Draven Reviews: Time Is Money

approvedTitle: Time Is Money
Artist: Seol-Ha Park
Producers: Sionix
Link:
Retail Price: $45.00
Learning Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Notes: Some gimmick assembly is required.

 

 

 
Features:
•    Play All
•    Credits
•    Trailers
•    About

Includes:
•    DVD
•    Things to construct gimmicks out of.

Time is Money show cases three exceptional, highly visual bill changes from international champion of magic Seol-Ha Park.

I love money magic because it’s something everyone can relate to.  We all use money, we all have money (usually), and we all aspire to have more of it.  So there’s a familiarity to it that is built right in.  Not to mention it’s an attention getter when you bring it out.  I’m sure you’ve seen the reactions for yourself if you’ve done a little money magic before.  It’s like the audiences are saying: “Dude just pulled out a Benjamin, what’s he going to do with it?  Lets watch!”

So when it comes to money magic one of the classic plots deals with a bill change, and let me tell you one thing:  Time Is Money has some of the most visual, the most magical bill changes I’ve ever seen!  I imagine that if you really had supernatural powers to alter bank notes it would probably look a lot like what Seol-Ha does in Time Is Money.

Time Is Money teaches three different bill changes:  Time To Change, Bounty, and Take Back.  There is also a fourth section on the DVD for a full routine showing you a standing version of Seol-Ha performing Time To Change and Bounty together as a single piece of magic.

Instructionally the DVD is only available in subtitles.  Spoken English is not an option, and that may bother some people.  Personally it doesn’t bother me since most of the Anime I watch is all subtitled but that’s just my thing.  Don’t let the subtitles dissuade you from purchasing this DVD though!  You don’t want to miss out on the fricking amazing magic it teaches.  This, as I’ve said, is powerful stuff.  The DVD gives you the option to learn the material in any order you wish, so for the sake of this review I’m going to just go in the order that I listed above.

Time Is Money:  You produce a bank note from your wallet.  Fold it, check your watch and realize that you need to make this a bit snappier, you then push the bank note down against your wrist and in the next second you open your hand to reveal it’s changed into a different bill!  Think like you show a dollar bill and produce a hundred dollar bill.  Since American money is kind of bland when it comes to how visual our currency is I would imagine this would look better using different types of bills from different parts of the world.  The more colorful the money the more visual the change is.  At the end you can also immediately hand out the bill for examination.

Bounty: This is one of the most visual, and easy to perform torn and restored bill I’ve ever seen.  Some gimmick assembly will be required but it’s not that hard to put together.  It took me only a few minutes and I fool myself every time I do it in the mirror.

Take Back: This is a transposition routine that is based off what you learn in the Time To Change effect, and it happens in the spectators hands.

The handling of the bills for each of these effects isn’t difficult but its obvious there is a significant amount of finesse that Seol-Ha possesses that will take time to master.  Compared to his movements my hands just look very clumsy when I practice the material on the DVD.  Practicality wise though Time Is Money is a close up workers dream.  Put the bills in your wallet, carry them with you, and you’re good to go whenever you need a powerful bit of visual magic.  The effects covered in this DVD is really more optimized for the close up performer, or perhaps the street style magician given just how visual Time To Change, and Bounty is you could easily perform it as a small stage piece.  IE: as seen in the Routine portion of the DVD.  This will make Time Is Money an attractive option to just about any magician.  Overall I really liked this DVD and I think the material covered in it is pretty strong.  If you like doing bill magic, then you’re going to love to add Time Is Money to your library.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality:
The material on the DVD is phenomenal.  The price is a bit on the expensive side, but not so much that you feel ripped off.  Given the material covered I’d say it’s fair.

Teaching Quality:
The teaching is solid and informative.  The only down side is you have to read subtitles so expect there to be a lot of pausing and playing while you’re working out the mechanics.

Video & Sound Quality:
This DVD has a solid crisp sound and clear visual quality.

Overall Quality:
I loved it.  This is money magic material that I’m going to use, and I highly recommend it to anyone who does close up or strolling magic.

Have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!

