Here’s something to ponder: “Why is someone like Uri Geller or David Blaine far more interesting and entertaining to the public (and media) than the average magician?”
Many magicians, even some of the average ones, are far more technically skilled than Blaine. And many of them are struggling to get regular bookings at uninspiring fees, never mind achieve any degree of success.
But it’s not just in magic and mentalism. In every field, you find people who are perceived to be at the top of their profession by the public. And it’s not just in showbiz and TV: Top lawyers, top dentists charge many times the fees of regular dentists and lawyers, even those with exactly the same qualifications.
I think we can safely assume:
- It’s not skill that guarantees success.
- It’s not your qualifications.
- It’s not your experience.
So, I’m sure you have a few questions on your mind.
“What is it that can help me achieve success?”
“Can it be learned?”
“Can I do it?”
The answer to your second question is, yes it can be learned and implemented.
The answer to your first question, “What is it?” is twofold. It is both a mindset and a plan.
And the very essence of that mindset, complete with plan, is distilled for you in this book — A book that has achieved legendary status amongst magicians and mentalists.
It’s a fact of life. Lay folk and the media have little or no interest in tricks per se. You know in your heart that what drives them wild at the magic club will often scarcely raise a ripple in front of a paying audience. So just what do laymen want?
The first thing to understand is that it’s all theatre. Your public image is a theatrical illusion. When royalty, presidents or popes make an appearance anywhere, every detail is carefully staged. The late comedian, George Burns, told how he had an audience with the Pope in Rome. George described how the event was staged, especially the entrance of the Pope. He finished with the remark, “Showbusiness could learn a lot from The Vatican about making an entrance.”
Now the Queen, the Pope and possibly even the US President are as human as you and me. We all eat, drink and sleep. We all enjoy the company of friends. But they are positioned differently from us… as if they’re on a different plane. And the great majority of us go along with this illusion.
Every top showbusiness star has positioned themselves uniquely in the minds of the public: Uri Geller bends spoons. David Blaine carefully evolved himself into a modern-day mystery man, capable of putting his body through severe feats of endurance like being encased in ice, or sitting in a clear box over the Thames for six weeks. He is becoming a 21st century shaman or mystic.
Step One: Find a hook to latch onto and position yourself.
Step Two: Remember that magic is theatre. Compelling theatre needs drama. And the essence of drama is conflict. Where would Snow White be without her wicked stepmother?
Lost in obscurity, that’s where. The stepmother provided the conflict which made the story interesting, intriguing, and memorable.
There’s a famous formula for constructing commercially successful plots, followed by novelists, playwrights and scriptwriters:
- Get your hero up a tree.
- Throw rocks at him.
- Get him down from the tree.
What makes reality TV shows so popular? They’re all about the conflicts that develop between the characters. And that applies to everything from Hollywood blockbusters to TV soaps.
Everybody loves a good story, and the best stories are built around conflict of some kind, whether physical, emotional, spiritual or some combination of these.
Where is the drama and conflict in your show? It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to escape from a burning straitjacket while suspended above a tank of alligators. (Although that’d work.) It could be as simple as a trick apparently going wrong. The spectators are intrigued. How will you get out of this? It’s conflict between you and the situation you are in!
In fact the essence of most magical effects is that you set yourself a seemingly impossible task, then in some way you are able to succeed. So there’s potentially a source of conflict there.
Unfortunately, however, despite what some magicians seem to think, that isn’t enough. Unless our audiences are somehow encouraged to become emotionally engaged in the conflict it won’t mean anything.
In the example above, if we have no emotional connection to the hero up the tree, we won’t particularly care how many rocks are thrown at him.
Step Three: Engage with your audience.
There are several ways this emotional connection can work. It helps, for a start, if you actually like the character, or you are able to relate to him in a way that helps you understand and empathise with his situation. This is further strengthened if you can relate to the situation itself.
In your own performances, for example, you may include a Q&A routine which uses input from your audience, other effects may involve readings, story-telling routines could be adapated to relate to local places or historical events. All these are ways of engaging your spectators.
So, we’ve had a look at positioning, drama and audience involvement, all vital elements of a successful career in the public eye.
Step Four: Publicise and promote.
Let’s now look at the fourth vital element… the element that, once understood, can catapult you to the top and garner you international publicity. You may have to add a new room to your house just to hold the newspaper and magazine articles and clippings!
It’s what can get you on almost any TV show. It’s the factor that distinguishes David Blaine and Uri Geller from all the rest.
