Does Exposure Harm Magic?

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mrgoat
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Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby mrgoat » January 17th, 2003, 6:58 am

I would be interested to see what members of this forum think about magic exposure.

Rightly or wrongly, it has proven popular enough to warrant several TV shows, so it seems likely the public enjoy it. As MR K pointed out on another thread, in days of yore it was even more common to expose a magi's secrets so as one could admire the performance of them.

Nowadays, does it *really* make much difference to performers?

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby John LeBlanc » January 17th, 2003, 7:16 am

Hello, Damian.

Originally posted by mrgoat:
Rightly or wrongly, it has proven popular enough to warrant several TV shows, so it seems likely the public enjoy it. As MR K pointed out on another thread, in days of yore it was even more common to expose a magi's secrets so as one could admire the performance of them.
It may have been more common but, as Richard pointed out, it has never been so easy to do so before so many people at once. In fact, the quote is:

"What is unique about exposure today is the number of people who witness a TV broadcast: many millions more than ever saw an exposure in a theater or read something in a newspaper or magazine."

One single nuke does "the job" far more efficiently than did the far more common blackpowder guns of old.

That's a distinction I think you should also note.


Nowadays, does it *really* make much difference to performers?
Please define "make much difference". That's an open ended question not well suited to a yes/no poll.

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Randy Sager
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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Randy Sager » January 17th, 2003, 8:21 am

The main reason the television expossure shows had such a "large" viewership. Is due to the fact that so much screaming and beating of chests by other magicians.

In not saying the Valentino (Or anyother expossure shows) are right. I did not care for it either. But if there had not been any attention broght to the very first episode by all of the protests etc... There would have not been more masked magician shows ordered by the network.

For the most part the general layperson will forget how anything on those shows was done.

So what ever damage had been done is short lived.

What I think is a more important thing try to change. It is something Jamy Ian Swiss brings up in his book. Is unethical dealers. Not that the unwarrented expossure shouldn't not be stopped,it should. But The unethical stealing of ones act and the stealing by dealers is an even bigger situation.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby John LeBlanc » January 17th, 2003, 8:35 am

Originally posted by Randy Sager:
The main reason the television expossure shows had such a "large" viewership. Is due to the fact that so much screaming and beating of chests by other magicians.
Please provide proof of that.

I think you give way too much credit to the ability of this relatively tiny world to move mountains.

For the most part the general layperson will forget how anything on those shows was done.

So what ever damage had been done is short lived.
I disagree.

Too many people are hugging trees to note the condition of the forest. It's not so much that an individual trick's methodology is known (or supposed to be known) but that the general opinion of magic as an art is diminished.

Wholesale exposure -- such as television exposure shows -- present a contemptuous attitude to a relatively large audience. Television is the single, most powerful medium to sway public opinion of the largest group of people in the shortest period of time.

It's almost inarguable that the exposure shows have affected the attitude toward magic of an audience that was either sitting on the fence, or had never considered magic to begin with. Now they are subject to the "horns-halo effect", which is mighty powerful mojo, especially to the minds possessed by your average Fox Television network viewer.


What I think is a more important thing try to change. It is something Jamy Ian Swiss brings up in his book. Is unethical dealers. Not that the unwarrented expossure shouldn't not be stopped,it should. But The unethical stealing of ones act and the stealing by dealers is an even bigger situation.
Well, murder of innocents is a larger issue than unethical stealing. Does that trump dealing with unscrupulous dealers? Of course not because none of these issues is a matter of mutual exclusivity, but rather that of levels of priority.

Jamy's point is well taken. And in one of his other articles, he states the cure for bad magic (exposure) is good magic. But I don't think that obviates the need for those of us who care to fight wholesale exposure when and how we can.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Michael Kamen » January 17th, 2003, 8:47 am

I agree with many of the points made so well in this thread. I would put it this way: I think it is not the exposure itself that is harmful, but the spirit in which it is done. Its tone may slant toward derisiveness or respect and admiration, and that tone can influence its audience's thinking and perceptions concerning magicians. I agree with the comments about the relative magnitude of the exposure also.

I did not vote the poll, because the choices were too vague addressing neither magnitude nor tone of the exposure.
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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Larry Horowitz » January 17th, 2003, 11:23 am

I agree with Michael that it is the tone of the exposure which has the greatest effect upon people.

Excuse me for not knowing the details, but in the last couple of years hasn't there been some acedemic discussion and exposure of the methods used by the Old Masters of painting. I beleive it had to do with the projection of the images onto canvas for the painter to then paint over. Now, someone may know better then I, but I haven't heard where this has caused any great problems withen the art community. This was handled as an acedemic discussion of method and not an exposure of rip-off techniques.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Randy Sager » January 17th, 2003, 11:55 am

John asked that I prove my statement that the exposure sows recived such high viewership. Well I have talked to someone who was involved in the shows that Valentino did. No not Val himselve,but someone who works for him.

