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Old 08-09-2012, 08:23 PM   #1
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Warning Flatline Magic (flatlinemagic.com) Exposed

This will be the first (and hopefully only) time a company that did not yet get launched will be exposed in here. For a very good reason.

In about 9 hours from now, a new magic company called Flatline Magic will be launched. It's run by Adam Rose (CEO/Founder), John Stessel (Creative Executive), Mark Zellinger (PR/Marketing), Cody Nottingham (Recruiting/Advisor) and Brian Zellinger (Webmaster), so said "over 100 years of magic experience and all published magicians with companies such as Ellusionist, Vanishinginc, TheBlueCrown, Papercrane, Paul Harris and Magic magazine".

Now this is a problem we eventually would run into with every magician in the world starting up their own magic production companies without doing enough research, rushing everything in the process and making the art a lot more commercial than necessary:


You see it correctly: at the time of posting this, the company's file sharing folder is publicly available. All files including raw footage of tutorials they will be selling can be downloaded freely. The link to the folder has been spread around for the past hour, as well as the link to their upcoming website.

How unprofessional. I would like to thank them for the free stuff though (not that I would have bought any of it, but still.. it's worth $66.96 so I appreciate that.. and I'm sure all 20+ people who downloaded it in time do too). Definitely the worst company start-up ever, if it even is a company because they may as well have not been registered.

Guys of Flatlinemagic, if I can give you any advice, you better stick to the companies you used to publish your tricks with before because unlike you, they know what they are doing.

P.S.: To add to the unprofessionalism, they make use of use a shared host. There is no way to store and share 6.15 GB of files on a such a server properly. Oh oh oh.

P.P.S.: Read more here.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:48 PM   #2
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Hi Mark,
Thank you for your interest in our company and I hope to see you at the launch! Also, a lot of your information is invalid, so please check what you say. Also, if you go further with this legal action will be taken for stolen property and defamation of character. Thank you for understanding and I wish you the best of luck with your endeavors!

Adam Rose
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:42 PM   #3
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Dear Adam,

Thanks for signing up and replying. Just saying my information is invalid, does not automatically make it that though. Please tell me what part was invalid?

Also, I didn't exactly steal anything as you made and kept all of it publicly available yourself (or one of your guys at least, in case it wasn't you personally). I was sent the links by others who apparently (and understandably) got them way easily. I have no idea why you have made and kept the folder publicly available (and even publicly writable) though, and I definitely don't see that as my responsibility either.

Also, freedom of speech gives me all the rights to post any review on your (fairly stupid) actions. Nothing against any of you personally, not at all, but obviously it all coming together did fail quite miserably.

I probably won't be at the launch due to timezone differences. Waking up at 5:00 a.m. for something that I believe should not exist (not just because of the huge amount and low demand of overly commercial magic companies but mainly because of the way it's put all-together) is quite a task.

Best of luck though. Hope you are somewhat thankful that I made you realize something important.

-Mark
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:17 AM   #4
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Mark,
What you did was hack onto our site. Our files are not public in anyway. So yes, hacking into a copyrighted business and stealing their property is illegal. It was not open for public use than and isn't now either. We have put years into this company and into these effects. I personally perform for REAL people 5 days a week. I perform every single one of these effects and for REAL people Mark and not just for a camera on youtube. They all get great reactions and are fantastic effects. Many people have put a lot of money,time,and effort into this site. For you to sit there on your computer and steal from us and than call us "poorly put together... and shouldn't to have ever existed" is as offensive as it is immoral. We are all magicians here. We should be supporting one another for creating effects that in the real world of performing WORK and get great reactions when performed correctly.

Mark, I and many others have worked hard on this. So please if you wanna give your respectful opinion of our effects after you have purchased them and actually performed them for people than fine. But, until than I appreciate you not stealing or saying just plain out mean things about people who have worked tirelessly for a long time to make this what it is, while you sit at home on your computer.

You are more than invited to attend and I hope to see you there. We as brothers in the art of magic should support one another and our art form. I wish you the very best Mark and best of luck in life. Hope you are somewhat thankful that I made you realize something important.

Flatlinemagic.com
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:02 AM   #5
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Adam,

What you see in the screenshot above is exactly what it looked like and you know that. How is that "not public"? Your files were available publicly, no password or anything needed, not even any hacking needed because your host is set-up in a way showing all folders and files inside of the root folder (please change the 777 and similar folder settings of the root and included folders). This mistake is on your side and there is absolutely no way to blame others for it. You can't blame people who don't have private access to your hosting account, for not having the folders secured. It's such an easy thing to do, but you didn't.

Of course it's offensive to you, and may look like hacking or anything immoral because you are somewhat hurt by it and probably can't face the truth that you provided those files for free yourself. It's absolutely not my or anyone else's fault or responsibility you guys don't know how to handle your files online and how to handle a web host. I think it's fairly obvious I'd rather had all go well, but it didn't.

