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hobbymagic
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Houston, Texas
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What is an appropriate response if a person approaches you after a performance and offers you $100 to teach him how to do one of your tricks (assume it is something not requiring great technical skill)
cardguy
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That answer is simple; if he is an honest and genuine magician I'd teach it to him for free, and it would be nice if he exchanged an effect with me also. If he is a layperson that just wants to know the secret I would refuse the money and walk away. He has no business learning something that I take seriously if he is just going to misuse the information I give him.
But, if it was $1,000,000 then... Smile
Frank G. a.k.a. Cardguy
Joe M. Turner
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Have you ever read the story of McDonald's $100 Routine in Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card Magic? The last line of patter given is "And that's how cards are controlled without sleight of hand -- I'll show you the secret for a hundred dollars (or pounds)."

This is followed by a note:

"NOTE: By the way, if anyone offers to pay, do the same as we have no doubt our good friend Mac would advise -- take the money!"


This concludes Vernon's/Ganson's description of the routine.


Now I'm not telling you to go out and give stuff away, and $100 today is much less than it was in 1960. But you might find out how much $100 is to that person. If I paid $100 for a secret, I'd be quite reticent to share it casually.

JMT
...
Regards,
Joe M. Turner
[email]jmt@turnermagic.com[/email]
www.turnermagic.com
Mark Ennis
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$100 is not worth it to me to part with any secrets I know.

I practically never tip my stuff so it isn't usually an issue.

I might change my answer if someone actually offers me money for a secret rather than saying "you can tell me, I'm a magician" and expect me to tip.
ME
Chad Sanborn
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Here is the best advice you'll get on this subject. Ask the person why? he would be willing to pay $100 for the secret? I would be willing to bet, he would say something like, "I just couldn't figure that one out!" Which means that he sat in the audience, trying to guess at how all your tricks were done. And came up with a reasonable explanation (maybe not the correct one) for all but that one.

Now this means that you still have some work to do on your show. If you have one person thinking that way, you probably have several. Don't take that the wrong way!!!
At least you are performing. And trying!!! And only through performing can you get better at your performances.

Learn from what people ask you and tell you. If you listen to the audience, you can gauge your show and find out what works and what doesn't. Then change the show to fit what the audience likes. As they are the ones who count. Now, back to the subject at hand.

When he offers the $100 and you find out why, tell him where to find the secret and to spend the $100 that way. If it was from a book, tell him the author and title and where he can find it. If it was a dealer item, give him the dealer and location.

Never tell the secret. Make them work for it. You had to.

Chad

p.s. ..chances are they won't look for it. But if they do, then they have some interest in magic, and will no doubt benefit from the book they bought with the $100.
Jeff
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Chad, glad to see someone with a reasonable answer.

Jeff
Available for order now:
http://www.thecardwarptour.com


See new, used, and collectable magic and books for sale at:
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clunk_71
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Simple....
NO. never. Not a chance. Not on your life.

MAYBEE IF H**L FREEZES OVER
but until then... dream on!!!!!!!

Most Magic Societies stipulate that one of the reasons for expulsion, would be to knowingly give away the secret to any trick.

If this isn't reason enough, then perhaps the thought of somone else performing your trick to people you know (maybee badly) and revealing the secret could put to right in your own mind the decision not to let on how it was done........??

just think, if everyone did it.
there wouldn`t be many secrets left.

A sobering thought don't you think? Smile
Smile Smile Smile Smile

p.s. my response: "if I was to show you how to do it, you would be able to do it in public, and you don't want to put me out of work now, do you".
Best regards, Lee
leepalmer@orange.net

Only do what your good at....and then everything you do looks good
Joe M. Turner
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Quote:
give away the secret to any trick

Remember, we're not talking about _giving_ away a secret.

I don't sell secrets myself. I'm just pointing out that such luminaries as Ganson and Vernon have indicated that sometimes the price is right.
...
Regards,
Joe M. Turner
[email]jmt@turnermagic.com[/email]
www.turnermagic.com
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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First of all, for the most part, this is a moot point. I would wager that it is a very rare case indeed when someone will SERIOUSLY offer you $100 for the secret to one trick. When it does happen though...

I have a routine which I developed from a very standard and readily available "magic substance." One day, after a coporate show in which I performed this routine, one of the execs approached me with two $100 bills, offering them to me if I'd explain the secret.

I replied that I couldn't do that. When pressed by him, I removed my SAM and IBM cards and showed him where I'd signed the oath not to reveal secrets to non-magicians. I then went on to explain that this was one of the feature routines of my show--one of the main things that got me bookings--and that I do over 100 shows per year where I use this routine at an average of $500 each. I plan on using this routine unitl I retire, which, God willing, is about 35 years away. So, 100x500x35= $1,750,000! "If you want to pay me that much, I'll teach it to you, and sell you the rights, and I'll never perform it again. Otherwise, I can't afford to tell you!"
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Tilt
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If somebody is willing to pay you $100.00 for teaching them a trick, the odds are thier not going to go teach it to everyone else for free. If somebody offers you this much to learn the secret, take the money and show them how to do it. If they are not a magician they probably wont be able to do it anyway. So if they don't do it, they will probably forget it in a couple of days. But, if they are willing to pay that much, they won't expose it.

