theory11 — Magic Tricks & the World's Finest Playing Cards
New York, New York
Los Angeles, California
Our team is composed of the best of the best minds in the magic industry - from performers to creators and consultants.
From mind-blowing illusions to the world's finest playing cards, theory11 values quality over quantity.
theory11 artists are the foremost experts in the conjuring arts - from new upcoming talent to magic's greatest historians.
We produce world-class shows and live-events. Learn more about The Magician at The NoMad and what we can do for you!
Our team has consulted on countless projects relating to magic on stage and on screen around the world.
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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mclintock, Feb 5, 2016.
Thanks! Definitely going to check it out then.
I'm a happy customer of Vanishing. Inc and all I can say Andi and Josh are indeed the most honest guys I've ever met in magic. I had some conversations with Andi (e-mail) about some products and he was extremely honest about these products. No business man would do that.
That means he really cares about the Magic and the customer, not just selling products.
The other thing is that they continue to produce books, which hardly can be any profitable these days. You have to love what you do to do what they do. I believe them.
I was never disappointed by anything I got from Vanishing inc., in contrary.
(Well, I admit 90% are books, so I can't talk about other things like tricks and props (the other 5% are downloads/DVDs).
Their customer service is far beyond what I expect from an internet company.
I'm not at all surprised by their reaction about the trailer issue.
Interesting videos and interesting thread.
I'll be honest... I don't buy a lot of downloads and new tricks. I tend to buy books and props.
The books are on every magic subject imaginable. Lately, I've been picking up some older stuff for the historical perspective. I've never purchased a book that I haven't found something I would use. Add that to the enjoyment I get out of reading the books and they are well worth the price.
The props tend to be classic magic items -- cups & balls, linking rings, zombie balls, egg bags, billiard balls -- or materials for routines -- lemonade pictures, hat boxes, gin bottles, apple baskets, egg baskets, etc.
The guide I use when buying effects is whether the effect is something I will use in my show or in walk around performances. I tend to read a lot of review and get the best.
So do I agree with Dan? Yes. Well at least the first three minutes... I couldn't bear to listen to it anymore. I actually agree more with the guys from Vanishing -- they were better able to articulate their point.
I have personally found that you tend to get a more clear message without profanity.
Hey guys, just want to chime in here with my two cents on the matter, as I feel this is a very important discussion. I most certainly agree with both Andi and Josh on this matter. Since I've known about theory11, I've always noticed a trend of quality over quantity that's been in place here. We don't release new magic as often as other companies out there, and this is due to the team always wanting the highest quality magic that can be put into people's repertoires. We only want the best of the best, and what's truly been audience tested. Take into account our most recent releases and new products in our store. Sleeper, Invisible Card, Double Cross, Amazebox, Sub Rosa, Break, Counterfeit, French Kiss, The Code, and several of our downloads with Spidey. That's most of the newest stuff off the top of my head, and I know for a fact that each of them have been audience tested and all of it is extremely practical. Take Invisible Card and Double Cross for example (to name a few). Blake performed Invisible Card on Live TV for Pitbull on FOX's New Years Eve special. Dan White performed Double Cross backstage on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon for The Roots. We also spend a LOT of time with each effect that we release. Invisible Card, for example - we spent 6 months crafting the gimmick and making it 10x more durable than Blake’s original prototype, with a goal of making it last LONGER for real workers, like Blake, that use it daily. When we teach moves - like The Herrmann Pass or Tabled Faro - we don’t have fly-by night hot shots teaching; we have Jason England - arguably the most well-read, experienced, and knowledgeable practitioner in the industry, teaching things properly - the right way.
