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I don't actually have the article in front of me at this moment but I was reading just a few days back that Derek Lever's magic magazine is sponsoring an 'Inventor of the Year ' competition. May I say congratulations Derek and the best of luck.This is something which is now long long overdue, some kind of impetus to force magicians into being original. It's practically an impossibility for anyone to be one hundred percent original but anything that pushes them in the direction of thinking for themselves can't do anything but good.
The only tiny fly in the ointment is that I gather the competition is restricted to subscribers of Derek's magazine. Well, if the magazine is sponsoring the competition this is only fair, but I do think the idea is worthy of wider notice. In the past 'Abracadabra' magazine did the odd competition for originality and every year the I.B.M. gives an award. Unfortunately the I.B.M. award is lumped in with all the other awards in one competition. In other words a whole bunch of performers all get up on stage to perform their acts and afterwards a panel of judges decides who had the funniest act, who had the most original idea
I think Derek's idea is much better where the competition is strictly for originality. Now, the title of Derek's competition (if I remember rightly) is 'Inventor of the Year'. One of the problems with this idea is who is going to decide. Quite often a panel of judges will be appointed and some of those judges are not too well up in their subject. I remember on one occasion in another country when Jay Marshall and I were coopted onto a panel of judges for some competition or other and I had to point out to the rest of the judges that one performer whom they had completely overlooked had had one of the most original ideas I had ever seen in my life. Now I don't want you to think that I am showing off that I knew something they they didn't but it was a fact. It is quite possible that there were other areas that they knew about that I didn't, but in this instance here was a man who had come up with something completely original and just by a stroke of luck one of the judges (who just happened this time to be me) and a member of the panel hadn't even happened to know that it was a completely original idea and the remainder of the panel hadn't even noticed it.
Now if we can get back to Derek Lever's idea. I hope you have thought about it seriously Derek, I am sure you have and I wish you every success very sincerely but make sure ahead of time you have all the angles covered. I say this because there is usually someone afterwards who starts screaming that that was published in Hoffman.
Your title 'The Inventor of the Year' can cover a multitude of sins. Make sure your rules are simple and clear. In an originality contest the word itself can cover either an effect, a presentation, a combination of effects, and probably several other areas. I am not quite sure what the word 'inventor' covers. To me it seems that the man has to think of something completely new and that is going to be very difficult. At least it's going to be very difficult indeed to find perhaps six or eight or perhaps a dozen guys to come up with bran new inventions enough to make a series of articles in a magazine. If you had used the word'originality' it could have covered all those other things I have mentioned and perhaps created a little more impetus and forced one or two guys to putting their pet effects ideas or routines into your competition. Anyway, whatever happens, good luck and try if possible to keep it going as annual event or every other year.
If we may stay on the subject of originality how about The Magic Circle? Every year they have various events , and one that comes to mind is their Close - up competition which is always well attended, and usually has more than enough entrants. I can think of one occasion only when the number fell below half a dozen or so , they usually have that or more. Perhaps they could sponsor something of an originality competition. I don't mean in their magazine. I mean perhaps an annual event when one Monday night in the year everyone who has something original to offer can turn up and compete with all the others at whatever their own particular brand of magic is and have a crack at this originality idea.
Goodbye, Patrick Page
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