Abracadabra! Winnipeg magician Chris Funk will appear on the pilot episode of the SyFy network's upcoming series Wizard Wars.
The 37-year-old Funk shot the March 4 episode of the American reality show for magicians in December in Los Angeles, but is prohibited from revealing whether he and his partner won the $10,000 prize.
"All I can tell you is that if I didn't win, I'm a winner because I got on the show," he says in a telephone interview. "I was the only Canadian on the show."
The Charleswood showman receives invitations to perform on TV, but most are geared toward audiences of children. Then he got one from the producer of Wizard Wars, sent in his pitch and was quickly accepted based on his impressive videos and website.
The challenge was tempting, but Funk was especially excited that two of the judges were renowned illusionists Penn and Teller.
The format of the show involves a pair of two-person teams of magicians choosing from a pile of household objects they have to integrate into an elaborate trick in three hours. Funk and his L.A.-based teammate, who had worked with star magicians David Copperfield and David Blaine, opted to use among their props a bowling pin, an orange extension cord and a pair of pyjamas. The winner of the first round then goes up against the Wizards, a group of champion magicians, for all the money.
"It was completely different from I do when I cross the country performing corporate shows and private parties," says the Kelvin High graduate. "It challenged me to think outside the box. It was two 16-hour days and it was intense. The tricky part was making it worth watching for everyone."
Funk says it's hard to know whether his career is about to have a presto moment, with his name joining the ranks of up-and-coming magicians to watch.
"I hope it will bring awareness of who I am," he says. "I know I have really cool quotes coming my way from Penn and Teller that I think could really boost my career. "
The plan is to air the Wizard Wars pilot numerous times; if the viewership and buzz is good enough, SyFy will order up a season. At this date there are no plans to air it in Canada.
While Funk waits for his U.S. TV debut, he is focused on his new web series, which features a new routine released every hump day. The first of his Wonder Wednesdays, promising a weekly dose of wow, became available Feb. 5. Join at his website, chrisfunkmagic.com