How did you get started in magic?
I received a magic set for Christmas when I was 8 years old. After I got into it, I never stopped. I was fortunate to live near a magic shop growing up. So I would ride my bicycle to the shop and hang out with other magicians and learn. The rest is history
How did you do that?
How did you learn how to do this stuff?
I learned from reading books and from other magicians and mentalists. I have a whole library of books that cover magic, mentalism, psychology, theater, NLP, hypnosis, interrogation techniques, body language reading, sociology, bio chemistry, and more. The real lesson, however, came from performing on a regular basis. There’s no better way to learn than by doing it.
How did you get into mentalism?
I was performing as a professional magician during my first year in college. I took a psychology course as part of the curriculum and got interested in the “science of the mind.” I began studying ways to use psychology in my magic show and thus became a mentalist.
How old were you when you first got paid?
My first paying show happened when I was 15 years old.
Did you ever have a real job?
Magic has been the only job I’ve ever had. I almost worked for a bank but I decided to take the risk and become a performer instead.
What’s it like to date you?
You’ll have to date me to find out. I would imagine it’s pretty fun!
What initially sparked your interest in magic? How old were you?
My initial spark of interest was around 8 years old when I received a magic set as a gift from my mom. After I was bitten by the magic bug, I could stop. From there I was hooked and couldn’t resist the urge to dabble in the mysterious. After that, I frequented the Mingus Magic Shop in my home town of Reading, Pa while studied psychology in college. That’s when I got interested in mentalism. I later combined the two in order to create the performances I have today.
Can you turn off your mind reading skills or do you always know what people are thinking?
There are a few levels of mind reading. The first level I can never turn off. It’s the same thing that all of us have. The unconscious ability to look at someone and have a feeling about what’s going through their mind. Did you ever look at a friend and “just know” that something is wrong? I have that area of my brain turned on 24/7. The ability to know specific thoughts from a person’s mind is something that I can turn off and on. Both myself and the person I’m reading have to be willing participants and ready to engage in the experiment. So no, I don’t hear voices all the time.
Are you the best wing-man in the world?
What am I thinking right now?
You’re thinking that you want me to tell you what you’re thinking.
Were you ever on TV?
Yeah, a few times. I appeared on NBC’s “Phenomenon”, The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Glenn Beck Show, The Howard Stern Show, “The A-List” on Animal Planet, and a few more.
Did you use magic and mind-reading to your advantage in school as a young kid, perhaps reading the teacher’s mind?
How do you think I graduated? Other than reading my teacher’s mind, I’ve used my skills to get out of speeding tickets, get free first-class upgrades on flights, getting girl’s phone numbers, amongst other things. Studying the workings of the human mind definitely has it’s advantages in life. If you were a mind reader, wouldn’t you do the same?
Where do you live?
In hotels. But my ID says I live in Hollywood, Ca
What can I expect if I go to one of your shows?
From the moment you walk into the theater you become part of the show. My performances are highly interactive from the beginning of the show and it doesn’t stop until you walk outside. Even after you leave, you’ll take something with you. It’s impossible for me to perform my show without an audience because I need minds to read. In the actual performance there are demonstrations of seemingly supernatural abilities, comedy, danger, and a few serious life-changing moments of reflection. I like to hit all the emotions I can during a show. You’ll see visual illusions and experience “fun-but-weird” displays of mentalism. The bottom line is: You will leave thoroughly entertained.
How did you get into motivational speaking?
Over the past 15 years I’ve realized that I’ve been able to beat the odds and create a life that is straight out of a movie. I started to reflect on the fact that I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania with little to no money and have now started to tour the world, own my own company, and created amazing success. With that in mind I analyzed how I did it. After reviewing my whole life, I created a four-step process that I now teach to my audiences. I did my first speech for over 1,000 people at a business conference and received a standing ovation. I knew then that I had the opportunity to change the world one presentation at a time.
Did you ever think about writing a book?
I just recently published my first book “Mind Candy.” The book is the written version of my motivational speech “The Power and Potential of The Human Mind.” It’s currently available at amazon.com under my pen name “Wayne Nicholas Hoffman” Go check it out and buy one! I guarantee it will change your life!
Give us a peek into your creative process. How do you come up with new ideas?
Most of the best ideas come from my audience. I always like to do a meet-and-greet after every one of my shows because it gives me a chance to get real feedback from the people who are buying tickets to my shows. Most of the time I’ll get a comment from an audience member that goes something like “Hey, you know what would be cool? If you could…….” Those suggestions often turn into some of my greatest routines. The hardest part is reverse-engineering their idea and figuring out a way to turn it into reality. Otherwise, I try to think of things that are absolutely impossible that I can surround with a good story. The real work begins when I have to implement what I affectionately call “the science of the mind” into the routine. Things such as biochemistry, neuro-linguistic programming, hypnosis, misdirection, etc. The creative process is much more organic. Most of the routines I create and perform stem from some type of primal human experience: fear, love, life & death, etc.
