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Topic: The value of secrets...
Message: Posted by: Brandon Queen (Sep 27, 2014 11:22PM)
How much better would the performance world be if every single mentalist and magician who has ever created anything, never publicly released their material and just kept it secret and performed it themselves?
Message: Posted by: LBP MAGIC (Sep 27, 2014 11:39PM)
It'd get rid of a lot of bad performers which would be a good thing. It'd be better if the magicians and mentalists that buy that material could keep that secret. What a crazy and ludicrous idea that is though.......
Message: Posted by: E.E. (Sep 27, 2014 11:48PM)
That would push our creativity in order to success in the bussiness,would be awesome.
Message: Posted by: Galileo (Sep 27, 2014 11:56PM)
I disagree, to some extent I feel there Mentalist sharing there thoughts and creations with other DEDICATED ( Emphasis on dedicated) mentalists also breeds it's own kind of creativity where creators can co-create and help improve on each others ideas. Many effects these days come with variations for different handling created by other performers, sometimes these are better then the original or more suited for a different environment which allows you to adapt an effect. I want everyone to genuinely imagine they had never read 13 steps, practical mental effects, or psychological subtleties, do you genuinely think you would have come up with all the ideas and techniques you use in your everyday performances? This may just be me as I am by no means the worlds most innovative performer and I'm sure my act would be a fraction of what it is today had I not been able to use other people effects, props, and principles.I do think it is a genuinely interesting and thought provoking question to think about though.
Message: Posted by: j100taylor (Sep 27, 2014 11:57PM)
There wouldn't be a critical mass and the art would die.
Message: Posted by: jossien2000 (Sep 28, 2014 12:06AM)
The world are, much or less, build upon "lessons learned"-principal, so we dont have to invent the wheel over and over again :) And with that in mind, I think that is what make many of you guys better, because you need to work harder, present your work better, or even try invent yourself and pass it on for even more perfection :)

What I am trying to say is, this forum, and the contributing members in here, are the reason why I took up my old hobby again. And im getting inspiration form you guys everyday :) so please share :)

Old tricks -New wrapping - love it :)
Message: Posted by: Galileo (Sep 28, 2014 01:09AM)
[quote]On Sep 28, 2014, jossien2000 wrote:
The world are, much or less, build upon "lessons learned"-principal, so we dont have to invent the wheel over and over again :) And with that in mind, I think that is what make many of you guys better, because you need to work harder, present your work better, or even try invent yourself and pass it on for even more perfection :)

What I am trying to say is, this forum, and the contributing members in here, are the reason why I took up my old hobby again. And im getting inspiration form you guys everyday :) so please share :)

Old tricks -New wrapping - love it :) [/quote]

I agree not needing to invent the wheel again is what allows us to BUILD upon each others work instead of each having to individually start from scratch. Look at the field of science if people never shared there discoveries we would have probably never landed on the moon.
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Sep 28, 2014 01:16AM)
There was a time not too long ago when secrets were 1/ relatively closely guarded and 2/ too an effort to acquire. It is a lovely idea from a different time. Unfortunately, that cow is out of the barn and I doubt if can ever be forced back in.

In that case, the question is what can be done from this point forward to protect what we do and simultaneously encourage creativity.

I'm asking because I really don't know.

Best to all,


Scott
Message: Posted by: phillsmiff (Sep 28, 2014 04:31AM)
Everyone would have to reinvent the wheel constantly. I feel I've created and innovated a few things and I know there are people I consider to be excellent performers who use a few of my ideas - but I am under no illusions that my work is based on everything else I have learned. For example: without Fulves and Lewis Jones my ACAAN simply wouldn't exist. I personally think that magic and mentalism would be dead ends if you could only perform your own stuff and could never know anyone else's secrets to develop from.

It's also worth remembering that the skills required to create and develop an effect or method and the skills required to perform mentalism in an artful and engaging way overlap very little. Me cooking up a principle by sitting down with a book and writing out numbers and spending days trying to see the connections between them and me getting up on stage and being charismatic and using that principle to entertain a crowd are two completely different things.

Some people focus on creating methods, and others dedicate their lives to presenting them, in the same way that there are singers and songwriters and the skills involved are often quite different. Some people would argue that there is a truth in singers who write their own material but in allowing only that and forbidding people from singing other's songs you would lose performers like Elvis, who was an incredible performer but sang songs others had written for him. I think the same is true of much of our art.

It is an interesting idea though.

