This transcription of the podcast was made my Auphonic. It’s not perfect, but for you readers out there? Here ya go!
How many times have you been to a business conference or read a book and it says, you should try to be the Uber of your industry. You need to be at a disruptor and.
[0:17] The thing about that phrase is like, yeah, that’s a good idea.
Pretty hard to pull off, right?
I think penguin magic,
Magic tricks have been sold. So, this is not as big as Uber because lots of people need,
Transportation and fewer people need to buy magic trick props but it’s a really fascinating case study and how to take a brick and mortar business that was done way one way for,
Literally hundreds of years and then change it and make it way better and way more profitable and scale it up in a way that was previously completely unattainable.
I think you’re gonna love this conversation. Also, for what it’s worth, I really enjoyed.
Meeting like I didn’t know Nick but I can tell you this.
Who are we kidding? I can’t see you but I can tell you.
[1:44] Honestly is turn up to be a great name cuz it just gives me excuse to call anybody who is either successful, interesting,
But of course today we got the hat trick. We got all three. This is a guy that I feel like I know because I see him on a video all.
[2:00] I have learned from him i have studied him and I just I enjoy learning from him but also I’m stoked because,
But he’s in a business that is very close to my heart. He’s in the magic business. He’s a very skilled magician. He’s a teacher of magicians and he’s deeply involved with one of the big websites that sells magic tricks. So, let’s bring him in here.
Nick Lakapo thanks for joining us.
Brad, what’s going on, man? Did I say your name?
Yeah, no, it’s great to be here. What seems like the the smallest thing I can do is get your name right.
I don’t know if you can hear it my microphone but the the 12 o’clock tornado siren just went off here in glorious Columbus Ohio so if you can hear that I watch it I cannot hear that but how excited is this today test the memory,
We test them every noon every Wednesday at noon.
[3:08] Shouldn’t bother that.
Yeah remind you what the end of the world sounds like every every new every every.
Yes no it is a glorious day out here.
[3:33] Tell me about you i’ve been googling you a bunch like I said I feel like I know you cuz I’ve seen you so much on video but I found your website and.
[3:43] This is the perfect I just love your shirt bio. My name is Nick. I make instructional instructional magic videos in lecture for magicians around the world.
[3:51] Yeah. You do. You do that in quite a bit more. When you meet people at at a cocktail party and they say, hey, Nick, what do you do? Well, how do you answer that?
It’s so hard. It’s hard to answer that question, right? But for me, specifically,
It depends where I am. Yeah, cuz if I’m in Columbus, Ohio, which is where the theater is and everything. I can kinda refer it to the theater, right? Like, oh, I have a theater here in town and we do shows and like for the public, that’s very interesting. Like,
Interesting and easy for them to grasp, right?
[4:29] You know, at all.
I usually just tell him,
I don’t really dodge the question as much as I used to anymore, right? Yeah. I just tell him. It’s cuz it’s really no other way around it.
But these days nah I just I just let them know,
The problem I hear with that is you say I’m a magician and you are.
Year world class dude but also you’re doing very interesting things that are very different from what people might hear when they hear audition. Will they hear magician? They might think, oh, kid’s birthdays?
Sure it’s not sure,
Are they gonna even bother to ask if I’m a question.
[5:41] I basically put that up just to kinda like.
[5:45] If you’re a Google my name like that’s what happens like you just get that information and basically that’s it because how.
[5:52] I mean maybe you and I should hang out and we should break down what exactly my bio should be because I’ve been very confused about it for for many years at this point.
[6:02] I don’t know.
[6:06] If you were to like lean into let’s say,
This is the this is the magic instructor. This is the guy that does this thing better than everybody else.
[6:24] Get me a supposed to some other things that you could choose. Do you know what I mean? Yeah.
Doing magic is hard teaching magic is a totally different deal
I don’t deduct is this something that came over time or you just came out of the womb saying I’m a pretty good
From watching other people that I really respect you know.
[6:58] And but you know, when it came came down to it when I started teaching that, I just took it seriously cuz it’s something I really enjoyed, you know, I’d, right? I’ve seen enough bad magic videos to not wanna be that person. Do you know what I mean? So, let’s kinda
I’m sure you have yeah if you if people don’t know there’s like you can purchase
Specific tricks usually,
You know, top by a 12 year old in their basement. Whoa. So, it’s, let me give him some background Nick and then, I’m gonna ask you if I have this right.
Sure sure. Here’s how magic used to be when I was a boy. The only way to learn magic was to find a an adult magician who would teach you and that was really hard to do.
Or you’re gonna find a magic book,
You went through a brick and mortar store and you hope that the person behind the counter actually knew enough about magic to demonstrate the magic tricks.
In a way that made you wanna buy them.
But that was all it was all a random chance. Well, guess what? I was one of those guys. I was a demonstrator in multiple magic.
[8:20] Could you do that trick?
[8:30] Can you tell me a little bit about how you got involved with Penguin and what is the.
How’s strategic are you on.
Well that happened the I’ll tell you how I got in but you know penguin started in 2003
The kind of where the first group of people to put you know videos of magic tricks on the internet,
Right so you could go to this website,
Up until penguin that really hadn’t been done before. So, that was just kind of like being there at the beginning, right? And of course, I mean, if you’ve ever tried to put together a
Things. Kinda needed both skill sets. And it just it was just been popular over since we, we kinda say that it’s like,
You know, it’s not the Walmart of magic but it it kind of is the only place online where you can get everything. Do you know what I mean? Yeah. So, for that reason,
I believe it’s end of the fact that the video and all that stuff has
It helps us sell tricks. I I think that’s why it’s become the most successful shot. Just because it doesn’t like have a curated list of things that it that it sells.
[9:59] Imagine your day so you show up in Brad Montgomery’s behind the counter doing a trick and it depended on how Brad was that day or whoever was behind the counter. By adding video, you’re the originators or maybe you a master teacher, somebody’s very skilled.
Gets multiple takes and editing and it is fantastic,
That’s how it should be done. Yeah, it I I.
You’re trying to sell the trick to the person. Number one, but number two, you’re also trying to like tell them as much information about it as you can without giving away the secret.
