Monday, June 1, 2015

Traits of Successful People.

Starting a new project can be more than a little daunting. There are so many variables that if left unattended can be disastrous. Unfortunately we can't know what the pitfalls are we can just learn to roll with the problems and learn to deal with them head on. This is what I noticed about successful people around me. 

- Successful people are very good at adapting their goal, while keeping the vision for their company intact. 
- They are people who have been knocked down and keep getting up over and over again. 
- They know how to let go of something that's not working and set it aside for an alternative that does work. 
- They are also good listeners who are willing to listen to suggestions knowing that some suggestions will be the answer and the other suggestions will be graciously accepted with a smile and never go beyond that conversation. 
- Listening is an important skill few of us acquire, but many need it to properly lead. 
- they surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are. 
- Making the people around you feel valued it also the trait of a successful person. 

I can only hope as I venture out with my new projects that I display all of these traits along the way. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

The truth about love.

The truth about about love and myself is that I have always found it to be elusive. I see friends and family find love everyday and yet I still struggle with it. When friends find that perfect match it makes me happy knowing they found a person who makes their heart skip a beat and gives them that warm butterfly feeling every time they are together. It also makes me slightly envious and definitely sad that I have yet to find that kind of love for myself. We all want someone special in our lives but a few of us are never meant to find it and are destined to be alone. 

Am I good at dating? At this point in my life I would have to say no, or I would have been successful by now. Throughout my life, not many men have asked me out, of that I am not sure why. So I decided if I wasn't pretty enough on the outside to attract men then I would try to be a good person on the inside. Turns out men like women with a little more of a bite to them. I also seem to have a problem with being smart and ambitious which I didn't realize makes a bad combination for finding a man. 

So my answer was to stop dating. After multiple disaster relationships that I chose to stay in way to long and one relationship that was happy but I wasn't what he wanted in a partner, I decided to stop the madness. For awhile I thought that there would be someone around the next corner, but every corner was empty. I have been on dates, and enjoyed the company of several great guys whom I enjoy as friends, but nothing more than that. I realize I am extremely lucky to have some amazing men in my life, but there has been nobody special for the past 3 years who made my heart skip a beat....until recently.

I opened a door and met someone who gave me butterflies and made me smile when I would think about him. It was like a ray of sunshine after a long cold winter. He made me realize that I do have the ability to feel a spark for someone. I  still might be single and forever alone, but I know that there are still hidden gems waiting for me around the occasional corner or door. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What makes a great Magician's Assistant?

I was recently asked what makes a featured/star magician's assistant, which poses an interesting question. I personally have several thoughts on this matter.

1) First it starts with the magician. The magician has to be willing to part with some of their stardom in order to achieve even more. What I mean is that once the magician finds an assistant worthy of sharing the spotlight, they have to be willing to actually share it. This is truly difficult to do. I personally don't. I use several different dancers and they are all featured in different illusions. But performers like Siegfried & Roy chose to feature Lynetta as their main assistant. In sharing the spotlight with her,  it made all of them stronger and more dynamic in their performances.

2) These successful assistants have a well-developed on stage persona. Doing so gives the audience someone to identify with. There are many examples of this, so here are four that immediately spring to mind:
Jinger Kalen is a likable vixen, (which she is an expert at). For me she is an extremely strong performer who draws people in and then turns them over to Mark. Mark and Jinger know how to play off of each other to make their performance a balancing act of magician and assistant.
& Company of the Great Tomsoni is another perfect example of that balancing act. She is his foil through which most of the comedy revolves. Aside from the fact that she enters and exits with props, she also points out his short comings, which in turn points out hers. The comedy is tightly woven in between the two characters because both of their personas are so well developed.
Amazing Johnathan successfully accomplished this too with his sidekick Psychic Tanya. An assistant he seems saddled with who we see instantly is his counterpoint on stage. We somehow find ourselves laughing as he tortures her throughout the show. There is a well developed love/hate  relationship created between the two of them that we all understand.
Lynetta of Siegfried & Roy was deliciously evil and we understood that evil queen character. She brought to the show a nemesis which elevated her status from just an assistant to a spectacular villain, which was an intricate  part of the show.
Only through the discovery of the characters of who that assistant is in relationship to the magician will a great assistant emerge.
Top: Siegfried & Roy with Lynetta
Left: Mark and Jinger Kalen   Right: Ayala & Tanya

