The Secret of Making Gold…for Real!

Today, I will teach you how to make gold…for real!
Alchemists used to make gold in the laboratory. Today, magicians and other performing artists create gold in the rehearsal studio, and by drilling their act before live audiences. A dedicated magician can take the raw materials of our art, and by adding the fire of creativity, focus and diligence, transmute a pack of playing cards into a gold-making career. Just look at Mat Franco and Shin Lim in Las Vegas, who did just that!
The New World Champions and Gold Medal Winners – Anca and Lucca!
Listen to Anca and Lucca who just won First Place in Mental Magic at The World Championships of Magic at FISM!

Here is a Three-Step Formula for Your Success!
Step #1: Focus – target seven minutes of original material and work on your character
Research and develop magic and routines that are unique. Television bookers and talent judges love novelty. You must stand out from all the rest to get noticed. My pal Rudy Coby says, “All you need is three minutes of great magic and a unique character to make a career in magic and travel the world!” Rudy is proof of that formula’s success. Only seven minutes of great magic can get you on America’s Got Talent or Fool  Us. Add a unique character and this will make you unforgettable!
Step #2: Direction – get expert guidance from professionals
This is where a director or magic coach comes in. Today, it is easier than ever to work on Zoom with a professional magic coach. I worked with the legendary magic director Bob Fitch, and that made a huge difference in my career. Want a coach?  Go here:
Step #3: Persistence – polish and practice your act to perfection
Lance Burton says it takes 1000 shows to become great at performing. Bruce Lee said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”  
Here is another important thought. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful individuals with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Ray Croc
Here are a few magicians who have succeeded in their goals. How did they do it? Just read on!
Award Winning Magic Students from McBride’s Magic & Mystery School

Daryl Rogers

Daryl just won First Place in the Stage Show competition at the Abbott’s Magic Get Together convention. It was his third  year competing with his act. It was his persistence that paid off! Daryl Rogers is the Director of Communications at the Magic & Mystery School, and is a long time student of ours. Daryl has attended more of our classes than anyone. Perhaps that is why he is leading the pack! 

Scott Hanneman

Scott is also a student of mine. We work on Zoom every month, and in each class we focus on originality. Scott has developed original material. You will understand when you see his act and meet his show sidekick, “Muffin the Wonder-Fish!” Scott developed a unique character that makes him both lovable and memorable.

World Champion of Stage Manipulation Artem Shchukin

Artem is an example of a performer that has great technical ability, original material, and a unique character. Artem said he started his magic career with “The Art of Card Manipulation” videos, and that led him to becoming the first place award winner in the category of manipulation at the World Championships.

Magic News: Mystery School Goes to FISM 
Here is a short video from Scott Steelfyre about our Magic & Mystery School room at the recent FISM world championships. Our team taught every day for a total of 36 hours and we never repeated a routine or a talk! Take a look.

Magic & Meaning Conference 2022 Online
Superstar of magic Dani DaOrtiz will be our special guest at this year’s online events! Thousands of magicians have been drawn to the magnetic personality, electric performance, and personal vision of magic that is the force of nature known as Dani DaOrtiz. Dani is a living legend in the field of card magic, and one of the most sought-after advisors and teachers of magic. He was recently awarded the FISM Special Award for Theory and Philosophy, and will join our magic community to share his wisdom and some great magic routines!

The Magic and Meaning Conference is an annual gathering of magicians, scholars, public speakers, professionals from many areas, and performers of diverse arts. It is for anyone who loves magic, storytelling, the philosophy of magic, and who wants to think about magic in new ways.
Poe’s Magic Conference
This week I will be delivering the Keynote Address at Poe’s Magic Conference in Baltimore.

There is still time for you to meet me at this convention! You can join us by registering here:

So, if you are a magic lover, an amateur, a magic enthusiast, or just a person that wants to learn better magic, please join us for an online or live class. Everyone can use help and support, and we are here for you! We all need insight and inspiration – perhaps you are just one click away from transforming your vision into gold!
Jeff – and all your friends at the Magic & Mystery School!

Empowering Your Audience with Stories

Dear Friends,

Our guest contributor this month is long-time Mystery School friend and supporter Jonas Cain. Jonas is an author, magician, and facilitator of fascination. Through his company, Hashtag Positivity, he helps individuals, teams, and communities experience abiding joy by mindfully transitioning through change. 

