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asgar
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I started as a close up magician and then started doing children and parlor shows too.My shows are of decent quality and I spent a lot of time to build them.

However,now I want to move on to big illusions.I bought 4 volume of Paul Osbourne's Illusion systems but I know nothing about carpentering.I also have some Andrew Mayne videos and Darwin's video on cheap illusions.

Do you guys build your own illusions?How should I start?Is it very expensive?Should I go to a carpenter to hone my skills?Carpentering work is cheaper in my place.Thank You.
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
Bill Hegbli
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If you do not have the skills, then by all means obtain the services of a Cabinet Maker, not a Carpenter (by Carpenter I mean a person who builds houses and buildings). A Cabinet Maker knows more about joints and finishing wood, then a Carpenter.
Matt Adams
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If you want to learn all the "basics," check out the latest course on Illusion Building - "Building Your Own Illusions - Magic Makers Inc. Canada"

It's only $150 and you get 6 DVDs with about 13 hours of material. Pretty cool stuff. I've watched through most of it so far. I'm in exactly the same boat as you and wanting to learn more about this stuff. I'd recommend the course highly based on price. But you'll likely still need to get some extra "course work" from a cabinet maker or maybe even a hardware store or something that does classes. I'm not particularly handy, but I have lots of great ideas. Just unsure as to the details of implementing them. So....I'm learning.

My thing is that I LOVE putting stuff together. If there are 100 pieces and instructions? LOVE IT. But without instructions AND without materials it's a lot harder to start from scratch. It's frustrating right now to me cause I'm just not sure what all I need. I haven't found a decent step by step book on building illusions. Well, scratch that...I found ONE that taught me how to build a subtrunk. I did that as my first project and it was EXTREMELY expensive cause I had to buy all my tools and all that stuff...

furthermore, the instructions were just not good. The dimensions were a little wrong at times and the wood they recommended was way too heavy and big. BUT ... I have a sub trunk. It wasn't right...but I did get to build one. SO I learned a good bit about using my new tools and putting together a trunk that actually packs flat. Pretty cool. The trap was a piece of crap and I'd need to redo it if I ever wanted to use it. But I actually broke down part of it and made a quick little TV stand (piece of wood with 4 legs) and covered it up with a table cloth and used it as a display riser for a TV for a trade show booth I worked. lol. So now I have a sub trunk with no top sitting in my garage. lol.

But yeah...all the "plans" assume you know what you are doing...so there's just nothing I've found yet that takes a beginner from step 1 to the end. (PS - the fifth DVD of this course is supposed to do that...so we'll see how detailed it is. I haven't watched that one yet.)

I mean...i want DETAILS. Like tell me EXACTLY what to buy and where to buy it. Smile I can't seem to find anything when I walk into a store! lol.
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freefallillusion1
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Hey guys,

Get ahold of Rand Woodbury's Illusionworks videos 1, 2, & 3 (4 is bad). These will show you some professional props up close. Video 1 is especially good as Rand walks you through the step by step construction of a deceptive base and a set of getaway stairs. Good luck!
Nadzri.Harif
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Hi Asgar,

I was in the same boat exactly a few months ago.

As much as I would love to have checked out all the resources on how to build an illusion, since I was born with two left hands, making my own props was just not for me.

Being such a huge initial investment (compared to parlour and close up props), I did a lot of the research on what the best starting props would be. Starting out in grand illusions, you're going to have a lot of factors to look out for, i.e. sight lines of diff venues, transporting said illusion, assistant or no assistant, etc.

with regards to making or purchasing your first prop, some points I picked up on the forums are:

1) it needs to be something that can be performed in the round or close to surround
2) pack flat or doesn't take up much transport space
3) plays big
4) If you have an assistant, would you be able to practise as much as needed (hence, solo illusions might be more appropriate) ?

I think one of the more popular choices is the sub trunk. because:

1) It can be built to come apart and pack flat
2) with a surround cloth its possible to perform in the round
3) being around for so long, IMO its a piece that plays big and is not too complicated for the audience to follow.

Done with the finesse of the pendragons or JC Sum/ Ning, its definitely a piece to be remembered.

Hope this helps.

-Nadzri
alextsui
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As a stage magician trying to break into the world of big illusions, I think that there are 3 ways to go about it:

1. Buy an illusion from a professional illusion builder (the most expensive option but you get the best quality prop).

2. Buy an illusion plan and build it on your own (probably the cheapest option but you need woodworking tools and knowledge).

