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Magic Articles

    
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"WHY SHOULD I JOIN THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION?"
 
  
This question often pops up in conversation with magic club members around the world. The answer depends largely on your personal goals in magic.
 
Worldwide Membership Recognition & Prestige - There is the sheer joy and prestige of being counted among the members of such a prestigious worldwide organization. The International Brotherhood of Magicians is the premier global association for magic professionals, hobbyists, collectors, and enthusiasts. Present your I.B.M. membership card at any magic shop or club worldwide and you are recognized as a welcome member to an exclusive family. 
 
Your Pass to an Intense Magic Experience - Your membership card will gain you guest entry into Hollywood's exclusive Magic Castle and VIP recognition at top magic shows around the world. Your card generally grants you immediate access into many of the inner sanctums of the world's most prestigious magic shops as an established magic peer. It will grant you peer access as a valued guest to any of the more than 250 Rings located around in 88 countries.
 
Magic Leadership & Growth - The health, growth, and prosperity of your local Ring depends heavily upon member support and participation. Without capable and devoted Ring leaders and volunteers, your local club will quickly fade away into inactivity. Ring officers and certain key positions must be national I.B.M. members. Be proactive and take a leadership role in your Ring!
 
Social Capital is the expected collective or economic benefits derived from the preferential treatment and cooperation between individuals within groups. As a member of an I.B.M. Ring, you are part of a network of peers reaching into every corner of your community and region. Bankers, doctors, mechanics, IT specialists, Human Resource managers, police officers - peers from every walk of life share your passion for this uncommon art. As a member of the I.B.M., that reach is extended across the nation and around the world. Whether traveling on vacation, driving new business, or looking for a new job, this worldwide network is a treasured resource. Even our most remote members can develop that valued link through Skype connections and Electronic Ring #2100.
 
The Annual I.B.M. Convention - Membership is required to attend one of the world's largest and most spectacular magic annual conventions. Each year the I.B.M. hosts a dazzling convention featuring our top magic stars, lectures, shows, and dealers. The convention is a networking Mecca for professional, amateur, and hobby magicians. Youth members have the opportunity to spend the day and study with master Vegas illusionist Lance Burton as part of a pre-convention youth program at no extra charge!
 
Magic Camp & School Scholarships - The International Brotherhood of Magicians Endowment and Development Fund provides two scholarships to theSorcerer's Safari Magic Camp. Two lucky youth members, one male and one female, are eligible to receive these powerful magic summer camp scholarships. One youth member may also receive a McBride Magic & Mystery Schoolscholarship.
 
The I.B.M. Endowment and Development Fund - The I.B.M. provides a financial trust agreement specifically to underwrite charitable, scientific, literary and/or educational purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, within the United States or any of its possessions.
 
Magic Works University - Master magician and author Michael Ammar is creating a curriculum of magic made up of about 24 lessons in four different languages. These lessons will consist of both printed materials and multi-media instructions. The course present in book, DVD and digital download formats. The DVDs will contain clearly communicated instructions for the magic techniques featured in each lesson, as well as interviews of nationally and internationally renowned stars of magic to reinforce course materials and to act as inspirational role models.
 
The Linking Ring Magazine - Members receive exclusive monthly delivery of the most highly-rated full-color magic journals, The Linking Ring. This quality magazine jams it's 160+ pages with fascinating magic history, shared ideas for getting the most from your monthly Ring meetings, current news, interviews with magic's current and future superstars, instructions for classic and new effects, helpful magic reviews, and so much more. The magazine is available in standard paper or as a digital download on Kindles, iPads, Surface, and other portable tablets. 
 
The Linking Ring Digital Archives - Members also have online searchable access to over 90 years of past issues of the Digital Linking Ring Archives. That's over 17,000 pages of the best information in magic for an all inclusive one-time subscription fee - for members only! 
 
Electronic Ring #2100 - Members enjoy free access to the moderated and safe magic forum, Electronic Ring 2100. Join practical discussions and brainstorming sessions with I.B.M. members around the world. 
 
Robert Giobbi's Introduction to Card Magic - Through the generosity of the I.B.M. Endowment and Development Foundation and Roberto Giobbi, one of the world's leading teachers of card magic, all I.B.M. members may download this special edition eBook. Using a powerful combination of detailed text, photographs, and video, this 155-page manual is an excellent resource for learning card magic. Follow this book step by step, and you will be able to give an impressive and baffling demonstration of card magic. Even advanced card workers will benefit from Giobbi's thorough methods of teaching magic. Special thanks to International President Bill Evans who worked to make this amazing benefit available to I.B.M. members. 
 
Free Web Profile Page - One of the significant perks of your I.B.M. membership is the Free Web Profile Page for individual members that you can use on the I.B.M. Website. This is a chance for you to have an official page of your very own on the I.B.M. website-and at no cost!  Share your bio, social media links, photos, and many other profile items to get your name out. 
 
I.B.M. Logo Shop - Members share exclusive access to the I.B.M. Logo Shop for items to be worn and used with pride. Show your pride in membership and let others know you are a magician with I.B.M. regalia. Clothing, accessories such as briefcases, desk sets, key rings, pens and pencils, plaques and awards, etc. 
 
Affordable Performer Liability Insurance - U.S. and Canadian members are eligible for affordable Performer's Liability Insurance through a blanket I.B.M. policy running from August 15 of this year to August 15 the following year. Coverage is an excellent $1,000,000 (that's one million) per occurrence and $2,000.000 per event aggregate from a national insurance broker and an A.M. Best "A" rated carrier. Premiums are based on the member's annual gross receipts. If you perform in public, you shouldn't leave home without it!
 
Affordable Group Health Insurance - U.S. Members also have access to an exclusive agency agreement with Association Health Programs ("AHP"), a duly licensed insurance broker located in Overland Park, Kansas. This company provides affordable group health insurance benefits to I.B.M. members with a national "A" (or higher) rating.  
 
Lifetime Achievements & Recognition - As an international magic association, the I.B.M. continues to grow with you. Prestigious honors are bestowed for 10 Years of continuous membership (Wizard), 25 Years (Order of Merlin), 35 Years (Order of Merlin-Shield), 50 Years (Order of Merlin - Excalibur), and 60 Years (Order of Merlin - Excelsior).
 
Membership in the I.B.M. has its privileges! Annual youth (17 & Under) membership is $40.00 with a Linking Ring subscription and $20.00 without. Annual adult (18 & Over) membership with a Linking Ring subscription is $60.00 and $40.00 without.  A one-time $15.00 administration fee is added for new members. For details or to join, visit www.magician.org. 

Download a High-Res version of this infographic.

THE PRICE OF FREE 
An Essay by Kenton Knepper

I like to share. Ask any of my friends and Students. 

Sometimes I may be said to share too much. These days it might be a bit difficult to tell the difference between sharing and stealing. So I'm going to make it easy for you to figure out, or help others you know realize the difference. If you think you know it all, or heard it before, read this anyway. You will be surprised to learn what "free" has cost you.    

Many of you know I am as passionate about music as I am mentalism and magic. Recently a friend offered to loan me a set of CDs so I could burn some copies for myself. Nothing wrong with that, right? I mean, we all do it.  Millions of people every day do it, so it's got to be fine. I have certainly burned copies of music for friends. Here is how I handle the situation, however.   

I will burn a copy of an artist you are unaware of or are unsure about. If you like the music, then I will buy you an official copy of that CD. If you hate the music or the artist, then you know not to buy the CD. But if you like even one song and choose to continue to listen to it, the artist ought to be paid for their hard work. Fair is fair. Why should they work hard for free for your own enjoyment?   

Do you go to work and ask not to get paid because you are sure that what you do creates results some people like, and therefore you are happy to spend your days working for free? Probably not. The excuse that artists and creators love what they do and they should be grateful to do it is a pathetically irrational excuse. Artists still need to pay for food, housing, clothing and other bills, just like you. Worse yet, artists may love what they do, but they tend to work at it between 12 to 20 hours a day, every day. Are you willing to work those kind of hours, without health insurance or vacation time, and not get paid?   

I didn't think so. But they are all billionaires, right? Not any more, and not from sales.    

So if someone borrows or burns a copy of something, and they like a song or part of an album, I consider that this is helping to legitimately promote an artist. The caveat is that if the person to whom I loan or share a copy of the work likes any part of it, then either they go directly to the artist to buy a copy, or I purchase a copy and give it to the person.    

It's only fair. I don't burn copies of artists I am not passionate about for friends because if they like the album and can't afford to buy a copy for themselves, I buy a copy for the person. Obviously, I want to do that only for artists I am passionate about.   

Why can't I burn a copy for some friends if I think something isn't all that great? If some music, book or program isn't all that important, why do I want to share it? If it is worth sharing it is worth paying the creator for using their life-force to create it.   

If you continually "share" things and never pay for them, but you like the material, how do you think more of that material will ever get made? If a creator can't pay the bills, and takes the many months or years of their life to do nothing else much but create a book, a teaching, a video or an album, do you think they will continue to do that for little or no money at all? Would you?   

