Artist Interview: Pyro the result of two years’ worth of work

December 15th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Artist Interviews


Artist Interview: Pyro the result of two years worth of work

The device that Adam Wilber saw in an Internet video looked frightening. It was a handheld fire spitter, but it had a mercury switch and was controlled by the level of the arm. Still, the idea took hold: Three months into the beginning of taking the reins as Ellusionist’s project manager, he dived into developing a device that gave him everything he wanted — which didn’t exist on the market then.

“I wanted something that was self-sufficient,” Wilber said. “It could strap on the wrist, it would be comfortable, you could use it whenever you wanted, fire it whenever you wanted, and you didn’t have to worry about a pull down your sleeve or palming something off.”

Two years of work, research and seven prototypes later, that device exists.

And it has caught the Internet on fire.

Adam Wilber’s Pyro Fireshooter has gone viral and earned a crazy amount of reviews from both magicians and laymen. You may have seen it on one of your favorite non-magic sites lately:

The ultimate compliment to Wilber and testament to the device’s success was a sellout of the device’s first run, days after release. The response is a dream come true for Wilber, the author of Creative Magic and creator of the effects in The Working Man.

He talked more about the device, its creation and applications in this podcast interview. Listen to how he uses the device in his own gigs (including a crucial rule you must follow), problems with the first prototypes and how he got talked into sitting in the middle of a fireworks explosion for the trailer.


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FOUR POINTS: Add holiday magic to your magic with these ideas

November 30th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Four Points


FOUR POINTS: Add holiday magic to your magic with these ideas

There’s holidays, and then there’s the holidays.

Most countries have one or two days where everyone goes whole hog with celebration, but the end of November usually brings an entire month of excitement, including Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan and more. The excitement changes us a bit, gets us thinking about the upcoming celebrations, gifts, decorations and more.

The holidays change us. But how do they change our magic?

Does your ambitious card routine go from being about Houdini to Santa always popping out of a chimney? Do you wear more Christmas colors to your gigs? Does your coin box get wrapped in wrapping paper with a bow? Or maybe your performance character doesn’t have room to stretch out into a holiday theme?

Granted, most of you are in the midst of a season full of gigs, so you have already considered those things. If you haven’t, though, it’s never too late. Here are four areas to consider whether a little holiday magic should be part of your magic.
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FOUR POINTS: This is why AI will never make better magic tricks

November 17th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Four Points


FOUR POINTS: This is why AI will never make better magic tricks

So you saw that story about how a computer designed a magic trick, and it made you give up magic, right? Seeing that a computer is capable of devising a trick that fools laymen and magicians alike, you threw down your deck of cards, completely gave up on your idea of combining a glide and a cop and went back to browsing listicles involving cats and Emma Watson?

Yeah, we didn’t think so.

The report about researchers from Queen Mary University of London touts that researchers programmed a combination of the mechanics of a jigsaw puzzle, the method of a mind-reading card trick and results of experiments into how humans understand magic tricks. From that, the computer came up with some variants. Able to process a larger amount of variants, one of the co-creators of the project said that the amount of variants “keeps audiences guessing.”

Most of you probably caught on that one of the tricks is more of a puzzler, and the other is mathematical. Probably didn’t leave you feeling all that threatened, and you went back to practicing your table faro shuffle. Still, there might have been a seed of doubt — is this just a harbinger of things to come? Will AI progress to the point where we can get fooled by machines? Is this the beginning of technology changing magic?

We feel your pain, and we’re here to assure you that magic will be fine. We may eventually be enslaved by hopefully benevolent robot overlords who at least give us sme food before they use poisonous gases to poison our — you know. But they will never fool us with magic tricks. Here’s why:  Read more

Ollie Mealing: Creative progress requires pursuit of these two elements

November 10th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General


Ollie Mealing: Creative progress requires pursuit of these two elements

Ollie Mealing, creator of Control and Recoil, is a consultant for Derren Brown and created some of magic’s most-buzzed about videos on the Internet. On a break, he got a chance to check in about the key process behind making creative progress, and learning how to unlock the creative spark that leads to original ideas.

Everybody has goals they wish to progress towards, but hope and luck are no basis for a strategy — achievement requires knowledge.

At the heart of progress is information. When we acquire information we strengthen our knowledge and therefore gain progress towards discovering how we can achieve our goal — developing a strategy that allows us to regularly increase and practice our knowledge is the key to continual progress.

So if we regularly need information to progress, then we need to know how to reliably obtain it.

For that, in my mind, we’re reliant upon a combination of inspiration and motivation, or in other words, ideas worthy of acting upon. The potency of inspiration affects the consequent feeling of motivation, when the desire to fulfil an idea feels significant, motivation takes over and spurs us on with an abundance of energy.

As beneficial as this is, it blinds from considering every idea as being worthy of acting upon, which we must do if we’re to discover their true worth. Providing we act on our ideas they will always provide us with new information. It’s this recurring insight that allows us to build up our knowledge and create new, wiser ideas, which promotes the cycle’s continuance and strength.

Progress requires information which results from acting on ideas — you need to pursue something in order to learn from it.

So how can we enable ideas to emerge?

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Shoot like Kings: Instagram users make incredible art with latest deck

October 21st, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General, Products


Shoot like Kings: Instagram users make incredible art with latest deck

It’s not long now. The Kings deck, a collaboration between Daniel Madison and Peter McKinnon, will soon be available to Black Club members, and then the rest of the world.

But a handful of people, who are close friends and associates with DM and p:m, have already had some quality time with the Kings. And the artistic work they have posted to Instagram is simply breath-taking.

From the impossible flotations of Jeremy Griffith to the subtle shadows of Benoit Pervier, from the inspired etchings of Tomas Hlavaty to the devious destruction of Praxis Control creator Chris Ramsay — these artists, magicians and creators have taken this incredible new deck and transformed it into works of art.

Some of our favorites are below, others can be found on Instagram. Each one deserves your follow and many likes. While you’re there, make sure to follow us.

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