Greg Frewin is a world-acclaimed magician with his own theatre in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. We chatted about competition, having the FISM Grand Prix taken away.
Here's my interview with Greg Frewin FISM Award-Winning Magician.
Watch Greg Frewin FISM Award-Winning Magician
Greg Frewin: https://gregfrewin.com
Greg Frewin Theatre: https://gregfrewintheatre.com
Greg Frewin's Award-Winning Bird Act (World's Greatest Magic)
Greg Frewin FISM Award-Winning Magician
Ryan Joyce: Where did the decision come from to go, you know what, I'm going to hit the world stage and put my name on the line?
Greg Frewin: Well, it actually started back, I mean, the whole thing started back when I was quite young. I mean, I think every dub worker grows up watching Lance, right? And idolizing Lance. I got pictures where if you took my face off and Photoshop Lance's in, it would be Lance. Right. And, uh, I mean the amount of, you know, and, and, and so I always grew up just sort of that dream was to be like him. And so as time went on, of course, those conventions, the Sam, the IBM FISM, those are the three biggies, right? So that was always kind of a goal. It wasn't necessarily a think I had to do, but it was something I always wanted to do. So I think at a younger age, I already sort of was already leaning towards going down that road.
Greg Frewin Theatre Cute Baby Tigers and Lions that Love to Play
Ryan Joyce: Did you have benchmarks in your own mind that you wanted to hit? Like, did you want to, to fool magicians, for example?
Greg Frewin: I mean, I guess as a magician we always do, right? It's, it's, it's sort of that thing like, yeah, if I can fool a magician, I can fool anybody today. Right. So I guess, uh, in, in, in the back of my mind, yes. But I think for more, I think for me more so it was about trying to create something that was more me and more what I, what my personality was like. And I'm a very, uh, I don't know if you've ever found this out, Ryan, but I'm a little bit hyper, so I'm just saying, man, I mean I'm getting older now, so I'm slowing down a bit, but, so it's only.
Master Magician Greg Frewin
Ryan Joyce: It's only a 22 hour day workday then, right? is that the deal?
Greg Frewin: That's what I'm having a short day. But anyway, so I, I, I'm not that like, you know, like the way Lance's and you know, the poise and all the candles, it just wasn't me. So really for me, it was about doing two things. It was about figuring out who, who I was like, what's my personality like and bringing that out on stage versus somebody else's personality. And then the second thing for me was, and it wasn't about fooling the magicians as much as them seeing something they hadn't seen before because of a, you can fool somebody a lot easier if they don't know what's going to happen. If I bring out a, you know, a say bill your balls, you kind of know I'm going to multiply them or I'm going to do certain things now. Yeah, I could put some twists on it, but I was really wanting to make sure that magicians weren't going, okay, here's a silk, so it's going to be a Dov, here's the card's going to be a dove. I wanted to make sure I was ahead of them that way. So I basically wrote out a list, and I listed out things that I liked about bird acts and things I disliked about bird acts. And I decided, okay, I've got to make these criteria is the things I like. And then anything over here goes away. Right. And things like, you know, white silks, white, uh, at the time, white doves, I wanted it to be different. So I turned and pushed everything away and then created what was over here on this side.
Ryan Joyce: On competition day. Or do you feel, are you ready? Like, you know, at your core, you're obviously nervous, but you feel ready. Right. So what's really interesting about this FISM coming up? Uh, it's really amazing, I think first of all to have it in Canada. Like wow.
Greg Frewin Theatre Niagara Falls, Wild Magic Promo
Greg Frewin: Right? So great, isn't it? I mean, not only having candidates first time in North America, you know, your history. Yeah. And you know, for me it's really, there's, there's several layers to this because a, I won the gold medal in Quebec city. Uh, so that right there is pretty cool that I'm, you know, it's now they're hosting is filled cause I'm there. So that's, that's one layer. That's pretty interesting. When I competed FISM, uh, at the time there was no Canadian Association of Magicians. There was just the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Society of American magicians. But we didn't have our own society at the time. So I entered into FISM and uh, I won the grand Prix, but they went into deliberation after the, before they gave out the awards. And for about three hours they made a big deliberation discussion, I guess. And they took away the grand Prix because I was Canadian and we weren't affiliated with FISM at the time.
