Alain Nu stole from Criss Angel?

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Guest » 08/10/06 10:05 AM

Richard Kaufman (for whom I have the deepest respect) wrote:

Criss shopped Mindfreak to a number of networks, one of them was the Discovery Channel. The deal was eventually made with A&E, but in the process the concept of the series was explained in detail (including many of the planned effects and stunts) to the bidding networks.
After losing the bidding, Discovery then put together a series of four TV shows using ideas from Mindfreak and hired Al Nu to be the performer.
Criss was angry about this.
That's the real backstory here.
I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that Alain was not hired to do an imitation of Chris's show, nor were any of Criss's ideas incorporated. I would be very interested in specific examples of what ideas Criss originated that were integrated into our specials. Many of the pivotal plots and ideas had been in Alain's professional performances and in print for many years. The show was pitched by Mike Mathis productions to TLC as "Feats, Stunts and Demonstrations." Mathis, an amateur magician, asked Alan Hayden who would be the best young, hip and imensly talented and original magician for such a show. Hayden nominated Alain Nu. At that point, there was no idea how to structure the show or what material it contained. I don't think that Mathis, an independent producer, had talked to Criss, though I can't say what goes on behind the scenes at TLC.

Alain called me literally from his car after the initial interview and asked if I would join up as technical/creative advisor. He also got Bob Sheets, Bob Fitch, and Sam Haine, and Alan Hayden sat in the first brainstorming sessions.

We brainstormed for two days, and wrote down every idea we had. We ran the ideas by Mathis, who asked us for more. This was a theme throughout the entire project; they constantly wanted more ideas. At no time were we given ideas by Mathis or anyone connected to TLC. Everything we concocted came from us.

I recall when Criss called Alain, the call was so unbelievable and out-of-the blue we were stunned. I think Criss assumed that TLC was going to use his ideas; the truth is that we started from scratch with a pad of paper and five guys who wanted to create something that had never been done before: a truly cultured presentation of mentalism, that went beyond the strictly cerebral format of previous ones. We wanted to appeal to the viewer's emotions.
Unfortunatley, a lot of the emotional hooks we designed were shot down by the producers, although a dim whisper of some of the original intent survived.

So I would like to go on record as saying that Criss Angel had nothing to do with the creation of the four Alain Nu specials. I would like to say once again that I would be extremely interested in specific examples of plagerism on our part from Criss's initial pitch.

With all best intentions,

John R
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Postby Guest » 08/10/06 10:41 AM

Has Cyril Takayama ever called Criss Angel? Because in that case it is pretty obvious that Criss took many ideas.
I know it is hard to come up with new material for a tv serie but is youtube going to be source for "fresh" ideas from now on???
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Postby Guest » 08/10/06 11:50 AM

Greetings,

I also was asked to work on the Alain Nu shows. The producer brought us into a room and left us to our creation. There was no guidance from Discovery.

We brainstormed pulling from Alain's and our own repetoires, and came up with several new pieces many of which never made air. Still wish we could have done my wrecking ball roulette...

At no time did anyone mention Criss Angel.

Alain and the producer pitched the show for months to Discovery. They hired the producer and Alain to do the show. No content was passed from Discovery to this team.

Through my notes, I can track the origin of every effect performed on Alain's shows. The concept of the show was debated and finalized in these meetings.

I have yet to see any evidence of this rather libelous suggestion that Alain or members of his team "stole" anything from Criss Angel.

Not many of you know me. Those who do know I am honorable. I don't do magic for personal glory or money. I am saddened to see this behavior in the art I love so dearly.

Sincerely,
Sam Haine / Ronn Brashear, PhD
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/10/06 02:20 PM

What's the reasoning behind resurrecting this a year after the shows aired?
Everyone has already forgotten about them.
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Postby Guest » 08/10/06 02:28 PM

Like Sam I am also in San Jose and I want to make it clear that at no time was I ever asked to contribute ideas to Alain Nu or Criss Angel nor to anyone who has contributed ideas to these two gentleman. I have watched both Discovery and TLC yet they, amazingly, also failed to contact me for anything. Thank you.
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 08/10/06 07:43 PM

Well, I had to scoot over here from "that other board" just to see the carnage! :-)

This topic apparently popped up here a few weeks ago, so I guess not everyone has "forgotten them."

