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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Why do people make fun of magic and magicians? (56 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Senor Fabuloso
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Calling yourself a magician doesn't make you one. anymore than calling yourself Napoleon makes you a military leader. Doing tricks doesn't make you magician. It makes you a trickster. Our responsibility is to show our art, artistically to show the differences.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
WitchDocChris
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Doesn't matter what the magic community thinks in this regard. Public perception is not really tied to our opinions of a performer. Those people, the ones who just know a couple tricks or the ones who act like Gob, are the driving force of public opinion.
Christopher
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Senor Fabuloso
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We will change public opinion with great and entertaining performances beyond that of the mere trickster. The public is OFTEN wrong in their perceptions. We can and should for artistic clarity, put them right.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
WitchDocChris
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We definitely should be striving for the best performance possible.

Tell me, though - what odds do you give for the idea that the majority of people who are interested in magic putting the effort into creating really good shows?

And is the public wrong? Or do you just wish they would go by your definition instead of their own? If the majority of people calling themselves magicians/doing magic tricks are joke-fodder, then I think laymen thinking magicians are a joke is an accurate read on the situation.
Christopher
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Senor Fabuloso
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The only reason some of the public has no respect for magicians and magic is because of uncle Harry being able to pull a coin, out of little Jony's ear. They don't know the difference between tricks and performance. It's our job to educate them. This is one of the reasons why magicians should NEVER perform on demand like a trained monkey. A doctor would find it extremely offensive to be asked medical questions, outside his office and so to, should we be offended when expected to perform on demand. Someone wants to see you do a trick, tell them where they can get tickets, to your show then blow them away with a performance. Don't have a show? Get one, cause if your not performing, your not a magician. You might be a creator of tricks or a practitioner of magic but magic is a performance art.

Respect is something that needs to be earned.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
WitchDocChris
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I think it's quite unfair to say that anyone who doesn't have ticketed shows isn't a magician. There are some amazing performers who do only strolling or restaurants, for example. Or long-time magicians who have no interest in doing an official show and only perform on a casual basis. Many of the greats in our art have been amateurs or semi-professionals.

Furthermore, having a show in no way guarantees the person is actually a good performer. It just means they can book a venue. I've seen some truly awful shows.

Bad performances are also in no way limited to Uncle Harry's coin trick. It's the sleazy stage magicians groping volunteers, the scummy dudes trying to be pickup artists using card tricks to get phone numbers, it's the socially awkward tweens who stare at the cards and mumble their way through tricks, it's the "Comedy magician" who recites canned scripts full of tired old one liners like they're comedy geniuses, the guys making *** or rape jokes at college campuses, the birthday clown 'magician' that doesn't practice and all the tricks are obvious, the list goes on and on. This is why I don't use the word "magic" in my advertising - I don't want to associate with that stereotype.

The only thing we can do is our individual best, and lead by example. We can offer advise to new performers and hope they work at producing a quality show - but as anyone who's spent any time on magic forums can attest, advice that doesn't just confirm what the person asking wants to hear is often ignored or derided even if it comes from a place of vastly superior experience.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Senor Fabuloso
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Referring to a ticketed show was a reference to my own show. I agree, that performer of magic come in all shapes and sizes. I also agree, that just because one has a show doesn't make him a GOOD magician but ours is a performance art so they ARE a magician. The key word being performance. No performance no magician. Still it's our job to educate the public both on performance and possibly bad performance? I'm not sure about the latter, as it's in bad taste for performers, to critique other performers. We should ALWAYS try being supportive and encouraging to other performers, helping them get better. Not put them down publicly or other wise.

As to online posters, there is no way of knowing for sure (unless you have seen the person perform) what kind of experiences the so called performer has. Anyone can be anybody online, so there is no telling who is giving you advice. (I've been fooled by some women before getting married) So I put very little credence on what's posted but if it makes sense, I'll give it a go.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
WitchDocChris
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Our only job or obligation is to create the promised experience for the audience.

Here's the problem with the way forums tend to work out. Person A asks a question. Person B gives an answer from years of experience, which doesn't line up with what the armchair magicians or Person A want to hear. So Persons C-F argue against Person B, and eventually Person B just doesn't bother any more because why should they? Then, later down the road, Person Q needs to ask the same question, and they find the thread where all those other people convinced Person A they were right.

And that's how utterly stupid ideas are perpetuated for years on end - because they "sound right" and appeal to people who don't know any better.