In out conversation I had told him the only reason the first show did so well was because of all the protests by the magicians. He told me "you are right" There was not even a thought of doing more then one show untill the protests. Or the ratings being so high from all the attention.

Now does that prove what I said? No. The thing is we all have strong views on this subject. Is anyone of us totaly wrong or right? No.

I realize your not saying Im wrong. Just asking me to back up what I said.

I will add that at the time all the Masked Magician shows where going on. Mike Cavaney wrote a story in Magic which showed how the protests helped to promote such things and not draw people away from it.

Anyway I hope that answers John's request at least a little.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby mrgoat » January 17th, 2003, 11:57 am

Please define "make much difference". That's an open ended question not well suited to a yes/no poll.
[/QB]
Hi John

Sadly I cant edit the poll now. I intended it to mean "adversely affect". I thought that was implied with the other answers, but I see now it is a not clear. Apologies for that.

Damian de la Goat

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby John LeBlanc » January 17th, 2003, 1:56 pm

Originally posted by Randy Sager:
John asked that I prove my statement that the exposure sows recived such high viewership.
That's not what I asked.

You stated that the reason the exposure shows had such a high viewership is "due to the fact that so much screaming and beating of chests by other magicians."

Now, I do not believe that's the case, so my response was, "Prove it." And you have not.

Ratings are easily available; they are not at issue.


Well I have talked to someone who was involved in the shows that Valentino did. No not Val himselve,but someone who works for him.

In out conversation I had told him the only reason the first show did so well was because of all the protests by the magicians. He told me "you are right" There was not even a thought of doing more then one show untill the protests. Or the ratings being so high from all the attention.
First, I would (almost) accept the first reason if it came from someone in FOX programming. Otherwise, I'd consider it conjecture. (Frankly, I'd consider it conjecture even if your source was someone in Nash Entertainment.)

Second, there was a second show likely for one reason and one reason only: FOX made money on the first show, and projections indicated FOX would make money on another show. That's the only fiscally responsible reason a publicly traded network commits money to the production of a show.

Thinking that the tiny voice from the tiny world of magicians is capable of causing a major network to purchase the Secrets Revealed show is naive, at best.


I realize your not saying Im wrong. Just asking me to back up what I said.
No, I am strongly suggesting that you are wrong. But it was your statement, so I am asking (again) that you back it up.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 17th, 2003, 3:08 pm

Originally posted by mrgoat:
I would be interested to see what members of this forum think about magic exposure.
I suspect that were I to BLOG my notes, library and correspondence with other magicians, there would be some discomfort in the community.

Taking this simple moral stance, it might be worth inquiring as to the motivations and desired outcomes of those who 'expose' methods to the public.

By the way, anyone know where our 'peace dividend' money went? How about the billions of dollars that seem to have vanished when Enron went belly up? It might be more useful to expose those secrets than the mere mechanics that accompany harmless diversions.

I believe the old Scot book 'Discoverie of Witchcraft' has full pages of discussion of this topic.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby John LeBlanc » January 17th, 2003, 3:25 pm

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
Originally posted by mrgoat:
[b]I would be interested to see what members of this forum think about magic exposure.
I suspect that were I to BLOG my notes, library and correspondence with other magicians, there would be some discomfort in the community.

Taking this simple moral stance, it might be worth inquiring as to the motivations and desired outcomes of those who 'expose' methods to the public.

By the way, anyone know where our 'peace dividend' money went? How about the billions of dollars that seem to have vanished when Enron went belly up? It might be more useful to expose those secrets than the mere mechanics that accompany harmless diversions.

I believe the old Scot book 'Discoverie of Witchcraft' has full pages of discussion of this topic.[/b]
Pardon me, Jonathan, but was your opinion hidden in there somewhere? I seem to have missed it. <g>

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Pete McCabe » January 17th, 2003, 3:48 pm

The main reason the Fox exposure shows had such large viewership was that Fox spent many millions of dollars advertising the show.

It is hard to believe that any action taken by magicians had any effect on the viewership of the Fox exposure shows. How could it? What member of the viewing public ever even heard of our protests? Hell, I'm a magician and I was only dimly aware of the protests.

Yes I know -- Fox used them to promote the show. But they would have done that anyway, even if there were no protest. I guarantee you the advertising line "The show magicians don't want you to see!" was mentioned in the meeting where the idea was first pitched to Fox.

It's also true that many times more people watched the masked magician on TV than were "exposed" to the magicians secrets in the past. But it's also true that the number of "unexposed" people (i.e. people who didn't watch the show) is many times larger than it was in the past as well.

TV can expose more people to more magicians in exactly the same way as it can expose more people to more magic methods. The equation does not change if you multiply both sides by the same thing.

