Showing posts with label # interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label # interview. Show all posts

26 May 2019

Matt DiSero on Comedy Above The Pub

Season 17, episode 16 of the Comedy Above the Pub podcast has Matt DiSero in the hot seat with a bonus anecdote about David Acer.


From Matt DiSero's Facebook page:




08 May 2019

Discourse in Magic with Matt Johnson (plus 60s docs)

Via iTricks, Matt Johnson featured on the web series "60 Second Docs" in the episode "The Bittersweet Ache of Escaping." (embedded at the bottom of this post)


From Discourse in Magic:
On episode 158, Matt Johnson joins Jonah to discuss escapology, adding human elements to your magic, and recreating your brand. You may know Matt for his water tank escape on Penn & Teller: Fool Us or for his semi-place finish on Britain’s Got Talent.

Matt remembers a wind-up box at his grandmother’s house sparking his initial love for magic. While not a magic trick, it still gave him this magical feeling and caused him to want to know how a little box could play music. At the age of twelve, he started learning tricks and, after performing for Matt’s siblings’ birthday, a magician took Matt under his wing. Soon, he was attending his local shop every weekend right through his teen years.

Read more and listen.





From the 60 Second Docs YouTube channel:







23 April 2019

Ryan Joyce on the Darren Walters podcast

From Ryan Joyce's Facebook post:

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22 April 2019

Gwyn Auger on Illusionary

From Yeats Magic Co's Facebook post:

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07 March 2019

The Perfectly Normal Podcast: Gregory Wilson

Last June, Jeff Newman and Ben Price from Calgary started The Perfectly Normal Podcast.

Recently they sat down to chat with Gregory Wilson.


From Castbox.FM:
Jeff and Ben Sit down to talk with two time FISM award winner, magic creator, performer, lecturer, and all around cool guy, Greg Wilson. Greg shares his take on how to be a performer, what he thinks is important as a performer of magic, and we share a few jokes...Canadian and otherwise.

Read more and listen to podcast.

04 March 2019

Getting to know Gwyn Auger

From the Beyond Fame Podcast:
She is The Magic Assistant! Recently worked with Lance Burton, Gwyn takes time to chat with me on Beyond Fame about her assisting talents. She is beautiful, charming and a lot of fun. She wants us to also know she does professional consulting for magicians, along with being a social media expert. Please contact her for all your magic show needs.

Read more and listen to podcast.







27 February 2019

Michael Rucker interviews Jonah Babins

From Michael Rucker:

That’s not how magic is supposed to be. One of the biggest challenges in magic, one of the hardest things to do for beginners, is to perform magic and have people not hate you, right? Because you’re displaying how much more you know or how you can finagle or twist your knowledge to outsmart them. The challenge is to make that fantastical, and amazing, and enjoyable.

It is a big deal in magic to make sure that you’re not giving the audience a puzzle to be solved, but instead, you’re together going on the journey. I like to refer to it as like a dream guide. Like the magician says, “Take my hand and come with me.”

Read more.

26 January 2019

Listen to Billy Kidd

Billy Kidd is featured on the first episode of Kray Mitchell's "Illusionary Podcast."  The Illusionary Podcast talks to different Canadian magicians about their careers and influences.

You can also listen to Billy with Jonah Babins and Tyler Williams on episode 81 of Discourse in Magic " Episode 81 – Busking for Magicians & Earning Your Chops with Billy Kidd" (October 19th, 2017).

Alternately have a listen to Richard Young on episode 62 of The Magician's Podcast (June 30th, 2016).







18 January 2019

Michael Close Webinar: The Truth about Lying

From Michael Close:
Magic depends on disseminating misinformation – in other words, lying. Learn to use this important tool with rapier-like precision in this informative and fun webinar.

Michael's live webinar will run 60-90 minutes long, you will be able to ask questions, geared for all skill levels, and you can add some tricks to your repertoire right away!

What you will learn:
  • The whole truth and nothing but the truth
  • Conditional (transitional) truth
  • Verbal vs. non-verbal lies
  • Sleight of hand as a non-verbal lie
  • Sustaining a non-verbal lie
  • Lies of omission
  • Lying to distort memory
  • Strategic placement of big lies

Read more and register.


