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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wildest place or circumstances ever worked as a magician

A discussion came up about the wildest place or circumstances ever worked as a magician, below is my response ....

Hmmmm .... performing under challenging circumstances will make you a better performer. When starting out I sought out challenging circumstances.

For a year I was a hawker for Magic Zone, basically a kiosk (in malls and heavy traffic tourist areas) selling D-Lites, UFO's, sponge balls plus a few other items. I was getting paid to rehearse 8 hours a day, I learned to draw a crowd there.

After that for 3 years I was part of the live entertainment at a Movie Theater Multi-plex (24 screens). The theater complex was very popular but had patrons waiting upwards of an hour to see their movie. The theater thought live entertainment would be a good idea. We (myself, another magician and 2 stand up comics) did some crazy stuff. At first it was incredibly challenging, walking into a theater of 500 who have been waiting in their seats for 20 minutes for the film to start, they have no idea what you are there for and then try entertaining. After 6 months we were (somewhat of) a hit (patrons would come in and ask for us and the company tried to replicate what we were doing in their other multi-plexes). For the next 2.5 years it was just myself and 1 stand up comic. We created characters and played characters from hit films (launching a side business of appearing as Professor Snape). We were given free rein to preform what we wanted. We wrote our own scripts, became more skilled at improv and did our own costuming. There is nothing like the experience of performing a new routine 25+ times a day, 3 days a week for live audiences. On top of that we had to keep the material fresh as there were patrons who came to the theater every week.

For 6 months I was the featured Illusionist in a 1940's theme weekly burlesque review at a nightclub in Washington, DC. Imagine being the magician on before the very popular featured burlesque artist, in front of inebriated patrons, in a DC nightclub where patrons are paying $40 for a seat. 2- 3 times nightly. I was lucky and it went well.

None of those 3 positions paid extremely well but .....

The key thing is, these challenging situations gave me great experience that you can't get any other way.

Wild? ... maybe ... Rewarding? ... beyond measure

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