I can't tell you how many people thank me for things I know they didn't pay to get. I know that because I know the sort of numbers of sales of my various works. Never mind the people who were supposed to pay royalties to me who stopped after paying me once. I am talking about people "sharing" things that took me months of twelve to eighteen hour days to produce, so they could "share" those months of my life with others for free.   

How long do you think I can continue to do that?    

Let's look at this another way. Recently I got an email from a friend who had alerted the FBI about some illegal file sharing of material including some of my work and those of my friends. I emailed a few friends to let them take legal action of their own, and some of the responses I received back should concern you.   

Here is a response to such "sharing" from some little person a few of you may have heard of too. His name is Larry Becker. What was my friend Mr. Becker's response to such sharing of his work with no thought of him?   

"Thieves like these are the reason I flat out stopped writing for magicians and mentalists." - Larry Becker   

Can you really afford to live in a world where all you can buy comes from new kids with little performing experience other than what looks good with editing in set up situations on youtube? Can you really learn the craft when people such as Larry Becker say that this "sharing" means they won't write or create books for you anymore?    

What does it cost you to lose Larry Becker's mentalism books? Where would we be without someone who, say, gave us The Muscle Pass, Pen Thru Anything, FISM Flash, or peek wallets that light up so you can read the information? Yes, we lost the person who created all of that too, not by death but by choice, thanks to "sharing." We owe a huge debt to John Cornelius for all of these and more. Who has come to fill those shoes? Free shipping? Cool youtube clips? Discount magic shops online?   

IT IS COSTING US PLENTY as we are losing some of the best in our business who refuse to teach what they create because they simply cannot afford to keep losing time and personal life to teach you for free. That's why you see all the junk being sold today instead by others. And you know how much real junk is out there now, don't you?  

 So next time before you "share" think about whether you believe what you are giving is worth sharing. If it is, pay the person who created it so they don't stop creating. If something isn't all that great, then why share it at all? If it is worth sharing, it's worth paying the person who took out a hunk of their lives to create it. If you don't think so, then don't share it.   

It's simple. It is this or we will continue to lose those who have contributed most to us, because they can't afford to spend their lives, literally, for you to share their life for free. Thank You Larry, John, Steranko, and all of you who gave us so much, and are doing much better for yourselves by not giving to magic and mentalism. I am glad you are doing well, but we are the poorer for it.   I, too, hope people will learn by your decisions.    

Kenton Knepper
www.WonderWizards.com


PROFESSIONAL COURTESY 
Submitted by Fred Rosenbaum

Wouldn't it be nice to see rules like this for a magic convention? From a recent Raleigh News & Observer feature.

 

When the International Bluegrass Music Association events begin in full Tuesday, there will surely be groups of people here and there across downtown, making music for the fun of it. Can you join in?

 

Yes and no.

 

Prepare to join a bluegrass jam session as you might a poker game in the Wild West, with some respect, knowledge of the art and willingness to take a chance.

 

At a picking session at the recent Galax Old-Time Fiddler's Convention in Virginia, banjo player Roger Sprung, 82, objected when a singer-guitarist attempt to strike up "I Can't Stop Loving You."

 

"That's country & western," said Sprung, who's played all kinds of music during more than six decades on the banjo. "That doesn't have murder or blood in it."

 

In oblique musician-speak, Sprung was saying that the country song wouldn't fit in the faster, more intense, sometimes morbid bluegrass repertoire. Knowing what kind of songs would be found appropriate is just one of the "rules" for what's sometimes called "parking-lot picking."

 

Here are some do's and don't's for joining a group of musicians playing informally, whether in a parking lot, under a downtown awning or in a hotel hallway.

 

* Be realistic about your own ability. If you happen upon Sam Bush, Tony Rice and Bobby Hicks warming up before the show, don't join in. Just enjoy yourself. However, if the gathered musicians play at about your level, or even a little better, it's probably OK to think about taking part.

 

* Read the signals. If the band's body language and stances are closed, so that there's no way to approach without shoving, it's probably best to move along. If someone looks at you and smiles, or nods to you to come on in, that's better. Avoid bands that are clearly rehearsing prepared material. If they say, "We're rehearsing; get lost," that's a pretty clear signal.

 

* Play in time and in tune. Since the advent of electronic tuners, tuning is easier, so that you sometimes hear the odd spectacle of a group playing perfectly in tune, but otherwise not worth a daggone. Timing is key in bluegrass, as in virtually any style. If you're dragging or rushing the beat, prepare for a glare from someone.

 

* Wait your turn. If you're playing mandolin and there's already a mandolinist taking solos, hang out on the edge of the group until someone gives you the nod to try one. If you're lucky someone will ask, in true bluegrass style: "You want some of this?"

 

* Try to find a part no one else is playing. If you're a good upright bass player, Bluegrass Heaven is your home. If you're a bad, loud banjo player, there's a figure nearby in a red suit and horns, calling you home.

 

* Know the standard repertoire. Even if you are just standing on the edge of a session, it sounds bad if you hit wrong chords to "Live and Let Live" or any such perennial. If you know the words to songs, especially the verses, you're on your way to making yourself more valuable in jam situations.

 

* A final tip, from the noted songwriter and journalist Jon Weisberger: "A bluegrass jam session is a bad place to try out your latest original songs; save them for another time, and stick to the Big Bluegrass Songbook of the standard repertoire."

 

In the end, this is informal music-making we're talking about, so there's no real penalty for breaking any of the above rules. If you feel like joining in, put on your bluegrass deadpan face, muster up the best of your abilities and let the blue notes fly.

 

 

 THE MAGIC CLUB AS A MASTER MIND
An Essay by Skip Way

 In his 1937 personal success book, Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill stated that "No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind."

He called this third force the Master Mind.

Mr. Hill believed that no single individual can know everything there is to know about a particular topic. Therefore, bringing together two individuals with different depths and sources of knowledge creates an entity that is theoretically twice as knowledgeable as the two single individuals – a Master Mind.

We’re not suggesting a science fiction theme here, so don’t expect Crow and Tom Servo* to pop out. Mr. Hill simply defines the Master Mind as the "Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose."

Is the your magic club a Master Mind? No, not really. Our members and their personal goals are a bit too diverse for a true Master Mind. Successful Master Minds are generally smaller select groups of 4-8 members tightly focused on a specific purpose.

However, most clubs have the potential to work as a Master Mind. The club’s growth and success depends entirely on each member – and that means You. Consider these seven blocks for a winning Master Mind foundation:

Clarity of your Definite Purpose – Precisely what do you hope to personally gain from the Master Mind? This specific and measurable goal should be written down and referred to often. It helps you to focus on your objective and the reason you are part of this group. This objective should also be made clear to and in full sync with your group.

Trust and Privacy – An essential key to success is absolute trust in the members of your group. Any breach of honesty and integrity can irreparably harm the group. For us magicians this means respecting the creative property of our peers and never using even the simplest ideas of another member without their express permission to do so.

Courtesy and Respect – The greatest assassin of creativity is found in the words,Yes, but… Always be prepared to listen to what others have to say, no matter how trivial or seemingly irrelevant. Everyone wants to be heard. A successful Master Mind never tolerates critiques that destroy an idea. They focus on constructive discussions. They nurture the ideas and the persons behind them. Complimentary words and gestures with a constructive message go a long way towards ensuring a harmonious and united Master Mind.

Establish Accountability – Holding the members of your group accountable to one another protects your group against stagnation. I belong to a small Master Mind of top international children’s entertainers called The Red-Nose Roundtable created by master clown, composer, playwright, and author David Bartlett. Each year we meet for a three-day professional improvement workshop. We close each workshop with a video record of our professional goals for the coming year. Through the year we track each others progress and offer support where needed. Then, we open each new workshop with a review of those videos and compare our progress. This accountability, the desire to be successful in the eyes of our closest peers, keeps us moving forward. The result: Most of the members are top international children's performers and lecturers while the rest are comfortable as top family entertainers and lecturers closer to home.  A strong support network works.

Give Before you Receive - The Master Mind relies on the knowledge and energy of each member. The member that sits back and offers nothing diminishes the power of the Master Mind. If everyone gives a bit of themselves right at the beginning, then everyone receives something of value right from the start. In my kidshow Master Mind, every member is required to present some new business, marketing or performance idea on the first day of each workshop. It doesn’t matter who gives first; we just want to get the new ideas flowing. Experience has taught us that our willingness to give enhances our ability to receive. Our willingness to help our group members meet their needs insures that they will put in the same, if not greater, effort to help us when our time comes.

Ask For and Receive Help Remember that a Master Mind is a coordination of knowledge and effort. It isn’t enough to sit and quietly absorb the topics shared. A Master Mind requires each member to readily ask for and willingly receive help. Never be afraid to ask. There is no shame in seeking help from valued peers. The potential for failure is enhanced when people keep their problems to themselves. After all, the solution of your problem may benefit other members of the group as well.

Brainstorming – In a healthy Master Mind, asking for help will open a floodgate of ideas and suggestions. Never instantly brand any offered suggestion as impractical or unworkable. Simply jot everything down. You may find that considering an “impractical” idea leads you to a blockbusting revelation.

