Small videos unlock big magic: Wilber inspired by Instagram

May 1st, 2015 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General

adamigAdam Wilber, general manager of Ellusionist, has a reputation of being one of magic’s most fearless performers. He’ll show magic to anyone at anytime. Recently, he brought his magic to the cameras of Syfy’s “Wizard Wars.”

These days, he’s performing in front of a much smaller camera in a much shorter window of time — and making an even bigger impact.

Since about February, Adam has almost daily uploaded a new video to his Instagram account. The videos range from simple card tricks to effects with coins, ropes, sponges, red Solo cups, lollipops, Peeps, Lego bricks, iPhones, balloons, anything he can get his hands on. The reaction has been tremendous, Wilber said — the videos have lit his social networks on fire.

So why put so much effort into 15 seconds of grainy video?

“To be honest, I just posted one or two videos a while back and fell in love with the challenge of creating something magical in less than 15 seconds,” Adam said. “I love that it allows me to share magic with a lot of people without even leaving my office.”

Red Solo Cup! No edit, one continuous shot. 😉 #Instagrammagician #countryatheart

A video posted by Adam Wilber (@adamwmagic) on

The 15 second time-limit is challenging: It forces him to focus on one or two visual moments, he said. It forces him to think less of technical methods and more about moments. The author of “Creative Magic” said the format has opened up a new level of creativity for him, and puts a lesson in that book into extreme practice. There’s a part of the book that encourages readers to have someone pick random objects from the kitchen, then create an effect from them.

“Now that I am trying to upload at least one effect a day, it has realy made me look at everything in my day-to-day as a possible magic effect,” he said. “I think when you challenge your brain this way (using the kitchen challenge) it can really help you look at things differently and can lead to really cool moments of magic. I think the Instagram videos do the same thing for me. They allow my brain to think a different way than it’s used to.”

A disappearing iPhone effect highlights that creativity. He told his wife about wanting to find a way to slowly and visually make an iPhone disappear, with just the wave of a hand. She looked at him like he was crazy. But by the end of the night, he had a method that worked.

Wilber said he’s committing to the format for the immediate future, but only as an addition to what he does. Even with the success of the videos, he said there is nothing better than magic performed live, and still seizes every moment to perform.

But his Instagram efforts are inspiring real-world creations, including some things you may see at Ellusionist soon.

“I would say about a third of the videos I have posted are now being developed into full blown routines,” he said. “Posting the videos for me is just a good starting point to much stronger routines. I have two effects that are being produced right now that will be killer pieces of magic, and they came from ideas I got from the Instagram videos.”

Follow Adam on Instagram here. And Ellusionist here.

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