Ultimate Magician Eric Gilliam
© 2011 Chris Arend
Eric Giliam, an Anchorage West High grad, discovered the road less traveled and hasn’t looked back. Father Rick, his manager and booking agent, recalls his son being active in sports despite being shy until, around 15. After watching a stage show by David Copperfield, Eric announced that he also wanted to be a magician.
Five years later, magic and entertainment have vastly expanded their world. Eric has performed at conventions in Las Vegas; Nashville, Tenn.; Dallas, Atlanta, and San Diego, and while Rick doesn’t know all of the secrets to his son’s act, he doesn’t need to. Like father like son, “that's the way I want it,” he said, “to keep some mystery and suspense.”
OVER THE TOP: Companies and individuals, despite hard times, remain willing to budget for entertainment. Whether I’m at a company event in a hotel ballroom or a corporate retreat out of town, I aim to give my audience a sensational evening – one they’ll never forget.
MAGIC FORMULA: Live shows before sit-down audiences light my fire – such venues as big halls, ballrooms, banquet rooms, even school auditoriums, where I can be at one end of the room, elevated slightly on a riser or stage with the audience in front of me. Dinner theater is another new interest. At least once a year I sponsor my own show.
While I used to do more “close-up” or “in-your-face” magic, which can be quite effective as an ice breaker, the stage show, with professional sound, lighting and backdrops, is where my creativity is focused now. I bring the theater to your event.
OUT OF THE CUBICLE: Experiencing something magical can provide release from the daily grind and bring out one’s inner child. I’ve done a corporate retreat in Homer, and at some shows, the audience is laughing for five minutes straight. Everyone needs to escape to “that place” once in awhile, and perhaps especially so during hard times.
MOTIVATIONAL FORCES: Looks of astonishment in the audience often are priceless. Magic is a stress reliever for me, too. When I am alone practicing, I feel rejuvenated. My main inspiration is magician Criss Angel, who struggled, but stopped at nothing to get to the top. I met him earlier this year. He said don’t let anybody get in your way, and work as hard as you can.
NEW ILLUSIONS: Building a loyal following means I have to continually keep my material fresh by creating new illusions and acts. Audiences want to see variety and originality. Each audience is different, and I have to be observant. Some things I learn from trial and error!
A version of this article originally appeared in the November 2011 print edition of Alaska Business Monthly magazine.