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Topic: How can/should we help?
Message: Posted by: EscapeMaster (Nov 26, 2004 04:45PM)
So, are now the insiders not interested in supporting good and young performers? I see several on here. In my opinion, beginner escapers should expand avenues not done.

Future aren't they? Who has advice to them? Instigate them some support. Help out real triers. Come on. Cease 'king' calling. It's about our future. Underestimtate children & kids, you overestimate us.
Message: Posted by: MarkTripp (Nov 26, 2004 05:22PM)
On 2004-11-26 17:45, EscapeMaster wrote:
So, are now the insiders not interested in supporting good and young performers? I see several on here. In my opinion, beginner escapers should expand avenues not done.

Future aren't they? Who has advice to them? Instigate them some support. Help out real triers. Come on. Cease 'king' calling. It's about our future. Underestimtate children & kids, you overestimate us.

But the problem is, they are kids.

Escapes are like graduate work in the art of magic. They should not be attempted until you have "paid your dues" mastering the basic art and craft of magic first.

EVERY successful escape artist did it that way. They didn't try and jump over the law of progression.

There have been far too many young people injured and even killed trying to out Houdini Houdini, who I might add also paid his dues as a magician until he grew into the role.

Face it, if you can't present a card trick, you sure can't present an escape.

The truth is, there is plenty of advice in here, but it isn't what people want to hear. They want to hear that there is some short cut to success; like challenging others to an escape duel or other such sillyness.

The truer the truth, the truer the friend who tells it to you.

Begin at the beginning, and all things tend to fall in place.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Nov 26, 2004 05:36PM)
I agree with Mark's concern about kids getting in over their head and getting hurt. They should always go slow, and we as adults must guide them accordingly.

At the same time, though, I should point out that I STARTED with escapes and did not learn to do a decent card trick until long after I had learned to do some decent escapes.

Still, I started slow, and had good guidance from a few magicians who did escapes. I started with simple rope ties and handcuff escapes (using my own cuffs at first), gradually building up to challenge handcuffs, straitjacket and more spectacular escapes.

I started at 13, and did not offer, publically, to accept handcuff challenges until I was 19. I also did not attempt any underwater work before that age.

It is possible to start with escapes, and never perform any other form of magic, but slow and cautious are the obvious bywords while learning the art.

Message: Posted by: MarkTripp (Nov 26, 2004 07:34PM)
On 2004-11-26 18:36, Dr_Stephen_Midnight wrote:

It is possible to start with escapes, and never perform any other form of magic, but slow and cautious are the obvious bywords while learning the art.



Possible sir, is not probable. I will still say that one does not begin at the ending.

Not if they expect real success at this, or any performing effort.
Message: Posted by: pastorclyde (Nov 26, 2004 08:28PM)
I have put together a series of Escape Artist courses for this very reason; to help newbies get on board. The courses provide the student with all the equipment they need for the enclosed escapes. Each course presents some of the basics of performance and some for escapes. The course leads them through progressive steps each with a performance goal and an escape goal. A brief performance is constructed to help the student think along the lines of effective performances and to give them a structure within which they can begin to gain some practice and experience. Five such courses now exist.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Nov 26, 2004 10:08PM)
PastorClyde Please PM Me on The Courses. Don,
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Nov 27, 2004 08:07AM)
As usual, Mark, we will have to agree to disagree.

Message: Posted by: AJP807 (Nov 27, 2004 08:15AM)
I saw one or more of these courses on Ebay, Pastor Clyde. I must say that I was pretty impressed. Great going sir!
Best regards, Tony Parisi
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Nov 27, 2004 08:18AM)
For the sake of others, though, I must ask: why must one learn sleight-of-hand, illusions or some other form of magic before one can learn escapology?

This is like the old school belief that a student must learn Latin in order to be successful in an academic career.

One does not have to learn violin to play the piano, though one should learn to read music.

One does not have to learn oil painting to sculpt, though one should learn to draw.

If there is a prliminary to any performing art, be it mystery entertainment or anything else, I might suggest that the preliminary be Acting.

