Sunday, December 25, 2016

Colorblind as a bat...

Can you remember a time before Sharpies? I mean, the company has existed since the 60s but they didn't really take off until the 90s for magic. I got my first (and only) Sharpie thru bill in 1997. It was basic black. However since then a myrid of basic and exotic colors have come out. Some guys have built an entire career using them...

Maybe these will distract you from my Ramsey Subtlety?

Color Match

If you have been performing for 20 years or 20 days, you have likely had someone sign something. If you are in the USA it was with a Sharpie. My questions is this: Was it the right color for the job?

Believe it or not, there are certain colors that you SHOULD be using when you have items signed. I'm not some marker racist, but color does matter.
 
  • Blue: This color is our preferred go to for playing cards. Black and red just blend in and if it's a free choice it's a crap shoot. Blue will pop against any color, even court cards. 
  • Red: Don't you EVER have an American bill signed with a black marker. It is impossible to see even from up close. Red is the way to go. It can be seen from a very far distance and gives you instant recognition.
  • Black: For everything else. Black is good for things like balloons, coins, or other things with a good contrast.

Size DOES Matter

When you work anything other than close-up (and even then) you need the markings to be visible. By using the larger "Chisel tip" style markers, you increase the readability of the markings your helpers leave. Mac King has people sign a card with a HUGE marker.


This came with my Bowl-A-Rama but &$%# that trick!


It's the small details like this that come with performing, experimenting and caring about your audience and what they see/perceive.

Who are we to argue with Mac King?


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Truth in advertising...

This might be the most honest and accurate shirt to represent the current generation of magicians I have ever seen.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Like a pin drop...

I wonder if magicians can hear the sound of an appearing metal cane. Do they think the loud sound of rapidly expanding spring steel is what magic sounds like when it's happening. I got news for you. If you can hear it, so can everyone else.

I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.

There are ways to do it where it doesn't sound like a pterodactyl swooping out of the sky. There are (read: were) canes that used to be pretty damned silent but good luck finding those for a good price. You could use plastic but they usually look like crooked and wobbly. 

Personally I prefer the production out of a scarf like Shimada and Dimmare were oft to do. (If you don't know what I'm talking about Scott Cervine can show you.) 

So next time you want to fire of an appearing cane ask yourself, "Is this what magic sounds like or am I just fooling myself?" 

It's likely the latter.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The king's throne...

Here is a random idea I just thought of....

Put a mirror across from your toilet.

Not a full length one. There is no need to get that intimate while doing "paperwork". However something that sits about shoulder height and up can be beneficial. It's like having sex in a public place. You'll get used to it. (and there is less of a chance you'll get arrested)

This will help you in two ways:
I. you can work on your facial expressions which are very important when it comes to performing and conveying emotions. Far too many performers don't know what to do with their face. This will give you the chance to work on it.

II. It will get you more comfortable in awkward situations. If you can maintain eye and make faces at yourself with defecating, you can do most anything. Getting over those feelings of embarrassment are part and partial to being a good entertainer.

Besides, it's not like you're going anywhere...

Friday, October 28, 2016

Let's define the terms...

This shit right here makes me mad.


These companies are allowing half wits with half baked ideas to get an ego about being inventors and then they start touting themselves as such and then pump out MORE magic bile into the world.

Let me get something straight here. Just because you come up with some piddly ass magic trick it does NOT make you a "creator". It makes you someone with an idea.

Also being a "creator" doesn't make you a magician. If you can't perform your own creations you are just someone who makes stuff.

In my opinion, a creator does their due diligence. They research, they perfect, they make something the best it can be. What companies like Murphys are perpetrating is if you come up with some terrible idea they can help make it "marketable" thus making them more of the creators and the person who comes to them a kind of figurehead. "We did all the work to make this not suck but because we can't just cut this idiot out of the loop we have to put his name on it".

I don't care if you don't agree with me or think I am way off base. I am just sick of our profession being choked with mediocre magic and fevered egos who think they are somebody because a bunch of pre-pubescent humans think they are hot shit.

Obviously this doesn't go for EVERYONE. Some people are prolific creators. (Not necessarily GOOD ones) However in magic everyone wants to be on par with the people who have achieved legit "fame" for making something and magic companies keep enabling this to happen.

The urge to create is deep in our core and I understand that, but too many are creating for the wrong reason: money. If you create for yourself and your audience, the money will come but if you forgo those first steps you are going about it the wrong way.

There's enough terrible magic out there. We don't need sponsored posts on message boards encouraging more greed and terrible tricks.

