David Blaine makes us wonder why is he still alive?
A list of celebrities David Blaine mystifies with his gut wrenching magic include: David Beckham, John Travolta, Johnny Depp, Steph Curry, Dave Chappelle, Drake, Margot Robbie, Patrick Stewart, Emma Stone, and more!
I’ve watched The Prestige enough times to know what magic really is—a combination of illusion, salesmanship, mystery, spectacle and, in this modern era, expert video editing. David Blaine does all these things well and also happens to be a con artist, braver and more bizarre than most of his peers. The one thing he excels at the most, though, is continuously getting people to wonder what the hell is wrong with him and how he’s going to die from this.
By even titling his special Beyond Magic, he suggests that the extraordinary things he does defy categorization and that’s his obvious first trick. The announcer in the intro immediately plays into it, claiming, “This is not only magic. It is the spectacle of the real.” Blaine survives off this wonderment, though he’s aware that most things humans experience can be explained by practical applications of things like math, science and logic, and so he uses them to grand effect as magicians do (the special also refers to him as an “endurance artist”). He’s also very weird and crazy.
Certain so-called tricks Blaine has done (eating glass, holding his breath for 17 minutes under water) simply require him to be bold enough to test his body limits and, more important, to learn techniques that allow him to do so. Others—catching a bullet—require a foolish level of audacity. The first trick he performs in this special (see the clip below) is swallowing wedding rings. He’s filmed doing it on separate occasions in front of celebrities and their family and friends, including John Travolta, David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Patrick Stewart, Margot Robbie and Emma Stone.
After swallowing the ring—and successfully freaking out the participants who momentarily think their ring is gone forever—Blaine shows them his empty mouth and later grabs a wire hanger to retrieve the ring. He asks all the celebrities to pull out the hanger from his mouth. “You want me to pull that. Okay,” slurs Johnny Depp. Somehow, the ring appears on the wire and everyone either screams or stares blankly. “That’s ridiculous,” says Beckham.
There are questions: How did the ring get on the hanger? How much time passed in between when Blaine swallowed the ring and when he obtained the wire hanger? Where did this hanger come from? Why does everyone he performs the trick for somehow have a wire hanger? ’Cause I don’t! Who has wire hangers?!
There are explanations, but I don’t know, and the point is that people pretend to want answers but few of us actually do. We all know by now that Blaine’s appeal—and magic in general—isn’t about the magic itself, but rather stupefying people into believing what the magician is accomplishing is real. That Blaine has duped people into believing he’s a sorcerer is the real trick, from a person who’s learned to become alarmingly good at deception. I love it. Toward the beginning of the special, Blaine video chats with Jennifer Lawrence and does a card trick, after which J. Law further sells his magic skills by telling him he can’t die and, “If you started a religion I would follow it.”
Throughout this special, we learn a bit about Blaine’s process, which consists of deep research and consultations with medical experts who advise him over and over again not to do all these wild stunts, though he never listens. When he talks in his frightening monotone voice about a magician named Mac Norton who called himself a human aquarium, the point is that Blaine wants to learn this, too. “He had the ability to contort his stomach into a home where creatures could live and bring them up on command.” Blaine says he’s spent 10 years trying to “figure out his secret.”
In the special, we see him demonstrating that part of this trick is “overriding the gag reflex,” and he proceeds to get training from a sword swallower. It seems that Blaine has learned because after this segment, he performs a routine where he regurgitates live frogs in front of a group that includes Drake, Dave Chappelle and Steph Curry. They’re all flabbergasted. Knowing that Blaine has learned to swallow swords helps us to understand this and also the hanger trick earlier, but only a little. But anyone who doesn’t know or see any of this background would be like, what the fuck.
The main event of this special and of Blaine’s career so far is the bullet catch, which he did in 2009 in front of a live audience at the MGM Grand Arena. “The deadliest feat in magic is the bullet catch,” Blaine tells us in the special, adding that 12 magicians have died and they were only faking it. He’s doing it FOR REAL, using a mixture of science and fearlessness. “There’s no margin for error,” he says in a voiceover, making sure to sell how dangerous it is. When his friend, who plays the role of the distraught doubter in his circle, asks a good question—Why is he doing this for real and not just faking it—Blaine says, “’Cause it wouldn’t be fun.”
