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This Magician’s Blog

Hey guys I know it’s been a while. With some events happening in real life the blog took a backseat for a minute. However I am back to writing again. Yay! Right? Well maybe not but here I am anyways.

The first thing you may notice if you have checked out my entries before is that I have changed the name of my blog. There are several reasons why I did this. The main reason is that my focus in magic has shifted a little in the recent month. While I love performing on stage, pure mentalism (mind reading) just did not fit with what I wanted from show. I like mental tricks and psychology but I also love visual effects and that moment you get in magic you don’t get in the same way from mentalism. Plus it just isn’t as suited to my personality which, at least in my view, doesn’t have that more serious I have special mind reading powers persona. People just look at me like I am crazy. Plus it’s just too real life for me. I prefer the fantastical. Fantasy is my favorite genre of books, movies and video games mostly because of magic.

So anyways I have shifted towards more conventional magic, specifically close up and coin magic. My fingers are about wore to nothing from handling coins the past two months. Why coins you may wonder? Well I am a fidgety person and coins have sometimes been my outlet for that. So I was fairly familiar with coins and could already perform some of the sleights and exercises involved in coin magic. Plus Miami, OK is a pretty small place with not a lot of job opportunities for me. Even including surrounding areas like Joplin, Mo and Tulsa. Focusing on coin magic and other close up magic right now allows me to try to get jobs at restaurants.

Of course I still have my stage show and am actually working on a much better stage show like nothing you all have ever seen before. I wish I could tell you more about it but I don’t want the ideas getting leaked out. As soon as I get all the details on that worked out I will be booking a stage in the area to perform a show.

Anyways I am not sure where I was going with the blog this time. It had been a while and I just wanted to make sure I started writing again. My life has mostly been filled with practicing new routines and moves but my son and I just got back from a vacation as well. We went with my family up to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. It’s a huge amusement park known mostly for the amount of roller coasters it has. Since my son is only five we didn’t do much roller coasting but we did have a blast. They had two different little Peanuts themed parks for him and he loved all the rides. They also had a beach and a water park we spent a good deal of time in even though it was still pretty cold up there sometimes. Overall my son had a wonderful time which was the whole point and I got a little break from magic and work for a week.

Well thank you all again for reading my blog. Have a wonderful week and I hope you come back and visit again.

 

Thought Reader’s Journal

I find myself still searching. When I first decided to start performing professionally it was because I had reached a point in my life where I was just floating. I was headed anywhere particular and wasn’t inclined to try. I had no purpose and it was leading me into depression. As I spiraled down farther into my depression I spent more and more time alone. I am already one who would rather spend most evenings alone than in the company of others. But now I wasn’t doing it as a respite from dealing with people. I was just outright avoiding interaction. Partly at least because I was ashamed that my life wasn’t going anywhere and I hadn’t done anything. More so even because although that was all true I was doing nothing to change it. I was just wallowing further and further into misery.

Then one day I found a new show I hadn’t seen before. It was a reality type show (Which I generally despise) revolving around magic. I hadn’t seen or thought about magic in years. Sure I had a small interest as kid, but it was nothing more than a passing fancy I barely remember. But that day watching them perform for Penn and Teller. I was enthralled. I have always enjoyed making people laugh and smile but with my anxiety had never pursued much outside of playing guitar mostly in the background. Watching these guys smile and laugh and perform miracles touched me in way nothing else ever had. It still does.

So yes, I found my hook to get me out. It wasn’t just magic but magic made me realize other things. Gave me what I needed to do the things I should of already been doing.

Wait though, didn’t I just say I was still searching?

Well I am. I realized that I loved something and that no matter what I needed to stick to it and see it through. I realized quickly that just because I love something doesn’t mean I like it all the time. I also realized that there is an awful lot you still have to decide. What kind of magic? Where do you want to perform? For what audiences? What is my character? Should I do this or that?

Just because I had found one answer didn’t mean I had the answer to it all. So yes I am still searching everyday to find my place. Life is always a struggle but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. If you have to fight no matter what, then fight for something you love.

I know this weeks was supposed to be short but what can I say. I am a rather long winded person. This week also seems maybe a least a bit (A lot!!) disorganized and all over the place. But it was something I felt I needed to get out. Maybe I will go back through and better organize it so it has a point. Thanks again guys for reading. See you next week.

