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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » How Much to Share With Other Magicians (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

novasteeple
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It's clear that magicians should not expose methods to non-magicians, but as a new magician I've found myself surprisingly unsure about how much is appropriate to share with other magicians. Basically, what are the ethics and etiquette when a fellow magician asks how you did a trick? Or is asking in the first place a breach?

Does it matter if the other magician is a close friend, or a fellow member of your I.B.M ring, or a fellow attendee at an expo or convention? Does it matter if the method is a well-known classic vs. a new creation? Does it matter if the trick is currently on the market? Does it matter if it relies on a non-DIY gimmick (i.e. the other magician would have to buy it to perform it)?

On one hand, it seems wrong to pay $20 to learn a method and then tell the very customers who might also pay $20. On the other hand, it doesn't seem like discussions between magicians would be limited only to public domain or discontinued tricks.

Thanks for any advice, and I apologize if this has already been covered before in another thread.
Dick Oslund
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When I was a teenager, just starting out, an old and experienced professional told me, "Never ask a magician how a trick is done. If you like how he did a trick, compliment him. Perhaps he will share it with you."

I don't have time to answer ALL your questions. Perhaps I can return later.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
jstreiff
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Mystery performers (magicians, mentalists, theatrical hypnotists, séance artists and bizarrists) operate within a web of trust. Each of us decides to what degree we trust others, if at all. There are no real rules except to protect secrets in general. When you join most magic organizations you take a vow to do this. And before anyone says anything, I will not attempt to defend Penn and Teller in this regard; I do not condone their exposure antics.

The real answer is personal. Most working performers don't want to reveal their work because it is their bread and butter. Once something has been used for awhile, many will release material for profit. As a general rule, we tend not to reveal methods of others' effects, even here in the Café.
John
Dannydoyle
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I never once paid for a magic lesson. Everything I learned was from mentors as far as hypnosis or magic goes it was purely learning from others.

If that answers your question I have no idea.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
danaruns
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First, I would never ask methods of a random magician you just met. I think if it's someone you know, it's okay to ask so long as you do it right. But you also have to be able to graciously accept "no" for an answer. Most working magicians won't reveal the secrets to their working material, especially if it's a method or effect unique to them. In the case of a signature effect, I'd say that the etiquette is don't ask, even if it's your best friend. This is what sets them apart from everyone else, and it's disrespectful to put them in the position of having to tell you to take a hike.

If the magician did a particular variant of an old routine that you like -- say a particular take on a coins across, which trick is classic and ubiquitous -- then asking is fair game. But the more unique the effect or method is, the more you should probably exercise restraint.

The etiquette also varies according to your relationship with the magician. If it's someone you don't know, I wouldn't ask them any methods, at all. None. Zilch. Zippo. That's just bad form. The closer your relationship, the more acceptable it is to ask, again with the understanding that "no means no," and you immediately change the subject.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Aug 20, 2017, danaruns wrote:
First, I would never ask methods of a random magician you just met. I think if it's someone you know, it's okay to ask so long as you do it right. But you also have to be able to graciously accept "no" for an answer. Most working magicians won't reveal the secrets to their working material, especially if it's a method or effect unique to them. In the case of a signature effect, I'd say that the etiquette is don't ask, even if it's your best friend. This is what sets them apart from everyone else, and it's disrespectful to put them in the position of having to tell you to take a hike.

If the magician did a particular variant of an old routine that you like -- say a particular take on a coins across, which trick is classic and ubiquitous -- then asking is fair game. But the more unique the effect or method is, the more you should probably exercise restraint.

The etiquette also varies according to your relationship with the magician. If it's someone you don't know, I wouldn't ask them any methods, at all. None. Zilch. Zippo. That's just bad form. The closer your relationship, the more acceptable it is to ask, again with the understanding that "no means no," and you immediately change the subject.


There are so many great points here on many levels I had to read it several times.

Fantastic post.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
longhaired1
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Salida
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The amount of information I will give to someone who is learning the art is in direct proportion to how much time they've taken to educate themselves. And if you want me to really open up, start asking more questions about presentation than methodology.

I was fortunate in my younger days to spend time with Paul Chosse, a great magician who helped me out a great deal. The majority of our conversations revolved around why I should use a particular music or dress a certain way. Far less was devoted to "how did you do that".
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