This week I caught up with Alex Ramon from San Francisco to chat about performing virtually, the current state of magic, the entertainment industry and what he's doing during the pandemic.
Watch: Full Interview with Magician Alex Ramon
Alex Ramon "Believe in Magic"
Source: Alex Ramon Website www.alexramonmagic.com
Alex Ramon has mesmerized millions around the world with his magic, which has been described as, “Mystifying” by The New York Times and “Mind-Bending” by the Los Angeles Times. For over 2 years Alex headlined his show ‘Illusion Fusion,’ at the Horizon Resort Casino in South Lake Tahoe. His show became the #1 attraction in Tahoe on both YELP and TripAdvisor.
Alex is a recipient of the Milbourne Christopher “Illusionist Award” becoming 1 of 20 magicians in history with this recognition. He was the “Magical Zingmaster” for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, and is the first magician to be the star of The Greatest Show on Earth. Alex toured the globe as the star of Disney Live! “Mickey’s Magic Show” performing on 4 continents in 14 countries. At age 18 Alex Ramon received the coveted Lance Burton Award and was named “National Stage Magic Champion” by the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas. He’s been seen on the CW’s “Penn & Teller Fool Us” and has made Whoopi Goldberg levitate on ABC’s “The VIEW.”
CLIP: Alex Ramon shares how his birthday turned into this unique challenge and how he changed with COVID-19
Alex worked with Grammy Award Winner Taylor Swift creating a piece of magic featured in Taylor’s ground-breaking world premiere performance of “Blank Space” on the American Music Award’s. This piece of magic was featured on HollywoodReporter.com, Eonline, and BuzzFeed’s top moments of the AMA’s! Recently, internet celebrity and social media superstar Logan Paul was trained by Alex on an epic underwater escape for his web series “Logan Paul Vs.” The episode had millions of views within a day.
Alex Ramon is recognized for his contagious energy and innovative approach, which have reinvented the art of magic, bringing it to new audiences and devoted fans the world over.
CLIP: Alex Ramon discusses the future of virtual events and how it relates to magicians
Did you catch Alex Ramon on our new show? Here's the teaser for Late Night Magic Touch /w Michael Paul
Ryan Joyce: Well, it certainly is a bizarre time, isn't it? I mean, things are changing rapidly and our industry is just say temporarily crumbled. Alex Ramon: That's kind of fair to say. Ryan Joyce: Yeah. What kind of stuff did you lose? Alex Ramon: Oh man. Everything. I had a, so what I'm doing right now is I'm doing a thing called 35 and 35 and so I'm doing 35 shows in 35 days and, and the, the Genesis of this idea came from every year for my birthday. I do something fun with my friends and I don't tell him what it is. So, um, I'll just say, Hey, on this date, meet at my house at this time. And everybody's there. One year I rented out at laser tag facility and so like me and all my friends just had all his tag to ourselves. Um, one year I staged a photo shoot and I just like all my friends went to this photo studio and we just took photos, silly photos and video and you know, it was just something fun like that every year. And so this year I was thinking, I'm turning 35, and I said, what am I going to do? What am I gonna do? And I don't know. But somehow I thought, well, why don't I do 35 shows in 35 days? Right. And it was, yeah, it was just something for me, the stimulation of something fun, something exciting, something that I have to do and accomplish. And um, so I to I routed this whole tour and I was looking for show hosts and I said, Hey, this is for anybody that wants to host them. So I had homes, people at their house wanting to host the show. I had companies I was going to do one for EA sports, I had to colleges, I had um, some, uh, like one of one city was going to do a whole city, um, like show. It was like if one day festival almost, it's like a one day festival. They had food trucks that scheduled this arrived and I was the entertainment at the outdoor amphitheater. Um, one was for a hospital, what, you know, so it's just random things over 35 days and different 35 different cities. So it was a whole West coast tour. We began in, um, I think our first date was Palm Springs. And then our last state was all the way in Seattle. Ryan Joyce: And when was this scheduled for? What, what time frame? Alex Ramon: This, the, the 35 days was April 1st it was Cinco de Mayo and, and pretty quickly. And so that was my whole month at this point. But before, prior to that, I lost some crews gigs. I lost some theater gigs. I lost the TV show, I lost a corporate event. Um, I lost a dinner theater, uh, you know, so there was a lot of things in between my 35 and 35 tour that I had no control over that. It's like, okay, well there's that. And in fact, some of my show is still on a cruise, a cruise ship. Ryan Joyce: Oh, is it stuck? Oh, which shipper? Which