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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Shawn Farquhar & Russ Stevens » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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russ stevens
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Russ Stevens
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Hello Gordyboy,

Here is one question that I'd like answered:

Shawn Farquhar knows that my only issue with him is that I know he saw my promo tape in 1994 and that all that he told me subsequently was untrue. Now you can dispute this all you like, but that is my main issue and he knows it. I'll repeat that again... from the thread you can see that is my issue with him. That and that alone. He knows that as he contributed to the thread. So here's the question:

Why when asked several times during that interview as to why I did what I did after FISM, did he never address this issue once? He gave many reasons of assumption (jealousy etc.), but never addressed my only issue with him once. Therefore all of his answers were totally untrue and that is a fact. In other words he lied yet again.

I guess my question is rhetorical though because the only answer is that he is lying. Maybe you have an answer though?

Best,
Russ
SHOC
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Gordyboy - Thanks for the post. I stand corrected. However, I am hardly "out of line". If you took the time to read my post, stated that "I do not recall" Farquhar raising it at the time. In any event, in fairness to Mr. Farguhar I am glad that you corrected me.
russ stevens
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Russ Stevens
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Here is my statement again in which I address the above point, so that you understand the above post. I'd love to hear the answer!

http://vimeo.com/21590468

Best,
Russ
edh
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For what's it's worth I take no sides.

But, I have to be on Russ's side.
Magic is a vanishing art.
natmagic
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This topic has been brought up at our local magic club and sparked some discussion amongst members - I thought I'd share these thoughts as everybody had good points -


This topic brings up the questions of ethics - something lacking in a lot of younger performers today - although a lot of younger performers actually steal somebody's act move for move - we've seen it all too often on youtube clips. You only have to watch them now performing Shawn's routine using the music on youtube. This is something we as older members can try and install in our younger members. With DVDs now they seem to creating clones - perhaps we can encourage them and guide them to be more 'themselves'.

Music does play an important part in somebody's act and can become much of a signature to them as the effect. Think of Lance Burton's music in his dove act. You only have to hear the first few bars and you always think of Lance Burton - that's how strong a piece of music can become to an act. The choice of music can become as much of a signature to them as the effect. In this case Russ performed his "Shape of My Heart' on cruise ships, theatres etc. and it was one of his signature effects long before it became Shawn's.

We've all be influenced by watching other performers, it can't be helped. It's how we approach this and what we do with that counts. From the evidence of Mr Donnelly, he and Shawn liked what they saw on Russ's promotional video in 1994, and Shawn created something else from it. In music we call this 'Theme and Variations'. You have the original theme (Russ sitting on a stool with a video behind him doing card effects to Shape of My Heart) and the Variation (Shawn sitting on a stool with a video behind him doing different card tricks to Shape of My Heart). We watch Russ and we see the main 'theme', we watch Shawn and we see the 'variation'.

We all felt Shawn was probably the best on the day at FISM and so the judges were right in awarding him GOLD. This isn't the issue here and the medal shouldn't be taken away from Shawn.

Our conclusion at the meeting was that Shawn did see Russ's promotional video in 1994, but we don't feel Shawn did it intentionally. He was probably young and naive, and would have never thought he would win a world champion act with what he created. He is probably in an awkard position now and feels embarrassed he has let it go this far. As far as the latest interview goes, Shawn should have simply not answered or said he wasn't willing to talk about it because it's been brought up before. Why he chose to tell a story that was filled with holes made no sense to any of us. There was no video of Leon in 1994, and there were certainly no subtitles you could turn on and off on video cassettes - not until DVD.

Prior to this we were divided but it seems the majority feel for Russ and he has every right to stand up for his artistic creativity, concepts and his 'THEME'.

Another member suggested we listen to an itrick podcast with Rudy Coby in which he talks about people taking his ideas. He said he would rather they email or write to him and he would discuss other possibilities with them. At the end of the day, this is the lesson we should all take away from this. If we see something we like and think we can use, then we should contact the creator. We should also respect the fact that if the creator says 'NO' they don't want their idea used then we shouldn't use it. However, as Mr Coby said, he often will help the person create something that is more suitable for that person.

Perhaps this has gone too far now for Shawn to acknowledge he was influenced by Russ's performance - either way it has raised some issues we will bring up for our younger members.
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Hello natmagic,

Thank you for your post. Not because you seem to come down on the side that favors me, but because you have actually listened to the evidence and arrived at the only conclusion possible. You explain the situation very well and hopefully make people that aren't quite sure of the ins and outs, see things as they are presented by the evidence available. As for the morals in these situations, what you say is 100% correct of course.

