Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Project 365 (33/365): Firestarters

33/365: Firestarters:.

Meet Jay Sankey. I don’t like him much, but he has his uses.

Firestarters is one of the few things Jay Sankey ever came up with that I would unequivocally say I like. I’ve been very clear about my disdain for the inconsistent quality Sankey usually comes out with, but it’s not necessarily the quality of the routines in this particular video that caught my attention, but the very intent he has placed in coming out with this video in the first place.

Now, I may not be an advocate of PUA, but if any magicians ever thought that they have a gold mine in dates waiting for them if they exploited their ability to do the impossible, then more power to them, so long as they’re good at it. If they’re poor magicians and use it solely as an excuse to pick up girls, well, if the girl does pick them on that basis, there’s just no accounting for taste.

Anyways, this video series teaches a lot of different effects geared towards testing the waters with a female volunteer, to see if she’s willing to flirt or play along with your not-so-subtle advances. Some of the routines are rather lacklustre and really just fall into reworkings of older effects, but if you don’t appreciate the actual routines Sankey presents, the way he teaches his material and the thought process involved in all of them would allow you to adapt a lot of common routines you’re more comfortable with and make Firestarters out of them.

For me, this is a nice way to diversify the magician’s portfolio, even if you’re not really out to score some dates, but just so you could test out a different onstage persona altogether. I remember a few weeks ago, during his birthday party, Marf (and Cleo) were shocked at how different I was when I was performing some of my signature routines for the party. Normally, I’m very serious when I do my metal bending while at the Disenchanted Kingdom, but that night, I showed them a side of me that surprised them. As an onstage persona, I took on a completely different persona, and I was just “on” that night.

For the average magician who’s just starting out, look for videos like these to help you develop a persona all your own. I’d like to say that I have an original style all to myself, but my style is really just a “best-of” amalgam of Derren Brown, Richard Osterlind, Penn Jilette, and David Copperfield. There’s no shame in that. My style was certainly influenced, but it’s not a result of me copying these people over the years, I just did what came natural to me while I was learning stuff.

So yes, Jay Sankey, I’m giving props where props are due. This is a good video, albeit perhaps not for the reasons you’d assume.

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