Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Character, why its important, why you need one.

Character, every magic blog out there has a post about character. And they should, your performing character is the most important part of being something other than that weird uncle that does a few card tricks. If you want to be serious about magic establishing a character should be one of the first things you do. It  doesn't have to be a huge project just a sentence outlining the character can go a long way. For example my character is a flamboyant con-man that may or may not be the devil.

Why do you need a character early on; because there are a lot of magic effects out there. A whole lot. Having a character helps you decide what kind of effects you need to learn and what tricks are a waste of your time. To use my character as an example; I'm focusing on magic based on cons and gambling. Things like the three shell game and three card monte, poker and blackjack deals. I'm not going to learn the linking rings because I can't see a con man doing anything with those props. So once you has an idea of your character you can ask questions like can I see my character doing that effect, If the answer is no then you don't need to waste time or money on it.

Later on your character becomes important in pattering (Which you should hold off on till you have some real experience under your belt) and routining. If you can't see your character doing something then neither can your audience. Incongruence in your act will be jarring, it will remove spectators from the moment and lessen impact of the magic you're presenting.

Some of you will say. I play myself. Then I would have to ask 'Who are you?' If your response is "I uh.. I'mm uhh.. I'm a magician.." Then you need to sit down and work on it till you can answer with something more like "I am an upbeat magician specializing in close up magic." Cause let me tell you, you're boring, you're tricks will be remembered but you will be forgotten. Because people will remember a character. If you don't have one then you're just a vehicle for your tricks. Which is OK if you're doing tricks for friends and family. But for those who want to do magic for a living thats a problem because when you go to a prospective employer what you are selling them is your character not your tricks.

Every Professional magician out there has a performing character. Every last one. So what makes you think you know better than the pros?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My shells for the three shell game.

So yesterday I mentioned that I had made my own shells. Well here they are beside my Magic Makers. Also in picture is a 50 cent piece for size reference. I made my shells by hand with no power tools it took about 2 hours and the hardest part was not breaking the shells when separating the halves. After that I took a razor sharp blades and rounded the bottoms so they's slide around without snagging on my pad.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Magic Maker's Street Monte Vs School for Scoundrel Introduction to the 3 shell game

So I knew I was going to learn the Three Shell Game and like many things in magic I had options. Now before I describe the two products I'm going to compare let me tell you where I stood three shell wise. I knew the moves and overall secret I made shell from real walnuts I got from the store. They sucked and they were too tiny for my hands. I made a practice pea out of polymer clay and it let me practice the basic moves. So I was no master but I did know what I needed to advance my skill. Enter Magic Makers (MM) and The School for Scoundrels. Magic Makers is a producer of magic tricks and DVDs of extremely varying quality. The School for Scoundrels (SfS) is what I like to think of as the Whit Haydn school of magic. Basically he feels that a lot of magicians approach magic from the view of the card mechanic, and that the con-man would be more beneficial to magic. I wanted the SfS videos a lot but they are only available to be bought on the internet which is a mark against for me. The MM three shell set up was available from my local brick and mortar. I eventually ended up getting the MM Street Monte three shell game because MM hasn't screwed me over every time in quality. I regretted it and made to get the SfS Introduction to the shell game volume one as soon as possible. Well it came today. In an effort to help my fellow amateurs I bring this review and comparison.

Magic Makers Sal Piacent: Street Monte Three Shell Game

Cost to me, it was marked for $35 but I spend a lot of money in that store so the owner knocked off $5 bucks so with taxes I paid $32.25 For that price I got a DVD, 3 shells and 2 peas of indeterminate plastics. I was happy enough with the shells and peas. I intended to get different peas as soon as I could but the shells will work till I'm ready to drop the big bucks and get something really better. But the DVD I felt was the real hustle. I felt that not only that it was poorly put together but that it also failed to deliver what it promised. It was basically a video of poorly organized randomly selected moves. The closest it came to teaching me a routine was Sal performing his routine for the camera. After watching the SfS DVD I do believe that Sal is mis-performing at least one of the moves on his dvd. On a personal note I just didn't care for Sal himself I did not like the character presented to me..

