The Magic Café
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Contrary to popular belief, exposing tricks on YouTube may be beneficial to magicians (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

View Profile
Elite user
424 Posts

Profile of satellite23
We have all heard the argument that will continue for eternity. This particular argument is one that, in my opinion, will never be proven one way or another. Exposing magic tricks on YouTube is generally unpopular with well-respected magicians.However, young illusionists who want to know how the tricks are done so they can fool their friends often argue that YouTube exposure is a good thing. Which group is right? I, gaining more experience as a magician every day, can understand why the "veterans" think that YouTube is offensive and bad. However, still being one of those aspiring young illusionists (who, as a matter-of-fact, learned most of my stuff from YouTube), I can also relate to that group. Again, I ask you, who is right? I tend to side with the younger group, and that is what I will argue for.

An exposure of a trick also sparks an imagination. Ironically, that is what many magicians would say that it does the opposite of. However, I believe that YouTube exposure makes MAGICIANS use their imaginations to invent original material and routines that have not been exposed yet. If one method has been revealed to the audience, then they will be even more surprised when another method is shown to them. It cathes them off guard. So, in fact, YouTube exposure may be a good thing for magic.

Also, most people generally tend to forget how certain effects work. They may watch it once and show it to some friends. However, they will be surprised when they are shown the same effect five years down the road. I believe that this happens because of a number of reasons. First of all, most people who reveal tricks are young kids with a bad webcam. Generally, people will not remember much about a kid with a bad camera. Also, magicians who reveal tricks tend to focus less on the actual performance. Since the performance of the trick is not strong, people will tend to forget the actual trick. Finally, the people who watch the trick may never show it to anybody! If they do not get recognition for the trick, they will stop performing it and forget about it. So, YouTube exposure my not actually be severely harming magic.

Finally, a lot of young magicians use YouTube exposure as a valuable tool. I, for one, did (and still do). Speaking from experience, I would sit for hours at the computer looking up how to do certain tricks and performances. It is a free and easy way of learning magic. Since I cannot afford too many props or books, YouTube as been a great tool for me. Look where I am at now. I started magic roughly two years ago and am starting to get paid to put on shows at various gigs. So, YouTube has been great to me.

The point is; do not think that YouTube exposure is bad. In effect, it really is not. Big tricks aren't exposed (unless a magic celebrity performs it!). Just look at it with a different point of view. So, YouTube has not severely hurt magic. In fact, it may have helped magic.
View Profile
Special user
981 Posts

Profile of 55Hudson

I complement you on a well written argument, however must dissagree with your conclusion.

1) YouTube provides access to exposure that previously would require a trip to the library and searching through magic texts or the expense of purchasing a trick from a magic shop or mail order. Performing magicians may have audiances looking up a trick right after they've left the table - and learning the secret within minutes. YouTube reduces learning the secret of a trick to a simple exercise.

2). Knowing the secret to many tricks destroys the illusion of an impossible action. much of the entertainment value is in suspending disbelief or trying to figure out how the trick was possible (magic or skill?). Many tricks are very simple and once the illusion is broken, the entertainment value is lost.

3. From a learning perspective, you argue that novice magicians such as yourself can learn by spending hours studying YouTube. This may be true, however if you had spent the same hours with a well written text, would you be better trained? For $70 you can purchase the first two volumes of Card College and learn enough to last a lifetime. For $20 you can purchase Mark Wilson and have access to a broad range of magic. There are many other examples of inexpense material that require study and practice. Books are the best value (and always have been) in magic.

By the way, these thoughts also apply to the Internet. I often wonder if the time I spend here at The Café wouldn't be better spent reading the books I have.


View Profile
Inner circle
Atlanta by way of Detroit
6010 Posts

Profile of motown
Or maybe they they just want to get it for free, the same way they got all there illegal music, etc., etc.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
– Karl Germain
Mr. Woolery
View Profile
Inner circle
Fairbanks, AK
2008 Posts

Profile of Mr. Woolery
So, I have this young friend who is in 7th grade. Nice kid. Loves magic. Lance Burton is his hero. I saw him today practicing card fans in the school hallway. He does a decent one-hand fan, actually.

I mentioned a trick to him that I thought he'd get a kick out of. Cardtoon. Next day, he came in and told me he knew how it is done and described the method. Rather than just look for an example of the effect (what it looks like to the observer), he looked up an exposure. I had not thought about there being exposures of this one out there. I'm not actually surprised now that I think about it, but it shocked me at that time.