I'm fascinated to hear a possible reason why the exposure shows could diminish the general opinion of magic as an art. I promise you that no one who thought of magic as an art watched the shows -- not for long, anyway.

As a professional marketer almost everything I do is driven by one single consideration: the target market. I don't know a product in the world that does not have some fundamental limits on who will buy it.

So if I'm selling a cheap car, I don't care if rich people don't like my ad. Because rich people won't buy my cheap car.

Magic is no different. There is a sizable percentage of the entertainment-buying public who aren't interested in the artistic presentation of magic. It doesn't matter what these people think about magic. Nothing that is ever done to or by these people will ever have any effect on your ability to make a living performing artful magic.

The single best way you can keep exposure shows like this from hurting your business is to make sure your show's appeal isn't limited to these kind of people. If all you do is present tricks as meaningless puzzles, with an "I'm the only one who knows the secret" attitude, the Masked Magician will destroy your audience.

But if your show appeals to people who love magic, you have nothing to worry about.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 17th, 2003, 3:51 pm

Originally posted by John W. LeBlanc:
Pardon me, Jonathan, but was your opinion hidden in there somewhere? I seem to have missed it. <g>
For the facile reader(s)

I suspect all would be unhappy if their material and hard work were easily found on the web or presented in public.
next line is going to be sarcasm)
www.harbinbook.duh? www.howdidhedothat.duh? maybe www.magictrick.duh?

IMHO Exposers confused -> discuss motivations.

Method exposure bad and unnecessary as of Scot book 500 years ago.

Items worth 'exposing' much more serious and worthy of magicians 'exposing' to enusre better ethical conditions. This last point might even help raise the public perception of our craft.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby John LeBlanc » January 17th, 2003, 4:25 pm

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
www.harbinbook.duh? www.howdidhedothat.duh? maybe www.magictrick.duh?
Hey! None of those links work!

John LeBlanc
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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Michael Kamen » January 17th, 2003, 7:43 pm

Originally posted by Randy Sager:
. . .In our conversation I had told him the only reason the first show did so well was because of all the protests by the magicians. . .Mike Cavaney wrote a story in Magic which showed how the protests helped to promote such things and not draw people away from it. . .
You highlight another important theme, that of "what is the best response to hostile exposure events so as to minimize their effect?"
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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Bob Klase » January 20th, 2003, 9:23 pm

In out conversation I had told him the only reason the first show did so well was because of all the protests by the magicians. He told me "you are right" There was not even a thought of doing more then one show untill the protests. Or the ratings being so high from all the attention.
Actually there were virtually no protests at all until after the first one had aired. But that didn't stop FOX from making up protests to promote the first show. I remember seeing commercials for the showing claiming that 'magicians are protesting' before I, or anyone I knew, ever saw or heard anything else about the show.

The first show got good ratings- that's the only reason a 2nd show was planned and done. If there had been no protests at all, Fox would have just continued to invent protests to promote the show.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Ray Haddad » January 21st, 2003, 3:38 am

Originally posted by mrgoat:
I would be interested to see what members of this forum think about magic exposure.

Rightly or wrongly, it has proven popular enough to warrant several TV shows, so it seems likely the public enjoy it. As MR K pointed out on another thread, in days of yore it was even more common to expose a magi's secrets so as one could admire the performance of them.
Would you be so kind as to cite the actual quote where Richard Kaufman said or implied the above?

Nowadays, does it *really* make much difference to performers?
I believe that there are two effects from exposure and those two effects affect magicians in different ways.

The first is the short term effect where an item that is commonly done or used is exposed. Many owners of a Harbin Zig Zag found their treasured illusion among those exposed and relegated them to use as a wardrobe closet. The coin bite is another. Those items were becoming part of a growing number of magicians' repertoires because they were very magical in appearance. Right or wrong to copy each other, magicians were lining up to use those items. The exposure of them caused a ripple that is still felt today. I've seen Harbin Zig Zags languish on e-Bay without a single bid.

I also believe that a long time professional can recover from such a loss of an item quicker and less painfully than beginners. If an item I perform is exposed, it is likely that I will just vary my performance or just drop it completely. Filling the gap is not hard when I can reach for one of a few magic books I own or into one of my boxed of stored magic props for a replacement effect.

The long term effect can be more devastating when a principle is exposed that is very useful. Imagine if black art were still a secret that only magicians used. Today, every photographer is taught the principle as part of rudimentary training. Theater groups use it regularly. Even Disneyland exposes that principle during their rides by poor presentation. The lighting in Pirates of the Caribbean is terrible and exposes what should appear magical.

If I were only to concern myself with the effect exposure has on me, I would have to say that it doesn't affect me personally at all. I mean not a bit except for increased business calls after each exposure show. But, I have been performing in the trenches for so long that I just reach into my bag of tricks and pull out a new one when I need it.

