Sunday, January 31, 2010

JK Rowling: The Fringe Benefits of Failure

This is a very comforting speech to hear for me, especially in this cold, unprofitable, & stressful January time. I hope someone else gets something out of it, as well.

JK Rowling: The fringe benefits of failure | Video on

-Much love,
Daniel GreenWolf

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lectures, Car Crashes, and Free Knock-Off Ipods

"It's easy to maintain your integrity when no one is offering to buy it out."

-Marc Maron

So the last couple of weeks have been full of all kinds of Magicfulness (In one way or another). Last Friday, I had the pleasure of lecturing at the Tricky Business Magic Shop in Hicksville, NY. It was a really great group of magicians that seemed to not be annoyed by what I had to say. I've only done a handful of lectures in the past, and hopefully this will be the beginning of many more to come.

Things got even more interesting post-lecture. I went to a local diner with John Reid (the owner of Tricky Business), one of his employees Brian and his lady Amanda. On our way out, we noticed this rather odd prize-vending machine game. I decided I had to give this odd looking creature a try and I ended up winning an Ipod Shuffle. (Okay, it was a Chinese Ripoff of a Shuffle, but a victory is a victory dammit. And it seems to work alright... don't take this moment from me!)

Anywho, on the way back from Hicksville, I noticed John's car on the side of the road next to a heinous crash where the demolished car was sitting without a front end in the farthest left lane. I stopped and realized John was just lending a hand so I also attempted to help. The crash occurred on a major highway just around a bend so needless to say, the demolished car almost got hit 5 more times in the 10 minutes we were there waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Is it impossible for people to slow down when they see a bunch of cars with their hazard lights on? Are people so mentally vacant while driving that they see people waving them to slow down on a highway that they figure "If I go REALLY fast, maybe I'll be invisible" (Although the thought does border on theoretical physics, I doubt the drivers are that deep).

I know it's always going to be a problem, but moronic drivers have been affecting the lives of those around me quite regularly lately. Between my roommate getting hit by a car as he crossed a LIT CROSSWALK, Losander (a phenomenal magician and creator) gets t-boned by a driver who goes right through a red light, my friend's son gets into a vicious accident... sweet fluffy monkeys people! Open yer friggin' eyes when you're driving! Sorry about the outburst. As someone always on the road, it's a personal buggery of mine.

In more pleasant news, with rehearsals for the Renaissance Banquet at the end of February in Stratford, CT (You need to login to Facebook to see the link) in full swing, I'm really getting into the spirit of collaborative play. I have peculiarly high standards when it comes to a performance I'm involved in, which sometimes makes me come across as nit-picky and controlling, but everyone else involved is aware of this and know when to listen to my thoughts and know when to tell me to stuff it. It's going to be a great show.

We are also inching close to Wicked Winter Renaissance Faire in NJ the 3rd weekend of February, I'm both excited and nervous. It's always a wondrous time and I have no doubt of that, but I'm going to be doing an effect I haven't done since last August. It's a rather involved escape which actually has some dangerous elements to it, and this time, I'm going to be using bondage experts to tie me up (It IS that kind of Faire). It's a little nerve-wracking to say the least. I'm spending the remaining weeks retraining my body to deal with the extra stress of holding my breath for longer than my big-ness wishes. I'm not quite back to where I was in August, but hopefully the next 3 weeks will fix that.

As some folks can tell, I'm trying to define where this blog is going to go. Part philosophy, part updates, part stories, part ramblings... are people liking what I'm putting up here? Is there something you want to see me write about? Let me know in the comments, folks.

And a quick shout out to Scooter, Losander, and Galen for a speedy and full recovery!

-Much love,
Daniel GreenWolf
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Coping with the January Lull

Behold the fool saith, "Put not all thine eggs in the one basket"--which is but a manner of saying, "Scatter your money and your attention;" but the wise man saith, "Put all your eggs in the one basket and--WATCH THAT BASKET."

-Mark Twain

Being a professional magician, you get just as many highs and lows as any other self-owned business. Statistically, January acts as the preparation month for the rest of the year, primarily because you don't have much else to do (And although the whole Conan v. Leno thing is intriguing... there's not too much I can do about it...Go Conan). So I've spent my January doing a few random gigs here and there, redoing the website, sending out press kits, and preparing for a lecture to Magicians in NY.

The untrained eye might consider this "keeping myself busy" or "waiting for something to come up" but the truth is that it's actually keeping myself focused on the job. I think the biggest downfall of magicians trying to make it professionally is that they lose focus. So many take these low points as an unsolvable problem and just "wait by the phone" or worse, take it as a sign they should take a second crap job to "soften the blow"... then they start relying on the second job. They turn down magic gigs because they can't miss work and then BAM... they make the transition from professional magician to hobbyist in denial. Then eventually, after a few years, just a hobbyist.

Now, please know I have nothing against hobbyists. In fact, I know some awesome hobbyists who have created some great and indeed legendary magic... but they're not running a magic business at that point. And to be in show business, you have to embrace both parts; Show AND business.

I have been told by some that to run a business, you have to compromise your art and I certainly believe it's not so. In fact, there is an altogether different art to running a business. But aside from that, I think if you you're focused on the type of art you do, then you will find an audience to buy it. In my case, my show is highly adaptable (I am a Shameless Whore, after all), but I often have to find ways to tell new clients that. It sometimes took a bit to tell corporations that I was what they were looking for and didn't want a suit & tie type performance. Luckily, they usually end up listening.

I'm eternally grateful to have a better half who slaps me back into focus when I fall into the occasional Am I a Failure-type depression that plagues many of my magician cohorts. I also have a great family that helps in this problem. And it's not like I don't do other things to supplement my income aside from performing magic. I've built websites for other magicians, I host karaoke, I've done tarot readings for corporate parties... but I've never let it get in the way of magic. And the fact that all of those side jobs are connected very wholly to performing or the business doesn't hurt either.

What's my point? Keep focused on your goals. Don't let the low points scare you away. If you put a fall-back profession into place... you're more likely to use it. Much more likely. Maybe it sounds pessimistic to some, but the idea of not having a net keeps me much more focused on the high-wire.

To leave you folks with a really cool TED talk that focuses on the subject of success. It's only 3 minutes but it's very interesting.

(If you don't know about, this is a great time to learn. It's VERY cool.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome Special Hell-Mates!

This shall become the future home of many mindless "frothing-at-the-mouth silly" posts of me, Daniel GreenWolf.

For those who don't know me- I'm a professional Magician of 14 years, I perform at Renaissance Faires, corporate events, and private events all over the USA.

I'm also a shameless ├╝ber-geek who delights in the social awkwardness of my recreational past times.

You'll most likely be seeing various posts on my journeys as a magician, my loves as a geek (that hopefully other geeks will love also), and any other blather I wish to push out into the world. I hope you enjoy reading it.

In any case, Much love.

Gods I'm pale. I must be Irish.