3. Buy an illusion plan and find a woodworker or cabinet-maker to make it.

Since I have no power tools or woodworking know-how, my best bet would be option 3. I just have to understand the plan and supervise the person making it. The cost may be slightly more but still much cheaper than option 1. I am sure the quality of the finished prop will be much better than if I were to do it myself.
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Mike Maturen
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Option four is to get in 50 good quality posts, and get into the "Illusions For Sale or Trade" section of the Café and buy good quality used props from competent professionals. You'll get a decent price and good quality.
Mike Maturen
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magicjohn2278
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Quote:
On 2013-04-19 07:51, alextsui wrote:

3. Buy an illusion plan and find a woodworker or cabinet-maker to make it.



The biggest problem with this is that most illusion plans are not very detailed, and most that I have seen contain at least a few errors! The person you employ to build your illusion is going to have to do quite a bit of "redesigning" to get those plans to work. Also, you will find that most cabinet-makers have little (read no) experience of building things to "break-down" for transport. I have built a few illusions in the past for my own use, but usually it involves finding some plans and then redrawing them from scratch!
Matt Adams
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Quote:
On 2013-04-19 08:08, Mike Maturen wrote:
Option four is to get in 50 good quality posts, and get into the "Illusions For Sale or Trade" section of the Café and buy good quality used props from competent professionals. You'll get a decent price and good quality.


AGREE!!

Quote:
The biggest problem with this is that most illusion plans are not very detailed, and most that I have seen contain at least a few errors! The person you employ to build your illusion is going to have to do quite a bit of "redesigning" to get those plans to work. Also, you will find that most cabinet-makers have little (read no) experience of building things to "break-down" for transport. I have built a few illusions in the past for my own use, but usually it involves finding some plans and then redrawing them from scratch!


Yep - that's the problem. It's not the cheapest option, but I still think it's the BEST option to buy an illusion from a competent builder if you plan to actually be using it for any length of time.

Me? I'm building my own so I can learn. Guess I got some money to blow - cause I don't really expect these to come out as very usable props...but if I can set my "hopes" low and my aim high, I just might surprise myself. We'll see. lol.
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Kent Wong
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Continue doing what you are doing and save some money for one or two good illusionettes. These are much less expensive than full blown illusions but also have great versatility. They will also give you tremendous experience in staging, blocking and presentation that will prove extremely useful when you do get into the bigger illusions. Perform with these illusions and continue saving. Identify ONE large illusion that will fit into your show with your other illusionettes. By the time you have saved enough to buy this ONE quality, used illusion, you will have developed a HUGE amount of experience to make it a success, and you will have a strong show containing a number of illusionettes that will blend nicely with that one big illusion.

Kent
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trey
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Substandard workmanship has been a thorn in the side of the illusionists world for years now. I personally own thousands of dollars worth of woodworking tools. So I am well aware of what it costs to have a well outfitted shop. And on top of that it takes years of practice to be able to do high quality work that some/most illusions require. Now I am in no way a master carpenter. But I have been building things for myself and others for decades now. And believe me, I built some pretty crappy things in the beginning! I in fact keep one of my first projects that I built in the early 90's just to remind myself of what not to do! lol

Just my two cents...

Trey
Matt Adams
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Quote:
On 2013-04-19 11:36, trey wrote:
Substandard workmanship has been a thorn in the side of the illusionists world for years now. I personally own thousands of dollars worth of woodworking tools. So I am well aware of what it costs to have a well outfitted shop. And on top of that it takes years of practice to be able to do high quality work that some/most illusions require. Now I am in no way a master carpenter. But I have been building things for myself and others for decades now. And believe me, I built some pretty crappy things in the beginning! I in fact keep one of my first projects that I built in the early 90's just to remind myself of what not to do! lol

Just my two cents...

Trey


That's awesome, Trey! You got a website with some of your work? I'd like to be inspired. Smile
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alextsui
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Quote:
On 2013-04-19 08:08, Mike Maturen wrote:
Option four is to get in 50 good quality posts, and get into the "Illusions For Sale or Trade" section of the Café and buy good quality used props from competent professionals. You'll get a decent price and good quality.


Yes Mike, this is a good option but only if you live in the U.S. or some country that's not too far from the illusion seller's country. Unfortunately, I live in Malaysia and shipping for even a tiny little package costs a bomb. Imagine the shipping for a huge heavy illusion... it might even cost more than the illusion itself!!
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Mike Maturen
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True enough. There ought to be PLENTY of illusion builders in Malaysia, Alex. Or try to network with your fellow Magi over there...they might know of someone selling used illusions right in your backyard!