In respecting the trick in that light, right? So, it’s trying to find that balance and create the video that really like.
[10:56] You know, does the trick justice and also, you know, pixie interest of the the person that’s looking to buy it. And then of course, when they, when they learn it, they learn it correctly, you know, so that they have the confidence to go out and do it.
[11:08] Right cuz that’s that’s another side of what you guys,
I I think I don’t know if you I I think you guys invented this where you buy a trick it used to be you got written instructions,
Either can’t follow the maybe they just don’t learn well by reading but also it’s just genuinely helpful that show oh you put your first knuckle right there it’s just so great to have video.
Yes just the equivalent of learning it in the shop from the the guy after you buy the trick or you know they they should do it show you how it works sometimes.
It would happen no matter what, right? It’s it’s just magic.
It was just a new video form for magic that that took over you know DVD was the same way VHS and DVD not so much VHS but DVD was also once the magic shops were able to sell you DVDs that was a much better project product to purchase than.
[11:59] Then, you know, whatever piece of paper trick that you might have been looking at, you know?
Teaching VHS came out to just to think that we could see David Roth or some famous magician do do a trick and then teach a trick that was mind blowing and this is this is what you’re doing is so much better.
Yeah, that that’s where I got in. I was
Pepper, Massachusetts and old chicken farm and I didn’t know you like I like to take a copper field. I thought he was cool but I didn’t know what he was doing was like something that you could
Two, you know, I thought, I didn’t even know what a theater was. I don’t know where he was doing that shows from.
Did a street magic special?
Which I thought was, well, it is real. Everything he did is he is from another planet. I don’t know how he did any. That stuff, but when I realized like, hold up.
[12:55] Is this something I can do cuz he was like in a bar or on the street like is this I need to learn how this works if this is a thing cuz I wanna do it and so that’s kinda what drove me to get in and I discovered a magic shop in Boston.
And which was Hank Lee’s at the time and they would sell me I so I came in right at the age of the DVD
So, like, I know a lot of people listening would know but this is like the age of like the Michael Lamar, easy to master. Right.
Series which is funny. These are like benchmark DVDs. You know, in other fields, I’m sure there’s like other things that you can relate to but like I could name this DVD and you’d be like, oh yes, I know exactly what you’re talking about, right?
[13:33] Yeah every every magician knows certain products certain.
[13:42] I had.
With some friends
But in 2000
I kinda want to learn how to deal blackjack and thought maybe I should go to Vegas or something but,
Do and payroll and fix an HR problems. I’m like, no, I’m done. I don’t want anymore of this. So, I went down to Florida, live with an old friend from high school for a hot minute.
[14:56] We had just mentioned Michael Lamar,
10 years and on Fridays with birthdays I’d be like oh I’m going out. Let me learn a new trick, right? I’ll watch this DVD for the 5000 time, right? Right. And I’ll like see if there’s a trick on there that I didn’t see before.
And I’d learn it, not to go out, whatever. So, it was just this one time. It was like, I should.
[15:21] I should Google this guy and it just turned out that he was going to be lecturing which I really had never been to one of those before.
At the local IBM ring in Sarasota where I was and I was like that week.
It’s like what are the irons right? Right. And it’s like yeah. For people listening, this is like having Jesus show up to teach you. Yeah. Yeah, Michael’s the, yeah.
[15:44] Yeah he’s another story I guess but anyway,
I go to this this lecture I meet Michael Lamar you know which was super crazy because I didn’t realize like how important he was until I was there,
Michael’s tech which who is Jeff Taylor? I don’t know if you know who Jeff is but no. Fantastic magician.
And he invited me out to his place in Orlando long story short I ended up moving to Orlando 2 weeks later to go live in a house full of seven other magicians,
From that one search a lot has changed in my,
Sure, yeah. Were you still involved with the video game and what what game are we talking about?
This is a game called Out War. Oh U T W A R.
[17:00] There’s some interesting things behind this.
So you can like walk around this world called Dotwell Diamond City was the name of it and you kill monsters and get gold and try to get better items and it’s it’s very standard I mean at the time it was.
Cutting edge but it’s very standard stuff these days.
[17:31] I don’t know how much you wanna talk about this game.
I was pretty like.
[17:49] I started with some friends in one. I was like 16, 15, some different businesses, coding websites.
So I had like a blog when in high school and I graduated in 1999. I had a blog in 9899. The word blogged didn’t exist yet, right? But it was basically one of those junk website internet sites where like.
Any dumb picture that you could find was on there cuz that stuff was hard to find back in the day. So, any video that was funny or anything like that,
Break. Com and that’s.
Like us was a search engine before Google which of course nobody can remember. It was,
Handful of years. Like I was one of a made old black lab as a.
Look at logo. Anyway,
I didn’t apply for one. They just offered me one cuz it’s some level they had their feelers out looking who,
Who was coding what online I guess.
[19:11] We like you.
20 year old guys that were doing the same thing do you know what I mean? Right. So we ended up like yes I so I ended up coding on this thing. My coding role kind of morphed out of.
Coding into more like management the like managing the code,
Wasn’t as good as some of the other guys or as passionate about it, I should say. And I also said more of a graphic background as well. So, I was more on the design end of the website.
Creating it that way. So,
Of Outward or did you just walk away or what happened to that? No. God just walked away. Just walked away. Anyway, any regrets?
[20:15] No no,
But already I’m seeing this team that doesn’t surprise me at all cuz here you are a very talented magician but the computer side and the digital side is obviously not intimidating,
For you and no so no one that you were an intern way back when make sense to me.
And you know weirdly getting a taste of like.
[20:52] The help as well.
I’m not really I don’t really have anything.
With lash money then than I did you know with more.
[21:26] Miles that was kind of profound to my friend. There you go. There you go. And you discovered that wisdom.
Which we’ll talk about. I’m sure, but yeah, I guess I was 29 30310, can we do a magic in the theme park or doing something else?
Yeah so after a friend moved to Orlando.
[21:56] Running out of money from the from
You know okay I was just in Florida at my in so somebody had mentioned that there was a there’s a magic shop at Universal Studios and they look for magicians and I was like well
Audition for that. So, I audition for that. And I got it.
