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Socrates

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“Magicians guard an empty safe. In fact, there are few secrets that they possess that are beyond the capacity of a high-school science class, little more complex than a rubber band, a square of mirrored glass or a length of thread. When an audience learns how it’s done, they quickly dismiss the art: ‘Is that all there is?’ The real art is how the rubber band is handled with the finesse of a jewel cutter, how a mirror is used or concealed precisely, how a masterful performer can hint at impossibilities that are consummated with only a piece of thread.” - Jim Steinmeyer

Perhaps this explains why magicians charge so highly for their books, and guard their knowledge so deeply - in many ways the art of magic as practiced today is like a mirage in the desert, a long walk in the heat and still no quenching of the thirst.

The most fascinating part of magic to me is how it exposes the workings of the human mind.  If we can be mislead by such simple concepts then perhaps we should be more cautious about how we interact and think about the world in which we live.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the Jim Steimeyer quote.

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marv long

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Reply with quote  #2 
Well Jim Steinmeyer guards his "empty safe" pretty vigorously. LOL

I can't ice skate but I know how it is done . Well she just jumped and twisted. But it was beautiful.

Look he is linking rings. Yea there is a cut in one of them. Oh - is that all.

The performance of magic is forever linked with the secret and only magicians appreciate the performance when the secret is known. We can however present in a way that appears to negate the secret and that is the direction that many take including the Professor who explained how the linking rings were done in a magic store and then showed why his were different.

As Penn said - magic secrets are ugly. Most people are disappointed when they learn how a trick is done. I was fooled by a piece of thread? 

Best to keep secrets - secret.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marv long
Well Jim Steinmeyer guards his "empty safe" pretty vigorously. LOL

I can't ice skate but I know how it is done . Well she just jumped and twisted. But it was beautiful.

Look he is linking rings. Yea there is a cut in one of them. Oh - is that all.

The performance of magic is forever linked with the secret and only magicians appreciate the performance when the secret is known. We can however present in a way that appears to negate the secret and that is the direction that many take including the Professor who explained how the linking rings were done in a magic store and then showed why his were different.

As Penn said - magic secrets are ugly. Most people are disappointed when they learn how a trick is done. I was fooled by a piece of thread? 

Best to keep secrets - secret.



Thank you!  Well said.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #4 
Here's what I think of this and many other "famous" quotes in magic.  They have value because they make you think.  I don't think they should ever be taken as gospel.  Even if they come from well-respected members of the fraternity.

There are lots of "famous" quotes, "Be natural", "Don't run if you're not being chased", etc., etc.  All are important to study, to think about and determine how and why they apply.

I personally don't care much for the Steinmeyer quote because I've seen people take it out of context.  They use it as an excuse for exposure.  They say, "See, even Jim says secrets aren't really important".  That is NOT what he meant at all in my opinion.  He never advised folks to go on youtube and vomit up all of their knowledge.  

Yes, it is generally true that a layman is disappointed when shown how things work.  I would argue that they might be stunned at times also.  There are some incredible feats of manipulation that would make their heads spin.  Watching Richard Turner or Steve Forte do precise strip-out shuffles with an impossibly small brief is bound to impress.  A ball sticking to a magnet, not so much.


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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #5 
To stimulate thinking, is this not the key component of The Magician's Forum?  Oftentimes I see the tricks others perform and smile, for I respect the time and effort that went into learning the effect.  The image of the safe intrigues me and brings to mind a view of the Emerald City...  the road is paved with gold, and many adventures are encountered along the way, and on arriving, the curtain is drawn back and the wizard is finally exposed: You are the magic!

