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Topic: DVD's and Books that don't teach all of the sleights necessary for the effect
Message: Posted by: echojet (Jan 3, 2012 09:01PM)
Has anyone else had this problem?
You buy a DVD or book to learn an effect. The DVD or book assumes that you already know a sleight or move (crucial) to being able to perform the effect, and they don't teach the sleight or move on their product. Therefore you can't do the effect you purchased to learn how to do.
My thinking is this. There are beginners and there are pros. You purchase a DVD or book to learn an effect. The product should show how to do (everything) required to do the effect.ie: the sleights and moves
It should not be assumed that we already know, what we purchased to be taught.
One DVD recently purchased stated at the beginning that the move would be explained later at the end of the DVD in the appendix. There wasn't an appendix or an explanation.
I have tried to make my inquiry within the rules of the Café and I will not mention any product names.
Interested in anyone's thoughts on this.
Message: Posted by: longhaired1 (Jan 3, 2012 09:51PM)
If I buy instructions on how to build a fence I don't expect basic hammering and sawing instructions to be included. I think it's fair for the producer of the material to assume a certain level of proficiency on the part of the purchaser.

Per you proposal, every book or DVD would be required to include a basic primer on sleights. Not warranted in my opinion.
Message: Posted by: echojet (Jan 3, 2012 10:17PM)
Thank you for your reply Longhair.
Not sure what you mean by "a basic primer on sleights". Everyone has a different level of what they would consider basic as well. The sleights I refer to are a bit more than "hammering or sawing ie: cutting a deck or using ones favorite method to control a card. All I ask is to show how to do the moves required for the effect. How does someone learn how to be proficient, if not through the (instructional) products that they buy?
Anyway, I really do appreciate your opinion and I thank you for it.
Message: Posted by: longhaired1 (Jan 3, 2012 10:32PM)
If the sleight that is required is rare or esoteric then I think it's best and the right thing to do that those requirements are disclosed in advance. It's hard to say if that is the case since you are, understandably, doing your best to not bash the producer of the video. Maybe you could tell us specifically which move or sleight is required. Does it have a specific name for instance?
Message: Posted by: echojet (Jan 3, 2012 11:16PM)
It is not rare. But if you don't know how to do it , well that's why one buys (instructional) DVD's. As I mentioned , the person on one of the products in question thought it was important enough to promise to teach it at the end of the DVD. But didn't. I would rather not mention the sleight. I feel it would point towards the product.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 3, 2012 11:34PM)
I seem to recall some dealers used to rank the effects in their catalogs as beginner, intermediate, advanced. This not only should apply to the actual difficulty, but the the background assumed. Doing so might help keep the inexperienced from biting off more than they can chew. Part of the problem is that so much magic is sold via the internet, where few sellers actually care, whereas in the past, the dealer could assess someone's capabilities and guide them toward purchases geared to their level. Every beginning guitarist wants to play Stairway to Heaven before they have learned proper technique. Students need a teacher who can not only teach, but restrain excess enthusiasm.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Jan 4, 2012 01:06AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-03 22:01, echojet wrote:
You purchase a DVD or book to learn an effect. The product should show how to do (everything) required to do the effect.ie: the sleights and moves
[/quote]Not at all. Besides the basic moves noted above, some moves are not theirs to teach. Far too many inexperienced and/or younger product producers feel it just fine to teach what is not theirs to teach as long as they credit the original source. In essence such people are stip mining the giants upon whose shoulders they stand.

Now... it should be clearly communicated that either "Some moves necessary are not taught as they are not ours to teach and we don't steal from other inventors." or purchasers should be familiar with xyz before purchasing.

In the past all four of the brick and mortar magic shops I grew up with filled that purpose. Now folks are buying stuff off the Internet, and ignore the brick and mortar resource. I have little sympathy for them. Those who abandon the structure of the past, face the future at their own risk.

Just my crochety old opinion.
Message: Posted by: echojet (Jan 4, 2012 01:25AM)
Yes, effects are still rated for difficulty. And you assume incorrectly that I have "bitten off more than I can chew, nor do I have excess enthusiasm." if that is what you were implying. I have been doing magic for over 30 years and have only recently experienced this problem. I feel the point is being missed. My point is that, if given the instruction that was paid for. At any difficulty level. I am more than capable of doing what is required. I am not a novice or a beginner, I simply do not know every sleight and feel that if one sells an ... and I stress ...(instructional) DVD to teach an effect. Then that is what should be done. Teach the effect that was purchased in it's entirety. Does a sponge ball DVD not show you how to do a pass? That is about as basic as it gets.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 4, 2012 11:11AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 02:25, echojet wrote:
Yes, effects are still rated for difficulty. And you assume incorrectly that I have "bitten off more than I can chew, nor do I have excess enthusiasm." if that is what you were implying. I have been doing magic for over 30 years and have only recently experienced this problem. I feel the point is being missed. My point is that, if given the instruction that was paid for. At any difficulty level. I am more than capable of doing what is required. I am not a novice or a beginner, I simply do not know every sleight and feel that if one sells an ... and I stress ...(instructional) DVD to teach an effect. Then that is what should be done. Teach the effect that was purchased in it's entirety. Does a sponge ball DVD not show you how to do a pass? That is about as basic as it gets.
[/quote]