Sign-up at MichaelClose.com to receive Michael's newsletters.  I've got it on good authority that there's an interview with Matt DiSero in the January newsletter!





21 December 2018

The Outerbridges in go/be Weekly

Catch them in Niagara on December 29th!


From the article "Ted Outerbridge: Clockwork Mysteries Tour Delivers Holiday Magic" by David DeRocoo:
“I was in a restaurant eating a bowl of spaghetti when this guy pulled an egg out of my ear and it blew my mind,” remembers Outerbridge, who shares the stage with his wife and partner, Marion Outerbridge. “From that moment on I wanted to be able to create a sense of wonder for others.”

By the time he was 12, Outerbridge was already being paid to perform magic at neighbourhood birthday parties, delivering 15-minute sets of slight-of-hand tricks and small-scale illusions. At 19 he was earning his living as a professional magician, developing illusions that would eventually be used in such sold-out tours as Magical Moments In Time and the Time Capsule Tour.

Read more.

From Marion Outerbridge's Facebook page:

17 December 2018

Oshawa: Richard Forget and Craig Douglas

From the December 11th article "Whitby magician has a box of tricks" by Mike Ruta in the Durham Region:
When is a box not just a box? When it’s a metaphor in Richard Forget’s show, The Magic Box.

“It suggests a whole bunch of things,” says the Whitby magician. “It can mean so much.”

Forget notes that the history of magic is full of them: people disappearing from a box, a magician sawing his assistant in half as she lays in a box. And a theatre itself is a box, he says.

Forget, the Canadian Magician of the Year in 2011, is encouraging Durham residents to come and see his show on Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. at Oshawa’s Regent Theatre. After all, he isn’t around much.

“I don’t get to perform this show in the Durham area a lot because I travel a lot,” he says.

Read more.

12 December 2018

A peek behind the curtain with Young and Strange

I was delighted to receive an invitation to interview Richard Young and Sam Strange earlier this month, as part of a Champions of Magic promotional event.  You may have seen Young and Strange on The Next Great Magician, Penn & Teller: Fool Us (2014 and 2017), or “photobombing” the Live News Report.




Although I was unable to attend, they kindly agreed to answer a few questions by email.  Which of course meant that I wasn’t able to witness any of their magic up close and personal.  And so my first question …


What wondrous and extraordinary magical effect would you have shown me had I been there to interview you in person?
As I’m sure all your readers can empathise with, when asked about your profession/hobby, it’s quickly followed up with “show us a trick mate.” That can be repetitive at times and more often than not the environment in which you’re asked to perform isn’t favourable, meaning a cobbled together performance.
What is your first memory of magic?
 

My first experience of the magic we know and love was probably seeing Lance Burton performing his dove act on a TV special. What an incredible piece of magic that was/is.
The beauty of being stage illusionists is that it immediately takes you out of the “performing on demand” predicament and we often say “unfortunately, all of the magic we do is simply too big to do for you right now!” Having said all of that,
we would have definitely made the effort for you and would have probably set up our full illusion show complete with lighting, music and pyro.


Aww, shucks.  I am gutted that I wasn’t able to make the live interview!



Where do you find non-magical inspiration?
 

The reality is that we take inspiration from all sorts of things outside of magic. There has always been a comedic thread in our performances so we are interested in all forms of comedy. Young has had a lifelong passion for WWE wrestling which draws many parallels with stage magic (the production, characters, humour).
Who inspires you magically?

We have always absolutely loved David Copperfield and seeing his TV specials as children was probably the biggest inspiration to our act today.  We have a passion for stage illusions and no-one does it better than him. We recently saw his show in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand and he’s still at the very top of his game. Lance Burton, along with Siegfried and Roy were also hugely inspirational. We have always loved the magic of 1980’s and 90’s.


Why do you think people are still fascinated by magic, especially live magic? 
Despite having all of this magic at our fingertips in the age of smartphones, we think that people are still looking for that momentary escapism where they can feel like a kid again, even if only for a few seconds. Magic and certainly stage illusion can absolutely do that.