Bottom Line: Only you can affect a positive change if you feel that the structure of your magic club doesn’t meet your needs. Determine which of your personal goals the club isn’t supporting. Bring your needs to the attention of the club leaders and actively assist in making the change. If some of your personal goals can’t be met by the club as a whole, then consider seeking out those who share your goals and create a smaller Master Mind after each meeting.

The optimal magic club experience is in your hands. Passive involvement will always breed passive results. Find the time to actively support the club that represents your art. Even if you don’t have the time to attend the sessions, simply joining sends a message to other magicians that you support your club’s purpose. When the time comes, they’ll be there for you.

*Shout out to my MST 3000 buddies!



    

  

MAGIC SHOP ETIQUETTE

An Essay by Skip Way

This article was originally written for our youth magicians, however, the points covered can apply to all of us. 

Magic shop owners could fill hours complaining about the less-than-professional courtesy they receive from customers. What errors are you guilty of committing?

1) Magic shops sell secrets. When you pay $20.00 for a $3.00 deck of cards, remember that you're paying for the secret behind the effect. Keep this in mind before offending the shop staff by complaining about buying an "overpriced" item.

2) You can't return a secret. Once you know the secret behind an effect, you can't return the prop for a refund. Be sure that the prop or item you buy will fit your specific needs.

Honest magic shop owners, Like Jon at our Magic Corner Magic Shop, will try their best to steer you away from effects that are above your skill level, so listen carefully and respect their advice. Unscrupulous and online dealers don't know you, so be careful what you buy from them. Once money changes hands, it's yours.

Now, if the effect has an obvious manufacturer's flaw, defect or missing part, an honest shop owner will generally replace the effect or offer a store credit towards another purchase.

3) Magic Shops are not private theaters. Shop owners are running a commercial business with the goal of earning a living. They're not there to entertain you with endless demonstrations of magic effects for your amusement. Their job does not include entertaining you and your friends for hours on end.

Have an idea of what you're looking for when you enter the shop. If you're not sure what you want or need, be prepared to explain it to the shop staff then respect their time and their advice.

4) Demonstrators are not entertainers. The men and women behind the magic shop counter have to learn and remember the handling and patter behind hundreds of effects. They will never be able to perform all of these effects flawlessly or, perhaps, entertainingly. Saying things like, "I saw what you did!" or "I know how you did that!" is just plain rude and may turn the demonstrator against you. Respect the person behind the counter and they could be one of your best friends in magic.

5) Magic Shops are not demonstrators for online purchases. We know! Many magic items are cheaper on the Internet. But, walking into your magic shop to ask for a demonstration then buying the item online is as rude as it gets. Most magic communities are quite small and tight knit. If you do this, the magic shop owner will hear about it sooner or later. The next time you visit the shop, the staff may not be so friendly.

Here's the truth: The magic shop owner has bills to pay. So, buying from the local magic shop may cost you a few dollars more. But, you're saving the cost and time of shipping, you have the hands-on guidance of the shop staff if you need help and you know that your local shop stands behind their products. Pay a little more - get a lot more. It's a fair trade!

6) Magic Shops are not a resource for Do-It-Yourself magicians. Watching a magic shop demonstration then rushing home to make your own version of the effect is just as rude as rushing out to buy the effect online. Don't do it.

7) Reliable Magic Shop staffers know what they're talking about. Listen! The magic shop staffers have forgotten more about magic than you'll likely ever know. They know which effects are easy, hard or impossible to learn. They know which effects are worth their weight in gold and which are just plain junk. Once they get to know you, they'll be able to guide you towards or away from effects based on your skills and interests. If you believe you can trust them, listen to their advice.

This is one of the greatest benefits of a hometown magic shop - They know and care about you. To the online shops, you're nothing more than an email address and a payday.

8
) Magic Shop staffs generally don't have time to watch your favorite card tricks. We get it. You've worked very hard to master a specific move or memorize a killer routine. The place to show off is at your magic club meetings or social gathering. Magic shop staff are trying to run a business. Unless they specifically ask or offer to help, leave your personal magic items at home. On the other hand, if you're seeking help with an item you purchased from the shop, the staff will generally offer reasonable assistance to respectful customers. Do not ask your local magic shop owner for help with an item you purchased on line or from another magician - that's just plain rude.

9) Hide your wallet before walking into tourist centered magic shops! Magic shops that cater primarily to the tourist crowds are outrageously expensive and generally couldn't care less about you as a magician. If you see something you like while visiting, make a note of it and ask your local shop owner about it later. Shops found in amusement parks, vacation-area commercial districts and other tourist centers generally fall into this category.

There are a few notable exceptions such as Conley's Magic Shop in Myrtle Beach. When in doubt, ask your mentor or a more experienced magician for their opinion of the shop before buying!




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THE
SEVEN
HABITS
OF SUCCESSFUL MAGICIANS
An Essay by Skip Way
                       
Successful magicians around the world share seven powerful habits. How many do you share?

1) Successful magicians protect the secrets of magic! Magic consists of illusions presented in a manner that replicates mystical feats. When the secret is revealed, whether intentionally or accidentally, the illusion ceases to amaze. Protect the secret. Remember and honor the Magician's Oath.

2) Successful magicians practice, practice, practice! and rehearse! rehearse! rehearse! Knowing how an effect is done and presenting that effect in a convincing and entertaining manner are two totally different things. As magicians, we must practice our effects and rehearse their presentation until we can perform them in a manner which protects the secret and thoroughly entertains the viewer.

3) Successful magicians respect their props and equipment! Your magic props, books, videos and equipment are very important to you. These are the tools of your trade. Care for your tools as the valuable possessions they are. While you're at it, respect and care for the tools used by your peers. Never handle a prop, notebook or piece of equipment without the consent of its owner.

4) Successful magicians are original! Watch the top magic names. Study those performers who are most highly regarded in your local area. The one thing they all have in common is their uniqueness. They stand out because they are different from common off-the-shelf copycat performers. Add a bit of yourself to every routine, every prop and every thing you do. Be the magician that others want to copy!

5) Successful magicians seek advice from those who have journeyed where they would like to go! The superstars of magic learned their craft from the minds and sweat of the masters who came before. Understand that no matter how good you think you are, the path to success is easier when shared with talented peers and mentors. Ask for help from those who have already developed their skills, produced shows and established a presence in the world of magic. Reach out to the masters who currently have stood on the spot or traveled the path that you would one day like to reach.

6) Successful magicians respect the creative rights of their peers! Magic relies on the fertile minds of creative people to advance. Without these brilliant minds and their willingness to share, new ideas and effects would slowly cease to flow. Stealing another magician's routine or idea crushes this desire to create and share. Selling or buying cheaper knock-off versions of another magician's work discourages the creative process. Treat your peers as you would like to be treated.

7) Most importantly, successful magicians engage their minds, eyes and ears while disengaging their mouths. All too often, we're so busy talking about our own successes, exploits and plans that we miss valuable tips and warnings from knowledgeable pro's around us. To get ahead, close your mouth and engage your brain!



 
     

 
MAGICIAN EMERGENCY KITS
An Essay by Skip Way


Every performing magician should carry an Emergency Kit in the bottom of his or her show table or case. These kits can be outfitted cheapply and easily at most Dollar Stores.  They should fit inside of a small black zipper case for quick and easy access.  A few of the items every kit should have include:

Extra Business Cards and Brochures - If you're actively promoting yourself at every gig (as you should be) you're bound to run out of business cards now and then. Keep a fresh supply handy in your kit at all times. While you're at it, toss in a few extra cards & brochures for your cross-promotional partners such as your local magic shop, referring magicians, business clients, and other services.


Pocket Flashlight
- Many times we're forced to set up in a dark or poorly lit area.  This can make it very difficult to read the input/output labels on your sound equipment, repair small props, or simply find your way around without bruising toes and shins.  Store the batteries outside of the flashlight, if feasible.  Better yet, pack a crank-powered emergency flashlight.

Band-Aids and Neosporin
for accidents. I occasionally scratch or cut myself before or during a show. I also have these handy to help a Birthday Mother during parties. Flesh tone cloth Band-Aids are also convenient for repairing or covering damaged flesh tone gimmicks.

Santizer - Especially if you're a children's entertainer.  As entertainers, our income depends on our ability to perform.  Staying healthy is simple common sense.  Use your sanitizer after every show if you or your props come in contact with someone showing any signs of illness. 

Over-The-Counter Medications such as aspirin, cough drops, nasal spray, and allergy tablets - whatever you're likely to need.  It's no fun trying to give a professional performance through a stuffy nose, hacking cough, or throbbing head.

Deodorant and Antiperspirant
can help keep clients close and your image professional on hot days with back-to-back shows.    

Static Guard Spray and Small Lint Rollers
 will keep you and your cloth props clean, sharp, and fuzz-free.

Instant Shoe Shine
Cloths come in handy between shows to repair and freshen scuffed shoes.  The neutral cloths can also add a quick shine to battered props.

Sewing Kit
including large and small safety pins, needles and thread, needle threader, thread, spare buttons and thimble.  Accidental rips and tears happen at the worst possible time.


Black and Orange Duck Tape
- Props break, but the show must go on. Quite often a bit of Duck Tape can fix the prop long enough to get you through the show!  Orange Duck Tape  visibly covers electrical cords to remove trip hazards.

