- LeBron & Kobe (RIP)
- Ronaldo & Messi
- Taylor Swift & Beyoncé.
People assume they are competing for the same attention, the same goal.
And sometimes they are, but once in a while, two giants can collide - and instead of being rivals, it creates an opportunity for the opposite; a collaboration.
A few days ago, it went public that Ellusionist & Studio52 joined forces to produce something that has never been done before, a full-spectrum card magic project that can elevate beginners and pros. Purposefully curated to teach only the most powerful card magic on Earth.
HERE'S HOW IT STARTED...
In 2018, we sat with Ben at a bar in Las Vegas. While people were gambling or drinking, he was writing a book on his laptop. "What's it about?" We asked.
And what proceeded was one of the most fascinating conversations about magic we've ever had. For 4 hours, we listened to his philosophy on something as simple as 'controlling' a card. When, how, why & what should be done... And it wasn't pretentious. It wasn't boring. Everything he said was right!
Ben thinks so deeply and purposefully about everything within magic - we knew we would crawl over hot coals to have the opportunity to work with this guy.
In December 2021, Ellusionist had a team meeting internally regarding projects for the following year. We say we sell the best magic - but for that to remain true, we needed to work with who we considered to be the best card guy on Earth, Ben Earl.
So we reached out to Studio52, the company that Ben owns.
We bonded over winter fires, artisan coffee and our mutual thoughts of where magic needed to go. Less is more.
After the Christmas break we started to talk together more often. Of what a potential collaboration would look like. It had to be something that brought value, or it wasn't worth doing at all.
On March 15th 2022, we officially put pen to paper. It wasn't a discussion of 'if' anymore. It was a discussion of 'when'.
Here's a behind the scenes screenshot of our planning document. Google's 'version history' function shows we started to officially work on this collaboration on March 15th 2022.
And it took until August 2023 for it to be PERFECT. We didn't rush it.
NO EGOS. THAT'S RARE...
Maybe it's because the goal was so vivid and clear. Maybe it's because our vision was so aligned. Whatever the reason, things just started to flow. Ideas came naturally.
Even something as trivial as the decision for the packaging became exciting & collaborative. There was no conflict.
Not one company outshone the other or forced their opinion without merit. Egos were left at the door in pursuit of just making the best thing possible for customers.
Something we both can be proud of, for years to come.
FILMING IN NYC WAS AWESOME...
We got to NYC in the middle of a heatwave. 34 degrees celsius (93.2f) and it was humid A.F.
For our British bodies, it was a lot to contend with - but we were laughing the entire time. It wasn't taken too seriously.
The crew was made up of 2 guys from Ellusionist & 2 guys from Studio52. A skeleton crew in normal production standards, but look at that trailer. That's all that was needed.
REAL PEOPLE. NOT JUST MAGICIANS.
Going out for dinner with magicians usually goes one way. Tricks, tricks, tricks, food, tricks, the bill, tricks & you leave.
Sometimes it's overwhelming and suffocating to have to be 'on' and present in those moments, especially if you've been on your feet all day, working hard, performing and carrying camera bags during a heatwave.
But filming Unreal Card Magic just wasn't like that. We could spend 2 hours at dinner talking deeply about magic, or we could spend 2 hours talking about life, family, philosophy - and never mention magic.
You have no idea how refreshing that is for us. We love magic - but sometimes you need to just be a person too.
No one individual or company was trying to impress the other, or outsmart the other, or dominate the other, or fool the other. It was just real people having fun.
I think that realness is what's been captured on screen. I think it's why the Kickstarter campaign is blowing up.
People have a nose for insincerity these days, they can smell it. They know when something is fake, or when they're being sold too hard.
But with Unreal Card Magic, they can feel the value that we've created together. They can feel the naturalness & authenticity of the collaboration... And that's exciting for us too. It shows that all the hard work and risk we took collaborating was worth it.
It only gives us hope for magic moving forward. There are so few collaborations, if any - and we're not sure why, but that reluctance to work together ultimately hurts magic.
It's far better to take what you're good at and combine it with someone else's skills to make something greater than you'd ever be able to create as individuals.
And that's the whole point isn't it? To make the best stuff possible.