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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Confusion between Technique and Presentation (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Pakar Ilusi
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I've wanted to put this forth for so long. So here goes nothing...

From my observations of the Magic scene, there seems to be a confusion between technique and presentation amongst Magicians...

It seems that most Magicians feel that they're one and the same thing.

I'll give you an example...

Remember when the courts decided that Copperfield's "Flying" PRESENTATION was illegally copied by that French Magician (I forget his name)...

What was illegal wasn't the technique that he employed in order to achieve the illusion of flying, as the performance of the illusion of flying in itself is in the public domain, but rather it was that the presentation of his routine was exactly the same as Copperfield's. Right down to the sweater and jeans!

Why in the world would he copy Copperfield move for move, wardobe for wardrobe? I haven't the faintest idea...

And that's my point, Magician's tend to copy another Magician's ROUTINE exactly as they'd seen it...

NEWSFLASH!!!

WE DON'T HAVE TO!

Use a different Presentation!

In another thread, someone insisted on following Lance Burton's Floating Birdcage by building his own birdcage!

WHY DO THE SAME PRESENTATION?

Float something else! Float a crystal ball, a sandwich or your kid's freakin' hamster! Not only would it be more original, but you also won't be ripping Lance Burton off!

If you understand the different techniques and usage of bases, why rip off Steinmeyer or Gaughan by building an Origami? Build something else that looks and is presented differently!

Just because you use the same guitar, doesn't mean you have to play the same song!

The techniques are only tools to help us in putting together a presentation BUT the presentation can CHANGE!

This really gets under my skin because I can see that we can do sooo much more with Magic if each of us "writes our own songs", so to speak! Our potential as an art that could possibly touch millions is hindered by our inability to realize our own creative potential (me included!)...

That's all I have to say!

Sorry for the rant...
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Peter Marucci
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Pakar Ilusi writes: ". . .we can do sooo much more with Magic if each of us "writes our own songs". . ."

How very true -- and how, unfortunately, not happening!

Even worse than using someone else's presentation is to perform the magic using the dreadful presentation usually included with the instructions!

Theft is bad enough, but THAT is intolerable!
Pakar Ilusi
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Peter Marucci writes...

"Even worse than using someone else's presentation is to perform the magic using the dreadful presentation usually included with the instructions!"

Lol! Now that's the truth if I ever heard it!

Who writes that stuff anyway?
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Peter Marucci
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Maybe the word should be "wrote" since none of it seems to have been updated in the past 100 years! Smile
EvanSparts
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Rants are ok and sometimes we need them I posted a rant called Canyou make my bill disappear in the tablehoppers forum.
Sk8rDave
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Although I agree with both sentiments of this thread, "patter included in magic tricks usually sucks" and "we should all work to come up with our own presentations" I thought I would add that it's very easy to tread on what Copperfield considers his territory.

An acquaintance of mine who used to build illusions considers the thin table to be a staple in illusion building so an illusion using a thin table can't really be considered original. Sort of back to the original argument, he thinks new presentations with old techniques shouldn't be considered original and proprietary. He's an illusion builder so the method is all he cares about so I understand how he could make that mistake.

At one point he crossed Copperfield by making a laser sawing, using a thin table. As far as this guy was concerned he was making another sawing with a thin table and a laser instead of a blade. Copperfield saw it as stepping into his territory since he was performing a laser sawing at the time. Copperfield's lawyers faxed this guy a cease and desist letter along with over 70 pages of trademarked material.

Here's where it gets interesting, a friend of mine who bought illusions from this guy showed me a copy of this list. It included trademarked items such as, "performing a levitation with the moon in the background" and "white shirt with black pants". Those are the only 2 I remember after all these years but the list of trademarked items seemed so common that any magician could unknowingly stumble into Copperfield territory just by coming up with a good and original presentation.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong but I believe trademark is something you just say you own but that real ownership doesn't get determined until you try to defend it in court. Consequently, coppefield with a list of trademarks that covers practically anything magical and his lawyers could effectively ruin any magician who threatened him by claiming improper use of his trademark and forcing the magician to pay for a lawyer to defend himself. That's just a little scary.

Dave
Peter Marucci
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Dave writes: ". . .(Copperfield's) lawyers could effectively ruin any magician who threatened him by claiming improper use of his trademark and forcing the magician to pay for a lawyer to defend himself. That's just a little scary."

True.

And, unfortunately, that's the nature of the game.

A friend of mine was threatened with a suit by a VERY large insurance company -- even though he wasn't remotely involved in their business -- because the wording of his ad was "similar" to one of theirs.

