The Pass

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
Joe Mckay
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Re: The Pass

Postby Joe Mckay » June 19th, 2019, 9:11 pm

performer wrote:An old pro magician told me recently, "In twenty years time magic will be very different. It won't necessarily die but it will be different. And not in a good way"

I still remember what John Scarne wrote in a book years ago. He said words to the effect, "A good trick is like a precious diamond.It should be guarded carefully"

Alas many of the diamonds have been stolen.

That is a great quote. I agree with your old pro magician friend. There is something about that quote that has wormed its way into my head. I will be mulling it over for the next 20 years.

Nobody is easier to fool than magicians. They practice in their mirrors and then blink when they carry out their secret moves. And now they are burying their heads in the sand with the advent of smartphones. Technology can utterly change everything. Sometimes genuine game changers do come along. Just look at the nature of war after the invention of nuclear weapons.

The first major impact smartphones will have, in a funny sort of way, will be beneficial to magic.

These days a lot of walkaround magic consists of an ambitious card before you dump a block of plastic in the spectator's hands. This is a running joke on the (excellent) Magician's Podcast whenever they discuss the state of the British (mainly London) magic scene.

Walkaround magicians have always been drawn to the same 20 or so tricks. Since through a Darwinian struggle for survival these are the ones that tend to pack the most impact, with the best angles, whilst not been too difficult to do and that are easy to reset... and so on.

As a result - most professional magic these days is a form of prositution where magicians turn the same tricks for a set fee. Since it is easier to make a living performing 6-8 hours a week during the same old tricks than it is working a regular job for 40 hours a week.

That repertoire is about to go extinct. There is a giant asteroid about to impact the world of magic and it will wipe it out.

That asteroid is the smartphone.

Even seeing that a trick you have been fooled with is available for sale online for 20 bucks will be pretty disorientating for a lot of spectators. And many will buy tricks as an impulse buy just to learn the secret. Why tip the magician 20 bucks when you can spend 20 bucks to learn and perform the same trick?

At the same time as all this the "rules" of TV magic been thrown out the window. So the magic on TV gets more and more impossible. Such that nobody really trusts it anymore. Whilst the magic in real life becomes less and less impossible as the secrets are easily found, either for free or for sale, online.

There is a real chance that just as cinema killed off the era of the touring stage show, the internet will kill off the era of close up magic. Ultimately more good than bad may come from it. Magic will return to its roots. It used to be hard to be a magician because you had to prove yourself a worthy student to learn the secrets from a mentor.

Now you will have to prove yourself by figuring out a clever way to use audiences expectations and knowledge against them. Maybe this will be a good thing? Maybe it is about time magic kicked out the 99% of casual magicians who just want to cheapen and use this artform.

My sense though is we are heading into a twilight era where everyone will be a magician. It will just be one of those things that everyone does. A bit like how every group of friends will have somebody who always has a couple of new jokes he wants to share. And how everyone has one or two jokes they can tell.

Fifty years ago - more laypeople knew tricks than do today since the world back then was based around card games. That era will return but this time it will involve people performing material that 99% of walkaround magicians currently use as the basis of their repertoires.

It is like a country when inflation starts to run out of control. It is hard to believe that soon everyone will be a billionaire and that it won't mean anything. The same is about to happen in magic. Everyone will soon be a magician and nobody will care.

https://m.wsj.net/video/20150616/061615zimnote/061615zimnote_960x540.jpg

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: The Pass

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 19th, 2019, 9:38 pm

Where there's a will, there's away. And there are still ways to fool laymen and not have them find it on YouTube. It's just up to us to find them and/or devise them. Annemann chronicled 202 ways to force a card, and many of them are not even known by magicians, let alone the little adolescent p _ i _ ks that haunt YouTube. I have one that I use a lot that I found long ago in an obscure publication that I'm pretty sure 99% of magicians haven't even heard of, and it's absolutely killer. The "card" is then revealed in an impossible place that no one would even dream of, let alone find on YouTube. We've just got to be smarter than the adversaries...

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 20th, 2019, 6:29 pm

Yes, but what are you going to do about your beloved sponge rabbits? I confess I haven't looked yet but I bet ten to one there is some horrible teenage "magician" straight from the magic camp exposing it on You Tube somewhere. In fact I am going to have a look now!

