Ellusionist

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Guest » 01/14/03 04:24 PM

Im a member of ellusionist and i really think that they are the best in terms of providing teaching videos as well as having the best forums. Im curious to know what others think and if there are any other companies that in your opinion come close to what they offer.

Raymond Pinner
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/14/03 06:37 PM

Originally posted by Raymond Pinner:
[QB]Im a member of ellusionist and i really think that they are the best in terms of providing teaching videos as well as having the best forums.
You're trolling, right?

I went to the site, and it just look like another Blaine-wannabe who's trying to cash in on the work of others. Sad to see a person without an identity of his own.

And on an almost hidden page of credits (Here) , one can read that the Two Card Monte is created by Theodore DeLand - which is correct and well.... except that the video titled "Two card Monte" doesn't contain any DeLand effect at all - instead, an effect by Eddie Fechter is shown (?)

And why all the re-naming of old classics?
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Postby Guest » 01/14/03 08:42 PM

Good call, Tom!

We had a friend of ours call us about 6 months ago asking us about ellusions. He was interrested in buying the videos they are peddling. We smacked him with a large trout and he seems to be all better now.

When I mentioned to Doomo that someone was pimping out that tripe on Genii, he just rolled his eyes and went back to watching the new David Solomon dvd... now THERE'S magic...

Rosie
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Postby Guest » 01/14/03 08:59 PM

Rosie and Tom,

I totally respect your opinion but i really dont understand why such a strong hate towards Brad Christan and ellusionist. Its not like i work for them or any thing so im not defending them in that sense or any thing. However, where credit is concerned all of the newer videos have the credit in them smp and ninja 1 are the only two that had some made up names. It was a mistake and to me it seems to have been corrected. Aside from that issue i as some one fairly new to magic have progressed to a proficent level in a very short period of time and i credit that to ellusionist. I find it very easy to learn from Brad's videos and i find the content very worth while. Before you pass judgement and completely seal your opinion visit the site and check out the sample videos of the various products.

Also i am open to suggestions on videos that you feel are better.

Raymond Pinner
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/14/03 10:13 PM

Originally posted by Raymond Pinner:
Before you pass judgement and completely seal your opinion visit the site and check out the sample videos of the various products.
Well.... I just did. Do you think that my opinion will become more positive if I go there once more?
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Postby Guest » 01/15/03 01:02 AM

Tom,

I am new to magic so im willing to consider that there might be a legitimate reason for people not to like Ellusionist. Can you tell me specificlly what you dont like about them other then them originally messing up credit for the first two videos. Also i learn better by watching videos and seeing how its done opposed to just trying to learn from a book. Whos videos would you recommend?

Raymond Pinner
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/15/03 02:34 AM

Originally posted by Raymond Pinner:

I am new to magic so im willing to consider that there might be a legitimate reason for people not to like Ellusionist.
Trust me, there is plenty of good reasons.
First of all, he doesn't seem reliable. Who will he imitate and make money on, once Blaine goes out of fashion?
Then, he's very disrespectful to several of the legends within our field, by changing the name of their creations, and by ignoring their existence when teaching the same creations.
And how trustworthy is he, when he doesn't bother to spend a few minutes to get the facts right before offering to teach others? Claiming to teach DeLand's "Two Card Monte", while actually teaching an effect by Eddie Fechter is ignorant on a mindboggling scale. That's like confusing Country music for Heavy Metal, had he been a musician. Would you trust a music teacher who didn't knew the difference between those two?
Also i learn better by watching videos and seeing how its done opposed to just trying to learn from a book.
Raymond, I think that you, when you say "better", really mean "quicker". But those two words seldom have the same meaning.
If you learn from a video, you can quickly get the basic details for an effect - but that's not all you get. You also get the performer's bad habits, mannerism of speech, body language etc. So, there's a risk that you'll look like someone else than yourself.
After a while, you might get comfortable with that, but then it gets difficult to add new material from other sources than from your role-model, because it's more difficult to emulate a performing style than to imitate it - i.e. you'll get trouble keeping a consistent persona. And if the other sources are videos too, you might end up looking like you have a split personality, switching between the mannerisms of different performers.
Also, by learning quickly from a video tape, you might miss the subtle nuances in an effect - the tiny details that are necessary to cause a simple trick to look like a miracle.

Sure, it takes longer to learn from books - but the advantages are that the effects are described in a pure form, often with a lot more nuances than on a video. So, any mannerism in the performance will be your own, and no one elses. And during the translation of the written words into action, you'll have plenty of time to add your own thoughts and ideas. As you are interpreting the material, instead of imitating, you'll get a better understanding of it - and it is easier for you to make structural changes to make it more suited to yourself.

So, while I can't recommend any video, I can recommend a book or two, if you want to give it a try. Let me know...

