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Serious question to ponder as we wrap up the week.

Does a random prospective audience member reading about what’s going on locally this weekend care if you say your illusions are totally original? This came up while reading this article about Mike Voltagio’s show this weekend in Canton, Ohio.

“All of my illusions are designed by me, then custom built,” he said. “You won’t see my illusions anywhere else in the world. I’ve taken classic tricks and put really new spins on them to the point where they’re actually fooling other magicians. I like to push everything to the extreme.”

Mike’s show is most likely awesome and he will no doubt kill it in front of a packed house.

My question: would a random audience member know an original, custom-built illusion if it bit them in the face? Would they care? What would be the method on random audience face biting?

In all seriousness though, it “all of my illusions are custom built” something that only magicians, or MOSTLY magicians appreciate?

  • http://twitter.com/itsjoshnorris Josh Norris

    I think terms like Original, New, and Innovative are universal.  People want to see something that is cutting edge.  So in marketing, I’d say its useful.  Once they get to the show, however, all bets are off. 

  • Josh

    If it were part of the marketing hype, I would care. I want to see something no one has seen before. If I were sitting in an audience looking at a trick, the only non-original trick that I would recognize is the quarter behind  the ear thing.

    So, are you safe to market this whether or not it’s actual fact? I would love to read it and could not corroborate it. But falsely marketing your tricks like this could just be inviting other magicians to call “bunk!”

  • Dereckc1

    To me it’s more about the magician than the originality of the trick. It’s always great to see that a person has put so much time into their craft, but if a magician can perform an older trick marvelously then it doesn’t matter to me. Rabbit out of a hat anyone?

  • http://twitter.com/cowgirlcurtis Ryan Carmichael

    I totally care. There’s only so many times you can see tricks before they get unimpressive.

  • Anonymous

    As someone who has never performed magic but occasionally watches it on youtube, on first viewing the originality of the trick would not bother me. I would expect, at any given show, to see at least one or two tricks that are “classics” that we’ve all seen before. For example, the three cup routine or anything involving shoving some object through your hand is liable to show up anywhere.

    However if a magician is using a trick created by a known “author” in the last fifty or so years, I feel he or she should at least credit its origins. Even if he or she changes it up a bit, I’d like to hear, “This next trick is something I developed as a spin on a trick first done by ______.”
    Like I said, failing such a citation, during the show I’d just be sitting there having a great time, but if I got home afterward and started trying to share my wonderful experience with others, only to find that the discussion is about a trick stolen from another active or recently active magician, rest assured that I would never go see a show by the magician I had just seen again. The experience would be cheapened.
    Unless the trick is proper common knowledge, I’d like a citation.

    Now if I go home to discuss my experience to find that this dude is only doing his or her own tricks, and several of the tricks I just saw had never been seen before, then it would equally change the value of the act in my eyes. The act would take on a whole new level of awesomeness, and even being somebody who never goes to see magic shows, I’d likely be inclined to see this magician again whenever he or shee next returns to my city.

  • http://about.me/lnz LeonimuZ

    Only smart audiences would care whether is original or not.

    Some tourist that goes to see an Illusionist in lets say Las Vegas, won’t care at all. They just want to be entertained and surpriced and have a good time.   

  • http://twitter.com/jj702561 jason jones

    as a random audience member, I don’t care as long as the entertainment seems organic. I don’t like it when I notice things are 100% scripted. I understand and expect things to be similar from act to act in anything. It’s like human statues at tourist locations, the act is the same but each performer puts a different twist on things. that’s probably a poor example.

  • http://d8uv.org/about/id/ d8uv

    As an audience member… originality is a multiplier. If you do “Sam the Bellhop” without changing anything, the exact same story, the exact same tricks, then all I’m going to think is that you’re a shitty version of Bill Malone. Zero times anything is zero. However, if you make a derivative trick, I may recognize that your trick is inspired by another trick I’ve seen before… but I don’t know what exactly you’re going to do, because you’ve put your spin on it. And if it’s wholly original, then that’s gravy on top of it.

    Magic seems to be an artform of the tension between the expected, and the shown. If I know exactly what to expect, then I won’t be surprised, and the show won’t be as good. As long as you keep me off-balance, and I’m entertained by your mere presence anyway… then I’m gonna be a fan.

  • Sevitude

    Dont really care for originality. Give me a well performed sawing the woman in half with a hot assistant under the blade and Im entertianed every time.

  • Diamondcutmagic

    It’s ok if you use classic material. It’s a classic for a reason. As long as you aren’t copying a performance, or using an effect you do not have the rights to, you are fine. That said, the vanishing bandana is used by everyone in the SAME WAY. Look how Brian Brushwood takes the same comedy premise, but makes into something that fits him!

    T.A. Waters said it best, “In the vast magic and mentalism literature, there is no reason for two performers to do the EXACT same trick in the EXACT same way.”

  • Mike Faur

    To even make that kind of a statement is to imply you want magicians in the audience to see if you can “pull one over on them.”  I think it will also make audiences wonder what in the world you mean by that.  It might draw an avid fan of other illusionists, but then you are challenging them to compare you to others they have seen and enjoyed and might even like better than you.  They could be disappointed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/smappdooda Bizzaro Galore

    Some people have seen a lot of magic in the world. Cruise ships especially. They are a tough crowd.  Not everyone has seen everything for sure but there is nothing wrong with wanting to achieve personal gratification and create your own props.

    As my friend says, “Sometimes you don’t have to be the best they have seen, just the first”. Doing original material means no one will ever see the same trick done by someone else and therefore you get to remain unique in their mind.

  • Alex Linian

    I think an audience can definitely appreciate original work. But FIRST it has to actually be good.

  • Roccomagicman

    well epic things and people come from canton ohio! marilyn manson is one of them lol!

  • Banester

    I don’t think people really care.  It is a vast market and ever changing, you have young people who have never seen some of the big illusions performed live or even the sleight of hand tricks.  You might not impress the guy/gal who has seen Copperfield or Angel 20 times, but your average person only see’s a magic show once in a great while.