Brad Christian, CEO and founder of Ellusionist, began his magic career with a kit he got for Christmas as a boy of 6. Gathering all his courage and calling on the mysterious powers he got from the kit, he put on a magic show for his first grade class which was unrivaled at the time. Christian finished the show and stood back to take his applause, and that's when things went abruptly... wrong. The entire class rushed him like Children of The Corn, examined his props and discovered the intense secrets behind his dazzling sleight of hand. He immediately quit magic forever, vowing never to get up in front of his class at show-and-tell again.
Fast forward to age 16 when one evening friends insisted Brad watch the "Doug Henning NBC Magic Special" with them. Uninterested, Brad finally acquiesced. He went in planning to pick apart Doug's tricks and show how easy it was to figure these silly things out. This might have been left over resentment from 10 years ago. Instead, Brad was transported to an land of magic and wonderment, as Doug would say, and vowed to study magic seriously from that moment.
Brad went down to the Arcade Magic and Novelty shop and stood around for 14 hours every Saturday, open to close, until someone finally noticed him. He was asked about his intentions, and then taught an effect or two that he could go home and practice. He practiced for hours, went back and showed them next Saturday, got the approval that was required, and was on his way. The shop was old school and Brad got his education that way. He was taught that magic needed to be simple. He was taught never to work on more than three things at a time, until he could do them in his sleep. He was taught that books were a good thing. Small tips and techniques were learned from pros who frequented the shop which made a huge difference during Brad's performance. Brad put an ad in the paper "Have rabbit, will travel" for kids parties and started to work professionally.
Let's speed this up.
Brad moved to New York to study acting, was on As The World Turns (small regular part as Clinton the Card Shark Gambler). Hit the comedy clubs after hours, performing. Was hired for a Billy Joel video during a street performance. Had four agents booking him in clubs and for acting auditions. People started getting pick pocketed during his street performances, and Brad was told by the police if they ever saw him on the street again he'd be locked up. Decided to move back to Toronto. Went on vacation to San Francisco for two weeks and never went back to Toronto. Sent for his stuff. Did shows and worked as a waiter for some years, knowing that he could do more if given the chance. Watched his little nephew playing with a toy car at Thanksgiving dinner one night, made the car disappear. When Brad saw his little nephew's reaction, he thought Dad's should be able to do magic for their kids! Brad thought he might be a good teacher. He got some investors, made a video, bought a computer, taught himself html and Flash, built the site, went live and that is history. Ellusionist.