One does not have to learn the double-lift to practice escapes, though one should learn to act.

Anyone else have an opinion on this?

Message: Posted by: pastorclyde (Nov 27, 2004 08:35AM)
Thanks Tony. That is course one. I'm printing boxes, etc for the follow-up courses. You'll see them on eBay as well with time. Fist reports back is that folks find them helpful and that they want to keep going in escapology.
Message: Posted by: MarkTripp (Nov 27, 2004 02:43PM)
On 2004-11-27 09:07, Dr_Stephen_Midnight wrote:
As usual, Mark, we will have to agree to disagree.


Indeed, and we do.

<<<For the sake of others, though, I must ask: why must one learn sleight-of-hand, illusions or some other form of magic before one can learn escapology?>>>

For the same reason the old timers were told to learn the pass first. You couldn't jump ahead, and the effort told people if you were serious or not.

You might have noticed no one has died while learning the pass

<<<This is like the old school belief that a student must learn Latin in order to be successful in an academic career.>>>

Flummery sir. The reason it was taught was to train the mind. It didn't hurt me any.

<<<One does not have to learn violin to play the piano, though one should learn to read music.>>>

Well, first, to quote the Professor "If you can't handle the area of a close up pad, odds are you will never manage a stage". He had it right.

There is a law of progesssion to the learning process. Better to learn those rules on simple things that have less chance of failure or injury.

<<<One does not have to learn oil painting to sculpt, though one should learn to draw.>>>

More flummery. In point of fact the only way one becomes an "artist" as you reference it here, is through long training and study of many forms. The basic "eye" must still be taught and brought forth.

<<<If there is a prliminary to any performing art, be it mystery entertainment or anything else, I might suggest that the preliminary be Acting.>>>

Of course, this goes without saying and is stating the obvious.

<<<One does not have to learn the double-lift to practice escapes, though one should learn to act.>>>

Sorry, we differ right here. The self-mastery needed to master that slight of hand pays well when its needed for other things... such as getting keys and picks past observant eyes.

It was good enough for Houdini, Hardeen, Randi, Steve Baker, Burling Hull, Viano, John Novak, and many more....

....but why not tell me what MAJOR STAR of escapes, skiped over their magic lessons?

<<<Anyone else have an opinion on this?>>>

Yep, and that was mine.
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Nov 27, 2004 09:22PM)
I am recalling a stupid and unnecessary death that occured some years ago when a young EA failed to make his escape from a death trap he himself had set up. The death was blamed on rust in the locks that prevented his high speed picking. I am sure anyone of you, looking at the same stunt, would think of a dozen outs that should have prevented the death. Mine (most basic) he should not have have been dependant on picks. There are other simpler ways when your life is on the line.

My point is this. I don't know if I agree that an EA needs to pay dies in sleight of hand or illusion, but he sure better pay his dues in the escape field. Starting slow like Dr. Stephen said.

Did you all hear the story of John Wayne Gacy's only victem to escape alive? Gacy told him he was going to show him a stunt with a pair of trick handcuffs. When he had the fellow locked in he told him that that trick was that you needed the key to get out. He then began to touch the fellow. The fellow bolted, grabbed the key and got loose.

Imagine if it had been a straight jacket, or some other form of restraint? Learn easy first. Here is a real simple way to see it. We all know the rule in magic that one day you will mess up and blow a trick? in escapes it is at best a disaster.
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Nov 27, 2004 10:14PM)
Hi all people start with a basically empty mind which is filled with many thoughts, theories and concepts. From what anyone learns they normally take the best information and use it accordingly. Some don't and to there own fate they go.

I prefer to say, learn as much as you can and then take and refined the best of many things as your knowledge expands. In escapes one has to start at a beginning ( from the unknown to the known) and work to adding more each time. No one book or one person can teach you everything as many have already said. Start simply and work your way up, it as easy as anything else we learn through our lives.

Seeing many of the negatives of this art is one of the best teachers. Don't do what others have foolishly done before and stay healthy and alive.

Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Nov 27, 2004 10:31PM)
What a great thread! I also will premise that I am only an observer/fan of escapes, nothing further. Furthermore, I am a firm believer in the teacher/student relationship.

One problem I see (even though I am a kid to many people) is that kids today don't understand the word or concept of humility. I often found when I opened my ears and shut my mouth, my elders would give more insight than I could ask for. I can only assume that this would be true of up and coming escape artists if they would apply it. By today's culture standards, we live in a "get it now" world. Some unfortunately do not understand that when your life is involved, the old school may be more beneficial.

I have always liked the double-edged quote, "Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens."
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Nov 28, 2004 10:02AM)
Face it Mark, you are labeling everything I say as 'flummery' because you have a bone to pick with me, personally, since I often lock horns with you.

I started with escapes, am alive and well, and haven't done too badly with the art. I'm sure there are other escape artists who can say the same. That by itself indicates that you are pushing this issue beyond reason.

Since everyone knows both your and my opinions, I would again be curious to hear others have to say.

Message: Posted by: James Peters (Nov 28, 2004 11:57AM)
Well, I started with escapes, and never really performed anything else (at least not in the magical sense of the word). I also know a few others over here in the UK that have done the same, and are doing well.

When I do magic ... I'm a bit naff (ok, ok ... very very naff) ... but when I escape the audience crowd all around (I mainly do street entertainment).

The thing with the street is, unless you captivate people, they walk on. (and in fairness, a couple of times that has happened to me, albeit not in a long while).

I think that the main pre-requisite is "stage ability" rather than earning your spurs with magic.

That said ... an appreciation of danger is vital. It's just too easy to make a mistake.

That's why UKEA was set-up ... to help the beginners get the right advice, and help them to mature more quickly.

All the best,

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Nov 28, 2004 01:07PM)
We need a UKJEA here in the States. Don,
Message: Posted by: KerryJK (Nov 28, 2004 05:34PM)
I have to say, I don't get this "learn card tricks or die" angle. Since when was putting yourself in danger a part of learning basic skills? You can learn handcuff theory (which incidently I learnt not off a magician but from an off-duty policeman with real and applied knowledge of handcuffs - more fool me, I guess), rope work and the like without jumping off a bridge or setting up a deathtrap, and quite frankly anyone who does jump into a lethal situation without having any idea of what they are doing is probably better off out of the gene pool.

The most genuinely dangerous trick I do is a juggling trick involving three genuine (sharp) kitchen knives and three apples (it's a version of "eating the apple"), and it wouldn't have occurred to me to attempt that until I'd built up to it with covered blades first, and only then when I'd been juggling clubs for long enough for it to be second nature. Jugglers start out with balls and then clubs, not flaming torches and chainsaws. Why is it assumed that beginning escapologists are any different?

Unfortunately as human stupidity knows no bounds there are idiots who will get carried away, but to judge everyone who shows an interest by the moronic few (who probably aren't the ones asking anyway - they must think it's easy if they're willing to gamble their lives on it) and arrogantly dismiss the simplest query is not the answer to the problem. Put simply, the idiots will do it anyway, I for one would rather they had some point of reference to dissuade them doing anything stupid and dying of ignorance (OK, so my remark about them being better off out of the gene pool was perhaps a little flippant, but I'm sure you already knew that), so full marks to UKEA for providing exactly that.
Message: Posted by: james_magic (Nov 28, 2004 06:09PM)
Hey all,
Interesting topic here. I'm 18 in less than a month so I'm still considered quite young. I've been doing magic since I was about 8 years old. At no point did I decide to try a 'death-defying escape', since I knew that you need practice and had to start somewhere and progress.

Helen is right when she mentions juggling knives. I juggle genuine kitchen knives and have been able to do so since I was quite young. There is no way that I would have been stupid enough to say "Hmmm, I want to juggle, how about I try some knives!" I learnt to juggle balls, then clubs, then the knives with covers that I made up to put on the blades, and finally without the covers.

Although, I can totally agree that in these times, children and teenagers want to try things without building up their skill and knowledge, they expect it to be instantaneous.