Thank you for such a great post that isn't affected by emotions, friendships and therefore bias, but rather on the evidence presented.

I have never expected for one moment that Shawn Farquhar would admit to what he has done, but always wanted to let people know of his actions. A well known magician sent me this today:

"Imagine having to live with the thought that all your success is built on a lie.... the conscious takes a toll..."

That's Karma for you.

Best,
Russ
Prober
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Personally I feel that both parties should be ostracised from the magic community for using this particular song. Ace of Spades by Motorhead I could understand, but a track by Sting? There's no excuse.
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I'm glad that the mods have kept this thread open. Well done. The Genii Forum thread was locked. It's usually the other way round : )

Interesting too .. The Genii thread mostly support Shawn. This one mostly supports Russ.
dfield
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Well done Natmagic. It is a discussion that needs to be repeated and remind magicians it is NOT OK to take somebody else's creative idea (even if you change the routine) without asking permission. Natmagic, you are to congratulated for making some well observed points and looking at the evidence that has been put forward.

I went back and looked at the Genii forum - and they have closed topics related to this - so congrats to Magic Café - you have gone up one point in my estimate for letting magicians talk about this as it needs to be talked about - even to bring up to the younger performers it is NOT OKAY to take somebody's creative idea and run with it. If you see something you like then at least have the courtesy to contact the magician who created it. I also agree with Natmagic that if a performer says NO then you need to respect that. This is why we need to talk about this and because it involves a Gold Medal winner it makes it even more relevant. It opens up discussion for our younger magicians and we can tell them it's not okay to do this. I see postings on youtube by magicians who are 12 and 13 now who are asking questions related to this topic - many feel it is OKAY to take somebody else's routine. This is DEFINITELY the wrong message that is being sent out.


I read the Genii forum recently and Tim Ellis had a posting that summed up the evidence in years things happened. Tim obviously has a lot of time on his hands to dig through all the postings:)


I quote from Tim Ellis post:-

"1995 Spring – The movie ‘The Professional’ is released on DVD and Shawn Farquhar hears ‘Shape of My Heart’ in the movie and is inspired to create his card routine."


We are now told by Shawn that he saw Leon: The Professional in 1994 on TAPE - this is from Shawn's own interview recently - so Shawn has now changed his story from 1995 to 1994 and from DVD to TAPE? - a lawyer would have had a field day with this change in story.

I like Shawn and have seen his lecture. He does a good job and offers something for everybody. It's not about him winning GOLD, he deserved it as Natmagic said, he was the best on the day according to judges.
I was very disappointed with him in that interview however, and thought it was highly unprofessional for him to keep slagging Russ and answering in the way he did. For some reason Shawn appeared very agitated, very highly strung in that interview. Watch his fingers constantly moving - he couldn't stop moving around and seemed very uncomfortable - there was something about his drawn out, and detailed answer that just didn't seem to fit. It was as though he's had a lot of time to think of the story and to go in to detail about popcorn and his wife - it just seemed very odd. Even his laughter and trying to joke about the matter didn't seem real. That's just my opinion on watching the entire interview.

Russ, I doubt we'll ever hear the truth - I live in hope that one day Shawn might say, "you know what - I do remember watching Russ's tape in 1994 and put it in the back of my mind -a year later it sparked an idea once I heard it again in Leon. I thought my routine was different enough than yours not to warrent asking permission - I was wrong and I'm sorry I let the story get out of control".
Then at Blackpool next year Shawn will buy Russ a big drink and they will each move on --- I live in hope:)
Sean Giles
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In the words of the great Harry Hill "who's routine came first...,. there's only one way to find out....... FIGHT!!" Smile

(except we all know it was Russ by now. We don't need Harry after all!)
Alan Rorrison
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Gotta love a good harry hill reference lol
Andrew Zuber
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If I were in a position where I'd done something like this and lied about it, even years and years later, I would have called Russ up and arranged to meet with him in person. If it meant getting on a plane to England, I would do it. Sit down, spill the beans, and apologize.

