Blog Archive

Friday, October 24, 2014

6:30 My Last Texting and Driving

Lately I've been wanting to try to do something with my magic that is more meaningful rather then jut performing a magic effect. The last few weeks I've been performing at a theater in Chicago called "No Shame Theater"  basically it's a place to go and do a open mic. I have such a great response that it has rejuvenated my art. In fact I find myself pushing my self and challenging myself to go into undiscovered areas of myself that I really didn't know I had. I am now focusing more on the acting aspect then the magic. A few weeks ago when I was performing. I was doing a piece called "The Backyard Voodoo Doll" at the end of my performance I had the audience give out a SCREAM!

After that I thought to myself "Maybe I need to explore the type of magic I'm doing more"
So here is my next piece. It's about one of my pet peeves in life. "Texting and Driving" I talk about it every now and then on facebook and here on my blog. I even had one magician write to me because he was offended by my post, saying "I perfectley good at texting and driving" followed by a quick de-friend. I thought "Wow! I must really be making an impact" so I decided to see if I can somehow incorporate that topic into my magic.  I guess I could say that I'm getting a little tired of doing magic without some sort of storyline.

 I really like magicians who put in the time to write a script for their magic. I think mine is a little different though. Mine gets a little more uncomfortable and challenging people with actions that they may be doing, but think it's okay. Such as "Texting and Driving" I don't know at this point if I'll be getting much work with this genre of magic, but at this point I don't care. Too me I feel like I'm really doing something, reaching out and making people think.

I think people who text and drive are so self centered, selfish and only care about the moment. They are irresponsible drivers and have a total disregard to the safety of others. It's heartbreaking to think of all the lives that were taken on something so selfish.

So here is the piece I've written. Hopefully to be performed soon.

It was October, 6:30pm. Halloween to be exact. I was just leaving work, on my way home to pick up my son and take him trick or treating. That is the last I spoke to him. Or should I say texted him. The scene keeps playing OVER and OVER again. "Why! Why! why couldn't I just wait? I was only two blocks away from home, but.... I decided to text him. My last words." "My last words I'll be home soon, I'll be home soon, I'll be home soon" (Note: Suddenly you hear what sounds as a tape rewinding along with some soft airy music. As the tape rewinds the sound effect and airy music play I slowly move backwards toward the chair on the stage which represents a car. The tape sound effect represents going in time to the event that took place) I get in the car, the car door shuts, I start the car, switch the gears and as I start driving I reach over and start running the radio to a station. (Note: All of this is done perfectly timed to sound effects and music. The door slam, car start, radio....)

I find a station finally. The radio station was plating dirty bit.

I love that song. I'm driving and beating to the music in my car. Getting into the groove. I reach over to text my son. My last words "I'll be home soon, I'll be home soon, I'll be home soon" Suddenly as I'm texting I hear a car horn. I look up terrified, turn the wheel while my breaks a screeching.Life comes to a halt. I hear an airy heart beat that stops. I get out of the car in slow motion while looking at the front and back of my hands. I look over to the car I was in and see myself lifeless. I yell out a scream saying "No! no! not now. This wasn't the way it was supposed to be. I didn't even see my son graduate 8th grade or grow old with my wife" I saw a flash before my eyes. (Note: a flash comes from my body) I then saw my soul leave my body. (Note: You see smoke slowly rise from my body)

I was stuck in between two different dimensions. I couldn't cross over. It was just too painful. The guilt I had. The disappointment I had in myself. Thinking "I really screwed this one up!"
And now every October for 31 days I'm sent down from above. I have an assignment. I have to travel the nation doing lectures on the importance of not texting and driving. When I'm doing the lectures people don't even know I'm dead.