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 20th, 2019, 6:31 pm

I haven't found a video yet but here is a start anyway:

https://ourpastimes.com/how-to-multiply ... 86113.html

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 20th, 2019, 6:42 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1Gms9XiD3s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsBWIe4lFIU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5L4e7zYVNE

And I am sure there are more. Sorry--magic is doomed and none of you give a damn about it. Serves you all right.
Everyone was bleating about the Masked Magician and various other harmless TV exposures not to mention magic books which didn't do any harm. Why isn't anyone bleating about this? You are all bloody useless.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: The Pass

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 20th, 2019, 8:11 pm

Performer is absolutely right - I can never give up my beloved sponge rabbits. I would only be a mere shadow of a man...

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 20th, 2019, 8:45 pm

You should be OK at the moment of performing it. The sickening thing is that you will impress them so much that when they get home (or they may even do it there and then) they will look up the secret and your status will diminish in their eyes. It reminds me of what an author (I think it was Bill Turner) once said about exposure, "It is like a burst balloon--there is nothing left"

I still remember Paul Pacific stunning a layman with Psychokinetic Touches so badly that he went away very impressed indeed. However, the very next day not only did he tell Paul how it was done he even knew the name of the trick! He had typed in a description of the effect and of course the explanation came up on you tube. A burst balloon--nothing left.

Somehow I liken this to climate change. Many people ignore it and of course that attitude encourages disaster. Same thing with magic. You Tube and the internet generally is the magician's equivalent of climate change. Many of you are ignoring it. Watch what happens...............

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: The Pass

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 21st, 2019, 8:59 am

Agreed performer - when the props or procedure can be identified they can be backtracked. In terms of the secret if a trick is using readily identifiable props which only have context within that trick there's a first mover advantage limited by the speed of social media. Publicity images -> reverse google image search -> advertisement -> user manual with diagrams.

Thing is our market seems to be about ad copy, curiosity of the customer (magic shop customer), brands, other such things which have nothing to do with assuring the customer a reliable process to bring an item into performance. And even less about providing non-gaffed replicas of props to use in other contexts so the mystery can stay focused on the performer and not the bar code on the prop that leads to the supply house.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Jack Shalom
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Re: The Pass

Postby Jack Shalom » June 21st, 2019, 10:12 am

"In twenty years time magic will be very different. It won't necessarily die but it will be different.


Maybe. But not as much as you think, I suspect. I'm still waiting for my personal jet pack they promised me way back.

And not in a good way"


If it means the end of bad performances of Sam The Bellhop, then I'd say we're ahead of the curve already. Magicians will adapt. Slowly, of course, because the other performing arts are almost always a couple of light years ahead of magicians. But human ingenuity is endless, and I have no doubt that there will be plenty of fascinating magic in the future.

Assuming there are humans in the future...

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erdnasephile
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Re: The Pass

Postby erdnasephile » June 21st, 2019, 12:43 pm

In The Magicians Podcast featuring Teller (linked in another recent thread on GF), he has some cogent comments that relate to the discussion in this thread.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 21st, 2019, 1:12 pm

Oh God! Who has the time to listen to podcasts? They take far too long!

Joe Lyons
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Re: The Pass

Postby Joe Lyons » June 21st, 2019, 2:00 pm

performer wrote:Sorry--magic is doomed and none of you give a damn about it. Serves you all right.


The internet has a perverse way of rewarding lawbreakers and rule ignorers. I owned a brick and mortar retail location when internet access became ubiquitous. When my suppliers admonished their customers not to discount their products I complied. Meanwhile, many new competitors were discounting like crazy.
The discounters were moving so much product that the suppliers ignored their own rules and rewarded the scofflaws instead of the loyal. Ultimately many competent retailers were run out of business by their own moral compass.
The market is so competitive now that while rewarding consumers with lower prices, it penalizes producers who must produce quadruple the product to make the same money. Consequently products continually fall to a lower median quality and many of the most talented producers opt out.

Magic is suffering from a similar fate.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: The Pass

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 21st, 2019, 4:14 pm

Joe, sell the service. It takes so much work to get from "knowing" the supposed secret to a trick to having it as a performance-ready option when opportunity presents. Similarly sell lecture/workshop events with the guys who tour. There's no comparing learning an item from the inventor to working from books or videos.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Joe Lyons
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Re: The Pass

Postby Joe Lyons » June 21st, 2019, 10:06 pm

Jonathan, I sold service for a couple of years until I got a job making twice the money in another industry.
My point is the internet has changed everything and has given us a ton of choice without the benefit of discernment. My concern for Magic and every other discipline is the abundance of knowledge of technique without the wisdom of discrimination of what is best.
Kids today( yes I know how old that makes me sound) confuse abundance with quality or correctness.
I only hope for a future where we can use all of the readily available information to advance our field rather than trivialize it.

