“I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.”
— Coleman Cox
A German woodcut depicting The Saw, published in 1474.
Also the cover photo of Eugene Burger’s Strange Ceremonies (Kaufman and Greenberg, 1991).
2014 was a year of transition for most of the people in my life, myself included. We’re not talking getting a new job or moving down the street. These were major changes in life’s direction.
To make room for new things, old habits and activities have to be sent to the chopping block (execute: to put to death). I learned the hard way this last year that the path to success is dependent on the level of success you’re trying to achieve. What gets us to one level isn’t sufficient to get us to the next.
Change isn’t easy. We work hard to achieve stability in our lives. The idea of quitting behaviors that allowed us to achieve that stability is terrifying. But stability is always temporary. You can either wait for the world around you to change, and then try to catch up, or you can choose to take control of the future and affect the change yourself.
For those who have chosen to walk a new path, 2015 will also be about execution, but following the second definition (execute: to carry out fully, put completely into effect; to do what is required; to make or produce).
The good news is that success is achieved primarily through simple, mundane tasks. Unfortunately, that’s also the bad news. Since we don’t get any instant gratification out of these tasks, we tend to forget how important they are and let them slip. Success can be glamorous, but the path to get there is filled with pretty boring stuff.
[If you want to dig deeper into this idea, I highly suggest The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson. Thank You to my dear friend, corporate speaker Heather Rogers, for sending me a copy.]
For me, 2015 is about giving back and writing in a new language. Over the past 25 years I’ve penned tens of thousands of “sentences” in Assembly, Fortran, C, C++, Java, Perl and PHP (programming languages for you non-techies).
Now I’m switching to English.
After building and operating a successful one-person company, I’m ready to start teaching others how to do it. I’ll be focusing a lot on automation. To me, the whole point of software is to intelligently automate those mundane tasks that lead to success. This frees us up to dream even bigger dreams and allow more time for the things that are really important (friends, family, health, travel, _________ [fill in your own]).
To your future,
P.S. If you want to follow me on this journey, I’ll be posting regularly on my blog and sharing additional ideas, both mine and those of my business colleagues and mentors, on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
Greetings Magical friends,
All is well in Las Vegas. As we look towards the holidays, it reminds me how much Santa depends on his helpers to make dreams come true.
My question to you this season is who are your helpers making your dreams come true?
Who is on your team?
You are not in this alone. You have our help to get you to the next level of excellence! Some say, “It takes a village.” At Mystery School we have evolved a “Dream Team” of magical people to help empower our goals and your goals too!
“Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.”
Our Expanding Universe….New Additions to Our Dream Team
Over the years you have met many of our team in these Muse letter pages. Now, I introduce you to our newest team members…..team members who have stepped up this year to add new dimensions to our expanding circle of magic.
Jay Fortune: Secret Agent
One of the UK’s funniest comedy magicians, Jay is also a pioneer of magic media. His Radio Magic ran for years in the UK, and now he brings his many years of experience to our Mystery School seminars, shows and webcasts.
Scott Steelfyre: Video Production
One of the most versatile and knowledgeable magicians I have ever met, Scott has high touch skills in stage magic and knife throwing as well as high tech skills in computer design and electronics. He is the video mage at WONDERGROUND and he also helps with shooting and editing many of our new school videos.
Simone Marron: Social Coordinator
One of the most passionate magic lovers I know, Simone is known worldwide as a woman who attends more magic events than nearly anyone in the world! Simone has a keen interest in performing mentalism and is known and loved throughout our international magic community. Her skills include preparing these monthly Muse Letters as well as planning the social events for our Mystery School celebrations.
Bill Cook: Web-TV host & Stage Assistant
Famous for his role in the feature documentary “Make Believe,” you have seen him as The Mystery School Monday anchorman, and as my onstage assistant. Bill is currently one of the top magicians in Chicago and has plans to open an office in Hollywood.
Sheryl Garrett: Photographer of Magicians
Her father Marvin was an explorer, magician and pilot. His adventurous spirit lives on in his talented daughter. You can see Sheryl in action at WONDERGROUND each month. You can contact her if you need on-location shoots or promotional materials.
Let us help you build your team!
I’ve learned a lot about team building from my friend and manager, Tobias Beckwith. When I was first starting, Tobias guided me to the right printers, illusion consultants, costumers, sound editors and more– in short, all the various people and artists that I needed to generate a final product that was professional and polished. This is the type of work we do at our Mystery School. We help people like you to build skills and business, and we become part of your team, to help guide you to make the right artistic and business decisions to strengthen your own career.
