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Dynamike
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If a magician copied me all the time why shall I care? I would be nice to invite him over to my house and teach my subtrunk in my basement. But won't it be funny if I mistakenly lost the key while he was locked inside and could never out. Smile Smile Smile
martin king
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To be honest, I was very immediately very angry and then I thought 'oh, let it go, he's only going to be poor copy of me!'

The good end to the story (well, from my point of view, although I feel sorry for him), is that as word got around, I had clients tell me that they'd seen him perform my act and he was what he'd set out to be, "a poor copy of me that charged a little less".

There were even people refused to book him because of what he'd done!

The bad end to the story is that I saw him many, many years ago, and he'd gone and copied several other professional performers acts (many of them friends of mine)!
sibbie
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There is one thing missing from this thread that Gerry didn't mention but it has been commented on a lot: Did he take the presentation or is he just using the trick?
magic4u02
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Sibbie: I agree that that aspect needs to be defined. My belief is that anyone has the right to biuy an effect if that affect is freely out there on the market. It is stealing of someone routine and patter and how they present the effect that I have a real problem with.

If a situation comes up where someone does steal my routine, then that is just not something I can let go. If I do I feel I am not helping myself or magic or helping this person to learn. I would personally talk to the person and try and let them be aware that what they are performing is indeed my act or routine and that if they could stop performing it going forward. Obviously this would be done in a calm and professional manner. I would then offer to even assist the person in creating a routine for the effect that best fits them.

this may sound awkward to someone as in why would I want to help someone like that. My belief has always been one of trying to educate people and performers that they can be as creative as they want to be if they work at it. It is about sharing that information and through the process you help them to not do the same mistake again and you help them to grow and grow the artform. By letting it go it does no good as no one learns from it.

My lecture "Encore! Creativity in the art of magic!" Was created with the notion of informing as many folks as I can through the lecture that they do not have to steal others acts or routines. That every single person as the ability to be super creative if they just learn some simple techniques.

This may not be for everyone, but I personally would have to try and talk to the person and assist them if I can do so. Now not everyone is going to accept the offer but you have to at least try. If nothing more, you are lettting them know that your routine is not for sale and you certainly did not sell it to them.

Just my thoughts.

Kyle
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jakeg
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Steal from one person and it's plagiarism
Steal from many, and it's research.

(I plagiarized that quotation.)
Zorak
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Hi Kyle,
I met you and your lovely wife at the Kutztown Magic Day. I just wanted to echo your thoughts on this matter of "stealing" another magician's persona. If the "amatuer" doesn't have any creativity or ethics they should take up Female Impersonating or something.
A professional is not in the Magical entertainment business just to make a buck. The love of the art, the audience, and freedom of creative expression is what makes a pro.
Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery but a lazy persons excuse for lack of effort.
Hope to see you again at the next Kurtztown affair.
Magically, Zorak
PS: I love the CD of intro's etc. I use parts of it. It's fabulous!
Magic is in the hearts of children from 1 to 101
Please check out my Website: kiddiekazam.com
FREE ORIGINAL CLIPART FOR MAGICIANS & CLOWNS
PROP DESIGNS
MAGIC CARTOONS all drawn by Zorak
magic4u02
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Thanks for the kind words and your thoughts. It is much appreciated. I should be at Kutztown this year.

Kyle
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SpellbinderEntertainment
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I am considered a magic-snob and maybe even poison by the local guys.
Why?

Because I do not participate in any of the area clubs or club activities,
I do not perform in magic group shows,
I do not let other magicians’ know where I’m performing.

If I must perform where other locals can see me, I change my act.
I’ve spent years branding my magic and style,
developing original presentations,
and I’ll be %^*&#@%!! if someone is going to profit from my work.

I’d also say 85% of my gigs are out of my state and that helps.
Sure, do the same effects as me, but make them your own,
and don’t think of “borrowing” one line or routine without my blessing.

My thoughts,
Walt
chris mcbrien
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Quote:
On 2008-06-27 17:45, SpellbinderEntertainment wrote:
I am considered a magic-snob and maybe even poison by the local guys.
Why?

Because I do not participate in any of the area clubs or club activities,
I do not perform in magic group shows,
I do not let other magicians’ know where I’m performing.

If I must perform where other locals can see me, I change my act.
I’ve spent years branding my magic and style,
developing original presentations,
and I’ll be %^*&#@%!! if someone is going to profit from my work.

I’d also say 85% of my gigs are out of my state and that helps.
Sure, do the same effects as me, but make them your own,
and don’t think of “borrowing” one line or routine without my blessing.

