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Joey Evans
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If anyone hasn't read the magic beans article by Kerry Kistler in the Christian Conjurer, I ask that you indeed read it. This article was one of the best written articles and most thought out articles I have read in a long time. It addresses many of the concerns that have been in the back of many people's minds for a while. While this article doesn't give a definite solution, I believe it will open everyone up and bring the matter to the front.
One of the best parts of the article was about exposure. I would love to know what the thoughts of people are on the board here. Please read it if you can.
I would like to post more about it and probably will tomorrow, however it's 1 am and I just finished it and had to write at least something before retiring to bed.
This article asks the elephant in the room to step forward. Now that we're looking at him, what do we do..
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The Impossible Has Never Been So Funny!
B Hackler
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I agree with the article on we need to be able to seperate magician from non magician in lectures. I really do not know what a good solution would be. I think people that are in magic want to guard magic secrets and do not want people getting the answer to effects they have practiced long and hard and paid dearly for.
brownsentertainment
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I also agree. However, it seems that these days anything is made available for the right price.
Joey Evans
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I agree. I for one enjoy the FCM conference as it is one that my family can go to. My wife and daughter both enjoy themselves, while they would be bored to tears at Magi-fest or a similar one. So I don't think eliminating other arts is necessary, I think something needs to be done to protect the secrets.
It clearly won't be easy. It would seem as if the magical art is getting special treatment that the other ones are not. And in a sense they would be accurate. However, I would hope they understand the difference. I don't envy the powers that be when/if they choose to rectify this, but I do think it deserves to be looked at closely.
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The Impossible Has Never Been So Funny!
Joey Evans
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Quote:
On 2008-07-03 20:25, brownsentertainment wrote:
I also agree. However, it seems that these days anything is made available for the right price.


This is so true. Even if it were possible to keep some magic lectures open, but label some as Master's Classes or something to that effect, what would the criteria be? A certain level of proficiency at doing a trick or actual performing? Maybe if it was a low test, it may be enough to simply keep out the ones that just want to drop by because they've seen the current lectures in their field and just want to pass the time.
The Visual Comedy and Magic of Joey Evans

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The Impossible Has Never Been So Funny!
Kif Anderson
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In an issue just before the 50th FCM Convention, and not only that but one where one president (Ed Jarvis) is finishing his term and the new president (Del Wilson) takes over, I believe the timing for this was amazing. Hats off to Kerry once again for putting out the kind of quality that makes the Conjurer worth reading every month. And as was quoted in his article, I believe the variety of things available is a great way for us to grow.

Now, that said, I also concur with the idea that there obviously needs to be basic classes for the general membership, because lets face it...what most people come to the convention for is the magic. It seems however more and more of the percentage of attendees are not in the category of "magician." Which is troublesome to me and should be telling us something. We aren't attracting magicians. And there are a lot out there. And perhaps one reason is everything is generally focused on gospel.

Let me explain...

The goal of FCM, while it is certainly there to promote sharing the gospel, should also be making magicians/performers better. The Los Angeles FCM group recently had Max Maven come lecture...and he is not a Christian...but he shared great information to us about creating better presentations.

I understand Ali Bongo (also not a Christian) once lectured at a FCM convention (don't know when, or even if it was at International) and he allegedly gave a great lecture. Do we really have any "draws" at these conventions to bring more of the magic community in?

Question...is it time we expand beyond the rule..."only members can lecture" and spend some of the budget to bring in talent that can really up our level of performance? Because while I perform exclusively gospel presentations, a large portion of our fellowship is secular performing magicians who are Christians...and I wonder if the international convention isn't as appealing to that set the way things currently are.

Lets face it...the rule of everything gospel doesn't apply to the sales room does it?

The next step it seem is there needs to be a the pulse of the group taken at the convention next week. This forum seems to believe there needs to be a change, but what about the rest?

