling and deceiving people:

"Conjuring is the only absolutely honest profession – the conjuror promises to deceive, and does.” - Karl Germain

But if you go back further than that, and investigate the history of magic you'll see that it was not always this way.

Chi Han makes some great points. Our job as magicians is to create a sense of wonder. We can do the classics if we so desire but we do need to mess with their backtracking capabilities, and that takes a little psychological understanding - messing with the memory is easy enough when you know how to interrupt their thought processes 😉
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chi Han
It's easier than ever to become a magician.  Or rather to learn a couple of magic tricks and call yourself a magician, and that's not something that's going to go away any time soon.

Magicians as a whole have to get better at guarding secrets.  That's on us as a community.  There are always going to be naturally curious people who want to find out how things are done.  That's not their fault.  I think before the challenge to keep magic a secret wasn't as great.  The fact that you spent time and money reading books and speaking to other magicians means that those with only a passing interest in magic fall away.  Naturally speaking the secrets keep themselves.  In many ways that's still the same.  If it takes effort to find something, it's in a book, or worse in the mind of a magician.  The amount of people who actively try and figure it out decreases dramatically.

But fact of the matter is, the genie is already out of the bottle.  Even if no more exposure videos ever got shot from this day forward, this aspect of magic has changed forever.  In many ways it helps magic, but it's also done a great harm to the art form I think.  We need to acknowledge it and move with it.

Because of this, I personally take a few approaches.  Firstly I try to elevate the quality of my magic as best I can.  I try to make it so the things I do can't be googled.  This doesn't mean I'm not doing classic tricks, but I try not to do them in ways that lend themselves to being searched out.  I don't refer to linking and unlinking of rubber bands as 'crazy man's handcuffs', I don't mention that a card is ambitious.  Secondly I really work to disguise the method so it can't be backtracked.  I don't want them to think he must have done some sneaky sleight of hand, I really want them to have no information to even google other than the effect.

Next I try not to make the magic about secrets.  My attitude when asked is that the secrets are not important, they're boring and technical, and I want to disarm and dissuade people from asking about it.  In my view the methods are fascinating and I love them.  I read book after book, watch lecture after lecture of things I'll never use because I'm fascinated by the method, but I can't imagine any lay person is.

Finally, I try and encourage as many magicians as I can to appreciate the art.  It's not really needed on this forum, but definitely when I talk to people, or they approach me after shows, or even just people I meet who are getting into it.  I don't want to tell anyone how to enjoy magic, but I do hope to impress upon them, that if you do enjoy it, to respect the secrets.


Some really interesting points.  I like you part about encouraging magicians to appreciate the art.  If all of us were to reach out to a few new magicians it could have a huge impact.  I agree the genii is out of the bottle, but things can improve.  The longest journey begins with a single step, right?  Sounds like you are taking steps when you can!
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #26 
Because it's who I am and what I am and all the rest of it, that I found myself disagreeing with much that has been posted. Not all, but much. Many good points of course.

I spend time on Youtube looking at "teaching" videos for guitar. One or two hit the nail on the head. Most don't. It's someone with a fair degree of dexterity showing off. Not teaching.

In fact most of them are a total turnoff. "I'll never be able to do that" is the only feeling they engender.. 

The Magic videos are similar, except it's all mechanics. And it's all a case of  "See how easy it is".

Essentially, Rayj's opening salvo is on the money, but he won't be surprised to learn that I don't entirely agree. [smile]
0
Hendu71

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 101
Reply with quote  #27 
Not a professional magician, so I can't really say how YouTube is affecting working magicians.  If demand is slumping, and this can be directly attributable to YouTube, then you will not get any argument from me that it's had a negative effect.

I will say, that as a layman for most of my life, unless you have a passion for it (and what I mean by that, you like magic more than just watching performances as you come across them on America's Got Talent or Fool Us), magic isn't going to "stick".

If a layman without a passion goes to one of those YouTube videos, he won't remember the performance in a week, let alone how it was done. 

It involves a sleight that requires 1000s of repetitions to perfect?  Buying gaff cards, gimmicks, or anything else for that matter?  Memorize a stack?  Forget about it, they probably won't even make it through the video.