My thoughts,
Walt

Walt,
What you just said should be a "sticky bun" here. It's the truth. I've had "local magicians" show up, then catch them (even here) with my tricks and copying what I do, claiming "well there's only so many tricks". I do 6 tricks in my act, and I have a funny feeling there may just be a few more out there to choose from. Some of them are local "club guys" and have some of the most arrogant attitudes I've ever seen.
At a Mark Wilson lecture here in the area a few years back there was a guy next to me who was so arrogant it was almost repulsive. He kept interrupting Mark and was practically ending his sentences trying to act as though he should be giving the lecture. I really tried to be nice to him. I asked him "so how long have you been in the business" and he replied "I'm not in the business, I'm an accountant". I looked at him and made sure he saw me roll my eyes. What a toad. I had a guy locally who called himself my friend and had me do a show, videotaped me although I specifically reminded him that it's forbidden in my contract that he signed, and then he has the nerve to say that he's more knowledgeable about the business simply because he heads up some local small festival...and of course that MUST make you more knowledgeable in the performing arts, right? I cut the friendship and thank God for the lessons I learned and the mistakes I plan to never make again.
What Tricky Ricky said is absolutely true. The client is buying my personality, not my tricks. This is comforting because you know that the "club hacks" can't copy your personality or style, and if they try it the audience can feel it. It's just not a sincere expression of yourself when you copy, period. However, in my experience most of the "hacks" out there are simply too lazy to, or simply have no knowledge to write a script and then have the guts to work the material over in front of live crowds.
However, I suppose what it boils down to is if that "club guy" is THAT into magic, the least they could do is abide by some simple ethical codes. I feel that professional (and many amateur) performers have better codes of conduct (not always) and have no "rules" while clubs like IBM and SAM have detailed codes of conduct.
Is it a compliment when someone tries to copy your act? I don't take it as such. Now if they were mature and educated themselves enough to put together an original act yet had inspiration from your act...that would be a compliment.
The bottom line is that there will always be jerks out there who copy us or act as though they're "better" because they lack confidence or self esteem, and this is what they have to do to make themselves feel normal or better. They'll use your jokes, get your laughs (you know, the ones you spent years honing in countless performances) and get YOUR adrenalin rush from the audience laughter and applause and they mistakingly think it's their's.....but we know the truth.
So if you still feel angry about it, here's why. The audience doesn't know it's yours unless your a "main attraction", someone at the pinnacle of the field who's work is nationally/globally known. The frustration lies in the fact that they might get away with it...and the audience will think that they thought of it.
My two cents.
Chris
sibbie
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I don't know the exact quote but Teller once said something along the lines of stealing something from their act was no more flattering than if you would walk into his home and steal his television.
magic4u02
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There is one simple word that sums up a lot why people even do this..... LAZY!!!! People are just flat out LAZY. They can not get up off their own rears and put the work and little effort into learning to think for themselves and learning to be creative. Creativity is something we ALL have the ability to do. The problem is that you have to exercise it is all. The more you do it, the better off you get.

Kyle
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The Great Smartini
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I would go further than Kyle and say that magicians who do this are nothing but THIEVES. They don't deserve any respect and they should be ostracized and banished by the magic community. I might even be open to the idea of a public lashing with wet noodles or something more substantial like a heavy piece of mining equipment.

Creative shows take tons of time, money and energy to develop. I've been working for 3 1/2 years on my main show which is an educational program that promotes reading. It uses original material, some high end props/illusions(which fortunately these crooks can't afford)and my professional reputation and expertise as an educator. My character and show is developed completely around my work and reputation as a teacher - magician. This is my niche market and there isn't anyone in my market that can play this role. So while they could copy the routine(s)they would lack the credibility and expertise to really pull it off. When I talk about my show what I'm selling is me.

Still, if someone was to try to steal one of my routine(s)my response would probably be that I would attend one of their shows and publicly heckle them. I wouldn't reveal any secrets but I would sure make it known that I'd seen the same trick performed by another magician (as in me) and ask why they were stealing their material. I would also let the booker know that the person that they hired had acted unethically.

Sadly, much of this kind of thing happens at magic clubs. This is unfortunate and probably one of the main reasons why I don't like to attend/perform for other magicians. Recently, one of these "magical club friends" sent out a phony request for show info/pricing to a number of his fellow performers and magic club members. Due to a computer error it was later revealed that the originator of the phony show info/pricing requests had actually come from the President of the magic Club!