Now the quote of Jim Steinmeyer suggests many things, but I began to consider his words deeper and took a book from my shelf, flipped it open and came across the following words:

“The thought that something we cannot see, of unsurpassable skill and unimaginable form, exists in the back room’s locked safe—isn’t this, for any artist, for any person, an irresistible hope, beautiful and disturbing as the distant baying of Thoreau’s lost hound that tells us, not least, that the mysteries of distance are endless?” - Jane Hirshfield

And hidden in the safe, and locked away from prying eyes we find the way - false solutions obscure the route, but for those who really want to learn, and understand, dedication is all you need... there is nothing to hide because the safe contains untold treasures... magic is way more than a method or a manoeuvre... for those in the know, magic is a way of life!
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #6 
Sankey wrote years ago about thinking that it's good if the spectators know how it's done. I don't remember the exact rationale. But, as I recall, it was sort of like allowing the spectators to become magicians is how they'll appreciate what's going on. So if they know there's a gap in the ring, they just appreciate the beauty of the routine as a magician would. I think that's totally nuts. As Pop Haydn posted here a number of times, they must be fooled or they're not seeing magic. There must be no explanation, not just a false one, let alone the actual one. 

I think that when spectators become aware of the method, it's like when the microphone accidentally appears above the actors in a movie. It immediately takes you out of the experience you had been having and reminds you that you're watching actors and that everything is fake. Ouch!

M
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #7 
Some people are curious - they don't want to be fooled. For them an answer like, the ring has a slit in it works for them. 
Now think about this. They know that one of the rings has a slit in it and that's how the rings penetrate each other. 

So...do they know where that slit is at any given point in time? 
Which ring has it? 
Exactly how do the rings link together when you're rubbing them together or when you're crashing one down onto the other? 
How are there two groups of linked rings? How many rings have a slit? 
How do you make the rings seemingly melt through each other? 

For some, knowing there's a slit is all they need to be the cool kid on the block.
For others, it's the start of a good migraine. 

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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #8 
As others have noted, the Steinmeyer remark is neither here nor there. Who knows what deep and meaningful statement and insight he was attempting to convey. And to whom. If indeed he was attempting such. Anyway I refute it thus.

The Safe Isn't Empty. 

Far from it.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
Some people are curious - they don't want to be fooled. For them an answer like, the ring has a slit in it works for them. 
Now think about this. They know that one of the rings has a slit in it and that's how the rings penetrate each other. 

So...do they know where that slit is at any given point in time? 
Which ring has it? 
Exactly how do the rings link together when you're rubbing them together or when you're crashing one down onto the other? 
How are there two groups of linked rings? How many rings have a slit? 
How do you make the rings seemingly melt through each other? 

For some, knowing there's a slit is all they need to be the cool kid on the block.
For others, it's the start of a good migraine. 



You bring up a great point and that is a good magician can frequently use a layperson's knowledge against them.  

I forget where I read it, but a magician reported that after performing the Linking Rings, a person approached and complimented the magician.  They said they knew about the key ring, but couldn't figure out how this magician performed the effect without one.  The handling was so good that its presence was not even suspected.


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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
To stimulate thinking, is this not the key component of The Magician's Forum?  Oftentimes I see the tricks others perform and smile, for I respect the time and effort that went into learning the effect.  The image of the safe intrigues me and brings to mind a view of the Emerald City...  the road is paved with gold, and many adventures are encountered along the way, and on arriving, the curtain is drawn back and the wizard is finally exposed: You are the magic!

Now the quote of Jim Steinmeyer suggests many things, but I began to consider his words deeper and took a book from my shelf, flipped it open and came across the following words:

“The thought that something we cannot see, of unsurpassable skill and unimaginable form, exists in the back room’s locked safe—isn’t this, for any artist, for any person, an irresistible hope, beautiful and disturbing as the distant baying of Thoreau’s lost hound that tells us, not least, that the mysteries of distance are endless?” - Jane Hirshfield

And hidden in the safe, and locked away from prying eyes we find the way - false solutions obscure the route, but for those who really want to learn, and understand, dedication is all you need... there is nothing to hide because the safe contains untold treasures... magic is way more than a method or a manoeuvre... for those in the know, magic is a way of life!


I was thinking of the Wizard too. There’s nothing behind the curtain. But there is! That contraption the guy was operating was quite a marvel. He put a lot of ingenuity and work into that thing. Maybe no Wizard, but there’s another marvel behind the curtain, this one real and accessible if you’re willing to put in the work.

The magician has traded the Wizard for the contraption.

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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #11 
Your ring has a ‘slit’??!! Man, do you know how much I paid for the Acme ring-section dematerializer??? Whatever you do, don’t tell anyone, and I’ll send you the details of where to get one, slightly used.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cowne
Your ring has a ‘slit’??!! Man, do you know how much I paid for the Acme ring-section dematerializer??? Whatever you do, don’t tell anyone, and I’ll send you the details of where to get one, slightly used.


