Recently, I chatted with Renee-Claude Auclair, who along with her husband, Pierre, are the organizers of the North American Championship of Magic 2020 and the World Championship of Magic 2021.
In this interview Renee-Claude shares all the essential details for the upcoming 2020 combined magician convention and double magic championship!
The North American Championship of Magic 2020 (FISM NACM 2020) takes place May 6 - 10, 2020 in Quebec City (Québec) Canada and includes five days of incredible magic, lectures, workshops, competition and world-class shows!
I've officially joined the FISM NACM 2020 Team, I'll be developing the content for the upcoming convention's social media and awareness.
Here is the official FISM 2020 thirty-sec promo:
There is some confusion among magicians about what's happening in 2020 and 2021. In this interview with Renee-Claude Auclair, we discuss all the important details, but let me clear it up in one sentence. In order to compete at the World Championship, magicians from Canada and USA must first qualify in the North America Championship of Magic (FISM NACA Quebec 2020) happening May 6 - 10, 2020.
Both the North American Championship of Magic and the World Championship of Magic are happening in Quebec! One stunning location, two consecutive years of championship magic.
Visit the North American Championship of Magic (FISM NACM 2020) website
Visit the World Championship of Magic (FISM Quebec 2021) website
INTERVIEW: Renee-Claude Auclair
PLEASE NOTE: VIDEO TITLE CORRECTION:
There are only TWO categories in the 2020 competition: Stage & Close-up Magic
Ryan Joyce: Well, thank you so much Renée-Claude for having a few minutes today to chat. I know you're headed off to a cruise ship, which is my world. That's where I usually spend all my time. I thank you for your time because you've got two really incredible, exciting things happening in Quebec City and I think there's a lot of magicians that are still a little bit new to what's really unfolding there. So I wanted to chat with you and, and clear that up and share all that information. So first of all, uh, nice to, nice to meet you and to chat. It's a pleasure.
Renée-Claude Auclair: Thank you very much for inviting us and inviting me to discuss Quebec and our projects. Yes, yes,
Ryan Joyce: You run so many events up in Quebec City. I mean you are, you're pretty much running a calendar year at this point. You've had so many events. Tell us about some of the things that you do up there in Quebec City.
Renée-Claude Auclair: About, I would say 12 years ago, we, we, my husband and I, Pierre and I, he's the magician in the family and we got involved in magic because he began to be a magician. And, uh, we found out there were not many places for him to perform. So we said, why don't we start a little, magic festival in Quebec City, right where we live, downtown Quebec. And were kind of lucky to find somebody who helped us financially to start the first festival that was a private company, a toy company. So we were ready, happy that the lady helped us, that and we, we did our first little festival, and uh, for like maybe two more years, we did that about the same size. And after that people said, it's getting too big. You should go to the city of Quebec.
And they have like a portion, a department that helps events. So they're then only after two times, we were already considered as a big event for the city official event. For the city. So they started helping us financially. And, uh, we, uh, we have now a nonprofit organization that receives, uh, you know, the, the funding and the, we are the organizers. So we kind of created our job like that as a Pierre is our webmaster and I'm more like a marketing person, communications. So I also had my company for, promotional items, you know, corporate stuff. So, uh, we're already in the good field set that helped us a lot to start and after night it's going to be our tenth festival next year in 2020.
Ryan Joyce: How many events do you run through that through the week or if it's more than a week? It's a like how, what's the duration of the festival? First of all,
Renée-Claude Auclair: Actually the festival is usually four days.
Ryan Joyce: It's four days. And how many events do you have during that, those four days?
Renée-Claude Auclair: Oh my God. Uh, we have, uh, I cannot tell you how many, but it's, uh, usually it's, uh, it's a contest, international contest. It's also a school of magic for the public. It's also, uh, lectures, uh, gala shows. Uh, so it's, it's full, it's full time. You know, it's a, you don't have any time to almost to eat, but it's a few jams at night so that people can have fun together, uh, exchange, you know, what they learned and it's, it's became, I thing for the Quebec people, it's kind of their annual party in those, some people see, you know, they want to go for um, fishing with friends. But these guys say I prefer to go for magic with my friends every year. It's kind of became a tradition to come to our festival.
Ryan Joyce: That's amazing! It's sort of a great stepping stone for what you have coming over the next two years coming. Starting in May.
