Archive for the ‘Blog Post’ Category

long overdue update.

Rather than writing up nonsense to fill pages, half-hearted anecdotes and ill-fitting quotes, sometimes nothing here happens for a VERY long time. It’s still active, as am I.

The Jokers knows nothing was originally released before the iphone 5/5s/5c – in the next few months we’ll be looking at re-releasing it for the newer models, and hopefully one day as an app.

A new boring long essay should be expected in the new few months too.

 

Matt

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Thought of the week

Confucius say, man who cuts corners is probably crooked gambler.

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Marvelous Nut Dropper by Matthew Wright

Marvelous Nut Dropper by Matthew Wright (and yes, the spelling mistake is intentional!)

“INSTANTLY LOAD AN OBJECT INSIDE A WALNUT, INSIDE A FRUIT” – With one hand!

This is not just a trick, but a lifetimes of work. I’m sure a lot of people are extremely excited about this – so here goes:

I’ve known Matthew Wright for about 7 years, I first met him at an audition for a magic bar, and he was the head magician. After everybody auditioned, Matthew did a spot. It was there and then, I become one of Matthews biggest fans. His magic was direct, powerful, magical and extremely entertaining.

Our paths crossed again when we spent a few seasons working together in Spain , and I really learnt that there was so much more going on behind the scenes with what you see. Matt’s attention to detail his understanding of; people, his character, his magic, and the effect are a rarity in performers you’ll come across in this generation.

I’ve been fortunate to be involved in creation process of Matt’s effects in the past, his meticulous nature means every crease is ironed out, every possibility is catered for, and no stone is left un-turned.

This year Matt has been performing his Nut Dropper effect non-stop – and whilst I’d heard about it, I hadn’t had the chance to see it myself. When Matt sent me a copy – I was both touched, and excited.
When I looked at the gimmick, my first thought was “how is that going to work?” Now, when it comes to usable gimmicks and props, Matt is undoubtedly a genius – his inventive nature and handy prop builder skills made me believe it would be some complex precision machine made gimmick. But it’s not, it’s so simple, so clever and you’d never think of it in a million years.

Intrigued and perplexed, I put the dvds on, excited to find out how this gimmick would work. There was two DVDs that came in the package. I wasn’t quite sure why there would be so much video, and then came surprise number two.

You are not just getting a one trick dvd here, you are getting a masterclass, a lifetimes of work. It’s amazing, it really is.

Here, you are going to see and learn, fully road tested, and worked in full routines, with the object to walnut (Matt covers rings, sim cards, notes etc Anything that will fit inside a walnut can be produced from it), INSIDE a fruit as the big finale. There’s gags, there’s lines and a tonne of award winning magic, you’ll learn things such as Matt’s cups and balls, the shell game, a really really brilliant Lippincott box steal, a fibre optic/Williamson/ring leader routine, a card effect and more!

As a brilliant bonus Matthew and Harry Robson talk through Matthew’s stage performance. You’ll learn how Matthew thinks, how he works his character, and the silent script (something every magician should do), and the nuances and thoughts that go into his performances. It really is a master class from a modern day wizard.

Whatever the price of this is – it will be a bargain. You need to pre-order it as soon as it’s coming out (which I believe will be shortly after returning back from his lecture tour) If he’s not one of your favourite magicians yet, he will be after watching this.
I can’t praise it any higher than I’ll be using this myself, and really can’t wait to put this in my show.
Everyone can take something away from these DVD’s. You’ll thank me later.

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Kieron Johnson – Magician (To the Max)

I’ve known Kieron Johnson since he first got into magic, since then he’s become a magic superhero, mixing his love of magic, super powers and other supernatural abilities. His performance style is unlike anything you’ve seen before, it’s crazy, it’s original and he gets some of the biggest reactions magic can get.

His latest offering is Called ‘To the Max’  a dvd and gimmick combo produced by RSVP magic. You can find it here: http://www.rsvpmagic.com/to-the-max/ With this you can produce a solid block of ice at any point in your performance.

Here’s what I wrote on the magic cafe:

Not only have Kieron’s audiences been raving about this since he created it – every big name in magic that has seen this has loved it, and not surprisingly those that have been privileged to learn the method of this have put it right into their performances. This has been kept secret for quite a while now – but now it’s time unleash “To the Max”, to the world.