I guess I really have trouble with the idea..."Oh...you can't come to this lecture...it is only for magicians." And a "Master Class" at our current convention could create more problems than it would solve.

Maybe a solution to this is a track that costs an extra say 50 bucks a person for the wek (or say $15 a class if room is available) and the money would be used to bring in a handful of lectures that would require special tickets/marking on the badge to attend. Or these are done on Saturday at the back end of the convention.

We need to approach the leadership not just with problems, but with valid solutions if we want to push for a change. Because I've heard complaining...just not a lot of valid remedies.

"I've read dozens of books about heroes and crooks, and I've learned much from both of their styles." from the son "Son of a Sailor" by Jimmy Buffet
We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing. - Billy Graham
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<BR>Sharing the gospel with Comedy & Illusion www.ozandwilde.com
Joey Evans
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I agree, just the simple fact that someone has to pay a little more for a class would probably be enough to keep it to just the serious performers.
However, I agree that the real issue lies in bringing in top notch lecturers. Being a fulltime performer, taking time to go to conventions puts a strain on us. This year I had to choose between the FCM convention or the joint IBM/SAM convention. Ultimately I chose the FCM convention, as I really enjoy seeing all the old friends and I've kind of turned it into a vacation for the family. As there is something for them to do as well. However, a good friend of mine asked me months ago which to go to. I would've loved to see him goto FCM, but he would learn the most at IBM/SAM.

Now I understand that we don't have the budget of the major conventions like IBM, SAM, Magic Live, etc.. And I don't think we need it. We have pulls and attractions that those conventions don't. So if we would elevate our magic lectures more then we would hold on to many of the magicians that just use the convention to cut their teeth. Paying a couple of magic lecturers a year would add so much to the convention.

I will say however, looking at the convention schedule I do see a lot of new lecturers there. However, I believe as was said before the only way to truly take the next step is to start paying some lecturers. That's the only way you will get the big names that will draw people.
The Visual Comedy and Magic of Joey Evans

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The Impossible Has Never Been So Funny!
Amazing Binky
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I agree with FX4Christ. The emphasis should be on raising the bar of quality of any performance, whether magic, puppetry, clowning, etc. A performer of any skill can adapt the basic principles to make their presentation "gospel".
A few years ago I offered to teach puppetry and clown classes and was promptly declined because I was not a "member". So I became a member and went to the conference and saw what the "members" were offering in those areas and I can assure you that what I had to offer would have blown them out of the water. A shame that volunteers are turned down for the sake of $25 or so (membership).
Mark005
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I think an idea that I have put forward with the "teach in" concept might bridge the gap. I think we have a lot of untaped talent, and it blesses both helper and helped.
Gene "Oz" Oswald
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The resources in this organization are HUGE! This is a Christian organization and we have MANY professionals that can come and be a part of this. I keep hearing how Full-time performers can't afford to take the time off and attend unless they are paid. Well, I know our God... I know His people... If this organization and building up and education of it's members were a priority, then all Christian magicians and members would attend.
I have to take time off work, I have to not schedule programs for two weekends and a week, pay for airline, rental car, housing, food, etc. just like everyone else. It is very expensive for me to come to the FCM each year. But I have found that each year, God has provided.
We come to give, build relationships, and lift up His ministry through the arts to the new people and kids of the organization.
If we the more experienced do not share with others, then what will happen to the new members.
I am so glad people took their time, their $$$, their abilities and shared with me. It is now MY turn.

All the membership, especially the professionals, need to make this week a priority. If it was, we would have more members, more members would attend and we could LIFT up the art to a higher level.

It is all about schedule. Plan for it before you leave the convention to be there NEXT year.

This week takes prayer this week takes commitment, and this week NEEDS US!

God can handle all the finances, all the issues, all the stuff.

We were asked if we were coming NEXT year. IF God wants us there - YES - we will be there. He takes care of the STUFF! My wife, who is very supportive said, "So how was it?" I told her it was good and people wanted to know if we were coming back next year. Her response, "Well, if it is important God will provide again."

