We Are Leaving!

Jeff & Abigail run off to the mountains to get some inspiration…then bring it back for you

We are leaving!

We are running away from Las Vegas!, but just for a few days!

As I write this, Abigail and I are on top of a mountain snuggled in our cozy log cabin next to the fireplace. We look out onto the snow-capped peaks of the spring mountains. Bluejays, deer, and the occasional pack of wild horses pass by our window. We come up here a few times a year to get away, to rest, recharge, and get re-inspired. We also catch up with our letter writing and answering questions about our school. One of the frequently asked questions is…

How can I develop a better character?

The answer is simply to learn more about theater arts, and how to use movement and mime on stage. When I started to add theater arts to my magic show, my show stood out. It was very different from “a guy just doing magic tricks!” The addition of pantomime, mask-work, and movement theater got people’s attention in a powerful way, and my bookings increased dramatically! I also could travel the world and could perform for people in any country. Now, I am gathering some of my good friends for a one-time only online experience, and you are invited.

Magic is an international language that transcends all language and cultural barriers.

Announcing a one-time only online magic training experience – Mime, Mask and Magic! Join Jeff McBride, Avner the Eccentric, and pantomime artist Chris Herren in an exploration of the powerful art of silent storytelling, and learn how to expand your markets beyond cultural and language boundaries. Note: all classes will be recorded so you can watch at any time!

For more info on how to join us, CLICK HERE

Mentorship can help make your dream come true
Over the years, we have helped many magicians transform their aspirations into reality. Listen to mentorship student Chris Herren share the story of his dream to work at the world famous Magic Castle. Here is his dream come true!

Make your dream become a reality! Watch this and learn how!

How do the secrets of magic get handed down?
Have you ever wondered how the secrets of magic get handed down from generation to generation? Lance Burton knows how, and has been doing it for years – and for free! We are excited to announce that the Lance Burton Teen Seminar will be taking place in-person and live, two days before and during the 2022 I.B.M. Convention.

Lance, Jeff and Mystery School faculty and friends will be teaching at the Lance Burton Teen Seminar at the I.B.M. convention this summer, and they would love for you to join them!

The seminar is free to all I.B.M. Youth Members between the ages of 13 and 19. Attendance is limited and spaces are filling up fast, so apply now because we are already almost sold out. For more information and to sign up, click here. Download the application form, complete it, and email it back to us at simone@marrons.us – ASAP!

The seminar dates are July 11-13, 2022, with extra hours during the convention. Learn from some of the greatest magic teachers in the world including Lance Burton, Jeff McBride, Larry Hass, and several surprise guests. Additionally, the first forty I.B.M. Members under the age of 18 to register for the convention can register for free! Don’t delay, as only a small amount of free registrations remain. Register for the convention by clicking here.

We are so excited to be able to offer you this incredible opportunity this summer, and hope to hear from you soon.

By the time you read this, we will be back from the mountains and helping folks like you learn wonderful magic. Mystery School is back, and open for your private class online, or if you are visiting Las Vegas, please email Abigail to set up a time for your special private class – abigail@mcbridemagic.com, or call her at 702-450-0021.

New Year! New Show?

Dear Friends,
Our guest contributor this month is Napoleon Ryan. Napoleon is an actor, magician and children’s entertainer based in Los Angeles.

It’s March, 2022! Wherever you are, spring has sprung or fall has fallen! 
After two years performing virtual magic, our live in-person shows are released from hibernation. Due to the hiatus, those shows can feel new to a repeat audience (and to us), even if we are performing the same repertoire from before the pandemic. But, if we constantly perform the same shows to the same people in the same area, or the same market, sooner or later we will be forced to look for new audiences. If we customize and revamp our shows, or design new shows, we can (potentially) play the same audiences forever! 
As the world gradually reopens, we have an opportunity to devise something fresh for the times. Since I tend to see the same audiences again, creating new shows is also a necessity. So, how do we develop a new show? And how can we do it quickly, and with minimal pain? What strategies can help?
Getting our first show together and testing it in front of an audience until it gets to a worthy standard can feel like a difficult ‘trial and error’ process  – and not a short one. In a discussion with Kozmo on the DVD Kiddin’ Around, Chris Capehart commented that many magicians have an excellent primary show, but fewer have an excellent second or third show ready to perform at a moment’s notice. However, with one honed show already in our repertoire, it is possible to replicate its best qualities, and leverage its structure to quickly create another similarly successful, but different show.
Some time ago, Jay Leslie from the House of Enchantment wrote a fascinating online blog post about structuring his performances. He needed to rapidly replicate and devise new shows each year for repeat clients and repeat audiences. The new show would be completely different in terms of theme and individual effects and routines, but the formula or structure underpinning the show would remain the same, improving the efficiency of the show creation process. If we don’t have our own formula already, we can create one, and replicate the show we currently perform. One action that has helped me immensely with this process is writing show reports.

