The Bigger Picture

Dear friends:

Tobias here, writing while Jeff and Abigail are back on the East Coast, celebrating at “The Rites of Spring,” an annual gathering that has been going on for 40 years. As they travel, I’m finishing up work on my new book Beyond Applause, all about how to manage and market a successful business as a magician or other independent performer. I thought I’d share two of the main ideas from the book with you today, in hopes they might inspire you, not only in your magic, but in your business, and even in your life.

The two ideas are these:

  1. Success begins with knowing your purpose.
  2. It helps to view things–whether those things are tricks, shows or businesses—as systems.

Let’s start with the first. Why do you need a purpose?

Because if you don’t know your purpose, you’ll simply wander about, like Alice, going nowhere in particular. In fact, many great stories are all about the protagonist finding his or her purpose. Once you’ve discovered the purpose of something, you’ll know how to make that thing a success, and how to measure that success. Purpose gives meaning and value.

It’s easy to talk about purpose, and having a need for one—but not always so easy to actually define that purpose in a way that is both inspiring and actionable. One of the great secrets of designing a business, or show, is clarifying the purpose of that thing. A general purpose can be almost as useless as having no purpose at all. “I want to work to solve world poverty,” is just such a general purpose. It sounds noble, and I salute those who want to do that.

However, “I work to lift villages in India out of their extreme poverty by empowering the people, and particularly women, in those villages to start small businesses. I do this by offering microloans and access to basic business education.” That’s a purpose stated in such a way we can take action on it. If you want money for that purpose, I know what I’m investing in, and I’ll know how to measure your success.

So—that’s just a bit of why purpose is so important, and why I spend a whole chapter in the book on how to discover and clarify your own purpose.

The second idea is that of seeing your business, or trick, or show, as a system. Here’s a segment from the book I particularly liked:

Systems Thinking
I find it useful to think of a business as a living system… a puppy, for example. The puppy’s “product” is the joy she provides her owners. But she can only do that if she is healthy and happy. For that, she needs to be fed regularly. She needs to be bathed, walked, and kept out of danger. She may need regular visits to a veterinarian for shots, vaccinations, etc. She may need training so that she knows what her owners expect of her, and what will make them happy. When people buy pets, they often fail to think of all the expense and responsibility they are taking on. When they don’t feel that the benefit provided by the puppy outweighs all the expense, the deal is not a success. Over time, the owner’s and the puppy’s assessments of whether the relationship is successful or not will shift.

Like that puppy, your business needs your attention to all it’s different needs. If you remember to feed your puppy, but never bathe her, you’ll have problems. If you train her to sit and to roll over on command, but fail to house train her… well, you won’t be getting the maximum enjoyment from that puppy. Your business is the same. It needs you to pay attention to all its different parts and needs in order for it to thrive. Failure to attend to any one of those needs can bring the rest tumbling down, even if all the other aspects are excellent.

It may be easier to see how the systems approach applies to a business, than a particular piece of magic or a show, but I assure you, it does. We’ve all seen an otherwise wonderful piece of magic ruined because the performer makes a bad joke while performing it, or sets up an expectation that doesn’t get resolved. That’s because that particular piece is a kind of organic system, with all the different parts affecting all of the other parts. One of the first rules of directing is that everything matters. The words, the story, the quality of movement, the tone you set, the character of your props—everything! Because it’s all part of the system, and once you’ve learned to see it in that way, you’ll know how to make it better!

Thanks for taking the time to come with me on this little journey of the mind. I hope you find it helpful! Beyond Applause will be out sometime in June—and we’ll be letting you know where you can find it just as soon as it does.

In the meantime, let me draw your attention to some of our news here at the Magic & Mystery School.

Jeff will be appearing this week for a show, lecture and workshop at Smoke & Mirrors magic theater just outside Philadelphia.
Show tickets here:
Lecture tickets here:
Workshop Admission here:

At the end of June, we have our second Magic for Beginners Class, taught by Jeff McBride. In the greater world of education, it’s rare for the real masters of a subject to offer their expertise to those just beginning in the pursuit of that. But Jeff taught this class once earlier this year, and really enjoyed it. So, we are offering the class again this last week of June. If you know someone who has just discovered a love of magic and wants to make sure they are on the right path with their studies, please let them know. Send them here to learn more:

Just after that, Jeff and Larry Hass will be hosting Lance Burton’s Teen Seminar at this year’s I.B.M. convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jeff will also be a featured lecturer and is performing on the gala show—and as a special “value added” event, will conduct one of his “Super Session” workshops late Saturday night. Make sure you sign up for that early if you’ll be attending the convention! You can sign up for this in advance by emailing Simone at

That’s all for now. Watch this space for more in just a couple of weeks—and enjoy the summer weather!

