We often talk and write about being different or original in our blogs, interviews, lectures or just casual conversations. Some of the most popular ones include:
Exclusive Interview with Red Dot Magic – This is the most in-depth video interview that Ning & I have done to date and we share our approach to magic as well as offer advice on how to differentiate yourself as a magician.
Why do Illusionists Perform the Same Illusions? – Part 1 of an examination of overly performed illusions.
In my TEDxNTU talk, I talked about my approach of “Good to be Great, Need to be Different”. The philosophy behind that is simple. While it is important to strive to be great at what you do (improve technical skill and domain knowledge), it is essential to be different.
So, the question is: “How do you know if I am different or what I do is different?”. I have a simple test that I call the intuitive test.
Follow what your gut tells you when you watch something. For example, if you are watching the performance of a singer; ask yourself these questions. Does anything feel familiar? Which parts of the performance reminds of you of someone elses (or everyone elses) Does the dressing, style or image feel different or a “copy” of what other popular successful artistes are showcasing.
All you need to be is honest about how you feel and be knowledgeable with what is already out there. Sometimes, you can’t really put your finger on why something is different but that is why I emphasize “feel”. The individual differences may be minute and only feel different as a collective.
Every time we look at adding a new routine or illusion to the show, we always go through this test. While a routine may not be 100% original or is something we acquired off the market or from another creator, our primary concern is whether it feels different and if the mainstream audience will like it.
I think we have been fairly successful in this aspect as our material and stage personalities/ dynamics “feel” different from anything out there… even when we may be performing a “standard” act.
For example, one of our TV projects that has started to “air” online feels different (to me). The editing, presentation and style is not a wanna-be type show of popular street magicians. The team at Sinema TV did an awesome job with the editing and I think it really “feels” different.
You can’t say it is trying to be a David Blaine, Criss Angel or Lu Chen type of show. It is successful in feeling like a modern youth-orientated Singapore production. Even though the magic routines may have been presented by others before, the overall presentation of the content “feels” different and thus fresh.
If you have not watched Episode 1, check it out here.
Incidentally, there are a few changes that will be made from Episode 2. One of them is to not referring the young magicians as amateur because that is inaccurate. A small number of them are full-time professionals and many of them do perform professional paid gigs so most of them are definitely not amateur… as you will see by the content in future episodes. Stay tuned!