And The Fat Lady Sings

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. Things got a little hectic around here.

The winners of the competition were announced tonight. While I did not win any of the top awards, I did qualify to go on next year to the World Championships. I received an invitation to compete at FISM in Buson, South Korea in July, 2017.

Now I have to figure out how to afford it!

The convention is over and I’m heading to bed. Thanks to all who help me get this far. I could not have done it without the support of my friends. And a thank you to you who have read this blog, for going on the journey with me.

I’M GOING TO FISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s Outta My Hands Now

Well, it’s over. It’s in the hands of the judges now. Things did not go quite as planned. The couldn’t get the MP3 of my music to play at tech yesterday. They re-coded the file and it played. But today in the competition it didn’t play. Something started, I don’t know what, for a second and then silence. My act is completely timed to that music. So when nothing played, I panicked. I just started the poem and started to fear for the worst. After few seconds I heard the music fade in so fortunately it did start to play. However I was now way behind the music. I was two to three sentences behind where I needed to be. So I had to quickly catch up and Rush a couple of things to try to get back on track. The moments were happening. I was getting reactions from the crowd. But my first move, my first magic piece, did not quite go as planned. I was rushed on it to try to get back into the timing that I needed and so it was just a little off. But I got a reaction and so I guess it looked okay. But I know it wasn’t as smooth as it could have been / should have been. The problems continued with the video. They had decided they were going to zoom in on me at a certain point so that part of the effect could be seen better. And that was wonderful, but when they zoomed in for the first use of the prop they were supposed to cut to the wide-angle shot for the rest until I needed the closeup again the second time the prop was used. What they ending up doing was a tight shot on me that whole time So a number of things I was doing you could only see if you were watching me and not the monitors. And in that room setup for 1,100 people everybody was watching the monitors. So some of the subtleties may have been lost. Once I realized they were sticking with that one camera I started cheating everything to it. So again, hopefully, the audience didn’t really see how awkward things were. The middle piece seem to go very well and then I got to the end part. The music did start as it was supposed to but it was a little softer than I would have wanted. But at least I could hear it. I could follow it. I just hoped it was louder in the audience than what I was hearing on stage because there were no throwback speakers for me to hear exactly what they heard. The music did seem to cut out early. I think they faded it out sooner than they should have. I heard it come back in at the same spot where it should have been so I was able to finish the piece as I wanted, roughly. All in all, it wasn’t what I wanted. It didn’t look as good as it could have due to technical constraints. As I mentioned before the SAM was going to hand pick five contestants to be considered finalists for their awards. The IBM was considering all of us finalists. I saw someone from SAM backstage selectively talking to certain acts right after they finished. Since no one spoke to me, I think it’s safe to assume I’m out of the running for all SAM Awards. I did get a number of nice comments from the other contestants. A number of people have stopped me in the Halls since then to say how much they liked the routine or how much they liked the presentation. So, I entertained them, and that was after all my primary goal. We’ll see tomorrow night at the awards ceremony if anything more than that comes about. The few people that I really wanted to do well for, the ones whose opinions truly mattered, have all said they thought I did a great job. The comment from one was “You kicked ass”. I’ll take that.

There did appear to be a logistic problem though. Another event, I believe the taking of the portrait of all the IBM members who are in what’s known as the Order of Merlin took place during the competition. About two Acts or so after me they said close to 150 people got up and left. Because that was the time they were all told they had to report to a certain spot for the Order of Merlin portrait. Order of Merlin means you’ve been in the IBM for a minimum of 25 years. It’s a big deal. Unfortunately, all those people did not get back until after the competition was over. The last thing everyone in the audience was asked to do was vote for The People’s Choice Award. They had boxes with our photos on them in the back of the room. Each audience member was given a ticket to vote with. They voted by putting their ticket in the box with the photo of the performer they thought was the best. There were special cash prizes to whomever wins People’s Choice. And at least 150 or more people did not get to vote. So without trying to sound like sour grapes, we may never know for sure what the actual vote was had those hundred fifty plus additional votes been cast and counted. There have been several logistic problems like that throughout this convention. Trying to do too many things and their overlapping or conflicting. Oh well.

The Max Maven lecture followed the competition. It was a wonderful lecture and I got several good ideas out of it for mentalism type effects that I’d like to try. Off to get cleaned up for the big banquet tonight. After that we go to the theater for the finals of the stage competition. They announced just before our competition who the finalists were for stage. But we were all in the back getting ready and so did not get a chance to hear the official list. So I don’t really know who all made it so as to compare to my predictions that I made in an earlier post. We’ll have to see if the ones I thought were the best were the same ones the judges thought we’re the best. We then have 2 late night lectures tonight and I plan to hit the bar and eat a lot of cookies. I can finally relax.

T minus 55 to Call

In less than an hour I have to be backstage. I’ve got everything packed, costume is ready, and I’m as ready as I’m going to get. Watching the other guys Tech yesterday was amazing. There’s a whole lot of talent in this competition. We’ll see how well I do against truly “the best”.

Morning & Evening, The Second (official) Day

We draw to a close the second official full day of the convention. I never had a chance to see David Ginn’s lecture because I was in the room packing all of my equipment for the close-up contest technical that was starting right after his lecture. Tech went well. Exceptionally great crew. But it was a long afternoon and into the evening. We didn’t finish up until 20 minutes before the start of the evening Stage Show.