I realize that watching other teens show how a trick is done (often badly, I might add) makes it cheaper and faster to learn a trick, but it does not make it better.

The point about imagination is particularly problematic to me. Sure, having your core routines exposed will force you to come up with different ones. Yes, that's true. Unless it just makes you quit. But is that better? No. There are magicians who have been doing the same few tricks for most of their working lives and they just get better at them. Ask Whit Haydn if his linking ring routine was as nice 20 years ago as it is today. If you start getting busted on the methods, there are two things you can do. First, you can try to create new magic. But when you consider that much of what a magician will create in a lifetime is still not going to amount to a whole new show, that's a poor argument. On the other hand, you can decide to take up a different trade. And that's a loss, not a gain.

Exposure on the internet is also problematic in that it may well make the better magicians less willing to release their material. If I had the idea that my carefully developed tricks would end up being given away by kids whose parents bought them my DVD, I would not make a DVD. If I want to keep material available only to people who pay for it, I have only a couple of choices. I can put it in print only or I can teach directly without ever recording or printing it. Alain Nu does something like the latter with his seminars. I feel it makes it impossible to get the information for those of us who can't do the travel, but I commend his decision to keep it exclusive to those who really want it.

The price of a book is modest. The price of a DVD is modest. And buying either will reward those who put in the effort to make the books and DVDs. Giving the secrets away when you have not created the trick yourself is a form of stealing. And that's why exposure sucks. (If you create a new trick that does not depend on methods used by other tricks, but is still worth performing, feel free to give it away. But if you create new material, I suspect you will realize the value of your material and choose to either keep it private or ask to get paid for it. At that point, you will have to argue against your assertions that YouTube hack exposure is a good thing.)

andre combrinck
View Profile
Special user
South Africa
953 Posts

Profile of andre combrinck
Exposure sucks, period!
View Profile
New user
61 Posts

Profile of Mephisticator
Agree - exposure on YouTube is wrong, it sucks.

YouTube can have its uses. When Alain Nu was the Guest of Honor he suggested I watch PERFORMANCES on YouTube to be able to see a lot of magicians and mentalists and get a feel for style and presentation and begin to think of whatbwould work for me.

YouTube can really provide a great amount of performances and exposure to many artists and performers out there...

But what to do about people - especially young kids it seems - who insist on exposing tricks under the rubrick of "teaching" them?


View Profile
New user
Genoa (Italy)
8 Posts

Profile of BlackKn1ght
In my opinion, Youtube has both pros and cons. While it's despicable to see some kids exposing, both voluntarily and involuntarily, some tricks without a reason to do so (and even worse, exposing tricks that they didn't come up with and that the creator has for sale), if used correctly it can be a great teaching method.

Right now I'm thinking of the user "mismag822", who has a youtube channel in which he teaches some pretty basic techniques (some basic card forces and false shuffles and things like that) and some tricks that have been invented by him or that he received the permission by the creator to make a tutorial of. He doesn't teach anything "advanced", it's like a "demonstration version" of card magic, to get people initiated, and it will never be a substitute to such books as the RRTCM or EATCT, even though some of the tricks he teaches are really good.

Also, always in my opinion, exposure is not a really big problem (i don't mean this from a moral point of view). Lets say for example that a magician performs a specific trick by some guy: Unless he announces the trick by name, it's very difficult for a layman to find an exposure video. How would you describe an "Oil & Water" routine if you didn't know it's name?
View Profile
Regular user
Roma, Italy
147 Posts

Profile of JRediens
I love youtube for performance.
Mainly great magician performance. Sometime I fall in love with a trick, and I don't say that I figure it out, but I imagine how I would do this, if I can't it is because it is out of my reach for my knowledge, so I buy books, not tricks! I Started to mesure my knowledge on how many tricks I understand and my ability in how many I can do, If there is a big gap, something is wrong with my study.
I study the presentation. The gags. I'm so in love with this that I can say when a magician quotes another one (I have the impression that Giobbi "Steals so many gags!).
I know what is standard and I invent new pattern. I've seen several ACR, I made up a presentation. Today I discovered that Tommy wonder used a very similar one. I'll spend the evening creating a new one.
I look for the good little things that can turn a dumb trick in a good piece of performance.

Exposure? For Layman the ruin everithing, no more suspension of belief, for magician they lead into bad presentation of good tricks. No more "How would I do this?" THAT is what creates great solutions and innovations
View Profile
Loyal user
253 Posts

Profile of kasper
There is no such thing as exposure. Period! The general public could care less. I remember bartending and turning on a TV station that aired a particular magic program. I wanted to see what peoples reaction to watching magic. Every time they asked for me to change the channel. Exposure seems to be only a problem in these newsgroups.

If you have a problem with exposure its probably cause you have an attitude problem. These "secrets" are are none of your concern since you stole someone elses idea.
View Profile
New user
baldwinsville ny
6 Posts

Profile of magicbryon
I got back in magic about a year ago. I started watching YouTube videos for a on line magic shop. Then I saw there was tutorials and started watching them. Bad idea. A lot of the tricks I saw would only work on video and the explanations were vague. I finely found my mark Willsons book and my Henry hay book I'd gotten in the eightys and they work a lot better than anything on you tube. There are a few people on you tube who give basic toutorials that I watch still but mostly I watch performances just to see what the effect is supposed to look like to the spectator pluse I love watching magicians perform. Bryon
View Profile
Regular user
164 Posts

Profile of charliewerner
Exposure on Youtube wasted my time practice those trick.

I am working toward doing a perfect pass for years, and was good at it. Then a kid, say I know it is the pass, explain in youtube.

Just maybe youtube may help me in searching for other good pass people perform such as from AKIRA FUJI. But it also waste time, money and strength to perfect those trick or sleight if those video are shown to wrong people.

It just take one guy in a room of 100 people or thousand to kill the trick and destroy it. That one guy will say all you guy are stupid, so easily fool by this magician. A magician who based his career on magic, become poor.... Magic that don't fool are boring and lame. Why wasting time and money seeing something that you know how it is done.

Gazzo is great if you don't know the method to the cup and ball. HE spent a life time to perfect it. And it is destroyed by penn and teller. Audience enjoy their performance and I think they are great but they doing something harm to magic, at least those old magician, and those young magician, who would not spend their free time on magic anymore because it is useless, it is much more enjoyable to play computer games. PEOPLE WHO WATCH PENN AND TELLER CUP AND BALL ARE NOT INTERESTED IN ANYONE DOING THE CUPS AND BALLS.

Finally exposure remove anything mysterious from magic. Magic become a cat and mouse things. And it wouldn't be entertaining. Magician have to spend more money on very expensive stuff that not easily exposed and their fee will increase which may also mean less people get to watch real life magic.

Also imagine this, a kids who watch david blaine biting a piece of a coin, and see he as a super hero and hope someday to be like him. He always tell people how great he was til he saw other kid in school perform it. Blaine are not longer his hero.

"Superman are not super if we know he use string and CG to fly."

"Take the case of ufo, right know we don't know whether the dics in the sky are from alien or not. If someday we know that it is a military plane, no body will have any interest in ufo anymore"
"Seeing Joy, Sadness, Anger,Contempt,Surprise, Disgust,Fear on people faces are the motivation of my MAGIC" Charlie Werner (C.C.L)
View Profile
Inner circle
Yuma, AZ
2290 Posts

Profile of Ed_Millis
And all of this shows the real harm of YouTube and other exposures - all you learn is the "secret", because that's all that motivated you to look it up.

But you can never learn how to take a secret that "everyone" knows and be so entertaining with it that no one cares that they "know how it's done." We ALL know Superman has wires or computer help. But if the movie is entertaining enough, no one cares. You go away from the movie talking about what you saw, not about the hidden infrastructure behind it.

Most of the YouTube stuff is totally devoid of any artistry. "Put this here and then do that." It's no wonder kids (of all ages, mind you) who watch just that and perfect just that are heckled and scorned by their peers. No one wants to see a DL in action - they want to be drawn into a story that means something to them and captivates them. "Watch your card go in here and come out there." *That* is dumb - not YouTube!

