Archive for the ‘Artist Interviews’ Category

Artist Interview: Pyro the result of two years’ worth of work

Monday, December 15th, 2014


Artist Interview: Pyro the result of two years worth of work

The device that Adam Wilber saw in an Internet video looked frightening. It was a handheld fire spitter, but it had a mercury switch and was controlled by the level of the arm. Still, the idea took hold: Three months into the beginning of taking the reins as Ellusionist’s project manager, he dived into developing a device that gave him everything he wanted — which didn’t exist on the market then.

“I wanted something that was self-sufficient,” Wilber said. “It could strap on the wrist, it would be comfortable, you could use it whenever you wanted, fire it whenever you wanted, and you didn’t have to worry about a pull down your sleeve or palming something off.”

Two years of work, research and seven prototypes later, that device exists.

And it has caught the Internet on fire.

Adam Wilber’s Pyro Fireshooter has gone viral and earned a crazy amount of reviews from both magicians and laymen. You may have seen it on one of your favorite non-magic sites lately:

The ultimate compliment to Wilber and testament to the device’s success was a sellout of the device’s first run, days after release. The response is a dream come true for Wilber, the author of Creative Magic and creator of the effects in The Working Man.

He talked more about the device, its creation and applications in this podcast interview. Listen to how he uses the device in his own gigs (including a crucial rule you must follow), problems with the first prototypes and how he got talked into sitting in the middle of a fireworks explosion for the trailer.


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Artist Interview: Mat Franco’s “AGT” win was good for all magicians

Saturday, October 11th, 2014


Artist Interview: Mat Francos AGT win was good for all magicians

His plan was to get some footage that he could use for his promo reel, so that he could advertise himself with the phrase, “As seen on ‘America’s Got Talent.’”

But Mat Franco went much further.

The magician made history by becoming the first magician to win NBC’s talent show. Winning over viewers in season nine, he beat singers Miguel Dakota, Quintavious Johnson and Emily West, the band Sons of Serendip and the acrobatic ensemble AcroArmy. And season nine was a good year for magicians, with Mike Super, Smoothini, and David and Leaman progressing far in the competition.

A magician winning “AGT” is no small feat — magicians know that the show has a history of not being kind to magicians. And though that reputation has changed over the last few seasons, magicians were still competing against singers and dancers, two performance fields with their own reality TV shows.

So when Mat said his win is a big deal for all magicians, we say “Amen.” He also said that his win didn’t pull magic out of a dark cellar of obscurity — his win was just the latest chapter in a pretty vibrant magic scene right now, from Darcy Oake making the finals in the most recent season of “Britain’s Got Talent” to the success of “Wizard Wars” on SyFy.

“This is huge for magicians. This is something we all should be feeding from, we should all be getting work from right now … We should all be feeding off this any way can, whether you had a television pilot you were trying to get done, or if you had a gig you were trying to close in your hometown, this is big for magic. I want us all to continue with this momentum to move it forward.”

Artist Interview: Mat Francos AGT win was good for all magiciansMat beat out a talented field of performers with a carefully customized blend of close-up magic and big-stage spectacle. His routines included close-up classics, including an ambitious card routine, cups and balls and an oil and water routine that used a human deck of cards. They also featured intricate stories told in precision with magical effects.

About two weeks after the win, Mat talked to us for a podcast about his career before the show, how it really is a different world for magicians on the show now and what the future holds.


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Made to ‘shake foundations’: Justin Miller’s BOLD Project filled with his most evocative, astonishing effects

Friday, March 7th, 2014


Made to shake foundations: Justin Millers BOLD Project filled with his most evocative, astonishing effects

Maybe it started when he was performing in Las Vegas with Lance Burton’s show at the Monte Carlo. Maybe it was when he delivered his first magic lecture at 13, or managed a magic shop at 15. Maybe it started during his first shows, held in his garage when he was 7.

Justin Miller really can’t point to a time when he hasn’t had a fearless attitude about magic.

“It did not come overnight, but it did come easily for me,” Miller said. “I have no idea why; it just did. That’s not to say that in the beginning, 13 years old or so, that I was not shaking every time I performed for anyone, because I most definitely did!”

The more he performed, the more confident he grew in what he showed. That confidence bred an attitude to try anything and everything in order to get more astonishing reactions.

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Ollie Mealing: Move-monkey is a good goal, but this one is better

Monday, February 24th, 2014


Ollie Mealing: Move monkey is a good goal, but this one is better

We all wear the badge “move-monkey” with pride. Ollie Mealing is definitely one, as evidenced by his work with Control. But if you’ve seen his YouTube videos, his effects are about so much more than doing a move. This is the thought process that helps Ollie create real magic.

I love chasing a new move, generally the more profound it is, the more interested I am in pursuing it – possibly because it leads to a greater sense of achievement or perhaps the idea of an unpredictable journey is too seductive to shake off. Regardless of the challenge, I find it to be a thrilling experience from the start – the discovery, the development, the accomplishment & the resultant new addition to your arsenal as well as new lessons learnt along the way.

Through this addictively satisfying process, it’s no wonder that so many of us consider ourselves as ‘move-monkeys’. While I think this title is beneficial, we should place focus towards becoming it’s older, wiser accomplice – an ‘effect-monkey’.

 

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Ollie Mealing: First impression carries loads of impact for your performances

Saturday, February 8th, 2014


Ollie Mealing: First impression carries loads of impact for your performances

The real work isn’t only in the sleights. It’s in your scripts, your presentation, your demeanor — everything. Ollie Mealing, the creator of Control and Recoil, knows this firsthand. The experience he’s built through performing for corporate clients and working with Derren Brown has given him a sharp focus on all of those points. In this post, Ollie looks at the first impression, the moment that happens long before you get a chance to do a single trick. (photo credit Benji Taylor)

I believe to best achieve an aim, you must consider every contributing step. The subject of expectation is a prime example. By considering the path and process a thought takes, we can intervene along the way and plant tactical seeds to encourage the desired expectation.

With that in mind, those first few precious seconds between performer and audience have always interested me. Upon first glance they’re trivial, forgotten moments, but upon closer examination they provide a foundation for either success or failure — by instilling an impression and consequently an expectation.

To understand how to influence an expectation to our greatest advantage, we first need to understand which factors contribute towards building an impression, of which there’s many. Inherently all these factors fall under appearance — the way you’re dressed, your body language, facial expression, hygiene, the way you talk, the words you use, if/how you shake their hand, if you’re holding anything — in fact anything sensible serves to form a mental image in the audiences mind. Understanding the messages (or subtext) these factors carry allows you to modify each one to ensure you are perceived as you both wish and require — not every situation will warrant the the same impression.

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