A magician never reveals his secrets
So, are the rumours true? Is there a secret ‘Magician’s Alliance’ like we’ve seen on television, where members must abide by a strict code?
Well... kind of.
“Certainly, there are a lot of a lot of ethical codes that we really try to teach our magicians,” Ellis says. These follow acts of “general decency” – don’t copy acts from other magicians or TV, and “exposing” how people do tricks, says Ellis, “doesn't help anybody learn how to do magic.”
There is also their organisation, the Australian Institute of Magic, which is ‘dedicated to furthering the standard and reputation of Australian magicians.’ The Institute is a home for magical members to learn and inform, attend and host classes, share trade secrets, and advertise performances.
By the way Ellis speaks about the industry, despite what people may think about magic being ‘only a bit of fun,’ it’s a serious craft that takes years, even decades, to perfect.
“It is also psychology, misdirection, timing, choreography. We train all our lives to do this sort of stuff,” he says.
There are certainly a lot of “obsessions” that a successful magician must have. Ellis says a lot of it comes down to details. “You may see a group of magicians sitting up late at night in a group - and they're all discussing just the position of the little pinkie when they do a particular card move. Because that will make the difference between the move being successful or not.”
There’s the practice, the technical rehearsal, the feedback. “But there's also this constant thinking,” Ellis says. “I’m working on tricks all the time. While I'm walking, when I'm sitting watching TV, it’s always in the back of my mind.”
For my next trick…
While the world was turned upside-down during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many forced to only do online shows, the Institute was lucky enough to be able to fit in their face-to-face Festival during lockdowns. "It was magic," Ellis says ominously.
So, what can avid magicians and spellbound laymen (a layman is like a muggle on Planet Earth) expect from the Festival?
This year, there is something for everyone with the largest collection of magicians delivering over 130 performances at the Melbourne Magic Festival.
For the kids, consider sending them to ‘Magic School’ with Tim Credible, or to explore imagination with Chris Morant’s Magical Circus Show.
If you have a budding young magician with a trick up their sleeve, or maybe you are ready to say “Alakazam!” yourself, the Magic School also runs classes throughout the year for budding Harry Potters young and old.
Other highlights include Simon Coronel, who made his start with the Festuval and is now based in Hollywood, where he has performed on prestigious magic TV programs such as Penn & Teller.
There’s also John Chambers, who showcased his powers to the masses on America’s Got Talent and on stage in The Illusionists, and Dr. Vyom Sharma, the doctor/magician (you read that right), who magically balances his act with his real-world role as a GP and medical spokesman.
There’s stand-up stage shows, roaming magic, a game of poker where you can learn how people cheat with Chi Han, demonstrations of Celtic Illusions, improv ‘MagicSports,’ Open Mic Magic, Houdini, stage galas and more.
Those who want life to be magical can also enter a competition for the elusive ‘Golden Ticket’, allowing free entry for every show in the festival.