Design the Impossible is currently closed.

I'm leading a group of magicians through the course now and working on some new content for next time. But—if you want to be the first to know when the course becomes available, leave your information below. You'll get a front row seat for whatever comes next and access to any bonus material I create before anyone else.

You've studied magic for years. It's time to start creating it.

Learning to design your own magic fundamentally redefines your relationship with the art. It’s the silver bullet. It’s the change that changes everything else. It allows you to engage (and discover) your own creativity as a magician and break new ground with your work in a way that would have been unimaginable before.



Designing your own magic is the next step forward.

  • Create meaningful work you're proud to share with the world.

  • Express your point of view and share your ideas.

  • Connect with the art in a new and closer way.

And even if you're satisfied with the magic you already know, learning the principles of magic design will make everything you do stronger.

  • Improve your favorite effects by eliminating weak spots and tailoring the method to best fit you and your abilities.

  • Identify small improvements to the method that will have an outsized result on the power of the routine.

  • Enhance the deception in your magic by understanding the fundamental principles working under the surface.

And though it may sound like a small thing...

Designing your own magic is more fun. It's like a game: first you dream up some impossible problem and then slowly, step-by-step, you figure out how to make it real.

But, there's a myth in the magic community—that you're either a creator or you're not.

And if you've ever struggled to create your own magic, maybe you've felt that way, too.

  • Maybe you've worried that you aren't creative enough.

  • Maybe you don't know how to come up with ideas for a good magic effect.

  • Or, maybe you've tried to create original magic, but whenever you start thinking about the method you become frustrated and stuck.

  • From the outside it looks impossible. And really, that's the idea.

As a result, it's easy to get stuck constantly waiting for the next great trick to come out.

There's nothing wrong with collecting magic, but if you have shelves and shelves of magic you don't use, maybe you're not finding what you're looking for.

My name is Nate Staniforth. I'm a magician, performer, writer, and magic creator.

For the past fifteen years I've worked as a professional magician, and the original magic I've created in that time has formed the backbone of my entire career. 

Here's what I've discovered:

There's not a secret to designing great magic, but there is a process. Creating magic is not about waiting for inspiration to strike. It's about problem solving: breaking an impossible idea down into a series of steps and solving them one by one. 

And while everyone's process might look different, I'm excited to share mine with you.


Watch Intro Video

Introducing Design the Impossible

(watch this trailer)

This course contains everything I know about the step-by-step process of designing great magic.

I want to demystify the process of creating magic, and by the end of the course, you'll be able to:

  • Create original magic you'll be proud to share. You'll know exactly where to start, what to do when you get stuck, and how to structure your workflow so you can break an impossible problem into a series of manageable pieces and then solve them one by one.

  • Stop feeling as though you need to buy every single piece of magic that gets released just to keep up. One of the inevitable byproducts of learning to design your own magic is that you become less dependent on everyone else's. To be sure, I still buy magic from my favorite creators all the time, but I do this because I enjoy it—not because I feel like I need it to keep my work going.

  • Customize your favorite existing effects to make them stronger. One of the best ways to learn the ropes when designing your first original magic is to start with someone else's effect and tailor it to fit you like a glove. In the course you'll practice several ways of doing this with the hands-on exercises and assignments that form an important part of each lesson.

  • Think about magic in a deeper and more creative way. You'll learn the structural components that make up any good method and understand how they work together to create an invisible deception.

And along the way, you will have developed:

  • 3 original effects

    Throughout the course you'll use the exercises and assignments to create your first three original pieces of magic and give yourself a running start on future creations.

  • A framework for brainstorming new magic effects

    You'll know how identify a premise that will work for you and how to generate ideas when they're not coming easily.

  • A proven workflow to take an idea and turn it into a finished piece of magic.

    Having a step-by-step process in place allows you to focus on one thing at a time instead of trying to tackle the whole impossible problem at once.

Watch Intro Video

(time for a peek inside)

Here's everything you get the moment you register for Design the Impossible

First, the course itself—your roadmap to creating original magic, with over 7 hours of lessons, exercises, and interviews.

Course Overview

Section One: The Structure of Magic (2 hours)

Because before we can dive into the process of designing magic we need to  be clear on the pieces we have to use.

  • The 5 components of a good method and how they work together to create an invisible deception.
  • The art of laying a Logic Trap in your magic effects so the audience is always left asking the wrong questions.
  • How to layer many small methods together to create a level of invisibility that isn't usually possible with one single deception.
  • Simple ways to take the effects and techniques you already know and use them as a starting point for something new.


Section 2: The Design Process (3 hours 4 minutes)

Starting with an impossible idea for a piece of magic and ending with your first test run of a finished piece, we walk through the step-by-step process of designing the impossible.

