Rob Zabrecky is an actor, a songwriter and, most importantly for our purposes, a magician. Rob was a musician in the band Possum Dixon in the mid 1990’s when he strolled into a magic shop in Baltimore to escape the summer heat. The owner of the store showed him a simple handkerchief disappearing trick and was immediately drawn to it. He performed a version of that trick on stage in front of his bands audience and that was the start of his magic career.
Shortly after that simple beginning he discovered the Magic Castle in his hometown of Los Angeles. It showed him that this was a real performance art. At that point in the 1990’s magic wasn’t in a great place. Many magician were presenting great magic in a very outmoded style. Nevertheless, he realized that he really enjoyed learning about magic. With the help of a lot of people he cobbled together an act. It wasn’t great. His tricks weren’t up to snuff but he was starting to develop an interesting stage presence.
“It was a little bit like a funeral director doing magic,” he says.
Rob didn’t see magic as a career at first. It was a huge passion. He was already a performer and magic allowed him to become lost in character. There was also more skills to explore as a magician. Magicians work on their own and so it allowed him the opportunity to write, produce and perform.
Eventually, Rob fluked into a side career as an actor. He had developed a convincing character on-stage by that point. A close friend recommended that he try acting. It was like a light bulb going off so he gave it a shot. He enrolled in a community theatre and a year later he had booked a few TV commercials.
“The best thing about being an actor is that everything I learned was directly applicable to my magic career.” He says.
Rob has since gone on to rack up dozens of acting credits including guest spots of shows like GLOW and CSI.
Creating a good show isn’t easy. But Rob says sitting quietly with a pen and paper and embracing your inner weirdo is the best way to succeed. So much of life is filled with boredom and tedium. A great show should take the audience out of that day to day boredom, Rob says.
What do you like about modern magic? What do you hate?
Rob really enjoys performing his own act. He can’t really speak about the larger magic community. He does really dislike about how everything is documented instantly which takes away from the special quality of a live performance.
What do you want to ask the audience?
How do you think your audience sees you on stage?
What do you want to tell our audience?
Stop being boring on-stage!
Who should we have on the podcast?
What was your favourite part of the episode?
Tyler liked hearing Rob say that magicians should stop trying to be cool on-stage.
Jonah liked the emphasis on the importance of being original on-stage.
Rob says the important thing is to always keep developing and do cool shit.