Sincerely,
Tom Stone
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Postby Guest » 01/15/03 04:40 AM

I will add on to Tom's reasons for books over videos. Everybody always says that "I learn better from videos" well that may be true but learning from books takes practice. Also think of what you are depriving yourself of if you can't learn from books:Vernon material, most Jennings Material, Most Marlo material, All of Mr.Kaufman's books. That's just my opinion.

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Postby Guest » 01/15/03 05:40 AM

Hoo boy...
The Ellusionist debate makes it to Genii.

First off: I agree, books tend to be far better for learning and thinking about motivation and technique. Videos have their place, however...I strongly believe that it should NOT be a books versus video mentality, but a books *and* video mentality. Who wouldn't want to own a video collection of Marlo teaching the full range his effects, complete with thinking, etc. What if Vernon had been able to put together such a compilation in his prime? What about DePaul? Dunninger? Etc., etc., etc.

As for Ellusionist, sorry...but I don't totally agree with you, Tom. Yeah, Brad rips off others' effects. Yeah, he doesn't totally credit the background. Yeah, he appears more than a little cheesy on the tapes.

Fine. He's getting a bunch of kids (and yes, some adults) involved in magic. And if you assume that a mere five per cent of those who buy his tapes are motivated by what they see and learn from Brad Christian to move on to study and learn from others...and buy the books and develop their own style...then that's a bunch of people who will care about our art who didn't know about it before. And as far as I'm concerned, that's good.

To put things in perspective...my first purchase when I started was (horrors) a Svengali deck. Oh, there are purists who will look askance at such a purchase. But it worked for me...it served as a starting point. (And now, I'm all the way up to a Stripper deck!!!) :D

I believe we should honor and learn from those who came before us, but at the same time, let's remember that the vast majority of us in this art are here because it's fun. Let's have some fun.
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Postby Matthew Field » 01/15/03 07:39 AM

I suggest you read my colleague Joe M. Turner's review of one of the Ellusionist offerings in a recent Genii (December 2002?).

I second the suggestion that one use books to learn magic, with videos as an adjunct. But for a beginner, videos are certainly more inviting -- you get to see what the effect looks like and can mimic what you see. Hopefully, as you progress (and I sincerely hope you'll want to progress) you'll see that books offer more. Maybe you have to work harder, but you'll get more out of the whole thing.

Joe Turner said that the Ellusionist video he reviewed was bad. I haven't seen any of them myself, so can't comment, other than to say I always respect Joe's opinion.

Raymond, hopefully you'll give yourself the opportunity to watch videos made by magicians who have distinguished themselves as performers, which (to my knowledge) Brad Christan has not done. That will allow you to learn from the best. And as you progress to books, hopefully YOU will become one of the best!

Matthew Field (the other Genii video reviewer)
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 01/15/03 09:12 AM

Raymond Pinner:

I gave a thorough opinion in my review. If you haven't read it, I invite you to do so.

The Cliff's Notes version is this: production values and directorial style are wonderful things, but they don't make up for sloppy crediting and a clear lack of respect for the people who created the ideas you are "teaching," nor do they remove the foul stench of blatant opportunism and pandering to cash in on someone else's image.

Based on what I saw in the video I reviewed, I would certainly never say Brad Christian has no skill. For all I know he may be more skilled than I am, more knowledgeable than I am, and more successful than I am. That is all beside the point, though. I simply think it's regrettable that he has chosen blatant copycatting as a career path, and I think it's wrong to support that no matter what the production values may be or what material is put on the videos.

I strongly recommend learning from BOOKS as a primary tool, with video as a supplementary tool. It is well worth the extra time and effort it takes to learn from a book.

JMT
...thinks Svengali decks are powerful things...
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Postby David Mitchell » 01/15/03 09:33 AM

Ouch.... everywhere I go.. I see something like this.

It comes down to a matter of taste. If someone likes something, then all the people in the world, won't be able to change their mind. If enough people badger someone, chances are they will just become closeted, and not admit their likes.

However, it's the same thing for the people that dislike something, except they seem to be a little more vocal once the pot gets stirred a little. I will have to admit I cringed a little, (hell, a lot), when I saw the first message, because I KNEW what was going to follow. And it has, though in a much more civil manner than I am used to. Normally there is a lot more emotion, (and swearing) involved whenever I see this subject pop up.

I will admit, I own a good chunk of the videos he sells, and I consider it money spent well. 3 years ago I was pretty much about to hang up my magic altogether, and call it quits. I credit Brad for making magic contagious for me again. Because of me not quitting, there have been several good things that have come out of this. I now perform walk-around (and yes, I get paid, even though it is in canadian money..), I've become a lot more involved in magic, as well as helping other less experienced people.

