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paraguppie
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Hey all,

I just got back from Branson where I picked up my Taylor Reed version of the Audience Dismember. Taylor will "gut" your regular Bill Smith version and customize it to look like the one you see on his Youtube videos!

To me the "box" under the girl always looked gaffed. Taylor takes all of that out and at the same time makes it so the girls legs go WAY higher when she is "cut". I'm more than happy to answer questions about the prop, but I will not be tipping the inner workings.

I have not gotten to perform this yet as I just got back, but I wanted to let everyone out there know that Taylor did an amazing job on this illusion! He was ahead of schedule, great with communications and really easy to work with.

Taylor, thanks for the great prop and all the tips that go with it. I wish you the best of luck in your new theatre (which I got a tour of!). I look forward to working with you again soon!

Keith Raymond
Check us out at www.magickeith.com
profl
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Quote:
On 2010-06-17 09:50, paraguppie wrote:

I just got back from Branson where I picked up my Taylor Reed version of the Audience Dismember. Taylor will "gut" your regular Bill Smith version and customize it to look like the one you see on his Youtube videos!

To me the "box" under the girl always looked gaffed. Taylor takes all of that out.... Keith Raymond


So much for respecting the genius and artistry of illusion designers & builders. In the recent topic on the high prices of illusions, most everyone went on and on about how designers and builders were true geniuses and artists and only their work was worth anything. Is gutting their work the kind honor & of respect they deserve? Does anyone know who can broaden the simile on the Mona Lisa? I'm sure the Louvre wants a better smile on her.
w_s_anderson
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I try to change up my illusions so they don't look like the same stuff everyone else is performing. What is wrong with that?
sb
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It would be interesting for Bill Smith or Craig Dickens, or any of the other pro builders on the Café' to chime in on this. Or for an inventor like Jim Steinmeyer or Kevin James to chime in would be cool too. I bet they would agree that changing things up would be fine by them.

I see nothing wrong with changing the illusion, to make it more your own.

sb
reedrc
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SB: I'm no Steinmeyer or KJ . . . . .but from experience some thoughts

Although I do agree with you profl, if effects are not evolved
and pushed to their limit magic will never change or evolve. You make an
interesting point. And some thoughts to ponder. When is it time to say “this
effect is finished” and when to say its done. I’d say it depends on the piece.
And the audience’s reaction to the effect. My personal opinion and my
observation of the matter is an effect is never finished and is in constant
motion and evolution at all times. I’ve designed and built many large stage
illusions. (As well as small ones) One of which probably a handful of times.
If the effect had not been re-addressed over and over it’d not be the miracle
it is today. Unlike a painting. Which is a stationary piece of art. Magic is a
malleable and in constant state of flux. A good performer should always
be in the pursuit of evolution originality and perfection of whatever piece
he or she is doing. But. When is it time to say one is finished? I feel its
the million dollar question.

Example: In regards to FLYING. I know that the original concept was a far
cry from the final piece. I understand that countless hours and headache
were spent getting the piece right. They were getting to a point where
it just was not working at all. Something simple, and effective was tried
after re-evaluating the situation - and a masterpiece was born. Constant
and pursuit and relentless pursuit of perfection. And that was only the
beginning of the journey. Touring, audience testing, constant filming
and re-evaluating performance and workings - years of evolution and
creation. Thousands and thousands of man hours and hundreds of
thousands of dollars in fabrication, gear and other related items.
If DC or another performer went with the original concept - left it
the way it was it would certainly not be the masterpiece it'd be today.

Another: THE FAN , also went through a great deal of trial. Over a million
was spent on the prop and its development (rumor has it) . Hundreds of
man hours in choreography, staging and testing. Then audience testing.
Its still being changed and modified. (now just done with david and not
two people) Again- other fan illusions - Wyrick, Jet engine props , don't
have HALF the power THE FAN does. Why is this? Time, Energy. And
pursuit of relentless perfection & Evolution.