So we see scenes of Blaine at the dentist preparing a mold to help him catch the bullet. And his friend says, “If you do this stunt and you die, it’s the opposite of inspiring the person.” Blaine makes it through and lives, of course, despite having the bullet mouthguard break in his mouth twice. At the end, there’s a creepy convo between him and his friend about mortality and the fact that he might die on stage. “That’s not how I’m gonna die,” he says. “That’s not how I’m dying.” The special suggest there’s a chance he might, though, because it ends with this message on screen: “David Blaine plans on performing his bullet catch as part of an upcoming world tour.”
The one part of this special that freaked me out was Blaine’s mind trick with Margot Robbie. He tells her to think of a memory only she would know, something that Blaine can’t research, and then to find some random word in an article on her phone using search results. He ends up writing the words she’s thinking of (“bunny” and “numerous”) on her hand. There may be something Robbie said in a pre-interview that the show didn’t reveal to the audience, or a crucial portion they removed in editing. Either way, we’re left wondering if Blaine is now, in addition to being a weird magician, also a medium. And also, how is it that he hasn’t died yet.
@clovitoSenior Writer, Jezebel
Source: The Muse
So there seems to be a trend that has started...first it was with flashmobs, then planking, after that came the ice bucket challenge, then the running man challenge, and now its the mannequin challenge. Some of these challenges actually raise money for a great cause such as the ice bucket challenge raising $115 million for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
Well we as magicians have a unique talent that people are fascinated by, so why don't we come up with a challenge that can go viral that relates to magic, but it also would raise money and awareness for a great cause. I feel that the movement has already began with Criss Angel's Million Dollar challenge where he and many others put on show back on September 12th, 2016 called H.E.L.P. (Heal Every Life Possible) which benefited childhood cancer.
I would like to Challenge ALL Magicians to start a H.E.L.P Challenge
Let's take what Criss Angel started and raise way more than just $1 Million!
The H.E.L.P. Challenge is this:
Visit a child in a hospital and have someone video you performing a magic trick for them. You then challenge 3 other magicians to do the same within 24 hours. If they do it, great...they have impacted a sick child's life, as well as everyone watching. You have also helped to spread the cause on social media with the videos you post. If anyone challenged does not do it within 24 hours, then they have to donate $100 to H.E.L.P. Everyone is encouraged to donate to the cause even if you do participate in the challenge!
You can donate here: https://crissangel.com/donations
One of the most important things to focus on when running a entertainment business is to focus on the next season. You must always be planning for 3 months ahead at the bare minimum. This applies for your advertising, for direct and indirect marketing, and many more aspects of business. You see if you are only planning for the events that you have this season, then you can get to the end of the busy time and not enough work for the next season. So it is critical to your business that even in the midst of being crazy busy to continue to advertise and promote and allow the success wave your riding on, to carry you much farther.
So how can you do this?
Well there are only 24 hours in a day and you are only one person so the best way to accomplish this goal is to build a team.
But won't that cost a lot of money??
Not if you do it right...you see you don't have to pay someone an hourly, or a salary rate which will really cut into your cash flow. What you can do is get numerous people doing a task that is time consuming for you do to but offers an big incentive for them. I suggest having interns that get paid by commission per lead that becomes a sale. I would also suggest that the commission be on a sliding scale so that the bigger the sale, the bigger the commission. Think about it like this...it doesn't cost you anything upfront and people are advertising your business for you...if they don't generate any leads then they obviously aren't doing a good job and they won't continue doing the job and your out nothing. But if they are good at the job and the get your more gigs they will work harder and you will be happier because you are working more.
One thing you do have to make sure of is that you know which intern provided which lead...I suggest making every potential client fill out a free quote form and have a mandatory field for them to tell you who they heard about your services. You will also need to make certain that any leads that are generated from those events (simply ask each client how they heard about you.) So that the intern gets continually income from bookings down the road as well. You want to keep that carrot on a string enticing those interns so they will continue to work hard for you. I also recommend having monthly sales bonuses with gift cards to the top intern.