What’s is it about Champions of Magic that has allowed you to draw large audiences on 6 UK tours and 2 North American tours over the past five years?
I think there are a number of reasons why it’s been successful. There’s no doubt about it, live magic is popular at the moment.. Talking specifically about the show, we think the name is brilliant. Champions of Magic; it’s about as clear a show title as it can be. It feels like a safe, solid bet for an evening’s entertainment. 
It has a multi-magician line-up with different styles of magic-- if you don’t like one performer or style, you’ll like one of the others. 
The varied line up also allows for much more flexibility within the show, therefore broadening its appeal. The show is constantly evolving both on and off stage. The branding and marketing changes as the producer (an incredibly hardworking, dynamic man called Alex Jarrett) learns from each run of the shows we do.  


What surprised you most about performing in different countries?  Have you experienced anything specific about Canadian audiences in particular?
I think if you chat to most magicians who have developed their acts for British audiences and then transitioned to North America, they will say the same thing: audiences over your side of the Atlantic are SO much better. They are less cynical and more vocal in their praise. Why that is we're not sure, it could be because magic has a great reputation or they are more conditioned to ‘join in’ with sports games being such a huge feature of the culture. We’ve only done a handful of shows in Canada probably not enough to distinguish between American and Canadian audiences. Maybe you can give us some pointers?! The shows we are doing in Toronto are over the holiday season so it should be a fantastic run of shows with everyone in good spirits.

Life on the road isn’t all glory and glamour.  There are tight schedules, never-ending bus rides, questionable accommodations, missed connections, and broken or disappearing props.
I’m glad you recognise that. It’s all too easy to look at the touring life (especially through the lens of magician’s social media) and think “that looks like the absolute dream lifestyle.”  It is amazing but does have a equal amounts of highs and lows.


Tell us about your most memorable touring misadventure.
One of the biggest benefits of being in a large scale touring show is that you end up with a lot of interesting stories, so to pin it on a single anecdote is difficult. However we did a show recently at a casino near Seattle and flew out the night before. When we landed, we had a message from the trucking company saying the truck had been caught in heavy weather and simply wouldn’t make it to the event. I should say that if you have seen any of the advertisements for Champions of Magic or seen the show itself you’ll understand that it is a large scale show. In our set alone there are nine illusions framed with top level production. So to have no truck is an absolute disaster.

No truck?  No props?  Oh no!
Fortunately, the event we had been booked for was a little unusual with a theatre at one end of the room and dining tables tightly packed into the floor space. It allowed for the guests to enjoy a three course meal followed by the evening show. We took a taxi to the local magic shop in Seattle, while the rest of the cast and crew brainstormed what they could do in order to make the show happen. It’s amazing how resourceful five magicians can be when the chips are down. We also gave extra value by performing close up magic around the tables prior to the show, which kicked the whole thing off on the right foot.
One of the things we did was have a crew member dress and [Editor's note: The content that followed contained super secret secrets and has been redacted.  Hey.  I said it was super secret.  Did you think I was just going to leave it here for you in plain text?] Of course a little rehearsal before, the use of a devil’s handkerchief (courtesy of the Seattle Magic Shop) and an audio track that is as well known to the magic community as David Copperfield himself, created one of the best reactions of the night.
Alex McAleer the Mind Reader did an extended performance, along with Kayla Drescher (the specialist close up magician in the show). Young and I were forced to resurrect a card production/manipulation act we used to do, along with a comedy routine we had for silk in Egg. Fernando Velasco (the escapologist in the show) did a variation on Smash and Stab and by the time the show had finished the audience went crazy.
It seems no level of production can compete with confusing a bandana for a banana.


So as to not scare off any aspiring performers, please share with us your favourite touring experience and / or strategies you use to maintain your sanity on tour.
Without sounding like PR spin, we are like a big family off stage. We all get on well and look after each other. We go to the gym together, share apartments together and spend most of our time hanging out. We are fortunate to have an excellent producer, Alex Jarrett, who is laid back, very funny and incredibly hard working. He strikes the perfect balance as a boss and allowing us to have fun. He’s been incredibly selective in which magicians are in the show, not only for their acts but also for their attitudes off stage. Magicians are well known for their ballooned ego’s and ensuring everyone gets on with each other is just as important as the show itself. We joke around all the time and every show has something that makes us laugh.
 