I'm currently building a new effect. I'd been developing it and working on
the concept for years. Years and years. Got to the point where I could take it
no further. I shelved it for a year. I got married. Got inspired to work on it
again. Drew up the final drawing. I had the look. Now I had to actually design
the thing. Another year went by. The drawings were finished. Now into
pre-visualization. Was and is the most detail I had ever dived into pre-fabrication.

Finally selling the concept. Just to now it'd collectively taken five or six years just
getting the look and the routine correct. It'd been an effect that was special to
me just like fine wine sitting in a barrel waiting for perfect flavor. If I had rushed
it or tried to make it something it was not It would never have been what it was.

Now to the builder. Discovering changes. Structural elements. More changes for
client budget reasons and practicality for touring. A reality of the business.
Always happens when fabrication begins and things evolve.

The thing has not even hit the stage yet. And its been years into development
A few months in fabrication. We'll have the prop in a warehouse for testing.
Then more testing with tech rehearsal, lights, sound, choreography. Possible
modifications and structural changes to the prop additions, removals. Electrical,
physical modifications and changes.

Then audience testing. More changes. More conversation, evolution. Pursuit of perfection.
Could be another few years to perfect it before the owner chooses to put it on TV.

My observation as its literally happening right now to me, as I'm observing the process.

I realize I have not really provided an answer of when to stop the pursuit of relentless
perfection. I'm not sure it ever stops to be honest. As long as the audience is truly
blown away and effected emotionally and on the surface level, and the artist
is always striving for the best in what they do. To be original. To be themselves.
To push the envelope of the magic, to push themselves and the people that work
with them to do things even they thought was impossible.

Our art is a malleable, ever changing entity. Never stationary and will always have
something new and original. Different. Things will be evolved, and changed. Made better.
Sometimes things are overdone - over-thought. Where something should remain simple.
I suppose that's the dichotomy isn't it. . .
TaylorReed
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Thank you Keith. I'm glad you are happy with the prop and I hope it serves you well. It's one of the best Illusions that I've ever had in reguards to being a reputation maker with the lay public.. Jim Steinmeyer is my favorite inventor of magic and he's a great guy. Bill Smith is an excellent builder. Bill says it's not a problem that I do the rebuild for people that want them as long as they are built by him originally. I'm a full time magician and I'm not looking to become a magic builder, but I do build a few illusions per year.

You can't please everyone in our business. My job is to entertain my audience and fool them badly as Jim would say. I did the changes 11 yrs ago and it's served me well. Some may like it and others may not. That's ok. I find that the lay public is very blown away with this version because they know for sure that the girl isn't a stooge.

Even Lance has added a great door to this illusion.. (Change can be good)

Taylor
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w_s_anderson
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Great post Ryan, I couldn't agree with you more. Now on the flip side....here is a live and learn lesson. Before you go "improving" a prop I would advise on getting multiple opinions first. I have a "Modern Art" illusion that has undergone a couple of changes. I made the changes first and then asked what people thought. Jim Steinmeyer flat out said that it was stupid, so did Mark Kalin, and so did Joanie Spina....Now it's pretty tough to try and argue your point with such esteemed critisism. So before I made the next change I consulted before hand....and I think I have made a definate improvement to the Modern Art illusion.
JoyJoy
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Ryan - thanks for your great post. Brainfood.
Best regards,
Karsten


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profl
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Quote:
On 2010-06-18 00:11, TaylorReed wrote in part:
.... Jim Steinmeyer is my favorite inventor of magic and he's a great guy. Bill Smith is an excellent builder. Bill says it's not a problem that I do the rebuild for people that want them as long as they are built by him originally. ....


And TaylorReed what was Jim Steinmeyer's response when you asked him permission to correct your perceived design flaws in his creation before you "gutted" his invention?
sb
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Ryan,

Its interesting that the examples you bring up are Copperfields. Whenever DC would come up with a new illusion in his show, I would watch it and wonder what "would" I do different if I were him. The answer was almost (actually, I think it was in every single case) always: "nothing!"

DC works his routines and props to the point of perfection. Everything has a reason. And that reason is to make the magic the best it can be, and to leave the audience in total disbelief.

