Mark Waddington

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Mark Waddington

Postby Lady of Mystery » Mar 12th, '12, 18:12

Our next interview is going to be with Talk Magic regular and professional magician, Mark Waddington. So if you've got any questions that you'd like me to ask Mark, pop them in a PM to me before Monday 19th March. I'll then pick some of the best to pass on...

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Lady of Mystery
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Re: Mark Waddington

Postby Lady of Mystery » May 2nd, '12, 21:03

I know that you were once an extra on the Calendar Girls. I wonder if you could tell us anything about that experience, perhaps how you came to be in it and anything that you learned about it.

Wow! There is a blast from the past! If memory serves me, we filmed that in 2002. Back when I was about 12. Basically, I was asked to be in the film because I went to the right school! The production needed to hire a whole school and with myself being one of the students I was asked to be part of it.
We spent a day filming about 6 different scenes, of which 3 made it into the film. I was paid £23 and as much free coffee as I could drink from the production buffet (which, in hindsight at the age of 12 was a BIG mistake) and it was great fun. I learnt that film doesn't just happen. Even the most simple of actions (like walking through the school yard) has to be filmed 10-15 times to get it right.

How old were you when you first developed an interest in magic and what originally perked that interest?

I first discovered magic when I was 4 years old. It was the usual scenario, a magic set and a magician for my birthday party. I always have loved magic and I used to go to a magic shop in Skegness (sadly no longer there) to spend my pocket money on tricks. I started to take my magic a bit more seriously when I went up to secondary school as I found my head of year was a magician who use to work on cruise ships etc. he took me under his wing and taught me how to do magic. I still see him to this day (nearly 7 years after I left school) and now I teach him how to perform close up magic

Who would you say were your greatest influences in magic?

That's a tough one really. I don't really have any influences as such, but there are many magicians I do admire. Off the top of my head, the ones that I really enjoy watching or talking to are Terry Seabrooke (sadly no longer with us), Paul Zenon, Jay Sankey, Mark Mason, Mark James, Andy Green, Jon Allen, Dave Bonsall, Shawn Farqhuar, Paul Daniels and Ali Bongo (sadly no longer with us). It's the real working magicians that inspire and influence me, the ones that are out working at weddings, and functions out in "the trenches". They are the best people to watch and learn from. No mumbo jumbo magic, just workable material and theories.

If you could sit down in a room for an afternoon with one magician, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?

That's another tough one really. I respect a lot of magicians at the moment, and I really respect the working magicians out there. The guys that do what I do, but are further along in their career.
I would really love to session with Shawn Farquhar and Jay Sankey, both because they really understand what works for audiences. They are able to come up with plots which are straight to the point for the audience and aren't too complicating for the audience to follow.

Obviously magic is where you are now but prior to becoming a magician, did you have any other performing experience or training?

Nope. Literally none. I don't come from a show biz family (to be quite honest, the Waddington family is mostly quite introverted) and it was quite hard to gain experience, especially considering that I started as a stage/variety performer. I literally had to work my way up from the bottom. Luckily though, it seems I had a natural talent for it and managed to get a couple of lucky breaks in the industry which introduced me to the right people to help me get to where I wanted to be.

Was it difficult to decide to go full time rather than have a day job to fall back on? What sort of factors helped or hindered the choice?

The decision was made for me to be honest. For those who don't know, I suffer from depression. Back when I was diagnosed with depression I was still at my "real job". I was struggling really hard with it and was put on medication to sort it out. I told my employers what was going on, and I was branded a liar. I lost my rag, and decided the easiest way to deal with my anger would be to throw my desk chair at my manager. I went on sick leave for 5 months, and spent my time on S/L working on a business plan and how to develop my own business.
It was risky. I was leaving a job with a guaranteed £32k per year (which for 20 years of age was ridiculously good) to go self employed with no guarantees. Luckily, 2 years later, it appears to be paying off. It wasn't easy - in fact anyone who thinks it was easy should slap themselves in the face. I've spent days and days and days locked in my office working on various business plans (not getting chance to practice, it all changes when you go full time), but now I'm in a position where I am performing 3 or 4 times a week, and able to pay for my house, car, and extremely expensive girlfriend. (those who know her will know what I mean!)

