The setting is the 1998 Society of American Magicians Convention in New Orleans in the lobby of the hotel after the evening’s show. Originally the Mini-Wizard planned to interview Christopher Hart after spotting him in the lobby. Minutes later, and after a few interruptions, Mike Caveney eavesdropped into our conversation. Of course, I didn’t hesitate to hear what he had to say about our topics. At first, however, he thought the interview wasn’t to be used for a real purpose. After he realized that we were not joking around he offered his sincere thoughts on the involvement of magic in his life. It was very encouraging to hear a veteran of magic, who I respect, expound on the meaning of magic to his life with the enthusiasm of a kid.
Christopher Hart has a brilliant stage act with his famous hand--the character "Thing" that you've seen in the Addams Family movies.
Listen to this in audio. Running time 7:31. It may be a little difficult to hear.
Mini-Wizard: Who are the magicians that have inspired you to perform the way you do?
Christopher Hart: My early inspirations for my act were people like Norm Nielson. Mostly Norm Nielson, actually, was my main inspiration. I kinda structured my act like him, with three different pieces. He and Marvyn Roy, and Johnny Thompson talked about having an act you can do anywhere, by yourself, without any special staging. so I structured it like that…hopefully. I like other performers: dancers, comedy troupes, Gregory Hines, I like their style of performing a lot.
Mini-Wizard: How did you come up with your act?
Christopher Hart: In the beginning it was because I didn't have any money. So I couldn't afford anything expensive, so I had to get fairly cheap tricks that I could be creative with. Ideas don’t cost money so I tried to be creative. A deck of cards to do manipulations, a torn and restored music sheet, and I used to do a zombie, the floating ball. Those were all pretty cheap tricks so I just tried to add music and routining for it. Interesting music and routining for it
Mini-Wizard: So do you create a lot of your magic?
Christopher Hart: Yeah, I've basically created it all. I mean, my card routine, I learned moves and came up with some of my own, but then you pick your own music, and you put a routine together that makes it your own. I mean cards are not original, but the way I do them is, for me. The torn and restored music sheet, is the torn and restored newspaper but with the music it is different. And I created the hand that crawls on different places of me…
Mini-Wizard: So the act is an extension of you?
Christopher Hart: Yeah, it is, and I think it should be…
Christopher Hart (cont'd): What was that question you were just asking me?
(Mike Caveney walks by, and stops to listen)
Mini-Wizard: Was it about creating magic?
Mike Caveney: HA!
Mini-Wizard:Oh no, you were saying that--
Mike Caveney: HA!
Christopher Hart: Just to finish up that topic, a lot of other magicians copy other performers and take their tricks and mannerisms instead of understanding what makes that performer great. Because it’s all about personality. (said in a cheesy way) Just try to be you…'cause there's nobody like you!
I think It is important to do you own thing.
Mini-Wizard: Any other advice?
Christopher Hart: What kind of advice?
Mini-Wizard: Advice in general.
Christopher Hart: Get a good education. The more skill you have the better, it does not necessarily need to do with magic. If you have business skills, it helps if you run your own business. Building skills, if you want to build things in your act. You got to keep educating yourself. I read all the time on all types of subjects. A lot of Mike Caveney's Magic Word Books, I highly recommend them. Learn you history in magic kids…then you're be bound not to repeat it.
Mike Caveney: Buy lots of ties with playing cards on them.
Christopher Hart: That's very important because you have to look like a magician, so people knoooow…that…you are… a magician. Vans that say, "I do magic." License plate holders, any kind advertising, bumper stickers… I like the van that say "Children's entertainer" those are good. "Spiteful clowns." Balloon animals. Learn Balloon animals because it can increase an extra ten dollars to your rate. Don't give that away. That's my biggest advice, don't give away the balloon animals for free. If there’s anything that I want to say in this interview, it is charge extra for the balloon animals. And if they're not going for it, then you throw it in, but it seems like a perk, now they feel they have gotten something. You want to leave your customer wanting more. That actually what I am trying to say in this whole interview is " Leave your audience wanting more", and think that they got more than they… did, for the money.
(to Mike Caveney) Mini-Wizard: Tell us about the Long Beach Mystics?
Mike Caveney: You know, I wish when I was a kid we had guys like Chris Hart around. To tell us the real story about being a pro, the real tips the professional inner workings of show business. How to get that extra dollar for a balloon animal…I never knew that when I was a kid. This is a man who has been through the mill. But to just be in the same hotel lobby with him, with these other meatheads standing around, and I think they know who they are. I won’t mention any names…What's this for?
Mini-Wizard: For an SYM assembly newsletter.
Mike Caveney: This isn't a joke?
Mini-Wizard: No this isn’t a joke at all.
Christopher Hart: Not at all. And you've been giving him information he can't use.
Mike Caveney: What was your question?
then Mike Caveney gives a great interview that you can read on magicinterviews.blogspot.com! click here.