THE HARSH TRUTH ABOUT THE
How the magic community crushed a teenagers goal and didn't even feel bad about it.
I was shaking...
I couldn't steady my hands...
And in 30 seconds, I’d be walking on stage to perform.
As a teenager normally I’d be pretty confident performing at my school talent show.
But this was different.
You see, I’d had to change the effect I was performing pretty last minute.
The original plan was to perform ‘Smash and Stab’.
The classic where you have to deduce which paper bag a metal spike is under, failure to do so leads the performer to stabbing their hand.
Steven Bridges, the guy who wrote the words you're reading
I was confident with that trick. I’d practiced it a ton.
But a couple of days before the performance, I decided to get some last minute tips by going on the world's most popular magic forum, The Magic Cafe.
I made an account and posted innocently asking something about the trick.
But holy crap, that was a HUGE mistake!
You’d think I was going to just guess where the spike was, given their responses!
I was berated. The sentiment was that I was an idiot for even considering performing it, that I was going to horrifically injure myself.
They might have had a point, the trick can go wrong.
But the hostility and aggression with which they replied left me feeling humiliated.
I walked on stage and fumbled my way through the card effect.
Given my last minute change of effect, it went pretty well.
But my first thought when walking off stage was about that Cafe thread…
If that's what magicians are like, do I even want to be a magician?
Continuing to browse the web for magic resources, again and again I came across forums, review threads, comment threads all that would eventually derail into hostile bickering.
One time, I asked a question that got read out on a podcast where the guest (who I won’t name) proceeded to berate me for asking such a stupid question.
It may not have been the most advanced question.
After all, I was a teenager just trying to get the hang of magic.
But you can only learn when you’re prepared to ask those questions. And the quickest way to kill someone's passion is to insult them.
After all that…
I figured the best way to continue, was to keep learning magic, but to avoid other magicians as much as possible.
This. was. a. terrible. idea.
It took me far too long to realise, that if you don’t have a group of close magician friends that share your passion… then you are massively hindering your progress!
I should have realised it at lot earlier, because the couple of magician friends I actually did have taught me so much!
(E.g My mate Ken Dyne, who I met at a magic convention, became one of my closest friends. And I’ve learned so much from him over the years!)
(Or my friend Ross, who was one of my inspirations to start street performing!)
Surrounding yourself with passionate, dedicated magicians that share your values and goals, is the quickest way to get good!
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing magic for 10 weeks or 10 years, you need a network of great magicians to excel!
But doing that while avoiding the toxic influences, the bitching, and the negativity is very difficult.
Or at least, it used to be difficult.
How I 'cracked the formula' for a passionate, supportive magic community by TOTAL accident
Throughout 2020, I became obsessed with the idea of creating a learning resource for intermediate and advanced magicians.
I knew there were magicians, like me, who obsessed about the quality of their magic. Magicians that really cared about achieving Mastery!
So I started a membership program called Magic Mastery, and in it, for the first time, I shared everything I’ve learned in my 20 years of studying magic.
Members got access to my best material, unavailable anywhere else, as well as showmanship tutorials, and a bunch more. I held nothing back!
But as well as that, I created a group for us to hangout and chat. Just a facebook group. A simple facebook group. (And then later on a Discord)
And somewhat by accident, that group became the most supportive magic community I’ve ever come across.
Magic Mastery member Owen routinely calls it ‘the nicest place in magic’.
Somehow, myself and the members had shaped a community of magicians that actually wanted to help each other, a community that gave each other feedback, support, advice, tips and more.
This was unlike any other magic community out there. (We actually had people leave other magic forums and groups and join MM!)
So, I did what any person would do…
I closed the doors to new members.
Sounds a bit mad right? After all, Magic Mastery was growing, so why on earth would I put the breaks on?
Well to understand that, let me explain...
The problems with most magic communities
They're too big (or too small)
It’s not a community if you can’t get to know other members. And if it’s too small, it becomes a ghost town. Communities often have a big drive to grow for the sake of growing, leaving the quality of the communities to deteriorate.
