Tag: robert-houdin

Impostor Syndrome and Magicians

There is a wonderful, short essay in Jeff McBride’s newsletter today from a fellow magician by the name of Santiago.  His topic is one that we ponder incessantly – the Impostor Syndrome.

Magicians may face this more than other realms of the variety arts.  After all, our whole job is to be an impostor.  We recall Robert Houdin’s famous saying that a “magician is an actor playing the part of a magician.”  We weren’t around when he said or wrote it but we think it applies in spades to our feeling each time we take the stage or the close-up table.

Part of being a magician is deciding how we represent ourselves to the audience.  Do we claim to have magical powers (or can a psychic truly read minds)?  Or are we simply using skills undetectable by the audience to accomplish what appears to be real magic?  Or are we just presenting puzzles for the audience to guess their method?

Pop Haydn taught in his phenomenal School for Scoundrels that when presenting the Three Shell game, the audience doesn’t see it as true magic because they know there must be some way the invisible movement of the pea is being accomplished.  But that does not diminish the effect.

We are a sucker for charts.  You could tell us that the earth was round, the sky is blue and grass is green, and we would nod knowingly.  But if you showed us in a chart or a graphic, we would say things like “of course, now we see!” and we would say it in a manner that implied an exclamation point at the end of our statement.  Probably by speaking emphatically and nodding like a bobble head and smiling like a fool who is doing brain damage from incessant head nodding.

We mention charts not only because we love them but also because Santiago includes charts in his essay.

If you have pondered the Impostor Syndrome or are suffering from it, you should check out the essay and sign-up for Jeff McBride’s newsletter.  It has yet to disappoint.

Read the essay here.

Sign-up for Jeff McBride’s newsletter here.

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Magician Lee Winters Featured

Young magician Lee Winters sounds like our kind of guy.  He loves magic, is industrious and gives back to his community.  It is entirely fitting that the Danbury News Times would dedicate considerable space to their Q&A with the Connecticut performer.

His professional name is MagicLee and his weapon of choice is a deck of cards.

Mr. Winters fell in love with our wonderful Art about seven years ago and credits the late Bill Andrews and the Stamford Society of Young Magicians with encouraging and mentoring is rapid development.

He practices every day, films his own installments for YouTube and shares our love for Shaun Farquhar’s amazing effect Shape of My Heart.

“Every time I see it, it almost brings me to tears, it’s that amazing.”

Of course there are those in the magic community who will attack this young prodigy for revealing one of the true classics, The Vanishing Card on one of his YouTube videos.  Yes, the secret has been kept from the public since Robert Houdin and known to very few – until now – but we cannot fault him for this blatant breach of magic’s sacred code.

In the course of the videos (see them here and here), he gives precise details in the angle of deflection for the card to be vanished (47 to 48 degrees), the definition of momentum (as well as the correct engineering formula for determining momentum from known velocity measurements) and even the special Natural Linguistic Programming intonation and word choice to present the effect for maximum impact.

We can hear the exposure is good crowd crowing:

“Yeah, but anyone could figure out the trick.  It is wrong to keep secrets from the public.  No one goes on YouTube anymore.  There’s always a trick to it because there is no such thing as magic.  Why shouldn’t all magic be exposed before the trick is done and then the audience would better appreciate the actual performance rather than be surprised and shocked with no real chance to recreate the events causing the surprise?” Continue reading “Magician Lee Winters Featured”