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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Creativity

Sometimes creativity is a 100 ton boulder we try to push uphill with only our minds, other times creativity is a river that flows through us

Random Thought

Am thinking more about writing on the subject of magic, to leave a legacy of sorts ...
Will try here for now, am sure I'll repeat myself from time to time


What is magic? It isn't about tricks, it's about creating an experience for the audience, about connecting with them. Creating and sharing wonder, amazement and fun. Creating a unique atmosphere where anything can and does happen. If the audience spends most of their time thinking "how did he do that" the performer missed the boat.

Magic isn't about "fooling" anyone, not many like to be fooled and the magicians who can "fool" an audience and have them enjoy it are very rare.

Magic is NEVER about the performer (or "magician") however the performer has a huge obligation to the audience. To give them something amazing, something special in a way no one else can.

Friday, December 2, 2011

From Simple thoughts on Routining

A discussion was going on a magicians site and I posted the following, am thinking to write more here so I thought this wouldn't be a bad way to add

My show is a little different by design, in the first routine I perform a variation of the "Floating Rose" (no dancing paper in mine) which is a very strong effect and usually elicits a good response. It appears in the opening routine along with appearing candles, water to wine, in the news (newspaper water pour). It's all part of a story about my date arriving 45 minutes ..... early and I have to magic the table together. It's performed to string quartet music, the floating, flaming then real rose makes a strong statement (I always hand the rose out to an audience member). It makes a statement about me, the show, the magic and what the audience can expect. It's an odd choice but for me it works

I close the show with my version of "Floating Butterflies" not the strongest effect ever but it is very beautiful and that's how I want the audience to remember the show (it does usually get 2 awws or gasps). Big, amazing, beautiful and colorful (plus if children are in attendance they almost always clean up the butterflies, I've seen people post pic of butterflies they kept). Worst part is I once overheard an audience member after the show saying "I expected him to produce real butterflies" I don't think the magic is that strong and it does give me an idea but .......

As for transitions, I'm always speaking with the audience into the next effect, leading them into it and there is a flow and connection throughout the show. I'm not comedy club funny and know it so I don't do straight up comedy but I can be humorous and that comes through a few times.

I have that problem with ebb and flow, it can't be a constant rise but I never want a piece that isn't strong or good enough to stand on it's own outside of the frame of the show. So the show becomes sort of layered and textured, with maybe softer spots or a change of tempo. Helps keep the mind fresh, both mine and the audience. You can't listen to the same beat (even house or rave music, which I don't understand) without loosing attention.

The only thing I wonder about Brian is if a performer has a few card tricks to group them together in the show. I guess for some it would be ok but I've seen say 3-4 card tricks bunched together in a show and the show started to lose me a little then. It also might have to do with the presentation and the effects that were chosen.

and that's the short of it from Illusions by Vick

Friday, November 25, 2011

Why? Performing arts ....

Often the first thing that comes to mind when seeing a magician perform is ..... why? Why are they doing what they are doing, what are they trying to communicate, are they reaching me in some manner? Do they make me think, feel, laugh? If not then why not? That's part of the challenge with a lot of magic, there is no why, no logic, no story, no reason, to attempt to engage the audience, to capture their imagination and hearts, even with a simple plot .

Magic is a PERFORMING ART, it is LIVE THEATER. Too often it's just someone standing there doing something I'm supposed to be amazed by. Look at the big box tricks of a typical Vegas show, if there is no build up or story then why are they sawing a woman in parts for the 12,000,000,000th time? How am I supposed to care if they catch fire, get blown up or suffer dismemberment if I don't care about them first?

There are a very few manipulation acts that can entrance you and amaze you with with just their manipulations. Rocco Silano comes to mind. Even so his work has structure, a flow, it has heart and watching Rocco you can't help but like him. The average magician would benefit with more thought to the why of what they are doing, look at it from the audience point of view. Unless you are there is no reason for you to be on stage. For 98% of performers the audience doesn't care how good your sleights are until they care about you.

We live in an age of CGI where ANYTHING is possible on the movie, television and computer screen. Magic must capture the attention of the audience, engage them on some level, emotionally or mentally. We as magicians have an advantage television, movies and computers don't! We are there live with the audience, we have to build on that, take advantage of it. Not ignore the possibilities and just do a bunch of tricks strung together with no heart or logic.

Think about the best and your favorite magicians, why are they your favorite? Chances are it's personality and the effects they choose to allow that personality to come through. Great magicians consider that when structuring their show, when choosing material to present.