For 31 days have have to re-live that 6:30. Many times when I'm driving on my way to lectures. I look over and see people texting and driving. I just shake my head thinking. "I used to be that person. Ya I saw those gross texting and driving youtube videos. But I still had the mentality like many others. Ya! That's them! it won't happen to me. I know what I'm doing. I'm smart. I have control. But I didn't and neither do you. if I could just find a way to erase the memories. If I could just find a way to erase the hands of time and get that horrific memory of 6:30 out of my mind. Maybe then I could be at piece, have closure and cross to the other side for good" (I looked at my watch)  

 It was almost 6:30. I said "I still have time. (Note: emotional music fades in) (I reached over to where I had a  picture frame of me with my family. I picked it up and and held the picture to my heart. The photo suddenly disappeared) I placed the photo back on the table and proceeded to take a piece of paper that had a clock drawn on it. It had the time 6:30. I drew this clock many times for my attempt to cross over, but never did successfully. I picked the paper drawing of a clock and held a lighter lighter behind the paper. Suddenly you saw a flame come up behind the paper and as I'm moving the lighter around the clock, just barely touching the paper. You see the hands of the clock vanish along with the number six. I look at the audience in a sad, but happy triumph.

I take my watch off. It says 6:25pm. "It's almost time" I show the time 6:25 to the audience. I slowly turn the watch to face me. I say to the audience "I'm sorry, but I have to go. Thank you! thank you for listening to my story. I'll see you on the other side. I have to go now. Good bye....good bye..good bye..."   I look at my watch  it and as 'm saying goodbye the handles have vanished. My hands are completely empty of any trickery. I walk backwards slowly off stage. (End of Sketch)

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Backayd Voodoo Doll

Normally I try to write inspiring and motivational topics on my blog, but since Halloween is creeping around the corner I thought I would get into the Halloween spirit and write a short story. Enjoy!

It was a brisk October afternoon. The sun barley peeking through the trees in my backyard. I was 10 years old at the time and I was raking the moist leaves in the backyard. Many times I would make piles of leaves and than jump in them. What a great feeling it is to be young and free and not worry too much of responsibility. As I was raking the leaves I noticed an object laying by the tree that caught my eye. It was halfway sticking out of the dirt. I went to pick it up and that was the day that changed my life. Sometimes I wish I never picked that Voodoo Doll up. Other times I'm thankful.

I didn't think much of it. I placed the Voodoo Doll in an empty Altoids can and put it on the bookshelf in my bedroom. Later that night I woke up in the middle of the night and was scrambling for a black Sharpie Marker and a lighter. I don't even know why I was doing this. I felt a tremendous amount of energy in my body that I couldn't even control. It's kind of like that feeling you get when you're in a deep sleep and you wake up and you can't move. You feel scared, helpless and paralyzed. That's how I felt.

I took the marker out of my dresser drawer, pulled up my shirt sleeve on my left arm and started drawing a black circle on my arm. The whole time I was doing these strange odd things I would hear a rattling sound coming from the bookshelf. After I made a black hole on my arm I next took a lighter, and lit the candle that was resting on my desk. I picked up the candle and placed it directly below the black mark on my arm. I could feel the heat of the flame slowly heating up my arm, getting sucked into the black hole. 

Suddenly I felt a overwhelming push! It was my Guardian Angel telling me to blow out the smoke. I realized what was happening. 
It was the Voodoo Doll. It was using the light of the fire to capture the evil energy in the air that the doll emitted and was using the black hole as a portal to my body. I frantically dropped the lighter and coughed out an enormous amount of smoke from my mouth. I just stood there in shock wondering if this was one more of my bizarre dreams where I can't tell if it's real or not. 

I didn't tell anyone that story because I didn't want anyone to think I was crazy. Several years went by and I never had anything else happen. I'm now a single adult and have my own house in Seattle. I work in the entertainment industry. Yes! I'm a magician, but not by choice. 

It was the day I moved out of my parents house and into my new home when it started again. I was unpacking when a tin can fell from the moving boxes. It fell to the floor and broke open. Out came the Voodoo Doll. I didn't think much of it. So much time went by that I didn't even remember that day too much. Things were going pretty good at my new home. I got everything nice and organized and even managed to make a nice little magic studio in the basement. Complete with a sliding bookcase. I always wanted one of those. Behind the bookcase was my office where I would work on my scripts, take calls for shows and fill my calender. I was very excited because the next day I had a rather well paying job at a millionaires mansion doing parlor magic.

I woke up a few hours early to prepare for my show. I showered, ate breakfast and was on my way to the gig. So I thought, I was on my way. I couldn't find my car keys. I was panicking. I must of looked all over that darn house. Nothing! Nothing at all! I ended up asking my next door neighbor for a ride to my gig. The neighbor graciously accepted and I was on my way to the gig. The show went great. I took the train home and right away went to take a nice hot bath. 

