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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Ethic of copying effects? (19 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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KiKi
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We are all standing on the shoulder of giants. That´s how we create our effects. I always try to make them my own, and be as creative as I can be, but sometimes I really fall in love with an already existing routine, and I find, there´s no way to improve it, cause it´s perfect like it is, so I don´t really change anything, except some bits and bobs, and it´s something that fits my style of performing.
But somehow I feel kind of guilty copying some effects of others. What do you think, how much percent of not original material is ok for a performance? For example the music business! There are a lot cover bands out there, making a lot money, and none cares if the music is original or not, as long as the audience likes it.
But how is it compared to mentalism?

kiki
Nestor D
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Methods are sometimes hard to improve but presentation should always be tailored to you Smile
Slim King
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The cover band example isn't so true anymore .. Live music is at an all time low. But Nestor is 100% correct!
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robwar0100
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This has always been an issue for me. I have effects that are refinements of what others have done.

I do not consider myself a creator, but I think I am pretty good at synthesizing and simplifying effects.

However, I have never published anything because they are not mine.

Yet, every time I watch a Penguin Live lecture, someone basically says, "This is so-and-so's and I have added a few twists."

Max Maven said on his Multipicity DVD to Eugene Burger something to the effect that the methods are not new, but he believed the presentations were. (I wish I could find that quote.)

A friend of mine showed his handling of a well-known effect to a performer we would all recognize, and he was quite surprised to see the effect performed during a Penguin Live lecture with no credit whatsoever.

So, I guess it depends on who you are.

Bobby
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Tom Cutts
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The music comparison isn't a very good one because most people know a cover band is playing a real artist's music.

Aside from that, the cover band business is booming in California. People like to go hear the music they grew up on.
Paul S Wingham
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Quote:
On Oct 24, 2015, robwar0100 wrote:

A friend of mine showed his handling of a well-known effect to a performer we would all recognize, and he was quite surprised to see the effect performed during a Penguin Live lecture with no credit whatsoever.

So, I guess it depends on who you are.

Bobby


I think it very much depends who you are. Some of the stuff "names" pull would result in us average joe's being torn apart, but for reasons unknown, people often seem unwilling to say "hang on a second, you've added nothing here at all".

As far as performing goes, I think if you set out to always have completely new method's you'd end up compromising purely for the purpose of having an original method, but as far as the presentation is concerned, I think this should be personal to the performer.

When I look at truly successful performers, the one thing they share is some sort of USP; you may not always like it, but they pretty much always have it. If you want to copy, I guess that's up to you, but I wouldnt expect a huge amount of success off the back of it.
robwar0100
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Quote:
On Oct 26, 2015, Paul S Wingham wrote:
Quote:
On Oct 24, 2015, robwar0100 wrote:

A friend of mine showed his handling of a well-known effect to a performer we would all recognize, and he was quite surprised to see the effect performed during a Penguin Live lecture with no credit whatsoever.

So, I guess it depends on who you are.

Bobby


I think it very much depends who you are. Some of the stuff "names" pull would result in us average joe's being torn apart, but for reasons unknown, people often seem unwilling to say "hang on a second, you've added nothing here at all".

As far as performing goes, I think if you set out to always have completely new method's you'd end up compromising purely for the purpose of having an original method, but as far as the presentation is concerned, I think this should be personal to the performer.

When I look at truly successful performers, the one thing they share is some sort of USP; you may not always like it, but they pretty much always have it. If you want to copy, I guess that's up to you, but I wouldnt expect a huge amount of success off the back of it.

Nice thoughts. Are you referring to a Unique Sales Proposition?

That's a good way of looking at it.

Bobby
"My definition of chance is my hands on the wheel," Greg Long.
Paul S Wingham
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I was thinking unique selling point but yours works just as well bobby
Shrubsole
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But whilst a cover band is playing "hits from the past" written and made famous by others, they may well play them in their own style and not exact copies of the original.

And don't forget that MANY new artist in the current charts often do tracks that the kiddies think are all new and a product of their heart-throb, until us oldies tell them that in fact it's actually an old Rollin Stones classic don in a different way.

In the 70s, (here in the UK) the was a great reggae song by Ken Booth called "Everything I Own" - It stormed the charts and was a massive hit.
However, of course, it was originally written and performed in a non-reggae style by Bread. Both are great but different and you take your pick as to which you refer. (But then of course, the original writers do get paid by anyone wanting to do a version of it.
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Ben Harris
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Bread? Showing your age. lol. You Guitar Man, you.

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starstruck
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Take other's effects, and add your own twist and presentation.
Rolyan
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I don't see a problem, but I may be missing something. There are three parts, the method, the effect, the presentation. So use the existing and readily available methods and effects but always done with your own presentation.

I know many very successful performers who don't create original methods or effects; everything they do is commercially available but then presented in their own style. If you choose that route I don't see a major problem, although it is partly to do with what you want to achieve obviously.
nhanna
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I agree making a presentation uniquely yours is part of the fun and you feel much more accomplished.
Ed_Millis
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I own a "trick" and have known "how to work it" for several years. But it always fell flat because my presentation was flat - couldn't really add anything to the manufacturer's instructions! Several months ago I saw a video of a very well-known mentalist performing this. His presentation rocked!!

