Conversations With Creators - Angelo Carbone
By Damian Jennings - Thursday, October 12, 2023
Angelo Carbone's "Demi Deck" has just dropped. It's a stunning close-up illusion. To celebrate the launch, we asked Angelo some questions about the trick, creativity, and his processes.
VI: What prompted you to come up with the idea for “Demi Deck”?
Angelo: If I'm honest I can't recall as it was 17 years ago. However I have always liked stage illusions and loved the idea of miniaturizing them like my Tenyo Mini-Morphosis being a mini Sub Trunk. I do feel I had the effect first in mind and figured out how to achieve it.
VI: Why did you decide to create this more for magicians to perform in the real world rather than make it a Tenyo-style release?
Angelo: Actually I did pitch it to Tenyo. They made a wooden prototype (which I show in the tutorial video). However at the time I used a certain material in the method and they said it would perish over time so passed on the effect. I subsequently found an alternative solution to avoid that material. I then realised I wanted it to look a little more organic than a Tenyo style prop and I think this was the best decision.
VI: How long did it take to go from idea to finished product? What does that journey look like?
Angelo: The idea I first had around 2006 and I made some prototypes myself. Then I approached Tenyo and even Colin Rose to consider making them. Colin thought it would be a popular trick and wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand to continue making them so passed on it too. Then I was advised of someone overseas to make it. I spent money on tooling and they went ahead and made the tooling without me approving it first and it was all wrong. Wasted money and time. Finally I approached Murphy's and they took it under their wing. It was meant to be released years ago but there was an issue and it had to be resolved. All this process took years and back and forth with prototypes and refining samples to make it the best it can be.
VI: What is your creative process? Do you sit down and think “I want to create something today”, and have concentrated time thinking, or are you just in the shower, or walking the dog and and idea pops into your brain?
Angelo: I have no set formula. It happens when it happens. Usually ideas pop in my head and I mentally figure out what needs to be done and how it needs to be made physically so I can avoid wasting time by making a mock up and then realising I did something in the wrong order. So if I construct it in my head first, I save time.
VI: How do you think readers of this can become more creative in their magic?
Angelo: I feel you should always challenge yourself to think of ideas even if you feel it is something you would never perform. It's the mental exercise that's important. The more you do it the better you get but you have to have will power and be consistent. However I am going to say something that many will not like. I don't think anyone can be creative. I have encountered many magicians who no matter how hard they try, just don't have a good idea at all. So maybe it's something that has to be within you from birth. I don't know. Having said all that, make a list of random objects and random principles and methods and pick one of each and force yourself to figure out a trick. Eg: Book, Production and Invisible Thread. How can you make a book appear using invisible thread? Share your ideas with people you trust and they will let you know if you are good or not.
VI: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to start inventing their own magic?
Angelo: Research. If you have an idea for a trick, before you invest any of your time into it, see if you can find out if it's been done before or something similar. Ask magicians you trust, research on The Magic Cafe or other forums. You don't want to tread on anyone's toes or create something that there are loads of versions out there already. You want to be original and not just come up with variations unless you bring something new to the table.
VI: How many times were your ideas rejected by magic companies before you had your first success?
Angelo: My first release was with Matchless with Repro Magic. It wasn't rejected so the answer is zero lol. With Tenyo however I initially pitched 13 ideas and only 3 made the cut.
VI: You’ve created many, many wonderful pieces of magic. What is the thing you are most proud of?
Angelo: This is a tough one as I am proud of them all. However if I had to pick it's between my Zig Zag Glass of Milk and Demi Deck.
VI: You’re an active member of The Magic Circle, and have shown me early prototypes of ideas before in the club room made out of cardboard and duct tape. How important is that sort of safe space to share ideas for you?
Angelo: I think it's ok. I don't just share with anyone in the Circle. Only close friends who I trust. However you should not trust everyone. Sadly there are people out there who show no respect or qualities of being in a brotherhood so to speak.
VI: Do you ever collaborate with other magicians when creating your magic?
Angelo: The answer is no. However recently this year two magicians have asked to collaborate. I've never done it before and not sure how it will work and if anything comes of it, but I prefer not to collaborate.
VI: You do not perform much, and prefer to create. Why is that, and what would you say to a young person who loves magic, but doesn’t feel drawn to performing?
Angelo: It just never appealed to me. I found more joy and challenging the creative side. I mean I still perform or demo my tricks but just for fun. If someone doesn't want to perform, that's fine as they still can enjoy many aspects of magic from practicing, reading, and creating. You can be experts in those fields without being a performer. There are many who are historians, or creators or cardists and yet don't perform. Do what makes you happy.
VI: What excites you about magic today?
Angelo: Just waiting to hear about the next great thing. I personally like when magic is hyped. It makes it exciting!
VI: What aspect of magic would you like to put into Room 101?
Angelo: It has to be for me Chinese knock offs. It has to stop.
VI: What’s next for Angelo? What are you working on now?
Angelo: Two more items due. One from your good selves. I have other ideas but I'm not in a rush. I still have to finish writing my book. 80 out of 100 tricks edited but it's been like that for years. I need to motivate myself more to finish it.
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