At some point in time, we all face burnouts in our career. It would feel like we have hit a point where things start to get stagnant; you come in to work, reply emails, send emails, wait for emails, craft proposals and then send more emails. This happens in all jobs, including mine.
While the cycle for me to feel burnout is substantially longer, the last time I felt a burn out was in 2014, every time that it does hit me, I would take a step back to think, "What can I do differently, that will push me towards the end goal?". This question is important for me as an artist and a self employed entrepreneur. I cannot allow myself to detract too far from my artistic goals. The most common solution to a burnout is to take a long vacation, and that, I do not have the luxury of.
In order to take a step back from the daily grind, (my routine largely consist of overdosing myself with coffee, replying a ton of emails, crafting a ton of proposals (in which most would be ignored or stolen by competition), coding my iPad Magic Apps (most of the time I am just pulling my hair trying to figure out that ONE thing) and the occasional meetings where I do enjoy), I had to make myself fall in love with the craft of magic again.
I took on small directorial roles in creating magic shows. Last year, I designed a show consisting of 3 Magicians who performs together like a boyband: The Strangers. This show took over 8 months in terms of conceptualization, casting, rehearsing and troubleshooting. We had been very lucky to get the support of a large number of past clients and events partners for our show.
While it is easier to coach and design a show for a team who sees you as their mentor, there were challenges to be faced. Overcoming these challenges prepared me for a project that I undertook in late 2017 [Cue Suspenseful Music]:
I took on a project to design and direct a magic show that cast the BOARD OF DIRECTORS of a company.
I knew this was not going to be an easy feat since it would be different coaching a cast who were used to telling others what to do. Also, their interest in magic might not be as strong as the students under my wing. Another thing that hinted me that this was not going to be an easy task, was the fact that the main client (one of the director of the company), lamented that many other magicians had turned down this challenge (or opportunity).
The whole process began in November and the performance was to be in February. One of the challenges we faced was to find a suitable timing for rehearsal, since all of them have to allocate time outside of work for this, coming to a common time was tedious. Thankful, we were able to settle on a common regular timing.
We utilized our studio space for our weekly rehearsals. With the help of my fellow trainers, the learning of the magic was one of the easiest part of the process.
One of the biggest challenge we faced was to impart theatre techniques to them. Given that they were not in the performing arts, they were not well versed with movement, space and vocal effects. As a director, I had to balance between the drilling of these techniques while bearing in mind the limited time span and their capacity. At the end, everyone did exceptionally well and the show was very well received by their colleagues (If you don't believe me, see the video towards the end).
It was a tremendous joy to see the cast grow from shy individuals to charismatic performers on stage. Such skills are transferable to their careers when they are to do presentations or to meet clients.
Here is one of the pieces performed that day which incorporates elements of their company's core values and magic:
Taking on this project also taught me the patience and given me the learning experience in crafting meaningful magic. Imparting performance skills to them, sharpened my own. They say that the best way to learn, is to teach; and that is definitely true.
Here is one of my favorite pieces of the show as it serves to inspire the audiences, motivate them to overcome adversity:
So to all that are feeling a little bit unmotivated at work, try something new, try something different. It might be harder at first, but at the end of the day, you will enjoy it!
After the event, we had a strong commendation letter from our client:
Hi, Alexander and Kim,
Sincerely, and on behalf of my colleagues, I thank Metaillusions team for the relentless coaching throughout the months of preparation.
It was a journey travelled with much challenges & frustrations at times from conceptualising to learning to the final moments, as we have members dropping out, we neglect and only to catch up with the practices at the 11th hour etc, and I witnessed how you and your team bore with us during this period and never stopped giving reminders again and again, only to make sure we succeed.
Thank you, Alexander, for the efforts in studying our personalities and customising the roles for us, I am impressed by this segment of the entire process.
There were a couple of genuine miscommunication and misunderstandings which I so appreciate our resolving them together.
Thank you, Kim, for patient guidance despite our constant forgetting of the lines and theatrical techniques.
There were just so many of us with different gaps during the training sessions, I really don’t know how you did it, but you did it.
Thank you, Anderson, Yuqi & Douglas for accommodating our rehearsal, and seeing to stage preparation.
Not easy, but you all made it work.
I am not sure if you still remember I once shared with you that another company actually gave us up after understanding our performing needs and diversified profiles. Metaillusions took up this mission (which I thought was almost impossible) and made it a success. Besides the concrete leadership, Metaillusions has a great team. The young men are disciplined, humble and embrace accountability; as a HR practitioner it has been a long time since I last encountered such professional young generation from this new era.
Honestly, there were some slips during the actual performance, and I personally wished it could be better. But well that was the best we ever could be at that very moment and I am 100% sure my team gave it all.
So once again, thank you, gentlemen. On a personal capacity, you helped me see the other side and real side of magic, just like how the sun rises in the morning which is one magical moment that we all take for granted. Indeed I appreciate magic is all around us so long we can see it.
Metaillusions, you create magic!
Here's wishing Metaillusions a fabulous 2018 & beyond!
Director, Corporate Services
Woohoo, and very touched!
Watch how the pieces are seamlessly and beautifully crafted into a performance, here!
Keen to learn magic? Want to have a show designed for your company's special night? Or even incorporating magic into your presentations? Look for the professionals, drop us a line!
Alexander Y. is Asia’s Top iPad Magician, who has been invited performing in several countries such as Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, India. He is often sought after by clients who wants their brand stories to be told in a fun, engaging and memorable way. He enjoys watching artsy movies, his favorite directors include, Christopher Nolan, Spike Jonze, Michael Gondry.
For any enquiries, do contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org