The effect on all magicians as a whole is far more devastating. People with a great heart and desire to perform magic often find very savvy hecklers in their audiences thanks to exposure shows. They can have a very harsh effect on someone who is struggling not to be nervous. A heckler shouting out how an effect is done can and does often derail a performer. Worse yet, because of the perception that is cast by the shows of an appreciative audience who cheers on the expositor, the heckler in your show is truly looking for postitive reinforcement by the audience. He wants to look as if he is the hero, not you.

Up against that kind of heckler, many a young and possibly great magician has given up in disgust.

I think that as magicians we should each resist exposure for the sake of exposure. Sometimes, as Chuck Fayne says, magic must be exposed but on a need to know basis only. Sometimes, you just have to tell the lighting guy about your thread being very visible in bright white light but not so in pink or blue gel dimmed to 60%. Sometimes, it is important to let the stage manager know that even though maroon goes better as a background that black is a must for your magic to work.

As magicians, many of us take an oath not to expose magic. Those who do should feel bound by that oath. The rest should realize that secrets are part, but not all, of our stock in trade. We earn our living in part from those secrets and as such we should feel obligated to protect them. If not for us, for future generations of magicians.

Lay people, of course, are under no such obligation and even Valentino, who consulted for the Fox specials, finds himself identified as a lay person today by most magicians.

Ray
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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Guest » January 21st, 2003, 8:23 am

Warning: Rant follows:

To combat exposure, a couple of modest proposals:

1. Do only original material. (Who the hell wants to be the thousandth guy to bite a coin anyway, fer cryin' out loud?)

2. Failing that, modify existing material to cancel out the known method.

3. Find these clowns and beat the living crap out of them. (Where's the Magic Mafia when you need them?)

Anyway....one of the real problems with exposure (aside from the fact that we now have laymen walking around sticking cigarettes through quarters, AAARRRGH!) is that it doesn't matter if laymen know the correct answer; if they think they know the answer, the performance is damaged. As Roth used to point out, "you can't stop them from thinking" but that's no reason to help them along.

That said, I personally feel there's way, WAY too much information floating around, and I'd bet the web is a bigger problem than TV, if only because it's always on.

When I was starting out, if you wanted to learn a magic trick, you had to find a magic store and get up off your ass and go there. That alone kept the casually curious away, for the most part. A nice side effect of that was that people had NO IDEA how you did anything at all, even if it was a 2000 year-old classic effect. For at least a decade, most of the people I worked for had never seen anyone do close-up sleight of hand. What a pleasure it was to perform for them.

We really need to get back to secrets. Really.

End of rant.

Best,

Geoff

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 21st, 2003, 9:11 am

Ah, my friend Geoffrey Latta: I wish I could once again hear those rants in person as in the days of yore!
Speaking of yore, and my post which was cited earlier, I will repeat the essence of it.
The exposure of magic has been an active aspect of our field as long as there have been periodicals around to record the goings on of magic and magicians. Go back and reread everything from Mahatma onward and you will often find chest-beating rants about the latest exposures, in the theater or in print. It was quite common for magicians, in their shows, to expose the tricks of other magicians working in the same town.
This is all OLD OLD OLD news. The only difference now is the speed and saturation of the disemination. In other words, TV and the Internet bring MORE secrets to MORE laymen MORE quickly.
In case you haven't noticed, the Internet is shaking up the entire world: record companies and recording artists are seeing their copyright material illegally ripped off on a daily basis to the tune of millions of dollars; movie companies are seeing their copyright films copied and ripped off.
In our tiny corner of the world, Internet magic dealers with no shops and no overhead are discounting magic so heavily that it hardly pays to publish a book or put out a videotape.
The magic world, as we know it, is in a critical period and could, concievably, die as a result.
Everyone hold your breath.
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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby John LeBlanc » January 21st, 2003, 9:53 am

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
The magic world, as we know it, is in a critical period and could, concievably, die as a result.
Thank for for clarifying your position. Outside this forum, your quote and your meaning behind it was discussed and argued at length.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Ray Haddad » January 21st, 2003, 4:35 pm

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
In our tiny corner of the world, Internet magic dealers with no shops and no overhead are discounting magic so heavily that it hardly pays to publish a book or put out a videotape.
The magic world, as we know it, is in a critical period and could, concievably, die as a result.
Everyone hold your breath.
Richard,

Thank you for clarifying your overall point. I agree that the exposure of secrets by any means is making rapid inroads instead of donkey drawn inroads.

Technology that 50 years ago would be unbelievable is not helping either. Children today can heat and eat a meal in a minute of microwave time. We carry telephones that can contact another person half a world away in our shirt pockets. Showing a functioning mobile phone to someone that was transported here from the 1950s would have him asking if you were Dick Tracy.

One fellow who I was photographing produced a bowl full of popcorn for a second load in a dove pan. I overheard a child in the audience saying that he did it with microwaves.