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Draven Reviews: Effortless by Ryan Schlutz

approvedTitle: Effortless Effects

Artist: Ryan Schlutz

Producers: Big Blind Media

Link: Check this out on Big Blind Media’s website or any other of your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailers.

Retail Price: $30.00

 

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Notes: You will need a standard number 2 pencil for most of the tricks on this DVD.

 

Features:

  • Play All
  • Chapters
  • Extra

 

Effortless Effects is a collection of card magic tricks from magician Ryan Schultz. These tricks pack a punch but are also pretty simple to learn to perform making Effortless Magic a DVD ideal for the new comer to magic or the seasoned professional.

 

On this DVD Ryan teaches seven different card tricks that are pretty easy to perform. The tricks you’ll learn to do are Clearly See Thru, No Hassle Hof, Split Decision, Wrongly Convicted, Forget to Remember, Fish Sandwich, Needs a Name. All these tricks are simple, and a few of them come with alternative handlings that are more advance the one thing I need to note is that most of them involve pencil dots and key cards. Yes! We’re going back to card magic 101 with this DVD folks! This is why I always say never forget the basics, because Ryan will quickly show you how one of the first things we learn in card magic can still be used to create powerful effects that will floor your spectators.

 

Clearly See Thru: A spectator selects a card from the deck, remembers it, and returns it. The card then vanishes from the deck only to reappear as the only card reversed when the cards are spread.

 

No Hassle Hoff: Four aces are removed and set aside. They will help later. A spectator selects several cards to make a packet at random, and from the packet of cards they have they choose one card. The packet is returned to the deck, and the four aces are placed into the spectators hands. The spectator thinks of the color and suit of their selected card. One of the four aces matching the color and suit turns face down. The spectator thinks of the value of their card and when they turn over the face down ace it has transformed into their card selection!

 

Split Decision: A spectator’s card is selected and returned to the deck. The deck is shuffled, and cut. Then through a sequence similar to a lie detector style presentation you narrow down the cards in the deck by “reading the body language of your spectator” to find the spectator’s card is revealed.

 

Wrongly Convicted: A spectator selects a card and returns it to the deck. The magician shuffles and randomly pulls out several cards enough to form a small packet. The packet is given to the spectator; they cut the packet, and put a card sight unseen against their chest. When they name their selected card it’s revealed the card they are holding is their card.

 

Forget To Remember: A convoluted multiple out presentation where the spectators thought of card is magically produced after its found missing from the deck.

 

Fish Sandwich: This is another pseudo psychological body reading effect in which a spectator selects a card and you fish around with different questions seemingly reading their body language before you begin the real trick. They shuffle a deck of cards with two face up kings inserted into the deck. After the deck is shuffled the cards between the kings are removed. Now the plot uncomfortably switches gears from a pseudo psychological body reading into strait up mentalism mind reading. You seem to know what cards the spectator has in her hand, and you narrow them down having them discard cards until the spectator holds only one card. The card you name.

 

Needs a Name: This is the classic pulse trick where a spectator takes a card, remembers it, returns it to the deck, and the magician holds their hand and uses their pulse, or muscles to “read” what the card is before placing the spectators finger down on their selected card. The only difference is that instead of using a force this uses a pencil dot as a key card.

 

Bonus: The GAP Principle. Ryan’s Grab Any Pile or GAP principle is an interesting concept that he utilizes in most of his tricks on this DVD. Using the GAP principle allows you to give the spectator a seemingly random selection of one of multiple cards while still controlling, to a degree, their selection. It’s a fun idea to play around with.

 

I feel that while a lot of the card tricks in this DVD do pack a punch, since they almost always involve giving the spectator a range of choices which makes the ultimate selection feel very randomized the plot lines for presenting these effects are just convoluted and half assed. At the end of the day there are some tricks on this DVD I’d use as is, and others that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole unless I re-wrote the presentation to make more sense. Ryan is very thorough in his teaching methods and several of the tricks above have multiple sections on the DVD where they are broken down move for move, and reviewed again so you really understand what’s going on.

