Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

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Brad Henderson
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Brad Henderson » February 6th, 2015, 4:09 pm

It gets us nowhere to suggest that traditional practices aren't traditional practices because we did not establish that tradition. So yes, it is true that we as a community traditionally expect to be able to perform routines that are published in books we obtain ethically. We might not like that, but that doesn't change that it is the established paradigm.

BUT the presence of a tradition does not prohibit non traditional approaches. We might not like those new approaches, but that doesn't mean that someone doesn't have the option to adopt one, does it?

I think one problem stems from the assumption that the consumer is entitled to be appeased. I can see how if ones goal were purely to maximize profit that may be a reasonable way to think about things, but people can chose to release material for reasons not motivated purely by maximizing profits. One is not required to offer all items in all sizes and all colors.

Helder has made his position and terms clear. It seems that the reasonable course of action would be to either choose to accept them and buy or not. When one reads posts that seem to be searching for loopholes it can appear as if someone is not just choosing to not enter into the stated terms of agreement but is actively and intentionally choosing to attempt to thwart the producers stated desires. Of course many of us here just enjoy the debate and thinking about the implications of these issues, we intend no harm. BUT it does point to a basic ideology which positions the buyer's desires and wants over that of the producer's.

I see no good reason to do that

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erdnasephile
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby erdnasephile » February 6th, 2015, 4:13 pm

Interesting discussion, as always.

So, lets say you have a professional routine you wish to publish to 1) advance the art and 2) to make some money.

What is the best way to attempt to protect your creation from being exploited/ruined/exposed on the next episode of "Yugoslavia's Got Talent", "World's Most Obsessive Magic", or timewastingvideos.net besides never publishing anything?

Based on this and previous discussions, I'm thinking that if I'm that hypothetical author, maybe it makes sense to sell it to known buyers only--people I know who share my values and have the chops to actually take advantage of what I have created. This would perhaps accomplish goal #1, but would certainly limit goal #2. It would also keep my work from reaching perhaps that unknown future outstanding magician who might really take it to the next level. It's also not a perfect strategy, since some of the exclusive manuscripts that were sold this way have been pirated as well by thieves.

The nihilist might say: You can't beat 'em. Just publish...don't worry about what happens next. This might suit goal #2 in the short term, but if the routine is really special, this might cost me money in the future if my creation is spread all over the place.

True, Half Half Man's solution and Bob Kohler's solution are not perfect, but is there currently a better way, given the lack of ethics magicians have demonstrated from day one?

PS: Am I the only one here who doesn't find the Half Half Man performance rights restrictions onerous? I'm not going to be on TV any time soon, and I like performing for real people. Therefore, if I were to buy the product, I would face virtually no restrictions on how I would likely use the material. I wouldn't tip either, since that would not only be dishonorable, but would also undermine my investment. Therefore, IMHO, for the average purchaser, the one sticky wicket would be the resale issue.
Last edited by erdnasephile on February 6th, 2015, 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom Stone
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Tom Stone » February 6th, 2015, 4:15 pm

IanLand wrote:To be clear: I am enormously grateful to all those who have published their inventions. They enrich magic by doing so. It's why I'm scrupulous in crediting.

Yes!

I apologize for calling you a "crook". I was wrong in doing so.

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Joe Pecore
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Joe Pecore » February 6th, 2015, 4:18 pm

I wonder if Teller's case might be used in the future as a precedent. He was protecting the public performance of a trick of which he owned the copyright (not the explanation/mechanics of the trick but the description of the trick performed that was conveying emotions, actions and feelings by gestures ).

"What is protectable under copyright law is pantomimes, the art of conveying emotions, actions and feelings by gestures. The theatrical medium where magicians work has some of the flavor of pantomimes, and Teller has used it to his advantage. " http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106
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IanLand
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby IanLand » February 6th, 2015, 4:22 pm

Thanks for the apology Tom, it is very much appreciated.