When explaining to my crew or dancers how the end product of one of our routines should look, I used to say I wanted the routine to be "Copperfielized" - basically meaning that it is the best it can be.

As a whole magic community, I really think we should all try to do this with everything we do. BTW, I am not sure if any of the routines I do are 100% to where they could be. Magic is a work in progress.

-scott
TaylorReed
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Profl, I have talked with Jim about this a few times over the years. He knows that I like to remodle illusions and he says that once you buy an illusion you can push it off the back of a truck if you would like... If you spend the big bucks buying any Illusion you can repaint it cut it up or use it for fire wood.

Copperfield, S and R and many of the greats have been doing this very thing for years. They buy an illusion and then have there team rethink it and rebuild it to fit there needs.. Tim White that worked for Copperfield for years once said that from the time they got an illusion to the time they played with it and then got it in the show that the illusion would be lucky to even have an original bolt in it before show time...

Just like people buy cars and put different engines in it or a new paint job to be different.

I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to be original... That's what our art is all about. Other wise everyone is all doing the same thing.. I try to change my stuff so that I'm not like every other show in town..

Some people may think that it's an insult to make a change to an illusion, but I would disagree. I have given Jim plenty of money over the years and he's still my favorite magic inventor. I'm sure I'll be buying many more of his effects over the years.

Penndragons changed pole levi and magicians have been doing this for years and yrs.. this isn't an insult to the inventor. They are just making the changes that they have created.

If everyone thought like this, we'd all still be driving 57 Chevy's...

Taylor
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reedrc
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Taylor,
Any possibility of seeing a photo or two of the mods you did to the prop in question? Cheers,

~R
TaylorReed
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I didn't take any photos of it, but I'm sure Keith could.

My prop is in storage and it looks just like mine if you've ever seen mine on youtube.

Thanks
Taylor
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reedrc
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(Just to clarify) I was only asking because I love looking at new or improved gear. One of those folks that love
anything out of the norm in magic, like to learn what people are changing, and learn from those changes Smile
Hope that makes sense.
profl
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Quote:
On 2010-06-18 11:22, TaylorReed wrote:
Profl, I have talked with Jim about this a few times over the years. He knows that I like to remodle illusions and he says that once you buy an illusion you can push it off the back of a truck if you would like... If you spend the big bucks buying any Illusion you can repaint it cut it up or use it for fire wood.


Taylor Reed, since Jim Steinmeyer approves and all seem to endorse it, can I conclude that so long as one pays for any illusion one can do anything they want to do with it including "pushing of the back of a truck? " This is certainly the legal position. Some years ago an artist was in the courts because someone who owned one of his painted refrigerators was planning to cut out the panels and sell them as 3 individual paintings. His lost the case.

Since you, as your immensely satisfied customers attest, have made substantial improvements to the illusion, why do you not just construct the whole illusion? Don't you now have rights to your new illusion? When I compare modern art with zig zag to me, a no nothing, they look the same excepting zig uses 2 blades and moves the middle of three boxes whereas modern art uses one blade and moves the top of 2 boxes; yet Stienmeyer claims rights to it. What I'm really trying to find out is how much do you have to change an existing illusion before you can claim rights to the improved illusions? Since you mentioned 57 Chevy , can I expand by saying the different year Chevys have distinct rights and apply that reasoning to illusions?

earnestly trying to learn about so called magic ethics,
Richard(USA)

p,s. I wish I were still driving a 57 Chevy! Wikepedia says "the value of meticulously restored '57 Chevy convertibles was as high as $100,000."
paraguppie
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Wow, I didn't think I would be starting a war on here, just thanking Taylor for his hard work on my illusion. I thought everyone should know how easy he was to work with and how cool the illusion came out.

I guess I should have started off with "Taylor has Bill Smith's permission..." or something along those lines.

Taylor has bent over backwards to make sure it is okay with Bill and Jim to modify this prop. Taylor and I talked in length about all the modifications and they are ALL WITH BLESSING from the orginal prop builders and inventors.

So enough about "rights" to the prop. Taylor has the ok to modify this prop, end of story.

I will post pics of it when time allows, it's worth seeing!