Have you ever heard of the stereo lithography process? That's where an engineer can take an AutoCad drawing of a design and make a three dimensional model of it in a few minutes. Shades of the Star Trek replicator! Is it magic or is it technology? If the current time of minutes is reduced to seconds and the equipment small enough to conceal, magic production of a solid object will be a technological process and not done with mirrors or secret chambers any more.

We are, indeed, facing a difficult time and may see the end of a desire for magical entertainment. Technology will be our biggest competitor, though. Exposing secrets is the nearby enemy of magic and magicians. Technology will likely soon outpace even what we can do by trickery.

Ray
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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 21st, 2003, 4:48 pm

I don't care what technology comes along: when I have someone freely take a card from a borrowed and shuffled deck, sign it, and they put it in the center and then I pass it to the top, that will always be something that can only be accomplished using the Pass.
Since the Pass is hard as hell, most people will never be able to do it.
Since the Pass is invisible, even if it's been exposed, no laymen will know I've used it.
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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Edward » January 21st, 2003, 6:13 pm

Exposure will do little harm, if any to magic.
The public have very short memories.

However, bad magicians of which there a GREAT many
are where the real danger to magic is.

One bad performance by one bad magician will do ten times as much harm to the art of magic as 10 exposures on TV ever will.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Dave Shepherd » January 21st, 2003, 6:23 pm

Indeed, I think Edward just stated explicitly what Richard implied.

Magic has survived a great number of amazling technological innovations. While the information revolution of the past thirty years or so seems exponential, think back a hundred years, before radio was seriously on the scene, when even telephones were exotic.

We study, and even perform, the card and coin magic that amazed people then. The same magic amazed people two hundred years before that, and on and on.

But the explosion of bad "magicians" threatens to do the same kind of thing that the sneering attitude of the exposure shows has done: trivialize magic.

I believe it's incumbent on us to take magic seriously and perform it the best we can. And keep fooling people who don't read with tricks from Bobo, Tarbell, and Hoffman.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Edward » January 21st, 2003, 6:31 pm

I agree with Dave 100%
I often think that the energy expended on writing useless letters to Fox TV and huffing and puffing generally would be better used in perfecting our own expertise in the art of magic.

I include myself in this. I don't spend as much time practicing and rehearsing as I should.

That is the best way to safeguard the art of magic in the future. Regrettably, fully 75% of people engaged in magic are of a poor standard. This high average is a disgrace and would not be countenanced in any other performance art.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Ray Haddad » January 22nd, 2003, 1:56 am

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
I don't care what technology comes along: when I have someone freely take a card from a borrowed and shuffled deck, sign it, and they put it in the center and then I pass it to the top, that will always be something that can only be accomplished using the Pass.
Since the Pass is hard as hell, most people will never be able to do it.
Since the Pass is invisible, even if it's been exposed, no laymen will know I've used it.
Richard,

The key word in your statement here is laymen. Regarding secrets, even a perfectly executed pass done in place of say, a side steal and palm followed by a shift to the top, means nothing at all if a spectator announces that you just did a side steal. If any card sleights are exposed and the memory of the layperson to whom you are performing is not typical, you are going to have issues to handle during performance.

Technology, as wonderful as it is for conveniences and life enhancement, will eventually make performance magic seem like a waste of time. Real miracles far outweigh those we can fake.

Ray
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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby mrgoat » January 22nd, 2003, 2:35 am

Originally posted by Ray Haddad:
Originally posted by mrgoat:
[b]I would be interested to see what members of this forum think about magic exposure.

Rightly or wrongly, it has proven popular enough to warrant several TV shows, so it seems likely the public enjoy it. As MR K pointed out on another thread, in days of yore it was even more common to expose a magi's secrets so as one could admire the performance of them.
Would you be so kind as to cite the actual quote where Richard Kaufman said or implied the above?Ray[/b]
Sure Ray,

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"The amount of exposure going on today pales in comparison to the early part of the 20th century when many acts not only performed back-palming, but then proceeded to expose it as well. There were often exposures in newspapers and magazines. It was very common."

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby mrgoat » January 22nd, 2003, 2:39 am

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
AThe magic world, as we know it, is in a critical period and could, concievably, die as a result.
Everyone hold your breath.
Just to clarify Mr K, do you mean as a result of exposure that magic could die, or as a result of cheap online magic dealers?