Is that the same dealer that sells used flash paper?

[confused]
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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Is that the same dealer that sells used flash paper?

[confused]
That’s the one! He recently had a fire sale.
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David Todd

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


I personally don't care much for the Steinmeyer quote because I've seen people take it out of context.  They use it as an excuse for exposure.  They say, "See, even Jim says secrets aren't really important".  That is NOT what he meant at all in my opinion.  He never advised folks to go on YouTube and vomit up all of their knowledge.  


YES !  Thank you you for saying that .  [thumb] Can I like your post more than once ?  I totally agree.  I've seen that "guarding an empty safe" line frequently used out of context , as a way of of downplaying or excusing exposure.  It's often quoted as an attempt to seem sophisticated and "in the know" , as a put down of the person who expresses concerns about wanton exposure , as if that person is some sort of naive bumpkin who hasn't been enlightened to understand that the secrets of magic are unimportant. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ

He never advised folks to go on YouTube and vomit up all of their knowledge.


Yes, I'm fairly sure that Jim Steinmeyer would feel that his safe had been robbed if someone were to post videos on YouTube with the secret and detailed instructions (including links to download the plans) on how to build the  Origami or Modern Art or other illusions created by him.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cowne
That’s the one! He recently had a fire sale.


Love it!
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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #16 
My thoughts about it is that no idea can be kept inside a safe, since anyone can have them.
Actually, our brain is something like millions of little safes that keeps in secret ALL the secrets in the entire world!, but no-one can open ALL of them (I wish I could!).

Ed Marlo could open many, many of them about card magic!

Once you are the lucky one to get to open one of those little sefes inside your brain, you can keep it in secret, so to speak, to close that safe again or publish it as well as just share it for free with other magicians.

Nevertheless, the secret of a trick is not always and only the secret itself, but a good performance that hides it perfectly by misdirection and a good combination with other secrets.

Another important and interesting concept about a secret is WHEN you use it;
you can fool anyone (including magicians) by a well known secret simply because you use it in a moment that they don't expect, or maybe because the secret or idea in question is so old that everybody have forgotten it : - )

So, magic can be as saved as many secrets fall into oblivion : - }

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Todd


YES !  Thank you you for saying that .  [thumb] Can I like your post more than once ?  I totally agree.  I've seen that "guarding an empty safe" line frequently used out of context , as a way of of downplaying or excusing exposure.  It's often quoted as an attempt to seem sophisticated and "in the know" , as a put down of the person who expresses concerns about wanton exposure , as if that person is some sort of naive bumpkin who hasn't been enlightened to understand that the secrets of magic are unimportant. 



Yes, I'm fairly sure that Jim Steinmeyer would feel that his safe had been robbed if someone were to post videos on YouTube with the secret and detailed instructions (including links to download the plans) on how to build the  Origami or Modern Art or other illusions created by him.



Glad you appreciated my comments.  Obviously not everyone agrees.  I remember a big "dust up" on another forum over just this topic and there were folks that basically demeaned anyone who felt that protecting secrets was a good thing.  Their response was to "just come up with new and better methods".  Well, that sounds great, on the surface. 
Then when those methods are exposed you just set to creating again.  Easy peasy.  Not.
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David Todd

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Reply with quote  #18 

Speaking of going on the internet and "vomiting up all of their knowledge" , I just got another reminder that unless it is a private forum  or access to the website is password protected , or the website owner has taken steps to prevent their webpage from being accessed and indexed by search engines like Google , whatever is posted online stays online forever and anyone can access it through a search engine. 

Click here to see the screen grab from Google , which is just one out of hundreds of examples that could be shown.   I realize many magicians who have resigned themselves to exposure (whether intentional or unintentional) will just shrug and say "Who cares? Exposure doesn't really have any long term impact" , but to me this sort of thing is just sad.   (and completely avoidable by taking a few precautions)

Website owners can take steps to prevent their website text and images from being indexed by search engines , for example:   https://yoast.com/prevent-site-being-indexed/


Here's another thing:  any magician who has a YouTube channel where they post magic performance videos (their own or others) should set the Comment Visiblity preferences for each video to "hold all comments for review".  This way they can review and delete inappropriate comments from people who only comment to expose the magic.    Or if they feel like they don't have time to review all new comments posted on their videos then they can just disable the comments .

