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WitchDocChris
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"Magic is Dead" is cropping up because there's a book that was just released (two days ago I think) with that title from Ian Frisch, and he has been promoting it relentlessly (as is appropriate, if one wishes to sell their book). That and it was Madison's catch phrase, so all his disciples use it too.

To borrow a phrase from Daniel Greenwolf, which I do agree with, "Magic is in it's 3rd Golden Age".

It's more popular now than it ever has been. More shows on TV with good ratings. More live shows touring and holding theater slots regularly. Magicians winning TV-talent shows where previously that was unheard of. Obviously the size of the casual performer market is growing daily. That has pros and cons, obviously - but one thing that occurs to me is a major plus - people are more likely to see magic performed live now than ever before.

Which means they're more likely to see more than one magician live, than ever before.

Which means they will have something to compare performances to, which cuts back on the whole thing where when someone sees a terrible magic performance they say, "Magic sucks" instead of "this magician sucks".

So really, it should motivate magicians to put more work into being entertaining.
Christopher
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HeronsHorse
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Well said Chris.
Magic is not dead yet!!
Smile
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Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks are strangers to magic. Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained."
- S.H. Sharpe
Terrible Wizard
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Good points Smile

I suspect the magic is dead sentiment resonates more with hobbyists, since amateurs are going to a much harder time trying to be better than Dynamo and Shin Lim than professionals are.

It might be that amatuer magic live performance is dead (or dying) and that hobbyists will now only be seen at crotch-level 'doing tricks' on YouTube, or exposing the work of professionals, since the amatuer market for 'secrets' will never die.
WitchDocChris
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"Magic is Dead" is just the hook. The full schtick was, "Magic is dead to the audience, so I, as the performer, must convince them it's alive and real." (paraphrased)

The idea being that the performer has to work extra hard to make sure the performance seems impossible and magical.
Christopher
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Terrible Wizard
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Yes, I think that was Madison's point. Probably Ramsey's and jerx's too (who have also done stuff with that phrase).

But I see it as applying differently to hobbyist magic than professional (the Jerx goes into that angle).
WitchDocChris
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Yes and no.

"Professional" means they make their living with magic. That's really the only qualifier. It does not denote quality of performance at all. I've seen some pretty bad professional performers.

Many of the greatest thinkers and creators in magic were and are amateurs.

I think it would be more accurate to separate people into 'casual' and 'serious'. Casual magicians are going to be far more likely to slack in regards to creating quality performances because they just don't care that much. Someone who's serious about magic will put the effort into improving their performance because they do care.
Christopher
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Terrible Wizard
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I agree, but I also disagree.

There is a difference between casual and amatuer, but there is also the issue of how much more difficult and unlikely it is for a hobbyist to practically 'compete' with TV magic.
WitchDocChris
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Ascanio won FISM when he was a hobbyist.

Well performed live magic will almost always be 'better' than magic on TV. The reason for this is quite simply that when seeing magic on TV there is a literal barrier between the viewer and the magic, whereas live magic is right there in front of them.

All it takes is the performer being sure to develop a good show, rather than simply doing magic at people.
Christopher
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Terrible Wizard
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I think there's a miscommunication here.

The typical hobbyist, as I'm using the term, doesn't do shows, nor wins FISM, nor has the budget, skill, time, crew, audience and editing of Dynamo.

I'm thinking of folk like me, of the kids you see on YouTube, of the card trick uncle etc. Probably of the vast majority of people who buy many tricks and ask questions in the top sections of this forum (how many people posting in the beginner forum are likely to turn out to be the new Ascanio?)

For the majority of hobbyists, who are realistically never going to win FISM or perform shows better than what's on TV or even be close to what Angel, Blaine, Dynamo or Brown can do with a TV budget behind them, this new golden age is like a death knell.

Whereas thirty or twenty years ago one could simply do a decent trick well and expect a fair reaction, that is now much harder. Twenty years ago if someone had showed me Spin Doctor, good sw*mi work, B'wave or a chop cup routine I would have been amazed. Now, not so much. Twenty years ago you could bemuse and befuddle with a a simple card trick, now you might well be asked if you can do what so and so did on the TV, or met with someone telling you how you did it because it's on YouTube.