Let me ask you a question. Could you see any chat show turning down Blaine or Geller? Why not you?
An understanding of this is what’s allowed Geller to become international ‘psychic superstar’. It’s what has made Blaine a household word. It’s what’s kept Houdini in the public mind for over a hundred years.
So just what is this amazing secret?
It is an understanding that it’s all about creating a myth. The myth of you. Geller and Blaine are myth-makers. It is creating romantic legend. The stories of King Arthur and Robin Hood are the stuff of romantic legend. So is Houdini, Marlene Dietrich, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, John F Kennedy… the list goes on.
When you read the biographies of famous showbiz personalities, you realize that they all understood the importance of creating their own legend — their “myth”.
It’s not something that’s covered in the magical literature, is it? Go on, search the magical literature. Sure, there are books on advertising and marketing – about getting shows. There are books on getting publicity and promotion. But there’s no other book on creating your myth, your legend, even how to become an international psychic superstar.
That brings us to this book… The Shiels Effect.
This 72-page book was originally published in a limited edition. It created a sensation and went out of print very quickly. You could search on eBay and be lucky to find one copy coming up per year and it sold for hundreds of dollars.
The book itself has achieved legendary status. So, what great secrets does it contain?
Well it does cover the intricacies and staging of spoon bending in Chapter One. But this is not a book of mentalism secrets. We’ve got shelves packed with such tomes — books and DVDs crammed with the secrets of some of the greatest minds in magic and mentalism. They are invaluable and every serious, working performer has a library which has helped him or her improve and perfect their craft. But to get to the top you need more.
The Shiels Effect is the book that shows you how to leverage that information. How you can become the stuff of romantic legend… the next psychic superstar! I understand that David Beckham was pretty good at kicking a ball around and received an inflated salary accordingly. But he was able to use his position to bring in lucrative multi-million sponsorship deals. So why wouldn’t you leverage your skills and talents — skills you may already have — to bring you more publicity, more celebrity status, and more income?
Perhaps you don’t want to achieve all the trappings of international stardom. But surely if you are a performer, shouldn’t you be seeking to become a local celebrity? This way, when they are looking for a service you provide, you are the one who pops into their mind straight away?
In every locality there are performers who are able to pull in as much work as they want, while others, probably equally or more skillful, struggle to get one or two shows a month. Why is that?
The plan and the mindset are laid bare — the secret ingredients that go into the making of a psychic superstar. No other book has delved so deeply into the subject of psychic superstardom and how to achieve it. No other book has laid out a step-by-step plan (two separate plans in fact).
I’ll wager David Blaine studied this book in great detail before he took his first steps towards international fame. Certainly, his path mirrors that laid out in this book (see Chapter Two) which was originally published when Blaine was three.
Back in the early and mid-1970s, Tony Shiels, known as ‘Doc’ Shiels, achieved international publicity for raising the Loch Ness Monster.
Doc certainly knew a thing or two about gaining interest and publicity. But maybe you’re thinking it was a one off. Could the publicity be repeated? The answer is a resounding yes and you can read how Doc arranged national publicity in the UK for his daughter in chapter three.
While you will learn some magic and mentalism secrets from this book, and good secrets too, that’s not where its real value lies.
Its real value and what makes it unique in the field of magical publishing is the detailed plan for designing your own path to celebrity status and even onto psychic superstardom.
Delve into this book and uncover the real secrets:
Two secret elements that help capture the imagination of the media and public. Geller uses both and Blaine subtly uses one to his advantage as a “Mystery Man”. Page 25.
One of Geller’s powerful secrets – and it’s nothing to do with skill. Page 16.
The big secret used by all top entertainers to achieve constant publicity. Understand this, use it and you will be well on your way, able to generate publicity almost at will. Page 41.
Are you technically skilled already? You can have all the technical skills you want but without this ‘one’ thing, you won’t make the front pages of the world’s newspapers. Page 24.
The most important thing associated with any kind of “psychic” metal-bending. Page 15.
The great secret to causing an uproar using bizarre magick. Page 38.
A little-known fact you can turn to your advantage. Use it to add excitement to your work and personality. Page 26.
The fatal trap you must avoid when giving your demonstrations. Page 25.
Want to cause a sensation at your press conference? Use this secret. Page 40.
Your ‘psychic’ credibility will be enhanced if you can get the backing of scientists or medical doctors. Find out how on Page 26. Could this be what Geller used to achieve international publicity?