Dave Le Fevre
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Re: The Pass

Postby Dave Le Fevre » June 22nd, 2019, 3:31 am

performer wrote:Oh God! Who has the time to listen to podcasts? They take far too long!

I'm relieved to learn that I'm not the only person who finds that

Jack Shalom
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Re: The Pass

Postby Jack Shalom » June 22nd, 2019, 8:34 am

Just a quick aside on podcasts--the reason they are so successful is that as they are an audio product, you can do something else while you're listening to them--like driving, washing the dishes, or visiting the Genii Forum. So in effect one is not spending any extra time listening to them.

Tom Gilbert
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Re: The Pass

Postby Tom Gilbert » June 22nd, 2019, 9:29 am

Howie Schwarzman had a very good pass. Saw him one on one showing me but there's a video of him performing it. Mike Powers posted it
password Howie

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Pass

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 22nd, 2019, 10:58 am

Howie was an extraordinarily talented sleight of hand artist. It's a shame he never made a video, or wrote down all of his techniques. He has tiny hands, which makes his handlings of all these sleights even more amazing.
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Re: The Pass

Postby Tom Gilbert » June 22nd, 2019, 11:24 am

Yes about the small hands. When I complained to him, I got an incredible lesson about a lot of different moves. Plus Howie had tons of stories about magicians and history. I tried to get some people to tape his stories or take video, but it never happened.

Jack Shalom
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Re: The Pass

Postby Jack Shalom » June 22nd, 2019, 12:33 pm

That was...educational. Thanks.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Pass

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 22nd, 2019, 2:17 pm

Howie was very resistant to letting any of his real material be explained.
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MagicbyAlfred
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Re: The Pass

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 22nd, 2019, 3:40 pm

The best "performances" of the Pass are never "seen"

And, as such, are few and far between

I have worked with professional magicians at paid events who might as well have been openly cutting the selection to the top in plain view, and yet they thought they were getting over....

That's what years of lethargy and self-delusion can do.

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erdnasephile
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Re: The Pass

Postby erdnasephile » June 22nd, 2019, 4:06 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:Just a quick aside on podcasts--the reason they are so successful is that as they are an audio product, you can do something else while you're listening to them--like driving, washing the dishes, or visiting the Genii Forum. So in effect one is not spending any extra time listening to them.


Yep. Teller is definitely worth the time.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 23rd, 2019, 8:59 am

I don't drive, wash dishes and I am not entirely sure what the Genii Forum is for. I find podcasts take far too long and I haven't got the patience to wade through it until the interesting bit comes up. And usually the first 15 minutes or so are an interminable wait. However, just recently a podcast maker started to issue transcripts of the podcast and I will concede that I found that a vast improvement. I could skip over the crap very quickly and get to the points I was interested in.

One exception only. I did find the Joe Stuthard interview very useful to me in ways that the rest of you would not understand and I managed to save it on my computer. But that is about it.

Dave Le Fevre
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Re: The Pass

Postby Dave Le Fevre » June 24th, 2019, 4:35 am

That's exactly my problem with podcasts, be they conjuring-related or otherwise. I'm told that a certain podcast is really worth listening to, and so I sit through it. And afterwards I reflect that either it wasn't worth my time or only a couple of minutes of it were worth my time. And had it been available as text, I could have ascertained that rapidly and easily.

That's not an argument against podcasts. It's merely my personal preference.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 24th, 2019, 5:30 am

William Rader of Well Attended has recently started to provide texts with the podcasts. I find this a decided improvement and saves a hell of a lot of time.
One good thing about the Joe Stuthard recording is that it was only 25 minutes long.

Ray J
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Re: The Pass

Postby Ray J » June 24th, 2019, 8:45 am

performer wrote:Yes, but what are you going to do about your beloved sponge rabbits? I confess I haven't looked yet but I bet ten to one there is some horrible teenage "magician" straight from the magic camp exposing it on You Tube somewhere. In fact I am going to have a look now!


