Damn Good Advice

Way back in October my buddy Mickey O’Connor recommended the book Damn Good Advice. I ordered it on Amazon and read it on the a flight recently.

damn good advice (for people with talent) by george lois

This book is written by a graphic designer and the advice is really tailored to that industry, however a lot applies to being a performer. This book is an easy read and is broken down into 120 suggestions.

One of the take aways for me is to be willing to walk away from things that aren’t a good fit. For example, I don’t perform in costume for events. It’s not a hard rule and if it’s something simple like it’s a “red” themed event and I have something that fits no problem. However if it’s something like a superhero event and they want me to wear a cape, it’s a hard no…unless they’re will to pay a crap ton of money for me to wear it. My character doesn’t work in most costumes and I know that. By performing in a costume I’m doing a disservice to the client and myself. It’s a no win.

When someone brings in headline entertainment for their event, and asks them to change how they do things, it will effect the quality of the product. Sure you can practice and rehearse with the changes, but there’s no guarantee it will make the product as good as what is before the changes. Also it add a lot more time to practice and rehears, which adds cost and 99% of the time the buyer doesn’t want to pay more for a lesser product.

When you’re starting out as a performer it’s important to say YES to everything to gain experience. However as you become more experienced it’s OK to say NO.


UnPlanned Rising Card Routine

A long time ago I had an idea for a rising card routine.  Most of the rising card routines that I have seen have either a singular rise, which is the whole routine, or it’s multiple rises. The thing I have against multiple rises is that it’s essentially the same trick over and over, you just may add conditions each time to make it more impossible.  I understand it gives it a sense of build, but why wouldn’t you just do it the “hardest” way the first time if you could, the previous ones were wasting the audience’s time? 

In the idea for my rising card routine, three cards are selected and the deck is put in a glass.  An interesting point is that the cards never leave the glass after they are put in.  This is one of the interesting parts of this trick, the hands off nature of the trick.  I do touch the cards, but only the top card to show it’s not a selected card.  So the deck is in the glass, and first two cards appear one at a time to the front of the pack. Then for the finale the final card rises up from the middle of the pack.

It’s a good one, two, three set of reveals.  It’s also done with me solo onstage, so no one physically has to come up on stage and it ends with a nice applause pose.

There are some challenges with the original routine.  The placements of the gimmick in the deck and best way to hide the lock that I built into my rising card gimmick are some of the more major challenges. I took my props for this routine to the green room of the fair I’m working at and was showing it to Mickey O’Connor and Bri Crabtree for their thoughts.  While messing around with a different idea, I came up with a way to use a someone from the audience as a way to “lock” the rising card in the down position.  It was a real “break through” for the routine…also it marked a complete change of the routine.  It’s now a two card revelation with someone onstage, and that person does the magic.  It is a better routine after the changes, and this is a great example of how bouncing around ideas with other people can make a huge difference!


Fresno Magic Club

I still believe in magic clubs and that they are a great way to learn magic and build community. Last night I brought some of the performers (Bri Crabtree, Dennis Forel and Mickey O’Conner) from the fair to the Fresno Magic Club.

Dennis Forel did some amazing stunts with a balloons, which is always my favorite!

fresno magic club

And Micky O’Conner did a great bit with a jumbo coin

frenso magic club

And we saw some great magic from the club members as well

frenso magic club

I highly recommend looking up magic clubs when you travel! It’s also always nice to see what tricks and styles are popular in different areas.