WD-40 and 303 Protectorant - Wherever you find Duck Tape, WD-40 can't be far away.  Pack a small pocket-size can of WD-40 to lubricate sticky wheels, tight hinges, stubborn wing nuts.  Use small amounts of 303 Protectorant on your plastic props and Needle Balloons to make them glow and protect them from the sun.  303 Protectorant is a safer petroleum-free and silicone-free protectorant than Armor-All available from many marine and camping supply outlets.  

Cellophane, Electrical, Double-Stick, and Plastic Tape - If you use paper and cardboard props in your act, cellophane tape fixes accidental rips and tears.  Good plastic tape helps to tape down and bundle stray cords and makes temp prop repairs without leaving a sticky residue.

Disposable Toothbrush
, Dental Floss, Breath Mints and Gum - I often need to grab a bite between shows. Having these items in my kit can keep me from offending a client with onion breath.

Batteries
- If any of your show gear uses batteries,  keep at least two spare sets of each battery size you use sealed in a plastic bag in your emergency kit.

Fuses
- If you have a sound, system, light system, or  remote electrical devices chances are they have one or more built in fuses.  Be sure to carry spares in the proper size and rating.
 

Pens
- You'd be surprised how many times a client will forget to bring a  pen to write your check or a referral's phone number.

Lighter - Mothers also forget to bring something to light the cake candles.  I found a long fireplace lighter that looks like a giant match - functional and a laugh-getter!  Keep it handy and be the hero!

Clean White Handkerchiefs, Wet Naps, and Tissue Packs - You just never know when these might come in handy. From wiping a sweaty forehead on a hot day to catching a sneeze. Wet napkins are wonderful for a refreshing face and hand cleanse on the run between shows. 

Paper Clips, Rubber Bands, Magnets, Mini Bungee Cords, thumbtacks, and Large Twist Ties, Superglue Single Use Tubes - You won't believe how often these things come in handy.For example, you may be performing at a location with a community bulletin board without a thumbtack to pin your cards.  Mini bungees, paper clips, and twist ties make great temporary cable ties, prop hangers, and hooks.   

Multitool Pocketknife - For those times when a screwdriver, knife, scissors, wire cutter, or pair of pliers would really come in handy to fix a prop.

Spare Parts - Always pack spares of indispensible, easily lost, damaged or forgotten items such as thumbtips, back-up reels, mouth coils, hat tears, card decks, sponge items, flash paper, magician's wax, and other gimmicks - just in case. If you use break-down illusions, always carry spare bolts, wingnuts, springs, or whatever holds your illusion together and makes it work. 

These are just a few of the items to consider for your Magician's Emergency Kit. Create a kit for each of your magic tables/cases and always carry it with you. 

Magician's Emergency Kits also make GREAT gifts for other magicians. Nearly everything in the kit can be found at the Dollar Stores, yet the magician will think it worth a million dollars the first time he needs to use it.


    

 LECTURE ETIQUETTE
An Essay by Skip Way

As with all things in life and magic, there is a certain etiquette when attending a magic workshop or lecture. Let's browse through some of the more common mistakes:

1. Interacting with the lecturer

Most lecturers are happy to talk with you, but there is a time and place. The wrong time to approach any lecturer is during his setup, while he's packing and while he's trying to manage his sales table. During his setup, for example, you could very well distract him enough that he may forget some key component, stack or prop.

2. Don't monopolize the lecturer's time

At every lecture there is usually one guy who seems to think that the lecturer is there to be his sounding board; to stand there and listen to him drone on endlessly about how he does this trick or that effect. Remember that there are other people there to see this honored guest. It's not all about you!

It is perfectly okay to introduce yourself, tell him how much you enjoyed the lecture, how valuable you found his book, etc. If you're buying an item, it is fine to ask him to autograph it and make small talk. Just don't act as if you are the only person in the room and he is there to do nothing but chat with you.

3. "Fiddling" during the lecture

Here's a biggie: during the lecture, please do not continuously riffle your cards or jingle your coins! This is annoying to the lecturer and to everyone around you. If you take out your cards or coins to "walk through" the explanation of a particular trick, that's one thing. Just don't fiddle with them during the entire whole lecture.

4. "Me, me, I, I..."

This may well be the single biggest hindrance to a positive lecture experience for both the lecturer and the other attendees.

When attending a lecture, do not interrupt the lecturer to tell him how you do a particular effect or how you have modified his routine, etc. Only after the performance or explanation of an effect and only if he asks for questions or comments is it acceptable to say, "I do that effect and it always plays well. Thank you." or words to that effect.

But don't go on and on about how you've changed or added this and that and so forth. The other attendees have paid to see and hear the lecturer, not you. Keep the "me, me, I, I" stories for sessions and club meetings or for your own lecture.

5. Video or audio recording and photographing

This should go without saying. ALWAYS ask for permission before you begin to record or take photos! Video recording a lecture is nearly always unacceptable. 'Nuff said.

6. Heckling

Another item that should go without saying. I have seen adult magicians yell out how the lecturer performed a certain effect or smugly interrupt and correct the lecturer. I've also seen magicians intentionally try to sabotage a lecturer's performance while assisting.

I once saw a lecturer ask to borrow a quarter. A wise guy offered him a gaffed coin. The lecturer looked at it and politely asked for a regular quarter. The wise guy did the world's worst switch and handed him back the same coin! The wise guy thought he was being funny. What he was doing was wasting everyone's time and showing himself to be a fool.

If you are so insecure that you can't let someone else have the spotlight for a couple of hours, and you feel like you absolutely have to correct him or sabotage him, do us all a favor: Never ever attend another magic lecture!

7. Group purchases

Lecturers charge a relatively small amount to lecture at magic clubs. The lecture fee generally covers travel expenses and, perhaps, a reasonable profit. Lecturers earn the bulk of their money from sales after the lecture.

At nearly every lecture, three or four guys will huddle together, pull out their wallets and tally their cumulative resources. They'll pitch in to buy a single DVD or book with the idea of making copies. This is completely unethical. It also keeps the truly great lecturers and magicians from ever coming back to your club.

Even worse are the the club officers who tell club members in advance that the club will buy a single copy of everything for the club library - so there's no need for the individual members to buy anything.


Support the professionals who take their time to share their creations and skills with you.

Bottom line: Treat your lecturers and mentors with the same respect you'd expect if it were your moment to shine. Respect is never out of place!

 MAGIC IN THE MOVIES
A Compilation by Skip Way


We're all excited about the number of magic-themed movies hitting the theaters this year. It might be fun to take a look back at a list of magic-themed films across the decades.

The Magician (1898) Georges Melies was a performing magician before he began exploring the realm of film making.
In this early George Melies film a magician stands behind an ordinary table, upon which he suddenly and mysteriously causes to appear a large box, into which he leaps. The sides of the box fall to the ground, but instead of containing the magician a lively clown steps forth who further mystifies the audience by causing the box to disappear, and in its place is seen a fully laid table with a smoking dinner, to which the clown applies himself. The table, however, suddenly disappears much to the astonishment of the clown, who is confronted by the magician in the garb of Mephistopheles. This he suddenly changes to that of a sculptor, and in the background is seen a pedestal with the bust of a young lady, which comes to life as the sculptor applies the mallet and chisel.

The Magician and the Human Pump (1901) George Melies as the magician appears upon the stage with his assistant. Taking a handkerchief from his pocket, he causes an empty jar to suddenly appear under it. He places the empty jar upon the table and seizing his assistant by one arm, begins pumping, when lo! a stream of water emits from the mouth of the assistant and fills the dish. One by one he takes six fishes from the mouth of his assistant and places them in the dish. The assistant is then commanded to hold the jar high above his head, and immediately it begins smoking, and a terrific explosion takes place, which, when the smoke clears away, leaves a flag in its place. The flag is unfolded, when there appears from behind it a huge lobster which suddenly turns into a man. The flag is placed over him, and when it is removed, there are two small children in his place, one seated upon the back of the other. These children are mysteriously turned into different objects until the jar of water finally re-appears with the fish in it. Now the assistant upon examining the jar, is kicked by the magician and sent flying from the stage. The magician then places the flag about himself and mysteriously disappears in the air, ending the scene.

Excelsior Prince of Magicians
(1901)  This is a once thought lost 1901 short film by George Melies who did A Trip to the Moon.  Melies plays the magician in this short film and directs. It shows a short sequence of magic show tricks aided by film negative cuts.

The Magical Hen (1902) Here's one of the funniest  George Melies films ever, and especially a good picture to show an audience largely composed of men. It represents a magician, who walks upon the stage with a large white hen and places her upon a table. He immediately produces six eggs from her, and breaking the eggs one by one into a dish, the contents turn into chickens immediately they have fallen upon the plate, each of the chickens walking about the table in a lively manner. The conjurer then holds his hands over the plate and one by one the shells of the eggs come together, the chickens in the meantime flying back into their places in the shells. The eggs are then returned to the hen one by one and she walks away from the table apparently satisfied. A picture that is startling and at the same time interesting and comical. A great winner.

