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  1. #1
    Joe Hadsall's Avatar :: Content developer
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    Debate: Are we ready to forgive "America's Got Talent?"

    We posted this question in a rather long-winded form on the blog. Readers will leave quick hit comments there and on our social sites. But I'm really curious about what you think. I want to know your opinion on a couple of things:
    • Did "America's Got Talent" do enough to erase its reputation as being harsh on magicians?
    • Is it worth the trouble and the unfair competition to succeed on that show?

    Check the blog for the back story and video evidence.
    “What’s the point of that, I wonder? I mean, I get how they did it. I just ain’t seeing the why.”
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  2. #2
    Steerpike's Avatar :: Moderator
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    I don't watch TV contests, much less a knock-off of American Idol.

    The way I see it, magicians are still going to be fighting an uphill battle on these things because the voting audience still mostly thinks of Gob from Arrested Development when they hear about magicians.
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  3. #3
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    Shows like that will always be hard on magicians, and try to catch us out. it is the same on britain's got talent too. I dont think its a good idea to perform magic on a show like that, because they will always have very high expectations. beacuse is it a tallent show, and they are expecting something amazing from everyone. but like performing on the street, people dont expect it. and are even more amazed when we pull off the most outstanding tricks.

    and such a big audience like that, its very hard to controll your audiance, and they are more trying to catch you out, rather than having fun. Like there are a lot of people on the shows that do some really bad acts no matter what it is. and the fact of someone being bad, is funny to the audiance on thease shows. and when a magician comes on, they really want us to fail to. So no i dont think the typ of shows are good for magicians.

    But magic at a magic show, people are wanting us to do good, thay are open to having a good time, and getting their minds blown... :)
    Last edited by Viper12; 09-20-2010 at 12:12 PM.

  4. #4
    Ty Lee's Avatar :: Elite
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    personally.....

    I think AGT is a good idea, fundamentally, but I really don't think it allows magic the respect it deserves. Because it's such a secretive art, I wonder if the judges and audience will ever appreciate the work that goes into even the smallest performance. Grand Illusion is what they crave, if that, but what about something amazing and in your face? I doubt you'll ever see it there. And shows devoted to magic, except for a chosen few, get hmmmed and haaawed or just ignored, for the most part, unless it's Halloween or something. So forgive them? Maybe their ignorance, but never the ho hum consideration that I got as an impression. They had some good things to say, but I wonder how sincere it was in the few times I actually saw the show. I'm not a big fan of that type of thing, but when I heard magicians practically abounded, ha ha, I had to catch some of it.
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  5. #5
    SoulGrind's Avatar Elite Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ty Lee View Post
    I think AGT is a good idea, fundamentally, but I really don't think it allows magic the respect it deserves. Because it's such a secretive art, I wonder if the judges and audience will ever appreciate the work that goes into even the smallest performance. Grand Illusion is what they crave, if that, but what about something amazing and in your face? I doubt you'll ever see it there. And shows devoted to magic, except for a chosen few, get hmmmed and haaawed or just ignored, for the most part, unless it's Halloween or something. So forgive them? Maybe their ignorance, but never the ho hum consideration that I got as an impression. They had some good things to say, but I wonder how sincere it was in the few times I actually saw the show. I'm not a big fan of that type of thing, but when I heard magicians practically abounded, ha ha, I had to catch some of it.
    Ty - I was thinking along these very same lines. I was thinking that the overall premise of such a show is a great idea. But in the minds of many people, the performing art we know and love as "magic" is merely seen as a string of puzzles to solve by the general populous. We do something beyond the ordinary and beyond reason, therefore it must be a trick; a puzzle and ergo, it is a source of frustration and must be solved.

    The second problem with many non-magicians is they see magic as "kid's stuff" and they don't take it seriously.

    Most people do not realize what goes into magic to make it truly amazing. Most people are too concerned about "knowing how something is done" vs enjoying it for what it was meant to be.

    When I read books on magic theory that talk about all the psychological aspects and "themes" of magic, sometimes, even based on my own experiences, I have to wonder - are these "traits" only relevant to magicians? Does the spectator really care about our psychological subtleties and themes? Do they even suspect such things exist? Or is it just a matter of "it's done with smoke and mirrors" thereby loosing any of the artist impressionism that should be inherent and respected within the whole of magic?