You’re at a party, you’ve bent a spoon. Someone hands you a poker with the challenge, “bend this.” What would you do? Find out what Doc did on Page 15.
Leverage and use old forgotten conjuring tricks to gain publicity. Page 23. Look at the publicity Blaine got from using and adapting the Balducci levitation, originally published in The Pallbearer’s Review.
Looking for publicity? Doc reveals one area where you can be pretty sure of regular coverage. Page 51.
Sooner or later some jealous magician will try to ‘expose’ you. Find out what to do on. Page 27.
Doc’s secret for bending nails and how he dealt with the challenge of bending a six-inch masonry nail — and succeeded. You will also discover how he would have handled the challenge if he’d failed. Page 14.
Your first and vital step to psychic superstardom. Overlook this and you have no hope of success. Page 23.
You can create major hoaxes from pocket tricks. Find out how on Page 53.
A secret presentation ploy used by top mentalists and psychics but ignored by practically all magicians. Use it and generate tons of word of mouth publicity. Page 28.
You’re doing some impromptu spoon bending for a group. Doc reveals the real secret for achieving success. Page 13.
Don’t neglect this important psychic success “key” or you’re doomed to failure. Page 22.
How Doc became invisible in broad daylight on a busy street. Page 53.
Doc’s method for having a spoon bend while being held by a spectator. Page 11.
How to be seen in two places at the one time. (Al Mann would have charged $35 for this information). Page 55.
A complete plan for a woman to achieve psychic superstardom. (It can also be adapted for a man). For an ambitious performer, this is a perfect plan for the times we live in and could easily be worth tens of thousands to you. Pages 34-48.
Why attacking psychic superstars is counterproductive. Use it to your advantage for even greater publicity. Page 9.
Yes, this book contains secrets you won’t find anywhere else in the magical literature. There was nothing like it when the book first came out and there’s been nothing like it since.
You can see why every mentalist will want to snap up a copy. Every magician who has thought of adding mentalism to his or her show will study the plan. Do you want to discover how you can get to the top of the heap? Here’s a little known inner secret. You don’t have to wait for other magicians and mentalists to tell you you’re good. You don’t have to wait to win magic competitions. Do you think David Blaine would be where he is today if he stood waiting for other magicians to tell him he’s good enough?
No, he took the opportunity and leapfrogged over everyone else. He is king of his hill. Geller is king of his hill. Derren Brown is king of his hill. Trying to copy these guys is an exercise in futility. Instead you make your own hill, with your own hook, your own positioning and no one will be able to turf you off.
And in The Shiels Effect, Doc will show you how.
Snap up a copy before it goes out of print again.
BONUS: An Evening with Doc Shiels
Doc retired from active performing twenty years ago to devote himself to his avocation — art. (You may recall that the late Chan Canasta, while at the top of his profession, also retired to devote his life to painting).
Pat Sullivan traced him to a remote part of County Kerry in South West Ireland and coaxed him to come and talk to the Cork and Kerry magicians. Fortunately, this very special evening was recorded and is preserved now for your enjoyment.
Sit down with a pot of strong coffee or a generous portion of your favorite beverage, pop in this DVD, relax and enjoy an evening’s company with Doc Shiels.
Doc will regale you with stories from his early days as the boy magician performing at the local mission for deprived children, when he was barely older than they were.
Hear how he switched a spring snake for a real one.
How he developed his interest in bizarre magick (Doc was one of the founders of this genre).
You’ll hear of some of Blackpool’s side shows and discover the FIVE WORDS that caused long queues to see one sideshow illusion.
Doc will tell you a lot more about raising the Loch Ness Monster and makes a suggestion that could achieve similar levels of publicity for you.
How he came to be known as ‘Doc’.
Just how the disembodied head of Princess Raman Ra handled a heckler — not something you would use yourself but very funny!
If you’re looking for tricks you’ll not find them on this DVD. This is an entertaining seventy minutes spent with one of magic’s most intriguing characters — a man who lived the life he chose, answered to no one, developed a new genre in magic, contributed widely with numerous books and magazine articles and achieved international publicity.
For the technically minded, this is not a studio quality production. It was taped with one camera. There’s no special lighting. The sound is OK. Please don’t complain that it’s not studio quality; it’s perfectly watchable and perfectly audible.
This DVD could have been released separately for £25; it still might be. But for the moment you can have An Evening with Doc Shiels DVD included free with every copy of The Shiels Effect.