Obviously I was not happy with this purchase but there is someone to whom I would recommend this to. If you are what some people  call a hobbyist and the only people that will see you perform is close family and friends. This is a good set for the price if that's your audience. But if you are a professional magician or amateur looking to go pro do not get this.

School For Scoundrels An Introduction to the three shell game.

Cost to me $35 plus $7.50 shipping and handling. I also ordered a set of Perfect Peas for $15 so I'd say it cost me $38.75 for the DVD. What I got, one DVD. One super awesome information packed, well organised, well produced DVD. The first thing on the DVD is Whit Haydn explaining different types of peas and shells. And here he could have easily tried to sell you his company's peas and shells over any other but I didn't feel like he was doing that. Next is video of Bob's Sheets performing simple basic routine at the Magic Castle for real people. Then he shows you how to do all the moves and some audience management. If the DVD ended there you would be well enough introduced that once you had practiced and got it down you could go out and start performing the three game; $35 well spent. But the DVD is still going and teaching more complicated moves that can be added to the basic routine. If you master all the moves on this DVD you'll go from introduced to intermediate. After the complicated moves is a video of Whit Haydn lecturing which I feel is well worth a few dollars alone. So you have all of that and then you take your DVD over to your computer and open the DVD as a disk and there you find 11 PDF files on various topics to do with the shell game including a more advance routine. So for $35 buck you get all of that.

If you are a performer then this is the DVD you need to get to get you started on the road to the shell game. As for shells there are plenty out there to choose from but cost wise I hear Vernet makes some good cheap ones.

If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Christian Cagigal The Gambler and The Stranger

Tomorrow a regularly scheduled post will appear as if by magic one minute after midnight. It will be comparing Three shell game DVDs but as I call my self the card king I figured I'd make a post with some card magic first. So here I present to you Christian Cagigal's The Gambler and The Stranger. Christian Cagigal is a great magician and a pretty nice dude. I just love this effect.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pro-Condom Commercials featuring Magic

So I have no idea whats really going on in the commercials. I think they might be from Italy. I'm pretty sure they want people to use condoms but I'm not sure how that supposed to be displayed in the commercial except for the fact that they use condom shaped props. Also I stole the vids from here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


This post is mostly for the people out there that are amateurs with aspirations of going pro. I'm going to talk about the most disparaging, dis-hearting, discouraging thing I had to deal with. Was it all that I had to learn? Was it the start up costs? Was it all the practice required? Was it the timeline I had planned out?

It wasn't any of that. It was the overwhelming lack of support from my friends and family. It seems that the performing arts and magic specifically are not real jobs. They all said there was no money to had in it. It was bad because when you have doubts yourself you need the support of those around you. But what really annoyed me was that it seem to me to be an insult. It was as if these people thought I had not done my homework. It was like they thought that I just decided to be a magician all willy nilly.

I know its going to be a lot of hardwork. I know its going to take a lot of time and dedication. I know I'm probably not the next David Copperfield. I also know stuff that they don't know. For starters I know what I want and how to get there. I know theres more to magic than huge stage illusions and kid's shows. I know its possible that I can do whatever I want but I got work for it.

So to all the other performing artists out there, make sure you want it and are willing to work for it alone because everyone else would prefer if you got "a real job"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another Update

So I added a Links bar to the side.

Bizarre Magic Forums. I really debated adding this site because its so good I wanted to keep it to myself. Its a small forum with only handful of active members but those members know their stuff. Access to the good stuff is by approval only so going there and acting a fool will do you no good.

Brian Brushwoods Scam School This is a series where magician Brian Brushwood teaches you various magic tricks and scam to help win free drinks at the bar. Its all good information and well shot.

Ellusionist This is a webstore focusing on Cards and Street magic. Good products and nice custom decks. They also have a forum I check regularly and turn to when I need card advice.

My Youtube Channel This just my youtube channel no uploads yet.

School for Scoundrels This forum could be considered the Whit Haydn school of magic. If you do magic about cons or The Three Shell game, Three card monte, or fast and lose then you need to be there. Also you can find a link to their store their for the best props for those games.

Bicycle Dragon Back Playing Cards from US Playing Card Co.