Extraordinary Illusions (1903) As the film begins, Georges Melies himself is sitting on a table before a painted stage backdrop, wearing an Asian outfit, fanning himself. He rises, and in a blink the Asian outfit is replaced by his magician's tux. He makes a stool flip itself in the air, then change into a box labeled [in English] "Magical Box." From it Melies produces a woman's limbs and separate torso, all of which he drapes onto a clothes rack. At his command a woman's head flies out of the box and into his hand; he places it atop the other parts, and instantly it becomes a live woman. They dance together, then he yanks off her clothes in one sweeping gesture to reveal another outfit underneath. He flings a wig and hat onto her, and they dance once more. When the woman turns herself into a male chef in white uniform, complete with hat, Melies is displeased; he strikes the chef who explodes in white feathers. He reconstitutes the feathers into the woman, but as they take a bow together she turns herself back into the chef. Enraged, Melies strikes the chef, dismembering him. The stage is littered with body parts, which then vanish. Melies returns to his original position on the table and dances merrily as he fades to nothingness, and the film ends.

The Mermaid (1904) Another classic George Melies film features a man in a silk top hat standing in front of an empty aquarium. He pours water into his hat and goes fishing, hooking a small one. He becomes a hobo and catches more and more fish from the hat. Then he starts pulling out rabbits. The backdrop becomes the sea, and a mermaid appears. She flirts and beguiles us. The mermaid becomes a woman who leaves the sea and joins the magician, who becomes Neptune.

The Living Playing Cards (1904) George Melies as a bearded magician holds up a large playing card and makes it larger. He tears up a card of a queen, burns the torn bits, and a life-size Queen of Hearts card appears; then, it becomes alive. The magician puts her back into the card. The same thing happens with the King of Clubs: the card becomes alive. The king removes his costume, and there's something very familiar about him.

The Grim Game
(1919) This is a rather lackluster film, but it holds a powerful place in magic history. The film showcased Harry Houdini's escape skills in the starring role. Ever the entrepreneur, Houdini embraced early cinema. Houdini's mediocre acting skills and very weak plot structure condemned Harry's movies to the shadows. In some ways, perhaps, Melies earlier 'trick photography' lessened some of the dramatic impact Houdini's live performances will have had.

Kentucky Kernals (1934) The Great Elmer and Company, two out-of-work magicians, help lovelorn Jerry Bronson adopt Spanky Milford, to distract him. When Bronson makes up and elopes, the pair are stuck with the little boy. But Spanky inherits a Kentucky fortune, so they head south to Banesville, where the Milfords and Wakefields are conducting a bitter feud.

The Magician's Daughter (1938) News photographer/journalist Bob Wilson is assigned to get photographs showing how a popular local magician, Professor Jasper Murdock, does his tricks. Wilson wrangles a dinner invitation to Murdock's home and takes a keen interest in the magician's daughter, Dolores. He also takes a liking to the family and tells his editor that he isn't going to take the photos. The editor however assigns someone else to the task and when the story is published, Dolores believes Bob has double-crossed them so he must prove himself to her and sort out the mess he finds himself in.

Miracles for Sale (1939) Mike Morgan creates the illusions that magicians use in their shows. While his business is Miracles for Sale, his hobby is exposing fake spiritualists. At the club, he is invited to attend the calling from the other world by Sabbatt, but Judy wants Mike to help her instead. Later that night, after spoiling an attempt on the life of Judy, and meeting Madame Rapport, Mike goes to Sabbatt's hotel only to find the doors chained from the inside and a strange voice speaking. Busting in, he finds Sabbatt strangled. While there seems to be no way for anyone from this world to commit the murder, it is only the first murder. Mike must find the how and why before Judy becomes the third and final victim.

A Haunting We Will Go (1942) One of my favorite Laurel & Hardy films! The boys are assigned to move what they believe to be a corpse to Dayton, Ohio after being asked to leave their hometown. Upon arrival, they discover the coffin has been swapped with that of Dante The Magician's coffin. The boys end working for Dante. The real Dante plays himself in the film. Harry Blackstone Sr also has an uncredited cameo - watch for him! The magic and humor are marvelous!

The Mask of Diijon (1946) A magician neglects his career and his wife while he pursues the study of hypnosis. His inattention causes his wife to leave him for a younger man. The magician them begins to use his hypnotic powers to manipulate people and to avenge himself.

Nightmare Alley (1947) This film portrays the great Tyrone Powers as "psychic con man" Stanton Carlyle who uses his skills for a classic film noire rags-to-riches-to-rags tale. Magic historians will identify with mentalist Stanton Carlisle, also known as Rinaldo (1928-1990). Stanton insisted that this was his real name and that he was not influenced by this Tyrone Powers film to change it.

Houdini (1953) This is the classic film starring Tony Curtis as Houdini. This Hollywood biopic either created or perpetuated some of the most grievous myths and misconceptions about the larger-than-life Harry Houdini. His death on stage as a result of performing the 'water torture cell' is far from fact and they diudn't stop there. Houdini's brush with death in a frozen river and the first straight jacket performance at a magic society dinner were also created from whole cloth. Still, the romance and innocence of the film makes it a must see. Did you know that Dunninger was the magic advisor for the film?

Since we're mentioning Houdini biopics, we should pay homage to two made-for-TV biopics. Houdini (1998) starring Johnathan Schaech and The Great Houdini (1976) with Paul Michael Glaser in the title role.

The Mad Magician (1954) Vincent Price stars in this classic horror pic. Mr. Price plays The Great Gallico, an inventor and performer of large stage illusions who is driven mad when his wife and his best illusions are stolen by his rival, The Great Rinaldi. In true Price fashion, heads fly and bodies disappear as Gallico enacts his revenge. Blackstone's actual buzz saw illusion is one of the key instruments of demise used throughout the film.

The Magician (1958) Max von Sydow stars as a traveling magician named Albert Vogler. Reading reports of a variety of supernatural disturbances at Vogler's prior performances abroad, the leading townspeople request that Vogler's troupe provide them a sample of their act, before allowing them public audiences. The scientifically minded disbelievers try to expose them as charlatans, but Vogler has a few tricks up his sleeve.

The Geisha Boy (1958) Gilbert Wooley (Jerry Lewis) is a second-rate magician who is sent to entertain the troops in the pacific. During his time in Japan he becomes attached to a little orphan boy.

Two on a Guillotine (1967) Cesar Romero, Connie Stevens, and Dean Jones star in this formula horror tale. Duke Duquesne is a very eccentric magician. His two-year old daughter, Cassie, is sent to live with an aunt. Twenty years later, news of her father's death brings Cassie Duquesne back to Los Angeles to attend his funeral. The following day, she inherits her father's estate on the condition that she stay in his creepy palatial mansion for seven nights in a row - alone.

The Wizard of Gore (1970) A magician performs a show where he selects a female volunteer and appears to put swords, drills, and such through them. They walk away and everyone applauds, then they show up somewhere else, dead of the same injuries they sustained in the magic show. Police are baffled and can't tie the murders to the magician. A man whose girlfriend is infatuated with the show begins to investigate on his own.

Get to Know Your Rabbit
(1972) Tommy Smothers stars in this silly comedy alongside John Astin and Orson Welles. A young businessman (Smothers) goes to a magic expert (Astin) to learn hardness and skill with his cynical and greedy collaborators. He becomes a very good tap dancer, but will he be able to get free of his old boss? Welles was an accomplished magician and a strong supporter of the art.

The Hat Act (1973) An itinerant magician appears in a midwestern town and takes as an apprentice a young man from a poor background and teaches him all of his tricks. The young man uses this knowledge to steal money and the magician returns causing the young man to have a dramatic change of heart.

House of Games (1978) This really isn't a magic-themed film, but it features a performance by master close-up artist, Ricky Jay. Ricky appears as a member of a group of con-men in this Hitchcock style thriller. Ricky Jay is no stranger to the big screen, with roles in Tomorrow Never Dies, Magnolia, Buck Howard, The Prestige and many more. This was, I believe, his first venture onto the 'big screen'.

The Escape Artist (1982) Griffin O'Neal plays the teen-aged son of the late Harry Masters, the "greatest escape artist except for Houdini". Danny himself is an accomplished magician and escape artist. He leaves home to join Uncle Burke and Aunt Sibyl in their magic/mentalist act; Sibyl welcomes him but Burke is unenthusiastic. Danny soon finds himself embroiled with the corrupt son of the local mayor (Raúl Juliá). The quest for a missing wallet (pick-pocketed by Danny) leads to the comeuppance of the crooked mayor, and separately of his vindictive and out-of-control son. Along the way, Danny comes to terms with the death of his father, the circumstances of which he did not previously know. How's this for a local connection? The magic items used in the film's magic shop set were leased from Joe Lefler's magic shop!

The Magic Show (1983) At the nightclub Chez Manny, a new young magician, Doug (Doug Henning), and his assistant, Cal, are hired as the headline act. Unlike the washed up no talent, Van Zyskin with his cliché style, Doug is an young ingénue with long hair, casual clothes, and amazing talent. With the rumor of an important producer coming to see the show, the jealous Van Zyskin is determined not be overshadowed by the young upstart. He plans to steal Doug's secrets and undermine his young rival's confidence despite what unappreciated protection that Cal can provide. Can Doug keep true to himself and his art and appreciate his gifts despite what the villain plans? The results are certain to be magical.

