Now Departing, Flight #1
I talked before about the concept of flight time, that idea that after a certain amount of practice and rehearsal the only way you are going to get better at what you do is simply by doing it. For me this means always being ready to perform magic.
Years ago I didn’t have any particular problem with this. I always had a few things on me and while I was working full time as a magician this was a good thing which got me the occasional gig. But when I stopped working full time I started falling out of practice, which turned into a spiral of not wanting to perform because I haven’t been practicing, etc etc etc. I’m sure you can see where that leads.
In the book The Show Doctor by Jeff McBride this concept of flight time is discussed a great deal as is the idea of “the commando act.”
The Commando Act described by Jeff is essentially a ‘ready to go’ bag with everything you need to be able to perform at a moment’s notice. Now for me that’s not too difficult. Most of the magic I perform is up close and personal which means I need only a few small props which fit into an easy to grab bag. For other performers this might be a bit more difficult.
I’ve started carrying this around and it has helped. I’ve performed in a few places now but after this past weekend I realized I was still playing it safe. I had been performing for people who already knew me and were therefore safe. They would be supportive no matter what.
This past weekend I attended a birthday party for my nephews, two very young kids.
No, I didn’t perform for the kids. I generally don’t because most of the magic I do isn’t really designed for kids. I performed for several of the parents and for friends of my brother whose kids they are.
I’d had a bit of an introduction in the sense that my mother started hyping me up to some of the other adults there. But in essence I had to work myself up and approach someone and say “so you want to see a magic trick?” Which is, by the way, one of the most lame ways to start to gather an audience. I really need to work on my approaches.
In any case there I was approaching a person who was for all intents and purposes a complete stranger to me. Heck, even though I asked her name at that point I honestly don’t recall what it is now.
Everything went perfectly. I performed for about twenty minutes essentially holding court over my small gathering of parents grateful for a distraction.
It really isn’t a case of not believing that the concept of flight time would work. I know that it does. I’ve seen it in action plenty of times. But taking the first hard push is the hurdle I needed to jumpstart myself and the results were completely worth it. The magic flowed from my finger tips and I heard through the rest of the day “magic is real” from an especially appreciative spectator.
If you’ve been considering my words, if you’ve been considering engaging in this flight time concept to help motivate yourself and further develop mastery of your own artistic skills I can whole heartedly recommend it. I felt accomplished and gratified and I certainly had no problem walking out of the house this morning to travel to my mundane daily grind with my commando bag in hand just on the off chance that an opportunity might present itself for me to show off just a little bit more.