 

Thought Readers Journal

Hello All,

Thanks again for taking the time to check out my blog. This week’s entry will be short but hopefully sweet. I have spent much of the last week reading. Not magic books but sales and personal relations books. The leader among those being Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

I read a lot. I always have and enjoy it immensely. Mostly in the past I have read for pleasure. Fiction books mostly filled with heroic stories of people overcoming vast odds against hordes of goblins or the like. (Nerd alert.) I never imagined I would enjoy and get so much out of one book. I don’t want to explain in to much detail what the book is about because you ALL should read this book. The insights and advice in this book are invaluable. It has been read the world over millions of times since it was published in 1932. Take the time to read it.

Aside from reading books this week has been filled mostly with learning some new material. I am going through a little crisis in what it is I want out of magic. Granted I loved what I do and wouldn’t dream of stopping. But this week I have been wondering a lot about the direction within Magic I have been pursuing. I have not really come up with any answers yet but the questions themselves have been driving me this week.

Oh yes and for those of you keeping up. I did not perform last night at the comedy club. The reason will maybe become more clear in the coming weeks but I am adjusting a few things and just didn’t have anything ready to show last night. I could of performed something else from my repertoire, but I felt better taking this month off to just focus on my current project. I will be back next month.

Thanks again for reading this. See you all next week.

 

 

Thought Reader’s Journal

Hello All,

It has been a fairly standard week here at BA Magic. No new gigs lined up yet. Mostly spending time writing up a brand new act. The great things about this act is these will all be my own variation or in some cases completely new routines that are all mine. It is very rewarding to actually work on original content, even if it is extremely difficult at times. Totally worth the effort.

Don’t want to get carried away talking about scripting this week. Though I do plan a lessons learned blog on scripting your routine. But not until after I have finished writing mine (of course). This week I wanted to talk about a different lessons learned. Cold calling.

Cold calling is a lot like scripting in it is one of those things no one likes doing. The anxiety of talking to a stranger and requesting something from them can feel overwhelming. I have found that if you take it and separate into its parts it can become a much easier exercise. I have been doing a lot of cold calling these last two weeks. As I mentioned in my last entry, I have been calling retirement homes in an attempt to get in some more stage experience.

Ok, so you want to start cold calling. Well first decide which market you will be calling. I suggest separating the different type of markets and doing them on separate days. This allows for more unique experience at the very least for each market if not for each customer. Once you have your market decided upon, old folk’s homes in my examples, you can start writing your script. Ahh geez you said we weren’t doing scripts today. Well I lied a little. See you will need a script to help keep you on track with what you want to say. When you call these places you want to sound professional and knowledgeable. Well that is pretty much impossible when your sentences are filled with umm… or other pauses and mannerisms which lets the person you are speaking to know that you haven’t done this before or thought this out well. Chances are if you haven’t taken the care to sound professional and together on the phone how will your act look? That is exactly what Joe Businessman on the other end is thinking, Because he knows that if he was going to call someone he would know exactly what he was going to say and how he would say it. This script doesn’t need to be near as detailed or long as your act script. This is more like an outline that you can refer back to. It allows you to organize what you want to say with the maximum impact. Trust me if you want to be taken seriously then take what you are doing seriously.

Next after you have gotten your script/outline written it will be time for research. Sit down and your computer and pull up excel or word and your internet browser. If you don’t have a computer then you better get one. Its near impossible to prosper these days without it. Now start using google to find phone numbers to call. Search out the companies you want to call. Find out a little about them. Then write it down in a table in excel or word. Keep things like: phone number, contact name, company name, address, and any comments you need. After you compile that list set up a color code for the table that signifies whether you have called them, emailed them, strong lead for the future, pending booking, booked, Completed and Rehireable, Complete and defunct. This will help you keep order and know what you have done where.

Now that you have your nice table all made of potential clients in a market we need to pick which to call first. You will probably see many places while you are looking up numbers that look preferable to others. Whether it’s the pics on the website or the general atmosphere conducted by them you may want XYZ corp more than ABC corp. So go through and highlight your favorites first. Now every day you sit down to call place. Pick a few of your favorites, not all, and call them first to get you started that day. You will much more excited to call and talk to them and it will set a good track for the rest of the calls.

Well now you know at least what I have gleaned these past few weeks calling people. I don’t profess to know everything or even very much. I just wanted to share my experience with you. Most of you viewing my blog are potential clients or friends at this point and probably have little interest in magic as a profession. But hopefully what I said will transcend a little and help you in your life.  Thanks again for the read. Drop me a comment or email if you want to discuss or debate my opinions. See you all next week.

Thought Reader’s Journal

Hello All,

Well this week I am late with my blog entry as I am sure you have noticed. It has not been an especially eventful week but I nevertheless became absorbed in some new ideas I had and put off the blog.

