At 7:30 a.m. I boarded a flight to Detroit. I made my way down the aisle to the coach section where we were packed into our tiny seats like eggs in a carton. I found myself seated next to a young serviceman. Army I think. He was in uniform and had carried on a duffel bag as if he were headed back to his base. A moment after we had both gotten situated, a guy makes his way back from the first class section, stops at my row and says, “Go take my seat. I’ll switch with you. You deserve it.” Woo Hoo! It’s my lucky day, I thought. He must be a fan of The Phil Factor.
As fate would have it, he was talking to the young serviceman next to me. Little did I know that both the young serviceman and I were in luck that day. My new but extremely weary travel companion was magician James David. He must have pulled at least $40 in change out of my ear during the hour long flight. I’m kidding of course. His real trick was staying awake. He had performed until late in Buffalo the previous evening and then during the night drove over an hour to get to Rochester where his flight was leaving from and he hadn’t slept all night.
Me: I have yet to see a job listing for magician on LinkedIn. How does one become a magician as a career?
James: Hey Phil, well one doesn’t just get to pick a job as a magician from Linkedin. You have to receive a letter from an owl saying you have been accepted to Hogwarts. Everyone knows that Phil!! However, if you are not that lucky (like myself) then learning from a book or a website is a good place to start. Once you master the basics of magic and get good enough at them you don’t have to “apply” for a job, the jobs just come to you. When I started to get really good people would just ask me if I did this for a living and how much did I charge? All I had to do was answer yes! So the short answer to your question is LOTS of hard work and practice.
Me: What led you, a magician, to decide to write a book about sports team chemistry?
James: Long before I was a magician I was a basketball coach. In fact, I started learning magic to entertain my students and my players when I felt like making the atmosphere a little more fun. It gave the kids and myself a mental break from reality. But as I learned more and more about magic, I realized magic and sports/life are identical. What I mean is that they both have fundamentals. The more you practice a skill set the better you get at it and the better you get at mastering the fundamentals the more it looks like “magic”. The same is with building chemistry with someone.