|Photo Credit: Anna Holling|
D: What is it you do online as a creator?
S: I’m a magician and street performer. So my channel involves me performing magic directly to the camera, to other YouTubers, and to people on the street. I also vlog my life as a street performer.
D: You’ve answered this partly already, but what about the man behind the videos?
S: The man behind the videos. That sounds so mysterious. Well I’m a normal-ish bloke. I like throwing the odd house party and playing everyone’s favourite party game, mafia.
Other than that I spend most of my time either working on magic or performing it.
Oh yeah, and Netflix. Gotta love Netflix.
D:Magicians require a degree of mystery of course!
D: What was it that got you to start creating YouTube videos?
S: I came across Philip Defranco in around 07/08 and subscribed. Through him I then stumbled across Charlie McDonnell. I was immediately hooked and wanted to start vlogging. So I started uploading vlogs for a bit.
I think part of the appeal for me was, I’d got all this attention from doing magic, which was great, but kind of leaves you feeling that people like you because of what you do, not because of who you are. So I wanted to upload vlogs to see if I could be entertaining without magic.
I stopped vlogging a while later when some school kids found my videos.
A while later I started a new channel doing magic. The idea was to upload one new video every month. We did the first one, and then 10 months later did the second. So that was a bit of a fail.
Fast forward to University, and I decided that if I was really going to take this YouTube thing seriously, I should set it as a module in my degree. So it became my ‘creating performance’ module, and that’s what really kicked me into gear uploading regularly.
D: Philip Defranco was my gateway into YouTube also!
S: He’s such a boss. I still watch him every day.
D: It’s great that you could incorporate it into your degree, what did you study?
S: Yeah that was the best thing about my degree, it was in ‘Performance For Live And Recorded Media’ and they challenged us to go with whatever type of performance we wanted to pursue.
As long as we were creating good performances, they didn’t mind what the medium was.
D: That’s a very cool degree!
S: It’s a cool degree until you realise the acronym is literally ‘PLaRM’ and then it sounds a big crap.
D: Did you go into that with a thought of doing anything along the lines of what you’re doing now, or did this all just happen along the way?
S: I went into it because I didn’t feel I was ready to be a magician full time. I’m from the countryside, so I would have had to move to a city to pursue magic gigs and that all felt a bit daunting. I figured getting some more skills at Uni first would be handy.
I always wanted to get back into YouTube, when the Creating Performance module came up it gave me the perfect chance.
|Photo Credit: Anna Holling|
D: What challenges have you found with making videos?
S: Where to begin! Well you can make a living as a magician doing around 12 tricks. Because you get new audiences every time you perform, you only really need 12 really awesome tricks to do well. But for YouTube, you need to perform new magic every video!
So one of the big challenges is just learning and creating a LOT of magic. But it’s a fun challenge and I’m a better magician for it.
The other major challenge for me is making my content fit the algorithm. I could spend weeks working on one magic trick that’s only a minute long when filmed. The algorithm ain’t gonna like that. So it’s about finding a way to both please the algorithm, my audience, and myself! Tough balance.
D: I never considered the amount of tricks you’d need!
That definitely seems like a tough balance to find, it seems like you’re doing it well though!
On the other hand, what parts of YouTube do you love the most?
S: I love the community, the majority of friends I have in London are YouTubers.
In terms of the platform itself, it just seems so much more ‘real’ than TV and I think that’s what drew me to it.
I think the most satisfying moments about creating content are when people say things like ‘I got into magic because of you’. That makes me feel so good. I’m so passionate about magic it’s great that other people are taking it up because of me!
D: Amazing that you’ve inspired a generation of Houdinis!
What’s your favourite trick in your repertoire?
S: That’s a tough question. I really enjoy metal bending because it’s a challenge. People just hand me forks and ask me to bend them without touching them. That’s hard enough as it is, but some of the forks can be VERY tough. So there’s always this pressure for me to do it, it’s a nice challenge.
D: The pressure of being asked to perform on command!! That’s tough!
Have you got a favourite memory in your magic/YouTube careers?
S: Summer in the City 2015 was prettttttty incredible! I genuinely didn’t expect anyone to have seen my videos so it was a really nice surprise to have so many people come up and say Hi!
Ah there’s been so many great moments it’s so difficult to answer.
I shot a video with Dodie once where we baked cakes and it was a bit of a disaster (I didn’t own baking equipment). That’s one of my fave memories.
And magic wise I think the most excited I’ve ever been was when I got the call to say I was going to be on an ITV show when I was a kid
D: Those are some great ones, I think we briefly spoke at SITC 2015, or maybe 14? I can’t remember, I haven’t been in a while!
S: Yeah the SITC’s blur together a bit don’t they! I remember we spoke but which SITC I have no idea haha.
D: Have you got any current long term goals or future plans with regards to what you’ve been up to?
S: Yeah I do! I’ve recently decided to upload a lot more and do more vloggy stuff as well as the magic. I’ve hit this point where I just really want to have fun with YouTube and not worry so much about views and subs and all that.
So the long term goal is to hit two uploads per week and also put on some kind of show in London. If I can get those things done by the end of the year it will have been a good year!
D: Best of luck with them! I’ll make sure to come along to any show you put on here
S: Thanks! That’s one ticket sold!
D: Just got a couple more questions now! What people have been influences upon you and your content, be that what you make or the process, etc?
S: So many people have influenced what I make. In the magic world, Cyril Takayama, Derren Brown and David Blaine have influenced me a lot.
Outside of that, Will Smith is a big inspiration to me. I know it’s strange but I often think ‘If Will Smith were a magician what would he do?’
And on YouTube there’s too many to list but right now I’m really enjoying Sara Deitschy’s content. Although I most definitely just spelled her name wrong.
D: I love that mantra, get one of those WWJD bracelets but with WWWSD.
D: What’s your Hogwarts House?
D: Thank god!! Barely any of the YouTubers/bloggers I’ve spoken to have been Gryffindor, I’ve felt all alone!
S: Gryffindor all the way man!
D: Have you got a favourite film of all time?
S: Yeah, The Social Network!
D: If you can choose, favourite music artist/band/whatever?
S: The intro bit in ‘Starry Eyed’ by Ellie Goulding were it goes ‘a a a’. It’s hard to describe over text.
D: I know EXACTLY what you mean!!
A massive thank you to Steven for joining us today. You can check out his YouTube channel here for some mind blowing tricks, follow him on Twitter and Instagram and check out his website here.
Londoners, you can find Steven performing in Leicester Square often.
You can catch up on every single interview here.