“That was just what I hoped for!” she exclaimed, firmly shaking my hand. “You gave us time to rethink what we do with a fresh outlook. This was the perfect segue for the rest of our conference!” 
Nancy had booked me to deliver the keynote address, so her praise came as affirmation of a job well done! I was still basking in the afterglow the following day when I received an email from her, which reminded me that “all glory is fleeting.”
She shared feedback from the conference attendees, and they weren’t the words I wanted to read:

  • “This was entertaining, but it wasn’t a valuable use of our time.”
  • “I like the idea of a motivational speaker, I just didn’t think he was very good.”
  • “I want ideas to help me improve. We need more serious and less silly.”

 It was like a dagger to the heart. To be fair, the overall feedback was quite positive, yet even the positive feedback revealed an uncomfortable truth. Though regarded as entertaining, no one responded that the presentation was both memorable and meaningful—the hallmark of a truly empowering experience that can transfer well beyond the stage.

Worthy Goals
Laughter and applause can be worthy goals in the right circumstances, but in my work as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, laughter and applause are at best interesting stops along the way to aid engagement. At worst, they can be distractions from the primary goal.
In Growing in the Art of Magic, Eugene Burger reminds us to “look at the reaction we’ve been getting and ask ourselves whether that’s the reaction we want. And if it isn’t, how can we change to get the reaction we do want?”  In that spirit, rather than being discouraged, I used this feedback to grow, to discover what could be changed to have a more empowering impact for the people I serve.

What Story Are You Telling?
At the Magic & Mystery School, Jeff McBride teaches that everything you say tells a story. The question is, what story are you telling? And is it the story you want to tell? This teaching is in harmony with a dynamic line from the movie Walk the Line: “You can’t help nobody if you can’t tell them the right story.”
Being intentional with our words empowers us to deliver the right message with a throughline that can genuinely help people—because in the end, they may forget what we said, but they will remember how we made them feel through the meaningful stories we share.

The 5 C’s of Empowering Stories

When applying effective storytelling techniques, there are five key components that have been most effective for my work. Whether writing a script for my show, or a story for my blog, I ensure each story reflects each of these five components: context, conflict, choice, consequence, and connection.

1. Context: Context identifies the characters and puts them in a specific time and place, preparing the audience to understand the emerging conflict that sets the story in motion.

  • Essential Question: How can you introduce the context of your story in a way that paints vivid mental images for your audience?

 2. Conflict: Avner the Eccentric teaches that “everything can be seen as a problem to be solved, a knot to be unraveled.” Conflict is interesting because, when you “pull the string tight,” it creates tension between obstacles and desires, motivating the audience to lean further into the story.

  • Essential Question: What is the conflict in your story?

 3. Choice: The choices a character makes is an opportunity for the audience to see their own reflection and glimpses of their potential.

  • Essential Question: What critical choice is made to help resolve the conflict?

 4. Consequence: The law of cause and effect reveals that everything happens for a reason—the consequences for how characters choose to respond to conflict.

  • Essential Question: How do the characters change throughout your story?

 5. Connection: Making clear connections within your story ensures it is equally memorable and meaningful, which is defined as relevant: relevant for your audience, for your message, and for you. In our search for meaning, rhetoric theory aligns relevance with pathos, logos, and ethos:

  • Pathos (emotion): Why should the audience care about your message?
  • Logos (logic): How does what you say support this message?
  • Ethos (credibility): How are you a credible messenger?

 In the book Story Dash, David Hutchens explains that “you can’t trust your audience has landed on the conclusion you wanted,” which is why explicitly weaving answers to these questions within your stories is crucial for helping people connect with the message.

  • Essential Question: How will you embed meaningful connections within your story?

Final Thoughts

Even before your performance has ended, your audience will have forgotten most of what you said, but when you “pull the string” of your throughline tight, you empower them with an experience that can transfer well beyond the stage.

The storyteller Robert McKee reminds us that “stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience,” and since applying these five storytelling components to my work, I have consistently created far more meaningful experiences for the people I serve:

  • “Not only was it engaging, every level of employee got value from it!”
  • “In my three-decade career in education, I’ve had my share of professional development. This was shockingly different. The method of instruction was the most valuable.”
  • “This was a really valuable use of our time! If our leadership team tried to deliver this message, it would have been received differently. It’s great to have your outside perspective.” 