But you can't classify the majority based on a few. Sure some people aren't serious and they just want to do some really dangerous stunt because it would be cool. You can normally tell by the way they act, whether they are serious or not.
Very interesting topic though.

Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Nov 29, 2004 01:38AM)
I agree to both points. You do not need to learn magic to do escapes, in the same way as you do not need to learn stage magic if you do street close up. It is not neccessary. BUT, it does help in the fact that it teaches showmanship, presentation, etc.

So My advice would be to learn a bit of magic if you wish, as this can only help your show, but it is not neccessary.

I will be teaching everything that I have learned from experience, books, etc. on my DVD of escapes this year (will be released next year) as I have been asked to make a DVD with teachings of escapes. I have no idea if my escape techniques are the same as any other person here, as I have never even gotten to speak to another escapologist until I joined this site.

As some of you on this site know already, if anyone wants some tips or hints on escaping something, you are welcome to PM me and I will help out wherever I can. Should we create a Thread with tips and advice? So that beginners can get all the hints and tips that they can use? What do you all think?

Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Nov 29, 2004 05:04AM)
I think as adults it is not our place to discourage new escape artists, but to point out the dangers and to show them the path to take to enable them to get to and complete their goal without injury.
Helen would love to know more about your knife and apple trick.
Clyde, great idea to have the course kits. Could you post more info about these?
Message: Posted by: KerryJK (Nov 29, 2004 06:37AM)
The knife and apple trick; basically it's "eating an apple", but on knives. I do the basic trick first, then decide that it's old and boring and lacks danger and bring out the knives. I stick the apples on the end of the knives, start with one in my mouth and when I bite it falls, starting the juggling. I get maybe two more bites out of the apple, enough to make the point without risking biting into the knife, and then stop.

It's not something I do often, because it is ***** dangerous for many reasons and needs a good performing space not too close to the audience. But learning it did give me a nice sense of achievement and it's nice to know I have it if I need it at any point.

</off-topic juggling bit>
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Nov 29, 2004 06:47AM)
Knife and apple??? You got my attention. I want to know about it. Go on, do tell...

*Wolflock sits patiently in wait*
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Nov 29, 2004 09:40AM)
Wolfie you would. maybe she'll tell you in a PM my bet is that she probally some how cuts the Apple while Juggling.
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Nov 30, 2004 01:08AM)
Cooool! I want to see that. Has anyone ever done a knife juggling act and combined it with a knife throwing act? Just a thought.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Nov 30, 2004 03:10AM)
Yes they have I think one person did it on tv. and ate the apple in the process.
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Nov 30, 2004 03:57AM)
That would be impressive. I would like to see that. They just have to be blinded folded to top it off.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Nov 30, 2004 06:27AM)
One guy has done knives blindfolded and has wound up cutting off one of his fingers in the process. it happened somewhere in hawaii.
Message: Posted by: Jordan Waller (Nov 30, 2004 11:35AM)
It has happened several times. I saw a handicapped juggler recently. He only had one hand, it was very interesting and surprisingly entertaing, you wouldn't beleive he could do the stuff he did............anyhow....as you were.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Nov 30, 2004 12:18PM)
It is interesting to know that one person with one hand can do the same thing as a person with two hands. but a person with two hands with have difficulty. doing the same thing as a person with one hand.
Message: Posted by: Jordan Waller (Nov 30, 2004 02:17PM)
When I was younger, I mean a lot younger than I am now. About 5 or 6 I think. A man called Amadou came to my school from the Gambia in South Africa. He had no hands and we taught him how to type and then write and type with his new prosphetic limbs which we bought for him. It was a good expeirience and one that will stay with me. He could do many things with his prosthetic ones. In fact he is coming to see all the class of six year olds who he came to see ten years ago on Friday. Its gonnae be good fun. A ten year reunion. Cant wait to show him some magic.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Nov 30, 2004 02:25PM)
Knock his socks off
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Nov 30, 2004 11:22PM)
Cool. don't know Gambia though Is that in South Africa or Africa as a Whole? Is it not Zambia? That is just above Zimbabwe which is just above SA.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 1, 2004 05:33AM)
Look on a map.
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Dec 1, 2004 06:57AM)
No Maps with me right now.

