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

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bishthemagish
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Thanks cinemagician YOUR THE ONLY ONE in the whole Café that would find this important subject interesting.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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Dave V
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Glenn, I think you're selling the rest of us short. He's not the only one. I said the same thing on page 1 of your "11 minute" thread before it took a few nasty turns.

You gave us nothing to base our comments on. If you had prefaced your "11 minute" post with "Ignore the performance, let's talk about structure" we could have avoided many pages of writing.

But I think it was still productive for everyone involved. We all know a little better now where we stand on certain issues, and that's what a discussion forum is all about.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2006-04-14 15:36, Dave VanVranken wrote:
Glenn, I think you're selling the rest of us short. He's not the only one. I said the same thing on page 1 of your "11 minute" thread before it took a few nasty turns.

Sorry Dave I don't think so.

There is a lot of conversation on many of the points that were talked about in other threads. Spelling is a very basic issue. Yes I think that if you send video and promo to a client that spelling is important and a magician might lose a show if the video and the promo is not spelled right.

But in a video for magicians - I really don't have the time. I suppose I should have said something like that when it was first mentioned.

Here in the Café we get all sorts of people. Some magicians that just want to do it for fun. Some want to do it as a profession. Some are doing it as a profession. All sorts of people.

But in doing it as a profession and one of the reason's that I did not post my best work. Was to talk about the structure, the place, and the problem that performers have. That is that we have to make it work no matter what. It has to work at crunch time. The show is on get out there.

Some shows like working the magic gallery room at the magic castle are EASY because of the great room and the seating. And an audience that IS THERE TO SEE MAGIC.

And some are hard, bad lighting, bad seating, and an audience that doesn't care to see it and it becomes a survival game and the stakes are high. Your on - do your show because we are paying you - do it! And you get out there and survive. Force it on them to a degree because that's YOUR JOB FOR THE MOMENT and YOU MUST OWN that moment. This to me is part of what is on the video that was at my web site.

But now I do not have the time and must turn my attention to other things.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Dave V
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No matter what the intentions were, of you for posting, or others for viewing, I'm still glad you posted the video that you did. I don't care that much about production values of such clips. I enjoy seeing the performers "in the wild" much more than staged studio shots. Much can be learned from the stuff that happens that *isn't* magic. Timing, spectator interaction, and so on.

Don't let your detractors get you down. Keep it up!
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John Cass
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Maybe the name of this thread should be "Criticism hurts my feelings."

That's what it's always boiled down to.
The One
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Glen,
I simply don't get it... you say it wasn't your best work...So WHY did you post it? As an example of how NOT to structure an act?

And I think the whole spelling discussion would never have started if you would have just acknowledged it and moved on.

You see... I think the problem lies in how people receive criticism. You say you're trying to help, and you probably are... but I always get the feeling that when someone offers to question your theories, you dismiss the person as "in-experienced" or "not a proffesional". And that's being close-minded, don't you think. I don't ignore what you say just because you're old school... I mean one could also argue that if someone's been doin magic for 40 years and isn't famous, or has his own show, he must've been doin it all wrong... But that would also be close-mindedness (did I spell that right? Smile ). So how about we just validate everyone's opinions?

And If anyone thinks I'm hiding behing a screenname, they would be right...
I like to discuss things with magicians, but I don't want laymen looking up my name online and seeing this (You see, in a layman's eye, I want to be superior to all magicians). If you have a problem with that I don't care.
But for the record I'll sign my real name,

Sincerely

Eno Eht

P.S.: Just kidding
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I came here...
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cinemagician
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Quote:
On 2006-04-14 15:28, bishthemagish wrote:
Thanks cinemagician YOUR THE ONLY ONE in the whole Café that would find this important subject interesting.


Well, now that you mention it, I guess it is sort of up my alley (where ever that is). I thnk that in light of the fervor that this thread is creating, the topic is worthy of closer consideration. Glenn, my guess is that this thread is not going to go away any time soon and my prediction is that you will come out of this as being a martyr for a good cause. Or perhaps it's just that it's good Friday and I...
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
bishthemagish
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Thanks Dave VanVranken I agree watching different magicians do magic "In The Wild" I think is one of the BEST ways to learn things about magic and pick up performance skills.

How magicians "work out" the performing situation problems with different venues, how magicians can and do work with people on there sides. I think street magic is great. Get the crowd, pull them in, entertain them and then get them to reach into the money belt and give a tip.

That is magic at the roots the same as trade show work. Get the crowd, pull them in entertain them and give them a sales message. Watching a good magician do this is great and when ever I watch a good magician do this I learn something.

