By La'Trish Mack
It was fascinating to sit down and finally interview 28 year old, Brandon Gerald, also known as Presto. Gerald moved to Orlando, Florida, after graduating from East Carolina University with a degree in Communication and major in Media Production. When making this move he felt like it would set him up for many opportunities but found that it was still difficult finding a job using his degree. One day he was job searching and came across an open position that he didn’t necessarily feel he would get. There was a position open at Universal Studios’, Theater Magic, and they needed a magician.
Gerald had no clue that seeing this job opening would change the course of his entire life. “I was into magic as a kid doing card tricks, and became more involved when I was in high school, but when I went to college I put the magic on the back burner to focus on school,” he said. Gerald decided to apply for the job even though he doubted he would get it. After submitting his application the supervisor asked to meet him the next day and hired him on the spot; he begin training a week later.
Working at Theater Magic helped to strengthen Gerald’s communication skills, “I performed thousands of shows for people of all nationalities and languages and I didn’t have any experience on stage before this, so I took away some really valuable stuff working at Theater Magic,” said Gerald.
A misconception about magicians is that they have to look a certain way, “Even if I’m not performing a show many people haven’t seen magicians up close before, so I try to make that moment special,” said Gerald. When he is performing his main goal is for the audience to view him as a normal person sharing his magic with them. He wants to be seen as the magician that's relatable and down to earth. When asked where did the name Presto come from he said, “It came from Theater Magic. I performed a trick and a lady shouted Presto, so from then on I started calling myself Presto and that became my stage name. The word presto is almost the equivalent of saying the word abracadabra in a magic theme or setting.”
Theater Magic provided a platform for Gerald to grow his skills and opened up the door for him to land a job at Penguin Magic. Working at Penguin Magic, which is the largest online magic store, keeps Gerald real busy nowadays. Every Tuesday he films a magician’s show and lecture to create a minute long demo and instructional video that’s available with the purchase of a magic product. Who would of thought that the job at Theater Magic would create an opportunity for him to work at another company utilizing the skills he learned in college? Everything worked together for his good. While working at Penguin Magic, Gerald also makes time to create and perform his own magic shows outside of work for events.
Being a magician is not easy, “Some people don’t take being a magician as serious as they should. Some people don’t realize how much skill the magic takes to learn. You have to think about so many things at the same time,” said Gerald. It took Gerald years to learn the rubik’s cube. He also discussed how stage blocking is just as important as the magic tricks being presented to the audience. “Many magicians are art orientated; they take bits and pieces of what people know about reality and turn it upside down for entertainment. It’s a whole new world, there’s more books written on the subject of magic than any other subject,” said Gerald.
The biggest roadblock that Gerald’s faced on his path to success is himself. He’s very hard on himself because that’s the way he was raised to be. When taking more time to think Gerald explained that he didn’t know what he was trying to reach from being as hard on himself. “I’ve learned to not take myself too serious but I’ve never done a show that I’ve felt satisfied about, even though other people always tell me that I do a great job,” he said. He usually feels better when he loosens up, because then there’s less stress when trying to put a show together.
With all the things Gerald has going on in his life, a relationship isn’t one of them. He agreed that a relationship can be a distraction and can be challenging because of his busy and spontaneous work schedule, however he is the type that likes to be in a relationship. “You’re going to be busy a lot if you are a magician, lawyer, etc. This is an important time for me in my late 20’s, it’s either now or never,” said Gerald.
Making other people happy and making other people smile motivates Gerald the most. “I like making other people escape reality. It’s a fantasy world and you can bring other people into that world and it’s fun,” said Gerald. If Gerald could talk to each and every young aspiring entertainer or performer his words of wisdom would be to do your best and just keep trying.
Life is not a fairytale so you may get off the track that you planned for yourself, but don’t worry because sometimes God decides to take us on a different route. The new route leads us to where we desire to be and are ultimately meant to be. Gerald loved doing magic tricks growing up as a child, but he put it to the back of his mind and changed his focus. God knew that was a passion of his, so instead of other doors opening for Gerald, God opened the door that he wanted him to walk through. Trust the process; don’t get discouraged. God will always close the doors that aren’t meant for you to walk through, and you will never be able to miss out on an opportunity that’s yours! I hope this blesses someone.
Love Trish xoxoxxo