Archive for December, 2012

What are your plans for next year? Time to plan your magic

Monday, December 31st, 2012

We’ve made it through 2012. We all survived a crazy, turbulent year filled with natural disasters, political changeovers and a Mayan apocalypse. Through the horrors of the days, we were there to help people see that there was still magic in the world. Well done, you guys.

So, on the last day of the year, what’s your plan for 2013? Resolutions are one thing, but we’re talking about a big picture here.

Where will you take your magic next year?

Now is the perfect time to dream. If you don’t have it quite figured out by the time the new year rings in, no worries. This is to help you get started, restarted or recommitted to your goals. Whether you are just starting out, keeping up a business or planning your next big prime-time TV special, there are ways you can improve and expand on what you are doing right now:

  • ~ If you don’t have a big-picture goal, figure one out. Do you want to be the next David Copperfield? Do you want to quit your job so you can work magic full time? Do you want to create or perform? Whatever it is, write it down, draw a picture; record it somehow so that you can keep your eye on your prize. Also, this will be your motivation when things get tough.
  • ~ Figure out smaller steps to your big steps. If your major dream is the destination, then this is you planning your route on a map. If you’re driving somewhere, you check a map, do the math and figure out how long it will take, where you can get gas, etc. Pursuing your dream is the same thing. Make reasonable small steps that take you slowly toward where you wanna go. This will help keep you on track, and away from distractions.
  • ~ Consider your practice. Are you improving what you should? Are you doing too much? Think about your practice and whether you should increase or decrease a bit. Also, think about WHAT you are practicing. You may have the time to expand your repertoire a bit.
  • ~ Consider branching out. We’re not talking going from cards to mentalism (although there is nothing wrong with that). Learn other important parts of your art. Here’s a big one: Performance studies. We see a lot of absolutely awesome hands in videos — hands that have mastered some incredible skills. But we don’t see a lot of FACES. And if you hope to really move people with your magic, and get them to believe that there are miracles out there, we’re pretty sure you’re going to have to talk to them. Learn communication and performance skills. They are critical.
  • ~ Pursue inspiration from non-magic sources. There are so many great books in the non-fiction section. Check the self-help and small business sections: You’ll find a lot that can help.
  • ~ Stick to your plan. Things will get tough. Plans will derail. Crap happens. But your dream is worth the fight, no matter how ugly it gets. If you’ve set reasonable goals, there’s nothing you can’t achieve — setbacks are only delays in the action. Learn what you can from them, then remember why you made those mistakes in the first place.

We wish you all the best pursuing your goals and dreams in the new year. Remember that we are here for you: Stay in touch with us on our Facebook and Twitter sites, and meet a ton of like-minded, supportive magicians on our Performance HQ Forums.

Planning holiday magic for family? Relatives not typical spectators

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Christmas is the perfect time for families to get together and relax. Holiday gatherings also give us something that makes some magicians lick their chops: A captive audience.

After all, we love performing, right? We don’t care WHOSE minds we blow, whether it’s someone at a gig, a complete stranger in line at the big-box retail store during shopping or our own family — especially our own family.

As much as we believe in seizing the day and making magic where we can, performing for your family takes a little bit more consideration than most performances.

Your family members are not typical audience members.

It might seem like a family gathering is a great place to test material, or to hone your skills. And you may be right: The family will probably enjoy the show, and you’ll enjoy adding some magic to the holidays. Still, whether you’re just starting out or putting food on the table, consider these points before putting on a show:

~ Your family members already know you. These are people who know you better than you know yourself. They have watched you grow up. They have supported you, and maybe you support them and put food on the table with your magic. Nevertheless, your performance character is just one part of your complete package.

What to do: Make sure you know them and that they are eager to see what you do.

~ Some family members think they have an “in” to your secrets. Most family members will love to watch you perform and be genuinely impressed with what you do. But some just won’t buy it. Because they know you, and know you really didn’t get an exclusive meditation session with a Himilayan yogi (or whatever your patter is), they will needle you during your performance or hassle you after. These can be either some of the most dangerous hecklers, or persistent puzzlers who try to work out how you really did it.

What to do: Same as above. Know who you are performing for. And it might be good practice — if you can deflect your nagging cousin, you should do fine with hecklers at gigs.

~ Don’t expect much in the way of detailed magic criticism. When you perform, most of your family is going to be smitten. They will be so proud of you that you could grab their nose — like your creepy uncle Bob did to you when you were 4 — and they’d believe it. That kind of feedback is great for the soul. Not so good for the act, however, if you are seeking some good ways to improve it.

What to do: Be realistic in what you hope to get out of a performance. You may have great family members who can help your act a lot, and if that’s the case, why aren’t you performing for them year-round?