I don't know about other card workers but I've been know to drop a pretty penny on what is basically just a deck of cards. Specifically the decks produced by magic makers. I've been know to spend $13 at my local brick and mortar and I'm interest in one that cost $35 it comes with a dvd but still. But at those prices they are not really practical for the working magician. I mean I wear a deck out in like two weeks with just practice. If you only do stage or parlor magic then you can afford to have an expensive deck. But for for a strolling or busking magician thats not a cost effective solution. So when I was in Target and found the Bicycle Dragon Backed deck for ~$3 I was very interested. I really like this deck. The back has a medieval feel. The colors are a little deeper and richer than in a normal deck. The back design is also subtly one way. In addition to the regular 54 cards. Mine came with a card advertising the other brands of cards produced by the US playing card Co. I like this card because it has a the dragon back so I can use it to make gaffs. It also came with a double-backer which is unusual for a regular deck of Bicycle cards. I also like that the regular sized Joker is colored in. As for the smaller joker that has US Playing Co.'s guarantee  I used to not use those at all but now I make breather crimps out of them which I find useful. Besides the look they are of Bicycle's normal high quality and handle well.

All in all this is a good deck and if you can fit it in with your character at $3 a deck you can't go wrong with it.

If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stolen from weekly magic failure

So I found this in my blog feed today I got it from here

I like this vid. I know I said I'm not against exposure and I'm not but this vid isn't giving the original a hard time for being an exposer. He's giving them a hard time for making such a slack-arsed video. If you're going to make a video where you're going to perform a trick and then reveal how to do the trick. Learn to do the damn trick well first. If you can't do the trick then just skip to the reveal because you suck so much we know how its done from your performance. And for Freya's sake get a real camera and take two steps back from that thing, you can ignore the first one but the second one don't. Being right in front of the camera and doing the trick inches from the lens looks bad and is annoying to the viewer.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Updates to the Blog

Well I have made two changes to the blog, first I added a blogroll. Featuring blogs I find to be truely usefull. Not every blog I follow just the one I thing are really good.

Ye Olde Magick Blogge. This is the best one on the list. It give valuable information useful to all level magicians. I recommend going through his archives and listening to his talks with Tyler Erickson. And if you're new to card magic his posts annotating "The royal road to card magic" are good ones. (Sadly this blog is no longer with us as the author closed it after receiving some disturbing personal attacks he decided to pack up his things and leave.)

Itricks This one is full of magic news but half their posts are sponsored posts which are like commercials. But thats the cost of doing business I guess.

The Weekly Magic Failure This blog points out what the author feels to be Jackassery in the magic world. His 'ways to not be a magic failure' is good advice. You don't have to agree with him (I don't always) but at least he gives you something to think about.

Online Magic News This blog is the blog for Ellusionist a web store focused on "street magic". Really big on the cards but they do have good info to share in the blog. Sometimes the posts are just to sell their wares but thats business. They also have a good forum.

The Pit and The Pendulum This blog is focus on Bizarre magic and is currently on hiatus. But it has a good backlog to read through.

I have also added a Youtube video bar. I wanted to link it to my channel but that didn't work. So I just plugged in a bunch of magic keywords I will work on fixing it but for now thats what you got.

I have also added a poll; self explanatory.

I will also be adding a links list as soon I work out what links I want to share, it will have its own post.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Andrew Musgrave from the Ye old magic blog recently brought up the topic of tricks that are scary to perform I will talk on that in a bit but first I want to wax poetic about fear and stage fright.

Fear is a good thing. It keeps us alert and on our toes. It keeps us from making silly mistakes. That said you can't let fear stop you. As for stage fright I think magicians have more potential for stage fright than any other performer. We have all the same bits of stage fright as say an actor; "What if I forget my lines, what if I drop my props, what if I trip, what if they boo...etc" We have all that then we have to attempt to do something sneaky in front of people that lets face it sometimes just want to see you mess up. Some people just can't accept magic for anything other than a puzzle. But that's what you got to deal with, you practice, train and rehearse, then go out and do it.