I like his stuff, and yes, I am aware of, and recognize any short comings that many of you have mentioned. Some of them I have worked out for myself, and others don't really bother me that much. I will probably take a lot of flak for these statements, but hey, I've got thick skin.. (I hope). Each video he releases, is by far better than the previous, especially concerning everything that people mention here.

Regardless, the issue is so polarized here, that you are either on one side of the fence, or the other, and from all the verbal abuse I have seen people take because they like ellusionist, most of them have gone into hiding.

Oh well.

David.
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Postby Matthew Field » 01/15/03 10:16 AM

David -- no one is trying to change your mind. If you've gotten something out of the Ellusionist videos, great. If they rekindled your interest in magic and allowed you to do walk around for that Canadian stuff that passes up there for money ;) , wonderful.

The goal of many reviewers is to praise excellence, to lead consumers to what they consider the best, and (hopefully) raise the overall level of what is released by educating consumers to recognize, and reject, dreck.

How do the videos in your library, consisting as you say of a "good chunk" of the Ellusionist releases, stack up against other videos which have received better reviews? Do you think you can progress in your magic by continuing to purchase these videos, or do you think books will better lead you in that direction? Do you care to improve your magic, or are you satisfied with where you are now? Or are you, perhaps only looking for new tricks to add to your repertoire?

Those are the kind of questions asked by Eugene Burger, John Carney, Jamy Ian Swiss, Derren Brown, Darwin Ortiz and others in books they've written. You won't find the questions on too many videos, but I think they're important ones for magicians to ask themselves.

Otherwise, you run the risk of being David Blaine the second. Or Michael Ammar, Jr. Or Greg Wilson the younger. If you don't care about this sort of thing, I understand and best of luck to you.

Some of us have concerns beyond the Squirting Quarter and that's what you're seeing expressed here.

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Postby John LeBlanc » 01/15/03 11:06 AM

Originally posted by Steve Friedberg:
As for Ellusionist, sorry...but I don't totally agree with you, Tom. Yeah, Brad rips off others' effects. Yeah, he doesn't totally credit the background. Yeah, he appears more than a little cheesy on the tapes.

Fine.
How odd. I haven't purchased any of those videos (and have no intention of doing so) so, I'll base my comments on what you said.

You admit to believing Brad is guilty of theft, failure to credit accurately, and producing videos that are of inferior quality.

You then go on to say, "Fine"?

No, it is not fine. The rationalizations that follow and explain your "fine" do not excuse the behavior you mentioned.

Last night, as I was going through my cabinet of magic videos, I grabbed my Steven's video on Don Alan and popped it into the VCR for another spin. Early in the video, during the interview portion, he states very plainly, "Theft is theft."

Short, accurate, and to the point.

No amount of rationalization that this is "just for fun" or "everyone does it" or "it's just kids who buy it" will sufficiently ameliorate the consequences of the offense.

Finally, I think the most egregious excuse is that, "he's getting a bunch of kids...involved in magic".

For pity's sake.

If there's one group of people who need to be taught, from the beginning, the "right way", it's the kids!

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Postby David Mitchell » 01/15/03 11:51 AM

Matthew Field Wrote:
How do the videos in your library, consisting as you say of a "good chunk" of the Ellusionist releases, stack up against other videos which have received better reviews? Do you think you can progress in your magic by continuing to purchase these videos, or do you think books will better lead you in that direction? Do you care to improve your magic, or are you satisfied with where you are now? Or are you, perhaps only looking for new tricks to add to your repertoire?
Actually, you know what.. that's an interesting question. I would say that the material contained in those videos, is used almost as much as the material in all the other videos I own. As far as actual performance goes, I don't include videos that teach you sleights or flourishes amongst those either, for obvious reasons. I think that the only other tapes I watch on a regular basis, are Larry Jennings, and Micheal Close. That doesn't mean all the tapes I own aren't useful. They are wonderful reference material, and sources for inspiration.

I also am old enough to be aware that when I watch something to learn it, I just want to learn the effect, not the performance. Yes, I am sure that there are some nuances that I have picked up from watching ellusionist tapes, but I've probably picked up the same amount in my attempts to learn oil and water from Jennings tape.

Books however, are a different story, and will continue to be my pride and joy until I die. The one problem I have with books though, (and this comes from growing up without a TV) is that I read TOO FAST. In my attempt to know what happens at the end, for some reason, my mind doesn't pick up on little details, and it take many readings of something to actually pick up everything. I've been tested, (due to poor scholastic performance), and have been told, that while I read almost 3 times as fast as a regular person, it will take me almost 3 times as long to fully absorb everything. So you can see where I am going with this. This is fine for you latest Stephen King Novel... however, not so fine when trying to learn the latest effect out of a book. I've only started fully understanding Reformation, and I've been reading that for about 5 months.

I will continue to grow, and continue to perform (hopefully), effects where ever I may find them. When I am able to, I get into the origination of the effects I am performing, but in all honesty, these are things I forget with alarming regularity.