You’ve been on NBC’s hit TV show Phenomenon, The Howard Stern Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, among many others. Do you have a behind-the-scenes story about being on any of these shows?
Each one of the TV shows that I’ve appeared on had it’s interesting behind-the-scenes moments. When I was on “Phenomenon” I had the interesting experience of actually competing against a girl I dated prior the show airing. It made for an interesting few months. When I was in the green room waiting to go on air with Ellen Degeneres I received a gift basket from her that had official Ellen boxer-briefs in it. I wasn’t sure if I should put them on before the show or not. However I just noticed that I am wearing them right now! Next time I go back I’m going to have to give her a Wayne Hoffman thong. I also got a chance to fly the owner of my local magic shop, Wayne Shifflett, to the taping of the show. He is a fan of Ellen and it was a thrill for both of us to be there. Being on Howard Stern was an interesting experience for many reasons. It was really a lot of fun. The only thing I didn’t like was, prior to me coming on air, they said I claimed to be better than some of the great magicians of our time. I never said that at any time and when asked, I very clearly stated “No, I let my audience decide.” However, I give the crew credit for trying to stir up controversy and creating awesome theater of the mind. Howard was a great guy off the air and seemed like a genuine guy. When I was on The Glenn Beck Show I found out that he wanted to be a magician when he was a kid. That definitely surprised me. Over all, every time I’m on television I have a great time. I’m currently working on my own TV show and hope to have even more behind-the-scenes stories!
I could imagine the CEO of a Fortune 500 company offering you a lot of money to attend an important meeting to read the minds of his competitors so he could gain inside information. On that note, what is the strangest request you’ve ever received for money?
I get requests from people all over the world asking to do wild stuff like, go to the casino with them and count cards for them, predict which stocks to buy, predict the lottery numbers, go to the race track and read the horse’s minds, etc. Those are usually from overzealous fans who want to make fast money. I have worked for many corporations who have had me work at their trade shows to lure potential clients to their booth or they have had me present my motivational speech “The Power and Potential of the Human Mind.” However, I’ve never been asked to do anything underhanded by any of them. The most interesting request I ever received was from a US anti-terrorist task force that asked me to work for them. I can’t say much about the request, however you can note that I did respectfully decline the offer. I’m an entertainer, not a secret government agent.
If you could perform for anyone in history, who would you perform for and what trick would you do?
I would have to say Michael Jackson. I was always a fan of his growing up and I know he was a HUGE fan of magic. I became friends with Uri Geller who was also friend’s with Michael. Just before Michael passed I was going to ask Uri if he could introduce me to him, but I waited too long. One life lesson I learned from that was to never procrastinate. You never know when your opportunity will slip through your fingers forever. I’m not sure what I would have performed for him, but I know I would have read his mind for sure. If I had to choose a living person, I would go for Snoop Dogg because I just found out I moved right next door to him and I’m now his neighbor. I would read his mind fo shizzle. After them I would choose the obvious choices, Houdini, Ghandi, the Dali Lama, JFK, etc.
For the young kids out there who have seen your shows and decided they want to be like you when they grow up, what advice do you have for them?
I would tell them to follow their heart and do whatever they want to do in life. If you do a job that you enjoy, you will never work a day in your life. Many people will try to stop you from pursuing your dream. Although it’s sometimes difficult, you have to keep following your heart. If you can fight through the negativity of others, you will lead a very happy and fulfilling life. All you have to do is: Feel. Define. Plan. Do. Those four steps will take you very far. If anyone is considering becoming an entertainer who travels the world, I would warn them that you have to schedule time for family and friends. Work can sometimes take over your life, but you have to think of what’s truly important.
How can I learn how to do magic and read minds?
I would recommend finding a magic shop somewhere in your city. That’s where you can really get a hand-on education in the mystical arts. If you don’t have a magic shop near your house there are tons of online magic shops that can provide you with videos and books on the subjects. Another good way to learn is to go to your local bookstore or library and find some books on it.
What is your book about?
The book is a motivational book that teaches people a method to achieve any goal they have. It is a step by step process to achieve ANYTHING. If you want to walk on the moon, I show you how you can do it. If you want to start your own business, I show you how you can do it. The system I teach in the book implements common sense business tactics, as well as positive thinking to supercharge anyone’s life.
Do you have any new projects coming up?
I’m currently producing a clothing line under the same name as my show and book: “Mind Candy.” I’m also currently in pre-production of two television shows that are going to blow the minds of my fans and soon-to-be fans. One of my other projects is continuing to raise awareness for my entertainment company “Hoffman Entertainment” (www.ilovehoffman.com) I’m giving entertainers a chance to book shows while giving my corporate clients a chance to hire top-notch entertainment. I’m also setting up a charity called “The Hoffman Foundation.” Our goal is to help children from lower-income families experience live theater. I was raised by a single mother who struggled to pay bills and I never had a chance to see a live play or musical growing up. I think kids need to have that experience, regardless of their ability to afford it. It can open their minds to true magic.