Thursday, October 16, 2014

Deprecating in value...

This should seem obvious to most but I started to realize it's not, especially in the younger performers of today.

Learn proper self-deprecating humor.

No one seems to have ever given the advice that self-deprecation should apply to your personal faults NOT how much you suck at something. If you think self-deprecating humor involves making fun of how un-skilled or your lack of talent is, then you need to STOP. You diminish not only your work but the work of others who actually try to be good.

However, if you wear glasses and are blind, harp on that. Does your fashion sense denote your mother dressed you for school? Go to town on it. Are you bad at math? Make that funny. This is proper self-deprecation. Not that you suck at magic, or juggling, or whatever.

People want to see someone be proficient at their craft. If you are using the "I suck at this" gambit as a premise so when you do something really skilled it surprises people that's different but find more subtle ways to get that across than outright saying it. (However going that route takes more skill in some ways than learning sleights so tread carefully)

So even if you do suck and the whole world knows it don't point it out. You'd be surprised who you can fool.

Never let em' see you sweat.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Necessary posturing...

In the past I have spoken about one of the secrets to being a good performer is to have confidence in your material and yourself. The audience can smell inexperience. (it smells like black licorice which is gross) One of the tells of someone who hasn't been performing long or not been trained properly is bad posture.

If you see someone who is doing a trick for you with slumped shoulders their body language denotes that of someone who doesn't give a flying fuck about what they are doing. Watch a confident seasoned performer. Their shoulders are back and they stand up straight (unless it's for dramatic or comedic effect). Look at yourself in the mirror. Does the way you stand give away more than you know? These are the tiny things you have to be aware of as a performer. Being proficient at the mechanics is just one tiny part of the puzzle.

For those who it does not come to naturally movement and/or acting lessons might be of a big help.

Odin knows it couldn't hurt...

PS: I will announce the winner of my contest soon. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Do you contest this?

I have a new website/lecture only DVD coming out soon. It's an "EP" with three effects (and some gaffs included) If you wanna win a copy, caption this photo all "meme" style. For those lacking mad photoshop skills, you can use places like This.

Stick them in the comments section. The one that makes me chuckle the most gets the DVD. Get them in by  October 1st! (one entry per person so make em' good)

Click the image to get it at full size:



Saturday, September 06, 2014

A padded cell...

Some of you should be committed. No I don't mean in an asylum, (well not all of you), but when you deliver your lines.

I see a lot of younger magicians delivering lines, jokes, patter and then apologizing for them afterward. It doesn't matter how corny, bad, hacky what you say might be, you need to just let them be. If they land flat move on. If they hit, let them laugh (or groan) and don't step on the reaction. It's a tough lesson to learn and I can tell you that magicians, for the most part, are not funny.

Saying a line that is funny and BEING funny are two different things. Mike Bent has a great lecture about writing comedy. I don't mean jokes, I mean COMEDY. Most of you can't write comedy to save your life. Trust me, I have seen it.

It's a tough lesson to let sleeping lines lie. We almost seem embarrassed or guilty about saying something risque or "funny". We laugh at the joke and dismiss it like we didn't mean it. Well let me tell you something... MEAN IT! Don't just say a line because someone told you to, or you read it in a book or saw someone else do it. Say it because it's from YOUR experiences, YOUR heart. If you can't write or are afraid to be funny in the moment take some improv classes. They can teach you how to go with it and not be apologetic for what you say.

Now put on that strait jacket and get out there!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Get with the times...

Anyone who has seen magic in the last few years will notice the trend of "street clothes" as the normal attire of the young magi. Whether or not you like it, this is the norm now. On one hand it looks very unassuming. On the downside it, those who are being influenced by this try to copy it and do it badly. It works for some people. Some people know how to dress and get stuff that, while looking "normal", have an air of performer to them.

I am sure when Robert Houdin started wearing the tux and tails to perform in, which was the normal day to day wear of the times (more or less), people mocked and dismissed it.

Mind you those people were wearing Chinese robes to perform in so...


Friday, August 15, 2014

Computer Viruses....

I am getting really sick of mediocre "magicians" who are barely performers trying to get noticed by making "viral" videos.

Too many people want to be rock stars without putting in the effort.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's ok to suck for a little while...

"It's better to be 5 years late than one day too early"

I'm not sure who said that exactly (and I am likely paraphrasing that harshly) but you get the idea. I have noticed a lot of younger performers are in a huge hurry to get somewhere before they maybe should. I'm not saying this is a new thing BUT it seems to have reach an accelerated level. I'm also not the only one who has noticed this.

Watch this video below and see if some of this sounds familiar and then say to yourself "It's gonna be ok..."
The Long Game Part 1: Why Leonardo DaVinci was no genius from Delve on Vimeo.

And just so you don't skip part two, Here it is for you lazy bastards out there.
The Long Game Part 2: the missing chapter from Delve on Vimeo.