Classic rules of magic that anyone can use to boost their creativity.
I began writing this article on creativity, intending to write just a few short paragraphs. I should have known that the subject of creativity is far to complex to have much value in such a short article. This is part one, the rest is soon to follow.
Find a place to be bad!
I first heard this advice from my magic teacher Jeff McBride, and I later found out that it’s very old advice shared amongst comedians, speakers, and others.
It’s also a bit controversial advice. I’ve heard some people say that this phrase hurts our art, and we would all benefit if it were forgotten.
I personally feel that it is the best advice that you can give to anyone in any creative endeavor.
I’ve long since lost count of the ideas that I’ve had, when I believed they were wonderful ideas but in fact they were met with indifference (or worse!) in front of every audience I presented my ideas to!
The reverse is also true. Many times I’ve tried something new, thinking it wasn’t going to go well but being completely wrong. Some of my best material has been created in such a way.
Whatever your creative field, try to come up with a place you can experiment. A place that’s as far as possible from your final destination. You can’t make a first impression twice, so never let your ideal audience see your experiments.
For me, I always show my new magic or stunts to my close friends and family, with the caveat “I’ve never done this before, it might not work”.
Once I’ve exhausted the benefits of performing that specific material for my friends, I move on to an open mic. An open mic is intended for artists and performers to try material that’s new. Quite often…. the performances are terrible! And that’s fine, everyone in the audience is still very supportive of the terrible performance because most of them have also done badly behind that very same microphone.
I will never perform new material for a paying audience without first ironing out the kinks and making sure it’s perfect. Sometimes an open mic is the best way of anticipating any problems before the new material ever reaches the final audience.
Your creative field may not be something you can perform at an open mic. Maybe you’re a scientist, engineer, or athlete. There are many creative subjects in this big beautiful world, and all of them can benefit from this advice.
Whatever your field may be, find some place that you can experiment with new things without letting your reputation with your final audience suffer. That is the place you can perfect your material and move on to your target audience!
You may be wondering… how am I qualified to speak on creativity?
I’ve been a full time variety performer since 2011.
In that time I’ve gained excellent experience by performing at a wide variety of places. For Example: I’ve performed for billionaires, biker rallies, elementary schools, rock concerts, homeless shelters, computer conventions, county fairs, and many more.
I’m respected amongst my piers in the variety entertainer community.
I’m not giving away any secrets here. The following is great advice from some clever people that has been time tested my many more clever people over many years.
(Video of the host of one of my favorite open mics introducing me)