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  • Overly-Epic

    Posted on February 6, 2013 by Chris Ballinger

    I'll be the first to admit it, I go a little over-the-top with some of the video demos I do. Just sort of happens.

    For example: did I have to dress up like royalty and dance around in the Baroque Deck demo just because their tag line is "Cards for kings"? Stronger men than I may have been able to resist, but not me. I absolutely had to do that.

    Magic Geek Baroque Deck Trailer

    Did I have to wear flippers in the Freefall Demo? No. But I did.

    Andrew Mayne's Freefall

    Did I have to sing a love song to a small clay figure in the Little Man video demo? Well, the answer to that one is "Yes" I definitely did. Paul Harris asked me to. But that's just the point, when I worked on the Little Man project I already had the reputation as a guy who just can't control his silliness and that's why Paul asked me to do it.

    So when a new accessory like the Chain of Silks comes into the warehouse, I can't just put a photo and text description on the website and call it a day. I have to--HAVE TO--make a fool of myself.

    This actual photo of me as a child illustrates how deeply embedded this silliness is in my blood:

    As you can clearly see, it was inevitable that I would take an accessory that works perfectly fine in a children's birthday party setting or in a classic stage production and force it into a modern street magic style video.

    Take a deep breath, and enjoy:

    If you perform at birthday parties or on stage I highly recommend the Chain of Silks. It's a classic that always gets a good response. But if you're a street performer and you're thinking of using this, just make sure you're doing it ironically.

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  • Creative Process

    Posted on February 5, 2013 by Chris Ballinger

    Since I started producing magic tricks magicians have been asking me what my creative process is. I never really considered my "creative process" before getting asked this question. So, I went back and took a look at what I had done to produce tricks like Redemption and the Shark.

    Chris Ballinger's Redemption

    At first glance, it looked pretty random. Some tricks I came up with a plot and built a method around that; others, I built a cool prototype or concept and had no idea what to do with it. In either case, the goal was to think up how to make my half-concocted idea into a full, usable routine.

    So how does that happen?

    I think the best thing is to study as much as possible so that you always have that data in the back of your mind. Then, don't force an idea to hard. If you get stuck, move on to something else and let your subconscious mind work out the problem.

    In almost every trick I've released, I've gotten stumped (usually more than once) and I've set the trick aside only to come back to the project with a new outlook. I hadn't been consciously thinking about it, but in the back of my mind the wheels had still been turning.

    Magic Geek Dart Board

    When moving into our new warehouse, we had all of this in mind. The very first thing that we put up in the office was a dart board. As far back as I have been creating magic, I have played darts when working out an issue. I'm not very good at darts, but for some reason, it is just the right amount of distraction to allow my subconscious mind to go to town on a complex problem.

    The lounge area of Magic Geek is a lot of fun. You can find my guitars on either side of our 60" flat screen. Playing music is another thing that I'm not very good at, but focusing on it helps me work out problems without getting frustrated.

    Magic Geek Lounge Area

    This shot also shows something else that I used to distract myself. The guitar on the left was designed and built by one of our former employees, Aidan and myself. It is covered in bits of playing card and the shape of the tuning head was inspired by the back design of a Bicycle playing card. Building and designing something can be another excellent way to keep your mind working without blocking your thought process.

    I feel like I should point out that the TV is not a good way to work out a problem. Neurologists have found that watching TV decreases brain activity even more than sleeping. We never watch the TV during work hours and it's really just there for webcam meetings and such.

    Another fun activity at the Magic Geek offices is the Ms. Pacman Machine. Not only was it a fun project to refurbish this table-top style arcade game, but it serves as a healthy two-person distraction.

    Magic Geek Ms. Pacman Machine

    By using a multi-player game, we can promote bonding between employees while stimulating the puzzle-solving areas of our brain.

    Magic Geek Ms. Pacman Machine

    The latest installment at the Magic Geek head-offices is a half-court basketball set-up. This serves the same function as the Ms. Pacman Machine, while also promoting physical activity. This results in higher brain function and healthier employees. Win-win.

    Magic Geek Basketball Court

    The custom basketball key on the floor was painted by myself and was another great opportunity for my brain to do some problem solving.