The representative of the company said that a court might rule in his (my friend's) favor but "by that time you'll be broke" from trying to defend himself against an army of lawyers that the insurance company could field. Plus he would have to spend literally years in court.
Pakar Ilusi
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You're right Peter... Lol!

EvanSparts, thanks... Smile

I see your point Sk8rDave...

Actually, that's all the more reason to be original I think...

But I agree, it's never on the side of the "little guys"...

*Sigh*
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Pakar Ilusi
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I'll bring this discussion back up and see what younger minds thinks.

And the young at hearts. 😋✌
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
tommy
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If you define your terms; technique and presentation, then I might be able to understand the issue. Techniques to card guys are the mechanics, the moves we use, which are not presented but hidden.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Pakar Ilusi
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Quote:
On Oct 6, 2020, tommy wrote:
If you define your terms; technique and presentation, then I might be able to understand the issue. Techniques to card guys are the mechanics, the moves we use, which are not presented but hidden.


I thought I did in the first post?
(albeit for an illusion presentation, not cards).
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
tommy
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Are you believing what you see or seeing what you believe?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Pakar Ilusi
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Quote:
On Oct 11, 2020, tommy wrote:
Are you believing what you see or seeing what you believe?


In Magic?

Neither.
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Dannydoyle
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In a profession where people brag about how well they do the "Vernon Cups and Balls Routine" is lack of originally in presentation that shocking?

You would be better off buying a donkey and finding a windmill.

Magic thrives in that small space between inspiration and copying. I don't think it "should" be that way, but it certainly is.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Pop Haydn
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Quote:
On Oct 31, 2020, Dannydoyle wrote:
In a profession where people brag about how well they do the "Vernon Cups and Balls Routine" is lack of originally in presentation that shocking?

You would be better off buying a donkey and finding a windmill.

Magic thrives in that small space between inspiration and copying. I don't think it "should" be that way, but it certainly is.


As it is in music. Most singers should not write their own songs. You can be original in presentation without changing any of the words. The majority of bands that make money are cover bands. I think being original can put you on the top, but it can just as easily kill your career.

There is nothing wrong with being an entertaining but not very original act. They often make the better money.
Dannydoyle
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I am not seeking "original" in all things in that way.

I would like less rote copying.

Your music example is quite true. Elvis neve wrote a song and it didn't seem to hold him back much did it? BUT when you look at the artistic genius that was the King, certainly he is not rote copying is he? I mean listen to him sing "Steamroller Blues", and listen to James Taylor do the same song that he wrote. Same with "Never Been to Spain". Listen to Hoyt Axton and then listen to Elvis. He DID something artistically with it.

When a magician generally says "here is my version of the Vernon Cups and Balls" what he is really saying is "watch me do everything Vernon did move for move and listen to me repeat every single word". To me this is artistically bankrupt.

Mind you this is just one opinion and others mileage may vary.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Pop Haydn
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Quote:
On Nov 1, 2020, Dannydoyle wrote:
I am not seeking "original" in all things in that way.

I would like less rote copying.

Your music example is quite true. Elvis neve wrote a song and it didn't seem to hold him back much did it? BUT when you look at the artistic genius that was the King, certainly he is not rote copying is he? I mean listen to him sing "Steamroller Blues", and listen to James Taylor do the same song that he wrote. Same with "Never Been to Spain". Listen to Hoyt Axton and then listen to Elvis. He DID something artistically with it.

When a magician generally says "here is my version of the Vernon Cups and Balls" what he is really saying is "watch me do everything Vernon did move for move and listen to me repeat every single word". To me this is artistically bankrupt.

Mind you this is just one opinion and others mileage may vary.



If an actor presented Hamlet and kept changing Shakespeare's words, it wouldn't go so well. You can present a unique and original piece of art without changing the words or moves of a classic. Originality is great if that is what you need to do, but presenting a classic with thought and understanding is also artistic.
Dannydoyle
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It indeed would not go so well.

I guess it just depends on the outcome you desire.

I agree that being original simply for the sake of being original is not a useful goal at all to me.

I personally believe there is a difference in Hamlet and Vernon. What that difference is I would have trouble articulating in a coherent fashion mind you!

Maybe my problem is the same I have with all art. I dislike bad art. Poor copies are the heart of my objection I guess. Hamlet done poorly is still done poorly even though it is word for word.

And to your point poorly done original anything is no better simply for it's originality.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
tommy
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The difference between a copy and a forgery is that the forgery tells a lie about itself.

It is one thing to copy and another to do so with the intention of inducing somebody to accept it as genuine.

I never made any real money counterfeiting.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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landmark
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Quote:
I never made any real money counterfeiting.


Good line!
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