An averagely skilled, averagely talented, average hobbyist can still raise a smile or fool someone with a standard bought packet trick, but it seems to me that there is now less bang for their buck - they have to work much harder, be more creative, present better, practice more, just to maintain the reaction from a decade or two ago or avoid the mass exposure effect.

In short, hobbyists have had to raise their game so much so as to get a reasonable response that it has now become almost out of reach, and thus simply easier for some to get their 'magic kick' from 'performing' on YouTube, buying (or stealing) secrets, and exposing stuff online.

I suspect that the unintended side effects of all the great TV magic will be less hobbyists performing in real life, an explosion of exposure online, the loss of magic mystique, and in time a more jaded and difficult to please public who's demand for novelty and wonder will ever more outstrip the ability of casual, maybe even some professional, magicians.

I've been to live shows with non-magician friends and found they and I were mentally comparing the onstage performers to what we'd got used to on TV - and the tricks on TV won. It's hard for professionals to compete, I don't think the majority of hobbyists stand a chance.
HeronsHorse
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Quote:
On Mar 1, 2019, Terrible Wizard wrote:
I think there's a miscommunication here.

The typical hobbyist, as I'm using the term, doesn't do shows, nor wins FISM, nor has the budget, skill, time, crew, audience and editing of Dynamo.

I'm thinking of folk like me, of the kids you see on YouTube, of the card trick uncle etc. Probably of the vast majority of people who buy many tricks and ask questions in the top sections of this forum (how many people posting in the beginner forum are likely to turn out to be the new Ascanio?)

For the majority of hobbyists, who are realistically never going to win FISM or perform shows better than what's on TV or even be close to what Angel, Blaine, Dynamo or Brown can do with a TV budget behind them, this new golden age is like a death knell.

Whereas thirty or twenty years ago one could simply do a decent trick well and expect a fair reaction, that is now much harder. Twenty years ago if someone had showed me Spin Doctor, good sw*mi work, B'wave or a chop cup routine I would have been amazed. Now, not so much. Twenty years ago you could bemuse and befuddle with a a simple card trick, now you might well be asked if you can do what so and so did on the TV, or met with someone telling you how you did it because it's on YouTube.

An averagely skilled, averagely talented, average hobbyist can still raise a smile or fool someone with a standard bought packet trick, but it seems to me that there is now less bang for their buck - they have to work much harder, be more creative, present better, practice more, just to maintain the reaction from a decade or two ago or avoid the mass exposure effect.

In short, hobbyists have had to raise their game so much so as to get a reasonable response that it has now become almost out of reach, and thus simply easier for some to get their 'magic kick' from 'performing' on YouTube, buying (or stealing) secrets, and exposing stuff online.

I suspect that the unintended side effects of all the great TV magic will be less hobbyists performing in real life, an explosion of exposure online, the loss of magic mystique, and in time a more jaded and difficult to please public who's demand for novelty and wonder will ever more outstrip the ability of casual, maybe even some professional, magicians.

I've been to live shows with non-magician friends and found they and I were mentally comparing the onstage performers to what we'd got used to on TV - and the tricks on TV won. It's hard for professionals to compete, I don't think the majority of hobbyists stand a chance.


I never read such a negative, pessimistic view!
The good thing is, you're not even right.
good sw*mi work, B'wave or a chop cup routine still definitely amazes.! I have no idea why you think otherwise.
Who cares what dynamo et al are doing?!
If you cant bring the entertainment then hobbyist or not, why are you even bothering with magic?! Magic is STILL about the presentation, not the effects! Why don't you know orcunderstand this?!
Your post says a lot more about where you are emotionally than it says about magic.

I absolutely love seeing the wonder on faces after I've made them feel it. I've never had an actual show, I study the books of the past and psychology and misdirection, read about performance and showmanship, and try to perform for strangers when I can. I'm perhaps a hobbyist in your parlance. Yet I do not have your outlook or your depressing negative attitude. I feel elated at the prospect of going from strength to strength, perhaps one day becoming more than what I do now.
Magic is alive more than ever and there are many really poor magicians out there. I see it as mine and others like me's, task to rectify this, by studying our craft hard and not becoming one of those poorly practised magicians who don't know how to perform, only know how to stand there doing tricks they bought.
That is where the extra work is! That is what makes us have to work harder!
But, you know ... magic has never been easy. I'm glad it is so difficult. At least it keeps sone from pursuing it.
The key point is that the effect is only a vehicle for entertainment, it isn't the end game. I can entertain someone with a very simple trick and so cpuld you. Bought packet trick? Who needs one of those?
I think you should go back to basics and shake that jaded outlook... Fitzkee, Henning Nelms and Tamariz have much to say on the value of the performabce aspect.

Apologies for the apparent rant. I'm not putting you down, your post struck a chord in me. I think magic is exploding and whilst yes, youtube is an abomination with no rules and exposure everywhere, it isn't anything close to a death knell. You only need to change your perspective my friend.
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Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks are strangers to magic. Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained."
- S.H. Sharpe
Terrible Wizard
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Quote:
On Mar 1, 2019, HeronsHorse wrote:

I have no idea why you think otherwise.


Different experiences, I guess.

Quote:
Who cares what dynamo et al are doing?!

Audiences.

Quote:
Magic is STILL about the presentation, not the effects!

I disagree. It's about both. And in hobby magic I 'd say the effect is more important. I'd get better reactions with a perfect ACAAN and no presentation skill than the 21 card trick and a great presentation.


Quote:
I absolutely love seeing the wonder on faces after I've made them feel it.

Which is why its a bad thing, IMHO, that it is becoming harder to achieve this, because more people are exposed to the secrets and exposed to TV magic which cannot realistically be competed with.

Quote:
I'm perhaps a hobbyist in your parlance.

Yes.

Quote:
Yet I do not have your outlook or your depressing negative attitude.

Also yes.

Quote:
Magic is alive more than ever and there are many really poor magicians out there.

The two are connected.

Quote:
I see it as mine and others like me's, task to rectify this,

I think it's becoming harder for the average hobbyist to do this. Technically, the average hobbyist is probably light years ahead of the hobbyist thirty years ago. But the reaction they get is a diminishing return.

Quote:
only know how to stand there doing tricks they bought.

Which is a performance style itself. Some dislike 'presentation'.

Quote:
That is where the extra work is! That is what makes us have to work harder!

I disagree. It's the 'fooling' aspect that is hard and getting harder, thanks to mass exposure and the comparative TV bar being set ever higher. The presentation aspect hasn't changed, IMHO.

Quote:
magic has never been easy.I'm glad it is so difficult. At least it keeps sone from pursuing it.

Totally agreed. But it's getting harder, and harder, and at some point will be too hard for hobbyists. And they will move to youtube and video magic and exposure instead, I suspect.


Quote:
The key point is that the effect is only a vehicle for entertainment, it isn't the end game.

Again, I disagree. The effect should be an integral part of the 'entertainment'. A good effect trumps a good presentation, imho, for the hobbyist (obviously not for the pro - different environment).


Quote:
I can entertain someone with a very simple trick and so cpuld you.

I can entertain people with no trick at all, but then it isn't magic - it's just good social skills. Magic has to fool and amaze as well as entertain, otherwise you're better of telling jokes or playing music. And you can't fool with a bad trick, or a when people know the trick/secret (at least as easily as you could with a good trick and no exposure).

Quote:
Bought packet trick? Who needs one of those?

The customers of the big magic sites, like Penguin. Like you said, B'wave is a good trick. So is Colour Monte, Spin Doctor, NFW, etc. Nothing wrong with good packet tricks. Hobbyists like them because they are portable. Portability is important to casual magic.

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I think you should go back to basics and shake that jaded outlook

Maybe. But pessimism is just part of me.

Quote:
Apologies for the apparent rant.

No problem Smile
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
An averagely skilled, averagely talented, average hobbyist can still raise a smile or fool someone with a standard bought packet trick, but it seems to me that there is now less bang for their buck - they have to work much harder, be more creative, present better, practice more, just to maintain the reaction from a decade or two ago or avoid the mass exposure effect.


And you see this as a bad thing. Gotcha.

My point this whole time has been that the bar has been raised and that's a good thing. Maybe it's not as easy as it once was to elicit genuinely solid reactions from the audience - but the reason for that is that the audience now has something to compare a performance of magic to, and if the live performing isn't living up to their expectations that's the fault of the performer failing to do their job.

Now if someone wants a good reaction, maybe they have to actually put in some work into being worth that reaction.

I never get people comparing my performances to TV shows. At least, not out loud where I or my people can hear it. Perhaps the problem isn't that magic audiences are too informed and/or jaded, but that too many people are trying to copy other performers?

Quote:
And you can't fool with a bad trick, or a when people know the trick/secret


Yes you can, if you put the work into making it fooling. I've been fooled with a method I taught to the person who fooled me, because he changed it up on me.

I think you're just dead set on finding reasons why it's something else's fault that you're not getting the reactions you want.

Argue for your limitations and they will indeed be yours.
Christopher
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Terrible Wizard
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Quote:
And you see this as a bad thing.


Yes, for the typical hobbyist and for their audiences who will have less amazement now than in times past, at least.


Quote:
My point this whole time has been that the bar has been raised and that's a good thing.

Only up to a point is it a good thing.
Like, imagine the bar got so high that no matter how hard you tried you simply couldn't amaze, fool or entertain with magic, anymore, because what had become the 'norm' required skill, money, technology, and secrets you simply couldn't acquire. Or imagine that half your audience knew how you did most of your effects. [/quote]

Quote:
Maybe it's not as easy as it once was to elicit genuinely solid reactions from the audience

This is my main point, yes.

Quote:

but the reason for that is that the audience now has something to compare a performance of magic to, and if the live performing isn't living up to their expectations that's the fault of the performer failing to do their job.


Agreed. It's not the audience's fault, but it's unrealistic for the hobbyist to walk on water or fly or convince people to commit murder or become religious, like you see on TV with Dynamo or Derren Brown.

Quote:
Now if someone wants a good reaction, maybe they have to actually put in some work into being worth that reaction.

True. But it might be that the amount of work is beyond the hobbyist with a full-time job; the amount of skill is beyond the ordinary guy; the amount of money is beyond non-TV magicians etc. No doubt other professions have become harder too - look at TV cookery, for example. Hard for a Sunday cook to compete with Ramsey. Or beauty standards, hard for your average Joe and Jane to compete with photoshopped, plastic surgery, genetically gifted super stars. [/quote]

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I never get people comparing my performances to TV shows.

Cool.

Quote:
At least, not out loud where I or my people can hear it.

Ah.


Quote:
Perhaps the problem isn't that magic audiences are too informed and/or jaded, but that too many people are trying to copy other performers?


Or both. They aren't mutually exclusive. Perhaps copying is another side effect of the internet and the renaissance of TV magic.

Quote:
Yes you can, if you put the work into making it fooling.

If I know the actual trick methodology, not just the move or prop, I say you can't.

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I think you're just dead set on finding reasons why it's something else's fault that you're not getting the reactions you want.

No need to make it personal.
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
Like, imagine the bar got so high that no matter how hard you tried you simply couldn't amaze, fool or entertain with magic, anymore, because what had become the 'norm' required skill, money, technology, and secrets you simply couldn't acquire. Or imagine that half your audience knew how you did most of your effects.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

Quote:
True. But it might be that the amount of work is beyond the hobbyist with a full-time job; the amount of skill is beyond the ordinary guy; the amount of money is beyond non-TV magicians etc. No doubt other professions have become harder too - look at TV cookery, for example. Hard for a Sunday cook to compete with Ramsey. Or beauty standards, hard for your average Joe and Jane to compete with photoshopped, plastic surgery, genetically gifted super stars.