This week I actually wanted to take the time to talk about something that is very hard for me. I suffer from severe anxiety. I know you think how severe could it be you get on stage and perform for people. Well anxiety is just fear. I am afraid of almost everything all the time if involves any sort of social interaction. I have problems talking with people, visiting crowded places or sometimes even just going to the store. It doesn’t even need to be physical. I have the same problems communication online that I do in person. People make me nervous. I worry and stress about every interaction I have with any person. Did I say that wrong? How did that take that statement? Was I staring at something? How weird did I look when I did that? These statements constantly stream through my thoughts when I am in public.

So how so I deal with that in the face of performing. Well like I said anxiety just means I am afraid to do those things. Not that I don’t want to. I crave social interaction and acceptance, in some ways more than others. But I know ill never achieve anything if I let that fear stop me. So I take things very slowly. Adhering to a schedule helps take some of the anxiety of interaction. I celebrate every step in my progress no matter how small and try to reinforce that progress. It is hard and some days I just cannot do it. But I wake up the next day and try again because I don’t have a choice. I can’t sit at home alone my whole life being scared of people.

This week I had to start making cold calls to businesses to market my show. I am trying to get more performance time to perfect everything. I decided to do that by offering a deeply discounted show to retirement communities and organizations is my area that usually have to small a budget for this sort of entertainment. But for me it is a chance to work out the final bits of my show and get more experience in front of an audience. The idea of calling and talking to people especially cold was terrifying though. But how could I move forward with my mentalism if I didn’t? The answer was I couldn’t and I struggled with it. What I ended up doing was taking the process and breaking it down bit by bit. The same that I do when I am working out a routine for a new act or show.

I started by making a list of which types of place would want my style of entertainment that may not be able to have regular access. The first places were old age homes. I wanted to separate it further into assisted and independent living facilities. I think that mentalism can be harder to follow that magic at times because it is less visual and the assisted care folks may not get much out of it. I decided to try independent first and then check around about the assisted homes and get an idea if they may like it later.

I googled retirement homes, nursing homes and independent care facilities for my area. Every place I found I jotted down and then looked up their website or reviews online to see what type of facility and if they offered activities or entertainment for the residents.

When I had my list of good facilities that I thought may be open to entertainment I was left with about 70 places within 100 miles. I took all that and put it in a spreadsheet and devised a color system to keep track of where I had called and what information I had got or even if I got booked.

I am sure all that seems like just a lot of work that maybe you do or don’t already do now. But by taking it and breaking down into steps like that I found a way to help combat the anxiety I feel. It is still there but you know what. I called several of those places yesterday and got a few potential new leads that are interested in booking a show.

So I will keep pushing forward because that is what you have to do. Don’t be the lobster waiting on the rocks for the tide to wash you back into the ocean. Take the few steps and get to the ocean yourself. It may be harder but its the only guaranteed way to get there.

Thought Reader’s Journal

Hello everyone and thank you for taking the time to read this week’s journal entry. A lot happened this last week with the Spring Fling performance the comedy club and my grandpa’s funeral was yesterday. It has made for a long and stressful week for me and I was extremely relieved to be able to breathe again yesterday afternoon.

Well my first big thing this last week was the comedy club. I always love performing there and it is very low stress for me. Why you may wonder? Well I am not a comedian. I do not even think of myself as a comedy mentalist. So why would I perform at a comedy club? Well they let me is a damn big reason. I will perform anywhere someone lets me because frankly I need the practice and experience. The people who go to the club to watch comedians don’t seem to mind because it gives them a break from comedy for a few mins to enjoy something they may never see in their lives. (Because Mentalists are not very common not just because I am awesome) All of those things make it low stress for me. I will probably never win the comedy competition but to be honest I would rather not because those comedians work very hard to be funny and I am sort of hijacking their time. On to the performance, I had decided to test my version of names and places, a routine in which I divine a thought of famous name and place from a couple. Like I stated above I was not very nervous about the performance because I am comfortable in the environment but I was excited to perform it for them as I feel it is a very strong effect. I didn’t have many to choose from when it came time, as once again I drew the last or near last slot. I made a few mistakes through the routine mostly with the microphone which I always have a devil of a time handling. Overall though I feel it went well and definitely feel as if I am moving forward and improving as a performer. I finished almost last again but I have only a few sparse moments of comedy and I am not a comedian so that’s fine. Several people came and expressed befuddlement and appreciation for what I did so I think it turned out great. I look forward to next month. The other performers that night were actually very few but still packed in a solid performance with only occasional dark spots. I was extremely pleased that some of my best friends could make it out to see me perform. Thank you very much both of you for your support. (You too Keith even though you left before I performed)

Next up was the big show on Saturday. This show I was getting increasingly nervous about. I hadn’t performed all of these effects in the routine together before but I had them scripted and had practiced and performed them separately. The venue was what worried me most. I had never performed outside for people before. I wasn’t sure what the seating or attendance would be like. How well could I get volunteers to stage? Could I go to them? What kind of equipment they would have setup and what I would need to bring. (As far as sound) Well after hurriedly scrambling all day because of my son’s baseball game I arrived with a shamefully small amount of time before I was to be on stage. (20 mins for those sadists out there) It gave me very little time to scout the stage or to go and round people up for the show. I talked to the event host who told me they wanted to run through the car show awards quickly before my show as people were getting a little antsy about the heat. (One of the first hot days of the year. I was dying out there and can’t blame them for a minute.) This proved to be not so good for my show as people quickly gathered for the awards but even more quickly go out after they were handed out.(Did I mention it was hot!) They were able to use my headset mic and I had a fairly decent range on it. There wasn’t many people and they were sort of scattered over a large area which made it a little difficult to get spectators involved. However I think the how went pretty well. The people that stayed seemed to really enjoy it and I only had one major hiccup in the routine. My one hiccup was with a book test routine in which I have a spectator select a random page in a book and I proceed to read the first line of the page while they look at it. It is a new routine I put in to help give the show more context and to help build the drama of the overall performance. I ended up having to abandon the routine part way because I mixed up all the steps. (Embarrassing!) Definitely something I need to devote more attention to but I think most of the problems I had are with my lack of experience. As I continue to do these I notice more and more things that I both improve and need to improve. I know my shows will only get better and better with time especially as I learn to adapt on the fly a little more and can handle those occasional mishaps with a little more flair. Overall I had a wonderful time and I think those that watched did as well. I look forward to many more shows like that one.

Well that was it for my magic this week. I don’t want to delve that much in my personal life but the funeral for grandpa went really well. I am thankful for everyone for coming and supporting us through this hard time. It is always hard to see someone you love go but I always try to keep in mind that for them the journey is finally over and they deserve the rest. I am happy for who he was and how he touched so many. Rest now grandpa and thank you. One more small note is that I may be getting an opportunity to perform at the local farmer’s market. Not sure yet as we haven’t worked out any details but it is looking good. Ill post on Facebook when I know for sure. Well thanks again ya’ll I am out.

Thought Reader’s Journal

This week has been rather tumultuous. My grandfather passed away this morning. He had been declining and health and I am just glad he is not suffering any longer.  Thank you for everything grandpa and good luck on your next leg of the journey.

All of you I am sure are aware at this point through all the posts and sharing on facebook that the Spring Fling is this weekend. I am so completely a wreck of nerves at this point. I was doing pretty well just kind of an excited nervousness until today. I know i am ready and that the show will be amazing but it always still gets me. The second guessing and tinkering with every moment because you are so nervous you can’t be comfortable.  The comedy open mic is tomorrow as well but i don’t feel near as nervous for that. The comedy club is quickly becoming a safe space for me to work out new material with just some great people. I have my ups and down there. Hell my first time on stage I tried a rope trick. While the trick worked perfectly my performance left much to be desired. I had and still am working everyday on pacing (which just means i ramble to fast) and delivery. I know i am finally ready for a full stage show and i just can’t wait for you all to see some of this stuff.

One of the hardest parts about designing this act has been the introduction. I am sure most people feel that way when writing anything. Starting is so important. You have to draw in your audience and start to build rapport and drama for what is coming. If you fail that the rest of the show will suffer. How then do i decide what to do? Well my process was honestly at first to borrow someone else’s opening. Personally i am of the opinion when you are starting out that you just need to perform. It doesn’t matter if the material is something someone else is doing. That sounds like stealing sure but when you are starting in magic or mentalism there is just so much to learn and the best way is to perform. You almost can’t learn to construct an act without first performing one. So take someone else’s and perform and you know what. After i did that and started practicing all these ideas for how to change and adapt the introduction for my personality started pouring out of me. I just needed to get my mind on the right track. At this point my intro is barely a shadow of the man’s i adapted it from. So if you are wanting to start magic or anything remember the key is to just start doing it. I know it sounds simple and it is but it isn’t. You will be fighting yourself and you can be your own worst enemy. Don’t let anything stand in your way even you.

Once again folks thank you for taking the time to read this. I promise they will probably become better and more structured with time. Good luck all.