Saturday, December 29, 2012

I can't help you...

I want nothing more than to see people be good magicians/performers. I offer advice and teachings to those who have that spark of wanting to do something truly special with their lives.

The problem is I can only do so much. No matter how many sleights or tricks you learn, books and videos you consume, shiny toys you buy... you can only be as good as you want to be. You have to learn at your own pace. You gotta find what works for you. All of this takes time. You have to come to it on your own. No amount of advice or classes or money can change that.

I am happy to point people in a certain direction (or shy them away from it) but it's all up to you. You are your own fate. It's you who must find the conviction and confidence in, not only yourself, but your material and sally forth unto the battlefield of entertainment and stake your claims. There is no "right" way to get to where you are going but there are a lot of wrong ways that will delay your journey.

Mind your step on the path you so choose.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's thimple...

Dear magicians,

What the fuck is wrong with you?  I understand you like the classics and alla that but THIMBLES!? Seriously? Why are people still using these damn things? Unless you plan to play a tailor type character on stage then thimbles make no damn sense to use. They can't be seen from stage (even if you bedazzle them like Shimada) and anyone under the age of living either won't know what they are or care.

Now if you want to use a similar item and do the same magic fine. Have it make sense? Great. However twice this month I have seen two magician talking about learning/practicing thimble magic. Want to learn it just to learn it and jerk yerself off in the mirror fine. You want to inflict this "classic" on people knock it off!!

Thanx,
The mngmt.

Monday, December 24, 2012

To you and yours...


Friday, December 21, 2012

Smackstring...

Quietly released a new download the other day with Balcony Productions in Germany. Thought you might wanna know.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I don't have to write an article...

This guy already did it for me.

Enjoy...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nacho applause...

So I was reading Jeff McBride's new book "The Show Doctor", (even if you don't like his magic, you should at least read the book. It's the voice of experience. Srsly.), and he had a bit in there that really struck a chord with me. I don't 100% agree with the statement but I would say 95% I do.

By doing other people's tricks you are getting THEIR applause.

Now this is obviously not literal. When you perform Kevin James' Bowl-a-rama he doesn't get the sensation of thousands of voices crying out in agony. However the sentiment is indeed there. By doing something straight from the box, with the stock patter and presentation it came with, doing same old BS everyone else does you are effectively not getting any personal satisfaction for the performance.

Oh I know you think you are. Just because people put their hands together in a loud cacophony when you're doing something nifty doesn't mean it's for YOU. If you want people to give you the clap go to a whore house you can just produce a damn animal in your act.

There is nothing more gratifying than performing something you created OR taking a pre-existing effect and truly making it your own. Do they know the difference between something you bought and something you created? No not really...

But you do.


Monday, December 03, 2012

We are not alone...

At one point the only avenue for crazy people to spread their opinions was on a street corner yelling at passers by. Well in today's world the streets are webpages and the people walking by are anyone who happens upon those websites.

One of the internet's super powers to is to get information to a larger audience via various channels. Social media, blogs, websites, videos, etc. You can be whoever you like and say whatever you want (for the most part) and usually no one will track you down and punch you in the throat.

I remember the big magic blog boom of 03' sparked by the now defunct Magic Circle Jerk (ah the good old days). Many of these blogs have died off or just gone silent for various reasons or another. However there are some out there still going because they care enough to voice their opinion loud enough for others to hear it and maybe open some eyes and minds.... like a verbal claw hammer if you will.

I just found such a person(s) on FB who is doing their best to warn people of (perceived or real) shenanigans in the magic community. Will they continue this watchdog effort until they die? Likely not but hey...

You never know.

Friday, November 30, 2012

But it's the pelvic thrust!

Hey I remembered to update this every day this week yay!

*Ahem* So it's the last day and what have we learned? That you DO have options when bringing your magic afterbirth into the world. I offer you a final wrap up.

My personal opinion is to just do it all yourself. You will ultimately end getting what you want in every respect. If you build it (and it's a hit and you pimp it right) they will come.

However if you have no artistic vision and just want quick cash the distributors are there for you. (just don't expect long term income) If you are tapped by a magic company just remember to read the contract carefully. Some of them will give you cash up front as a buy out and that's it. Others will offer you a percentage. Make sure you know what you are getting into.

The biggest advice I can offer up is to sit on your creation for a bit. Really decide what's best for the community and art, not your bank account. If it's a variant, just hold onto it and put it into a collection of things. If you are gonna explode if you don't share it, try a download. That way you can keep the cost down and not clog magic stores with "just another card trick".

Now go forth and don't multiply!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bring you knees in tight...

As we close in on the end of the week and my guide to releasing magic stuff we look at the dangers of your actions.

To be frank, distributor companies such as Murphy's have kinda fucked up the magic marketplace. Very few companies or shops will go directly to the artist when they can get huge amounts of stuff in the same place at once. The problem is distributors ask for a jobber rate (which is usually 60-65% off retail). This is where it gets kinda funky.

In the real world jobber rate is usually gotten when a gross or more of something is ordered. Magic distributors will make a big order right at first (anywhere from 200+ pieces give or take) and make the jobber rate worthwhile. Later down the line they expect that same rate for a dozen items. You are now making crap money on that and passing the savings on to everyone else. It's kind of a raw deal.

However if you just want fast cash to recoup costs and then go buy your crack rock that's fine I guess. (Especially if you have a name and can keep pumping out mediocre crap) There is a way for everyone to be happy though. You can go the wholesale route THEN hit the distributors.

The biggest issue with just wholesaling yourself is there is more work involved but on the upside you make more money in the long run. You have to contact the stores, you have to ship the items, you have to set aside time to run a business. However wholesaling is 40-50% off retail. Do the math on that for a second.

You have a 20$ item. Wholesale is around 10-12$ profit for you. Jobber is 8-6$ for your lonely pocketbook. I would rather take the little bit of time and effort to make that extra cash and build a client base than be another faceless item on a shelf. When the momentum dies down, you can then contact the distributors and let them pick up the slack, but as mentioned above, you will likely get less wholesale orders once they can get it with everything else.

The third option we discussed yesterday was letting someone else do the heavy lifting. Most of these companies (T11, Papercrane, Blue Crown, etc) look for something unique (usually anyway) that will hopefully turn a profit. Once you catch their eye the pros of this route are they do all the legwork. Advertising, packaging, producing, filming, etc. You will only get 25-30% of the profits but you just gotta sit back and do very little. This may sound appealing at first but you don't get as much control or say so as you would self-releasing (that sounded dirty). Again it's possible to release something, sell it wholesale yourself, and then be spotted by a bigger company and let them take it further than you ever could. One big negative point can be it will be anywhere from months to years before the item can be released for various reasons or another.

So while you chew on that I'll leave my wrap up for tomorrow...


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Put your hands on your hips...

Welcome back those of you still hanging on. Today we are going to talk about Options.

So after you create your product there are a couple of routes to take. You can A. Wholesale 2. Sell it to a company or III. Go thru distributors.

Wholesale is more work on your end but ultimately more profitable in some cases. Going thru someone else can be just as profitable for a while. Your name reaches a market it might not otherwise have because they focus on pushing the item but you only get a small amount of the profits. The last one is the most precarious because they only push the item for a little while and you get a small bit of cash. This is the least desirable.

You can combine A and III if you do it right. Do the work, get your money, then when the initial push is done send it off to the distributors and let them pick up from there.

Generally with downloads your only option is to go thru someone else, but due to various factors (torrents and flooding of the market in some cases) it's not as profitable a route as it once was. DVDs and physical product generally have to be self produced unless it's such a hot unique item someone like T11 or Paul Harris wants it. However you can start out self producing and only wholesaling until it gets discovered. I have seen items that have been around for YEARS and then become brand new because someone discovers it. It's much like local bands you like that suddenly become famous.

Tomorrow the real dangers of the unholy three...


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Then a step to the right...

So yesterday I revealed step 1 of my 286 step program for releasing magic products. Today you need to figure out Paper or Plastic?

