FOUR POINTS: These places will get you on the path to getting paid

January 21st, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Four Points

FOUR POINTS: These places will get you on the path to getting paid

So you’re ready. Whether you’re following through with a new year’s resolution or a planned goal, you’re out to take your magic from practice to profitability. You’re ready to get paid for all your planning and work.

Time to make those cards pay for themselves.

It doesn’t matter what your plan for magic is, from building a list of clients in your town to making it big in Vegas. Before you can be the next Messado, Ollie Mealing or Adam Wilber, You have to start somewhere, and there is no substitute for the experience of actually performing for living, breathing people.

(David Stone’s Real Secrets of Magic Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 are time-tested classics, and Ellusionist’s hardest-working worker Adam Wilber has filled up “Creative Magic” and The Worker Part 1 and Part 2 with great material for business-minded magicians.)

Drumming up business isn’t easy, but you have to start somewhere. At the beginning of your career, you may have to content yourself with making a reputation, not money. Which is fine, because that’s an investment in your future. Instead of performing for cash, make a testimonial or the ability to pass business cards/put up flyers part of the deal.

You have two goals:

  • ~ Get your name out there and let people know what you do. This is done through good old-fashioned networking (a fancy word for “meeting people”). Whether it’s a business card, flyer or an actual performance, you want to spread the word that you exist.
  • ~ Show people that you deserved to be hired. This is done through excellent performance and interaction — AND by being a great team player at the place where you work your magic. Hopefully you perform for people who love your work and hire you in the future. And a testimonial from the right person can seal a deal down the road.

Here are four places that would be good for your business cards, flyers or actual skills. Out of respect to any working magicians in your area (and yourself as well), you don’t want to use these options repeatedly — use them as occasional tools in your toolbox:


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Gone forever: Last of Red Artifice decks handed out in promotion

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

Gone forever: Last of Red Artifice decks handed out in promotion

Just like our first edition Black Ghost decks, we knew we’d eventually run out of them. We just didn’t expect it to happen this quickly.

It’s official: We are out of Red Artifice decks.

They will never again be available from Ellusionist as a prize, promotion or anything else. They are out the door.

A little history: The Red Artifice was printed in 2011 alongside the first edition of the Blue Artifice deck. The red version was exactly like the blue, except for its red color, obviously, and the amount. Only 5,000 of the decks were ever printed. (Because borders were added to the Blue and Emerald Artifice decks, there are about 10,000 first edition Blue decks with no borders in existence.)

The manner of its release was different as well: Responding to feedback we received about the Black Ghost and Gold Arcane decks, it was first released for individual sale. We took 3,000 of the 5,000 and posted them up for people to buy at $6.99 each. The last 2,000 we reserved for promotions and prizes, such as a deal we posted during the days after Christmas: People could receive a Red Artifice deck when they bought any 12 of our other custom decks.

Because of a software error, that promotion cleared out our supply.

Gone forever: Last of Red Artifice decks handed out in promotionThe promotion was supposed to last for a 24-hour period. But because of the error, the promotion remained in effect for several more days. That means a lot of people who bought 12 decks, not really intending to take advantage of the sale, received the bonus.

We were tempted to go back through all the orders and retroactively remove the decks, but in the end, we decided to stand by the purchases until the decks were depleted. And when the Red Artifice were gone, we filled the promo instead with a rare Red Arcane deck. We apologize for the error, and hope that a gift of a just-as-rare deck that has been only recently passed out suffices (compared to the Red Artifice, there are so few Red Arcane decks actually in people’s hands — we’re looking at most of ‘em in the warehouse right now).

For the rest of us, we bid a sudden, sad yet well-deserved adieu. Goodbye, Red Artifice: You glowed like embers in a fire, and we’ll always burn for you. We send you off by showing Peter McKinnon’s incredible trailer that featured some of the first appearances of Bobby Motta, Mike Clarke and Shade.

Ollie Mealing: Finding a table helps strengthen strolling performances

December 16th, 2013 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Artist Interviews, General

Ollie Mealing: Finding a table helps strengthen strolling performances

Ollie Mealing, creator of Control and Recoil, has worked his share of corporate events, parties and other performances. One of the secrets to his success at a strolling gig is, surprisingly, parking it at a table. The following are his thoughts about what a table can do for the working magician.

