I hate the way that magicians the world over seem to care more about secrets than magic. David Devant published a book that told the world at large how he accomplished loads and loads of his famous effects, and yet remained a renowned magician of great respect. The trouble is that everything about magic is geared toward the secret. Magic DVDs are effect followed by method, as if you can't know how it's done just yet, it's a secret. Magic books and DVDs are expensive, and available from specialists only. Magicians bang on about exposure and not telling how things are done all the time, and so often lose sight of the bigger picture.
Magic is about magic, it's about performance not about how you do it. It's the magician not the effect. I think that we really need to stop focusing so much of our energies on hiding the methods of what we do and start focusing on our performance instead. The quickest way to have people forget something is publish it. You get it into the public realm, people read it, people move on.
The code of ethics obviously has its place in magic, for example if you've just finished a performance of your favourite routine and someone says "how did you do that?!" you don't just tell them. But, having said that we shouldn't be quite so quick to crucify those who know what we do. Let's be honest about this for a moment, ask yourself this - who loses if the audience knows how we do that particular trick? My answer is always going to be the audience. It's nothing to do with me if they know how I do what I do, I won't tell them. If they figure it out or learn off their own backs, they lose out on my performance. Obviously if we as magicians lose all of our audience then we lose as well, but the chances of that happening are so slim it's not worth worrying about. Also, it goes without saying that creators lose out when things get exposed as people learn for free rather than paying for the privilege. But on the whole it is always the audience that loses.
I have no idea how people get sealed decks of cards, or baseballs, or nuts and bolts, or any of the many things that end up in impossibottles down the neck of the bottle and make them. I do not wish to know, as the mystery is enchanting. If someone was to tell me I would lose the enjoyment of the impossibottles. It's the same for magic. Now, if someone didn't enjoy magic (like my girlfriend), the mystery isn't enertaining for them, and as such they may like to know how to perform the effects you do. However, most times you'll find that these people don't care for magic either way, whether they know or not. The people that will lose the most are the people who enjoy magic and enjoy not knowing how it's done. So many people these days watch magic and try to work it out, as if it were a puzzle. We as performers strive to stop this through our performance but still it will happen; it is inevitable. But these people don't actually want to know how it's done. They enjoy the trying to work it out and failing.
Now, if a heckler comes along and tells them how you acomplish your magic then they will lose something from the experience. The heckler is the one that has caused the problem, and the reason I feel that they feel the need to tell people is (other than jealousy or other psychological possibilities) that the secret is hard to come by; they feel that they need to let as many people as possible know because these people won't possibly find out off their own backs.
So how do we stop this from happening? Well, one answer would be to tighten the security on the secrets of magic. But I think a better way to do it would be to lessen the secure grip on our methods. Obvioulsy I don't want everyone to know how magic works and become tricksters themselves, far from it, I'd like to see less tricksters and more magicians. But, I agree with Mr Devant in that we should be less protective of our secrets. Magic shouldn't ever be about cloaks and daggers, shadows and hard to find shops. Magic should be about performance, making people emote and entertainment. I honestly think that if we stopped locking away our secrets in the magical fort knox and instead welcome curiosity (to a point of course) we would help ourselves and each other. The people that really want to know would find it, but in finding it so easy to locate probably not feel any urgent need to pass on what they know. The people that ask and ask and ask but secretly don't want to know and the people that just enjoy the show won't find it.
Let's be honest, some of the methods behind our magic are so stupid or ridiculous that most people wouldn't believe that's what we do any way.
Last edited by povallsky on Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.