As some of you may know, I’m one of the founders of MyLovelyAssistant.com, the internet’s largest repository of magic product reviews. Every product that gets an “official” review on our site comes through me (a couple dozen a month). I sample every DVD. I skim every book. I test out every trick.
For those of you who aren’t magicians, imagine getting a box of books or DVDs or kitchen tools from your favorite supplier every month. They’re yours to keep. All you have to do is tell the rest of the world what you think of them. Sounds cool, huh? Read on, my friends.
Luckily, I have a wonderful team of reviewers (about a dozen of them) that take on the arduous task of reviewing most of what comes in. I keep a few things for myself when they interest me or when I am the most qualified to tackle them.
These days I’m also being forced to keep more junk than I normally would. In addition to the reviews I write for the site, Jeff somehow talked me into doing a review segment every Monday night on McBrideMagic.tv. He has branded them “Kick A** Reviews.” Either the product kicks butt or needs its posterior flogged. People seem to like the hiney-kicking reviews the best, even though I take very little pleasure in ripping apart someone else’s work. But I have to give my audience what they want.
I hear from a lot of magicians that are envious of my position. I get to see all of the hot, new stuff the minute it comes out and I choose what I want to keep. It sounds like a never-ending shopping spree to them.
It’s true that I’ve learned a lot in the past decade thanks to MyLovelyAssistant. I’m still in the lead with 270 reviews. But most of the important lessons have come from the process, not the products. Here are a just a few…
The Best Magic Effect Ever!
I once wanted to write an ad that began with, “Are you waiting for someone to invent the trick that will make you a superstar?” Not gonna happen. The knives don’t make the chef. The brushes don’t make the painter. The tricks don’t make the magician.
The Tyranny of the New
There are times when I’m doing my Mystery School Monday segment and thinking to myself, “My viewers would be better off if they shut down the computer and started practicing.” Of course, I can only say this about my part of the show. The insightful and inspiring segments from my colleagues are priceless. I still can’t believe we’re not charging for this.
But, seriously, why aren’t we all working on perfecting the effects we already have instead of constantly searching for something new?
The Most Valuable Secrets are Still… Secret
We live in a hyper-connected world. Everyone has a voice and the audience can be millions. While I think this is a wonderful thing, there are pitfalls. I would guess at least thirty percent of products I receive are some “new” idea that is actually one or more of the following:
- Something old that’s been re-released, without credit or profit for the originator, and being sold by someone who hasn’t done their research.
- A half-baked idea that was cooked up in a dorm room, shot with a cell phone camera, tested on some drunk friends, and then considered “good enough” to release on a $30 one-trick DVD.
- A couple of flashy moves, deceptive only to a correctly-positioned camera and presented without context, script or premise.
I’m blessed to have spent the past two decades working with and learning from Jeff, Eugene, Tobias and all of the other professionals that are part of the Magic & Mystery School‘s extended family. What we say on the web site and in our ads is really true: The best learn from the best. While many people think that all of the secrets are readily available for free on the internet or a DVD, they’re only fooling themselves. The most important secrets are still passed directly from teacher to student, behind closed doors. The reason they’re called Master Classes is because we’re doing our best to create the next generation of Masters.
So, Santa, here’s all I want for Christmas (yes, he gets the Museletter; doesn’t everyone?):
- The continued and unwavering support of my teachers and friends at the Magic & Mystery School
- The diligence to continue spending at least 30 minutes every day working on my magic, and
- A pony.
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season,
P.S. I realize that was probably the worst preface to a sales pitch ever, but people want honesty these days and that’s what I’m giving you, at least as I see it. If you believe that the best learn from the best, we’ve just created a couple of new ways for you to gain access to our faculty of master teachers.
If you have a magician in your life that is ready to take the next step towards mastery, we have just added Magic & Mystery School Gift Certificates to the catalog. You can find them in the YouRMagic Shop
We’d also like your help testing out a new concept: The Keys to the Magic & Mystery School. Jeff (with a lot of programming from yours truly) premiered the concept during his recent European tour. We’re working on the next phase and have three Keys to offer you for the 2011 Holiday Season:
My plan is to only leave them up through December, 2011. If people like them, we’ll keep working on the concept and create more and better versions for some day in the future.
Thanks, Bryce! I’d just like to chime in to remind you all that while we love the “original” 3-day master classes, we only managed to schedule one of them for 2012 – and it is Jan. 27-29. If you’ve been thinking of trying one of our classes, but may not yet be ready for the full investment of a week, the 3 days class is a fantastic way to quickly raise the level of your magic.
We’ve also just posted our first ever 10-day “Career Enhancement Seminar.” This will be limited to 10 professional or soon to be professionals who want to learn as much about creating their own successful business in magic as possible, in as short a time as possible. Think of it as an MBA in the magic business. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the description of the course it won’t be for everyone, but for those of you that it’s perfect for…well, we promise an enlightening 10 days.
All the best for a magical holiday!