David.
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Postby Guest » 01/15/03 01:14 PM

Last night, as I was going through my cabinet of magic videos, I grabbed my Stevens' video on Don Alan and popped it into the VCR for another spin. Early in the video, during the interview portion, he states very plainly, "Theft is theft."

Short, accurate, and to the point.

No amount of rationalization that this is "just for fun" or "everyone does it" or "it's just kids who buy it" will sufficiently ameliorate the consequences of the offense.
Hi John:
Problem is, it's a time-honored tradition in American commerce.

7UP=Sprite
Oreo=Hydrox
VW Rabbit=Plymouth Omni
Levis=Wrangler
"Friends"=God knows how many shows

It's all a question of intellectual property (IP). And unless you're willing to go to court to enforce your IP, regardless of whether it's registered with the USPTO or not, it's fair game in our society for adaptation, or dare I say, blatant ripoff.

(BTW, I didn't say his videos were of inferior quality; I said Brad comes off as more than a little cheesy. His POV, street-wise videos are quite good, given the style he's going after. I used to be in TV news and have seen this style quite a bit.)

Finally, one other point: you say that if anyone ought to be learning the right way, it's the kids. In theory, I absolutely agree with you. But like it or not, it's the Brad Christians, the David Blaines, and the Criss Angels of the world who are getting their attention, and their money. I think we'd do well to understand more about why they're so successful in hitting their target audience.

Thanks for reading.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 01/15/03 01:43 PM

Originally posted by Steve Friedberg:
It's all a question of intellectual property (IP). And unless you're willing to go to court to enforce your IP, regardless of whether it's registered with the USPTO or not, it's fair game in our society for adaptation, or dare I say, blatant ripoff.
Whoa there! As long as we can't enforce it, it's ok? That's like saying it's ok to murder or rape someone as long as you don't get caught.

Yikes.

And I love the peer pressure argument -- everyone's doing it, so it can't be that wrong.

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 01/15/03 02:14 PM

Jim:
Put another way, you're saying we have a responsibility to be paragons of virtue in our own area, even if others aren't, as a way of honoring the craft and the masters who came before us.

Again, in theory, I don't disagree. My point was, and is, that in this world, this society, that what folks like Brad Christian are doing is categorized as socially, financially and mercantally (!) acceptable. You may not like it...your point is well taken...but you must admit there are a lot of folks out there who do quite the opposite, in almost every field. And they are among the leaders in their field. (Thank you, Bill Gates.)

(BTW, comparing theft of IP to murder and rape is really stretching the point, IMHO.)
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Postby Guest » 01/15/03 03:54 PM

Wow, I really stired up a fire storm this time didnt i. I never intended this topic to go in this direction but like i said previously i do respect your opinions even though i dont share them all. One thing i will say as far as Brad not giving proper credit is what he has said about it - He originally developed SMP for non-magicians to learn a couple of tricks and didnt want to fill it with a history lesson. Now i beleive from that he knows he made a mistake in doing so. Additionally he has made mistakes in assigning credit. Brad does own up to his mistakes and admits to them which in todays society is becoming more and more rare.

As far as the customer service, forums, and actual videos i still do believe they are the best.

Steve Friedberg,

Do you really beleive Bill Gates is some one who got where he is by playing fair? Watch his biography on A&E and i think you will change your opinion of him. Bill Gates isnt all bad hes done alot of good but he is no saint and has also done some bad things too. This applies to most successfull people.

I would also appreciate andy video or book suggestions but only ones that are taught well.

Thanks in advance.

Raymond Pinner
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/15/03 04:28 PM

Originally posted by Raymond Pinner:
I would also appreciate andy video or book suggestions but only ones that are taught well.
Well, into the deep end then... ;)

The Books of Wonder, Vol 1 & 2, by Stephen Minch and Tommy Wonder.

Secrets by John Carney (available only from http://www.carneymagic.com )

There are plenty of other really good books, but I think that this would be a good start.

Eventually, if you are intending to become really good, you will find use for some good books about acting and scriptwriting, and I suggest the following two:
Impro for Storytellers, by Keith Johnstone
Film Scriptwriting, by Dwight V. Swain
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Postby John LeBlanc » 01/15/03 04:37 PM

Originally posted by Steve Friedberg:
Problem is, it's a time-honored tradition in American commerce.
I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you here. Some people may find a way to rationalize theft, and there may exist reasonable examples of it, but I don't believe it is "time-honored" nor "traditional."

It's all a question of intellectual property (IP). And unless you're willing to go to court to enforce your IP, regardless of whether it's registered with the USPTO or not, it's fair game in our society for adaptation, or dare I say, blatant ripoff.
Fair game? Do you really believe that, so long as the property rights owner does not persue you in court over infractions, it is "fair game" to steal from him?