Truth be told, I always thought the Mona Lisa was ugly!

Keith
Check us out at www.magickeith.com
Falconer
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Taylor Reed and all freinds in this post

Hi!

I fully agree with changes to the originals provided they pay the rights to the creators for the idea or original concept.

With no offense to the creators, some of his inventions are far more deceptive wiht great changes like Taylor Reed did with his Audience Dis-member.

Falconer
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TaylorReed
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Reedrc,, No problem.. I noticed that you don't have a way to PM>>

Taylor
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reedrc
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Your the second person to mention that / any idea how I change that? I got your FB message - sent a reply

- Think I got it is it workin now?
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I think a little fine tuning is to be expected with many illusions. Each performer has different demands with props and I've done work on just about all my pieces.

That's about as far as that goes though, when you start reworking the whole thing .. you're messing with an artists work. I would almost look at it as an insult if my illusion was re-worked into something else.

You have to look at it from the designers view ..

Steve
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Steve, I didn't change the effect. The final outcome of sawing a lady in half is still the same... The last I heard, you said that you wanted to make some changes to an Aud Dismember when you get one..

If anyone else has any thing to say to me in reguards to this effect, feel free to call me @ 979-482-0714 or e-mail me @ taylor@taylorreed.com
Thank you all for your comments Good or bad.

I never said that my way was better than the original... I think they both have there place.

Taylor
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Christopher Starr
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I find Taylor's modification to the Audience Dismember to be a substantial improvement. I can't see where Mr. Steinmeyer would be upset. Plus, any Audience Dismember that Taylor would work on was first made by Bill Smith, and all rights paid to Jim in the process. I say this as an owner of an Audience Dismember. If I could afford to I'd have Taylor modify mine.

My 2¢

CS
Blogging: Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few Smile
gulamerian
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Profl wrote "So much for respecting the genius and artistry of illusion designers & builders. In the recent topic on the high prices of illusions, most everyone went on and on about how designers and builders were true geniuses and artists and only their work was worth anything. Is gutting their work the kind honor & of respect they deserve?

It has nothing to do with lack of respect for the work that has been done. It is about change. Let's look at the history of the Sawing a Girl in Half. First there was The Selbit Sawing, then Goldin's Box Sawing, followed by The Wakeling Sawing, then The Thin Model, followed by The Transparent Boxes.

Each took from the past to make improvments on the illusion. Weather you agree with the improvements is another matter. The fact is magic is always changing.
Chezaday
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Yes, I do have a few alterations to this very illusion if I ever add it to the show.

I'm just saying in general .. that a designer is an artist in his field. Any "improvements" could be taken as an insult. Look at it as a work of art, you wouldn't dare improve on the Mona Lisa .. would you?

Steve
profl
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Quote:
On 2010-06-19 12:55, gulamerian wrote:
Profl wrote "So much for respecting the genius and artistry of illusion designers & builders. In the recent topic on the high prices of illusions, most everyone went on and on about how designers and builders were true geniuses and artists and only their work was worth anything. Is gutting their work the kind honor & of respect they deserve?

It has nothing to do with lack of respect for the work that has been done. It is about change. Let's look at the history of the Sawing a Girl in Half. First there was The Selbit Sawing, then Goldin's Box Sawing, followed by The Wakeling Sawing, then The Thin Model, followed by The Transparent Boxes.

Each took from the past to make improvments on the illusion. Weather you agree with the improvements is another matter. The fact is magic is always changing.


My post was not initiated by objection to "change;" rather it was about "gutting" the EXISTING work of an artist. Perhaps I'm too influenced by Howard Roark of Ayn Rand's Fountainhead in my respect for the artist's creations. My follow-up even indirectly urged the construction from scratch of a improved/changed illusion, thus I'm clearly not anti-change. Your example of sawings isn't apt to my point. The more relevant example would be to take an EXISTING blade box such as http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc232......09_2.jpg and gut it by cutting it in half so it could be separated and covering up the blow off windows.

