Archive for October, 2010

Artist Interviews: Eric Jones talks about ‘Metal’

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Eric Jones has become an underground magic expert mainly for his expert handling — his liquid work with coins and cards is beautiful to watch. Though he has performed professionally for three years, he has honed his craft for the last 10, mastering well-known handlings and designing new ones.

He really is the perfect fit for Metal: Getting Started in High-Impact Coin Magic.

Jones talked with us about more of what’s on this massive DVD, about the effect that got him hooked on magic, what happened after his first visit to a magic store and what ended up on his head during the filming of Metal. Spoiler alert: It was a living thing.


Metal will be available exclusively from Ellusionist at 4 p.m. (U.S. Eastern) on Nov. 1.

Sometimes Stumbling Helps

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

homer20brain7I’ve been performing magic fulltime for about seven years and during this time I’ve performed many mentalism effects.  I have often asked myself how I can get in the minds of my spectators and convince them that what I was doing was not a magic trick but real psychic ability.     

Let’s pretend that there is a person out there somewhere that can actually read minds.  How do you see the ‘mind reading’ process taking place? 

Do you see the volunteer thinking about something and the psychic automatically and effortlessly revealing his thoughts within two seconds?  Or do you see the mind reader taking his time to relax his body, take a long breath, attempt to get in the ‘zone’, and once he begins the process stumble along the way with a few ‘off the mark’ statements (“I see a 2, no wait…actually a 3, etc.).  The answer is definitely the latter. 


My point is that if you want to convince spectators that the mentalism you are doing is real it helps to deliberate stumble along the way.  It makes the mentalism that much more real. 


When the magician effortlessly and quickly reads the mind of the spectator it seems as though it’s ‘too good to be true’.  When this happens other spectators will question if that volunteer is actually a stooge. 


  • There are certainly times in a mentalism routine where the revelation is quick and witty but for most situations stumbling along the way can help in convincing that the process is ‘real’ as opposed to just ‘magic’.


Any thoughts?

The best $2 you’ll ever win: E to give away Walking Liberties during Metal release

Monday, October 25th, 2010

In about six days and 20 hours from now, we’ll be tossing up Metal: Getting Started in High-Impact Coin Magic by Eric Jones onto our site (the full trailer is also out). Some Elite forum members were able to get a sneak peek at the upcoming release and have posted their thoughts here.

The first 100 people to buy a hard copy of the DVD will be entered into a drawing. Five lucky people will walk away with $2 — not in $1 bills, or quarters, but in a set of four authentic 1929 Walking Liberties. The news and winners will be announced via video by noon the next day.

Later this week we’ll post our podcast with Eric Jones, the man behind the metal. He’ll talk about how he selects coins, the differences between his handlings of coins and cards and why coin magic was the first thing he learned as a magician. Oh, there’s also something about a rat standing on a cat standing on a dog.

But why wait until next week? Want to see the first five minutes of Metal? All it will cost you is a Tweet, or Facebook status update. The link below you’ll be sent to a page that guides you through the post. It’ll take only a couple seconds of your time and you’ll be holding some pre-release footage. ENJOY!

Get the first 5 minutes of the DVD Free

Eric Jones reinvents coin magic in Metal: Coming Nov. 1 exclusively from Ellusionist

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Coin magic was ready for a remake: After listening to customers and the magic community, we banked on creating a NEW, fresh approach to coin magic suited for beginners to intermediates. Much of coin magic was confined to a table or parlor setting, so it was time to make it street-ready. We sought out one of the best working professionals, then hand-picked some of the strongest coin material to give beginners a start and experts some polish.

Metal: Getting Started in High-Impact Coin Magic isn’t a typical coin magic video — it’s taught by Eric Jones, one of the underground’s masters. In just three years of performing professionally, Jones’ movement has become legendary — we’ve heard other pros say he has the Dai Vernon touch.

He’s filled Metal with solid utility moves that every worker should have in their arsenal, and his handlings for classics, including Three Fly and Spellbound. Consider Metal like a Ninja or Crash Course video for coins.