Renée-Claude Auclair: Yes, exactly. So for 2020 it's a big, big thing for us because usually it's more provincial. Actually we organized for cam twice already. The camp invention is same time as our festival, thanks to Joan and the, she, she gave us her trust and uh, we did, the whole camp was organized twice. We did also the Canadian championship at the same time as our contest. And this next year, it's fun because it's going to be the first time in Canada that we're going to organize the FISM North American championship of magic time. The cam.
Ryan Joyce: That's right. It's a great fit and you're the perfect destination. You've already got this all in place. This is what you do. So, and the end, your city is incredible as well, which I'd love to talk about. But, and then of course just in the following year where there's, there's then of course FISM which the first time in 73 years I believe it is that FISM is coming to North America and they, I, they chose Canada and that's, that's so exciting for us.
Renée-Claude Auclair: That part was maybe I would say a four years of, uh, work. Uh, we had to prepare a bid, the bid book, and we were competing against the nice city in Spain. So, uh, until the end, we didn't know, you know, it was a, a vote from 101 the presidents. And, uh, we had to do a presentation, both of us in front of the board, kind of the board. And then they chose us. So it was pretty amazing. It was a surprise because, you know, we were not so much known as magicians in the magic world because we've only been in magic for maybe 12 years. And so we're, we're very happy and it's exciting!
Ryan Joyce: So exciting! I wish I was in the room. That would've been amazing. I was so, Oh, I get shivers watching it. Even now, I guess in the North America qualifying, which is next may, what does it take, uh, for, uh, some magician that wants to compete? What are the, what is, what's involved in competing?
Québec Convention Centre
Renée-Claude Auclair: Okay. The way it works is we have a website, uh, that you need to go register as a participant for the convention and also as a competitor. So you need to, at the same time or until February, you need to send the video of the exact act that you want to perform during the competition in 2020. And you also need to be either Canadian or American from the United States. Okay. So it's really North America. So there's going to be a pre-judging committee that's going to look at all the videos and they will decide who has the FISM, uh, quality or standard act to perform live in 2020 in front of the judging committee. Uh, the judges will be a one per a club that's uh, that's recognized by FISM North American clubs and also two people from FISM. So it's a pretty good exercise to know your level at least to know if you are FISM level because it's difficult. It's difficult to know, uh, until you went to FISM. And see what it is to understand. So it's very good to also have a few judges from FISM and so it's going to be, uh, done like that for 2020.
Ryan Joyce: And do you know how many categories are involved and what are some of the awards? How does that work?
Renée-Claude Auclair: Okay. For FISM, it's more to compete at this point to register. It's only two categories. Later on we're going to decide in which category you work in the closeup or in this stage. But, uh, it's pretty easy for 2020 Uh, then there's also the Canadian championship. At the same time. So there's gonna be the Canadian champion that's gonna. Once again, it's gonna be the third time in Quebec City, uh, we, we, there are 15 spots for North America compete in Quebec in the next year for FISM. So we don't have to choose 15 people. It's the, if there's more than 15 that are that level, then we select the best of the best. If there's less, then there's only maybe a, the number of acts that will be that level that can go.
Ryan Joyce: That's amazing. And so for a magician that's on the edge of deciding whether they should compete, why would you suggest a magician should compete? What would be some of the advantages for competing?
Renée-Claude Auclair: I think it's important, as a competitor, it's always important to gain as much experience in front of judges as possible. So why not compete? Why not try at least? And, I think it's so exciting. It's a dream come true when you go to FISM. It's also a dream come true if you are able to compete for 2020 because it's a big step. In Quebec, we have a club also, and we have little kids. And they're going to try to compete. At least send their video and at least try to compete. In 2017, we had two of our sixteen years that was there in Kentucky. So, they gained experience. I think it's the most important thing is to gain experience, to get to know the judges, get to know the environment, professional environment. And even, after that, they can become a professional magician. At least they have been in front of that stress, and they are able to be proud.
Ryan Joyce: Seven and a half minutes can change a magician's life, like qualifying, even just qualifying, putting, putting that effort in can really change career for a magician. So that's a big goal ultimately. And, and this, this step that you've created a the fact that it's also in the same destination, it creates, I don't know, as a performer, I always find it more comfortable when you have a lot of familiarities. So if someone competes in Quebec, in North America in May, and then for FISM it's just, it's a little, you know, it's a little bit extra boost of their confidence. So there are lots of reasons to attend both. Uh, and of course the destination itself. I've been to Quebec city Oh, probably 20, 25 times and it is, it's truly one of the most beautiful places in Canada. I've always said that it's, it's remarkable. Tell us a little bit about the city.