Personally, I feel it IS THAT IMPORTANT. If not for me, for those I share with. And when I share, I am blessed.
paulmagic
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I enjoyed the article. My one concern is that there is too much exposure of magic secrets to non-magicians. Christians have this misguided notion that "freely sharing with others" includes indiscriminate sharing secrets behind magic effects.

My experience with the few FCM conferences we had in Malaysia is that most were interested to know about how the magic works, would buy lots of magic effects but are not really interested in magic as an art. Some of the most simple but beautiful effects that is relatively easy to master is killed by bad handling and blatant revealing of its secrets (all in the name of "sharing"). It frustrates me to hear of children blurting out secrets of wonderful effects like the magic coloring book, TT etc and find out that it is due to some adult who went to a convention, bought the "tricks" and after performing revealed its secrets.

I shared this before elsewhere but after watching how some just did not get it, I did not want to be party to helping plan a local FCM convention. ... so I will not repeat myself ...

This makes the problem and accusation that Gospel Magicians are unprofessional, amateurish etc keep perpetuating and comes back to haunt those of us who love magic as an art and are passionate about the application of magic for Christian ministry (Gospel Magic)

Yes, yes, I know that revealing how classic tricks work will force magicians to work harder to create better illusions etc. ... but sorry I don't agree with that. Many of us are amateurs but we take magic seriously and do our best to to practise and respect the art etc, We are more than happy to help others but we need to make sure they are GENUINELY INTERESTED and will respect the art form.
Many Blessings!!

Paul
Gene "Oz" Oswald
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Great response Paul, I know what you mean... We need to set a higher standard...

But here is what I see on this idea of Revealing Tricks - EVERYONE is doing it! Do NOT get me wrong, I do not like it either, but it is reality. Magicians give away coloring books and magic sets at birthday parties. Magic dealers at Fairs and carnivals sell tricks to everyone - mostly cheap knock-offs, but now more people know how they are done. Everyone sells or gives away tricks now, even fast food chains in Kids Meals. Bad magic shops with untrained workers reveal tricks to get people to buy... that's wrong, people buy to find out how it works - oh well.

People want to know how it is done - and there are companies that are willing to SHOW them.

Books are in the library... They are revealed on line. If you want to know, you can find out.

The masked magician series has revealed more than any gospel magician.

We can blame.. we can accuse, we can even walk away. But if we are not involved, if we do not go and PREACH what is right, LIVE what is right, and TRY to TEACH the new additions to the craft, then we are just as bad as the people who GIVE out the secrets.

Jesus said we are to be EXAMPLES to the world. We are to TEACH others what is right. We can NEVER give up!

We need to go, we need to participate, we need to set a NEW standard!

But in all reality, magicians as a whole are bad. Especially secular... they use everyone's material and illusions. They change one thing and it is all new! Come on - Rip off in magic is here to stay unless we can infest it with character and honesty.

As for Oz & Wilde, it is not about the trick... it is about WHAT is said, and HOW it is delivered. We can use old well known things, and it still well received, even if people know HOW it is done.

We all need to pray about this. We all need to be involved... Stand strong... be an EXAMPLE of what Christian should stand for.
Mark005
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In truth, BAD magicians have exposed more magic than any guy with a mask ever could.

But, a good magician trumps all exposure.

I can not tell you how many times I heard the wife of a magician say to the late Neil Foster "You know, my husband has that floating ball, but he uses a coat hanger when he does it..." I do not care now many times the linking rings have been exposed, I still fool everyone in the room when I do it.

You have the Silvan tape now, watch him work the thumb tip (if you guys don't have it get it). I honestly believe if you mastered his handling, you could give thumb tips away before your show, and they STILL would be fooled when you did the routine.

It still comes down to, and always will, to the EFFORT a person is willing to put in. Knowing how to work a dove pan, and which side of the foo can to tip is not what makes a magician...

