Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lights, Camera, Magic!

This past Friday Hocus Pocus played host to our local Fox station KMPH's morning program, "Great Day". The crew came in at 4:30 AM to do interviews and feature magic of my students and me. The reporter Brian Loftus, was new to the Fresno area was a great load of fun. We set up the local cutaways at the store and Brain was so open to be surprised by the magic. For 5 hours throughout the morning (about 17 times) live remotes were seen of the store and the magic of Hocus Pocus. I got to perform some great close-up magic and my chair suspension illusion with student Brady Lee. During the morning first up of the students was Michael Jackson. Michael is a great kid with an even bigger heart for the craft of magic. He and his mom Janice showed up at 5:30 AM with Michael look so smart in a black tuxedo.

Michael performed one of the first close-up effects I first taught the class. So as a surprise to the reporter it looked as the card effect was going wrong. Brian picked a card, Michael placed it in the deck and cut the cards. Then turning over the top and proclaiming this was your card, Brian was a little surprised to have to say "no its not". Then Michael does this two more times with no luck. At this point I am saying things like "Michael! We are live on the air! What are you doing?" So the scene is 3 cards on the table (you see it coming) "So this is not your Card? Not this one either? What was your card?" Then Michael turns over the correct card. The reporter was blown away. Then Brady came on later with his shoelace untied and just shook his foot to tie them by magic live on the air. Then had fun with a few magic items that looked like he made a quick stop at McDonald's for breakfast. Paul provided two magic kits to give away on the air for two different trivia questions. It was lots of fun, great PR for the shop and the magic workshops. Later after the live remotes were over and the crew left, Brian called from the station saying how well received the broadcast went. Below you will see some photos from Michael's mom. Thank you Michael and Brady for looking like real professionals. Thank you to Brian and his crew and everyone at Fox KMPH.

Tony's Picks

Cups and Balls DVD by Bob White

One of the true tests of a magician has been the way he or she works the cups and balls. This effect goes back to the dawn of time. On this DVD I think Bob has opened up some of the best kept secrets to learning a great presentation of the Cups and Balls. On the DVD Bob goes into routines and moves by Charlie Miller and Dai Vernon. He even goes into the legendary Vernon ball vanish move. There is a complete routine on this DVD to learn or just use parts for your current act. Also as performed by Bob is the Vernon single cup and ball routine. So much great information packed on this DVD, it is not to be missed.

Bright Ideas

From the mind of full time worker Christopher Williams comes Bright Ideas. This full time pro shares his most powerful routines from his daily routines. His routines are those that have been time tested and streamlined to work in any situation. First, the DVD catches Christopher live working his amazing routines. Then it's back to the studio for his personable style of teaching you every move and subtleties that has been perfected over many shows. A few of the effects include ideas from Dr. Daley and Larry Jennings. If you love great card magic this is a must for your DVD collection to learn from


From the magic inventive mind of Nefesch comes Frozen. Here is one for you "Street Magic" fans. Spectator gives a coin to the magi after the spectator has signed it. Now cupping his hands, the magi blows a "cold breath" to his hands. No different if it was a cold winter day. With his hands over the spectator's hands water begins to drip. Upon opening his hands, the magi drops an ice cube into the spectator's hand and yes the coin is frozen inside the cube. Amazing and that clean. You get a book with 45 pages and over 50 photos showing you not just one version but two. Either version you perform is just that magical.

A Promise Kept

Now here is one for you storytellers and bizarre magi's. It's a close up effect that inspires a haunting tale of love and mystery. A wonderful wooden box with an inlay design is the focus of a coin in a box and a tale of its disappearance and reappearance. The story (or tale) is so well crafted, that it has been know to invoke, shrieks, chills and even a tear or two from those who have heard and seen this effect. All the magic is done right in the box and in the spectator's hand which makes this such a personable and haunting tale of magic and love. Truly it it one for those who can tell a tale and move an audience.

Casino Caper

From the workshop of master craftsman Doug Malloy comes Jules Lenier's Casino Caper. Jules if some of you may remember wrote Light from the Lamp for Genii magazine for many years. Jules was one to come up with clever ideas that he shared in his articles, as well as stories of the doings of the Magic Castle. This effect Casino Caper was one of his great routines that is now here for you, a simple yet funny tale of about the odds of your number coming up. You get all the props that make you look like you have a mini casino where you are going to predict the out come of three spectator's numbers chosen. Here is an effect that is great for the stand up or walkaround performer, truly fun, entertaining, magic routine.

Tony's Tip

A quick chat about being on TV, as mention we were on in the morning last Friday, and I had to act as MC for Hocus Pocus. Now if you have ever seen or been on TV little time is ever given to doing your full length routine. Lots of times you have 30 seconds to perform not to much time for patter. Actually the more visual you are on TV the better. Save the story routines for your show. This is a visual media and no time for much more then the magic.

The morning of the show, I set out the magic props on my workbench next to my desk. These items were effects that I know very well as my close-up repertoire. Live TV is not the place to try out a "new routine". You must also be aware or at least develop a real good sense of timing to know when to "wrap up" you tricks. The morning of the show we had maybe 3-4 minutes the most for the interview and then for a quick performance. So fast paced, close-up magic works well. Like a coin matrix, a sponge ball routine, a quick version of the ambitious card routine, Professor's Nightmare are few that come to mind when you have to do something quick.

Another misconception about being on TV is that (either in the studio or on location) some one will be there to do your make-up. News programs are not like the movies, you better come to the table ready to look good. That means putting on any basic makeup yourself, especially if you're getting up at 2:30 in the morning for 5 hours of being on TV. The reporter that came to Hocus Pocus made sure he had his make-up and hair spray so should you when you on TV.

Rehearsal is usually a very short thing when it comes to live TV, but Brian was very good at putting in the time to show Brady and Michael where to and how to stand. The best part of the morning rehearsal came from Brady when he asked that the station not put his name on the screen until after his shoelace was tied. This blew Brian away, thinking about what am I teaching them besides magic. Heck this was one from Brady's mouth not me. He totally impressed everyone with such a knowledge of the camera and angles. So take into account where you're performing when on TV. Know that nothing is growing out of the back of your head. Know where you're standing and angles for the camera to get the full effect of your magic.

Promotional words are always important when on TV. Make sure you get all of the messages that you are there for. Always learn the host's names and talk like you have known them for years. Try to keep down the witty jokes, sometimes it may not be funny for the viewers. Just make sure you are magical in what you do and say. Remember also to set the VCR or TiVo to catch this moment for your video resume. Agents and buyers want to see lots of video of you so they can have something to sell you with. Hope that helps you next time you get a chance to shine on TV.

Michael on "Great Day" at Hocus Pocus

Michael w/ Brian Loftus
Want to share a tip: tony@hocus-pocus.com

Best magical wishes

Tony Blanco

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