People who are good at things, got that way by working at it. "Natural talent" is a myth.

I work full time, and so does my wife. Yet my solo shows and performances get consistently good reviews.

I do a duo-sideshow act with her, generally at festivals, fairs, and local events - again, highly regarded and popular performances.

She does stilt walking and aerials as fantasy characters - looks she designs and creates herself. She learned the make up skills through YouTube and practice.

Want to meet "beauty standards"? Work out, eat better, learn how to style your hair, learn what clothing looks best on you. There's YouTube videos for all of that (and these tutorials are perfectly ethical, since they are not exposing anything secret anyway).

Want to cook like Ramsey? Look up recipes, follow the directions. Eventually it becomes innate. And hey, Ramsey has a Master Class now - you can learn directly from him! The best cooks I know are all self taught. The information is out there.

Quote:
If I know the actual trick methodology, not just the move or prop, I say you can't.


If someone takes a method you're familiar with, but dresses it in a presentation that you're not familiar with, you're likely to be fooled. Look at P&T - they're fooled on every show by methods that they probably know, but are in a different context.

The human mind operates on patterns. If someone is recognizing a trick, it's probably because they've seen that exact trick or something very similar to it recently. Not copying other people's presentations is the first step to making exposure irrelevant to your performances.

I repeat - maybe the problem isn't external. Maybe the performers who aren't seeing the results they want should stop putting so much effort into finding excuses and scapegoats, and instead invest that energy into getting better at performing.
Christopher
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Terrible Wizard
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I don't believe I've been guilty of a fallacious reductio argument. My analogies are fine.

I also don't believe talent is a myth. Some people have natural advantages over other people, whether in looks, height, courage, IQ, temperament, or a million other things. The hardest working guy with an average IQ doesn't get to be a prize winning physicist, for example. Or even, likely, a doctor. Short people don't often get to play top level basketball. Ugly folks don't become models. Some people are tone deaf, have terrible dexterity, or a terrible lack of imagination. People aren't equal. Work doesn't balance it all out.
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Keep arguing for those limitations.
Christopher
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Terrible Wizard
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Yes, I will keep arguing for reality, because only by understanding reality can one even hope to make changes for the better. Otherwise one chases phantoms in pursuit of improvement. Smile. Anyone telling someone who clearly lacks the natural ability to do something they cannot is doing that person no favours and setting them up for failure and wasted time.
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I'm just glad folks like Mahdi Gilbert didn't listen to cynical attitudes like this.

Or it's just a way to justify not having the self discipline to improve.

No skin off my back, I'll keep perfecting my craft while those who lack the discipline can moan about the bar being raised above their heads.
Christopher
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HeronsHorse
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Oh dear.
You took the time to (attempt to) address every single point I made, drowning it all in your pessimistic flair.
I apologise, for even bothering. I just don't know what else to say. I don't want to address your respobses obe by one because I fear it'll become an endless loop which I have no interest in.
As you will continue to depress yourself, people like me will continue to enjoy practising and getting those reactions.
I can't relate, sorry.
I think you might benefit from a new hobby.

PS. My point about packet tricks went over your head. I simply meant that because so many of them are just tricks with fewer cards from a normal deck, why buy those? It's silly when you can use your own cards. Most are a scam! Buy 4 kings and 4 queens and an ace! Only ten pounds! Bargain, not!
Anyway that's another debate (I won't be bothering with either).
Quote of the Month
Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks are strangers to magic. Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained."
- S.H. Sharpe
Terrible Wizard
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Quote:
On Mar 1, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
I'm just glad folks like Mahdi Gilbert didn't listen to cynical attitudes like this.

Or it's just a way to justify not having the self discipline to improve.

No skin off my back, I'll keep perfecting my craft while those who lack the discipline can moan about the bar being raised above their heads.


And for every Mahdi how many failures?

Would you consider a careers advisor who told every student to just follow their dreams, even when those dreams were utterly unrealistic, to be a good advisor?
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