National University of Singapore Video

Slightly more than a year ago, I was approached by the Office of Admissions to be a part of National University of Singapore’s new admissions video. This video wanted to showcase NUS students who had calibre in their studies as well as an “X-factor” that set them apart from typical students.

NUS admissions Video

Featured as a entrepreneur

I was featured together with a law student and a medicine student. I believe it was my participation in arts festivals and theatre productions like The Swing Thing that made me a good candidate for this video. It was truly an honour to showcase a part of FASS and my current work in this video. The making process of this video was great fun. I got to meet top professionals in the film industry and I really enjoyed working with them.

So without further ado, click on the picture below to view the full video!

Click the picture to watch the video!

Click the picture to watch the video!

 

Signing out,

Alexander Yuen ;)

 

A Valentine’s Day Special!

Valentine’s Day just passed last week and despite it sounding cliche, I think love should be celebrated. While they say that everyday should be a Valentine’s day but I think there is no harm in making that one day extra special for your love ones.

Doing my magic to open for the dialogue session for Maybe Baby

Doing my magic to open for the dialogue session for Maybe Baby

In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, two weeks ago, my magic act was engaged to open a dialogue session for Maybe Baby. In addition to my magic show, I had a customized effect that is thematically related to the session. I was also tasked to conduct a short snappy magic workshop to teach the gentlemen in the audience to make a rose appear for their partners.

Interactive Customized Performance

Interactive Customized Performance

This dialogue was hosted by Petrina Kow, radio personality and a super nice person. Apparently this was the first time they had a magician in their event and I was told after my customized act that a lot of participants were very skeptical on how magic relates to their topic of discussion, “Having a baby”. But all of them were pleasantly surprised (and amazed) by what I designed and created for them. While I am unable to share publicly what I did, it is a pleasure for me to say that the organizers agreed that I delivered the key messages of the incentives and grants of having a baby very well. And the magic effect was a good fit and not one that seems “forced” and out of place.

A picture with the lovely Petrina

A picture with the lovely Petrina

After the performance, I prepared for the Valentine’s Day Magic workshop. It was quite a daunting task to teach intensive sleight of hand magic within 20 minutes. I had to make sure that everyone (100 men) were able to execute the magic without any error. This is my main objective because they will be presenting the effect to their partners. Any mistake on their part would make them look bad. And it would spoil the effect for everyone else. This was the last thing that I wanted. Hence I simplified the effect and added several touches to make it easy to learn as well as almost 100% foolproof.

The sequence of events in the workshop

The sequence of events in the workshop

Apart from the teaching, I also designed an 8 second music clip that would add to the feel of the magic. The idea was to have all the ladies in front of their partners and everyone would perform the rose trick at once. Honestly, to see 100 roses appearing from thin air is literally one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. But what was more beautiful and heart warming was the reactions thereafter. It was really heart warming to hear a unison “awww” from the ladies.

Reactions from the ladies :) (Pictures from Maybe Baby)

Reactions from the ladies :). Picture Credits: Maybe Baby

This was truly one of the most heart warming engagements in my life. I’ve always known that magic has the potential to go beyond just being amazing, it can touch and move people’s heart. And I think for this event, the gentlemen did just that!

Signing off,

Alexander Yuen

Singapore Street Festival 2013

I have been an avid supporter of the Singapore Street Festival since its inception as it showcases some of the best local talents in Singapore. What’s unique about the showcases of the Singapore Street Festival is that it never fails to display raw energy and dynamism of the performers. Except when it comes to magic.

For the past years, magic has fallen into a confused category in the Singapore Street Festival because, despite the festival’s aims and its title, the magic performances were mainly stage performances that were unlikely to thrive in the streets due to bad angles and lack of audience engagement, or close up magic which was done in small groups and did not fully encapsulate what street performing was truly about.

A half circle Street Show

A half circle Street Show

It was a blessing that the event organizer, Annie, recognized this gap in the festival. After some email discussions, we arranged a meeting. After feeling assured that we can fill this gap in the festival, and I am very proud to announce that Meta Illusions’ Street Theatre show will be a feature in Singapore Street Festival 2013!

Jonathan, performing for a featured footage for Channel News Asia

Jonathan, performing for a featured footage for Channel News Asia

While Jonathan and myself both already had an existing street theatre show, we worked hard in developing new material for Singapore Street Festival 2013. Therefore you can expect a show that is different from the typical stage magic shows, a show that exudes audiences participation and interaction!