(BTW, I didn't say his videos were of inferior quality; I said Brad comes off as more than a little cheesy.
Pardon me. With the sole exception of referring to Chad Long, I view cheesy as a negative. <g>

Finally, one other point: you say that if anyone ought to be learning the right way, it's the kids. In theory, I absolutely agree with you. But like it or not, it's the Brad Christians, the David Blaines, and the Criss Angels of the world who are getting their attention, and their money. I think we'd do well to understand more about why they're so successful in hitting their target audience.
I'm noting a trend here. It goes thusly:

"I agree with X, but..." which is followed by a rationalization that negates the meaning of the words prior to the "but".

Either it is wrong to steal from inventors of magic or it is not.

Which is it, Steve?

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Postby Guest » 01/15/03 05:00 PM

I have a question? Had Brad Christian got the credit right the first time how would you feel about him and ellusionist? Ok the guy made a mistake but he's seemed to have rectified it, am i right. Would you still consider it stealing if he gave credit?

Ray
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Postby Guest » 01/15/03 05:05 PM

If it's the same ellusionist information that I get via email subscription, I find the contents to be more of an intrusion than helpful. It's teetering on the brink of spam.
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 01/15/03 07:30 PM

> Would you still consider it stealing if he gave
> credit?

I consider the whole concept of the video I saw to be an unapologetic ripoff of someone else's image, which not only panders to the worst reasons we can have for doing magic but frankly encourages even more copying and mimicry.

I don't care if he's using high quality bricks here and there... the point is that he's built a whorehouse with them.

Just my opinion,
JMT
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 01/15/03 07:53 PM

So...uh...I take it you don't like the videos, Joe?

;)

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 01/15/03 08:21 PM

Originally posted by Raymond Pinner:
I have a question? Had Brad Christian got the credit right the first time how would you feel about him and ellusionist? Ok the guy made a mistake but he's seemed to have rectified it, am i right. Would you still consider it stealing if he gave credit?

Ray
Absolutely; I would most certainly still consider it stealing, because it still is.

Giving credit and getting permission for use are entirely different things. It's not enough to just give credit; you need to ask the person whose creation it is for his/her permission to use said creation, or you're still stealing. You're just telling us who you stole it from instead of hiding the fact.

It'll be a great day when people start recognizing this and giving due respect to creators instead of stealing their work to make a quick buck since they're not creative enough to do it with their own ideas.

Brad hasn't rectified it, he's made a half-hearted attempt to get people to stop harrassing him for stealing, while failing to realize that he's still stealing anyway.

People complained because his wheel was broken, perhaps it was missing its ball-bearings. Brad oiled it, hoping that the show of taking some sort of action towards fixing it would get the complainers off his back. He still didn't understand that the problem wasn't just that the wheels needed oil; they did need oil, but the oil does little good without the bearings that make it run how it's supposed to. He's added the oil, but he still is missing the bearings. Maybe somebody can help him find the balls he needs to realize what's broken and fix it.

--AL:cs
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Postby Lance Pierce » 01/15/03 09:21 PM

I dont know Brad Christian, so I cant say I have a distaste for him personally, but I find myself having a distaste for the entire Ellusionist concept.

Its not just the credits or the selling of other peoples material, regardless of how sincerely Brad may or may not try to address these issues. What bothers me most is that selling magic in this manner, with its MTV-style editing, cool street shots, and models in tight shirts talking about how you, too, can be a hit at the bar, cheapens the art we so desperately try to maintain as an art. It takes magic as something mysterious and potentially powerful and turns it into a party activity anybody can do once they fork over the dough to buy a video. Magic is no longer important; its just neat-o. It propagates the idea that you can do it just by learning a method or a move, and it not only doesnt address the real secrets of magic (and in a way, thank goodness for that), it renders them irrelevant.

Ellusionist, unfortunately, trivializes magic. Its the TV Magic Deck to the 1200th power. It caters to the shallow, to the immediate and to the temporary. Substance is neither required nor desired, and meaning has no place. Granted, this type of thing has ALWAYS gone on, but Ellusionist now has the powerful media of television and the Internet to spread its message, and in a world where it seems that fewer and fewer people are able to distinguish quality from crap, this doesnt help.

Please dont think Im criticizing Brad personally -- or anybody who finds worth in his products. He may very well be a really nice guy. I simply find what hes doing is something I cant in any way relate to. Im not labeling him evil or bad or unethical or immoralI just think he and I must have views of magic so different that theres little or no overlap or room for discussion.

