Friday, November 20, 2009

Inside thoughts from the Ammar Experience

I just finished lecturing in Rochester, NY. It’s been 8 years since I’ve done a lecture here, so I’m seeing a wonderful blend of people who’ve known me for a long time and people seeing me for the first time.

In the past I deliberately tried to put 3 or more years in between lectures in a given area. Once a lecture comes together it takes at least a year for it to really hit its stride. Even then, the temptation is to keep doing that same lecture; after all, the more you do it the better it gets. So it becomes easier to find a new audience than it does to find a new lecture.

As a loose rule of thumb I would change about 60 - 70% of the lecture every 3-4 years, while touring in slow arcs that brought me back to the same area every 3-4 years. In the same time frame the typical club memberships would go through some changes, so everything seemed to work out fine.

But the response over the last three months has been so strong that I wonder if it isn’t time to approach this in an entirely different way. In the last three months I’ve been to almost 50 cities and over 40 of them reported record turnouts! In spite of record unemployment in some of those cities and states, I saw more people than ever coming to the lecture and getting excited about magic again.

In the past, at this point in the development of a new lecture, I would be thinking to myself, ‘Okay, now I’ve done most of the US; time to tour this lecture in other parts of the world for a couple of years. After that, perhaps a few conventions, then a little break, at which point I should be able to put together a new collection of material so that I can do it all again if I want to.’

But this time feels different. This time, for the first time in thirty years of doing this, I think the best thing would be to return to the same regions I’ve just done as soon as possible; perhaps within the next 12-18 months.

One reason is because the multimedia featured at the lecture is doing what we’d hoped it would do, and we know several ways to make it even better. This feature will make it possible for me to draw from and present a wider range of new content, which is the main thing people want from a lecture.

The other reason is because in spite of the record turnouts, I can tell we still aren’t reaching a certain segment of young people. The people sitting in my lectures are those that learned magic through video and DVD, not the ones who learned about magic through the internet.

I hope that on the return trip through these areas that we can help join these two groups through the bonding that comes from sharing this information in a live magic lecture experience. There is nothing like seeing a live magic lecture, so I would love to give that experience to those who have only learned magic through YouTube!

If you have never been to a magic lecture, you’ve really got to go to understand how cool it is! A good magic lecture contains great magic, lots of fun, new ideas and inspiration. If you can’t make it to one of my lectures, then ask around so you can see a good one because you’ll always remember your first!

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