Are you still reading this? Thanks!

Wow, this blog still exists, huh? I bet you’re as surprised as I am. So, let’s get caught up:
 
Orion is doing well; he’s almost 8 months old now and roughly the size, shape and weight of a dump truck. Zoe is discovering the wonders and joys of fingernail painting and playing dress up, and Amanda is still the best wife I’ve ever had.
 
So I’ve got that going for me.
 
On the employment front, I’m coming up on my one year anniversary at Intel, halfway through my 2-year contract. At this point my thoughts are already turning to what’s next. There are a lot of changes coming to my area of the fab and I’ve yet to figure out how it will affect me and my ‘career’ with Intel. People have been impressed with the magic-based training videos I’ve done for the internal LeanTV “network”, but I’m not 100% happy with them. It’s the first time that the editing and production is completely out of my hands, and there have been some issues. WHO DOES A JUMP CUT DURING MIDDLE OF A NEWSPAPER TEAR?! Well, Ellusionist, of course, but why would anyone else?
 
That segues nicely into the magic topic…My career as a professional magician is doing as well as I could hope considering I don’t do anything to promote myself. I just did a really fun and successful show at “The Q” for their 2-year anniversary and had another fun but less technically successful show for Camp Inquiry. Lately, I’ve given up on thoughts of becoming a straight, serious mentalist. I really tried, and for awhile it’s what I thought I wanted to do. It turns out that being an entertaining and convincing mentalist requires a certain sense of decorum and seriousness to be truly effective and after 15 years of trying to NOT be an arrogant bastard, I’ve developed that pathological inability to take myself seriously.
As a result, my mentalism act always seemed lacking, and I just didn’t have fun when I tried performing it traditionally. Lately I’ve been mixing more geek magic and comic beats into the show and it’s really shaping up into something interesting. I won’t go as far as to say it’s polished or ready for prime-time, but it is a lot of fun to do. I’m more relaxed on stage and actually starting to enjoy myself. Shocking insight: I think that’s making a difference with my audiences! It turns out that audiences don’t actually enjoy watching stammering, nervous, pretentious numbskulls failing to be Max Maven. Apparently if the audience thinks the performer is having fun, they have fun too.
 
So I’m giving up on trying to blow minds and impress the audience with how amazing I am. Wow, until I just wrote that sentence, I didn’t realize that was (unconsciously) what I’d been trying to do. Self-realization +5. I guess that’s where the main criticism of magic comes from. Grown men on stage acting like little boys saying: “Look at me! Look at me! Look how cool I am!” Ugh. No wonder why so many people think they hate magic.
 
Time to grow up, get serious and HAVE FUN!!!
 
Question for any of y’all who’ve made it this far: If you’ve seen my show in the past year or so, leave a comment and let me know:

1) What was your favorite bit that you remember?

2) What was your least favorite?

 3) What would you like to see me doing on stage?

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6 Comments

Filed under Magic, Other, Performing Arts

6 responses to “Are you still reading this? Thanks!

  1. mike baker

    I find that as long as you’re having fun the audience is having fun to be true. The more we move around on stage the more forgiving people are of mistakes. It’s all about entertainment. I wish I had been able to go to the Q show. We are both part time entertainers and neither of has has seen the others show. Lame. We must remedy this.

  2. Jason

    Scott,

    Trying to blow minds and impress the audience with how amazing you are is, in fact, the point of most performers (and that includes actors, musicians, painters, etc). It’s admirable to chose to go the way that is more comfortable to you, and if there’s any justice it should bring you success, but don’t beat yourself up over trying to “wow” the audience. That is the point, and it’s what makes entertainers necessary.

    But I get what you’re saying…you have to – let me emphasize – HAVE TO feel comfortable doing what you’re doing, otherwise you should be doing something else.

    • I think with magic, the “I’m so cool” aspect is a major part of the stereotype that people HATE. When done properly (Derren Brown, David Blaine, Max Maven) it certainly adds to the effect. However, handled ineptly, it turns the audience against you. For me, it’s time to put that aside for awhile and just have fun, be a little goofy, and surprise them with a moment or two of awe hidden in the weirdness.

  3. amanda

    Well, Orion is almost 7 months old. Not 8. 🙂 And I think it’s very important for you to have fun with what you are doing and to be comfortable. Because like you said, your audience can tell when you’re nervous and unsure of yourself. And it’s definitely not as fun to watch. Maybe next time I can actually come see your show and give you more feedback. 🙂

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