 

Overall I feel there’s some gems in this DVD, so it’s certainly worth picking up. A lot of Ryan’s work really focuses on the concept of a random and free selection by the spectator which only makes the end result more powerful in their minds. I’m not sure I would perform every trick on this DVD though. After a while the tricks start to feel like you’re doing card tricks for the sake of doing a card trick and less for actually doing magic. There’s a stark difference between a puzzle and a magical experience, and some of these effects feel more puzzle-ish to me. But that’s not saying that there isn’t some good material here. Like I said there are gems. So at the end of the day would I recommend this DVD to you? At the asking price of only thirty bucks you really can’t go wrong especially if you are newer to magic. You’re going to see some old principles reworked in new ways on this DVD and it’ll give you some excellent material to start off with.

 

 

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

 

Product Quality: 6

Some of the tricks are pretty bland from a presentation aspect but there is a lot of good usable material on this DVD.  It’s nice to see such classic techniques reworked into some pretty good tricks. The price is affordable too.

 

Teaching Quality: 8

Ryan is fun to learn from and man do you really get a lot of information during the tutorial portion of the DVD.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 8

Sound and video are clear and crisp.

 

Overall Quality: 8

Not a bad DVD, and especially for someone who is new to card magic. There’s some good stuff in here.

 

 

Have a product you want reviewed? Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval? Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!

 

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Draven Reviews: The Floating Ball

approvedTitle: The Floating Ball

Artist: Luis De Matos

Producers: Essential Magic Collection

Link: You can buy Floating Ball from any of your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailers.

Retail Price: $40.00

Learning Difficulty: Medium to Hard

 

 

Length of DVD: 1 hour 5 minutes

Notes: This is a theater piece. You will need a performance area with off stage wings in order to perform this piece properly. Not suitable for every magician.

 

Features:

  • Play All
  • Chapters
  • Extras

 

Includes:

  • DVD
  • Gimmick
  • 20 m of PFB thread

 

 

The effect is beautiful. The magician standing on stage opens a box and takes a mirrored ball from it. He holds the mirrored ball out and with a silent command causes it to suspend in mid air. What happens next can only be explained as awe inspiring as the ball floats, follows, hovers, and flies through the air at the magicians command. This is Luis De Matos’s Floating Ball.

 

There really aren’t a lot of stage magic tutorials out there that is as elegant or as well produced as this DVD. What Luis teaches you is something more than just a stage trick. It’s a full magical routine that can be done to music and is highly commercial suitable enough for cruise ships, or television performances, and learning each step of his nine phase routine is about as painless as it could be thanks to his expert teaching style.

 

The Floating Ball isn’t a new effect, having been around since David Abbott created the effect. Almost all versions on the market today, including this one, owe a debt to Abbot’s original effect. The major advantage to Luis’s floating ball is that it can be performed on stage without the aid of hidden assistants and is under complete control of the performer at all times. To perform this effect you’re going to need to get a few things. Firstly you’ll need a floating ball! You can either buy one strait from Luis at Estudio 33’s website… for $1,500 dollars or you can try to create one yourself. Luis talks about weight, size, and construction a little in the DVD. I think Abbott’s ball was made from paper mache.   After you get your ball you’ll need to get a few specific anchor points from a hard ware store, and Luis will tell you specifically what you are looking for, and then all that’s left is a special box to hold the ball in that’s been gaffed to allow the thread to enter and exit it.   I don’t feel that I’m giving anything away by saying threads because the DVD is advertised as containing 20 m of PFB thread.

 

This DVD is seriously packed full of a lot of information regarding the Floating Ball, and how Luis’s works. The problem I have with the DVD isn’t that it’s not good. My problem is the selling price is way too low for the material covered. $40 bucks is CHEAP for a full professional, commercial stage act. Granted if you don’t opt to make your own ball you’ll spend closer to two grand buying the DVD and his custom made ball but I digress. I think more people are probably going to buy this DVD just to learn how this trick works than those with serious intent on mastering it. That’s why I think the retail price should be at the least double what it is. But that’s just me. This isn’t going to be a piece that everyone can perform. You NEED to have a theater with off stage wings to anchor your thread points to. You will also want to consider the type of background you’re performing in front of and may want to opt to purchase your own backdrop setup which can also get expensive. This piece of magic really is an investment, not a spur of the moment purchase.

