Our Magic: Magician R. Paul Wilson on the Past, Present and Future of Magic

Magician R. Paul WilsonToday I’m taking a break from the normal run-of-the-mill romance stuff I usually blog about. In fact, I’m thrilled to have an actual, real-life magician on my blog. R. Paul Wilson is a close-up magician and sleight-of-hand artist with an extensive resume in the film and television industry. Welcome, Paul!

MGF: Let’s start off with your newest project, “Our Magic”. Tell us about it.

RPW: “Our Magic” is an idea that came to us while I was editing the Unreal Tour videos late last year. Once I started logging all of the footage I started to see the beginnings of a feature documentary. When filming, our intention was to make several short docs on one subject and I conducted the interviews knowing that we would probably allow the public to view these as well.

So the Unreal Interviews were about topics concerning magicians and, wherever possible, I would avoid mention of methods or secrets. Then we started publishing them online and a few of them were posted on well-known blogs like Boing Boing and we discovered there was an enormous interest outside of the magic world. The problem, as far as the general public might be concerned, was that the videos were long and covered many aspects of each topic so were definitely aimed at our community’s interests. To make it more accessible, we would need to cut to the chase, strip it down to essentials but, personally, I had issues with that. The solution was to go back out and conduct new interviews, this time shifting the focus towards the general public without losing the honesty and openness but encouraging the subjects to be more concise.

“The objective became clear to me – a film about magic by magicians.”

Also, we needed more footage away from the interviews. The objective of the new documentary became clear to me – a film about magic by magicians. Often, magic is interpreted by outsiders and then shared with their audience. The reader or viewer responds to this because there is a constant fascination with our art and new information is well received. The problem is that what’s most interesting to those of us inside magic might be the interpretation of that outsider but, when reading their conclusions presented as facts, we usually disagree – sometimes passionately. I believe that the solution is for us to ante-up and offer an alternative. To open the doors and let people in. “Our Magic” will present our perspective of our world. Not to preclude the observations of others but to represent what being a magician means to us.

MGF: If there’s one thing I’ve learned since beginning to write about magic and magicians, it’s that I don’t really want to know how it’s done. I want to be surprised and appreciate magic as an artform from my spot as a spectator. How will you complete such a project as Our Magic without giving away the secrets that allow us a sense of wonder?

RPW: One of our main objectives is to reveal the real secrets of magic. That does not mean our methods. In 1911, Maskelyn and Devant wrote their book “Our Magic”, which discussed these “real secrets” at length. Intended for the magicians and the public, the book caused an outcry within the fraternity because, at the back, it included several effects fully described. We won’t be doing that. Instead, we will concentrate on several aspects of the art itself that are often misunderstood or rarely considered. I also want to give the audience an idea of how deep the rabbit hole goes. All of this is very much in the tradition of the first half of the Maskelyn/Devant book.

“…we are being very careful with the secrets of our art.”

Revealing methods is not what “Our Magic” is (or was) about. We will definitely discuss the issues of exposure and who it hurts most. It’s not magicians! How we illustrate this might cause a little controversy but we are being very careful with the secrets of our art. As Jim Steinmeyer has said “We are not protecting the secrets from you. We’re protecting you from the secrets.”

MGF: You raised the funds you needed to make “Our Magic” in about two days, didn’t you? Did that surprise you? Why (or why not)?

RPW: It did surprise me that it happened so quickly but our community shares an enormous passion for magic in all shapes and sizes and the objective of this film resonated with them immediately. I had no doubt we would get funded but I kept a lot of my ideas in reserve, just in case we were not. Less than two days later and I’m sitting at my table transferring notes from my little leather book onto index cards. The table is now covered in objectives and now we have the funds to achieve them. We are going to aim higher and set ourselves a bigger goal. The more money we can put into the budget, the more we can accomplish.

MGF: You know I love your short film “The Magic Box”. It’s a beautiful story about the way magic can link one generation to another. Tell me about your inspiration for this movie.

RPW: I’m happy you enjoyed it. In fact I couldn’t be happier with the reception it’s had. I wrote a short story years ago about a hand made magic trick being passed from generation to generation. The trick was a reminder of shared experiences and an anchor to magical moments in life. I based it on some of my own experiences. My Grandfather showed me my first bit of sleight of hand, I met a man named Roy Walton who shepherded me towards the great masters of magic, Joe Porper who makes some of the most incredible magic props, Juan Tamariz and many of the mentors I’ve been fortunate to have through the years. The feeling I get when sharing magic with people is founded in those early experiences and, when I connect with those, my audience seems to somehow tune-in. It’s a strange thing.