Thanks Obama...

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Avante Card...

Some magicians create magic for magicians. some create for the real world, and a few, create magic that skips madly between the two.

However, one trap I see a lot of guys falling into is trying to put some deep meaningful slant on card tricks. The problem is they aren't writers so their "script" comes off fake, forced, and flamingos (Sorry I needed a third word for the alliteration).

Non-magicians barely give a shit about magic as it is so hitting them with some heavy patter while doing a card trick can fall very flat. In a theater show it's usually fine. Hell some people have made a whole career out of it at this point. However, if you are going to hold people hostage in a strolling situation, you might want to leave the artsy shit at home. Least you find them watching your autistic artistic presentation like this...

 "Why is he talking about snow? It's a card trick..."

I'm not saying DON'T try to be artistic and creative and deep and alla that, just choose your battles. Don't make your script the default for EVERY situation. Read the room. If you're at a bar, chances are they don't want to hear your philosophy on how card tricks give you the chance to "ask questions".

It's not therapy, it's a card trick.

Monday, October 03, 2016

The struggle is real....

Normally on this journal I try to give performing advice or rant about various things that make me mad. However, from time to time I like to offer up tips on things like music or promo photos.

The longer you perform, the more things you pick up. Some of them are noticeable, while others remain hidden in the shadows.. and by shadows I mean your pants.

If you perform in a dress shirt and at any time put your hands up over your head (or anything even close to it) your shirt can come a tad untucked and stay that way.

 Exhibit A

At the very least, it can make you look disheveled. At the worst, it looks like hell in still photos. If you ever get the chance, (and I suggest you make the time when you can), talk to some of the old school pros we still have left. They all have their little tips and tricks for keeping yourself looking top notch on stage. 

It's a little thing called "Shirt Stays" and they totally do what they say on the package. When you first put them on, it might feel a little goofy at first but it's worth it. Not only does it keep your shirt tucked in, but it also keeps it from wrinkling up from normal wear.

Nice and straight. The shirt at least...

So if this kind of stuff is important to you, then you should look into it. You'll be glad you did.

 If not...

 
This could be you.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Magic Live shares a bit...

I know there has been a fair amount of radio silence on this journal. It's not dead and neither am I.

In the midst of performing and moving it's been hard to get worked up about anything in the magic world (that I can talk about anyway)

Regardless, for those who weren't there (or slept in) I did a talk at Magic Live. Lots of people di actually. If you have never been, ML has a lot of information they dole out in various ways. This year they tried something new and have graciously put it online for your perusal/approval. Not all of the subjects will appeal to you but I am sure you will find something you like. I am fond of This One personally.

That should keep you busy til' I get riled up again.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Too true...

I have two images for you that pretty much sum up the problem with, not just the world, but the entertainment business in general.


So many people see great things in the live entertainment world and they just don't give a #&^%. They shrug it off and don't support, share or tell anyone about it. Everything else is so disposable it carries over to art and talent.



This mirrors the other image but the sentiment is a little different.

Still, you get the idea...


Friday, July 29, 2016

There a hole in my pocket... in my cookie...

So I released a product a while back. Not a huge OMG YOU MUST HAS THIS!!111 relase but a release nonetheless.

I realized I didn't put it on here so here you go:


I want to collectively and publicly shame thank everyone who helped out in this video. If you want to know exactly who these people, then the YT video description is what thou seek.

If you wanna buy this silly thing head over to www.bizzaromatic.com


Sunday, June 05, 2016

Has it always been this way?

In Vegas we have had conversations about if bad performers know they are bad or if there has been this many terrible magicians in the past?

I think the answer to those questions are NO and YES! Together these two answers form a perfect union of lackluster magic.

With Your Powers combined... I SUCK!

I understand having enthusiasm for the craft. I totally get it. However, what I don't understand is not being able to look at a video that is so clearly stiff, so badly performed, so badly... BAD that you don't think to yourself, "Maybe I should wait until this doesn't look like ass."

The problem of course is the fact they don't know. (or if they do they don't care). The other issue lies in the fact that you can put something on the internet for the whole world to see before your those synapses fire that tell you something is a bad idea and then you just go with it. The fact is that technology is so accessible to everyone that we get to SEE more bad magic whereas these guys (and gals. They can suck too) would just sit at home in the mirror or go to their local magic club and be bad. They were just a danger to themselves locally. Now they can be aggravating globally.

Wanting to get feedback to improve is fine. Do that. For the love of Dr. Blight, don't post every little 45 second brain poop you think is "good". Remove yourself from the equation and ask, "Is this the best I can do?" and if the answer is "maybe" you might want to hold off hitting that upload button.