As I was reflecting on the day I heard a rattling sound. I jumped from the tub and quietly listened. It was coming from the medicine cabinet. I opened the medicine door and there lying on the shelf was my keys. I couldn't make sense as to why my keys would be there. I just shrugged it off and moved on. Thorough the weeks stange things escalated.  Things would just go missing and end up in odd places.

Things would happen, things that we would consider common. Such as misplacing your keys, wallet or purse. Things that we would shrug off as being forgetful or having a memory problem. In reality it's the invisible entities that are purposely misplacing our things. They do it because they are able to extract our frustrated nad panicked energy and make their energy stronger by using ours. To the entity is a form of entertainment. They laugh at us.  I often think that there is invisible bleachers and the entities are all sitting there watching us go crazy trying to find our missing items. One of the biggest things they do is misplace or vanish socks. You know what I'm talking about! Ever wonder why there is always one sock missing after you do the laundry?

I started catching on to what was happening after about six months of misplacing my keys, wallet. and my socks! I kept having to buy new ones because I couldn't find matches. One day I decided to take all my laundry to the laundromat. I went around the house and got every little piece of laundry I could find. I made sure I had matching pairs to all my socks. And I did. I must of had six loads of laundry. They were all separated. Shirts with shirts. Pants with pants. Socks with socks. There was no way no socks would be missing now. I must of been there about three hours. I was getting to the very last few socks when, Shocked as HELL! one sock was missing. 

When I got home I found the missing sock on the bookshelf on top of the Voodoo Doll tin can. That's when I stated to put it all together. All along the Voodoo Doll was manipulating my life. Making innocent things happen, but just enough to feed of my frustrated and scared energy.   

One night I decided I would fight back. Before I went to bed I opened all the cabinet doors in the house. I stuck "Gotcha" sticky notes everywhere in the house. The next morning things were really bad. I guess it didn't like my sense of humor too much because when I woke up the Voodoo Doll was on my chest. The lighter was in my hand and I had a hole in my arm. A flash of memories came gusting at me. I realized that all through my life I had these supernatural powers and didn't even know it. The supernatural powers that I acquired on that brisk October day when I found the Voodoo Doll.

It all made sense now. This is why I had no friends. They were all scared of me and then later in life I decided to cover up my supernatural powers by becoming a magician. That way when these uncontrollable supernatural events would happen such as peoples drinks flying across the table, tv channels suddenly changing, making knives levitate from my hand or my friends cell phone rings and it's a call coming from me when I was sitting right across from them. That one really spooks me. My friends would just think I'm doing another magic trick. I tried getting rid of the Voodoo Doll, but each time I did it would keep coming back. One day I threw it in the garbage. Later that night I heard a knock on the door. When I opened the door, there sat the Voodoo Doll! Every time I would get rid of it, it would come back stronger and stronger.

So instead of fighting it. I now cherish it. All I have to do to keep it happy. I would place the Voodoo Doll in my hand and as it rises up by itself on it's wood legs. I would say "I love you Voodoo Doll! I love you Voodoo Doll!" It would then rest back down gently on the palm of my hand. I would then pick it up and place it back into the tin can. 

20 years later I got married and a few years later had a beautiful daughter. One October day I asked her to go out and rake the leaves. "I wonder if she will find the Voodoo Doll I placed by the tree" said my Guardian Angel. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Captivate Your Crowd

 lately I have been studying several topics such as how to connect with your audience as well as captivating your audience. This is an art form alone. Our magic I really think is secondary. I've put hours and hours of practice time into my thimble magic only to realize that what seems to really be important is being able to connect with your audience. Too me that is the magical part.

I found some video that I would like to share with you. Some of these videos I'm implementing in my show so that my show will get better and better. There is always room for improvement as well as growth. Our art is a continuous learning experience. 
Everybody wants to be a perfect magician.  We don't want to make mistakes because it makes us look vulnerable, but what if we are able to work with those mistakes.

