Magicians Documentary

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CraigMitchell
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Magicians Documentary

Postby CraigMitchell » November 17th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Be sure to download the new "Magicians - Life in the Impossible" documentary ... http://www.magiciansmovie.com/

But be prepared - it's a terribly depressing movie about the state of our art & the people in it. Heaven alone knows what lay people must think ... and whether Jon Armstrong regrets being a part of it.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » November 17th, 2016, 4:54 pm

That does sound interesting. The "psychologist" in me would be interested in that. I do have an active interest in human nature and have always been a student of it.

How does one "download" these things whatever on earth that means? And is it free? I really don't understand or even approve of this modern world.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 17th, 2016, 5:32 pm

I need to hold back most comments for now other than to say that I think that this film is terrific (and so does Jon, who has been to several of its festival screenings, so no, Craig, he does not regret being in it). I will say that now, when people ask me why I never became a professional performer, I can tell them to watch this film. I do not have what it takes to do what one must do to live that life. It's too damn hard.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby jwjmcd » November 17th, 2016, 5:40 pm

Not available in the U.K. Store yet. Hope it does. Would be interested.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » November 17th, 2016, 6:33 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:I need to hold back most comments for now other than to say that I think that this film is terrific (and so does Jon, who has been to several of its festival screenings, so no, Craig, he does not regret being in it). I will say that now, when people ask me why I never became a professional performer, I can tell them to watch this film. I do not have what it takes to do what one must do to live that life. It's too damn hard.


It IS hard! Damn hard! Oddly enough the professional magicians who have it the easiest are the kid show entertainers. I have always said that.

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CraigMitchell
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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby CraigMitchell » November 18th, 2016, 4:16 pm

In an ironic twist - Jan Rouven who the movie ostensibly shows to be the most 'successful' has just plead guilty ...

http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/cr ... 621602.php

jwjmcd
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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby jwjmcd » November 26th, 2016, 5:52 pm

Available in the U.K. iTunes Store now.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby erdnasephile » November 26th, 2016, 6:11 pm

Here's the trailer:



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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Brian Douglas » November 27th, 2016, 6:04 am

Available to rent $3.99 and buy $9.99 Standard Definition on ITunes.

Available to rent $4.99 and buy $12.99 High Definition on ITunes.

In an ironic twist - Jan Rouven who the movie ostensibly shows to be the most 'successful' has just plead guilty ...

http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/cr ... 621602.php


Though this does make it less desirable...

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 27th, 2016, 8:39 pm

A fine review from The Hollywood Reporter:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review ... ble-950483

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erdnasephile
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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby erdnasephile » November 27th, 2016, 11:07 pm

This is probably a dumb question, but does anyone know if Rouven financially benefits from sales of this film?

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 27th, 2016, 11:09 pm

Can't imagine that he would.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » November 28th, 2016, 6:08 am

I happen to know that documentary makers are not terribly keen on rewarding the subjects of their documentaries with such a silly thing as financial rewards for their time. They appeal to the ego of the subjects and of course magicians are not short of giant egos. Except me of course since I have always been of a very modest disposition.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby erdnasephile » November 28th, 2016, 10:22 am

Thanks!

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Tom Moore » November 28th, 2016, 11:56 am

Whereas television shows tend to have a fee structure based around repeat fees and royalties, movies (even documentaries) are almost always "buy-out" contracts for everyone involved with no on-going revenues regardless of the success (or not) of the picture with all the money the movie makes from rental/exhibition/tv sales/merchandise going back to the investors or producer that actually financed the project. The only exceptions to this are when you see a particular star having a "executive producer" credit as this is essentially a work-around to enable them to share in the profits the picture makes.

Since Rouven has $1/2m in restitution payments as well as his legal bills even if he was making money from the movie he wouldn't actually see a penny of it.
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 28th, 2016, 12:06 pm

There's a saying among documentarians that Marcie shared with me: "The only money in documentaries is that which we put into it."