Right? I was very comfortable showing anybody a car trick at the bar. Right. In fact, like, you know, my skill set up to that point was walk into any bar and become friends with literally everybody, you know?
But that’s very different from doing a presentation in front of. Right. Of people. Yeah. I’d never done that before until I went to Universal.
At Universal. So, help me out. You’re a demonstrator in the store.
Yeah it’s it’s quite brilliant but tell you sisopho,
Florida at this point but it was in the theme park.
[23:08] For all intense and purposes.
[23:15] Somebody be outside saying magic show you know in 15 minutes and you’d go in and you’d sit down in an actual theater it’s at 30 people
And it was nice for them cuz it was air conditioned. They could sit down for a minute. Right. And then the magician would come out and do about a 15 minute long show,
And it was a real show like
There was some pitch lines and things here and there just kinda letting people know that what they were seeing is for sale but it was an actual show which was really cool. Then, after the show ended, people would, you know, exit through
In the show. So, it was,
Shops kinda do similar things but this was just like really heavy emphasis on let’s give them a magic show whether they buy anything or not. Right.
Let’s give them a show, right? So, that that’s where I cut my teeth, learn how to do stand-up performances.
Heck yeah so I’m guessing you haven’t 8 hour shift you do 2030 shows.
Brad. Yeah. It was crazy. I I was not aware. I mean, I just assumed that everybody did.
2025 shows a day.
[24:42] 15 minute shows. So in like the 3 to 4 years that I work there I did over 13 1000 shows.
[24:52] Yeah. Yeah. But there’s there’s some amazing lessons to be learned in there for sure. So, that’s experience you can’t buy.
[25:04] So that in some ways although that sounds unbelievably creative and it sounds like just about a one step away from being a carni in some ways.
Yeah, sure. You’re kinda working the crowd even though they don’t know it.
[25:18] Yeah yeah I there was certain skill sets that I learned in there that I didn’t know would apply to later on,
I I guess it’s just whatever I end up doing. I get pretty like passionate about doing it very well.
You’d be very easy,
Go to work and do the show just let the show vomit out of my mouth for.
[25:56] Yeah it’s a and I guess like.
[26:01] Well I I maybe I’ll I’ll
Because I just kinda learn how to talk to people about what they what they might wanna do in there. You know, in their own performances, I guess.
[26:18] It’s so frustrating to me cuz.
[26:27] End a business person at the same exact moment.
Yeah, yeah, I mean, I, I don’t, so, this is, so, one of the reasons why when you go on my website, Brad, it just kinda says, Nick does this and this.
Do i like to do them? No.
[27:04] Why not but I most I mostly don’t like to do them because I just don’t enjoy the the,
Dealing with the, like, I know how to deal with people fine and like, and but like, I would rather be.
The David Copperfield who just like has to go on the stage every night and do it. Again, I guess it’s it’s nice because I can do those other things but more importantly, I learned,
That I also don’t enjoy it.
Because when I first started getting into once after I kind of evolved after theater magic I was like well how do I put together like a stage show for company X that’s what I need to do right like that’s how you make money at this stuff yeah we’re gonna do that
And then I started doing that and like it just wasn’t fun. You know, it wasn’t.
It didn’t feel like the reasons why I got into doing magic tricks, you know, cuz most people at these things are, you know, they’re just there for the free dinner and then wanna go home. You know, pick up their Christmas bonus, Jack and get.
[28:09] I could see what I would have to do to make it great but I just didn’t wanna have to go there you know cuz then I’m going down a different path that.
It’s not into it. Can I do it? Of course. And I take it very seriously but that’s why you won’t see it on my website if you’re to go there. Good for you because you found the part you love and you eliminated.
[28:29] You know what I do great?
Is I’m a great backup. I love backing up other magicians cuz they know I won’t steal their gig and they know I’ll do a great job.
So, so I get sick and I call you up and you’re like, oh hell no. Absolutely, absolutely. You have to worry about a thing. Well, somehow, you,
Figuring this out your in Florida and then you get connected with.
Happened I was looking to get out of this theme park cuz you can only do it for so long it’s just your life is on repeat like every 15 minutes everything’s the same except for the people in front of it it’s a strange place I love it there
I’ll always cherish that time but like it is a weird place to like live in.
One of the people that came to work there was guy named Dalton Wayne who currently still works for who he works for Penguin now
And the stricts weren’t all that great.
We’re very cutting at Dalton’s very gifted video editor.
Do you wanna come to Columbus and edit video for us? So, he left universal and went on to.
And when I left penguin I kinda kept in touch with them kind of like saying curiosity like you have like what’s up with penguin man like what what are they doing out there like why you know how is it
And he’s like, hey, you know, they they need somebody exactly like you here. You should come out and and meet everybody. So, I just,
Got in my car cuz I was I was I went back home at the time I went back home to Massachusetts and I was just kinda helping out my parents and they had a,
[30:40] I was like yeah I’ll be there this weekend so I drove out to drove out to Columbus.
I showed up on a Sunday night when they were filming a penguin live which is one of the shows that Penguin Magic produces.
Walked in, saw the blue wall, which I know you’re familiar with there, and I was like, wow, I can’t believe I’m in this room. That’s crazy.
Yeah. Once I real cuz I had my I had my doubts that it was even a real job.
Do you know Bradley?
Want me to cuz I’ll come out here you know I’ll I’ll move to Columbus and and start doing this and that’s what I did that it just kinda just
Just because adulting is the reason why I ended up at a penguin. And what’s your job title at this point? Like the guy who’s gonna help us figure out videos.
I I think the main thing that I do and you just wouldn’t really realize this from the outside looking in is that a lot of times.
[31:48] We film,
A lot of stuff and sometimes
Like the process is tough sometimes because like if we if you had a trick brad you came out to Columbus you’re like this is my
You made this prototype gimmick at home and at work and you’ve been doing it on the road for 15 years and you know exactly what it has to be. So you come out and we film you,
Doing this trick and it gets great reactions and everything. The problem is we go to make the demo video,
And the the final gimmick that we ended up having to create,
Because of all of the materials that need to go into it and choosing the right thing that cost the right amount of money and then of course that elastic band that you had in your original microphone brad isn’t gonna work. We’re gonna make that into this pulley,
So it’s like.
[32:48] I end up having to
Jeremy. So, I kinda fall a lot, a lot of times in that pocket of I call it fixing. There’s nothing wrong with this stuff but I just call it fixing the,
Fixing the product and making sure that it’s great,
Post to like hey mine doesn’t like just just these questions like you end up getting the thing in the mail and you’re like wow mine doesn’t look like that you know or like I didn’t move like I guess it’s the same but you know so it’s just,
Those are problems to me from 10 years ago within the magic community that would have happened in videos but I try to make sure that none of that stuff happens if I’m gonna be on the video. Do you know what I mean?
[33:39] I think right now right now you’re talking about the instructional part of this,
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So so I we we come to penguin magic. We buy a trick and we’re then delivered a video of you often it’s often it’s you teaching us how to do it.
Yeah. What about the,
Cuz there’s the other video is very interesting to me which is the demonstration part of it. The the commercial.
Any theory that exist behind this is it’s
How much does the trick cost,
Somebody picks a card and then you end up finding it but there’s nothing.
There’s no nothing to nothing to find, right? There’s no secret thing that you need to hide from the camera. Well, you’re in a position where you could show them the entire routine.
[34:57] Right? Right. And I’m just making this up here as I go. So like in like that’s really valuable in some cases. To be able to show the entire trick.
[35:08] Now unfortunately sometimes it’s a bad thing to show the entire trick because.
[35:17] Have a physical item in your possession well then you just
Giving the trick away for free because if it if you’re a customer of penguin magic you you do have a certain,
Cuz it’s not fair to the creator and the trick itself. So, like.
That’s where sometimes you have to make like an edit in the video which some people might not like.
[35:52] What’s the the real thing? Now, if it only costs like $10 or something,
These these things are less amplified but if it costs $60 then it becomes more,
Of an issue, right? So, there’s all of these like,
And you see those people howling going you cut away and he didn’t show the thing that is you know that so the video wasn’t accurate
Where I know that that cutaway has to be the thing you guys argue and worry about all the time.
Yeah I mean if.
You would just be like, wow, nobody, nobody’s thought that far about any of this stuff ever.
[36:59] I was a trick called red card that came out on penguin. Are you familiar with it? I don’t remember that one. No. It’s a it’s a trick by Roberto Jovi from from Denmark in in he’s,
Fantastic magician. Anyway.
[37:14] This trick,
And you place that red card on top of the blue deck and you cut it into the center and then the audience then you take the deck and you put,
The audience then collectively selects card. It can be.
[37:50] And you you take that card out of the blue deck from from the face up side so you’re not looking at the backs and you place it in the glass and you say now unfortunately it’s not the red card,
And you fan through the deck and you’re looking for the red card from the back sides you’re spreading through all these blue cards and you can’t find the red card where where’s the red card?
And you look at the card in the glass and the audience has somehow named the one red card because you turn the glass around in that card is indeed red. Alright. Cool trick.
But this trick,
When your marketing this trick suffers from some things that you could easily lie about and that is the first one being,
Any card can be selected from by the audience which is true but also not true because there are some cards that you can’t allow the audience to choose.
However, part of the secret that you’re gonna get when you buy the trick is some really clever psychological thinking,
On how to never let your audience.
[39:03] Any card can be chosen because if you’re using this method they’re never gonna choose those cards. Right?
Audience can choose any card. If I do, it will turn that trick from being a five star,
Commented trick into a three star trick on the site because,
In the video Nick said any each car could be chosen that’s not true and they’re completely it’s not fair I need their level cuz they’re completely discounting,
The secret that they just purchased which is so valuable in my opinion if you were to to actually.
[39:41] Learn why that is true that any car can be chosen but that’s not what’s gonna happen on the site. So, I can’t let that happen. I can’t let Roberto’s work go from a five star trick to a three star trick.
Just because Joe Schmoe thinks that I lied to him which I did and,
Right? So, that’s that’s one area that I hope make sense to you and your listeners. The other end of that trick. Yeah, go for it. Such a interesting gray area cuz you know, magic is lying.
And if you’re gonna demonstrate a trick, you have to lie.
Now the the other very interesting thing about the ending of this trick,
Because if you’ve been in magic at all, this is a trick that you’ve seen other versions of.
Somebody names a card happens to be the only other card.
[40:39] I have to,
If you’re just,
Wanna like somebody that’s never seen this type of thing before. You’d be like, oh, okay. None of the one I’m saying right now matters but I have to say these things. At the end because.
[41:02] What’s interesting about the this particular trick is that the red card in the glass at the end.
Fine. Like why does that matter? But within this particular set of magical thinking that Roberto’s put together that’s a big deal
Like to be able to get to there with that red card in the glass isn’t examinable card.
I have to be I wanna not like because that’s like a negative if you’re watching a trick like if you’re like,
I wanna tell the people that yes this is a gimmick deck of cards.
But I also don’t want it to be a bad thing cuz like weirdly when you’re purchasing magic if the deck is a gimmick deck.
You’re less likely to purchase it it’s just kinda how it is I don’t know how you’ll feel about that yeah but.
Tell them like so the words I used in the video were very careful I said the red card can be examined and the blue deck can be shown on both the front and back.
[42:15] Which is.
It’s just recently
From my mind is a 56 year old guy you guys have just totally disrupted in all the best ways how magic is hold although kinda frustrating cuz we can’t go to brick and mortars cuz they don’t exist anymore.
But one of the things you’ve done is unbundle.
[43:08] Used to be you buy an entire book and a book came with multiple tricks or then later on you could buy a VHS or a DVD or even a
Digital movie file and it came teaching mini tricks
Any unbundled at all.
Trick and set a teach set an hour long or 2 hour long video your,
Selling 10 minutes of that video which strikes me as McDonald’s saying like hey we come in here and we you buy a whole meal.
And then finally, they came around and got smart and said, well, you can just buy the hamburger if you want.
Sure, sure. So, can you help us do that?
[43:57] I mean.