Lance
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Postby Guest » 01/15/03 10:22 PM

Originally posted by Steve Friedberg:
Again, in theory, I don't disagree. My point was, and is, that in this world, this society, that what folks like Brad Christian are doing is categorized as socially, financially and mercantally (!) acceptable. You may not like it...your point is well taken...but you must admit there are a lot of folks out there who do quite the opposite, in almost every field. And they are among the leaders in their field. (Thank you, Bill Gates.)
I think a lot of folks are misinterpreting what Steve meant due to poor wording on his part. I believe, and Steve correct me if I'm wrong, he meant to write, "You may not like it...but you must admit that there are a lot of folks out there who do think quite the opposite..."

In other words, I think he meant to suggest that Bill Gates, as we all know, doesn't hold the same values Jim, myself, and others do, and, unfortunatley, he's a leader in his field because of those practices and our tendency as a society to look the other way until the abuses are so large and flagrant that we can't ignore them any longer (as is the case with Microsoft's antitrust matter).

--Andy
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Postby Jeff Eline » 01/16/03 06:51 AM

Originally posted by Lance Pierce:
It takes magic as something mysterious and potentially powerful and turns it into a party activity anybody can do once they fork over the dough to buy a video. Magic is no longer important; its just neat-o. It propagates the idea that you can do it just by learning a method or a move, and it not only doesnt address the real secrets of magic (and in a way, thank goodness for that), it renders them irrelevant.

Ellusionist, unfortunately, trivializes magic. Its the TV Magic Deck to the 1200th power. It caters to the shallow, to the immediate and to the temporary. Lance
I haven't seen the Ellusionist tapes, just the website. However, was there the same outrage with the Jawdroppers tapes as there is now with Ellusionist? Seems like Jawdroppers was attempting the same thing - without the MTV editing.
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Postby David Mitchell » 01/16/03 06:51 AM

Or, you could have also said, that stepping on the toes of people who are behind you, (which may not be nice), in order to make sure that YOU are heard above everyone else, while isn't exactly fair, it works.

Face it, those who speak the loudest, usually win when it comes to business. Those who complain the most are the ones who either wish they had thought of it first, or think that anything that is not done they way they want is wrong.

Whether that applies to magic or not, I don't care to speculate, but that's how I see things in the business world.

David
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 01/16/03 10:52 AM

The magician in the JawDroppers series, Larry Anderson, had previously distinguished himself both as a performer and a teacher of magic. He was the production coordinator of the Mark Wilson course. He was also the tech advisor for the Bill Bixby THE MAGICIAN series. He brought a lot of experience and credibility to his videos, and I do not recall any outrage over them except that they may have been too good to market to the general public.

Even so, I don't recall any real outrage over them and they certainly couldn't be considered to be patently derivative of any hit television special or performer.

JMT
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Postby Bob Klase » 01/16/03 12:03 PM

Fine. He's getting a bunch of kids (and yes, some adults) involved in magic.
I don't think getting a bunch of people (kids or adults) involved in magic is automatically a good thing.

Would it be a good thing if I got a bunch of kids involved in reading books by teaching them how to steal the books from a bookstore?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/16/03 12:24 PM

Larry Anderson, having had such a history in Magic, should have known better than to use
other people's tricks (like Stefan Schutzer's "Self Folding Bill") without credit or acknowledgement. His commercials minimized the importance of creators, implying that the "tricks" are all that's important, not their history or presentation, or the character one presents while performing them.

I don't know if "outrage" is the proper term for the response. There was no Genii Forum when Jawdroppers was released; if there had been, I can't imagine that the consensus response to them wouldn't have been negative.

Let's put it this way -- take all the faults of Michael Ammar in the Invisible Thread tapes (which Joe Turner really chewed on him for). Jawdroppers was worse, for the same reasons.
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 01/16/03 03:35 PM

Good point, Bill. Not having viewed the JawDroppers videos myself, I can't give a fair review of those anyway. All I have to work from is the article I remember (vaguely) reading in MAGIC some years ago. Now that you mention it, I do seem to recall a squabble about the dollar bill effect. I bet a search in the EG archive would find something.

If Anderson was lifting material and selling it without permission or credit, I have no doubt that it would have generated a negative response.

As for ellusionist, if it were simply those faults, they would be enough. On top of that you get the whole Blaine copycat thing going... I just can't find a single aspect of the whole ellusionist concept that is "good" enough to mitigate all the things that are rotten about it.

JMT
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Postby Guest » 01/19/03 06:53 PM

How to do Street Magic was the least credited video of ellusionist's. I made a mistake with our initial effort because I thought the video would be going to people who had never touched magic before and they wouldn't really care where the magic came from. My mistake - I should have added credit just for credit's sake irregardless of who bought the video or WHAT I thought. Boy, I've paid for that mistake ten fold and learned a lot from it too.

Last year the video was completely re-mastered to reflect credit and proper naming to all effects.

You will always see credit where credit is due in ellusionist products from this point on although we occasionally make mistakes.

_________________________________

I wrote a letter to Richard Kaufman regarding Joe's review of Crash Course - which was not responded to by Richard. I'm going to copy it here because I think it answers several of the issues above (or at least MY standpoint on them).

