“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain
For once, I’m at a loss for words.
Tobias asked me to write something and, to be honest, I couldn’t think of anything to write. My whole world these days is sales and marketing, but most of what we do just isn’t applicable to entertainers.
Luckily for you, some of our customers work in fields that magicians could learn a LOT from. In particular, I think about people who are in the professional speaking business.
Enter my dear friend Gretchen Breuner.
I still remember our first phone call. Gretchen started out as a speaker, and did quite well, but found out that her real talents were in three areas necessary to building a speaking business: prospecting, sales and (ultimately) finding, hiring and training people to do most of those tasks for you.
So I asked if she had any tricks up her sleeve that might work for magicians. As always, she came through!
Be careful: this is ninja level stuff.
And… if you’re interested in even more tips and tricks for getting more work, especially if you’re doing (or wanting to do) speaking engagements, a great place to start is with her eBook:
How To Get More Speaking Gigs
Hot Tip on Doing Research and Prospecting for Magic Gigs
After having a number of private clients all wanting help in getting speaking gigs, I wanted to share a few tips on how to effectively research and pitch for magic gigs, since many of the same strategies are used.
When looking for gigs, I would get extremely curious, and begin to really dig around the speaking industry. I’d ask myself, “How can I use LinkedIn or other forms of social media to find speaking gigs? Where do event planners hang out, online and offline?”
LinkedIn was a fabulous tool to find more speaking opportunities for my clients, and likely for your magic gigs too.
For example, I would put in “speaker” up in the search field to see what popped up. Not only did LinkedIn give me a long list of speakers but, when I clicked on “Groups,” I now had 722 results of speaker groups. These speakers – and these groups – are a perfect way to work backwards, keeping the end goal in mind.
What do I mean?
I would click on the speaker’s name, and that took me to their profile. From there, I could often find the speaker’s personal/business website. On a speaker’s website is a list of where they have spoken in the past. Now I have a list of great leads, on a number of different events. Each speaker may list every event or appearance they’ve recently completed, thus creating a trail of speaking bread crumbs for you to follow.
So, in your search, put Magician in the search field. From the list that LinkedIn will produce, go back to each name and click on their profile. From there, just like with a speaker, click onto their website (if provided). Now, continue to work backwards and see where these magicians have performed. They’ll want to tell you all about their successes, which generates a fabulous “magic” trail of gigs for you to now have. Note these magic gigs down on a spreadsheet and start your pitching from there!
Also, look at the Groups, specifically related to magicians, entertainers, kid parties, team building etc. That too is a great way to prospect for more magic gigs.
I did the same thing with Facebook and got equally valuable results.
All these results from being resourceful, and you can do it too!
Learn the simple secret to becoming a master of time and space!
“In order to be a master of time and space you must get to the space on time.”
– J. Magnus McBride
The REAL secrets to success!
What are the REAL “secrets to success?’
Today I will share with you what I feel are some of the most important secrets that I’ve learned over the past 57 years! It starts with something my dad taught me very early on in life.
John Strong McBride was my father. He passed away many years ago, but left me with some great life lessons and a philosophy of his work ethic.
On my 10th birthday he gave me a Timex watch… I had always wanted a real watch. It was a “grown up thing!”
My Dad gave me the watch and said:
To be early is to be on time.
To be on time is to be late.
To be late is to be left behind.
I carry those words from my father with me every day and share them with my friends and students.
If you know me well, you know that I am always early…sometimes an hour early and sometimes a full day! I think it is one of my secrets to success…just showing up a little early.
I will share a few more of my REAL secrets to success…read on!
What is Smart Work?
THE REAL WIZARDS SHOW UP FIRST & LEAVE LAST!
This is a lesson I learned at The Burning Man art festival.
My friend and teacher Gary Stadler is a wizard. He is also the first one to show up at an event and always—always–the last one to leave. I learned so much by watching him work. He did not have to work hard, because he worked smart…he always used what we now call “life –hacks,” special ways he invented to get hard jobs done in an efficient way.
The wizards are the cool guys who don’t mind “putting in the work.”
The wizards get the work set up.
The wizards put all of the work away.
Focus On What is Most Important in your Life!
For many years I was jet-setting from city to city to perform on TV shows. Each week a new city! I would arrive in the city, go immediately to the TV studio, shoot the show and fly out in the morning…I almost never had an opportunity to see the TV show, let alone the city I was visiting. Now I always stay a few extra days in each city and my life has a new way of savoring each experience. Now I spend time focusing on what is most important in life
Would you like to know what is most important?
The following short video is an old story told in a new way. I’m sure you will learn from it!
Love & Gratitude are the new “Fame & Fortune.”
I am very blessed to have a life that I am able to share with my friends and magic students. I love the time with Abbi at home and am grateful for the many magical lessons I have learned, and I LOVE teaching and sharing those life lessons. Here is a breath meditation that Abbi taught me. It is a perfect stress reducer during days of hard work. Just read the directions below for 10 breaths!
“Work is Love Made Visible.”