That's why everything Illusions by Vick does on stage has a story wrapped around it, even if it's just a homage to those who went before. I want the audience to be amazed, to laugh and have a great time but I also want them to think and feel, to be engaged emotionality and intellectually. I've said it many times but Edward Norton as Eisenhiem in the movie "The Illusionist" had more emotion in just one arm gesture than many magicians do in their entire show

For magic to be taken seriously as a performance art magicians MUST get better at performance skills and realize it ALWAYS is about the audience and the experience they share and create and NEVER about the magician. If you are a magician and not doing this.............. you're letting your audience down, all the magicians who went before and will come after and worst of all your are letting yourself down

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some magicians are real Jerks! and idiots

Sorry I don't blog more often. Fortunately this month of October has been one of the best months for me performing and professionally.

Something bothered me last week and I want to take a minute to share or vent about it. On Monday October 24th I attended a lecture at Denny and Lee's featuring Sean Taylor. Sean is 0utstanding in his work (mentalist, comedy and magic), his experience and his teaching.

Two local magicians sat in the front row starting talking so loudly they were disrupting the lecture. So much so that Sean looked/leered over at them but they didn't seem to get it. Hey JERKS, I got a news flash for you, you both are local small time magicians, whatever you had to say doesn't compare with the information Sean Taylor was sharing!
Are your skulls soooo thick you don't get it??!! You both are barely working, the lecturer is in demand all over the world. I'll spell it out, what Sean had to say was important, valuable information that could have helped you become better, craft a better show and increase your income. Your little chit chat was more important than learning about the art and ways to increase income??

I had a modicum of respect for one (who should have known better) of you until that night and guarantee you lost out by being idiots. I wasn't the only one disturbed, you were so rude and dense you didn't get it when Sean looked/leered at you, nor when people in the audience shot dirty looks your way.

Here's the kicker, one of the two jerks yacking said something to the effect of "I can't make enough money in magic, I make my money in mutual funds"
(think you were exaggerating about the mutuals but not about the lack of income from performing magic)

It's no wonder why you can't earn a living performing magic! You can't even recognize an opportunity to get better at your craft or to learn (Sean Taylor has some very viable routines and concepts which he shared, audience tested material that will play very strong for the right performer)

Eventually the two jerks shut up and they didn't totally ruin the lecture but I'm left wondering about why they were there, about disregard for common courtesy (if they needed to talk so bad they could have went to the back of the lecture hall)




Yeah, magicians can be real A&**#*($ ,
I'm first in line to say I am (when in the right place I'll freely speak my mind about other performers, good and bad.See Maryland Magicians.com for an example)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

WOW, sometimes it all goes right and how to get there

Have been very fortunate lately, don't want to jinx it but the last 3 performances have been great, a lot of fun, wonderful audiences and went really, really well.

In part because of speaking with Denny Hanney of Denny & Lee's Magic Studios about occasional challenges I run into performing. It felt like my performances while good weren't always consistent, some felt like they went great and others were ok. Denny asked me to look for a common thread in the shows that I felt were ok. Turns out there was a common thread, I didn't have total control over everything going on at the venue and the entire situation. Denny told me I have to take control if that is what I think is wrong ... and he as usual is right

Sometimes as a performer due to last minute changes or other factors we are thrust into challenging situations (if you think you can always control everything in every venue, well I wish it were so), for example a few months back at a fairly high profile benefit I was schedule to perform close up for 40 minutes and do a 20 minute stage turn. I was to perform stage after speeches. Well, the speeches ran long and the "DJ" (who offered to run my sound through his system, I'll never do that again) had mic problems during the speeches and when I hit the stage .... no music. I had to start quickly so as not to lose the guests and didn't have time for him to figure it out. After a very frustrating two minutes I ended up doing my set without music. After I finished the DJ (who had the stench of alcohol on his breath) said to me "They didn't even notice you didn't have music" AGGRRR. Never again!

Soooo the last few shows have been great, I took total control over the situation and had great audiences. Two of the shows wrote wonderful testimonials and thank you letters.


Will I be thrust again into challenging situations? Yes without a doubt. Am I better equipped to deal with challenges thrown my way and respond to ensure the best show every time? YES!

I watched a (talented magician) performer yesterday thrown into a tough situation, 30 minute set in an outdoor bar setting (humidity is never a magician's friend). His set had to be pushed back 30 minutes due to unforeseen challenges (nothing to do with him or his show). He had about half the crowd interested (those closest to his stage set up), about half just kept on talking or whatever. It came to me, what would I do to take control....... I think I might try walking to the back of the seating area and do something very visual, quick and amazing. Maybe a fire piece or a sword swallow, something to get their attention and grab them into the show. Will it work? While I hope I never have to find out my best guess is I'll be in a situation like that someday again.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hiring a Magician ~ Stay Away from Philip and Henry

For Birthday Magicians, Party Magicians
Magic Shows & Magicians
Stay away from ~
Philip and Henry

Pay for a magician you don't get to choose??!!
WARNING ~ Philip & Henry also advertise
Under the name funmagicains.com

Before you invest hundreds of dollars (or more) for magic and entertainment
Please read this page and save yourself time & money.