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby mrgoat » January 22nd, 2003, 2:46 am

Originally posted by Ray Haddad:
Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
[b]I don't care what technology comes along: when I have someone freely take a card from a borrowed and shuffled deck, sign it, and they put it in the center and then I pass it to the top, that will always be something that can only be accomplished using the Pass.
Since the Pass is hard as hell, most people will never be able to do it.
Since the Pass is invisible, even if it's been exposed, no laymen will know I've used it.
Richard,

The key word in your statement here is laymen. Regarding secrets, even a perfectly executed pass done in place of say, a side steal and palm followed by a shift to the top, means nothing at all if a spectator announces that you just did a side steal. If any card sleights are exposed and the memory of the layperson to whom you are performing is not typical, you are going to have issues to handle during performance.[/b]
Nonsense. Several years ago in the UK, on prime time TV on BBC1, a magician exposed several sleights, including a double lift. He was thrown out hte magic circle for it. The was much hoo hah about it. I mean alot of hoo ha. National press, news, more tv, all sorts.

According to your thoughts on the matter, no one in the UK could now perform Ambitious Card (All the Zig Zags going on sold on Ebay).

Do you think that has happened? I will tell you, it hasn't.

Damian

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Guest » January 22nd, 2003, 4:02 am

The effect of a tiny group of magicians complaining to a TV network about anything is negligible at best (more likely "zero").

All that the complaints do are make magicians seem like a bunch of whining crybabies.

And, given the general nature of those complaints, that is a fairly accurate assessment.

Remember:
You would be a lot less concerned about what other people think of you, if you realized how seldom they think of you at all!

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Pete McCabe » January 22nd, 2003, 11:17 am

I hate to pick on Dave Shepherd, but I've never understood this idea:

But the explosion of bad "magicians" threatens to do the same kind of thing that the sneering attitude of the exposure shows has done: trivialize magic.
I know dozens of bad singers, actors, writers, painters, you name it. I don't know anyone who doesn't.

It doesn't seem to have trivialized any of these art forms.

This to me goes hand in hand with the oft-expressed idea that a bad professional magician will cost other (presumably good) magicians work because the audience can't tell the difference.

Let me tell you -- audiences can tell the difference! Most people have seen maybe one bad professional magician in their life. The vast majority of the magic they see is the best of the best: TV specials by David Copperfield, Lance Burton, Penn and Teller, David Blaine, etc.

To think that these people can't tell the difference between David Copperfield and some local hack has always struck me as the height of absurdity. I've never met anyone in my life who couldn't tell the difference between a good magician and a bad magician immediately.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby John LeBlanc » January 22nd, 2003, 11:35 am

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
I hate to pick on Dave Shepherd, but I've never understood this idea:

But the explosion of bad "magicians" threatens to do the same kind of thing that the sneering attitude of the exposure shows has done: trivialize magic.
I know dozens of bad singers, actors, writers, painters, you name it. I don't know anyone who doesn't.

It doesn't seem to have trivialized any of these art forms.

This to me goes hand in hand with the oft-expressed idea that a bad professional magician will cost other (presumably good) magicians work because the audience can't tell the difference.
I can tell you from experience that the "oft expressed idea" is alive and well, at least it was three weeks ago.

I made a cold call on a company for which I designed an idea. The planner didn't even want to discuss magic because they'd "already tried a magician and it didn't work."

(For the uninformed, "It didn't work" is a euphamism for, "I looked like a complete idiot for hiring him.")

Then I had to spend the next ten minutes guiding her through the maze, politely leading her to her own conclusion that this was not a particularly good position to take. (I considered it short-sighted and stupid, frankly, but what do I know?)


Let me tell you -- audiences can tell the difference!
But meeting planners aren't audiences. Audiences show up and the limit of their "exposure" to the unfortunate decision to see one bad magician is the cost of the ticket, and possibly lost time.

Meeting planners, on the other hand, have the annual Christmas Party to look forward to, wherein embarassing decisions are discussed at excruciating length. They also have quarterly/yearly evaluations on which merit raises are based. "Put my 2% merit increase in the toilet because I hired another magician? Forget that."


To think that these people can't tell the difference between David Copperfield and some local hack has always struck me as the height of absurdity. I've never met anyone in my life who couldn't tell the difference between a good magician and a bad magician immediately.
I find it absurd, too. But I am discussing the corporate world where "The Peter Principle" not only exists, it seems to have evolved into a living, breathing force of nature, blood-thirsty and hellbent on proving the "Red Queen Principle" not so much a principle, but the law, damnit.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Dave Shepherd » January 22nd, 2003, 2:15 pm

I won't try to improve on what John just said. I think he summed it up.

I'll just say that I'm tired of people assuming before they've seen me that what I do is some lightweight little entertainment for children. (I do children's performing, too, but I mean corporate bookers and the like.)

Magic is an art form that exists on the margins of most people's awareness. Unlike music, whose examples of excellence abound in the mass media, magic--really excellent magic--is not something that ordinary people experience very much.

Therefore, a little bad magic can really sour people's perceptions of the art form in general, so that they jump to unfair conclusions before they've given good magic a chance.

