How much do other magicians get paid for giving testimonials for marketed effects?

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Andy Hurst » 10/31/03 03:47 PM

I've just watched the video demo of Adam Grace's Stained Glass on Hanklee's site. The text description includes quotes from some other magicians.

Did these guys get paid for saying these things?

"Outstanding! This has many applications." - R. Paul Wilson
"Excellent! You nailed me with this one!" - Aaron Fisher
"Very, very clever." - Lee Asher
"This is new this is hot!" - Nate Kranzo

Not being funny, but this trick wouldn't fool the dumbest kid on the short bus.

How did that nail someone like Aaron Fisher?

How is it 'very clever'? Or 'Hot'?

As for 'many applications'.. it has one.. to make you look a total spaz. It's not clever and its not magic. And even a demented old doris with cataracts would see through this.

Go watch the demo for yourself, and if you're fooled by it - quit magic.

Is anyone else as fed up as I am with the utter turds that are being knocked out and sold by magic dealers?

Andy.
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Postby Guest » 10/31/03 04:02 PM

I doubt very much if anyone is being paid to say wonderful things about a product.

Usually it is a case of friends of the author or presenter simply helping out. Mutual admiration societies are quite prevalent in magic.

I have written a book which has lots of positive comments by various worthies a few of whom are famous and a few of whom who are not.

None of them are my friends. Since I don't actually have any friends I know you will all believe this assertion.

However even a genuine comment doesn't always mean anything. This is because one man's meat is another man's poison.

I have not seen the video in question. I have no idea if it is any good or not. I am a trifle biased against it because it came out after 1954 but some may think that is not a good enough reason to condemn it out of hand. So I won't.

However, tastes differ. I bet that even though you have found fault with it that there are probably a whole bunch of people here who will like it.

Magic is all things to all men. It will be interesting to see what other people here say about the video.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 10/31/03 04:05 PM

I looked at the video too.

All I can say is: "WOW".

My favorite line in the presentation is "Now, I'm going to turn the thing over for the first time today."

Let's see, if I can get the audience to look up at my face, maybe they'll forget what my hand might be doing.

I'm with you, Andy. Where do these ringing endorsements come from?

I was waiting to see a moment that would surprise me in its deceptiveness. I guess the clip is about three or four minutes long. That deceptive moment did not ever come.

This "magic" routine is completely and utterly undeceptive.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/31/03 04:29 PM

The clip is also big as a blue whale which is what I felt like I had been sucking on after I viewed it. I thought '7 by Michel Huot' was the worst item of the year until I saw this. Now I am a believer.

Here's my quote for Stained Glass: "I was utterly dumbfounded and speechless. I can't believe what you just did. People buying this will truly be shocked by the quality."

See? You can give a quote and not lie.

I too am sick of all the crap that is foisted upon us and endorsed heavily by the so called big names. This is a very poor and obvious piece of garbage and I would now be very hesitant to purchase anything from those involved. This type of thing is all too common. Maybe the endorsements came before the trick was even invented?
But what do I know, I like the Klutz book of magic.

Anyone seen a good Sankey trick lately?
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Postby Andy Hurst » 10/31/03 04:49 PM

Yeah I wasn't too impressed by the '7 by' book either. I don't see how flipping over some double facers constitutes a 'new sleight' for a start, but compared to 'Stained Glass', the tricks in 7 by are gems.

Andy
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Postby Robert Allen » 10/31/03 06:09 PM

Wow.

I tried to give it the benefit of a doubt... I tried giving the reviewers the benefit of a doubt. Maybe, *maybe* it's just a bad video? Maybe the way the trick really works isn't as obvious as it appears in this effect? I don't see how though.

Even if this "trick" isn't just the one ahead principle applied to a whiteboard marker...since it so patently appears to be that, why would one perform this for any kind of credit?

Wow.
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Postby Jeff Eline » 10/31/03 06:32 PM

Nowadays you really have to be leery of quotes used to sell a trick, video or book. In a previous thread on this board, Richard (a publisher and certainly should know!) alluded to the idea that friends of an author simply did the guy a favor and gave him positive quotes for the dust jacket.