    To some, this may look like distractions that are all fun and games, but the reality is that these things help make Magic Geek a better place to work and do business with. Throughout history, some of the most creative and successful companies and individuals have used things like puzzles, building blocks, Zen rock gardens and other "distractions" to keep momentum going on the projects that really mattered.

    Now, I'm not saying that to create magic tricks you need to convert a room in your house into a basketball court. I am suggesting that by finding a healthy distraction from a difficult problem that you are trying to solve helps your subconscious mind put the puzzle pieces together.

    At some point you need to force yourself to stop with the distractions and focus on completing the project you started initially, but usually these breaks make it easier to pick up where you left off with a fresh new outlook.

    But it won't work if you don't already have the information floating around somewhere in the back of your mind; so first you must study, study, study. Then you can build that basketball court in your basement.

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  • Win Stuff with the Geeky Times

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Chris Ballinger

    February's issue of the Geeky Times is very exciting. Not only does it have the original artwork, articles and product reviews, but it also has a chance to win an awesome prize that is so cool, we can't even tell you what it is.

    Geeky Times Newsletter

    I usually put some sort of puzzle or riddle in the Geeky Times, but this time it is so intense that I decided whoever figures it out first has to get a very cool prize. Here'how the game works: it's in honor of the response that Killer Bee has been getting, so the entire puzzle is honeycomb shaped. Find clusters of seven letters that make up the answers to six magic-related questions. When you find all six answers, use the six letters at the center of each one to unjumble the secret code word. Be the first to post the code word here on the blog and get the prize.

    Are you up for the challenge?

    Killer Bee

    Even if you don't participate in the word search challenge, you can still enjoy the rest of the Geeky Times which includes an article on an upcoming customer loyalty program, Kid's show magic, and the Demo for Chain of Silks. Plus reviews on my newest release DOS and Shin Lims S.S.S..

    As always the Geeky Times is a free newsletter, but the only way to get a copy is to place an order for anything at Magic Geek. A new issue of the Geek Times comes out every month and it's always full of magic goodies.

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  • Live Chat 1-17-13

    Posted on January 17, 2013 by Chris Ballinger

    I want to thank everyone who tuned in during this live chat. Especially since it was a day later than it should have been.

    This week we talked about two Henry Evans tricks! Modern Times and Risky Bet.

    Risky Bet by Henry Evans

    I also recommended the 3-D Sponge Rabbits and Fourced Outcome.

    I know I already said thanks for tuning in, but I want to give an extra shout-out to all those who--not only watched--but also chimed in with their questions or comments. Without you, I would not have anything to talk about and I would just sit here knitting socks on camera for a half-hour each week.

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  • Geek Report - Nest of Wallets

    Posted on January 11, 2013 by Chris Ballinger

    Magic Geek is proud to announce that the Geek Report will be returning to the interwebs for 2013! It's been a while since Terry, Tom, Burt and the rest of the Geek Report crew hit the studio, but they are back and ready to dole out that goods.

    This week they are taking a look at the Nest of Wallets by Nick Einhorn and Alan Wong, Risen by Tony Clark and letting you know about this month's issue of the Geeky Times.

    In all seriousness, I absolutely love the Nest of Wallets effect. It is easy to carry around, looks and feels great and gets a wonderful reaction. I have been performing it walk-around since we got it in and I can say that it is a welcome addition to my close-up act.

    For more information on the Nest of Wallets, please click the image below.

    Nest of Wallets Magic Trick

    Risen by Tony Clark is another fantastic effect and utility device. Unlike other rising card gimmicks, there is no bulk. You can cut the cards, shuffle the cards, even spread through the cards without anyone knowing that there is even a gimmick in there. But, whenever you are ready you can use the device to make cards rise from the deck, visually change into other cards or jump completely out of the deck.

    For more information on Risen, please click the image below:

    Risen by Tony Clark

    And if you don't know what the Geeky Times is, you should really place an order and get one. We put so much time and effort into making sure that they are as informative and as entertaining as possible that some of our customers even collect them!

