Friday, March 09, 2018

Astonify Progressing Nicely

The new show, Astonify, is really moving ahead well. I have been testing out various routines on test audiences and have been thrilled with the responses. This is a very different sort of thing for me. I have created 'themed' programs in the past, but for this show I really delved much deeper into the process. The results are astonishing, or should I say astonifying.

The show is made up of three parts, but right now, the only part you see in the promotions is the ghostly part. The first routine that opens the Spirit portion of the show is my take on a Woody Aragon routine. I don't want to say any more than that, except, I believe my version is the best rendition of his fabulous effect. The Spirit portion is supposed to close with the Cabinet of Spirits, which is what we are calling the Spirit Cabinet. Our version has similarities to past routines, but we think the things we've added to our version will make it stand out greatly.

Right now, I think I'm most excited about the Conjuring portion of the show. This is the longest part of the show and opens with an interactive routine and then an audience volunteer sequence. It isn't until the third effect in the show that a prop is even seen. Speaking of props, I expect there to be a lot of props in this show. It is afterall, a Victorian based show, and the magic from that time period was very prop heavy. A routine I really would like to include in the show is the Kellar Coffee Trick. I've loved this since the first time I read about it many years ago. Now, I own the props for the Coffee Trick....well actually I own most. I still have one piece yet to track down, or build. But I would like to include it in the show because it's another way to involve the audience. And here is a treat, below is a video of the Coffee Trick. This is NOT Victorianized, however. It's just me having some fun on National Coffee Day. The show routine will be slightly different, but you get the general idea.

The one portion of the show I'm not discussing is the Clairvoyant section. OK, I will discuss it a little. With the popularity of Mentalism at an all time high right now, I wanted a way to present the material in a manner that no one was currently using. Now, I say no one, but there may be someone out there following this same path. If so, I have not heard. Our take is not completely original. I read about it years ago and the performers who used this unique approach, lived years before the book was written. So to today's audiences will it look brand new. It is a perfect fit for Astonify, and I'm anxious to get it rolling.

For my friends who are wondering the status of The Steampunk Illusionist show, well that program is also moving along nicely. In a way, Astonify is the precursor to Steampunk Illusionist. Both are Victorian programs. And some of the Astonify material has been in, and will continue to be in, the Steampunk Illusionist. Both shows are presented as if it was still the 19th Century, but there are occasional references to modern times as well.  I've got new material going into The Steampunk Illusionist this year, including something I'm calling The Re-animator. Keep watching for more news and updates. Oh, and if you want to get on the list for Astonify tickets, click the link and sign up!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

New Show, Astonify!

I have been working diligently on a new show.  The show that I speak of is called The Astonify Show, or simply, ASTONIFY. It is a theatrical recreation of a Victorian Parlor Magic Show and Victorian Seance. You might think, "this is perfect for Halloween." And that would be true, but this was was designed to play ALL YEAR LONG.

Originally, this show was meant to be a small venue show, like a parlor show. But I discovered along the way, that this show could play small and it could also play LARGE! In other words, I had a theatre show on my hands, and it didn't matter the size of the audience due to the nature of the material. But for starters we are planning on a more intimate size, so around 50 or so.

The show is divided into three parts. Part 1 Conjuring. Part 2 Clairvoyance. Part 3 Spirit Phenomenon. The show will include a short intermission as well.

This is a two person show, so I'll be doing the bulk of the Conjuring, while my performing partner will be featured during much of the Clairvoyant section and she will be the 'medium' in the Spirit section when we present The Cabinet of Spirits.

When will the show debut?  Right now, my target is Spring 2018, but I don't have an exact date. I'll probably set up some trial runs of the show with test audiences. Once it's ready, watch out!!!! It's going to be a hot show, that much I am sure of!

You can find out more about the show by going to and please, sign-up to get on the list for ticket notification and upcoming performance info!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

What the Future Holds

I've been a full time performer for 20 years. I will say that in that time, things have not gone exactly as I expected nor necessarily as I planned, but I'm not complaining. In the past few years many of my brother and sister magicians have had to leave the business because the work had dried up, mine did too but I still stayed afloat. In fact, most people who have had a 20 year career are either looking to slow down, or are getting out of the performing side of the business altogether. Again, I am not.

I am doing more now to further my career than I ever have in the past. Not just twice or three times what I used to do, but more than that. I have become relentless when it comes to marketing. Tenacious when it comes to selling my show. This is due in large part to some dear friends who helped to 'right my ship'. so to speak. This drive was always there, but in the past 7 years, it was tamped down and close to snuffed out. There were multiple reasons and I could use a long list of excuses, but in the end the results or lack thereof remain with me. So, it was I who had to pick myself up, and get things rolling again.

If you're wondering how I did this, I'll tell you. I attended a marketing conference for entertainers. But I was so self conscious of my few years of declining revenue, that I actually began to pull myself up even before attending. I didn't want to show up all dejected and depressed. So I started to force myself to make changes even before attending. Did it work? You bet your ass (pardon my language). But would it have continued if I had not attended the conference? Hard to say, but I lean towards probably not. The thing the conference did was really help me see areas where I needed help. Clearly there were gaps in my marketing knowledge and in my business brain that needed to be filled with fresh concepts and ideas. Not pie in the sky ideas, but proven strategies that could propel my career forward.

The conference is called, IT FACTOR LIVE, and it's like business and marketing boot camp for entertainers. It's fun, it's educational, it can be frustrating at times, and it can be exhilarating at times. 
One of my favorite exercises at the conference is when we have to write a letter to our future selves, which gets mailed 6 months later. This exercise happens after several days of intense training. Fast forward 6's amazing to see how on track  you are....and maybe how off track you are after six months. In my case, I'm pretty much right on the money, with the exception of one thing that was beyond my control. But other than that, I've stuck with it. I'm just as on fire today as I was when the last conference finished. I do tend to get frustrated when things don't come together as fast as I would like, but this just drives me to push harder.

I write this, partly to keep a record. But also to let others know. And perhaps to be an inspiration to my fellow performers who have been in the business for a long while and are thinking of maybe getting out or slowing down. Lighting a new fire is much easier than you think. The key is to surround yourself with like minded individuals who are doing what you want to do. And avoid those people who are not. I have no intention of slowing down. Maybe in 15 or 20 years, I might think about it. But if I still have my health, I'll be pushing harder than people half my age.

I'm reminded of a story. Acres of Gold I think it was called and it was about a guy who went searching for Gold. He purchased some property that had the potential to be filled with gold and began to prospect the land. He drilled and searched but came up with nothing. Eventually, he gave up and sold the property for pennies. The new owner, brought in a geologist who did some tests and told the new owner if he drilled only a few yards from where they were currently searching, he would find gold. And he did. The first man, was so close, he was only a few yards away from striking it rich. But he gave up, he gave up just a short distance from his goal.

That story always resonated with me. I have no intention of giving up. I have no intention of decreasing my goals. I have no intention of slowing down. I'm in this race to win and in the end, if I don't win, I'm still going to finish the race ahead of most of the pack. I'm not giving up, not now, not ever. Perhaps that gives you a glimpse of what I have in store for the future.