I would have thought that with so much vocal support for and defense of illusion "rights" expressed on this forum, that most would defend against the "gutting" of an artist's creation. Since Steinmeyer/Bill Smith are only concerned with the money, go ahead and "push it off the back of the truck."

Is Chezaday, whose lovely created blade box is pictured, the only true artist who views his creation as an extension of his soul rather than a cash commodity?
Pakar Ilusi
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One thing seems to be lost in your argument, profl... The "Magic".

I think the more important thing is how the effect plays to the Audience.

That's why you have a Magic Prop onstage...

The "Magic" it helps to convey to the Audience. If it helps to "gut" the prop to achieve a better effect, why not? The Prop is really just a means to an end.

A Magic Illusion Prop is an apparatus, not a painting. You don't put it somewhere to be "looked at". You put it in a Show to create the Illusion of "Magic".

Imho...

Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
tropicalillusions
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Not to take sides, but I think profl is saying no problem to gutting a prop for "Yourself" but you notice they bring up cash commodity, in other words to change for yourself is good to fit your style or theme of things. but then to do it for monetary gain from another artist original creation ?? wow this gets deep. I do dove work, but then I change a Dove harness up a bit, do I sell the dove harness as my new creation ???? I say no problem when doing your own show with an adapted original that you bought. or if you take thew prop out of your show, then sell it on the market because now it doesn't fit into your program. But does that ,, open up a new can of worms as well?? curious as to your thoughts folks.

but I also have to remember , these folks had permission from the creator ( artist) so now,,, the artist needs to set this standard for us to follow, they need to buck up and say Heck no you cant modify,or go with the permission format. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
w_s_anderson
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Wow...this is getting real interesting! I am torn. While I agree completely with Pakar Ilusi, I also see what Tropicalillusions is saying. If the illusion designers OK it than I really see no harm. I am sure Mr. Reed is not making much of a profit on these modifications (not that it would be bad if he did), or at least enough to consider what he is doing a "cash commodity."
reedrc
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Richard (profil) Nothing personal in my words below, I feel you bring up some good things, My intent in these next words are not to offend you. Or anyone.

Paraguppie's post has been totally hijacked, seems to have gone from intelligent conversation and interesting observation to something else entirely. Wondering what the agenda is here . . We're talking apple's and oranges. High end professional Illusion design and fabrication and talk of a re-worked blade box as an example of new and original evolved magic??!! What does new and original magic designed by an inventor, sold to a client, the client working with that designer or "artist" getting permission to evolve that effect, have to do with anything. In my eyes it doesn't. The Fountainhead's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision.

I feel this example does not apply to the I L L U S I O N and M A G I C industry. Maybe in the early 1949 when buildings were in the era of staunch simplicity architecture would apply and the industry of ARCHITECTURE's popular pressures and economic implications. Even back in the 1940's inventors were working to push the envelope and working with their clients: THE PERFORMERS, to evolve that art, and apparatus.

Isaac Newton: " If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants."

I feel many high end and popular designers are already doing this. When a client PAYS for your artistic direction the thought that it would never be evolved is totally ridiculous. Anyone who has done high end magic, done anything new or purchased and worked on evolving something from pencil to paper to the shop to the stage will understand this. A collaborative effort.

Evolution of magic and this sacred artistry has for the most part been that of COLLABORATION, not of obscurity and artistic personal vision. Example. The modern levitation now F L Y I N G (I've referenced this from the Thurston workbooks tonight)

1900 Nevil Maskelyne, then to Dekolta who was the first to do levitation with a fan of wire, Keller pinched then purchased finally from Maskelyine, further developed and evolved the illusion who then left it to successor Thurston who evolved it and modified it with a change with Servais Leroy's Ashra. And so - on and so- on and so- on. More recently Johnny Gauhan and his fly rig. (among other's, the foy flying which took a totally different approach then the fan concept) Point is.

The artist and consultant (of the present day-and the past even) is normally a collaboration of new and original material of ingredients passed down from the founding fathers of magic , evolved into many unimaginable different variations and changes from magicians, designers and illusionists.

