A Q&A With Our Very Own iPad Magician
Have you ever wondered about what makes a magician; what makes them tick, how they come up with tricks and what’s the weirdest thing they’ve ever had to dress up as for an event? We found all this out and more whilst talking to our very own iPad magician.
One of the most in demand and well-regarded magicians in the UK and perhaps the world, our digital magician was a delight to talk to, funny, witty and incredibly passionate about digital magic. So without further ado here’s what he had to tell us…
What’s your story? Was there a definite point where you decided to become a magician or was it a gradual process?
It’s really funny because every time I do a show or close up trick for someone this is usually the first question they ask me. Some people even think you’re born with it and I have to break their heart and tell them no that it’s just sleight of hand – or is it? (laughs) – don’t tell anyone!
I started magic when I was 16 years old. I was working in Starbucks as my first ever summer job and one of the baristas was a magician and I would pester him to teach me magic, because I’d always wanted to be a magician. Eventually he broke the first rule of magic and showed me how a trick was done.
It then became almost an addiction for me. Everyday after school I’d go home and try and learn a new trick. I had a bit of a hard time at school and to have the older years wanting you to perform magic tricks for them was pretty cool. I went from being the geeky kid to being the magic guy, which really helped my confidence.
Later I worked in golf club in the evenings, and I would always be practising my magic tricks, and one evening a French guy came in and invited me to perform magic at his restaurant just down the road from were I lived in Ashbridge, Kent. I was so excited, it was my first gig and I’d only been doing magic for 2 or 3 months. My whole family came.
I knew only a few tricks and the first person I went up to, I gave them my pack of cards and they dropped them, and they were in a special order, and so I was already one trick down and in that moment I was just like I’m going to quit right now!
2 weeks later I get a call from Etienne – a world champion magician – and he said to me ‘I heard you did magic at my restaurant where I have my residency’. I thought, oh no I’ve stepped on his toes where is this going to go and then he asked to meet me and I became his apprentice for the next 2 / 3 years and he taught me everything I know!
If I love something I put a lot of time and effort into it, I commit myself entirely. So with magic it was like that, it started off gradual and then the second I got my first paid job I was like right ok this is it, I need to start doing more work.
What’s the best reaction to a trick you’ve ever had?
I remember this really well. I was doing an iPad stage show and I was really excited about it, because I loved the company, and last minute I was sat in the hotel room and I was on the phone to my dad and saying to him look I’ve got this idea for this trick but it’s a bit risky. I tell it to him and he’s like it’s comedy gold they’re going to love it. The guys at this event are really techy and my dad’s a programmer, so if he loves it they’re going to love it. So I kid you not, in my suit, half an hour before the show, I start programming this trick - all to do with the blue screen of death, which is funny because iPads don’t get that. So when I did this trick and just pulled the blue screen out of the iPad and said “I didn’t have that luxury at Microsoft last week” the whole room just erupted and blew up.
It was because it was so tailored to the audience that it worked and I’ll never forget that reaction.
Which has been your favourite customised trick to date?
I got asked to do the Windows 10 launch in partnership with John Lewis. Being a tech magician I have a real love and passion for technology, so when I got the call from these guys I was jumping at the chance to make something bespoke. I created a full version of Windows 10, but it was my version and I could do magic with it.
So for the trick I opened up Windows Paint, and the top guys from Microsoft were there, and I start drawing a card box and the card I draw on the front of the card box isn’t the card the guy was thinking of. I’m like no it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s a card box, the card is still inside. I took a pack of cards and started fanning them underneath the Windows Surface and then a picture of the card started sliding out from the card box on the screen – his card – and so I grabbed it and pulled it out of the screen. I remember the look on the guys face and he said how have you done that? I mean, I helped design this and Windows 10 shouldn’t be able to do that.
Those moments are great when you show them something new about a product that they know inside and out.
Have you ever had any weird themes you’ve had to cater to or any weird dress up requests?
