Balloon twisting, magic tricks and juggling; it’s no illusion, Mot Buchanan can do it all.
Buchanan’s love for showbiz began at an early age. “My earliest memory of magic was when I was around eight years old,” he says. “My uncle made a quarter disappear and then pulled it from behind my ear.” Just a few weeks later, Buchanan bought a magic kit, and Magic Mot was born.
But Buchanan’s theatrics didn’t stop there. He also taught himself balloon twisting and juggling. He was a natural.
These days, the 27-year-old Tallmadge native is performing at children’s birthday parties and traveling to various venues through his business, Balloon Entertainment.
When he’s not entertaining, he’s pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education at Kent State University. His long-term goal: to become an elementary school teacher or counselor.
“I don’t think a degree in childhood education will benefit my entertainment career, but I think that my skills as an entertainer will help me in the classroom,” says Buchanan. “I know how to get kids’ attention and how to hold onto it.”
What inspired you to go into the family entertainment business?
MB: I’ve always liked working with and entertaining kids. I get along well with them. My wife says it’s because they recognize me as a much larger version of themselves.
What type of magic is your specialty?
MB: Sleight-of-hand magic. I use small, common objects like coins, cards, rings and keys, and make miracles happen. I think close-up magic was so attractive to me because I was able to practice with objects I found around the house, and the magic happens right in the spectator’s face or in their own hands. That can be very powerful.
What’s the most difficult magic trick you’ve ever attempted?
MB: Fire eating. Not only is it extremely dangerous, it takes a great deal of willpower to even attempt it. You’re overcoming all that screaming in the back of your mind from the primitive caveman part of your brain yelling, ‘Fire Bad! Fire Burn!’ Learning to escape from a straitjacket while hanging upside down wasn’t a picnic either.
Tell us about your balloon clothing.
MB: Since that first dress [for a local charity event], I’ve made many more including some for other fashion shows, proms and even some wedding dresses. Dresses usually average four to eight hours; it all depends on the design and level of detail the client wants.
You have a world record, right?
MB: Yes, for most balloons used in making a costume. It was won with one of the dresses I designed.
[Editor’s Note: Buchanan’s world-record-holding costume used 154 balloons.]
What balloon design is most popular?
MB: Boys’ parties ask for a lot of swords and monkeys, girls’ parties ask for a lot of butterflies and princess crowns. Fairs and festivals will get requests having to do with their themes. Bachelorette parties tend to have requests that make me blush.
Where’s the strangest place you’ve twisted a balloon?
MB: In the loft of a barn wearing a giant chicken suit. I was entertaining at a celebration for a farming organization. I had to take the chicken gloves off; it was too hard to twist the balloons.
Which TV show would you consider doing?
_X_ America’s Got Talent
MB: I plan on going to the next audition cycle when it comes to the area.
___ American Idol (you could sing while creating a balloon caricature of Steven Tyler’s lips)
MB: Nobody wants to hear me sing.
_X_ Project Runway (to show off your balloon clothing, of course!)
MB: My wife loves this show, and I think it’d earn me a bunch of brownie points if I got on it.
_X_ Dancing with the Stars (you could create a life-size balloon creation of Kirstie Alley to be your dancing partner; everyone deserves a second chance!)
MB: This is one of my secret indulgences. I’m always bummed when I miss an episode.
_X_ Other (please explain):
MB: I’d be happy and willing to show up on nearly any show. I’d also love to be a Saturday morning cartoon host like from when I was a kid. Be the personality that shows up during commercial breaks to tell you what’s coming up next and perhaps have a segment about safety or something else to entertain the kids — maybe even perform magic or show off balloons.
What do you love about your job?
MB: I think most people tolerate their jobs. I worry that many might even hate their work, but do it because of financial obligations. When I was a kid, I was told by adults that I’d have to work a job I might not enjoy so I could save money and be able to do what I wanted to do when I retired. I thought that was a silly idea. Why not just work a job you enjoy doing and keep doing that till you can’t anymore? I get to entertain for a living. I get to travel, have adventures, meet interesting people and get paid for it. What’s not to love about that?