If Brad was to put out a,
A video of what you thought was the best trick from the 30 tricks stand alone product so you had the two products next to each other,
And they were about the same price maybe one was a little less than the other one.
The it’s not even gonna be a contest the single trick video is gonna sell more than the multi trick video.
[44:32] It’s just what it is. I don’t know when that was kind of like that discovery was happening.
But it it some point it just shifted that way I mean obviously it makes a lot of sense from a retail standpoint like why not yeah like why put out a video that has 30 tricks on it when you can sell each one as an individual product,
But it it’s so it’s not even like we’re cuz on some level it feels like we’re kind of like screwing over the customer but they don’t even want the 30 trick. Right.
Why do I don’t know but
That’s it just it was like a natural evolution of of how those things happen,
Yeah we’re trying to find out you might buy a 2 hour video and you don’t have time to watch it or even decide to watch it you’re looking for the one gem and you don’t even know what the gem is.
So yeah having to sort through to find that one thing they think is great and having someone curate.
[45:30] And tell you this is the gem or here’s the two things. Yeah. We think are great. Pretty handy.
[45:35] It’s just, yeah, you know, the difference is really,
So, whatever magic you had, you you cherished it and you watched it over and over and over and over and over again. And now, you can, there’s just an abundance of it and you don’t have time to weed through the 6 hours of lecture material that,
That you purchased or whatever. You know, you think to yourself, why would you wanna watch a 30 trick?
MultiDVD. Well, you know, 20 years ago, that would have been, I would’ve, I would have watched it,
30 times over you know. Right. Trying to find any moment, any line, any anything, you know, from there. So, it makes it easier on everybody. Makes it easier on the creators as well.
You know I can’t imagine these days having to put together like a multi-trick DVD and all that different material making sure it was all great you know that’s
I’d rather focus on one and make a great product out of that one. Well, plus, it’s the same in every book and every industry. There’s always filler.
There’s a good stuff and then there’s a stuff that takes to fill up the book or the video or whatever.
Yeah we also suffer from and and this is just unfortunate but you know movies have the same problem but because we don’t have the the ability to sell the DVD anymore.
It’s hard to it’s hard to put a that those types of things together.
[46:54] Because it’s just if you’re gonna pour all of that effort into one thing and it just gets sold for $two or giving away for free because of you know you just share it online,
Thing to do. Well, let’s talk about this. We gotta a question from well man who’s clearly a magician. How does penguin church stay on top of the digital magic game.
[47:16] While in the current world of YouTube and people out there practically giving valuable sequerts away out there. So, yeah, thanks very much. That’s similar. So, YouTube.
You could learn how to do magic by watching YouTube but then also you kinda touched on it people are sharing secrets.
[47:33] Without the creator getting or the store getting any credit can you where do we start on that one,
Cuz I feel like it’s something I used to say but just I love that the general public is getting like a baseline magic education,
You know, if you like magic and this was something that you and I could not do,
That magic rabbit hole.
I don’t even know what that’s like. I don’t even know how far they go. How much fool us do they watch? How much AGT did they watch? How much like random
When they do that. Cuz I gotta assume a lot of people do. Magic videos are really popular on on YouTube and TikTok and Instagram and all that.
And then, it’s a simple fact of just like, oh, well, how did that bill get inside that lemon?
[48:34] Type it in. There’s a Wikipedia page on it, right? Like,
Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Oh, that’s heartbreaking. Yeah. It’s heartbreaking, but at the same time, it’s, so,
Words I’m doing tricks that I used to do 15 years ago that are strong but I feel like the slide of hand stuff and some other things just don’t hit as hard anymore not because it’s not good it’s just that they’ve seen stuff,
And maybe they do know what a double lift is and they’re just like excited to watch it in action, you know?
Are starting to get a baseline magic education and there’s more venues to go watch it than ever been popping up all over the place. Yeah, but let’s go back. So, yeah, go back.
[49:28] I feels to me that yes there are some people that have educated themselves.
If not how to do magic at least they’re kind of seasoned fans right they’ve seen a lot of magic.
Maybe one person has watched more than one.
Magic episode of America Got Talent.
I know that I’m around, I mean, I’m at a magic venue all the time. So, I’m always around people that are like excited to see magic and a lot of times, it’s their first magic show and they’ll be happy, you know, 20 years ago, all they could talk to you about was like,
Yo, I was that guy’s name. Is it David? David Watt, David. Right. You know, now, they can name all sorts of magicians and specific tricks.
Sitting at a bar in a hotel just a few weeks ago and there was a billiards convention.
I happen to be talking to this guy. I was in my suit cuz I just got done with the show. He asked me what he did. I said, I just do a magic show down the street.
And he’s like, oh man, I love magic. I’ve never seen it up close before like just saying all the things that I wanna hear. Right. Do you know how to do the trick where the bill or with the card ends up inside the orange?
The magic that is sold on penguin you’re just not gonna those aren’t things that,
Really you’re gonna learn on YouTube,
Dying for two reasons one,
So it’s not a very profitable area to be in where 10 years ago selling just a straight up download where you just watch a trick and then you get the video and learn it cuz you don’t need any special props.
Was of was very profitable but now it’s just not it’s not a good venue for the things. So you know to.
[51:53] But it’s technically not a bad thing because people might buy it because of it. So, it’s I think there’s still a balancing act going on between the two and I think eventually,
It will kinda sort itself out,
But I I at the moment it it everything seems fine to me I I would rather the bad magic get sorted out by the public I would I would like them public to know what bad magic is in good magic is
I think I think I would like that,
Yeah I think I think one thing is clear people have seen more magic and they are more familiar with good magic and let’s.
I think willing to put up with crappy magic cuz they recognize it like this is yeah this is not before the worst magician could show anybody a trick and probably.
Blow their mind, right?
[52:48] And nowadays, I don’t I’m not sure it’s the same for that. It’s kind of like a little like the great resorting is happening here where you can’t quite get away with some of the stuff that you used to get away with. I I feel like
I I’m with you. Talk about that Nick. What are the things I think is happening.
Generally on the planet learning is accelerated cuz there’s more information more readily available.
Because they’re just, we are all able to see good magic done well. We’re able to find good magic done well. We’re able to learn magic taught well.