With today's economy and gas prices every dollar counts so we want to show you the Philip & Henry agency booking practices and why you may not get the magic show you think you are!

Philip & Henry won't tell you they charge you top dollar, then bid your show out to the cheapest performer!

Here is the proof
http://www.magicwanted.com/bids.html
Cheapest Magician Gets YOUR Show
Where they ask magicians to bid low to get work, possibly at your event!
Is that what you want at your party??!!
whoever the cheapest guy is after you pay $298 - $950 or more!!

That Birthday performer you are paying $389 for (thinking you are getting a $389 show) often gets paid $125 (sometimes less).
You are paying for a $389 show but receiving a $125 show?!


A quality magician can't perform for $125 as gas, a car, insurance, consumables, equipment, investment in books and lectures can cost more than $125.
For $125 you might get some guy who bought $50 worth of poor quality, cheap tricks 3 months ago and is borrowing his mother's car. He might have put on a clean shirt, maybe bathed (maybe took a cologne shower) and might have some stale gum to cover up the stench of his breath.


Ask Philip and Henry who will be performing at your event?
For local shows they can't tell you!
Because they haven't shopped your party to the lowest priced performer yet.
Do you really want your special event farmed out to whoever will do it the cheapest?
When you pay $950 (or more) shouldn't you get a $950 show?


Please think about this for a minute
If you hire someone from Philip & Henry you get stuck with whoever they send you.
Shouldn't you be able to choose the performer for your event?
See videos of the performer and speak with them?
Make sure they are the right for for your special occasion
Would you hire a band without hearing them?
Would you hire a photographer before you see their work?
Magicians aren't interchangeable, there are different types of shows and different skill levels
Do you trust Philip & Henry
To choose the magical entertainment and magician for your special event?!

No need to go through filling out forms and being repeatedly called and emailed
Here are the Philip & Henry price lists
Corporate Adult Events
Adult Magic Show (30 min) - $750 ,
(40 min) - $850,
(60 min) - $950,
Mingle Magic: 1 hour - $489, 2 hours - $789, 3 hours - $989
Company Trade Show: 1 day (6 hours each day) - $1,800, 2 days - $3,000, 3 days - $4,000
Brand Name Exclusively with Performers - $2,500 - $38,000

Recently a corporate client contacted a known magician directly after being quoted $950 and an offer of a $350 upsell from Philip & Henry for a 60 minute corporate close up show.

The known magician crafted special illusions exclusively for the performance that incorporated the clients services, mission and focus of the celebration, providing the client a custom entertainment experience for their event (at no extra charge)!
The client got a better quality show from a known performer, impressed their bosses and saved the company money


Philip & Henry Children's Birthday Show Prices
40 minute show Birthday Magic Show - $289
Birthday Magic Show + 1 Large Illusion - $589
Birthday Magic Show + Learn Magic Workshop (Additional 20 min) - $348
Family Magic Show (Children & Adults) - $389
WHY MORE FOR A FAMILY MAGIC SHOW??
SHOULDN'T THE ENTIRE FAMILY
TO BE THERE TO ENJOY AND CELEBRATE?!
do the adults have to leave the room?
Would you trust someone Philip & Henry sends alone in a room with your children??

The entire family should enjoy the performance, to be with each other, enjoy that special time and make amazing, once in a lifetime memories.


Philip & Henry Prices for School Shows
Up to 80 Kids - $279
2 Shows: 80 Kids - $479
Show: Up to 160 Kids - $379
2 Shows: 160 Kids - $679
Show: Up to 400 Kids - $479
2 Shows: 400 Kids - $879
Workshop: 1 hour (Max 25 kids ages 5-12) - $279,
2 hours (Max 25 kids ages 5-12) - $479
Mingle Magic: 1 hour - $279, 2 hours - $479
1 Large Illusion - $300
AGAIN WHY IS THE FEE MORE FOR A LARGER GATHERING?
The more the merrier, more laughs, more fun, more audience members to connect with
and include in a special magical experience
* The term kids is from Philip & Henry
We prefer students, guests or children




Philip & Henry claims all their magicians are trained and perform the same show
About their Magicians
"Specializes in screening and training magicians to put on a fantastic
Philip & Henry Magic Show in your local area at a fair price.
Sets out Professional Guidelines and Standards for the Magicians,
to ensure the safest and highest quality of talent"


That's not true as anyone calling themselves a magician can become part of the P & H network
Right Here http://www.magicwanted.com/application.html

Truth is Philip and Henry provide NO REAL TRAINING
P & H do try to SELL TRAINING TO MAGICIANS

Go with a local magician, someone you can really talk with and stay far away Philip & Henry

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Magician's Creative Thoughts


As a magician and entertainer it is important and critical to the show that the audience is engaged by and very interested in the experience or story I'm sharing as opposed to just looking at the effects that are taking place.