I once had a product reviewed and the individual in charge of that suggested the trick would be better in lecture notes. (thus for years after it was just to spite them but I digress) However due to instant-gratification technology we just can't wait to put something out and make a quick buck off it. The real question is how to deliver that idea? With the rise of options like Penguin Partners or The Wire downloads are a very direct route. PDFs and booklets still can sell as well if you can't afford the production costs of DVDs.

The compilation DVD has given way to the single trick video market. Personally I believe if you have one idea that is just "ok" (your version of an already existing idea or routine) then perhaps put into a PDF or video with multiple ideas so you can charge a bit more or they feel they got their money worth.

Each one has their ups and downs and once you decide what format is best now you have to figure out how to get it into their hot little hands.

Let's chat about that tomorrow huh?


Monday, November 26, 2012

It's just a jump to the left...

As promised here is my guide to releasing magic products. Will it be informative or amusing? It's a 50/50 shot really.

The first step to releasing a new product into the magic market is: DON'T F$%#!& DO IT! There is already too much rehashed crap out there and it's choking the internet to death.

Unless....

That product is something very unique in method, prop, or visual. If it's a utility prop that has multiple uses and allows other to create for themselves then by all means go for it.

All of that aside, let's assume you ignored the first few sentences of this post, and are going to release your "brand new" handling of an ace assembly. In today's world it's so easy to create something, film it, and put it online or on a DVD in the SAME DAMN DAY that it's mind wobbling.

The real first step is this: Do some R&D first! (That's Research & Development not Record & Distribute) Go out and see what your effect can do. See if there is a way to clean up the handling, see what effect it has on REAL people, and make sure it hasn't been done before. Youtube and the rest of the internet is NOT the way to gauge how well a magic effect plays. You have to leave your house and actually perform it. (I know, out into the "real world" sorry.)

Only after making sure it's something new (or so old no one can tell you but the people with no lives who can quote you every page of Erdnase verbatim) then you have to decide what medium to put it on. DVD, download, flash drive, morse code? That will be tomorrow's article.

Now get off my lawn...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Poking and producing...

I decided that next week I am going to spend Mon-Fri discussing my thoughts on releasing magic products. So come back at the start of the week for Bizzaro.'s Guide to Magic Capitalism. You might learn something...

but it's highly unlikely.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Protect yo shiz...

So this last week at a venue there was some talk of using someone else's hands in a spike roulette trick and how it can invariably go wrong eventually. While this is true, I recently saw a product I think everyone should have if they plan to use real spikes. (With their, or anyone else's hands)

Remember: You have to be smart to do stupid things...

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Salt and...

Just a little note to any magician who uses anything electronic - You get what you pay for.

I just learned Rayovac, despite saying they are equivalent to Energizer are NOT. Do yourself a favor and use Energizers. (Especially if you own one of Sylvester The Jester's Funkenrings)

That is all...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Radiating lines...

A mask maker friend of mine posted This on his Facebook. If you are any kind of creative or want to be this is likely a good idea to read. A few things stick out in this article for me. One is the numbered list about halfway down. The other is this - "It takes a certain amount of courage, thinking out loud. And is best done in a safe and nurturing environment."

The squeaky wheel gets the grease sometimes but only by those who don't like the noise. I have often said that you need to seek out a small cadre of folks who share your same beliefs and outlooks on art and create with them. Trying to get the opinion of EVERYONE just because you think they think they know what they are talking about is creative suicide. In the end the only opinion that matters is yours when it comes to your art.

Sure you should still remain open minded to random bits of advice from your audience, friends and certain bloggers *koff* but it's your art. It's ok to do what you want but as the article suggests...

might be good to sleep on it.


Monday, November 12, 2012

It seems so simple...

Watching Craig Ferguson (who is possibly the most "real" person in show business right now) and he said something that, if actually heeded, would make magic forums ghost towns...

1. Does this need to be said?
2. Does this need to be said by me?
3. Does this need to be said by me right now?

Good rules for life not just the internet.

Friday, November 09, 2012

True dat...



Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Speaking of vanity...

With my rant on card decks lately, anyone remember these?


Sunday, November 04, 2012

I can almost see the strings...

This amused me... (and their website was easy to use and had good prices)



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Just wandering...

Do you ever look at the copious amounts of magical crap that spews forth every week and wonder who is putting it out to further the art or to see what can be done with it in other hands and who just needs money?

I weep the latter might be the front runner...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's like Ferngully all over again...

A new vanity deck came out and the ad copy says, "There are a lot of decks out there. Try not to get distracted by the ones that don't make a difference or advance our art." 

What you may not know is that the companies who put out these decks will openly admit that they make more money on these decks of cards than on the magic products they release. Thus the ridiculousness of some of the ads for these decks. No deck of card advances our art. WE advance it by making something new. By stepping outside the lines that have been drawn for our "safety". To even HINT that a deck of cards makes you an artists hurts magic by putting that idiotic thought in your mind. You know who let it get this way? YOU! (and to a much lesser degree, me. I think I have bought two custom decks in my life.)

I understand they are "collectable" to people who do such things. However claiming one is better than another at this point is silly. There's no looking back now tho'. It's just gonna get sillier from here on out.

How many dead trees do you have in a drawer at home?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Piled high...

When I worked at a couple magic shops in the late 90's and early 2000's I thought there was a lot of crap magic being released... but little did I know what was on the horizon. How could I have known that the way to be known in magic was to release a glut of mediocre products? Who could have forseen youtube making it so easy to self publish and sell something you "created" that day without research or real world practice?

It's a brand new world. Material is being released at the speed of thought and it shows no signs of stopping. If you think I am exaggerating, then look at places like the Latest and Greatest section on the Soylent Green or even all of the crap being sold and bought on facebook groups such as Surplus magic Exchange.

It makes the mind wobble.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

My smooth brain...

Dear magicians with lots of money and no skill,

Buying your job title is like the people who cheat at online video games to be the "best".

I hope all of you die in a fire.

Sincerely,
The Mngmnt.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Open your presence...

A couple days ago I went and saw some bands I like. One of them puts on a great show by being energetic and just in the moment. Watching them made me very aware of something I already knew but became inspired to write about here...

Stage Presence: Sometimes you're just born with it.

It's not something you can buy or apply. It can be learned to a  point but some people just naturally exude that special something that makes them more interesting than everyone else once they are on some elevated platform.

No amount of sleight of hand, costuming, or money can get it for you. You either have it or you don't. It's a natural talent, plain and simple. It's a mix of confidence, control, ego, and insanity.

You need to WANT to be up there. You HAVE to be into it. You MUST believe it. No amount of words I throw at you will help explain it. You just have to get it...

Get it?

PS: I have another article in the recent Vanish Magazine. Read it yah poozers.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

It's an age thing...

Much like how it's very hard to take anyone under the age of, say 40, seriously as a mentalist I think it's very hard for anyone under the age of 25 to really sell themselves as a "corporate" entertainer.

It's not so much the age thing, but there are others who have a hell of a jump on you and you should spend a good deal of your youth perfecting your skills.

Oh and not taking shit so seriously.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Duh'Finger...

Possibly the best D'lite routine ever?
Projection mapping live performance art - The Alchemy of Light by a dandypunk from a dandypunk on Vimeo.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Don't do the math...

If I ever added up the amount of money I have spent on buying materials to make props and try out ideas I would likely go mad. Then to factor in how much of that was wasted on stuff that didn't work would just cause me to go on a three state killing spree wearing someone head as a hat. (yes that was a Con Air reference. Get over it.)

If I was to stop and think about it all it might actually deter me from creating and experimenting. That, boys and girls, is one of the secrets to my creativity. Never give up and try everything.

The only way to learn is to fail. That is find the ways that DON'T work. Don't let the cost deter you (tho' do be smart and get the best deal. Don't just jump on the first thing you see. There might be a cheaper alternative. (Sometimes you just need a little patience.) Obviously don't spend money you don't have just for the sake of a magic trick, but set aside a little bit here and there if it's super important.

