Most magicians stick to what they know — cards, coins, mentalism. Calen Morelli has no such restraints. He’ll use rubber bands, lip balm, water bottles, pens, cellphones, T-shirts, gum… anything that spectators are familiar with.
So when Morelli was invited to be a part of Ellusionist’s Gaff System project, he immediately thought of ways to expand and push gaff cards for effects that hadn’t ever been dreamed up before. Such as a torn-and-restored trick, which turned out to be the first gaff card he envisioned for the project.
“I remember coming up with this in my car right after the call with Brad, when he asked me to be a part of this project,” Calen said. “That idea excited me so much to see what else was in my brain for these cards.”
Calen started magic at 15, after watching David Blaine’s “Drowned Alive” special. He found he had a knack for it, and quickly outpaced the sources from which he learned.
So he started making his own tricks. Starting green, he undertook a yearlong project, where he would create a magic trick each day, and post daily videos of those tricks to YouTube. Called “365 Days of Magic,” the tricks he created gained a large following in the magic community — so large that before he got to video No. 200, he was hired to work for David Copperfield as a consultant.
He said that his unique approach to using atypical items came from a desire to be different and from a dissatisfaction with the material he had been learning. He said that expanding his horizons helped him stand out as an original among a crowd of card magicians, he said.
“I feel like doing magic with every day items is the simplest way to come across original to a audience.”
Even having landed a job with David Copperfield, Calen remains an active performer, filling his social networks with new performances regularly, and appearing with other online personalities, such as YouTuber Stuart Edge.
The grind of creating a trick a day taught him a lot about what works and what doesn’t, he said.
“I learned the process of creating a magic trick,” Calen said. “And how to very efficiently and quickly go from just a simple idea into a full, ready-to-perform effect … If a traditional method doesn’t work for my style or where/who I’m performing for, then it’s limiting me.”
That means Calen’s magic is particularly suited for gaff cards — especially a deck that pushes the boundaries of what gaff cards can do. Calen’s contributions include effects that transform a ChapStick into a chosen card and his favorite: The torn-and-restored trick he first envisioned.