For many years I’ve been a regular performer at large scale events and in that time, I’ve prudently geared my material towards working at my own allocated table – a format which I believe (for such an environment) leads to the greatest desirable outcome. The concept isn’t original or groundbreaking, and possibly underwhelming to hear, but simplicity is often complexity in disguise.

The Audience

Within minutes of arriving at an event, you’ve noticed a large group of occupied guests, all gathered in a semi-circular fashion, their backs towards you, an oddity that quite literally stands out. The cause of their accumulation is currently indiscernible, but instantaneously your wise instincts raise a conclusive flag that SOMETHING in that vicinity is happening – a thing that evidently must be of value to have captured the attention and time of your fellow guests.

Your options are as follows: You can either stroll across and have your curiosity delightfully quenched, or secure a drink and engage in conversation, where the puzzling subject is destined to resurface. Both outcomes will ultimately end in your favour, as finally you’ll have discovered that the recent applause which cheerily beamed from the area of concern was generated most wonderfully by a magician — though ideally you’d have already acquired this knowledge firsthand & are partly responsible for that very applause, pleasantly finding yourself as a newly astounded contributor to the acclamation.

Now that your inquisition has been sated, you’re now privy to the secret and equipped with an exciting talking point. If you weren’t initially enticed, your swift beeline towards the action will imminently ensue, or amicably instead, you’ve opted to find a friend for the jaunt. But undoubtedly that moment of involvement is inescapably impending — perhaps when your social threshold needs recharging or, if you need an excuse to decamp or just simply because you’re too intrigued (the latter obviously being preferable), then you too will become an integral member of the alluring group, witnessing for yourself who everyone’s been talking about and feeling rejoiced that you did.

From that moment on, you spend your evening intermittently sharing the tale of your enthralling experience — continuing to propagate and embed a joyous memory.

Ollie Mealing: Finding a table helps strengthen strolling performances

The Magician

After much deliberation, you’ve chosen the prime spot to base yourself. The guests are beginning to appear and all that’s entailed to bring forth your eventual hub of mystery and magic is to coax an audience into position.

From this point on, the fun is as much yours as it is theirs. A self-sustaining audience full of high expectations who have excitedly approached and accepted you in exchange for amazement — what more could you ask for?

Shortly into your set, you realize your performances are no longer disjointed and vulnerable to mistimed introductions, interruptions or imposing remarks, because whilst in your zone, the onus for a respectable demeanour is their duty. Under these circumstances, being surrounded by an enthusiastic, eager and cordial crowd, you’re able to relish in the perks of feeling at ease, you’re able to take full of advantage of copious table space without the flow-deadening hassle of making space and you’re able to maintain your optimal performance flow — which conveniently reciprocates back to the audience as reassurance, further building anticipation and establishing rapport.

Importantly, tricks can transgress to magic, as you’re able to partner your material with the attention it rightfully deserves — gratifyingly being able to provide your audience with the exact experience you want to instill.

This is all very well in theory, but in reality the advantages are only truly manifested if you’re able to fit the environment and deliver suitable material — for which, feasible adaptations may need to be made. But from my own experience it’s a worthwhile pursuit, as this presentational technique has immeasurably transformed the way I approach, view and enjoy a performance.

Discovering what works best for you and your audience is for me, the primary joy and key to creating magic — a personal process which unveils answers unique to you. I hope the above will prove worthy of your time & take you a step closer to a new and exciting revelation.

SUITABLE FOR FRAMING: Magician shakes tremors for impossible towers

November 28th, 2013 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Artist Interviews, Products

SUITABLE FOR FRAMING: Magician shakes tremors for impossible towers

One of the biggest joys we get at is seeing how you use the products we make, from decks of custom playing cards to videos showing what you can do with those cards. Thanksgiving always gives us a chance to settle down and really feel all the feels brought by the gratitude we have for all the customers who have kept us working our tails off over the last 13 years.

We love seeing what you do with our products. So many great performances, so many beautiful videos, so many amazing reactions. But every once in a while, one of you comes up with something completely, astonishingly different.

SUITABLE FOR FRAMING: Magician shakes tremors for impossible towersThe latest to bewilder us is Jeremy Griffith, who has his own idea of a stacked deck. An Instagram user, Jeremy has been posting incredible pictures of Republics, Artifice and Rounders defying gravity. At first, the cards and decks in his series appeared to be floating. And just when we thought we had it figured out, Jeremy moved the camera down and showed EXACTLY how he accomplished it.

