Are magicians to blame for 2016?

Social media is flooded with posts bashing 2016. It was not a popular year.

Maybe I’m to blame. Perhaps you are too?

Looking back, I produced far less art than I usually do in an average twelve-month period (there’s a list at the end of this article). Several of my closest friends and colleagues have said they also wrote fewer books, created less magic, drew fewer pictures, etc.

A trend such as this nationwide could explain the angst of the old year.

After all, if a magician performs less often, there is less magic in the world to give hope and wonder. If an illustrator draws less, there are fewer pictures to explore. If an author writes less, there are fewer stories to experience.

The little things in life make for good years.

People love art. They enjoy talent. You have an open invitation from the void to create. Whether that means magic, illustration, sculpture, music, acting, whatever. Your audiences will reward you. If not financially, emotionally.

Even though I didn’t create much, I am still a far better artist today. I developed new talents, and honed old skills. I spent a lot of [quality] time dreaming, and now I am ready to produce.

Artists make things, yes? Then I am going to make 2017 magical. This year won’t have me to blame.

How about you? I would love to read your thoughts on this in the comments.

TRANSITION FROM CLOSEUP TO STAGE

One of the ways you can potentially create more and better art in the New Year is by expanding your venue options. As a performer, another venue is another revenue stream—a new market.

There are a number of excellent effects on the market perfect for a closeup magician moving to the stage, such as Linking Rings, Egg Bag, $100 Billet Catch, and Suit Up!

But if you want to add a signature trick to your local performances, consider Victory Cubes.

Victory Cubes are an instantly recognizable prop for your brand. Plus, they play HUGE, and they are a ton of fun for you and your audience. Not only does a large prop like this provide more venue options, you have a better chance of earning a clients’ attention when your promo pictures feature a signature illusion—a signature value.

STICKING TO CLOSEUP? PERFORM ANYWHERABLE!

It was about this time two years ago, I introduced a sample of my Old World Siberian Chain Escape. The sample was so successful that it became its own product, including custom routines. Today, it is called The Old World Chain Escape MINI.

FREE TRICK: DOLLAR SHOTPOSSIBLE!

Back in 2015, I started the New Year with a trick I gave away free, “Dollar Shotpossible.” A signed dollar vanishes from under a clear glass. Very easy to do, and still free!

MY 2016 YEAR IN REVIEW

The year wasn’t a total artistic wash for me. I published Chain Game, which is itself a commentary on art in magic (part of the DVD), Easy Blood From Anything, Mental Marker FX Spray, and I produced Sutterbee’s Fine Magicians Rope.

I began theSTUDY: A Magical Place to Better Your Craft, my spring-summer podcast.

With my friend, Phillip Shamblin, I directed Eat Your Heart Out, and The Shadow Box, I also appeared in the latter, and we just began production on To Kill A Mockingbird (we blocked 42 pages in the first four hours). I was stage manager for Oklahoma! and A Christmas Story.

I founded a comic book company, and began the first two titles.

Between those projects, I answered your emails and phone calls, followed a close election with bated breath, and I worked long, difficult days and nights in the workshop.

This year, I plan to double, maybe even triple all of the above. I hope you come along for my adventure, and include me where you can in yours.

 

Something More Convenient than Mentalism…

Magicians are drawn to mentalism for two key reasons…

human-20424_640First, a great deal of the material can be performed impromptu or with very little setup. Second, mentalism is scalable from an intimate one-on-one setting with a single spectator to a powerful connection with an audience of thousands in a large theatre.

A mentalist can perform anywhere, even on stage, with little or no props. Mentalism is one of the most convenient and versatile types of magic on the planet. Plus it’s amazing! Read someone’s mind and they are baffled in a way unique to the craft.

Unless, of course, your audience cannot hear you over the ambient sound of an outside performance, the rowdy nature of a club environment, the honks and hollers of a busy street, or the clattering of glasses and small-talk echoing through the air of a corporate party.

476px-Mind-reading-Russell-MorganIn those situations, mentalism is a billet never burned, a secret never revealed, a thought transmitted into a blaring divide never to be enjoyed. Luckily, early on I learned a type of “fringe magic” that allowed me to elude those nuisances, draw a huge crowd and perform with zero props—silent if necessary.

Impromptu and scalable, convenient and impressive—just like mentalism—yet unemployed by most magicians. And looking back, I probably booked more gigs demonstrating a trick from this one category than from any other type of magic—including mentalism!

So what is this miracle that is more convenient than mentalism and plays bigger than a rainstorm?

Theft.

Honest theft. Watches, wallets, and keys typically. If your spectator wasn’t born with it or it hasn’t been surgically attached, the item is fair game. And people LOVE it! Especially the “victims.”

Every summer as a teenager, I would find small towns without busking laws—if they said, “What’s busking?” I was usually good to go. I walked around their festivals performing magic where and when I could. As I built my crowds, I nabbed their valuables for magical reveals throughout the show.

My hat filled faster than a pig’s belly! (I worked fairs too)

Like a number of magicians, I was introduced to mindreading from the legendary 13 Steps to Mentalism—it changed my life. But what you may not know is that there is an equivalent for pickpocketing, called The Complete Course in Pickpocketing.

It’s the “13 Steps” of thievery—for entertainment purposes.

The Complete Course in Pickpocketing converts the common magician’s repertoire into an exciting audience interactive where anything can happen. Now those everyday [missed] opportunities become magical events, which to a pro means more venues.

The Complete Course was $60 when I first read it, but today you can get this book for a steal! Making the first step obvious…

Read it Now: The Complete Course in Pickpocketing!

 

Featured Mentalism: 13 Steps to Mentalism, GhostIt Notes, I know What You’re Thinking, Poor Boy Billet Knife, Poor Boy Billet Knife Full-Size, Mental Marker Special FX Pen, Mental Marker FX Juice

Keep it Simple Sands

sands_of_the_desert_fronts_originalSands of the Desert sales increase dramatically this time of year. Magicians who perform Sands of the Desert regularly tend to refresh their supply right before the onslaught of summer festivals and stage/parlor opportunities.

Those magicians are already familiar with Sands of the Desert and know exactly what they want—typically, 2-3 refill packs of their favorite colors and type; waxed or synthetic. They have made their selection from years of experience.

But magicians new to Sands of the Desert might see all the options and just walk away from this legendary trick. I posted a Sands of the Desert Buyer’s Guide to explain the differences, however, I think it is time I simplify it even more.

What is the fundamental difference between waxed and synthetic Sands?

  • If you want to pour the Sands into the water, get synthetic.
  • If you need the Sand to clump together—for more vigorous stirring for instance—and don’t mind squeezing the Sands and placing it in the water, chose waxed Sands.

Technically, our waxed Sands are pourable, but it is more difficult. Synthetic is the most popular because it is the easiest to use right out of the package—it is self-working and looks like a movie special effect behind the scenes.

New to Sands of the Desert? Start with Sands of the Desert Synthetic and add this incredible trick to your show—it is a lot of fun to practice, perform, and to see firsthand.

As you gain experience or when you are ready to explore the other options available, get a pack of Sands of the Desert Waxed. It is a whole other adventure!