The experience and/or story are there to support the magic but are key element to creating entertainment and not just a "look at me and the tricks I'm doing, aren't I cool" sort of thing.

See More at Illusions by Vick

Friday, July 22, 2011

a Magican's Resume

Just updated so I thought to post it here

Illusions by Vick
Vick Dias Gisin



Ellicott City, Maryland 21043
(C) 443-540-9631
Shows AT illusionsbyvick.com
http://www.illusionsbyvick.com


Mission Statement - An artist and entertainer who’s chosen medium is performing magic. It’s my calling (and profession) to accompany you on a one of a kind journey, creating astonishment while delivering enchantments for you to contemplate and appreciate. To create an experience that engages you and encourages you to think and feel. To share something that touches you in the now and leaves you with you something to consider in the future. From a place where anything can happen and the ordinary can become the incredible. Wrapping interesting and intriguing stories around incredible effects thereby creating the experience we call magic (all while a smile plays around your lips).

Experience – 11+ years professional performing experience and intense study in the art of magic. Have been extremely fortunate to perform numerous public and private shows. A small sampling of recent clients include the British Embassy, B & O Railroad Museum, Mercedes Benz, The National Zoo, Alliance Fran├žaise of Washington, Mechanical Contractors Association of Maryland, 20’s & 30’s Going Out Group, Herndon Festival, IDT Telecom, World Battery Recycle Trade Forum, Southern Maryland Hospital Center and John Hopkins.

Professional performing experience includes some very challenging and rewarding performance situations. For 3 years I was the lead entertainer at Muvico Theaters (now Cinemark) a 24 screen multiplex with an approximately 6,400 patron seating capacity in Arundel Mills, Maryland. Was featured doing warm up with movie going patrons, performing up to 25 times a day, 3 days a week. The entertainment was magic based and included skits, stand up comedy, character acting and story telling. I brought to life many leading characters from featured movies for patrons’ entertainment including Professor Snape, Willie Wonka, Captain Hook, Pirates and various medieval characters. We created all our own material including scripts, costuming and staging. While it was a great experience I left after 3 years as I had accomplished all I felt I could in that venue.

For 6 months of 2008 I was the featured illusionist for the Golden Triangle Cabaret on M Street at Club Ozio in Washington DC. The Golden Triangle Cabaret is a 1940’s theme Burlesque Review. While the show was being performed weekly I was performing two or three 10 to12 minutes spots of magic during each performance. The featured burlesque artist left and the show moved to a monthly performance schedule so I chose to leave the ensemble.

In 2011 am most often performing the Illusions by Vick stage or parlor show at various venues both public and private. Run time is approximately 45 minutes.

The Illusions by Vick show has been fortunate to play many venues which include but are not limited to the Oakland Mills Auditorium, Hillwood Museum, Harmon Center for the Arts, B & O Railroad Museum, Baltimore Harborplace Amphitheater, Grand Atrium, Magooby's Joke House and numerous public auditoriums, nightclubs and theaters. Everywhere from Mercedes Benz Dealerships to the Great Ape House in the National Zoo, beautiful assisted living communities with excellent theaters that easily seat 200 guests to performing as Professor Snape in the "dungeon" at the Annapolis Bookstore.

A short description of self, study and influences- Unique (aren't we all), resourceful, responsible, truthful, determined, hardworking, adventurous, occasionally charming and reasonably well spoken. I’m driven by a sincere desire to elevate the art of magic and to help return the art to the lofty standards and high regard it was once held in. Am always learning and eager to learn more. The works of Sam H. Sharpe have been a huge influence on my thought process regarding magic and performing (as well as the Fitzkie Trilogy, "Our Magic", Tommy Wonder, Robert-Houdin and Henning Nelms "Magic and Showmanship"). There are many schools of thought and great ideas.