Kieron tips his hat to the reputation making magic of Max Malini – and this is just one of many many routines Kieron does that not only brings the essence Malini’s effects into the 21st century, but makes them accessible for all.

If you are just performing mere puzzles with your magic, it’s time to stop. It’s time to change everything. It’s time to bring your audiences what they deserve. It’s time to bring them miracles.

Sometimes simplicity is stronger than anything. This is simple, bold powerful magic at its finest that won’t your break knuckles trying to learn – you’ll be watching people pick up their jaws off the floor in no time.

This, without a doubt, will be the years hottest effect, it’s literally cool as !@#$.’ 

 

I think it’s gonna be one of the biggest sellers of the year. Check it out.

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But seriously what is the effect?

I’ve just come back from watching a magic show.

I got so lost in most of the magicians acts. To the point where I wanted to switch off. Now it’s late and I’m tired – but I have this one burning question….

“So what is the effect?”

Magicians generally talk a lot and dress things up a lot, but they don’t very often explain what it is they are doing or how they are going to it, either because they think the audience should know or because they think they’ll just ‘get it’. Understand what the effect is, to somebody that has never it seen it before, and explain it as such. Don’t just bring out the props and expect the audience to presume to really know what is happening, then having to beg for an applause, because if they really understood what was happening, they would have applauded unprompted.  What we are doing are highly irregular things, audiences need it simplifying most of the time, not because they are stupid, but because they want to know what the effect is, so they know when it’s happened.

If you have to milk applause from your audience after halfway through your act – you are seriously doing something wrong. Audiences can be slow to start, we all know that – but if you can’t prime them and cue gently them without ugly begging, please do us all a favor and get down from the stage  (does not apply to asking for applause for a volunteer).

Make people want to clap you, not getting it by beating it out of them. Nobody should feel they have to applaud if they don’t want it, it can make your show terribly tedious.

 

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Where art thou?

As usual – it’s been a crazy year so far, and not much time to get anything for other magicians done e,g  work on new products and writing. January will probably see some new and interesting things.

For now – go pick up a cheap iphone charger from a pound shop /dollar shop…cut it down and you have a really secure iphone holder, probably too heavy for a real, but I think this could be the method for a great phone production if you want to play around with it!

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As long as they like you…

I hear quotes like this over and over again in magic literature, in books, lectures notes, DVD’s and forums; it’s also a ‘golden rule’ they teach to magicians that don’t know any better in magic clubs:

“It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as they like you”

At this point, I wish Karl Pilkington clobbered up in his spandex ‘Bullshit Man’ costume would fly in and exclaim

“BULLSHIT! IT’S BULLSHIT THAT’

To which he would then swoop out of the nearest open window leaving the magician to think about the naughty thing he just said. Of course the worst thing about lazy magicians, are the even lazier quotes they’ll produce (copy & pasted, or regurgitated verbatim to justify themselves) with no real thinking behind why they think that’s acceptable. And if you are one of those magicians who firmly believes this bullshit, I hope I can sway your vote, and hopefully peacefully.

Rihanna, my muse…

Think about a musician or band or comedian, in fact any live entertainment you went to see and you paid top money for, if they are considered to be world famous, chances are you don’t actually know them personally, now think about if you actually like them. I like Rihanna, and recently I was about to pay £60 each for a ticket to watch her in Manchester. £60 a ticket, is about £50 more than most magicians in the world can charge for a ticket for their shows, and when I think about it, I don’t know Rihanna, I don’t know how I feel about Rihanna personally, she seems nice enough, but I don’t really like HER, the thing that I actually like, is her music (she’s easy on the eye too).  What we all know about Rihanna as a person is mainly hearsay, and mainly from what we’ve gathered from the media, we have no real basis to ‘like’ her as a person in the same way we like people we meet from day to day. Likeability is all well and good, but it is certainly not the only factor you need to worry about.  In the case of Rihanna, the reality is, it’s the product I like, not necessarily the person. The idea of liking someone in ‘showbusiness’  is almost always inherited from the liking of their product, and until they do something to upset you, or if your taste changes, you probably won’t have a negative view of them.