This is why folks who know what they are talking about often don't spend much time on forums. It's annoying to have armchair magicians argue against real world experience.
Christopher
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danaruns
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Let's look at what the public has created and accepted as magician stereotypes:

*The tired image of the dud in tails pulling a rabbit from a top hat.

Image


*The socially awkward man using magic tricks as an awkward and ineffective way to hit on women.
*The huge ego performer.
*The super-serious, over-the-top performer (often mentalists).
*And lately, some hipster ambushing people on the street with magic tricks.

What else?

Let's take a look at what the public does NOT accept as a magician stereotype:

*A performer blowing people away with amazing illusions.
*An uproariously funny performer doing outrageous magic.
*A master performing artist.

We all know that good magicians do those last three things, but those are not the stereotype. Why not? Is there simply not enough of it, or not enough people see it? Have magicians made a caricature of magic over the years? Does the continued performance of "classics" of magic have anything to do with public perception of magicians as cliche? If we asked lay people to imagine a typical magician, would it be someone who rocks their world, or someone who is cliche and laughable?

There are horrible musicians out there working. Garage bands, cover bands, club bands, bands that play nothing but other people's songs, badly. So many of them are truly horrible. Yet we don't see them as the stereotype for musicians and music. There are bad actors, bad dancers, bad comics, everywhere, yet that is not the stereotype. Why do magicians and magic get such a bad rep? What is it about us that is so different from the other performing arts?
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Senor Fabuloso
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Quote:
On Dec 18, 2018, WitchDocChris wrote:
Our only job or obligation is to create the promised experience for the audience.

Here's the problem with the way forums tend to work out. Person A asks a question. Person B gives an answer from years of experience


Nope if in fact people know that the persons posting is reverenced (at least in my case) they will take advice. Your promise is flawed because, it doesn't take into account those who lie about who they are online.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
Senor Fabuloso
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The answer Dana is what has already been said because uncle Harry does magic so there is no value in it. We MUST educate the public through good performances and a rejection of the trickster, as a magician. If uncle Harry was a musician but was really bad, the public wouldn't accept him as a musician. We have to demand our respect through our professionalism.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
Senor Fabuloso
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Quote:
On Dec 18, 2018, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
Quote:
On Dec 18, 2018, WitchDocChris wrote:
Our only job or obligation is to create the promised experience for the audience.

Here's the problem with the way forums tend to work out. Person A asks a question. Person B gives an answer from years of experience


Nope if in fact people know that the persons posting is reverenced (at least in my case) they will take advice. Your promise is flawed because, it doesn't take into account those who lie about who they are online.


experienced not reverenced and it's premise not promise.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
Pop Haydn
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A Twilight Zone Story:

A couple sits down in a nightclub and order drinks. The emcee announces the next act, a magician. Just as the magician walks onto the dance floor, Rod Serling walks out. "Ladies and gentleman, for your consideration, a young couple enjoying a night out at a magic show. Little did they know this would not be like any other magic show they have ever seen..."

Every magician needs to write that, or a similar story. The idea that most magicians are fake, cheezy and not interesting becomes the background for why this is so different and important. The story we write for the audience begins when the magician enters and ends when he leaves. How does the audience make sense of that experience? What does it mean?

Whenever we meet their expectations and appear to be the losers they have stereotyped us in their minds, we lower our art.

The magician needs to take charge of the audience's expectations from the getgo, or they will assign him the stereotype of the tricky guy trying to impress them. We need to know why we are in front of these people, what we are trying to accomplish and what we intend to give them.
Senor Fabuloso
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Thank you Mr. Haydn for that wisdom. (an example of advice I'd listen to) This is why I think it so important to understand foundational premise in our performances. It's also why things like,

Character development
motivation
presentation style
covariance (what we want to get across to our audience)
introspection (to find common experiences we can use to help our audiences identify with our performance)
Triggers (to elitist desired responses)
solidification (what you want the audience to leave your show with)

And plethora of other performance skills and objectives we can emply in our acts. Not to mention timing, movement, purpose, story etc etc.

Paying attention to every detail of our performances, is what will show the public the difference between the tricksters and Magicians.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
funsway
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A bit confused, Senor. Your list of functional premises are fine, but your sig line says, "I LIVE FOR APPLAUSE."

Which is true? The uneducated audiences to which you refer may applaud anything - even the relief that you are finished.

