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With the advent of YouTube, you would think that magic creators would use the technology to sell their wares.
Think again. Many don’t. And they use all sorts of excuses not to show videos of their products, ranging from viewers will reverse engineer their tricks to “buyers will merely copy our routines.”
Well, I have several issues against magic on YouTube, but unmasking the dreamers is not one of them.
Yes, there are dreaming creators selling dreams to unsuspecting buyers. They create effects and sell them online in a hurry. To prevent prospective buyers from discovering they are selling trash, they package their creations in an ebook. Since they don’t give interested buyers a peek of its performance before a live audience, the buyers lack crucial information to tell whether the effect they are buying is as commercial, amazing and entertaining as the copy of its ad claims.
This modus operandi has been going on for years, until people wised up and called the creators’ attention to it. Are you professional performers? How long have you been doing the trick you are selling? Have you tested your effects before live audiences? If yes, how long? How often?
In short, how do I know you are not selling pipe dreams?
These are valid questions. Yet if you ask it on online forum, it will be smothered by ad hominems and vitriolic remarks like, “If you don’t like the product, then don’t buy it!”, all courtesy of the creator’s online claque.
I would like to claim that I have noticed this trend of selling pipe dreams long before the age of YouTube (that means before the middle of this decade). Perhaps even before anybody had discovered, or cared to admit, the impracticality of the pipe dreams they have bought. There are many in their drawers, amongst the junks they have bought. Pray tell me it’s not true.
However, I’m too modest to claim anything. I don’t want to flatter myself with the notion of being ahead of my time. But here’s what I wrote many years ago about a pipe dream as regards the No-Switch Needle Swallowing trick found in the The Charlatan’s Handbook by Sid Fleischer.
I consider myself an advanced thread worker, but trying to learn Sid Fleischman’s “No Switch Needle Swallowing Trick” (The Charlatan’s Handbook, page 225) promptly turned me into the clumsiest IT magician in town. I attempted learning the trick at least three times over the last four or five years. Each time I gave up in disgust, not for lack of motivation but because of my frustration over the trick’s impractical method. I’m very near the point when I’m ready to brand this trick as a pipedream.
Described by David Avadon in the book’s foreword as “the slyest version of the needle trick ever,” the “No-Switch Needle Swallowing Trick” is impossible to do—unless, of course, one is a real magician.
The trick requires the needles to be strung on IT. Brilliant concept, but can it be done? I tried threading needles on IT, using sewing gadgets and employing techniques I learned from preparing loops. It took me the whole afternoon to thread two needles (the trick requires at least seven needles to be threaded). I can’t get past two threaded needles, because the IT promptly got tangled.
Now, threading the needles is not the only hurdle in this trick. Supposing the needles are already all strung up on the IT, the trick requires that the needles, along with the IT, be placed in the mouth. I can’t imagine how this can be done successfully without the IT getting a major tangle inside the mouth that will prevent the performer to finish the performance.
If anybody can really make this trick work please give me suggestions on the following—1) how to thread needles on IT; 2) how to prevent tangles; 3) and what type of IT is best suited for this trick.
Thanks for your help. I’m ready to give this trick another shot if I receive new information on how to do it properly.
Yes, with the advent of ebook technology, it is easy to put together several untested tricks and sell them online. Just make sure your copy writing is persuasive and you have a horde of online apologists. These ingredients, working together, will ensure you get healthy sales results.