Street Theatre by Alexander

Street Theatre by Alexander

Jonathan and myself will be performing on 14th June (Friday) from 6.30pm to 10.00pm and on the 15th June (Saturday) from 3.00pm to 9.30pm at 313 Somerset. Do join us and have fun!

See you there!

Signing off,

Alexander Yuen

 

 

Meta Illusions at Social Star Awards 2013

The inaugural Social Star Awards was held at Marina Bay Sands last weekend. It featured stars like Jessica Alba, Psy, Aerosmith, Celo and many more! The event was a celebration of popular brands and personalities including movies, music and even games (Candy Crush won the Most Popular Game, no surprise!).

In the planning of the event, the organizers wanted a stylish and sleek interactive performance along the red carpet to, not only entertain the guests but also welcome the guests at the event. Meta Illusions was extremely privileged to be engaged to provide this entertainment on the red carpet walk for this prestigious event! The guests consisted of celebrities (from mainstream media and social media), distinguished partners of the event, socialites and top tiered ticket holders.

As you would expect, there was no room for clownish and kiddish magic in this glamorous event. In fact, it was Meta Illusions’ distinctively sleek and charming presence that made us stand out to the organizers as a choice for this event.

Performing for the guests at the Social Star Awards!

Performing for the guests at the Social Star Awards!

Many of the guests flew from different parts of the world to attend this event. Despite having attended plenty of such prestigious event, the guests were very intrigued and amazed by the close up display of magic. Having us perform and interacting with the guests gave the event an additional personal touch!

Engaging a diverse group of audiences

Engaging a diverse group of audiences

Performing for event producers from London

Performing for event producers from London

There were several wonderful moments during my performance, one of them was performing for friends who were invited for the event. After catching a glimpse of my friend, Shu Ann (FLY artiste from Tried and Tested and Incanto) with her fellow FLY artistes, I proceed to do a special performance for them.

FLY Artistes at Social Star Awards

FLY Artistes at Social Star Awards

I love Enlai's floral jacket (far left)!

Fun bantering with the artistes!

Another wonderful moment was performing for the very tall and beautiful Sofia Wakabayashi from Asia’s Next Top Model. You might not be able to tell from the picture but Sofia is really tall! She donned on a gorgeous dress and I kept overhearing passers-by commenting on how lovely she looks.

Performing for Sofia and her lovely friend!

Performing for Sofia and her lovely friend!

While I consciously knew that I shouldn’t be starstruck during performance, I was secretly gushing on the inside but kept my cool on the outside. ;p

Doing magic with Sofia's phone

Doing magic with Sofia’s phone

We were really honoured to be a part of the inaugural Social Star Awards 2013, and we thank the organizers who made the right decision in choosing us for our eloquent, sleek and charming style of magic for this glamorous event!

Till the next time!

Alexander Yuen :D

Pasarbella Launch Event

Last weekend was Pasarbella’s launch and I was very excited to be invited to perform my magic for the launch. I was excited for two reasons, the first reason was that I am always excited about sharing my magic and the second reason was that I love farmers’ market! I remember fondly of my exchange semester in America and travelling to the different states and their farmers’ market. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to be able to re-experience the joys of fresh food and vibrancy in Pasarbella.

Fresh Seafood in a Portland Farmers' Market

Fresh Seafood in a Portland Farmers’ Market, Oregon

And I was not disappointed at all. The stalls in Pasarbella had very fresh seafood, pastries and food.

Opening of Pasarbella, Singapore

Opening of Pasarbella, Singapore

Upon entry, I was greeted by the fresh aroma of the sea. The seafood was huge and looks really fresh. They had a wide selection of fresh prawns, oysters, fish and crabs. Simply delightful!

Seafood at Pasarbella

Seafood at Pasarbella

My role at the launch of Pasarbella was to add to the vibrancy and buzz of the market. As such, I recommended sets of Interactive Roving Magic with Street Theatre shows interspersed throughout the day. I specifically declined doing a stage show because it would demand too much of the public’s attention and time. And it was my stand that the highlight should really be the stalls.

Interacting with the families and friends of Pasarbella

Interacting with the families and friends of Pasarbella

As you can tell, I also made several changes to my usual attire. Given the context, I decided to “dress down” so that I would fit into the Farmer’s Market theme. I added some accessories and quirky colours in my attire to make me stand out, without making me look out of place. In contrast, wearing a suit and a tie would make me stand out, but look out of place in this event. With that said, I have to put a disclaimer that there is nothing inherently interesting with a magician who dresses in bright flashy clown colours. If he fails to deliver good magic, no amount of coloured polka dots would make the audiences want to stay to continue watching him.

