I perform at several events a week and often after the show someone will ask me this question. It’s a flattering question but I have been hesitant to perform on TV. I think magic should be experienced live. Unlike other art forms, the whole conceit of seeing a magician or mentalist is that you were *there* when it happened, you were inches away, you didn’t take your eyes off of him, you aren’t a plant (eg. an actor)–it really happened. And from the perspective of a magician, my satisfaction performing comes from interacting with spectators in the real world where I have the time to develop a relationship with an audience–that’s not possible in a 60 second TV spot. That said, I have performed numerously on Masters of Illusion (a show on Fox) and I’ve consulted on several TV shows, including a recent America’s Got Talent performance.
I can’t go into the details of the AGT appearance, but it was a truly informative experience for me as a consultant. I perform full time as a corporate magician and mentalist performing at events in banquet halls, theatres, boardrooms, etc, so working on a 4 minute act for essentially four spectators (the judges), with a million angles to consider (they have cameras everywhere) was a totally new experience for me. Given how many TV tricks are done these days, it’s become that much more of a challenge to really impress people using traditional, non-editing techniques. And it may seem obvious, but there’s a real dilemma in designing an act that works both live (eg for the audience there) and on TV. Over the course of weeks we planned every action, every piece of script, the blocking, the pacing, the applause cues, the whole thing. We had four different outs ready (back up plans if something went wrong–and one thing did go wrong). It was a thrilling experience and the AGT producers were total professionals and a pleasure to work with.
At some point, I may decide to throw my hat in the ring, but for now, I’m happy consulting and performing for my corporate and private event clients around the country.