Ryan Joyce: So were you upset about that? They took it away?
Penn & Teller Fool Us Greg Frewin
Greg Frewin: No. I mean, look, in the end of the day, I think as a, as a performer, I mean, look, I'm not gonna say it, you know, didn't get me a little bit like, Aw, come on. But you know, it really, for me at the time, it wasn't necessarily about the trophy. It was about getting where I got it was about getting the act so I can get up to the worldwide stage. And here I am in Japan with all the judges and all these people deliberating about my act. I mean, what more could I ask for? It's a good promotion. People really, in the end of the day, my, my goal was to get out and make a living and to work in this field. So, yeah, I'm not going to see you. I wasn't a little bit upset, but it really, in the end of the day, it was what it was. It happened. That's life. And you know, the big award that I got out of this was the act. Uh, you know, and I think that's what young magicians have to look at today. The trophy sits on your shelf. The act is going to make you the rest of your life. Well, I'm, by the way, I just don't want to step back one step just before we finish. I want it, you know, cause I really have to thank, you know, Joan Caesar was up like an integral part in allowing not only FISM to be here in Canada, but loud other contestants that were Canadian to go in and enter and actually be viable to win the top prize. So, you know, uh, I can't really say enough how much I think that she's done such an amazing job. And you know, she, so on that story, when I come home from FISM, I was telling her that story and I could see her, the gears working. And I remember my father saying, someone, someone should do something about this. And you know what she did. So you know what every you have to look back and go, yeah, I was a little upset. Well, maybe a little bit, but look what came out of it. All right. And she's so quiet about it. She doesn't, she's not doing this for attention again. You're right. Like you go see her at a convention. If you didn't know who Joan was, you would think she'd be the one in the room that was walking around and be like, and you pointed her out to somebody that didn't know her. You wouldn't, they'd say, that's not Joan Caesar. And sure enough, you're right. She's so, she's so great. And through my life, people like that have really things like that I've kept with me because it makes me grounded better as a person because, you know, owning my own theater, my own business, it's very easy to lose that Eaton to lose control of that ego. And, uh, you know, through my life I've met many different people, including herself, that have been able to be able to do amazing things yet keep themselves grounded.
Ryan Joyce: Right. For sure. And we, we meet a lot of people in this industry, especially when you're have award-winning an international award, winning on your title. Um, would you say, uh, the fact that you've got your own Greg Frewin Theatre and all these big opportunities, would you say that's because you know, you have international award-winning magician on your name?
Greg Frewin: I think the, uh, I think it's a, it's a great thing. Yes. Uh, the Greg Frewin Theater came later, but I was able to go out after winning FISM when I would send my, back then it was a video cassette. Uh, I don't think you're that old to know if, you know, cassettes are, I have, I have
Ryan Joyce: so promo reels on VHS for sure. Yeah. Yeah.
Greg Frewin: So when I would send out my promo reels, the great thing was that agents now had heard about me. So, and I only, I didn't really realize this when I was younger, but on a business side of things, and it would be the same now, it's just done in a different format. But those agents, they got stacks. They had stacks of it. I went, I was in an agency in Europe and I walked in and Ryan, I couldn't believe the boxes of video tapes that were sitting there. Not all magicians. Right? But of course, just act after act after act and you need to stand out and to win a big competition like this or to place in a high level in this competition puts you at the top of that stack. So I think it's very important. I think from that point, as an entertainer and as a business person, you have to then grow with it and continue making that perpetual a business move. Right? It doesn't just keep coming, but I think it's very important. It was a very big step for me. Without that, I think I would have done okay. But I think my, my, my, my frame, my, my, my timeline would have been a lot longer. Right.