Laughter and applause can be worthy goals, but for me, the best “applause” is empowering audiences to be positively changed as a result of the experience—because that kind of glory is never fleeting.

How might you use these ideas to create memorable and meaningful experiences that empower your audience?
Jonas Cain is an author, magician, and facilitator of fascination. Questions or comments? Email him at

Your Free Copy of “The Mystery School Book of Secrets”

McBride’s Magic & Mystery School has a new book! Would you like to get a copy of it…for free?  If so, read on.
Did you know that each and every day McBride’s Magic & Mystery School will be holding free magic classes and hands-on training at the FISM convention in Quebec City? Jeff McBride, Dr. Larry Hass, Tobias Beckwith, Will Bradshaw, Scott Steelfyre, and the friends of Mystery School will be hosting daily and late night magic classes.
Subjects will range from Parlor Magic Classics, to Impromptu Masterpieces, to Mysteries from our Mentors, and even a special “Eugene Burger Night.” Here is our full schedule of classes and lectures.

Magic & Mystery School 3D Walkthrough
Take a look at the Magic & Mystery School installation with this amazing 3D walkthrough created by our own technowizard Scott Steelfyre.

The Mystery School Book of Secrets – Free!
This is our new (and until now, very secret) special interactive book/video compendium that will be given to each and every person who visits the Mystery School Room installation at this year’s FISM convention. This is the only way to obtain this book! 

The Mystery School Book of Secrets is free, compliments of our school, and will be given to registrants of the conference. The only way to get this book is to visit us in our Mystery School Room at FISM. We look forward to meeting you in Quebec and sharing our mysteries and magic with you!

Customizing Your Every Day Carry Magic

Dear Friends,
Our guest contributor this month is Tim “Santiago” Converse. Tim has been studying the art and history of magic for over 30 years. He is an instructor for the McBride Magic & Mystery School, and teaches magic online through a new after school educational program called Veeko. 

Every Day Carry Magic
This is a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. We just enjoyed an episode of Mystery School Monday on this very topic, where a lot of great information and useful advice was shared. I thought I would share a story of my own that might be of interest. 
When we think of Every Day Carry (EDC) magic, we are usually thinking in terms of the things we always have with us that are general purpose – they will play anywhere, anytime, for any audience. But I like to think in advance when I go somewhere, and make additions or substitutions to my current EDC magic as well. 
If you know me at all, then you know that I visit Disneyland frequently, up to two to three times a year! I love going to amusement parks, and I’m a roller coaster enthusiast. Disneyland has my all time favorite – Space Mountain. When I go, I always make sure to have two things on me that are in addition to my usual EDC.
Customizing Your Props
First, a D’lite, usually a bright white one, but I also have used a green one for a very specific reason. I have found that when I am standing in line for a “dark ride” – any ride that has a queue line in the dark and runs in the dark, like the Haunted Mansion or Tower of Terror – my D’lite is a perfect way to calm a child who might be scared. Some parents bring small children on such rides because they want to go, even if their child doesn’t. 
The child can become frightened pretty easily. A D’lite immediately gets their attention and it gives me a great opportunity to open a conversation with them. That conversation is always along the lines of, “I used to get scared on this ride too, but now it’s a lot of fun. Would you like to have a little bit of my courage to get on the ride?”
My courage is, of course, the light. If they give me permission, I gently bring the light closer to their heart, and without touching them, toss it to them in a way that suggests that the light went into their heart. Every time I have done this the child has perked up, smiled, and calmed right down, and the parents are usually very grateful as well!
This is a magic moment that helps them relax and enjoy where they are and what they are doing. Also, it usually makes them a bit more chatty with me while we’re in line, which makes them feel like this is a normal experience after all. And why a green D’lite? Because Tinkerbell is green! So with just a small modification to anything I say, I can reference Tinkerbell, and it becomes that much more Disney!
Magic Bubbles
The second thing I bring with me is a small supply of clear glass marbles. I’m sure you can see where this is going!