A lot of us get started with playing cards. But Eric (who is smooth as silk with cards, by the way) got his start in magic with coins. His time as a beginner was spent handling silver, and that experience carries through to anything he touches. You’ve seen what he can do — his one-handed Spellbound sent us into fits.

All these routines are specifically designed to work without gimmicked coins in a street, close-up environment. You won’t need tables, you won’t need to be seated. Much of this material you’ll be able to do with a quarter you borrow from someone else.

Here’s the bottom line: Card tricks rock, but the magic you can make with money is so much more visual than anything you can do with cards. Everyone carries change in their pockets, but NO ONE knows about these techniques, because they look so impossible. Jones’ Metal is a foundation for all-around good magic with anything — after you learn from this, you’ll handle everything differently.

Much more is coming, including a full trailer and a podcast interview. Metal by Eric Jones will be available on All Saints Day: Nov. 1.

Can You Build a Better Mousetrap? The importance of structure.

Monday, October 18th, 2010


In my last entry, I mentioned that virtually all magicians today are missing a theme to their acts. This time around, I want to talk about something that they all have, but most have it wrong; structure.

Structure of your performance is paramount to the overall effectiveness of said performance, and unfortunately most magicians today simply misunderstand how to structure a performance.

Throwing your favorite effects together, ending with your biggest trick is not structure, it is not a routine or a show. It is a magic demonstration. How many times have you seen a magician simply wheel different boxes on and off the stage?

Structure is inherently intertwined with theme; if you have a strong theme, the structure will almost come automatically.

What exactly is structure? Simply put, it is the order of your show. It is what tricks you do in what order, and why. Structure is there to act as a vehicle for theme, and ultimately deliver the big finish.

The traditional three act story structure (setup, conflict, resolution) is how most magic acts should be organized, but sadly are not.

In ‘Magic & Showmanship for Magicians’ (a book all serious magicians should own), Henning Nelms touches on act structure, and while it is not overtly stated, the structure he encourages readers to follow is indeed Aristotles 3 story act structure.

The whole idea behind the three story act is to introduce an idea, explore various ideas within the idea, and end with a satisfying demonstration or conclusion. You want to be building to something, something relevant to the rest of your show. Each act should build on the idea developed in the previous act, building to the big finish. Not just your biggest illusion, but the best possible illustration for your entire show.

For example, a show about gambling might look like this:

Act 1 – The Setup

Performer introduces the idea of gambling, and how for as long as people have been gambling, others have been cheating. Cards, dice, cups & balls; if people are willing to bet on it, people will try to cheat at it.
(Routines performed would be ‘Guess Which Hand’, ‘Cups & Balls’ or 3 Shells)

Act 2 – The Turn

Performer explains that soon after, gamblers graduated to cards, and card games. And so did the cheats.
(Routines performed would be a standard ‘Gambling Demonstration’, ‘Card Calling’)

Act 3 – The Sting

Performer explains that today, there is no shortage of what people can, and will gamble on. Casinos and lotteries are more popular today than ever before…
(Routines performed would be a ‘Lottery Prediction’)

This is a very sparse and basic example, but hopefully you can see the progression of theme, along the structure, building to the best illustration of the theme possible. The performer is discussing the history of gambling, and cheating. He starts with a simple game of ‘Guess Which Hand’, progresses to more difficult, and impressive, card cheating, and ends with the most logical conclusion for a cheat; to cheat the lottery, by predicting the winning numbers.

One needn’t look any further than Darren Brown to see this structure in action. In ‘An Evening of Wonders’, Brown introduces a banana, stating that before the end of the show, a gorilla will come out on stage, and take the banana, and they won’t see it happen. This is all introduced in the first 5 minutes, and it perfectly frames not only the show, but the conclusion the show comes to. It is brilliant, and I recommend all readers to check it out. He has a similar structure in his show ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, but this time the whole show revolves around influence. Again, I won’t spoil the surprise, but rest assured it too kicks ass.

Do you structure your show? If so, does the structure follow your theme? Does your show naturally build to a logical conclusion? Do you even agree with me?

Let me know in the comments section; let’s talk about this.