The Trunk of Terror

Hi all,

Bryce KuhlmanBryce here.

Before I tell you about the Trunk of Terror, I want to make sure you don’t miss the announcements from Tobias at the end of this email.  In addition to two upcoming Locked Room events, Eugene just won a major FISM award.  See below for details.

What I learned on my summer vacation

We just returned from the S.A.M. national convention in Las Vegas.  Here are the three most important things I learned while there:

Play Nice

Every convention is going to have a few hiccups.  This one began with a few sound issues.  Our friends Roland & Susan and Christian & Katalina were the first show of the convention, “Magical Duets.”  They are full-time pros with their own weekly shows in their respective cities and normally work with their own sound rigs.  Knowing that the convention would be fully equipped, they only brought their microphones.

Tim WiseWhen things started to get tense the morning of the show, I decided to call in the Big Guns:  our friend and Monday Night Mystery School co-host, Tim Wise.  Tim tours with his own show and is a key player in the monthly Wonderground productions.  If anyone was going to be able to help, I knew he was the guy.

You might think that he showed up with a bunch of new equipment and “took charge.”  Quite the opposite.  He saved the day by simply listening, remaining calm and playing nice with everyone.  With everyone focused on the common goal of producing a great event, the problems were quickly solved and our friends’ show, as well as the rest of the events on the S.A.M. Stage, went off without a hitch.

Thank you to Tim and all of the crew of the convention for helping create such a wonderful experience!

It’s All in the Script

The Magic School faculty are constantly espousing the use of a script.  We witnessed the real power of a good script thanks to two emcees at the convention:

The first was Whitney Adams, the 13-year-old emcee of the Stars of Tomorrow show.  I could barely put together a 7-minute act when I was Whitney’s age!  She had clever bits between each act, memorized every introduction (including numerous awards and credentials) and even handled a major mistake like a seasoned pro.  Bravo, Whitney!

Ali Shelley, who performs as a magical flight attendant for “Thin Air” airlines, hosted the Close-up Show.  It’s obvious that Ali has spent a lot of time selecting great material and writing funny, engaging scripts.  Thanks to all of her preparation, she was relaxed, charming, and had sincere (and memorized) introductions for each act.

While both of these ladies presented excellent magic, I’m convinced it was their devotion to a finely-tuned script that made them two of the favorite performers at the convention.

How To Make Your Audience Cry

It’s rare to see tears spilling down the cheeks of magic show audience members… especially when the audience is comprised of magicians.  I teared up twice, but for completely different reasons.

The first was while watching Boris Wild’s new “Butterfly” act, a sequel to his famous “Kiss” act.  Without a word, Boris was able to tell a touching story of lost love.  Luckily for you, there is a video of Boris performing the act on YouTube.

The second round of waterworks were tears of laughter generated by our dear friend John Cassidy.  We met John and his wife Jen at their first Master Class about 10 years ago. Since then, John has gone on to great success.  He works more than any magician I know (over 500 shows a year at last count), has made several television appearances (Conan, the Today Show, Regis and Kelly, etc.) and has worked on stage with both Mac King and The Amazing Johnathan.

John brought down the house in the final night’s show. While he has a lot of props, one of the funniest is the aformentioned “Trunk of Terror.”  No, you can’t buy it from a magic dealer.  It’s just a standard ATA road case filled with home-made props. But with John’s comedic genius behind it, he had people falling out of their chairs laughing.

Despite the craziness, even John’s act has some very poignant moments.  It may look like he’s just goofing off up there, but if you listen closely you’ll notice that he’s teaching all of us some very important lessons about how to live life to its fullest.

Until next time…

From Tobias:

Great News from FISM

Eugene BurgerFirst, we want to congratulate our friend and the Dean of the Magic & Mystery School, Eugene Burger, on receiving the 2012 FISM Special Award for Theory and Philosophy at the recent Congress held in Blackpool, England. Noted German magician Topas presented the award, and Eugene’s friend Max Maven accepted the Award on his behalf.

Eugene is the first American to receive this award. The two previous recipients were Tommy Wonder from the Netherlands and Juan Tamariz from Spain. In all, there are three FISM Special Awards. This year, along with Eugene, the other two were presented to Teller (for Creativity) and Mike Caveney (for Research and Scholarship).