I know lots of magicians and performers (both personally and non-personally) who are great people, I really like them,  but I do not rate their craft, and would certainly not spend £60 a ticket on their show, even if they where as nice as pie. Would you really walk away from a terrible performance thinking. “Well, that rubbish, but it doesn’t matter because they where so lovely”?!?!

A world class product

Rihanna, in my opinion is a world class product, she has the whole package, the looks the talent and a star quality. Whilst she may not be to everyones liking, we can all learn from her that we should be aiming towards a world class product, not just being nice, and being competent at delivering second rate magic.

David Copperfield is the most commercially successful magician in history, because he has(/had more so), a world class product, not because you think he’s the nicest guy in the world, although he is a VERY nice guy. I went to see Copperfield in 2005 in Germany, the ticket was 115 euros, and I was expecting something just like I had seen in his TV Specials, although it was a good show, it was not as good as I had hoped, the big illusions where scaled back, and a huge majority of the show was hit and miss comedy magic. After meeting Copperfield for the first time I then determined he was nice guy and very likeable as a person, but I wouldn’t go see him again, simply because the product was not good enough. I’m still a fan though, but likeablity alone isn’t enough to warrant £100 a ticket or to invest my time in a show that isn’t to my tastes.

So far I am mainly talking about the likeability of stage performers, where the interaction is limited; but it does also apply to close-up magicians and every area of showbusiness.  I’ve always said the magic is secondary to the performer and the performance, but that does not mean the magic should be a second rate product; the magic should be fantastic, you and the performance should be brilliant and the product should be world class.

If you act is world class, I really don’t care who you are, I’m not particularly interested in you, I’m interested in what you can do, and what your product can do for me, if it can move me, if it can make me feel something, if it can completely discomombulate  or take me somewhere else, sign me up because I’m up for the ride.  Just don’t bore me, and give me a second rate product leaving me thinking it’s acceptable because your a nice person.  I’m not alone. The general audience do not care about you, they care about what your product can do for them. Make your product better.

 

 

 

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The Cling Principal

I have accumulated about half a dozen half-finished essays for this blog, and I think I’ve lost my train of thought on most of them, so they’ll be completed as and when.

Looking through some old notebooks today I found a few nice ideas and a few, much like these essays, are miles away from a completed effect.

One that I remember playing with around seven years ago, I titled the ‘Cling Principal’. The idea was essentially, a brand new deck of cards (either your own or borrowed) was opened up, and shuffled by either you or the spectator, they then choose a card and place it back in a very fair manner, and you can instantly locate it. The working is extremely simple, when you open up a new deck of cards, you tear of a small square of the cellophane (about 3/4 square inch) whilst removing it from the deck, and this is kept in a sort of finger palm as the cards are taken out the box. The cards are then shuffled and the static from the cellophane sticks to the bottom card. The cards are spread, a card is chosen and replaced where the spectator wishes to have the cards cut.and the cards are cut at the spectators place of choice and the cut is completed. The piece of cellophane acts as a thick/long/breather type locator, marking the position of the selected card underneath the cellophane. You can have someone else cut to the card or you can find the card yourself easily. This isn’t much of an effect, but with the right imagination and time I’m sure this could be the method for a potential impromptu miracle.

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Approaching Directly

Thoughts on approaching spectators for close up magic.

In the thousands and thousands of times I have approached people to show them magic, I have been refused very very little. The most times I have been refused was when I was working a small international bar in Spain, the tourist clientèle was a huge mixture of Spanish, German, Dutch, French, English and other nationalities. Due to the language barriers, many of the groups thought I was simply busking for loose change and would say no.  In the other few circumstances I have been refused it was because they did not want to see magic, either because they did not like magic (or thought they didn’t*) or because they where busy discussing something. In the past two years at paid gigs I can’t recall a single time somebody has said no.

Ask a hundred magicians what the best line to say to approach a group of people is, and you will probably get hundred different answers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Penn & Teller: Fool Us

Penn and Teller Fool Us

I thought ITV’s Fool Us was a great format for a magic show, and a much better concept than BBC’s magicians, on the whole so far it has been a solid show with some fantastic performers and magic. I have always liked Penn & Teller, and I have never had a problem with their exposure before. After watching the second episode, Penn & Tellers agenda was made more clear, and it’s one that I really can’t agree with – selective exposure. Read the rest of this entry »

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