For Magician Daniel Chan, the Show Goes On ... Virtually

'When I realized that I had global reach, I leaned into performing on Zoom'

Reinventions profiles people who've made big pivots. Meet Daniel Chan, who left the tech world to go all-in on his magic.

What were you before? 

Before I was a Zoom magician, I was an in-person magician. And before I was a magician, I worked at PayPal, pre-IPO, even before Elon Musk. 

What triggered your reinvention(s)? 

When the pandemic hit, I was completely stressed, and I took to the internet like when I started. I treated performing online like street performing, and would do many free shows until people started paying me and shipping me. Then I started charging, and I was right back at it.

Now I can make 20 times more per hour than I used to, over Zoom, because I don't have to drive, arriving an hour early and staying later. When I realized that I had global reach, I leaned into performing on Zoom.

What did the first steps look like? 

I ended up waking up at 5 a.m. and sleeping at 2 a.m. in the morning at the beginning of the pandemic.

What was one hard obstacle to overcome? 

I had to learn new things—like the technology associated with OBS (a broadcasting software), and how to set up my Stream Deck.

What was easier than you thought? 

I didn't even think about it much. I had no preconceived notions.

What's something you learned along the way that other people, hoping to do something similar, should know?

Just start doing it. Also, every medium has its strengths and weaknesses. Think about what's stronger on Zoom. One is, everyone can see the person reacting. Before you were looking only at the magician; now, you can see all the other reactions, which amplifies the emotional impact of what you do.

Did anyone or anything inspire you along the way? 

In the beginning, I saw lots of Zoom shows. I saw Jason Suran's show, which inspired something I do in my presentation.

What has this fundamentally changed for you? 

I can now do magic shows from anywhere in the world and reach anyone in the world. As I'm writing this right now, I am at a camp! I've performed my virtual magic shows from Utah, Catalina, Reno and Chino Hills within the last year!

Do you think you could go back/do you want to? 

I definitely could go back to performing live; however, I'm enjoying performing over Zoom and hope this trend continues!

Tell us your reinvention song. 

Instead of telling you, I'll show you: 

How would you define yourself now? 

A virtual magician who performs over Zoom. I create memorable, high-impact, rewarding experiences for corporations that connect team members who are separated by distance.

Reinventions is a questionnaire series with people who are making pivots in their lives. If you're going through a reinvention and would like to be interviewed for the series, please get in touch.

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Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is a founding contributor to Muse. She is also the co-founder of esports agency Hurrah.gg, and co-author of Generation Creation.

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