One of the few tricks I knew as a layman was the cliched "3 row" trick. I've known that trick for over 25 years, and have performed it many times when bored and some cards were lying around.  Most "real" magicians probably wouldn't perform this trick (it's even had parody tricks invented to counter it).  But, you would be surprised at how many people people haven't seen it.  Either that, or they have seen it and completely forgotten about it.  Because a layman is just not going to remember tricks unless they are truly spectacular.  That, and I think magic is cyclical - you always have a new generation coming up that hasn't been exposed.

Out of this World is fantastic trick.  It's also pretty easy to do, as far as tricks go, and is older than my mother.  I first learned of it's name during Covid and honestly I have NO memory seeing it before then. So in my 48 years on this planet, I've never seen it before, or forgotten it.  Either one could be true.

Regarding Penn and Teller, a few years ago, before I got into magic with any seriousness, I got a little obsessed with Ryan Hayashi's Ultimate Matrix.  When I first saw it, I had no idea that this trick was old, the base of it was invented by others, etc.  Penn did mention the word "matrix" in his response, and that did make the trick "googleable" to me.  So I read up on it, watched some youtube videos, bought a beginner's mat.  And quickly discovered it wasn't going to take 30 minutes to master, and gave up on it.

But it's one of the few older Fool Us tricks that I remember.  And that's only because I put a modicum of investment into it. 

No trick that a layman can perform in a few minutes from watching a Youtube video is going to be memorable.  Not a single one.  If that's a threat to working magicians, then, well, maybe they need to do better.  If learning a simple trick causes a layman to perform a trick for his friends, and their reaction ignites a passion into this layman, and starts his journey into magic, I can't see that as a bad thing.  I was watching David Blaine on Joe Rogan the other day and that's how he got into magic.  Not a YouTube video, but pretty much yesteryear's equivalent. Some school librarian performed and revealed a simple mathematical trick for him (probably the 3 row trick, he didn't say).  He performed it for his mother, she went nuts, and the rest is history.  I don't think it's the reveals that ignite the passion.  It's the connection with other human beings performing it and their reaction.

I will admit that since Covid happened, I've watched probably hundreds of hours of YouTube videos.  I've also probably spent hundreds of dollars on magic paraphernalia.  It hasn't deterred me from investing. I finally got the passion. But I'm only one anecdote.

It would not surprise me at all if there is a significant uptick in intermediate magicians post-Covid.  People have a lot of time on their hands they might not have had for things they found interesting.  But that's Covid that did that.  Or maybe a combination of Covid plus easily available resources.  Covid has hurt a lot of industries though.
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #28 
Getting others to agree wasn't the goal here.  The goal was to get folks to think.  It worked, there's been some thoughtful responses.  I remain convinced that there is a lot about magic that has been cheapened.  I also agree that there are a lot of good, positive developments.  As an example, the thread I started a while ago:

https://www.themagiciansforum.com/post/do-you-know-how-good-you-have-it-10562807?highlight=do+you+know

So the sky isn't falling.  All is not lost.  

Some people are traditionalists, some rail against it.  I fall in the middle, respecting the history and the "conventions" of magic while embracing the advantages technology has presented.  A balanced approach is usually best.
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #29 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hendu71


No trick that a layman can perform in a few minutes from watching a Youtube video is going to be memorable.  Not a single one.


Fully agree, though it's one of the things we like to twist our knickers over.

Incidentally, "Out Of This World" is older than I am, too.
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #30 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee


Fully agree, though it's one of the things we like to twist our knickers over.

Incidentally, "Out Of This World" is older than I am, too.


Couple of thoughts as it relates to my original post.

"No trick that a layman can perform in a few minutes from watching a Youtube video is going to be memorable.  Not a single one."

To me, that is beside the point.  I never claimed otherwise.  My point is that exposure on youtube, even if it is intended for other magicians, is not ethical.  So it goes without saying that it bothers me that even laypeople might be privy to them.  How would they see them?  Perhaps they are fans of Fool Us.  They go to youtube and pop it into the search bar and whoopsie!  They'll likely get a bunch of unfortunate results.  They may or may not click on them, but if they do, then they'll see a number of even more egregious examples most likely.  

Regarding our knickers, you only get them in a knot when you care.
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #31 
I was commenting on the simple fact as stated, nothing more.

I agree entirely that it's unethical.