Turnaround (1987) Doug McKeon and Eddie Albert star in this magic-themed suspense film. A magician's grandson, his girlfriend, and friends are victimized by a former boyfriend's bike gang. Taking refuge in the grandfather's house, the teens use the magician's props to battle the gang.

Fellini's Intervista (1987/Italian) Cinecitta, the huge movie studio outside Rome, is 50 years old and Fellini is interviewed by a Japanese TV crew about the films he has made there over the years.  A young actor portrays Fellini first arriving at Cinecitta to interview a star. Marcello Mastroianni dressed as Mandrake the Magician floats by a window and Fellini followed by TV crew takes him to Anita Ekberg's villa where the Trevi fountain scene from Dolce vita, La (1960) is shown on a sheet that appears and disappears as if by magic.

Waiting for the Light (1990) A former vaudevillian magician (Shirley MacLaine) moves her straight-laced niece (Terri Garr) and her two mischievous children to a small town. When the two kids get in trouble with a neighbor for stealing vegetables from his garden, the aunt concocts an illusion of ghosts in revenge. Only trouble is the whole town believes it is real and soon the press is swarming the town and a major magic trick is required for everyone to save face.

Lord of Illusions (1995) Based on the novel, this Clive Barker film will appeal to bizarre magicians and carries several historic magical references. Swann, one of the lead character's disciples, uses his magical powers to become a popular illusionist. The filmed magic sequences are well done. Cameo appearances include two noted magic stars: The great Billy McCombe and The Magic Castle. The Castle is presented as a place of dark secrets.

The Great Kandinski
(1995) This 'made for TV' movie features Richard Harris as a retired escapologist living in a nursing home. The story revolves around Kandiski's desire to chase one more secret and do one final show. The escape featured is Houdini's Water Torture cell, which is a testament to the iconic nature of that one illusion. This movie is fun, charming, and serves as a tribute to all magic performers.

Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997) is another fanciful Houdini pic. This quaint film is based on the true tale of two sisters in 1917 England who claim international fame by publishing photographs of live fairies. Their fame draws the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Peter O'Toole) and Harry Houdini (Harvey Keitel).

The Effects of Magic (1998) "The effects of magic begin with misdirection, the rest is in the hands of the magician." Roody, son of a great and absentee magician, runs a costume company with his slightly eccentric mother. But his pet rabbit (who narrates the story) decides it's time Roody had a change from business and entertaining the little neighbor girl with slight of hand tricks he stores in the basement. So, the bunny arrages for him to meet a young woman who could also use a alternate from the way her life has been going. However, all plans are put off when Roody's father returns for the mysterious magic cabinet that used to be part of his act. With all these twists in his life, Roody starts to remember how magic can effect everyone.

The War Magician (2001) This documentary examines the unique story of the British Stage Magician, Jasper Maskelyne, who offered his 'special skills' to the British War Deptartment during World War II.  His unique skills and perspective saved countless lives and assisted in several vitally important missions.

The Disappearing Girl Trick (2001) In this short, a  junior TV producer (Susan Egan) goes undercover as a magician's assistant to expose his method of performing The Disappearing Girl Trick. Her comedic journey changes her life forever, and will make you think twice the next time you see a magician pull a cute bunny out of a hat.

Mandrake: A Magical Life (2001) Mentalist. Illusionist. Escape Artist. Mandrake was not one magician but many. Who was the real Leon Mandrake? This biography draws back the curtain once more for the great magician who mesmerized North American audiences for over 60 years. The embodiment of his comic book double, Leon transformed himself as showbiz changed. From the carnivals and speakeasys to vaudeville, swanky night clubs and grand stages, and finally, to the television screen- Mandrake was a magician for all times.

The Big Fish (2003) This is another film that isn't really a magic film, but it is about magical stories and stories are a magician's bread & butter. This is the enchanting story of a father and son, but it's really the story of stories themselves. It's about all kinds of stories, from the first stories whispered by a father to a sleepy child to the stories a son tells his father to comfort him as he nears death. Facts are fine, but some truths can only be told by fiction, and this movie tells a captivating tale that is a delight for the eye, the heart, and the spirit.

Terror Train (2003) Not a magic-themed movie, but David Copperfield appears alongside Ben Johnson and Jamie Lee Curtis as Ken the Magician in this train-bound slash fest. The victim of a college fraternaty prank gone bad ends up in the mental ward. Four years laterthe frat members graduate and decide to have a costume party aboard a train trip to celebrate. Unknown to them, a killer disguised in the costumes of the victims thins out the crowd.

The Phantom of the Opera (2004) The Phantom is an architect, designer, composer, and magician. He hides his genius behind a mask due to a facial disfigurement and lives in the catacombs beneath Paris's Opera Populaire. Known only as the Phantom of the Opera or as the Opera Ghost, his one companion is his young singing protégé, a soprano named Christine Daae who is drawn to, mystified, and terrified of her Angel of Music whose rapturous voice sings songs in her head while she sleeps and whispers in her ear during the day.

The Amazing Floydini (2004) Floyd is a middle-aged flunk floundering from temp jobs to performing magic tricks in the street to earn a buck. On the day before his 40th birthday, he decides to take charge of his life and pursue his first career as a magician. He meets Lulu, another life wanderer, and steps up his act for adults.  Desperation leds him to supplement his income by incorporating a wallet disappearing trick into the act with Lulu.  Lulu perfects the art of distraction while Floyd perfects his vanishing wallet sleight of hand. Their success becomes so great, the magic career quickly wanes to pursue full time crime.

Now You See It... (2005) Professional magician Mystic Max hosts a reality TV show. It allows the winning three teams of minors, would be-TV directors and cameramen and the best young magicians some of them present, to go on to a final competition at Hollywood's Magic Mansion (played by The Magic Castle).
 
Suburban Home (2005) Receiving little attention from her pre-occupied father, and bored by her schoolmates, Emma longs for a new and exciting friendship. When a mysterious man, Lewis, moves into her neighbourhood she becomes intrigued. Following her curiosity, she discovers that he is a magician and more than willing to entertain her. His is a world very different from her home life: full of magic, music and milkshakes. Together, they embark upon a new friendship. But they haven't reckoned on the misconceptions of the people around them

The Illusionist (2006) Starring Ed Norton as the ideal magician, Eisenheim in this dark story of love and vengenance. Ricky Jay and Michael Webber served as magic advisors. The cinematography is brilliant, the plot nicely involved and with, perhaps a few surprises.

The Prestige
(2006) Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale appear as competing illusionists in a twisted tale of revenge, envy and competitiveness. Ricky Jay, the film's magic advisor, appears in this film as an established stage performer. Michael Caine presents an incredible performance as the builder of masterful illusions. The film is rich with historical references including Chung Ling Soo, The Bullet Catch, The Water Torture, and more. The twists and turns will have you watching this film again and again to see what you missed.

Jeff McBride: A Magickal Life (2006) Documentary - Imagine a magician who reaches into his hat to pull out the rabbit he previously hid there and finds himself not with a bunny but a unicorn. By the time Jeff McBride was a teenager he was appearing on national TV. Since then he has won world renown among lovers of magic and illusion. Whether gracing a stage in Las Vegas or Paris, performing a card trick under your nose, or teaching a master class to already accomplished conjurers, he is one of the contemporary masters of the arts of deception. He is also the follower of a spiritual path based on a form of magic that he says, far from being a deceit, is a path to sacred reality.

Next (2007) Las Vegas showroom mentalist Cris Johnson (Nick Cage) has a secret which torments him: he can see a few minutes into the future. Sick of the medical and government examinations he underwent as a child, he lies low under an assumed name in Vegas, performing cheap tricks and living off small-time gambling winnings. But when a terrorist group threatens to detonate a nuclear device in Los Angeles, government agent Callie Ferris must use all her wiles to capture Cris and convince him to help her stop the cataclysm.

Magicians
(2007) With a script written by David Britland, Andy Nyman and Anthony Owen, this comedy carries us on a funny bone jarring journey through our conjuring world. Competing magicians Mitchell and Webb rattle off classic one-liners, pay tribute to well-known magicians, and shows the world much of the genuine, if somewhat exaggerated, zanyness that populates our art. The UK's Scott Penrose served as the magic advisor for this film. Keep your eyes open for the great Ali Bongo and Pat Page and for the bodies behind the convention dealer stalls. Most of the magic stalls in the film's central magic convention were provided by popular magic dealers.


Death Defying Acts (2007) starring Guy Pearce as Houdini. The film documents Houdini's interest in mediums and psychics as a famed psychic portrayed by Catherine Zeta-Jones tries to con him.

Th
e Great Buck Howard (2008) Troy Hanks plays a man who defies his father (Tom Hanks) and moves to LA to become a writer. To support himself he takes a job as road manager for a fading mentalist played by John Malkovich. The Buck Howard character is loosely patterned after The Amazing Kreskin and you'll notice some of his key routines included in the film. This is a fun film with a host of star cameos.

