Reflections on “The Impossible Record”

8Pictured above is our “360 Sawing” illusion which we just completed (full rotation of Ning’s upper half around her lower half) as the buzzer went off. We have a love-hate relationship with the illusion. It is a beautiful cool urban illusion but also the illusion that Ning’s hand got crushed in. I know it was bad and feel horrible… still sorry babe.

The official release of “The Impossible Record” video marks the completion of this mega project for us. We will take a week off from mega projects to focus on our corporate shows; then we start the planning and production of our next mega illusion. We will make an official announcement on our next mega illusion in late Jul 2009.

With the completion of “The Impossible Record”, we have reflected and are proud of how the project hit milestones in all areas that we set out to achieve. From pre-publicity efforts, to media coverage, live audience attendance, creating a buzz in the international magic community, post-event discussion on the Internet and client satisfaction, we hit reached all objectives. Oh… and of course, we did pull it off and set a new world record.

The idea behind “The Impossible Record” was to design another mega magic event that would draw a big crowd, become a media event and would generate buzz on the Internet. And first and foremost, bring high quality magic to the mainstream public and media.


Since 2007, Ning & I have done 2 teleportation mega illusions (The Impossible Teleportation & The Impossible Journey) as well as two extreme escape acts (The Impalement Cage & Inversion). In our continued effort to reinvent our projects, we wanted to do something completely different but yet would capture the imagination of people. As usual, many ideas were brainstormed and we originally came up with two concepts but “The Impossible Record” is the one that got chosen by the Singapore Tourism Board.

Dutch illusionist, Hans Klok, was the first to do multiple illusions within a stipulated time frame. Previously, Japanese magicians “Napoleans” did a record setting act of most number of magic effects in a short time but the effects were not illusions and the Napoleans did it as a comedy act. I understand Paul Daniels from England did something similar as well before but again, it was smaller magic effects and to comedy. Hans was a straight dramatic performance.

Ning & I love Hans Klok’s magic and are big fans of his work. The best ideas are usually the simplest and innovation is the application of existing concepts in different mediums or industries. So, using Hans’ ( & his creative team’s) concept for a television appearance, we turned it into a major live event. Marketing, producing and executing a live event for thousands is very different from producing an in-studio televsion program. Both have different sets of challenges and really cannot be compared. It is apples & oranges.

We had to harness the logistics of putting together the event as well as the monumental task of promoting it. This is on top of creating the actual illusion performance which required countless hours of planning and rehearsals. Illusion selection was a task in itself. We had to ensure that flow and order of the illusions worked. We also needed to make sure that all the illusions were significantly different from each other and there would be a large variety of effects in the single act. We also wanted to feature our brand of “urban illusions in the city” by featuring original illusions or illusions that are seldom seen. Finally, we did not want to duplicate any of the illusions that Hans Klok performed, out of respect. That is why we removed the Vertical Sawing (Modern Art) from the list early in the rehearsal stage.

In addition to building an event around the act, we also went about to formalize the record attempt to make it as official as possible. We secured the support from the International Brotherhood of Magicians (Singapore & U.S.A HQ) as well as the Singapore Book of Records. We are currently awaiting a reply from Guinness World Records. Having 3000 witnesses, whom many then shared photos, videos and experiences on the Internet, helped increase credibility as well.

Graham Hey, deputy editor of magicseen magazine, who flew down to cover the event observed “If this was just a show where you would be performing 15 illusions in 5 minutes, you would not have got as much mainstream interest. It is because the act is framed in the context of a world record attempt that captures the interest of a much wider audience”. He is right and that was the specific intention. Incidentally, magicseen says they have tried to contact Hans for his thoughts on “The Impossible Record” so it will be interesting to see what he says.

Once again, thanks for everyone’s support. Our next mega illusion is going to be another exciting mega teleportation – so stay tuned for that! 🙂

6“Light & Space” is Ning’s favourite illusion. We presented an abbreviated version for “The Impossible Record”. If you watched the official video, you will see an instance where we are cueing/ talking to each other. I said “Extreme Burn” to her after she reappeared, which is the next illusion to be performed.

By the way, for the small number of magicians who were concerned:

For “The Impossible Record”, the secrets of our illusions were protected from all angles, even with the people on the 2nd level behind the stage. For one, the backdrop covers the angles completely and the people are watching the giant video screens NOT the live performance on stage. From the angle, they could not see down onto the stage because of the backdrop. This was by design and double checked upon installation.

For magicians concerned with no story-telling for the illusions in the record attempt; the bigger picture is that the whole act is a story itself. The 15 illusions, the timer counting down, the individual illusions presented and the performers working together is the story. In the way a traditional manipulation act is a series of unmotivated disparate effects strung together to form an entire act to form the story. This is exactly the same but at a much larger level.

For magicians who feel they could easily set a new world record if they had 16 grand illusions… good for you!


About J C Sum

International Headline Entertainer, Content Creator and Investor
This entry was posted in Behind The Scenes, J C's Business and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Reflections on “The Impossible Record”

  1. NewToMagic says:

    i didn’t realise that completing 15 illusions in 5 mins itself is the story for this. in a sense, its like a manipulation act itself but its manipulating 15 illusions within that short time frame. interesting point of view that i wouldnt have thought.

  2. ZY90 says:

    2 concepts ah? I wonder what the other magic concept the tourism board didn’t choose. but it’s good that they choose this one. This was exciting to watch sia!

  3. NanoMan says:

    You guys make Singapore have interesting things to do and watch. 😀 I cant want to watch your next event! I bet its going to be even better man.

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