I’m obsessed with spy movies; the idea of having a total stranger approach me and asking to use my skills, strength and gadgets to save the world excites my 90’s inner child like no other. The thought of entering a room full of experts in locking picking, pickpocketing and other espionage techniques gets me keyed up. This is the story of how we (we being myself and my wife and performing partner, Stacy) went on a mission, which we chose to except, in hopes of fooling the world’s greatest duo act in magic, Penn and Teller.
Some background information will help this story along. Four years ago, Stacy and I sent in our first video audition to Penn and Teller in hopes of being asked to appear on their show. We had 3 years of rejection before finally making it to Vegas this past October. Let’s begin with Brent Braun.
So… what is a Brent Braun? A Brent Braun is your first contact in the field. He is the one who bumps into you sees your potential and says, “We need your help, be at Front street tomorrow morning at 9 am… and wear you best suit”. Now that we’ve established what a Brent Braun is, lets answer how we met.
I met Brent around 2008 at Magifest in Columbus, Ohio. For the muggles reading this, Magi is a magi convention that takes place every January with over 1,000 of the world’s top magicians. It’s a place for those deeply invested in the craft to learn, share, brainstorm, bond and explore impossible ideas.
Here was this guy sitting in the convention lobby, talking about the theory of magic; how it should be done, what it is and why I should care. He then proceeded to take a bouncy ball and push it through a solid glass table. I spent hours questioning whether the other tables at the bar were actually real. After buying notes of his work, I immediately bought the book he was discussing and started studying. I was instantly a Braun fan.
Up until this point I had been questioning how the creative process and magic co-exist. I had heard that one must create original magic. What in the heck does that mean? I had read every self-help book I could find, listened to every YouTube seminar I could stand and read every motivational quote that was Instagram worthy. My conclusion, the #1 thing successful people do…they stop reading top ten lists on Facebook of what successful people do.
That day in the lobby, I would have never guessed that years later we would have the opportunity to work with Brent one on one. For two straight days we woke up early and spent the entire day talking about magic. What it is, what it should be, and most importantly what it was to us. Day two… wake up rinse and repeat. The craziest thing I learned in those two days was that there are no bad ideas, I repeat, no bad ideas and we would have to learn to think for ourselves. All ideas are worth exploring further until they aren’t!