I think there is a lot to say about making mistakes. It can make people actually feel like there is something in common with you. You're not perfect, but being able to work with challenges on stage can actually be inspiring.

Not too long ago I was doing a show and was opening up the show with a effect I invented called
"Room Service" It an effect where I magically make a full glass of wine appear. next I make a candle appear, than a rose and last a bundle of grapes. All went good until I went to perform the  final kicker. After I made all of the objects appear. I placed the objects on a tray, picked up the tray and walked to the front if the stage where I would make a bouquet of flowers appear. When the flowers appeared, the tray jerked making the glass of wine fall and break to the floor.

Here is my "Room Service" product trailer for those that aren't familiar with it. 
You can purchase "Room Service"  at my website.

It was an embarrassing moment, but I kept my cool and thought fast.
I simply looked at the broken glass and said "Clean up in aisle 3"
I received a nice laugh and I was able to move on with my show and make it a great success.

I hope some of these videos will help you.

This video can be applied to magic. Not just public speaking. Come out on  stage with 
a fast impressive effect.

Making your entrance memorable

Friday, September 19, 2014

Doing what you want no matter what. Explore your different gifts and talents!

 It's been several months since I have worked on my Imaginator character. The character is a constant work in progress. Occasionally I will get inspired to suit up and try out an idea or material for the character. I made this video about a year ago. Although it really isn't the route I wanted to go I decided to make a video anyway. I think in some way it helps me sort out what I want to do with the Imaginator. There is so much I can do with this character that I actually get overwhelmed and tired.  

That actually happens a lot with my work. my artistic side get's a constant flood of thoughts and idea that it's too hard to keep up. Sometimes the ideas in a book with detailed information. I even put date and time stamps on them. Other times I'll share ideas with my magic friends for them to do as they wish with them. I feel like that helps free some harddrive space.

As artists we need to sometimes chill out and have fun with out art. Explore your different gifts and talents. You never know. Just by playing around with different props, characters, music. You may tap into a new undiscovered idea.
In this video I was merrily just having fun with an idea I had. I consider it avant garde.

I think what I'm really trying to communicate to you is that finding yourself in the magical arts can take a long time. It can be very frustrating. Like I said I'm still trying to find myself. So rather then being stressed or feel pressured. Just have fun. This can apply to everything in life. We put so much pressure, deadlines and things of that sort onto us that we can sometimes miss what's important.

I think many of us worry more about how our image looks to other people rather then how we look to ourselves. Many of us need to just CHILL OUT! Love ourselves, love others and love what we do.

Entertain yourself by doing what you love. Sometimes we often don't do what we love simply because others don't like it or understand it.

We all want to be liked and successful. But at what cost?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Butterfly in a Box review by Jeff McBride

 Mark Presley: Creator of "Butterfly in a BOX"

Here is my "Butterfly in a Box" being reviewed by Jeff McBride.
Note: I have paid fort the rights to post this video.

It’s a magical life like butterfly. People are amazed as they watch it fly in the air….fluttering around you. The “Butterfly in a Box” is ready to go at anytime. Take it out of the box and watch it do its magic. It is easy to perform…adding elegance and beauty to your performance. You can catch the butterfly, make it disappear and re-appear at any time. There are several routines and uses to choose from. No threads are used and yet you still have full control of the butterfly at all times.

Comes with beautifully packaged box
Use the box as a prop
Special Smart Device
Over 25 full color page manual
Extra butterflies replacements
Over a 1-hour detailed HD dvd of the effect.
Username and password for private online video support tutorials.
High quality laser-etched artwork engraved in the dvd using lightscribe technology .
Labels are laser-etched—not printed—there's no ink, no smudging, and no peeling.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Do the MAGIC that makes you HAPPY!

I've been pondering the thought lately as to what kind of magic makes me happy. After years and years of trying to find my strengths. I finally started to discover them in the mid 2000's. Fir those of you that don't know my strengths in magic. It is thimble magic. That is my passion. I've talked about this many of times in my blog. In the past few years I have entered many magic contests where I'm performing my one of many thimble routines. Some contest I placed while others, well that a whole new blog post.

Chicago Magic Competition 2014
Through my whole life in magic I tried many times to do ball, card and coin manipulations, but my heart just didn't feel anything for them. When I found thimbles my whole attitude changed. Suddenly I was practicing for hours and hours in front of the mirror, computer cam or camcorder.  