cruise line are you? Alex Ramon: I princess. It's the newest ship in the fleet. Yeah. Half my show is on the sky princess right now. And I mean, I'm not worried, it's just that I have to do without, but um, Ryan Joyce: yeah, it's not like, I guess right now currently we're not gigging anyways, but I'm sure, I'm sure they'll get it back to you quick. Alex Ramon: Yeah. So, uh, so anyhow, so I just decided that I was going to do the 35 and 35 anyways. And so I'm doing, I'm on zoom, uh, every single night. And uh, I do, it's about a 20 to 30 minutes show, um, every night at 8:00 PM Pacific standard time. And every night I'm doing different material. Ryan Joyce: So what is the address that people can tune in? How can they, Alex Ramon: Oh, if you just go to my website, if you go to Alex Ramon magic.com, uh, there'll be links that say 35 and 35 all over the place. Um, I posted on my socials every night. Um, but it's tough and it's challenging because when you think of it, it's four or five routines every show multiplied by 35. So, I'm sorry, I'm going to go through over 150 routines and the next month and it's just me. It's, Ryan Joyce: it'll just be your balloon twisting and maybe, Alex Ramon: all right. Uh, that's one. All right. Ryan Joyce: Yeah. So you guys say to tomorrow we'll go through everything. Alex Ramon: Exactly. Exactly. This is Monday. This is so, you know, um, it's, it's fun and it's challenging and not for me to be proactive about and it's fine. Ryan Joyce: What would you say you've learned so far in this challenge? Cause you're obviously many days into it and now we're almost a weakened a bit in Alex Ramon: so we can happen. Yeah. What would you say you've learned so far in the process? Oh boy. Um, it's different working for a live audience off of just a webcam, right? Cause I've done live TV and they have different cuts. They have your why did or close up. They have different angles. Um, even on TV shows, you know, we did masters of illusion, they have like, it was like seven camera shoot. When you're doing, when you're doing any major network. I, uh, you know, on TV anywhere they have multiple cameras. And then when you're filming for your own video, let's say you're doing multi-camera or if you're filming, let's say for, um, uh, like Instagram or social media, it's a one camera, but you're never really doing it live are you? You're filming it and you're taking the best cut. So not only do you, I have to for me performed for justice one camera, but it's lie and I think that that adds an element of just adjustment to the camera. Yeah. Making sure that they can see from even the reflections. So like my lighting is right because sunsets and you know, the natural lighting in here isn't there and making sure there's not glaring off of here or go, you know, so all things you have to adjust for live as opposed to if you're going to film it, you can account for that. He either while you, uh, before you shoot or in post. And that, that was kind of a fun learning curve, but also adjusting methods Ryan Joyce: because some methods just aren't applicable, Alex Ramon: you know, in this, in this format. Ryan Joyce: Well, and it's, we're starting to get to the point to where we've seen everybody doing the same visuals over and over. So it also harder to be, Oh no, you know, I've seen that box thing like 50 times in the last three days. I swear to God, you know, the blank blank playing card box and you shake it and then print it and then you'll fold it up. So, so well, no. So here, here's actually I just thought, um, like what is the most challenging thing you ready? Here it is Alex Ramon: one, it's the material, but it's, you have to remember when you're trying to fail a 20 minute show, I need routines. Ryan Joyce: So purely visuals that work on Instagram, a Sharpie going through a card looks incredible. For your ten second video, you posted IgE, right? Right. You got 30 minutes to fill. Like you can't do it. That's not a routine. Right. Alex Ramon: You know, and Oh, also, um, audience volunteers, think of that like, how many times do we say here, pick a card, sign it. Let me borrow your money. They borrow your dollar bill. Let me borrow your, uh, your, your reign. Ryan Joyce: And so that's going to change in general moving forward. Alex Ramon: Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. And so, um, you know, I have to adjust how do you get volunteers and audience members that don't feel like your stage because it's very simple thing to stooge at all. And I, and to me that's the, they, that you're missing a level of authenticity. So it's, it's again, it's adjusting. Magic is magic and we're always played wherever. Um, but you have to adjust and in the way that you presented. Ryan Joyce: Definitely. What do you, I mean this is a stab in the dark for everyone. What do you foresee is going to be like the six month kind of an a year Mark? What do you expect? Alex Ramon: I think it would be foolish to expect the world to get out of this and to go