Where can I find an intern willing to work for 100% commission?
It is much easier than you think! You see there are plenty of stay at home moms who want the freedom of being able to work from home. I prefer to pick women who have kids that are in school, so that they have a quite home during the day to be able to call clients without a screaming baby in the background. You can post ads yourself on social media, to local facebook groups, craigslist, put up some flyers around town, contact local churches, etc. The main thing is you need to stay local with your interns, first because you need to be able to meet them face to face and get to know them on a personal level, you should know that on Tuesday's Mary has to take little Suzie to her piano lessons and that is a time when you as the business owner should pickup the slack where Mary isn't available. You must be in control and stay in daily contact with your interns and not just assume that they are doing the job.
I hope these tips will help you to make your business more successful.
How do different seasons affect the magic industry?
Magicians often feel that they are in such a niche industry that the rules of business don't always apply. However, I must disagree here as you are still running a business and it is up to you to run that business appropriately. After all you are your own boss and you make the decisions, thus you set the rules for your clients. That being said it will only work about 95% of the time as you will run into some clients such as universities, hospitals, and other big organizations that refuse to pay a retainer fee, or refuse to sign a contract that has a indemnification clause, while other clients will only pay net 30 days. There are going to be a lot of issues like this that you will run into over the years, but the bottom line is you have to decide if you are willing to work for this type of client or not. Speaking for that 95%, you really don't have to worry too much about this since these clients will be perfectly happy to sign a contract and pay retainer fee for your services.
How can you make your magic business steady all year round?
First you should focus on making more income from each event that you do. This can be achieved by either up-selling the clients with more expensive packages, goody bags, or by offer back room sales for customized merchandise such as magic kits with your brand on them, DVD lessons on magic tricks you teach (or) USB is the newest trend. There are many more ideas for these I could recommend however these are the basics that recommend first and foremost. This additional income will require an upfront investment, but the investment is one that will last forever since the products do not expire and their are companies that can offer you a great Back Room Sales product for an extremely low cost and excellent ROI (return on investment). Check Out: http://custommagickits.com
Custom Magic Kits has a fantastic deal where you can get 100 Kits for $2.00 each including: Magic Wand, Spot Card, 2 card monte, cut and restore rope all with custom printed instructions with your brand and contact info on them. So for a $200 investment you can turn around and sell them for $10 each for an $800 ROI, and it will only take 20 sales to recoup the initial investment. These can also be sold as part of a goody bag, so with 1 party you could easily have 20 goody bags sold. I see this as a tremendous benefit and an easy way to have extra income.
So this doesn't make the business any less seasonal, but what this does do is provide extra income to be able to invest in advertising for the business to help you generate more gigs during the slower seasons.
How do you prevent from having issues with cashflow?
Cashflow is the tripwire over which many apparently flourishing businesses stumble at one time or another. It’s a tripwire that may not be immediately apparent. Think of it this way. You’ve worked out your monthly costs – including wages – and they are more than matched by sales. You are in profit and everything in the garden is rosy.
If you focus solely on the sales/costs equation you can find the day-to-day reality is a bit less comfortable. For instance, if you extend credit to customers by invoicing them and allowing a set number of days – say 30 or 60 – to pay then there will be a gap between a sale being secured and service delivered, and the cash from that transaction arriving in your bank account. Meanwhile bills still have to be paid.
If the money coming in, and the money going out of the business are not aligned, you can find yourself in the frustrating position of hitting or exceeding all your sales targets while finding there is little actual cash in the bank. Suddenly it’s a real struggle to pay those bills. Put simply you don’t have the liquidity you need. That’s why good cashflow management is vital to the success of a business. It is, of course, of paramount importance to keep a sharp focus on costs and sales figures but in parallel, you need to ensure you have the cash you need when you need it.
Cashflow management rules to live by:
I hope you have been able to learn something from this and it will benefit your magic business!