We are always planning new events to invite you to. Take a look at some of our upcoming seminars and offerings here:
Big News at Mystery School
My recent post here and on Facebook got lots of attention and comments worldwide. As you know, I’ve been crafting a new way to teach magic.
THE MCBRIDE MAGICAL MASTERPIECE SERIES
This new series is a step forward for our School, and also a step backwards in time… to a time when the “real” professional secrets of magic were passed down from master to student. As Eugene Burger told me years ago, the real secrets are not in the books or on the DVDs, but are passed from master to apprentice… In whispers.
Here is the next step- http://www.magicalwisdom.com/masterpieces
WONDERGROUND NEWS—Next show December 18
It’s the biggest magic party in Las Vegas, and you are invited!! 3 shows, all different, starting at 8pm. Get there early to get a seat.
We are now celebrating going into our sixth year at THE OLIVE. Join Tim Wise, Christian Diamond and the lovely Abigail, with a host of NEW ACTS! For more information:
MASTERS OF ILLUSION– on tour at Harrahs, San Diego
See you in San Diego. One night only, and the night is January 9th. I’ll bring the best of my Vegas show to you then! Also on the bill that evening: Michael Grandinetti and Ed Alonzo.
Wishing you a magical holiday season, from all of us at The McBride Magic & Mystery School,
Jeff, Abbi and the “Dream Team”
I hope you won’t mind receiving this so soon after we sent you the Museletter announcing Jeff’s “Masterpiece” series. Jeff suggested I send you all a note to help promote the release of my new book, The Wizard’s Way. I do want to do that, but I also thought this might be a good opportunity to share some things you might not be aware of.
A bit of history
As of today, I’ve known Jeff McBride for nearly 28 years, and been working as his manager for 26. I count him among my best friends and supporters, and I want to tell you just a little bit of why that is.
When we first met, I had never worked in the magic business. I had an idea that it would be a good thing for some of the dance companies I was then helping to manage if they would add some magic to their repertoire, so that they might raise the commercial appeal for what they did. I was tired of having to beg for money to pay for supposedly successful seasons.
My friend Bob Fitch introduced me to Jeff, with the advice that “he knows more about magic and movement than anyone else I know.” I first met him backstage at The Sands in Atlantic City, where he was then the opening act for Raquel Welch’s nightclub show. We hit it off immediately, but not over my dance company project. Instead, we decided to work together to develop a full-evening show that Jeff would star in, to be presented at the Edison Theater on Broadway, which I was then managing. Shifting directions would become a recurring theme in my work with Jeff.
After working for almost a year to develop that show, we had a couple of backer’s auditions, and failed to raise the money we needed to fully mount the production. However, Jeff continued working on the show, and showed me the results at one of his rehearsals a few months later. What he had developed was incredibly creative, but not yet really developed into a cohesive whole. I had another meeting with my friend Bob Fitch, who also happened to be a director and choreographer, and he agreed to spend time with Jeff working out the kinks in the show, before it was to have it’s debut at an off-Broadway nightspot called The Ballroom. By opening night, the show had developed into an unusual piece of theater, still a bit rough around the edges, but so original, with Jeff’s own amazing magic as it’s centerpiece, that it received raves from the New York theater press and audiences. I think that’s the point where I realized that magic theater was really my calling.
Shortly after that first show that we worked on together, Jeff’s manager of the time became ill, and began his slow decline, which would end in his death a year after that. During that time, Jeff asked me if I would take over as his manager. I at first declined. A personal manager, in my estimation, was just a glorified agent, and the life of an agent was not one I wanted for myself. However, after some long discussions, I agreed that I would try it out. I would keep my “day job” running the theater, and handle Jeff’s business during my spare time. Things worked out better than I had expected, and within a year or two, I had two other clients besides Jeff… both of which he had brought to me. When the show (and the theater) closed a couple of years later, I was all set to open my own office and move into the world of magic and magicians full-time. Since then, that has been my full-time business, and it’s been great fun. The business has taken me around the world several times, allowed me to direct and produce magic for some of the greatest magical artists of our time, and otherwise indulge my own creative aspirations. And it’s all because Jeff McBride talked me into it, and had the courage to stick with me as I learned the business. I’m still learning, and we’re still working together.
