It’s a Wednesday afternoon in a brightly lit room and Anthony De Masi is saying goodbye to his last class of the day.
Packed with eager students, many of them are heading out after a fun-filled session at the Magic School of Confidence.
He fixes his moustache and top hat as they exit the room making them laugh.
“Young children learn quickly because they are open-minded,” he said.
25 years ago, Anthony was enrolled at RMIT when he decided to become a magician.
He was walking down Elizabeth Street and stumbled upon Bernard’s Magic Shop and bought his first set of tricks.
Instantly hooked, Anthony managed to get his first job there, kick-starting a career in the magical arts that has spanned two decades.
“Magic is my life,” he said.
Raised by immigrant parents who moved to Australia from Italy, Anthony grew up understanding the value of hard work.
“My dad always enjoyed making people laugh and having a good time and he could see that is what I was doing with my magic,” he said.
His most notable achievement to date is breaking the Guinness World Record in 2004 for the longest-running magic show on television, performing non-stop for an astonishing 85 hours.
— Anthony De Masi (@AcademyofMagic) March 14, 2014
He is one of the top magicians in Melbourne and has even performed for David Beckham, Al Gore, Gene Simmons, and Tim Burton.
“Would you like to know how I did it? But you have to keep it a secret,” he said, showing off a card trick.
Confidence, he explains is one of the most important things about performing a magic trick.
Whether it’s a small crowd, big venues or private parties, part of the illusion is being in control even when things don’t go according to plan.
The magic school has been up and running for nine years, located in Malvern east it caters to both young children and adults.
For Anthony, pulling off an illusion that takes years to master is a process that is satisfying and fulfilling.
It is not all fantasy and fun though; the school allows students to build public speaking skills and improve memory and concentration.
Featuring an extensive library that includes DVDs, books props and magazines dating back to the 1890s, it is a unique experience.
Although fond of his roots at Bernard’s Magic Shop, Anthony’s passion for magic has well and truly expanded. He now works as a comedian, entertainer and magical consultant for TV and films.