I’ll admit that I don’t always know exactly what I am going to perform before I do a show. A lot of my magic can be a spontaneous and semi-improvised response to the performance environment, and the energy of the audience. I definitely make a plan, but I may depart from it entirely depending on what happens. For example, one of my recent shows started with a cry of “Stop that goat!” Then I had to help a trainer lasso the escaping animal before it fled up the street never to be seen again. (The llama, pony and ten rabbits were more compliant).
After the show I will write a report. The show report can be a fully detailed account of an individual show, or just a simple record of the running order of what routines were performed. Once several show reports or running order lists have been compiled, patterns emerge and the lists quickly become a valuable data resource for what effects work well with particular audiences, as well as a template for future shows for that kind of audience. 
For repeat clients, I can refer back to the lists, and know within a couple of minutes what routines I have already performed. The information helps me devise a new program for the repeat audience from my current repertoire, and even suggests the character of new routines to pursue. Incidentally, when I am away from home, I tend to keep my show reports in a Notes App on my iPhone, so that I can quickly find one by searching for a keyword, name, or event date. That way I can double check something, if I need to, before I start a show.
The great thing about a show report, and especially the running order, is that it becomes a concise bullet point skeleton of our show script. Freed from wading through the entire script, we quickly get an overview of the shape of the show. Analyzing the nature of the routines on the running order, their position in the performance, and their relationship to each other, and the overall theatrical experience becomes a lot easier. The structure of a show that might have evolved organically in performance over many years is clear. 
With this information, when devising new shows, we start to see what items to switch out or substitute on the set list, if we have to customize a script for a particular audience. We notice if we need to add or replace a running gag that helps maintain or hinder the momentum of the show between individual routines. If we are striving to create a particular dramatic effect or magical experience, we begin to recognize opportunities to layer important narrative elements or other information earlier into the show before the big revelation.

If you have never made a show report before, all you need to do is write down a list of what you currently perform in your act. Then, describe and analyze each routine. What does it consist of in terms of effects and props? What is its nature (dramatic or comedic, a demonstration of skill, an evocative storytelling piece, an audience participation routine?) What function does it serve within your overall show (an opportunity to build rapport with the audience, a palate cleanse, a climax of energy?) Once we understand our current shows, we can replicate their structures, but add new repertoires that might be suitable for other acts. 
Making further lists can be very useful. An inventory of our magic props, and especially our gimmicks, noting what they do, is a springboard to working, on and devising new repertoire. Composing lists of effects and routines, and plots and presentations that are similar, and comparing them, can inspire us to turn away and look in more varied directions. I might avoid apparatus that looks or feels from an audience’s perspective too similar to another prop or routine already in my repertoire. 
For example, the ABC Blocks, Cube a Libre and the Strat-O-Sphere might seem too superficially similar to each other for a repeat audience, though the method, routine or presentation of a routine with those props could be markedly different. The same might apply to the Peripatetic Walnuts and the Cups & Balls. However, I am very happy to use a similar method from a routine in one show as the method for a routine with a completely different prop in another show.
Knowing what repertoire to work on next to create new shows all starts with being deeply aware of what we already perform, and what we have performed in the past, and that requires keeping thorough and accessible show records.

Kick Ass with Confidence

Transforming Fear into Power
I was so scared riding the bus to school! Mike and Pat were the bullies on the Rock Hill school bus, and they picked on all the little kids. They had failed a few grades, and they were much bigger than us. I was always afraid of getting my ass kicked.
When summer came, my folks sent me away to basketball camp, but I didn’t spend any time on the court. I went directly to the martial arts class. I studied Judo for a year, then Aikido and also Karate. I will always remember my first martial arts teacher, and the confidence he helped me to build.

“Judo Jeff” in his 1st class, learning that martial arts is much more than kicking ass!
Kutcher’s Sports Academy, near Monticello, New York, 1968

Meeting the Master
My first martial arts teacher was not anything like the movie The Karate Kid. He was no Mr. Miyagi. My “sensei” was from Essex, England, and had a thick British accent. His name was Steve Peck, and he taught me the discipline of martial arts – and that training the mind and body was more than just learning how to kick ass.

“Don’t mess with Jeff!”  After my first lessons I never got into a schoolyard fight again.

After the first day of class something changed. I had new confidence. When I returned from summer camp, none of the kids in my neighborhood or in the schoolyard ever picked on me again. I had something inside of me now that people could feel that said, “Don’t mess with Jeff!”
After I took my first lesson in martial arts, I never got into a schoolyard fight again. All I needed was a bit of confidence to push past my self imposed limitations. Having a proper teacher gave me a little push and the confidence I needed, and now it is a pleasure to pass on the power of confidence to others…you!
Confidence is the Fire that Burns in Your Soul
Here is a video of magical fire juggler and flow artist, Kevin Axtell, who has been my student for a few years. Kevin loves magic. He started taking online classes with me, and just a few weeks ago he came in for a three-day private training. Listen to why he is so lit up.