Through the many hours of just messing around I was able to tap into some new ideas and techniques using thimbles, props and gimmicks. Too me it's not all about the thimbles, but using props to go along with them and complement each other.

I even have various thimbles I use for various effects. My most common and favorite brand thimble is of course Vernet. After that it would be Fakini and Joe Mogar. Those are my top three brands I use.

                 Abbott's Magic Competition 2014
I have roughly about a 300 thimble collection. My favorite routine that is relatively new is my "Thimble Ladder." It is a variation of the coin ladder, but with thimbles. The other new favorite is the "Thimble Glass Penetration" and last "Thimble Delight"

I have many more new and original ideas coming soon. I also have a long term goal which is to come put with a dvd tutorial that will explain all my techniques that I have done, but I don't plan on releasing it any time soon. Until I get more stage time. Mostly competition time where I can really push the art of thimbles. Thimble manipulation is indeed a lost art. I have said this many times, but I hope to bring interest back into such a beautiful piece of magic that you don't really see anymore.

This brings me to the conclusion of this blog topic "Do the MAGIC that makes you HAPPY!

Ultimately you have to do what your good at. If you try to go against the grain all you will get is resistance and friction. Your magic should be in the HEART. It should be comfortable and smooth. 

Most of all it should be fun to perform and practice. Ask yourself? What magic do you like to do? Do you know? Maybe you like doing something simple like the "Ball and Vase" effect. If so find a way to make it better and different then anyone else. We are all hear to share our gift and inspire the world. It might as well be something you love.
When you do what you love your gift will shine through and inspire people to follow their HEART in not only MAGIC, but LIFE! 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Please donate so I can compete in the Houdini magic competition


Magic buds, friends and family  Please help support my mission. I need to raise $145.00 by this Saturday. I will be competing in the "Houdini magic convention" as you know magic conventions can get expensive after awhile so I'm getting creative with raising funds. How can you help? By purchasing my effect called "Butterfly in a BOX" or just make a donation at the to where it says "Donate" You can see a quick performance in this video. As you can see I performed it outside but it great for stage and parlor as well. With my effect you will be able to make a butterfly fly and flutter in the palm of your hands. You can make it vanish and then come back. With my effect you will get Butterfly,45 minute dvd,25 page full color booklet and very in depth instructions. It retails for 34.95.
 Please help support my mission and purchase directly from my website. I take paypal, mastercard, visa. Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What do magic contests benifit? Here is 20 reasons why you should compete.

It's been a few weeks now since Abbott's Get Together. This was my second tear in a row attending. I really had a great time seeing all my friend that I met last year as well as finally meeting Steve Hart who has been a life coach for me in the last 2 years. We met a couple of years ago on facebook and he was one of the first people to see my "Butterfly in a BOX" effect. I had skyped Steve and showed him the effect. I really didn't know a thing about producing a magic effect and Steve guided me the way. I caught on pretty fast and in under 13 months I created 6 magic effects. I finally had the privilege of meeting Steve for the first time in the two years that we have been facebook chatting or skyping. It's amazing how two people that never met can help each other out so much.

The main reason I attended the Abbott's Get Together was fro the magic competition. I was in it last year. I didn't place so I entered again this year, 2014. I practiced my ass of and I felt pretty confident about my act. Then One day at Karate I had an accident and sprained my thumb 1 week before the competition. About 90% of my act is thimble manipulation and so having a sprained thumb was not good.

Right after the sprained thumb accident It was difficult for me to practice. Instead of being able to rehearse 6 times a day. I could barley even get in one practice.I decided that I would still enter the contest regardless of my thumb. I invested too much time into putting my act together to just give up.

Jeff McBride was also a great help with my act. He consulted me and gave me some great suggestions for my act such as the pagoda, Press Lee's tailor shop and more...
it's really inspiring talking with Master Jeff McBride. He really knows the business on what and what not to do. 

Jeff book "The Show Doctor" has been somewhat of a bible for me. 
If you're a magician and you don't have the book. May I suggest it for you. It's a good read. 
  Jeff McBride Promo 2011 from Tobias Beckwith on Vimeo.