The thing about Russ, from what I've seen of his posts and his video, is that he seems very approachable. I think he would take this well, and accept the apology. I can't be certain, obviously, but he seems like the kind of person that would do that. Shawn's decision to bring this back up only stirred the pot. What's interesting to me is that, regardless of whether or not he lied, why bring attention to it after the dust had already settled? All it does is open old wounds and invite speculation all over again. For that, I have lost a lot of respect for him. It was completely unnecessary to discuss it in an interview again, and whether or not he's telling the truth is irrelevant. It was simply distasteful to do so.

Do I believe he was lying? Personally, I sure do. The evidence all points to it.

It's never too late to start over, however. Why not just come clean, shake hands, and move forward? He seems to be awfully concerned with his image (he's never too humble to mention all of the awards he's won over the years,) and it concerns me that he's more interested in maintaining that image and selling himself than doing the right thing. Russ isn't going to bite his head off if he comes forward and admits wrong doing.

Seems he's just WAY too proud. Pride is a good thing; one should be proud of his accomplishments, but not when it stands in the way of correcting a situation that harms others.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
Dan Bernier
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I don't care too much about who is lying and who is telling the truth, but this whole thing is silly to me. I can't really see any similiarities between the two routines other than the song, which by the way may or may not have been used with proper permission from the owner of the song. Russ brushed off the question so fast that I have to wonder about it.

I can only state my opinion because all the info I have is what has been given here on the Café. However, since the two of them made this very public I think that I can comment on it.

No facts or proof has been presented by Russ to support his claims. None, zero. All we have heard was from a witness we know nothing about to decide if the witness is a reliable source or not.

We have Shawn's story and we have Russ's story. People will decide not based on facts or admissions, but based on who they think is telling the truth.

Even when the real truth becomes evident, what difference does it make. I stand by my opinion that neither routine is similiar enough to constitute one ripping off a routine from another. The only thing similiar is the song which neither of them have legal ownership over.
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
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Its the puppet typing it must be...its got out of its case.
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natmagic
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Gospel Dan - for the very reasons you gave above is EXACTLY why this needs to be debated. If people like you don't see this as a problem in magic then I am seriously concerned for magic and our youth. What are we telling them by saying it's OK to take something (even an idea or concept) and use it. I am curious as to what part of Canada you are from and do you belong to local magic clubs? if you are a member then what on earth are you telling younger members? Sure, it's OK to take routines, ideas etc.
We are giving the message to the youth that it's OK for a medal winner to take something without permission. If this continues then where does it stop. If I were to work on a routine with a hand stuck up a puppet and go around calling myself Gospel Pan is that OK?

From experience it seems to be the mentality of magic club magicians that it's OK to steal ideas. This I guess is why many professional magicians DON"T belong to clubs! I am fortunate that I have a group of friends who CARE ABOUT our craft and respect other people's creativity. As a person who says his name is Gospel Dan I am surprised you don't care about who is lying?

The fact you can't see the obvious similarities in style, performance and most importantly theatrical direction makes me start to question anything you actually say. I am now assuming you are not a full time professional entertainer, you have never created anything original and had it stolen before and never studied the art of theatre. I have shown this to other lay people in the industry (entertainment) and they ALL see the similarities. To a lay person the fact remains not what the magician performs but the fact the same music, style, video etc are being used. Why do you think people approached Russ saying HE STOLE SHAWN'S ACT?? Even magicians see the similarities. Both Russ AND Shawn have had magicians and lay people say to them, 'hey this guy is doing your act'. This proves that in the eyes of a lay person THEY ARE THE SAME even as magicians WE KNOW the effects are different. Gospel - if you can't see this point then we are wasting our time even trying to convince you!

Of course it's based on facts - what the heck are you basing it on?? It looks as though you are basing it on personality - I'm basing it all on evidence. The facts are coming out - Shawn has been caught making LIES on his recent interview - we all know that as it's been proven - (please read all the posts carefully again for get somebody who has the time to explain what has been said to you if you don't understand) - sadly you yourself said "I don't care too much about who is lying and who is telling the truth", this from a man who calls himself 'Gospel Dan'? What Gospel do you read or listen to that says telling lies it OK?????? Perhaps take the Gospel from your name and just call yourself DAN?!
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Another way of looking at it Gospel Dan is this - if we didn't know Russ Stevens created the original concept/theme - then at the next FISM 12 magicians turned up and all performed a card routine sitting on a stool (or standing) alone on stage, spot light on them with video screen behind them to Shape Of My Heart - surely EVERYBODY would scream bloody murder because it would be obvious they 'took/stole/borrowed the idea from Shawn Farquhar. What you are saying in your post it that it's OK to do this because they weren't doing an ambitious card routine like Shawn, so it would be OK. In this case the similarities would be more than obvious and everybody would be on Shawn's side. Even if they just used the music and concept of video etc.
Well this is what happened to Russ. The fact he hasn't won Gold Medals and doesn't lecture around the world does not mean he isn't any less of a magician than Shawn. We should respect EVERYBODY'S creativity and concepts. Too often we see magicians ideas stolen and it's time this stopped. If we don't make noise then it will only get worse. Youtube is creating so many copy cat magicians that it's even more relevant now that ever. Clubs and organizations NEED to clamp down and do something about this.
SHOC
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Gospel Dan -