I emailed him and asked about the presentation, because I can't un-see the video and I would always be influenced. His advice was to practice it until it was smooth, and along the way find out how to "make it mine". It's now a working routine that I can put into a show, and it's "mine" (at least the parts that you don't get when you buy this).

I will always be grateful for this.

Ed
davidzajac1991
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I don't have a lot of experience performing but I read this the other day and it has to do with reading Larry Becker's work written by Bob Cassidy in the thirty-nine steps "Don’t just read these books and perform the effects as the “mentalists” out there, who, every day futilely struggle to become Larry Becker, present them. It won’t work. The position is already taken." I have no idea if that helps you.
KiKi
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Thx so far for your input.
Just to point out, I don´t perform effects the same way other performers do. I always do it my way!
But once in a while I find an effect, I really like that fits my style, but I have no idea to make it my own. But that´s usually not the case.
Just wanted to know how you think about copying effects.

regards

kiki
phillsmiff
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I love to see it when people take something I've worked on and use it as a jumping off point to create their own unique expression, but conversely if I watched a show and someone used a presentation word for word from an effect I'd published, my script, everything, I would have zero problem with that. I don't think that's a great idea, but the issue is aesthetic rather than ethical. If they had just watched my show and nabbed it, that would be a different matter, but if someone has paid for my material they can use it however they like.

Maybe the metaphor of a covers band is not quite right, it would be perhaps more like a DJ. People don't go to see world class DJs because they *create* music, but because they take the works of other creators and curate and remix them into a seamless experience that, at it's best, can deliver something more than the original pieces alone possibly could - they use the works of others as a palette to create something potentially unique and original. Similarly, it's possible to string together set pieces from creators in our own art to take the audience on a journey that maybe those creators couldn't have imagined.

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Teyo
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Adding your own personality is what makes your audience appreciate and want know you
David Thiel
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I went full time as a performer in May of 1990. I'd spent three years doing shows for free so I could get my performing "chops." I worked on every stage I could find: comedy clubs, malls, community events, fundraisers. But I got my greatest lesson on that very first show.

A corporate client had hired a gaggle of performers to stroll the audience. In those days, I was doing comedy magic and I was going from table to table...getting great responses and feeling quite proud of myself. I think I was doing Cardtoon...(remember that one? The spectator would choose a card and the performer would flip through the deck showing a little stick guy in the act of drawing a card out of his hat and (surprise surprise) the card he produced was the very one the spectator had chosen.)

I was on my way to being quite impressed with myself...until I noticed another magician at the next table. He was doing Cardtoon as well. He was doing it the exact same way I was. Why? We'd both read the SAME patter and were performing it as written. That's what you're supposed to do, right?

In that second the clouds parted and the angels sang (ok...not LITERALLY) as an idea dropped into my smug little mind. This idea was fully formed and it was this: "If you keep doing what you're doing, the very best you can aspire to be -- the absolute best -- is to be a good magician...but still a magician...the same as every other magician on the planet." In other words: given that I'd learned the effects and the patter the very best I could achieve was to do the same trick perfectly...but still exactly the same as every other performer.

Hmmm.

Magic...mentalism...isn't about the prop. It never has been. It's the blending of the presentation chosen, the personality of the performer, the "patter" (which is, in itself, a TERRIBLE word to describe a creative performance) AND the prop. It's about the way a performer draws the audience into the presentation. It's about the synthesis -- the blending of EVERYTHING (including the audience) in a single creative blender.

I went back to each of the props/effects/routines I'd painstakingly labored over for the past three years, threw out everything I'd learned about them and started from scratch all over again. And if I couldn't make an effect fit with the new "me" I turfed it.

Since then I've made a point never to read the "patter" on a new effect. I look at it...I turn it around in my hands and wonder what else it could be...and how it could fit into what I'm doing...how it could be a part of MY show.

When I started approaching new effects this way, it really revolutionized my performing. The show is about "me" instead of "a magician" or even "a mentalist."

This all becomes even more critical with mentalism, since the vast majority of mentalism's punch comes from what you say and how you say it. Presentation and maintaining the focus of where you're going and what you're saying is critical.

Hope this is helpful to someone.

David
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Robb
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David is absolutely right.

While you can become a competent and even very good magician or mentalist performing other people's effects or routines (even borrowing heavily from their scripts), what you will not become is an artist. Why?

Because you're not expressing yourself and your unique point of view.

Learning tricks is EASY. Creating compelling art is very, very hard. But to become a memorable and powerful performer, you have to go there. There's no way around it. You must CREATE from your own unique point of view and you must take people somewhere... help them experience something that will move them deeply... which means your routines, your scripts and your performance must come from somewhere deep inside yourself.

I think, ideally, we should all aspire to be artists but I understand if some do not feel particularly driven in this way.
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