In other words, what John said.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Pete McCabe » January 22nd, 2003, 2:45 pm

To tell you the truth, I wasn't really talking about this subject, which to my eyes is not an issue of magic being trivialized but with the way magicians promote their services. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

Anyway, this is a much more interesting topic.

When I wrote for an ad agency, we would frequently pitch our services to companies who produced their own marketing materials in-house. Many times the client responded "we tried that", but it didn't work because the agency just couldn't get the technology right. My boss and I were former programmers and we got the technology right. That's why we almost never lost a client after we got them.

It was and still is true that very few marketing professionals (at technology companies, at least, although I'll bet money the same applies everywhere) know how to choose a marketing firm. Very few people have any decent amount of experience with the client side of the "account review" process. Of course they're likely to make mistakes the first few times. Very few people get to even try more than a few times. Bad choices are the norm.

The same, I am sure, is if anything even more true of hiring a magician.

So it behooves you to include, in your marketing materials, some advice about how to choose the right magician. We did the same thing when we would pitch our marketing services and it was incredibly effective.

It took a while to figure out how to do this properly, but this effort was gloriously repaid.

Guess I'm getting a little off the topic here. Sorry.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Dave Shepherd » January 22nd, 2003, 7:11 pm

Well, okay, Pete. I hear what you're saying here about marketing. And what John wrote was indeed pitched more clearly to the marketing aspect of things than what I originally meant.

But I'll still argue that a lot of bad magic hurts all of us who take this performing art seriously. Never mind how hard it is to get a gig, per se. It skews people's perception of what a magician is in this day and age.

My own magical life exists in a kind of funky twilight zone between working exclusively on magic and dealing with it as an Amateur (with a big "A"). I'm that dreaded of creatures, the part-time pro. When I perform magic, it's for money. But as a high school teacher I also advise a conjuring club and informally mentor a few kids who are fairly serious about magic. And of course, there are also kids hanging around who are not necessarily so deeply interested, but they dabble.

It's when I talk with other teachers and parents that I most notice this trivialization of magic. Somebody knows somebody's cousin who does "some of those magic tricks, and they were really cute last time I saw them, and do you do that one where the dollar bill floats in the air? He uses some kind of thread to do it, but it was still cute."

So magic is now all about those "cute little tricks" rather than an experience that rocks somebody's world.

This, I submit, is where the shame lies in the explosion of bad magic. When you introduce yourself in some way as a magician, and people equate you with all those noodniks who do some of those cute little tricks, badly, you're lumped together with them before you've done anything.

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Ray Haddad » January 24th, 2003, 5:43 am

Originally posted by mrgoat:
Nonsense. Several years ago in the UK, on prime time TV on BBC1, a magician exposed several sleights, including a double lift. He was thrown out hte magic circle for it. The was much hoo hah about it. I mean alot of hoo ha. National press, news, more tv, all sorts.

According to your thoughts on the matter, no one in the UK could now perform Ambitious Card (All the Zig Zags going on sold on Ebay).

Do you think that has happened? I will tell you, it hasn't.
Damian,

First you asked for opinions and several gave them. Now, you take the position that those opinions, which you requested, are nonsense.

If one person remembers the exposure, it ruins the effect for that person.

I didn't write that EVERY Zig Zag didn't sell. And, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, not all of them sold.

If you really are going to ask for opinions, please be kind enough not to call them nonsense. They are just opinions and don't really need to have a label applied.

Ray
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Ray

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby mrgoat » January 24th, 2003, 11:03 am

Originally posted by Ray Haddad:
[b]
Originally posted by mrgoat:
Nonsense. Several years ago in the UK, on prime time TV on BBC1, a magician exposed several sleights, including a double lift. He was thrown out hte magic circle for it. The was much hoo hah about it. I mean alot of hoo ha. National press, news, more tv, all sorts.

According to your thoughts on the matter, no one in the UK could now perform Ambitious Card (All the Zig Zags going on sold on Ebay).

Do you think that has happened? I will tell you, it hasn't.
Damian,

First you asked for opinions and several gave them. Now, you take the position that those opinions, which you requested, are nonsense.

If one person remembers the exposure, it ruins the effect for that person.

I didn't write that EVERY Zig Zag didn't sell. And, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, not all of them sold.

If you really are going to ask for opinions, please be kind enough not to call them nonsense. They are just opinions and don't really need to have a label applied.

Ray[/b]
Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to *your* post being nonsense Ray, not the other people here.

You said: If any card sleights are exposed and the memory of the layperson to whom you are performing is not typical, you are going to have issues to handle during performance.

I believe what you posted to be nonsense. I gave an example of a double lift being exposed, on prime time tv and then discussed in the press and yet it hasn't made the blindest bit of difference to anyone performing the ambitious card.

It's unlikely you watched "How Do They Do That" so therefore you won't be aware of what happened. Any magician in the UK will remember. I saw it, and the attention it got in the press.