Out of the routines you do, which is your favourite and which routine would you like to do but don’t yet have?

I do a really good (if I may say so myself) ring flight/ring to envelope inspired by Dave Bonsall. I started off with Dave's basic routine and I have evolved it into my own, and it gets reactions to scream down the house. Also, my Sponge routine is really fun to perform, it's really diverse as a routine, it can play to any age group, and it gets fantastic reacts and works as a fantastic opener. I'm also loving performing the bottle through table effect. It's without doubt the most bold routine I do, but it slays the audience. Im also really loving the one coin routine i have developed and it is working well as a walk around routine - the next step for that however is to turn it into a table routine. There's just a few of my favourites!
As for routines I'm looking forward to doing, I own Flash by Chad Long, I just haven't started using it in my set yet, but I'm really looking forward to using it in the near future.

How would you describe your act and what sort of reactions do you try to achieve?

My act is commercial, it is designed to work with any audience, with any age group, in any situation. I work in a comedy style, with innuendo, but nothing overly cheesy. My goal is simple - I want to get the biggest, loudest reactions I can - the reason being is that the client won't see me all night, but at very least they will hear me. I strive to get standing ovations and use various applause cues and make sure they know it is actually socially acceptable to show they are enjoying something.

Do you ever get hecklers and, if so, how do you deal with them?

I tend not to get hecklers to be honest, but if I do it very simple - I finish my set and move onto another group. Remember, you are the master of your own work, and if you don't want to deal with that person because they are being rude, nasty, heckling etc, then get yourself away from that group and move on. If you stay with the group and aggravate them by getting their backs up, then you simply aren't going to win.

Do you ever get 'nerves/shaky hands' before a show and, if so, how do you deal with that situation?

I think anyone who doesn't get nervous doesn't care about their work as a magician. Nerves are a sign you care about what you are doing. I tend to get apprehensive for a few minutes before I start, and even up until the point the first group have welcomed me in. I don't think there is anything you can do about it really. The more you work, the less it affects you. Just know that when you have finished, you will feel on top of the world knowing you have done a really good job.

Having seen You Tube videos of your ID routine and the fire and ice routine, what else do you do for the grown up audiences?

I do loads, I take classic plots and put a twist on them to make them a but different. Its all material that would work equally as well in a comedy club as it would in a family hotel, or a festival etc. my favourite thing in my stand up show is my banknote routine. It has some real surprise elements and is completely different to a standard "bill in lemon" pr something like that. I also love using a routine using a pint glass and a snooker triangle, inspired by something Paul Zenon does.

What advice would you give anyone looking at stating out in magic?

Get a real job first. Learn as much as you can. Get as many qualifications as you can and don't plan to be a professional magician. Study business in school, learn how the Internet works, learn how to do accounts, learn how to talk to clients on the phone. Practice your magic as much as you can, but don't plan to be a magician. You need to have qualifications at very least at a fall back plan. My magic career could end tomorrow, but I have enough qualifications to get a job with any telecoms company. Speak to as many other magicians as possible, get to know them, and listen to their advice - the chances are if you are only 14 you DONT know everything and if you decide no to listen to people who know better than you, then you are a fool to yourself. When you have all that, then you can be a magician.

Finally, McDonalds, Burger King or KFC?

Without a shadow of a doubt, it has to be Burger King - they do the best chips!

Thank you so much from me and everyone else here for taking the time to answer our questions.

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Re: Mark Waddington

Postby Mandrake » May 3rd, '12, 09:11

Thanks Mark, plenty of things to take on board and think about there!

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Re: Mark Waddington

Postby Lee Smith » May 3rd, '12, 11:21

Good job Mark.

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