Daring magicians to save the world,
one trick, one routine and
one show at a time.
The Enviromagic Challenge is a contest about changing the world.
Welcome to the Enviromagic Challenge! I am offering up prizes of $500, $300 and $200 as enticement for magicians to develop and submit routines using magic to entertain as well as educate, inspire and empower with environmental messages. How will it be judged? Three categories of each submission will be considered by judges:
Judges will consider quality of performance. Technical “knuckle busting” skill, “fooling the judges” and original technique are not considered to be of greater value than common methods. Magic will comprise 25% of the scoring.
The theatrical quality of the submission will be considered: delivery, character, costume, script, blocking. The quality of recording and its lighting and setting are of concern only as they allow for review of the routine in the submitted video. Theater will comprise 25% of the scoring.
The accuracy and effectiveness of the message, whether spoken or implied, will be considered as 50% of the overall scoring. But, then again, good Magic and good Theater are needed to deliver a good Message.
Magic Balance/Global Balance
The ideal submission will weave together magic, theater and message in such a way as viewers are entertained, educated, moved and empowered. Too much message and the routine becomes a lecture. Not enough message and the environment is merely top dressing. We hope you will create your own, unique balance of all three!
(Left: Steve Trash has been performing environmental magic for four decades. We are delighted to have him as one of our judges)
Nuts & Bolts: How does it work
The Enviromagic Challenge:
Inspiring Magicians to Save the World
Magicians are invited to submit a video of a routine 3 – 5 minutes in length which carries an environmental theme or message. A team of judges will review videos and award prizes of $500, $300 and $200 to the top three performances. All in the top ten will receive a limited edition hand-carved Green Wand from Orchard Works wands. All winners will be publicly acknowledged and receive generous bragging rights.
“By its ability to capture the imagination, magic can change the world.” The Enviromagic Challenge seeks to tap the tremendous creativity and ingenuity of magicians to reach the public with messages on important environmental issues. The emotion, wonder and empowerment which can be created through the performance of magic are incredible tools in granting agency to persons around the globe in the face of increasing environmental concerns. Magicians do the impossible. They can show others how they can do so as well.
How to Submit
Magicians may upload a video of their performance to Vimeo. Add the hashtag “#enviromagicchallenge2023” and email email@example.com to ensure that the submission is logged by event organizer, CJ May, and reviewed. We request that performers make their submission(s) public to further the goal of promoting enviromagic, but they may keep them unlisted if they wish at time of submission. All of the final, top 10 submissions must be shared publicly, however, when announcement is made. Be sure to share the URL with CJ if you keep your video Unlisted at time of submission.
What Effects and Routines May Be Submitted?
Effects and routines do not have to be entirely original. Existing effects may be repurposed, for example with unique scripting, to become environmental routines. The restoration of a newspaper from scraps of paper, for example, has been used by many magicians to demonstrate the power of recycling to turn old into new. The performer must have legitimate right to perform the effect by its either existing in the public domain, having been purchased by the performer, having been taught the effect by a permitted mentor or being of the performer’s own devising. The performer and/or creator(s) retains all rights.
Review: all submissions will first be reviewed by CJ May and a few additional advisors. The top ten will be referred to judges Jeff McBride, Larry Hass, Steve Trash, Megan Swann, and Jason Goldberg. These judges will vote on which of the ten will receive First-Place, Second-Place and Third-Place awards.
The submissions will be evaluated in terms of 1) magic, 2) theater, and 3) message.
- May 2023 – announcement of challenge
- October 1, 2023, noon (Eastern US) – last date for submission
- December 1, 2023 – announcement of top ten and top three.
- December 10, 2023 – Wands will be mailed to the top 10 finalists. Payment of cash will be made by Venmo, Paypal, or check. If proximity allows, efforts to make presentations in-person will be made and participation by successful finalists appreciated.
The 10 successful finalists must agree to have their names, still photos of them performing, and the submitted videos included in announcements and promotion for the Enviromagic Challenge at the end of the contest. The submitted video need not be made public at the time of submission, however.
A Call to Wands
May the Enviromagic Challenge spur on creativity by all magicians, whether or not they submit a routine to the contest, to consider using their powers of prestidigitation for public education on sustainability. Surveys have shown that the majority of Americans are concerned about the environment but feel it is impossible to make a difference. Magicians are expert in the impossible. As workers of wonder we can help our fellow residents of planet Earth understand how powerful we all are even in the face of seemingly impossible challenges.
Please direction questions to….
All submissions will be reviewed by CJ May and assorted non-magicians in assistance. They will select the top ten which will be reviewed by the following six judges.
Master Magician, founder of McBride’s Magic & Mystery School, Magician of the Year (Magic Castle, SAM), Guinness World Record Holder, and recipient of innumerable other awards from the magic community
Dean of McBride’s Magic & Mystery School, international performer, award-winning teacher and author, a pre-eminent philosopher of magic
arguably the world’s longest performing and pre-eminent enviromagician, magic television producer and star
enviromagician, wildlife scholar, first woman and youngest president of The Magic Circle
enviromagician who performs at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, biologist, and Associate Editor of The Linking Ring
Cyril "CJ" May
enviromagician, sustainability professional working in recycling and sustainable materials management
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Is “magical” skill, such as manipulation, considered?
A: Routines with “knuckle busting” moves will be considered equally with simpler and even self-working magic. The effect of the magic performed on the audience, by whatever means, will be considered.
Q: Do methods have to be disclosed?
A: No. Magicians need not reveal methods of effects in submitted, finalist or winning routines.
Q: Are “camera tricks” allowed?
A: No. All routines must be performable live either in-person and/or in video/on-line.
Q: How will judges rank submissions in terms of the “effectiveness” of their environmental message? How can they possibly tell?
A: Judges will review routines with an eye to how well the message is conveyed by magic, script/theater and overall performance in a way that will create better understanding and inspire action.
I will be happy to answer questions to aid you in your quest.
128 Nicoll Street
New Haven, CT 06511