On Crediting in Magic, Bill Goodwin, etc.

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JHostler
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Joined: September 27th, 2008, 8:34 pm

On Crediting in Magic, Bill Goodwin, etc.

Postby JHostler » June 25th, 2016, 12:32 pm

Many I’ve corresponded with publicly and privately know my feelings on crediting and attribution in magic. The rapidly growing pool of minor variations, short-run productions, and (to a much lesser degree) legitimate innovations flooding our market presents a daunting hurdle for anyone attempting to trace the evolution of a plot, effect, method, or sleight. To complicate matters, we often find ourselves squabbling over the extent to which things like finger placement modifications constitute “new.” Some of magicdom’s primary challenges boil down to:

1) Differentiating first-to-publish from suspected origin and verified originator,
2) Codifying the degree and extent to which minor and obscure variations must be credited,
3) Establishing a robust, continuously updated, and easily accessible source of known credits, and
4) Formalizing professional crediting/attribution standards.

Professional organizations ranging from IGDA (International Game Developers Association) to AIGA (Professional Association for Design) to AIA (American Institute of Architects) have developed – to varying degrees – their own trade-specific standards. Why not us?

Nevertheless…

Challenge #3 is, of course, being addressed in a very significant (and much-appreciated) way by Denis Behr and friends at The Conjuring Archive and Conjuring Credits. Both resources provide researchers, developers, and armchair explorers with an invaluable base of information. But in my personal journeys down their many fascinating rabbit holes, I’d never encountered a reference to my own work… until two weeks ago.

Imagine my shock upon discovering the inventory of Bill Goodwin’s Notes from the Batcave (1993) on Behr’s Archive. Contents include a likely-brilliant spin on my sludgy late-80’s Copper/Silver Metamorphosis*. [The Batcave notes being long out of print, I have yet to see the material!] Goodwin is, in my estimation, something of a magical Yoda – so this is akin to having John Prine or Guy Clark (RIP) cover a tune you wrote in high school. Exceedingly cool. How has this escaped me for 23 years?

So… bottom line on all of this… BIG THANKS to Behr, Minch, Maven, Kalush et al for this labor of love. A very important piece of the puzzle… and one where surprises await the intrepid reader.

* Unfortunately(?), CSM missed the cut for Magnum Opossum...

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: On Crediting in Magic, Bill Goodwin, etc.

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 25th, 2016, 1:52 pm

Don't take everything on The Conjuring Archive as written in stone, or assume it's absolutely correct. Everyone has biases, sometimes unknown even to themselves, and some of the people writing entries are relying on second- and third-hand information that is untrue.
The Conjuring Archive is a great resource, but it's often a starting point for your own research to determine the true creator of something, if such a thing is possible.
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Philippe Billot
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Re: On Crediting in Magic, Bill Goodwin, etc.

Postby Philippe Billot » June 25th, 2016, 3:27 pm

Thank you to remember me your Parade in The Linking Ring, Mr. John Hostler. (Vol. 67, no 7, July 1987)
I read it and it's very good. As we say in French : "rien que du bon"

JHostler
Posts: 433
Joined: September 27th, 2008, 8:34 pm

Re: On Crediting in Magic, Bill Goodwin, etc.

Postby JHostler » June 25th, 2016, 7:06 pm

Philippe Billot wrote:Thank you to remember me your Parade in The Linking Ring, Mr. John Hostler. (Vol. 67, no 7, July 1987)
I read it and it's very good. As we say in French : "rien que du bon"


That Parade is best relegated to the very bottom of history's ashbin... but thank you!

As to Richard's point: I agree wholeheartedly. Biased, errant, and otherwise incomplete crediting (the latter almost a given) will continue to plague the art/avocation... hence challenge #1: Explicitly differentiating first-to-publish from suspected origin, and those from verified originator. These are far too often conflated, and the third should only be recognized in the absence of any reasonable doubt.


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