Just don't do the math...




Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pro Noun?

A friend of mine sent me this in an email today. Not sure if he was trying to tell me something but there is some real silly shit in this list. A lot of the stuff seems geared at being a money hungry a-hole but I will comment as I see fit.
-------------------------------------------------------------
If you think like an amateur and you want to book more corporate gigs (or any type of gig) then you’re going to fail. There is a huge difference between amateurs and professionals. I’m going to give you 15 different mindsets that pros have which allow them to get gigs while the amateur struggles.

1. Amateurs call themselves “magicians.” Pros consider themselves to be a “business.”
I can see how this is both true and not at the same time. However, if someone asks me what I do for a a living I am sure as hell not going to tell them I am a "business".

2. Amateurs focus on how many shows they do per year. Pros focus on how much they make per year.
Have you ever been around someone who ONLY worries about the bottom line? Man they sure are a fun lot to be around lemme tell yah.

3. Amateurs buy tricks. Pros invest in marketing material that improves their business.
Again, both true and not. I think a working pro does both if the material can benefit them.

4. Amateurs do marketing when they feel like it. Pros do marketing even if they don’t feel like it.
I think a working pro will market PERIOD. Most hobbyists won't even bother.

5. Amateurs talk about working on their “show.” Pros talk about marketing their show.
This is some big time BS. I don't know ANY pros who sit around talking about marketing their shows unless it's in a closed door meeting with a venue or their team of people whose job it is. A good performer NEVER stops working on their show.

6. Amateurs spend money they get from a show. Pros invest money back in their business.
They both spend money they get from shows. How else would they get money? Sheesh...

7. Amateurs hang out on forums. Pros are too busy marketing to hang out on forums.
Yah I'm just gonna leave this one alone because it was obviously written by an idiot.

8. Amateurs hang around other magicians. Pros hang around other businessmen.
I think someone just took and reworded some business pamphlet for some of these. That or they have NEVER spent any time around magicians in their LIFE.

9. Amateurs talk bad about other magicians. Pros do things for other people to talk about.
So does that make Criss Angel a professional Amatuer because he does both of these things at the same time?

10. Amateurs make excuses about why they can’t do something. Pros do whatever it takes to make it happen.
This might be the only one I fully agree with. Someone who takes the business seriously will never give up and keep pushing for that next show or opportunity.
-------------------------------------------------------------
By the way, you might want to reread the intro and the part I bolded. The funny thing is the article only listed 10 things. I guess pros don't have time to count?

What I got from this was that the person who wrote it only cares about money and has no regard for anyone who wants to create art and entertain. If you get to the point where this is the black and white way you see your performing career, just stop and go open a real business somewhere. Stop clogging up the already hardened arteries of entertainment with your stupid ass. The rest of us would like to work and stop having lackluster money-grubbing fame hounds making a bad name for the rest of us.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Wait... what?

Did Criss Angel REALLY  just post this on Twitter?

"Don't get how people steal material/image &look in the mirror-NO ethics"

This was my reaction:
 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Magical Vs. Impossible

Dai Vernon is credited with saying something to the effect of "confusion is not magic". I want to add my own thoughts along this line to the magic world by saying impossible does not equal magical.

I think doing something impossible and doing something magical are two different realms. Much like we seem to lump all performing traits under the term "character" we seem to just fist every thing that is supposed to be magical into the category of "magic".

Much like my popular stance that coincidence is not magic so too shall this gem rest right next to it.

What got me thinking of this was watching the demo for an animated torn and restored card. I like to think that magic has a very defined clear cut effect to it. Tricks that I feel sit under the impossible umbrella are things that either don't make sense or are not magic in and of themselves. It's a very thine line I admit.

Usually magic is best when it serves a purpose or fills a need. Let me explain it to you using hand puppets and this little one act play I just made up.

Magic
Random Person: "Man I am hungry"
Magician: hand me that napkin (magician makes sandwich appear from empty napkin)
Person: "Wow that was amazing! Thanks!"

Impossible
Magician: "Watch me take this sandwich and make it penetrate halfway thru this pane of glass"
Confused Person: "Um...ok."
(Magician fuses sandwich and glass as one)
Person: "Wow that was.. weird. Why did you do that?"
Magician: "Because I can..."

That might be a tad extreme but doing something random like the second example serves no purpose other than eye candy. Magic is impossible. Impossible is not always magic.

Does this mean all your magic needs to serve a function? Hell no! However the moments of magic should make sense to the task at hand. Ambitious card is magic. It is structured as such. Turning an apple into an iphone? Not so much. Doing something impossible "just because" may seem like magic to some but in the end...

it might just be damned silly.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Remember, remember...

I think vanity playing cards have now passed from novelty to the collector's market. The reason for this is there is now a market for them. With every new release I get the feeling magic companies are just pumping cards out for the hell of it sometimes.

A recent item had this as part of their ad copy: For the misfits, the rebels - those who challenge us, inspire us; those who say maybe when others say “no” - let the games begin. Enjoy the Rebellion.

Ok first off let's back that pretentious train up a bit. It's not the occupy movement or the 70's. There is nothing challenging about a stack of paper. Second, wouldn't a better rebellion be NOT buying the cards when everyone else will be? This kind of idea is about as rebellious as shopping at a Hot Topic.

It's just a deck of cards guys not a protest song. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's just that easy...

As an exercise in creativity, watch this:


See what he did there? He took a trite effect that makes no sense (spirit hand) and put a story around it. (Yes then he beefed it up a bit but that's not the point)

It's not that hard to look at a magic trick or item an figure out for a way to have it make sense.

Be the ball...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The AGT thing...

I will try and forgo my usual ranting about how America's Got Talent is a BS show that only exists to make money off singers. However this current round of "Get on the show from Youtube" magic has kinda irked me. 

First off, if you read the rules of the youtube submissions it stated you had to submit something filmed within the last year. Two of the submissions dated as far back as 1996. I would have let this all go if not for the fact I already knew one of the performers had been in talks with the AGT producers about being on the show. it seems they had to upload a YT video as a formality and were already a shoe in. I can't prove it but I also can't prove the existence of the flying spaghetti monster yet for some reason I still feel the touch of his noodley appendage in my life.

I know the show is supposed to create drama and all of that but the fact people still believe it is a totally fair show is beyond me. (Have you ever noticed how the judges outfits seem to change through the course of a show? Could it edited somehow? Naaaah) If you watched the last three magi that came on last night's show, you might notice the two who got panned the most were the ones who spent tireless hours creating their own unique props and routines and the one who made it through is doing a store bought effect that, granted he put his own touches on, not something he put his heart and soul into. 

As an aside a friend of mine callously said that "This goes to show just because something is different doesn't mean it's good. Give me Channing or Gabriel any day". (Actually he said something far more insulting but I am paraphrasing) I think classics have their place, but their days are numbered my friends.

The "judges", and I use that term lightly, have NO place to actually judge anyone aside from the fact that someone put them into that position and gave them that title. Something they themselves did not have to work for. Something in which they are merely doing for a paycheck and a free ride. It makes me ill that this show is still on the air and taking advantage of performers from all walks of life, adding to the dumbing down of America and entertainment, and basically shitting on hard working individuals who don't need their scripted bullshit.

To be fair tho', the performers did know the job was dangerous when they took it...

It's like the chicken said.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Call me fish meal...

Saw a quote on my Facebook (oddly by a chewing gum company) that I feel should be shared with the magical world.

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” - Herman Melville

Friday, August 10, 2012

The learning channel...

They say you should learn from your mistakes or you are doomed to repeat them. I say we should learn from our performances. For me every major performance is a learning experience. There is always a line that can be made better, a joke that could be told differently, a method that can be tweaked, etc.

I'm not saying that every time you perform you should walk away with something. That card trick you did for that waitress may not be a lightbulb type moment... but it could be.

Over the years I have learned from and played upon my mistakes as well. You can't ignore the tiny details because it is those things that make up the big picture.

