On today’s episode, Mahdi Gilbert joins us to talk about the state of magic and not making excuses. He first got into magic as a little kid despite not having much exposure to it. He didn’t have a TV or internet but he had heard about magicians from other kids at school. His childhood logic was that if he could learn magic he would be able to do anything. Everyone told him that he couldn’t do it because he was so small, had a speech impediment and because he was born without hands.
When he was 13 he stumbled across a video of Derren Brown in which he said that everything he was doing through psychology and that was a big breakthrough. Mahdi may not have had hands but he had a mind. A year later he started to create his own effects based on psychic effects like cold reading. He didn’t really have access to magic resources growing. He went to his first magic shop when he was 16. On his 17th birthday, he decided to learn sleight of hand. He didn’t think it was possible but set his mind to that goal. At first he couldn’t cut the cards or do a shuffle or even really pick up a deck.
Mahdi didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him so he practised his tricks alone in the dark after everyone else went to bed. He eventually perfected the art and has now been doing sleight-of-hand for over 10 years. Mahdi spent many hours at Conjuring Arts and considers himself extremely well read. Surrounding himself with magic 24-hours a day was critical in his development.
Mahdi has gradually started to shift his attention online including posts on Instagram and his regular email updates from his website. He also recently appeared on Penn and Teller’s Fool Us program. Years ago Uri Geller told him that if you ever get a chance for publicity take it. Mahdi has tried to take that advice to heart. He had been somewhat cautious about TV prior to his appearance. He realized that TV is a great platform to expose his magic to millions of people.
Mahdi feels that there isn’t anyone that has really taken online magic to the next level. There is no YouTube magician that is a household name. The internet is big enough that someone could become that. Nobody has cracked it yet. Mahdi thinks that more long-form videos are the way to become that household name. 15-second videos on Instagram aren’t good enough. There isn’t any emotional content where you’re drawn in. Mahdi hates all the fake magic on the internet. Many of the videos have people standing at the wrong angles and reacting as if they’re really seeing a great trick. That said Mahdi does like that there are people doing a lot of high-quality live magic shows like Derek DelGaudio. Magic has been in a bad place and it’s great to see it being revitalized on the stage.
What do you want to ask the audience?
Where are you guys buying your clothes? Seriously. What’s going on?
For the cost of a coffee each day you can sponsor a magician
Who should we have on?
What was your favourite part of the episode?
Jonah liked the idea the no one has become a breakthrough online magician.
Tyler liked hearing about Mahdi’s journey into magic.
Mahdi wanted to emphasize that the future of magic is based on emotional connection.