Moreover, some of these accusations found their way to print (in a fine magic magazine :) ), so they'll have more lasting weight and bearing than any historic correction I could add here. I just don't know why anyone would repeat, webcast or PRINT rumors that one hasn't checked out first with EVERYONE else implicated. We are talking about established pros (and journalists) here after all.

I, too, was involved with Alain's pre-pilot (even if my contributions only got about as much airing as Steve V's :) ).

I can tell you the ideas were all from Alain and his own crew (a fact they all took pride in). I can also attest to the scenarios given by Sam and John above.

No specific effects or concepts were "suggested" by TLC's execs, producers or directors. They just handled the selection and editing of Alain's own material. So, I don't know JUST HOW someone else's purported "show concept" could have been carried over into the final product. (Oh, that's right, we're dealing with prediction, telepathy and mind control after all).
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Postby Guest » 08/11/06 10:15 AM

Richard Kaufman incorrectly stated that the idea for Alain Nu's special was borrowed from Chris Angel. This was not the "back story" as claimed. As a faithful subscriber to Genii, I expect more due dilligence from the man that is responsible and whose opinion is read by so many in our community.

Here are some facts mixed with commentary:
Chris in fact called Alain when he got wind of the project and admonished Alain for "stealing his material". What?! Alain asked Chris what in his act was stolen and Chris stated that bending metal and moving things with the mind were "...part of my world." What?! Chris, ever heard of Uti Geller, Steve Shaw or Alain NU? Who by the way I saw doing metal bending long before anyone knew who Chris Angel was. I'm sorry, this is just a load of crap. Alain is one of the most ethical, innovative and original mentalists that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Anything that wasn't original to him on those specials was used with permission and always had added NU touches. It pains me to see his name smeared this way.

Before actually knowing of this thread I posted this on SAMTalk in response to someone stating that they were disturbed by Angel's tactics:

Well, Richard, you are not alone. It annoys me that Cris Angel intentionally gives the impression that he can accomplish these effects impromptu with a real audience present. The issue with this is that it creates an expectation in the public's mind. While Cris Angel portrays such great power at the drop of a hat on his A&E special, on live TV, on one of the network morning shows, he does a card trick. A CARD TRICK! Come on Chris, why not stand on a table, lift a sheet and vanish? Pull someone off the street and pull them in half! Walk up the side of a building! And honestly, when people start a discussion about this with me this is the answer they get.
I would never discuss the techniques, but I do say that the situations that are portrayed regarding audience, and the impromptu nature of many of Chris' effects are not what they seem. That usually ends any further inquiry.
These arent sour grapes. I love to see magic and magicians succeed; its good for business. But some of the things that Angel has done cheapen the craft of those that perform real on the spot magic in the trenches. Thats the curse of TV magic specials, they have a hungry maw that needs to be filled and at some point you feed them your dignity. I applaud performers like Alain Nu, who was able to do a special with material that he works in real world performances and can do as advertised.

Here endeth the rant.
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Postby Guest » 08/11/06 11:26 AM

Originally posted by Carlo:
Alain is one of the most ethical, innovative and original mentalists that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Anything that wasn't original to him on those specials was used with permission and always had added NU touches. It pains me to see his name smeared this way.
I am a magician and mentalist and have known Alain Nu since he was a teen. I totally agree with what Carlo wrote about Alain.

As someone who, like Adolphus, was in on pre-pilot planning with Alain, I know for a fact that Criss Angel's previous work had no influence whatsoever on what Alain planned and performed on his specials.

It is pretty sad that anyone would have the audacity to make such stupid assumptions about Alain Nu -- a performer who is a positive asset to this craft.

