Ollie Mealing: Without the challenge, learning magic would be pointless

June 12th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General


Ollie Mealing, creator of Control and Recoil, has worked his share of corporate events, parties and other performances, and is a consultant for Derren Brown. He’s succeeded and achieved new heights in a field of performance that isn’t exactly easy to master, but the challenge has been worth it. The following are his thoughts about magic’s difficulty and rewards.

Ollie Mealing: Without the challenge, learning magic would be pointlessBecoming a magician is without doubt the greatest challenge I’ve ever taken on board. The scale of the challenge is overwhelming, and I’d be lying if I said I’d never considered throwing in the towel.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The trick to a challenge is persistence, the trick to persistence is loving the challenge and the trick to loving the challenge is learning to appreciate everything that’s thrown at you. This mindset allows you to reap happiness and insight from the entire journey, both essential ingredients for further progression.

Consider how unfulfilling a pursuit magic would be without challenge:

  • ~ If anyone could effortlessly become a magician, there would be little sense of accomplishment.
  • ~ If secrets were easily accessible, the wonder instilled would be vulnerable and minimised.
  • ~ If you didn’t encounter problems, you’d miss out on the joy of discovering exciting and valuable solutions.
  • ~ If you didn’t need to stand out, you wouldn’t need to strive for originality, you’d risk missing out on exercising your creativity and tapping into your true potential.
  • ~ If you didn’t require advice and support, the opportunity to make new and impacting friendships would shrink.

Without challenge the range of material, role models, formats and theories would never be as diverse, rich and respected as they are today, and the scope for appreciation and enjoyment wouldn’t be as extensive.

Without challenge, you, me, this post — we would have never come into existence.

As long as we keep challenging ourselves, the art will remain vibrant and alive, therefore ever-growing and advantageous towards continual enjoyment for us and our audiences.

As long as there is challenge, the art and it’s undertaking will remain enriching. If you’re not feeling challenged, you’re missing out.

Set the bar high and enjoy the ride.

FOUR POINTS: Consider adding these accessories to your wardrobe

May 26th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Four Points


FOUR POINTS: Consider adding these accessories to your wardrobe

A lot of our customers ask us which deck of playing cards they should pick, and our answer is usually the same. Because all of our decks have some of the best stock, finish and handling in the business, we recommend that people choose the deck that best fits their performance character.

That’s a fancy way of saying this: Match your style.

Not everyone can use a deck of Arcanes in black, for example. The iconography lends itself to a darker, more mysterious style. Someone who seeks an elegant, refined design will lean toward Artifice, and someone who sticks with table demonstrations will be best served with a deck of Dealers.

We encourage people to treat deck selections like clothing, in a sense, because the same philosophy applies to wardrobe. And that’s something you should be carefully considering, because part of entertaining is looking the part. Nothing enhances your appeal and professionalism like the right wardrobe (consider it your costume), and a magician who does not dress like a pro will find it difficult to score repeat bookings.

We’ll assume you’re familiar with the basics, such as pants, and get right into advanced-class material — you should be thinking about accessories. These enhancements to our clothes also offer performance advantages for the right kinds of effects, as well. (If you really must know what we think about pants, we highly recommend wearing them.)

Whether you are selecting a wardrobe for professional gigs or you want to dress to be magical anywhere anytime, here’s four accessories you should consider as part of your performance character:

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Whether in magic or marketing, creativity a way of life for Luke Dancy

May 20th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General


Whether in magic or marketing, creativity a way of life for Luke Dancy

It’s hard to find a facet of magic that Luke Dancy is unfamiliar with. And that applies to things that have nothing to do with magic — seemingly.

Luke has more than 25 years of experience as a magic creator, consultant and performer. But his magic has also helped him found a marketing company — he is the founder of Social Mischief. It’s such a great fit that it makes us wonder how more magicians haven’t dived into the field.

“I’ve talked to a lot of friends in the marketing world and it seems to be a natural fit for me as I create magic for other magicians and for television,” Luke said. “It’s really no different than creating a campaign for a brand or specific product. Marketing for me is a way to exploit those creative ideas and thoughts for the business world.”

Luke brings his marketing magic to Ellusionist: Last week he joined our staff as marketing manager. He’ll be actively involved on our website and social networks, fueling new promos and interacting with customers.

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FOUR POINTS: Going back to basics always good practice for experts

May 12th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Four Points


FOUR POINTS: Going back to basics always good practice for experts

Think about how long you’ve been into magic, and all the arcane, obscure material you’ve hunted down. From memorization techniques to NLP, from gambling cheats to elaborate gaffs — look at all the material in your library and rate how complicated they might be.

Got it? How many of those books or videos are intended for beginners?

FOUR POINTS: Going back to basics always good practice for expertsSeriously: Got a copy of Card College? Crash Course in Card Tricks? Tarbell? Royal Road? When was the last time you looked at one of the basic beginning books and reviewed it with an experienced mind?

We know of at least one group on the Internet devoted to going back in time. Members of the secret group are revisiting Roberto Giobbi’s “Card College,” all five volumes, and making videos based on the principles taught. Their goal is to get a deeper understanding of the magic taught within.

And the first step was Vol. 1, where sleights such as the thumb break, step, overhand shuffle and ribbon spread are taught. Tough stuff, eh? Yet these experienced card workers, most of whom have regular paying gigs, devoted the time to holding a pinky break.

It’s genius for a lot of reasons, but four main ones stand out:

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Canadian magician making most of appearance on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’

May 5th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General


Canadian magician making most of appearance on Britains Got Talent

We’ve long complained about the awful treatment that “America’s Got Talent” has given to magicians. And we’re pleased to see that the U.K. version, “Britain’s Got Talent,” is nothing like its American counterpart.

Namely because the show just introduced us to a magician who got our attention. Meet Darcy Oake.

Be honest: How long did it take for you to realize he was doing a dove act and it was cool?

The Canadian magician has wowed on the show, impressing the salty Simon Cowell, who said that Oake is the best magician they have seen in eight seasons. He’s impressed a lot of us at E, too, for a number of reasons — mainly, because he had us riveted throughout that short routine.

“He did for a dove act what Blaine did for close-up,” said Brad Christian, Ellusionist founder and CEO, who also said there’s a lot to learn from this short video:

  • ~ His appearance. The street wear set him apart from other stage magicians, because he had a style we can relate to.
  • ~ Check out the restrained routining. Everything is precision, yet relaxed and confident. No flashy moves, no gestures, no dancing. When he holds up an egg, you know it’s an egg.
  • ~ There’s a lot of confidence here: Because he is relaxed, he doesn’t NEED to have the big flappy arms and wavy fingers that most stage magicians use. Because of that, he commands attention — and we pay it.

We can’t wait to see more of Oake, and to hear how he does in the show. We agree with Cowell: He could win it.

What did you learn from the performance?