View Profile
Inner circle
1368 Posts

Profile of lynnef
Sometimes I'll watch a youtube exposure of a trick I already know, in order to see how badly the person performs it. eg the Princess Card Trick is a common one where some kid will perform it as if he's really showing a 'secret' (this is one trick that can be 'figured out'). I always liked the 'Real Secrets' sessions on the L&L DVD Easy to Master series on HOW to 'perform' these tricks and not just 'execute' (great pun) them.
View Profile
Inner circle
2050 Posts

Profile of BrianMillerMagic
Not a single one of the great professional magicians I know, or have known, have had their careers affected by YouTube exposure. It has no bearing on my career whatsoever. When someone says, "I've seen that on YouTube", I say, "Very cool! Now check this out..." and move on. If you're a great entertainer, the secret to the trick is of very little importance.
View Profile
New user
51 Posts

Profile of briancharles1002
I do not agree with your argument that youtube helps imagination or innovation. I see where it sparks a bunch of copycats, which has its own side effect in someone watches a bad handling and then take it themselves and then you have a bunch of people running around doing tricks poorly. It is much better to learn from books and if you need visual help then videos. Most books and videos are well done and will teach you the right way along with the psychology/philosophy behind the effect/trick/sleight etc. I also do not agree with the often used "I cannot afford it ..", "I am just a poor ..." It is a matter of priority and importance. The latest Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox (whatever) game is on average $30. Three meals at McDonalds will be close to $30. You can get Bobo MCM book for $30. Now for the old "when I was young" story. I loved comic books growing up and I went around the neighborhood collecting bottles to run in for the refund. I then saved that money up until I could buy a comic I wanted. When I got older cutting grass, raking pine straw and other odd jobs helped increase my funds for things I wanted. I have found the things I got for free or cheap are not as treasured by me as the things that I had to earn.
View Profile
Inner circle
The Beautiful State Of Maine
6891 Posts

Profile of Dougini
On 2011-11-04 19:48, satellite23 wrote:
We have all heard the argument that will continue for eternity...

That is the one statement here, where I agree with you! No offense! Personally, I think any unnecessary exposure SUCKS, as was said before! Smile

View Profile
Regular user
107 Posts

Profile of vincentmusician
I do not like people exposing Magic for no good reason. I also do not like Magicians Teaching Magic just to make money to just any kid off the street.
However, there are things that a Magician can do to negate it. I perform many routines with Magic Props that cannot be bought. Also, it is the entertainment in the Story and presentation that dominates my Routines. The Magic Trick is actually only a small part of my presentation. So I do not worry too much and have not had a lot of kids say I know that because I learned it off youtube.
View Profile
New user
59 Posts

Profile of PaulPosition
Youtube is a tool, like a library is a tool.

Problem is how you use that tool.

I want ALL the "Crazy Self-Working Trick to Fool Your Friends" and "Classic Pass tutorial" videos in the world to have their place on the platform. Even if they're maybe infringing on someone else's ideas (within limits). I wish for all the "Con Cam Coincidencia Revealed" and "Smoke It Like Shin Lim" videos in the world to just disappear into obliveon.
View Profile
Loyal user
Toronto, Canada
256 Posts

Profile of MGordonB
Some perspective....

Total number of monthly active YouTube users - 2 Billion people
Total number of daily active YouTube users - 30 Million people

In the grand scheme of things, magic videos on YouTube are viewed by a relatively small number of YouTube users.

I think the secrets are safe
View Profile
New user
13 Posts

Profile of SamuraiStag
I think MGordonB nailed it above with “I think the secrets are safe”.

If I use a cooking analogy:
There are Chefs and there are Cooks.
The Chefs have the skills, techniques and equipment to produce amazing dishes.
The Cooks have a much smaller subset of skills, techniques and equipment.
The Chefs create the dishes that inspire the Cooks to want to expand their repertoire. They will sell those dishes in a restaurant, in a cookbook or a DVD.
Most cooks will not have the skills, techniques or equipment to produce the majority of those Chef dishes. Even if they get hold of a Chef’s recipe, they will rarely be able to reproduce it with the same quality and presentation.
Cooks will go to the internet for recipes because they can sort through a myriad of information until they find one that appeals to their tastes and is not beyond their skillset without outlaying a fortune on cookbooks and DVDs. Just because they can find recipes doesn’t stop them going to restaurants to consume the Chef cooked dishes nor does it stop them buying Chef materials to expand their cooking repertoire. If anything, you could argue that the internet is a source of basic skills that gives cooks the confidence to buy a cookbook with an expectation that they could actually reproduce a dish.
If you’re a proper Chef, are you really going to be upset if a cook knows how you make “scrambled eggs” or “roast chicken” when you know how to serve a killer “Sous Vide Terrine with Ceviche and Triple Smoked Taramasata”?
The internet allows more cooks to get involved but I would argue this does not ultimately stop them from going to restaurants, taking cooking classes or buying professional equipment. Nor does it detract from the taste of a well-made Chef dish.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Contrary to popular belief, exposing tricks on YouTube may be beneficial to magicians (4 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.21 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL