Anyone who’s completed a university degree knows that feeling of the tension break after finishing a final exam. The stress builds all semester long, exponentially up until the time of the exam, and then, with an almost infinite gradient, snaps back to zero the minute the exam is finished.
Yesterday morning was like that, multiplied by a factor of a thousand.
Competing in close-up magic at FISM 2012 involved walking out on stage in front of 600 people, with hundreds more watching on screens and monitors around the convention centre, and tens of thousands of people around the world paying close attention to the online coverage of the results.
Despite its many serious flaws, FISM is nonetheless the biggest magic industry event in the world. It has launched careers, created reputations, and been the centre of many intense controversies. Many people spend years working on their 5 to 10 minute acts that can catapult them to worldwide recognition here.
So, you know, no pressure.
All things considered, I’m extremely happy with how yesterday went. Nothing went spectacularly wrong (which given the complexities leading up to it, amazed me slightly), and the act even received a partial standing ovation at the end. For an act that was close to catastrophe status in several ways last week, I was elated just to get through it without any serious screw-ups.
Now I get to sit back, pass out from exhaustion, and wait for the results on Saturday. There are about another 30 close-up competitors still to go, and the results are anyone’s guess. Many people have come up to me and said they think the routine was prize-worthy, but that’s entirely up to the judges’ tastes and the strength of the rest of the acts. Whether I end up with a prize or not, it was great to be able to come here and deliver a performance that by all accounts was thoroughly worthy of the event.
So for now, after months of intense build-up that culminated in a week of more stress than anything I’d experienced in my life before, I’m just really, really, overwhelmingly joyously glad that I can relax and think about something other than my FISM act for a while.
And if there’s an open bar at the banquet tomorrow, then all the better.