You really can't call yourself "underground" if you release product to the masses. You just sound like an idiot if you do. We don't have an underground anymore really. The moment you put something online for everyone to see that's it you're done. You want to be
a hipster underground, then only show people stuff in person. That's it. Nuff' said.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
I have a friend who is trying to learn some magic to add to her collection of skills. She has some friends who are trying to teach her how to do a Biddle count. This kind of shit confounds me. Not that they are trying to teach a beginner an upper-intermediate sleight. It's the fact that we, as magicians, are still trying to teach people shit from books written in the early 1900's. For fuck's sake Expert at the Card Table was written in 1902!!
We are telling people to learn from books that have the phrase "Borrow a gentleman's pocket handkerchief and bowler hat".
There have been great advancements on the techniques shown in those books. I'm not even talking about DVDs but OTHER BOOKS! I know magicians are behind the times usually but this is ridiculous.
When someone asks me for a book to start someone out with you know what I tell them? The Mark Wilson Course. (Not the small pocket version but the thick ass phone book looking thing) Sure it was written in the '70s but at least it's more current than Royal Road or Scarne.
I'm fine with people liking the books, getting material from them, etc but STOP trying to push your religion on others who are first starting out. Sure you should learn the basics but there are easier ways to acclimate them to that kind of stuff in today's world.
Hell the Klutz book of magic is a good book...
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Let me put something out there in the ether: Just because it gets reactions doesn't mean it's good.
I could strangle people in the street naked and get a reaction. Doesn't mean people like it. I am sick of hearing performers trying to validate an act, joke, or effect-for-sale with the "reaction" argument. Outside of magic, you can get a reaction from a simple false transfer with a coin. Doesn't mean I am gonna sell it on a DVD for 20$.
We fool ourselves into thinking reaction is the litmus test of how good or bad something is. Sometimes NO reaction is better because that means you fried them so hard they can't think or move. It's kinda like after sex when you... sorry forgot who I was talking to. It's like in D &D when you roll a natural 20.
A lot of comedians get nervous polite laughter and assume they wrote a good joke when in reality their line about sleeping with their sister came off less like a joke and more like a confession. The same thing happens in magic. People applaud by habit. Do enough shows you will know the good reactions from the bad.
So the next time you have an effect you wanna sell or defend because you got people on camera cussing or ma and pa six-pack are impressed at your local Wal-mart step back and write yourself a reality check.
Maybe it's not just you.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I'm pretty sure magicians are the only ones who think that levitating a balloon, bubble, or bird is magic.
Want proof? Ok. Overheard at a magic convention show while watching a performer do a levitating bubble trick:
Magician: "Isn't that cool?"
Magician's Wife: "Umm.. no shit. Bubbles float."
Draw your own conclusions.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Let me tell you a little something about myself: I am very critical of my own performances. I am always looking for ways to improve my material. Even if it's something as simple as a cosmetic change on a prop or a look or gesture.
As I have mentioned in the past, the secret to being a better performer is to give a damn. If you care you'll work on something until you are content with it. An act or performance can never be done. There is always something to improve.
The question is how do you find those improvements? Simple. Go out and effin' perform!! The more you sail the boat, the more leaks you will find. The more arrows you fire the better your aim will be. The more cats you shave the umm... furrier your.. uh.. pants will get.... (They can't all be gold).
My point is every performance is a learning experience IF YOU LET IT. Some people just perform, collect their check, and go home. Every time you perform something is different. Something is better or worse. Something can be fixed. You have to pay attention to it tho' You must be like skynet and become self-aware! Don't be too lazy either. Be proactive! (I don't mean the acne medication either) If you can't get to it right away, make a note of it. Every cell phone has a way to make notes. Take advantage of that!
The more you perform, the more chances you have to fix things. The more you fix, the better your act will get. The better your act is the happier you (and everyone who watches you) will be. So the next time you see me perform just know that afterward backstage I will be taking stock of everything that just occurred...
and possibly crying.
Monday, May 06, 2013
More and more I have been seeing magicians disgruntled at misleading trailers or effects making claims that, like a hooker with beer flavored nipples, might be too good to be true.
Some have taken a pro-active approach to call some companies and performers on their BS while others merely sit on forums and complain. A recent post about ANOTHER post elsewhere suggested magicians are cheap bastards (and they are) and if they figure out an effect from the trailer they won't buy it because the EFFECT is the important factor not the handling. Due to that fact trick trailers are having to be "faked" in spots to prevent said cheap-assedness from occurring.
My personal belief is that if your effect isn't good enough to hold up on camera without some tweaking then maybe you need to work on it some more or not put it out at all. Anyone who has been reading this journal the last ten years (Holy crap it's almost been ten years hasn't it?) knows that I will call attention to fake demos. I haven't had to do it as much because others have taken up the task as well and tend to get to it before I do which is great!
However, the fact it still happens just goes to say a lot about our profession. The biggest problem of course is magicians suffer from one inherent flaw... we're still only human. We like to get away with things when we think we can and when we're caught we don't apologize for inconveniencing anyone... it's because we are sorry for getting caught.
Mind you some people straight up refuse to admit to shinanigans when busted but ultimately the reputation damage has been done.
Magicians People will bitch about anything given half the chance, but when you know that you can limit that percentage by just doing a little thinking....
and that might be where the fault lies.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
I was just watching an old episode of Deep Space 9 (don't judge me) and as usual TV has to go and poke fun at magic with lines like this: "Ah, he sounds like the right type. Painfully shy, introverted, a slight lack of confidence, just the kind of person who might want to dazzle the world with his magical abilities"
I'm not going to argue with it but do you see what we're up against... and this was the 90's! It still goes on. We are seen as jokes, hence box office flops like Burt Wonderstone. I doubt our profession will ever return to what it was at it's height (before TV radio and electricity) but there has to be something we can do so shows like Arrested Development stop poking fun at us as a whole...
Regardless of how painfully funny it is.