Convention Session Etiquette?

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
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erdnasephile
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Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby erdnasephile » June 24th, 2017, 12:48 pm

I really wanted to the Genii Convention this year, but am unable to get off. (Boo!) Instead, I'll be going to: http://ring129workshop.com/ which purportedly has a lot of informal sessioning.

Although I used to hang out with other magicians when I was younger, I haven't had any magic buddies since high school. I'm just an amateur who when asked to perform, does mostly personalizations of legitimately-obtained, published material. I pretty much perform exclusively for non-magicians.

Therefore, my question is this: If do a trick during an informal magic session, and someone asks me to explain it, what are the ethics regarding this, since those tricks don't belong to me. That is, I believe I don't have the right to explain another magician's trick because it's their baby, not mine (I just dressed it up in handmade clothes for a while). Honestly, I would feel more comfortable with just giving the reference of where the trick can be found so the questioner could find it in the literature and study it if they so desired.

OTOH, I don't want to appear to be a rude jerk to a bunch of strangers. I've just never been in this situation before.

So, for those of you who go to a lot of conventions and like to session, what is the proper etiquette in settings such as these?

Michael Close
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby Michael Close » June 24th, 2017, 1:34 pm

When I was a very young man, I had two go-to, magician-frying tricks: Simon Aronson's Red See Passover and my Wild Underground Transposition (in Workers 2 as Dancers at the End of Time). When anyone (and I should say when everyone) who saw Simon's trick asked me about it or how it was done, I told them it was in The Card Ideas of Simon Aronson, and it could be ordered from him. I never tipped it. Everyone seemed cool with that answer. And Simon sold a lot of books.

So: I say tell them where it's in print if you want to, or don't tell them anything.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 24th, 2017, 2:29 pm

I say you tell them where it's in print, or where they can buy it. Not saying anything will make them resentful and it's not a good way to make friends.
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performer
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby performer » June 24th, 2017, 3:28 pm

When someone asks me to explain a trick that I am doing I also refer them to wherever I learned it. I refuse to divulge the method there and then not because of ethical reasons which quite frankly are the last thing I am worried about but because I can't be bothered. Even if I do a lecture somewhere I hardly explain the secret because I know perfectly well nobody is going to bother using it anyway and explaining it bores me stiff.

And of course there is also an element of the fact I don't want people doing my tricks even if they aren't my tricks in the first place. After all I stole them first. However, I figure that if I tell them where to find the explanation and they actually make an effort to do so then they deserve the trick. Other than that hard cheese.

Bob Farmer
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby Bob Farmer » June 24th, 2017, 4:15 pm

When I'm in this situation , I just say, it's in my latest book, even if it isn't.

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Brian Douglas
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby Brian Douglas » June 24th, 2017, 4:18 pm

When I meet new people (my last job we had a new rotation of military every 6 months) I would perform 6 tricks for them. Three that I would explain, and three that I would not. The three would explain were basic introductions to magic tricks; such as the 21 card trick, a story trick with 4 Jacks, and a kids (do it again!) trick where the bottom card is reversed.

Sometimes they know a few and show me as well. My objective is to find those who are truly interested in learning and performing. I have come across some people that have real talent (coins/cards/rope manipulations) but would freeze up as soon as I mention performing for the public; even strolling. Furthermore, I have found those who have never performed in their lives (magically that is) but have a quirk about them in which people are naturally drawn.

I met Fred in 2007 and he had never done a lick of magic in his life but had that quirk. Within one month I had him strolling a party with me and gathering larger crowds than me with just a cup and die, B-wave, and a chain escape. We teamed up for 10 years and his escape act/quick change was our closer. He has made a name for himself in the Chinese community in Kuwait and has been on Chinese TV. So you never know what revealing three common tricks will lead to.

Oh, and for those who say they will just look it up on youtube when you refuse to tip your hand, they never do.

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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 24th, 2017, 8:22 pm

Erdnasephile, IMO, the most important set of ethics are the ones that come from within our own consciences or sense of right and wrong. I think you have gotten some good advice here from some very knowledgeable people who have been in the game a very long time, and it appears that your own feelings on this issue are in perfect harmony with theirs. I would echo what's been written on here. Let's say that one purchases a book of card effects. Obviously, the purchaser has paid for the secrets contained therein, and as such, there has been a fair exchange of value; on one hand, the purchaser giving monetary value, and on the other hand, the creator and publisher of the material who are providing their intellectual property and who have put time, labor and/or money into generating the product. (Not to mention their expertise and oftentimes, ingenuity). Should there not be a quid pro quo?

Someone should not ask for or expect the secret without similarly giving value on their part, and it would not be fair to the creator and/or publisher for us to capitulate to such requests. As has already been wisely stated, if someone happens to ask for an explanation to a trick (which they should not do in the first place, as it is in bad taste and presumptuous) they can be directed to the source of the material. If they are not happy with that, or are resentful, well, that is definitely their issue, and they are going to need to get over it. Actually, you will be doing them a favor by educating them as to both proper ethics and etiquette.

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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby Tom Gilbert » June 25th, 2017, 7:28 am

You might want to get a feel for the session first. If it looks like a show and tell, maybe not participate and just be an onlooker. You could just have a disclaimer before you start that you're performing items from books.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby erdnasephile » June 25th, 2017, 4:00 pm

Thanks for the advice, everyone! I plan to be quiet, watch and learn more than talk (which is my nature anyway), but if I somehow end up performing something I'll know better how to handle this. [I'm going be like Mr. Close and work on a couple of couple of magician-killers just in case ;) )

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby Q. Kumber » June 25th, 2017, 5:16 pm

Sometimes you will have a very mixed (in competence and knowledge) group at a session. I always make a point that each and everyone of us will have to do something. It could be a trick, a move, or simply asking for feedback on an item they are working on. But everyone has to do something. Now one or two will be very reluctant and maybe feel intimidated, especially if some in the group are accomplished magicians. However they are always pleased afterwards and those more accomplished often gain a lot by giving feedback if asked, as this sparks input from everyone and will often lead to thinking in a new direction.

To me a 'session' means everyone in the group joining in.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 25th, 2017, 10:53 pm

erdnasephile wrote:Thanks for the advice, everyone! I plan to be quiet, watch and learn more than talk (which is my nature anyway), but if I somehow end up performing something I'll know better how to handle this. [I'm going be like Mr. Close and work on a couple of couple of magician-killers just in case ;) )


Good idea! We have one tongue, but two eyes and two ears! Obviously, i have no problem talking, as evidenced by the number and length of posts I've had in the two years since becoming a member. But I could certainly benefit greatly by listening more and talking less. When is New Years? One thing I have learned in the decades I have been a magician, the best way to entertain a magician is to fool a magician. They don't really care much about patter or funny lines - you'll get about the same reaction for that as you would at Mt. Rushmore (I'm generalizing, of course), but it's the nature of the beast. So keep those magician killers ready to kill! It's good clean fun, actually...

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erdnasephile
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby erdnasephile » June 25th, 2017, 11:01 pm

That kind of session sounds like a very rewarding experience, Q!

On a related note, the tricks I do all have scripts (Thanks, Mr McCabe!) that are geared towards laypeople. In a session, I'd likely default to those presentations, as it's hard for me to just go through the moves without the presentation since they are intertwined in my head. Is that OK when performing during sessions?

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby Q. Kumber » June 26th, 2017, 5:11 am

erdnasephile wrote:That kind of session sounds like a very rewarding experience, Q!

On a related note, the tricks I do all have scripts (Thanks, Mr McCabe!) that are geared towards laypeople. In a session, I'd likely default to those presentations, as it's hard for me to just go through the moves without the presentation since they are intertwined in my head. Is that OK when performing during sessions?


Rule #1. ALWAYS DO THE PRESENTATION. There is somewhere an article by Max Maven about Karrell Fox where this point is amply demonstrated.

If it is a trick you are working on and would like some feedback, os simply to try it out, it is perfectly OK to do without a presentation - in a session - and you may get some great ideas from the others, but if you do have a presentation, use it.

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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby performer » June 26th, 2017, 6:51 am

I never watch the trick because to be frank watching tricks bores me stiff. However if the presentation is good I might pay attention to that. In fact I have often watched something and quilte liked it even though I have no idea what the trick was. If the patter is good (I refuse to use that pretentious word "script") then the performer has half a chance with me even if I have no idea what the trick was supposed to be. Mind you if the magician talks too much and over presents as many of the alleged hot shots do then I also tune out rather quickly. Presentation is important but you can have too much of a good thing.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Convention Session Etiquette?

Postby erdnasephile » June 26th, 2017, 2:41 pm

Thank you-- full (to the point) presentation then!

(Does anyone have the reference to Mr. Maven's relevant article? I do remember watching Dai Vernon's famous dressing down of Michael Ammar over a lack of Triumph presentation).


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