back the way it was. So live shows, um, it's going to have to change, um, large groups. There's going to be different restrictions that we're going to have to follow that are going to, um, limit our abilities to do certain routines. Like, I mean, if you remember the pyro thing, when that in Connecticut, that night club, you know, went, then everybody died cause the fire code, whatever. And it was like from right there immediately no fire. So now, you know, some people still do in the magician's illusions do fire, but it's not like it used to be where you just, Oh, you don't have to say I'll do a fire. Yeah, fine, no problem. Now it's like any effect that has fire, I'm just like, Nope, I took out. Right. Not worth it. It's not even worth, it's applicable and it's going to be interesting to see what the repercussions are for this. Um, I agree. I think, I think that, I think that, uh, the cruises will be there. I mean, I think cruising, we'll be back because it's an amazing thing. Um, so there, that will be a market again. I think that there's going to be more restrictions. I think there are gonna be, um, it's not going to be as gang Buster right out the gate, um, as, as it was, I mean, like right now before this happened, the cruise industry was like, Oh my gosh, it's just, it's growing and growing and growing and growing that it was incredible. So I think that, um, it will get there again. That will take time. Uh, it just, there's, man, I th I think we all need to adjust and learn how to, um, perform shows on the internet. I think it would be everybody's best bet. That's smart. So what would you say, obviously this is the project that you're working on right now, currently. So once your schedule eases up at the end of the month, what kind of, and we're still in isolation, let's say, what are you, what are you going to be working on? So, um, I'm really excited to be, to be honest. I mean, luckily I have an emergency fund in place that I'm not freaking out about bills or my mortgage, so I'm, I'm, I'm there. So it was nice to have this time off with no responsibilities. Um, because as you know, when you're traveling and you're touring and you know, yeah, Jordan traveled nine to 10 months a year normally. So I'm, I'm very rarely home, but it's like, Oh, I got to bookshelves up, you know what I mean? So I got to do that. Doing the shows, I'm going to continue to do the zoom shows, um, and live streaming shows, um, at won't be every single night because that is really challenging. I mean, it's really tough. Do you know 20 to 30 every single night? Yeah, I'll probably turn it into a weekly show and the way that I already see it, it's all be a weekly show, probably on a week, day night. So that way when shows come back up, I'm available for the Friday and Saturday night gigs. Um, I'm not going to try and so I'll probably do like a Monday night zoom show every week. And so that way I have that consistency. I think that, um, I'm gonna start doing it are a few other things that I can see are going to open opportunities, are gonna open up based off of these experiences. Because with the zoom shows, it's so easy to show a potential client in the future, whether it's a corporate event, whether it's a private event, weather, you know, whatever it may be. You could say, Hey look, here's something that I did live and now they can place it. Because I don't know if you've ever been in pitch meetings talking to producers, whether it's TV or corporate, and they're like, well I don't really understand. And you're like, well, I'm going to do this and this. It's like here with this platform we can say, well this is what I did. They could see how it works with the medium. And then I bet you there will be in office magic shows off meetings that magicians will literally zoom in and do a magic show at this board meeting to kick it off. But they don't even have to be at, that's so interesting. And they'll get paid for it and they'll get, they'll get, there's still the same, the money, they'll get the same money, but they won't. They'll be able to phone it in and a magic without pants magic with them. But the quality is going to have to be there because everybody's going to have to adjust. And if you're just doing the same, you know cardbox no, knock at David Regal. I love David to help me with something. But you know, you have to do that. You have to be able to swap it up. I mean, meanwhile I'm saying that and I'm doing like some old stuff from my 35 and 35 I was doing like balls from the mouth because I'm just like going 150 routines. I'm like, how am I gonna? How am I going to do this? It's like, and also you see there's so many similar plots, right? Like there are a lot of matrixes, right? There's a lot of Monties, right? There's a lot of, there's going to be a lot more music routines. There's going to be a lot more manipulation. I figure, I think, I think we're going to see a big trend towards know David Penn said, I think you said it well. He's like a lot more thinking