Had your families not been friends (meaning that you wouldn’t have met each other in childhood and become friends), what kind of magic do you think each of you would be doing today?  (Or would you be back to filling jam donuts?)
We often talk about what we would all be doing if we hadn’t have discovered our early passion for magic. There is no doubt about it that Young and I have always loved large scale stage illusions. Although we have been close up magicians for many years, our passion has always been rooted in stage magic. I suspect that passion would have come through regardless of whether we knew each other. Whether that would have translated into us both being stage performers is another matter and probably unlikely. The beauty of a double act is that you both bring different things to the table, pooling the little talents we did have together. Obviously learning magic together was a great catalyst and our friendship is what makes performing our act so much fun. Some double acts are known for not getting along well, but we are very fortunate that’s not the case for us, and our deep rooted friendship is the biggest asset to our act.

What's your connection to Canadian magic?

How can you not be absolutely in love with Doug Henning's vibrancy and positivity? His shows were incredible. We also love Darcy Oake, a great performer and an incredible stage magician. He is one of the very few magicians who is genuinely cool, rather than most illusionists who try, but can’t quite pull it off.

How have your numerous television appearances, including Penn & Teller: Fool Us, The Next Great Magician, and NBC’s Access Hollywood (USA) impacted your career?
Penn and Teller: Fool Us has always been a fantastic show with nothing but good intentions to showcase magic at it’s best. That’s been really helpful in getting our name out there, along with a viral video we created of us photobombing a Live News Report.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
We’ve been in the show Champions of Magic for a number of years and the show is the best it’s ever been. By the time it reaches the St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto we will have been out in North America for nearly eight weeks performing in venues all over the US. The theatre in Toronto has a capacity of about 900 so it’ll feel like an intimate venue for such a large scale show. With all this in mind it’s worth making the effort to come and see the show and the four acts in it, as everything is pointed to it being the best run of shows we have ever done.

Thank you Sam Strange of Young and Strange for making the time to answer our questions!

Catch the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre December 19 to January 6, 2019.  Tickets through Ticketmaster or enter our contest!



10 December 2018

A peek behind the curtain with Alex McAleer

I was delighted to receive an invitation to interview Alex McAleer earlier this month, as part of a Champions of Magic promotional event.  You may have seen McAleer on international television shows such as ITV’s Good Morning Britain (UK), and NBC’s Access Hollywood (USA).





I was unable to attend, but lucky for me (and you) he kindly agreed to answer a few questions by email.

What is your first memory of magic?

I remember seeing a magician at a friend’s birthday party when I was maybe six years old. He wore a cape and a pointy hat with stars on and made a roast chicken appear in a child’s toy microwave. Describing it now, it could have all been a very odd dream but I’m pretty sure it happened.
and in his first show channeled his inner Derren Brown.  


What would have been in store for you had you not caught the mentalism bug?  
I think I would have developed a silent act very much in the style of Teller (from Penn & Teller). I like the challenge of communicating without words and letting the magic do the talking.


How do you create new effects?
When I’m thinking of new routines or material for a show, my first starting point is always what I want the audience to experience: what do I want them to see, think and feel. Sometimes it’s just a cool idea - a way to reveal something someone is thinking of in an unexpected or surprising way. Then I start to think about how it should look, and feel. Then I start to think about how I can achieve whatever it is I’ve dreamt up.


Who inspires you that is not a magician?
I’ve always been a fan of comedians such as Billy Connolly and Eddie Izzard; their ability to just stand on stage and entertain a thousand people with just their words. I’m also a fan of silent film stars, especially Buster Keaton (who is much funnier than Chaplin). I guess what inspires me about Keaton is that as a silent film star he had to rely on his physicality to tell the story.
Why do you think people are still fascinated by magic, especially live magic?
When you watch a magic trick, you are being shown something that shouldn’t be possible but somehow it’s still happening. Magic relies on taking something you know to be a fact, an object is solid, your thoughts are yours and yours alone, and breaks the rules. It’s fun for people to not understand the world for a few moments.
Magic is and always had been at its best when experienced live. Seeing someone vanish before your very eyes is always going to be enticing.


What surprised you most about performing in different countries?
This show started in the UK so when we first started touring North America we were initially shocked by the audiences’ enthusiasm this side of the pond. It’s a cliché, but in the UK we are more reserved and skeptical as a people, but across the Atlantic, people are eager to see a magic show and happy to just enjoy the experience. I’ve always found Canadians to have a pleasant mix between American optimism and European sensibilities so I’m looking forward to performing here and seeing the response we get.


