Jonah is joined by Nathan Kranzo this week to talk about creating unique effects, entertaining an audience, and taking risks. Nathan is known for his out of the box thinking when it comes to magic and performing.
Like most kids, Nate received a magic kit, but he wasn’t exactly ready for one; it didn’t take long for him to fill the drawer box with lit firecrackers. His influence to take up magic came from his grandfather who, while not a magician, was the ultimate prankster. Nate was introduced to fake snot and envelopes filled with rattlesnakes eggs by his grandfather at a young age. While not magic, it instilled the love of jokes and pranks in him.
It wouldn’t be until he was 15 that he saw live magic. The carnival came to his suburban town and in the beer tent the local IBM had stationed their booth. He watched a man do an amazing billiard ball routine, giving him his first taste of good sleight of hand. Nate took their flyer and put it in his junk drawer, only returning to it a year later when he and his friends started to get into magic.
Nate would go on to cover every aspect of the familiar magician starting out stories. He joined a club and saw a performer with chops. He went off to university and worked at a magic store where he honed his presentation and sleight of hand skills. He started street performing and learned from buskers. He dealt with kids shows and made his way around open mic nights to hone his skills.
Say things out loud and follow the tangents. Throw things at the wall and see what sticks. Write down ideas that sound dumb because those are the ones that tend to be the best ones. There are no rules to creating, Nate explains, which is why you can’t limit yourself. When he was starting out, he started creating his own effects by drawing on the sleights and concepts he knew; he didn’t really have access to material and nobody told him he couldn’t try to make his own material.
Nate spends a lot of time researching and going down rabbit holes. Utilizing the endless amount of magic content on YouTube, library resources, calling and emailing people, and following leads on sites like Alexander, Nate has built up a substantial toolbox for himself. When an idea falls into his lap, he is able to point to similar concepts. While this, at first, isn’t necessarily creative, his knowledge helps him develop his own material.
Going out to see live entertainment is a resource Nate uses for performance research. The only way to be inspired to entertain is seeing other performers. Watch how they work the room and connect with the audience. Magic crosses over with a lot of other art forms, so you can draw on techniques of good showmen from other entertainment areas.
Comedy & Magic
Magic doesn’t need to be funny, it just has to have an energy that moves the audience; you want them to feel the passion behind what you’re doing if you want them to be entertained. Nate just prefers mixing comedy and magic because making others laugh is what brings him joy.
If you’re looking to add comedy to your magic, Nate recommends not only watching comedians but listening to the audience. On the odd occasion and audience member may toss you a line that you can integrate into your show.
Nate enjoys the fact that technology allows us to connect with people easier than before. Even though magic clubs are struggling, younger members are able to find them because of posts they see on Twitter and Instagram. Suddenly, they are now plugged into their community.
Nate doesn’t like how much people shit on each other. We’re all playing in the same sandbox.
Take Home Point
There are no wrong answers. Magic can be whatever you want it to be for you.
Visit Kranzo Magic and use the discount code THANKS for 20% off for the next few weeks!