Kreativ Blogger Award

March 14, 2012

Check it out, lestwentytwo ( http://lestwentytwo.wordpress.com/ ) nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger Award.  Check my other blog for the full post ericsmargins.wordpress.com

 

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Being Real While Being Fake

November 3, 2011

I‘ve been doing magic for a long time.  Almost twenty years now.  For the majority of that time, I have always performed as myself, that is, I never really had a “character.”  This is the way I prefer it.  My artistic goal for my performance is to genuinely express myself to my audience and share a real connection with them.  It always seemed to me that that goal would be hindered by some sort of facade of costuming and different than normal speech that would be needed to create a different character.

Now, as some of you my know, last weekend, I performed in our city’s Renaissance fair.  There was no way I was getting out of doing a character for that.  I have so much respect for people who can really create a persona on stage and totally get lost in it.  It is very difficult for me.  I’m not a great actor by any means (See examples here and here) and maybe I never will be, but I did learn something important: even when you’re playing a part, you can still be real.  “But, Eric,” you say, “how can that be?”  Well, I’ll tell you if you promise to stop using your brain keyboard to type questions on my blog. “Ok.  Sorry.”  Thanks.

You see, even though I had a made-up persona on, it wasn’t really a block for my real personality like I imagined it would be.  Because I was able to create the character myself, it was, in a way, just a different part of me that I was bringing forward.  I was still open to connection with the audience and able to have real interaction with them.  I could still be myself while being someone else.

My favorite performers (in any media) are the ones who after I see them, I feel like I know them better.  There’s a kind of real courage evident in going in front of people as yourself and figuratively (maybe literally, I haven’t seen your act)  exposing yourself  to them for their judgement.  And when they judge you, they are really judging YOU.  It’s amazing, it’s vulnerable, it’s beautiful.  Now, don’t get my wrong, people who perform in character need to be brave too.  If you can’t sell it, if it doesn’t FEEL real, they’ll tear you apart.  While it might be easy to blame the character if things go wrong, you have to take with that the fact that when things go well, the character gets the credit, not you.  I don’t think I’ll ever do a lot of character work (I don’t think my ego would allow the credit to go to someone else, even if it is still technically  me) but, I will do the fair again next year, so I’ve got some time to work on it.

Magic Time! #9

May 25, 2011

Eric gets into a spot of trouble thanks to Houdini.

Magic Time! #8

May 18, 2011

Let’s take a short commercial break…

Special Bonus Video!

May 9, 2011

Looking for Opportunities

January 20, 2011

Ok, so it’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything.  The holidays were nutty as they usually are so I didn’t have time to put fingers to keys and scratch my thoughts into the wet cement of the information superhighway.  But, finally, things have calmed down and it’s a good thing too,  because my brain has been going crazy these past few weeks.

I’ve been really spinning my wheels trying to flesh out my own performance character and style.  The really frustrating part about all this is that I know, consciously, that it is completely impossible to work out these things inside my own head.  The only way to really figure this stuff out is to perform.  A lot.  The problem is that I’m having trouble finding opportunities to perform regularly enough to learn at the pace I want to.

For most magi in the close-up arena, a regular gig is to be had by getting a job performing at restaurants.  This sort of gig has a lot of advantages.  It gives you a regular place to work on and perfect your stuff as well as a regular income.  Unfortunately, working in that kind of environment is really hard for me.  I just find it really difficult to walk up to people cold and perform.  I actually find being in front of a group on a stage easier because even though I’m still very nervous before going on, when I’m up there it’s MY space, I’m in control and I’m supposed to be there.  Surprising people at a table or on the street makes me impossibly nervous.  This need to perform that I have coupled with these feelings has just left me feeling stuck and frustrated.

So that’s where I am now.  It’s not a very productive place, but I’m pushing through and looking for any opportunity to perform that I can.  Hopefully, by being vigilant, I’ll be ready when the right opportunity comes along.  Back to work.  More to come…

After the Show

November 8, 2010

That's me in my fancy outfit! Ready to do some magic!

Well, I did it.  I did about  6 shows over the two days of the faire.  It was exhausting and difficult for me, but most of all, it was fun.  I had a blast.  I felt a bit of nervousness right before each show, but, thanks to all the preparing I had done, I was about to push through it and give a good performance.  Several friends showing up to support me helped a lot too.  And with each show I did, I felt less nervous.  I’m really excited about how positive an experience it was for me.

