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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Criticism Hurts Magic (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2006-04-11 19:51, bishthemagish wrote:
To criticize another in the field that is out there working does not land you a job. In fact it can work against you landing a job. Magicians do book other magicians. Magicians do help other magicians get ahead. Magicians do help other magicians learn magic. Magic is an art and a sub culture that works by sharing with others.


Some criticism is constructive- objective and accurate. Some magicians appreciate a discerning eye. Some even ask for feedback. An objective assessment might very well help you land a job, I'd say.
Chris Becker
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I don't know. I think all generalizations are meaningless in this context. Given my personal experience with different teachers and mentors in magic, piano, and law, I am really used to very aggressive criticism. However, on a personal level it doesn't bother me at all (anymore). I think I've learned well how to cope with that and I'm very much annoyed if any criticism is held back from me - I just don't consider the form in which it is presented anymore. In some of the fields I've been professionally involved with, there are so many lunatics, you just learn to consider substance over form (speaking like a tax lawyer). And in order to keep your job, you better consider every tiny bit of criticism that comes along the way. It makes you the best you can be in what you do. Why not apply that in magic as well?
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magicalaurie
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On 2006-04-11 23:23, Bill Palmer wrote:
I'll agree that when criticism is unwanted bashing, then it can be harmful to a performer and to his art. However, it can also give us some insight into how others view our work. If we learn to take criticism in the light of who has given it and what their experience is, it can be very helpful.


I agree, Bill.
Joe Mansfield
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Is it good to use criticism of others in magic just to make you feel good? And because you can. And because you hide behind a screen name?


Once again, my comments were not made to make me feel good.
Joe Mansfield is my real name, so I'm not hiding.
But even with all the wasted energy on these threads, absolutely no one has even attempted to answer my original question: Is it ethical to claim professional status when your performance is sub-professional?
Jonathan Townsend
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To begin, WHO is the criticism FOR?
From there, has it been requested?
And are you in circumstances where criticism can be heard and processed in private?
Does your criticism lead to useful alternatives?
Would your criticism interfere with their ability to do their jobs at this time.
( the ecological component can be critical )
And what is the worst that could happen if your offerings were accepted and found to be off base?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
magicalaurie
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I'd say, Joe, that the problem may be, if one is getting paid for a performance, he is a "professional", regardless of quality of entertainment provided.
Jaz
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If practitioners of magic do something and ask, "Well, what do think?" then they had better be ready for an honest opinion from me. And that's all it is, an opinion to be explored further or discarded.

Even if they aren't give alternatives they are certainly capable to explore further. They obviously have done some looking around already.

In the end it will be the audience who accept or reject anyway.
bishthemagish
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Hey Joe Mansfield this is an open conversation and it wasn't started to make you feel bad and it is not personal. I think that every magician in the world criticized someone some where at one time. Me included!

I think that Dannydoyle, Bill Palmer, Christof, Jonathan Townsend and others have offered up useful information on this subject. Different teachers have different teaching methods. Some teachers and mentors are harder to please than others. But the magic world is not generally a class room. When I started in magic it was a personal education that I had to earn. People in the old days did not take time with people until they prove themselves. Secrets were not so easy to get.

What opened the doors with them for me was my shell routine.

This for most of them was the effect that showed them that I took magic seriously and it was something I could swap with them. Because often in those days a secret was not shared unless you had something to give them of equal value.

But another thought on the line of what Jonathan Townsend posted. And may I add what is the motivation of the person giving the criticism. To help a person out? Or to be a know it all or satisfy there own personal ego? Often at times when two magicians meet for the first time and they show each other magic effects it becomes a contest of who can top this.

One effect done in turn and each try’s to blow the other guy away.

This happens often in magic because I have experienced it many times. It may be human nature and - it is sort of a - one-ups-man-ship. I don't know if it is right or wrong but it is something to look at. Because it is human nature to enlighten others at times. Be the person that knows the directions to a destination. be the one in the know of a new secret.

One might ask, do I need to enlighten this person about his or her act at this time. If I do would they be offended? Or perhaps do I really have the NEED to do this?

Last year I was out and about at a place convention that booked fairs and outside attractions. I met up with another hypnotist. He gave me the attitude that he was the one with experience just because I do magic. He said, "Oh your one of those magicians that just picked up hypnotism because magic is slow and you took a course in it". After talking with him I found it was his first year doing it, and he had about 6 shows under his belt. In fact I have been doing hypnosis shows longer than he had been alive.

But there was a point that he attempted to make me look small just because he had never heard of me. And it was clearly a domination thing. And I have had this happen often when two magicians meet for the first time.

If the need is to help the person out - that is one thing. But if it is for the personal ego to make them feel less smart, or your the better magician of the two then I think it is another.

Now to try to answer Joe's question, "Is it ethical to claim professional status when your performance is sub-professional?"