Now for tricks that frighten me. I can't think of any trick that I'm afraid to do. But there are moves that scare me. The bold moves. The moves where you say you're doing one thing and then you boldly and sneakily do something else. Tell me that theres a slight that has poor angles and requires you thumbs to pass through separate dimensions, I'll practice the heck out of it set up with the correct angles and breeze through it. Tell me I have to do a Marlo Tilt and my hands start to shake. True story.

The first time I ever did magic for a complete stranger was when I was waiting on my order at Burger King. I was listening to the advice that practicing your magic in public place will help you get used to the idea of performing. SO I'm playing with a deck of cards and one of the employees, notices and starts talking to me which leads him to ask to see a trick. So I started doing an ACR and all was going great I had done two or three phases and was going to end it by putting his card in face up and having it rise to the top. And I was going to do the Marlo Tilt to do it. My hands started shaking so bad I lost my break twice and then I lost his card. I put it in way too far down. I didn't know what to do I just apologized, told him I had messed up. Luckily he got called away to do his job and I used that chance to set up the deck the way I needed, and just started control shuffling till he returned. He walked up I ask him if he remembered his card, did my color change. Got my order and left.

I know that with time, practice, and real performances that eventually I will be able to do those moves as good as my others. But they still scare me. Its like I think they're too simple to fool anyone and that translates to doubt which leads to messing up.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dan Sperry on Americas got talent.

I don't watch this show but this clip from another blog makes me wish I had caught this part when it happened.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Royal Road to Card Magic

The Royal Road to Card Magic by Jean Huguard. I really wish that back when I was first getting serious about card magic, someone would have said to me "Hey before you spend money on anything else get this book first" There are plenty of books and dvd's that teach you moves and tricks. But this book is a course in card magic. It starts off with the overhand shuffle and then how to make it tricky and then it gives you a drill to practice then some tricks with it. All the while explaining about magic theory and how to work with the audience. Then it moves on to another move then another as you learn new moves you learn new tricks and by the end you have a good solid foundation in card magic and a collection of effects to wow anyone.


First let me explain what exposure is to the lay people (lay people is a word used to denote non-magicians) In magic exposure is the telling of secrets and methods of magic to non-magician. Think Masked Magician from FOX. In most magical circles this is the sin of sins. And extreme lengths are gone to in order to avoid exposure. I think this mind set is detrimental to magic. There is only one place where I think it is as horrible as it is viewed, but I'll get to that in a moment.
Where does most exposure happen. It happens on youtube, teenage "magicians" expose the secret to most tricks there. Mostly as a way to boost their own ego. Thats sucks but BFD (big friggin deal) Heres something magicians don't seem to get laypeople don't care how a trick is done. They may watch exposure videos and think well thats interesting but they don't commit it to memory its just not that important to them. I have been known to perform an effect from fox's magic's secrets revealed for people that watched that show with me.
We sat on the same couch and watch it together. I remembered how to do the trick they did not. They are impressed when they see me do the trick and go "How did you do that?"
Harry Blackstone Sr. one of histories greatest magicians used to do a stage show, out side the theater were posters exposing the very tricks he did. The crowds were still thrilled and amazed and wondered how he did it.


I'm an amateur and I all ready figured that one out. If your spectators keep trying to call you out and expose you and your sleights are good, then learn a some self working tricks and focus on presentation and audience management

Now for the inexcusable exposure. Smart phones are everywhere and at a certain point your audience get too big to manage, like at a club. In this kind of setting there may be a person that just doesn't wanna enjoy the performance and has to answer his inner call to be a dick and use his phone to search out the secrets.. This annoys me not because its exposure but because the only person getting hurt is the other spectators the magician is still gonna get paid either way. But the audience is out a magical experience.

That said I will do my best to avoid exposing currently licensed and copyrited material but I make no such promise about anything else.

Introductory Post

I suppose I should start with my name. I am Magnus Asbjorn and I am an amateur magician. Been that way for years. The oldest trick I can remember seeing and then learning is the ball vase. I need to get another one. I have recently decided to work toward becoming a full time paid professional magician. The part I'm working on now is learning magic; not just learning tricks but magical theory and thinking too. This Blog will be a place where I share with any readers I may have the various views and opinions I have on the varying aspect of magic and business.  With all that said lets get too it.