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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Laws and ethics of performing mentalism (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ed wood
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Quote:
On Mar 14, 2016, David Thiel wrote:
I am not sure why a performer would let a client dictate what he or she does in their show. Understand that I'm not being snotty here...I just don't see an upside to doing this. You walk in...you do your show...and you leave. You COULD design some part of your show for the legal profession, maybe...but I don't see how the discussion they want helps you as a performer.

David


When performing corporate shows I will always try to add some relevancy of the nature of the event or client into a show. It's common practice.
A typical example of clients asking for a relevant subject to be addressed will be the product launch where the product in question will be included to some extent in the routine. Generally it will just be named in some manner. David Berglas was the master of these events. Again, very common practice in the arena of corporate entertainment.
In this case the client asked, as opposed to dictated, whether I could mention any legal or ethical issues that arise in my performing career during the show. I happily agreed and will use a couple of the topics discussed above as intros to a couple of routines.
How does this help me as a performer? Well, the client pay me lots of lovely money which means I get to do this full time without the worry of how I'm going to eat that week. Sure, I might not be giving the exact show I'd like to perform (the best show I ever wrote was about the evils of organised religion, one day I hope to perform it but I know it will never be in front of a corporate audience who keep me fed and clothed) but unlike the vast majority I'm actually out performing 2 or 3 times a week. There's no better way to improve as a performer than to actually perform instead of talking about it.
It also means a happy client who book me again and again, and all that extra work means more performing which means improving as a performer.
Out of a 45 minute show I will probably spend a couple of minutes discussing these issues. It won't in any way change the nature of the show or the manner of my performance but it will mean a happy client. Recently I performed at an awards ceremony for a payroll software company, yeah it was a wild evening. Performing before me was a relatively well known stand up comedian. He opened his set with a few jokes about wages etc. It's pretty much expected in events of this nature. I had nothing to say regarding the subject and they didn't expect it but I did adapt a routine to centre around the winners of some of the awards.
If a client tried to dictate the routines I performed I would of course say no but to tailor a show to be relevant to the event is a very different matter. A happy client is one that books me again and again.
David Thiel
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Alrighty then. Smile

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
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Christopher Taylor
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There is a law on the books in Canada that is still enforced. In section 365 of the Canadian Crimean Code, it states:

365 Every one who fraudulently
(a) pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration,
(b) undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes, or
(c) pretends from his skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner anything that is supposed to have been stolen or lost may be found,
is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

and in the UK here is a very interesting piece on the newest laws there: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7354089.stm

All the best,

Christopher
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jstreiff
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I am curious as to what practical effect if any such laws actually impose on performance mentalism and magic. The term 'conjuration' seems incredibly broad.
John
Christopher Taylor
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Theatrical performers are basically outside of the law's application. The only way it pertains at all to a theatrical presentation is to prevent the exploitation of any "true believers" who may happen to be in the audience. Cheers.

Christopher
Christopher Taylor

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C.J.
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Quote:
On Mar 29, 2016, Christopher Taylor wrote:
crafty science


That's a great term that would be a cool book title, but it sounds hilarious in the context of formal legal writing.
Connor Jacobs - The Thought Sculptor
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur
Be fondly remembered.
Christopher Taylor
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Isn't it a cool term? I love it. Going to using in my close-up gigs when I'm asked about what I do. Smile

Christopher
Christopher Taylor

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MAKING MENTALISM MORE IMPOSSIBLE
ed wood
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Want to thank everyone for the help and advice offered in this thread. You really came through for me.
The show was a massive success and the legal bits I threw in went down really well.
Cheers people.
miistermagico
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I have to agree with Luke Jermay if you are in a movie, on stage or close-up and a performer it is up to the audience to recognize you are presenting an illusion like any other kind of entertainer. You are giving a playful performance of reading minds not actually reading minds, just as a magician presents their effects as playful real magic. Who would enjoy the hero or villain in a play or movie stop and say I am not good or evil I am just acting. That would certainly be harmful to DIE HARD or STAR WARS. Actors and performers are expected to suspend believe not ruin the illusion. When Alfred Hitchcock used close ups of Janet Leigh lying dead in the shower in the thriller Psycho he used a still photograph specifically for the movie audience. Supposedly in the dailies Hitchcock's wife said,"I can see her breathing". Not every person is ignorant and not everyone can be educated. People make choices. Some do not. It is up to us as honorable mentalists and magicians not to take advantage of our audiences. We have a moral responsibility.
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