If you desire to re-educate the populous as to what is good magic, how can the amount of applause be the guide?
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Dec 18, 2018, danaruns wrote:

There are horrible musicians out there working. Garage bands, cover bands, club bands, bands that play nothing but other people's songs, badly. So many of them are truly horrible. Yet we don't see them as the stereotype for musicians and music. There are bad actors, bad dancers, bad comics, everywhere, yet that is not the stereotype. Why do magicians and magic get such a bad rep? What is it about us that is so different from the other performing arts?


I can't tell if this is a rhetorical question, you are being facetious, or this is a legitimate question?

If legitimate you are right and I have a perspective. As an entertainment broker, we see all types of performers of all levels, including everyone that you mentioned above and probably about 30 other types of performers as well. Over the course of a year, I literally see hundreds of videos, demos, and promotional materials by magicians submitting to my agencies, or considered by some of our self-booking direct clients. They are unlike any other type of performers. I would say 85% of them, probably higher now that I think about it, and they all include one thing that makes them look ridiculous - they all say something along the lines of "I have been performing magic since I was 5" or even worse I will read the promo materials from someone that says "they've been doing magic for over 15 years"...and they are only 20 years old!

They are truly delusional! They somehow think that because they got their first magic trick or magic set when they were 5 that they've been in magic ever since then. Perhaps they first became familiar with or were introduced to magic at 5, but to claim they've "been in magic" is crazy. No other type of performer says or thinks like this.

There are DJs that have been playing records since they were 3 or 4 years old yet they do not in any way claim that or think that they've been "spinning tunes" or "DJing" since they were that age. There are kids that had a Fisher-Price piano for their third birthday but these guys and girls don't claim that they've been playing piano since they were three. There are guys that told knock-knock jokes when they were 4 that in no way consider themselves comedians or that "they been doing comedy since they were 4 years old." There are boys and girls that rode the race car or horse outside of K-mart when they were 4, but they in no way think, pretend or believe they were "racecar drivers or jockeys since they were 4 years old."

Only in magic!

The sad thing is they truly believe this! They also believe it is somehow impressive, not seeing how poor, bad, or unprofessional it truly appears. Or really how ridiculous it appears or sounds.

The problem and most hear will have a problem with this and get their undies in a bunch, but it is the truth, is unlike all of these other artists and professionals, magicians do not need any talent or skills to claim they are magicians. They can just buy a self-working trick or prop and instantly claim "I am a magician!" No, they're not, let's be real. Not even close. But this delusion begins here and simply continues.

This combined with the fact that there is no gatekeeper to being a magician. You do not need to learn an instrument, skillset or level of achievement or proficiency to be considered a magician, unlike other specific art forms. Magic doesn't require this. There are definite lines between the kid with the Fisher-Price piano and a real musician. The difference is easily identifiable and truly laughable. It would be absurd to make such a claim or expect to be taken seriously - but not with magic. It is the norm rather than the exception.

Since there is no gatekeeper, barrier or level of proficiency required in order to be, become or call yourself a magician, anyone can make the claim whenever or however they want. Magic allows this to happen. Other art forms do not.

This is what leads to both the stereotypes and the crazy beliefs and perceptions in online communities as we regularly see here. True delusion that is hard to be taken seriously.
Dannydoyle
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Magic is the only art that sells this delusion to people just starting. Again the fact that there is no caste system in magic is really a problem. We see it right here where guys think they can produce full theater shows because the can do a DL own an ID and have business cards with a web page.

There are entire courses built on selling the delusion to anyone who has the money.

It ends up hurting the performer more than helping. I'm sure the flaming will start but Max Maven said practically the same thing.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Senor Fabuloso
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The delusion is OUR accepting the self label of magician, by tricksters. Would we do the same for a people saying they are Napoleon? We are the ones at fault, for not correcting the populous. well maybe you? I always correct them.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
Senor Fabuloso
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Funsway my signature reference is to Lady GaGa.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
Brad Burt
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The question/problem is NOT whether or not there are "bad" magicians/entertainers out there. The question is whether the "remain" that way. You gotta start somewhere and as nice as it would be to "start" at the "top", that's really not the way the vast majority of entertainers of any type start.

The problem with magic is not the folks attempting and interested in becoming professional performers of one level or another, but the amateur that doesn't really care whether they become pro like. That's not to say that there have not been "pros" in the field that were never really good enough to move the craft forward, it's just that magic has always had a huge base of non pros to dilute the overall picture of what it means to be a magician.
Brad Burt
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