Geriatric Hat Trick (2008) In this short, an elderly magician comes out of retirement for one last show at the retirement home where he lives. As the show begins, he quickly learns that he is rustier than he thought. He can't seem to perform any of his old tricks correctly. He finally starts getting the hang of it, but when he performs his grand finale he's in for the shock of his career!

Adam Resurrected (2008) follows the story of Adam Stein, a charismatic patient at a mental institution for Holocaust survivors in Israel, 1961.  Before the war, in Berlin, Adam was an entertainer--cabaret impresario, circus owner, magician, musician--loved by audiences and Nazis alike until he survives a concentration camp by becoming the German commandant's "dog", entertaining him while his wife and daughter are sent off to die.  "Adam Resurrected" is the story of a man who once was a dog who meets a dog who once was a boy.

Is Anybody There? (2008) tells the story of a boy and a retired magician exploring life from opposite ends of the time spectrum. Ten-year-old Edward learns to live in the moment and retired magician Clarence comes to terms with his past.

Presto (2008) This short Pixar animated film expects nothing less than poise and dignity  from the great, turn-of-the-century magician, Presto. But, when Presto forgets to feed his rabbit one too many times, well, there's really no telling what to expect - especially when the star magician's ego provokes some clever revenge from his neglected costar. 

Women in Boxes (2008) is the first documentary to uncover the story of the unsung hero behind every successful illusionist: The devoted magic assistant distorts her body into impossible positions while the magician cuts her in pieces, stabs her, sets her on fire, crushes her, makes her disappear, then restores her to life to dramatic fanfare and takes a bow to wild applause. Who are these women who would subject themselves to such torture?  A select group of tough yet feminine stars open their homes, hearts and lives for the filmmakers and give an insider's view of love, life and magic family values. These daring and talented ladies include: Deanna Shimada, Coral (The Impossibilist) Reveen, Pam (Tomsoni and Co.) Thompson, Stacy (The Majestix) Jones, Luna Shimada, Moi Yo (Dante the Great) Miller, Frances (Willard the Wizard) Willard, Princess Irene Larsen (co-founder of The Magic Castle), Gay Blackstone, Dove, Jan (Mis-made Lady)Jones, Lance Burton with Burton's Babes, Criss (Mindfreak) Angel, and in a very rare occurrence, the magician Teller SPEAKS on camera!!!

A Magical Vision (2008) In this documentary, Eugene Burger addresses the question: Why is it that societies need magicians to lie to them?  In 'A Magical Vision,' Eugene and a circle of other thoughtful magicians reveal why, from past to present, mystery is essential.

Magic Man (2008) Short - Victor King is a down-on-his-luck, aging magician who works at a 'classy' local bar. When the bar owner finally gives up on the idea of Victor ever bringing in money for the place, Victor knows he must come up with the greatest illusion anyone around has ever seen before he loses his job and right in time to reach the level of fame he has always desired.

John Calvert: His Magic and Adventures (2009) Produced over a period of nine years, veteran filmmaker Fred Calvert has captured a stunning portrait of this master magician and his Indiana-Jones-like adventures. John Calvert, born in 1911 in a small farm town in Indiana, conquered New York's Broadway as a magician, starred in over 40 motion pictures and, in the course of his world travels, often found himself in dangerous circumstances that called for luck, magic, and a determined effort to survive.

Bernard the Magician (2010) A day in the life of lovable misfit Bernard Kreplonsky as he pursues his dream of becoming a professional magician. Dream-killers wait at every turn - a soul-sucking job, disappointed parents, a birthday party of ruthless 12 year olds - but in a magical twist, Bernard proves that when it comes to following his dream, he takes the cake.

Magician's Pride (2010) In this short, Monty, a small-time magician with a heart of gold, runs into some competition from the egotistical Mandrake. After having fallen in love with his rival's assistant, Monty must find a way to uphold his name and expose the only thing his big-headed nemesis possesses - his pride.

A Man Named Magick (2010) This documentary asks What is magic? Is it only about performing tricks and fooling people? And if so, why would a person dedicate their life to the art of deception? Step into the world of Magick Baley, a professional magician since age 14, and discover his passion for bringing amazement into the ordinary lives of everyday people throughout New York City. Along the way, he describes his philosophy on life and the theories behind his magical techniques. You might just come away with a new perception on reality.

The Magician (2010), an animated short, recounts a series of strange moments that take place at the wake of a man who seems to have scarcely lived. What begins as an attempt to distract a little girl from the death of her father becomes a true spectacle as a man dressed in a tuxedo performs trick after trick, each more unbelievable than the last, culminating in a moment so surreal and implausible that Daryl's death becomes silenced in the minds of all the mourners.

Conversations with Artists (2010) This uncensored 80-minute documentary follows six struggling artists -- a painter, an architect, a street magician, an installation artist, an exotic dancer turned performer, and an ex-con ink pen artist -- through a year of living on the edge. The film shows their struggles for survival, their searches for love and meaning and their attempts to live life to the fullest. We follow our six through trials, tribulations, triumphs and total failures. Through prison, eviction, financial ruin, creative success, standing ovations and totally unexpected and amazing personal transformations.

The Magic Hands of Chance (2010) Filmed in Vienna against the backdrop of a traveling Russian circus, The Magic Hand of Chance, is the true story of a hapless magician whose life is turned around when two clowns trick him into thinking he has been honored by a fictitious magicians' society in America. With every letter of praise, the duped magician throws another party for his comrades (a Soviet custom upon receiving good news). Despite being played for a fool and spending all his meager earnings on vodka and caviar, the magician ultimately wins out, finding both love and the greatest magic of all...belief in himself. World-renowned magician Yevgeniy Voronin invites you into his Circus tent, a world filled with incredible artists, laughter and love -- a visual feast!

Sleight (2010) After being inspired and challenged by a magician's illusion, a con-artist decides to implement the very same elusive principles of prestidigitator's hand in order to pull and create one of the most elaborate and seamless heist of his life. Ina game of chess with people as the pieces, this intense game of 'who's who' leads up to an unraveling mystery of persons, trust and mistaken identity, all while culminating into a high paced chase toward its final monumental, and surprisingly revealing end.

The Emagineer (2010) In this special effects laden short movie, a superhero magician, the Emagineer, flies into the theater auditorium and asks movie goers to shut off all cell phones. Those who don't find their phones or themselves magically disappeared after being zapped by his super-powered wand. The Emagineer then flies off past the big screen to the applause of the movie goers everywhere.

Make Believe (2011) A coming of age journey set in the quirky subculture of magic, this film follows six of the world's best young magicians as they battle for the title of Teen World Champion. Now available on DVD, iTunes, Netflix and Showtime.

The Secret of Backstage (2011) In this short, Jeff is a magician and his son always adores him. When Jeff gets into his house, he hears a secret. So he decides to do his revenge. But when he faces the antagonist, he falls into a dilemma--saving him or not. He makes his own decision and keeps it as a secret--like the secret of backstage for a magician.

The Amazing Cartwright (2011) The story of Alan Cartwright, a distinguished stage magician, whose wife and stage partner of 40 years has died. Alone and grieving, Alan can no longer bring himself to perform, and begins cutting himself off from a world that he no longer cares about. Then he meets Mikey Taylor, a shy young boy from next door who desperately wants to learn the secret art of illusion. It is through this friendship that Alan begins to realize that he still may have a reason to believe in magic.

Lost Magic Decoded (2012) In this documentary, Magician's Magician Steve Cohen explores magic effects so mysterious, they've confounded illusionists for hundreds of years. How can a mechanical man defeat a world chess champion? How can a live bullet be stopped in mid-air? Magic has an ancient history, and Steve Cohen is on a quest to uncover the secrets behind these legendary feats and more.

Pick a Card, Any Card (2012) Documentary - The City of Winnipeg has a rich history in the art of Magic. From the founding of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (I.B.M.) in 1922, to modern day successes like Dean Gunnarson and Sean Fields; Winnipeg and the world of magic have grown together to form a charming relationship. Over a light dinner and wine, Winnipeg magicians Anders, Greg Wood, Gord Gilbey, Ray Starr, Chris Funk and Sean Fields tell stories of Winnipeg magic; how Harry Houdini played a part in the founding of the I.B.M., how Philips Magical Paradise was founded out of tragedy, which Winnipegger worked on Criss Angels "Mindfreak", and other fascinating tales. Featuring interviews with magicians and historians, Pick a Card, Any Card is an entertaining look at this little-known Winnipeg industry, and how it has influenced the entire magic world.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
(2013) A Steve Carell and Jim Carrey comedy. Steve Gray's (Carrey) over-the-top street magic and stunts begin to make Burt (Carell) & Anton's (Steve Buscemi) Vegas stage show look stale. Basically, they've been phoning in their act for years. Faced with this new challenge, the fading superstar magicians rediscover their reason for becoming magicians in the first place. David Copperfield served as the magic advisor for the film and appears in a funny cameo spot. There are lots of little "inside jokes" throughout this film that most magicians will enjoy.

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking. That all changes, however, when he meets three witches, Theodora, Evanora, and Glinda, who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

Play Dead
(2013 -
At Independent Art Theaters) Teller & Tod Robbins present this film version of their live American spook show, an underground entertainment that thrived from the 1930s to the 1970s. It was quite an experience for fans of Grand Guignol, and Teller and Todd Robbins have done a great job of conveying that onscreen. Expect brutal onstage beatings, nubile nudity, and chunks of the show performed in absolute darkness. Even the exit signs go off! Be welcome, and BEWARE!

