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Theory, Articles & Reviews

Theory is too often neglected. As the saying goes "The most practical thing is a good theory," you should be well grounded in magic's theory. We offer a wide variety of titles from the classics Our Magic, The Art of Magic and Fitzkee's trilogy, to modern articles by some of the most respected and outspoken teachers like Jamy Ian Swiss and Michael Close. You might also want to browse our Marketing category which offers a lot of advice on how to present yourself in a professional manner.

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Alan Alan
Professional Performing Advice by Alan Alan

Two volumes and amongst the most valuable to the young performer who wants really practical professional advice right from the start. Alan Alan is one of the world's most highly paid escapologists and without revealing his very closest secrets he explains how the simplest stunt or effect can be built up into a great money-making act.

An extract from Alan Alan's death defying escape from a burning rope hanging over a cage of fierce lions is also included and completely analysed detail by detail by Alan Alan. Slightly muffled sound quality but the content is worth its weight in gold for anyone...

$19
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MP3

Alfred Binet
Psychology of Prestidigitation by Alfred Binet

This article makes an effort to analyze the different processes by which sleight-of-hand illusions are produced in the mind of spectators. Different causes are identified by studying various illusions and observing performing magicians in the lab.

1st edition 1894, 17 pages; PDF 15 pages.

$3
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Arthur Buckley
Principles and Deceptions by Arthur Buckley

Another great book from Arthur Buckley. He discusses some theoretical aspects of magic and then goes into detailed instructions of moves and routines with coins, cards, and billiard balls. I can highly recommend this book.

1st edition, 1948, Arthur Buckley; original 222 pages; PDF 185 pages.

  • CHAPTER ONE
    1. Photograph of the Author
    2. Dedication
    3. Introduction by Theo Bamberg (Okito)
    4. Foreword by the Author
    5. The Principles of Magic
    6. Manipulation
    7. Substitution
    8. Duplication
    9. Camouflage
    10. Imitation
    11. False Partition
    12. Concealed Mechanism
    13. Falsification
    14. Arrangement
    15. Preparation
    16. Misdirection
    17. Concealment ...
★★★★★ $7
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Barry Mitchell
Stage Up-ers by Barry Mitchell

This subject and the information covered is vital to every performer. That is if you want to improve. If you think you're already the best in the world then stop reading this now. But if you want to know more about how to stand on any stage with more presence, personality, and professionalism then don't miss this recording. This could be the best you spend this year to improve your professionalism and show. But more than that it will prove that you really want to improve your talent and not just sit on the sideline.

  1. Introduction
  2. Open Up
  3. Open strong or die fast
  4. Climbing the show mountain ...
★★★★★ $20
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MP3

Barton Whaley
Encyclopedic Dictionary of Magic by Barton Whaley

This is a new edition of the famous and unique magic dictionary by Bart Whaley. Bart has continued to correct entries in this dictionary until the present. We have converted everything to PDF and added bookmarks for each entry in the dictionary as well as inserted thousands of hyperlinked cross-references to make browsing and using this dictionary as convenient as possible.

There is simply no other such encyclopedia. Some have tried but nobody has achieved what Bart Whaley has. The depth and breadth is mind boggling. Almost 4000 terms are described. This is the absolute must have magic desk...

★★★★ $50
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Ben Robinson
The John Booth Reader by Ben Robinson

In this book about all of Dr. John Nicholls Booth's (1912 - 2009) books the reader is treated to find information on many topics of interest written between 1929 and 2009 - 80 years! Ben Robinson and Dr. Booth worked on four books together from 1985 to 2009. Robinson indexed the first twenty-five years of Booth's celebrated Memoirs (the index published in 1990). The John Booth Reader gives a wonderful insight into Booth's multifaceted life of Unitarianism, preaching, stage and close-up magic, mountaineering, adventuring, filmmaking and travel to one hundred and forty six countries. The personalities...

★★★★ $10
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softcover

Bill Nagler MD
The Psychology of Magic by Bill Nagler MD

Dr. Bill Nagler is a psychologist and he provides a psychologist's in depth view of the world of magic. The information is radical and instructive.Why do top magicians rarely earn the sums of money that top stars in other entertainment fields earn? Why do some people hate magic so much? What is basically wrong with most people's approach to magic?