    To get your hands on a copy, simply place an order of any size at Magic Geek and it will get delivered with your package for free.

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  • Break Dancing Santa

    Posted on December 7, 2012 by Chris Ballinger

    This is your 30 Minutes with Chris for Wednesday December 5th.

    Thanks for watching.

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  • How to Use the Wishlist Function

    Posted on November 30, 2012 by Chris Ballinger

    A few people have been asking hot to most effectively use the wishlist. The following video will give you tips on navigating the site, modifying your wishlist and sending it to those you care about:

    Thanks for choosing Magic Geek for all of your holiday magic needs. If you have any other questions about the site that we can answer with a similar tutorial video, please let us know.

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  • And the Winners Are

    Posted on October 31, 2012 by Chris Ballinger

    Congrats to the winners and all those who participated in the Magic Geek Mystery Box Giveaway for October 2012!

    I hope everyone is enjoying the magic that they ordered to get into the drawing and I'm sure all the winners will enjoy their boxes and bags. It made us happy to send all that free magic your way!

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  • Get a Signed Copy of Zodiac

    Posted on October 19, 2012 by Chris Ballinger

    We are kicking off the release of my latest trick Zodiac by offering signed and numbered copies to the first 100 people that order them. (If you already orderd yours before this announcement, good for you. You're in the fist 100 and will get a signed copy.)

    This is a real collector's item because I have never put so much of myself into a trick. I've been working on the routines and handlings for almost 5 years, all of the illustrations and layout of the cards was done by yours truly and I put a lot of effort into ensuring that the instructional DVD was as thorough as possible.

    Zodiac is a collection of tricks that use the specially designed cards to create routines all about the spectator. You will be amazed at how quickly an audience will open up with this trick. It's like an "automatic schmooze machine" because it is the perfect conversation starter and gets people on your side right away.

    zodiac magic trick

    The system will allow you to perform an amazing double prediction where a spectator cuts to and counts to their own sign in a pack of astrological signs. This is all done with no memorization work, no math, and no sleight of hand. The aged cards add a sense of mystery and provide a reading about the person's personality which never fails to get the audience on your side.

    zodiac by Chris ballinger

    The system also allows for other distinct and amazing routines. Some routines involve predictions, others cold readings and still others have you creating a connection between two audience members resulting in one audience member reading the mind of another.

    The instructional DVD is shot in HD and includes lots of bonus handlings and tips that will open up your imagination and allow this system to work wonders for you. Zodiac has really helped me connect with my audience to make a lasting impression and I'm sure that it will do the same for you.

    -Chris Ballinger

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  • Cards for Kings

    Posted on October 10, 2012 by Chris Ballinger

    Magic Geek is proud to offer the new Limited Edition Black Label Baroque Deck by the USPPC and Criss Angel. This deck takes the original gray version of the Baroque deck (which is an awesome deck by the way) and takes them to a whole new level.

    As usual, when we here at Magic Geek get excited about something, we do something crazy in response. Such is the case with the Black Label Baroques. The following video cannot be described in words, so you might as well just watch:

    The Baroque deck features a beautiful, hand-drawn back design and superior air-cushion finish. It is available in three different incarnations:

    Gray Edition
    Features the original design work in a charcoal gray color with dark double Baroque Symbol jokers. At first glance, this is a classy custom deck of playing cards. When you look deeper, you find hidden Criss Angel initials, Skulls and winged cherubs lurking in the shadows.

    Criss Angel Baroque Deck

    Uncut Baroque Deck
    This is a poster-sized full sheet of Baroque Cards. You'll find the whole deck including jokers and advertising cards still in-tact on the card stock with the air-cushion finish. It looks amazing framed or hung as-is on the wall.

    Baroque Deck Uncut Sheet

    Black Label
    This one is beyond classy. Sleek, black box with no printing aside from the custom deck seal. The back design is more saturated with dark, black ink extenuating the beautiful design work.

    Baroque Deck Black Label

    The Baroque deck, in any form, is an excellent addition to any card collection and we truly are excited to be one of the few stores in the world that caries them. They really are fit for a king... even a silly one that makes it rain with gold doubloons.

    baroque deck king of cards

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