Jonah is joined this week by Chris Pilsworth to talk about collaboration, appreciating your audience, and creative processes. Chris is a magician based out of Ottawa, Ontario, and is known for his creative ability and engaging performance style.
At 11 years old, Chris’ interest in magic was sparked by magic books his brother brought home from the library. Fascinated, he began to learn simple tricks, but it would take him a year to work up the confidence before he put on a show. Soon, however, he was working the birthday party circuit and experimenting with what magic could let him accomplish. Although he knew he wanted to become a magician, his parents recommended he go to University to back his knowledge. Having experience and interest in design, Chris would go on to attend Carleton for Industrial Design.
There isn’t an answer to how to be creative immediately, Chris explains, but you can get stronger at overtime. Everyone is different, some people are stronger, but Chris reminds the audience that you shouldn’t compare your creativity to others for that reason. Recognize your strengths and remember that creativity is not about being original. It’s about not getting stuck. Throughout the episode, Chris breaks down his creative processes and how he overcomes roadblocks.
Appreciate the Craft
One of the things that shows in Chris’ magic is his appreciation for his audience. Not only are they spending money to see him, but they’re spending his time. A currency, that he explains, is one that you cannot get back once spent. So, when you step on stage, you should do so with the acknowledgment that these people took the time out to come to see you and experience your magic.
When we share the magic, we need to remember that what we do affects other magicians down the road. If you’re hired, don’t put the effort into your performance, and perform badly, you’ve probably ruined magic in the eyes of your audience, possibly preventing further gigs for you and others. Step on stage prepared and rehearsed to give your audience the show they deserve.
Adapting to Virtual Shows
When the world went into self-isolation, it felt like the entertainment industry had completely shut down. Or at least, that’s how Chris felt at first until he realized that it was simply the platform he performed on that disappeared. People still wanted to be entertained and see magic, they just now are experiencing it online.
With a creative limitation, he was excited to play with, Chris has been adapting and rescripting his magic to the virtual screen. Suddenly, tricks that were angle sensitive or props that couldn’t be examined have become viable options, opening up a new field to explore.
What do and don’t you like about modern magic?
Chris likes that magic is constantly reinventing itself and exploring new platforms. Seeing the younger generation taking advantage of technology inspires him.
What Chris doesn’t like are performers who don’t appreciate the time of their audience nor the craft they practice.
Take Home Point
Don’t be afraid to be creative. Your ego may be fearful of your trick going wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid to explore what you think magic should be for you.