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  • Writer's pictureMadison Hagler

The Family by Ben Earl

The first year of Ben Earle’s subscription-based magic program, “The Family,” has just come to a close. The material primarily focuses on card magic, and while most of the routines are very simple, I consider this “high-level” magic. You get about two videos a week every month, which forces you to take it slow and absorb the information before the next video drops.

Every month subscribers receive a masterclass focused on one move/concept, two effects explained in detail (with multiple live performance videos), two director’s commentary videos, a podcast video, a documentary/”Are You Watching Closely” video, and occasionally a bonus video from Ben’s alter ego, Ian. Each video is beautifully shot and edited, and it oozes class and production value. It’s certainly one of the more expensive magic memberships out there, but when you see the quality of production, you’ll know why.

Each masterclass is an in-depth look at even the simplest of moves. It usually lasts around an hour, and after each one, you will feel like an expert in the move. Ben not only covers the technical aspects of the moves, but he also dives deep into the psychology of each move and explains what makes it as deceptive as possible. Even with a move as simple as the double lift, you will find yourself learning new things. I have consistently been amazed during the masterclasses, and I have immediately incorporated his thoughts and seen massive changes in how casual my card handling feels.

The performance videos are typically multiple performances for real people. You see Ben using this material in the park, on the streets, at bars, and at a card table. All for real people. You get to see him put all of the psychology (which often emphasizes finding the “flow”) into practice, and you get to see the impact it has on his audience.

The explanation videos of the two routines taught each month are crystal clear and break down each and every element of the routine. I’ll speak more about the types of routines included in a moment, but these videos teach the full ins and outs of the material. I should mention that while there is some new material, a good bit of the material is crossed over from his previous releases. There’s material from Inside Out, The Shift, Less is More, and his Deep Magic Seminars. Even though I was already familiar with much of the material, seeing it in action brought it to life more, and Ben tips some new subtleties/refinements to many of these routines.

The director’s commentary videos are perhaps my favorite aspect of The Family. Ben sits down and watches his performances on real people and breaks down each and every beat of each performance. This is a brilliant look inside Ben’s head, and it shows how amazing he is as a performer. He doesn’t just provide hack lines and use the same moves for each routine. Instead, he genuinely connects with his audience and makes decisions about what moves to use and when to use them based on the natural flow of the conversation and attention. When you see it broken down in this way, you really get a good idea of why his spectators don’t stand a chance at catching a move, no matter how simple or obvious it may seem.

The podcast video is Ben and his Myles talking about whatever life/magic events they’d like to discuss. I'll be honest, these are the only videos I skip each month, but they provide good entertainment if you’re on the road or find yourself with excessive downtime. Every now and then, they will share a few bonus moves here.

The documentary video documents the making of the videos for the month with all the shenanigans Ben gets into, and it often contains an additional tip or subtlety. For the “Are You Watching Closely” videos, you sit down with Ben and watch a magic performance from a giant in the field, and Ben shares his thoughts about it. Both video types are a lot of fun.

Ben’s alter ego Ian is a clown who spits straight facts and waxes philosophical.

Here’s a breakdown of the material found in the first year of the membership:


Masterclass: Top Palm


Hidden Ambition - A two-phase ambitious card. The second phase happens in the spectator’s hands.

Paper Switch - A two-card transposition done away from the deck.


Masterclass: Fingertip Peek


Octopus - Ben’s stripped-down take on “Out of Sight Out of Mind”

Confirmation Bias - The performer sneakily tricks the spectator into letting the performer know their thought-of-card.


Masterclass: Double Lift


Face Value - The classic two-card monte with a new presentation.

It’s You - A card doesn’t change; the spectator does.


Masterclass: False Transfer (Coin work)


Primary Movement - A single-phase coin across that happens under test conditions. A bonus second phase is taught as well.

Metal Switch - Two coins transpose between the performer’s hand and the spectator’s hand.


Masterclass: The Top Change


In Your Hand - The spectator attempts to find their own card; but discovers it already in their hand.

M-Theory - A multi-phased crazy time-traveling experience with a signed card.


Masterclass: Lift Shuffle


Truth Be Told - An in-the-hands triumph where the performer genuinely only tells the true situation.

The More You Know - A trick is literally explained as it is happening, and the spectator is still amazed.


Masterclass: Cross-Cut Force


The Touch - A card is thought of. The performer reads their mind, and the spectator cuts to their thought-of-card.

Blue Haddock - The spectator finds their card despite mixing and cutting the deck in their own hands.


Masterclass: The Cull


Probably Impossible - A demonstration of the difference between improbably and impossible, which happens in the spectator’s hands.

Three-Way Squeeze - The deck vanishes in impossible conditions leaving only the selected card.


Masterclass: The Classic Pass


Selected Time Travel - A moment of deja vu is created.

Sleeve Job - A demonstration of card mucking from the sleeve.


Masterclass: Stock Control


Roleplayer - The spectator cuts to four Aces while learning how to be a card shark.

Lucky Deal - A spectator finds their selected card and a royal flush with the cards in their hands.


Masterclass: The Second Deal


Just A Second - A spectator determines the exact position of their selected card

The Resourceful Professional - A gambling demonstration that ends in the unexpected production of four Aces.


Masterclass: Mahatma Control


The Unreal Transposition - A physical card transposes with a card that exists only in their mind.

Four Words - A single-phase card under glass Ben Earle style.

All of the effects are phenomenal. Any of them could be added right into your set, and I could say wonderful things about all of them, but my standouts are:

Probably Impossible - I’ve performed this more than any other. I’ve been performing it since I read it in Inside Out, but seeing it in this format has encouraged me to make it one of my go-to routines.

Lucky Deal - This is another routine from Inside Out that I have performed a ton. I love routines where the spectator does all of the work, and in my opinion, this is the best routine of that type that exists.

Face Value - If you’ve ever performed the two-card monte, you know that the reactions are hard to beat. This in-depth look at it is what gave me the confidence to finally perform this classic of magic.

In Your Hand - It’s a simple method, but I love the flow and the revelation, which is truly unexpected, thanks to how you’ve led them down the garden path.

Truth Be Told - I love the triumph plot. For years my go-to routine has been Ben’s triumph from Past Midnight. Recently, I’ve been doing “Let’s Play Triumph” from Inside Out; I really love the presentation with that one. However, both of those require a table. So, Truth Be Told will be my go-to in the hands triumph. I like this one because there are some really nice shuffling sequences, the condition of the deck is cemented in their psyche, and the condition of the deck changes in their own hands.

Four Words - This hook is SO strong. It creates a lot of intrigue, and the moment of magic feels like a nice full-circle moment. It’s also the most casual card under glass I’ve seen.

Octopus - I’ve always loved “Out of Sight, Out of Mind,” but there were many aspects of it that have felt unnatural and taken away from the impact. This version gets rid of all the extra processes and makes it very pure. There’s a chance that it “won’t work,” but even when it “doesn’t work,” you still have a strong ending that some may argue is even stronger than when it “works.”’

This is one of the only magic projects that inspire me right now. I’ve tried several other memberships, but ultimately the style or the material itself didn’t suit me. The style and material in “The Family” fit me like a glove, and it genuinely excites me. I find myself wanting to perform each and every piece in the membership, and that is really rare for me. I don’t know how long Ben will be able to keep up with this quality of material and production, but I hope it sees at least another year, as this is one of the only things that is speaking to me in the magic community right now, and I don’t want to see it end.

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