“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.”
– Bill Moyers
Jeff and Abbi are safely arrived in Stockholm for FISM, the international championships of magic and probably the world’s largest magic convention. They are in for a very busy week, teaching 3 seminars, 2 lectures, and appearing on two gala shows. I understand a large portion of the convention is being video-taped for release in various markets around the world, so you may have a chance to see them, along with some of the other 2,500 magicians
Among other things, Jeff is introducing his new Zoom, Bounce & Fly DVD at FISM. This is his long awaited DVD teaching the special techniques he uses to spin cards in the air, bounce them off the stage, and send them sailing into the balconies of so many theatres. The DVD includes a special tool, “The McGrip Tip,” which has been amongst the most closely guarded secrets in magic until now. It will be available exclusively from Jeff at lectures and other speaking events, and on our web site for the next several months (Oh…and, through a special arrangement, at the Fantasma Magic Store in New York City!).
Our big news this week is that we’ve just posted our schedule for classes here in Las Vegas through October of 2007. Many favorites are back, including the two extended summer master classes, which have proved to be among the favorites of both the students and Jeff and Eugene. Please visit www.magicalwisdom.com to see what’s coming, and register early for your next class!
Which reminds me: we STILL have one slot left for the August class. This is the extended class that includes visits to Mac King’s show and Lance Burton’s show, with question and answer sessions with both Lance & Mac afterwards. We’ve all developed new things for our various workshops (I’ve shifted to “Theatre Games & Magical Creativity,” myself). The extended class may not be offered again until next summer, so if you think you want to take one, now is the time to register and get your deposit in! Our July class was certainly among our most exciting and successful yet! All the photos with today’s Muse Letter were taken at that class.
I’ve been fairly busy myself, writing articles for Magic Magazine
(the first one appeared in the August issue, just out!), outlining a book on the creative process for magicians that uses techniques I’ve discovered since I began studying the art of performance over 35 years ago, and trying to keep up with all of Jeff’s varied projects. In addition, I’ll be holding my second “Get your Career in Gear” intensive later this month, from August 25-27th, here in Las Vegas. Attendance will be limited to 5 people (or acts). We’re including a photo session with Richard Faverty, who shoots so many of the Magic Magazine covers, and our students will be spending most of the month preparing themselves for the weekend by reading short articles, then filling in questionnaires for my comment, in order to develop their sense of just what they really have to sell. The idea is that you’ll leave the workshop with the knowledge and materials you need to market and run your own successful business as a magician. You can read more (and register) at: www.yourmagic.com/catalog. Also, check in at the catalog in another week or two to get your own copy of “Zoom, Bounce & Fly.”
I’d like to wind this up by sharing a single technique you can use to help jump start your own creativity – whether it is in developing a new piece of magic, or in any other aspect of your life. I call it “The Contrarian’s Way.” Here’s how it works. Many magic presentations, or other things we need to be creative about, can be broken out into a series of processes. Imagine yourself doing whatever each process in the sequence just exactly as you have learned it. Then stop yourself and ask “How could I accomplish this in a way that seems the opposite of THIS way?” For example, suppose you have learned a new card trick – one which begins with you asking someone to “please select a card.” Can you think of at least two “contrary” ways to achieve what is needed here? Think about it for a moment before reading on.
Okay…here are a couple of ways I thought of: You could hand the deck to someone else, ask them to fan it, and YOU could select the card, without looking at it. Another alternative: “I’d like you to take away half the cards. Okay…now another half…take some more” and so on, until you are left with just one. Both of these are different and contrary to the normal, but I’d like to create a trick that is really VASTLY different. Perhaps I could ask someone to take the deck, fan it, and throw the fan high into the air. I would reach into the flurry of falling cards and grab any card out of the air as they fall to the floor. That should create a bit more exciting effect! How many more can you come up with? Imagine you take every moment in developing your new card trick (or whatever you are working on) and create a new, contrary, way of accomplishing the things you need to? Can you think of how this might be effective in other areas of your life? Maybe at work, or in a social situation? One of the jobs we undertake when we become magicians is that of showing people new and different ways of looking at life – so being creative in how we approach things other than our magic tricks might be just as much part of being a magician as learning a new card trick!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Muse letter. We’ll have another one for you later in the month, with a full report on the happenings at FISM, the upcoming extended Master Class, and Jeff and Abbi’s trips to the various festivals, including Burning Man at the end of the month.
Till then, may all your journeys be magical!