“Filmmaking and magic are often the same thing, in my opinion.”

Tamariz told me one night, sitting on his patio in Cadiz, about his “Seven Veils Of Mystery”. He has since written about it and will publish it soon (I hope) but it’s all about how the audience can sense certain qualities from a performer and respond to them, even though they are unspoken. In January, I decided to make a couple of short films and I wrote down subjects that I wanted to make films about. I picked three and wrote three short scripts. The first film was The Magic Box. Filmmaking and magic are often the same thing, in my opinion. I wanted to tell the story simply, using gentle camera moves and classic blocking techniques. Just as magic can be most powerful when performed with great subtlety, I tried to do the same when directing this little film.

MGF: You’ve been making a name for yourself in Hollywood working on movies like Shade and Smokin’ Aces. Do you see movies as the best stage for close up magic in today’s world? Is there any other place for it?

RPW: Actually, I think magic belongs in the real world. On television it becomes something quite different. When experienced live, magic can be exhilarating, exciting and passionate. Real wonder can be experienced when a miracle happens right in front of you. It’s a fantastic feeling for both magician and spectator.

On television, in the movies, it’s just something else happening on screen. Change channels and aliens are blowing up the white house. On a two dimensional screen, it’s about which effect is the most stunning to the eyes. The mind simply observes.

There’s definitely a place for magic in film and television but its home is in front of a live audience.

My friend Michael Weber has a great saying: “Whoever tells the best story, wins.” That’s true in every walk of life and especially true when viewing something on a screen. Story is everything. The eyes will simply watch but, to wake up the mind, we must engage it directly and get it involved somehow. Story is the key. Magic on screen needs something to connect with the feelings of the audience, just as it does when performed live. I genuinely believe that tricks for the camera are the least important part of what makes magic successful on television. What really engages the audience at home is seeing the effect those tricks have on real people. Real reactions, real emotions, real effects. That’s why the audience respond to magic shows that involve people experiencing something magical more than shows that simply point a camera at the magic trick.

There’s definitely a place for magic in film and television but its home is in front of a live audience.

MGF: You’re a magician, a magic advisor, a television presenter, a filmmaker, a writer, a director, an artist…did I miss anything? Do you have a dream project? Something you see everything else as working toward?

RPW: When I started on this adventure, I offered magic and my knowledge of cheating and con games as fair trade for an education in the film and television business. I got that in spades. After several movies and years working in television, I feel ready to do whatever I need to accomplish a project. I have all the tools and the experience to make any idea into a reality. I’ve chosen to do this later in life than most but I’m using that to my advantage. I have a wealth of stories and experience to draw from. “Our Magic” will be a dream project but, when I think about it, I’m blessed with many dream projects. My TV work, the short films and just being a magician is a dream come true. It’s a lot of work and I work every single day for many hours towards that next horizon. I’m fortunate that life lets me do this. I try never to forget that.

MGF: Thank you so much for being here, Paul!

For more information about Paul and his projects, check out these sites:

Watch “The Magic Box” on YouTube.

Visit the “Our Magic” Kickstarter Page to make a pledge.

Welcome Zoe Dawson to My Blog!

Presto-Change-O, I’m switching blogs with author Zoe Dawson today! Please help me welcome her to talk about her upcoming releases! And if you want to hear anything from little ol’ me after that, I’m over at her beautiful blog: Zoe Dawson’s Blog.

Out of my Comfort Zone
By Zoe Dawson

authorpicEver since I started self-publishing I’ve been out of my comfort zone and for a routine-loving, grounded Taurus that’s downright scary.

Of course, anything new comes with a learning curve, which can be both satisfying and frustrating, but also creates a way for an author to stretch and grow. This summer I have two new releases which are both in genres that are in uncharted waters for me. When I decided to self-publish a year ago, I looked through all my rejected ideas and really thought about what was marketable and what I wanted to write. A series I had developed and tried to sell to traditional publishers, Going to the Dogs, came to mind. I loved the story ideas, thought they were very funny, but could I write comedy, something I’ve never even attempted? I pretty much wrote romantic suspense and sexy romance. I often wrote humor in the context of these novels, but not premise-based comedy. Do I feel I was successful? A resounding yes! I’m glad that I pushed myself out of that box and decided to branch out into something new. So with the first two books under my belt, I’m about to release the third book in the series that focuses on Poe Madigan.