I do not know about the ethical side of this because magic has in it magicians that are into self proclaiming there own professionalism without having much performing experience. I do not know if it is ethical or not but it is in most cases legal.
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magicfish
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I respectfully, but wholeheartedly disagree with you, Glenn.

I understand that your definition of criticism has negative undertones. Bill Palmer correctly points out that this word is often misinterpreted.

When an art critic looks at a Van Gough or a Picasso and almost sheds a tear in reverence it is not because they don't like it. These critics do not hurt art.

When a movie critic critiques movies like , Gone With The Wind, it is not because they don't like it.

And by the same token, All of the grteatest literary works ever written have been criticized by bibliophiles for centuries. It is their passion!

Criticism does not hurt art. There can not be, nor has there ever been, art without criticism.

Magicfish.
bishthemagish
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First of all thank you for not agreeing magicfish. It is good that sometimes we agree and just as good that we don't agree. This like any thread is just an exchange of information - an exchange of different points of view. What IS important to me is that the information continues to flow. Giving the opportunity for new ideas - new growth - better magicians etc.

That IS why the Café WORKS. And we are lucky to be part of that.

My statement that said Criticism is bad, or Criticism hurts magic is from the point of view that instead of using the word Criticism I like to use the word advice.

Also from my point of view there is a RIGHT TIME and a right PLACE and a right WAY to give Advice, Criticism, or feedback. And the Advice, Criticism, and Feedback should have the proper motivation behind it from the person giving the Advice, Criticism or Feedback.

I often think this as I grow older - Is the criticism that I give in magic a way of helping people be better magician's or just an excuse for ME to be a know it all?

A question I ask myself often these days. But if I give criticism at the wrong time - wrong place - to the wrong person - or with the wrong people listening - in magic and in show business it can often close doors - this is something I think is worth thinking about - and then like any magic info - use it - or part of it - accept it and make the ideas work for you, or reject it and find something that works.

Thanks again for posting magicfish.
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cinemagician
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This thread, and the "11 minute close up act" post are very telling.

A short breakdown-

1.) Professional Magician posts clip of his act

2.) He receives unasked for criticism from some professionals, non professionals and those he considers to be non-professionals.

3.) Not appreciating some of the criticism he receives he claims that criticism "hurts magic"

4.) Other's chime in to give him pep talk, "Oh those people don't know anything about magic".

5.) He invaribly turns a deaf ear to the criticism, and probably returns to doing things the way he always did, under the guise that, "It's always worked for me."

This creates a sort of "emperor's new clothes" situation. Everone is now afraid to give the professional critisism. In the emperor's new clothes story it took a child, vis-a-vis a "non-professional" to speak up and tell the emperor that he was naked.

So now what do I do??? There are a few points maybe that I would like to make to the professional, but I'm afraid to. It's certainly not that I want to hurt the performer, but only that I want always to advance the quality of magic that we all perform.

I recently attended a lecture where the magician was excellent. 98% of his stuff was fantastic.

I wanted to tell him about one or two small improvements that I thought he could make. But I shut up instead because of the fear of insulting the performer.

Maybe we should be clear about how we feel about critisism before posting clips or performing in front of other magicians.

Maybe we should state, "Look, I'm posting the clip of my act, but I don't want any criticism', if we are not "thick skinned" enough to take it.

I only offer criticism to good magicians. For those that are really bad and hopeless, there is simply nothing you can do about it. I smile, nod, shake hands and appreciate them as human beings instead.

Just a few thoughts-

MW
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
karbonkid
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I think the nature of any art is vanity. You are in essence, as an artist (in this case a magician), putting something out there that you deem worthy of peoples time, and that people should pay you money for, or give up some time to see what you have to offer, etc.

If by chance you put something out there, i.e. a video of trick/performance/etc., then you, knowingly or not, are asking for feedback on it AND you should be thankful for it that someone took the time to study it and say something to you about it, good or bad.

I studied art in college, and in my 2-D design class I was coming up with a design that I thought had some really great merit as a piece. Just after the professor was surveying the room, and said to the girl on my right, "That is the most boring thing I have ever seen." She walked over to my piece and said one word. Predictable. I didn't think of it as 'predictable', but, obviously, to an observe it was. So I worked on making it not-so-predictable, and in the end, came out with a better piece.

Magic is the same way, in my eyes. I want people to be honest, and, in turn, I will do the same. And that, like a lot of you all have stated, is what will make the art grow.
bishthemagish
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On 2006-04-14 11:43, cinemagician wrote:
This thread, and the "11 minute close up act" post are very telling.

A short breakdown-

1.) Professional Magician posts clip of his act

The REASON I posted the clip of my act was to talk about SHOW Structure And Show TEXTURE. Not to talk about the magic in the performance.
Quote:
2.) He receives unasked for criticism from some professionals, non professionals and those he considers to be non-professionals.