Find out for yourself and be prepared to be startled and perhaps end up changed in your attitude to magic. Bill includes his full close up act which helped him to pay his way through medical school. You'll see that he is not just a theorist! ...

★★★★ $14
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MP3

Billy McComb
The Professional Touch by Billy McComb

My oh my is this a great ebook! If you intend to earn a living doing magic or if you simply want to make your performances more professional then do yourself a favor and read and study this ebook. There are decades of experience bottled up in its wisdom. And on top of this it is fun to read.

The ebook starts with a superb introduction by Kirk Charles reproduced with kind permission of the Linking Ring. The ebook is edited and illustrated by David Britland with extra illustrations by JAT. And Martin Breese was the publisher. It was also Martin who recorded on tape Billy's recollections from which this book was largely...

★★★★★ $25
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Bob Cassidy
Staging It by Bob Cassidy

There is no argument about the dilemma faced by many newcomers to mentalism. Are mental effects best presented as natural phenomena of the mind, or as examples of rare paranormal or supernatural abilities?

Most of today's mentalists use the "mental skill" as opposed to the "psychic gift" approach, but only rarely are they particularly consistent about it. Even Joseph Dunninger, the pre-eminent mentalist of the twentieth century, sometimes made conflicting claims. While he stated that his thought reading skills were "scientific" and not those of a fortune-teller or psychic, his promotional materials often...

★★★★★ $25
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Boris Wild
Creativity and Impact by Boris Wild

Detailed explanation of the method to build a creative act and the techniques of impact on the audience used by Boris (including a whole chapter on how to create standing ovations).

For the very first time, a full-time French professional performer unveils all the secrets that will allow you to develop and strengthen the impact of your magic on the audience: thinking and process of creation, techniques of working, presentation, interaction with the audience, body language, psychological subtleties...

Boris even explains the method he developed to build his FISM award winning act. A method...

$15
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Brian Miller
For Your Consideration by Brian Miller
"A splendid lecture which delves into the psychology of tricks and the thought behind them." -Central Connecticut Magicians' Association

"Brian elevates our art to a very high standard." -Ken Maynard, S.A.M. Assembly 16

"Very creative and informative." -C. Parker Swan III, Magic Historian

The unexamined routine is not worth performing.

Brian Miller has performed extensively for colleges, high schools, comedy clubs and theaters with his unique integration of stand-up comedy and magic to consistent adoring critical praise. In addition to his packed performing schedule, he currently...

$20
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Brian Richards
Tapping Into Your Creative Flow by Brian Richards

If you believe that either somebody is creative or not and that there is nothing you can do to increase your creativity then this is not an ebook you want to read. However, if you do believe that you can improve your creativity, or if you are at least curious of how one would go about doing that, then I highly recommend you read this ebook by Brian Richards.

This ebook is not a generic self-help book. It directly addresses the magician and the specific needs and questions a magician has. It is also a very honest and down to earth book. Brian does not promise you that by simply reading it...

★★★★★ $20
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Brian T. Lees
Productive Rehearsal by Brian T. Lees

Whether you spend an hour a day, or a few hours before your performance this ebook helps you get the most out of the time spent.

The materials in this ebook help you identify dead spots, problems with angles, poor manipulation and other elements that directly impact your performance. Materials are included that help you prepare for the unexpected. The performance factor rests entirely on the audience. This ebook helps sharpen your performance skills.

  • What is rehearsal
  • Tools
  • Evaluation
  • Documentation
  • Sample documentation forms
  • Trick/Routine form
  • Train wreck rehearsal
  • Wrapping it...
$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Show Documentation by Brian T. Lees

"I used to do that trick many years ago. I just cannot remember how it went but the audience loved it." Have you heard that before? Everyone has files. We keep records of bill payments, taxes, bank statements and a bunch of other important information. Why would your magic be any different?

This ebook identifies the importance of keeping back up information on your magic. It offers suggestions on a file system that includes text, binders and DVD sources. Armed with this system you could bring back any magic that you have done in the past. Use your files to determine what has changed, what...

