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Magic Newsletter, October 9, 2022

Dear Friends in Magic,
I am writing in early October, as the leaves turn orange in D.C. and the nights grow cold. So, grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, and let’s get started with…
After getting hooked on magic in 1994, I gave myself a crash course on the craft by spending my weekends at Magic, Inc. in Chicago, attending every magic lecture I could find. As I watched these experienced magicians, one question kept coming to me: “How does one find great performing material?”
Mind you, I never verbalized it; I didn’t want to sound stupid or naïve. But I should have. Because now, twenty-eight years later, I know it was an outstanding question—a question successful magicians never stop asking, including the most famous ones of all. How DO we find and identify great pieces of magic?
In those early days, I did what most beginners do: I’d work with what the demonstrator sold me, or tricks I read in a magic magazine. Or I’d get seduced by the ads for each “hot new release.” As I got wiser (and poorer), I learned to focus my attention on tricks and books by highly respected authors and creators.
There is nothing wrong with any of this—it’s all part of the process—but eventually I came to realize that I was starved even though my trick consumption was high. I was flailing around in an infinite sea of tricks looking for a nugget or two of gold. Something definitely wasn’t working with my broad-based approach.
That’s when I woke up to the idea that tricks aren’t objectively good or bad, although we usually talk that way. Rather, the goal was to find performing material that was right for meAhhhh! Light bulb time! Thinking further about it, I came to see three different aspects of me that any potential trick has to be “right for”: 1) my character, 2) my performing venue(s), and 3) my target audiences. 
For me, these three aspects taken together comprise a kind of lens I use to assess whether any and every piece of magic is worth my time and attention. “Will it fit with my character?” “Is it right for one of my actual venues?” “Will it speak to the kind of audiences I want to be hired by?” I can’t begin to express how powerful this lens has been for my magic. I constantly use this conceptual tool to cut though the noise, build a more focused repertoire, and thus perform better shows. That’s why I call it The Golden Triangle
Over the next three newsletters I will unpack the “angles” of my strategic model. My goal is to express how the Golden Triangle might help you sail over the sea of tricks to find even better material for your shows. Stay tuned!
My studio has been hopping as I prepare several new pieces for our fall classes at the Magic & Mystery School—and a couple of them for my full-evening show. I have been enjoying this big creative wave that started after FISM, and I am excited to see how these pieces play out.
One place some of them will “play” is at The Magic & Mystery School Experience at Poe’s Magic Academy. This exciting event—a big day of magic and mystery—will be held on January 28-29, 2023, at the Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.
It will start on Saturday, the 28th, with my 4-hour workshop titled, “Level Up Your Magic.” This will include a show, performance feedback sessions for some attendees (first-come, first-serve), a keynote from Jeff McBride (through Zoom), and a great deal of practical information on essential topics like show building, character development, repertoire development, scripting, and audience management.
That evening I will emcee a show featuring Mystery School affiliated performers, as well as talented magicians from Poe’s Magic Academy. Directly after the show, there will be a magicians-only lecture (“Playing Big in the Real World”), followed by an after-lecture party. The next morning, we will pull it all together at a Breakfast Recap event.
Over the years, many magicians have asked Jeff and I to bring the Mystery School to the East Coast. And now—in partnership with Poe’s Magic Academy—we are! 
Please go here for complete information and to register. I hope to see you in January! 
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Speaking of gold… I want to direct your attention to an outstanding little book from outside our field: The Golden Rules of Acting that Nobody Ever Tells You. Although the book is not well-known among magicians, the author is Andy Nyman.
Andy has had tremendous success in magic, from his major book Bulletproof to his many writing and directing collaborations with Derren Brown. Even so, Andy’s primary passion is acting, and he has appeared in over fifty roles for film, television, and stage.
As I said, The Golden Rules of Acting… is a little book, but it has a big heart. Andy states that his intention is to share practical information about what it’s like to live as an actor, as well as some hard-won advice that’s grown out of his experiences. 
As you might imagine, some of his insights are frank and bracing, such as, “When friends come and see you in a play, never tell them, ‘It wasn’t good tonight’… No one wants to hear that.” Or “If you are difficult or unreliable to work with people will not want to work with you. It’s as simple as that; there is no discussion on this rule.”
But for every bit of “tough love,” Andy gives you dollops of encouragement:
— “Be brave. Make a strong decision about the character; it will make you stand out and show what you think about your work.”
— “Know who you are. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Never compare. Never compete. You can only be you.”
— “BE HAPPY. You’ll work more.”
From these examples, I am sure you can see that much of what Andy says has direct application to our work as magicians. Time and again, I’ve shared quotes with students or given my then-current copy to a magician who needed an uplift.
You’ll laugh. You’ll learn. You’ll make notes to never do that (whatever “that” is). Above all, you will finish reading The Golden Rules of Acting with joy in your heart about the (hard) work you do as a performer of magic!  
This issue marks the beginning of the fifth year of this newsletter. Many of you have been reading along from the beginning—thank you! For those who are new or have missed installments, each one has been saved for your enjoyment.
Along these lines, I want to mention my short essay “Halloween Reflections”that just appeared as the October 1 installment of the Magic & Mystery School’s Museletter. Every fan of Eugene Burger will especially enjoy the story I recount of an important lesson he taught me.
In that essay, I mention Dying to Change, my own little book of “golden nuggets” picked up on my path of becoming a professional magician. I am touched and honored this book has struck a chord with so many magicians who have struggled with issues about going full time. Dying to Change is back in stock; you may purchase a copy at
One last item for the holidays: we have only five packages left of Eugene Burger’s Santa Hat tears. These are identical in shape and design to his Stocking Cap Hat tears, except the papers are red and white. As you might imagine, magically creating a Santa Hat for yourself or others is a strong piece of festive magic for those upcoming Christmas events. If this calls you, please get them while they last.
Thank you for reading my newsletter and sharing it with people who might enjoy it. I am always happy to hear from you and receive feedback. Oh, this might be a good time to invite magician friends to sign up, because The Golden Triangle is about to unfold!

Best Wishes,
Larry Hass
Real-World Magician
Dean of McBride’s Magic & Mystery School
Publisher, Theory and Art of Magic Press