Anyone can join
When anyone can join, there’s not quality control regarding members. You can get trolls, bullies and mean spirited people. And it can be tough to ban these people, because they can just make a new account.
Too many beginners
There’s nothing wrong with beginners (we all were once!), but when a community is mainly beginners, it limits the types of magic chat that take place.
Value system clash
This is big one that people don’t realise! If you have a bunch of people with radically different ideas about magic, it’s a recipe for disaster.
They aren't communities!
They’re just a bunch of people on a forum, with no connection to one another.
Everyones in it for themselves.
People post when they want something. They don’t tend to post just to help people out.
Elitism and status games.
Everyone sucks up to a couple of people and it sets a power dynamic much like high school.
I closed the doors to Magic Mastery so I could be much more selective about who can become a member.
Doing this (and a few other things no other communities are doing!) totally eliminates the above problems!
How Magic Mastery is different:
- We do not take new members often! (The last time I had the doors open was around half a year ago)
We do this so existing members get a chance to know new members.
- We only take members that pass an application process. This isn't some elitist marketing ploy, it's to make sure that all members have a positive attitude and will fit in well.
- We limit the amount of beginners. Beginners are allowed in Magic Mastery, but we ensure that most members are of an intermediate level or higher. This keeps the quality of the magic chat high.
- All new members must share our values.
The application process is designed to find magicians that share the Magic Mastery values, so we're all on the same page.
- A community lives and dies by how close the members are. That's why we run at least two scheduled live hangouts on Discord per week. Members get to know each other and chat face to face.
- We have a 'no famous magicians allowed' policy!
Well... not quite. You are actually less likely to be accepted into Magic Mastery if you're a big name in magic. This is to ensure there isn't a hierarchy. Everyone in MM is an equal. We don't want some members being worshipped and others scared to post incase they say something wrong in front of their idols.
As a result of all this...
- Magic Mastery Members often share things that other members will get value from. Whether that's links to helpful articles, effect reviews or their own personal effects.
- Members get feedback and support on their ideas. (Helpful advice, not random criticism for the sake of it)
- Accountability. Trying to learn a mem deck but struggle to stay on track? Magic Mastery members often take on challenges together, helping keep each other accountable and achieve their goals.
- Members contribute, without expecting anything in return!
- We have stupid in jokes. (New members: Beg Cliff to show you his top hat origami bill fold. And don't forget to congratulate Vlad The Lad on becoming a Dad)
- Our community is way more active than others of its size! I recently had a call with a friend of mine who runs an online community. He said he was amazed at how active and great the community vibe at MM is!
Speaking of which... here's a handful of our awesome members
Absolute beast with coins and ring magic, struggles to shuffle a deck of cards without dropping them.
Knows just about everything regarding magic! An incredible amount of experience and a dark sense of humor!
What can I say about Cliff? Every week he's been tinkering with some unusual effect he's discovered!
Has the highest attendance rate of our Discord sessions - and gives great member feedback!
Vlad The Lad
Sleight of hand beast! Fooled the living crap out of everyone in the Discord a few weeks back. (Now everyone hates him)
Creative machine and excellent with a deck of cards! Getting weirdly reddit famous so we may have to kick him out soon because of our 'no famous magicians' policy ;)
Badass Mentalist and very creative guy! (You'll recognise him from Game Of Thrones)
Does the smoothest damn Raise Rise you've ever seen in your life. It's actually ridiculous.
Street Performer. Does bizarre magic that will make you faint. Potentially immortal!
Always working on new creative effects and presentations! Creates a lot of custom magic!
Smooth as butter with a deck of cards, great at creating a truly magical moment for his spectators.
Another incredibly knowledgeable magician. I frequently find myself asking, 'hey Eirian, what's the trick where...' and before I've even finished the sentence she's told me the name, creator's name, and where it's published!
Creative magician that has an effortless and engaging performing style. Love watching what he comes up with!
The Magic Mastery Values
Magic Mastery Members believe in the following:
1. Honest, Constructive Feedback.
When MM members want feedback on their ideas, performances, or script, it's important that the feedback they get is honest. Without honesty, you don't know what you're doing wrong and cannot improve. But it's important to be kind with feedback, being blunt or rude doesn't help anyone.