Am I right? Do you think magic is getting better? Because of.
I think yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, cuz you know, even for a guy like me, like, well, I guess, I’m in a different category just because of the sheer amount of magic that I have to watch but you can watch magic. If you want to, right? So, you can watch.
Great magicians whenever you want to and get inspired and,
And just know where the bar is, right? I had no concept of how how good I was at magic between not that I really cared because whenever I showed a trick to somebody they’d lose their mind but between 2002010.
[54:07] I could have been doing the worst stuff,
In the grand scheme of the magic you know a universe but I would have had no idea now it’s so I think it’s a little easier to know where what
What the platform’s all about, you know, like, what it takes to be a great magician? It’s easier to to learn than ever.
[54:25] Yeah I I feel like that’s true. My favorite story is a guy who was kind of a grandpa to me named Orville Meyer.
A kid who wanted to learn magic but had no money and even if he did it wouldn’t help.
And he got a catalog from 10 in his magic or I can’t remember where rabbits or something like that. Anyway, the trick is a something you’ll recognize. You have a pitcher of water and you empty it out and then magically a little bit later, you empty out the magic,
Picture again we thought it was empty but yet there’s more more water and the way he did this is he lived in a very it only worked in the summer,
During outdoor shows cuz he was in Nebraska so he froze a pitcher of water and he poured water out in any weighted a little bit and then he formed more of water that it melted which just cracks me up cuz it was so inventive. It also,
Horrible just a horrible method.
You would never have seen anything like that, right? That would have been the first time you’ve ever would have seen anything like that. Right. He saw a description and a magic catalog and went out and invented.
[55:42] Show a method.
You are worried about right these there’s all kinds of wine,
The question’s gonna be do I have this right,
You know David Copperfield and Doug Henning and whoever else was on TV.
And it seems like the final edit is only a little bit about the trick it’s really about the reaction that the trick causes.
Sure really see that in the video can you can you talk about that in my close,
Yeah, you’re correct. I I think. Well, when it comes to David Blaine, yes, and like they were smart enough to know that,
When they filmed it I can’t remember if he said it or whoever but like basically that those original David Blaine magic specials are documentaries on
People’s reactions to magic.
The the people but also the magic that they were doing.
[57:07] You know those were tricks that at the time,
Basically, if you were to encounter a magician at like cocktail party or something, the magic’s gonna look more like that than a post to what was before David Blaine? Well, it was all,
People basically doing parlor and stage magic on on televisions the first time you saw it like in a in a bar room setting or on a street setting.
So yeah we still subscribe to that a bit but it just depends on what the trick is again right so for selling you,
A trick that
Have some cool like mismade card or something you want that react you want to see what they what they look like when they,
Hold the card in their hand and look at it and inspect it but if the trick is like some sort of like.
[58:02] Visual transformation where a card changes into $100 bill or something that might be something that we do direct to the camera now because,
I think there has been a shift in that medium as well where I think from 2010 to 2000 even 15 I should this point
The focus was on doing things live for people and seeing the reaction
For magic and that is doing things on Instagram or YouTube reels any of these short right ticktock five to 12th things.
It’s a real venue. And now that magic, you don’t care what somebody else is, if if you’re if you’re scrolling, you don’t care what somebody else thinks about the trick.
You you wanna see the trick because you can’t. It’s like literally in your hands. So that’s why everything now is like right here right to the camera. But both I think are still viable like venues for filming magic online right now.
[59:04] That’s so interesting to me that I never considered that that the way you film it or though at least the way you edit it.
[59:11] It’s totally related to what type of trick it is. Cuz I just had this blanket thought that it was all reactions.
Yeah. Like the the vanishing microphone obviously of which I brought up your multiple times. Probably has to be done on stage. You know, so it which is which is a tougher, I mean, it’s already gonna be a niche product here because,
Using a microphone but in that case we would put you in front of a group of people and film it on stage and you know it would have to be pitched,
Two people that would be on stage if it’s a quick little card to $100 bill,
Yeah, we were just film it directly to the camera. Yeah, maybe we go out and get some performance footage and see what it looks like when people react to the trick. Mm hmm. But to be honest, like, you know, those aren’t the trick,
Freak out over. It’s just that one moment and you might get a reaction that’s just like of total confusion.
Right? Cuz there’s nothing after it. It’s the tricks that are like multiface were like you pick a card that ends up under underneath the box,
And then it somehow under ends up underneath the box again and then you put it back in the deck and it’s still underneath the box somehow.
Those are the tricks that you wanna focus on the magic but you really wanna focus on the people cuz you just watching them step by step lose their mind right? Right.
And then of course the card ends up inside the wallet and then they run out of the room and you know you’re not gonna get that from just a quick five second,
Instagram trick. So, you just have to know what you’re filming.
[1:00:40] It seems like,
Product is any good,
Well done you. Yeah. Oh okay. I mean,
Outside magicians and put them in front of an audience and you film them. Yeah. These are performing. Yup. But usually it seems like performing and teaching.
[1:01:22] I’d love to know like how do you get people in there and is it hard to fill up that room with muggles.
[1:01:28] Yeah I’ll try to give you the I’ll try to give you the quick like evolution of this thing penguin live is an online lecture format for magicians,
So, in 2013, when this started.
[1:01:49] And then it would be like a like watching a TV show like a late night TV show. There was a host. We’ve had various hosts throughout the year.
Throughout the times the host would introduce the guest and then the guest would come on and the audience would typically be all magicians and guests would come on and perform a bunch of magic for the magicians and then teach you the magic
And you could also write in questions if you’re watching live. It was live. Like purely live.
A big deal. Yeah, crazy deal.
Those products didn’t exist on the internet, right? So is a lot of just cutting edge, brand-new content.
Still it’s it’s changed very much so the evolution of it
We realize that the live aspect of it having a product be live wasn’t helping it at all so we stopped it from being it live it wasn’t helping it cuz like a lot of the questions that you get were just
Take up time these things were like 5 to 6 hours sometimes I’m sure you’ve seen some of them there very long so we we got rid of the live element.
