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I ask the person what animal he’s thinking of, and he says “cat.” Then I press on the writing and it magically now reads “cat.” I close the trunk, then suddenly open it and out pops a black panther. A lot of what I’m doing is not really what you would call a trick. Todd Robbins came out and worked with us on a few things. For the episode “Superhuman,” I’ve been working out intensely to try and lift the front end of a couple of cars. GENII: That’s not a trick, though—you could actually lift the front end of a car. ANGEL: I leave it up to the viewer to determine what’s what—is it an effect? Is it real? Or is it both? It really does blur the lines. GENII: So, if we have an episode that’s about 22 minutes long, how many effects will we see? ANGEL: You’re looking at the wall behind me, which is filled with hundreds of notes outlining the sequences of all the shows and the things I’m doing. Each episode is completely different. For example, the “Burned Alive” episode— which is scheduled to be the first one broadcast—has nine or 10 effects slated to be in it. Our rough cut is two minutes too long at this point, and it has four effects in it—not even half of what we planned initially. The reality aspect of that episode—the behind-the-scenes stuff with my family—is so engrossing that the episode has less magic. But there’s no rule. Each episode is treated as a separate entity, like a child, and it has to be nurtured—you have to give it what it needs to be the best it can be. So, as we go down the path of editing, those things will reveal themselves. I know that I shot way too much … I like to have a good “kill” ratio … GENII: … meaning that you have enough footage that you can afford to loose stuff that’s not up to the level of everything else. ANGEL: Yes, and I also like to have additional footage that’s good incentive for DVDs. For the series we needed to prepare several hundred pieces of magic. I spent a lot of money to do that, and the world may never see a good deal of it. I have a real appetite for creating material, and I have so many things in my mind that I want to get out that I like to shoot them just so I don’t think about them anymore. Normally, when you shoot a half-hour TV episode, you have five shooting days. We haven’t had that luxury and have been shooting 16 episodes in 10 weeks. It’s insane. We’re shooting 18 to 20 hours a day, and conceptually I know everything will work, but because of the schedule (which is driven by the budget), we don’t have time to rehearse it in front of an audience. So I just have to walk out and do this stuff, which is both a




blessing and curse. It’s a blessing because I’m getting good at just walking out and doing things without having to rehearse, but it’s a curse because you really want an opportunity to develop the material further and work it out thoroughly before you start shooting. At the end of the day, on the other hand, it gives me lots of extra footage which we can channel, like a puzzle, into various episodes. In theory, everything makes sense in your mind. But once you see it in context, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. GENII: Hundreds of effects? ANGEL: Look at it this way. There are 16 episodes, and when we started out we probably had an average of 10 things per episode. Then there are all of the other items that we developed but didn’t actually slot for a particular episode. Then there are all of the pieces in the desert. So it’s probably just shy of two hundred. GENII: Is the footage of your subconscious scenes in the desert in every episode? ANGEL: Yes. Although A&E didn’t tell me not to do it, they were very skeptical of the sequences in the desert. I’m trying to make something that looks like a Fellini movie or a Dali painting on a shoe-string budget and this normally would take two or three weeks to shoot. We had to get it done in five days. We had a two-and-a-half-hour drive each way in and out of the desert every day. I would get up between two and three in the morning, be there by 6:30 a.m., shoot until sunset, jump back into the trailer, drive back to the hotel here in Vegas, have a production meeting about what we were going to do the next day, and then I’d sleep two hours a night. We were shooting as much as eight pieces a day—and I’m directing all of it, too! I always get in over my head because I’m not only the writer and creator, but also the executive producer and director. My company, API (Angel Productions, Inc.) made the deal with A&E, and then I hired producers to shepherd the project. My management company, The Firm is also an executive producer and helps facilitate production. I always do that to myself—get myself in over my head, but somehow I find my way out and usually come out on top. But I’m still very concerned because I’ve got a lot of things coming up this week that are huge. GENII: Well, this is the end of the shoot in Las Vegas. You’ve been here for six weeks. It’s Sunday April 10 and it’s everyone’s day off. Your last day of shooting in Vegas is April 15, which is going to be a day from hell, and then you all drive to Los Angeles on Saturday for another two weeks of shooting.

2005 Aug Chris Angel  

Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini THE CONJURORS’ MAGAZINE AUGUST 2005 $5 Criss Angel: No Fear ● Richard Kaufman The Pi...

2005 Aug Chris Angel  

Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini Criss Angel: Beyond Houdini THE CONJURORS’ MAGAZINE AUGUST 2005 $5 Criss Angel: No Fear ● Richard Kaufman The Pi...