So this is my opportunity to say “Thank you, Jeff!”
We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on decisions about his or my career and business, but we’ve always supported one another’s decisions. We’ve gone through both great and difficult times together, and we’ve shifted directions many times. Both of us are fans of Joseph Campbell, and his writings were one of the things we had in common when we met. That first show we did together was heavily influenced by Campbell’s teachings. It was called Mask, Myth and Magic.
Later on, Jeff introduced me to the writings of the philosopher Ken Wilbur. One of Wilbur’s core ideas is that we all move forward by a process of transcending and including what we’ve done before. That’s a bit of what the whole “Wizard Project,” of which The Wizard’s Way is the central piece, is all about. It is a manifesto and textbook for a new way of thinking, and a new way of being. The book is based on the legendary and real wizards of the past, and on the unique ideas and beliefs which set them off from others, and gave them their “powers” to do what for others seemed impossible.
The great news is that this particular shift in direction doesn’t require that we give up anything. Jeff’s performances, our classes at the McBride Magic & Mystery School, my work writing and teaching and managing—all that continues. What is changing is that I will be spending more time spreading the ways of the true wizard—first with the book, then through talks, and ultimately through events that we produce as training sessions. We’ll be teaching speakers, business-people, non-profit teams and others all to become more effective world-changers. Some events will include trainings using some of the methods we’ve developed through our work at the Magic & Mystery School. Others will include talks and presentations by myself, Jeff McBride, George Parker and others already on the team, as well as a number of others. Maybe some of you reading this will become wizards on the team. I certainly hope so.
In the meantime, now you can read the book. It’s available in both trade paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon right now. If you purchase a copy before midnight on Monday, December 15, there’s a bonus pack that comes with it. You can learn more about the book (and my others) by going to http://www.tobiasbeckwith.com/portfolio.html. Since it’s only available through Amazon at this point, just send me an e-mail with your Amazon purchase receipt and a note saying you’re a Museletter subscriber, and I’ll send you a link with information so you can download the bonus materials.
Oh: And please click the small image below to go directly to the “buy” page on Amazon. If you do that, Jeff will receive a small affiliate fee from your purchase, and you’ll be helping support our future activities at the school.
Whether you buy the book or not, I hope you’ll join us on the path towards true wizardry. I’m putting out two or three “Wizard’s Minute” videos teaching the core principles each week, posted on YouTube and Facebook (there’s a Wizard’s Way page I set up there). They will soon be joined by a number of Wizard Interviews—video taped interviews with some of those “real wizards” of our own time. We’ll explore their unique beliefs and techniques, and will learn from them. We’ll work together to develop our own wisdom, create our own community of wizards, and start changing the world together!
We have changed the dates for a couple of our events at the Magic & Mystery School for 2015. “Hypnotic Wizardry” has been moved from January to April 10-12, in order that Jeff could accept a special engagement on a World Cruise for Holland America. We’re just sending out notices to those who had already registered for that class, and are hoping it may make it possible for a few more of you to participate. The class will both teach interesting magic for use by hypnotists, and some hypnotic techniques for use by magicians. I’m looking forward to both sharing and learning myself at that one!
I think most of you have already heard this, but just in case, I’ll mention it again: Magic & Meaning 2015 has now been moved back into October. The dates originally planned turned out to conflict with a major convention in town—which meant the hotel would have charged double what you all paid for your rooms there last year. Since part of the reason we had decided to move there was to make the event more affordable for you, that seemed a bad idea. The new dates are October 21-24, the week after our Magic & Mentalism class. Max Maven is our special guest this year, and has confirmed he will be with us for the new dates.
I think that’s it for now. Best wishes to all of you from all of us at the McBride Magic & Mystery School for a most magical holiday season!
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
–Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“This is how I feel when I’m at war… I am so over this!”
I’M SO DONE WITH FIGHTING….
As you may have read, for the past few years I have felt like I’m in a war. A war of egos… and lawyers. I am ending it right now! These fights over the theft of magic have been well-documented on the internet and on television.
One of the many reasons I’m making my performance pieces available is to end the drama of continued legal battles. I would rather grant proper permission to people to perform these effects – than to spend my time trying to stop people when they steal them.
“This is how it feels when I empower others with my magic!”
THE MCBRIDE MAGICAL MASTERPIECE SERIES
What this series is:
If my type of magic calls to you, please click on the link below for more information:
Yours in better magic.