Tilt
Stephen Long
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All depends on how much you need the money, I suppose.

And it all depends on the individual.

But it is also my belief that once you give away secrets, your power to entertain has gone and that makes you worthless as a magician.

My thoughts,
Gonz
:carrot: Smile
Hello.
Burt Yaroch
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The IBM and SAM oaths make this a pretty easy answer.

For non-members I'm inclined to agree with Gonz. If this money will put food on the table for your family you'd be stupid not to take it.

These people shouldn't be disparaged for thier decision as everyone has their price (sans the oath of course).

Scott you shoulda held out for the 2M. Smile
Yakworld.
Jeb Sherrill
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I guess it depends on the trick. Frankly, I did this every day when I worked at a magic shop. A guy walks up to me after a show and says "I'll give you $100 to show me how you did that Hot Rod". Shoot, I'll not only show him, I'll give him the Hot Rod. One thing I learned a long time ago is people that buy magic are either magicians who will use it or put it in a drawer and forget about it, or just the regular Joe that will certainly put it in a drawer and forget about it. You'll probably be able to fool them with the same trick a week from now. Yeah, give me the $100.

Sable
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Lonnie Dilan
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Chad I think your answer is a little off. Just because someone asks to pay for a trick does not mean that they were sitting there trying to guess how they all work or that others in the audience were also figuring them out either.

The person is just totally blown away and really wants to know how it's done. I get this question a few times a year. And the truth is they don't really want to know the secret.

So give them some bs explaination and run with the money.... Smile
Jeb Sherrill
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Lonnie, you should hear how I tell them the assistants float. I've had grown adults believe it. Smile Smile Smile

Sable
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I don't believe in reincarnation, but I may have in another life.
poire
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Quote:
If this money will put food on the table for your family you'd be stupid not to take it.

What if you are offered food in exchange for a secret?

Seriously, anyone who has bought a book on magic has been in the position of exchanging money for knowledge. Usually at quite a high price...
Scott F. Guinn
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Again, let me say that an effect which garners me $500-1500 PER SHOW is worth much more than $100, or even $200. If I made $750 for that 45 minute show, I don't think I'll have trouble putting food on my table.

But more important, as I also said earlier, I gave my word by signing an oath that I would not reveal secrets to people who aren't seriously interested in learning the ART of magic (and not just the "secrets"). Whether or not the person will perform it has no bearing here. If you are a member of any of the societies or brotherhoods, you signed the same oaths. By selling a secret, simply because you were offered $100, you are saying that is what your word is worth. Even if no one else ever finds out, you will have compromised yourself and broken a solemn promise. That is not worth any amount of money to me!

And regarding the comment that he won't expose it, because he paid so much for it:

You probably paid quite a bit for it, too, yet you're exposing it!

And odds are good that he will expose it through poor performance.

As to the statement that you would take the money but give him a FAKE explanation, well, I can only hope you're kidding. Otherwise, my gosh, what a sad state we've come to!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Jeb Sherrill
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Scott,

I see your point here, but your line of thinking would rule out most magic dealers. How many people walk into magic shops and plunk down $20 just because the trick demonstrated looks cool and they want to know how it's done.

Selling a trick is selling a trick and it's not against the oath I took.

I also see your point about not selling your trick because of how much money it makes you, but I find it to be somewhat hollow logic. For one thing, we aren't necessarily talking about personal routine that you spent years perfecting and means more to you than the watch your grandfather gave you on his deathbed.

We could be talking about the hotrod I spoke of earlier, which is why I think it depends on the trick. Also, just because I teach my trick to one guy, at one gig (I think that is the scenario here), it doesn't mean I can never use it again. I may not be able to use it at that company show again, but then I may.

Whenever I do a show I run the risk of having someone in the audience who knows some trick I'm doing. Perhaps he bought it at the magic shop last week, or read about it in a book he bought last night, or saw it on some magic exposing show. I have better things to think about than one guy being aware of what I'm doing.

Having sold magic before, I also know good and well that a trick can be sold sometimes and then used to fool the buyer just a month later. It's just the way these things work. Besides, the tricks are nowhere near as valuable as the way we perform them.

I respect your decision of course, I'm just not sure I go with the arguments.

Sable

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I don't believe in reincarnation, but I may have in another life.
Peter Marucci
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Does anyone still remember the original question?

It was: "What is an appropriate response if a person approaches you after a performance and offers you $100 to teach him how to do one of your tricks?"

Well, isn't this what magic dealers do for a living?

Why should there be any debate on this subject?

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Brian Proctor
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If someone offered me 100 bucks for a trick, I'd take the money, buy him a book for 30 bucks. tell him to go read it until he found it. and then pocket the rest of the cash. Smile
:rotf: Smile
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