Beautiful Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Renée-Claude Auclair: The city is very friendly. The city is a, I would say that part of the city is bilingual, so it's no problem if you don't speak so much French. Uh, it's very beautiful. It's European style. It's very romantic. It's a, it's a nice city. It's a, I would say people, they always want to come back. You know, it's a surprize to them. It's a old, it's 408 years or so. Uh, so it's, it's the oldest city, uh, in the anyways and uh, so it's also recognized for the history and the, uh, I don't remember the name of that
Ryan Joyce: The other, European culture. You can see everywhere, the cobblestone streets and the, and the big Chateau Frontenac. I believe it's owned by Fairmount now, but just beautiful. Just beautiful. Where's the, where's the convention occurring? Where's the, where are the events taking place in let's say, in May
Renée-Claude Auclair: It's actually, what's fun is that 2020 is actually a practice also for us because we're going to do everything in the convention center. So then like you said, for the competitors, it's great. It's going to be the same place. And for us too, because we can practice everything in the smaller range. So a convention center is really, uh, in the right part of the city touristic area. You can walk, all the hotels are very close. It's easy to get there and it's, uh, it's uh, a cool ecologic, uh, convention center. It's also a perfect technically. So 2020 is going to be like a big practice for everybody. It's going to be well organized because we are used to organizing stuff. It's just more, it's more, it's bigger for us. Right? Uh, we expect that we hope to have between 300 and 500 people. We don't know because it's the first time in Canada. Uh, we are excited. It's a, it's a great experience. We're lucky to be able to do that. It's the, we, we, we love organizing stuff.
WATCH: Stunning Quebec City
Ryan Joyce: And you're doing incredible things. I mean on behalf of Canada is, is really remarkable. What, what you're doing so and as someone that's also organizing a festival for the first time. I, my, my hat goes off to you. I was in the event industry for forever, so I'm not, I'm not unfamiliar with events and tours and things, but this is a different, is a different level. So I, I appreciate everything that you do. You and Pierre do, cause it's not, it's a big team. That's the thing that a lot of people don't realize. It's the two of you, but it's also a big team behind it. How can people get ahold, uh, like a register? How can people register?
Renée-Claude Auclair: Uh, it's on the website. So we have a website for 2020, which is a FISMNA2020.com .
Ryan Joyce: Right.
Renée-Claude Auclair: And then for 2021 it's FISMQuebec2021.com. So, uh, the, the two, I would say that, uh, registration for FISM are amazing. Uh, we have more than 2000 people already register.
Ryan Joyce: I registered the first day.
Renée-Claude Auclair: Yeah. Because it's, you know, the earlier you buy the best seats you get. And so we're happy because it's a, it's been, uh, amazing, uh, every day we have calls and emails and we answer questions. And so it's, it's a big party, you know, it's a big, big, big event and we hope that what we're going to organize, going to be fun and the magic is going to be great. And that's the place where if we talk about 2021 it's really the place to meet, uh, every three years. Uh, a lot of people come back every three years. But that's also where you see a lot of your idols. You'll have the best magicians. That's our job now, to convince them to come to Quebec City. Well, it's, but the main thing is the competition also because as you know, the winner, the champion, then their life changed and they toured the world after that. And we have examples like Boris Wild has been touring with the same act for 20 more than 25 years. Big examples like that that we have or Shawn Farquhar also. So many, many magicians like that. And so that's a fun world, you know, that's what we feel. We have discovered a fun world, magic and we travel a lot. We meet these guys now we're going to meet you very soon. And also for your festival, because it's great to have more magic festivals in Canada.
Ryan Joyce: Yeah. As I dove into it, I think there's not a, as far as I know, there's like you and Melbourne and those are the two biggest is that I could discover. So the more that people get access to magic, the better. And that's why it's really remarkable the stances you're doing here in Canada and for everything that you're doing for FISM and Canadian magicians. My hat goes off to you. So thank you so much, Renee, Claude for your time and uh, I'm so glad we got to connect before you head off to a cruise ship. So enjoy your vacation much needed. I know! It's been a pleasure to chat with you. Thank you so much. And yeah, we'll connect again. I'd love to podcast with you sometime.
Renée-Claude Auclair: Of course. Thank you. And, uh, thank you for all you're a guest and the enjoy the magic as, as we do all. And the hoping to see you very soon.