echojet,

Please understand that my post was anything but directed at you. I was not implying any lack of experience or credibility on your part. I was pointing to the problem on a large scale, and in doing so am placing the blame on those who sell indiscriminately via the internet. My intent was to offer some form of assistance that would aid ANY who might end up buying something that did not deliver to their expectations, at least in the regard of any fore-knowledge that one must have in order to use their purchase to its intended application.

If the DVD overtly stated, or even implied that some info would be revealed, and then was not, I'd have no problem going back to the source with a complaint. Hopefully, you've been able to do that.

That being said, there is an assumption within the literature (electronic or otherwise) that certain basic knowledge is commonplace. It would be assumed that anyone attempting to learn geometry had first become familiar with basic multiplication. Granted, there is a lot of variance in where that line of assumption is. Authors and other media producers are not created equal.

I believe it would help if such instructional works did at the very least mention what basic knowledge was necessary, if that information was not to be taught. I'm not sure though, that a DVD on sponge balls need go step by step to teach a pass. It is not unreasonable to assume that anyone buying a DVD on sponge balls had also bought a set of sponge balls, where the information is found. If this was a case where everything was sold as a set and there indeed was no instructions for a basic pass, then yes, this is a fault that should be pointed out.
Message: Posted by: echojet (Jan 4, 2012 12:49PM)
Fellas, I would like to thank all of you for your input and your time. It is much appreciated. Michael , you make some very good points.
Thank you,
Message: Posted by: longhaired1 (Jan 4, 2012 07:20PM)
Echojet,

I'll just add that I hope you walk in to every used book store you see and head towards the magic section. More bang for your buck than most other sources.

That's exactly how I met Paul Chosse, and that was a bonus.
Message: Posted by: vinh31 (Jan 5, 2012 02:03AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-03 22:51, longhaired1 wrote:
If I buy instructions on how to build a fence I don't expect basic hammering and sawing instructions to be included. I think it's fair for the producer of the material to assume a certain level of proficiency on the part of the purchaser.
[/quote]
Just a funny image that popped in my mind reading your comment...
I imagined a book with a disclaimer on the cover "Warning: product requires basic reading level".
Then you ask for refund because you could not read the disclaimer and of course thought that there would be only pictures in the book.
Message: Posted by: AlexB (Jun 9, 2012 11:15AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 12:11, Michael Baker wrote:

I believe it would help if such instructional works did at the very least mention what basic knowledge was necessary, if that information was not to be taught.
[/quote]

Of course, in practice, there is a huge problem in doing that, since it might more or less completely expose the trick. If you have seen the performance and then somebody gave you a list of moves that are used, you probably wouldn't have to buy the DVD any more.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jun 9, 2012 12:58PM)
[quote]
On 2012-06-09 12:15, AlexB wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-01-04 12:11, Michael Baker wrote:

I believe it would help if such instructional works did at the very least mention what basic knowledge was necessary, if that information was not to be taught.
[/quote]

Of course, in practice, there is a huge problem in doing that, since it might more or less completely expose the trick. If you have seen the performance and then somebody gave you a list of moves that are used, you probably wouldn't have to buy the DVD any more.
[/quote]

I think you may have misinterpreted my post... so allow me to clarify.

The world will always have its share of thieves. Adopting a more optimistic stance though, advisory statements would probably lead to better customer satisfaction, even when preventing someone from jumping in too far over their head. It would advise any potential buyer of the basic knowledge needed, not necessarily the exact sleights required. If a product were to state that it is either beginner level, intermediate, or advanced, then that buyer would know going into it if he should buy it or not. If not, they'd learn about themselves fairly quickly, and be better equipped the next time they make a purchase. Lessons are learned with varying degrees of harshness.

Many will play safe, and stick within their level. The adventurous might decide to ramp up their skills by tackling something over their current skill level. But, in most of those cases they would also willingly accept that they will have to likely advance their skills overall. The enthusiastic student does that all the time. It's called accepting a challenge. Acquiring additional information, usually from peripheral sources, is commonplace when one wishes to advance their knowledge. Anyone assuming that all their knowledge will advance through a single source needs a different kind of education.

