John-Bodine

John Bodine: Creating a Magical Experience for Spectators

John Bodine Interview – Creating a Magical Experience for Your Spectators

John Bodine says, “Magical Is a Way of Life

He is one of our favorite magicians here at Conjuror Community. He’s not only a long time performer and card expert, he’s one of the only true ‘Effect Masters’ we know of working today.

Recently, Adam Grace, Aaron Fisher, and Steinar Thelen, had a chance to interview John Bodine about his unique, powerful and controversial approach to creating a truly magical experience for your spectators. Scratch that…John would hate it.

They aren’t spectators…they’re participants.

In this interview, Bodine shared his personal approach to creating magic, including some empowering strategies for helping you develop your own powers of observation and intuition – using verbal cues, visual cues and more.

And as a bonus, John also describes his latest experience at Burning Man – where he gave away thousands of grilled cheese sandwiches!

John Bodine - ‘Pure Effect’ Live Session

Conjuror Community members can watch John’s full seminar, ‘Pure Effect’, right now in the Back Room.

Pure Effect is a live event that explores “why” magic is so powerful…

And after you see John’s “Pure Effect” event, you’ll discover the most important ideas, at the core of the Magical Experience, that drive ‘real magic’ in the spectator's mind.

John also touches on a powerful model magicians can use to ‘hone in’ on exactly who you’re creating magic for. This system, known as the Enneagram, provides a powerful tool you can use to explore your own personality and persona.

Conjuror Community Member Extra

Are you a Conjuror Community member?

If so, watch the full lecture “Pure Effect” by John Bodine right now in the Back Room

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If you prefer to read the interview, we have provided it below!  Enjoy...

 

Adam Grace:

 

All right. We are here with John Bodine, one of our favorite people in the entire world… and I say that because I've only known John a short time, but what I've learned so far is that he's brutally honest and he is very intuitive. He's the kind of guy that can teach you a thing or two, not only about magic, but about the world and life in general.

Thanks for taking a moment to do a little interview with us, John. I really appreciate that man. Thank you.

 

John Bodine: 

 

Absolutely and thank you so much, very kind words. I'm humbled.

 

Adam Grace:

 

You know, it really strikes me that you know the intuitive thing like you do. For me, just knowing and watching how intuitive - like some of the stories that you've told and how intuitive that you are- did you always have that or did you develop that? Were you born with that? How do you explain that sort of phenomena?

 

John Bodine: 

 

I would say I spent much of my life as an observer. Not in the shadows but observing the world around me. Observing people and then playing little games…  like guessing what was going to happen, like watching things unfold and saying, "Okay. That's what going to happen next.”

I think intuition, it's something that is learned. I think there's an element that is just innate but I think it can be learned. I think it's something that, if we slow down and get out of our own ego enough to just watch and observe what's happening around us, you'll start to notice when there's tension around us. You'll start to know that these two people are madly in love and they're flirting with each other. Is that intuition or is that observation and sort of connection?

 

Adam Grace:

 

That's a great question. Some of the great mentalists and performers like Derren Brown- and you watch his observation skills and you see how he can cold read ‘on demand’- I'm just wondering if it's a learned skill, where do you develop it from? Like what kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to learn that specifically?

I mean, is it a mall watching? Is it sitting at the mall, just spending your time quietly watching or is it ...

 

John Bodine: 

 

No.. and yes. If I showed up this evening in a suit with well cut hair and a freshly shaven face and have a tie on... you would have a different impression of me. Right?

 

Adam Grace:

 

Yes.

 

John Bodine: 

 

What would you say? Steiner said some things earlier about me… “fascinating, interesting, curious”.  He might have said something different like…  “together, studious, business like”- whatever it is. We can take that first visual cue and make a statement about it. Then beyond that, there are lots of other things we can do. ‘How I talk’ conveys something about me. There's a relaxed tone. There's a softness to my voice that I'm aware of. It's not this deep voice.  All of these things tell us - give us information about the person that we're looking at. Beyond that, if you really want to go deep I would recommend you study something called the Enneagram.

 

Aaron Fisher:

 

There's a lot of Enneagram books, which is your favorite one?

