Magician Nate Staniforth has a simple goal: get from his home in New York to his next gig in Seattle in three weeks. Rather than just take a plane and spend his time shuffling from hotel to show and back, he decided to take a car, explore some back roads, and meet his favorite magicians. He then chronicled it all in a new 15-part web series called American Magic, the first episode of which is available on his YouTube channel (and embedded above). You can also check out his new book, Here Is Real Magic, available now.

Magicians exist in that weird space between wonder and ennui. The audience reaps the benefits of magicians’ hard work as they experience moment after moment of amazement, but the job itself can be a thankless grind. A touring magician might be away from home as much as 200 days in a year, doing the same effects over and over and over again; summoning the spark that inspired them to become a magician in the first place can become harder and harder to do.

It’s a mental state Nate Staniforth discusses in the above interview with Brian Brushwood as the two talk about Staniforth’s memoir, “Here is Real Magic,” now available for preorder. “We all become very good at getting used to things and making things ordinary,” he says, before describing how a trip to India forced him out of his stupor and made him see magic with new appreciation. 

To celebrate the release of his book on January 16, Staniforth is giving away an effect he calls “Project: Vanish.” Order his book during the first week of publication and you get the trick gratis. Buy the hardcover edition from your retailer of choice, then email your receipt to, subject line “Here Is Real Magic order” and you’ll receive a link to the 29-minute explanation video for Project: Vanish.

Buy Here is Real Magic ($18) from Amazon