Saturday had a bigger crowd in general at the faire, but my audiences were smaller, less than 20 people per show.  But Sunday, I had the biggest single crowd (thanks to my lovely and very loud wife).  It was exhilarating being up there again.  By all accounts I did pretty good.   I had my doubts there for a moment, but now that I’ve done it, and felt what it was like, I feel like I might be able to do this.  Like I said, it’s going to be a lot of work, but it’s worth it.  Speaking of “doing this,” I handed out many business cards on Sunday and got several good leads on future gigs, which I’m super excited about.  I just can’t wait to start performing again.  There will be more pictures posted soon on my website and on Facebook.  And don’t think that this will be my last blog, just because the Ren. Faire is over.  Hopefully there will be many more shows soon that I can talk about.  I’m not quite a magician yet.  But I’ve taken the first step.

Four Days To Go

November 2, 2010

I can’t believe that there’s only four days left until the faire!  I’m getting really excited and things are coming together nicely, but there’s still a lot of work to do.  I’m in the final stages of finishing the scripting and sort of knitting all the separate pieces together.  I hope to have it all ready to do a complete run through tomorrow.  While the script for each effect was difficult in it’s own way, it’s proving to be more of a challenge to write the dialog that happens between effects, that moves one  thing into the next.  The segues if you will.  Doing a lot of intense thinking and brainstorming about it and coming up with a few good lines.  I’m also trying to work on close-up tricks to do walking around between shows.  Like I said, lots to do.

It’s kind of hard to believe that I’ve made it this far.  I know it hasn’t actually happened yet, but I feel like I’ve already accomplished so much towards my goal.  I don’t want to get all wishy-washy so I’ll just say “Kids, follow your dreams, and don’t do drugs (everyday).”

I’ve also jazzed up my website.  Check it out.

Birthday

October 30, 2010

30 is the sum of the first four squares, which makes it a square pyramidal number. Thanks, Wikipedia!

Today is my birthday.  Not just any birthday, it’s my 30th birthday.  Birthday’s always make us question a lot of things about our lives but it seems like it’s the one’s that end in zeros that give us the most pause.  I’m not sure what I think about it yet.  I’ve only been 30 for 18 hours.  For the last 10 years I’ve been frustrated by my lack of progress toward the goal of being a magician.  Even though deep down I considered it one of my main goals, I put it off again and again for other goals of mine.  But now, here I am.  I’m 30.  Becoming a magician is one of the last and maybe biggest goals I have left.  I have no more excuses.  Fear of failure is no longer an option.  At this point, if I don’t try, I will fail.  I have been given an opportunity with this renaissance faire show to really give it a shot.  I’ve poured myself into preparing for it and I’ve had a blast.  It would be awesome if this turned into something more.  That’s what I’m hoping for anyway.  Well, this will be a short post, I’ve got to go get ready for a party.

The Perfect Addition

October 27, 2010

So, if you’re following from last time, I’m left with only 4 items in my act when I need 5.  What’s a fella to do?  The answer hit me like a ton of bricks.  I really should have thought of it sooner: the classic trick, Card Warp.  I actually did think of it sooner, like a month ago when I was just starting to plan the act, but decided not to include it because it was a card trick and I thought I was being more authentic or some such nonsense.  Well, a lot can change in a month.  Now I feel like I’m not being true to myself if I don’t include at least one card trick.  Cards and magic go together like singing the blues and making a deal with the Devil.

I've never made a deal with the Devil, but I will play cards with his friends. I've given up on playing the blues.

It has several advantages over other card tricks I could have picked.  It’s very visual, no one has to remember a card, only two cards are used so there is simplicity and focus, and it can be done with jumbo cards making it visible from the stage.  Plus, it’s a trick that I learned a long, long time ago.  I’ve probably been doing this trick for 15 years.  I know it like the back of my hand and can do it asleep.  It’s great for a last minute addition.  So, here’s the new set list as it stands now:

  • Ball, Fruit, & Flute
  • Rope
  • Torn & Restored Paper w/ mouth coil
  • Card Warp
  • Rings

I’m really digging this set.  It feels right.   Plenty of texture, very magical moments, and plenty of opportunities to let my personality show through.  That’s what is really important to me.  I know I’ve talked about this before, but my personality is what is going to set me apart from other magic acts out there.  I’ve got to be me, even if I can’t exactly put who I am into words yet.  I find that in the heat of performance when I’ve shown tricks to friends I suddenly become someone else it seems.  The nerves of “about to perform Eric” melt away and reveal “magic Eric.”  I get frustrated sometimes in practice because I can’t get access to this “other me” on demand.  But I know he’s in there somewhere, and the more I work on this stuff, the closer I feel to understanding this performance persona.  I don’t mean this to sound all “new-age-y” and I really don’t mean to put so many things in “quotes.”  It’s not really another personality, it’s just me turned up a notch.  I’ve got a long time to figure all that crazy stuff out, but only 10 days to polish this act.  Better get back to it.