Crowd starting to gather behind

Crowd starting to gather behind

The curious crowd gathered to see what was behind the “oooo-s and ahhhh-s” during my performance. Having noticed a pattern in crowd formation in my performing experience, I anticipated this to happen. That was why I strongly recommended Street Theatre to be featured so that I could perform to a larger group curious audiences and satisfy their curiousity through a good performance.

Performing for the family crowd at Pasarbella

Performing for the family crowd at Pasarbella

To add a personal touch to the show, I deliberately used the produce from the stalls. As you can see in the next picture, I produced a rock melon and 2 tangerines from a stall called Tangy Tangerines and the onion and lemon from a stall called Sg Organic. I also gave out balloons from my good friends, Brenda and Pearlyn’s stall: Party Blasters. This not only entertained the public, but also “educated” them and made them aware of what Pasarbella had to offer. Since it was cogent with the magic, I gave these stalls a shout-out and a quick pitch in the performance. ;)

Making fresh produce appear!

Making fresh produce appear!

I resumed my roving magic after the Street Theatre set and I was very privileged to perform for the brilliant mind of the Pasarbella, Mr Clovis Lim. Clovis was featured on several publications about the concept and creation of Pasarbella. He is truly a young entrepreneur who dares to take an idea and push it into realization.

Performing to Clovis Lim and friends

Performing to Clovis Lim and friends

Very much like the conception of Meta Illusions’ Street Theatre show (which was inspired by street shows in America and Europe, not seen in Singapore), Pasarbella was conceived from other global markets. And prior to Pasarbella, there weren’t any “farmers’ market” in Singapore. I take my hat off to Clovis and team in being brave and bringing this first-of-its-kind idea into life in Singapore.

Pasarbella Singapore

I did several Street Theatre shows during the launch on each day. Given the wideness of the place, I alternated my shows between both ends of the market to maximize visibility and engagement of the public.

sIMG_5686

There were a lot more children in the audience in the West side of the market because of Party Blaster’s bouncy castle but it did not affect the show as it was specially designed to engage children and adults, without having to be too kiddish nor clownish. This is the strength of a well designed show that aims to provide fun and magic, instead of aiming to “cater to kids” or “cater to adults”.

Audience participation and anticipation :)

Audience participation and anticipation :)

All in all, it was a super fun experience performing at Pasarbella and reliving the sights and sounds of a farmer’s market. I am really glad that I was able to add buzz, colour and energy to the event making it fun for children, adults and families in general.

Signing off,

Alexander Yuen

Magical Weddings

In February, Jonathan and myself were invited to perform at a friend’s daughter’s wedding. The groom is French and the bride is local. So as you can imagine, it was not a traditional Chinese wedding. While it was not the traditional Chinese wedding in the purest sense, the couple had some really nice touch in the wedding that would appeal to the more traditional wedding attendee. They had a jazz band as well as course meal.

And of course, they have magicians to perform walk around magic added a fun and quirky touch to it!

There were guests that flown from Europe to attend the wedding. Being accustomed to performing for an international audience, Jonathan and myself were attuned to the subtle cultural nuances.

Jonathan, bantering and engaging the crowd with his personality

Jonathan, bantering and engaging the crowd with his personality

Subtle differences exist between cultures and thankfully for Jonathan and myself, having been exposed to diverse cultures in our performances help us in our interaction with them. Furthermore, being former students in National University of Singapore and traveled to the United States for a couple of semesters, we both have our fair share cultural immersion.

Alexander performing to the bride and groom's family

Alexander performing to the bride and groom’s family

Jonathan did a special effect for the wedding couple in which he embedded our well wishes to them in a card trick.

Embedded messages in the card trick

Embedded messages in the card trick

This is a similar one which he did for M for Magic 2 (click to watch!):

Personalized messages on a deck of card

Personalized messages on a deck of card

And as always, it brings us great joy to be a part of a couple’s union. : )

On a side note:

We have had a large amount of request for a fun, quirky and magical way to make the wedding couple appear on stage. And we are very pleased to officially announce that we have devised a way to do that without much rehearsals and training for the couple! Check out one of the ways in which we can make you appear on stage for your wedding! (Click on the picture to view the video!)

Our Illusion in which we made a model appear for a golf event

Our illusion in which we made a model appear for a golf event.

For further information, contact us today!

Signing off,

Alexander Yuen ; )

 

Interactive Stage Magic Show

“Dear Alex,

Thank you for your wonderful performance at the UTown Residence Welcome Party Night. Everybody is amazed and captivated by your magic tricks! We would definitely recommend your service to others!”

