Cardistry, Magic, and Getting Noticed with John Stessel
January 11th, 2018
cardistry, cards, illusions, instagram, john stessel, magic
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Our guest this week came across our Instagram feed and we knew we had to have him on the podcast. His work as a cardist is truly awe-inspiring. John first got into magic after his family got him a magic kit when he was 8 years old. He learned the boomerang card throw at age eleven and from that point on cardistry became his obsession. Finding tricks was difficult as he fell into the generation where magic stores started to close but online stores were not yet common. That forced him to develop his own magic and his own style.
There is a debate in the community about whether being skillful with cards takes away from the magic. John disagrees with that assessment. He feels strongly that card flourishes adds a lot of value to his magical performances. He understands the old thinking which states that being obviously skillful with the cards detracts from their magical quality. Nevertheless, modern audiences already know that a magician is going to be good with a deck of cards.
We are in this golden age of cardistry with incredible content being posted online. Magic is all about creating a series of moments to achieve an incredible experience for the audience. You have to think about how all those moments add-up to a great show. Being creative in magic is all about thinking of the final trick and then developing the show backwards from there. When it comes to cardistry, his inspiration comes from allowing the cards dance themselves. What do the cards want to do? Once he figures that out he starts to develop his moves.
Then we asked him about releasing what he does. Specifically why he charges to release magic tricks, but not cardistry moves? He feels that charging for cardistry doesn’t feel right because so many of his moves were developed from others. But John does charge for magic. He does that because of the differences in the communities. Caridstry has a culture of sharing which is much different than the magic community. He also charges for his magic tricks because of the level of work that he puts into developing his magic as opposed to his card moves.
The John Stessel Instagram presence is incredible. Tyler and Jonah are baffled about how he achieves his shots. John says that his DSLR mount is his greatest secret and he is not going to reveal it to anyone. But beyond the shots John has focussed on creating a great brand. He created some videos with a full film crew. They were super high-quality but they did 20-30% less in views than his stupid little personal videos. He realized his audience loved the personal content. So, he decided to focus much more on that kind of content.
He feels strongly that building an online brand is critical to young magician’s careers. He got more people stopping him on the street after appearing o
What do you want to ask the audience?
Can you describe the kind of brand can you build around yourself?
What do you want to tell the audience?
Ignore everyone’s opinions and work hard!
Who should we invite onto the podcast?
What did you like about the episode?
Tyler liked hearing about John’s process for developing new material.
Jonah really loved hearing about how John developed his online brand.
John wanted to reemphasize that everything he does is intentional
What do you want to plug?