Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yer on candid camera...

This weekend we did a show in Austin at the Maker Faire. Imagine a craft faire with flame-throwers, trebuchets, and robots and you'll have a very vague idea of what it was about. Recorded a few of the shows just to see how they were going. One of them was rough to say the least. This brings up the point in my brain on the importance of research.

I have no qualms about asking someone after a show what they liked or didn't like, or if they saw something they shouldn't have or that might have seemed off. I also have roadies and friends who know the show and can tell me what was bad that I might have missed. Flashing something I might not have caught. A fake hand falling off a prop.. yah I got that one thanx.

Regardless, a lot of magicians wax poetical about the use of video cameras to practice. While I agree on that to a degree I HIGHLY recommend the use of them for reviewing your shows. To see what doesn't look as good as you thought or perhaps check some angles. It's an eye opening experience to watch yourself on video. You suddenly become the worst critic you will ever have. A lot of people fear video reviews because they tell you the truth. A lot of people can't handle the truth. Just look at Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise.

You have to be un-biased when you watch yourself. If you are not you will not want to FIX what is wrong to make it WORK. You might just scrap an idea altogether... which is NEVER a step forward. More like 12 steps back. Sometimes it is easier to just turn off the volume and watch. It actually helps you ignore the patter and music and focus on your movement and blocking and body language.

So in closing I want to say, don't be too harsh on yourself when you see what you do. Look on the bright side...

at least yer not being investigated by the FBI.


PS: For the next two weeks I will be on the road doing a small sideshow tour with the Crispy Family Sideshow. My sideshow blog will see some updates because of it. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I should be in bed...

Tho' I dunno why. I don't have to get up early for school or a job. Man I love this business. Speaking of which, go check out my schedule. I might be doing a show in yer town very very soon. That's not why I am here tho'. What with it being October and all I suppose I should take some time from my busy schedule to regale you with some witty musings and advice. So take off that mask and let me fill yer head with razor filled confections.

There is a Lot of psychology in magic. Really. There is a why it works that goes hand in hand with the how it works. Magic can prey upon many different psychological feelings as well. Happiness, excitement, confusion, and even fear. It's only thru constant study and paying the hell attention can you begin to understand.. but you also have to WANT to. My advice.. start in October.

Go to work at a haunted house. Really. Especially you youngsters out there. Hiding in a deep dark corner or behind a fake wall can you give a DEEP insight into the psyche of the human condition and how to manipulate it. It lets you peer inside that part of people that makes them WANT to be fooled and scared. In a haunted house there is a dynamic happening. There are the people who KNOW they are going to be scared and WANT to be scared... and the people who WANT to scare them. It's all about giving them what they want.. but on your terms.

The thought of putting on a sweaty mask someone else might have worn before you like crappy bowling shoes might not appeal to your finer senses... but the act of making someone so scared they lose all control of their faculties might. As magicians we prey upon what people don't know is lurking. True we are going for a different reaction, but that reaction is TRUE and REAL... as is fear. You want a glimpse into it, you go where the money is... and where there are willing participants.

It's all about setting the right mood. Not only with what's around.. but with costumes and make-up and story. People like what they know... and they know they can... and WILL be scared. Everyone is different. Some jump at loud noises. Some only freak out when a person bleeding from the eyes is in front of them. Sometimes it's a combination and sometimes, it's none of these. It's our jobs as performers to bring out the best reaction we can. No matter what the situation.

A haunt is good hunting grounds.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

So I have been having a minor discussion with one of the folks at Theory 11 about Ambitious Card ideas. As stated in the thread there, I have recently been toying with the idea of doing a three to four phase ACR (Ambitous Card Routine... or American College of Radiology.. or RCA if yer dyslexic) without the use of a multiple lift. (Mind you this kind of kills using tilt.. but I don't use it anyway. It's un-natural as hell. It gives me the opportunity to test out new moves or new ideas to see if they will work. So far they have. It's all about conviction... and I've only been acquitted.

Moving on, someone on the forum misunderstood what I was going for and thought I was making DL's (Double Lifts... do I really have to spell this crap out for you?) out to be wrong to use for an ACR. I was merely making the suggestion to challenge themselves a bit by experimenting and seeing what they could come up with sans Multiple Lifts. Only by stepping out of your comfort zone can you grow as a performer and person. It was here that it struck me as to why we take the easy way out... cuz' it's.. um.. the easy way... of you get the idea.

Why do something that takes more work when you can do it easy and quickly? Well that depends on your level of devotion to your art I think. As magicians we tend to create moves to fool other magicians but also stuff to keep us amused and that might make more sense to us. You can go thru life doing totally gaffed magic that requires nothing more than a good presentation because it's easy... or you can delve into the more advanced stuff. There is no right or wrong answer to this quandary. It merely depends on your devotion and conviction.

If life was easy, would it take so long?


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's aboot exposure...

So expose yourself as much as possible. No.. wait.

With the internet explosion of mediums such as Myspace and Youtube, magic has seen a weird flux in exposure. (Some good, some bad) Never has it been so easy to see, and possibly figure out, some of your fave magic tricks.

Mind you with technology in the palm of your hand, it was only a matter of time that you can download your magic almost INSTANTLY!! It makes it easier to get quantity (And on the rare occasion, quality) at the touch of a button or three. Magicians, who some people may have never heard of because they are not on the hip new sites or putting out video after video, are getting a new breath of life... even the dead ones.

So with that in mind, we here at Fire Cat Studios offer to you, our adoring masses, a free gift!! For those who purchased Helter Shelter: The Movie (And even for those who didn't) We are offering a tutorial of the Sliced and Restored Newspaper (as seen in this video) for your unyielding support in our products. You can view all the juicy details Here.

It's all about the Pentiums baby.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Are you being chaste?

It's 6pm, do you know where your thumbs are? This Guy sure does. Which bring sup an amusing thought.... who really needs love like that?

Don't get me wrong, I salute the effort. I remember when Hottrix did the same thing. Hell I'd like to have one just because it would look amusing sitting in my silverware drawer. However, for magic, it's not necessary. Much like Cosmo preys upon the inadequacies of young females, products like this hunt the young and uninitiated.

Anyone who has ever handled a TT for the first time knows the feeling. Might as well have the thing painted bright green fluorescent right? Everyone can see it and you know it. ERN!!! WRONG! Try this in the mirror. Make a fist and cover the opening with a silk. Shove in the tip and then push the silk bits into the opening. (Effectively creating a big colored thumb) Now try to hide it. See how easy it is to do so. Then fool someone with it. You too will become a TRUE believer.

Ok, so I got a bit off track here. My point is "realistic" thumbtips are not necessary except for the novelty of it all. So if you are considering buying this, do so only if you plan to do a joke about lepers.

Save your money and buy a clue instead.