By the way I never said I was good "The one" I just find work and make a living!
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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kamus
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I think all criticism presents a valuable opportunity, even that which is unkind. In my "real" career as a musician, I have received much crticism along the way. I hate criticism! But at the same time, I eventually recognized the grains of truth inherent in even the most unkind critique. I would get angry at first, but then it would sink in over time and I would endeavor to correct the problem. As a result, things that used to be weaknesses became strengths and the sting of rebuke was gradually replaced by the glow of accomplishment. Managing my ego in the face of critcism has been a challenge but always led to an improvement when successfully handled.
il illegetimi est non carborundum

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RandyStewart
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While in High School, an instructor had us reading 'literary criticism' which I'd never heard of. My immediate impression of his request was oh good, we'll read some important author's comments along the lines of: "This published bit really sucks and this is why..."

It turned out to be quite the opposite as what we were introduced to was 'ANALYSIS' vs. a negative lashing directed at an author.

Along with understanding of the term came awareness of various viewpoints and interpretations. I really liked the interpretation aspect a lot. I have to admit it helped me a great deal.

When it comes to seeking advice in what I do within our art of magic, I don't put a recording out to someone that I know is a card worker, close-up performer, children's performer, amateur who buys the trick of the month every month, or worse, PEOPLE, AND WHO'S QUALIFICATIONS (IF THEY HAVE ANY) I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. I put it out to several people who meet two very simple but very important criteria:

1. Successful and Experienced in live performance of stage manipulation
2. Familiar with most of the effects I use.

In short, people who know what the hell they are talking about as they not only talk the talk but have, career wise, walkeded the walk.

That's it. The rest, although may be extremely well-versed in magic, it's theory and application, and vast overall knowledge of the art, don't count. They simply can't offer the finely tuned advice of those who fit the above criteria. Ask my mother how good I am and she'll tell you Copperfield falls way short of my abilities. Yeah, even I'd have to ask her to simmer down with the unqualified and biased 'criticism'. You see, just as I initially misunderstood 'Literary Criticism' to be a negative, critics of my act or any other will include criticism from inexperienced, uneducated, and unimformed self appointed 'critics' - of no service to me or my personal development. One must be careful where the brain child is dropped off for evaluation.

Now, I correspond with a handful of magicians here at the Café and some have given me priceless and real world advice that works for me and my purpose. I'm forever grateful and indebted to them and have remained close to them for ongoing support and 'critique' that we all need. But I certainly would not post any of my work here or elsewhere on the Internet for 'critique' by others SOME, NOT ALL who may not fit that criteria. And those who would fit the criteria are rarely online posting as they are busy on a stage practicing what they preach to a live and paying audience. Well at least that's what one of them told me when I asked why he wouldn't come in here and share some wisdom and 'criticism'...
tommy
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But what is the difference between putting up something here and putting on a show in public?

"It isn't what they say about you, it's what they whisper."
-Errol Flynn-
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
RandyStewart
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Great question Tommy. It had to be you didn't it! Hehehe.

Well ideally the performance that occurs in public has been 'critiqued' by the most qualified in that type of performance. Not just random postings here or elsewhere.

I can summarize my above post by telling you that if I want to be a champion tennis player, aside from natural talents/abilities and any other champion qualities, It's my responsibility to find the best darn coach/critic.

Asking passers by what they think ain't gonna get me there.
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2006-04-21 20:51, RandyStewart wrote:
It's my responsibility to find the best darn coach/critic.

With all due respect to Café members, who in the Café would be qualified?

I know I am not - and only offer opinion not advice.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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RandyStewart
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Quote:
On 2006-04-21 22:11, bishthemagish wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-04-21 20:51, RandyStewart wrote:
It's my responsibility to find the best darn coach/critic.

With all due respect to Café members, who in the Café would be qualified?

I know I am not - and only offer opinion not advice.


Actually Glen, there are a few who really know their stuff and we've all been fortunate enough (whether appreciated or not) to of been graced with their presence and contributions. These are magicians that many, not all of course, would consider "experts" in their field of magic. Of course, not all so called experts are on track, but they are people I'd be likely to listen to first when it comes to criticism. But I addressed your question in my initial post here:

Quote:
On 2006-04-21 20:28, RandyStewart wrote:
Now, I correspond with a handful of magicians here at the Café and some have given me priceless and real world advice that works for me and my purpose. I'm forever grateful and indebted to them and have remained close to them for ongoing support and 'critique' that we all need. But I certainly would not post any of my work here or elsewhere on the Internet for 'critique' by others SOME, NOT ALL who may not fit that criteria. And those who would fit the criteria are rarely online posting as they are busy on a stage practicing what they preach to a live and paying audience. Well at least that's what one of them told me when I asked why he wouldn't come in here and share some wisdom and 'criticism'...
Dannydoyle
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It seems more like the title should be "criticism hurts my feelings".

I mean really to argue that critical thought hurts any process is just flat out wrong.

I will agree whole heartedly that indeed the way these thoughts are expressed really do make a difference. I will even say that I have no coddeling in me. If someone asks me I make no real attempt to spare feelings. I don't have the time. And for the reasons expressed earlier.

That does not mean it dosn't work. I mean does it matter how bad the medicine tastes? It still works. that is kind of the point. The only way the medicie does NOT work, is if it is not used because of the way it tastes. To stay sick simply to avoid a bad taste, well that is silly.
Danny Doyle
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tommy
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Yes I understand now and agree thanks. I in fact get a bit embarrassed by this label “Inner Circle” that they stuck on me when I have never said I was anything more than a pure amateur card guy. I would prefer it to say just say pure amateur.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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George Ledo
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Yikes! What a turn this thread has taken!

Okay, so here's my two cents' worth... criticism doesn't hurt magic. Criticism can certainly hurt somebody's feelings, but it can't hurt the field itself.

In my field, theatrical design, we get critiqued all the time by people who get paid by newspapers to sit through shows and publish their opinion. Some critics are very good as far as seeing the show in the context of theater. Others, especially part-timers hired by local papers, don't have a clue what theatrical criticism is about, and just do a play-by-play summary of the show, like a book report. Others can write five hundred words and say absolutely nothing.

But none of this hurts theatrical design, because the field of theatrical design is a lot bigger than the half-baked critics out there.

But you really have to be honest with yourself to in order to read a review and not take it personally -- whether it's a good review or a bad review. You have to learn to read it like a third party's personal opinion, which is what it is. They see what they see. Period. And that's what they comment on. Period. Sometimes a review can be wonderfully mind-opening if you just put the ego aside for a moment and take it as someone's personal opinion of what they saw onstage.

On the other hand, other theatrical designers are terrible reviewers: they always compare your work to theirs. I find myself in that position now and then, and I have to say to myself, "I wouldn't have done it that way, but, given what it is, it's beautifully done" or something similar. Even as a set designer, I can pull back and see someone else's work from the viewpoint of a butt parked on a theater seat.
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Dannydoyle
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Objectivity is almost impossible. It truley is. We are skewed by our experiences and this is a fact.

The thing with critics that is tough is knowing when they are right and when they are only saying things because the feel they "have too". If you think they are right and they are only saying thnigs because they "have too" then you change something for no reason. If you think they are saying it because they "have too" and they are right, you miss valuable information.

Criticism that is easily palatable is much easier to listen too needless to say. It just may not be the right criteria for listening to it is all I am saying.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
RandyStewart
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Quote:
On 2006-04-21 23:17, George Ledo wrote:
But none of this hurts theatrical design, because the field of theatrical design is a lot bigger than the half-baked critics out there.


Ah yes, the half-baked critic....I'll make those who don't like what I do just that, a half-baked critic and a few more unspeakable things. Hahahaha...

Great perspective George Ledo. Thank You.

Quote:
On 2006-04-21 23:33, Dannydoyle wrote:
The thing with critics that is tough is knowing when they are right and when they are only saying things because the feel they "have too".




Do any of you remember The Twighlight Zone episode 'The Misfortune Cookie'?

"Elliott Gould is a snobby and arrogant food critic for a major newspaper. Restaurants literally live or die by his reviews. One day he discovers a mysterious new Chinese restaurant, and being the gourmand he simply must eat there. He is rewarded for his arrogance in this final meal." - Answers.com

In this episode, Gould is out of time to submit reviews for the paper and gives a new restaurant a marginal review! If I'm not mistaken, he actually never ate at the restaurant before submitting his respected and unquestionable review. The negative review goes to press. In a later scene, he happends to walk into that very restaurant having long since forgotten his dishonest review. The restaurant owner recognizes him as the critic and treats him to a very "special course".

Keep in mind that no matter how qualified he was, he did not offer, in this one case, a complete, qualified, and honest review of this restaurant! He simply spoke because it was his job.

I'll let you find out what happend to our wonderful critic. I assure you, he came to regret the irresponsible use and habit of wielding the power of his little pen.
George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2006-04-21 23:39, RandyStewart wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-04-21 23:17, George Ledo wrote:
But none of this hurts theatrical design, because the field of theatrical design is a lot bigger than the half-baked critics out there.


Ah yes, the half-baked critic....I'll make those who don't like what I do just that, a half-baked critic and a few more unspeakable things. Hahahaha...

Great perspective George Ledo. Thank You.



Well, Randy Stewart, I think I've just proven my point about critiques being just one person's opinion, whether they're paid to express them or not.

Contrary to what you may have surmised from my post, there are theatre critics out there who don't have a lot of respect from the community because they "basically" don't say anything: they just ramble. They don't take a stand and they don't make a point. What I did say was that reading a review objectively while leaving the good ol' ego in the next room can sometimes open your eyes to how someone else perceives your work. Wheter you agree with them or not is also a personal opinion. As far as a critic being "half-baked," I generally stand back and let other people make this observation based on their own experience and their own opinion.

Me, I like to leave the ego in the next room and just read the thing objectively.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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