Best wishes.

Tobias Beckwith

Magical Words & Magical Worlds to Inspire You

Something to Consider Seriously
Over the past year, I’ve lost a few great people in my life. This reminds me how precious our connections are… so here is my heart-song to you, my friend.

My intention is to inspire you, and to stay in touch with you each month, each year.

The action I take is to keep in touch with you each month with my Muse-letter. This page is a special place for us to meet and to share magical inspiration.

The magic we make together only happens when we meet on this page or at one of the many magic events I create and host for you.

You have a choice.
You can stay safe and do the things you always do…
Or you can join me on a magical adventure.

An Important Question for You
What inspires you?

What is your passion – your dream? I’d love to hear about that! Can you share that vision with me? Tell me about your inspiration and what you want to accomplish in life.

When will you do that? Please, do stay in contact with me, and tell me about your passion, your magic, your inspirations.

When you can, please send me an email! I’d love to hear what is happening for you! Just a few words from you would do my heart good… are you out there? Here is my personal email to make it easy, ok?
(I stay off Facebook, so email is best!)

Houdini is still one of my heroes. He reminds us that what is in our brain is our only real limitation! We all “hold back” in our lives–and that is, most often, an illusion–an illusion that cuts us off from experiencing all the richness that life has to offer. As Robert Anton Wilson said…

“We are GIANTS, raised by pygmies, who have learned how to walk in a perpetual mental crouch!”

Think about that for a moment friends…and let’s use our magic to break free of past programming and habits, and stand up tall! Really, the only thing that holds us back from “living the dream” is our own brain.Change your thinking, and you can change your life.

Sometimes we all need help changing the way we limit ourselves…that is where a good mentor comes in.

Five Reasons Why Spending Money on Experiences Makes Us Happier Than Buying Stuff 

  1. Happiness over material items quickly fades.
  2. Experiences define your purpose and passions.
  3. Possessions don’t contribute to social relationships.
  4. Moments are more memorable.
  5. Experiences introduce you to a whole new world.

See the full article here

Are You Ready for a New Experience?
If the answer is “yes,” then take a look here at the various worlds of magic you can share with me. If you could pick only one, what would it be? hmmm!

A Magical Divination: What is in Your Future?
Here is something you can do to bring more magic into your life! Just click on a random link below and enter a magical world that just might be in your future. Try any one of these:

All info at

7:30pm Close up magic and mentalism of Kent Axell

8:00 pm – Your Master of Ceremonies – Tim Wise
Jeremy Michaelson – Award Winning
Manipulations – Parasol Act
Jarol Martin – Original Magic & Mystery
Wes Jarlson – Magical Connections
David Gabbay – Direct from The Magic
Castle in Hollywood!

9:15pm – Your Master of Ceremonies – Will Bradshaw
David Gabbay as “BIJAN” the Magi
Jarol Martin – Magic with a Latin Flair
Bizzaro – Always Something NEW and Original
Nathan Phan – Direct from Masters of Illusion!At The WONDER-BAR
Scott Steelfyre – Die-Namic Deceptions
Tim Wise – Master of The Magic Castle Bar Magic
Close up Magic and Mentalism of Kent Axell

10:00 pm – Tim Wise is your MC
Will Bradshaw – Lights up the Stage
Miz Charlamay – Mind Bending Body Magic
Jordan Rooks – Conjuring Creations
Bizzaro – Wonderground… Get ready for BIZZ-AR-O!
Jarol Martin – Illuminating Illusions

PLUS:  Taylor Lloyd, Jordan Rooks, Photography by Sheryl Garrett. Bar Magic with Zack Pattee, Scott Steelfyre, Corey Rubino, NEW Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow with Morganne Tarot, Alan Scott, Live Art with Areeya – and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!

See you in Vegas or on the road!
Jeff and Abigail


Today’s musings are contributed by Abigail McBride. Enjoy!