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » November 28th, 2016, 2:44 pm

Oh, it isn't just documentaries. Even movies try to pay out as little as possible. Of course they have to pay out something on occasion but they do try to get away with as much as they possibly can.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby JFox » December 6th, 2016, 2:43 pm

FYI---Also available now as a DVD, on Amazon. (includes Bonus Footage and Interviews).

I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » December 6th, 2016, 6:24 pm

I shall buy the DVD. I always like to read about starving magicians.

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Gordon Meyer
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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Gordon Meyer » December 7th, 2016, 3:02 pm

I rented it and watched on iPad during a recent flight. Of all the magician documentaries, I found it to the most interesting. It also had the fewest cringe-worthy moments (Jan footage notwithstanding). I recommend the movie, but I'm not sure a lay person would enjoy it as much.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » December 7th, 2016, 4:04 pm

Gordon,
The laity is enjoying it a lot, but for much different reasons than magicians. Most lay people don't realize the magic even exists at that level. To them, it's either David Copperfield, kid show performers, or teenagers on YouTube. That's why the film has done so well at the various festivals. If you are an AMA member, there is an in depth piece in the December newsletter about the movie.
Dustin

Brad Henderson
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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Brad Henderson » December 7th, 2016, 5:58 pm

Dustin, do you feel that's true of the other magic documentaries which have come out, or do you think there is something in this one which is attracting and appealing to lay audiences? any thoughts as to specifically what that might be?

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » December 7th, 2016, 6:47 pm

I think the laity has enjoyed the few magic-oriented documentaries out there (not too many come to mind), but I think they have liked this one more because of its depth.

I believe that the one about the kids, Make Believe, was—and please remember, folks, this is my opinion—rather shallow. It was okay, just not as deep as this one both in terms of the process of being a magician and, to a lesser degree, making us interested in its subjects.

The Siegfried & Roy film was all but pure fantasy, so that one doesn't count at all.

The second best is Women in Boxes. But it lacked something that Magicians is filled with: the struggle, on a human level, it takes to make art your life. And, for better or worse, human beings enjoy watching others struggle. (The reasons for that, of course, is a whole other—and longer—conversation.)

(I'm also not counting the various made-for-TV specials that could be considered documentaries. The Story of Magic, for example, was exceptional, but it was a mini series, not a movie.)

Magicians makes you interested in these people, and in some cases even makes you care about them, which leads to its flaw: not knowing what happens to them. But that was done on purpose. Life doesn't have fairytale or movie-style endings; it just goes on until it's over. (It's noteworthy to mention that the Jan Rouven situation happened after the film's final cut and just before its opening at one of the festivals.)

So, for the laity, they are interested in seeing something they didn't even know was there coupled with the drama that is the human condition.

Another thing: One of the aspects of the film that I didn't write about in the AMA Newsletter piece (space issues), was the moments of "dual reality" (which, as Marcie Hume says, is "what the cool kids call it"). There are moments where magicians see a scene and know exactly what's happening, but the laity believes something else is occurring. They think they are getting a peek behind the curtain (at the process, not the methods)—and in a sense they are—but the reality of what's on the screen escapes them. It's another layer of interest that viewers at both levels enjoy.

Dustin

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 2nd, 2017, 4:06 pm

This movie is now on Netflix streaming. I just watched it last night.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Roger M. » March 3rd, 2017, 1:37 am

I just watched it on Netflix, and as a pure film it's very well done.

As a lifelong student of magic, I was quite taken by the highly personal look at each magician profiled, and I watched the entire movie without interruption or conversation.

However on a personal level as it would relate to the various magicians profiled ... it was an utterly depressing telling of all the reasons magic has never truly entered the mainstream, and why most magicians are viewed as a somewhat odd derivative of the broader entertainment industry.
I also think the film unflatteringly highlights the fact that a huge part of many magicians careers is catering to, teaching, and performing for other magicians.