There have been plenty of times where I would put one of our newest releases into my set (when I was performing in my downtown area) and the reactions were crazy each time. I've been so proud to be a part of this team not only because it's a dream, but because every time we release something I know that it will go into a performer's set almost immediately. I wouldn't be a part of theory11 if they were constantly pushing out impractical tricks for the sake of making a quick buck and making magic only for the camera. It may work for some people, but for me I would want no part in that kind of process. It's why I've been on this team since 2010. Quality over quantity is what you get over here, and I promise you it isn't a biased perspective; it's just the way it has been for me ever since I became a member of this community, and as far as I know, quality is what we will always strive for and we won't settle for anything less. This is evident in our decks, as well. As Lyle stated in a different thread, we always aim to keep pricing as low as possible - but all of our decks are priced well BELOW industry average. Many decks, of even half-decent quality on Kickstarter, are priced at $15 - ours are all, without exception, $9.95 or less. While our prices (now) are still below industry average, our quality is a mile ABOVE industry average. All of our decks and tuck cases are made in the USA - not overseas - and our tuck cases use print processes and levels of intricacy beyond what anyone else is doing, including letterpress printing and super premium papers.
Just wanted to chime in and offer my thoughts and opinions!
It's understandable to defend one's own turf, but still, no one is bulletproof. There are disadvantages to everything. Nothing and no one is perfect, and nothing or no one should be touted as such. Yes, T11 is doing a bunch of great stuff, but T11 is not everyone's cup of coffee. Conversations like this have never ended because one of the parties said, "Hey, we're cool." It's a communal effort, not about T11 or Penguin or Ellusionist or Vanishing Inc. Different perspectives on the same community, which is what it's about, not the companies.
(Prepares for long response and backlash)
I do respect Theory11 for their releases actually being performed out in the real world in real test situations. Often times I have seen really well done trailers and clearly scripted performances of "unusable" effects. I personally have used the Invisible Card in a live setting with multiple spectators watching and I can attest to it's credibility as seen in my review here:
But let's not forget that an effect is only as good as the performer who makes it their own. Whether an effect is good or not, I have to admit, is honestly a matter of opinion and style. There have been times where I have bought effects and I thought to myself there is no way that I can use it and it's a really bad effect. Then I will go on YouTube and watch either Justin Flom, Rob Anderson, or Calen Morelli put an entirely new spin on the effect and absolutely kill it. Watching them inspires me to really make other people's releases my own and match it to my own performing style. So you keep doing you Theory11. You give us the paintbrush and materials and we'll paint our own unique canvasses with it.
Let's face it, you will never ever please everybody. That's just not possible.
A trailer which is absolutely clear about what you will get would often give the secret away, so I totally understand you can't do it. Otherwise even with the most honest trailer out there that will not give a hint to the method/gimmick/whatever, there's always someone who would blame the company for beeing dishonest.
Please I need Video link!! Of dan sperry
I think different people take different things from this discussion. For some, it is about magic that can only be performed on a webcam. For others, it is about trailers not showing the full effect.
For me, it is about the larger question of how you learn magic. You don't learn magic one trick at a time. Learning magic isn't the tricks, but the ability to understand the conceptual underpinning of sleight of hand, gimmicks, gaffs, fekes and other methods. Books tend to give that general understanding better than single download tricks.
I guess I view magic about knowledge and not just tricks.
I really like theory11's decks, however, your prices are becoming (in my opinion) a little too high. When I first started purchasing deck from theory11 (little over a year ago) the price was $6.95 for one deck. Some time during 2015 the price was raised to $7.95 per deck as you cited an increase in production cost. Recently (within the past month) the price silently jumped to $9.95. In the course of 1.25 years the price has risen by 3 dollars. I remember when the $9.95 price tag was reserved only for charity decks, as a cut went to a great cause.
I don't know what site you compare your prices to (ArtofPlay is different, they deal in resale prices which are usually higher than MSRP) but the point is, Ellusionist decks are now a little over a dollar cheaper that your decks.
Also, Kickstarter decks are usually more expensive (especially if printed in America by the USPCC) because they are created by individuals, not companies. I remember Lyle Borders told me over a support ticket that theory11 has a "strategic partnership" wherein theory11 can produce decks at a lower price than your typical Kickstarter individual.