Performer, here is a detailed explanation, courtesy of the internet...

https://ourpastimes.com/how-to-multiply ... 86113.html

BTW, took me 0.12 seconds doing a search for multiplying rabbits trick.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Ray J » June 24th, 2019, 8:49 am

If you want to know how to do Bill in Lemon, just click the button for an explanation on the side-bar.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Ray J » June 24th, 2019, 8:52 am

Ray J wrote:If you want to know how to do Bill in Lemon, just click the button for an explanation on the side-bar.


BTW, I try to reach out to people that do this sort of thing to ask them to stop. I made a comment on youtube last night asking a dude to take down his "explanation" of the Destiny Deck trick. I also tipped off Card-Shark to let them know.

Most of us can tell what is going on with Destiny Deck from one viewing, but it is still worth protecting. All magic secrets are worth protecting because once you start...

Kent Gunn
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Re: The Pass

Postby Kent Gunn » June 24th, 2019, 11:36 am

Don't call your trick the name that comes on the packaging. If you do a classic card trick like; The Ambitious Card, Triumph or Card Warp, use enough originality to rename them.

Don't fret, the internet isn't going ruin magic. The interactivity between people and the proliferation of new great magic greatly outweighs any sense of failure you have when a trick you've done the same way for fifty years is busted by a twelve-year-old with a cell phone.

The problem isn't the kid, it's not the internet's fault. You are presenting puzzles poorly without enough originality.

Original, well-thought-out presentations will solve this problem most of the time.

People have been figuring out how we do our tricks for millennia. Relax, do good, original magic. Don't be a confrontational jerk when you perform. Don't blame inanimate objects (like the Internet), for your own failings.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Jack Shalom » June 24th, 2019, 1:26 pm

Think Magician Foolers re-purposed as internet foolers. Example, any kid trying to figure out Kent's Cups and Balls routine from the internet is going to end up with a very sore brain.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 24th, 2019, 1:29 pm

The internet IS ruining magic! And it doesn't matter if you rename the trick or not. They type in the DESCRIPTION. I have seen it happen too many times. Not only tricks are exposed but PRINCIPLES are. Everthing from thumb tips to the classic force. I do agree that most so called "magicians" don't have to worry about it. That is because most magicians are CRAP! They are so crap that laymen aren't going to bother looking their secrets up in the first place. It is the good magicians that are having the problem.

Still, bury your heads in the sand if you wish. It will be your problem in the future. I will be too dead to care.

Ray J
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Re: The Pass

Postby Ray J » June 24th, 2019, 2:52 pm

Kent Gunn wrote:Don't call your trick the name that comes on the packaging. If you do a classic card trick like; The Ambitious Card, Triumph or Card Warp, use enough originality to rename them.

Don't fret, the internet isn't going ruin magic. The interactivity between people and the proliferation of new great magic greatly outweighs any sense of failure you have when a trick you've done the same way for fifty years is busted by a twelve-year-old with a cell phone.

The problem isn't the kid, it's not the internet's fault. You are presenting puzzles poorly without enough originality.

Original, well-thought-out presentations will solve this problem most of the time.

People have been figuring out how we do our tricks for millennia. Relax, do good, original magic. Don't be a confrontational jerk when you perform. Don't blame inanimate objects (like the Internet), for your own failings.


I never perform a trick and call it by name. Not even the ancient Chinese Linking Rings. What magician of any caliber does that? One exception might be when Bill Malone performed Scarne's Aces, or when someone performs Houdini's Water Torture Cell, but hopefully nobody says I'm now going to demonstrate the Al Goshman Multiplying Rabbits.

Regarding failings, I don't think anyone is looking to blame their own failings on inanimate objects and by the way, the internet is anything but inanimate. This post is but one example. It is a dialogue and changes minute-by-minute, second-by-second. It is not static nor does it sit idly by, innocently. It is capable of great power. That is why companies pay big money to influence it and it's users.

Ray J
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Re: The Pass

Postby Ray J » June 24th, 2019, 3:11 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:Think Magician Foolers re-purposed as internet foolers. Example, any kid trying to figure out Kent's Cups and Balls routine from the internet is going to end up with a very sore brain.


Jack, the only problem with that statement is that with the internet, the kids can watch the routine over and over and over again and trust me, they will figure certain things out. They can also stop frame-by-frame and see flashes on loads that you would never pick up ordinarily.

Remember the old adage not to repeat a trick? Imagine little Johnny watching a routine on his computer where the chance for misdirection is minimized to begin with and he can go forwards and backwards fast or slow ad nauseum.

You have to agree that it is a problem.

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erdnasephile
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Re: The Pass

Postby erdnasephile » June 24th, 2019, 3:16 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:Think Magician Foolers re-purposed as internet foolers. Example, any kid trying to figure out Kent's Cups and Balls routine from the internet is going to end up with a very sore brain.


Agreed (with both Jack and Kent).

If we are using the same presentations and the same methods and the same tricks that everyone else is doing, then we deserve to be outed. There are many methods for many plots in magic that would fool anyone conversant with the usual routines (and are probably even more effective because of that knowledge). Kent's seminal routine (along with Tommy Wonder's) are excellent examples of this. Michael Close's "Invisible Deck" routine is another skull crusher, precisely because you think you know what's going on until it's way too late.

Whether or not the Internet is ruining magic is immaterial. The Internet is not going anywhere. Therefore, if we wish to perform effectively, we must adapt and evolve, much like those magicians did at the dawn of any technological age. Yes, the increased access to information out there is a challenge, but it is certainly not insurmountable.

Regardless, magic is not dead and will survive and thrive long after all of us take the dirt nap.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 24th, 2019, 3:52 pm

Magic is not dead. However, it is in the hospital. And there IS something that can be done about it. The internet is not going away but neither are the people who are running it and they are the people that can do something about it. When I was young and impoverished I once got a job selling carbon paper. I didn't actually sell any but I have always remembered what a rather charismatic sales manager once said to me, "Never be afraid of selling to a big company. You are not selling to a company. You are selling to a human being. It doesn't matter how big the company is. You are selling to a human being--not a company"

You Tube is run by human beings. They have to be persuaded to do something to stop it. And they have the power to stop it. However, it takes two to tango. You Tube human beings on one side and magician human beings on the other side. I do concede that it may be hard to find magicians who are real human beings but I expect there may possibly be a few. The Magic Circle, The SAM, the IBM and the rest of them are a bloody disgrace. They make all this fuss about TV exposure and magicians writing books on magic but nary a word about the damn internet. Not a single solitary word.

And magicians don't seem to care a toss about it either. You all need to band together and get ready to either negotiate with You Tube and other places or to get ready to engage in a great fight about it. I would start with the newspapers and other media. Cause a bit of a fuss. Of course that will bring more attention to the exposures and make matters worse. Still, if it succeeds in getting this crap stopped it might be worth it.

Why should these internet executives care about magic exposure when they have no idea that magicians are annoyed by it?
I think you should all let them know we are annoyed. And if you aren't annoyed the odds are you are a lousy magician who doesn't CARE about a wonderful art form.
Last edited by performer on June 24th, 2019, 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 24th, 2019, 3:56 pm

Ray J wrote:If you want to know how to do Bill in Lemon, just click the button for an explanation on the side-bar.


Oh, no need to do that! Just look at this. It has always annoyed me. Steve Brooks is a bloody disgrace and I think he should be banned from the magic cafe for exposure.

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/vie ... pic=183673

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Re: The Pass

Postby Ray J » June 24th, 2019, 4:55 pm

If the expose' was behind a portion of the forum accessible only to members that had accrued a certain number of posts or something, that might be acceptable. I'm on the fence regarding exposure WITHIN magic forums. Part of me says it is fine because we are all magicians, but care should be taken to prevent casual visitors from finding the explanations. Then part of me says nobody is going to waste their time to go onto a magic forum and look around unless they are interested in becoming a magician.

What I do know if that it is much easier to learn secrets than it was back when I started. Way easier. Even at club meetings and other events where magicians congregated, secrets were more guarded. You had to really earn your stripes to be included into the "insiders" group and even then you typically had to contribute something to get something.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Ray J » June 24th, 2019, 5:03 pm

From performer's post above...

"And magicians don't seem to care a toss about it either. You all need to band together and get ready to either negotiate with You Tube and other places or to get ready to engage in a great fight about it. I would start with the newspapers and other media. Cause a bit of a fuss. Of course that will bring more attention to the exposures and make matters worse. Still, if it succeeds in getting this crap stopped it might be worth it."

Sometimes it does have to get worse before it gets better. Maybe youtube could begin by investigating posts with the words Reveal, Revealed, Exposed, Tutorial, Explanation, etc. and kicking out unauthorized exposure videos.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Pass

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 24th, 2019, 5:18 pm

Casual interest will not bring someone here looking for a trick explanation. Most people don't care about magic at all!
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