McAleer’s connection to Canadian magic?
His fellow Champions of Magic performer, Kayla Drescher hosts the Shezam podcast with our very own Carisa Hendrix!
Life on the road isn’t all glory and glamour.  There are tight schedules, never-ending bus rides, questionable accommodations, missed connections, and broken or disappearing props.  Tell us about your most memorable touring misadventure.
All of the above is true! This show has been touring in the UK and US over the past 5 years so we’ve had all sorts happen. We have had the truck containing all the props, lights, and set turning up 2 hours before the show starts, and once not turning up at all! Thankfully we have an amazing cast and crew, especially the crew who can also pull-off miracles.




So as to not scare off any aspiring performers, please share with us your favourite thing about touring.
It’s always exciting to travel and meet new people, and we’ve visited places I might never have had the chance to if I wasn’t touring with this show. The best part is getting to do it with the cast and crew of Champions of Magic, the best tour family there is!

Thank you Alex McAleer for making the time to answer our questions!

Catch the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre December 19 to January 6, 2019.  Tickets through Ticketmaster or enter our contest

06 November 2018

Julie Eng on Pop Life CTV

From the Pop Life CTV Facebook page:

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28 October 2018

Tyler Williams leaving magic?

Find out for yourself in episode 133 of Discourse in Magic.


From the Discourse in Magic Twitter feed:
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12 August 2018

The Amazing Randi in the media

James Randi celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this week.  Here are a couple of pieces from the internet.


From the August 6th post, "Magician the Amazing Randi has dedicated his life to promoting critical thinking" by Troy Lennon in The Daily Telegraph:
The interview on August 13, 1980, ended with Lane throwing to a commercial, telling Randi to “piss off” before storming out, flicking away Randi’s bent cutlery as he left. Randi was flustered but largely maintained composure. Lane later apologised for swearing but insisted the American had failed to prove anything. But the controversy made the sceptic more famous in Australia.

Read more.


From the Twitter feed of Interval Magic:

18 July 2018

TMR studios interviews Shawn Farquhar

From the TMR Productions YouTube channel:

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24 May 2018

David Peck interviews The Sentimentalists, Julie Eng, and Daniel Zuckerbrot

David Peck has previously interviewed many magicians on his Face 2 Face podcast.  Recently he's added The Sentimentalists (episode 362), as well as Julie Eng and Daniel Zuckerbrot (episode 373) to his growing list.


From Face 2 Face Live: The Sentimentalists – Episode 362
The Sentimentalists and I talk about skepticism, assumptions and religious belief, burlesque theatre, mentalism and magic, scientific headspace and what it means to be a collector of rare oddities.

Biography
World-renowned mentalist Mysterion partners with mentalist Steffi Kay to create a mind reading experience that is truly breathtaking. Steffi brings a grace, flair and elegance to the mentalism she practises and with her vintage look, approach and style you will feel transported back to Vaudeville to the golden age of magic.

Read more and listen to podcast.



From Face 2 Face Live: Daniel Zuckerbrot and Julie Eng on “The Science of Magic” – Episode 373
Julie Eng, Daniel Zuckerbot and David Peck talk about their new film The Science of Magic, change blindness, assumptions, subverting reality, free will, doubt and the problems of perception.

Synopsis
Magic has become the latest investigative tool for scientists exploring human cognition, neurobiology, and behaviour. Across Canada, the US and Europe, our film follows researchers who are bringing magicians’ tricks into the laboratory.  With impossible magic, amazing facts, and opportunities for viewers to participate in the magic, this extraordinary exploration peeks behind the curtain into a fascinating world where ancient magic meets modern science.

Canadian magician and executive director of the arts organization Magicana, Julie Eng not only mystifies us with magic, she also takes us to Montreal’s McGill University to meet Jay Olson. He is one of the scientists spearheading this novel and powerful approach to experimental psychology.  On the streets of Montreal Julie and Jay use card tricks to help us understand how magic can be used to explore human consciousness. But these simple tricks have given way to more elaborate experiments.