So pay attention to your shows lest you are doomed to repeat them...

in hell.

Friday, August 03, 2012

I'm riding thru the desert...

A couple of things today my merry band of followers. One a new issue of the free magic magazine Vanish is out. I have a whole page to talk nonsense in it. I suggest you read it cover to cover.

The other is a wee bit of a contest. I have been updating the handling on an old idea and don't have a good name for it. (Some of you might remember it from the February 2007 Linking Ring parade I did) So if you devise a name for the effect I like not only will you learn it for free before it's officially published anywhere, you will get a credit for the creation. So have at thee!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

We're going to Disneyland!

Some friends and I got together to have some fun and be creative. We also filmed it. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm in your brain...

I have always wanted to see a magic trick end like this...

I have made a prediction. I will lay it here on the table.


















Now think of a card. When you have it turn over the prediction. (Click the card)

(I didn't say it had anything to do with the trick now did I?)


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sunning yourself...

I have a little something to say to my fellow magi who want to be more than they currently are.

STOP BEING SO DAMN LAZY!

The people who reach the top are the ones who climb. You have to work for what you want. The higher your goal the harder you have the work to reach the top. You can't just expect others to do it for you or hope it will work out. YOU have to make it happen.

Do you wonder why others are getting more gigs than you or maybe have better shows? They are working their damned fool heads off to get there. Sure luck plays a part of it all but they are moving forward and they don't stop. They are either working on and fixing their act everyday, making notes and jumping on them immediately to be better. They are on the phone sending out promo and making contacts everyday. (Some even claim to do this 8 hours a day like a real job but I think that's a little bit of BS sometimes.)

You have no one to blame but yourself for where you are (most of the time). Get up off yer ass and make your magic better, make those calls, shake those hands, book those gigs.

Otherwise, just shut up.


I think we're lost...

I have been catching up on the FISM reports today. It's interesting what plays for magicians and is really just for them and not so much for non-magicians. I have heard it said that the best kind of magic can be described in one sentence. "He put my bill in a lemon", "He cut the rope in half and put it back together" or "Use the word etcetera in a sentence".

 I think the biggest problem is we take a simple idea and convolute the holy hell out of it. I have a new bit which is a variation on a classic. The effect by itself gets a fine enough reaction. It's simple and to the point. A friend wanted to see something else tacked on to the end because he thought the initial effect was kind of bland.

This my friends is magician logic. Let me tell you something. Sometimes good enough is just that. My friend had a saying on his desk at his music studio. "Remember: Not Too slick". In the pursuit of trying to make something "perfect" (or in this case more "magical") you can actually screw it up. Sure the magicians would eat it up and give you bonus points in a meaningless competition, but will it play in Peoria?

Sometimes going that extra mile is ok and a routine NEEDS it. However you have to make sure it really needs it. If it's simple to follow for the simpletons you might not win any trophies but the real world might just love you for it.

Sometimes too much is too much.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When geeks collide...


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hack Lines?

So there is a video going around the magic community right now about hack lines magicians say. Now this post is not about that video. It is about a line I am sick of hearing magicians  say however.

"I'm not sure if this is going to work"

I have bemoaned the use of patter that insults the audiences intelligence many times in this journal. This is one of those times. People are not stupid enough, especially on stage, to believe that. (Ok some might be but you already have their money at that point so screw em') Much like "I don't know if this is going to work", the aforementioned line just makes you look like a condescending ass klown.

Be straight up with people. Don't try to get them on your side with blatant lies. Tell them it's new so when you say I dunno if this is going to work they might actually believe you. There is no reason to develop patter that makes you sound superior to the audience. If they wanted that kind of treatment they could have stayed home and watched TV. We are there to entertain them, not have them marvel at our magnificent penis.

There is no reason to be condescending.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The safest route...

Just a quick tip: If you are a magic builder, creator or want to be take my advice and invest in a Dremel Tool (Or similar brand). It's quite handy, takes up very little space and gets simple things done quickly.

Also, get one with variable speeds. It's a bit more but well worth the investment.


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Also, Nipples.

I liked this idea. However you should read the comments. They said pretty much everything I was thinking. Tricks like this are fun to watch but I don't think they are huge foolers.

One of the comments brings up a good point as well. "She did all the work". Man if this isn't the emperor's new clothes of the magic world. Most of the time when someone is doing illusions one person is posturing and waving their arms about while someone else does the dirty work. I think anyone with two working brains cells huddling together to make warmth can see that.

So what then makes a magician? Is it his tricks? Is it his skills? Perhaps it's the shoddy product he shills on those with more money than sense? Hell perhaps it's all of these things? That's up to your audience to decide.

I think people are fascinated with the impossible, not magic. Yes magic makes the impossible visible. However sometimes it's NOT impossible and people see right thru it. Art is fascinating at times because it seems impossible. People do "impossible" things everyday. Many times we use what they don't know is possible against them. We're not the only ones. Many sideshow performers live and die by this concept.

At the end of the day people don't want to be fooled, they would rather be entertained. They sometimes enjoy the fooling stuff, but they rarely seek it out. They would much rather have a good time. It's hard for some performer to grasp tho' because to them...

it is impossible.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nothing ventured...

I was looking thru my link tracker for my website and came across an old post on a forum about razor blades (I have a book and DVD about it remember?). On there someone had talked about performing the effect at school and this was someone's response: "Why would you be performing this at school? You could get caught with razors and be either suspended or worse expelled."

Let me tell you why young puritan soul. It's because taking chances is what makes you evolve!

If you don't push your boundaries and find out what you can get away with you will never discover what might lie beyond your safe little walls you hide yourself in. To create art you have to challenge the world and yourself. Do things that scare you and maybe other people. You have to step outside your comfort zone to see what's out there. Don't worry tho'...

You can always come back.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Band together....

I started doing magic in bars and live music venues when I was 16. It's a whole different world. One that you need to be at the very least interesting to keep their attention.

All of that aside, the music scene, like most of the live entertainment world, has rules. The funny thing is these rules can apply to a lot of things, but magic is at the top of that list.

Read On.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ruminate upon this...


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Turd on a wire...

For those of you who may not know about it, T11 has an area called "The Wire". It's a place to upload your creations (after they are quality checked which is good) and sell for a bit of cash. About a month ago I put an effect on there as an experiment. I can say it's not going to make you rich but it's nice to make a small bit of cash while doing nothing.

Regardless, while on their forum I saw someone post this nugget of info, "all my trick will go for 0.99cause that how much i will pay for a trick". That, ladies and gentlemen, is the mindset of the current generation.

In a previous post I mused about how this kind of direct access and saturation would drive the value and price of magic down while increasing the demand for unpublished material.

I'm not going to say I told you so but...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quick like a bunny!!

The first person to film themselves doing 6 card repeat for a REAL audience and ending it with the line, "And that's 1, 2,3,4,5,6 minutes of your life you'll never get back" will get free stuff from me.

Here's a watermelon and a gun GO GO!!


Saturday, June 09, 2012

Twats...

Something I saw on my twitter. It reminded me of EVERY magic forum I have been on.

"REMINDER: If you're about to tell someone why you don't like something they made and aren't going to buy it, stop. They DO NOT CARE."

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Some settling may occur...

The straightest path between two points is a straight line... but damn that straight line can be boring. Sometimes you want to take the scenic route.

I have been working on a good way to switch a folded card for a while now. The methods ranged from so very simple to the overly complicated. Each had their problems as I had a list of parameters I needed to meet. (There is a big difference between clever and practical)

This is one of the keys to creativity: Getting what you want.

When you are working on a routine or creating something new there will be people who say "Why not just do it this way or that". These suggestions might make sense but do not fulfill the requirements you have in mind. It's your magic, therefore it needs to make you happy (as well as the people watching too). There is always an answer, however you sometimes have to just go with what works so you can get the routine out there and eventually the answer will present itself.

