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Topic: Dilemma
Message: Posted by: ClodAppleleft (Mar 27, 2003 09:50AM)
I work at small Ren-Faire's and I have a dilemma. Last year I saw a magician perform a trick, (the trick itself is irrelevant). Anyway, when I saw it, being new to performing, my mind started wondering how the trick was done, and there was an aspect of it that would fit in perfectly to part of my show. Since I didn't know how to do the trick, I just left it alone for a while. Last week I was flipping through one of my magic books, and I saw the trick in question. I started thinking about it for a while, and was able to change the presentation to more suit my persona, and in essence, there are few similarities between the our performances, but I can see how that people could see that we are doing a similar trick.

Here is my dilemma. Not wanting to ***** off someone who I respect and who also helped me through my first couple of performances, I found his website and emailed him asking him if he has any problems with me performing the trick. I told him that I would not perform it at Faire that we were both working out of professional courtesy. The thing is, I have not heard back from him, and I have a show coming up soon.

Should I perform the trick?
Message: Posted by: MagiUlysses (Mar 27, 2003 10:49AM)
Greetings and Salutations,

I'm thinking, and I could be wrong, that if you found the effect in your own magic book, then you are entitled to perform it (If you bought the book you are entitled to perform effects found in the book, and even if the performer in question wrote the book, by writing it and making it available for sale, he has given permission to perform the effects in the book). As a courtesy to someone who helped you out, I certainly would not perform it at the same venue where you and your mentor/friend are working, and I would not use it in the same manner as the other performer, i.e., don't "borrow" any of his act -- make the effect your own.

I say drop him another note ... you know rennies, he could be on the road, his computer could be down, he might be between paychecks, or some odd combination of all three or something else entirely.

I respect your seeking permission to perform the effect and the desire to make it true to your own persona.

Joe in KC

Make magic happen, live a great adventure!
Message: Posted by: ClodAppleleft (Mar 27, 2003 10:53AM)
Hey Joe,

The problem is that the one aspect of the trick that is similar, is the only part of the trick that is not in the book. (In retro, probably should have stated that before)

Message: Posted by: 0pus (Mar 27, 2003 11:39AM)

You have taken the first steps on the road of personal honor, and I think you should continue on that road.

Ask yourself, what would you do if the performer answered and said please don't use that material; it is part of my professional act, is mine alone and I would prefer that other performers not use it unless and until I am willing to publish it?

Would you use it anyway?

I think you would honor the other magician's wishes.

As a result, without having received that performer's blessing, I think you should refrain from using the bit.

Just my thoughts.

Message: Posted by: MagiUlysses (Mar 27, 2003 03:53PM)
Greetings and Salutations,

OK, that makes a difference. He may have developed the bit himself, in which case it is his until he decides to part with it.

So until you get permission to perform the bit, I'd look for another effect.

Keep trying to get in touch with the guy, some rennies are hard to track down.

God's Speed and Fare Thee Well.

Joe in KC

Make magic happen, live a great adventure!
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Mar 27, 2003 05:01PM)
I agree with Joe. If the other performer came up with this new aspect of the trick in question, then it's his in my book. But perhaps he will like your new take on it and still give you permission. I read on the thread somewhere that whenever Gazzo plays at a Ren faire where Johnny Fox is also playing, that Johnny Fox doesn't do his cups and balls because the cups are central to Gazzo's act but not his. Professional courtesy. Good and important question and issue to discuss.
The best thing about acting this way is that you are better off in the long run because it forces you to be more original and more creative!
Message: Posted by: Brady (Mar 28, 2003 12:58AM)

When playing a venue with other magi, I usually pick some of my stuff that I know that no one else will have. There are thousands of killer effects out there. You may have to learn a couple of new things, but this is what will make you stand out from the others.

A magician friend once got a phone call regarding a possible show. The potential client described the show that was done by another magician the previous year. The client was concerned that my friend was going to do the same tricks that was done last year at the event, and the previous year by still another magician who had done a similar program. Anyway, the programs described by the potential client was very similar to my friends program (linking rings, cups and balls, etc). My friend said that he had a completely different show and he was hired. Luckily it was far enough off that he could rework his routine without the "classics" and present something they had never seen before. He received rave reviews and hasn't gone back to his old routine since.

I hope this helps.


Message: Posted by: ClodAppleleft (Mar 28, 2003 08:00AM)
Thanks for the advice guys, I knew that I could count on this forum to help me make a decision.

I do have many different effects that I can use, and I am constantly building my repetoire. When I first started stage performing at the faire's last year, I barely had enough material to fill a 15 minute show. I now have enough material (even without the trick in question) to fill an hour long show. My ultimate goal is to have enough material such that I can do 6 completely different shows for a weekend at a faire.


The effect in question is the torched and restored dollar in an apple.

My finale for my show isn't really a trick, but it probably gets the biggest reaction from the crowd. I call up two children that wish to share an apple. I then tell a story, and while I tel the story I make cuts in the apple, and when I am done, I pull it apart to reveal 2 halves of an apple in a geometric shape where both children get part of the top, bottom, left, and right side of the apple.

Anyway, I saw the other magician do the standard torched dollar, tearing a part of the corner, and reading off the numbers. Torching the dollar, pulled out an apple, and quickly cuts it in half, and there is the dollar.

The way I was going to do my effect is as such: Have the spectator sign their dollar, torch it, pull out another envelope, to reveal a blank piece of paper. Be a little "perplexed" and tell them that I'll replace their dollar at the end of my show. Then later, when I cut the apple in half for the two children, when I pull it apart, there is the dollar bill inside the apple. The children get their apple, and the spectator gets their dollar back.

Even though I was doing the apple cutting trick before I saw this guy, you can see how the effect could be seen as similar.
Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Mar 28, 2003 10:44AM)
You are worried about stealing a bill to fruit??? When you have a better idea?!?!

The trick is old, the presintation is yours, go for it.
If you have any questions about your "stealing" an act, do your bit for some one who has seen the other guy's act. If they say, "Wow, that was like so and so", no good.

If not, go for it. It sounds great.

As far as not doing it at fairs where this other person is working, would this person return the faver? If so, work with each other, as you'll see enough of each other.

If not :firedevil:

There is nothing new under the sun, you have the right to think up anything you want. And from what you have said there is nothing here that you could not have come up with your self. And if you reach your goal this will be only once a week any way.

This is a keeper, one they will tell their friends about. I would do my best to use it.
Message: Posted by: ClodAppleleft (Mar 28, 2003 03:47PM)
Hey everyone,

Thanks for the advice. The other magician finally got back to me, and he has no problem with me using the trick. The only request he had, which is perfectly understandable and I agree to it with no problems, is that if we are both performing at the same venue, that I don't perform the trick.

Thanks again everyone!
Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Apr 1, 2003 10:32AM)
Cool! I like to see people working together!