I didn’t go to “Magic University”. I started my journey in magic many years ago by going in to the Hollywood Toy and Magic shop and buying tricks. Then to the Magic Apple on Ventura Blvd which was closer to my house.
Then online at the various shops. The tricks came with instructions plus the shop keeper would give a quick demonstration and some plug and play patter and…voila! Suddenly I was a magician! (Or so I thought). Over the course of a few years I filled shelves and drawers with tricks. Some I did only once or twice for audience members and others I never did at all. Some tricks I did all the time. The workers. The convincers. The “wow” effects.
Even though some purchases languished on the shelves, all of this was a big part of my education as a magician. After a while I started to recognize some principles
at work that were employed for many tricks. I learned the utility moves to achieve the effects. Over time and in front of many audiences I started to adapt the routines and make them my own. A spontaneous comment here and there in front of audiences that got good laughs and responses became part of the routines. A substitute sleight used here or there because conditions warranted the change continued to improve my presentations…
Then as my passion for the craft grew I bought video courses online by many of the greats. I started reading volumes of instruction. Some made perfect sense, others made my eyes glaze over. Still I persisted.
I then had the audacity to not only adapt routines and patter to make my presentations unique to my act, but to create entirely new routines of my own! This I did with cards and coins and then bits and pieces and props from all the purchased tricks I had lying about. I also developed a magician’s eye and when shopping in dollar stores, and department stores I would find items that could be used for tricks.
It is important to learn and grow and never stop trying to improve our craft. Many GOOD magicians never move beyond performing their store-bought tricks exactly the way the instructions tell them. They know it works and are content with the results. GREAT magicians, however, adapt routines and create brand new routines using the lessons contained in these tricks to make truly unique presentations that really wow audiences and elevate the performer and the craft to a whole new level.
A client recently asked me to make the guest of honor appear at her event in a magical way but the performance locations had unique challenges so I reverse engineered a tremendous stage effect that made the event a smash hit.
When Master Magician, Micah Cover, invited me to perform in the 13th annual Night of the Raven at the world famous Magic Castle, I created an original routine using a well known method BUT I disguised the method in the presentation. I went back and performed again last year in the same program and again adapted a fairly famous routine but married it to the theme of the program and made it new again for that audience.
Micah has asked me back again this year for the 15th annual Night of the Raven at the Magic Castle. His production team asked for a short description of the act for the program…I wrote something very generic as to keep the element of surprise – and also because I had no idea what I was going to do. This did not go over well with the planners who wanted to know what I planned to do. I thought about it and then I saw lying on the shelf a particular prop that I had paid $65 for three years earlier. I used it once and it went over well but not amazing. I thought about it. How could I use this incredible magic prop to tell a story worthy of my magic castle audience. I thought about Edgar Allen Poe – since the Night of the Raven is an homage to his genius. I thought about what a tortured soul he was – I knew this because I have seen my dear friend, Duffy Hudson perform his award winning one man Poe show many many times over the years. I thought about the madness of Poe, the loneliness, the mystery of the character and then…inspiration struck like lightning! I wrote out a script and I shot it over to Micah. He loved it. I then tried it out for several audiences – they flipped their wigs! It was huge. It is now a regular part of my parlor act.
I was driving to a show two nights ago and inspiration came again. I could think of nothing but a new method for an old routine. I worked on it feverishly and then this morning tried it out on the hardest audience I know: My pre-teen kids and their grandpa. Eureka! It worked like a charm.
Such it the process. Such is the adventure. Such is the passion, the fever, the obsession that my art has become for me. I guess when I sum up this post I can say that the key – the secret – the real trick- is to dare to make the magic your own. Let your magical self shine through and never stop learning and growing.
You say Abracadabra. I will say “LIMUTA!” (Let Inspiration Move Us To Action).