So my advice to you is the next time you are trying to create something make a list (mental or physical) of the things you want to get out of it and that has to happen (end clean, certain card in this position, certain prop being in this pocket for later, etc) and make it so...

make it just so.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Murphy's Laws

Today is a rare document uncovered by a man who obviously spent too much time in an attic with a tinfoil hat on. It has been preserved at a different location. Click the image to read it.





Thursday, May 17, 2012

Weezing the Juice

Today's contributor is one of our prominent buskers here in Las Vegas. All the single ladies, put yer hands up for GRNDL.


An older magician once told me “There’s only 2 reasons a magician goes to a magic show. To make fun of or to steal.” With his new appeal fresh in the news, I remembered this old clip of a little known magician named Orenthal James Simpson. That’s right. O.J. Go ahead and watch the clip if you haven’t.


Now let’s see how I can sort this into what I can steal and what I can laugh at.

First, Bea Arthur’s lines about a “smile more dazzling than his golden awards” and “all-around Mr. Wonderful” makes me giggle. Accolades like that, from a Golden Girl no less, have gotta be worth something in Lovelock Correctional Center. But let’s focus on the magic.

Now I realize that this is Circus of the Stars and this is not what these folks are trained to do. OJ, at this point, was used to being on the field, not the stage. He feels a bit awkward at first, fumbling with the scarf in his hand. He explains that he’s rather new at this, as his eyes flit around the audience. We know he knows we know he’s an amateur. Then he tells his story of being inspired to do magic by Muhammed Ali. Strange inspiration, like being inspired to paint by Tony Bennett, but it works as the misdirection to produce the cane. He’s used his knowledge of his awkward nervousness to lull me in, hit me off guard with a name drop, and produced the cane in a way most magicians don’t. And I like it. It’s not the usual flash vertical appearance. It’s a slow, horizontal appearance and it looks very nice. 

Ideas stolen: Embrace the awkward energy that comes at the beginning of the show, the bit before you get your “stage legs” workin right. Sometimes, just the tiniest tweaks on an old effect can make it seem new again, or Goodwill new. 

Laughed at: The awkward hand-off to the assistant after.

He then goes into a silk-thru-cane routine. After the first penetration, he seems to have gained his stride and stage legs. Then he establishes his character: football player. He lets his character share about his life and then made an analogy using magic. This gives him the freedom to talk comfortably instead of sounding rehearsed as he goes through his routine. 

Stolen: Make sure the script reflect your character and make those scripts about something you are interested in and can talk freely on.
Laughed at: Another awkward transition. (1:45) “The great thing about magic is how things just appear out of nowhere”. Not here. I think it came out of her butt while you were digging around there, but that could just be me.

As he ties the white and blue scarves, he starts to head down the dread “Path of Explanation“, the needless narration of what you are doing. But only long enough to establish what he’s doing. He then goes to a character reference about hand injuries, spiced up with name dropping. Name dropping can work for you, too, if not overdone.
Stolen: Have a script prepared for the procedural parts. Explanation minimal.

Laughed at: “In Buffalo, our colors were red, white, and blue” That applies to all NFL team, Juice.

The byplay between him and the assistant about the candle, sucked. But I liked the idea of her holding the flame as he walks away. Stolen.

His movements during the jumping color sequence was a bit awkward, but again, he used it to lull you before producing the bird. Then another awkward hand-off and an oops at 3:45. Bad steal. Don’t wanna start a habit of those. He then transforms the bird into a scarf, and we come back full circle. He looks the same as he did when he first came onstage. Subliminal callback. Neat idea. Stolen. And he needs to push it further. He needs a finale or it will feel like a pointless journey. But then, wait…what the hell is that in the background? Her dress? Has she been wearing that the whole time? Looks like it was designed by a lazy hooker. He then calls all the kids (using “sweetheart” which is bad enough to use on little girls, but creeps me out when used on little boys) to cheer as he produces Bea Arthur.

Lessons Learned

What to do: Use nervous energy or awkwardness to an advantage. Slow down when you are nervous.  Try things in other ways than the way you’ve always seen them done. Recognize the lulls and procedural moments and script accordingly. Keep scripts consistent with character. Write scripts on subjects that interest you. Keep explanation to a minimum. Keeping a flame stationary while moving the fuel source, looks cool. Subliminal callbacks. Come full circle, then push one step beyond. Talk to kids like you would talk to an adult. Include naked pictures of Bea Arthur on a list of demands so you can plead insanity later. (Guess OJ never saw Airheads)

What not to do: Murder my ex and her boyfriend. Get cocky about getting away with murder and write a book. Rob people at gunpoint at Palace Station. Remind a fellow inmate of my dazzling smile.

Thanks, Nevada Inmate #02648927. I’ve learned from you. Now I will return to laughing at you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Being an Artist

Du kennst ihn, du liebst ihn, er ist der kreative Kopf hinter Wöchentliche Magie Failure. Sag hallo zu Roland.

I read a quote once: "An artist is somebody who is under the delusion that his contributions to life are more valuable than those of others." I can't tell you who said that, but I assume he must have been through a rough period of life. And by that I mean, he has met people who think of themselves as artists.

Is magic art? Certainly not. The same way painting is not art and music is not. It's just paint on a canvas, just notes following each other. But it can be. The colors can be combined with such skill that the overall image creates an emotional reaction that the observer experiences. The notes can be arranged in such an order, that listeners weep with emotions as they get sucked into an area of their memory that connects the most with the music. And that creates emotions. Various emotions. Art can make you laugh, cry, be angry, mad, speechless and remorseful. It can make you think, or question your beliefs. It can change your whole prospect of life. It can start a discussion leading to interesting answers. It can be a monument of silence. Most often, art truly has a devastating impact on those who observe it.

Now apply that to a card trick! Seems pathetic doesn't it. When was the last time a pick a card trick made you cry? When was the time an Ambitious Card made you question your position in life? Where am I going with this? Well, most magic is not art, therefore the magician is not an artist.

So what the hell are we? Entertainers! It is our job to invade a certain time slot in some body's life and entertain them. If we are lucky we manage to put our personality in this, so people remember the magician, instead of remembering that there was a magician.

If you still try being an artist consider this: Most people, most often don't want to see "art". People go to the movies to be entertained. To have a certain time slot in their life be filled with something that is a spectacle. That is the main function. That's what they pay for. It can be art. But that would only be secondary. First it needs to entertain. So if there is a moral to all of this: Be entertaining! Create an atmosphere that people think that only 5 minutes have passed where in reality it was 20 minutes. That's the true essence of entertainment. To make time pass quickly.

Art most often does the opposite.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Randi Rains on your parade...

Today's guest column comes from a very talented prop maker and designer, Randi Rain

When I was asked to write something for this blog, it was suggested I write about how I am always “bitching” about magicians “bitching” about props that they have bought. Bitching is a magicians favorite past time, but I am tired. I am oh so tired. Like I heard from my mother all of the time growing up, “I don't know how much more I can stand.” So complaining about magicians complaining is not going to help, and I don't have it left in me to even try.

So I thought instead I would go a different route this time. I will attempt to explain to magicians how to buy their props so that they don't piss me off. It's really not that hard either. If every magician will follow two simple rules, everything will be just fine.

The first rule is to know that you are not a review board. You should never buy a magic item where your sole intention is really to go on the magic cafe and tell people what you think of it. You are not an authority. If you were, you wouldn't need to buy anything in the first place. Of course we all know that some stuff is just junk and thrown out there for a quick buck, and if that is the case it should be mentioned, but original items are not the same thing. Remember this part. If you buy an original prop from an original creator, meaning “one of a kind”, then you can't be an expert. Now you may have suggestions. There may be parts you would like to change, but going and telling the magic cafe world isn't going to help that in any way, shape, or form. All you have done is confused the whole thing and any progress on improvements that you would have liked has pretty much come to a halt. So instead, you should contact the creator, not complaining mind you!, but telling them what you wished the improvements would be. More than likely they will do them for you and the product will grow. See, pretty simple so far. Rule 1: You're not an authority.