★★★★★ $10
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Brian T. Lees
Working on Stage by Brian T. Lees

From the Preface:

An actor who has always been an inspiration to me once said:

"There are plenty of $400 magicians out there who are only worth $75 and there are plenty of $75 magicians out there that should charge $400."

That is a harsh, cold but very true fact. They all have the skills and potential. Still some do not take their performances up to the levels they should. The ending result is an audience that only gets parts of their show. The cheap $400 magicians shut out part of their audience. They do not allow the entire audience to listen to what they say. And they have serious...

$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Show Development by Brian T. Lees

A primer to help organize clusters of magic into a professional show. Rate your magic in terms of entertainment factor and establish a flow that moves your performance from show opening to close. Learn the reasons larger and smaller magic are blended into a performance. Then learn how to use these various waves to slowly build your audience to that big "wow" finish successful magicians close with.

  • Show Components
  • Mechanics
  • Inventory
  • Flow
  • Music
  • Produce Your Show
  • Specialty Shows
  • Documentation/Backup
  • Wrapping It Up

1st edition 2016, 27 pages.

$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Thinking of an Assistant by Brian T. Lees

Bringing on an assistant to work with you does not have to be expensive. But it does need to be planned out. From adding the employee, to work costumes and through performance this ebook sets the foundation to get started. Begin with the magic you already own and with increased marketing watch your shows evolve to larger venues/audiences.

  • Selection
  • Payroll
  • Sources
  • Appearance
  • Performance
  • After the Show
  • Train Wreck Performance
  • Wrapping it Up

1st edition 2016, 23 pages.

$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Transitioning by Brian T. Lees

Now for my next trick..... Ladies and gentlemen watch as I take this silk...... And now, right before your eyes I will...... For my next trick......

Announcing each and every trick you do during your show gets boring to the audience. Nothing makes you sound more generic then constant repetition. For that reason, magicians have come up with methods to create flow through their performance. The methods they use between their magic is referred to as transitions.

The three basic transition tools are: announce, lead and connect. This text identifies the three transitions and helps you use...

$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Working with a Partner by Brian T. Lees

A primer for working with a partner. This text addresses such questions as: why work with a partner, what do look for in a magician you want to work with, documents that both partners need to consider, the basics of putting a performance together and other information.

  • Why a partnership
  • What to look for In partner
  • The partner agreement
  • Partnered performance
  • Transitioning
  • Accent the positive
  • Wrapping it up

1st edition 2016, 21 pages.

$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Entertainment Factor by Brian T. Lees

Two magicians do a show. At the end one audience leaves the show walking out like students changing classes at high school. The other comes out excited, talking about some of the "WOW" moments of the show. The difference between the two magicians is the entertainment factor.

You can have the best equipment, do the latest/greatest magic and still fail. The true unit of measure for magicians is the entertainment factor. That factor is controlled entirely by the audience. This text identifies elements that impact the entertainment factor.

  • The Entertainment Factor
  • Entertainment Factor Impacts ...
$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Setting the Environment by Brian T. Lees

A major portion of the audience's experience involves the environment. Their enjoyment can be pleasurable or highly distracted by the area they are given to watch you. This text covers the importance of the performing environment from both the stage and audience perspectives. It goes into details that need to be discussed before the room is set up. It covers many areas most magicians take for granted.

  • Seating
  • Staff
  • Performance Area
  • Sound
  • Flow Path
  • Emergencies
  • Get Ahead of Set Up
  • Meet and Greet
  • Wrapping it Up

1st edition 2016, 20 pages.

$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Tool Box Show by Brian T. Lees

A call comes in and their magician cancelled. They need a magic show in the next half hour. Can you be packed and ready to go? Maybe you are at an event and one of the sponsors comes up to you and says they need to fill a thirty-minute gap in their schedule. Are you ready to step on stage and go to work? The answer rests in what this text refers to as a tool box show. When the phone rings, if the money is right, all you need to do is grab your tool box and go to work. This ebook will help you take advantage of those "short notice" performance opportunities.

  • Real world
  • Tool box show purpose ...
★★★★★ $10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Same Show Over and Over by Brian T. Lees

Magicians do the same basic show over and over. This text will help you prepare for a second, third or fourth show that same day. It covers the need to decompress from the first performance, relax, and reset. Then it identifies ways to pump yourself back up.

