Magic Tech

Street Magic made a powerful impression on me in 1999, and I met the opportunity in 2006 with total awe to begin working with one of my own icons. The very human reality of Blaine’s discipline and craft is even more mind-boggling than magic. These years presented an unimaginable opportunity to develop my craft in a unique context, participating in David’s journey through a time of rapid transition across all kinds of media.

Technical solutions for the magician include online retail, social media, live events, public relations, and effects.

"This guy Nick [Charney Kaye] is visiting from another dimension."

David Blaine

Magician

David Blaine Productions

It’s impossible to categorize what this job entails.

The man is an enigma, the real deal. Any given day involves challenges of pure physical endurance, mental focus, science, art, and philosophy. His creative process is clear like a thousand-faceted crystal. It takes a freak to communicate on his wavelength.

During my time on the team, Blaine produced four prime-time TV specials (two including a live event broadcast), a TED talk, five posters by renowned artist Mark Stutzman, a dozen elite card decks, and a slew of small projects including worldwide private performances and celebrity adventures.

Live Events

I began as a subcontractor on the web team for Drowned Alive, and creative meetings are enchanting; David’s point of view fascinates me. During his week in the sphere, I visit only once, to put a note up to the glass with a promise not to leave my desk until he gets out of there OK. He actually dies—and is resuscitated— before the week-long shift is through.

My technical challenge turns out to be parsing hundreds of thousands of personal messages submitted online by fans during the week that he was in the sphere. I have to propose, design, and implement the solution in a matter of hours, because it had simply not been considered. Blaine stresses the importance of supporting all the fans. A queueing system ensures that everyone gets at least a boilerplate response. The content team gets opportunities throughout each day to review topically relevant messages selected from the database and present some directly to David while he is underwater, getting the response written on a diver’s underwater notepad all the way back to the person who had sent it.

Two years later, I’m backstage at Oprah keeping track of digital assets critical to the establishment of his Guinness world record.

After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, David performs close-up magic in Times Square for three days nonstop, raising over $65,000 cash for the Salvation Army. We’re winging it on zero notice with a skeleton crew, so I’m there in the madness, standing with David mobbed by a crowd, camped out in the van making media, or buying coffee and bagels for the the NYPD to apologize for making a scene.

By 2012, he was electrified in a performance sponsored by Intel, championing everything we had learned over the years, working with Vice and major creative agencies who created a myriad of engaging portals.

Public Relations

In retrospect, it’s a priceless opportunity to have met with YouTube alongside David Blaine during an age of such rapid evolution of film and television.

He’s flattered that so many people had uploaded his TV performances online for the world to enjoy, and he loves those parody videos more than anyone. Yet, he is keen to guide the optics of his legacy.

Battles were fought, lands scorched. And a review of David Blaine’s modern online presence confirms that the foundation we built, the vectors upon which we set, have led to bounty.

Online

Increasingly over my career, solutions are not developed from scratch, since the modern landscape includes options such as SquareSpace and Shopify to allow an artist to focus on the content, instead of hiring software developers to muck about.

I’m proud to have been the last stand of the web team, as it were, ensuring that by the time I handed over the reins of the online platform, it was all turn-key solutions from good public vendors.

Now that we arrive to the information age, I am mesmerized to reflect on how much Blaine “got it” since way back. David has an impeccable sense of product, and the online media themselves were never anything more than opacity for him, waiting to become clear.

Right On Target

with 20+ years of professional wisdom, discipline, and tenacity.

Discovery

Shared knowledge yields a common language for communication about the project, informs design decisions, and defines what “success” means.

Research

Collaborate with stakeholders to understand context, map historical losses and victories, minimize risk, and identify opportunities.

Design

Towards the solution of clearly defined problems we form schemes intended to be expressed as media, software, and/or business process.

Software

Development experience spans numerous paradigms, dozens of computer languages, and hundreds of frameworks.

Iteration

Conceive, prototype, build, test, and analyze refinements in any product or process. Test data drives focused effort with optimal impact.

Repeat

Agile methodology provides a foundation to scope and deliver concise, manageable projects one after another, with measurable success.

Let’s talk.

I’m interested in business process, and keen to innovate.

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Charney Kaye

Case Studies

selected from hundreds of projects

XJ Music

AI-powered Media Platform
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Entirely new AI-powered medium for ambient music, transforming the experience of sound in shared spaces.

Signal

Identity Resolution Platform
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Equipping brands with always-on customer identity resolution that can be used across the enterprise to drive better business outcomes.

CredSpark

Audience Engagement Platform
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Audience engagement platform that applies the latest learning science and technology to develop addictive, interactive content experiences that drive engagement.

Stetson

Tech Strategy
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Over 150 years of tradition demands reverence in delivering this iconic American brand to the information age.

Field Museum of Natural History

Research & Analysis Platform
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Framework and process to digitally measure and catalog millions of fish specimens for rapid scientific analysis.

Kitchen Brains

Market Survey Platform
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Platform API service and web app for independent field operators surveying commercial kitchen technology in markets worldwide.

Free Software

Free as in Freedom
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Participation in the development of tools used in my line of work, and development of new tools to share with the global community.

Rasmussen College

Web-embedded Content Platform
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The marketing team wants a turn-key web platform to build and distribute a branded asset in the college blog and partner websites.

Let’s talk.

I’m interested in business process, and keen to innovate.

Phone Email Private Email
Charney Kaye