I took all the advice I could get and applied it to my act. Most of the thimble work I did in my show was all original and per Steve Hart "Revolutionary"
I was so excited about going to Abbott's i just wish I didn't have this sprained thumb. it really added to the stress. Wednesday morning I woke up and packed my car and took of to Colon Michigan for the Abbott's Get Together. But first I made a stop at the doctors office to see if the doc could prescribe me something for my thumb. He gave me some prescription meds which didn't do squat for me. I think it really effected my focus and performance.

I also had some other factors that came into play such as my set being placed too far back, a set-up mishap as well as "Breaking down the 4th wall" I really didn't know about the 4th wall till Jeff McBride introduced me to it. If you don't you what "Breaking Down the 4th wall" is. here is a video.

So "What does a magic contests benifit?" Well first of all the easiest part is being in the audience and judging. i don't mean judges as in contest judges, but people in the audience. It's so easy to criticize and judge people when it's not you up there performing. We all had some wonderful magicians performing from all over the United States. Getting feedback from other magicians can also be confusing. Don't wear that hat, don't wear a ponytail, your set is too big, your pants look too new. These are some of the things I heard as well as things the competitors told me they heard.

It's all part of the business. You have to take the advice, sort it out and do what you think is best. Just try to respect and honor the people that give you advice. I made the mistake of taking a comment too literally toward someone that tried to help me. I realized latter on that these people are just trying to help. They want to help you be successful so they are giving you honest feedback.

Ultimately what you need to do is take all the feedback, ideas, opinions, judge scoring sheets. Study all the info you got. Most important seek a professional that's in the business that will help you succeed.

Don't let ego get in the way. Sometimes we think our magic or act is so good and when we seek advice we sometimes get mad or feel insulted because we didn't hear what we wanted to hear.

If you let down your guard and let people in you will flourish. Entering a magic contest is kind of like getting free schooling. You not only learn about what it takes to be on stage and perform in front of a bunch of other magicians, but you get to learn your strengths and weaknesses.

Here is a list of 20 reasons to compete in a magic contets.

1. Experience: A magic contest will give you performing experience. 
2. New Material: You will have a chance to test out new material.
3. Punctuality: If you're going to be in a magic contest. You need to show up to the contest on time. 
4. Team work: You will be in the same room most likely as other competitions. Be nice and respectful toward one another. don't be an ass whole. Love your magic friends. 
5. Make-up: Learn the art of make-up. Use make-up to enhance yourself or your character. It aslo helps with lighting. So the lights don't wash out your face. 
6. Confidence: A magic competition can help you be more confident in yourself.
7. Organization: Learn to organize your magic and props so everything is safely packed and easy to find.
8. Exposure: being in a contest will give you exposure: 
9. Meet new people: You will meet some very interesting people by entering a contest. 
10. Respect: Learn to respect your competitors, stage crew and most important the AUDIENCE!
11. Braging Rights: If you win you get to brag.
12. Shows/Lectures: Winning a contest may even open doors to other things such as shows and lectures.
13. Costumes: Experiment with different costumes.
14: Stage Crew: learn behind the scenes and what it takes to make a show come together. Respect the stage and lighting crew. They are there to help make you a success.
15. Sound and lighting. Learn how to work with different sound and lighting challenges. You could be provided anything form state of the art equipment to more generic home type equipment. If you're going to be doing this professionally you need to be exposed to all different elements.
16. Challenge yourself: Challenge yourself. Don't be afraid to compete. The more you do it the easier it becomes.
17. Judging score sheets. When you compete you will get score sheets and notes on your performance. this is like GOLD! It will help you become better. 
18. Perfection: Keep entering contests till you perfect your art. When you finally WIN you made it.
19. Educate people on the art of Magic: Participating in a contest will help spur interest and bring public knowledge to the art. You may even inspire someone in the audience to want to learn the art.
20. Have fun: Most important being in a contest is fun. It's a unbelievable experience. You get to share your gift with other people. 

Thanks again for visiting my blog. I would like to give a HUGE thumbs up to everyone involved in the Abbott's contest. Everyone from the sound, lighting, stage crew, judges. Everyone! Thank you!