Every time you step on stage the audience should feel they are experiencing a premier performance. They don't care if we have done the same magic 100 times already. They want to see a fresh, energetic show each and every time.

This text will cover some of the things professionals do between shows. They follow steps that help them...

$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Paperwork by Brian T. Lees

The paperwork associated with being a magician.

We may think the world is going paperless and in a few industries it is. But we still have a document close by to print as needed. Many times, receipts have been printed out to correct charges on statements. People do not hire maintenance work to be done without some form of contract. The magic industry is the same.

This text covers the basic documents used. These documents range from a simple query letter to proposals/quotes and contracts. Nestled within this ebook are the basics used to form the paper trail of our performances. Though...

$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Magician's Journals by Brian T. Lees

A primer on when, what, where and why a magician would keep a series of personal journals.

  • Journals
  • Magicians Journal
  • Daily Planners
  • Daily Journal
  • Creative Journal
  • Magic Files
  • Dreams
  • Inspiration
  • Wrapping it Up

1st edition 2016, 25 pages.

★★★★★ $10
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Brian T. Lees
Oops. Now What? by Brian T. Lees

Audience is on the edge of their seats. Every trick is working fantastic. Getting more applause then ever before on your routines. Then BOOM!!! Music cuts out, microphone starts to feedback and the mechanism on the change bag broke while you were trying to use it. Now you are front stage holding a bag you cannot manipulate with no music or microphone ... Now what?

This ebook helps you identify potential problems. A different form of rehearsal is introduced to help you work through these situations. Good magicians smooth over problems, work through situations and still leave their audience...

★★★★ $10
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Brian T. Lees
Timing by Brian T. Lees

One of the most important elements of a performance. Without allowing time for the audience to comprehend the magician is doing nothing more than running through a series of instruction steps. Time adds drama, energy and the sizzle needed to enhance magic.

Timing is a hard subject to cover. One does not learn from books or lectures. Those sources, like this text, help identify the value of time. The magician must acquire his/her own skills with the use of time.

This text will help identify how it is used, provide examples you can relate to, and get you started. Armed with this knowledge...

$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Audience Entertainment Factor by Brian T. Lees

Audiences rate magicians based on their entertainment experience. One can have the best of everything: magic, manipulation, etc. and still fail in front of an audience. This material is not new. It has been taught in the theater industry and at schools for a very long time. However, there are not that many materials written to bring these skills into the hands of a magician.

This ebook will identify key elements that the magician must follow, and be aware of as he/she performs. Suggested materials might seem unimportant or a waist of time. But those same elements could be the factors that...

$20
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Optical Character Recognition by Brian T. Lees

I remember reading an article about a magic trick. Not sure which magazine or issue it was in. But I want to read it again. I have two choices:

  1. I can start the magazine shuffle. Issue by issue looking for the article.
  2. Open a file folder on my computer. Then open the category folder and find the article.
OCR, Optical Character Recognition can be used to read the article into the computer. Once scanned the article can be pasted into a word processor, spell checked and formatted as needed.

An article written two months ago, or one that was published a few years ago can be found within...

$20
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Professional Show Development by Brian T. Lees

You do not have to hire a director, choreographer and technical designer to produce your own professional show. This ebook covers the environment, building your outline of magic, using music, and developing your show. Learn how to fine tune your performance through rehearsal, problem area recognition and the flow from opening to your finale. A high-quality professional production is within your grasp using a lot of materials you may already own.

  1. Set the stage
    • Backdrop
    • Sound, P/A System
    • Music
    • Lights
    • Working tables, etc.
    • Transporting
    • Cases, boxes, bags trunks and carts.
  2. Show components ...
$30
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Brian T. Lees
Performance Opening by Brian T. Lees

The two most important elements of a performance are the opening and close. The opening sets the environment for the audience to be entertained. The close is the magician's last chance to leave a lasting impression on the audience. To be effective, the opening must meet specific goals. This text identifies them and provides ideas, samples and recommendations to help the magician attain them.