I don't mean to call you guys out. But seriously, what accounts for the recent $2 price increase on all custom decks on this site? You were transparent the first time stating it was to meet rising production costs but the recent increase just snuck in with no real reason.
Assuming Theory11 aren't just trying to make a fast buck ( and nothing about their site has ever suggested that) then it is nearly always going to be production costs, and that doesn't just mean the actual costs of the paper, ink etc used to make the deck. Theory11 sells product, and the cost of everything else (what we would call 'overheads' in accounting speak) have to be some how absorbed into the product costing. Price of web hosting, salaries, rent for office/warehouse space, advertising,camera equipment, a new photocopier or stationery for the office. All of these things have to be paid for somehow, so this will be reflected in T11's pricing. I don't think it's fair that Theory11 should be expected to justify every price rise as sometime these things are just out of their control. Cost of living rises, rents rise and these all have to be paid for, that's just (very very) basic economics.
Rev (...a Part Qualified Accountant!)
The second price jump was bigger than the one before it. I was going with the mindset that if they want to tell us why the price increased again in such a short time. Also, if the price was raised to pay for new equipment that would suggest that the price may lower again over time. I haven't seen a single product's price go down as far as I know.
Many of our decks went to the current $9.95 pricepoint a few months ago. This was simply bringing the remainder of our decks into the same price range. By doing this we spread out the price increase so that it was not such a shock to the system.
This was not the first (or second) price increase we have had. It will not be the last. Hopefully it is the last that we have for a while.
We will not give specifics as to why prices increase. To do so would be to give away business information that we hold confidential. All I will say is that the cost of everything we do goes up over time, from labor to materials cost to overhead. Costs go up all time time, and we try to cut costs back when possible, however every once in a while we have to adjust our pricing as a result. There is no single one factor that caused this price increase. Instead of raising prices by $0.10 every week, slowly raising the prices, we opt to wait to change pricing so that there are only occasional changes.
Not true. Purchasing equipment (and any associated price increase) would in no way indicate that pricing will lower again in the future.
We are US Playing Card Company's largest custom customer. We do have cheaper prices than most Kickstarter campaigns. Why? We print FAR more than 2500 decks in a shot. Cheaper pricing than Kickstarter comes with the territory of printing as many decks as we do. We produce higher quality decks in much higher quantities, and are then able to sell them cheaper.
The exact same reasons. Our costs went up, and that means our profit margins were going down. In order for theory11 to pay the bills (staff, website, servers, warehouse, etc etc etc) we have to keep our profit margin over a certain point. Nearly every price change you see will happen so that we continue to be profitable. If theory11 is not profitable, then there is no theory11. Price raises are never fun for anyone, but they happen. If you go honestly look at the various other places that make custom cards, you will see that this pricepoint is well in line with what is currently being charged. We are not the cheapest and we never claimed to be, but you will find many others selling in the $12-15 range for their standard decks. Our most expensive decks are $9.95. Not much else I can say to that.
This is a fair way of looking at it. theory11 and other magic companies are suppliers of tools. What you do with those tools is completely up to you. Someone can take a classic effect and run it into the ground. Someone else can take the same effect and make a masterpiece. While I (sorta) agree with Dan, a lot of this is like saying that an inexperienced person trying to paint for the first time is ruining the world of painting. The best art pieces out there are few and far between, but what made them the best was not the tools they used, or the person who taught them when they were starting. The best art pieces are made by someone who takes the tools available to them and then puts in the effort to become a master.
The YouTube generation? Mostly kids playing around with fingerpaint. Some are starting to get serious. A few even might be considered really good. What separates them from masters is not "download magic" as Dan seems to indicate. This level of magician has always existed, it is just more visible with YouTube. The real separation between the group of magicians everyone complains about and the masters comes from years and years of practice and experience.
Take fingerpaint and 60 years of practice, and then come back and tell me that the fingerpaint made you the amazing artist you will become. Take a $50,000 video camera, go shoot your first movie, and then come back and tell me about how the camera held you back from your potential. The potential for greatness has little to do with the tools, though tools are still required.