The fact that the filmmakers didn't update the end of the movie with an addendum noting the demise of Jan R. seems an omission, as his fall from grace (to put it lightly) changes the presentation of J.R. in the movie from "likable guy" to a "disgusting pervert".

Great film, as a magician it was incredibly interesting ... but it doesn't do "magic" any favors whatsoever IMO.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Tom Stone » March 3rd, 2017, 6:31 am

Roger M. wrote:The fact that the filmmakers didn't update the end of the movie with an addendum noting the demise of Jan R. seems an omission, as his fall from grace (to put it lightly) changes the presentation of J.R. in the movie from "likable guy" to a "disgusting pervert".

Some with those viewing habits are not necessarily identifying with the perpetrator. Not that it changes anything, it's just an aspect that is often missed.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » March 3rd, 2017, 7:47 am

I don't think a Jan Rouven update would be appropriate. It would taint the movie and distract from the premise and moreover make magic look bad. Besides, it would not be a very nice thing for the producers to do to someone who has been nice enough to spend so much time helping them with their documentary for probably no money, no matter what he did or did not do. Rubbing salt in that particular wound I do not consider to be a preferable option. Let sleeping dogs lie.


And yes. Doing magic for other magicians I do not consider part of showbusiness. And it tends to taint the performer's thinking . You can get the two approaches (laymen and magicians) confused if you are not careful. You would have to be very disciplined and indeed cynical to be able to separate the two ways of working. What entertains a magician will not necessarily please a layman but if you work to magicians too often and are encouraged by their plaudits you start to dilute your work for laymen since things will creep into your work which should be kept out. You will tend to put in extra moves which should be kept out and perform the wrong things for the wrong people.

I am very much against the incestuous practice of what old time performers would call "Conjuring for conjurers".

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 3rd, 2017, 3:26 pm

Roger M. wrote:I just watched it on Netflix, and as a pure film it's very well done.

As a lifelong student of magic, I was quite taken by the highly personal look at each magician profiled, and I watched the entire movie without interruption or conversation.

However on a personal level as it would relate to the various magicians profiled ... it was an utterly depressing telling of all the reasons magic has never truly entered the mainstream, and why most magicians are viewed as a somewhat odd derivative of the broader entertainment industry.
I also think the film unflatteringly highlights the fact that a huge part of many magicians careers is catering to, teaching, and performing for other magicians.

(deleted)

Great film, as a magician it was incredibly interesting ... but it doesn't do "magic" any favors whatsoever IMO.


Roger that's pretty much how I felt after watching the movie. It doesn't do magic any favors..but one could note, since the film seems accurate, that magic doesn't do itself any favors.

One thing that it did impress upon me is how arduous the reality of being a touring, lecturing, magician is.

And the scene where Jon Armstrong slipped a blue plunger free to a little kid who couldn't afford the whole package, well that really made me smile, reminding me of how many times I, as a little kid not much older than that, and a lot more full of himself, benefited from so many magicians kindness.


- Robert

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby erdnasephile » March 3rd, 2017, 6:54 pm

I, too, liked the movie, but my mind processed it as: "Magic as a profession aversion therapy".

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 3rd, 2017, 7:41 pm

erdnasephile wrote:I, too, liked the movie, but my mind processed it as: "Magic as a profession aversion therapy".


More than a few might think that a good thing.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » March 3rd, 2017, 11:06 pm

Not wanting something is just as good as having it.......and far less trouble.

Or to put it another way we are fools to overpay for something in terms of what it takes out of our very existence.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby erdnasephile » March 3rd, 2017, 11:41 pm

Robert77 wrote:
erdnasephile wrote:I, too, liked the movie, but my mind processed it as: "Magic as a profession aversion therapy".


More than a few might think that a good thing.


