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Monthly Archives: September 2009

  • MG Halloween Special

    Posted on September 28, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Sometimes I spend too much time reading E.A. Poe and watching Vincent Price movies, and I get a little carried away. This video is what happens when a magician gets left alone in the Magic Geek warehouse in the dead of night:

    The Warehouse of Horror was a lot of fun to make, especially since I got to use these spooky tricks during the shoot:

    nullThe Web

    nullAnttack with Gimmicks

    Knife thru Arm

    Broom thru Body

    nullYoshino Gimmick

    Magic has a special connection with the holidays; and with Halloween, this is especially true. That's why we have tons of awesome tricks in our new "Magic Geek Scary Section".


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  • Getting Framed

    Posted on September 14, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Framing is a subject that is mentioned a lot in magic, but it's seldom described in detail. It is a very important part of the magic experience and so I thought we'd go through a few of the finer points of framing so that you can start thinking about it for your performances.


    So, what exactly is framing? It is creating the picture that you want your audience to see. By altering the staging of a trick, you can influence an audience to focus on a single coin or an entire stage of elephants. Framing can help with misdirection and the overall drama of your routines.

    One way to control the framing is the physical distance between you and your audience. Notice that in the picture below, Abe Lincoln and I are very close, so he can only focus on small areas at a time.


    In this next picture, Abe is some distance away from me, this allows him to see more area at one time. This is why stage performers need to be concerned with the scenery around them and not just the magic that is happening in their hands.


    But there are ways to control your framing beyond distance. In the side-by-side comparison below, you can see that my focus can shift the audience's focus. By directing all of my attention to my hands, I narrow the audience's focus, so that the framing only includes my hands. They can look up at my face, but as soon as they see nothing is going on up there, their concentration will be back down in the small area that my hands inhabit.


    Conversely, by shifting my focus back out to the audience, I can widen their range. People want to look at you when you look at them or talk to them; you can use this to widen your framing so that they focus on your face, as well as your hands.

    These techniques can also be used in a stage setting. Notice how I am striking a Mark Wilson "Power Pose" which directs attention to the props I am using while keeping the framing wide. By opening up my body to the audience, I keep myself in the framing.


    By turning my body toward the props and putting all my focus there, I can cause the audience to "zoom-in" on the props. Even though the audience has the opportunity to see a wide scene, they can bring all their attention to a tiny point and everything else becomes unimportant.


    You can use framing in a variety of ways. It becomes incredibly important at the end of a routine. The way you frame the last movements of a trick can be the difference between a memorable miracle or a trivial happening.

    Framing can also be used to help misdirection. Something that happens outside of an established frame is less likely to get notices than something (no matter how covered) that happens in the frame. I shift my framing back and forth between an audience member and myself to help cover sleights in my Professor's Nightmare Routine, 'Fraid Knot.

    By bringing your framing up to shoulder height (like in the photo below), one can bring their face into the spotlight. Your facial expressions can help the punch line of a joke or bring emotion into your magic. It is also a great way to make people remember that you were the one controlling the magic.


    So these are a few of the way to establish your framing and use it to enhance your performances. I'm sure I've left a lot out in the tiny blog, so if you can think of something I failed to mention, please speak up and write your thoughts in a comment. We'd love to hear from you.

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  • Magic Multiplying Babies

    Posted on September 11, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Hey everyone. My wife, Jessica and I are very pleased to announce the birth of our second child, Jacob. He was born on September 8th.

    nullFor some reason the doctor didn't like
    Chris' "Cut and Restored Umbilical Cord" Routine.

    I am very excited that I played a part in bringing one more geek into the world.

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  • Free Trick for Labor Day

    Posted on September 5, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Magic Geek is proud to present the "My Wife's in Labor Labor Day Sale." She's not really in labor yet, but she is really pregnant and I think that's a good enough reason for a sale.


    We firstly want to offer you FREE SHIPPING on all of your orders during this long weekend. Just add what you want to your cart, enter the Coupon Code 4335 and click "Apply".

    This coupon code will also get you a free copy of my latest trick, Anttack with Gimmicks when you order $100 or more in one order. That means, if you use the coupon code 4335 and spend over $100, you will get free shipping and a brand new magic trick as an extra gift from us.


    Coupon Code 4335 is valid until 11:59pm EST on September 7th 2009. Offer does not apply to Google Checkout or international orders.

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