Now the second rule is even simpler. This rule is, don't buy a piece of magic expecting it to make you a magician. If you can break down your reason of your purchase to, “this makes me a magician”, do not purchase it because it is not true. You should first have an idea. You should have a direction that you want to go. This way you can know what you need to buy. The key word there is “need”. For example. A routine that requires a vanish of a bottle would need such a prop, so therefor Neilson would be a good choice. So you go buy one. You should never buy a prop, such as the one in the example, and then expect IT to make you a routine. If you are one that does that, then you have know idea how entertainment works and shouldn't be attempting it. You should also go back and reread the first rule.

Now there is an exception to this rule, and that is where you see a prop and it triggers an idea. That happens a lot in people who know what they are doing. You see, people who know what they are doing are always thinking. Thoughts are flying through constantly even to the point of insanity some times. Those who are able to stay sane, organize those thoughts in little cubbyholes inside the brain. They are there waiting for the key that unlocks them, and sometimes that key is a new prop that they have discovered. You can plainly see that it's still a not expecting the piece of magic to make you a magician. It is a magician making the prop a piece of magic.

So many people, who call themselves magicians, buy pieces of magic on a whim. People buy on impulse. They have to have that new thing that they think will make them a magician. One could say, “they are like kids in a candy store.” Well, not really. They are more like perverted deviants in a sex shop trying to find out what new apparatus there is that they can stick in some orifice. It gets to the point of being sickening some times. That's not what magic is, but!.. If you must, because it may be a disease that can't be helped, reread rule number one. Rule 2: Have a need.

Those are the rules. Pretty simple in my mind, but maybe some people don't understand the “why” with these rules. Let me explain. I build, create, invent magic because people ask me to. There are people out there that want me to share what I can do with the rest of the world. That's because there are a lot of people out there with a need for me share what I can do. There are a lot of ideas out there and even more locked up in those cubbyholes I talked about earlier. Original creators are not out to scam anyone. They are not out to rip people off. They are just simply trying to make a living. No different than anyone else in this world. So remember this the next time you feel the urge to blab about some apparatus that didn't quite get you off hard enough.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Go Naked!

To kick guest week off here is some words of wisdom from the pitbull of magic - Christopher Lyle 
 
For all of you restaurant workers out there like myself, I present you with a challenge...

Next time you go to work in your restaurants, take nothing with you. You heard me...Nada! Not even a deck of cards. Empty pockets, no rubber bands on your wrist...NOTHING!

Play your entire shift by pulling from your environment. Can you do it? If you can't, then you're a slave to your "props" and they will always own you. I know it's fun to whip out the coolest piece of shiny and unleash it on the masses, but is this really furthering the art of magic?

A true performer should be able to take nothing and make it into something. Every so often, I will "go naked" as it's a nice change of pace and keeps me sharp. Can you be equally entertaining and amazing with nothing as you can with a pocket full of magic shop fodder?

What would happen if you got to your restaurant and you locked your keys in your car with nothing on you? Your gear was inside along with your wallet. You had to be inside in just minutes to begin...what would you do? Would you buckle under the pressure or would you be able to provide your audience with world class magical entertainment?

If you prepare for these little moments in time, then it won't be a big deal when they do occur. It also provides you with a challenge and the opportunity to think "outside of the box of cards" and really focus on entertaining your audience.

A magician can only perform magic with his props and toys. But an artist can do far more. What are you? There's nothing wrong with only being a magician, but personally...I want to strive to be more.

The true artist should be able to show up with nothing and do miracles. If you can't, then you should work towards it. It will make you better in the long run!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I remember the first time...

I saw someone do Snowstorm in China. I thought to myself, "That's a lot of confetti".

Therein lies the problem with the effect. It uses something everyone is familiar with. We know it's not "snow". I am not actually sure what the effect really is in that trick. Turning wet paper into little bits of dry paper maybe? I'm not sure the audience knows either.

How old is this trick? Well for one it was in Tarbell. That makes it at least 70 years old... and we still do it. Most of you the same... damn... way.

I was recently at a show where a small child said to his father "I remember this from the other show we saw". That, ladies and gentlemen, is the shit you don't hear when you are performing. I am telling you now it's played out. It's done. It's over. Time to give it up. Put the fans away and toss the bits of paper. You're done.

The snow has melted.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Night Crawlin'....

Old effect, new instructions.

Bamf!

N*Joy.

It finally happened...

When hell is full, the dead will make their own card decks.

When the Blue Crown announced it's website "House of Playing Cards" and the promise of "something never before blah blah blah" I knew it had to be the ability to create your own custom decks.

Damn I'm Good.

If you thought the flood of vanity decks was bad now, just wait til' every yahoo who thinks they know how to design stuff gets their hands on this. We are going to see a HUGE flux in custom decks soon. From the horribly tacky to beautifully autistic... er... artistic.

It's a new era and I am curious to see how long this plays out. This is a great tool but like all tools, must be used properly. Tho' to be honest...

I am very tempted to make my own.

PS: Next week is another guest week. It's been too long. Stay tuned for my special friends and their random thoughts.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Lick it, stick it..

Jeff McBride posted some advice on his Facebook from a teacher past.

The idea of making every move deliberate is a good one. For those of you who need to hear it from a magician, Vernon was known for similar advice. Remove any extraneous moves until you can accomplish the same thing in as few motions as possible (paraphrasing like a mofo here).

The most direct path between two points is a straight line (unless it's on a globe. Thank you Batman: The Animated Series for that one) so why do we tend to meander thru our magic with so much wasted motion and moments. If you need all that posturing to waste time in the music, maybe you need to find some better material?

Take the advice in the article and see if you can posit-ively impact your performance by trying something new from someone who knew what they were doing.

We can still learn from our mistakes.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hey magician, leave those kids alone...

This is a post I have been sitting on for a while.

Someone associated with the SAM (which stand for "Some Are Magicians" I think) in an online podcast asked for ideas on how to get younger people to come to magic conventions. The problem with asking something like this is they are going to get many answers, but will ignore the ones they don't agree with even if they are right.

My one big piece of advice is actually hire people younger kids wanna see. No offense to Johnny Thompson, but how many conventions a year does he do? Why not do some research or maybe even ask who they younger generation would care to see? Who would they shell out cold hard cash to go hang out with in person? Why not fire these close minded gits who don't know jack about the modern magic world and just keep hiring who THEY want to see?

This brings me to other sad truth about all of this... The younger generation doesn't need conventions anymore!!

They have skype, facebook ,and even online lectures now. They no longer need to shell out cash they don't have to interact with performers and friends. They don't need a dealer's rooms. They can get all they need on the internet. If your convention cannot offer up something they can't get elsewhere you will NEVER get your numbers up. There is no incentive anymore.

This is one of the many reasons so many magic conventions have died over the last year. We don't need them. Evolution is weeding out the sick and old. Oh sure you still get younger kids coming out who are actually serious about the craft, but your hobbyist market is done for unless you can deliver and let's face it, most magicians could barely deliver a pizza.

Time to grow some thumbs or get left behind.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Suck it up...

Saw this on Jeff McBride's twitter - "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." ~ Albert Einstein

There is a good lesson here and a story. I recently resurrected an old idea I have been toying with for almost a decade.  I would come back to it and see if there was a way to improve it. However I didn't know what it needed, I just knew I would know it when I saw it. The other day I finally got it. It's visual and easier than the original concept.

The moral? Don't give up. If you believe in something or if you just REALLY wanna do it don't give up. It might take you half your life but one day, if you are patient enough, you will get it.

It's all just a matter of time.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Get down on it...

Let's say you come up with a great idea for a trick. You don't think anyone but you would like it so you keep it to yourself and eventually get bored with it and it fades into the back of your brain. A few years later you see someone else releasing the same idea and making money off it. Now you kick the hell out of yourself for not being a whore and selling it. What do you do hot shot.. what do you do?
Well there isn't much you CAN do. Oh sure you can bitch and moan on the forums and to your friends. It might get you somewhere but chances are you will look like an idiot. You just have to sit back and let it go.