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Tom Stone
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Tom Stone » February 6th, 2015, 4:36 pm

Joe Pecore wrote:I wonder if Teller's case might be used in the future as a precedent. He was protecting the public performance of a trick of which he owned the copyright (not the explanation/mechanics of the trick but the description of the trick performed that was conveying emotions, actions and feelings by gestures ).

I am doubtful. As wonderful and beautiful as Shadows is as a performance piece, it is a pretty bad trick. Add to that the idiot judge who thought the prop was the trick and completely ruined any future use of this victory.

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Tom Stone
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Tom Stone » February 6th, 2015, 4:44 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:It gets us nowhere to suggest that traditional practices aren't traditional practices because we did not establish that tradition.

To have a christmas tree at christmas is a traditional practice.
I did not establish that tradition. I don't follow it either.
So far there have not been a single person who have been upset with me and then insisted that I must have a christmas tree since it is an established traditional practice END OF DISCUSSION.

Brad Henderson
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Brad Henderson » February 6th, 2015, 6:51 pm

Tom. We are in agreement.

YOU don't have to have a Christmas tree. And we should respect those in our field who don't want one either. On that we completely agree and I find it frustrating when people insist a creator do things on the customers terms.

However we must position our arguments in the reality that exists. And in that reality people expect CHRISTMAS trees. Because you don't doesn't change that they do and they have expected them for years. I felt your posts marginalized that reality.

But to reiterate, we don't have to stick with tradition. However we are foolish not to acknowledge there are traditions and communicate to those whom we wish to reach that they should have different expectations, that we are working outside that tradition.

and who knows, maybe we will abandon the old traditions and a new paradigm will become standard.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 6th, 2015, 10:24 pm

Tom, you could have written a new column for Genii in the same time it has taken you to make so many posts in this thread! :lol:
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mrgoat
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby mrgoat » February 7th, 2015, 3:40 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Tom, you could have written a new column for Genii in the same time it has taken you to make so many posts in this thread! :lol:


Image

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Matthew Field
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Matthew Field » February 7th, 2015, 6:11 am

The Spit-Take.

A fine tradition.

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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Joe Mckay » February 7th, 2015, 9:35 am

@Tom Stone - 'Shadows' is a bad trick? That is an interesting opinion.

I am a huge fan of P&T - and since it is the trick they seem most proud of, I always assumed it was a great trick. I never considered for a second it might be a bad trick.

Maybe it is lazy thinking on my behalf. But I have watched it a few times and always liked it. So - I would be curious to hear what flaws you have spotted with the trick?

You should do a column talking about some other famous 'classics' which you don't rate as well. It would be very interesting.

And speaking of this particular effect - I remember Dustin Stinett once reporting on when he saw an early performance of the trick. After the show he told Teller that there would be no way for him to improve on that effect since it was pretty much perfect.

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Gordon Meyer
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Gordon Meyer » February 7th, 2015, 1:05 pm

Magic has a grand tradition of outright theft. The golden age is rife with stories of spies and backstage shenanigans to steal methods and presentations from other performers. (See the so-called Kellar Levitation).

We have, I hope, largely grown past such blatant disregard. But magic is still a strange little pocket of entitlement that--as discussed by others--is quite different from other performing arts. Sometimes I find it maddening.

Today, I think we are at a point of synthesis (shout out to Hegel) where the incredible tension/anonymity of the Internet is colliding with the formerly insular and person-to-person magic culture. I think creators will increasingly have to deal with this, and I think an explicit license is a step in the right direction. I don't care if it's legally enforceable, it is morally binding as a condition of purchase. Maybe eventually magic will indeed grow up.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Q. Kumber » February 7th, 2015, 2:06 pm

When putting on a play you are expected and pretty much bound to put it on as written by the author. Certainly with plays that are still within copyright, that is the case. You can't go changing the words or the characters.