Joe Z.
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Postby Guest » 08/11/06 03:26 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
What's the reasoning behind resurrecting this a year after the shows aired?
Everyone has already forgotten about them.
>>>

Probably because a week or so ago, you said, "After losing the bidding, Discovery then put together a series of four TV shows using ideas from Mindfreak and hired Al Nu to be the performer. Criss was angry about this.
That's the real backstory here."
Your accusation has just come to the attention of the people involved, and they have a right to an explanation, don't they?

Now that several of the team that worked with Alain have come forward to refute your "real backstory", do you think you owe Alain and his team an apology?

Or, do you at least owe Alain the specifics of your accusations? The way you wrote it above, the implication is that TLC took Criss' ideas and hired Alain to execute Criss' ideas in what amounted to stolen material for Alain's shows.

If you intend to stand by that, you at least need to back up your assertion. Accusations of thievery are very serious.

P&L
D
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Postby Guest » 08/11/06 03:36 PM

Just follow the "money trail" (or in the case of magic - the EGO trail...)

Who is giving who "face time" on national television...?

Rightly or wrongly, I'm sure this would tend to breed a sort of loyalty and bias towards one TV magician over another, don't you think?

Mr. Stickley
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/11/06 05:39 PM

Dee, it wasn't a week ago ... I don't recall exactly, but wasn't it more like a year ago (when the specials first aired), and what I wrote was based directly on my conversations with Criss Angel.
If it's not true, then I apologize to Alain, but I had no reason to doubt what Criss said when he said it.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/11/06 06:23 PM

The Criss Angel issue, when the comments first came up, was August of last year.
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Postby Guest » 08/11/06 08:12 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
[QB] Dee, it wasn't a week ago ... I don't recall exactly, but wasn't it more like a year ago (when the specials first aired), and what I wrote was based directly on my conversations with Criss Angel.>>>

Here's your post in it's entirety, dated July 14. Not a week, but CERTAINLY not "a year ago."

------------------------------------------------
Richard Kaufman
Chief Genii
Member # 3

posted July 14, 2006
08:20PM |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Criss shopped Mindfreak to a number of networks, one of them was the Discovery Channel. The deal was eventually made with A&E, but in the process the concept of the series was explained in detail (including many of the planned effects and stunts) to the bidding networks.
After losing the bidding, Discovery then put together a series of four TV shows using ideas from Mindfreak and hired Al Nu to be the performer.
Criss was angry about this.
That's the real backstory here.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Richard further replied>>>If it's not true, then I apologize to Alain, but I had no reason to doubt what Criss said when he said it.>>>>

Why would you doubt it? Criss is your friend. You would have every reason to believe he was being truthful to you.

P&L
D
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/11/06 09:06 PM

I think it's time to give this one a rest too. All we have are "he said / he said" comments. Apparently that Discovery came out with Alain's show--which I enjoyed--after Criss Angel shopped their network is an astounding coincidence. That Criss made his remarks in an interview published in Genii a year ago is what Richard is talking about when he asked why this is being brought up nowa full year after the facthere and in any other thread.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/12/06 12:28 AM

As I have been accused of being cowardly for locking this thread, I want to make something perfectly clear: I lock vitriolic threads when they get out of hand or, like this one, when its become apparent to me that points that have been made begin to be restated using different words, but lead nowhere new.

But, since some people are not satisfied, lets review, shall we?

Several people (but not Alain Nu) say that Criss Angels claim that Alain Nus Discovery Channel shows resulted from Discovery pinching Angels idea is a false one.

Those same people now want to take Richard Kaufman to task for recently repeating the claim that came directly from his interview with Criss Angel and THAT WENT UNCHALLENGED BY ANYONE FOR OVER A YEAR.

If Alain Nu has a problem with Criss Angel, Alain Nu needs to take it up with Criss Angel. Having spokesmenwho I suspect are self-appointeddo it a year later might be considered by some cowardly.

This subject is over.

Dustin
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