Musician-turned-magician Jonathan Friedman joins Jonah this week to discuss combining outside passions with your magic and how magic has changed over the years. Jonathan is the best selling author of The 80’s Called…They Want Their Magic Book Back Vol. One and The Magic of Jonathan Friedman: The Musical.
Jonathan was first introduced to magic at the age of six when his father showed him a few simple tricks. Magic, however, was never at the forefront of his hobbies. He would drift in and out of it over the years during his time as a musician. It wasn’t until he stopped playing music that he stuck with magic.
A Changing Field
After spending years away from magic, Jonathan came back to a completely changed landscape. Suddenly, everyone had access to information online, people’s attention spans had become shorter, and the tricks that were in style had drastically shifted from the packet tricks he is fond of performing.
Rather than turn up his nose to it, Jonathan embraced the idea that the internet is a new venue for magic. Like the stage or close-up, you need to adapt your magic to the new style. Online, that first magical moment needs to happen in the first thirty seconds to meet the short attention spans and makeup for the lack of personal connection you can have in a real-life venue.
Additionally, Jonathan highlights the benefit of being able to see the tricks performed online. Magic is a visual medium, so being able to see how the trick is performed helps him understand what the effect is supposed to look like.
Currently, Jonathan works part-time at the Market Magic Shop in Seattle, WA. Recounting a time when a man took a moment to show him a Paul Harris trick at Tannen’s magic shop, Jonathan says that he wants to assist new magicians on their journey. His time at a brick and mortar store has put him in a position where he can pass on his knowledge to up and comers.
When recommending material, Jonathan believes that to move up a level in magic, you’ll have to use books. However, if someone is trying to get into magic, a book nowadays may not be the right place to start. He emphasizes the idea that you need to offer them material that appeals to them in the beginning.
If you want to combine one of your passions with your magic, Jonathan recommends a few ways to approach it. You have to make sure the passion is universal to everyone. Music, food, movies are all interests that everyone can understand to a degree; you can mix them with your magic and not lose your audience. The passion you bring into your magic should bring an extra layer, a hook, to the effect and presentation.
Second, it shouldn’t be a challenge to combine the two passions together. Jonathan believes that if you have to fight for two things you’re interested in to work together, then maybe one of them isn’t as strong of a passion. If you have to use a lot of emotional effort to create a hook, then the emotional impact just isn’t there to begin with.
To find out how your passions connect and overlap, Jonathan recommends brainstorming, and trial and error. You will eventually discover how your passions emotionally resonate together.
Question of the week
Why have you stopped doing specific tricks? Is it because they don’t play well for the audience? Or because you’re tired of performing them?
Seth Race (Columbus Ohio)
2018 love and hate
Jonathan loves how, because of social media, the world has opened up. He is able to see magic coming out of different parts of the world that he otherwise would have never had access to.
He hates how the art has been devalued because it is so attainable. How can you have a real appreciation when it is all a click away? Also, accidental exposure in reference to the person doing an effect so poorly and posting it so that everyone can see what’s going on.