A couple of months ago, I was engaged as a consultant to design and perform an illusion sequence to launch a book. One of the criterias of this sequence was that it had to be thematically related to the book. The book was titled SOAR, which collated success stories of entrepreneurs. They specifically wanted a sequence that would symbolize the taking flight and soaring above and higher than the rest.

After spending about 2 day in thinking and conceptualizing the possible magical effects pertaining to the idea of soaring, I finally decided to do a sequence where an origami bird would mysteriously take flight on its own symbolizing the rising above the rest.

This was the easiest part of the content development. The hardest part was to design an illusion that would launch the book in a flashy and yet magical manner. The illusion also had to be simple enough so that a VIP can activate it if required. Another challenge that I faced was that the book was printed in soft bound, it was not easy to manipulate the book via sleight of hand. The dimensions of the book made it extremely difficult to conceal it in a convincing fashion. Hence, I needed to build an illusion that would hold the book in place. 

I first referenced my library of magic illusion books. I compiled several ideas that seems workable and does not require intensive building. This was crucial given that the booking was only confirmed 2 months in advance (compared to my SOP of 3 months for customized projects), I did not have the luxury of time to build something overly complicated. While most of these ideas seem to work (in a magic sense), some were stronger than the others. For example, I deliberated between making the book appear by covering a lid over a box versus this current method. I chose the latter because there was an economy of movement in my choreography and the design of the illusion allowed me to activate it easily without looking fumbling. 

I sent my design to be fabricated and I was very pleased with its outcome. The frame looks elegant and posh. It looks like a frame that would house an exquisite centerpiece in a prestigious venue. I was pleasantly surprised that the Chief Operations Officer wanted me to leave the book inside the frame to use it as picture taking centerpiece.

You can check out more pictures of the event here!

So finally, after researching, designing and fabricating the apparatus, the rest was simple: Rehearsals. I spent at least 10 hours on rehearsals alone for this performance. The surprising thing about the performance was that, it only took 1 minute and 30 seconds. All that work for that 1 minute? Yes, that was the amount of work I had to put in for this. Simply because for launches, there is ZERO room for error. I only get one shot at the launch. 

Here is the end result, in video (Spoiler alert, the book appears at the end):

At least 150 hours of work put into this in one video :)

Have a book to launch? Or a product to be launched in a creative fashion? Let me design something unique and visually appealing for you! Drop me a text below and I would love to discuss with you further!

Signing off,

Alexander Yuen

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