And NOTHING of any VALUE on the SUBJECT of Show Structure and Texture.
Quote:
On 2006-04-14 11:43, cinemagician wrote:
3.) Not appreciating some of the criticism he receives he claims that criticism "hurts magic"

More like, not caring about criticism and thinks that it gets in the way of the flow of information and from my point of view - YES criticism does hurt magic. It is EASY and takes NO COURAGE to criticize and it takes a lot of courage in fact more courage imaginable to some to get out there and put yourself and what you do on the line and get out there and do a show or shows.
Quote:
5.) He invaribly turns a deaf ear to the criticism, and probably returns to doing things the way he always did, under the guise that, "It's always worked for me."

And continued to try to get a conversation going about show structure and show texture.

I do not consider magicians as the final judge as to what is entertaining, and what an audience is going to like. Magicians are not the best at choosing material for there shows. The final judge is the audience and in most cases with me the ONLY judge.
Quote:
On 2006-04-14 11:43, cinemagician wrote:
This thread, and the "11 minute close up act" post are very telling.

AThis creates a sort of "emperor's new clothes" situation. Everone is now afraid to give the professional criticism. In the emperor's new clothes story it took a child, vis-a-vis a "non-professional" to speak up and tell the emperor that he was naked.

So now what do I do??? There are a few points maybe that I would like to make to the professional, but I'm afraid to. It's certainly not that I want to hurt the performer, but only that I want always to advance the quality of magic that we all perform.

I recently attended a lecture where the magician was excellent. 98% of his stuff was fantastic.

I wanted to tell him about one or two small improvements that I thought he could make. But I shut up instead because of the fear of insulting the performer.

Maybe we should be clear about how we feel about criticism before posting clips or performing in front of other magicians.

Maybe we should state, "Look, I'm posting the clip of my act, but I don't want any criticism', if we are not "thick skinned" enough to take it.

I only offer criticism to good magicians. For those that are really bad and hopeless, there is simply nothing you can do about it. I smile, nod, shake hands and appreciate them as human beings instead.

Just a few thoughts-

MW

Interesting thoughts, my thoughts are on criticism is that it takes little courage and knowledge of the art of magic to give criticism. But it takes a lot of courage to get out there and audience test your show under the true life performing conditions of the world.

Just some thoughts.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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magicalaurie
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On 2006-04-14 12:30, karbonkid wrote:

If by chance you put something out there, i.e. a video of trick/performance/etc., then you, knowingly or not, are asking for feedback on it AND you should be thankful for it that someone took the time to study it


I Smile in agreement, karbonkid.
Jonathan Townsend
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On 2006-04-14 13:31, bishthemagish wrote:...The REASON I posted the clip of my act was to talk about SHOW Structure And Show TEXTURE. Not to talk about the magic in the performance....


Your reasons are your own.

Other people have their own perspectives and will respond to things as they find reasonable(to them), appropriate (to them) and consistent (with their circumstances and values).
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magicalaurie
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On 2006-04-14 13:31, bishthemagish wrote:
The REASON I posted the clip of my act was to talk about SHOW Structure And Show TEXTURE. Not to talk about the magic in the performance.


You can't have one without the other. In a MAGIC show, the magic and the show structure and texture are integral. Without the magic, there is NO SHOW.

That's MY reasonable, appropriate, and consistent statement, Jon. Smile
bishthemagish
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On 2006-04-14 13:43, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Your reasons are your own.

Other people have their own perspectives and will respond to things as they find reasonable(to them), appropriate (to them) and consistent (with their circumstances and values).

So by this what you are AGREEING TO is to talk about anything that comes to mind in any thread - anywhere. I will keep that in mind.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-04-14 14:02, bishthemagish wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-04-14 13:43, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Your reasons are your own.

Other people have their own perspectives and will respond to things as they find reasonable(to them), appropriate (to them) and consistent (with their circumstances and values).


So by this what you are AGREEING TO is to talk about anything that comes to mind in any thread - anywhere. I will keep that in mind.


What I have stated plainly is that people see things the way they see things and will respond as they see fit. Probably a good thing to keep in mind.
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bishthemagish
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Yes Jon I got that.

I also never said that criticism was BAD. But used at the wrong time and in the wrong place it can hurt magic and magicians. It can close doors. But used at the right time and the right place it can be an educational tool.

Nuff Said!
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cinemagician
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The REASON I posted the clip of my act was to talk about SHOW Structure And Show TEXTURE. Not to talk about the magic in the performance.

Glenn,

I was unaware of your intentions and I would be happy to look at the clip again considering it in terms of routining structure. By texture I assume you are reffering to the way in which the effects juxtapose one another as the act builds to a climax, but I'm not enirely sure if this is what you mean.

Respectfully,

Mark
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
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