Throughout the park there are many vendors who sell “magic bubble wands.” They usually have some character on them, run on batteries, have a bubble solution reservoir, and can put large amounts of bubbles in the air. What an opportunity!
On my most recent trip to Disneyland, I had the absolute most perfect situation. I was standing outside a ride waiting for my wife to return, and standing across from me was a young girl, maybe around five or six years old, playing with a bubble wand while her mom was busy on her phone. The conditions were exactly right, so while she was looking directly at me I reached up and “caught a bubble”! Her beautiful brown eyes went absolutely wide and she smiled and laughed!
Normally I would have offered up the “bubble” to her as a gift, but since her mom didn’t see me do it, and we were just far enough apart to make it awkward if I walked over to her, I didn’t.  Also, of course, in light of things like Covid, there still is a certain amount of caution taking place, even in Disneyland. Regardless, that little girl will remember the experience, perhaps for the rest of her life, because she saw something magical she had never even dreamed of!
Be Prepared to Create Magic Moments
In light of this discussion about EDC magic, I urge you to think beyond the “always playable anywhere” set. Consider where you’re going and what other effects you might have that would fit your EDC kit. If you do, you might just find yourself perfectly placed to create even greater magical moments than Mickey himself!

Las Vegas is on Fire!

Greetings friends,

The summer is here and things are heating up! Not only is it over 100° outside every day, but new shows are opening and Las Vegas business is back, better than ever! How do all of us at the Mystery School beat the heat? We get out of town, go on the road, and make some cool magic with our friends…so look for us on the road this summer!

Paying it Forward – the Next Generation of Magic
Mystery School will be helping with the 2022 Lance Burton Teen Magic Seminar. Dr. Larry Hass, Tetro, and Elliot Hunter will team up with Lance Burton and his friends at the International Brotherhood of Magicians convention in Atlanta, Georgia. We love teaching magic with Lance because he is so committed to nurturing the magicians of tomorrow. For over twenty years, Lance has hosted this event, and it is free to all teens who are part of the convention!

Right after the Atlanta convention, Mystery School will be heading to Quebec, Canada, for the FISM convention. Mystery School will have its own room, so if you are attending the convention, drop in and visit us! We will be hosting workshops and teachings all day every day, and will be the cool late night place to session with your magic.

Jeff McBride was presented with one of the magic world’s highest honors – the Special Award for Theory and Philosophy of Magic from the FISM

The 2022 FISM (Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques) World Championships of Magic takes place in Québec, Canada, from July 25-30, and will feature the lead faculty of Jeff McBride’s Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas. The school will be set up with its own space next to the dealer’s room. The Mystery School team will be offering mini-lectures and workshops, as well as magic jam sessions in their space at the convention. Many of our friends and faculty members will be joining us, so it is surely a grand occasion to get help with your magic  – and it is all absolutely free if you attend the convention!
As you read this we will be hosting our 7-Day Master Class, with 17 students from all over the world. It’s amazing to watch our friends and students grow in the art of magic. Recently, one of those students was accepted into the Magic Castle! Susan Zeller is the magical storyteller, and here is part of her story.

When we asked Susan how she creates her magic and achieves her goals, she said, “With Jeff’s mentorship and support, I realized my dream to become a Magician Member of the AMA and to perform my show at the Magic Castle. The actual audition process for the Magic Castle was fun. I was confident and relaxed, in part due to the encouragement from Jeff. I was very prepared, and that helped me to succeed in impressing the audition committee. I also won several awards along the way. The ideas for my magical creations come from my life and personality. They exist in my mind as bits and pieces of emotions, grand theater, singing, and classic magic that is exciting to me and resonates with my audiences. 

Jeff has been my mentor for the last couple of years. My decision to work with Jeff and to trust him to assist me with my ideas has helped me to bring my ideas to life. He also was able to help me to solidify my brand and costuming for my character, Susan Zeller, The Magical Storyteller. I have a new lecture for magic clubs that I call “Conjuring Your Dreams.”

Thank you Susan, for sharing your inspiration and encouraging words! You can find more about Susan Zeller here:

Bizarre Magic in Baltimore

Susan will be joining me, and many other top magicians, for the Poe’s Magic Conference. Baltimore’s best magic conference is back – and with Jeff McBride as the keynote speaker! Tickets are at a reduced rate only for a limited time. Check out more about the incredible line-up here:

I look forward to seeing you at the conventions, on the road, or at a class online. Now I’m going to go take a dip in the Mystery School pool!

Stay cool everyone,


« Older Entries Next Entries »