    I have been "dreaming" up ideas for a new show on my behalf - moving beyond plain magic and into the realm of theater. At present, I do not have the means to do so, but I am wondering is a stage play, surrounded by magic would provide a solution to the problem. Instead of "some guy doing card tricks" it becomes a play with acting and a story to tell and the tricks are there for "special effect" and emphasis and punctuation.

    Of course, something of this nature could never work on AGT because for one, it would take longer than 3 mins and furthermore, while acting is a talent, we don't see many "skits" on AGT - it's wham, bam, thank you man, hit and run performances.

    Does AGT need to respect magic as a viable art form? I believe if should. But I think the judges, and in the end, the audiences need to be better educated on magic as a whole.

    I think it was two seasons ago when The Hoff and a magician were arguing over the "plot" while they were waiting for the results to come in. The magician point blank fired off that the judges didn't understand magic and at that moment in time, after seeing the act - I agreed!
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  6. #6
    Goudinov's Avatar :: Moderator
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    A lot of this has to do with the magicians themselves. We are the ones providing the entertainment and it is our responsibility to tailor that entertainment in a way that will be appreciated by the audience. If you know that the audience isn't educated on what makes magic "good," then you have to present your magic knowing that.

    Magicians need to step out of the clichés of magic and start providing real pieces of entertainment. It doesn't matter how well you dress up and choreograph a woman in a box: it's still a woman in a box and there's no real dramatic or theatrical reason to put a woman in a box... it's not something that people can identify with.

    Remember, WE are solely responsible for how we are perceived. You can't change what a person is going to think about a particular thing, the goal is to provide the very particular thing that's going to get the response you want. If people don't understand magicians, then it's the magicians' fault.

    Dan Sperry did an excellent job, and I fully agreed with Howie Mandel's assessment of his arm cutting illusion. Dan's first performance was VERY charismatic and engaging; it was all about HIM, and that's something that he can sell.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulGrind View Post
    When I read books on magic theory that talk about all the psychological aspects and "themes" of magic, sometimes, even based on my own experiences, I have to wonder - are these "traits" only relevant to magicians? Does the spectator really care about our psychological subtleties and themes? Do they even suspect such things exist? Or is it just a matter of "it's done with smoke and mirrors" thereby loosing any of the artist impressionism that should be inherent and respected within the whole of magic?
    I think that it's only when your audience members don't realise that you've been using a subtlety or convincer on them, that they've then done their job well. Consider the many convincers for the Marlo Tilt: they're all there to take away from the fact that what you're not doing what you appear to be doing. So in a way I'll agree with you - that yes, subtleties (as well as technically perfect moves such as passes, DLs, false shuffles etc.) are only appreciated by other magicians - but in another I have to disagree completely. Without those subtleties the trick would seem that much more lacking even to a layperson.

    Does AGT need to respect magic as a viable art form? I believe if should. But I think the judges, and in the end, the audiences need to be better educated on magic as a whole.

    I think it was two seasons ago when The Hoff and a magician were arguing over the "plot" while they were waiting for the results to come in. The magician point blank fired off that the judges didn't understand magic and at that moment in time, after seeing the act - I agreed!
    AGT isn't fair to magicians. For that matter, no talent show not exclusively catered for magicians, judged by other magicians, would ever be fair, because the lay audience doesn't know or care about technical skill (which to us is the ultimate measure of a magician's worth, because we've become unable to remove our prior knowledge of sleights from our minds and are only entertained by something technically challenging). A DL change is many times just as impressive as an Erdnase, Shapeshifter or Palm. On the other hand, magic designed to impress other magicians is very different from "commercial" magic. It's what the Wizard Product Review team calls "competition magic", the kind you bust out after dinner when you get into your smoking jacket and pipe.

    End of the day, I think there's no real way to "judge" a magician except by how much lay audiences appreciate them. In that case, then AGT is perhaps still an excellent benchmark for such purposes.

  8. #8
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    I'm gonna make this short. In my opinion it seems like the judges are comparing all the new magicians to David Copperfield, and if they arent as good or better... well, then they simply arent good enough. To make it fair they should start comparing singers to Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Mozart and Justin Bieber.

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