 

However if you do purchase the DVD and you do learn to master the Floating Ball routine you’re going to have one of the most beautiful pieces of magic you’ll ever perform. It’s a reputation maker! Failing that for the serious student in magic it’s a good piece to have in your library for reference purposes. Either way you go, given the sale price of this DVD, you have no excuse to not own a copy.

 

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

 

Product Quality: 10

The DVD has way to much good material on it for just $40 bucks. The price should be more expensive than that.

 

Teaching Quality: 9

I love Luis’s teaching style! He’s entertaining and educational. The DVD never gets dry or boring to watch.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Sound and video are both solid good quality.

 

Overall Quality: 9

The Floating Ball is a must have for the professional stage performer and serious student of magic alike. The DVD has enough material in it that you will certainly walk away with something of value. Be that a new stage act or a powerful reference source to one of the most beautiful pieces of magic out there. You owe it to yourself to own a copy.

 

Have a product you want reviewed? Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval? Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!

 

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Draven Reviews: Trickopolis by Tony Chris

not approvedTitle: Trickopolis
Artist: Tony Chris
Producers: Tony Chris
Link: This can be purchased through any of your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailers.
Retail Price: $29.95
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD: 1 hour 48 minutes
Notes:  Some construction of gaffs will be required.

 

 
Features:
•    Play All
•    Chapters

Trickopolis is a collection of ten different commercial “quirky” card tricks requiring little sleight of hand and maximizing on leaving the spectator with a lasting impression.

Tony Chris is one of my favorite producers of magical effects.  His DVD on Bizarre magic was my first introduction into that genre of performance and went a long way in molding my stage character so when he came out with Trickopolis I was all ears.  The DVD has ten different card tricks on it, and each one has its own unique “quirk” to it.  The ad copy claims that these are “quirky tricks for real people in the real world.”  Maybe this is just me being a pedantic prat nit picking this apart but the first thing that ran through my mind is “Aren’t all magic tricks suppose to be done for real people in the real world?” and then my mind immediately goes to pieces of crap magic like Alpha Cards or Flat Line and I retract my snarky statement.  Some of the tricks on the DVD are quite neat and there are a couple that weren’t all that great.  The DVD is over an hour and half of material linked together by the running gag that the young spectator helping him isn’t allowed to leave until the video project is done.  I thought this was a cute gag, and as the video progresses we see the young spectator get tied up, and eventually strait jacketed in order to keep him there to see more card tricks.  Undoubtedly this is humor that would be wasted on anyone who isn’t a magician.

In the DVD Tony teaches ten different effects.  They are titled: Foretell, Cardicus Impossibillicus, A Little Miracle, All Torn Up, Enter The Dragon, Catch Me If You Can, Secret Mark, Scratched, Open & Shut, and Those About To Rock.  Some of the effects will require you to make a gaff of some kind and thankfully most of them are pretty simple to make.  You’re going to need all the usual stuff like scissors or a hobby knife, glue, tape, etc. Tony teaches you how to make the gaffs needed so there’s no guess work on that.  Let’s go ahead and discuss some of the effects taught on this DVD.

Foretell:  Foretell is a re-packaging of an effect he used to sell through his website of the same name. (maybe he still does?)  The original effect was marketed as a “Goth prediction effect” although admittedly the only thing really Goth about it was the custom printed cards it came with. The effect is actually a pretty cool one.  You put a card out that serves as a prediction of sorts, and then you give the spectator the option to choose one of four cards of a different back color than the prediction.  No matter what they choose their card matches the prediction, and all others are revealed to be jokers.  True to the quirky nature of the DVD the handling on this effect can be interesting but once you get it down it’s a pretty neat packet trick.

A Little Miracle: Another prediction effect where the card selected ultimately matches the prediction in play.  The difference is that you seem to make a mistake and get the wrong card, to make up for that mistake you seemingly pull a tiny card that matches the spectators selected card out of the wrong prediction card.  It’s visual but you can’t let the spectator handle the prediction card.