 

John Bodine: 

 

... I think it's actually Richard Riso. Anyway, the Riso, Hudson books are very, very good and there's books that - Well...basically in the Enneagram, it's similar to the Myers Briggs, it breaks people up into different personality types, nine of them specifically but each type has a wing so that makes it suddenly eighteen different types. It might seem sort of ‘fortune telling’ at first…  but the more you understand it, the more you understand “it” and you get to the point that by looking at a person - just how they dress and how they talk - you can pretty accurately just determine their type - and based on their type and you understand how they were as children and what kind of family they grew up then, family structure, the things that they're afraid of, the things that control them, the way they show up to over compensate for the things that are their insecurities - and so it becomes more than cold reading. It becomes this weird psychological profiling.

I'm not saying I do that, I'm just saying that it's something that I find interesting.

 

Adam Grace:

 

Did that really start happening young for you or did you decide, "Hey, I'm going to dig deeper into this?"

 

John Bodine: 

 

 My path is that I've wanted to understand myself. There was a time in my life where I suffered pretty extreme depression. I was going through a lot of change, went through divorce, job change, career falling apart…  and lots of other things going on.

I started seeing a therapist and he pointed me to this. I was just really fascinated to dive into psychology and sort of understand myself at a deeper level - and towards that - that kicked me off on a path that I'm still on 15 years later - which is just like, “what is there that I don't know? How do I learn about it? How do I grow and become a better person through this?”

I don't use all for magic, it's just, it's stuff that fascinates me.

 

Adam Grace:

 

The lines begin to get really blurred as a magician matures and understands his craft  and understands psychology - those two things start to meld and become one. Is that the process that you describe?

 

John Bodine: 

 

Yeah. For me, my process is…  that things start to move from magic tricks to ‘magic real’. Whether it's intuition or whether it's connection with people or sharing a moment and being vulnerable and allowing someone in ... What a precious moment when someone is able to be so vulnerable and share something with you and then ask you if they can literally cry on your shoulder. This is a powerful moment - like you know what? We're all human. Let's just acknowledge that that we're all human and we're all scared. We don't know what the hell's going on and none of us are really in control. Right?

 

Adam Grace:

 

Right.

 

John Bodine: 

 

Pretend - and we can numb ourselves by watching the next Survivor episode tonight and turn it off and go back to work the next day and play the road game. I don't know, it's “magic is life” and life is magical - I guess is the answer.  There is always something that's beautiful and magical around.

 

Adam Grace:

 

Then magic is a way of life, it's not just a hobby or a profession but it can be a way that you live your entire life and the way you view life.

 

John Bodine: 

 

Magical is a way of life.

Not necessarily magic but magical... like there's an experience of being ‘like things are magical’. 500 years ago, there were religions or there are cultures that when the sun rose -  like this was a moment and this whole culture ... This is 500 years ago, that's not very long like their culture worshiped the fact that the sun rose.

 

Adam Grace:

 

We still don't know ... I mean, we really don't know that much about the universe and what's out there beyond any of that… so it's not as though we've learned that much in 500 years. There's still so much magic left.

 

John Bodine: 

 

That's right. I mean, here's something to think about like…in the universe, first of all the earth is this tiny, little speck of nothing in the middle of nothing -  of this greatness that extends beyond where we possibly can know. Then YOU are this tiny, infentisible little speck of nothing - in this thing - yet you can comprehend that you are that little, tiny insignificant nothing that, in this giant, massive space that extends beyond what we can possibly understand -  and yet we have all of these experiences and we have fears that feel so powerful and share dreams that are so alive and drive us to create amazing works of art - whether it’s a new magic trick or whether it's sharing a theatrical moment with someone or whether it's sharing a hug or creating a baby or watching a sunset together on a beach. We can create all of that and yet the reality is we're nothing.

 

Adam Grace:

 

I mean, when you put it like that, like a top change doesn't seem as important as the bigger picture of it all which is ...

 

John Bodine: 

 

It's completely important.

 

Adam Grace:

 

... and at the same time it's completely important.

 

John Bodine: 

 

The top change can change someone's life. It changed mine.

 

Aaron Fisher:

 

John, would you say… what role did magic with a capital ‘M’ - a magician magic as you were drawing this distinction between magic and magical - what role did your experience as a magician play in opening you up to the magical nature of life around you?

 

John Bodine: 

 

I think it was the hook. I remember at one point realizing that, "Oh, I'm able to help people and assist and guide them into this emotional experience”.