And bewildered us all over again.

See for yourself: Deck boxes balance on top of coins, single cards, glasses, pens and more. Jeremy said there’s no glue, tape, invisible thread or seams. Everything is done using precision balance (as precise as hands can be, anyway), centers of gravity and plenty of patience for trial and error.

“The rules when this thing got started with me were simple,” he said. “Photoshop was out of the question and nothing could be bonding the cards. Also, I was only allowed to use what was in the picture, which is usually a deck and a flat surface.”

The Lake Forest, Calif., resident has studied magic for 23 of his 30 years. For all of those years, he’s had a small tremor in both hands. Nothing serious, medically — but annoying enough to where the tremors become a hassle. Taking up magic at 7, the tremors complicated things, he discovered. It was hard to get that soft touch with cards, so he stuck with coins for the longest time — the hard metal and constant motion was easier to manage.

But he eventually conquered cards. He learned a sort of dynamic tension similar to guitar players and used that to progress deep into card magic. Though he still has the tremors, it’s hard to spot them unless his hands are completely still, he said. Which makes us look at all those towers in a new light.

Talk about an impossible stack.

“Usually I’m just seeing how far I can go with the center of gravity before it becomes too unstable,” he said. Every level you go up gets harder to balance for obvious reasons, and as such, requires a lot more patience. But when you pull it off, it’s like shooting nothing but net from the half court line.”

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Biggest giveaway yet: New releases, amazing contest start holidays

November 20th, 2013 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General

Biggest giveaway yet: New releases, amazing contest start holidays

Shortest holiday season of the year? Only one way to respond: THE BIGGEST HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY EVER.

The 2013 Ellusionist Holiday Giveaway is in full swing, and features two ways to bring home some insane loot — including 12 of our rare, limited decks of playing cards, a $1,000 shopping spree, a PlayStation 4, an iPad Mini and, our grand prize, a 15-inch Macbook Pro Retina and Canon T5i DSLR camera. Those two ways:

  • ~ Every order will receive a ticket number. Each week we’ll draw 10 winning ticket numbers, each with a chance to win a prize.
  • ~ Every order can qualify for guaranteed gifts — as you reach certain spending tiers, you’ll receive options for more goodies, including limited decks, signed decks in lucite cases and more.

All the details of the giveaway are available right here. And while you consider what to load your cart with, you’ll want to see this week’s latest major releases:

GAFF SYSTEM: Made to work with our Artifice playing cards, the Gaff System doubles down on every gaff deck we’ve ever produced. Filled with tricks that could easily stand alone and sell for upwards of $20 each, the Gaff System deck features 15 insanely visual effects, including a torn-and-restored routine where the card melts back together, a lingering shadow from a smartphone’s flash, a torn-and-restored box flap, the familiar joker helpfully pointing out a location, a ChapStick that becomes a chosen card and so much more. Developed by three of magic’s most creative minds — Daniel Madison, Eric Jones and Calen Morelli — this deck is FILLED with worker effects. Inspect each one for yourself, and see some of them in action.

MESSADO RINGS: Messado is one of the few performers who took the linking rings seriously. Working as a pitchman for a magic store in Atlantic City, Messado transformed the linking rings into Messado Rings, an amazing magic display. Know how laymen think they know the secret of the linking rings? They will watch rings link in mid-air and defy gravity. They will get to inspect these beautiful carbon-black rings up close, and then become part of the magic by getting to LINK A RING THEMSELVES. And they will forget what they think they know. A bundle features Messado teaching each of these dazzling moves and a set of rings in a slim leather case. A sellout at Magic Live, this is your new chance to pick up this incredible routine.

ANGLE Z: Years ago Daniel Madison released an effect that he didn’t think much of, but the magic community latched onto it. But even after the first time he released it on video, he didn’t dive too much into it. That has changed with Angle Z. A corner of a card is torn, made to vanish then reappear WHEREVER YOU WANT. Beyond the basics, however, are 90 minutes of undiscovered techniques, subtleties and philosophy from the creator. This effect has been used by many of magic’s top performers, including David Blaine, who featured it on his recent special “Real or Magic.”

We’re not done by any means. We will open a few more releases before Santa boards his sleigh. But until then, check out all the unique, eye-popping magic at