Greetings Magical Friends,

I’m not here to try to sell you anything, or to try to make you believe in anything, or to convince you of anything at all. I’m just here, with you, right now, in a state of presence, of paying attention and being aware. I’m allowing myself the gift of uni-tasking, just doing one thing, and right now. That one thing is reaching out to all of you, to each of you, to say what a wonder each one of you truly is.

By some amazing coincidence, your ancestors encountered each other, and through a dance of chance and genetics, through the ages and across the world, you came to be here now, alive, breathing, and with a mind that is sharp enough to make sense of squiggles on a screen.

Somehow, life brought you into connection with us – an uncle pulled a coin from your ear; an aunt gave you a Golden Book of Magic; you saw a magician do something mind-boggling on TV – and the desire for magic came into your life… and somehow, over time, that led you to us, to be here, now, reading these words. What a wonder!

The Master, Eugene Burger, often spoke of there being “fellowship across differences” in the House of Magic with many rooms, and I continue to be delighted that, regardless of religious background (or lack thereof), of political alignment (or apathy towards), of style of magic we perform (or don’t), we are all here together, in good company, in the shared enjoyment of magic. What a gift to be part of this community, to be connected to so many (almost 15,000 of us) reading this, now.

Sometimes, I am floored with gratitude.

I hope to see you all soon, either here at the Magic & Mystery School, or online in our virtual school, or at our monthly Wonderground show.  Until then, know that I am here, part of your circle, and happy to be connected.

Wishing you the very best of everything,



Finding Your Path to Mystery

Finding Your Path to Mystery

Do you remain “teachable?”

I’m so glad I made the decision years ago to seek out mentors! It has been a blessing to have been coached by Larry Hass, Tobias Beckwith, and of course our Master mentor, Eugene Burger. I can’t imagine what my life would be without these amazing teachers!

All I can do with this is to hope to “pass it forward,” perhaps to you!

Who is your mentor? If you don’t have one–you need one!

Why You Need a Mentor

  • A mentor keeps you focused and on your career track.
  • A mentor can cut YEARS off your learning curve
  • A mentor gives you creative and emotional support in challenging times.
  • A mentor can bring out the very best in YOU
  • A mentor believes in YOU and your vision.
  • But wait! There’s more!…/10-reasons-why-a-mentor-is-a-must.html

Where Can You Find a Mentor?

If you are a magician and you want to find a mentor, here are a few suggestions.

  1. Your local Magic club.

There are hundreds of Magic clubs worldwide. I.B.M., S.A.M. and many other local magic clubs exist in just about every city in the world. Members of these clubs have years of magic experience to share with you.

  1. Mystery School Online Classroom

You can join us in our online classroom and interact and discuss magic. One recent training session featured Losander, teaching levitation systems for close-up and stage. Many of our members and faculty also teach magic and encourage and mentor the students in our online classroom. Go take a look at

3.   Skype Mentoring What will supercharge
your magic performance & business?

“No matter what your level of experience, these sessions are the best 100 dollars you will spend in magic.” – Victor Benoun

4.    The Residency

If you would like personal training at our school in Vegas we can set up private classes for you. We also have a new residency program with 1, 2 or 3 days and evenings of one-on-one training. Whatever you want to explore and learn, we have the team to take your magic to the next level.

So come to Las Vegas and train with me personally for as many days as you desire, anytime you want. Call Abigail for more information 702-450-0021.

Wonderground News: April 19, 2018
The Kent Axell & Will Bradshaw Show!

We keep experimenting with new format. And April’s WONDERGROUND will break new ground with a special event and a Las Vegas headline!

Special Event!
Mentalism, Comedy, Drama and Mystery

8pm – Direct from New York City
The Kent Axell & Will Bradshaw – 2 Man show!
     Mentalism, Comedy, Drama and Mystery

9pm – Will Bradshaw is your host
Jordan Rooks – Storytelling Magic
Jungle Josh – Magic with a Twist
Kent Axell –  Mentalism and Magic Direct from NYC

And at the WONDERBAR
Tim Wise – A Magical Game Show
Scott Steelfyre – Die-Namic Skills

10pm  – Tim Wise is Host
Will Bradshaw – Fire-Flower
Allie Sparks – A Passion for Fire
Jordan Rooks – Modern Enchantments
Jungle Josh – Exotic Enchantments
Xavier Mortimer – Wondrous Waters

My hope is that you find your mentor, and that their wisdom and help will make a world of difference in your work, art and life!

Be inspired,

« Older Entries Next Entries »