I’ve got a really funny one. I used to do pickpocketing and I was once asked to dress up as Olaf and perform as a pickpocket, pick-pocketing people as they walked into the event. I sort of said how do you expect me to pick pocket someone dressed as Olaf – with the three finger stick hands and there’s nothing inconspicuous about Olaf!
What’s your motto?
(Immediately) YOLO (laughs) no I can’t say that. That’s a really tough one. It’s by Marcus Aurelius a Roman Emperor. He wrote this book called Meditations – his thoughts and views on the world. He said that ‘everything you hear is an opinion not fact, everything you see is perspective not truth’ and that has always been quite powerful for me, as I’ve always gone against the grain.
Being a tech magician I’ve received quite a lot of hate from the magic world because what I do goes against conventional magic, or ‘real’ magic, it’s not the norm. So I tell myself this whenever I’m building a trick and if people are entertained then that’s all that matters. It’s making people laugh and smile. I try not to listen to the noise in the background and try to stick to what is my truth.
What’s a typical day for you before a performance?
I used to spend a long time getting ready for a show. Now I treat magic like everyone treats their job, I try not get too worked up before hand and try and have confidence in my own professional ability. Which has come with working a lot and being a pro.
I get up in the morning, go for a walk before breakfast, grab a coffee, try and hit the gym depending on if I’m tired or not, if I’ve had a gig the night before. I spend the day on the phone to my manager Laura going through all the enquiries and new concepts we’ve got, writing blog posts about what I’m doing, programming new tricks, doing all that sort of stuff.
Then if I’ve got a show at 7 and I’ve got to be there by 6:30 and it’s half an hour away, I will quite literally get ready at 5:30. I’ve got 10 or 15 suits and shirts in my wardrobe so I just think what do I feel like today and what sort of event is it? I want to look smart but also approachable and make people feel like they can welcome me into their group. I want people to feel like I’m the guy that turned up to the party that also happens to do magic. I’ve also got a bag that’s always ready with my magic gear, and I’m ready to go.
Why should people book a magician for their event?
People in events are always trying to work out how they can make a lasting impression on guests, attendees and clients and they put a lot of time and effort into venues, food and drink, and entertainment. I think that one of the things people always remember at an event is a good magician.
When people see something really great, a magic trick that really makes them go ‘wow’, they will always tell their friends about it. Like when I put an iPhone in their hand and with a snap of my fingers turn it into a block of glass, people will be like ‘what’, ‘wow’, that’s impossible I was holding it the whole time. It’s all about something happening right in people’s hands and making an emotional connection with them.
Some people may have never seen a magician close up before and when I perform Dynamo and David Blane tricks for them in real life – it’s an experience that they talk about for years to come. What’s better yet is when you have an act like me that builds these tricks that are completely customised, people have an immediate personal reaction and they talk about it not just face to face but on social media too.
What about brand & event experiences?
I think when you’re trying to create brand and event experiences you want people to remember the event, and having a magician that can customise the show to constantly remind the person at the event – cement in their heads that they’re at an event for this company – and create a unique experience that they’ve never experienced before in their lives I think that’s the strongest form of entertainment. The strongest form of brand experience at an event. Everything else can be experienced again, but not a magician onstage doing a custom trick made specifically for that event. Magic creates such an emotional connection with people because it defies reality. It’s something they are never ever going to see again, and I can guarantee that. It’s the same level of magic as these Vegas shows except it’s now customised for your brand.
Stage Shows or Close Up?
I can’t give you a definitive answer on that!
I love close up magic because I get to make a personal connection with your audience, reading people and working them out. A couple of my best friends happen to be people I’ve met at events. You very quickly build a rapport; it’s great to get to know so many people.
With a stage show you don’t really get to do that, but I love stage shows because you get to perform for so many people at once. It’s hard for me to get around a room of 200 people in 2 hours, but when I’m dong a show for 5,000 people and I get to show them magic and see their reaction that’s incredibly rewarding.
And so there you have it! If you’d like to find out more about our digital magician or book him for your event get in contact with us on 01626 572072.