Have been incredibly fortunate to be given guidance by an enigmatic figure (an actual card man) whose name I obviously cannot mention and to whom I owe a huge debt and gratitude. Also the very talented and respected Denny Haney has been kind enough to assist with direction in the art (and putting up with my questions). Jeff McBride was generous enough to help with one of my pieces. As part of my continuing education I often attend lectures, some of my favorites being Joanie Spina, Banachek, John Carney (twice), Darwin Ortiz, Michael Ammar, Howie Schwartzman, Christian Painter and David London. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have worked briefly with Joanie Spina and she made a huge, positive impact on my work. She is an amazing talent, director, teacher and humanitarian.

Much of the influences on my performing come from outside of the world of magic and include film, literature and music. Create something that engages minds so they think and feel and you have created art


What you receive when hiring Illusions by Vick – All the experience, determination and talent go into creating, performing and providing you and your guests with a unique, sophisticated and unparalleled entertainment experience. Every performance is more than just my dream; it’s my name and reputation on the line. More than that it’s also yours. How well I perform and the enchantment around the effects is the art. How well you and your guests enjoy it and will have Illusions by Vick back next year, the years after that and recommend Illusions by Vick is part of the business. I understand the importance of both the entertainment/artistic side and the business side and am able bring them together. I have to succeed at both for us to be satisfied. Anything less is unacceptable. When you pull back the curtain and peek you see that sometimes show business = 10% show + 90% business.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Washington Post Article about Smartphones, aps and magic

On Sunday an article ran in the Washington Post which I was interviewed for. While I only had a one line mention in the article
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/magical-iphone-put-to-use-in-actual-magic/2011/07/15/gIQA6FqSKI_story_1.html here is part of the email I sent to writer Michael Rosenwald before the interview about Smartphones, aps and magic

Yes I'd be glad to share information and perspective on why I don't use technology in my work. I'll give you an overview here, a lot of it has to do with performing and presentation.

One of the keys to presenting good magic is to keep it from becoming a simple "trick" or puzzle and to keep it entertaining (why much of what I present is in narrative from that the audience can relate to) and make it an encompassing experience. Presenting a puzzle which many I-phone type aps or other magic aps do is a lose-lose situation for a magician.

If it seems like a puzzle the audience feels a challenge to figure it out. If the audience figures it out or feels they did that's not really magic. If they don't figure it out and still feel it is a puzzle the audience feels they deserve an answer, their focus becomes "how did you do it" as opposed to being entertained by the experience. Sort of like looking at the answers for a crossword puzzle when you can't find the right word.

If you show the audience a performance of magical entertainment that they become emotionally invested in, that stays with them. If you show them a tech trick it's just passing eye candy. They take nothing away from that experience.

Technology can also remove the human factor in performing entertaining magic (the audience has to like or at the very least have some emotional investment in the character performing, think about a movie, if you don't feel about the characters in some form the movie doesn't work), it can too easily become a "look at this, isn't it really cool" presentation as opposed to a human interaction that is amazing.

That all being said there are performers like Marco Tempest (who bills himself as a techoillusionist) who are doing amazing things, but he is an exception. The usual having a ghost or card show up on an I-Phone is too much like a "trick" or puzzle and not enough like an entertainment experience.

The focus while performing should be on the entertainer and not a piece of electronic equipment. If I'm showing a "trick" on my phone, who is doing the magic? The performer or the phone? Who's show is it? The magic has to have a source.

Kind of do we want to present Shakespeare or do we want to play a video game? Both have their place as entertainment but it's too easy to slide into simple tricks with a lot of technology instead of a real, emotionally moving (and I include humor in emotional investment) human to human entertainment experience. I want the audience to be moved or invested emotionally in some way. Doing it with technology can make it even more challenging and if not handled well adds another barrier to reaching that goal. Can you really decide to "like" a piece of equipment?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I really like this one, an on line magic trick

Click here to see a cool magic trick
It's worth taking a quick look at, sort of unusual
It's rare that I call something a trick but you'll understand when you see it

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Magic would be great, if not for magicians"

I can believe some of the things Christian writes here and it makes me ill

http://enjoythemystery.com/?p=151

This sort of thing leads me to often quote
"Magic would be great, if not for magicians"

Christian & Katalina are one of the best acts working currently
There are both incredibly nice and extremely talented
What makes them so enjoyable besides their obvious love and affection for each other is their presentation

I'll never be thrilled with performance about 70% of self proclaimed magicians, I'll never work the Magic Castle as I will never be a member of the IBM or SAM. I don't agree with their attempts at enforcing arcane ideas and not providing help upcoming performers need

The pity is so few want to be magical performers take the time to study acting, writing or get beyond the "look at me and what I can do" attitude to realize it's really all about the audience