Here is the blurb:


I’ll get you and your little dogs, too!

Veterinarian Poe Madigan enters The Fur Ball with her Jack Russell terriers (aka The Terrible Two) to compete for a substantial cash prize that will keep her mother from losing her home. But when her fabulous partner sprains his ankle, Poe must trade him and his talented Bichon for a sexy, muscle-bound hunk who can’t dance and his basset hound, Lazy Daisy. If that’s not enough to make her despair, it seems The Terrible Two have angered someone and they’re receiving death threats!

Security specialist Jared Taylor promises one of Poe’s friends that he will go undercover as her dog dancing partner to protect her from danger. He didn’t expect to find his staid, traditional life would be turned all topsy-turvy and he would find a soft spot for a neglected hound and fall for a Goth princess. But when he reveals who he really is and why he is in Poe’s life destroy the foundation of trust they’ve built? Could he lose the real prize – Poe?

I will be revealing the cover on June 4, 2013 and I’d love for you to stop by my blog to see it and comment. My blog address is http://zoedawsonauthor.blogspot.com/

If you are a blogger and would be interested in helping me out, the sign up for the cover reveal will be up at ATMOR Tours sometime in May. Here’s their website: http://atomrbookblogtours.com/ And, thanks in advance!

If you’d like to see where it began and get Callie’s and Brooke’s stories, you can find Book #1 and #2 at the following retailers.
Leashed is available at Amazon
Groomed for Murder is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

downloadThe second genre venture into unknown territory is new adult. I have always been interested in writing this type of novel. I’ve had practice with it over the years as writing twentysomething characters in traditional romance is a must. I’m excited to see how new adult is crossing genres and blossoming into an honest to God phenomenon. I will be starting A Perfect Secret series with A Perfect Mess.

Here is the blurb with little teasers for book #2 and #3:

I know what you did last summer.

Aubree Walker, the perfect girl most likely to succeed, is sure there’s only one person who knows what she did.

Booker Outlaw, one of the three Outlaw brothers—all identical, all gorgeous, all from the wrong side of the tracks, and all pure bad boys. He was always the unpredictable one, the one who would be brash enough to make it big self-publishing horror novels on the internet. He promised never to tell, but everyone knows you can never trust an Outlaw.

Then a year later, in the middle of the night, she receives a phone call at Tulane. Her aunt, who took her in after her mother’s death, has passed away under suspicious circumstances. Now she has to face that one person who knows all about what she did that summer—sexy Booker.

Returning to Hope Parish to lay her beloved aunt to rest, stirs up all those ugly memories. When Aubree starts getting threats, she can’t help but wonder if what she did last summer was tied to her aunt’s death. Afraid, she turns to the only person who knows the truth and Booker doesn’t hesitate to offer his broad shoulder for her to lean on. But Booker has a secret of his own that could crush their fledgling relationship.

As the hot, sultry summer days move on, she finds that even a perfectly smart girl can lose her heart to a perfectly bad boy. What is she going to do when someone starts asking questions Aubree doesn’t want to answer? She’s knee deep into a terribly dangerous, wholly life changing, who-can-she-really-depend-on perfect mess.

A Perfect Secret Series: Three perfect girls, three perfect secrets, one unholy trinity

A Perfect Mistake, Book #2 – A preacher’s daughter, a reckless Outlaw, and a secret that will change her life forever.

A Perfect Dilemma, Book #3 – The town’s poor little rich girl, a sweet-talking Outlaw, and a secret that will ruin all that she holds dear.

Will I be successful at it? That remains to be seen. All I can say is that I will write a heartfelt novel with romantic suspense elements that will hopefully touch hearts and keep readers coming back for more.

Now talk to me. Have you ever attempted to move out of your comfort zone? How did it work out for you?

Thank you for having me Michelle!

About the Author

Zoe Dawson is the alter ego of Karen Anders, award winning, multi-published author. Her writing journey started with poetry and branched out into fiction. With a couple of college English courses under her belt, she penned a historical, then moved onto contemporary romance fiction. Today, she is happy producing romantic suspense, romantic mystery, urban fantasy, new adult and paranormal novels. The words feed her soul and the happily ever afters feed her heart.

You can find her at the following links:

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