  • How to identify a good premise for a magic effect that fits you and your creative vision.
  • A solid, practical workflow for breaking an impossible problem into a progression of manageable pieces.
  • A framework to guide you through your choice of method, whether you're using existing techniques or developing your own.
  • Two unexpected places where you can find room to hide a method even when an effect appears to be too impossible to even attempt.
  • One question to answer that will help you identify where in an effect an additional subtlety could have an outsized influence on the audience's perception of your effect.
  • The crucial mindset shifts that will allow you to navigate the challenges of the design process. 


Section 3: Other Perspectives (1 Hour 52 minutes)

Designing magic is a personal process and everyone comes at it a little differently. In order to make this course as comprehensive and useful to you as possible, I've asked three of my favorite magic creators to share their insights. The result is nearly two hours of conversation with three of the greatest magic creators in the world.

  • A Conversation with Michael Weber (58 minutes) Michael is a legend in the world of magic and mentalism and in this wide-ranging conversation he shares his guiding principles for designing magic. We discuss his unique approach to the Logic Trap principle, the priority he places on purpose-driven magic, and his practical, in-depth advice for magicians just beginning to create their own material.
  • A Conversation with Calen Morelli (35 minutes) Calen creates some of the most innovative magic in  the world and in this talk we explore his process: starting points, how to give an idea space to grow, and the use of intuition and instinct as an actual, practical tool when designing magic. We hear Calen's thoughts on the importance of believability—especially when creating magic for TV or video—and the crucial difference in the minds of the audience between actual belief and the willing suspension of disbelief.
  • A Conversation with Brent Braun (19 minutes) Brent is one of the most in-demand magic consultants working today (Penn & Teller Fool Us, AGT) and has a loyal following among magicians as a creator of  powerful close-up magic. In this conversation Brent provides pragmatic advice on the process of taking a design for a magic effect and turning it into an actual, physical creation, whether it's a prop for you to use in your effect or a product to release to the community. 

Second, The Workbook

I worked hard to make the lectures as entertaining and effective as possible, but so much of your progress in this course will come from the hands-on exercises and assignments. I've spent the last year thinking about how to teach you the process of designing magic, and the result is a massive 70-page, 16,000-word workbook that will allow you to take the lessons you learn during the lectures and put them to work right away.

Third, the live zoom office hours.

Starting in January, I'll host six weekly office hours on zoom open to anyone enrolled in the course to use for further teaching, answers to any questions you have, and any advice or insight I can provide as you move through the course materials. These sessions will be interactive and fun, and allow this whole endeavor to feel more like an actual course and less like a series of prerecorded video lectures. So, come with your questions and ideas and we'll make this the best part of the whole thing.

This is great, but I'm not sure it's right for me. And, fair enough. This isn't for everyone. But, Design the Impossible is a great fit for you if:

  • You’ve been interested in magic for a few years but you’re struggling to find an original direction.

  • You want a more meaningful interaction with the craft that goes beyond collecting other people’s material.

  • You want magic to be fun again. It’s easy to get burnt out by the constant barrage of new products, and stepping back from the magic world to focus on your own creations can be a deeply satisfying way to reconnect with the craft in a new way.

  • You want to take the next step as a magician but don’t know what it is. Learning to create your own magic is a way to move beyond the shuffling and reshuffling of existing material and set out in a direction that is truly your own.

Design the Impossible is NOT a good fit for you if:

  • You’re not excited about getting hands-on with the course material. Think of this course as a map: I can show you the way, but you have to climb on the motorcycle and go.

  • You want a quick-and-easy shortcut to becoming a top creator. PS - there is no shortcut.

  • You’re just starting out in magic. I’m drawing the line at two years of active interest. Any less than that and I’d recommend against. You don’t need anywhere near a comprehensive knowledge of magic techniques to start creating your own effects (I started when I was a teenager, after all) but you do need a certain amount of familiarity with basic principles. Enthusiasm > expertise, for sure, but you do need to be able to know what a double lift is, for instance.

Still not sure?

I get it—this is an unusual product in the magic world. I don't know of another release quite like this one, so I understand that it takes some consideration. There's a lot of momentum behind the standard practice of continually learning other people's magic, and it take a little bit of faith to turn from the established creators and see if you can find your own voice.

You’re probably wondering “How do I know if I will be able to do it? What if I’m not creative enough to make it work?”

Let's talk about that.

First, I don't think you can teach creativity. But I also don't think  it's necessary. You already have your own unique perspective and your own way of seeing the world, and putting that into a magic trick is mostly just problem solving. And you can definitely teach problem solving. That's what this course is about—taking an impossible problem and breaking it down into a series of smaller and more manageable steps so you can work through it.

So, if by "able to do it" you mean "able to finish the course and immediately create the single greatest ACAAN anyone has ever seen and have to fend off competing offers to use your trick on TV"—no, that is probably not going to happen. Designing great magic takes patience. Lots of patience. And plenty of hard work.