This is the kind of behaviour that really upsets and disappoints me. I immediately sent a note to the club stating my disgust. When it was later exposed and he was confronted he felt that he hadn't really done anything wrong. He was simply checking the prices of his competitors. Some might agree with this as an acceptable business practice but I think when you have to deceive (lie)to your colleagues and it isn't magic that you're performing then, IMHO, wrong and unethical. The only reason that I remain a member of the "club" is that a respected member of the club personally contacted me and asked me to reconsider. I've known this magic friend for almost 30 years and so I retracted my request to quit the club.
kesemd1
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When I start to show I'm copy all act from my friend magician.
now I have new act and some routine I'm afraid to see them also don't upload pictures to my web site !
Gerry Walkowski
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If someone copies your act, the best thing you can do is put together a better act than before. (Dynamike)

- That’s exactly what I did a few years later. I even took it one step further. I made my act so unique that it’s virtually impossible to copy because I no longer use stock material. (Gerry)

I must admit I don't get what the problem is... so you both bought the same trick. You can hardly expect the maker of the effect to only sell one copy. (The Awesome One)

- I understand what you’re saying but this particular item, which I’d prefer to keep secret, was so unique and so expensive that you can’t even equate it to someone seeing you perform the Linking Rings and then they go out to purchase the Linking Rings. At that point this particular effect was my signature trick. What also ticked me off a bit, too, was that I added something clever to this trick which didn’t come with the effect and he copied this as well. (Gerry)

Don't join shows associated with magic clubs and conventions. Limit your shows to private and not public shows. (Lou Hilario)

- That’s exactly what I’ve done since that time. (Gerry)
magic4u02
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Great discussion here folks and I really am enjoying this. It is great to be able to read others views on the subject and your thoughts as well. Creativity in magic is something I am deeply passionate about and so I am finding this thread to be most beneficial. Let me add some further thoughts here if I may.

- I first think that we may need to define further (at leats my opinion) as to what quantifies the actual act of stealing. I simply mean effect versus routine. My personal belief is that if a trick or effect is marketed and can be purchased by anyone, then to me that is not stealing. It may stink and it may get you upset, but it is not stealing. The manufacturer or builder has a right to sell the prop to whomever he or she feels.

The only time this would be considered stealing is if you had an agreement or contract with the builder and it is a custom made effect or trick just for you and not to be sold to the magic community. Anything short of this is legitiment and any magician has the right to purchase a public effect or trick if it is being sold.

- Now what I personally consider stealing is the creativity of what we do. Simply meaning, I can teahc anyone to do a trick. I can teach a monkey to do a trick but it does not mean that monket is an entertainer. What we do (patter, presentation, music, movement, theme, character, emotional response, pantomime etc. etc.) with the trick to create a routine is the part that makes it ours. This is what should not ever be stolen or "borrowed".

- With this stated, another point is yes it can be defined as stealing or as "Theives" as Smartini stated above. That is very much true. However one must ask what gets someone to that point in the firts place. You do not just wake up one morning and decide to rip off something. There has top be an underlying reason. To me that reason in basic form is the simple fact that people are LAZY. Just flat out lazy.

It goes further then this though. I belive that part of this laziness is the belief that people assume what they are doing is not wrong. Now you may ask yourself how in the world can they think it is right? Well I personally know folks who have done it and had no clue that it was inaproporiate. part of this becomes from a lack of real education in magic or from simply no one telling them it was wrong. This is NOT an exscuse mind you. but if I know this, then I can make it a point to educate people as much as I can.

This is one reason why I have developed my current lecture "Encore! Creatibity in the art of magic!" It is my way to educate folks in magic in a positive fashion and through that let them know that it is wrong to steal and that theyt do not have to go that route in the first place.

- I personally feel not attending club shows, lectures, conventions or not going to club meetings is not the right way to address that. that is running away from the problem instead of trying to address and fix it. For me the magicla arts is a wonderful thing and it can get even better. It only gets better if we have the patience to educate those who are not in the know. If I can influence even one person through my lecture or my thoughts then that is beneficial to magic as a whole.

- I also do not feel creatinbg a new act or rotuine every time someone steals your old one is the right or proper direction to go. That basically just gives in to the person and does nothing to correct the issue. Why should you have to change your act and develop a new one. You shouldn't. Now I am the type that always belives in creating new things every year. I am always pushing myself because it helps me remain creative. But the difference is that I am creating new acts because I want to personally do it and grow. I am not creating them simply because someone stole something from me. Confront the problem and not run away from it.

- My goal is to let people know that every single person out there as the ability to be as creative as they want to be. I am sick of hearing the expression "I have no creative bone in my body at all". That is an exscuse and is totally wrong. In my lecture the first thing I do is prove the simple point that we all have creativity and we all can be creative. This is proven with a simple exercise I have 5-10 people do up on stage. Within 5 minutes that entire lecture hall knows and sees clear as day that each and every one of them has creativity but they need to learn to tap into it and put it to work and exercise it.