And Eugene wasn’t our only Magic & Mystery School success at FISM!

Matthew WrightMasterclass alumni Matthew Wright scooped second place in the Parlour category behind French sensation Yann Frisch. Matthew, who hails from the UK has traveled to Las Vegas many times and has been a regular at many Masterclasses. He has also been taking regular one-on-one Skype  sessions with Jeff to hone his act.

“I have had to work very hard over the past few years to put my act together, and the help and inspiration Jeff has given me has really spurred me on. Many of the highlights and big “wow” moments within my act come directly from the creative mind of Jeff. What Jeff doesn’t know about competition magic really isn’t worth knowing and I know for a fact a large chunk of my successes over the years is down to his and Eugene’s help.”

The Illusionists in Mexico

Jeff continues on with the tour of The Illusionists in Mexico.  During their two weeks in Mexico City, they sold over 45,000 seats, repeatedly filling the almost 6,500 seats to capacity, and winning standing ovations each night.  The show has moved on to Monterrey this week, and will continue on to Guadalara before winding up this leg of the tour in Mexico on August 5.   They will start up again in September, with shows in Quito, Ecuador from Sept. 5-8, in Bogota, Colombia from September 13-16, and in Panama City, Panama September 26-30.

The Illusionists

The Show Doctor

The Show DoctorSo far we’ve been delighted about the reviews for The Show Doctor – so I thought I’d share a couple of clips from them:

Lance Burton:

“If you only read one magic book this year, make it The Show Doctor.”

Mac King:

“I truly believe that [Jeff McBride] is the best guide to improving your magic show in the world today.”

Kevin James:

“Jeff’s book is pure gold. If you are looking for inspiration on how to be more creative and a better performer, look no further.”

Posted at the App Store, June 24:

“Yesterday there was a paradigm shift in magic literature. Did you feel it? It’s a whole new world. I’ve seen some nice looking .pdf magic books on my iPad, but this new format shoots past them. . . .”

Barry Fernelius, left at The Magic Cafe, June 24:

“The Show Doctor, by Jeff McBride and Lawrence Hass, is the best single resource for improving your magic act that I’ve ever seen. . . . It’s also one of the best uses of the iPad as a teaching tool that I’ve ever seen. It’s beautifully designed, and the multimedia features are seamlessly integrated. . . . And if you don’t have an iPad. . .get the print edition. The material contained in The Show Doctor has the potential to expand your horizons and improve your magic. . . . This one gets my highest recommendation.”

Steve Bryant, at the Genii Forum, 6/23:

“[The Show Doctor] is a gorgeous work; I’ve been at it all afternoon. . . . Jeff’s advice is some of the best, most specific, dead on I have read. The video additions are excellent as have been the new tricks I have read so far. But beyond the great content of this first effort, the format is awesome.”

We don’t yet know just exactly how many copies have actually sold…but I know Larry is already wondering when he’ll have to gear up for the second printing, so if you want a first edition, now’s the time to buy!  You can get your copy now, either in hardback or for the iPad.  Just click one of the links below.

Purchase The Show Doctor Hard Copy

Purchase The Show Doctor Digital Copy
Note: get the free “Magic – Digital Books” app. The book itself is an in-app purchase.

We have two new Locked Room sessions scheduled:

On August 9, at 6pm PDT, Jeff McBride will be teaching a Training Session on Coin Manipulation.  Coins are something you always have with you, and it’s hard to find anyone who isn’t truly interested in money!  Who has not dreamed of having an endless supply ready at their fingertips?  Jeff will teach you how to dazzle with both simple and complex coin effects, all at a moments’ notice.  Only 8 spots are available, so sign up early!

On the morning of August 25 (10am PDT), Larry Hass will be lecturing on How to Create Entertaining Card Magic…a favorite of most  magicians. Do you love card magic, but hate “card tricks”? Do you feel stuck when it comes to presenting card magic that non-magicians will enjoy? Have you ever wanted to learn card magic but feel put off by the culture of obsessive technique and “hot, new moves”? If so, this Locked Room Lecture by Dr. Larry Hass is for you.  At only $25, the price is right!

Wishing you a magical August!
Tobias Beckwith

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