I have met quite a few artists with no arms that paint with their feet. They are amazing.
Message: Posted by: Jordan Waller (Dec 1, 2004 10:13AM)
It was called the Gambia ten years ago, and it is on my map though my map is pretty old. Could no longer be called Gambia though. I'll find out on Friday.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 1, 2004 11:57AM)
It is amazing what people can do if they Try.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Dec 1, 2004 01:47PM)
On 2004-11-27 09:18, Dr_Stephen_Midnight wrote:
For the sake of others, though, I must ask: why must one learn sleight-of-hand, illusions or some other form of magic before one can learn escapology?

It could enhance your performance but is certainly not needed in the least for being very entertaining with escapes.

For every 100 magicians there is 1 who actualy understands magic.

Here is a prime example: http://www.online-visions.com/krystal/0504closeuppad.html

If you read this and still don't understand what it has to do with the discussion of if its mandatory to learn magic first, your one of those 100. Kentons point applies to all areas of magic.
Message: Posted by: Jordan Waller (Dec 2, 2004 01:45AM)
Ok I have been monitering this thread with quite an interest recently yet despite the juggleing comments I have failed to make a decent input.

So my question for you is this. Many of you may have seen the thread I started called 'Your Opinions Please.'
Lots of people replied to this thread escpecialy Don, who posted on it everyday almost. Thankyou for all of those who did post.
What I failed to mention in my thread was this, I am 15 years old. The act including the escape is genuine, and if anything I look a lot older than 15 but the truth is I am 15. Would you all having know this minute detail have given me the same advice, on my thread, would you have tried to talk me out of performing the effect, or would you simply have neglected to post?

Yours Jordan
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Dec 2, 2004 01:57AM)
No matter what your Age. I will always offer advice if asked for it. Well... almost any age... I think from 12 Years upwards. Not everyone will share my views though and therefore probably would not have offered you any advice.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Dec 2, 2004 04:39AM)
Based on the description:

"The boxes are lifted and raise off of the ground. All this time I am being locked up by and exectutioner type character, who then gets a sledge hammer and smashes up the boxs to reveal I have escaped. The executioner then pulls off his mask to reveal it is me. I have just smashed myself up!!"

There is no way I could be persuaded to think of the escape to be 'legitimate;' it is variant on Murray's "Escape from the Gestapo" and Blackstone's "Blown to Kingdom Come." Those were both illusions, as this would also have to be to get the end result. No worries there.

Would I be concerned if a 15 year old wanted to do the Water Torture Cell straight out the gate? Yes.

Do I still think a young performer could start with simple escapes and grow to be a great escape artist without touching other forms of magic? Yes.

Carl Wallenda never taught his children trapeze or clowning; he taught them tightrope walking.

No matter what other magic you do, to learn to escape you need to escape.

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 2, 2004 06:07AM)
Even kids under 12 will need advice and are interested in Escapes/Magic.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Dec 2, 2004 08:42AM)
Thanks for the link Mike. As always Kenton tells it to us straight.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Dec 2, 2004 01:03PM)
Well yes Jordan I knew you were 15, when I read your story above and supplied the link for thought. Like Stephen, I assumed illusion, without risk.

I have to be honest and Kenton is one guy that has irritated me from the beginning, and made me see red a few times. He does do something that no one else seems to do, and like Ros mentioned above, He gives it to you straight and he doesn't care if your ego gets sent to the Emergency Room in a green garbage bag.

If you read the article, He is trying to explain that art form begins and ends in the minds of the spectator, and your job of shaping their perceptions and forming magic begins and ends in their minds and not yours.

A far bigger job than most are able to even conceive.

I would pay special attention to his past articles on Props, and working with perceptions. He exposes the lies that everyone in the art would have you believe for their own gain.

Kentons material is NOT for everybody. He says so himself. The articles he writes however are.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Dec 2, 2004 02:55PM)
Good call
Message: Posted by: Jordan Waller (Dec 3, 2004 02:02AM)
I agree with all concerning Kentons essays. As I young magician I find them ver informative and interesting. I also funilly enough agree with a lot of the things he does say as for a 15 year old I take my magic very seriously. Though he does get my back up as I'm sure he does with all you guys to an extent.
About my question. I am very pleased that none of you turned on me like wild dogs when my age was out in the open. I do understand what you are saying in your answers though I have been doing magic since I was pretty young.....well younger then I am now anyways lol. I also have absolutly no desire to jump streight into the deepend with escapeology, and I intend to learn the basics. I also have no desire to perform the water torture cell or the milk can escape. When I finaly get to the level of skill I crave I will be dong things a little bit differently. But more on that in severasl years time. lol

Yours Jordan
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Dec 3, 2004 03:44AM)
On 2004-12-03 03:02, Jordan Waller wrote:
well younger then I am now anyways [/quote]

Really??? Me too!!! What a coincidence!!!

Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Dec 3, 2004 06:41AM)
Hi Jordon, the age is not really the consideration. It is the maturity of the individual more than the age. There are some teeenagers you wouldn't teach because you know it is just a passing stage, or wouldn't do the hard yards and lots of other reasons etc etc. Same can be said for some adults. It is horses for courses.

I really don't think that some young kid would come here and post a few messages and then go off armed with a little knowledge they have gleamed from here and then go an kill themselves by doing something really stupid. There have been far more plots and designs for stupid behaviour shown on TV shows and cartoons.

The Amazing Joe is a prime example of an adult that should have know better.

The author of "a dance with Houdini' Rudy Steffish once posed the question. If you were to die in an escape, would you want it advertised that your demise was due to equipment failure or lack of a particular skill?

Keep safe

Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Dec 7, 2004 03:28AM)
Very good point to ponder on Ian. Wise words there.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 11, 2004 04:49PM)
I'm of two minds when it comes to teaching the youngsters escapes. One side of me says -- "let them try anything they want to -- the ones that survive are the smart ones, the ones that don't are simply proving the law of survival of the fittest -- and they won't pass on their defective genes to the coming generations."

The other side of me says, "Make sure they serve an apprenticeship, so they can have a concept of all of the danger and all of the things they need to know about safety."

I don't think that escape artists need to learn anything other than escapes, though. It's like stunt drivers. They don't need to know escapes. They need to know how to drive -- and how to keep their vehicles in top shape.

But safety is of primary importance. Look at what happened to Alan Alan when he was trying the upside down and his rope broke through!
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 12, 2004 12:36AM)
Safety is always number 1 with me. plus if I design something I try and have more then one way to get out.
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Dec 13, 2004 12:10AM)
Yup. Always have a failsafe.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 13, 2004 02:32AM)
Of course safety 1st.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Dec 13, 2004 01:39PM)
So I finally did some escapes in public this year for the first time. It would be nice if there was a curriculum to train new performers, but there are so many ways up the mountain. I'd be glad to help anyone who asked me, and I have done so here at the Café via PM.

For me, the most useful experience was in theater. The escapes I have done could not have been done without theater experience. The publicity and promotion was a large element also. As far as escape technique, as has been discussed elsewhere in this area of the Café, you have to think about whether you are a purist or not. Are you trying to impress other escape artists, or to convey the archetype of the person who cannot be confined?

In my case, the escapes were technically easy, but working out all the details to present a thrilling picture was very challenging.

So my advice to a youngster would be to pursue two paths in parallel: First, read everything and learn the basic techniques of escapes. Second, learn about theater, movement, story and character. At some point it is then possible to present entertaining escapes.

Perhaps learning close-up magic might be part of the path to learning about theater. It is also possible that a few seasons of performing Shakespeare might be more valuable.


Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Dec 13, 2004 02:28PM)
Dance or movement classes may also help out with learning how to move about the stage and avoid looking clumsy (spelt?).
Something that Paul's post made me think about is that a great performer can take either a "pure" escape that is technically difficult or an easy "new comer" escape and make both look awsome. Yet a purist, with no performing skills, can take both escapes and kill them.
That then leads to the question of what do people find entertaining? Not with escapes, in general. And shouldn't we be using this as a guide to making our shows/routines? Or should we be re-educating the public that what they think is entertaining actually isn't? I refer to the general trash that is currently being paraded on our TV screens as talent contests and consisting of nothing more than singers. Should we even try and compete with stuff like pop idle and multi million budget movies? What do you guys and gals think?

Message: Posted by: drwilson (Dec 13, 2004 03:01PM)

The movies offer multi-million dollar, state-of-the art effects created by teams of superbly talented craftsmen. Yet while creating these, the industry in general does not seem to be able to figure out that a good story is a good movie and a lousy story is an expensive disaster, although they have figured out how to wring some money out of even the worst of the dogs.

In a sense, we cannot compete with the movies. On the other hand, most people have figured out that the movies are fake in the sense that a combination of special effect techniques are used to create things that cannot be presented live. Most importantly, the movies are fake because the audience sits in a dark room and watches 24 pictures per second while the sound system plays. The movie cannot respond to the audience. It is a phantasm.

There is no experience quite like live theater, an experience which many people these days no longer experience with any frequency. For most of human history, people have experienced live performances of some kind in which individuals attempted to convey ideas to them with movement, speech and music. This is a fundamental human need.

When you stand barefoot on a sand bar being wrapped in chains which the audience has had the chance to handle, being fastened with locks that they have donated, as the tide is coming in, you realize that everyone knows that you are real, flesh and blood temporarily animated by an eternal spirit. You speak to them and feel their tension. Will you die? Perhaps not at this time.

It is instead, the movies that cannot compete with us.

We can re-educate the public one unforgettable experience at a time.


Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 13, 2004 03:03PM)
Hey I can sing if anyone wants to hear what it might sound like strangling a cat.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Dec 13, 2004 06:09PM)
I'm going to move this to a new topic called "them and us".
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 14, 2004 03:02AM)
Ok and most movies are full of molarkey.
Message: Posted by: MarkTripp (Dec 24, 2004 02:21PM)
Well, and with all due respect, I have to say that far too many people here have no idea what they are talking about.

First, lets define terms. Success equals LOTS of PAID shows. Who can pick a lock faster is not so important if no one will pay you to do so.

As such, I repeat my point that NO ONE in escapes that has had real success "jumped over" their study of magic as an art form, and paid their dues as a "magician" first. NONE.

If you have one, name them. Houdini, Hardeen, Randi, Viano, Baker, Hull and many more, ALL were/are excellent magicians first. I'll bet money my list has far more names than the "non-magic" list could ever have, and more well known as well.

The point is really very simple, but lets get rid of the silly stuff first.

Study acting? Great idea. However the problem is actors stand still and say nothing without writers and directors! In as much as most EA's write and direct their own shows (a bad idea but such is life), where do they get the skill for this?

Just do Escapes? Another great idea with NO basis in reality. There are simply NOT enlough venues for an EA to learn his craft in. ONE bad show will end your carrer as an EA. Kinda silly to start there don't you think?

You see, the core problem is one of flawed thinking. It is the "lock pickers" fault here, for the most part, who reject this concept. To them, you locked me in, I got out! That is all that is needed to be a successful escape artist in their eyes. I have only to point out that most of them are UNKNOWN to the public at large to prove the flaw in that thinking.

It takes far more to be a success to the general public.

You have to pay your dues; period. You have to learn what works for you and how to sell it. That isn't learned overnight, and it sure can't be learned in your bedroom. You must do shows, and a whole lot of them. There are not enough escape shows to pull that off. It is just that simple.

NO ESCAPE is going to make you the next Houdini, were this so, we'd have one by now. You have to pay your dues, and then find your own path.

Disagree all you like. Everyone believing the false doesn't make it true, and no one believing the truth doesn't make it a lie. They stand alone on their own merits.