Regarding knickers, it was intended to be a lighthearted comment, nothing more.
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee
I was commenting on the simple fact as stated, nothing more.

I agree entirely that it's unethical.

Regarding knickers, it was intended to be a lighthearted comment, nothing more.


I'm with you.  I took it as lighthearted.
0
Hendu71

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 101
Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Couple of thoughts as it relates to my original post.

"No trick that a layman can perform in a few minutes from watching a Youtube video is going to be memorable.  Not a single one."

To me, that is beside the point.  I never claimed otherwise.  My point is that exposure on youtube, even if it is intended for other magicians, is not ethical.  So it goes without saying that it bothers me that even laypeople might be privy to them.  How would they see them?  Perhaps they are fans of Fool Us.  They go to youtube and pop it into the search bar and whoopsie!  They'll likely get a bunch of unfortunate results.  They may or may not click on them, but if they do, then they'll see a number of even more egregious examples most likely.  

Regarding our knickers, you only get them in a knot when you care.


Not trying to be contrary, just a friendly discussion, but who does this really hurt, other than people that think magic is real?  Does anybody think that these days, besides small children?  Should they think that?  I think there is a real ethical question there about that too.

I've been watching a lot of Darren Brown lately.  He made his name being a magician-skeptic. Revealing secrets about "psychics" and such. But now he's making specials that are obviously very scripted and polished and presenting them as "reality TV" when they are anything but.  He's deceiving the audience, and that does bother me, especially since he's made his name off of being a skeptic.

I do agree that YouTube shows people that anything a magician does ultimately has a logical explanation.  But I think people feel that way anyway.  You can always fall back on "there was a plant", even if that didn't happen.  It's very easy for a layman to look at some of the David Blaine performances on the Tonight show and, because it seems impossible, just assume Jimmy was in on it.  It may not be true, but it is a logical explanation.  If a person thinks Blaine is performing black magic (and some people DO think this), well, then, they're "special" and I'm not really worried all that much about them.  They're certainly not the type that's going to watch YouTube reveal videos.

Is it crappy that people are revealing tricks that people invented and could be making money off of (who probably created the effect using some principle discovered a hundred years ago or longer)? Yes.  Is it crappy that they don't give credit where credit is due?  Yes.  They shouldn't do that.  But, as I said before, unless you're serious about magic, that's going to go through one ear and out the other within days.

It's kind of like the question about whether a tree falls in a forest, and nobody hears it, did it make a sound?  Yeah, I guess. If some layman sees a reveal, and forgets about it in a week, did he see the reveal? Yes, but, just like the tree making a sound, does it really matter?  It's no more in his brain than it was before.

If you ARE serious about magic, then you will eventually learn who's shoulders they stood on.  I count myself in that camp, and I'm learning more every day.

I'd also point out that YouTube is now an avenue for magicians to make money on, even if they reveal their tricks.  Jay Sankey is one such example (he's also good about crediting).  Also, the amount of people that watch these videos in the English-speaking world of approx. 2 billion people is statistically insignificant.  We're talking significantly less than 1 percent. The inner workings of magic is just not that interesting to a vast majority of people.
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #34 
Hendu, like I said, I'm not wanting or hoping to change minds.  You don't agree and that's OK by me.  I think exposure is bad, period.  Having said that, I'm sure there is some oblique situation where it "ain't so bad", but in general I fail to see any positives in making secrets available, especially for free, to laypeople.  All it will accomplish is to give them a little taste of how we do what we do and perhaps they will use it against us.  Maybe, maybe not.  Still I think it is wrong.

You can feel free to think otherwise.  

And I think this has been a very friendly discussion.
0
jim ferguson

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 365
Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hendu71


Not trying to be contrary, just a friendly discussion, but who does this really hurt, other than people that think magic is real?  Does anybody think that these days, besides small children?  Should they think that?  I think there is a real ethical question there about that too.

I've been watching a lot of Darren Brown lately.  He made his name being a magician-skeptic. Revealing secrets about "psychics" and such. But now he's making specials that are obviously very scripted and polished and presenting them as "reality TV" when they are anything but.  He's deceiving the audience, and that does bother me, especially since he's made his name off of being a skeptic




Where are you getting your information from regarding Derren ?
And there is a huge difference between a magician telling fibs and a con artist fleecing the public.