card than pick a card. Yeah, well right. I mean is the same thing as picking one. And so a routine that I did, um, the other night is an incredible routine I learned when I was like 14 or 15 is our Paul Wilson's routine. And um, because here's the other thing, unlike Instagram or even television where the camera can pan down here, you could still do that. Like I can adjust the computer and if I haven't another camera that's connected to the computer, you can do it. Or do you have a camera man on it? But you don't, some of these things, you don't want the headache of it. You just like what we're doing right now, the camera's set and you play to the camera. Right, right. You don't need a camera man. And a lot of routines. I bought this magic trick. Um, and again, it's a great trick. It's called hollow and it's a whole punch card. Right. And you moved the whole, it's incredible. Great magic trick. You can't do it vertical. Oh, right. I mean there's going to be somebody out there that's like, Oh, I can do a vertical, but let me tell you, you can't just it. Right. And so, um, you have to look down. Well it doesn't, it doesn't look good. So I was like, I remember the moving whole trick, the first movie called track ever saw was this R Paul Wilson one and it's like, and it's right here. Boom, boom, boom. Right vertical. My first one was close the pothole trick. Yeah. So our Paul Wilson referenced is Michael close this thing. Um, but I didn't know micro, closest version. I just know Paula and I did it. And people afterwards you were commenting, they were tagging me in posts on Instagram saying this guy just moved, hold on the card. It's a credit. It played well. And so adjusting magic, there's now a new form of it that as opposed to looking down with the camera, you don't want to have to do that because that's, that's the medium for Instagram and at works on his friend or work on YouTube, on zoom, on live sessions. You need this. Ryan Joyce: Yup. Well you are, it's successful like on all of the platforms. Social media is a huge aspect of magicians, you know, arsenal nowadays both, you know, from video and pictures of form, Instagram, all that. Um, what is your favorite social media platform and what kind of advice would you give someone listening that w you know, is interested in? Alex Ramon: Yeah, Instagram is definitely my platform of choice. I actually, truth be told, I took about a year and a half off of social media. Like I took Facebook off my phone. Um, I use Twitter solely just to get news. I'd never, I very rarely tweeted on Instagram, I would post a few random things and never have me like really doing magic. And it was because about a year and a half ago or more, I just was like, man, I'm kind of over it. And then I went to South America for a few months and the signal wasn't great there all the time. And to upload a video to it just was just a nightmare. So I was like, you know what? And, and I saw the decline in all my engagement and people responding cause I would get okay for everything I posted before at hundreds and hundreds of of people commenting or liking or whatever. And then over the last year and a half, it slowly dwindled until like maybe a hundred and I was like, Oh. And now that I'm, Ryan Joyce: she's pushing content, Alex Ramon: content matters. Um, you want to be happy with the quality in which you're presenting and what's your uploading and somebody that, if you want to know anything about social media, my honestly listen to Gary V. yeah, yeah, absolutely. Gary Vaynerchuk is the most honest person on any platform I've ever seen. Yup. And he's just like saying, just push content. Just do it. Just do it on every platform, on every platform and Alex. No, I have not done the tip, but you know what though? It's so easy to see how it goes. I'm, to be honest, the reason why I haven't right now, and again, this is just an excuse, but I started and this 30 days and the 35 35 definitely these things, I decided, I literally decided, you know what? I'm going to try and be as productive as I can be in this March, so 35 35 I'm doing shows every single night, different material, and I started a podcast and so I have a podcast every single day and I'm editing it and you have to do the teasers of every single show for every night. I'm filming and recording every show, but then I'm recording the podcast. I have to edit it in Africa, the teaser for the ed after upload it to my website to go on iTunes, YouTube. It's like so much that I'm like, I don't want to film tick tock stuff. You know? I get it. I totally get it and they'll learn it. Great content. You push. Great. Thanks. Tons. I appreciate it. I just, I like the storytelling side of it is super fun. It's like magic in a way. It's how do you take this thing, raw material, this thing I filmed on an SD card and make it into something I love. I love that. So, well, that's really great advice. And I too have not served as a tick tock, so there is no gay a guilt or shame and listen whatsoever.