Seems to have made no difference at all to anyone performing double lifts.

I still wonder why...

All the best

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Ray Haddad » January 24th, 2003, 1:27 pm

Originally posted by mrgoat:
Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to *your* post being nonsense Ray, not the other people here.
Thank you for clarifying that. Now, I repeat my question to you. If you asked for opinions, why do you then argue with any one of them and call them nonsense? Did you expect only opinions that agreed with yours to be presented?

You said: If any card sleights are exposed and the memory of the layperson to whom you are performing is not typical, you are going to have issues to handle during performance.

I believe what you posted to be nonsense. I gave an example of a double lift being exposed, on prime time tv and then discussed in the press and yet it hasn't made the blindest bit of difference to anyone performing the ambitious card.
It's hardly nonsense. If even one spectator remembers, it can be a minor disaster to have him or her announce that you just turned over two cards at one time.

It's unlikely you watched "How Do They Do That" so therefore you won't be aware of what happened. Any magician in the UK will remember. I saw it, and the attention it got in the press.

Seems to have made no difference at all to anyone performing double lifts.
Now, here lies the problem I am addressing. When you state here that it made no difference to anyone, you are speaking from a limited point of view. Others have, indeed, been affected by exposure and that is what many have expressed here in one way or another. It's also true that some have stated the opposite indicating clearly that exposure doesn't affect them.

You have gotten a good range of replies and opinions and have stated that my opinion is nonsense. I still question the reason for that and that alone.

I still wonder why...
At least you can still wonder. Life should be full of wonder.

Ray
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Ray

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby mrgoat » January 24th, 2003, 1:57 pm

Originally posted by Ray Haddad:
Thank you for clarifying that. Now, I repeat my question to you. If you asked for opinions, why do you then argue with any one of them and call them nonsense?
Arguing against opinions you do not agree with is all part of discussion isn't it? I called what you posted about card sleights to be nonsense, as I know it to be so, at least in the UK.

Originally posted by Ray Haddad:
You have gotten a good range of replies and opinions and have stated that my opinion is nonsense. I still question the reason for that and that alone.

It's nothing personal Ray, you just happened to be the one person in the thread that mentioned specifically the exposure of card sleights would cause problems. I have seen this happen in the UK, and I still see people perform the move, oddly enough.

I started this thread to see what people's opinion on exposure was (seems about 50/50), not attack you in anyway.

All the best

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Re: Does Exposure Harm Magic?

Postby Ray Haddad » January 24th, 2003, 2:23 pm

Originally posted by mrgoat:

It's nothing personal Ray, you just happened to be the one person in the thread that mentioned specifically the exposure of card sleights would cause problems. I have seen this happen in the UK, and I still see people perform the move, oddly enough.

I started this thread to see what people's opinion on exposure was (seems about 50/50), not attack you in anyway.
Damian,

I don't take it as an attack. I simply find it difficult to understand that you are asking for opinions, which are neither right nor wrong by definition, and then proceed call even one of them nonsense.

I was specifically addressing only one sleight but for the sake of discussion, I will use your example. Any sleight, including a double lift, can be exposed and skillful handling can overcome the mechanical issues of a spectator seeing you execute that sleight. As Richard Kaufman pointed out, a well executed pass can be a miracle.

All that being said, if a spectator THINKS he knows how you did a trick and announces that theory to everyone present, that is clearly how it was done. If he states that you took a card from the deck and put it on top, then he is right. Even if you did a pass or double lift, he is still right because that is a solution even though it is a wrong one.

Going to your example of a double lift, if he thinks you did it by having two of the same card, he is correct even if he is wrong. In order to counter his exposure, even if he is wrong, you have to stop, show that there are only 52 different cards, and then resume. Or, you have to show him how you are really doing it. "See, I'm not using a second card. I am doing a perfectly executed double lift."

A persistant heckler can actually get physically involved by grabbing the deck from you. I have seen that happen to more than one magician.

In my experience, exposure takes on many forms. Some are blatantly for profit. Those are probably the ones to which you are referring. They are also the least harmful as they are not done with much thought other than for the paycheck at the end of the line.

In one case, I know of a person who is dead set against magic and believes magicians to be trying to coerce people into believing they are truly possessed with magical powers. In a sense, he's right. We all do strive to convince our audiences that we have powers that are magical. I think he is confusing other forms of magic with conjuring. It makes no difference. He still shows up at public magic performances making a scene that disrupts the enjoyment of others. Of course, his attempts at exposure are not the norm.

To summarize my opinion on the matter, I believe exposure to be extremely harmful to the art of magic.

It does not harm me or my performances in any way that I have seen demonstrated thus far. It may affect me in the future, but has not to date. If I let exposure go without comment, I am being very selfish.

My criticism of exposure is based on an altruistic belief that magic, the art which I practice, is being harmed.

Best,
Ray
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Ray

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