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Announcing the website + trailer for “The Magic Life”
01.02.12

Today we launched the website + trailer to my new film "The Magic Life" [link] -- it's a feature-length documentary that follows three aspiring magicians trying to turn their passion into their career. I'll detail a little backstory on the film itself, talk about the website + trailer, and then where we're at.

We started shooting the film about 18 months ago. When I moved to Los Angeles, I was on the hunt for interesting things to do and in previous cities, there always was the, "Top 10 Things to Do in ..." -- and I found the equivalent for L.A. On that list was to take magic lessons with Mark Wilson at the Magic Castle. I thought that was pretty cool -- I remember his book when I was a kid. I thought of it like being able to take boxing lessons from Mike Tyson. Over time, I ended up taking all the magic classes at the Castle (they offer Magic I -> IV and something called "The School for Scoundrels") -- and simultaneously, I had just come off of producing (and writing / acting) in my web series, "The Consultants". The latter is important because previously, I had never produced anything so the idea of producing something was quite daunting. While producing "The Consultants" was frankly far more difficult than I imagined -- it did open up the sense in my mind that it was doable. We can buy a camera! We can buy sound gear! We can buy lights! (previously we had just rented everything.) I'll chart that full journey in another post -- but needless to say, we bought gear and started filming. Made a lot of mistakes, but I sort of knew that going in. I said to myself that I could spend the next however many months learning about documentaries and then filming, or just go out and do it and screw things up (and it was painful) and learn that way. I knew the latter would be quicker, so that's what I did.

The magic portion came naturally as I simply hung out at the Magic Castle a lot -- and got to know a lot of magicians. I think the idea that someone can be any creative profession -- let's take something like acting or singing or painting -- you tell that to most people and they think it's crazy but at least they know that there are some non-trivial amount of people doing it. Odds are long, but doable. You tell someone that you're a magician, and they can't even fathom that. That's the story that got told to me -- magicians would tell people they're a magician and people would enthusiastically respond (b/c it's cool to be a magician!) and then ask them, "So what is it you actually do?" So I wanted to examine that -- the business side of actually being a magician and in the course of that, ended up following three pretty different (and hopefully compelling) stories of people who want to make this profession their career. They come from totally different worlds, have different support structures, and are at different life stages. At the core of it though, they love magic. They're passionate about something, they know what that something is -- and they want what I think most people want -- which is to be able to spend their time on something that's meaningful to them.

Fast forward to today -- we finished a cut of the film late last year (we still need to replace the temp music, color correct, and do the sound mix) and started to submit to festivals. The trailer you see was cut by Kyle Traynor -- a very talented editor who cut my short "Will & Fiona" and was recommended to me by my good friend Kate VanDevender (who always has dynamite people recommendations.) The wife of our DP works at a big trailer house company and offered to provide guidance / support / etc. in the process of making the trailer. (which proved invaluable in terms of putting us in touch with someone to write the script, giving notes, etc.) The website was built by a designer/developer tandem that has worked with a startup that I advise (very robust content management backend). It's frankly really nice to get it out there and have something tangible for people to see and a home for the project.

Next steps: finish the film and start showing the film. We have a screening already lined up at Vanderbilt's Law School next month -- their Entertainment & Sports Law Society was interested in screening it so I'll be there afterwards for a Q&A.

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