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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » What is wrong with magicians sharing their secrets? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jonathan Townsend
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Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
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Hmmm kinda true in the same way as audiences like to watch seals play the horns without worrying about who's conducting at the Met.

IMHO audiences don't want to know. They wallow in uncertainty and call it other names.

Maybe they just want to know that it's okay not to know.

BTW, what secrets are yours to tell?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
joseph
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I showed a friend (layman interested in learning magic) at work a basic 21 card trick, and told him when he learns that one, I will show him another...That was 10 years ago, and he still has not shown me anything....I guess he just wanted to know secrets... Smile ...
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." (Einstein)...
Mr. Mystoffelees
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Quote:
On 2009-09-26 23:37, othelo68 wrote:
What about revealing well known tricks with a surprise alternate handling like the kevin james trick where he reveals a card with a popped balloon then offers to reveal how the trick was palmed and shows the card visibly penetrate the balloon. I'm sure there are other examples of this type of trick and I think it adds to the effect


But it still exposes the original effect. How is that any more respectful of magic than someone who simply shouts out the secret? Just because it is more entertaining? What if I am trying to make a living with that effect? What if someone worked for months to come up with the idea? I think it is fine to reveal a trick YOU created, but not something you have no right to reveal. Anybody ever see Teller reveal his "Rose" trick?
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
othelo68
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Intellectual property is a sticky situation. how do you determine who created what? have you ever had an idea for a revolutionary product or trick only to see it appear in a commercial or a magazine a month of two later? did you create it just because you thought of it? There really are no new effects in magic. there are only different routes to get to the same conclusion.
Don't get me wrong I don't think you should reveal the secret to any tricks. It simply disappoints the audience. I disappoint myself every time I learn how to do a new trick. I love the way it sounds or looks but once I get the mechanics down I hate the fact that I know how its done. it might almost pay to have my whole frontal lobe removed so I can experience life anew on a daily basis. but this involves other problems.
I digress my opinion is that you shouldn't reveal the secrets to tricks. people will ask because they don't like to be tricked but they honestly don't know. find and out do another trick or walk away whatever works. do you want to see how superman flies in the movies? or I'll tell you but you wouldn't respect me in the morning!
Renaldo
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I spent the better part of the 90's doing technical support for various online companies. For two of those years, I ran new employees through a 2 week training class, teaching them how to do tech support for our customers. I would tell them from the start that I'm going to show them how to solve 90% of the problems they come aross, the other 10% is unteachable. That other 10% requires experience, knowledge and understanding that can't be taught to them in 2 weeks, and that they were responsible for learning the rest on their own throughout their career. I told them that in the mean time, they should take those unsolvable problems to an experienced tech.

Some people got and understood this, but for some others it preturbed them, like I was holding back secrets that would keep them from being successful at their new job, "just because". I would tell those people that no problem they dealt with was unsolvable, but some required indepth knowledge of networking protocols, troubleshooting, etc. and that if they didn't have that yet, no amount of information I could give would be useful, because they just didn't yet have the knowledge base to support it. A lot of times people would then ask what they could do to start learning what they really needed.

The answer was simple: RTFM. (Read The, um, Flipping Manual). I'd tell them there's a reason libraries and bookstores have large technical sections. People actually read them and that's where your knowledge base is going to come from.

This is pretty much how I approach magic. RTFM, learn the theories, learn the whys and the hows. The layperson asks how to do a trick, you might be able to show them the move that makes it work, but they couldn't begin to understand or appreciate the levels happening below that, so it's pointless. I tell people there's no easy answer, they'd have to take the time to learn it; most people accept this answer. If they don't, I tell them which book they can find the information in.

Keep in mind, I consider myself a complete noob when it comes to magic. I can do a few tricks; IMHO, poorly. I'm still RTFM'ing and trying to build that knowledge base. I know I could go buy $100 worth of self working packet tricks, learn them well and be a semi-talented hack in a matter of months. I'd rather 'pay my dues', RTFM, study and maybe in a few years I'll call myself an amateur magician.

The exception (all good rules have them, right?) is that I bought a Svengali deck for my best friend at work, and keep one in my desk for myself. I showed him the basics of it, and we occasionally entertain ourselves by trying to out-do each other with 'new' tricks we make up (which I'm sure are old and in any 101-Tricks book lol). Just don't ask us why every card ends up being the 3 of Clubs or 10 of Diamonds!
AtticusGreen
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I don't mind showing a trick or two to my audience but I would never show something they couldn't easily figure out on the internet. If they ask to be taught a trick then I'll teach them the most basic card trick that involves use of a key card. Then I'll follow up their lesson with another trick and show them I'm not using a keycard but am still able to get their card, or I'll use a keycard trick and make a point of showing them the keycard and then use sleight of hand to move the selected card away from the keycard. Basically, I think it's fine to teach them a simple trick, especially if you then use their knowledge of that trick to fool them with an even better trick.
It only takes one snowflake to cause an avalanche.
The Big Q
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I will show someone who is interested/learning a move...but not a trick - and certainly not an audience...if fact I find for every person who begs me to show them how a trick was done, there are at least two who loudly proclaim that they don't want to know.
DaleTrueman
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I'm not a magician by anyones standards yet. Just someone with some aspirations and a dozen or so tricks up my sleeve. I still have to develop an act as such.
But I do agree with a lot of what has been said and thank you all for the valuable advice.