– Kahlil Gibran
I am focusing on love and gratitude for the amazing Las Vegas magic community that we are part of. All of us at the Mystery School love the work we do. It fills us with joy to see our students light up when they learn a new lesson. If you love magic, then please drop us an email and let us know when you are coming to visit Las Vegas. Just reply to this email! We have many ways to share our magic with you! Here is a new way we have developed over the past few years…
Now YOU can be a master of time and space! You can travel to Las Vegas- and never leave home!
I love creating new ways to share magic with my students. Some of them cannot get away from their work but would love to study with us. Now we have a new “Skype mentoring program.” Now I can share magic and life lessons with you on your home computer or phone!
I love teaching over Skype. This is your invitation to join me at The Mystery School from anywhere you are! Take a look!
AMERICAS GOT TALENT winner Mat Franco at a recent McBride Master Class sharing his secrets of his success with our students
WONDERGROUND NEWS – HAPPY 9TH ANNIVERSARY!
January 2017 – Doors open at 7:30
Our team works so hard every month to bring a new and exciting show to our friends. The WONDERGROUND players make their love visible every time we come to work! When you are in Vegas, you must celebrate with us! We have the biggest magic party in Las Vegas.
Now you can join us and be part of the fun!
Hint: Arrive early to get a good seat!
THREE ALL NEW AND DIFFERENT SHOWS!
7;30pm Strolling magic with Miguel & Taylor Lloyde
Allen Scott will do tarot readings, Live-Art by Areeya!
8pm Tim Wise is your MC
Jeff McBride – New Magical Creations
David Groves – Adventures in Mystery
Niels Duinker – Juggling Sensation
Scott Land – Amazing Marionette Artistry
9pm Close up and Stand up show
Tim Wise at the WONDER-BAR
Jeff McBride – Panto-Mime & Magic
Steelfyre and his Curios Collection
David Groves – Magic Castle Star Performer!
10pm Tim Wise is your MC
Allan Abbott – Wings & Shadows
William Bradshaw – Progressive Illusion
Scott Land – “The puppet man!”
Stephanie Castellone – Twists it up!
Niels Duinker – The MOST amazing juggler !
PLUS: Photography by Sheryl Garrett. Bar Magic with Zack Pattee. Scott Steelfyre, Corey Rubino, NEW Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow Alan Scott, live art with Areeya – and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!
A surprise performance from The Amazing Jonathan at WONDERGROUND.
I hope to see you soon at one of my shows, or live, or on TV. You can catch some of my talks 24 hours a day streaming on my channel at
Yours in the mysteries of space and time,
Dear Friends in Magic:
Happy New Year! We have a special treat for you today—an article by Katherine Rettke. Katherine has been our volunteer administrative assistant for several years now, and she is a treasure. I know you’ll enjoy her piece, and those of you who have come to know her (mostly through attending Magic & Meaning conferences these past few years), won’t be surprised at the deep heart-centered approach to magic she offers below. Magic should enrich lives, both those of the magician and audience. This piece should help you do that.
INCREASING YOUR EXPERIENCE OF MAGIC
By Katherine Rettke
“…I am always ready to do magic anytime, anywhere, with whatever I have on hand. I do not need to be on stage or prepared in order to delight people and bring magic into the world.”
-Jeff McBride, Magician 24/7
I believe that the magicians who truly live the life of “Magician 24/7” are not only ready to do magic anytime and anywhere, they are also experiencing more magic and living magical lives 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Is it possible that you are at risk of limiting the magic you experience in your own life because you are limiting your idea of where magic can be found? Take a moment to consider the following questions:
I suspect that magicians who answer “Yes” to most of the questions above are more at risk of limiting their experiences of magic. If you are reading these words it is because you have found your way to the mailing list of the McBride Magic Museletter, and I know that means your answers are more likely to be “No.”
Regardless of how you answered the questions above, consider that it is a good idea for all of us to see if we can expand our ideas of where magic can be found, and what it means to be magical. Challenge yourself for 24 hours to find new ways to give and receive magic. Would you still be every bit as much of a magician, able to inspire, amaze and delight others even if you were not providing any sleight of hand during this challenge? Absolutely! Following are four ideas to help you get started:
Idea #1: Look for magic in your environment:
“Behold, there is magic all around us”
– Abbi Spinner McBride, Fire of Creation [CD]
Spend time in nature. Notice lucky coincidences when they happen in your life. Look for reasons to feel gratitude and give thanks.
Idea #2: Look for magic in other people:
“A wizard is someone who has amassed wisdom through experience. Wizards learn to think for themselves and to question everything. They are agents of change, unafraid to explore and think differently.”
– Tobias Beckwith, The Wizard’s Way
Some of the most magical people I have ever met would never consider themselves to be magicians, and yet they create magic everywhere they go. Look for that spark of light in everyone you meet.
Idea #3: Look for new ways to share magical experiences with the children in your life:
“Magic happens when grandparent and grandchild together step outside the everyday world and enclose each other in a world of their own where adventure, discovery, and exploration are commonplace.”
– Charmaine Ciardi, Cathy Orme, & Carolyn Quatrano
The Magic of Grandparenting
Even if you are not a grandparent or a parent, you most likely have friends and family members who have children, or you have community service opportunities in your area which benefit children. The gift of your time can change the life of a child, and how can that not be described as magical?
