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Pittsburgh PA
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Profile of EllisJames52
With all that's going on right now in regards to youtube tutorials and magic (specifically magician's exposing tricks belonging to other magicians), I wanted to share my thoughts. Full disclosure: I am 18 years old, I can't remember a time where internet wasn't easily available, I plan to have magic as a source of income later in life and I have, without a doubt, benefitted from magic tutorials on youtube.

I started in magic around 8 years ago. I started with a Royal Road, and read it as best I could. I learned, I practice, I showed my parents. I didn't learn every effect in the book, I picked the ones I thought sounded cool. I loved showing my friends and family, but eventually that wore off. I wanted something other than the five or so effects I could do. Instead of going back to the book (which I did years later, don't worry) I searched on youtube. Imagine my surprise when I found more tricks than I could ever learn. I am not proud to say it, but I learned a lot from tutorials during my first years or two. Quickly though, it got harder to find new things. There were only a few channels with bearable tutorials, and they posted a lot of similar stuff. There was a lot of "crotch cam" magicians, which were just kids pointing their webcam at their lap and trying to explain tricks as best they could. I ended up having to look elsewhere, which lead me to learn from better sources like books, downloads, lectures, etc.

When I was watching those tutorials, I didn't care who made the tricks. I didn't care if someone else was losing money, I just wanted to learn. I needed more magic. I'm not proud of it, but it's true and I do my best to make up for it. I was a shy kid, and even if there was magic classes nearby I wouldn't have wanted to go. I didn't know how to learn.

I think that if a magician has trick tutorials on youtube, it has to be on the most basic of things. How to do a riffle shuffle and bridge, french drop, card fans, double lift, cross cut force, key card trick, maybe a simple ambitious card. Simple things to get someone interested. If a routine is being taught, it has to be your own. Stealing is never ok. It hurts more than the creator. However, when magicians post tutorials for intermediate to advanced tricks, that becomes a problem. The new young magicians that are watching these more advanced tutorials need to be learning from other places. If someone only knows tricks from youtube videos, chances are they won't see a problem with exposing tricks they learn later.

We need simple stuff to be available so kids can get started. Something that they can perform to a friend or a parent or whoever. It's like a free sample. You get a taste for free, and once you like it, you start buying. It would be ideal for every kid to have access to a magic shop, club, or mentor to offer that sample and then foster a love of magic, but it's tough. I was lucky to have mentors, a magic shop in my town, and parents that supported my interest turned obsession, many don't. Many kids don't have access to magic the way they used to. There might be books in libraries, but most kids aren't gonna choose reading over youtube. Its sad but true. Think about it. Where did you first learn? Is that still available for kids, or has it closed, downsized or retired. If it is still there, do you think that it will occur to kids today to look and learn the way you did? Exposure on youtube is awful, but kids not having access to magic is bad too.

Chris Ramsey announced recently that he was stopping putting tutorials on his channel, which I think is great. His tutorials were well done, good quality, and fun to watch, but they catered to a group of magicians that should've been learning elsewhere rather than relying on youtube. From watching his videos, kids get inspired to perform. Over 700,000 people have subscribed to him. Some are magicians, some aren't really interested at all and forgot to subscribe, some are laymen just looking for something to watch. However, some kids will watch those videos and think "I wanna be like that. I wanna perform magic" and decide to look for more. It used to be that people saw there first trick either at a shop, from a family member, or from a magician at a show. Later on, people started seeing their first trick from a tv special too. Now we have a new way for kids to see their first trick, and its from people like Chris.

I'd love to see a series of youtube videos teaching magic, but not revealing tricks. Stuff on scripting, getting gigs, what tricks work in what situations. MagicGeek had a series of videos on street magic that dealt with everything from gathering a crowd, to what tricks to open and close with, to how to ask for tips. They are by no means a complete guide, but they helped a lot of people.

I'd love to hear other opinions. How has magic on youtube impacted you?
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Inner circle
York, PA
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Profile of WitchDocChris
You touch on the crux of my dislike for YT tutorials in your post - it teaches a lack of respect for magic and magic history, and encourages new magicians to expose tricks instead of learning to be good performers.

When someone gets into magic today, they will almost certainly go to YouTube first. I don't blame anyone for that. YouTube is where people go to learn things like magic. I go to YouTube when I need to learn how to fix something on my Chevy, or how to build a better book shelf, etc. Why wouldn't they go to YouTube to learn a card trick?

What happens after that, if they stick with it, is they see certain channels with tons of subscribers and attention. They see videos of those channel owners going to conventions and having a great time with other magicians, getting recognized, being respected.

So the logical conclusion is that serious, popular, respected magicians post tutorials. So if they want to be a serious, popular, respected magician - they should post tutorials.

And that's how you get the crotch-shot kids fumbling their way through a trick they "learned" on YouTube an hour before hand and only practiced enough to muddle their way through the physical portion of the method from start to finish, with a solid chance they don't even know the actual name of the trick they're 'teaching'.

But it's not their fault, really. They're just imitating the behavior they've seen modeled by the guys who are "names" that do it as well.

I watched Ramsay's apology video and I was, to be frank, underwhelmed. He's not stopping tutorials because of the impact on the magic community - he's stopping them because he can't be bothered to make sure he's not revealing someone else's work. So once again, this is the model being shown to the current generation of magicians. Is it any wonder there seems to be a lack of respect until someone's been studying magic for some time?
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Inner circle
Considering Stopping At Exactly
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Profile of Poof-Daddy
Lee Asher put out a great YouTube expose’ on his site quite a while back.
Well worth a read.
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Profile of kardistic
I got into magic thanks to Youtube.

I agree with your view EllisJames52 that on YT should be some basic/intermediate techniques and not revealing magic tricks like some do. Especially ones which are being sold by someone. Friend of mine who started a YT channel revealed French Kiss and got a harsh criticism from our magic community. Although he apologized and took the video down he did some damage.

What I love to watch is streetmagic where they doesn't reveal any magic tricks. That's an alternative way to motive someone to pick up a deck of cards and it doesn't do any harm.
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Profile of funsway
I may one of the few who remember back when the focus on magic was not skill demonstrations, gotcha or puzzles.
You cannot learn magic from a video. You can learn tricks and methods and techniques - or copy them. But "magic" - no.

Of course, those who learn/mimic from YouTube only understand magic within the limited perspective of what is seen though a small window
selected by someone else. Your audience may have the same limited perspective, so this may work.

SOme ven say, "I learn best form a video presentation. Sad. They have no understanding of what "learning" means.

There is a great value in learning techniques from video along side of written instructions. Yet, to observe a complete routine from a limited perspective,
and then attempt to learn segments in a reverse engineering fashion has many pitfalls. Audience engagement is missing as well as appreciation of distraction and focus.

I went back to school to get a second Masters Degree in Educational Technology so that I could understand the role of media in learning.
Most teachers in the courses did not really care. I guess new magicians should not either. I wonder why I still do?

Alas magic. I will miss you.
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Princeton, NJ
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Profile of A Magic Cafe User
I agree with Ellis. Similarly, I also got into magic on youtube. However, I have seen videos in which 12-year-old kids do 'magic tricks' without properly learning them first. I think this is an insult to magic in general. I still think that it's important to expose kids and young people to magic. Even if it's youtube. How many kids (other than myself) would want to go to the library and read books on magic? If magic needs to evolve an grow it needs exposure: even if it's youtube.
- Just my humble opinion

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