Quote:
On 2013-04-19 15:44, alextsui wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-04-19 08:08, Mike Maturen wrote:
Option four is to get in 50 good quality posts, and get into the "Illusions For Sale or Trade" section of the Café and buy good quality used props from competent professionals. You'll get a decent price and good quality.


Yes Mike, this is a good option but only if you live in the U.S. or some country that's not too far from the illusion seller's country. Unfortunately, I live in Malaysia and shipping for even a tiny little package costs a bomb. Imagine the shipping for a huge heavy illusion... it might even cost more than the illusion itself!!
Mike Maturen
World of Wonder Entertainment
The Magic and Mayhem of Mike Maturen
989-335-1661
mikematuren@gmail.com

AUTHOR OF "A NEW DAWN--Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life"

member: International Magician's Society
Kent Wong
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Isn't JC Sum based out of Sinapore?

Kent
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w_s_anderson
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Is "Sinapore" the Las Vegas of Singapore? Smile

Great advice on the thread so far.....I had nothing to add but a smart *** comment
magicbymccauley
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I would put ALL of the energy into being discerning on what's right for you. I've built three illusions and I am working on a fourth. Of all the illusions, one didn't work out, which really sucks. It just played too long wasn't deceptive enough and wasn't compact enough for transport. The other two illusions turned out very well. The other option is escapes. They are almost illusions (or can function as illusions) but are much more compact. Here is what I've had success with.

1. Comedy stocks escape. A stocks escape is very portable and versatile. You can just escape, or even trade places with an assistant like metamorphosis. If you put a blanket over it, you can do it WITHOUT an assistant. It has great humor possibilities. I also know two other maggicians who use a stocks successfully. There are many available designs, or you can even come up with your own method. It also can be broken down to fit in a compact car.

2. Andrew Mayne's razorwire. This is very easy to build since it's not gimmicked at all, it's real. You can use real barbed wire or fake. Again, I know other illusionists who use this to great effect.

3. Zig Zag or Mini Cube Zag. People still love it. It's angle proof. Any performing conditions. Any lighting. Not that difficult to do. Hard to beat those attributes.

4. Simple levitations/suspensions. You can even do these with something smaller. A friend I know uses a dog or a bunny that they levitate to cut down on costs (levitating a person is obviously harder.

5. Simple sword box, or cardboard sword box routine.

6. Illusionettes as mentioned. You can also go bigger with everything you do: Larger ropes, Jumbo Cards, Jumbo Balloons, etc. Bigger props but the same magic. Use a giant beach ball in a mentalism routine. You get the idea. You don't have to have small props.

Stick to the basics that are time tested before you innovate: tip over trunk, metamorphosis, Super X levitation. you get the idea.

Just my 2 cents.
"Tricks are about objects, Magic is about life."
-Max Maven
alextsui
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Quote:
On 2013-04-19 16:23, Mike Maturen wrote:
True enough. There ought to be PLENTY of illusion builders in Malaysia, Alex. Or try to network with your fellow Magi over there...they might know of someone selling used illusions right in your backyard!

Quote:
On 2013-04-19 15:44, alextsui wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-04-19 08:08, Mike Maturen wrote:
Option four is to get in 50 good quality posts, and get into the "Illusions For Sale or Trade" section of the Café and buy good quality used props from competent professionals. You'll get a decent price and good quality.


Yes Mike, this is a good option but only if you live in the U.S. or some country that's not too far from the illusion seller's country. Unfortunately, I live in Malaysia and shipping for even a tiny little package costs a bomb. Imagine the shipping for a huge heavy illusion... it might even cost more than the illusion itself!!



No Mike, how I wish that was the case. I don't think there is any professional illusion builder here in Malaysia. There aren't that many magicians performing big scale illusions here. For those that are, I think they either built their illusions themselves or got some cheap knockoffs somewhere.

JC Sum is based in Singapore but he has strictly specified on his site that his illusions, books and DVDs will not be sold to customers in Malaysia and Singapore. I guess he wants to keep his monopoly on the local market here and restrict the number of competitors.
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asgar
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Thanks for all the advices and informations.Just like alextsui,I do not have a good maker in Bangladesh.There is probably one illusionist who has his own guy,But I do not think he will sell any to me.I am planning to buy the Floating Table and disecto from India to start with.
I am a lone wolf and never like to use own assistants.So I need to change my style to cope with the illusions.I am still trying to talk with all the illusion makers.Maybe a little modification will get me a workable illusion.
I think I should expand my business before investing lot.Thanks Kent Wong.
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
w_s_anderson
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Ok, now I can offer the best advice given to you thus far.......don't buy your floating table from India. You should buy it from Losander. You will be very glad that you did.
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