[1:03:04] And just started filming it so that it was more easily edited and I showed them performer in a better light so it went like that for a while and then weirdly you know Brad like,
You were talking about the audience.
Overtime because we’ve done this for like four, 3 years. We had a hard time getting the magician audience in because every week, it was every Sunday, every Sunday, we would bring in a new performer and I mean,
They were just spoiled to death because we would they didn’t have to pay to get in or anything like that. It was just if you wanted to come, you could and just learn magic,
I know well it’s just I mean I’m not blaming them but overtime they just kinda stopped coming like where is before I would be like 30 people banging on the door trying to get in and then you know sadly we would get like four people on a on a on a night.
[1:04:02] They were just kinda spoiled. Yeah. So, we struck the audience from a completely
Now at the time we had also started up doing a public show and the reason why that show and I think you referred to the show footage right
I had to start a magic show at penguin,
Or Dan was performing every trick in this giant encyclopedia of magic as a product going trick by trick,
And teaching every trick which is a whole another topic but,
The only way that was possible was to start a show so that he would have an outlet to perform these things every week. So, we started a weekly show.
Once that show got to a certain point we’re like well let’s start putting these performers from out of town in the show and getting performance footage of them.
[1:04:57] Performance footage of the performer in the show and then just straight up explanation of of the of the tricks that they did in the show.
Sorry, I know you asked a question here but in order to answer it, I had to like kind of explain the evolution. It’s fast.
Yeah, as far as the public knows, it’s just a cool magic show. We call it the world famous Pthree magic show and they’re blown away because.
Will you bring in people from everywhere? Like if you’re a fan of magic in Columbus and you go to our shows, you’ve seen, you’ve seen it everybody, you’ve seen people from,
And we have Mark Calabrese from Brooklyn on Saturday. So, like,
If to them they’re just like how do they have this guy from London here this is amazing.
[1:05:54] So to them that’s just just a show they don’t understand that what they’re watching is then going to get explained the next day,
In front of a room full of magicians which we are now full circle back to having a room full of magicians because thanks to COVID,
And just just a long period of time where they haven’t been any lectures,
They’re excited to come back to lectures again. So, we are now experimenting with having magician audience again.
Yeah, what I wanna highlight though is just how creative that is. You’re in the end, you’re trying to sell a product which is a digital download.
[1:06:31] Of a magic performance and lecture.
We talk about it a lot. It is the most expensive process and a crazy process.
You know we’re dealing with flights in hotels and you know egos and all sorts of other things to,
There’ll be a lot of fun, lot of work.
Saturday morning Henry White will do a lecture in front of magicians at 11 30 in the morning.
And then get ready to do two more magic shows on Saturday night with Mark Calabrese which will be a lot of fun,
And then Sunday morning we’ll do a lecture with Mark Calabrese.
[1:07:28] Well we we only used to do one and now that we’ve the show used to be on Tuesday nights.
Now we’ve moved it to the because of COVID because we stopped everything we’re able to rethink it we’re like what if we filmed it all in one weekend
So it’s freed up the rest of our calendar because this used to be a weekly thing that used to
Just dominate our production schedule. Let’s get it all done in one weekend and why not do two shows in a night? So, you know, we can get the best takes of things as as well, you know, maybe one audience wasn’t all that great. You know, you know how it is,
So we just kinda started embarked on that schedule now which is just wild I mean this this weekend is gonna be a blast but also a ton of work and.
[1:08:11] Yeah that’s that’s kinda where it is at the moment. There’s no rules, right? We just kinda make it up as we go.
Yeah. Yeah. The innovation you guys it’s just to me it feels like you guys are on the cutting.
Edge of so many cool things. I remember.
The first time I.
A video of,
You’re putting in an envelope with your address label on it. My head exploded. It was so cool.
So cool right,
We’re here just like making these choices on penguin live. These like big, big choices. There’s a lot of money involved in all this stuff. He just,
He’s involved. Heavily but he just trust what we do, right? So, like if we’re gonna do two shows on a Friday night to like, okay, yes, I’m, you guys know better than I do. Cuz he’s not in Columbus, he’s in Michigan.
[1:09:18] And he’s just the founder of of penguin. Now, at some point,
I I think early on penguin had a heavy
Early on, like early on, 2000 3456, is this always been a staple of
People’s problems with whatever,
Whatever trick they bought I’m just always glad it’s a positive experience like I got it it’s exactly the same story you just told I can’t believe that I got a video of my order being packaged we do this thing,
Where when the warehouse gets an order there’s a station off in the corner with like a top down camera or whoever’s packing the order goes over there they put on the white gloves like there’s some sort of magician,
And they they show you the shipping label so you can see your name on the thing and they,
They put the magic they show you the magic going into the box and they tape it up and they slap the label on it and show you that it’s and then you know it’s going to the right place.
[1:10:25] Honestly, like, so, you know what it’s called? It’s called order.
So like it’s the appetizer before you get your your magic in the mail. It is a product that that penguin made you can just go to order of
Dot com I guess. It’s an app that you can get and your company. So with this couple companies.
That do use it. I’m not sure how widely used it is but I’ve I’ve.
[1:10:56] Just like you I can’t believe it’s not done more often.
Yeah. This is it. Yeah. I can imagine any company not seeing that and thinking and stealing it. What is that? You need that.
Yeah yeah I I it’s always shocked me that it hasn’t popped up more places,
It’s just such a, it’s just, you’re like, oh, great. I don’t have to worry about my package showing up. Like, you know how it is. You buy something and I I know for the most part nowadays, you’re you’re.
[1:11:28] You’re more confident than it’s gonna show up but,
Like how can we make this process.
Yeah we’re actively always trying to do that too like that that’s a more about where Jar lives.
[1:12:00] On this like it would actually happen before your order video before you actually see it being packaged it would be me
It’s saying, hey, what’s going on? And I’d be holding like a sign that has your name on it. No, it’s digitally. Put on there. But it, you know, at least it would
Still cool and I would say, hey, you’re gonna see your order being packed in just a second. I wanted to just tell you that about some other trick, you know, like, you know,
Give you a 10 seconds on why I love whatever trick. Right. And that would be that would have there’ll be different all the time. Like I’d be almost filming them every other day or something like
But it’s not in place yet but at the we’re always kinda thinking about that type of stuff. Yeah, it’s important and again, it’s the one thing that people always tell me, especially when they meet me live. Like,
I can’t believe you guys do that.