Goals are important, but it's even more important that you stay focused on those goals every day. You should have short and long term goals and your short term goals should be baby steps to getting you to the long term goals. Four years ago I moved from Virginia where I was a full time entertainer, because of personal life circumstances I was forced to leave that life and I moved to Georgia where I knew no one, I had zero connections, and I basically had to start over from scratch. (Not something I recommend to anyone.) I always told my wife that I could do my business anywhere in the world, not really ever thinking that I would have put that to the test. So what I have learned from this experience is that building a name for yourself is a tedious and time consuming process that takes years! I have only been performing as a full time magician here in Georgia for a year. It took 3 years for me to be able to say that I have enough clients to support my family again. Those 3 years were filled with a tremendous amount of hard work promoting my business while I also worked a full time job so I had the income to support my wife and 3 kids. My point in all of this is I had a goal to be a full time magician which was my long term goal. The baby steps to getting me to that goal took me 3 years, but I worked on it every day and I never gave up. And most importantly now that I have achieved that goal I set a new goal and I have been striving to achieve it. My long term goal now is to have my calendar full of events all booked 1 year in advance. Up and until now, even when I lived in Virginia, the majority of my events booked me within 30 days of their events, with a few bookings as far as 4-6 months out. But I never booked a single gig 1 year in advance, yet I heard many of my competitors and even friends were getting repeat clients and even new clients to hire them for the next year right after they finished their event.
So I stopped to think about it and for some of my friends in the DJ business it makes since why they are getting booked a year in advance for Weddings, Proms, and things of that nature. But how are the Magicians getting booked that far in advance? Well the answer I believe is in 2 parts, for potential clients, and for repeat clients. For potential clients, I believe it depends on the types of events that you are marketing to.
For fairs and festivals: The majority of these clients go to an expo where the meet the entertainers (this is typically done in the winter) then they start their planning for their event usually after the 1st of the year. So they are typically planning for a fall festival in January, or about 7-9 months out.
For trade shows: this is a different aspect because the convention itself isn't hiring you but rather the company that is at one of the booths. The conventions are annual conventions, so they know about 1 year in advance when the next convention will be so it's completely conceivable that they would book a magician 1 year in advance.
For schools: I believe it can be done to plan an event for 1 year in advance but in order for that to happen you would need to have proven yourself to the client that you can put on an amazing show (by them having seen a performance elsewhere, or because they are a repeat customer.)
For weddings: I believe it would only be because you wowed the bride and groom from another wedding you attended, or they have met you at a wedding convention.
For corporate: Yes without question I believe you can get them to book 1 year in advance, since the will know product launch dates, corporate outings, company picnics, grand openings, etc. It's all about getting to know the clients and having them love the service you provide, and creating an urgency in the clients mind that if they don't book you 1 year in advance then they won't be able to book you for next years event.
So what I'm getting at is that each market is going to be a little bit different but I believe that I will achieve this goal and I'm taking my baby steps every day toward achieving it.
Quote from Brian Tracy: "When your goals are clear, you come up with exactly the right answer at exactly the right time."
For many years I never considered turning down working a gig, so that I could go to a magic convention. I guess in my eyes I was so focused on providing for my family that I didn't see the benefit of spending money to hear other magicians talk. Well this year I made it my goal to attend as many as I possibly could. Well I achieved that goal and I am so thankful that I did. I have leaned so much from these conventions about so many aspects of entertainment. Not just about new magic tricks I could learn either...though I did learn a lot of new magic tricks as well. One of my favorite conventions was one I didn't even have to leave home to attend, The Magic Masters Summit. I loved how there were so many topics that I had the chance to hear discussed from some of the biggest names in magic. Topics that no one talks about but are tremendously important to the industry. Such as Wardrobe and Costumes, Video Editing, Systems for Contacting Clients, Promo Materials, and much more. At the Atlanta Harvest of Magic I was expecting to learn some amazing magic from the Eugene Burger lecture, but instead I was amazed by his teachings in a completely different matter. Instead of teaching something that is overly complex or requires a tremendous amount of time to practice. He brought out the simplest magic tricks you could think of and performed them in a unique way that was mind blowing. Yes, I knew how the tricks were done because I learned them when I was in elementary school, but the genius part is that there is a concept I hadn't thought of before from his lesson. That concept is that a layman doesn't know what your about to perform, nor the amount of time you have spent learning it, they just watch you perform something and wait to be amazed. So of the simplest tricks in magic performed masterfully are still amazing tricks. You know there are great magicians who have spent a lifetime learning slight of hand, and they do it beautifully. But when you factor in that your audience isn't typically a room full of magicians, you come to realize that your magic needs to be focused on the type of audience you perform for. The KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle I had never really applied to my show before, and after hearing that lecture I immediately applied and the results were incredible. I couldn't believe I was able to mystify my audience with simple magic. With one specific routine, I took Eugene's idea of a shot glass produced from a paper bag and put my own spin on it by building a routine that involved using a spectator borrowed phone, crushing it inside a paper bag, and then restoring it inside of a balloon which they blew up. I took several basic ideas and combined them into a routine that caught the audience as well as the spectator off guard.