I hope that's not specifically directed at my performing skills! ;)

Seriously, though--while I suppose that we could make a movie conveying that message about any profession, watching these guys struggle was brutal. This was particularly true regarding the dysfunctional relationships.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » March 3rd, 2017, 11:51 pm

Oddly enough I didn't think they were struggling that much. A little certainly but I know of people who struggled far more. It looked like they were getting some sort of living and were doing reasonably well. No fortunes but getting more or less by.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 4th, 2017, 12:02 am

performer wrote:Oddly enough I didn't think they were struggling that much. A little certainly but I know of people who struggled far more. It looked like they were getting some sort of living and were doing reasonably well. No fortunes but getting more or less by.


I somewhat see your point. Unfortunately here in the U.S. if you get old and are still poor, god help you. There's no national health care on your way to getting old, and once you get there, Medicare isn't great. There is no real concept of a public dole to retire on, not even a small one. Social security will only continue to payout as long as the pyramid scheme that keeps it running works, and even then, you can't collect until you're mid 60's and it's not enough to live on. So as I watched the show I wasn't thinking just about how that guy was paying for that haunted house his ex lived in. I was thinking about what happens when they, as do we all, get old and our eyesight and fine motor coordination start to go, and a quaver enters our voices.

The show was interesting to me because some of those performers reminded me of me, way back when, being viewed by me, now. When you're younger, time passes slowly. But it seems past 40 the rate of time passing increases more and more every few years.

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Brian Douglas
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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Brian Douglas » March 4th, 2017, 12:42 am

Robert77 wrote: Unfortunately here in the U.S. if you get old and are still poor, god help you. There's no national health care on your way to getting old, and once you get there, Medicare isn't great. There is no real concept of a public dole to retire on, not even a small one. Social security will only continue to payout as long as the pyramid scheme that keeps it running works, and even then, you can't collect until you're mid 60's and it's not enough to live on. .


That is why I plan on retiring to the Philippines.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » March 4th, 2017, 10:45 pm

Brian Douglas wrote:
Robert77 wrote: Unfortunately here in the U.S. if you get old and are still poor, god help you. There's no national health care on your way to getting old, and once you get there, Medicare isn't great. There is no real concept of a public dole to retire on, not even a small one. Social security will only continue to payout as long as the pyramid scheme that keeps it running works, and even then, you can't collect until you're mid 60's and it's not enough to live on. .


That is why I plan on retiring to the Philippines.


The guy who is in charge of the Philippines at the moment sounds even worse that Donald Trump!

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » March 6th, 2017, 12:16 am

Dustin

I would include two more documentaries, one obvious, the other not.... at first. The recent documentary on Ricky Jay dove far deeper to the motivations of a professional magician and the men who inspired him to take this leap of faith. The documentary Penn and Teller did on the man who may have cracked Vermeer's technique for the super-realism found in his paintings, is also magic. These two magicians and the artist (a magician of sorts) are driven by this mystery: it looks like magic, how was it done?


and then there is the one about the Holidays, if depression is your thing. I met them and saw them perform at the Flamingo, while Charlotte and I were performing in Jubilee(!). I saw two dancers with serious adage backgrounds try to be magicians. I never saw them as such.

My highs and lows are legendary. I am like the thing in monster movies that keeps getting up. West has given me a chance for grace; I never would have believed it possible. I am taking it as I announced here earlier this year. My survival as a professional all these years has always been about belief and persistence.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 6th, 2017, 12:56 am

Jonathan, if you can, when it's convenient, I'd appreciate leads on the titles of any of those movies you mentioned.

Thank you,

Robert

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Bill Mullins » March 6th, 2017, 1:20 am

The first is "Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay", and the second is "Tim's Vemeer" -- both of which I've seen, and Jonathan (perceptive as always) is correct in his assessments. But I don't know what he is talking about with respect to the third one, and also would like to know more.

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Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Richard Hatch » March 6th, 2017, 1:50 am

Bill Mullins wrote:The first is "Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay", and the second is "Tim's Vemeer" -- both of which I've seen, and Jonathan (perceptive as always) is correct in his assessments. But I don't know what he is talking about with respect to the third one, and also would like to know more.


My guess for the third would be this documentary:
http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/cat-da ... opsis.html
It does sound really bizarre and depressing!


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