Wednesday, August 22, 2018

This post will not cut away...

Magic on TV/internet/etc has evolved a lot since... well since screens became a thing. Georges Méliès started with trick photography in films like "A Trip to the Moon".

 Over time we went from that to live performing with magicians like Mark Wilson. As time went on, magic being performed like it was onstage was the norm (nielsen). Doug Henning, David Copperfield, Harry Blackstone Jr, Paul Daniels and so on. In the mid 90s Gary Ouellet dominated the TV scene with shows like World's Greatest Magic and Champions of Magic. Eventually David Blaine and the street era would crash the party and companies like Elluionist and Theory 11 would glorify it to no end.

Now we are in the time of internet magic. TV specials have been replaced with netflix specials. Spectators are now voyeurs with shows like Carbonaro Effect (and pretty much any other show). Have you ever heard the phrase "it all comes back around"? well we started with tricky editing and we have come back full circle to it... or have we?

There was a time when every magic show was prefaced and even INSISTED there were no camera tricks. Many of those shows were live which would have prevented that from happening anyway. When taped recordings started to be a thing, it was stressed EVEN further. Eventually that warning tag fell away when it started to become a lie for certain performers (you know who you are).

Having said all of that, let me ask you a question. Where do we draw the line on what is a "camera trick"? It used to mean altering the footage somehow or using technology to "enhance" something. In a lot of modern magic shows the magical effect is made in the edit. They change the order of things and get "pickup shots" to enhance the magic. There has been editing and camera cuts to make the magic appear better in past shows for sure, however it was liberally sprinkled around. Like a spice girl.

There are now magic shows where every trick, every shot, every other minute has been altered in some form or fashion through quick cuts and time remapping. You could pretty much hire an actor with NO magical skill and the outcome would be about the same. (I'm not saying they should. If any TV execs are reading this forget you read that last line)

So where do we take a stand as a magical community? Well, we don't. We never have and likely never will. There will just be a group of us standing in a corner muttering to ourselves. If any of you younger magicians are reading this, try to be better. Don't let the asshattery of the current social media magicians affect you or your ethics or devotion to magic as an art form. You can... and SHOULD be better.

And now a word from your sponsor...

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Deep like a hole in the ground...

I was having a conversation with a younger magician today about helping him flesh out some of his routines. At one point he said this - "I just want to be great" to which I replied:

"You gotta be bad first, then move to ok, slowly get to good and let others decide you're great."

I was pretty proud of that so now you get to see it too.