I think it's a big problem. With it becoming easier and easier to produce and distribute video and books, people are using whatever tactics they can to cut through the clutter.
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Postby Robert Allen » 10/31/03 06:54 PM

This has been discussed in this Forum before, and ultimately the thread was heavily edited, but lieing or misadvertising about magic products isn't new. In fact it's pretty old. What surprises me is that today when the attributions are by name that the people making false claims aren't castigated by the community.

Heh heh, though I can't help but chuckle about this particular stained reputa...er glass trick. I mean if it was OK for Blaine to use camera trickery to, figuratively speaking, sell the Balducci levitation, I guess it's ok for a demo tape/video to contain photo trickery to allow the guy to sell his trick. (You will have a tough time convincing me that focusing on the pen in the video is *not* taking advantage of the use of a video camera.)

/chuckle.
I just went back and watched the video again. I think I'll do that whenever I'm thinking of buying a new magic trick...just as a sort of dash of cold water to help me evaluate if I really want to risk the money.

/lol
Heh heh, I guess in this case with Stained Glass you really are paying for the 'secret', since you're certainly not paying for any gimmicks. Hey the ad copy is lacking! He could add "Nothing secretly added or taken away. Do this in shirtsleeves (but wear dark pants). No chemicals, sliding panels, or polarized filters. Hand the items out for examination at the beginning AND end of the routine. Wow!"
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/31/03 07:23 PM

I know Aaron Fisher and Paul Wilson VERY well. I know Lee Asher pretty well, and I know Nathan Kranzo just a bit.
None of them would give endorsements like that to the product if they thought it sucked.
Now, it is possible that something else is going on. It is UNLIKELY that they saw the video demo you're seeing.
What they probably saw (and since they often hang out together it's possible they all saw it at the same time) was a performance of the trick--possibly late at night in favorable circumstances.
All four guys who've given those endorsements read this forum--perhaps one of them will respond?
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Postby Bill Duncan » 10/31/03 08:31 PM

I recall seeing a web video of Reality Twister and thinking "this trick sucks more than wind."

However, having also seen a demo, by Seattle Magic's Tom Frank I'm convinced that the effect can be sold to lay audience by someone with talent.

Is it perhaps the case that the video demo is just plain BAD and that the trick might actually have some merit?

bill
(who doesn't have the bandwidth to waste on a bad demo)
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 10/31/03 08:43 PM

Well, Bill, if you get a chance to view the demo on a broadband connection, you ought to take a look.

I think Andy's initial assessment was really on the money. I don't think the method of this trick would fool a very young child...at least not the way it's presented on the video.

And I think the fact that it is so flagrantly obvious--not in one spot, but repeatedly--signals a fundamental weakness in the trick. It's not just that there's one touchy moment, it's that the method screams at you over and over again.
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Postby Guest » 10/31/03 09:15 PM

I must say it was definitely an obvious method displayed numerous times.And as I was watching it I said to myself WOW I bet he could do it with the letters XOX or YOY. Now if he could only do it with the word PRESTIDIGITATOR I may buy it.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/31/03 11:53 PM

I don't think the point here is whether or not he should have used video trickey or misdirection in this case to conceal the method. (I don't think a steel foot locker and a burlap sack could conceal this method.) You don't need to wear dark pants.

The point is that the trick is just bad but still manages to have great endorsements from names. If it was late at night and they were all drunk, I'll understand.

Bill Duncan: At least with reality twister you do get a pretty neat optical toy to play with if you don't like the trick. ;) Oh yeah, you must watch the Stained Glass demo, it's hilarious.
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Postby BlueEyed Videot » 11/01/03 12:53 AM

Perhaps those who gave such glowing endorsements were able to see beyond the admittedly weak routine, and focus on the possibilities that this new idea/method unlocks?

Give the kid a break, at least he's trying to plow some new ground here. Or would you rather spend your money on yet another gimmicked-card version of Twisting the Aces?

Oh, and yes, I did order one. I want to play around with a couple of ideas I had when I watched the video clip. Take this, the Xpert, and mix with some Terri Rogers' ideas...