Phill
Message: Posted by: george1953 (Sep 28, 2014 05:14AM)
I agree with Scott, it wasn't so long ago that you really had to search for information on our art. This had the advantage that only those that were truly interested and dedicated would take the trouble and time to find the information, not the merely curious as happens these days thanks to the internet and YouTube.
I too think its too late to reverse the trend.
Message: Posted by: Brandon Queen (Sep 28, 2014 05:29AM)
To Clarify, if every creative mind in our industry never released anything "publicly" but still shared their ideas with only those select few whom they trusted. Also bare in mind that a good majority of creators aren't the best performers and vice versa. So then imagine every great performer had a tight knit working relationship with like 3 or 4 great creators and they only shared those secrets amongst each other. Maybe once in a while one "team" would barter secrets with another "team". I wish it still worked that way. Actually it still does to an extent. There are a lot of things I share with my close friends and peers and they share with me that no body knows and probably will never know. I often ask myself, why bother sharing outside of my circle? Just something I've been thinking about.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 28, 2014 05:33AM)
Ego levels of some performers/creators would go down
less copycats
less one upmanship
less arguing over who invented what and when
everyone performing the same kinds of things with similar presentations
possible stagnation
possible creativity upsurgence
less people interested in magic and mentalism
less people performing
less regular people getting to experience magic and mentalism
no sense of community
upsurgence of infighting
performers stealing more from other performers
less sense of a fraternity
most performers not having friends in the trade
distrust
lack of advancement of older presentations and methods
the risk that people would see magic and mentalism as a bygone thing and completely expose it for historical value
less fun
creative people might not be able to find another outlet
loads more...

for me, its brought connections with others, true friends, fun, unique experiences, performing, sharing, collaborating, learning so much, being told stories, seeing some huge egos compete with other huge egos - some liars, some manipulators, so great times, so sighing, some laughing, amazement, sharing, some creating and even more learning... its been a very strange and often hilarious ride, mixed in with sadness, annoyance, disbelief and friendship... bit like real life - whatever that is...

i think you can release stuff without being blatant about it, and without having to oversell it, get friends to constantly hype pages for you, (or defend you) - and you can be honest about the "you" that you are, and still get on... a lot of the bad side of this field can just be examined, laughed at, and moved on/away from...there are a few game players out there, but that's their problem, not mine... so keep your friends close, and your enemies...meh...forget about 'em, let them fester in their own oily juices...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 28, 2014 05:35AM)
I posted the above without seeing brandon's latest post...
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 28, 2014 06:29AM)
If no secrets were shared a lot of creators would go broke.
Message: Posted by: John C (Sep 28, 2014 09:59AM)
It would be the same as if scientists and doctors and researchers didn't share their research and ideas. Nothing to build on. We'd all be dead.

I think I can predict the possible reactions to this but:

1. What if Jesus never shared his teachings
2. Mohamed
3. Buddah
4. Oprah (well ok forget this one)
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Sep 28, 2014 10:54AM)
[quote]On Sep 28, 2014, Brandon Queen wrote:
How much better would the performance world be if every single mentalist and magician who has ever created anything, never publicly released their material and just kept it secret and performed it themselves? [/quote]

The Magic Caf's Mentalism Sections would close down.

And we wouldn't be having this conversation. ;)
Message: Posted by: Neb (Sep 28, 2014 05:05PM)
I believe it was on either Bob Cassidy or Richard Osterlinds Penguin Lecture, they suggested that if anyone asks you if you know how another magician does a trick you should say -

"I really have no idea, every magician has his own way of doing things unique to the individual"

I thought this was a really nice idea - although I've yet to say it!

If anyone asks me that question I tell them yes of course I know and then I beat them for questioning my authority.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Sep 28, 2014 06:46PM)
It's easy for me to say that because I don't present myself as a magician. When someone asks how a magician accomplished something I always say, "I don't have any idea how magicians do their tricks, but I do like watching them."

Just a matter of staying consistent with my persona.
Message: Posted by: Neb (Sep 28, 2014 07:35PM)
That's great Bob, a brilliant little subtlety that should enhance what they have just seen you do.
Message: Posted by: gabelson (Sep 29, 2014 02:00AM)
[quote]On Sep 28, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
If no secrets were shared a lot of creators would go broke. [/quote]

In this case, unfortunately, "shared" could also be replaced by "stolen".
Message: Posted by: Richard Osterlind (Sep 29, 2014 08:38AM)
[quote]On Sep 28, 2014, Neb wrote:
I believe it was on either Bob Cassidy or Richard Osterlinds Penguin Lecture, they suggested that if anyone asks you if you know how another magician does a trick you should say -

"I really have no idea, every magician has his own way of doing things unique to the individual"

I thought this was a really nice idea - although I've yet to say it!

If anyone asks me that question I tell them yes of course I know and then I beat them for questioning my authority. [/quote]

I devoted a chapter in my Field Manual to this and related ideas. Chapter 4 - Act Professionally to You Fellow Entertainers.
Message: Posted by: harris (Sep 29, 2014 09:17AM)
There is value in this thread.

