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Richard Osterlind
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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.

I devoted a chapter in my Field Manual to this and related ideas. Chapter 4 - Act Professionally to You Fellow Entertainers.
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Harris Deutsch
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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
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
music, magic and marvelous toys
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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.
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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.
John C
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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.

Marc Salem comes to town every year and plays at the kravis center here in west palm beach
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
One Eyed Jack
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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.
David Thiel
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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?


"Can I buy it?"


"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.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.
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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,
Live well,
Laugh often,
Love always.

"Illusion is the first of all pleasures." -Voltaire (1694-1778)
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...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...
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The Hermit
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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?

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.
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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.
Brandon Queen
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I think you've hit the nail on the head Aaron. That sounds about right.
It occured to me at once that love could be a great illusion, that makes fools of brilliant thinkers everyday
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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.
"Everything I show you is the truth... And the truth is the loveliest of lies"
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Yes- that's been the norm as long as I can remember.
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