Ah, magic! ;)
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Postby mark » 11/01/03 12:59 AM

I'm not in the habit of chasing junk magic, but I thought, "come on, can anything be that bad and still be on the market?" The answer is a resounding yes, it is every bit that bad. If a person is drunk enough to fall for this one, he or she is likely too drunk to even understand the effect. What a piece of work, but hey - look on the bright side, maybe you get a piece of glass to play with.
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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 02:24 AM

First, I haven't seen this video, and I have no interest to. These comments are to the general subject of web demos.

It's my opinion, as a performer, creator, and purchaser of magic, that the web demo is one of the WORST things to happen to magic in the last decade. I have yet to see a web demo that accurately reflects an effect as it appears in actual live performance.

In some cases (fortunately the minority), an effect looks great to the limited perspective and resolution of a web cam, but looks ridiculous in real life.

In most cases, effects that kill in real life look horribly flat or obvious in method when viewed online. Think about it. You're getting a fixed, limited perspective--usually not the full presentation to conserve file size, no benefit of misdirection, of greater context, etc. It's just not possible to accurately represent an effect in that format.

Look at Luke Dancy's "Misprint", which came out last year. A lot of guys saw the web demo and were underwhelmed; then they saw it done in person, and immediately bought it. And that's a very simple effect that one would think would play really well on the web. But it doesn't because of the limitations of the format.

That's one of the reasons that I personally will not likely ever do a web demo of my effects that I sell. It's just not worth the hassle for an incredibly inaccurate portrayal of the effect.

--Andy

P.S.-This is going off on a tangent, but another reason that I tend not to be inclined to post demo videos is that you always get a couple morons at various online forums (usually not this one, but I'm sure y'all can think of at least one that pops right to mind) who have nothing better to do than to watch the demo video over and over and over again. Eventually, they see a small hesitation, or a glitch in the streaming of the video, or a nervous tic. Usually, this has nothing to do with the method, but if they're intent on finding the method, they'll convince themselves that they've found it.

Kept to themselves, this isn't a huge problem, because these are the guys who probably wouldn't buy the effect anyway.

The trouble is, these dopes go and post all over the internet, "I watched the video, and I saw where he did the big move--it's sooooo obvious and the method sucks!" when in reality, they haven't seen anything, and have no clue. Even if they had found the real method, though, that's from watching a video over and over and over again, not from a real world, real time viewing. But more often than not, they've discovered a huge non-method. But, because they need that ego boost of saying, "I know how he did it, and it's so obvious, and it sucks!" they've now killed off a lot of the market for that effect unfairly.

So, in short, those are two big reasons why I personally will likely never do a web demo of my effect. The only thing that frustrates me more than this stuff is when idiot dealers post videos of my effects that make it obvious they've never practiced the effect, only read the instructions once, and have no presentational skills whatsoever. I was horrified when I saw a web demo of my "Sticky Situation" a while back (I can't recall the dealer, who I beleive no longer exists) that was so horribly done, even I wouldn't have bought it! [shudder]
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Postby pduffie » 11/01/03 03:13 AM

So, in short, those are two big reasons why I personally will likely never do a web demo of my effect. The only thing that frustrates me more than this stuff is when idiot dealers post videos of my effects that make it obvious they've never practiced the effect, only read the instructions once, and have no presentational skills whatsoever. I was horrified when I saw a web demo of my "Sticky Situation" a while back (I can't recall the dealer, who I beleive no longer exists) that was so horribly done, even I wouldn't have bought it! [shudder]
Andy

I agree with your sentiments re web demos. However, your above remarks are probably the strongest reason FOR making a web demo yourself.

That said, there are some tricks that cannot (or should not) be demonstrated via video. If a trick requires manipulation of the camera to cover actions/moves, it's best left unfilmed in its entirety. In the case of the trick in question in this thread, camera manipulation is the least of the trick's problems.

I have a few items that I plan to release soon. At this time, I have no idea if they will benefit from a video demo. Let's say I decide not to make a demo. How can I stop dealers making their own demos of my tricks?

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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 03:36 AM

Frankly I'm a little disturbed at the mocking tone in some of these posts, suggesting that Mr. Grace's method is, well, transparent. Some have also pointed out the limitations in word choice. Allow me to suggest the following: you surreptitiously determine that the spectator drives a TOYOTA, and proceed to nail him or her with an excellent piece of magic, using the name of their own car (manufacturing and performing rights strictly reserved)! Don't forget the bonus effect of the A magically changing places! I'm also toying with a presentation in which my childhood dyslexia is magically cured with a simple wipe of my stained finger. I think you can see that there are actually many applications. Or how about this? You don't use transparent glass at all! You use a miniature blackboard! This solves SO many problems. Admittedly, the trick becomes reminiscent of the Spirit Slates, so it is perhaps no longer new or hot. . .

As to the charge of cronyism, paid endorsements and general sliminess in the magic world, I find this insulting. Unlike Mr. Kaufman, I have never met any of the gentlemen being accused of giving false praise, but I have purchased magic created by all of them, and know them to be among the most talented magicians creating today. This alone guarantees to me that any remark they say is reason enough to purchase any product sight unseen. My policy is this: if I like a magician's work, I will purchase any product he recommends. I don't see how you can go wrong with this. My current financial state, and my wife's complaints of mountains of useless garbage, are in no way relevant here. As magicians, we are all part of one fraternal organization, and I think we all need to trust each other's words a lot more.

After all, what else do we have?
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Postby Andy Hurst » 11/01/03 04:45 AM

Originally posted by Shawn T.:
Allow me to suggest the following: you surreptitiously determine that the spectator drives a TOYOTA, and proceed to nail him or her with an excellent piece of magic, using the name of their own car (manufacturing and performing rights strictly reserved)! Don't forget the bonus effect of the A magically changing places!
So their car name changes to ATOYOT during the set up for the trick and you claim that's part of the magic? Interesting thinking, but I somehow don't think that will make the trick work any better, if anything I feel it points to the method even more (like it needs pointing out).

Why not tell them 'I will do this with your mothers name' and write 'MOM'.

Better still why not just pull out a piece of glass and a pen and say 'Amazing eh?' and when they ask why, tell them you paid $15 for it.

Andy.
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Postby Robert Allen » 11/01/03 08:24 AM

Ryan, the reason I suggested dark pants is that you're going to have to do something with all the dust from the black whiteboard pen :) .

Bill, I'm planning on buying a reality twister, not for use as published, but as a prop/tool for possible use in other routines.

Shawn, you can't use a miniature blackboard anymore than you can use a non-palindrome like Toyota. If you use an opaque surface the method would become even more apparent.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 11/01/03 08:51 AM

I'm afraid Shawn's light sarcasm might have escaped you guys.

I think Shawn feels the same about this product as most of the rest of us do. Read all the way into the second paragraph and you'll get it.
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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 08:55 AM

Reality is, that in certain genres/worlds of magic, there are some dealers/authors, who scratch each others back by endorsing each other's products,to help each other, to sell their products. I personally was told by one well-known author in his field, that in a video tape he appeared on, he is at the beginning of the tape praising the technique of the performer, talking of the effect he experienced, watching them do what the viewer is about to see for themselves...BUT that he taped that segment of praise, BEFORE he saw the performer do anything...which he acknowledged was inferior, but did it for the dealer, who also sold/hyped the virtues of his products.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 11/01/03 09:01 AM

Incidentally, here's a link to the video demo, so you can see whether we're being too harsh:

Stained Glass demo
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Postby Robert Allen » 11/01/03 09:04 AM

Doh! Shawn got me I guess :) . I did read his whole post before, and again now, and I must doff my (top) hat to him as a master of sarcasm.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 11/01/03 09:11 AM

Robert Allen:

You could always rub your hand across your face at the finish of Stained Glass and then do the blow off impression of Al Jolson or Pig Pen from Charlie Brown. :D

Re Andy Leviss comments, It's unrealistic to think that tricks are not discussed like this in group situations in person. They always have been and always will be. How many times have you slammed a trick with friends after seeing a LIVE performance?

I've seen Misprint in person and frankly it's no better. Maybe if you passed out microscopes before performing it but then only magicians really get it anyway. If they get it at all. It's a long way to go for such a tiny effect.
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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 10:05 AM

I am now overcome with great curiosity.
Since everyone here is saying that the trick is no good I am beginning to suspect that it may be wonderful.
Naturally only I can judge this matter with any accuracy.My word is always gospel.
Would some kind person tell me where I can find this great masterpiece of magic? A link would be good.
I shall then go and have a look and then report back upon the matter.
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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 10:10 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
I know Aaron Fisher and Paul Wilson VERY well. I know Lee Asher pretty well, and I know Nathan Kranzo just a bit.
None of them would give endorsements like that to the product if they thought it sucked.
Now, it is possible that something else is going on. It is UNLIKELY that they saw the video demo you're seeing.
What they probably saw (and since they often hang out together it's possible they all saw it at the same time) was a performance of the trick--possibly late at night in favorable circumstances.
All four guys who've given those endorsements read this forum--perhaps one of them will respond?
I doubt any of these guys were paid, and I'd be very surprised if they would endorse a product they really thought sucked. But, As Richard stated, all four of the magicians quoted are friends, and after viewing the demo and re-reading the rave reviews, my assumption was that Adam Grace must be a mutual friend as well, as it appears they're all being more than a little bit generous with their praise.

If they don't know Grace, if they really meant what they said, and if "late at night" and "favorable conditions" doesn't mean "half asleep" and "intoxicated," I want to know exactly what time and under what circumstances they saw the effect, because it appears to constitute the single best time and most ideal conditions to perform anything.

I echo Richard's invitation for any or all of these guys to post what it is about this effect they loved so much.

Ray
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Postby Ian Kendall » 11/01/03 10:29 AM

At first I thought people were being a wee bit harsh, but after watching the clip I have to concur. Ironically, were there not a video demo of the routine I bet it would sell a lot more...

I'll be interested/surprised to hear from the people in question though.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Ryan Matney » 11/01/03 10:37 AM

Psychic: I for one would love to hear your opinion on this trick. You may view it here.

http://www.hanklee.net/quicktime_movies ... dglass.mov

Best Wishes,
Ryan
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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 11:02 AM

I did have a look.
The quality of the video itself wasn't very good. I could hardly see what was supposed to be going on.
I would much prefer to see the routine in person.

I didn't see anything particularly terrible about it. It is not the sort of trick I would do but having said that it looked O.K. Adam has a good voice which I think is an asset for a magician.

Magicians are not the correct people to be judging this sort of thing anyway. I would like to see this being demonstrated for laymen and watch the reaction afterwards.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 11/01/03 12:04 PM

Ok, that's twenty minutes of my life that I'll never get back... I downloaded the clip and watched it twice, both with and without sound. While the trick and presentation are pretty weak, I think the principle has merit and someone with a real understanding of the principles of deception and audience psychology could get a good effect out of the idea. The clip is an example of doing too much. In this case subtlety would yield a stronger effect.

The problem, I think, is in the rush to market. The item should be in a manuscript and not sold as a dealer item. If you found the principle in a book you might consider that you'd found gold.

As for the TOYOTA idea, even if it was said entirely in jest it's not an impossible concept. Wipe the A off to demonstrate how the ink can be removed and then the "word" is palindromic. From there you could cause the ink to sink through the glass as per the demo.

I've learned not to dismiss a trick off hand just because it doesn't fool me... I'm amazed sometimes at what DOES get by when well cloaked in presentation.
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Postby Stefan Nilsson » 11/01/03 02:01 PM

Let's face it, endorsements for magic products are no different from back cover blurbs on books and videos. They have absolutely no credibility.

Fortunately the two main magic magazines both have knowledgeable and honest reviews. We should all be grateful to Michael Close and Jamy Ian Swiss for their fair and honest reviewing. I bet they've lost quite a few friends in the magic community.
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/01/03 02:28 PM

I'm thinking of doing the trick with the following on the glass: "A man a plan a canal -- Panama." Of course I'd have to fudge with the word spacing.

How about a dealer offering the trick with a free bar of soap?

Since the lettering looks more transparent after the top layer is wiped, "proving" there is nothing on the upper surface, I must assume that the gentlemen who raved about it saw it in a more dimly lit environment. The dimmer the better.

The amazing thing to me is that this video was deemed a good selling piece for the trick.

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Postby Bob L » 11/01/03 02:56 PM

I'm thinking of doing the trick with the following on the glass: "A man a plan a canal -- Panama."
That sounds fine but now you're turning it into a stage illusion.

Method: Start with a plate glass window and six beautiful assistants dressed as window washers ... :eek:

:)
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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 04:44 PM

That was possibly the worst magic trick I have ever seen.
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Postby Andy Hurst » 11/01/03 04:51 PM

Originally posted by Mark Ennis:
That was possibly the worst magic trick I have ever seen.
I guess you not a member of TSD then?
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Postby mark » 11/01/03 05:09 PM

Andy, that was cold ;) I didn't deal with the issue of endorsements when I gave my opinion of this effect. I will tell you what I have seen, with my very own big browns - while attending a magic convention, a young magician approaches an established star of the art. He proceeds to politely ask permission to show this artist his latest miracle. Being a class act, this professional assents, and with a nice smile on his face, watches as the young man does, at best, a so-so job on this newly invented effect. At the finish, when the audience is supposed to be greatly wowed, this kind man said, "Wow, you got me there- keep up the good work." Now what do you suppose this young turk went around saying for the rest of the convention? Hey, let me show you something that fooled the socks off of xxxx xxxxxx." I cannot attest to where anyone gets their endorsements on products, but at least a few of them no doubt come from well meaning, polite, professional magicians who don't wish to discourage an up and comer. Please don't think that I am issuing a blank excuse for anyone who has ever endorsed a crappy trick, but in many cases there may be, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/01/03 09:21 PM

After all of this brouhaha, I decided to watch the clip.
Ouch.
The idea is interesting. The use it's put to, and the presentation, are not.
This is the kind of thing people used to bury in lecture notes, and ten years later someone like Michael Weber takes the principle and burns everyone's butt with a great trick.
So, let's talk about it in ten years!
Meanwhile ... Wilson, Asher, Kranzo, and Fisher ... we're all waiting to hear from you ... :)
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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 09:27 PM

Thank you all for such kind words.

When and where do I accept my award for "worst magician EVER"? I assume I will be receiving the "worst trick EVER" award as well. All I can say is "WOW"! I am going into a box for a few weeks to work on my next release... stained underpants!

Seriously folks... I showed this to many people over the last year and I wouldn't have released this trick if I thought it was bad. I am not trying to hurt my reputation on purpose.

Rather, let me address what I expect may be the real issue... you are all wrong! Just kidding.

When I showed this to Paul Wilson, we were at a coffee shop during the day. No one was drinking, I think. He loved the idea and we discussed the 8 or 9 routines I had developed with this trick. He also offered a few new ideas. The same thing goes for the rest of these guys. I didn't pay anyone for their comments... except "The Grate Sardini" whose comments I didn't even use to promote the trick... and I only paid him in Vodka because he is Russian.

There is one thing for certain... the videos of this trick suck! I was in a rush to put this on video to accommodate the distributors of the trick. There were angle problems and I had to change the routines to accommodate them being video taped. I have since asked for the videos to be taken down until I can put up something better.
That being said, I want you all to know that I have been performing these routines for people for a while and the reactions have been great. I have fooled some really well known magicians with it, but for the most part magicians know how it's done. They also think it's very clever and has many possibilities. Since this is a new effect, words passing through glass, I figured there would be some magicians that hated it. There are some magicians that hate everything! As for lay people...
Almost everyone, non magic, is completely fooled by this trick. Not only that, but they love it, remember it, and ask me to do it for their friends. You may say, "How could anyone be fooled by this?" Remember, you are a magician.

Cut me some slack here boys. I am not trying scam anyone and I'm certainly not getting rich here. If you buy this trick from my website and don't like it for any reason, I'll give you your fifteen bucks back. I think that once you get it and do it for some real people, you will see.
http://www.adamgracemagic.com

Now I must change my pants.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 11/01/03 09:39 PM

Oh yea... almost forgot. Make sure you catch the Sharon Osborne show this week as I am making an appearance in promotion of "Make a Wish Foundation"... and NO I won't be doing Stained Glass.
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