A few weeks ago, some friends shared a link to this "Studio" website, but that wasn't what caught my eye. It was the title: David Blaine Teaches Magic
I thought it was clickbait at first, there's no way David Blaine was going to teach magic. Right? tl;dr, it's legit!
After very little research, I signed up stupid-fast... I even ordered the recommended handcuffs because why not! I very impatiently counted down to May 9th -- this past Monday -- when the course was to kick off.
The course is taught by David Blaine, Asi Wind, and Steve Cuiffo. It's 30 days long and covers magic across several areas including cards, coins, and even gags. This answer to a FAQ was what set my expectations though:
Ah, so this is going to be super beginner-level stuff. Well, at least I'll get to hear some presentation ideas from Blaine, right?
On Day 1, we also got to meet our peer group. Including myself and Blaine (who in this case is like Tom from MySpace), there are 20 of us in the peer group. I looked at everyone's bio and all but 3 of us have any prior magic experience. Everyone else has a description like "always loved David Blaine, can't wait to see his secrets!" and "never done magic, but always wanted to try".
This is great that so many people are interested in magic! But if seeing 17 people who have no magic experience, in a group of 20, signed up to take a magic course makes me really think that this is the kind of magic you'd find in one of those box-sets your grandma gets you for Christmas.
I'm just going to jump right to it, but holy hell was my expectation wrong.
The first lesson is about Key Cards. Okay, yes. Key Cards are very basic, I know. But in 23 minutes, Blaine, Asi, and Steve not only explain how to use a key card, but how to catch glimpses, how to psychologically force a glimpse, and they even cover the Breather Crimp when diving into Pit Hartling's Finger Flicker routine (with his permission).
A Breather Crimp is not beginner material, in my opinion.
But wait, there's more -- in Lesson 1 still! There's an "advanced key card" video after the first where they cover the Gilbreath Principle -- but actually let us know that it's way older than Gilbreath, which I didn't know! -- and how to use moisture for key cards. Need I repeat, holy hell.
I'm not going to lie, I was hooked immediately.
The second lesson was Improvisational Magic & Bets, so a bit away from cards and more towards things you'd do at a bar or just hanging out with friends using everyday items. Now, I'm normally just a card magician. I love (almost) all forms of magic, but I don't really practice any. I've skimmed the Tarbell series and other books that cover plenty of topics that aren't cards, but I just haven't done anything with them. The material in this lesson was like gold. I couldn't get enough of it.
A napkin routine. Like, a paper napkin. A few coin routines. Heck, even rolling up dollar bills. These were 100% routines I could practice for just a few minutes and be able to perform sufficiently enough for any crowd, and yet they were still very magical. I absolutely loved this one and will be re-watching it to pick up any extra notes or tips that I've missed.
And yes, there is a vast amount of "magic experience" that these three guys are brain-dumping during these lessons. It's not just a "you get a glimpse of the card, place it on top of the selection, and later you can find the selection." Oh no, they go into it and then jam some more on camera and end up showing 10 different ways to do the same routine.
My goodness, can you tell that I'm excited to go on? After each lesson there is a "project" where you're supposed to upload a video of you performing what you've learned for someone, or you can write about it instead of making a video too. It's pretty cool to see so many people doing the same routines, but each slightly different than the other. And the community is really friendly and helpful so far. I'm not exactly sure what the point of the "peer group" is, all of the people interacting with my content, and the content I'm interacting with, is for people outside of my peer group. But hey, there are people and we're all hanging out learning the same stuff!
I'm also waiting for my decks of cards. I was one of the first 10,000 users that signed up (no idea how many in total did) so I was able to claim decks that were supposed to come but the mailbox is still deck-less. Soon though, right?
Each lesson has a "due date" attached, mostly so there is a defined end-date. I'm ahead by a few days and will likely keep up the pace. If anything stands out super-crazy, I'll write about it specifically on the site, but do expect a full review after the course is over too =]