As the title of this website implies, I’m a big fan of behind-the-scenes insights into things. Two groups that seem to agree are Mandala Magazine and the Magic Castle’s official Twitter account. Every Monday from 5pm to 6pm (PST – west coast USA time) they co-host a live Twitter chat session on current events in Magic.
Two weeks ago I was asked to be the week’s featured guest for the chat. It was a fascinating experience, even more so than I expected. Since the interview was happening in real-time, the responses had to be genuinely spur-of-the-moment. However, with only 160 characters per message, it was a real challenge to give very short answers to some occasionally quite big questions.
I’ve spent a lot of my life struggling to write more concisely, so the MagicChat challenge was actually quite cathartic. Overall I was pretty happy with how it went down.
Here are some highlights from the main thread, heavily trimmed for clarity and readability. Most of the questions are from the Mandala Magazine twitter account, plus a bunch of friends and special guests.
@Mandalamag: So, let’s jump right into it! @simonCoronel, how did you get into magic?
@SimonCoronel: By accident in first year university. Saw an amazing card trick for the first time ever, and was instantly hooked.
@MandalaMag: So how long after you started practicing magic did you decide to take it professional?
@SimonCoronel: It’s technically only my career since March this year. Was previously a full time business consultant.
@SimonCoronel: …which makes it about 11 years since first being interested in magic.
@MandalaMag: So how did you make the jump from business consultant to prestidigitator?
@SimonCoronel: Long story short, closed my eyes and jumped. Had laid a lot of groundwork in preparation through.
@MandalaMag: I’ve seen you perform with cards and coins. How do you go about choosing your material?
@SimonCoronel: Any material that is strong enough to make people feel punched in the face. Gently. :-)
@pprevos: How do you manage continuous improvement in your shows?
@SimonCoronel: Bus’ consulting background def’ comes in useful. Took me a while, but we use detailed schedules and plans for shows.
@CardJon: Did you enjoy you time at the Hollywood Fringe?
@SimonCoronel: Hollywood Fringe was two weeks of so much fun that it made my brain hurt. Would recommend it to anybody.
@Beaslma: I know you video a lot of your shows, do you post them on youtube or simply watch them to learn what wks?
@SimonCoronel: 99% are just for me to re-watch and analyse/critique for improvement. I’ve only really started posting on YT recently.
@MagicCastle: Do you think getting into magic at a later age has given you a different perspective as aperformer? If so, how?
@SimonCoronel: DEFINITELY. Main bonus is that I remember what it was like to see magic as a layman.
@MagicCastle: What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Big time shows? Or something outside of performing?
@SimonCoronel: Ideal would be a mix of performing and other projects. Software, online media, short films, save the world…
@StardockMagic: How tightly scripted are your shows?
@SimonCoronel: Semi-scripted. I rarely write physical scripts, but have a solid mental script of how the presentation will flow.
@StarDockMagic: I think we all suffer boredom when having to practice a new move repeatedly. How do you tackle this boredom?
@SimonCoronel: The moves I can do well are the ones I found enjoyable to practice. I still suck at the ones I found boring.
@beaslma: Is it hard to be objective about your own work?
@SimonCoronel: Spectacularly hard, verging on impossible. Hence the importance of getting objective non-magician input on your stuff.
There were plenty more replies and retweets, but the above is a good general overview of the highlights. Apart from anything else, it was enough fun that I’ve been back several times since then already.
If you’re interested in joining in next time, there is an excellent chance I’ll be there again most weeks to find out what gets discussed.