On the other hand, there will be those who ONLY see the demo video, and inject themselves into the role of the magician, without understanding the difference between reality and an unrealized fantasy. This is not to say that they cannot advance their education and skill level, but in some of those cases, I suspect that a narcissistic attitude will cause them to get ticked off because the world doesn't stop to wait for their ignorance to catch up.

Simple, semi-standardized code systems would act as a guide in much the same way as TV and movie rating systems attempt to do. But, even those are only what people make of them.

When a product is released that is contrary to this simple system of fairness, or fails to live up to what it states it will, then it should of course be flagged to alert others from falling into the same pit. The best way to educate a producer of a product is through their wallet. They will get it right the first time, change when there are problems, or fail completely. Not much leeway.
Message: Posted by: AlexB (Jun 9, 2012 01:42PM)
[quote]
On 2012-06-09 13:58, Michael Baker wrote:
If a product were to state that it is either beginner level, intermediate, or advanced, then that buyer would know going into it if he should buy it or not.
[/quote]

I completely agree with that. However, the way I understood the OP, such a label would not have helped him. After 30 years of experience with magic, he would not be deterred by a product being "advanced". But he would want to be informed in advance of a particular move that is required, yet not taught. And if I was a producer, I wouldn't want to do that for the above stated reasons. I don't see a particularly good way out (teaching all the moves, even the ones that the producer considers "basic" does not seem to be the optimal solution to me).
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jun 9, 2012 02:14PM)
I'm not saying that his full complaint is reasonable. Perhaps he is asking for too much. But, he did also state that in one instance, the DVD claimed to include certain things, but did not. That would be (IMO) a legitimate complaint.

I think we are splitting hairs to no good end. I still believe a simple statement of basic genre would advise potential buyers, as would something that might indicate best choice of venue, i.e., stage, close-up, etc. These would in a sense be reverse disclaimers. What other choices might there be? Maybe a statement that says, "If you are a total buffoon, too cheap or lazy to do some homework, or get p***ed off easily, then the manufacturer assumes no responsibility for your problems with this product resulting from those things."
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 9, 2012 05:45PM)
I like that, Michael...
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Jun 9, 2012 08:01PM)
There are basic sleights that are available easily and are the basics necessary to do much of what one finds in books, etc. It's just not possible to cover and cover again things that should be a general level of knowledge AND skill.

Then there are very hard to find, 'esoteric' in many cases, sleights, moves, etc. that really should be included in a book or on a video if they are necessary to a particular trick.

But, it is also true that 'buying' material beyond your level of competence is also a necessary that you find out 'what' it is you do not know. You then look for that information. Even the most esoteric sleights if they are covered in a place that IS accessible should not be covered over and over.

I remember buying used copies of Routined Manipulation by Lewis Ganson as a 16 year old. There was a card routine that needed a Paul Curry Turnover Change. They did not explain. AHHHHHHHHHHH!! About two years later I saw a magician DO what I knew contextually HAD to be the Curry Turnover Change. I asked him if it was. He refused to tell me. I was bummed. A few months later I bought Harry Loranyne's Close-up Card Magic. One of my all time favorite books. Guess what the entire last chapter covered? Yep.

Even today with more information on magic available than ever it's still necessary to wait at times to find something out. But, knowing the technique is OUT there is half the battle.

Best,
Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Jun 26, 2012 10:39PM)
I have come across more than a few sold effects that have this same problem. And I am not referring to "basic sleights". A very good magic creator/author who is often here on the Café has pretty much lost me as a customer for this issue. His ebooks, which often contain only one or two effects or routines, seem to always have a good three or four less commonly used counts or sleights required and yet he doesn’t have permission to teach them. I always look to see where I can learn those and all too often they are only available in books that cost anywhere from $60 - $80 new all the way up to several hundred for OOP books! Then there are those who do get permission to include the teaching of additional sleights in their own works, and I appreciate that greatly.

BTW I do have a relatively small magic library but it consists of more than 150 books and 300 DVDs. Many of the3 books are OOP and cost well over $100. I would estimate that I've spent a good $4,000 or more on my books and something similar to that on DVDs. They cover a lot of the so-called classics of magic, but they just don’t cover it all. I performed coin magic primarily for a long time but hardly touched cards at all. Now that I am learning that end, I am not knowledgeable in all the counts, moves, etc. (And yes, I do have Jerry Mentzer's book on that!)

I don’t necessarily expect ebook authors to state up front exactly what sleights you are required to know in advance, but it would be nice if they at least call out the less common ones that will be fairly expensive to learn. In the end, though, I do find out who I will definitely not be buying from in the future this way!

Thanks!

Jim