Also there is value in not buying the next one hit wonder.

Using principles to create --- Priceless

Sharing with a few ---- Nice
Message: Posted by: kasper (Sep 29, 2014 09:32AM)
Ive brought this up before. In over 20 years Ive been into mentalism. Ive never seen a live mentalism performance for the public. If a mentalist comes to town it seems as though its only for a lecture. If you want to take a date to see a mentalist performance I guess your out of luck.

I came to the conclusion that this where the mentalist market is at.

Most mentalists say they mostly get booked for private events though.
Message: Posted by: kasper (Sep 29, 2014 09:41AM)
How my DVDs can you honestly say you can show to the lay audience of a particular mentalist that you admire. You would have to show them an instructional video or a lecture. There are some mentalist shows out there to show them. But it is few and rare compared to instructional DVDs.

I don't even like to recommend mentalists for people to watch for the fear of them looking them up and finding them bombarded with exposure DVDs for them to buy.
Message: Posted by: John C (Sep 29, 2014 09:48AM)
[quote]On Sep 29, 2014, kasper wrote:
Ive brought this up before. In over 20 years Ive been into mentalism. Ive never seen a live mentalism performance for the public. If a mentalist comes to town it seems as though its only for a lecture. If you want to take a date to see a mentalist performance I guess your out of luck.

I came to the conclusion that this where the mentalist market is at.

Most mentalists say they mostly get booked for private events though. [/quote]

Marc Salem comes to town every year and plays at the kravis center here in west palm beach
Vegas
Message: Posted by: One Eyed Jack (Sep 29, 2014 10:28AM)
Earlier in the year Aaron Alexander released something called 'Bridge' and in its own right it is an outstanding piece. It only came to be because Aaron had studied work that Bill Cushman had previously published in 'Suggestibilities'. Aaron then called for submissions from the owners of 'Bridge' for 'Bridge Extended' which is a volume of routines and alternative presentations of the original. What was published as a result is phenomenal. People from across the globe came together with a plethora of different ideas and presentations to take 'Bridge' in directions that Aaron alone would never have dreamed of. There are pieces from well known names such as Jerome Finley to not so well known names such as my own but what we all have created is something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

If Bill had not publicly released the secret contained within those 5 pages in 'Suggestibilities' then 'Bridge' would not exist and if Aaron had not publicly released the secret of 'Bridge' then those 33 pages would never have evolved into the 95 pages that are now 'Bridge Extended' and if none of that had happened the community would have lost out on something that I honestly believe is quite special. Something that was a game changer for me.

So to answer the OP, I don't think that the performance world would be any better at all. Quite the opposite in fact.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Sep 29, 2014 02:47PM)
I've written about this before...but maybe it bears repeating.

I didn't catch the "magic" bug until I was in my 30's and saw a street performer doing the Invis*ble Deck. I saw him invite a person out of the audience, had her choose ANY card from an invisible deck, thrust it through the bottom of the card case and wonder of wonders...when he spread the REAL cards hers was the only one face down.

My reaction is what the term "gobsmacked" was coined to describe. I was blown away...and a little obsessed. This was in the olden days -- the late 1980's -- (yeah...I'm that old)and I couldn't go to the internet to find the secret because there wasn't one. So I went back the next day to see the performer doing the same effect. And I went back the next day...and the next day...and watched my theories getting blown away one by one. The guy wasn't carrying 52 decks. He didn't have a confederate in the audience...the invisible card was different every time. In all honesty -- I was better than half way convinced that this was real magic. There seemed to be no alternate explanation.

My search led me to the one magic shop in town. It was run by a whipcord thin man with snow white hair and a perfectly trimmed goatee named Willard. I described the "trick" and asked him how it worked. He just looked at me for a long while and then he snorted.

"Not gonna tell you how it works," he growled. "It's magic. Leave it at that."

"Do you sell this trick?" I asked?

"Yes."

"Can I buy it?"

"Nope."

"Why not?" I asked. After all I was in a MAGIC shop.

Willard studied me for a long time and then he shook his head. "I won't sell it to you because you don't deserve it. You won't respect the secret."

I was floored. Huh?

But that afternoon really changed the course of my life. I hung out with Willard more and more. I wound up working with him, carrying props, setting sound systems. While he never paid me, he always taught me something. He became a mentor to me in many ways.

Here's the thing: on the day I actually was ALLOWED to purchase my first Invisi*le Deck I was delighted. And that whole journey led to me doing three years of magic for free -- every place I could find to perform, before taking my first paid booking in 1990.

I was taught to respect the secrets, to respect the creator's invention and to keep the secret out of respect for other performers AND the art. There are good reasons for all of these decisions...ethical as well as hard business reasons.