Read more and listen to podcast.

21 May 2018

The Magic Word with Scott Wells

For those of you who don't already know, Scott Wells hosts a podcast for magicians.

Recently, he's published a few which may be of interest to you!

From "410 - Carisa Hendrix - Getting Uncomfortable" on The Magic Word Podcast:
Carisa Hendrix is a magician who is on the rise. Oh, also, she happens to be a woman. She is one of the new breed who I believe is one of the "Stars of Tomorrow" as she pursues her dreams on stage. Most young people I see today seem to be involved in close-up and entertaining small groups of people, but few true entertainers are comfortable on stage in front of a large audience. Carisa is one of that rare breed.

She suggests that we should step out of our comfort zone and try new things that stretch our boundaries and move into new, perhaps uncomfortable, areas that will make us better performers and people. She says that artists should practice "moving towards the place of greatest discomfort and just sitting in that space." She suggests that magicians should not be afraid to fail.

On another matter, there was quite a bit of controversy about her July 2017 cover on VANISH Magazine. She addresses it quite well and succinctly on her blog.

Read more and listen to podcast.



From "423: Neil McNally - The Doug Henning Project" on The Magic Word Podcast:
Neil McNally is a passionate man. He is most passionate about Doug Henning and he hosts a weekday blog called "The Doug Henning Project". Who could imagine that there would be that much to reveal about this iconic figure. We recently "hit a nerve" with the podcast #415 with Chip Romero as that episode was one of our most downloaded podcast. So, it was a natural thing to chat with the webmaster of "The Doug Henning Project" so those who are interested in Doug Henning could learn even more. Neil is not a performing magician though he is taking lessons at The Magic Castle. But his passion is history and collecting of Doug Henning. He is also producing a documentary on Doug Henning and will soon be crowd funding his project.

Read more and listen to podcast.


And one from the archives.

From "201 - Murray Sawchuck - Celebrity Magician" on The Magic Word Podcast:
Murray Sawchuck recently completed two and a half years at the Tropicana's Laugh Factory in Las Vegas. On December 20, 2014, he will begin a new afternoon show at Planet Hollywood's "Sincity Theater" along his wife, Chloe, and his partner, Lefty. Murray will add illusions to his comedy magic show plus bring in different aspects of his other appearances on television such as "Pawn Stars" and other shows.

During our conversation, Murray talked about his upcoming appearance on Hallmark's Home & Family morning talk show. After you have listened to the podcast, then be sure to come back to watch this video. The other two videos below are from a couple of his appearances on "America's Got Talent" (sic).

Read more and listen to podcast.








[With thanks to The Magic Demon for sending this along.]

15 March 2018

Random thoughts about "The Science of Magic" on CBC's "The Nature of Things"

Updated at 9:30am to add links to: 

"The Science of Magic" boasts an extraordinary list of participants, which include: Julie Eng, Ronald Rensink, Jay Olson, Gustav Kuhn, Anthony Barnhart, Amory Danek, Matthew Tompkins, Thomas Strandberg, Billy Kidd, Tom Stone, Thomas Fraps, Pit Hartling, and Juan Tamariz.
Had I known it was possible to do university level research involving the magician's force, mind-reading MRIs, or magic beans*, I may have reconsidered the focus of my post-secondary education.

I am, however, on the ball enough to jump at a chance to take an advance peek at (and ask questions about) "The Science of Magic," a documentary that examines these subjects and more!

Tune in to "The Science of Magic" on CBC’s "The Nature of Things" on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 8PM (8:30 NT). The documentary will also be available to watch online at cbc.ca/natureofthings on Friday, March 16 from 5:00 pm EST.
When Donna and Daniel Zuckerbrot from Reel Time Images (who brought us  "Dai Vernon – The Spirit of Magic," "Max Maven: a fabulous monster," "The Houdini Code,"' and "Jeff McBride: a magickal life" among other titles) realized how much research was going on in the field of science and magic, they knew they had to investigate it further.
 
"You can see that the real question about our film 'The Science of Magic' isn’t why we wanted to make it, but rather, how could we not have?"
-- Donna Zuckerbrot

Julie Eng's reaction to being brought on board the project?
"I was thrilled. I have known the Zuckerbrots for many years and I am a big fan of their work."