Believe as you wish, just remember belief doesn't change the truth.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Dec 24, 2004 03:51PM)
If you are hungry enough, you will find work, yes even in escapes.Having done my apprenticeship on the Club run on and off for over ten years as a dip act,standup comic and magician it was time to turn full time.I worked every day (I had to)With a mortgage and kids on the way I had NO choice.So in the early days with the Clubs booking Wednesdays,Fridays,Saturdays and Sundays for very low fee and with the cost of travel (Sleeping in the car!)I had to earn more,,,,,so I turned to the streets.Progress as a competent performer with a little more cash in my pocket sent me in the direction of the outside shows.
Today I no longer have to flog myself to death, I still work the streets (Cos I love it)I have a full season booked on the outside show scene which would continue up to my death if I choose,,,yes I could perform escapes every day If I was a younger man.If you are a worker,If you are keen,if you are desperate for the cash or the buzz you can do the same.There is nothing special about me,,,I just love what I do,and all that comes with doing it.
Remember "The doer`s will never be sayer`s and the Sayer`s will never be doer`s" Ken Brooke shouted that at me way back in 1968, I took note,,,,thanks Ken for a wonderful life.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Dec 24, 2004 04:04PM)
Well Said Ken. I had a buddy when I was young that wanted to be an auctioneer. His father was one and his grandfather too. One day he called me to go to the hospital as his father was in a car wreck. Survived but laid up for a year. with no other source of income I helped his mom and him run the auction house. One day he woke up and he was an auctioneer. Two weeks later he was a d**n fine one too. Word got around about the wonder kid and he doubled the traffic flow through the house.
Can and does happen when the pressure is on.

BTW that trailer of yours is way cool.
Message: Posted by: Riley (Dec 24, 2004 04:20PM)
Well, you younger guys should listen to the comments made by Mark Tripp and Kondini. There are no short cuts to experience. I have been privieged to see Kondini working - and it is easy to see why he is a successful performer. Ken Brooke learned his lessons the hard way so that his pupils need not do the same!

I am not a full time performer, but I enjoy performing and I took note of all the wise advice given to me by Ken Brooke (and others who had earned the right to give advice). My performance diary is currently up to December 2006, much of it repeat work. As Kondini says, if you enjoy what you do, and you do it properly, your audience will also enjoy your work and [i]you will work![/i] . . but -- there are no short cuts. It if gets the reaction - keep it in. If it doesn't, get rid.

Ken Brooke also said he would never sell a magician's prop to an performer, and he would never sell a performer's trick to a magician! That does not mean to say that Ken was not a salesman - but it is possible to know what kind of customer you have, by what they buy!

One last point - if you want [i]new[/i] material, read the [i]old[/i] books!!!
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 24, 2004 04:55PM)
Advice well given.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Dec 24, 2004 05:05PM)
Riley,,,,,If you want new material,read the old books!!!
That advice gentlemen is priceless.
A Merry Xmas to all our readers!!
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 24, 2004 05:10PM)
And a Happy New Year. also let me be the First to wish Evrey One a Happy Easter ;)
Message: Posted by: MarkTripp (Dec 26, 2004 07:16AM)
Read this again!!!

On 2004-12-24 17:20, Riley wrote:

Ken Brooke also said he would never sell a magician's prop to an performer, and he would never sell a performer's trick to a magician! That does not mean to say that Ken was not a salesman - but it is possible to know what kind of customer you have, by what they buy!

One last point - if you want [i]new[/i] material, read the [i]old[/i] books!!!

There is so much truth in there the light is blinding!

In contains the truth about performing for laymen, and the reason so many magic shops are closing.

I bow to your wisdom and insight!
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 26, 2004 07:37PM)
:) sounds almost like a confusious sayings.
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Jan 3, 2005 04:16AM)
I agree with everything here, but remember that experience has to start somewhere. Practise is the key word to my success. No practise, no experience. No experience, no shows. No shows, no need to bother.

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 3, 2005 11:54AM)
Just practice and think of ideas then try it.