2. A Passion For Performing And Creating High Quality Magic
Members believe in working hard to perform and create effects that truly amaze audiences. They have an attention to detail, understanding that perfecting a few effects achieves a better result than fleeting from trick to trick.
3. Pursuit Of The 'Best Method.
The hardest method is not always the best. The simplest method is not always the best. MM members actively try and seek the best method for whatever effect they're working on. If that method is easy, that's fine, but if it's difficult, they'll put the work in.
4. Contributing And Helping Other Members
Magic Mastery Members make the effort to regularly attend live Discord Sessions and post in the facebook group. Members believe in contributing and helping out other members however they can, regardless of whether it is a direct benefit to themselves.
That's the community... And Magic Mastery is all about the community!
But being a Magic Mastery member gives you access to a lot more.
[WARNING - If you join just to access the following, your application will not be successful. Magic Mastery is for team players, not for people seeking magic effects at a cheap price/videos at a cheap price!]
- The Conviction Force Technique - A psychological trap that proves to your spectators you cannot be using a force (yet that's exactly what you're doing!
- An Anniversary Waltz handling I developed performing at the Playboy Club that solves the biggest problem with this trick (that most magicians don't even realise is tanking their spectator reactions)
- Flip - A chaotic card elimination effect that has fooled some of the best card workers I know.
- Card Evaporation - Vanish a card, with zero finger movement. This looks like sleight of hand is impossible (and the method is very easy!)
- Option 100 - My signature mentalism effect that leading UK mentalist, Ken Dyne said, "... a brilliant, disarming and totally fair-looking selection method." (Normally $20).
- An under the radar rising card effect that magicians swear must use thread (even though it's totally impromptu - no gimmicks)
- A Triumph effect that ticks all the boxes and has been one of my go-to card effects when gigging for years (I also explain why most triumph effects are badly designed, and what elements are necessary for a solid triumph)
- Thought Link - An ebook I wrote under a pseudonym, no longer available anywhere else, a prediction effect involving email with an ingenious method. Atlas Brookings said this "should be in every 21st century Mentalist's repertoire".
- The Victory Shuffle - My best selling release of all time. A false overhand shuffle that looks just like the real thing (normally $35).
- The Waterfall Multiple Shift - Control up to 15 cards in one go, in less than a second. This is the lightest, most casual and disarming multiple shift I've seen. I stopped using all other methods when I accidentally discovered this idea during my practice.
- The Overhand Shuffle Sleights Course - A full, half an hour course giving a deep dive on overhand shuffle sleights. (Including a tiny pinky adjustment that will help with almost every overhand shuffle sleight you use)
- The Burnable Zarrow Shuffle - My handling of the Zarrow Shuffle that's designed to stand up to the most intense scrutiny. Even the most astute spectators won't be able to detect that it's false.
- An angle proof colour change that happens instantly (You'll stop using the shapeshifter change when you learn this)
- David Williamson's Top Change handling, taught by David Williamson himself!
- My favourite effect I've ever created
- Refinements, adjustments and important details so many performers are missing on many sleights such as the...
Top Palm (please stop doing one-handed top palms!), The Elmsley and Jordan Count (these moves are so often done badly, but these changes I suggest will up the deceptiveness massively), The Pinky Count (I teach it and tell you why I don't use it), The Diagonal Palm Shift, Himber Vanish, Stuart Gordon Double Turnover and the Spread Cull (every card magician should master this move)
As well as that...
Decades of advice, condensed into easy to implement videos...
- Ever notice how some ambitious card routines start to drag while others keep audiences captivated? I share a framework you can apply to ACR that performers like Juan Tamariz, Cyril Takayama and Tommy Wonder all have used to get incredible reactions from this classic.
- 3 tiny changes that boost spectator reactions with very little effort (TV Magicians use one of these techniques in almost every trick - yet so few magicians realise)
[Video: The Magic Moment]
- Colour Change Theory - A different way to think about colour changes that will help you pinpoint which changes you should stop using.
- A framework to help you become more creative at magic - including techniques that Josh Janousky and Ollie Mealing (two of the most creative magicians I know) rely on daily.