This show was the world stars of magic. The MC was Max Javen, who did a very good job. The First Act was Po-cheng Lai who did a beautiful fan Act. He was followed by Martin Lewis who was wonderfully entertaining. Then we had a great manipulator from Japan named Kenji Minemura. Then we did a throwback to Vaudeville and the days of the Ed Sullivan Show with a plate spinner and hula hoop Act. They were the Davison family out of South Texas. And the headliner for the evening was Juliana Chen.

Afterwards they finally had the autograph session with all of the lecturers and performers. That was supposed to have happened Tuesday night but I guess not enough of the Stars we’re here by then. So they did it tonight. And unfortunately most everybody was in line for autographs and missed most of Jay Sankey’s lecture.

Here are a few photos that I’ve taken over the last couple of days that I thought you might enjoy. This first one is the official convention logo being projected on the jumbo screens in the Grand Ballroom.

This is inside the Whitney Theatre at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. This is where all the evening stage shows take place.

This is the glass dome bar at the Galt House Hotel. It connects the two towers of the hotel and its spans Fourth Street in Louisville. This is where everybody hangs out late at night.

Just so you don’t think I’m living too high on the hog, this is the view outside the window of my hotel room.

Heading to bed. I have to be up at 7. My call is at 9 am. Our competition starts at 9:30. Based on how long each Act goes, and me being number 7 of 13, I will hit the stage sometime between 10:30 and 11 a.m. eastern time tomorrow. Send me all the loving thoughts you got!

Thursday Is Going Strong

The morning lecture was David Dibble, the comedic juggler from last night’s Stage Show. It was part performance, part chat, all wonderful.

They just finished up the second half of the stage contest preliminaries.

Chris Randall – 2 rings, manipulation. Nice use of music.

Jaehoon Lim – bird and balls. Young kid, huge hit.

Gwenaelle Ardault – Thurston inspired butterfly act.

Steve Owen – hand shadow act. Very popular.

Nao Murata – young woman with a beautiful theater piece of shadows & manipulations with photos

Nicolas Dutel – well conceived clock act.

Although all of the Acts were great. If I had to pick the top seven to make it into the finals I would have said Eric Bussb& Stewart MacDonald from the 1st half and Chris Randall, Jaehoon Lim, Steve Owen, Nao Murata, and Nicholas Dutel from today.

Now I have to get ready to check my ACT for tomorrow morning’s close up competition. Doing one or two last run-throughs before I take the props downstairs.

1st Stage Show

Last night’s Stage Show Was a wonderful start to our evenings at the Kentucky Center. The MC was the great Gene Anderson. He also did a slot in the middle of the show featuring “Old Mother Hubbard”. The show opened with a fill in Act. Hiroki Hara had to cancel and so was replaced by the fantastic Jonathan Neal and Liane . They were followed by the very, very funny David Deeble. The crowd then load the classic magic of Michael Goudeau. And closing the show where the illusionists Ted and Marion Outerbridge.

Here is today’s schedule. My category techs their acts starting at 5:15. My slot is 6:15. Here we go!!!


First half of stage contest preliminaries

The first half of the contestants in the stage contest just finished their preliminaries. For the most part, the acts looked great. A few mistakes here and there, and that’s unfortunate, but it happens.

David Gerard & James Hargrave – silent movie usher act into dueling rings. Nicely done.

Eric Buss – the only act that did any talking. Eric used a looper machine to create music he then did magic to. Very well received.

Stuart Macdonald – a haunted room theme with a mirror that doubled everything. Extremely well received.

Jeremy Mikaelson – harry potter parasol act. Interesting concept.

Michael Tallon – silent tricks to sound clips from songs and movies. Played for laughs and he got them.

Philippe Theriault – card manipulator. Don’t know if it was planned but it seemed like there was music trouble with his track.

Nicky Circelli- beautiful dove act including a bare hand color change in confetti.

We’ll see what the judges have to say after the second half performs tonorrow.

Now It Begins In Earnest

We officially start the first full day of the convention. Some updates on the competition, as we learned new information yesterday. As noted on an earlier post there are three simultaneous competitions. Each Act is being judged by three sets of judges – IBM, Sam, FISM. For stage there are preliminaries or semi finals today and tomorrow. Of the 14 Acts 7 will go on to their finals Friday night. For close up, my category, there are no preliminaries, no semifinals. We only have the “finals”. Here’s where it gets interesting. SAM has a policy of a feedback session with each finalist. Don’t know if that’s before or after for stage. Because of time limits, they can’t do this for all 13 in the close-up category. So they will select 5 of the 13 to be called “finalists”. They will get the feedback sessions at some point before the convention ends. Their top prizes will only go to people in that select 5. The IBM considers all 13 finalists and so all are eligible for all of their prizes. FISM judges will score everybody at the preliminaries or close up finals and if you have a score of 70 or better you are eligible to be considered for World Championships next year. They will take the top scorers and offer competition slots to those six individuals. The one from North America with the highest score will be crowned North American champion. Unless none of them are from North America, then the person with the highest score who has not competed in another regions competition will be crowned the North American champion. So, I’m a finalist for the IBM, a semi-finalists for SAM, and a contestant for FISM. Plain as mud?

1 Down

We have ended the first day of the convention. Or at least what they’re considering the day before the convention. We had the Louisville premier of Lance Burton’s movie Billy Topit Master magician. A great film for magicians. A lot like an episode of The Monkees at times. Tonight was also the opening of the dealer’s room. I did a lot of looking, but the only thing I bought was a t-shirt. I wanted an official convention t-shirt, and so I got one.

Going to do some rehearsing of the act before I head to bed tonight. And I’ll do more in the morning. The closer we get to my category on Friday the more nervous I get. But also very excited.