The Best Way to Learn and Grow in the Art of Magic
Personal training is the way to go, and now it is easier than ever. Let us know when you are visiting Las Vegas, and we can arrange a private lesson. If you’re not planning a trip, no problem! We can meet in our convenient online classroom –  https://www.magicalwisdom.com
Just call Abigail to set up your private online or live class with Jeff at (702) 450-0021, or email Abigail at Abigail@mcbridemagic.com.

One Last Thought
This might be your breakthrough year – but you have to take the first steps. In closing, one last important thought by master Bruce Lee.
Keep inspired,

Minimizing Our Magical Clutter to Maximize Our Magical Impact

Dear Friends: 
Braden Daniels is a leadership development expert, as well as a professional performing magician. This month he shares insights on how to declutter our magic collections, our lives, and our minds.

“Our aim…is not so much to have a large repertoire, as it is to have a repertoire 
in which every item can be counted upon to produce real impact.” 
– Eugene Burger, Mastering The Art of Magic

Like many of you, I want my magic to get better this year. How do we do that? One approach I have taken is to reduce the clutter in my sacred magic space. I have far too much “magical junk,” and not enough magic! I have come to the realization that there is a correlation between my physical magical clutter, and my mental magical clutter. 
Since decluttering my magic space, I have felt more creative freedom, and a greater quality of focus to polish my performance pieces, and to develop new routines. Once committed to the idea of reducing our magic clutter, the practical question of  “How do I get started?” emerges. Here are three steps that you can take to achieve clutter-free creativity.

1.  Create a staging and processing area

Find a table and place it outside of your magical space. A folding table, your kitchen table, it doesn’t really matter what kind of table or how big. The table is what is important, as you will be systematically removing items from your magic space, and placing them on this table to process. It is important that the table is outside of the space you are decluttering. It doesn’t have to be far – in a hallway is fine, but it must be outside. This will help reduce some of the attachment that our magic props have with the space they occupy.

The area to the immediate left of the table is the ‘staging’ area. You will bring out items and place them here as they await processing. The table top will be the ‘processing’ area. You will place items on the table and decide whether you will keep, donate, or discard. The area to the immediate right of the table is the ‘processed’ area divided into keep, donate, or discard piles. 
You may also make other piles here that are helpful, for instance you might have a pile for things that need to be relocated to other rooms.

2.  Start at the bottom, and work your way up and behind

The best way to gain momentum in this process is to see the results happen quickly. Start by picking up items that are laying on the floor of the room you are decluttering. This can be sound equipment, leaning illusions, magic tables, or random piles of magical junk. Use this opportunity to take any movable furniture out of the space. Seeing the floor clear and clean is a very powerful way to gain momentum. 

As you bring a group of items out of your magic space, set them in the staging area to the left of the table. One by one, pick up the objects, place them on the table, and spread them out liberally across the table top. Once enough items to cover your table top have been placed on the table, you will begin processing the items. 

Carefully review each item and decide if you really need this item. When was the last time you used it? Will you really use it in the future? Don’t kid yourself! Do yourself a favor and be aggressive with your decluttering. You know what you like and use, and you know what you haven’t touched in over a year. 

If you aren’t actively using the item, consider donating it first. Never keep something based solely on how much you paid for it. That is what Seth Godin explains in his book The Practice identifies as a Sunk Cost. “It’s fine to experience regret when we abandon a sunk cost. It’s a mistake to stick with one simply because we can’t bear the regret.” 
The more empty space you can create the more inspiration and flow you will experience later on in the space. Once you have made a decision, place the item in the appropriate pile in the “processed” area to the right of the table. Repeat this process for all items in the staging area. 
Once you have processed all items on the floor you will work your way up to surfaces, tables, counters, and shelves. Bring your books to the staging area, then place them on the table and process them. Which books have you read? Which will you never read? Remember these are sunk costs too, so be aggressive. 
After you have worked your way up to the top of shelves, now you will repeat the process for all items that are hidden behind cabinet doors and in drawers. Start at the bottom and work your way up. 

3.  Avoid further consumption

Congratulations! You have taken a major step toward a more mindful approach to owning magical things. 

However, as Jeff McBride and Larry Hass kindly point out in The Show Doctor, you have only treated the symptom. The root cause is really Consumption. “Consumption is the lavish or wasteful spending assumed to have social prestige, but which actually squanders time, money, and resources.” 

Symptoms include:

  • A drawer overstuffed with magic props.
  • A magic room filled with props that haven’t been touched in many years.
  • The false assumption that having lots of magic-related materials on bookshelves and in storage equates to magical wisdom.
  • An unshakeable urge to buy every new trick.
  • A continual feeling of dissatisfaction with current routines and repertoire.

Causes include:

  • Inability to focus on a singular effect or presentation.
  • The dissatisfaction of one’s current state of performance.

Follow the three steps above and you will have a clutter free space to practice and improve your magic. You will be able to focus on your performance pieces and feel greater satisfaction with your repertoire. Do not let clutter and consumption ruin your magical progress this year! 

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