- How, after years of struggling to develop a performance persona, I accidentally cracked it when I gave up! (The secret is to 'be yourself', but just 'being yourself' will fail miserably unless you know the details).
- What one of the leading researchers has to say about beating Performance Anxiety (She outlines tactics that work for magicians. Members that have implemented these have gone from being too scared to perform, to addicted to showing their magic).
- How squeezing a ball will make you a better sleight of hand technician for 2 minutes (don't do this with the wrong hand!) .
- Two misdirection principles that will forever change the way you look at misdirection.
[Video: Refine your top change and misdirection skills]
- What I learned from obsessing over Cyril Takayama and how I used this knowledge to gain tens of millions of views and hundreds of thousands of subscribers on YouTube.
- Three specifically designed challenges, that for those prepared to put the work in, will see significant boosts in their ability.
- A dedicated Practice Program members have followed to increase the quality and quantity of their magic practice.
- How Pit Hartling induces challenges that allow him to pull off miracles (I'd never have thought of this).
[Video: Pit Hartling Interview]
- A short list of some of the best material I've come across in magic. Including a gimmick that I'm so glad has slipped under the majority of magicians' radar's and a mentalism ebook that produces, hands down, the most direct mind reading I've ever seen. I only give out this resource list to MM members.
- A library of Performance Analysis' where I give an in-depth review of member submitted performances, and great performers in our industry.
So How Much Is It?
Magic Mastery is $24 USD per month. That works out at 85 cents per day.
You get billed for the first three months up front and then you're charged monthly after that three month period.
Before you consider applying, I've gotta tell you, Magic Mastery is not for everyone.
Please do not apply if:
- You only intend to stick around for a short time. MM isn't designed to hop in and out of, it's for magicians that are here for the long haul.
- You're not a team player. If you're here to learn from others but not contribute advice and support, it's not for you.
- You just wanna learn a bunch of new tricks. Magic Mastery Members get access to a lot of content, but that is not the purpose of Magic Mastery. If that's all you want, spend your money elsewhere.
- You're brand new to magic. If you don't know what a double lift is, you're just not going to get much out of being a members. Better to get a solid understanding of the basics of magic before applying.
- You don't have time. Look, we don't expect you to be spending all day everyday on the facebook Group and the discord, but i you don't have time to pop in at least a couple of times per week this isn't for you.
But for those who understand the immense value from being part of a supportive magic community, where all members share a real passion for magic... then Magic Mastery will be perfect for you!
NOTE: We are currently not accepting new applications at this time. But I will announce when applications are open on my mailing list.
Frequently Asked Questions
My name is Steven Bridges. I've been studying magic for 20 years. My performances have been viewed 30,000,000 times on YouTube and have helped me build a subscriber base of close to 300,000.
I've been trusted by huge movie studios to work with celebrities such as Donald Glover and Brad Pitt on films as a magic consultant.
I’ve done thousands of street performances, as well as working in high end venues such as The Playboy Club London as the resident magician.
I also have a nice beard - but maybe that’s less relevant?
We have a few mentalists in Magic Mastery. If you’re looking for a purely mentalism community, do not join Magic Mastery. But mentalism is a welcome and frequently discussed topic.
Not very often! Magic Mastery has shifted more and more towards community events, live sessions and brainstorms. Content is added to the library when I feel I have something that will benefit the group.
We have a few mentalists in Magic Mastery. If you’re looking for a purely mentalism community, do not join Magic Mastery. But mentalism is a welcome and frequently discussed topic.
Beginners are welcome to apply, but please be aware we do not accept many beginners. This is to ensure the magic chat remains at an intermediate/advanced level.
Currently, our community takes place around 80% of facebook, and 20% on Discord.
If you don’t have a facebook account, you’ll need to make one to take part in Magic Mastery. At some point, I’m planning on moving Magic Mastery over to a mobile app, but not for a while.
You’re welcome to cancel at anytime. Cancellations are effective immediately, so it’s best to cancel close to your billing date. To rejoin, you have to go through the application process again.
© 2022, Magic Mastery