...sadly, far too many people think it does.
Rodney Palmer
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GREAT article, could not have stated it better. I have been trying for years to make a statement like this. I would love for the FCM to set higher standards. We need to bring in some TOP performers and they DO NOT need to be Christians. They need to provide Family Material and I know of 2-people who would do it right now if asked as long as they did NOT have to be members of the FCM. What they could teach in Master's Classes would blow the Magicians away. And this would be available to Magicians who are regular performers as well. If there is any way I can help in anything please contact me at once and I will do whatever I can to aid the FCM. Kif, Gene, Joey let me know I really DO want to help.

Rodney
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In order to keep "MAGIC ALIVE" Please become a Mentor to a Young Person.
Kif Anderson
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"Family material"..."Master Class"...The more I hear these kind of concepts, the more I wonder what the "dream convention" would be like. Should there be a "Master's Class for the clowns" so they will want to come to this convention and not one of the other several hundred around the country? "Master Class" for jugglers? Maybe balloons as well.

Is this this the "dream convention?"

In all this discussion...I guess I've missed the part where people want to learn to be more effective evangelists with their crafts?

Or do we just care about fancy card fans?

I would love to have top lecturers in magic come and teach...but teach us Gospel Magic. You realize...if they are at the top of their game...they can probably figure out how to teach us the applications as well as the sleights...

And this..."if they don't have to be members." Why wouldn't someone want to join us? That makes me wonder their motive for coming.
We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing. - Billy Graham
<BR>
<BR>Sharing the gospel with Comedy & Illusion www.ozandwilde.com
Terry Owens
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I don't think that the lecturers nor performers need to be FCM folks...if the lectures are dealing with improving as performers, but they shouldn't try to dabble in Gospel....I know I learn a lot from the lectures we have at our IBM ring and I know our folks would benefit too.
Kif Anderson
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Max Maven came and talked to the LAFCM chapter earlier this year. Now he did not teach any "gospel routines" (though he gave a great concept for one...but a lot of folks missed it because it was an off hand comment) but he did share some insights in ways to make Gospel Magic better. And Max isn't a Christian.

Ali Bongo came to an FCM event (I heard this from Bob Hill) and gave a great lecture and shared ways to share the message...and he wasn't a Christian.

That's what I meant by "teach Gospel magic."

"Gospel Magic" lumps together all kinds of routines, Bible verse predictions, etc. that aren't laying out the gospel message, but are Biblically based somehow.

The Statement of Faith we all sign to be part of the FCM is includes:
...As a member of this fellowship, I commit myself to: (1) reaching lost souls and encouraging growth in the body of Christ through the use of such talents as magic, ventriloquism, and associated crafts, (2) diligently to be a more proficient performer with these talents, and (3) carefully uphold the code of ethics of the magic profession (relative to exposure of magical effects and ideas).

That needs to be the filter for who we bring in. Will the lecture (1) teach us to be better evangelists, (2) make us better performers of these talents, (i.e. the talents of being evangelical performers (3) push ethics.

That is what FCM claims to be about. And that is a great thing.

Yes...I agree we need new blood coming to the convention to share. And I think if the folks putting together the lecture schedule would strive to have say at least "25%" new folks each year...that would be great. (New say meaning they having lectured before or for say five years in that track).

Joey Brummet did a lecture this year. And it was very well received. Justin Flom did a lecture. Also high praise. Now they are "part of the family" but I hadn't seen either of them lecture before. (granted I've only been there three years...but that was change).

So we are moving in the right direction. And the Board is listening. Kerry's article stirred things up for the new administration.