The internet is forever....

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Is it me you're looking for?

Hi Blogger land. Remember me? I've been gone for a while. It's nothing you did. I just haven't been that angry about anything for a while.

Well that changes today... but first...

If you don't read The Jerx you should. He just posted a great article (That was picked up on Boingboing which is how I saw it) about when spectators of magic become suspicious. He says, and I quote, "Suspicion is brought on by an unnecessary expenditure of energy on the part of the magician." (There now you don't have to read it but you really should anyway you lazy bastards)

Vernon was known for eliminating unnecessary moves from his, and others, magic. So much magic has weird ass extraneous gestures it makes you wonder if some guys who made up these tricks had palsy.

King of shaking the Aces


While you think about that, and how much of an asshole I am, can I just say how disappointed I am in magic "creators" lately?

I have been in Europe the last 3 weeks consulting for a TV show. We have gone through a lot of magic that we either bought or ask permission to use. The problem? Half of it is only good for straight to camera. They are so damned impractical to do for real people it's unreal. I knew it was bad but I had NO idea it had gotten to this level of absurdity.

My warning to all of you reading this, if it's hyper visual on a magic demo, there is a 90% chance that you will never be able to do it for anyone, not even your dog. Hell maybe not even yourself in the mirror.. standing 10 feet back... in a dark room.

Also, how many tricks out there now are just flaps, elastic thread, and magnets? Here is a hint... ALL OF THEM!! I have had to improve or fix so many of these, for the sake of argument let's call them ideas, it's infuriating. Half the time they don't work or they break after a few uses or a mix of the two.

I hope all of you who are making money off this terrible magic, individuals and companies alike, get what's coming to you...

A real job.


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Looking Back...

The older I get and the more young magicians I meet, the more I want to slap them around a bit and tell them to look into magicians and magic from more than 5 years ago. I understand many people are victims of the times in which they live but to assume that some of the current "magicians" out there know what the fuck they are talking about is just silly.

I even know that the serious students will look further back and they are the ones who will succeed but someone needs to tell these kids to look back past the internet.

Keep yo pimp hand strong....

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Awfully crowded...

Dear Magicians,

Crowdfunding websites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter are not there for you to use as your own personal street corner to panhandle on. Don't ask people to pay your trivial medical bills, rent, or get new props. Unless you have a million Twitter followers no one is going to care nor take you seriously. (If you have that many Twitter followers you likely wouldn't need that stuff anyway)

Thanks,

The Mngmnt.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lo-Vision...

Have you ever seen a performer on stage doing a card trick and had trouble seeing the selected card? Perhaps in a photo or video of your own performance? Well if you can’t see it, then neither can anyone else.

Even Zombies know the importance of Jumbo Index

I have no idea why some magicians have such a disdain for jumbo index playing cards. Actually that’s not true. I know some think they look “tricky” or unfamiliar. However if you happen to use any kind of vanity deck that argument goes right out the window.

It’s fine if you don’t want to use them for close-up. However, have you ever tried to identify a court card from a distance? It’s damn near impossible. 

When you are onstage it’s very important for things to be clear, especially if you are doing card tricks. There are simple things that may seem small but make a HUGE difference. Having the card signed with a red chisel tip marker, the way you force the card (if you do that), and having a deck of cards that is visible to everyone in the room. Some of your audience will likely need glasses or have them.It's your job to make sure that these tiny but important details are thought of and implemented for the sake of your audience.

Don't fear the reaper Ted...

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The little easy...

Sorry for my absence as of late. I haven't really been that angry at anything in the magic scene.... at least not enough to write about. There is plenty of regular asshattery but I have just grown numb to it.

 This is what everyday on the Cafe looks like

So in lieu of angst I will offer up some advice. As someone who has been doing stage magic since before some of you were born, let me dole out this brain dripping: Make Things Easy On Yourself! I have learned the hard way that if it happens once it can and WILL happen again. Fix it before the next show or it might bite you in the... well... you know ^...

Everything needs to flow as seamlessly as it can. This way you don't have to worry about something falling, not being in the right spot, or moving from it's (possibly secret) location. When you know you don't have to worry about things falling to pieces you can focus on your performance which is the more important part.

So if it needs a magnet, hook, velcro, ring of hot glue to keep it from rolling off the table, felt, fishing hooks, snap gums, broken popsicle stick, tampon applicator, whatever... then make it happen.

You'll be glad you did.