Dear Friends in Magic,
Welcome to the first installment of my bi-monthly newsletter! Each one will have a few different “departments,” but every issue I’ll start with . . . .
A BIG IDEA
One of my magic students recently asked what to do about event bookers who want him to “do some tricks” when he meets potential clients, which feels like an audition or a whole show. How to handle it?
My first piece of advice was to recognize that the request was almost certainly coming from a positive place. The bookers obviously enjoy his magic and want to share it with potential clients. This is a good thing, and we want to honor the spirit of that intention. And auditions aren’t bad either: I never mind having to earn a gig. But . . .
. . . not by doing a whole show. I told my student the way I handle this kind of thing is to do one really good, utterly baffling, commercial piece of magic. One piece that is strong enough to seal the deal.
One of my current favorites for this role is Eugene Burger’s “Not Cutting the Aces” from Teaching Magic. The experience is that you dead cut to the four cards of a value that’s been determined by a participant. The routine is sleight-free, a demonstration of extraordinary skill, and utterly impressive. Indeed, doing this one single routine—after dinner or in an “audition”—has definitely won me gigs.
So what is your one or two pieces of “seal the deal” audition magic? What one piece would you perform if a booking were on the line? And if you are looking for a good one, I recommend checking out Eugene’s “Not Cutting the Aces.”
IN THE STUDIO
I am booked for two full-length shows this fall, so I am spending a good deal of time in rehearsal. In them I will be premiering two new stage routines that have been in development for quite some time—which is both challenging and exciting. Also, I am preparing for two big events in Las Vegas: the Magic & Mystery School’s “Master Class for Mentalism” (October 17-20) and the Magic and Meaning Conference (October 24-27).
At both of these School programs I will be performing in several shows, teaching new pieces of magic and mentalism, and delivering major lectures—so all of that keeps me in the studio as well. You might enjoy learning that my talk at the Conference is titled “My Fundamentals of Magic: Seven Bedrock Secrets.” We will be filming it, and I will let you know when it is edited and available for viewing.
IT'S NOT MAGIC, BUT . . . .
Having grown up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (about an hour north of Milwaukee), I am a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers. As I listen to the games and interviews with players and coaches I am frequently struck by the rigor and discipline of their practice. It is simply obvious to the whole team that there's a direct relationship between the quality of their preparation (practice, focus, and warm-ups) and their performance on game day. I am inspired!
MYSTERY SCHOOL MINUTE
About every three weeks, the School posts a new short video from me with an idea designed to feed your head and inspire your hands. My most recent one, from early October, is titled “Distraction,” and you can view it here.
HAPPENING AT THE PRESS
This has been an especially big month for Theory and Art of Magic Press. On September 15, we released my new book Life Magic. On October 1, we released George Parker’s new book Performing Magic with Impact. And we also launched our revised, upgraded website. Phew!
Please take a few moments to check it out, and please be sure to look around: at any given time we have exclusive items from one or more of my authors. For instance, for the coming holiday season we just got in a small number of Eugene Burger’s Santa Hat Tears (red and white rather than red and black).
Thank you for being part of my network! Please share this newsletter with your friends, and let me know what you think.
I will be back in December with my latest news and insights in pursuit of excellent magic. “Second Sunday, every other month”—that’s my mantra and I’m sticking to it!
The Dean of McBride’s Magic & Mystery School
Publisher of Theory and Art of Magic Press