Nowadays, practically every magical author, who publishes his own presentation for a routine, requests that the reader not use his presentation but devise their own.

I'm impressed with Tom's reference to his own Multiple Selection routine and that he should have so much accomplished before the last card is returned is simply stunning.

I've seen Slava's Snowshow many times since the mid-90's and watched it evolve. It is one of the most magical theatrical productions I've experienced. One of the reasons Slava's finale is so spectacular is because of the context of the show. For those who haven't experienced it, Slava's version is as far beyond Copperfield's version as Copperfireld's is from the standard version.

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Travis
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Travis » February 7th, 2015, 11:27 pm

I've not yet seen Slava's Snowshow (it will be playing in my town in a week or so), only the clip Tom provided. In that clip, Slava seems to borrow from Copperfield with the appearance of his younger self. Copperfield did exactly this with his 'Snow'.

Of course, going back further, I don't believe I'm incorrect in stating that the idea of a fan-less Snowstorm In China, and having it snow throughout the theatre within the context of said routine, was Kevin James', and he did not give permission for its use in Copperfield's show. Nevertheless, it was done, against his wishes. And to add insult to injury, a few years later, in either MAGIC or Genii, Copperfield ran full-page ads proclaiming that anyone using snow machines in conjunction with a Snowstorm In China effect was stealing from the David Copperfield show.

Also, isn't that a bit of Tina Lenert's routine I'm seeing in Slava's finale? Or is that an old clown/mime public domain bit that Tina decided to use back when she created her signature piece?

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 8th, 2015, 1:02 am

Travis wrote:Also, isn't that a bit of Tina Lenert's routine I'm seeing in Slava's finale? Or is that an old clown/mime public domain bit that Tina decided to use back when she created her signature piece?

The base concept comes from burlesque (the "man" half stripping the woman half). Without any debate, it was mime and comedian Kenny Raskin who took it to a new level. Both inspired Tina who has added magic and other aspects.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Q. Kumber » February 8th, 2015, 2:55 am

Travis, go and see the Snowshow and be sure to sit in the stalls, preferably in the front two-thirds of the auditorium.

Slava's younger self is not in the show.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 13th, 2015, 5:28 pm

Has anyone actually purchased anything from Half Half Man, and can you tell us about it?
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Brad Henderson
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Brad Henderson » March 13th, 2015, 5:58 pm

the package as it arrived. (tried to attach pic but got board attachment quota has been reached). came cleanly wrapped in paper tied with a string.

presentation and the experience of the end user is clearly part of their value system.

in addition to the books I received what appears to be one of the original pieces of artwork that made up one of the illustrations for crescendo.

The quarterly is attractively produced. I have only read the essay by Jarod Kopf about magic and power. I agree basically with his position but think there is more to be said on the subject. But the essay was a comfortable and pleasant read and I appreciate that it address the larger picture of magic as a performance art and what that might mean.

Those are my initial thoughts.

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Bill Marquardt
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Bill Marquardt » March 13th, 2015, 6:36 pm

I hesitate to respond because I am not a seasoned performer of magic, although I have read and studied magic for most of my life. I received the first issue of Quarterly and read it with great enthusiasm. It is indeed a well written, scholarly researched collection of articles on the theory and presentation of magic.

The book itself is a high quality, 5.5" x 8.5", 58-page perfect bound soft cover book (periodical.) I believe the question many will have is, "Is it worth the $40.00 price tag?" In that regard, I would have to say it depends upon the future collector's value. Certainly, a novice magician would be disappointed in the lack of explained effects. There are none. It is definitely not a value for someone seeking to learn a few new tricks, and the publisher is quite clear on that account. A student of the art will likely appreciate its content.

As for me, I am happy with my purchase of the book and will most likely continue buying future issues. It would not hurt to lower the price a bit if the publisher wishes to appeal to a broader audience.