This just shows everyone how little research you have done and that you lack the knowledge regarding such things. If you would have put enough time in it, regardless of how hard you worked on the tricks or how much money has gone into your project, you would and should not have made such a big mistake. And the lack of experience is not an issue as long as you would've learned something from it but it seems like you didn't.

This thread was only made because I care about the art and that I think this hurt it pretty badly. You could as well have admit the mistake, making it much easier to move on, but instead you are calling me a hacker (while I clearly said I was not the one getting those links, though I could, without hacking), a thief (while you provided the material for free all by yourself), immoral (actually, free online magic tutorials are immoral to me) and such ridiculous things. It's hard for me to have respect for that.

You still didn't tell me what information in the original post was invalid either, apart from your own invalid statement that the files were not publicly available while the screenshot clearly begs to differ.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:19 AM   #6
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Oh my...
Adam's replies make the company seems even more unprofessional.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:50 AM   #7
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I know right..

I (quite obviously) wasn't at the company announcement, but I managed to contact Mark Zellinger, who proved me to be a fairly good PR guy. He merely didn't approve of this issue being dealt with publicly (oh the irony). I cleared up our Alert threads function are much more than just showing any person's or company's issues, that they mainly are there to make everyone aware of what has gone, and can possibly go wrong. Mark admitted the original situation was a mistake, said that they were just learning, and thanked me for making them aware.

I just hope CEO Adam will take his PR guy as an example. It kind of annoys me that I had to take further action myself such as contacting Mark and posting this all by myself in here but I do appreciate Mark's mature and professional replies enough.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:40 PM   #8
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Good job on Mark Zellinger then. Thankfully they aren't all immature.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:53 PM   #9
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Adam,

For when you read this thread again, I would like to bring some other things to your attention. Just to help you out.

First off, your company has not been registered. This is required for any company, especially when they are active. Since your company has been officially released last night (although still unavailable through http://flatlinemagic.com at this moment in time but you guys seemed to have shared http://flatlinemagic.com/index.php anyways and are selling stuff on it), to have registered it is a definite must. Be sure to do that before getting into legal issues, will you? Good.

Secondly, I wish to have seen back your personal qualities in your performances and the video material. I supposed that in the edited material, it all seems more than fine, but I noticed that (in particular with 'Boxy') there is not a reasonably good live performance, also as shown by the reactions. Boy are there some major flashes to be seen, and not just from the camera's point of view. For someone who has been doing magic supposedly for quite some years, and in your case for someone who now is head of a magic production company as well, this is quite a shame.

Also, why is it that in the file folder, there happened to be a video from 'Wildlife' (also to be seen in the screenshot)? I hope you realize this is copyrighted content you don't own and have shared, even if the folder would have been protected. Whoops.

Whenever there are any other concerns, you know where you will be able to find them. I know you're still learning, as Mark said, but this is getting a bit too reckless.

-Mark
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:31 PM   #10
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Mark,
I called you. Please call me back. Thanks

Adam Rose
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:47 PM   #11
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Adam,

Where did you call me? I have not received any message or missed calls, not on Skype, not on my personal phone and not on my work phone.

-Mark

P.S.: I prefer Skype, for if you'd wonder.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:08 PM   #12
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My number is 4697667546. Feel free to call me anytime.

Adam Rose
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:23 PM   #13
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Adam, just add me to Skype. I'm not going to add Skype credit or pay $0.67/min to call a phone number in the States and I doubt you'd do the same. Thanks.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:37 PM   #14
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Mark,
Yes I would if it means defending my company. But skype will do. I'd love to speak with you. Skype name: magicofadam

Adam
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:26 AM   #15
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So not if you'd be in my position.
Added you right away, waiting for the contact approval.
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:22 AM   #16
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I'm staying away from debate about technical problems described above as I don't know the details, but I will say that having had a good look at the website from a purely selfish "magic consumer" point of view, I came away thinking it looks very amateurish, and when a site is shouting "I'm too lazy to make a good website"; and when the graphics are so bad that I can't even read the banner for Adam Rose's product, my unfortunate initial impression is that the overall organisation of the company may not be up to that of other offerings, and let's face it, there are many. I used to work for a mail-order business myself. If the website looks like it's been put together in a hurry it doesn't fill me with confidence about the quality of the service I will find therein. But I guess time will tell whether this new option proves to be worthy of joining the competition.

A quick thing I spotted that the webmaster may want to fix:

"your using your hard earned money"
should read
"you're using your hard earned money"

and from the FAQ page, the sentence "Who all is apart of Flatline?" makes no sense.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:49 AM   #17
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Last night, Adam and I have talked on Skype. Basically, the only thing he didn't agree with was that this thread was posted publicly without him being contacted privately first and the only reason why he replied in the above manner was all and only because he felt attacked, which is quite understandable. Of course, we would have preferred to see the replies dealing with the actual issues he had with the thread rather than attacking or threatening anyone, but he sincerely apologized for that so I suppose we can leave that behind.

