I am SOOOOO stoked to share today’s post! It all started when my boss hired a magician. The show was going to be virtual because of Covid lockdown, and honestly, at first I thought doing magic over the internet was an odd concept. But, my boss said the show was highly praised so I decided to give it a try. As it was going to be interactive and meant for the entire family, I allowed Adèle to participate.
AND IT WAS AMAZING!
In fact, it was so amazing, that Adèle gave it one million stars! Not only that, but she asked to take a magic class as well.
I reached out to the magician, Rich Reynolds, for an interview and a magic class and he kindly agreed, so enjoy!
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Can you briefly describe who you are?
I’m Rich Reynolds and I am Professional Magician. I make a living from showing people cool stuff either in person or virtually. I love having a job that allows me to meet people and put a smile on they face and blow their minds.
When were you first introduced to magic? Do you remember this experience, and if so, what/who inspired you to continue?
I remember being interested in magic as a little boy. I received a book of card tricks one Christmas, I remember learning lots of the tricks and forcing my parents to watch me perform. Most of the time they knew the method of the trick and didn’t seem overly impressed, but I remember showing them one that caught them by surprise……which I teach in my Masterclass. As I got older I found myself being more interested in learning magic and I’d watch people like Lance Burton perform and want to be able to look as cool as they did….. I never will! Ha
How do you come up with ideas for your magic tricks?
As a beginner learning magic, you mainly just copy tricks you see other magicians performing. As I’ve studied magic more I’ve found my own style and I know what message I want to communicate and which effects will fit my character. Now when I sit down and try to create a piece of magic I think of the effect I want to create and then try to come up with a method to produce the effect efficiently with as little sacrifices as possible.
Can you describe your techniques? What materials do you use? What is the step-by-step process you take?
Over the years I’ve tried to learn as many magical techniques as I can, often the best material is buried in old books. I love card magic but I’ve also spent a lot of time learning magic with Rubik’s cubes, rings, coins, ESP cards, and people’s thoughts. When creating something new, I sit at my desk for at least an hour with a pen and notebook and just tell myself my job is to scribble down ideas for the next hour… If they are all terrible ideas, that’s fine. Usually, I will have one good idea. I will keep sitting down day after day trying to build on ideas and come up with fresh ideas. I think it’s important to focus on the process of sitting there thinking and not focus on having a groundbreaking idea.
Where do you find inspiration for your magic tricks?
I find inspiration everywhere. I love walking in the countryside so recently I’ve found nature has inspired me. I read lots of books about psychology, how our brains work and the experiments I read about fascinate me; and often I think about how these ideas can be portrayed through a magic trick.
What is your favourite magic trick?
I find it difficult to choose because different tricks work well in some environments but not in others, so they all have their place. But if I had to choose right now I’d probably say a quick bit of sleight of hand I do with a ring. I think it’s incredible how something so simple can give people a feeling of astonishment. You don’t need to make the Empire State Building disappear to give people that feeling, and they probably feel it more when the magic is performed with something they own.
Do you have a mentor or a favourite magician? Why is this person important to you?
I don’t really have a mentor as such. I try to learn from everything I see, listen to and read. There is a magician who has passed away now called Tommy Wonder who I love watching. I adore how he respects the audience and the Magic during every second of his performance. For me, he’s one of the best magicians who has ever lived.
What are the biggest struggles you have overcome?
I think the biggest struggle is the struggle with myself. To begin with, I didn’t have the confidence to perform magic. As a beginner, It’s pretty scary to go up to a group of people, tell them you’re a magician, and try to show them something that impresses them. For me, it took years of practice to feel confident enough to do this. I don’t think performing was in my blood. I feel like it’s something I had to learn.
What has been the most challenging trick to pull off?
As boring as it sounds, there isn’t really a trick that feels difficult to pull off because, by the time I’m performing for an audience, I’ve practiced so much that it seems easy. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t perform it. However, some tricks do take more time to learn than others. During the lockdown, I learned how to flick a card from one hand, around the back of my head, and into my other hand. It’s more of a flourish than a trick but it took hours of frustration before I could do it to a good level… I’m not sure it was worth it! Ha
What specific skills can magic teach?
I think Magic can teach skills such as communication, perception, logical thinking. However, I think the more important lesson is it teaches you how to learn something. You are not going to be able to instantly blow someone away with sleight of hand if you’ve not practiced it. You need to practice everyday, patiently and consistently. Not expecting to instantly be able to do it at the end of the day but knowing you got one step closer to mastering it.
How do you approach/handle mistakes?
It would be great if mistakes didn’t happen… but they do because we are human. The main thing is to learn from them. If I make a mistake now, I’ve usually made the same mistake before and I’ve learnt a way of hiding the mistake or getting around it somehow. If it’s a new mistake and I can’t hide it, then I just treat it as if it was nothing..,” Oh well, that didn’t work, let’s try something else.” An audience will look at the performer to gauge how they should react to something. If I made a mistake and started to cry the audience would probably feel sad and embarrassed… If I just treat it like it was nothing then the audience will usually do the same.
How are live magic performances / classes different from Zoom ones?
They are very different. In person I can easily gauge the atmosphere and it’s easier to misdirect people. Also, the magic can be more like a conversation and that conversation can continue after I’ve finished performing. Over Zoom, people are sometimes more reserved or less expressive, but I’ve found this happens less and less as people have got used to more virtual conversations.
How do you pick people for participation?
It depends what type of trick I would like them to help me with. For instance, if it’s a trick where they could win money… but probably won’t… I’ll use an adult who looks fairly happy and confident as I know they will take everything in good spirits. But if it’s for something more visually magical I might choose someone young who will probably react more to the effect.
Could you recommend your favorite books about magic for beginners?
The Card College books are a great start for anyone wanting to learn some card Magic. Most of Marvin’s Magic kits seem quite good. You can also learn quite a bit on YouTube and watch performances from the best magicians in the world. Oh….obviously my Masterclass pack is perfect, too! Ha
What inspires you to continue making magic? What do you find rewarding about it?
As grand as it sounds, I want people to feel wonder. I put a lot of time and effort into performing magic and I get rewarded when people enjoy what I do. If I’m not feeling very inspired, I will watch one of my favourite magicians perform and that is always enough to remind me of why I love magic.
What advice would you give young magicians?
My advice would be to go narrow, not wide, which means, learn to do a few tricks really, really well. Don’t just try to learn as many tricks as possible. This is difficult advice to take as a beginner as you’re usually performing for family and friends and you want to show them something new all the time. However, if you want to take magic more seriously, you need to concentrate on a few techniques and master them.
“Sometimes, magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.” – Teller, from Penn & Teller
To book Rich for virtual and live events or to take his masterclasses, contact him at: