Last night I stumbled upon someone on Facebook writing about the episode of Masters of Illusion that I was recently. Basically the guy crapped on everyone that was on that episode. I was going to reply, but that really doesn’t do anything positive. Not that this post is going to be super positive.
Something I started doing a few years ago when someone craps on someone online is to research them. Not anything crazy, just check out their website and maybe watch their promo video. That tells you a lot about the person, and what filter they see the world in.
In this particular case, the person who wrote the post about the show isn’t my demographic based on their promo video. They were doing 1970’s style magic in an 1970’s way. There’s nothing wrong with that, however it’s not what I prefer to watch. He’s stuck in an older style of magic, and I think anything new or edgy probably isn’t his flavor. I can see that he’s stuck performing in a style of the magic he probably saw in his 20’s and never decided to grow. He does a Jimmy Hoffa joke in his promo video, Hoffa disappeared in 45 years ago, I had to google that…that’s how fresh the joke is!
If that’s his “art” cool. It’s not my “art”.
If you ever put anything out there into the world and someone doesn’t like it, before you get upset, look at the lens that they are looking at you through. It gives you a lot of perspective.
Nick knows every beat of that trick. starts out with energy, establishes his character and the magic is strong.
Pay attention to how each joke moves the act forward. There are no jokes shoehorned in there. It all relates directly to him or the trick.
The appearance was just under 2 minutes, and I counted 9 laughs in those two minutes. That gives him 4.5 laughs per minute. That’s pretty solid, my goal is 4 LPM’s. You’ll notice he front loads the routine with jokes and then the final 25% is magic, and he doesn’t really mix the two.
I think everyone who wants to be a comedy magician can learn a lot by watching Nick’s appearance.
Last night I performed again appeared on The CW’s Masters of Illusion TV show. I was the opening act, which really surprised me as I’m not really a “flash act”, however the way they edited my act, I think it worked in that spot.
If you didn’t catch the performance, check it out here:
After watching the clip, the first thing I noticed is how much I give the stage to the guy on stage. He’s working it solo for a big chunk of the act. This is very high risk, high reward scenario for me. If the person the audience does something, like in this case where he had some sweet dance moves, it creates a sense of the audience watching a unique show that will never happen again. I really like this.
Here’s another example of taking a risk, where the kid delivered:
If the person does nothing, I have a plan for that. Honestly, the majority of the time they do something. Also in my show I don’t do these bits early in the show, I do them later when I can watch the audience, so I have a feel for who is more outgoing.
The trick is just an OK magic trick from a magical viewpoint. What the trick does have is spectacle and a huge sense of fun. I don’t think there’s really a way the magic trick can be better than me dancing with the guy in the dinosaur costume. It’s a trick that’s 99% energy. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but if you do something like this, you need to recognize it for what it is.
There are many points in my career where I look back and am amazed at where dopey ideas I’ve had for my show have taken me. That’s one of the secrets to my career, not being afraid to try things.
What’s your crazy idea?
What’s the next step to making it a reality?
One of the things I’ve learned is developing ideas is a series of peaks and valleys. Once you solve one problem, you are frequently then greeting with another problem. whoever can power through all all of the challenges wins.
I remember chatting with Brian from Creative Magic about the Change Cap that he put out. The Change Cap was a change bag built into a baseball cap. Brian told me that tons of magicians told him the idea of a change bag built into a hat was their idea. He would then ask if they ever made one, and no one had every successfully made one.
Having and idea and actually making the idea happen are frequently two very different things! Usually the idea is the easy part, making it a reality is the real work!
It’s kinda nice that my material was spread out during the season, I was on episode #2 and now episode #18. That’s about four months apart, which is better than two back to back episodes, then nothing for the the rest of the season.
I’ll post more about this appearance this when I have more info.
Years ago when I was a teenager, I attended the Desert Magic Seminar in Las Vegas. One of the lecturers was Gary Oulette and he was talking about magic for TV and how they did The World’s Greatest Magic series. A few things about that lecture have stuck with me, the main one being why to use shiny mylar strips as a backdrop!
He talked about using stingers and adding little twinkles when the magic effect happens. I’ve also noticed that on Master’s of Illusion they do that as well. I think it really does add to the experience.
I’ve been messing with adding little twinkles to my videos when the magic happens. I’ve found a few that I’m using, but I think I need to keep searching as I’m not 100% happy with them. I do feel that they add to the video and are worth the time to search them out and add them in.
Looks like I’m back on another encore edition of The CW’s Masters of Illusion tomorrow (9/11/20) night!
The trick that I do in this episode was my opener for corporate and theater shows for a long time. The trick does a good job of setting the audience up for what they are going to see for the next 45 – 60 minutes. It tells them that what they are about to see isn’t a traditional magic show. It also established me as a “talker” and that the show is going to be joke based, but not your typical magician-y jokes.
This trick has gotten me a ton of work whenever I use it at showcases, it quickly becomes the talk of the event!
Tonight there’s an encore presentation of an episode of Masters of Illusion on that I appeared on. It was a lot of fun and I recorded a few routines for them, we’ll see if any others make it on this season.
I’ve worked in TV before, and this particular show was a ton of fun! The hang out that goes on at the hotel before and after your taping day was a blast.
The last week I’ve been working on a trick where four Polaroid pictures disappear and reappear under an envelope. Something the trick will need is a name. Giving magic tricks a name is something that I really hate doing. If I just write “Polaroid” on a set list I know what trick that is.
Where the name becomes relevant is if I decide to release the trick or to publish it. When I publish a trick in my monthly column in Vanish Magazine I don’t put a lot of thought into the name. I pretty much just put something at the top of the page. For product I put a bit more thought, but still no where near as much thought as I probably should put into it.
This week I realized another reason to name a trick. I’m on an episode of Masters of Illusion and in the show description of the trick I’m doing it says what I emailed to the producer. The title I gave them was a pretty horrible title. I’ve learned my lesson and in the future I’ll put a bit more thought into the name of the trick!