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Socrates

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Yesterday evening I decided to review my notes and consider what it means to me to be a magician, whilst doing so I came across the following quote from Criss Angel regarding Eugene Burger:

"Magicians tend to be very insecure, it's all about their secrets. They don't like to share. But Eugene understood that magic is about far more than secrets. It is about telling a story. It is about moving people emotionally."
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Magic Harry

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Very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing.
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TheAmazingStanley

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I confess I’m a bit tone deaf when it comes to emotions and magic. I see wonder, fascination, and amazement in magic, but can magic make you weep like a symphony or a play can? Can magic incite carnal passions or rouse you for battle? So in what sense does Angel mean moving people emotionally? What are we shooting for?
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RayJ

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Ah, secrets.  It wasn't that long ago that secrets were 'coin of the realm' among some magi.  They had true value.  It was not uncommon for a magician to offer to show another magician how to do something in return for an explanation of something which fooled them.  Generally, when you learned what fooled you, you realize you got burned because what you tipped to them was way too good in comparison.

In a couple of books, I read where magicians in the early 20th century jealously guarded secrets.  Tommy Nelson Downs was said to be desperate to find out the latest secrets coming out of the New York gang.  And then there was Persi Diaconis, admonishing a fellow magician to not release certain tricks and sleights to the public, whom he referred to as "heathens", I believe.  Not a lot of respect for the magic community, eh?

The way you present magic can invite intense scrutiny.  This is generally described as presenting a puzzle.  It can be effective, for some.  The emotional hook comes from presenting magic as entertainment, not necessarily as a puzzle to be solved.  It is similar to what we discussed regarding Jeff McBride's admonition to his audience, "I'm not trying to fool you, just relax and enjoy the mystery".

Nowadays secrets have a decidedly short shelf life.  I'll leave it at that because I promised not to go there anymore.  Much.
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arthur stead

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmazingStanley
I confess I’m a bit tone deaf when it comes to emotions and magic. I see wonder, fascination, and amazement in magic, but can magic make you weep like a symphony or a play can? Can magic incite carnal passions or rouse you for battle? So in what sense does Angel mean moving people emotionally? What are we shooting for?


There’s an old saying, something to the effect of: “People may not always remember what you said or what you did … but they will remember how you made them feel.”  That is something to strive for in magic.  Touching people on a deeper level.  Creating an emotional response, in addition to wonder and astonishment.


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arthur stead

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If I may add one more thing about emotion in magic:

I’ve always found that sharing something personal, something genuine, from your own life, in the context of a trick, will make an impact.  Here’s a brilliant example from Britain's Got Talent:



You'll see, it's no so much the magic (all the tricks are quite simple), but the story-line that gets the response.

 

 


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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arthur stead

If I may add one more thing about emotion in magic:

I’ve always found that sharing something personal, something genuine, from your own life, in the context of a trick, will make an impact.  Here’s a brilliant example:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P84H4ZsXSA

 

 



Brilliant is a good way to describe it.

There is nothing which could top that, so you just bow and leave the stage.
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arthur stead

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And now to comment on Socrates’ original post about secrets:  Like RayJ said, in “the old days”, magical secrets were treasured.  You were fortunate indeed if someone at a magic shop took you under their wing and showed you a couple of moves or sleights.  Or if a professional magician confided some of his or her secrets with you.  

I remember when I first discovered the book “Counts, Cuts, Moves and Subtlety” by Jerry Mentzer.  It felt like I’d found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!  What a world of possibilities that book opened up for me!  Having such a fantastic resource (and later, other incredible “underground” books) made me feel truly privileged and appreciative.

Needless to say, all the exposure nowadays bugs me to no end.  And the many poorly executed online videos by amateurs.  There oughta be a law …. 


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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arthur stead

And now to comment on Socrates’ original post about secrets:  Like RayJ said, in “the old days”, magical secrets were treasured.  You were fortunate indeed if someone at a magic shop took you under their wing and showed you a couple of moves or sleights.  Or if a professional magician confided some of his or her secrets with you.  

I remember when I first discovered the book “Counts, Cuts, Moves and Subtlety” by Jerry Mentzer.  It felt like I’d found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!  What a world of possibilities that book opened up for me!  Having such a fantastic resource (and later, other incredible “underground” books) made me feel truly privileged and appreciative.

Needless to say, all the exposure nowadays bugs me to no end.  And the many poorly executed online videos by amateurs.  There oughta be a law …. 



I felt that same way about the book when I first bought it.  I still have it and looked at it the other day.  I paid $4.00 for it.  Of course, $4.00 back then was a decent sum.


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GregB

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Reply with quote  #10 
I guess the idea of the magicians secrets were always so romanticized for me, I always thought it was so cool and mysterious. It actually was a barrier for me getting into magic because I thought the only way to learn was from another magician. I never realized there was an incredible amount of books and other resources to learn from! But now getting to perform magic, I also love to teach it, however I think its wrong to just teach anybody as not everyone actually cares about magic, sometimes they just want to know the secret. But man, I don't know if I would have lasted long in the time of keeping secrets from other magicians, often when I learn something new I can't wait to fool my magic club and then teach it to them haha
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Magic Harry

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Reply with quote  #11 
RayJ your experience with Mentzer’s book is much like mine.
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