  "The idea of using magic as a mechanism for study into how we think, and how we perceive the world is fascinating for me.  It was a huge honour to be asked to be the 'magical guide' for this film."

"Magicians don't have supernatural powers. Instead what they do is exploit very powerful and often very surprising limitations in human cognition."
In "The Science of Magic," the Zuckerbrots along with magical host Julie Eng, take us across Canada, the US, and Europe to visit with scientists using magic as an investigative tool in their exploration of cognition and behaviour.  (Pay close attention to catch cameos by Daniel Zuckerbrot, David Ben, and magic enthusiast Ari.)

The show is full of fascinating insights sure to capture the attention of those who like to be entertained by magic, those who perform magic, as well as those who are interested in psychology and behaviour.  There are even opportunities to participate in on air magic tricks!  From the press release:
"... viewers are able to feel the power of magic from the comfort of their homes and experience some of the psychological principles these tricks reveal (including ‘magicians choice,’ and choice blindness,' ‘failure to see,’ ‘change blindness,’ inattentional blindness, as well as the ‘aha’ moment)."

I'm not too proud to admit that on more than one occasion Julie had me right where she wanted.  I was also properly schooled by Anthony Barnhart.



On the other hand, I did well with Ronald Rensink's challenge and some of the other ones too!

Julie also teaches a coin trick that even I could master, with a little practice.




"We take these principles that magicians know, we bring them into the lab and we try and figure out how they work."
It is humbling (and a bit disconcerting) to discover, as the press release describes, that "we sometimes don't see what's right under our noses," "we see tricks that fool us despite nothing actually happening," and that "we can be blind even to our own choices."

"We were all surprised at how magical the science was. It was astonishing to realize that we don’t see what we think we are seeing, that our memories are as slippery as our perceptions, that who we are — even our deeply held beliefs can change without us knowing. Like good magic the science left us with a feeling of wonder."  
-- the Zuckerbrots


For some behind the scenes photos have a look at the Reel Time Images Facebook page, Instagram account, or Twitter feed.  I look forward to hearing Daniel's thoughts at his Browser's Bash mini-talk.
During the making of the documentary, Julie said she was pleased to learn that "old magic tricks that I have known and have performed since I was a child can still have a deep and profound affect on people, particularly with the right presentation."


There are a variety of real world applications to the knowledge gained:
  • Work on "how small distractions can blind drivers" can help improve driver safety.  ("Driver looked but failed to see" is an actual category of accident!)
Anthony Barnhart's studies showing how "off beats" work across sensory systems, help me better understand my habit of turning off my radio when I'm in a situation that requires my full attention.
  • Suggestion-based treatments have promising uses in the medical field.
  • The Zuckerbrots noted that Rensink's findings with respect to 'change blindness' "seems to underlie film editing.  It is apparently the reason why you don’t notice the change of pictures, from wide shot to close up for example, while you are watching a film."  
  • In addition to psychology benefiting from the insights discovered using magic as an investigative tool, the Zuckerbrots observed that "some magicians believe they have already gained from what they’ve learned from psychologists.  Tom Stone is a great example, he certainly credits work he did with experimental psychologists as having changed his own performance in fundamental ways."
  • Julie posits that "... from learning how intention and actions (movement) can help create smoother technical manipulation, to how it can mask the most technical sleight… is useful."  After all, she continues,
"If we can use science and technology to work out the perfect angle for speed skaters to maximize physics to their advantage, why can we not benefit from learning more about human behaviour and cognition to advance our field?"

"Each of these areas can bring a lot of insights to magicians to heighten the “magic" experience for audiences."


Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know about the show? 

"We hope they find watching it as interesting and as much fun as we did making it." 
-- the Zuckerbrots

"Bring their eyes and ears (and to be prepared to have fun!)"    -- Julie Eng
I certainly had fun learning and I'm sure you will too!  (As the scientific field evolves, I hope they'll film a second part.)

Tune in to "The Science of Magic" on CBC’s "The Nature of Things" on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 8PM (8:30 NT). The documentary will also be available to watch online at cbc.ca/natureofthings on Friday, March 16 from 5:00 pm EST.



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* Maybe they're really magic. Who knows? **
** With apologies to Stephen Sondheim.