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Author Archives: chris ballinger

  • Looking for a Gift?

    Posted on November 24, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Unfortunately, buying magic for a magician can be hard to do. It has been our goal here at Magic Geek to simplify the task and turn it into something fun. First off we have posted a video demo for just about every product we carry. That way, you can enjoy a short video and see exactly what the effect is.

    To further simplify things we have put together this little list of categories and suggestions. We hope these help you in the search for the perfect gift...

    Very Early Beginner:
    We recommend you look in the Easiest section of the Magic Geek website. All of these effects can be performed with no sleight of hand experience. And it's not just kid's stuff, there are tricks like D'Lite and Dime and Penny that are easy, but fool and entertain adults as well.

    Beginner:
    Take a look at the Easy section. Classic effects that can be built upon are great ideas for the beginner with a growing interest in magic. Look into the Svengali Deck or the Scotch and Soda. What's better than getting a magic trick? Getting lots of magic tricks. That's why a Magic Set is always a great idea. We recommend the Legends of Magic Set or the Official Magician's Magic Show Set. We even have a wide selection of very classy, high quality magic in the Magic Collection #1, Magic Collection #2, and Executive Magic Collection #3 sets.


    Been Doing Magic for a While:

    Here's were those video demos come in really handy. For an individual trick, find something that you think looks really cool, that you haven't seen the gift recipient perform. A good place to look would be the Intermediate section. Another great idea at this stage is the Books or DVDs section. After a while most magicians get bored with self-working tricks and want to learn sleight of hand, so books and videos are a great buy. We recommend the Easy to Master Card Miracles series or Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic.

     

      

      The Expert:
    Here's where it gets tricky. You should ask if there is something they have been wanting. They will usually ask for a Book or a DVD. If they are a professional they will often ask for an individual trick only if it fits nicely into their routine. Our recommendations are Maximum Entertainment or The Art of Astonishment series. Another great idea is to take a look at the Accessories section of the website. Magicians go through Decks, Ropes, and Silks like nobody's business so replacements are always welcome. Also a nice Close-Up Pad or Shuffle Mat is a luxury most magicians would like but often do not have. 

    Also feel free to contact us for recommendations via e-mail. We have a staff of professional magicians ready to respond to your questions. Thanks for shopping at Magic Geek and have fun!


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  • Appearing Baby

    Posted on November 15, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Hey everyone, it's Chris (the guy from the video demos). I haven't been writing many posts lately because I've had my hands full, as you can see:

    My wife and I just had a beautiful baby girl. Her name is Bailey and she was born on the 6th of November. I hope to raise her to be as big a geek as I am.


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  • We Want to Know:

    Posted on November 4, 2007 by chris ballinger

    What's your favorite gimmick and why? We very rarely get to talk about the awesome gizmos that we secretly use. Now's your chance to recommend or express your views on the sneaky things that heighten our magical abilities.

     

     

    Please try to avoid giving away any of the secrets. Just tell us why you like using it.

    Here are Chris' picks:
    Thumb Tip: Given the number of effects possible with a TT, it's no wonder that you'll find one in just about every close-up magician's case.
    Expanded Shell: This is one of those gimmicks that allows you to use sleight of hand, while making your magic look way more visual.
    Reel: I have been converted. I don't know why I put up a front for so long, but the Spider Pen has replaced my standard reel. No clips, no rubberbands, way easier to refill, and no need to worry about hiding the thing; it hides itself.
    Third Degree Burn: This thing is so cool, that I'm always tempted to show it to people. It's very well thought out and expertly manufactured. Not to mention that the effect is stunning.

    Please feel free to comment and let others know what you use. What do you consider to be the best gimmicks out there?


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  • Who We Are

    Posted on November 2, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Hey everybody. Ever wonder what happens between placing your order and delivery? Or where Yo-Yos came from? Or what color shirt Brian was wearing on Oct. 6th? Well, now you can find out the answers to all these questions and more by watching our brand new video:

      

    Thanks for shopping Magic Geek and be sure to tell us what you think.


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  • Card Trick of the Week 4

    Posted on October 29, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Dunninger's Delight

    Very few tricks have this range. You can perform this as a mentalism effect, teleportation effect, card trick, close-up, on stage, or in the street.

    A card is selected or named and lost in the pack. The deck is handed to the spectator, who looks through the cards confirming that the selection is still present. Without touching the cards, you cause the selected card to vanish. It is found in some impossible place. Sealed in an envelope or taped to the wall or locked in a steel safe hanging over a pool of alligators. Anything you can dream up: that's where the card travels.

    The gimmick is very simple, but the DVD goes over some amazing applications. Kenton Knepper describes a very simple way to performing the effect, as well as a more complicated psychological method.

    Either way you do the trick, the impact stays the same because the magic happens in their hands. They see the card there one second and the next, it vanishes; and you can be standing way over on the other side of the room.

    Geek Factiod: This trick is named after one of the most famous mentalists of all time, Joseph Dunninger. Under the name "The Amazing Dunninger", he read the minds of such notables as Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and Pope Pius XII.


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  • Making the Demos

    Posted on October 26, 2007 by chris ballinger

    The goals of the videos are to show you exactly what the effect looks like when done in a performance setting. Here's how we did it:

    Step 1:
    Learn the Trick. As with all magic, if there was something that we didn't already perform, we had to learn it and then practice until it could be performed flawlessly. There were also cases where I (Chris) had made up my own handling and patter for tricks. We went back over all the original instructions to make sure that nothing was performed any differently than the way you would learn the trick.