Something else that I loved that Eugene said was that it's important to turn down clients and choose the right clients that will better your career. Not everyone who contacts you for an event deserves to have you perform for them. Bad clients and bad gigs do exist, but more importantly some gigs are better than others, and it's critical when talking to clients to ask them the right questions to know if you should do the gig yourself, or if it's better to refer someone else. Knowing when to say No to a client isn't an easy task, especially when money is the motivation. It can be extremely difficult turning down a gig not knowing if another one will come along. But you have to have faith that the Lord above will provide, and he will test you. So these gigs may just be a test to see if you are willing and able to say No. Its not always about the money, sometimes its simply more important that one day is spent with your family and God is wanting you to spend that time wisely. Don't look at it as a challenge to find another gig elsewhere, but rather an opportunity to seize the day. Thank you Eugene for this lecture and advice.
(The Amazing Ziggy)
A magician certainly knows that it is better to give than to receive. I say this because magicians receive the knowledge of how an illusion to perform an illusion just one time, and then the magician spends the rest of his/her life sharing that magic with as many people as possible. Giving the joy of magic becomes an addiction, and for that matter as long as you raise your kids to be into magic they won't have the money to buy drugs! Magic is an expensive hobby, but its is also a very lucrative career if you also understand one very important rule. Magic as a career is a business and must be treated as such. If your are professional magician and your treat it as a hobby then you will never reach your true potential. This is why I am so glad that I decided to get a business management degree from Virginia Tech, and I minored in entrepreneurship. It has really helped me to better understand the ins and outs of how to manage a business successfully. Which I have done for 20 years (patting myself on the back.) I won't say that is has always been easy, many times it was very difficult, but regardless I am still moving forward, and I am happier now than I have ever been.
One of the best moments in my college career that I remember like it was yesterday was my ability to stand in front of a room of hundreds of people without the slightest insecurity or fear of stage fright. This is because at a young age I started performing magic in front of people and it gave me the confidence to be able to go on stage without having my hands tremble, or my voice cracking. So I encourage you to inspire others to consider taking the time to learn magic as it will give you social skills that can become very valuable in your life, not to mention it is also a great ice breaker for awkward situations, or when meeting new people. It has also helped me on many occasions acquire a job as I wowed the interviewer with a magic trick which put me at the top of their list. This is a skill that employers value, you will be a people person, if you can do magic that must also mean you are great at following directions, reading people, analyzing situations, being aware of your surroundings, etc. All these are skills that magic will help you with in life. So what are you waiting for? You need to visit a magic shop, or go online and order a some beginners magic tricks to get you started and on your way.
I will tell you that if you are truly interested in getting into magic I highly recommend a kickstarter project titled: How to be a magician, by a group of magicians called ellusionists. They have created a modern day set of magic tricks that will fast track your way into blowing peoples minds with magic and sleight of hand.
My Name is Aaron Clark and I'm know as The Amazing Ziggy. I've been a Professional Magician for over 20 years performing all over the US and internationally, but mostly for events on the east coast in the Atlanta Area.