3) THE MAGICIAN IS ALWAYS RIGHT(unless its a comedy act). Tanya, of Joaquin & Tanya does a wonderful job of this. She compliments Ayala on stage setting him apart from a regular person. It's like her eyes never leave him, making him the star and in turn making her his accomplice. She has an inner strength that we cannot ignore making their performance that much stronger than a normal magician-assistant team. Jinger does this too. She shows a fiery, commanding passion and yet yields all to Mark. She is always watching him or the action only looking away at precise moments to create drama or misdirection. Lynette understood this quality as well, that ultimately the magician is always right. Hence we thrilled to see her vanish into a tiger every show that only Roy could tame.

I believe that it is a combination of these skills and unique talents that these special women bring to the magicians and the shows that makes them true stars. These women are necessary to the act. The ability to know who they are, what they offer both to magician and audience and the ability to balance these things, bringing them together to create something... more. The job of a magician's assistant is not easy, yet these women have graced us with some of the most powerful performances we have ever seen in magic, and I applaud them all.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

6 tips for a great photo shoot

Getting the right photo for you.

You have finally finished that one special act or routine and now you want publicity photos for it.  Here are some suggestions that should help you get the best photo possible, before you run to the nearest photo studio.    
1) Research. Look through photo books, magazines, anything with pictures or even paintings. Another good place to look for photo ideas is also on the internet. You want to have an idea in your head before you get to the studio and start taking photos, time is valuable. I am constantly ripping or downloading ads out of magazines to show the photographer. This way I come in with an exact idea of what I want from the photo.                                                                                                                

Final photograph

Inspiration photograph

2) Call around. Call for prices and make an appointment to look at different photographers work. Even thought they might be the best photographer in the world, if they don’t shoot the style you are looking for then odds are you will not be happy with the photograph. You also want to see if you even get along with that person before you book time with them. Ask them questions that are important to you. Do they shoot in B&W, Color, digital? If it is digital do you get a disc? Will they print a photo right there? How long do you have to wait for photos? Do they manipulate the photos? Can they fix imperfections like acne in the photo? Ask as many questions as you need, the photographer is there to make you look good for your promotional materials. Pricing is important too, but remember that the shoot is one day for the photographer, and the photo is years of future work for you.                                  

3) Hair and Make-up. Are you good with make-up or hair??? If not you really might want to spend a little extra on a make-up artist. Make-up for photos is different than stage or street wear. A good make-up artist will normally stay for the whole shoot to do touch ups. They also have a good eye that sometimes catches a flipped collar on the costume or a stray hair during the shoot.                                                                                          

4) Time. Make sure that you have enough time. Photo shoots always take a little longer than people think. You will get the best results if you are relaxed and not rushed or thinking about all the other appointments you have to do that day.                        

5) A check list. Make a check list the night before the shoot. This way you will not forget anything that you need at home. It also means that you will not forget anything at the studio.                                                                                                      

6) The look.  If you are going with a special look or facial expression practice it in front of the mirror. Get a feel for the way your body or face needs to be. This way it will make it easy for you to recreate it in the studio.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Magic As A Family Business

Have you ever noticed those girls at dance recitals or pageants with all their friends and family? You know, the popular one? The one that everyone admires, fawns over? She is the one who usually wins every trophy. The It Girl. The Star.

I believe that there is a reason for this and it also converts into the magic world.

That little girl has a large support group that is broken down into many parts. Every family member and friend have their tasks and they perform them unthinkingly, much like a magic act or show. The Magician is the axis around which this support system revolves, the central focus, the Star. The Agent/Manager is much like the father working out details big and small. The Costumer is a stage mother making sure that the costumes fit just right before you go out on stage. The Stage Hands are like siblings, holding the props or a bottle of water right before it is needed. The Dancers are the friends who tell you how perfect the show is going to be and not to worry. They are there to back you up, your emotional support system. Personal Assistants, like that aunt/uncle/family friend on the periphery, are there to manage those annoying everyday details that can be so distracting, making sure the little things are tended to. Imagine if you had all that support behind you... Wouldn't you feel like a winner, the It Person, The Star?