INSIDE JOB: Two rare decks, three new releases yours for the taking

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

The Black Ghost First Edition deck remains one of the most highly sought after decks in existence. Only 5,000 were printed, and we’ve never sold them. The supply is getting dangerously low, so it’s time to make your move, crack our vault and lift one while you still can.

This is one of your last chances to steal a legendary deck.

Time to pull an inside job and get away with two rare decks: A Black Ghost First Edition and a Sultan Treasury (this deck also has its own legendary story). You must act before midnight Sunday EST, however.

Here’s the players in your heist:

THE ADVOCATE by Daniel Madison: Produce any card at your command. You have the power: You can reveal it instantly, or you can load it for the moment you choose. The Advocate is your aid, your assistant, your new Invisible Deck. It is easy to make, practical and absolutely deadly.

Daniel Madison’s debut effect with Ellusionist is a specific, in-depth education on an effect he’s only written and lectured about before. The Advocate helped cement his reputation as one of the finest, most dangerous card mechanics in the art, and he shares it for the first time in beautiful, high-definition, full color. Watch Madison perform it live and talk about the development of his system during our live broadcast event.

SAFETY by Chris Mayhew: This three-phase linking pin routine grows more impossible with each link. And just when your spectators think they have you pinned down, you DESTROY them in the final phase. They will spend the rest of the night playing with the same pins that you used.

From the creator of Fade, Safety is one of the gems that cemented Mayhew’s reputation as a first-class close-up magician. He’ll talk about the history and development of his work, show each crucial detail and subtlety and make you laugh your rear off — Mayhew’s a trip. Safety is a must-have that packs light, sets up easily and packs a powerful punch.

RUBBER RAID by Sebastien Fourie: You’ve heard of Crazy Man’s Handcuffs? Rubber Raid is INSANE and makes that crazy man look well-adjusted. Let’s say you start off with Michael Ammar’s legendary effect, then go sideways by making the rubber bands visually melt through each other. Watch the trailer, and try to keep your eyes in your skull.

Taught by underground French magician Sebastien Fourie and Brad Christian, Rubber Raid is a series of effects that allow you to link a rubber band through a borrowed ring, link and unlink rubber bands in the hands of a spectator, link rubber bands slowly and visually in midair — then finish by melting one band into the other. You’re left with only a single band, and yourself completely clean. The effect includes two handmade, high-quality gimmicks and crystal clear instruction, from tips about the gimmick to important subtleties for your performance.

YOUR PRIZE: A Black Ghost First Edition and Sultan Treasury.

Scoring this heist is simple: Load your cart with $100.25 or more of shippable magic and your box will include one of each deck.

Stake your claim while you can — there won’t be many more opportunities to score a Black Ghost. First printed in 2006, we’ve given the 5,000 decks away slowly as prizes, charity auction items and promotions over the last six years. There will probably never be another opportunity like this. If you miss out, your only options may be holding out for a contest or spending upwards of $200 on the secondary market.

This sale ends at midnight Sunday EST. After that, the vault locks up tightly. You’ll never have another chance like this.

Rare items up for bid in auction to benefit magician Wayne Houchin

Friday, December 7th, 2012

You might not have seen the pictures lately, but they remain grisly, hideous and shocking.

Magician Wayne Houchin, who created some of the signature effects that have helped redefine close-up magic (Sinful, Stigmata, etc.), was burned in an incident during the taping of a TV show in the Dominican Republic. One second, Houchin’s head was down, ready to receive some sort of blessing from host Franklin Barazarte.

The next second, Wayne’s head was on fire.

A video of the incident can be seen below (WARNING: Graphic content). According to that recording, Barazarte spreads a flammable, alcohol-based cologne with his hands all over Houchin’s head — almost immediately after starting, flames spread brightly, suddenly, across Houchin’s head, face and hands as he attempted to pat them out. The incident caused first- and second-degree burns that required hospitalization in a Dominican hospital.


Countdown: 21 Days of Christmas fills month with can’t-miss magic

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

We are off and running with our holiday giveaways and promotions, but because we appreciate you guys so much, we thought we’d throw a new one into the mix:

21 Days of Christmas.

Like a daily countdown until the big day, we’ll mark the nights Santa gets to sleep before he takes his worldwide trip. Similar to an Advent calendar, our 21 Days of Deals page will count down the days until Christmas with an outstanding deal. Except ours isn’t filled with itty-bitty bits of candy or cheap plastic toys.

Ours is crammed with magic deals.

Take the deal for day one — a combination of Window and Kaos for $39.95. Remember that Window, by itself, is $69.95. And this day one deal is one of the less lucrative ones.

But you’ll need to hurry. The deals will swap out at midnight each day (or while supplies last), and once a day is gone, the deal is done. Also, keep an eye on those bonus days. You’ll never know when they will open up — oh, look. One of them already is.

We hope you enjoy these 21 Days of Christmas. And from all of us at Ellusionist, we hope your holiday season is truly magical.