    Step 2:
    The Set-Up. We used two lighting kits, a lapel microphone, and a Canon GL-2 digital camera. A TV was hooked up as a monitor so I could check his angles and make sure everything was centered correctly. A black backdrop and dark clothing was used so that there was nothing distracting from the magic.

    Step 3:
    The Assistants. For a lot of the tricks, we had to make a point that there was a free selection or examinable props, so we brought in a few of our friends to help out. These demos were filmed with one take to get their real reactions. We want to give a little shout-out and thank you to Brooke Clark; Chris' sisters, Colleen and Rachel; Brian's wife, Lynne; and his kids Ava and Wyatt for helping out with a few of the demos.

    Step 4:
    Editing. We wanted the editing to be very simple. Cuts were kept to a minimum and only used to change angles for a better view of the trick. Not wanting to waste anyone's time, the format is quick: title, effect, where you can get it. A lot of people browse the internet with their sound off. So, if we could get away with it, we opted to show the effect without patter; just laying down some music instead.

    Step 5:
    File Management. Clear, high-quality video takes up a lot of file space. If you post files that big on a website, it would take forever to upload to your computer. We used a file squeezing program to keep the quality up and the file size down. The small file is then uploaded to YouTube and embedded on our site.

    If you have any comments or suggestions on the videos, let us know. We want to make shopping for magic easier and more personal, so we'll try to accommodate in any way we can.


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  • Card Trick of the Week 3

    Posted on October 18, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Red Hot Mama:

    The effect: A card is freely selected from a blue-backed deck of cards. After being lost in the deck, the back of the selected card changes red. Offering to do the trick again, you remove the red card and have the spectator select a second card. But something goes wrong. It appears that the second card has not changed red. To make it up to the audience, you turn over the first selection, (which has been on the table the entire time) to show that it has changed into the newly selected card!

    I love this routine. I use it for my opener because it starts off with an impossible effect, then seamlessly goes into a sucker trick that ends with a transformation. It's not very often that a trick is this clean, uses no gimmicks, and uses such easy sleights.

    I learned it on the first volume of Micheal Ammar's Easy to Master Card Miracles. Ammar teaches this trick (crediting Ryan, Everhart, and Leech) so that a very fresh beginner could easily pick it up. I can't speak highly enough about this series. Every volume is packed with solid, usable card magic. The first DVD alone has tricks like 8 Card Brainwave, The Secret to a Perfect Royal Flush, and Triumph which I use in my professional shows all the time. Not to mention, it comes with the gimmick for the Insurance Policy.

    Geek Factoid: This trick was featured by YouTube under the title "The World's Best Card Trick." The video currently holds the honors of #18 Most Viewed, #17 Most Discussed, and #36 Top Favorites for All Time in the Entertainment category.


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  • Fooler Dooler's Rainbow Ropes

    Posted on October 16, 2007 by chris ballinger

    I've seen other versions of this trick on the market and I'm not going to lie, I wasn't a fan. When I opened this version I was happily surprised. At the end of the routine the ropes aren't dyed or glued, they are knitted with three different colored fibers. This makes them stronger; more precise; and gives them really cool ends that won't fray. I'm proud to pass the rope out for inspection.


    But the real gem is the DVD. Daryl is a great teacher and he goes through the routine point by point. He took a  trick I had once thought was boring and one-dimensional and opened up to new possibilities. For instance: this trick is traditionally an opener, but Daryl shows several methods of transportation and presentation that make the routine possible at any point in your show.

    Daryl also goes over several "convincers" that really sell the effect. He outlines a killer way to count the ropes and gives some great routine options in case you don't want to use "fairy dust." After seeing the quality and instructional material, I did a full 180 on this trick and would recommend the Fooler Dooler's version of the Rainbow Ropes to any magician.


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  • Myspace

    Posted on October 11, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Now you can be friends with Magic Geek Inc.! Check out our myspace page and get connected to our network of magicians.

     

    Check out our videos, photos, and discussions. We will be posting updates and reviews on new effects and loads of inside info on the magic world.
      

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  • Refraction

    Posted on October 9, 2007 by chris ballinger

    The effect is stunning: you cause the stem of a wineglass to bend while it is held by a spectator. At the end of the effect the wineglass can be signed and given away as a souvenir. The magic lasts long after your show has ended when an audience member takes home something that defies logic. It is something they will show off and brag about for a long time after. As working magicians, we find this effect practical, elegant, and absolutely mind-blowing.

    The DVD goes over how to manufacture the gimmick in about three minutes with materials that cost less than $20. Penn then goes through methods of getting into the routine, including audience examination of the props and handling of the gimmick. You will learn the psychological subtleties and crowd control methods that really sell the effect. David then turns over explanation to Rodney James Piper, who goes over the cabaret handling of the effect.

    We would recommend this effect to the seasoned Mentalist. It works great as a finale for metal bending routines. A fork and a key bending routine are covered in the DVD, but we highly recommend using effects like Mind Bender or Loops along with this trick.

    The production value is often lacking in magic videos and DVDs. Refraction is a wonderful exception. Instructional DVDs featuring a single, new effect usually suffer from poor audio, blurry or shoddy camera work, and out-of-control editing. In Refraction, David Penn clearly explains the effect and subtleties in a studio setting. A lot of time and energy went into this and it really shows.


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