We managed to catch up with the very busy but talented man of many hats, Malaysia's own David Lai, mentalist, entrepreneur, magical show producer and also the director of Genting's Superstars of Magic! He shares with us a peek into the exciting world of a magic show producer & director. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you In The Spotlight - David Lai !
TMA : Hi David. Firstly, we would like to congratulate your on successful run as a magical producer cum director especially with the “Superstars Of Magic" shows in Genting Highlands which we now we hear is entering its 3rd installment.
We all know that you started off as a performing mentalist, but here you are, not even into your 30s yet, putting together magic shows with performers ensembles that read like many magic convention's wishlist. How and why did the change come about?
David : Well, it's an interesting story. It all started out in 2009, that's nearly 4 years ago now,when an event organizer I worked with in the middle east wanted to produce a huge magic production. They did not know who to turn to and they put their trust in me. What did I do? I declined the offer because I thought I was not capable and did not have the credibility. It was a decision that could have changed my whole future. To cut the long story short, the company after receiving my letter of declining the offer, upped my fees ( the craziest thing in my life ), persuaded me to direct my first illusion show, and I finally gave in. I was very lucky. VERY .
TMA : Looking back, if you had the chance to do it all over again, would you change anything?
David : No, I wouldn't. I still do enjoy performing, but not as much as directing and producing. It's the adrenaline feeling of your opening night that keeps you going.
TMA : Do you still have aspirations to forge ahead as a performing mentalist? If so, what are your ultimate goals?
David : My goals are simple. No matter who I entertain, I want them to be really entertained! I hate doing a bad show, and in my perspective, there are no bad audiences. In simple terms, my goal, is to continuously perform good shows and keep on improving my show standard.
Poster for the first Superstars of Magic - 2011
TMA : Could you let us know how you came to be involved with the Superstars of Magic?
David : A dinner with a close friend from Genting. An idea struck and believe it or not, Superstars Of Magic came about. That's exactly how it happened.
TMA : You've have worked with well renowned magicians like Kevin James, Viktor Voitko, Michael Finney, Juliana Chen and Danny Cole (which we have interviewed back in 2010). What is it like working with some of the biggest stars and the most creative names in our magic world ?
David : It's a humbling experience . They know so much yet they still respected what I said, and treated me as a director/producer. Humbled. It's like a little boy's dream come true . You look back and you think, "WOW , did this just happen? I've just been using this guy's invention to close my shows, and now I'm his show director !? " Humbled .
TMA : Who was the one would you say you had the most fun working with?
David : Danny Cole. Always.
TMA : Logistically, what was the biggest challenge that you had?
David : Shipping Peter Marvey's props to Kuwait from Qatar by a huge trailer. My craziest challenge so far. It was beyond crazy . Phone bill skyrocketed .
TMA : Could you let us know some of the high points, I’m sure there were many, and some of the low points, I’m sure there must have been a few.
David : My high points are when I see the first night of my show and I see people genuinely like it. It's amazing. The show is one of a kind and seeing it for the first time is simply self satisfying (I've not better way of putting it). Low point ? .......It's when the cast don't get together. I like a cast that bonds . =)
TMA : In some shows you are credited as a producer and director. What is the difference between the roles?
David : Producing from me is when I make all the decisions , from marketing to how much the seats should be sold. Directing in my opinion is simply being in charge of the show itself .
TMA : What are the qualities that one would need if one aspires to be a magical show producer and likewise a magical show director ?
David : Problem solving. You have to be good in solving problems because 1001 problems will come up with a production. It could be a performer missing a flight, to a late laundry delivery before the show. I've experienced almost all.
Superstars of Magic 2 - 2012
TMA : As a magic show producer, how much impact does the budget have on a show other than the obvious costs of hiring performers. Could you care to elaborate?
David : The budget would impact the whole show. Especially LOGISTICS which you can never negotiate down. Performance fees, if the performers are your good friends, know that you have their back, and know that you'll in this for the long run ( which I am ), they'll give a feasible fee. However, for logistics , if the budget is not enough , you just can't bring down what is needed .
TMA : If budget was not an issue, and you could pick your dream list of performers in a show, what would the lineup be?
David : This has been on my mind for a very long time. Let's exclude David Copperfield and make this list realistic. Let's also take out how performer's act off stage and make this list base on the SHOW quality alone.
That would make an excellent show .
TMA : What would you attribute your success to?
David : Not knowing how to give up.
TMA : What can we expect from David Lai in 2013?
David : A few productions middle east, back to full fledged performing after an almost 2 year break, and Superstars Of Magic 3 .
TMA : Thank you. Its been a real pleasure. We wish you all the best and every success.
Links :- www.mindofdavid.com