___________________________________

Hi Richard,

I'm just writing to say that I saw the review of Crash Course in Genii and didn't appreciate it. I felt Joe Turner didn't look much further than his preconceived notions about ellusionist. The review was more opinionated and judgmental than an honest and researched look at ellusionist and the video.

If Joe HAD looked a little deeper he would have found hundreds upon hundreds of thrilled and excited owners of the video who are now able to do some excellent magic where they couldn't before. He would have found a protected discussion forum built just for the owners of Crash Course (as with ALL our videos) where both paid and volunteer expert tech support answers all questions pertaining to the material and moderate the flow of ideas. There is no question that we have some of the most advanced and most helpful forums on the net and that to GIVE unqualified support and back up with the sale of each video is something you simply won't see in magic. At least I haven't.

Our marketing and web site may be what it is... we have a certain style and as a business we go after a certain market group. But that doesn't discount the fact that the product is fascinating to watch, teaches extrmely well and is simply, well... exciting for people. We get a RAGE of letters every week telling about one success story after another, and how they finally "got" the move they've been struggling with for years. And most of these don't come from 14 year old "wannabe" Blainsters. I'll include a few of them at the bottom of this mail so you can see it.

It's pretty clear that Joe took the low road with this one. Given that we're a new advertiser with you I would have hoped he'd at least give it the benefit of a little research although I wouldn't expect a good review JUST because we pay for space (just some research and a little less judgment).

I wouldn't give another video for review to Genii - not if it's going to be reviewed by Joe Turner. I think he's ineffective at presenting an unbiased view of ellusionist's work and I wouldn't put any more of it into his hands.

Brad Christian
Please let us know how we can be of further assistance.

Team e l l u s i o n i s t
415.789.1193 Phone
415.789.1138 Fax
Revolutionary methods teach powerful street magic in hours.

See Ninja-2 here:
http://www.ellusionist.com/html/NJA2/N2-see-preview.htm
www.ellusionist.com
V I S I T

_________________________________________________


"I am a magician member of The Magic Castle in Hollywood and have been performing for 30 years. To the magicians out there, I want to let you know that Brad Christian reminded me that close up magic should ALWAYS be slow and natural. Ninja 2 emphasizes this over and over... and what a wonderful refresher course it is. With as much as I have learned from some of the greats, Brad still surprised me. And while I knew many of the sleights, I was riveted to the screen watching him do it naturally and slowly. GET IT. It's a breath of fresh air for serious magicians and, believe me, you will be fooled more than a couple of times."
- Chip Chalmers, CA, USA - Director, Miami Vice etc. http://www.chipchalmers.com



"Where do I start? What can I say? This is the best stuff I've found ANYWHERE. Well worth the money. I'm blown away. Absolutely no cognitive dissonance. Outstanding customer support. How many videos provide customer support?!"
- Jerry Adams, CO


"I have been involved in magic for years and I have never seen anything of this caliber."
-Rhyder Cookman, NJ.


"I've played around with the Balducci for years but never had the nerve to try it on a real(paying) audience. I'll use King Rising, the angles are a no-brainer. 5-Star video,
Please take it off the market now that I know it."
- Brian Gillis / World Magic Awards Winner - World's Best Close-up Magician
www.gillismagic.com


"King Rising might just make your reputation." - Ford Kross, reviewer, Psychic Entertainers Network




"Phenomenal - improved my magic skills 300%. There isn't anything on the web that has proved better."
- Jesse Worbington, FL., USA



"I have been to college and law school and can honestly say I have learned more, in a shorter time, from your videos and suggestions - than from any other instructor I've ever had. Your (teaching) methods are almost flawless. Why did I wait so long to get it? N2 is fantastic, a must have."
- John M. Crockett, Esquire
Richard M. Squire & Associates, LLC - PA



"Undeniable class. Effectively changed my perspective in card magic."
- Ciaran Gallagher, NI, Ireland



"In my opinion the vast majority are mediocre at best. It is always a pleasure dealing with the few in the right tail of the bell curve. You're doing a superb job both as a technician and as a teacher. Thanks."
- Bill Vazquez, Florida



"Material in the video is absolutely first class. I'm glad to see that you took the time to include things mentioned in the N1 forum. It shows us that you really care. The Ellusionist team is, in my mind, definitely on the forefront of innovating the way we learn magic"
- SajidSurve - NJ, USA

"In a matter of days Brads descriptive teachings have brought me to a level far beyond what took me 7 years to accomplish through 5 (not so cheap) books."
- Chris Wiegand, OH, US

"I have been doing magic for 6 years and I have made more improvement since I bought these videos two weeks than I have in the past 6 years. These videos are unexplainable... you have to buy them to understand."
- Willie Matsko, PA, US