Wei Yung
Organizing Committee for NUS Residence Welcome Ceremony 2013

When the school semester in NUS started in January, I was invited to perform for a welcome ceremony that consisted mainly of foreign students from across the world coming to Singapore to further their university education.

SG magic shows

Interacting on stage with an audience

Consistent with how I approach all my performance, I focus more on the central content of my show than peripheral factors. What this means is that I do my best not to use dress in flashy and colourful outfit that would immediately identify me as a stereotypical entertainer.I use my words and magic to captivate and entrance the audience. While dressing up in colourful outfits may catch the attention of a general crowd, to an intelligent and educated crowd, it serves more as a warning for a cheesy performance to come.

Kids magician

The organizers enjoyed the interaction that I had with the audience members. They found it refreshing that my performance was engaging and involved the audiences. I have been told that they would prefer a magician that addresses and interacts with the crowd than one that simply turns up a 20 minutes music track and does his/her feats of magic on stage without even acknowledging the audience members.

sg magicians

Performing along side with an exchange student

Being accustom to performing for an internationally diversity crowd, both the audience members and I enjoyed the session very much. I even manage to chat with some of the foreign students after the show and sharing with them some of my research plans I am undertaking in my Master’s degree.

So if you find our brand of magic to be suitable for your event or corporate function, check us out here! You can be sure that our sleek brand of performance will not embarrass you in front of your important and high profile clients. ; )

 

Signing off,

Alexander Yuen

Customized Magic for Kiehl’s

“Dear Alex,

“Thanks for the great job done Alexander.
We’ve worked with him for 3 different occasions and settings and all of the performances were well-received with the guests delighted. He’s definitely exceeded my expectations. Alexander is not only creative, most importantly he’s flexible, accommodating and very professional. It was a pleasure working with him. I highly recommend his services!”

Appreciate your help!

Regards,
Nicolette
Kiehl’s Senior Product Manager

Performing to the public

Performing for Kiehl’s with their trademark Mr Bones!

Earlier in December, I was in discussion with Kiehl’s Singapore to launch one of their all time favourite product, Midnight Recovery Concentrate.

After several meetings and getting an idea of how they want their brand to be showcased (and not to mention reading 2 full product briefs), I worked on several concepts for their consideration. Being trained in persuasion while I was studying psychology in NUS helped a lot in terms of scripting and message tailoring. I knew what kind of audience I would be dealing with and what is the best way to get to them.

There were 3 showcases for Kiehl’s and each had a different type of audience. There was the PR visits, which consist of editors from Singapore Press Holdings, there was another event which consist of bloggers and finally, a mini road show for the public. I knew intuitively that the first 2 audience type had more motivation to listen what I had to present to them while the public did not have the time nor the expertise for slightly technical knowledge. And as you would have expected, I choose to script and routine my acts differently.

For the editors and bloggers, I was able to divulge into more technical knowledge about the product (as I have learnt from reading the product briefs) while infusing them with magic. In contrast for the public, I had to engage them with more generic magic first to gain their attention before going into a condensed pitch of the product.

Below are some pictures I managed to obtained for the public showcase at Kiehl’s in Robinson!

Getting ready for the public showcase

Getting ready for the public showcase

In such a showcase, it is important to bear in mind that the objective of the client is to get a crowd for brand awareness as well as showcase their products. I was very happy to learn that for the days that I did the showcase, the number of people who signed up to be on Kiehl’s mailing list were about 5 times more! These are objective measures to how well the presenter did his job.

Making Magic with the Midnight Recovery Concentrate!

Making Magic with the Midnight Recovery Concentrate!

At several occasions, the crowd got too big that the security had to come in to move the crowd. This is something that I am secretly quite proud of :p

I think there are a lot of unawareness about how a magician can customize magic for your brand. The truth is that product launches and customizations need to also incorporate key messages and ideas into the magic. While brand exposure is definitely a facet of customization, it is not the only tool a professional can use. Customization is not as simple as “placing a company logo on the poker cards” and then performing generic “pick-a-card-and-I-find-it” tricks. In the Singapore scene, very few have such abilities to conceptualize ideas into magic, hence they are only equipped with superficial means of customization such sticking logos on their playing cards or wearing your company’s colours to perform.

It takes a lot more than conjuring skills to customize magic. Skills like script writing and message tailoring adds on to the persuasiveness of your pitch. Your audience will not only remember great magic, but great product presented in an extremely creative manner!

Check out our customization services here!

 

Signing off,

Alexander Yuen ; P

 

 

Customized Product Launch by Magic!

Last December, the team at Meta Illusions were engaged by to present Adidas: TaylorMade’s latest golf iron, RocketBladez.