- if someone steals or copies your act or routine, then you have every right to be mad and upset. I haev had this happen many many times because I live in an area with one of the largest groups of magicians. Simnply enough it just means there are LOTS of us out there working. But for me the wrong thing to do is stoop so low as to start name calling, or going to their show to heckle etc. That to me does nothing more then bring you down to a level of a bully on a playground. I like to consider myself an adult and also an adult that has integrity and is a professional. that means conducting myself as one.

I do not have to like what is going on, but I do need to conduct myself better. That may mean me going and talking to the person AFTER their show. It may mean me giving them a call to talk and discuss it as adults.

- I also goes as far as to try and educate the person as much as I can. if ther person just has no clue at all, then I will ofeer to asisst them and show them how to develop creative ideas on their own. Instead of avoiding the issue, I confront it professionally and in so doing I can actually make some of these folks see a better way and know the difference between right and wrong.

These are just my thoughts but I am passionate about creativity in magic and growing our art. I hope some of this makes sense and has value.

Kyle
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Gerry Walkowski
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Kyle:

Let me say this. If a trick comes out like the "Applause Meter" and you're the first in your market to present it, and then others in your market come along and add it to their shows, I wouldn't necessarily say others were stealing your material. (Although, I still might view them as a copy-cat performer.)

What I'm referring to are magic tricks that are sort of way out there, meaning they're just not your average magic trick that are marketed to death by dealers trying to sell their products. In my particular case this trick was so secretive that even I had a hard time locating it. I had to do all the hard work to track it down (this was well before the Internet which, in my opinion, made things way too easy for many lazy magicians) and find it.

So in my example I did all the work and then this other magician IN MY OWN MARKET (and to me that is the key difference here) comes along and says to himself, "Gee, that's a great trick I've never seen before. I didn't even know it existed. I should track this trick down too and add it to my own show."

It's this type of thing that I find frustrating.

Is it technically stealing? Maybe, maybe not.

But, in my opinion, I would still view the person as a slimeball copycat magician.

Gerry
zimsalabim
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Ok this is pretty funny to me sorry to say. A magician went out and bought the same trick you do? Ok he had the money and he bought it. You did the research. You had to find out about it somhow. How was that? Did you see somone else do it? In person on video or otherwise? Did you thne ourchase it after seeing it. Does that make you a copycat? Ok again my 2 cents. Big deal I know. I would be unhappy too I am sure. Oh and I have been on many occasions in the same boat. I say don't worry about the small stuff guys. If they are stealing your personality that's somthing to worry about.

Z
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Who is the Greatest? Everybody else! Borrowed with respect from the late Great Eddie Fechter Owner of the Forks Hotel

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SpellbinderEntertainment
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This discussion has been going on,
since I began in magic at about eight years old,
and for hundred of years prior, I've read.

And I estimate maybe 95% of magicians,
amateur or professional,
"borrow" or outright steal material.

Yesterday our Supreme Court ruled in favor of guns,
so now you can just shoot 'em like cattle rustlers...

My two-cent solution,
Walt
zimsalabim
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HAHA WALT!
Joe Zimmer

"The Second Greatest Magician in the World"

Who is the Greatest? Everybody else! Borrowed with respect from the late Great Eddie Fechter Owner of the Forks Hotel

Zimsalabim

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Kevin Mc Lean
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Hi Gerry and All,

[quote]On 2008-06-28 07:26, Gerry Walkowski wrote: [snip] this particular effect was my signature trick. What also ticked me off a bit, too, was that I added something clever to this trick which didn’t come with the effect and he copied this as well. (Gerry)[snip][end of quote]

To me (without knowing the effect and hearing the other side), certainly if this person deliberately did it: yep, it's morally wrong.

You don't steal other people's routines and additions and you definitely don't steal someone's signature effect. There are, however, some tricks that everyone does and bits of business that have been around forever (which makes you wonder what the original situation was with these).

Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do about it - without making the pair of you look like little children fighting over a toy.

By all means, you've sure got the right to be mad. You should avoid this person and anyone like him as much as possible. If anyone brings the subject up, tell them the truth - but it would be unwise (and unprofessional) to conduct a campaign against them. You have to put your energies into more productive things.

Mind you, it does come back to haunt them. My observation is that these people make a lot of short term progress, then they make a mistake and when they do it's not a small one. Give them enough rope and they usually wind up hanging themselves...

Anyway, happy to have the subject raised. I think the sheer amount of steam it raised (in me, among many others) shows that there is a line that should not be crossed. To me, the solution is to make information on the ethics of our profession as accessible as everything else.


Regards,


Kevin Mc Lean.
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