"These tapes: street magic, ninja, and ninja2 should be required viewing for anyone who is interested in pursuing the realm of magic. I have benefited more from these tapes than any other book, tape or DVD I have purchased."
- Thomas A. Williams Jr., NY - USA



"I have been using Daryl's Ambitious Card Routine for years, but now I think I'll use yours - I like it THAT much."
- Tyler Waugh, GA - USA

"I own Daryl's complete Encyclopedia of Card Sleights on DVD and I still learn new techniques and sleights in all Ellusionist's productions, from CC1 thru N2. Please stop making Videos; It's the only way I can stop buying them!"
- Randy Isely, WI



"It's amazing what you can learn just by watching a master do something. I have N1 and N2 and I still learned things in Crash. Just a fantastic video."
- Jebediah Paige, Grundy Center, Iowa

"I learned things that I never knew - about moves I thought I knew perfectly. Ellusionist has by far the best instructional videos I have found anywhere."
- Michael Davenport, Mooresville, NC



"Brad's video's have taken my magic skills with cards far beyond anything I've learned in the past 20 years."
- James Smith, MN



"Increased my skills with cards at least 100 fold."
- Jeff LaDouceur, Huntington Beach, CA



"Tricks that get HUGE reactions - unlike other beginner materials that don't give you squat."
- Brian Mattson, Roseville, Minnesota



"I thought hard before getting C1 because I'm already pretty advanced at cards. I don't regret it. AWESOME!"
- Leo (Lee) Turner, Lynnwood, WA



"If you've never picked up a deck of cards, you can get this video and do amazing stuff after watching it. If you already know several sleights, you can still watch this video and come away from it with a complete education. You just gotta see it to understand. I hate to say it, but if someone put a gun to my head and said out of all the videos ellusionist sells you have to pick one, I would pick Crash Course without hesitation. It really is that good."
- Chris Lundstrom, SF, CA.

________________________________________________



If you've read this far I apologize, but this is just the tiniest fraction of what we receive constantly.

Brad.
Guest
 

Postby Matt Sedlak » 01/19/03 07:34 PM

I saw it mentioned earlier in the thread that Ellusionist was good because it is bringing more new people into magic. Is this supposed to be a good thing? I can understand the magic clubs and dealers wanting a larger number of "people interested in magic" but is it a good thing for magic in general. I think that all it can do is ruin the reputation of magic when you have that many poor performers running around calling themselves magicians. While I admit that you would still have that situation without things like Elusionist, all it does it increase the number of people running around doing poor magic.
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Postby Dave Egleston » 01/19/03 08:34 PM

After reading the posts of those who support this guy and then reading his post -- I think I understand why they're high on videos - Not real comfortable with the written word

"Irregardless"?

I think he's ineffective at presenting an unbiased view of ellusionist's work and I wouldn't put any more of it into his hands.
"ineffective"?

Dude - You made a couple of bucks - good for you - you got some criticism - learn from it - Then ask your customers to not defend you on a public forum - doesn't help.

Dave
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/19/03 09:39 PM

Originally posted by Brad Christian:

Last year the video was completely re-mastered to reflect credit and proper naming to all effects.

You will always see credit where credit is due in ellusionist products from this point on
So you added a page of credits. That's an improvement. The next step, I guess, would be to change the credits into correct credits.
The first correction should be the thing you call "Two Card Monte", as it is quite tiresome to discuss this effect with misinformed young beginners.

By the way:

"I've played around with the Balducci for years but never had the nerve to try it on a real(paying) audience. I'll use King Rising, the angles are a no-brainer. 5-Star video,
Please take it off the market now that I know it."
- Brian Gillis / World Magic Awards Winner - World's Best Close-up Magician
Is this a made-up person? I've heard of neither him, nor the "World Magic Award" before. If he is the "World's Best Close-up Magician", I'm pretty sure that I would have known about his existence.
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Postby Guest » 01/19/03 09:51 PM

Tom,

Brian Gillis' website is http://www.gillismagic.com/

He lists "World's Best Close-up Magician" - World Magic Awards" on his main page and in his bio writes, "Brian was named "World's Best Close-Up Magician for the New Millennium" on the television special The World Magic Awards."
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/19/03 10:04 PM

Is this a made-up person? I've heard of neither him, nor the "World Magic Award" before. If he is the "World's Best Close-up Magician", I'm pretty sure that I would have known about his existence.
Nope. Brian Gillis\' web site. He's apparently appeared several times on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (screen shots are featured). He also claims a quote from Dale Hindman, and writes on his website, "A ten-time nominee for Magician of the Year by the famed Academy of Magical Arts (Academy Awards of Magic), Brian was named "World's Best Close-Up Magician for the New Millennium" on the television special The World Magic Awards."

Verily, he liveth, and breatheth! :)
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