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Author Archives: chris ballinger

  • First Winner for PH Month

    Posted on November 13, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Ooh, the first winner of Paul Harris Month has been selected. Please watch the video below to find out if you won the autographed Paul Harris Poster and to get updated on the happenings of this awesome giveaway:

    To get your name in the running, all you need to do is order Paul Harris Products And don't miss out on your chance to get a free gift when you order a certain amount of Paul Harris goodies.


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  • Interview with Paul Harris

    Posted on November 10, 2009 by chris ballinger

    We took all the awesome questions that you submitted and brought them to Paul Harris. He answered them, we filmed hit, here it is:

    --Part One--

    --Part Two--

    Don't forget that all November is Paul Harris Month here at Magic Geek. Any time you order a Paul Harris product your name goes into the running for an autographed True Astonishment Box Set. And every week you have a chance to win a Signed Paul Harris Poster.

    As an added bonus we are offering a FREE GIFT any time you order a certain amount of Paul Harris products. To see what the gift is, just go to the Paul Harris Product Page. There will be a banner at the top of the page.


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  • Paul Harris Giveaway

    Posted on November 6, 2009 by chris ballinger

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    For the complete line of Paul Harris Products click HERE.


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  • Director's Cut Demos

    Posted on November 3, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Sometimes when we shoot the video demos a lot of what happens after the trick gets cut out of the final video. If you'd like to see what happens after the trick is over, I put together two of our latest demos with the full endings. I hope you enjoy:

    Souvenir Linking Rubberbands

    Lip Smacker


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  • Paul Harris

    Posted on October 28, 2009 by chris ballinger

    I am going to interview Paul Harris in a week and I want to know what questions that you want me to ask him. And to illustrate how passionate I am about this, Aidan sat me down in front of a keyboard and asked me to sing an impromptu song about it.

    Anyway, please comment with your question submissions by 11/2/09. Then I'll interview Paul Harris and ask him those questions. How cool is that?

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    For those of you who are not familiar with Paul Harris' work, you should get familiar. His books, The Art of Astonishment impacted close-up magic in a huge way and his box set True Astonishment is a beautiful piece of magic history.


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  • Flying Karamazov Brothers

    Posted on October 27, 2009 by chris ballinger

    I recently had the honor of interviewing Pavel and Zossima of the legendary juggling troupe The Flying Karamazov Brothers. Check out the video below for the out of control interview where we discuss juggling, music theory, character, casting and more...

    For information on upcoming Flying Karamazov Brother shows and events, check out www.fkb.com. You can also become a facebook fan of the Flying Karamazov Brothers at www.facebook.com/FlyingKaramazovBrothers.

    After the interview I became a fan on Facebook and then I took my daughter to see the show. It was awesome and Bailey still hasn't stopped talking about it.

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    A Brief History
    For those of you who don't know much about the FKB, they were formed in 1973 by Paul Magid and Howard Patterson. They started by performing on the streets and at festivals until in 1980 when they began playing in legitimate theaters around the world. Their show is a collision of juggling, music, comedy, and theater that is always entertaining. The current members are Paul Magid (Dmitri), Mark Ettinger (Alexei), Roderick Kimball (Pavel), and Stephen Bent (Zossima).

    Some of you might recognize Stephen as the star of the Ultimate Club Juggling DVD.

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    If you're interested in learning to juggle clubs, this is the best way to do so. It's easy to see why the Flying Karamazov Brothers adopted him into the family.

    For those of you budding New York Jugglers, Rod Kimball gives classes in the area. After watching him juggle I think you should seriously consider it. To learn more about that, click HERE.


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  • 2 Card Switch Tutorial

    Posted on October 23, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Here is a fun trick that is easy to learn and can be performed close-up or on stage:

    Click the images below to find the new Gaff Card 4 Packs used in this routine:

    Double Face Cards
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    Double Back Cards
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    Magic Geek is also proud to several other gaffed card 4 Packs and full decks:


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  • Become a Fan of Chris

    Posted on October 7, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Got a Facebook account and don't know what to do with it? Join the Chris Ballinger Fan Page. It's like lazy stalking for cyber-savvy magicians.

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  • 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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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