The Magic of George (2013) Taylor is a 13 year old passionate and independent aspiring magician, living with the dream of escaping his neglectful and broken single mother. George is a grandfather who regrets his past mistakes and has lost all hope of uniting with his family. Taylor and George find each other and through their unique strengths create a magic act with the help of the local magic store owner. Will their act allow them to find the magic within and fulfill their dreams?

Now You See Me 
(2013) FBI agents track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.

The Seventh Son (2013) An adaptation of Joseph Delaney's The Spook's Apprentice featuring Jeff Bridges in the mentor role of Spook. Similar to the Nic Cage's Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Where the Magic Happens
(2013) Executive Producer Lance Burton. This film goes deep inside the magic community, following four professional magicians who have refused to give up the dream that the impossible is actually possible. Their stories are touching, inspiring, and illuminate the power and potential of our craft.

Desperate Acts of Magic
(2013) Jason is not the magician he wishes he was. Bored with his life as a computer programmer, he dreams of becoming a professional magician. Stacy achieved that dream, only to be spit out by the male-dominated magic establishment, leaving her to fend for herself on the street passing the hat to tourists, and picking pockets. They both have something to prove. The Brotherhood of Magicians Competition gives them one last shot at success. But as the sparks fly between them, will Stacy pull Jason into her life of crime?

Do you have a favorite? Have we missed a few? Help us complete this "Must View" list with your suggestions! Drop us a line today!

Skip Way





FINDING YOUR SPOTLIGHT! 
An Essay by Skip Way

How do I become a professional entertainer? As a comedian and family entertainer, I hear this question quite often. Here are a few tips from the pros in the field. Those who are serious about mastering their art will pay close attention and use these tips as a laundry list for launching further research and study.

RECORD! Keep a notebook or voice recorder with you at all times. Immediately jot down or record magic or funny thoughts as they come to you. Don't wait! You WILL forget! Record strange occurrences that strike your funny bone or jog your creative thoughts.

READ! Put down that game controller and turn off that television. Read everything you can get your hands on about the art that interests you most. The written word is power! It fuels your imagination and energizes your creativity.

WRITE! Every performance, no matter how simple, requires a well thought out script in order to achieve perfection. Many performers will balk at this and claim that they never use a script - and they are wrong. If they perform the same effect in the same way performance after performance, then they are using a mental script. If that works for you, fine. However, it is very difficult to objectively study and modify a mental script.

REWRITE! To reach perfection, write it down, study it, rewrite it, study some more, rewrite it again, and so on. After every performance, go back and fine tune your script to achieve better timing, wording, delivery, and staging.

WRITE EVERY DAY! The more you write, the easier it gets. Try to write a new routine, joke, or script idea every day. The best time to do this is first thing in the morning before the bustle of the day crowds in on you. Most of these ideas will be forced and impractical, but every now and then, the creative part of your mind will hatch that one idea worth expanding. Run with it!

MAKE IT YOURS! Understand your on-stage persona or attitude. Is your natural attitude deadpan, angry, sarcastic, goofy, or serious? Match your script to your natural on-stage persona. Insure that every script relates to your natural persona. It takes a well-seasoned pro to leap from one persona to another without losing the audience.

CRITIQUE! Once you've written a routine, perform it in front of a mirror or, better yet, a video camera. Carefully note - that means "write down" - the things about your delivery, timing, and movements that you like. Then go back and write down the things you didn't. Now, replay the video or perform the routine for your practice partner. A practice partner is someone you trust to bounce ideas off, practice new routines with, and turn to for honest, constructive critiques. Every performer needs a practice partner. Ask them to note the things they did and didn't like. Compare your lists and discuss ways of improving your performance. Perform the routine and repeat this process until you are 100% satisfied.

REHEARSE! Work on your confidence and make memorized material seem spontaneous. Practice until you can deliver the memorized material in an easy, conversational tone that compliments your stage persona.

TIME IT! Ask your practice partner to time you as you run through each routine several times. Annotate the average time on the top of your script. Understand that nerves will cause you to run through a routine faster on stage than you will in a rehearsal.

TEST IT! Actively seek out places where you can perform in front of a live audience. Organize a "social safety network" by calling friends you know will be supportive and inviting them to come and watch. This way, even if you bomb, you'll have people in your audience rooting for you. This added bit of support can help you through your nervousness in your first few gigs.

TAKE IT FOR A TEST DRIVE! Nothing will point out which parts of your script need to be rewritten, spiced up, or totally abandoned like a life audience. Street performing, restaurants, magic clubs, comedy club and rec center Open Mic showcases, and bowling alleys are just a few of the places that may give you the chance to practice and fine tune your act in front of a live audience. Don't expect to be flawless in these places. Every beginner needs a place he can safely "suck" until he gets it right.

RECORD AGAIN! Video record every performance every time every where. Watch the videos after each show. Write down what you liked and didn't like. Play the video for your practice partner and ask them to write down what they did and didn't like. Discuss and apply ways of fixing your performance and make the changes to your script.

KNOW WHEN YOU'RE DONE! Quit while you're ahead! Either you've reached the end of your set or you've just gotten a large applause for a joke or effect you know you can't top. This is the time to thank the audience for their attention and for the time they've taken to get to know you. A simple "You guys have been great, thank you," should be more than sufficient. Milking a great show or remaining on stage after you've done your best bit simply makes you look pathetic and seriously harms your image.

SUPPORT YOUR PEERS! Stay for the other acts. You've done your thing, and now it's only polite to watch and support some of the others. You may just learn something beneficial by watching others on stage. Remember also that Napoleon Hill's MasterMind is more than a theory in a book. The more you interact with like-minded peers, the more you personally retain. Supporting your peers - even those with different talent sets - reinforces your personal skill set.

This is a mere blueprint. Just as no routine from a book or DVD fits every person, success routines vary with each person's drive and discipline. Examine all ideas, choose those that work for you, and include them in your success routine.

There are no shortcuts to becoming the best in your field. The quality of the finished product is determined by the time and effort invested in developing it.

     
 STEALING
THE
SPOTLIGHT
An Essay by Skip Way


Stealing the spotlight away from a fellow magician in the middle of his or her performance! This is one of the most common and rudest mistakes seen from new and experienced magicians alike. In fact, rude is too kind a word for such behavior.

When we have the pleasure and honor of being seated in the audience of a fellow magician, you and I cease to be magicians. Let me put that another way - We can not be spectators and magicians at the same time! If it isn't your show, your act or your performance - then you are not the Magician.

I once had a magician at a restaurant table I was entertaining. This magician palmed and hid the card he'd selected in the middle of my routine and refused to return it. He thought he was being funny, but his action ruined my routine and made me look bad in front of the others at the table. He then pulled out a set of coins and began performing in the middle of my set. I simply walked on to my next table. His actions were grossly unprofessional and disrespectful.

While seated in the audience or standing on stage as a volunteer, we are spectators; nothing more - ever! The performing magician is the only star. Let's say that again - The Performing Magician is the Only Star! We are obligated to do nothing that causes him to fail or that might steal the spotlight from her.

When selected as a volunteer to help a magician, follow his instructions exactly. Behave in the manner of any respectful non-magician volunteer. Never ad-lib or announce "I know this trick!" or "I do this trick, too!" Never sabotage his performance for any reason. Treat the performer with the same respect that you would expect to receive if she were your stage volunteer.


    

 
RESPECT
FOR
OTHERS
An Essay by Skip Way
 

As performers, we must be conscious of the message we deliver to our audiences; especially when we perform for children.

For example, spoon and fork bending is a staple piece for many magic performers. In these routines, the magician displays a spoon or fork and appears to bend it through the force of his mind.

Now think about this for a second. We pick up a fork or spoon at a restaurant or a friend's house, visually bend it and leave it in that condition for the spectators to examine. We don't generally tell the spectator that we brought the spoon or fork with us.

Should we be surprised, then, if once the magician leaves, a few spectators try to physically bend one of the friend's or restaurant's spoons with their hands to test the resistance of the metal? Have we not just openly encouraged these spectators to commit an act of vandalism by damaging the property of another?

I recall an effect I performed at a Boy Scout function as a teen called the Knife Thru Coat. The effect looked as though I was actually sticking a sharp knife through the back of a volunteer's suit jacket. Three different Scouts tried to replicate my routine with disastrous results. For this reason, I am very careful about adding destructive routines to my shows.

This moral issue applies to any effect that damages the object used in an effect. It may be a spectator's dollar bill or coin, a volunteer's tie or coat, a book, or anything else. Magicians are often not viewed in a positive light by the general public, and  appearing to openly destroy someone else's property can't be helping our cause.

We're not saying that we, as performers, should avoid these knock-your-block-off magic effects. We suggest that you simply consider the message that such effects leave with your audiences. If your routine destroys something, clearly state that you are using your personal material or replace the damaged item, such as a dollar bill or coin, with an item of the same value.

Think before you harm your reputation and the image of our beloved art.



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