I have visited quite a few studio lots, and even though I worked for SAG for years, I am not jaded about it. I still get excited when the guard lets me through the gate. You never know what or who you will encounter on a studio lot. I recently got to perform at Paramount Pictures for the Assistance League of Los Angeles at their Diamond Anniversary Gala. They are a wonderful organization who has been helping children in Los Angeles for 100 years, and that’s where I met the biggest star in Hollywood.
I did not do a trick for this world famous star. Instead, I and two other Magic Castle magicians (the wonderful Dan Manson and Scotto Smith) came up with a trick for him to do. Now, you might think it would be the Decepticons doing a trick, but we actually taught Optimus Prime to read someone’s mind. He promised he would get just the required information and not search around in their head. You can trust him. He is Optimus Prime, after all, known for his integrity.
In the movies, he stands over 16 feet tall, making him a huge star. The only bigger stars are King Kong at 25 feet and Godzilla at around 400 feet tall. They may be bigger, but I don’t see either one of them learning to do magic. Okay, I could see Godzilla making the Statue of Liberty disappear, but I doubt his method would fool anyone, nor would it be repeatable.
While it’s true that people tend to look taller (and a bit fatter) in the movies, our Optimus Prime was only about 10 feet tall. Still a pretty big guy, though. It actually took a number of people to bring him to life. A stuntman on stilts was inside the lower body, and a winch lowered the upper half of the body onto him. There was a command center where the voice actor could see through his “eyes” and hear what he heard. He was great at improvising and the voice actor was truly amazing, with a deep resonate voice and quick with the quips. (Oh, did I mention there were writers too in the command center. I think so. It takes a lot to bring this to life, live at an event.)
It is opportunities like this and being close to the Magic Castle that make Los Angeles such an exciting place to be a magician.