However, I think this is one of the factors that started the "get to market" first attitude of many magicians today. They are afraid they will be left behind or ripped off so to protect their ideas they are forced to sell it and therefore devalue it a bit. It's a fine line a magic creator walks. Mind you if they are a truly creative person losing one idea to someone else is not that big a deal because by the time everyone is catching up they are still 3 steps ahead.

It can be a frustrating ho' however.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Marked Man

So the winner of the Marked Man contest is Brendan Croft from Australia. He was sneaky and got the closest to guessing how many posts this blog had.

For the rest of you, feel free to go to www.bizzaromatic.com and purchase the new DVD for yourself!

While you're doing that, let me regale you with some thoughts I have on tricks like  the ones I have on the MM DVD. One thing I am sick of seeing is when magicians sell one effect that is a 10 second thing that would work great as an opener or bit of business in the middle of a routine. However these little fucknuts can't spell the word routine let alone put one together so they just slap something together without road testing it and try to make a quick buck.

Usually these things have merit but weren't thought thru enough. Regardless, something that lasts the blink of an eye is not magic by itself. (Unless it's DAMN good) By adding these little moments into your existing effects you can create a more thought out picture that makes you look like a competent performer...

Even when yer not.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I, card trick...

What does magic look like? No one knows right? However we all have a picture in our mind of what it should look like and it's always different from person to person. One will think that something appearing should fade into existence. At the same time another will picture it just blinking into existence.

I don't think anyone will argue that the former seems more mystical or mysterious. The problem with the latter is it can very well end up looking, well... mechanical.

The problem is we have seen things move faster than our eye can track. It can easily be dismissed by a certain "something". Sure it might still get a reaction but I'm not sure it looks magical in the end. I have seen a few tricks on the market that suffer from this mechanical feeling. It's like a sleight done too fast. It will look like a move. How do you fix this? Perhaps with a wave of the hand or a magical gesture or some moment that looks like YOU caused this to occur and not a rubber band.

To each they own...

Friday, April 13, 2012

I feel the same way...

While you count the posts here is some amusement

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Write on!

In the name of technology and progress on April 15th the "Marked Man" CD-ROM will be going away. Don't be sad. Wipe those tears from your eyes little Timmy. We are replacing it with a brand new DVD!!

20 ideas using Sharpie markers and even tips on sleeving (including something I've never shared). It will also come with a double ended sharpie marker gag. (Demo Here)

Thus I have decided it has been far too long since we had a contest and now Dun dun dunnnnn the time is NIGH!! Riddle me this Batman - How many posts have I made in this blog since it started?

The closest answer wins a free copy of A Marked Man. Contest ends April 14th. First person closest wins. GO GO GO!!

Ever seen the movie Sneakers?

There is a great moment in that movie that I have never really seen in another film. The main character is thrown in a car trunk and can only hear the road on his way to the baddies place. Later he is dumped off somewhere and heads back to base. It's there that his blind friend asks him "What did it sound like?". They narrow it down using the sounds he hears and hijinks ensue.

The reason I bring that up is because I want you to engage in a little exercise. Go grab a couple of magic props you have that serve no real purpose other than to be magic props. Sit them on a table in front of you. Stare at them hard and think to yourself, "What do they LOOK like?"

Find a way to make these innocuous props make sense to you. When they serve a purpose or resemble something people recognize, it's then you are free to create something new with them and perhaps find your own way to somewhere unknown.

This kind of exercise will help you down the road when choosing new props or tricks to perform. If you can't justify it's existence then maybe you should leave it be.

You might just change your world.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Free?

Everyone loves free stuff. Paul Romhany knows this. Hence the first issue of his new cyber magic mag is available for anyone to peruse. Need more of a reason? I have an article inside BOO YAH!

Remember, the first one is free...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sweet release...

Here are a couple of phrases I am sick of seeing on the internet regarding magic.

"When are you going to release that"
"You HAVE to release that!"
"OMG WTF I WANT!!"

This is what magic has come to. Not "Good job. That looks great". No. It's "when can I do that so I don't have to think for myself?".

It's not just the fault of those people. It's also the fact that almost anything put on video tends to eventually be sold. Why else would you put it out there for people to see right?

This kinda shit drives me crazy and even makes me angry sometimes. "Lemme get this straight? You want me to put this out so you can take credit for all of my hard work and research and development so you can hack it to pieces with your mediocre performance of it? How about you go fuck yourself instead! Please drive thru"

But I digress....

Monday, March 19, 2012

Classy...

Nothing says magical like a fallen comrade...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's like they read my mind...

And by mind I mean the Magic Cafe...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Almost like magic...



I wonder if this is how some people feel when we try to show them a trick we "invented".

Sunday, March 11, 2012

He's not heavy, he's my table...

Ok I want to have a very Frank discussion. It's about Losander's floating table. I know you do it. Don't try to hide it. It's ok, I know it's easy, amazing, and readily accessible. I know you don't think you need to do anything with it right out of the box and that it seems to be one of those "self-working" effects you hear so much about on the news nowadays.

I have some notes...

I'm not going to start out by saying, "Stop doing it!!!" (I'm going to end that way) However I would like to point out that I am sick of seeing it done with no kind of thinking behind it or customization. The two best FT I have seen are done by the guy who created it and Dan Sperry. Losander because, well he invented it, and Sperry because he treats the table like it's a cumbersome heavy object, made it match his look and gave it his own motivation. (Also he does the turn around move off to the side which looks less awkward)

So how do we fix yours? Well we can start with the easy stuff. The look. I'm not saying you should revamp the paint job (even though that wouldn't hurt). All it would really take is to have the table cloth remade to match your own personal look. Take it to someone who knows how to sew and have it recreated in a fabric that matches the rest of your props.

Speaking of the rest of your props, if you have the table on stage with a bunch of other tables you better have a DAMN GOOD EXCUSE as to why you are not floating those other tables too. Don't just pull the table out and do it without motivation.

Now here is something that will take a bit more effort on your part. Go move a HEAVY table for once in your life. The magic in the table, much like the original zombie ball, is in the fact the object is cumbersome and heavy. Put some tension in your arms when you need to pick it up. When you scoot it across the floor, use your foot to push the bottom and well as your hands for the top. This is how weighty objects operate, especially top heavy ones.

Many of these simple yet difficult tips will help make your floating table that much better. (You know aside from the obvious ones like make up your own routine, learn how to float it straight up and not at an angle, etc) Also don't EVER buy a knock off from China. I don't care how cheap you can get it. You get what you pay for.

Oh by the way, JUST STOP DOING THE DAMN THING!!!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Control yourselves...

Oh what a wondrous time it is for magicians in this day and age. If only I was young again and could sit in my bedroom on mom and dad's dime and practice card sleights until I came up with something I could sell to idiots my fingers bled.

Was it Vernon who said that sleights are not tricks? (Correct me in the shoutbox if I'm wrong) So many of these things are flashy and elegant but A: They look like moves. Like you're hiding something II. They are putting the focus RIGHT on the moment of technique.

I don't care how invisible the move looks (on or off camera) it still looks like a move. You might as well just drop the card on top and do some fancy false flourish. I guess what I am saying is it's not for me, but if it works for you go for it. Just remember that fancy pasteboard handling is no substitute for a personality or presentation.

"Watch" is not patter.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Laid back...

We rely on card tricks too much. There I said it.

There is a lot of card magic out there.. and why not? They are portable and there are so many options literally at our finger tips. However, for as much card magic as there is... there is very little good card magic.

Oh but I hear you bemoan, "My card tricks are good. My mother tells me so!" yes yes that's all fine and good, but really. Think about how many BAD card tricks you have seen compared to how many actually looked and felt like magic.

Card tricks can be inelegant. A throw away if you will. However they can be amazing and memorable. It's when we stop relying on them as a crutch, onl then can we focus on the good stuff.