  • Show Structure
  • Primary Opening Goals
  • Types of Opening
  • Opener Planning
  • Sample Openings
  • Document
  • Wrapping It Up
1st edition 2019, PDF 18 pages.
$10
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Brian T. Lees
Performance Close by Brian T. Lees

The close of your performance is your last chance to make a lasting impression on your audience. It should bring the audience to the peak of excitement, energize them and leave them talking about your magic. This text identifies the goals of the close. It provides examples and suggestions to help you develop a strong, effective close. Future performances often depend on the posture you leave your audience. Pull out all the stops, use all your tools to make your close one to be remembered.

  • Basic Show Composition
  • The Build Up
  • Close Goals
  • Tools for The Close
  • Sample Closes
  • Document
  • Wrapping...
$10
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Brian T. Lees
Magic Backup by Brian T. Lees

Magicians are exposed to all kinds of magic. Illusions, card, coin, close-up, and other types of magic pass through our hands/eyes almost on a daily basis. There is no way a magician can remember them all. But with a good backup system, bringing them back into your performance can be easy as read/follow instructions.

  • Preface
  • What is backup and purpose?
  • Where do I start?
  • Time to input information
  • Cross reference sheets
  • Keep it up
  • Wrapping it up

1st edition 2020, PDF 16 pages.

$8
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Brian T. Lees
Creativity by Brian T. Lees

Everyone has creativity. When you select the color to paint a room, pick out an outfit to wear or the wrapping on a present you are exercising a form of creativity. One only has to recognize that, and learn to develop it. New magic is the result of someone coming up with an idea and developing it into a trick/routine. This ebook identifies creativity and the creative process. I have included a step by step narration of one of my signature tricks "the magical egg tray". The process begins with an initial idea and works through sequential steps to bring the routine to the finish. Creativity, like...

$10
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Brian T. Lees
Audience Connection by Brian T. Lees

The difference between an average and great magician is the audience connection. Audience members text, talk with their neighbors and do other things because they are not tuned in, connected, with the performance. This ebook identifies the connection, points out the importance, and covers a few tools magicians can use to capture and strengthen that connection.

  • The Audience Connection
  • Capturing the Audience
  • Different Connection Tools
  • Working the Connection
  • Wrapping it Up

1st edition 2021; PDF 17 pages.

$10
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
20 Minute Set Empty Handed by Brian T. Lees

Out with your friends just to enjoy the evening. The manager comes up to you and says one of the acts did not show up. He asks you to do a 20-minute set. You didn't bring anything with you. All you can work with is what you can find on hand. Could you do it? This ebook offers some ideas you could use.

  • Real events
  • Don't panic
  • Relax, take your time
  • Audience must believe this is natural
  • Look around
  • Wrapping it up

1st edition 2021, PDF 16 pages.

★★★★ $5
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Assistant: Cosmetic or Tool by Brian T. Lees

Is she part of the show? Or is she eye candy for the audience? There is a difference between a cosmetic and functional assistant. This text identifies the difference and helps you get started searching for, and working with an assistant.

  • Assistant Profile
  • Business Considerations
  • Assistant Functionality
  • Team Profile
  • Finding an Assistant
  • Assistant/Magician Relationship
  • Production with Assistant
  • Wrapping it Up

1st edition 2021, PDF 25 pages.

$15
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PDF

Brian T. Lees
Make Music Fit Magic by Brian T. Lees

Do not stall and draw out your magic waiting for the end of your music. Do not rush your magic cutting corners and hurrying to fit the music. This text introduces you to the basic functions of music editing. Using music as background, or choreographing a routine to music is possible through editing. Take your show up to the next level using music you edit, to fit your manipulations and performance.

  • Types of music
  • Create your own music
  • Advantages of editing
  • Music editing software
  • Basic overview
  • Cuts, copies, and other editing
  • Wrapping it up

1st edition 2021, PDF

★★★★★ $15
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Chuck Romano
The Art of Deception by Chuck Romano

In 1997 The Art of Deception - The Affinity between Conjuring and Art was published. The 407-page, hardbound book was a limited edition of 500 signed and numbered copies. It was well-received and quickly went out of print. The book has never been reprinted, and probably never will be, because the cost would be too great. The Art of Deception originally sold for $110. Now you can have a copy of this fascinating book for a fraction of the original price. An errata page and addendum are also included in this ebook.

The book contains hundreds of illustrations, with many of them in full color....

★★★★★ $29.90
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