I do find learning about magic sometimes a little dissapointing. Something I thought must be incredibly complex and requiring special equipment turns out to be so dam simple I kick myself for not seeing it before. I found this made it hard for me to perform the trick itself as it seems way too obvious how it is done. But I forget how baffling it was before I learnt the secret. Which brings me to how important the overall showmanship must be. Would I be correct in assuming that the staging, presentation and patter etc is actually a major part of any illusion? In fact it seems that these things are a way of distracting the audience from what you are actually doing.

I think it is fine for someone like Penn and Teller to show the occasional method to their audience. Admitting that it is not actually "magic" helps to expose those who perform under the guise of actually have special powers (which I loathe). But please don't tell us too much, it ruins the magic.
Johnny Butterfield
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Quote:
On 2009-10-05 23:22, tiggod wrote:
... Which brings me to how important the overall showmanship must be. Would I be correct in assuming that the staging, presentation and patter etc is actually a major part of any illusion? In fact it seems that these things are a way of distracting the audience from what you are actually doing.


In his book Carneycopia, John Carney says that good technique is insurance, in case the misdirection does not take full effect.

The misdirection is too important to leave to chance - it's vitally important to have the dirty work covered by bringing the audience's focus away from 'what they cannot know'. Nobody's technique is good enough to withstand constant scrutiny.

The staging (synonymous with 'blocking'?) is important because at some angles, the audience can see 'what they cannot see'. It's also too important to leave to chance. And there's a bunch of ways to direct an audience's attention, and these really have to be worked out in advance to avoid feeling contrived.

Patter can direct attention away from the dirty work, and a guy talking is usually more interesting than a silent guy.

Make them look where you want them to - away from the sleight, right at the effect.
The current economic crisis is due to all the coins I've vanished.
The poster formerly known as Fman111.
DaleTrueman
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[quote]On 2009-10-06 00:37, Fman111 wrote:
Quote:

The misdirection is too important to leave to chance - it's vitally important to have the dirty work covered by bringing the audience's focus away from 'what they cannot know'. Nobody's technique is good enough to withstand constant scrutiny.

Make them look where you want them to - away from the sleight, right at the effect.


Thanks for that advice, It had sort of dawned on me but I was until recently concentrating almost solely on the method.

I was just looking at the Penn and Teller cups and balls clip and there is a little moment where Penn juggles the balls seemingly for no reason...... lol.
jusakarman
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I learned something from my buddy in south africa...i ask him why you so kind to share all of your trick to other magician....??
he just answer this..
" that's no matter to me to let they (magician) know the secret, because they can learned the trick but only one who perform this trick like me.."
"for those magicians who place magic above comfort and reward" from book of wonder by Tommy Wonder (November 29, 1953 - June 26, 2006) ........
mkmager
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People are intrigued by magic because they are seeing things that they cannot easily explain. Try explaining all of your bits to your audience before hand and see if anyone enjoys the show. I bet not.
Johnny Butterfield
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Quote:
On 2009-10-06 01:13, tiggod wrote:

Thanks for that advice, It had sort of dawned on me but I was until recently concentrating almost solely on the method.

I was just looking at the Penn and Teller cups and balls clip and there is a little moment where Penn juggles the balls seemingly for no reason...... lol.


All part of the learning curve, my friend. You've just taken a giant step.
The current economic crisis is due to all the coins I've vanished.
The poster formerly known as Fman111.
MagiCol
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Practicing magic is a craft, and has a heritage. My concern about sharing and tutoring another is "Is the person worthy?" Worthy in the sense that they have a genuine interest in magic and have put forth effort and can show how to perform some magic. Worthy in the sense that I believe they will keep the secret to within the magic fraternity.
The presentation makes the magic.
ottphd
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Not only a craft but an art!! Somethings are rich in historical tradition. In respecting the ghosts of the past, I beleive it should remain a mystery well into the future!! Just my thoughts.
PROINWA1
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Almost everyone asks me how a particular effect is done. I stopped saying "Promise not to tell; well so did I" a long time ago. I think that is slightly smug, with a little bit of "I am better than you are." I want everyone I do magic for to go away delighted and talk about what they saw with their friends reliving the wonder over and over. I have had people who I did card tricks for see me years later and pull out of their wallet the card they initialed and I ripped apart and restored. I wonder how many times they relived the joy they felt when I performed that trick. I have had people stop me in the street and ask me to do that "professor's trick" (professor's nightmare). Of course I don't carry ropes with me, but I always have some type of impromptu magic with me for these occasions. I guess my point is we rob these people of a joy in life, the joy of wonder, a joy they can live over and over again. If we tell them how an effect is done they are robbed of this joy.
DN777
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It pushes us to raise our standards, it also disrespects the art of secrecy. It's a double edged sword.
somecorner
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As a (very) new person to learning magic, I love the fact that the secrets are not easily given away and shared.

What drew me into starting to try and learn this myself was wanting to give other people the same feelings I get when I see tricks performed well. I'm well aware that in many cases each technique used would probably seem mundane if explained, but the combination of them and the method of presentation can often bring a huge smile to my face. Making things somewhat difficult to find helps reinforce how the overall effect is a mixture of method/technique and delivery, and not just an explanation of a sleight.
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