Jonah is joined by Nathan Coe Marsh this week to talk about finding inspiration, guiding your audience, and balancing your approach to business. Nathan is a magician from Orlando who splits his time between magic venues and the corporate performing world.
After seeing his father’s friend perform Kennedy’s floating bill, Nathan was hooked. He laid awake at night, trying to figure out how the trick was done. When he learned he could buy the trick, his excitement escalated and his interest grew. While it started as a hobby that he would nervously perform for friends, he eventually landed a job at a summer camp teaching magic.
From summer camp to shows to walk around, Nathan recognized that the more he worked, the more polished his material. He struck deals with dinner theatres to let him perform closeup whenever he wanted, and he spent nights at comedy clubs refining his material in front of a crowd that wasn’t there to see a magician. All of this was important in shaping who he is on stage today as a performer.
If you want to uncover and create good ideas, you need a notebook. As you go through magic material, you’re going to uncover effects or concepts that appeal to you, but at the moment don’t quite feel right. In your future studies, however, you may find yourself drawn back to an idea with how to shape it to fit you. Nathan points to the effect he did on Fool Us as an example of an idea that started merely as a quote in his notebook.
However, you shouldn’t confine yourself to just magic. You have to be curious in the world and explore where your passions take you. When you sit down to create, your interests are what will shape your decisions and choices.
Scripting to Rehearsal
When approaching scripting, Nathan has a few approaches he takes depending on the goal he’s trying to accomplish. One such process is recording himself walking through the performance as if there’s an audience and transcribing what he said. With words on paper, he can begin to edit.
His main concern with scripting is to lead his audience through four goalposts: focus, rapport, climax, and emotional reaction. Nathan wants to bring this room of strangers together as an audience, take them down a path, and then have them leave the theatre having experienced a particular sensation.
Rehearsal is a numbers game to Nathan. For sleights, he works them into his daily routines, finding ways to accomplish reps of moves throughout the day. For his act, he’ll set up a space for his show in his home so he can fully practice his routine. Overall, finding ways to schedule shows and
Balancing Business & Performance
When starting out, it’s imperative to find a balance between working on your business and working on your performance. By focusing your efforts on just one or the other, you’ll slow your progress down and prevent yourself from developing your business. Nathan explains that there is an inherent intertwining of your business’ pipeline with the quality of your show. So, don’t feel guilty when you’re working on material, but don’t like your booking and marketing tactics fall to the wayside.
After exploring where your interests are, you’ll need to eventually sit down and ask yourself where exactly you belong. Does the stage call to you? Or is walk around where you thrive? By being honest about where you thrive, you can continue to build up your skill set in that area.
What do you like about modern magic? What don’t you like?
Nathan likes the proliferation of high-end magic venues. While magicians are given a reason to elevate their magic, the public has the chance to experience strong magic.
He isn’t fond of how magic clubs have failed to adapt to the internet, essentially losing the upcoming generations. Everyone’s an expert online and twelve-year-olds don’t know how to discern what is and isn’t right.
Be willing to suck.