But if it means you'll have:

  • three original effects you designed using the exercises and assignments in this course to get a running start on your future creations
  • a framework for brainstorming good magic effects
  • a reliable, step-by-step process for building a method around an original premise for a magic effect
  • a proven workflow for taking an idea from your workbook and turning it into a piece of magic
  • and (!) a fundamentally stronger connection with this great art and the long lineage of magicians throughout history who have invented the classics we know and love

Then, yes—you'll be able to make this work for certain.

Because designing great magic isn't about getting lucky with one career-changing idea. It's about making deliberate, incremental progress as you solve a problem that appears to be impossible by building a solution piece by piece. 

One of the fundamental convictions behind this course is that inspiration is not to be trusted. It's great when it shows up, but let's not wait around. Magic design is not about sitting down with a coffee and a moleskin notebook and getting struck with an idea out of the blue. It's a slow, patient, deliberate, step-by-step process of solving one small problem at a time, over and over, and then discovering at the end that you've created something magnificent.


So—

I can't promise that you'll create the next Angle Z right out of the gate (which gets my vote as one of the all-time greatest effects ever created). But I do promise that if you do the work, follow the steps, and make a sincere commitment to progress, you will come away with everything you need to carry on your journey as a magic creator and engage the art in a new and exciting way.

And if you don't agree—

The 30 Day Guarantee

If you've given the course a genuine effort and aren't satisfied within 30 days, I'll give you all of your money back. Just email me at nate@designtheimpossiblecourse.com and we'll figure it out—no problem, and no hard feelings, I promise.

Early Comments and Reviews

A concrete, practical process of creation that anyone can follow.

by MagicReview.org

As someone who has never been able to truly dig in and create original magic, this course was perfect for me. After taking part in this course, I already have two original magic tricks created, and I plan on creating many more. Part of my creative problem was simply that I had no process. This course lays out a concrete, practical process of creation that anyone can follow.

Required reading and watching

Christopher Grace

"So much detail and specific direction makes it very easy to follow. I’ve been a pro for 25 years and this should be on every real performers required reading/watching list."

...definitely one of my top two magic purchases this year, maybe ever.

Peter Nordstrand

I'm about a third into the course, and I can already tell you this is definitely one of my top two purchases this year, maybe ever. Even if the rest of the course turns out to be utter nonsense, it's still great. People tend to call this kind of thing theory, but it's not. This is method in practice with an impressive clarity of thought. I get vertigo, that's how highly I recommend this course.

...one of the best investments I ever made

Max Olbrich

"If you ever wanted to create your own magic, there is no other way than listening to what Nate Staniforth has to say. This course is packed with everything you need to design the impossible from scratch and to get closer to your true artistic vision. This is one of best investments I ever made."

...a whole new level.

Nathan Wilson

“This course is simply the best. It gives a framework to start engaging with magic on a whole new level."

FAQ

If you're down here at the bottom of the page, you probably have some questions.

  • How long is the course?

    Between the lessons and the interviews, the video portion of the course is almost exactly 7 hours. If you come to each of the six weekly office hour sessions that begin in January (and why wouldn’t you!?) that will raise the total duration to 13 hours. Also, the are a number of hands-on elements between the lessons to make sure you’re able to put these steps to work right away, but the amount of time you spend with them is obviously up to you.

  • Why only two weeks to register for the course? Will this ever be offered again?

    At this point, this is the only time you’ll be able to join Design the Impossible for the foreseeable future. I’m trying to balance my work as a magician/writer/artist/performer with these educational projects I sometimes do for the magic community, and after working on the Design the Impossible lessons for over a year I have a backlog of other projects I’m eager to resume. If you’re excited to take your magic in a new direction and think this course could be a useful part of that effort, now is definitely the time to jump aboard.

  • This sounds amazing but I don’t have time right now.

    Sure, no problem. This is one of the main reasons I wanted to do this as a video-based course so you can go at your own pace. Also, the lessons are typically between 10-20 minutes each, so you can either give it a free hour now and then and work through it in a couple of weeks, crash through the whole course one one big weekend, or—recommended—watch one lesson per day and give yourself some time to think it all through before moving on.

  • How do I know I’ll be able to do all of the work?

    First, the general approach of the course is to break large, complex problems into very small pieces and then tackle them one by one, so I think you’ll surprise yourself. But if you run into trouble you’ll have a few options. First, the course comes with a massive, 70-page, 16,000-word workbook that supplements the material presented in the lectures. So, if you find that you’re having a hard time with one of the lessons, it’s entirely likely that the workbook will help you approach the problem from a different way. And second, you can bring any questions or problems you’re having to the zoom office hours and we can try to work through it together. I intend for those sessions to be all about questions, further teaching, advice, and any guidance I can provide to help everyone get as much as possible from the course.

  • What do I do if I still have questions?

    Great—thanks for your interest. Send me your question at nate@designtheimpossiblecourse.com and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.