There's an emotional as physical, right? I'm going to call it emotional but it's a physical response. Emotions are a concept. Right? Not happy ... I call it that but there's a sensation. There's a physical sensation that's happening and vibration and, "Oh, this is me, happy." Maybe it's a smile, maybe it's a laugh. It was this moment of recognizing THAT and then it was like, "Oh, everything in our entire lives are just one series, after the next, of these physical changes in our body." That's it.

Some of it can be caused by chemicals. Some of it caused by interaction with objects or things or people. Then it was like oh, “so now we can control this or we can change that flow through other things whether it's workshops or meditation or music, whatever it is we can create experiences”. To me, that was just so much more fascinating than the top change.

 

Adam Grace:

 

I didn't feel this way about you before we were talking today but now I view you as a mystic. I'd only read about you and I didn't know that much about you - really other than the really incredibly, awesome things that Aaron has told me about you and Alex as well.

You're a mystical dude. I mean, I can feel it and see it now, you know? At the same time I also feel a kinship with you and a oneness with you. I don't know if that's what you're putting off or that's what I'm absorbing or how that really even works. It feels like that THAT might be the secret behind why people are drawn to you. What do you think about that?

 

John Bodine: 

 

I noticed that when you said people are drawn to me, I have this ... There's this little child in me that immediately wants to negate that comment and say, "No, they're not."

At the same time there's this more mature, a little more grown up person that saying “People are attracted to me like they're drawn to me. That's cool.”

I'm happy about that. I'm happy to hear that you feel connected to me after finally meeting. I feel honored and I can say that I've talked to others about you and I've always been like, "This is a person I’ve got to meet sometime - like we're going to shake hands one of these days and give a big hug and it's going to be cool.

 

Adam Grace:

 

Yeah. Cool.

 

John Bodine:

 

.. It's a pleasure to spend some time talking with you.

 

Adam Grace:

 

I want to ask you one last question before we go because I've been dying to ask you this one.

Now, can you tell me about Burning Man. I've actually never been and I'm just wondering what kind of - like from a magician - I mean because we're talking about magic and magicians here - From the magician's standpoint, what is that place like?

 

John Bodine: 

 

It's ‘Disneyland on steroids’ for adults and kids.

 

Aaron Fisher:

 

Of all ages!

 

John Bodine: 

 

Of all ages. It's an experiment of freedom and expression of an ultimate culture or society where commerce is not allowed - and so commerce doesn't drive - that nobody is buying or selling anything there and there's no trading or bartering or you know, that's not what it is.

Our camp this year gave away 2,200 grilled cheese sandwiches.

This year, because I wanted to, not because there was any prize to win or because I'm trying to ‘one up’ someone else or show up with the biggest and the best and the blah-blah-blah, but it's because I wanted to build something, I wanted to share something.

I felt good about doing it - so I built a butterfly that it has a 37-foot wing span. It's powered by two people, they pedal it. It has six legs which is actually six big, giant wheels and you sit eight feet off the ground. The legs are wide enough that you can go over a golf cart.

 

Adam Grace:

 

My gosh.

 

John Bodine: 

 

Why do I do it? Because I wanted to and I wanted to share it. I gave people a ride and I drive over people. It's a magical place like people will say, "Oh, it's a bunch of hippies in the desert." Yes, there is that. "Oh, it's a bunch of naked people." Yes, it's that too … there is that.

There’s also a camp called Kid's Camp where parents and families with children often camp there and have activities for the kids. There's workshops on communication and dance and compassionate touch and healing arts and free massages and music and free style poetry. It's everything, just an amazing collection of artistic expression and creation. That's what I always get out of it - it's the art. That's why I go. For me it's not the music. Some people go for music, I go for the arts - just to give expression.

 

Aaron Fisher:

 

Man, thank you so much for taking a few moments to talk with us today. We really appreciate it.

 

John Bodine:

 

Thank you. Thank you also very much Steiner Aaron and Adam. Pleasure to have joined and I hope to do it again.

 

Aaron Fisher:

 

All right. John Bodine, everybody.

 

John Bodine:

 

Thanks so much.

 

adam head shot newAbout the Author:
Adam Grace is the creator of the Magical Marketer and the host of the live show Sell Out, a show for magicians who want to book more shows, get bigger clients, and more performance opportunities.  You can get instant access to all of Adam's training inside Conjuror Community.

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