To think my impressionable years-- the years right out of high school where life looks you in the eyes and says something to the effect of "I'm gonna count to ten so you can get off my property before I shoot" those years that followed are pretty crazy times, looking back at it.
New freedoms. New responsibilities. Along the way you discover the resting version of your self -- through all of the chaos. You assembly random pieces together of your interests and social skills combined with your hobbies and passions and hopes and dreams and all those pieces come together in this Mr. or Mrs Potato head creation and underneath are the colourful plastic letters "Y-O-U"
There tends to be a lot of carnage during this time of self discovery. Using our Potato analogy some people are always looking for pieces, or hating the ones they have, or wanting someone elses or wishing theirs was bigger, maybe both bigger I dunno. No my monkey.
But in all this chaos of learning and failing it's possible you lose a nose or an ear-- metaphorically speaking again, unless you're a terrible juggler.
All of this stuff happened to everyone there's university or college or becoming a parent or backpacking through Europe and for some people all this discover happens in front of 500 to 3000 daily-- for weeks, for years. It turns some people weird, man.
Good weird and bad weird.
I bring this up for two reasons. First, all beginners look at their idol Potato Heads (I can image Russett Peters or magicians GoldFingerlings and Dove) they look at all these amazing artists and duplicate without realizing that not all pieces fits. But they try and they jam, and wedge. It's part of growth.
It is also the wrong way of thinking about it. But maybe time only teaches that. It's possible. Maybe just a good metaphor will do.
Take out the duplicate ears and put back the mustache, change the eyes and remove the sunglasses. Nobody likes a dick wearing sunglasses. Once you can stand and be you-- you gotta then spin around and toss the extra stuff in your butt.
Alright-- this Mr Potato head metaphor has it's limits but for someone listening who may work in front of an audience or want to-- this may be the most important message you hear-- that's the second reason I bring all this up. I had a great chat with the gentlemen I'm about to introduce you too and we had a fascinating discussion about art. I've been mulling over it ever since and I think this is a pretty reasonable way to explain it. The artist equation is:
THE ARTIST EQUATION:
Truest You + Originality + Hard work = Artist.
I'm open to discussion about it-- but that seems pretty logical to me and it's express in percentages. The truer you are to yourself combined with hard work and originality is the amount of artist.
How do you stack up? How's your self measurement look?
That's what I'm learning anyway-- and I can talk about it because I'm on that journey again. I had taken a step away from magic for a while, at least emotionally-- its my only job and it pays my bills. I love always love performing, man I love that part of it-- it's the magic part for me that I'm struggling with. Magic is unusual, arguably weird, difficult and technical and comes with a lot of stupid jokes from people thinking they are funny.
That's one of the hardest things.
How do you damage to that? It's precious. How do you say to someone, the essence of "I commend your effort-- but these withered magicians bones have been impaled by the spears of so many terrible magic jokes. It's painful and I grown weak and it's just down right not funny. "
A comedian buddy of mine gave me these two possible responses from now on, apparently I should respond with either "Thanks for your attempt at magic humor-- please die" or the ever trusted "Go fuck yourself"
But I'm much too nice for that kind of silliness so I'm thinking about starting a private Joke Support Group on Facebook. Probably named with a clever acronym.
But when come to the important stuff current version of yourself that's line it up with your material and committed crossing the minefield of magic jokes-- it becomes the truest version of you for your audience. You are the brightest version of yourself-- And we don't know how to measure that, we don't know how to describe that in units-- hell I just used a potato to try, but its measurable because you can FEEL it. An audience is given that from a performer. That's the gift, the price of admission.
I grew up at the end of the golden age of touring and so did the gentlemen I'm talking with today-- his name is Matt Disero and this is Touring Tricks.
OFFICIAL BLOG POST: http://www.ryanjoyce.com/matt-disero
Being an entertainer who works cruise shops a lot you meet interesting people. Or at least your chances are higher. Working on ships is very competitive right now and the quality of the acts is showing that. Cruise lines are actively trying to becoming more hip. The chances of meeting interesting people who are a little more unique, fun or down right weird — it’s just greatly intensified at sea.
I said I’m in walking in Fulltimer Ass Kisser territory or at least I’m stepping in patches of it and Brad is walking with legends.
Brad gives several nuggets and wisdom for performers through stories about his career– and we both discuss some of the oddities of ship life.
If you are listening for the first time Touring Tricks is also the name of my weekly webseries which you should check out– http://www.youtube.com/ryanjoycemagic or http://www.facebook.com/ryanjoycemagic.
Listen to more episodes: www.ryanjoyce.com
My guest on the podcast is Michael Paul Ziegfeld who has written for comedians including David Lettermen, Bill Maher, Chelsey Handler and Ellen DeGeneres. He has television credits on The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live and has lent his voice to Pixar and Jim Henson Productions. He has acted alongside Katherine Heigl in the movie 27 Dresses and coached Kevin Spacey in the movie The Ventriloquist. The heart and soul of his work is his own performances that have taken him around the globe, headlining theatre tours, comedy clubs, cruise ships and opening for names like Lisa Lampanelli, James Brown and Joan Rivers.
In this podcast we discuss the following:
Plus Ryan shares 8 ideas for a better writing mindset and how to optimize the time you spend creating scripts and content.
This Touring Tricks Podcast is jam packed with valuable information from working professionals with the goal of trying to help out other performers. Don’t miss this episode.
Penn & Teller's Fool Us is now on Season 3!! It is the best showcase for magicians on television. I appeared on Season 3 episode 2 (watch here http://www.ryanjoyce.com) but this podcast is all about the behind the scenes insight information-- good, bad and ugly
Plus three things I learned from the entire Las Vegas experience
I'm joined with Peter Mennie who flew down to Las Vegas to be part of the taping-- with a degree in Television Production, Peter gives a unique perspective of magic and television.