I personally was under the assumption he was actually contacted though, as I personally told someone who said to talk to Adam a lot, to let him know about it and Adam signed up to the board about just as fast as he would have if he would've been contacted. Apparently he wasn't. My bad. Doesn't take away that I would have posted this thread nonetheless and I have explained why. He wisely figured we couldn't possibly change each other's minds about it.

Also, the past days I have taken quite some of my time to help Flatline Magic to fix the file and folder permissions as their tech guys didn't seem to be able to figure this out by themselves. I contacted Adam to meet on Skype as well because as much of an urge he seemed to have to get in contact with me, as invisible he was on Skype after I added him.

I told him there were some more issues with his company and that I thought it would be hard to deal with these privately. I put it to the test and figured that, indeed, privately it didn't work out well.

Respecting every magician
Adam has publicly shown to be a big promoter of equally respecting every magician out there, whether they are good or bad, or amateurs or professionals. Nothing wrong with that. However, on the Flatline Magic blog he put the following:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flatline Magic
What sets us apart is our team and our products. Don't learn magic from fly by night websites and "supposed" professionals - learn magic from the best in the business, and learn things correctly the first time.
Talking about respecting every magician out there. /sarcasm

When I asked Adam about this, I was told to have taken it out of context, which apparently is that many magic sellers out there are being dishonest about the effects they are selling. However, this is not mentioned in any way nor do I see how it could possibly be linked to the quote the way this was stated, so to be accused of taking it out of context I think is quite ridiculous. No one could possibly read it like that.

If the context would have been mentioned though, I would have agreed to the fullest because (as most if not all of you know) we are one of the biggest parties against dishonest and false advertising and are the first to expose such. From the Skype call I can tell Adam's thoughts on the art seem to be very similar to mine. I would've liked to see those thoughts being represented by his company as well though.

Communication
As a follow-up on the previous topic, I think the communication of the company and its people seems very rushed and careless. Fin already mentioned this, but also for instance their PR guy who I previously applauded, later on told me that by posting this thread, I was publicly exposing magic. Adam told me that he by no means supported this statement and did not accuse me of exposing magic by any means, for which I thank him.

I hope each of the guys realize their responsibilities though. Especially for someone who is responsible for marketing and public relations (and I say this with my Communication, Digital Media-specialization background), blatantly saying something like that is a no-go because it could have a terrible impact on the company as a whole.

Also, communicating is broadcasting yourself properly. For instance, I wonder if there is one person who could take their introduction video serious and who thinks it's appropriate for a professional magic seller, regardless of the extremely poor quality:


Quality rather than quantity
This is something I am always very glad to read, but when having a look at the raw video footage, I doubted they really cared about the quality. This doubt was caused by many poor performances and explanations to be seen in the footage. Even in case of performing for perfect spectators (read: giggly teenage girls) the reactions were far too poor for the shown effects, caused by obvious performing issues.

I asked Adam about this and he told me they recorded at least ten tricks that day. I couldn't disagree with this more, not only because that basically means they apparently didn't put enough time in practicing any of it, but also because this means that they didn't care about the quality at all and only cared about the quantity.

I was glad to have seen the live performances and reactions of Adam's 'Stomp', produced by Ellusionist, otherwise I would have thought he wouldn't be a good performer at all. It just hurts to see someone this potential, who has proven to be able to live up to quality performances and productions, not using any of this for his own company and independent productions.

Practical Magic
Unfortunately, along with the "quality rather than quantity"-statement, this is something else that many magic sellers are stating while the majority of them don't actually mean it. In Flatline Magic's case there is no difference. About half of the currently available effects don't seem to be constructed for live performing. They said they perform all of those effects live but their artist Cody was asked whether he performs the 'Digital Change' which he taught and which is sold on the website, and he answered this with a big no and even said it wasn't his cup of tea. Enough said.

Logo
Last but not least, the company logo. I must admit I thought their logo looked fairly good on first sight (probably because it was the only professional looking feature to be seen on their site). I figured it was designed by Collin Stover, the guy of Bedeceived, another young magic and playing card seller. However, there is a major issue with it, which I didn't notice till I showed it to a designer friend of mine. He gave me the response that kind of summed up and completed all of the company's unthoughtfulness for me, regardless of this just being extremely unfortunate: "It may be cause I'm green-blind but I read FATLIE, only later noticed the L and N there".

Guys of Flatline Magic,
I'd like to suggest to make the logo all-white and to sort out all the things mentioned in this post as well as in Fin's post. Just changing some public statements would already do a bunch, but it'd also help if you would use your connections to make the teaching better and to make some better looking product descriptions and cover designs. Using just MS Paint for the latter things requires a lot of skills and great knowledge or taste.

I apologize if it seems like I'm attacking you but I hope you understand it is just an honest review and that it's for a much higher goal. I appreciate you taking your time to clear up some things over Skype and I'm glad to see we think about the art in a similar way. At least that's a beginning. Now it's time for the next steps, to get rid of the 'some kids starting a magic company just because they think they can'-appearance and to start living up to your ages 18 till 37 and the related wisdom. Do what's right.

Best of luck!
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