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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Bill Mullins » June 16th, 2015, 8:19 pm

Will Houstoun's Facebook says that the second issue of the journal is out. I haven't seen much commentary on these -- is anyone on the Forum getting them? What do you think?

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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby erdnasephile » June 16th, 2015, 10:36 pm

Here's a quick take on Crescendo:

I think that Crescendo is an extremely powerful 9 card multiple selection routine. The routine uses a gambit which I had never seen applied to this type of routine before. This results in the most fair appearing selection/card losing phase I've ever encountered. In Crescendo, there can be no doubt that the selected cards are really lost, which greatly magnifies the impact when you find them. (This sequence alone would fool anyone, magicians included. It also contains a clever principle that will likely find it's way into other types of routines.) The routine builds well through the various revelations, and also has a truly magical (if not completely logical) ending, which many of these types of routines lack. The end of the routine also leaves the performer in an advantageous position to perform other effects.

The technical requirements are not trivial, but they aren't daunting either, well within the range of the upper intermediate to advanced card worker (standard sleights are not described in detail). The routine is not impromptu, but that doesn't bother me. This is really meant as a showpiece (used as an amazingly strong opener (!) by Mr. Guimaraes), and will take focused, thoughtful practice and rehearsal to pull off successfully.

The writing is typical for Mr. Guimaraes. That is, extremely detailed, literate, and thought out to the nth degree. I enjoy how he explains the "Whys" of the choices he has made. A complete performance script is included as well, which is integral to the impact this routine no doubt achieves in Mr. Guimaraes' hands. The credits are plentiful without being intrusive, and a helpful bibliography is included. The colored drawings are really beautiful, well chosen, and appear to be done in a watercolor style. The purchaser's name and book number are inscribed in the book and the book is signed by Mr. Guimaraes. This print run is limited to 250 and will remain so for 10 years per the performance rights agreement.

What I didn't care for as much was the physical presentation of the contents. (I bought the routine before the pictures of the book appeared on the website.) To be honest, for the price paid, I was expecting a hardbound book. Instead, it is a perfect-bound paperback. I don't favor this binding style because the book does not lay flat, which makes learning technical sleight of hand more difficult. I realize that books must be of a certain minimum thickness to be hardbound, but I wonder if there would have been a way to make this happen by adjusting page size or the font/illustration size. Don't get me wrong, it's a very handsome book produced with style, but the price point and strength of the routine puts more pressure on the physical plant.

Overall, I was impressed and inspired by the Crescendo. I think if one can use the routine (or parts of the routine) to make money or if you are a multiple selection aficionado and searching for the exclusive latest tech, it may well be worth it. (It was for me.) However, for the casual magician just looking for a strong multiple selection routine to show his buddies, this may be overkill, as there are plenty of more cost-effective routines out there.

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Gordon Meyer
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Gordon Meyer » June 18th, 2015, 7:50 am

Quarterly #2 only started shipping in the last few days. If it's like the first issue, it will take some time to form an opinion. (And mine hasn't arrived yet.)

Regarding Crescendo being a perfect bound book, I am dismayed that this might become a trend. Paul Vigil's very expensive book was also a cheaply-produced paperback.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 18th, 2015, 10:14 am

I wouldn't say that Crescendo is a "cheaply produced paperback." It's definitely softcover, but high quality.

You can generally spot print-on-demand books by the type of paper and cover stock.
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erdnasephile
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby erdnasephile » June 18th, 2015, 2:52 pm

I would echo what Richard said about Crescendo, and I regret if my comments implied otherwise.

The quality of paper and size of the book is very similar to that of "Quarterly", although the weight of the paper and cover stock feels a touch heavier with "Crescendo".

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Gordon Meyer
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Re: Half Half Man ... Your Thoughts?

Postby Gordon Meyer » June 22nd, 2015, 10:21 am

Thanks for the clarification, Richard. I meant relatively cheaper to produce, but my preference for hardcovers is clearly showing trough.


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