Scott Hammell has been a professional entertainer since 1998. He started his career performing at birthday parties, and by his mid-teen years was staging shows for audiences of 1000+ people. In high school, Scott was well known for his performances as a magician. The encouragement of his peers and academic advisors led him to consider performing and motivational speaking as a career path.
In the nearly two decades since, Scott’s work has taken him around the world. He has performed across North America, as well as in Cuba, Barbados, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and Kenya. He has performed for royalty and foreign dignitaries, including the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Nuaimi. Scott has been honoured to share the stage with a host of inspiring people, including Al Gore, Mia Farrow, Jesse Jackson, Stephen Lewis, Samantha Nutt, and Robert Kennedy Jr.
In 2003, Scott was featured in the season premiere of Ripley’s Believe It or Not for his stunt “Escape to Cloud Nine.” It was this stunt that earned him his first of four Guinness World Records, for World’s Highest Suspension Straitjacket Escape.
To execute the stunt, he was taken in a hot air balloon to an altitude of over 7,200 feet and was suspended by his ankles from the balloon’s passenger basket. Dangling upside-down, he freed himself from a regulation straitjacket and over 50 feet of steel chain secured with four padlocks. This successful stunt led to numerous television appearances for Scott, and the story of facing his fear helped to launch his career as a motivational speaker.
In 2010, Scott completed a stunt called “Down and Out”. Scott jumped from an airplane, blindfolded, with his wrists in police regulation handcuffs, fastened to his waist. While free falling over at over 160 MPH, he picked his way out of the handcuffs, then deployed his parachute, and landed safely, still blindfolded. This stunt taught Scott a lot about leadership, communication and taking calculated risks.
Later in 2010, Scott decided that it was time to bring his stunts back down to earth, and attempt something so out of the box that it was…inside a box. Typically, magicians are known for making volunteers vanish. However, Scott decided to turn the tables, and challenged citizens of Toronto to make the magician disappear. To achieve this feat, Scott spent five days and four nights inside a glass box in front of Toronto’s historic Union Station. The public made him disappear by contributing canned food donations that were piled around the box until Scott disappeared from view. Toronto citizens rallied around the cause and, by the end of the fifth day, over 18,200 pounds of food were collected and donated to the local food bank, providing food that caused the magician to disappear four times over!
In 2012, Scott wanted to expand his juggling repertoire by attempting something dangerous: juggling live explosives! His first attempt involved executing a few basic throws and catches, and helped him find a method to make things easier and safer. So far, so good. Scott’s second attempt, however, sent him to the hospital with second degree burns to his hand, but also with further insight into making the stunt safer. After his hand had healed, Scott attempted the stunt a third time, incorporating what he had learned, and successfully produced a video of the event, titled “Roman Cascade”; one of his favourites to date. The video attracted the attention of America’s Got Talent and other major network television shows. To date, the experience has provided him with an intriguing story to tell, relevant messages for his speeches, and an opportunity to expand the scope of his career.
In 2013, Scott followed his creative bent and produced a second video incorporating stylized juggling. “Hot Hands” shows Scott juggling a set of balls that have been set on fire. The video highlights Scott’s juggling acumen, and his team’s creative use of video and music. Set to original music produced for the video by Andrew Juurinen, Scott choreographed a juggling routine, and utilized reverse motion video editing to produce an effect that looks like Scott is walking forward in slow motion with props and background moving backwards. It is a striking effect, seen here
A major project in 2014 saw Scott collaborate with Superchannel and Markham Street Films in a feature length documentary film titled “The Trick With The Gun”. Scott co-wrote, co-produced and starred in the film, where the documentary crew followed Scott and his team as he prepared to perform one of the most dangerous stunts in show business: the bullet catch.
The film combines material showing the history of the stunt (which has been entertaining audiences for hundreds of years) with documentary footage of Scott and his team preparing for and performing the trick before a live audience. As the historical material points out, the trick has had fatal consequences for some, often the result of problems with the assistants involved in presenting the trick. The drama and tension in the film is heightened when problems arise with a member of Scott’s team! The film provides entertaining insight into Scott’s working methods and what goes into pulling of a large scale stunt.
Today, Scott continues to entertain as a motivational speaker, escape and stunt artist, storyteller and filmmaker. He takes his experiences and creates stage performances that are totally unique. It is his great privilege to share his message and experiences with hundreds of thousands of people the world over. His presentations combine astounding tricks, heart-racing stunts, and a healthy dose of comic relief.