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.
Posted on October 7, 2009 by chris ballinger
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:
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".
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.
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.
For 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.
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.
Posted on August 27, 2009 by chris ballinger
A few weeks ago the guys at FreeMagicLive.com contacted me through youtube and asked if I would be interested in an interview. The result was a huge interview where I told them about my history with magic and tips for practice, performance, originality and humor. The whole interview can be found by clicking the picture below.
FreeMagicLive.com is a resource for those who want to start learning magic. They give tips on performance, style and practice as well as teach powerful, easy to perform magic tricks. It's the brainchild of magicians Jay Jay and Magical G based out of Brisbane Australia. It's a pretty awesome website and you should check it out.
Posted on August 26, 2009 by chris ballinger
I go on youtube every day to check on our 500+ videos. And I personally read all of the comments on our videos. Some are nice, some are mean, and some are very difficult to understand. So I thought it would be fun to highlight a few of the comments and address them.
BUY THIS NOW. I have it and its just like a new world in card magic!
I couldn’t have said it better, Magicfreak101. I love this DVD set. Guimaraes’ thoughts on card magic are innovative and fantastic. If you haven’t checked it out, you should.
I trolls it out when it goes therw...
I think I’ve finally translated this one. It seems that ecck2 has a firm grasp of the English language; he just types with his fingers jammed into ten bananas and then doesn’t read what he’s written.
He's really good at making awkward endings to these videos. But I think that took the cake. o.oU
Here at Magic Geek we love that awkward humor and I’m glad to see that it doesn’t go unnoticed.
I have to say this, I watched this about a dozen times and when you get that wig on you, it looks like a camera trick... Like pausing and again playing the camera... I dont usually say this but it is the way I see it...
I just want to address this topic: we do not use camera trickery… just regular trickery. We want you to see the exact effect of the magic that we sell so that you can make an informed decision before buying. If we used camera tricks it would undermine what we are trying to do. You can do everything that you see in our videos with the magic we sell.
its a mirror! the wand!
This happens a lot. People don’t watch the entire video and so they don’t see that the trick I am doing is a sucker trick. The real magic trick happens at the end of the video.
This is just a taste of the comments that I sift through every day. We like to hear what you have to say and so we read and consider everything that is posted, both here on Magic Geek and on our youtube account.
Posted on August 19, 2009 by chris ballinger
It's that time of year again. Time to dust off your backpack, load up your binder and soak up those last few days of summer freedom. We here at Magic Geek think that school is very important, but let's face it, some times it's kind of boring. That's why we've put together a list of the top 10 must-have tricks to make the back-to-school transition a little more interesting.
These tricks were chosen because they fit in the school setting and they are sure to get the attention of your fellow students. Just be careful, some teachers don't like to be upstaged.
This is the perfect card trick to perform on the playground. It's funny, takes up the same space as a pen, and it's one of those awesome gadgets that everyone wants to check out.
#9 Scorpion Moth
Be careful who you choose to perform this trick for. Some people like being attacked by a blood-sucking moth, some don't. (The ones who don't usually scream the loudest.)
#8 Self-Folding Dollar Bill
This is a great trick to always have in your pocket. It's creepy and unexpected.
#7 Neck Cracker
Oh, if only I had one of these when I was in school. This little gimmick will make everyone scream as you adjust you neck with a loud POP-POP-POP!
#6 Two Headed Nickel
Oftentimes schoolyard decisions have to be made by playing Rochambeau or flipping a coin. Make sure you always get what you want with a Two Headed Nickel.
#5 Card Cognition
You and a friend can take turns reading minds. And if you don't have a friend, Card Cognition is a great way to make one.
#4 Rattle Snake Eggs
I have to warn you, this gag got me into a lot of trouble in the second grade. That being said, I used it again in third grade, and then in fourth grade, and in fifth grade... you get the idea.
This is a great trick to do at lunch time because it involves food. What better way to digest than to have a colony of ants fly off a card and into your hands?
#2 Jumbo Appearing Pencil
This one is going to take a little nerve to pull off. It will definitely disrupt class, but there's something to be said for the kid who pulls a three-foot pencil out of their backpack.
#1 Permanent DVD Set with Gimmicks
It's easy to use. It's a prop that you can use in your school work. It's a no brainer. Why not rub the ink off of the side of your Sharpie marker before drawing a pie chart? Just don't use it for tagging stuff because that is naughty.
There you have it, my top ten for this year's back-to-school season. The top ten tricks from last year are still good, so you should check out that blog post too for more great magic.
Posted on August 17, 2009 by chris ballinger
This just in! Magically enhanced ants are on the loose and are attacking card tricks everywhere. No one is safe! This can only be described as an all-out Anttack!
Imagine a card being selected. The spectator's favorite food being drawn on the card. The card lost in the deck, only to be found later with ants printed all over its back. With a shake, the printed ants fall off the card and into the third dimension. Plastic ants shower from the card into the spectator's hands! Shocking! Magical! Anty!
A year after the release of the very-popular instant download Anttack, we are proud to present an all-new version of the effect. The updated routine includes new gimmicks, super-easy-to-do routines and fully-illustrated instruction booklet. We've even included the instructions to the original routine.
When developing this, I took the original concept and tried to figure out a way to make it easier to perform, self-contained, and extremely fair. What I ended up with is a new set of gimmicks that satisfy those goals far beyond my expectations. Your hands can be shown empty the entire time and the gimmicks make the sleight of hand practically self-working.
I have been using this version of Anttack all summer and it goes over extremely well at company picnics and restaurant gigs. People love food so it’s great to incorporate it into a card trick and when the ants come off of the card, it’s a huge surprise. Anttack also generates a lot of word-of-mouth advertizing. The spectator ends up with a souvenir card and I always overhear them describing the ants falling off into their hands.
Anttack is scheduled to hit most magic stores soon, but there there's only one place you can get it right now; and that's right here at Magic Geek.
Posted on August 5, 2009 by chris ballinger
Thanks to everyone who purchased JB Magic Supplies from Magic Geek during JB July. Please watch the video below to see who won what, as I pull the names out of my big top hat.
Congratulations to all of the winners, you will be contacted soon so that we can make sure we have your current information on file.
If you didn't win, don't fret, this is just the beginning of many giveaways to come and we want you to win in the future. Thanks again everyone!