This week Jonah is joined by the dynamic duo of Kyle and Mistie Knight.
Kyle & Mistie have been on tours with Disney Cruise, they’ve appeared on Penn and Teller Fool Us, and they even have the distinction of winning Wizard Wars! Today you’re going to learn all about how they got to where they are with Kyle’s background in working, building, and creating magic and Mistie’s incredible work on managing the business. Their lives, like everyone else’s, were turned upside down during the pandemic and after years spent living on the road they’ve had to reinvent their magic to work from their home in the virtual space while planning for whatever future lies ahead.
It Started With A Cruise
Kyle and Mistie are celebrating eighteen years together and it all began when they met on a cruise. Kyle invited Mistie to see one of his magic performances and even though she never ended up seeing his show they kept in touch and a year later she cancelled her return ticket from Las Vegas while visiting Kyle and they’ve been partners ever since.
Initially Kyle and Mistie’s show was more illusion based with Mistie playing the role of the traditional assistant but after an agent failed to warn the duo that a show they were performing in Europe would be in front of an audience that only spoke spanish it was up to Mistie, who knew enough words to get by, to step up and take on a more featured role in the show. After experiencing how well audiences received seeing the pair share the stage equally it’s become their primary focus ever since.
If You Built It…
Kyle also has a reputation as a magic builder with a strong background in behind the scenes support. Most of what he knows he’s had to teach himself, from adapting pieces to fit the shorter Mistie to creating lightweight tables that can easily be stored and deployed at conventions and touring shows, which have now seen a surge in popularity during the pandemic where magicians are searching for efficient constructions to incorporate into their work-from-home virtual setups.
From A Life At Sea to Locked Down At Home
For a performing couple who make most of their business touring with cruise lines, to say that the pandemic shutdown of the cruise industry has turned their business and personal lives upside would be a massive understatement. Kyle and Mistie have a lot of positive things to say about working with cruise contracts, from the incredible amount of travelling they get to do, to being able to get feedback from having much closer contact with their audiences who remain with them for days at a time. Now they’ve had to reinvent how to do their business, from having to manage their own clients to constructing their own virtual business from the ground up.
You might remember hearing Mistie in a previous episode of Discourse in Magic where she took part in a demo sales call with Jonah. Now, having completed Jonah’s workshop, she’s managing her own client calls and setting up new contracts and despite having lost all their business with the cruise lines this year they’ve managed to end the year earning more than they would have had their initial contracts not been cancelled.
What do you like about modern magic? What do you not like?
Mistie is most excited about women in magic. In the last couple years we’ve seen real changes in how audiences view women in magic and how performers incorporate women into their show. Long gone is the days of women only being seen as the assistant on the stage.
Kyle loves how everything is exposed online and you can learn anything and what that is doing to force magic to evolve into something new.
Kyle does not like the “seriousness” of magic with the sparkly jackets and serious mood lighting, even if Mistie disagrees and is adamant that there is an audience for every act.
Take home point
Don’t be afraid to think outside of your own box. Try new things and take risks. If Kyle and Mistie had said no they would have missed so many opportunities. Say yes and make it work.