Secrets are beyond value and it breaks my heart when I see kids on You Tube tossing them around with no respect and not even the tiniest inkling that MAYBE they should be guardians of the art instead of the guys who strip it bare and expose it to the world. What are they THINKING?

And I've often wondered how the creators of these effects feel to see what they have passed into the community treated with such utter disdain. Of course they make money from what the sell...but is there no longer ANY implied understanding that to buy the effect/prop/manuscript means you will also protect it?

The short answer: if the people designing effects quit releasing them, most performers would be forced to create their own effects. And that would be a disaster for many.

Think about it.

David
Message: Posted by: Syndrome (Sep 29, 2014 03:02PM)
My goodness David! Hearing about Freddy brings back a boatload of memories. What an old coot! He was an ornery guy that was sooo old school. But he made me work for my desert too, that's for sure! I miss him.

I miss the old school guys. Few and far between these days. A dying breed. Brick and mortar gave way to virtual ice cream. It's sad.

I think we have the obligation and duty to preserve our secrets. And to work for them. Freebies breed contempt.

Best wishes,
Alex
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 29, 2014 03:21PM)
...the flipside of david's great story is this...

a few years back, I would try to shut down as many file sharing sites as I could in my spare time...the strangest one was for one of my booklets, and I found a young guy saying "hey, does anyone have AEIOU? I heard its good to pick up women with..." (i'm paraphrasing, but that was it generally)...

i had found this comment on a pick-up artist forum! they ignored my takedown notice or the email bounced back, I can't remember...

so I was annoyed for several reasons, but mainly that I had always hated the whole PU scene, and hated the book, The Game...thought it was everything wrong in dating/relationships, and it had a guy in it who used magic and CR to "pick up chicks"...and I definitely didn't want my stuff to be used for that horsesh**....

david's story is excellent, and I wish it was still like that- I came to magic and mentalism late too (1999), so I had libraries, and the occassional jaunt into london...and especially I have big love for the I.D....(i genuinely hate it when I read/near people say "yeah, use it as an **t!" NOOOOOOO!)....i think in 1988 I had just started art school and I would have been 16...

i think modern day communication is excellent in many ways - I just think that for those who have never been without the internet see secrets and so on in a different light to the rest of us (obviously not ALL of them, but a percentage worth noticing)...

and mix in with that the idea that if you are not interested in performing for pay on any level, and just want to fool your friends - then secrets can be pretty much ignored, whereas getting a view of the bigger picture - as well as the importance of respecting the art of magic and mentalism itself (and taking PRIDE in keeping a secret) and recognising that others DO want to make a living from it, its about doing what is best for the art, rather than making yourself look clever...
Message: Posted by: The Hermit (Sep 29, 2014 03:41PM)
[quote]On Sep 28, 2014, Brandon Queen wrote:
How much better would the performance world be if every single mentalist and magician who has ever created anything, never publicly released their material and just kept it secret and performed it themselves? [/quote]

If no one ever released any secrets, where would anyone start? The basics were released long ago. Most everything now is a variation.
When it's all said and done, if you can use a NW and CT, you can produce a great mentalism act - if you know how to routine, create a character and create a connection with an audience. You only need a few secrets to make a great act. But, you have to start somewhere. A lot of guys release a lot of new stuff. How much is really used in mentalism shows Derren Brown uses magic tricks combined with mentalism to create compelling theater. His stuff is pretty standard fare. Most mentalism shows I've seen, have the same elements - esp bits, predictions, Q&A and metal bending. A lot of stuff is released, but I doubt much of it is used. Even Luke Jermay's show was Q&A and chair bit mostly.

No one needs the new releases in reality. They may be cool to magicians and mentalists, but an act has nothing to do with more new secrets. However, you have to start somewhere.
Message: Posted by: aalexander (Sep 29, 2014 04:36PM)
Elitism ends up turning people away and sometimes attracting a certain kind of person, but ease of access can undermine the value of a thing. I think it's probably best to arrange your stuff into tiers, some of which go wide and inspire interest, some of which remain close and are part of the close-knit collaboration with people you trust. You really do need both, and I think we can play it both ways.
Message: Posted by: Brandon Queen (Sep 29, 2014 06:36PM)
I think you've hit the nail on the head Aaron. That sounds about right.
Message: Posted by: Alwow (Sep 29, 2014 08:44PM)
I kind of thought this was more of the norm than the exception to the rule in that most creators will share only morsels of their work that they cherish of their repertoire. While sharing their closest treasured secrets with a select few via limited editions, masterclasses, etc. if at all.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Sep 29, 2014 08:49PM)
Yes- that's been the norm as long as I can remember.