No matter how we find magic or magic finds us we all learn how to perform magic from similar sources:
⦁ Magic stores
⦁ Magic Marketing websites
There are many differences between all of these methods and there have been a lot of debate as which methods are best, there is one thing that they all have in common.
They all rely on the willingness of other magicians to share their information…SECRET information!
Many photographers just buy a camera and start shooting photos until they take good photos. Some musicians just buy a guitar and play with it until they know some interesting chords and strumming patterns but have you ever heard of someone sitting with a deck of cards until they know how to do the pass? I certainly haven’t. Sure people come up with new methods and moves all of the time but all of these ideas build off of old ones. Without the original pass being explained we wouldn’t have the 900,000,000 variations of it.
So for a group of secret keepers it sure sounds like we share a lot of secrets, but the problem is we only seem to share our magical secrets to those who we feel deserve to know or those who are willing to pay for it.
Why is that?
Why are our secrets so special to us?
I understand why we want to keep our secret methods from layman but why each other?
Maybe it’s because we want the ability to monetize them, maybe we are worried about “lesser” magicians messing the effect up live or maybe we just enjoy keeping secrets. I personally believe many of us just enjoy keep secrets because not all but a lot of magicians have a serious problem with their ego. And It’s not exactly our fault. Many of us learn magic at an early age and are told from the start “I’ll tell you how it’s done but you can’t tell anyone”. Then when you go and show your friends your new trick and they are so blown away that they’re begging you for the solution, you start feel pretty damn smart and pretty damn important.
This feeling of self importance has seemed to manifest itself into a lot of people in our community. Magicians are continually one upping each other to prove that they have the best method for an effect and demanding they receive credit for it. Not only do we want to be “smarter” than our audiences but we want to be smarter than each other. Now there is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, but what i’m talking about here isn’t exactly friendly…. it’s childish and it needs to change.
Why? There are a lot of reasons. In fact too many to cover so i’ll just name a few. Let’s start with how we’re affecting the community. First off, treating people this way doesn’t make the magic community a very inviting places for newcomers. You don’t want to know nothing in a community of know-it-alls. Second if we keep all these secrets we start to value each other based on the information we hold and the personalities we carry, which makes for some pretty shallow relationships. I don’t know about you but I want friends who respect me and not the secrets I keep from them. Third – and this is the biggest one for me – keeping secrets like that is slowing down our progress. Everyone wants to have the newest and best method for an effect and they want to hold on to that position for as long as possible but that is one of the most egotistical and selfish things you could do. If you think that have the best method for ANY effect…. you don’t. Even you are the only one who can do it, some day someone will do it better so why slow that down? It’s like open source technology, maybe instead of being afraid of your idea being bested, you can be excited to a stepping stone on the path to better magic. even if every LAYMAN suddenly knew every method to every effect magic wouldn’t be over. It would simply push us to come up with new effects and methods instead of performing that same material that was performed 100 years ago.
Maybe you don’t care about the community. Fine. I mean we raised you into a magician but if you don’t care about the art and you only care about yourself there is still a reason to change.
If I have to attack your ego to make you less egotistical I will. NOBODY LIKES A COCKY, SELFISH EGOMANIAC. Remember the story I told early about the young magician feeling important because he “outsmarted his friend”… if that’s still how you feel when you perform you’re doing it wrong. No audience member agrees to watch magic because they want to be belittled. They agree to watch magic because they want to feel wonder and amazement. It’s easy to find success if your goal is to fool your audience because let’s be honest a lot of what we do isn’t very hard. Outsmarting a layman isn’t something to be proud of. You should truly feel pride if without giving away the method you manage to bring someone into the world of magic without making feel small or stupid, rather making them feel big, feel as if they have learned and feel like the world is a magical place. If you are a snob to the magic community, odds are you are a snob during performances, because your personality really does shine through when you are in the limelight.
So if you don’t care about the art at all and you care about your own magic that’s fine. Just know that there’s more to performance than methods and you can learn more more methods without getting any better. If you aren’t constantly working towards being a better person then you are not working towards being a better magician.