To tell it like an artist : "the gaull of anyone to change a precious painting" (Even with permission) makes no sense at all , and from my observation is not has has not been the way this industry has functions.

Anyone with the attitude of "Howard Roark" who is individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision, seems like someone who would not be a TEAM PLAYER, and someone personally I would not like to collaborate with. I suspect working professional magicians and illusionists would agree with this. The story may have worked for 1940 era architecture. But magic has always been a cutting edge pursuit for perfection and inspiration to inspire and change the world of illusion. Evolution & relentless perfection of what we know magic is. And will be. This industry is of flexibility, collaboration and evolution. Without it nothing would get done.

Magic & illusion will always be a collaborative experience, not that of staunch ownership. Now. With this said there are MANY folks who DO play the ownership card and refuses to collaborate or work with their clients to evolve or to change I feel in these situations the individual fails. Or relationships end. Effects don't and will never reach full potential.

So. Just my thought but wondering what this has to do with the original topic. Originally I thought your question posed was interesting and intelligent but after ranting on and on about nonsense I'm wondering how this had anything to do with an effect evolved with permission from its creator.

Some folks would be qualified to make these evolutions. Others in their child like adolescence, and not their true understanding of high end design and fabrication or staging would not understand. Which is why totally moot points and questions would be posed. I truly mean no disrespect to anyone, or to quench opinion, questions or intelligent conversation. In writing this I truly apologize if I've offended anyone. It was not my intent at all.

Now. An intelligent conversation about how much do you have to change an existing illusion before you can claim rights to the improved prop.Its a tough and long conversation. One I'm willing to pose all day with you, as I'm positive a major builder or a marquee designer like Jim Steinmeyer or Mark Parker, or Don Wayne would be happy to explain the history and evolution to. But:

Beyond what the original post is about: The poor guy has permission from a reputable creator and builder. Two of which have been and are this era's high end artists and collaborators. Not sure there is much more to say about the subject at hand . .. . Other than possibly to create your own topic and pose the question:

How much do you have to change an existing illusion before you can claim rights to the improved prop.

Might be interesting , in its own topic .
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Quote:
On 2010-06-20 01:52, reedrc wrote in part:
Richard (profil) Nothing personal in my words below, I feel you bring up some good things, My intent in these next words are not to offend you. Or anyone.

Paraguppie's post has been totally hijacked, seems to have gone from intelligent conversation and interesting observation to something else entirely. Wondering what the agenda is here . . We're talking apple's and oranges. High end professional Illusion design and fabrication and talk of a re-worked blade box as an example of new and original evolved magic??!! What does new and original magic designed by an inventor, sold to a client, the client working with that designer or "artist" getting permission to evolve that effect, have to do with anything. In my eyes it doesn't. The Fountainhead's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision.
....

Ryan C. Reed, no offense taken and none intended. I greatly appreciate your thoughtful comments. I do have an agenda. I'm a new, know nothing user, who until this past holiday season never witnessed, nor desired to witness, magic either live or on TV. Unfortunately this past Christmas I contacted a serious & persistent malady: illusionitis. It may be incurable and only the palliative therapy of participating will be helpful. Not even in my dreams would I consider performing; therefore, designing/construction maybe my only option. I'm trying to start by building upon a foundation of magic ethics, but in reading this forum the sand keeps shifting under my feet. I need some brightlines to shore up my foundation. So please do not be offended if I ask for some. I am not posting for any Diogenesian purpose.

Ryan C. Reed , your example of Flying illustrates well the shifting sand I'm encountering. Your historical recounting of Flying makes perfect sense to me until I read Gaughan (#5354238) who only specially acknowledges Foy.

Another is your comment, “Magic & illusion will always be a collaborative experience, not that of staunch ownership” But I read in IBM Code of ethics: “3) Recognize and respect for rights of the creators, inventors, authors, and owners of magic concepts, presentations, effects and literature, and their rights to have exclusive use of, or to grant permission for the use by others of such creations.”

Please, Ryan C. Reed, I am not challenging your foregoing excellent points; I'm citing them only to illustrate how difficult it is for a know nothing to know something.

Richard(USA)
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