Our How I Found My Magic series continues with a second interview. This time, we invited a magician specializing in self-working card magic. If you've read the title of this article carefully, you already know we are talking about Ryan Schlutz.
Ryan Schlutz is a fantastic magician and creator. He is best known as a pioneer of “self-working” effects that look effortless, almost as if they happen by themselves. If you’re not familiar with Ryan’s style of magic, you can watch him perform the effect Forget to Remember here.
He has many releases under his belt, both independent and with big magic companies (e.g., Vanishing Inc.). Unanchored is his most recent book release. It is a collection of the best effects and techniques he released before the False Anchors series. He self-released a new project in early December 2023 called Good Card Magic.
He also designs playing cards. His most popular decks are called False Anchors. They feature a unique marking system that can be read easily, even from a distance. As Ryan says: “If you can read the clock, you can read these cards.”
Ryan was kind enough to spend his time and answer the questions for our How I Found My Magic series. His answers give an insight into his approach to magic and the development of his unique style. Enjoy!
What made you start with magic? Was it the wonders, curiosity, getting to know the secrets, or something else?
The wonder of magic drew me in at a young age. I remember watching the “World’s Greatest Magic” special on television. At that time, I had no clue who the magicians were, but when I re-watched them later in life, I chuckled to find out that it was Michael Ammar, Lennart Green, and Mac King, to name a few. No wonder I was amazed.
How did you find yourself specializing in card magic? What fascinates you about it the most? Was there any other type of magic you tried to pursue or explore in the past? If yes, what made you go with card magic instead?
In my early years, I tried stage manipulation, coin magic, and kids’ parlor but never fell in love with them as much as I did with card magic. There were a couple of reasons why. First, cards were easy to have on me at all times. No matter where I was, it was easy to whip out a deck of cards and show a trick or practice when I had time to kill. Second, cards were the most ordinary of the magic props.
Typically, everyone has held a deck of cards, so they are disarming and more amazing to folks at the same time because they have an understanding of what cards can do. I know coins technically fall into the same criteria, but they always felt more limiting to me in terms of the various effects you can achieve unless you are Alex Geiser, whose coin magic is on another level.
Who are your “magic heroes,” people you admire most, and why?
The magicians who inspired me the most were:
- Michael Ammar: I owned his “Easy to Master Card Miracles” VHS tapes in high school. He taught a diverse collection of card effects and opened my mind to what card magic could be. I still use several of his effects to this day, which is a testament to how good the material on the set was.
- Lennart Green: His laser deal on “World’s Greatest Magic” blew my young mind. When I finally saw him in person at a convention, I remember laughing with amazement through the entire thing because his act was nothing short of perfection. He showed me that magic can be sloppy and still amazing.
- Joe Barry: A lesser-known magician but a huge influence later in life. He is a blend of Lennart Green and Benjamin Earl. A super smart thinker and someone I go back to regularly for inspiration.
Why did magic stick with you for that long? What keeps you inspired after all these years?
I think magic is something a lot of folks find but end up walking away from. What kept me around was diving deep into card magic. Trying to master all types of magic is daunting and can lead to you walking away. Picking a niche can help you explore its many facets and gain a deeper understanding of what makes it tick. For example, with card magic, choosing to focus on a “self-working” style creates many challenges, and finding the solution is what makes it fun and engaging for me.
If you could give one tip to your younger self, what would it be?
Take acting lessons! Having even basic acting lessons can only help with presentation abilities. Although performing magic has brought me out of my shell, I mainly relied on my confidence versus having a proper understanding of tension, pacing, etc.
If you’re not already following Ryan on Instagram, follow his False Anchors account. Big things are coming, including a blue version of the popular False Anchors Workers.
We hope you enjoyed this short interview. If you did, that’s amazing! We have more on the way. Who would you like to see take part in this series? Let us know!