You really need to inform yourself a little better as to this issue. There has been no suggestion that Russ is lying, rather the suggestion has been that Shawn is somewhat economical with the truth. You say that Russ has not put forward any evidence. That is simply not true. Russ put forward his case and told how he had learned that Reg Donnelly had provided a copy of the Russ's video to Shawn. Reg Donnelly, the "witness" you say we know nothing about, has himself come forward and offered his account.

Further, the issue is not just about "ripping off a routine." In fact, for me the main issue has become Shawn’s credibility after claiming his inspiration for using the musical piece "Shape of my Heart," followed his viewing of the movie "Leon: the Professional" in which the song was used. Shawn claims that he had never even heard about Russ Stevens or viewed his video. The version of events provided by Reg Donnelly suggests otherwise and questions Shawn's version.
Dan Bernier
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Okay, (lol) first, let me say that I'm not sure who is lying. I have no way of actually knowing. I'm not saying don't debate the issue, heck, isn't that what I'm doing?

I see no evidence to convince me enough to take any sides in all this. I have opinions though, which I'm merely expressing.

I do not condone someone stealing another persons routine. Let me repeat that, "I do not condone someone stealing someone else's routine".

Let's say Russ is telling the truth (no reason to believe he's lying). Shawn would be guilty of stealing idea's from Russ, and then lying about it through denial and fabricated stories. I get it, and I agree.

However, as you can see, some have already deemed Shawn guilty!


I see this as a big problem, along with many other things I have observed and witnessed for myself. Yes, I see that some of the supposed role models of our industry are not very good role models after all. I see that some of them live lives contrary to the ethics and morals they expect from everyone else to live by.

I also think that judgement has been made prematurely On Shawn. Some opinions come across more as facts than opinions which is what I was trying to get at with my last post.

natmagic, why all the jabs dude? What's my faith in God have to do with particapting in an open discussion? I'll tell you the same thing I tell the few others who try to go there. Don't be so weak that you have to resort to cheap shots. Don't like my opinion, state what you hate about it, or what you disagree about it, but is it really necessary to take jabs at my faith. I thought only young kids and teenagers were guilty of that.

P.S. I also don't perform full time. I own my own business full time. You are not wanting to demeaner me for that too are you?
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
Andrew Zuber
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From all of the evidence that's been put forward, it only makes sense that people have deemed Shawn guilty. The account from Reg, the odd facts provided by Shawn about how he supposedly viewed a VHS copy of a film that couldn't have been out on video yet, this whole subtitle issue which also doesn't make sense since we're referring to VHS tapes here...those pieces of information are what lead folks to believe that Shawn isn't being totally honest about this whole thing.

Are we supposed to sit here and wait for him to come forward and admit wrongdoing? I'm not gonna hold my breath. I think he IS guilty, and it's not because I prefer one performer over the other. I had never seen a performance by either Russ or Shawn prior to this whole thing. I don't know either person, I've never spoken to either person. I for one merely look at what both parties have said, and what Shawn claims doesn't make sense to me. He says he watched the film on VHS in 1994. It was not released on video until 1995, so immediately there are holes in his story.

That's why I truly believe Shawn has been lying.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
Jaffas
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I am not sure what Gospel Dan means when he says "...judgemment has been made prematurely." Both Russ Stevens and Shawn Farquhar have put their cases forward in these forumns and on various video posts. Personally, I have read and heard enough to make an informed opinion and it does not favor Shawn. I also have to agree with the comments posted by Natmagic, Shoc, Zuber, dfield and others regarding Shawn.

After watching Shawn's online interview, my sense was that he was very insincere and was trying to spin the viewer. I can't decide whether he has a great vanity or his style is a consequence of low self esteem. I suspect the later.
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