Screen Shot 2020-09-09 at 9.26.46 AM.jpg 

It should go without saying that anyone who is posting magic tutorials on YouTube can post their videos as Unlisted, so the tutorial videos do not show up in searches .  That way only the people who have been given the link can access the video.   Even better,  post tutorial videos on YouTube or Vimeo as Private  or Password-Protected , allowing only those who have been added to the list of approved viewers or who have the password will have access to the tutorial video.   (NOTE: on Vimeo the option of password protecting a video is for Vimeo Plus users, which costs  $7 a month or Vimeo Pro users , which costs $20 a month) .  I find that in most cases if you just set a video to Unlisted on YouTube then it is hidden like a needle in a haystack, only the people you share the link with are going to see it.

Screen Shot 2020-09-09 at 9.50.31 AM.jpg  Screen Shot 2020-09-09 at 9.51.03 AM.jpg 
Of course , for the people whose only reason for posting so-called "tutorials" is to expose magic or as click-bait to attract more views to their channel (and from there to direct viewers to their webstore where they sell their stuff) they won't set the videos to Unlisted or Private , because the intention is not really about teaching magic , the intention is just to get more views (whether to feed the ego of the exposer , or to sell stuff .)


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Todd

Speaking of going on the internet and "vomiting up all of their knowledge" , I just got another reminder that unless it is a private forum  or access to the website is password protected , or the website owner has taken steps to prevent their webpage from being accessed and indexed by search engines like Google , whatever is posted online stays online forever and anyone can access it through a search engine. 

Click here to see the screen grab from Google , which is just one out of hundreds of examples that could be shown.   I realize many magicians who have resigned themselves to exposure (whether intentional or unintentional) will just shrug and say "Who cares? Exposure doesn't really have any long term impact" , but to me this sort of thing is just sad.   (and completely avoidable by taking a few precautions)

Website owners can take steps to prevent their website text and images from being indexed by search engines , for example:   https://yoast.com/prevent-site-being-indexed/


Here's another thing:  any magician who has a YouTube channel where they post magic performance videos (their own or others) should set the Comment Visiblity preferences for each video to "hold all comments for review".  This way they can review and delete inappropriate comments from people who only comment to expose the magic.    Or if they feel like they don't have time to review all new comments posted on their videos then they can just disable the comments .

Screen Shot 2020-09-09 at 9.26.46 AM.jpg 

It should go without saying that anyone who is posting magic tutorials on YouTube can post their videos as Unlisted, so the tutorial videos do not show up in searches .  That way only the people who have been given the link can access the video.   Even better,  post tutorial videos on YouTube or Vimeo as Private  or Password-Protected , allowing only those who have been added to the list of approved viewers or who have the password will have access to the tutorial video.   (NOTE: on Vimeo the option of password protecting a video is for Vimeo Plus users, which costs  $7 a month or Vimeo Pro users , which costs $20 a month) .  I find that in most cases if you just set a video to Unlisted on YouTube then it is hidden like a needle in a haystack, only the people you share the link with are going to see it.

Screen Shot 2020-09-09 at 9.50.31 AM.jpg  Screen Shot 2020-09-09 at 9.51.03 AM.jpg 
Of course , for the people whose only reason for posting so-called "tutorials" is to expose magic or as click-bait to attract more views to their channel (and from there to direct viewers to their webstore where they sell their stuff) they won't set the videos to Unlisted or Private , because the intention is not really about teaching magic , the intention is just to get more views (whether to feed the ego of the exposer , or to sell stuff .)



Good information and it is good of you to take the time to explain how things work.  Regarding the 'Asrah' levitation, I remember vividly a friend of mine, James Holmes performing it in a stage show he and I performed in.  His execution of it was remarkable and I witnessed the difficulty he had in getting everything set up properly.  Not a trick where you just show up and do it.  So it pains me that someone can find such detailed info online.  
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