Idea #4: Look for new ways to give a magical gift to someone else:
“Believe in the magic of kindness.”
-Sonia Harris, Being Encouraged [Blog]
Random acts of kindness, especially when done anonymously, can feel like magic. These acts do not have to be expensive and they do not need to involve a lot of effort to make an impact in someone else’s life.
POLITICS, SCIENCE, ART & MAGIC
“It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need.”
— Alan Moore
Greetings to you my friends,
I do not watch TV… but I do read and search out good news sources. Oh, and I also read the works of Alan Moore!
Lately, I’ve been thinking deeply of how I can better serve our magic community with my performances and teaching. One of the questions that keeps popping up is….
What is the role of a performing artist in our society?
Something I’ve been talking about these days is the limits of magic as an art form. Some people feel that magic performance is only for entertainment — to help people forget their worries. Others feel that theater is a place for speaking out on many immediate concerns of the day. I hear this struggle often with performers young and old. Many of my students want to add more meaning to their magic, and they want to be more that a mere trickster.
Photo by Navarro
IS it possible to stop a revolution with magic tricks? Yes!
Many great magicians have woven important and topical themes into their magic. Legend has it that the “Father of Modern Magic,” Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, was famous for weaving theater, politics and magic together. The history books say that Robert-Houdin was responsible for quelling a revolution in Algeria with his scientific magic inventions!
For the fascinating story of how Robert-Houdin did this go here:
What makes magic “Theatrical Magic?”
When I work with students, I often ask them a few questions. Today I will ask those questions to you for your consideration!
ART + SCIENCE = MAGIC?
So, where can magicians go to learn, in depth and detail, how to effectively create these important theatrical elements?
You can find new ways to present your magic here!
The Big 3: Presentation, Character & Script
These are what I call “The Big 3.” They are the essential elements for creating magic experiences with strong and meaningful impact.
Some theatrical stories do not even have words! The Ranimaker is a piece I perform that has a “silent story.” My presentation is ritualistic, the character I play is “The Shaman,” and the script is about a man who is thirsty and conjures a rain spirit… with unexpected results! I’ve only taught this performance piece to a few of my students. Recently Jeff Christensen won top honors with his new version of The Rainmaker!
Jeff C. said, “I was very pleased to receive two gold medals for my recent performances at the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians. I won a gold medal for Mentalism and for Parlor. A huge thanks to my friend and magic teacher Jeff McBride for all of his guidance and support with my magic.”
Congratulation on your awards, Jeff, and thank you for the kind words!
Taking risks and standing out
George Carlin was a hero of mine. In junior high school, I would listen to his recording of Class Clown, and I memorized many of his comedy routines. I remember chunks of those routines to this very day! I never expected that one day I would be his opening act at THE SANDS HOTEL & CASINO in Atlantic City! What an honor it was to be in his company!
That is why people so love artists like George Carlin and other masters of political satire! Carlin was one of the rare artists who not only entertained us, he also enlightened us! The performance art of magic does not have to be political to be effective theater… as my friend Master Payne reminded me when he said, “Magic needs only to be relevant.”
Politics & Magic
For all my friends and fellow magicians that are having a hard time deciding if entertainment, art, politics and magic can fit together. I offer you the next few examples.
The Amazing Jonathan takes on Trump!
You never know what will happen at WONDERGROUND.
Last month The Amazing Jonathan took the stage and was about to perform his new “Lance Burton Dove act”, when suddenly “The Donald” rushed onto the stage and hilarity ensued. Hats off to Rudy Coby for his dead-on impersonation of Trump! Every month we have surprise celebrity guests!
The Amazing Jonathan gets “Trumped” at WONDERGROUND!
Photo by Sheryl A. Garrett
December 15, 2017
7:30 – Strolling Magic with Miguel & Will
8PM – Abigail McBride – Master of Ceremonies
Miguel Ramirez – An Expert of Reality Manipulation
Lion Fludd – Prepare yourself for “The Hustle!”
Brian Arkell – Unique Vegas Magic
Joan DuKore – Feminine Mystique!
Scott Steelfyre – “Making a point with magic!”
9PM – Strolling and close up magic
Miguel Ramirez – Mago-Deluxe
Bizzaro – Innovative Illusions
Lion Fludd – “The Hustle”- Close -Up Deceptions!
Joan DuKore – A Sensational Sorceress
10PM – Tim Wise – Master of Ceremonies
Circe! – From the TV show “Masters of Illusion”
Will Bradshaw – Theatrical Conjuring
Bizzaro – for him, normal is just a setting on the dryer
Jarol Martinez – “Illuminations,” the magic lamps act
PLUS:Photography by Sheryl Garrett.
Bar Magic with Zack Pattee, Scott Steelfyre, and Iam Creed. NWR Belly Dancers: Abigail, Megan & Deborah, Psychic Sideshow with Mulee Pete and Alan Scott, live art with Areeya – and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!
Now let’s all get off email and Facebook and go see a live show and support performers who not only entertain, but also enlighten!
Best wishes for the holidays!
Jeff & Abigail