Here is an exercise: Try to create 15-20 minutes of magic with ONLY one card trick in the entire set. (None would be preferable but I'm not that mean) We get lazy and sloppy when we create because it's just SO... DAMN... EASY to plug a deck of cards into an idea. How about this... instead of someone picking a card, why not have them select a soda can? Need to force something? Try a book with pictures in it. Let the cards inspire you but then look beyond what they are and what your magic could be.

Oh and as for that one card effect I allowed you? It better be damn good. I don't wanna see an ace assembly in there or some half-assed card force revelation. I want to see something unique. Something that fits who YOU are. It's not that hard. You just have to think about it. Look outside the magic world for your answer. it's there. You just have to search for it....

I will however permit an invisible deck. That's just good magic.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Slow magicians at play...

For those of you who know the more recent trends of the Asian magicians to be speed demons with their magic it's nice to see one slow down to Shimada-like proportions.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What's in a name?

,In today's magic marketplace there are many factors that will make or break your product sales. One is a good demo of course. The other is to make sure any video looks like it was shot competently (even if it wasn't). A big one of course is the product name.

There are some tricks with some terrible and/or unoriginal names. Much like promo material, you want something that will draw them in to see more. On top of that, do your research for previously used product names. Someone could look for your item, find someone else's that sucked and think it's yours. Now two people have lost out on a sale. You and the person who was going to lose it anyway.

When picking a name make sure it's something YOU like as well. You will be stuck with it the rest of your life if it's a hit. You don't want to be like the Goo Goo Dolls do you? So get creative and do your homework. People will show their appreciation by buying your products.

You don't want to be left with a bunch of these laying around do you?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The wrong company...

Here is a fun fact you might not know. Corporations don't care about you.

Do you know why someone incorporates? So if they screw up, the corporation takes it in the ass and not the person running it. They are not held accountable. (usually)

Here is another tidbit. They are in it only for the money. This holds true everywhere including magic. Theory 11, Ellusionist, Penguin, Murphy's and most any big time magic retailer, they are all out to get your money. Have been since day one. They don't care how good your magic is. They don't give a fuck about your "art". They want your money. They will be nice to you so they can take advantage of you. When you have outlived your usefulness they will move on to the next bigger and better thing.

You.... are... expendable.

PERIOD.

Oh sure they can spin it anyway they like. "We help the community, we give them what they want. We help blah blah blah" It's all two-faced BS. So why not stop giving these ass clowns your money and spend that money making yourself a better performer? BUYING THE NEWEST MAGIC DOESN'T MAKE YOU AN ARTIST.

Don't get me wrong. There are many fine tricks released by individuals who truly want to contribute with something unique and supplement their lives a little bit when things are slow. Support the little guy and go right to the source and buy from the creators. Don't support the worshipers of mammon any longer. (Sorry I have read too much Hellblazer lately I think)

Oh sure, you will read this and think "That's cute. The angry magician is ranting again. I wonder what's on Netflix." Well that's fine. This is my place to vent and always has been but hopefully this will reach someone's ear and enlighten their brains.

I gotta be me.

Monday, February 06, 2012

I'm chargin' mah Laser!!

Ok so I just saw this on the big green machine and quite frankly I am a bit pissed off.

As someone who creates magic I don't like to see other performers with unique aspects to their act ripped off. Theo Dari was (and is) the original Laser Man. A few people have ripped him off since he appeared, but this is a DIRECT insult. The fact this a-hole admits it's part of a bootlegged act is just appalling. Selling it is even worse.

The reason I bring this up is to spread the word NOT to support or buy this. Aside from the obvious, it looks like crap and obvious. If you watch the REAL Laser Man act, you can see how sad an imitation this other guy is.

If you see anyone wanting to buy this trick, shy them away from it. If YOU buy it I will find you and put my foot where the laser beams don't shine.

Support artists who work hard... or else.

Friday, January 27, 2012

In your FACE!!

I recently removed a video from my Youtube channel. (No that's not news.) Not only was it on a dated video format, not only was it filmed in my living room, but it didn't show one important thing... my damn face.

We all know YT is chocked to death with crotch shots of magicians of varying ages showing off their headless magic. If you find yourself looking left and right after reading that sentence you might just need this bit of advice.

Rework your routines to be done up by your face. Simple as that. You are selling yourself not your skill. I have new for you there are plenty of skilled people out there and they dress better and don't live with their parents. You better be willing to stand out. Does the trick HAVE to be done looking down? Then at least start and end with your head. That way we know there is a personality attached to those hairy palms.

Let them see your bright smile! (unless you have a jacked up grill then just smirk a little) If you happen to be fugly then take a note from John Merrick.

We'll be glad you did.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Say Anything



There isn't just ONE secret to comedy. Some will say timing but that is just one of the tools at yer disposal. I have talked about ways to create while in the moment. One of the things that helps this along is a grasp of improv. Improv itself has a few extra rules but one that stretches across both genres of magic and comedy is don't be afraid to say anything!

Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and let your mind wander and let your mouth follow. Not everything that falls out of it will be golden, but you'd be surprised what can happen when you just say whatever pops into your head.

This is a great way to build up a rolodex of mental lines and create pure moments of "you had to be there" comedy. The more organic and off the cuff it feels the more they will enjoy not only you but that specific show. When you realize that you can go off-script whenever it suits you and you are invincible, the more your presentations will seem genuine.

Those who keep coming back to see you will appreciate it even more when they feel they are seeing a different show each time.

Now get off my lawn.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stand firm...

What do some magicians believe in more than money? Head over to www.Bizzaromatic.com to find out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Damn the pusher man...

I am not sure what cracks me up more in this video. The magician trying to give kids drugs or the kid who somehow knows everything about them...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Box... of... awesome...

I was just perusing the Cafe (My fault I know) in the new releases section. I think I counted the word "box" 5 times in two pages. Holy crap people!! Why are we still making box magic? I can forgive card boxes because what the hell else are they gonna come it? (Hey hand me my card envelope please)

Yes most things come in boxes but don't we have enough problems in magic without adding to it some nondescript cube that no one has ever seen before? Hell let's just paint some Chinese characters on it and be done with it all.

I dunno, maybe it's just too early.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Look over there!

For those of you who might be interested or amused, I have a new journal ranting about the issues I face when making websites. It's called Angry Web Design.

Feel free to follow it if you like coarse language and technical jargon. Otherwise keep just reading this one...

which is also filled with coarse language and technical jargon.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Nightmare in magic land...

I just got done watching the second half of a bio about the history of the Nightmare on Elm Street films. (If you don't know what I am talking about, leave this page, go to Wikipedia, and slap yourself.)

I have a firm belief that a lot of filmmakers who were once so great and are not so much now is because they no longer have to work out problems. Much like in magic, to be more creative, you have to have obstacles to work around to create. Now they can just "do it in post" which makes for lazy films and visuals.

The same happens in magic but not in the way of CGI but a bank account. Magicians who tend to start with money (not their own mind you but mommy and daddy's) don't have to work for their art. They can fall back on whatever prop they desire and not create their own persona/effects/venues. This makes for mediocre magic and lackluster performances.

When all you have to work with is cardboard boxes, some duct tape, and a handful of friends you'd be surprised what you can pull out of your ass (especially if you have a deadline). So my advice to anyone reading this who is just sailing through life on someone else's checkbook is to resist the urg to buy your job title and actually work for it. Spend that money on things you need to MAKE your props.

You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Elementary...

Ok so I know a lot of you amateur magicians are also amateur filmmakers now. What with the technology being so affordable and your parents checkbook being so easily accessible. (because who the hell uses checks anymore right?)

Well for those of you wanting some inspiration other than the over done E! and T11 style of filming might I suggest you watch the newest episode of the BBC program Sherlock (And all the others too.)

They use some very simple techniques to make something that is enjoyable to watch and very immersive. Take your magic videos up a notch by NOT DOING ANYTHING THE OTHER MAGICIANS ARE DOING!!

Now bugger off...