I talked I mean I my job is to talk on camera so people,
Really sad. Yeah. But we’re all doing things we didn’t expect yesterday. I was in front of this camera.
[1:13:15] For 8 hours is a,
10 years ago you would have just blown my mind if you would have described how I earned money.
[1:13:33] So I started out as a full time magician for years and then I went full motivational speaker and work for business audiences and at some point I had erased,
All magic for my programs and then I kinda woke up as as though from a dream and went what you love magic and you’re good at it why aren’t so I’ve been adding it back but it turns out virtually.
A cannabis surprise hit that I I didn’t see coming. It works great for the camera.
[1:14:00] Yeah I gotta imagine it does I I haven’t done a virtual,
Just the idea that you could do a trick through the camera all of a sudden is like,
We’re on a different level here I can’t believe I’m about to see is he actually gonna do something like that oh my yeah,
Passion is social and emotional support and that means encouragement and acknowledgement and appreciation.
So, if I ask you who is your encourager or who were your encouragers? Who comes to mind?
[1:15:02] Thing which I talked about earlier in here googling his name.
[1:15:07] Meeting in person.
And then you know becoming his friend because he’s just a genuine like amazing human being.
I was up early,
And who’s at the grocery store,
You know, at the time, I, sure, the fact that he said, hey, Nick.
Blew my brain out of my head, right? Cuz how does Michael Mar know my name, right?
[1:15:59] First day at the magic shop over at Universal Studios and I know and it was a simple piece of advice that he gave me but you know I did take it to heart and it was just that
He was just all and if you know Michael at all, he he just said, oh, that’s good. You know, kinda put his hand on his chin and you could tell he was about to say something profound like you should,
Write it down. Whatever it was. And he just told me he’s like, you know, you’re gonna do a lot of shows and whatever you do.
You know, at the time, I was like, yes, so yes, Michael, whatever, but I did and I’m proud to say that I did, like,
And add and you know, I have Michael but thanks for that. Now, he wasn’t like a direct mentor but he was in a in a sense because I was always watching his videos back in the day.
[1:16:55] Like creepy like not creepy. Like weird. I can figure it out if it’s intentional or not intentional or you’ll pop into my life at the right times, right?
For example like he came to penguin live. We had him on the penguin live show.
Right? And he just like stood back and watched my show and then he’s like, we gotta go for dinner afterwards. So, when he went out and I can’t even remember all the stuff he said, I’d have to go back and write it down but like,
Just basically told me that I kinda leveled up and he was like proud and like there was just certain things that he saw for my future. Anyway, long story short, I end up at the Magic Castle for the first time performing at the Magic Castle in 2019,
And I’m doing the late show which is if you’ve never been I mean it’s pretty big deal for for a magician to be invited to be to perform there and.
I’m like waiting to go on this is probably eight at night.
[1:17:51] I’m waiting for the the first guy to get over so I can go in the room and who’s sitting at the bar?
Cuz I swear God he knew he knew I got the council he doesn’t live in LA Brad he doesn’t live in LA but he I swear he think he knew it was important,
To go out. He won’t, he would never tell me this directly or anything like that, right? But I think he he came out. He told me he came out to see me.
Right? Which is just crazy. Blew my brain out of my head that he was there. You know? Yeah. You have to do anything. Just views us there. Cuz he I I know I’m not the only one. There’s other people as well in his crops circle that he,
Checks in on I’m pretty sure but yeah for me it’s it’s hard to get past the importance of of Michael in my in my magic career it’s just yeah it’s sense to me like he was so meaningful to you but.
Kind of for non specific reasons. He was more of a validator and acknowledger as opposed to.
That’s somebody you should talk to right there if you can get him on here cuz he’s he’s just an unbelievable human being now.
[1:19:00] Oh I love that story and I love the fact that it kinda has many different touch points.
Yeah it’s a long story that’s a that’s what happens in this art you know magic I know we’re talking magic specifically but like it is such a small world,
And I find that a lot of people you talk to have like these really special stories that just seem like.
Not that it’s magic exclusive but it I feel like a lot of those things happen specifically within the magic community somehow.
Well it wouldn’t happen if you weren’t good my friend.
Send question I ask everybody but we can learn more about Nick at your website which is.
My website’s Nick Lacapo. Com but you know like we’re talking about this not much there.
One check out penguin magic. Com you will see Nick performing and teaching and selling in generally being awesome in all all the most creative ways.
[1:20:23] World class performer business person.
Gives you hope
I I haven’t worked in quite a while because what I do is just,
10 years of that penguin live show, right? Starting 2013 and it and it’s been going on now.
One of the great things that happened during that time which was totally unexpected.
[1:21:07] Is that we had all these like young 14.
[1:21:16] You know we had COVID happened and we’ve kinda like.
22 years old somehow, right? I don’t know how it happened but it it did. And they’re all killer, killer magicians. So, like.
Unreal and for all the reasons about magic being on YouTube and people can learn it like so if you’re if you’re passionate about magic, you can get into it and you can actually learn it. So, I,
Of magic and I’m happy to share it with some like great magicians that are gonna be coming up. His magic’s only gonna get better. At this point, they’re doing incredible things. The.
[1:22:07] Yeah, that’s such a good point. I have seen some of those 20 something magicians.
[1:22:14] Kill it in and so creative and innovative and their knowledge is so much.
Yeah I mean this even the the kids right now that are performing all the time on Instagram like the level of magic we’re gonna see 10 years from now is going to be staggered.
[1:22:34] It’s just it just is. They just have access. It’s so much information. So.
[1:22:43] It’ll be I mean it already is respected but like it’s just gonna be one of the major art forms that that hopefully exists.
[1:22:51] Nice. The future’s in good shape. Thanks.
[1:22:58] Alright, everybody. Check em out.
[1:23:09] Bertley we’re about done. Appreciate all of you. Keep the emails coming. I love them and thanks for being here.
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