But you DO have all those people in your life!

Where? Look around you....
Look to your friends, your family, both real and emotional, your mentors. Look to everyone involved in your life big and small. They are all there to help. I have two costume people, a mature woman who loves to keep busy, and a dancer who loves to sew. My dancers keep me on track and think about the success of the show.  My mentor still works with me to make sure the magic is perfect, he even comes in to help stage the larger shows. I have a writer friend who knows the stories I try to tell and he crafts the words I say beautifully. I have a stage hand friend who is willing to push around the big props so that I don’t have to. He says it makes me look better in the client’s eyes, and he is right.  He also knows my limitations and has the unique ability to compensate for them. The dancers I can’t do without, because I know that if something goes wrong on stage they will provide the misdirection and fix it so the trick either works well, or we move on and the audience never knows the difference. These are all people that I have found over the years that truly believe in me and in return I believe they are the only reason I have gotten to where I am today. They are my show family, my support system. It is because of them I feel like the little Star.

So go, find your Magic Family. You'll be amazed how it can change your life.
I couldn't have my show without all the people involved making me look great.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Walking Dead

I am a fan of the TV series, The Walking Dead. There is something about that show I find riveting. I know that the writing, acting and directing, etc all contribute to making the show great, but this one is exceptional on all levels. It leaves me wondering what I would do if I to was living in that apocalyptic zombie future. Who would I be? Would I still be alive or would I be among the living dead?

I know that this zombie show and others like it are also a comment on modern society. At a certain point we are all walking through life like zombies. We get up, go to our jobs, run errands and perform a multitude of mindless tasks that can leave even the most vibrant among us walking through their day in a zombie-like haze. Hopefully, these type of days are few and we all appreciate how precious life is, without being pursued by a legion of the undead just to put things in focus.  I find the characters on the show to be very relatable and this makes me feel deeply invested in their survival. Through their portrayals I see myself and my own family and friends, and I empathize with the impossible situation they find themselves in.

I would like to believe that I would be one of the survivors. That I would rise to the occasion and help others to survive. Together as a group we'd beat the odds and thrive. This hopefulness carries over into my real life as well. I think it is the people we chose to surround ourselves with that make us stronger or tear us down. Helping friends to reach their goals brings us closer to the fruition of our own dreams because we are more powerful as a community of positive, like-minded individuals than alone.

Fortunately we don't have to contend with a world populated by brain munching zombies, we only have to avoid negativity, stay focused on our goals and take persistent action in the direction of our dreams.  That is how to be truly alive.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Truth about my Blog

My show is called Secrets, because thats what Magicians do... Keep Secrets. But we all keep little secrets. My blog has two secrets, but I will get to that in a moment. I write my blog when I see, do or think things that I think might be interesting to write about. I was never very good in English class and spell check quite often refuses to acknowledge my version of a word. I still feel like I have something to say, and blogging gives me that opportunity. So I have two secret weapons; Bruce Gold or Kamala Frazo.

I write the blogs and send them to either Bruce or Kamala, where grammar, spelling and sometimes sentence structure is fixed. They are more than copy editors as they make my blogs sound great. Bruce has an amazing way with words and can take  the essence of what I write and make it so much more comprehensible. He brings what I feel and humor to the printed word, which is a magical skill that I do not have. Kamala has the unique skill to breath life into my otherwise dull word choices. She knows exactly what to leave in and what to remove. I could not nor would not post my blogs with out these two wonderful people.

My Show Secrets is like my blog, it is filled with secret weapons. As a performer it is hard to give over control, but when I see the final product, I know I have made the right decision. I have the best magic consultant, whom I love and trust implicitly. There is a choreographer that takes the vision In my head and creates it with my incredible dancers. I have a Prop builder and  airbrush artist who make my props unique. Bruce who fixes my blog, also writes my dialog for the stage. It is only because of all these people that I have a show. There are many people I have behind me who make me look great and because of this I am the luckiest girl in the world.

I wrote this one without a net and hope it meets with your approval.

A candid shot, for a candid blog.