TaylorMade Golf Iron

Picture: TaylorMade Golf Singapore Facebook

We worked very closely with the marketing team as well as the event producer to come up with the best way to present the launch.

The marketing team for TaylorMade had very clear objectives for this launch, they wanted the attention of the golfers and media personnel to be captured with flashy magic, and the appearance of the golf club was to be at the end where it would end with a bang. The nature of this launch was slightly different from the other customization projects that we were involved with because it was not necessary for us to incorporate the key features of their product in the magic.The rationale was for us not incorporating the key features was that we felt it would be better for their guest to experience it for themselves as there is a hands on demonstration thereafter.

After presenting several proposals and creating different prototypes for the launch, the client decided that the illusion in which we make the model appear with the iron was the best.

Subsequently, we worked on a magic manipulation opening segment so that the appearance illusion could be brought into the performance in a cogent manner. The end result was an energetic manipulation magic act with music ending with a magic appearance of a model showcasing their new RocketBladez iron.

Model appeared by magic!

Model appeared by magic! Picture: TaylorMade Golf Singapore Facebook

Needless to say, the client and the audiences were very happy and amazed with the end result! There were media and reporters who covered the story and news of the latest RocketBladez by TaylorMade. There were several celebrities and top Singapore golfers in the event too!

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Picture: TaylorMade Golf Singapore Facebook

Customization of an act like such does require a lot of time and expertise on magic, but the end result is certainly worth the effort and time. If you have a product that you would like to launch or showcase in a unique fashion, feel free to drop us a call or an email. We would be more than happy to discuss the possibilities of enhancing your product so that it captures the attention of your audiences in a unique and magical way!

 

 

Magic Show for Shopping Malls

In the month of August, I was engaged to perform for Central at Clarke Quay. Initially, the organizers wanted me to perform Interactive Close Up Magic in which I would walk along the stretch of Singapore River, on the side of Central to perform my magic.

However, after further discussions and understanding why they chose magic instead of other entertainment, I proposed Street Theatre. Their objective was to add buzz and color to Central. In addition to the stalls and music, they wanted a magician to entertain, bring laughter and amazement to the crowd. Understanding this, I pushed for Street Theatre as it would fulfill their objectives more precisely making it a right match of entertainment with setting.

The organizers were initially slightly reluctant as they were new to the concept of a Street Theatre show, but they decided to give it a try on day 1. It was a success!

Day 1: Street Theatre at Central

The organizers were extremely pleased and surprised that I could draw such a large crowd for them! Without a doubt, they were very impressed by the insights I shared and the unconventional proposition to their original proposal.

Finale for Day 1

After the first day, the organizers were sure that this was what they wanted. And we carried on for the rest of the month.

Despite the strong positive feedback, I thought about the organizer’s initial objectives and thereafter, I made adjustments to the setting so that I could:

1) Capture a larger crowd.

2) Do a a bigger show.

3) Add more buzz to the event.

I realized that all I needed to do was to perform facing Central, and let the audience members sit on the steps. This allowed more people to be able to watch the performance and it allowed for more interaction between the performer and the audiences as I am now able to see all their faces and make eye contact with them.

Street Theatre

With a larger crowd, it also becomes harder for a performer to retain and engage every member of the audience. This is especially true in the street setting as the audience members have no obligation to stay and watch the performer (in contrast to a Dinner and Dance function or a paid ticketed performance), it takes a lot of confidence and charisma to draw and retain such a large crowd. In fact, I had fellow magicians coming up to me asking in disbelief,  ”How is it possible for you to retain such crowd without the use of music, staging, lighting and big fancy props?!”

The answer is simple, the show is designed to flow and maximize engagement, the interaction and by-play that are embedded in the show so that it makes each member of the audience feel like they are a part of a unique performance. That is why they do not leave as they are having so much fun in this “play” that I started and they too want to be a part of its ending. This is not an easy task, it took me years to get to this point and till today, I am still constantly improving the act.

The view from the top!

At the end of each performance, I have made many friends who came up to me, shook my hand and took a picture with me, telling me that this is a totally different show from what they have ever seen.

Performing at Central was definitely not an easy task, however, it is very fulfilling to perform for a dispersed crowd and turning them into an audience who would respond to you in unison, creating that buzz and colour to the shopping mall. I personally think that you can add so much more vibrancy and value to a place and event by making sure that the right entertainment fits the right setting, and not relying on the “easy” or “conventional” approach.
That’s all from me! Maybe I will see you as an audience of Street Theatre soon!

 

Signing off,

Alexander