Still Becoming a Magician

September 28, 2011

I don’t usually like to toot my own horn, so:

Warning:  The following blog entry contains several examples of mild to moderate self horn tooting.  Those with weak constitutions beware.

Exactly one year ago yesterday, I began this blog.

But that’s not all I began.  I began my journey to become a magician and to finally live my dream.  In one short year, I’ve gone from having done nothing to having done a renaissance fair, 2 anime conventions, a few birthday parties, some festivals, and I’ve even gotten a recurring gig at a local restaurant.  No one could possibly be more impressed with this than me.

And it is at this point, one year in, that I am struck with how accidentally brilliant the title of this blog is.  Let me explain.  At the start, I figured I would document my path toward becoming a professional, working, magician; I was becoming a magician, and at some point in the future, I reasoned,  I would BE a magician.  End of blog.  However, even now that I feel pretty comfortable calling myself a magician, I am constantly seeing ways to become better and grow as an artist and entertainer.  So I’m at a strange point in my journey now.  I can look back and see I’ve come a long way and I can look forward and see I still have a long way to go.  Thankfully, I don’t have to go alone.  The support from my wife, family, and friends has been remarkable and not only could I not have come this far without it, but, the way ahead wouldn’t look so bright without it either.  So thanks to all of you.

Now I begin the next steps.

Speaking of which, I took one last night.  I’ll set the scene:  a busy restaurant full of families, kids everywhere, and me, strolling from table to table entertaining one group after another.  I’ve worked there for a few months now, and have been really excited about putting all the theory about that type of performing to practice.  Since I’m only at each table for about 5 minutes, I only need 5 or 6 different tricks for any given night that I just do over and over again for each new audience.  There is no better way to get good at a magic trick than being able to perform it 20-30 times in a row for different, real audiences.  It’s been tremendous for both my skill and confidence.  So here’s what happened:  I’m at a table doing my stuff when all of a sudden there is sort of a shift in my brain.  I noticed that I wasn’t thinking about doing the trick.  It was more like I was in my head watching myself do the trick.  I could even hear myself talking.  That’s when I realized that I was on auto-pilot.  I had done the routine and performed the script so many times that I didn’t even have to think about it anymore and my body would just take over.  I knew it so well it was like a reflex.  I’ve heard of other performers doing this.  I thought all of this to myself while the trick was still going on without missing a beat.

I knew that I was at a crossroad (not the blues kind… well, could be, I guess).  I could use the power for laziness and just space out and wait to regain awareness in the car after the show, or, I could use the power for the growth of my abilities.  Luckily, I chose the second one.  My big (and when I say big, I mean BIG) goal as a performer is to express myself through my craft.  When I get done with a show I want people to feel like they got to know me; I want to be genuine and real on stage not some generic rabbit-puller.  So, seeing the opportunity, I reengaged myself with the performance.  I saw that when I knew I didn’t have to worry about the mechanics of the trick (my hands know what they’re doing), I was able to actually be present and communicate more openly and respond to the audience more genuinely. In short, I was able to let more of myself come through.  In shorter, I got real.

This is a huge step forward for me.  In the past, my anxiety about performing lead me to use the script as a crutch.  If I didn’t have everything I was going to say planned out beforehand, I would just get too nervous to do it.  And if something unexpected happened, or something got me off track… forget about it.  Don’t get me wrong, I still get nervous, probably always will, and I’ll probably always need a script of some kind but, I think I’m  slowly gaining the ability through experience to go off script, interact with the audience, then return to the script when I need to.  I’ve always been in awe of performers who can do that well, and frustrated that there’s no method in a book that tells you how.  Turns out, you can’t learn everything from books.  Some things you can’t learn until you learn them and you don’t know how it happened.

So now it seems that the “magician” in “Becoming a Magician” is not just the name of a job.  The magician is an image of myself as the performer, artist, entertainer, and person that I want to be and that I am working everyday to become.  So stick with me.  My journey is far from over.

Magic Time 19

August 12, 2011

Hi, everyone.  I’m a little late with this post because it’s been a crazy week at my “day job.”  But, I’m not here to talk about that, lets talk about Magic Time!

In other news, my weekly gig at Golden Corral in Rogers is continuing to go well.  I’m handing out lots of business cards and meeting a lot of new folks who enjoy magic.  It’s all I could have hoped for.  In the next few days, I’m going to try to ramp up my efforts to secure another restaurant gig, hopefully here in Fayetteville.  Wish me luck!

Also I’m trying to get ready for the BIG show on August 27 at the Frisco Festival.  It’s going to be a huge, all day event.  You don’t want to miss it.  I’ve got some special stuff I’m working on just for that show.  It should be awesome.

Well, I guess that’s it.  Thanks for reading and continuing to support me.  You guys rock.

Hello, friends.  I come to you today with several announcements.  First and foremost is that I have moved Magic Time from YouTube to Vimeo.  The reason is not long or complicated so I’ll explain it after this week’s episode.  I have other announcements too, but those are covered briefly in the video and if you want more details, then read on, brave souls.

Whew!  I kinda got carried away at the end there with the announcements and what not.  But that’s just because I’m so excited about it all!  So for all those still with me, here’s some more details.  First off, YouTube really mad me mad yesterday.  I spent a total of six hours trying to upload episode 18!  The upload reached 100% 3 times and then crashed leaving me to start over.  It’s been giving me problems for weeks now but this is the first time I’ve been completely unable to get it to upload.  So I said, “enough, YouTube!  You stick to your videos of cats playing the keyboard (hilarious by the way) and I’ll take my little show elsewhere.”  I had played around with Vimeo a few months ago and really liked it.  I could personalize my page way better than on YouTube and the videos uploaded faster and were better quality.  So, there you go.  Easy decision.  Click here to see the new channel!  I’ll be uploading past episodes gradually over time so eventually, they will all be there.

Second, yes, Magic Time is going from a weekly video to an every other weekly video.  I think I made the case pretty well in the video: I just want them to be as good as my vision of them and that just takes more time.  Especially now that I’m getting busier and busier, which is awesome!

Lastly, the “contest.”  Ok, it’s not really much of a contest, but I’m still really excited about it.  All I ask is that you spread the word about me and my magic.  How hard could that be?  Help me get a gig, and you can be on the internet!  It’s that easy.  I’ve been wanting to do episodes with guests for a while now, because so much of my magic needs someone there to interact with.  I just thought this would be a fun way to do it that could help my business grow at the same time.  Win win.

Well, thanks for sticking with me this long if you’re still reading.  You’re way better than all those other people who just stopped half way through.  Seriously, though, thank you all for the continued support and helping me make my dream come true.

Another Bonus

May 14, 2011

In an effort to keep episodes of Magic Time “shorter and sweeter,” I’ve taken some of the scenes that can stand alone and decided to use them as separate teaser/preview videos.  So, behold, Bonus Video #2

Beginnings

September 27, 2010

I started to learn magic when I was 12 years old. Ever since then, I knew that a magician was what I wanted to be. I’ve devoted as much of my life as I could to learning the craft and art of magic, but the goal of performing for a real audience has been constantly pushed back.

First, it was college, then girlfriend, then wife and house. In one month’s time, I’ll be 30 years old. One week later, I am scheduled to give my first formal performance in over ten years. This will be the story of my preparation for that show and hopefully, the story of getting a leg up on a dream almost 20 years old.