I learned my first magic effect at 12 years old, and performed my first paid show at 13.
It broke down barriers to communication, set a tone and mood for more candid and open conversation, and with well-selected effects, created an air of trust among the participants. Even more importantly, I was experiencing the awesome power of nonverbal communication.
I never wanted to be “just” a performer and to further complicate things, I could not decide between a number of the disciplines of magic such as cards, coins, mentalism, hypnosis and all of the various branches of those. I love them all, and didn’t want to restrict myself, but a show has to have a theme, or story, rather than, as I learned years before, just a bunch of tricks. I did a lot of soul-searching into myself as a personality. I’m not the comedian, or the huckster, or the ultra serious mind reader, but I do have elements of all these. At the same time, something was gnawing at me to do more than a show. I wanted to inject my personality, style and passion for communication within the context of making people, just even for a moment, have that willing suspension of disbelief, and think the impossible is indeed possible. But do it in a way that they remember for years to come not because of how cool it was, but how it impacted their lives.
I managed to parlay my talents into delivering lectures, seminars and video-based courses but of course, these were mostly technology-centric and the challenge was how to deliver the messages using magician skills to make those messages even more impactful. My drive was always to use my love of magic and mentalism to make these courses more fun for me and engaging for my audiences. I peppered boring tech talks with demonstrations of human perception and even some stunts such as straitjacket escapes. Yes, all within the context of the theme of the event. I wanted to be more than a technology expert who could show some really cool magic. I struggled with who and what I wanted to be as a performer.
The Observationist was born at Harvard University…
One day, I was contacted by a Harvard psychology professor who asked if I could tailor a presentation for a graduate-level class to demonstrate perception, directed attention and not only blow the students’ minds, but demonstrate how con men accomplish their dastardly deeds. As is often the case with some of the best ideas, this simple request stimulated my imagination into something much greater than either of us ever intended. I built a show that not only amazed an audience, but I decided to strategically “break the magician’s code” and show exactly how some of these feats of illusion are done. I did this for the specific purpose of enlightening people to see just what they’re missing that is going on right in front of them. This would be more than a magic show, way more fun than any lecture or class, and I could tap into my passion for performing to create an entertaining, educational and enlightening event. I became…. The Observationist.
If a picture is worth 1000 words, a message delivered through The Observationist is worth 1,000,000 words. This has grown into way more than a magic show. Or a mentalism show. Or experiments with stage hypnosis. Or a demonstration about communication, and seeing things differently. It, like I, have become more than the sum of these parts.
Upon starting down this path I have had the good fortune to collaborate with some of the best minds in the areas of magic performance, education, hypnosis and psychology of communication. Feedback about the Observationist concept, content and presentation quality has universally been positive. One thing I did not quite count on is the level of customization I’d be doing for each performance, client, or even audience demographics at the same client for multiple performances. I also learned that it is this tailoring of the effects, messages and demonstrations that is the real power of The Observationist, and, frankly is the most fun part about it!
I look forward to talking with you towards bringing The Observationist to your next event!
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