Questions and Answers by Michael Scanzello
Michael Scanzello is a performing magician based in New Jersey US. He recently took time out to answer a few questions about himself and his history in magic.
Michael has recently had some releases to the magic community and has been kind enough to offer up a free trick to everyone here at Merchant of Magic. It is a simple yet cool trick with sugar and a white bouncy ball, be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the blog post. His other effects Pi and Insidious are also worth checking out. Pi is a linking finger ring on rubber band routine with multiple phases and Insidious is a great take on the copper/silver/brass routine using natural everyday objects.
So, Michael, how did you start in magic?
(Michael) I saw David Copperfield on TV, wanted to be like him. I started reading magic history and trick books. Did some bad tricks for the family. Then, my real jump start was going to Tannen’s Magic Camp at 13 years old my eyes were opened to a whole new world in magic that has sparked my imagination ever since.
What made you cross over from hobbyist to professional?
My day job stocking shelves wasn’t paying that well. I would make more in a couple magic shows then all week at my job. Also, I went to a Joel Bauer boot camp where I saw what he was doing and could see myself doing that. I got the final push from a friend, Ken Van Liew to take the leap. I had a slow start, but it paid off with my best paying and most satisfying job yet!
What drives you to create? Do you get an idea and then work the method or do you find a method and work a routine around that?
I have always seen myself as different since grade school, so I always try to do things differently. I strive for perfection, so when I don’t like something in a routine I try to make it work better for me. I also work from an idea, like a signature trick where a borrowed ring appears in a sealed cup of Jell-O. I had the idea first then found a method, so it can go either way.
What is the most important thing to do or be aware of as a performer?
The audience. Without them there is no show. It’s easy to get wrapped up in working on a new routine or move and forget to interact with the audience: making good eye contact, ask them how they are doing, etc. When I do that, the responses are much bigger and it’s a lot of fun!
What do you love about magic and is there anything you don’t like?
I love that magicians get to do the impossible. Other art forms create beauty, but magic at its core is about doing something that can’t be done, that is so cool! I don’t like when magicians do a “throwaway” trick. If anything is so bad it’s not a real trick, don’t do it! I do bits for comedy, but I try to carefully choose magic that is strong.
What three things would you change if you could speak to yourself as you began your journey in magic?
1.I would have gone out and performed more often wherever I could.
2. Sought out a good mentor. I do have several now, just wish I would have asked for help earlier.
3. Perform classics. I wanted to be different, but the classics show you what works and the principles that make all magic strong.
If you could only perform one magic trick for the rest of your life what would it be?
Hard thing to decide. I would have to say “Penetrating Bands” aka “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs” for four reasons.
1. It’s my wife’s favourite trick
2. Happens quickly, you can establish how awesome you are in seconds.
3.Super portable (couple bands) usually you can borrow bands
4. Extremely visual and totally angle proof. It’s the perfect trick!
Sleight of Hand or Gimmick? What do you prefer?
That’s like asking a carpenter, “What do you prefer a hammer or a saw?” Each has its purpose. Sleights I do tend to sway towards because you can use props people can check out: the deck, bands, coins, etc. On the other hand, there are things you can do with gaffed cards and gimmicks like the new project I am working on where card faces change multiple times that sleights simply can’t achieve in the same manner. Also, sleights sometimes have an air of “handling” to them. Gimmicks provide seemingly effortless moments that look like real magic.
Where can we find out more about you?
My Facebook page is Magician Michael Scanzello. I have a bunch of videos of Youtube under my channel “Michael Scanzello.”
Thank you Michael, for taking the time out to answer these questions. There is some solid advice hidden in those answers! We look forward to seeing what you have in store, the changing card trick sounds particularly interesting!
In the meantime, here are some links to Michael’s magic. Be sure to check them out.