But it also takes us to not just expect to be fed, but help with the feeding.
We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing. - Billy Graham
<BR>
<BR>Sharing the gospel with Comedy & Illusion www.ozandwilde.com
Rodney Palmer
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Here is what I am saying. I believe in order to perform Gospel Magic at its highest level we as performers have to strive to get to the top. We can have outsiders come in and teach more advanced magic techniques so that we may perfect our Gospel Magic. We need to get rid of the dealers show lectures and instead bring in people who can advance the art just through technique. Then we can build on what has been shared and WE are the only ONES who can perfect our magic. It takes Practice, Practice, Practice, and more Practice. I think we somehow need to take those FCM'ers who want to teach a Biblical Truth in Sunday School and give them the basic's that is what the FCM is all about. Then we need to take the middle ground performers and give them a little more MEAT (Magic) so that they can perfect their Gospel Routines that they are currently using. I have been involved with performing for 25 years and I still learn something NEW everyday. And the FCM can learn to receive more Lecturers if they let them come in and Lecture. Who knows maybe we will get a person to Lecture who is NOT a Christian and before they leave the conference they have given their life over to the Lord. NOW, that is something to think about.

Rodney
"Creating Memories That Last A Lifetime"



In order to keep "MAGIC ALIVE" Please become a Mentor to a Young Person.
Mark005
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I agree in spirit, however, lets talk about the dealer show lectures...

FCM pays nothing to anyone. When Oz and Wilde come from LA to Indiana, they do it on their dime. They pay the same fees as everyone else, food and meals, even the fee to attend the convention! All the people who lecture, perform, and yes the dealers, are in the same boat, EXCEPT the dealers pay more for a table/booth. Now, they do get to cut to the front of the food lines for that...

...I still say we need an FX4 Christ table just so we don't have to wait in line.

Now, with all that money going out, what comes in? Look at what Gene and Kif give away, and that costs money and it ALL comes out of their pocket. Would it kill us to mug them and put money IN their pocket?

Note to Joey: My car got broken into in Bloomfield Hills, MI yesterday... they put in a better radio.

However, Gene and Kif have good jobs (for now) that allow them to be as kind as they are. Most of the dealers need the money they get or they couldn't come.

Yes, I think FCM should have an actual dealer's show Monday morning early and be done with it.

However, there is an awful lot of talent at the FCM just walking about. No one came up to me and asked assistance on their pass, second deal, or linking ring routine. I suspect there are a great many people "walking around" who are even more skilled than I, yet they are not tapped either.

When the student is ready the teacher will appear....

...lots of them arrive in Marion every year.

Both of them.
themagiciansapprentice
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I attended the FCM Conference this year as a newbie and was blown away. I really didn't know what to expect but found the standard of most lecturers to be very high. Especially the emphasis on us raising our own standards - in particular scripting our shows was very well featured. (Oz and Wilde, Tim Sonefelt, Barry Mitchell) I've since paid and attended a lecture in the UK and was disappointed that it wasn't as good as some of those at the FCM.

No, I didn't get to go to any teaching sessions for magic (there was only one for sponge-balls) BUT I did get to ask questions at booths and got some great advice from the old-timers as well as the more famous. I learnt how to use a Palmo on the first night straight after a show(Jack Lancaster). Another dealer told me not to buy an item from him as it was cheaper/better across the Hall. I enjoyed this personal touch. I never found a question that couldn't be answered, either at the booth, over lunch or in the corridors/rooms.

Being honest I'm not sure if I could have lasted through 40 hours of training without some break, such as a comedy lecture or some-thing I'd never thought of attending before, like a character (Steve Harmer) or escape lecture (Rose Onyx). Yet some lectures were so well done (Duane Laflin being one of them) that I could easily go out, buy a few cheap props and do them within an hour. This really was a session to inspire practice. I didn't need any longer.

Additionally, I did get to talk to jugglers and balloon-artists (both are in my act) without attending their training sessions. Variety - that's a real reason why I travelled 6000 miles to attend. And plan to do so again next year.

No, I didn't get to perform this year - but that was a personal choice (jet-lag). Maybe next year ..
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
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