Of course exposure can hurt magic. There's no denying magic is about secrets - all the usual things you'll hear/read saying "exposure doesn't matter, it's all about the entertainment", or "the real secrets of magic are in the performance, which aren't taught on YouTube", are misguided nonsense.
These things are only true if the audience is unaware of method. As soon as the audience is aware of method, there is no magic - magic should have no explanation. What we do should seem impossible, or highly improbable.

If all you want to do is "entertain", then this can be accomplished by telling a joke, or singing a song. But if you want to be a magician, ie entertain using magic, then you must fool your audience with solid "magic". If you haven't fooled them, or they know exactly what you're doing to achieve your tricks, then while it may "entertain" them, you are NOT performing magic.

Oh, and by "you", I don't mean YOU, I mean generally speaking.




Jim





0
Hendu71

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 101
Reply with quote  #36 
As far as Darren Brown, I do not place much credibility into his shows like "The Sacrifice" or "The Guilt Trip".  But he plays them totally straight, as if I should.  He then tries to put in some moralistic messaging behind it, which rubs me the wrong way.  If the show is essentially a magic trick to the audience, then fine.  But that's not how he presents it.

As far as direct damage from YouTube, I have to ask, people that actually perform a lot, how often do you show a trick to somebody and they say, "Oh I saw the reveal to that on YouTube?"  If that did happen, which trick was it?
0
jim ferguson

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 365
Reply with quote  #37 
Try finding his actual stage shows, or any of his series' (trick or treat, mind control etc) - I'm not sure if any of them are on YouTube.

Admittedly, I've never had anyone say they've seen anything I've performed, explained on YouTube - but I have heard stories from others that have.

Also, I remember talking to the owner of my local magic shop one day, not long after the masked magician aired. There were guys coming into the shop saying they had to change parts of their show, because the masked one had exposed one or two illusions they used. The cost in money and rehearsal time to add new pieces was a huge inconvenience for these guys.

Exposure does affect magic.



Jim


0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #38 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim ferguson

Admittedly, I've never had anyone say they've seen anything I've performed, explained on YouTube - but I have heard stories from others that have.
Jim



Same here.
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #39 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim ferguson


Exposure does affect magic.

Jim



Indeed it does.
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
Hendu, like I said, I'm not wanting or hoping to change minds.  You don't agree and that's OK by me.  I think exposure is bad, period.  Having said that, I'm sure there is some oblique situation where it "ain't so bad", but in general I fail to see any positives in making secrets available, especially for free, to laypeople.  All it will accomplish is to give them a little taste of how we do what we do and perhaps they will use it against us.  Maybe, maybe not.  Still I think it is wrong.


Fully agree.
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #41 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim ferguson


Where are you getting your information from regarding Derren ?
And there is a huge difference between a magician telling fibs and a con artist fleecing the public.

Of course exposure can hurt magic. There's no denying magic is about secrets - all the usual things you'll hear/read saying "exposure doesn't matter, it's all about the entertainment", or "the real secrets of magic are in the performance, which aren't taught on YouTube", are misguided nonsense.
These things are only true if the audience is unaware of method. As soon as the audience is aware of method, there is no magic - magic should have no explanation. What we do should seem impossible, or highly improbable.

If all you want to do is "entertain", then this can be accomplished by telling a joke, or singing a song. But if you want to be a magician, ie entertain using magic, then you must fool your audience with solid "magic". If you haven't fooled them, or they know exactly what you're doing to achieve your tricks, then while it may "entertain" them, you are NOT performing magic.

Oh, and by "you", I don't mean YOU, I mean generally speaking.

Jim


Totally agree.
This is pushing my post count up.

[smile][wink]
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #42 
On the subject of Darren ([smile]) Brown, there was a marathon Lookback at his UK TV career last Sunday.

Didn't watch it. Not a fan these days. A combination of the dreary TV shows and his eternal disdain for magicians in general.

We're all losers and only got into Magic to hide some lack of social skills. Something similar, anyway.
0
jim ferguson

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 365
Reply with quote  #43 
I quite enjoyed the twenty years celebration program. Straight after was the Apocalypse special - which was voted for by the public.
And straight after that .......a David Blaine special - the one with the celebrities, frogs, and the bullet catch.



Jim


0
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.