All Torn Up: Tony presents his take on the classic torn and restored card plot.  The card is torn into four pieces, placed on top of the deck, cut into the middle, and magically its ripped edges are healed back up to a single card once again.  There are a lot of TNR effects on the market that are far superior to this one in visual impact.  Honestly having the cards magically restored by the deck just screams gimmick to me, and I’m sure the laymen will think the same thing too.

Enter The Dragon: A karate themed title for a karate themed card trick.  The spectator selects a card, it’s lost in the deck, and then with a simple karate chop the spectators selected card is broken in two!  Yeah the presentation is about as unmotivated as the magic.  The reveal is the spectator’s card that has been cut in half all jagged like as if it were shattered.  The plot on this one is about as thin as the paper the cards are printed on.

Secret Mark: The spectator selects a card from a deck, and then puts it back.  The magician explains that the deck is a marked deck, and fans the cards to reveal that there is a picture of actor Mark Wahlberg in the deck.  When the picture is turned over it matches the spectator’s card.

Scratched: The magician rather uncomfortably invades the personal space of the spectator to sniff and smell them in order to determine if the card trick is even going to work or not.  After affirming that the trick should work a card is selected and returned to the deck to be cut to the middle.  The magician then sniffs the deck in order to “pick up on the spectators sent” and reveals correctly the selected card.

Those About To Rock:  A spectator selects a card returns it to the deck.  The magician tries to find the card but can’t.  The magician remarks “where could your card be?  Is it hiding under a rock?”  Then the magician spreads the cards out until they come to a card with the picture of a rock on it.  The next card below it is the spectator’s selected card.  The spectator’s card was hiding under a rock the entire time!  If the spectator doesn’t kill you for the lame card trick then they surely will for the horrible joke.

The card tricks in this DVD are painfully basic which may be a good thing for a hobbyist or maybe a newcomer to the art of magic but most of these plots are just not usable to the working professional.  The plots often revolve around the concept of the magician not being “good” at his job, which is a concept in magic that I personally don’t agree with.  You are the magician you had better be good at your job!  But I digress.  The humor in the effects often comes as a pun based off what the performer says during the routine.  The puns aren’t even funny most of the time and generally are very literal in their reveal.  Case in point the effect titled “Those about to rock”, or “Secret Mark”.  While most of these tricks look like something someone would come up with after just reading a basic primer into card magic I do find promise in the first trick taught titled “Foretell”.  However one trick does not justify an entire DVD worth of crap material.  Just buy Foretell by itself strait from Tony’s website and while the instructions are in written format, you can still figure out the handling just as easy as if you watched this DVD.

Overall I was disappointed with this DVD.  It looks like Tony went through his notebooks and just published a lot of his earlier material for the sake of pumping out a product.  Skip this one folks.  It’s just not worth it.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 3
You are paying way too much money for beginner level tricks that most people won’t use.  The advertisement says “Quirky tricks for real people in the real world.”  And I just don’t see how anyone would realistically use these tricks.

Teaching Quality: 4
Tony knows how to teach magic, and you’ll learn how to do these tricks without ease.  However his lack luster presentation, and paper thin plot lines will leave you groaning about as loudly as the jokes will.

Video & Sound Quality: 8
The sound and video are the only things consistently good with this product.

Overall Quality: 3
I love Tony.  I love his work and it really hurts me to fail a product of his, but a steaming pile of dog crap is a steaming pile of dog crap.  I have to call it like I see it.  Skip this one folks, it’s not worth it.  Even if you are a beginner in magic you’ll learn more from Royal Road, Mark Wilson’s Course, or Tarbell than what you can use in this DVD.

Have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!

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Draven Reviews: Infamous Deluxe Edition

approved

Title: Infamous (Deluxe Edition)

Artist: Daniel Meadows & James Anthony

Producers: Magic World UK

Link: You can buy this product from any of your favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealers

 

 

 

Retail Price: $79.95 ($29.95 for the normal one)

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD: 50 minutes

Notes: Some construction of the gimmick will be required. You will need to use an hobby knife. Kids have your parents help so you don’t cut yourself.

 

Features:

  • Play All
  • Performance
  • Explanation
  • Bonus

 

Includes:

  • DVD
  • Book
  • 2 Isolation Cards
  • Deck of Stroop Test Color Text Words
  • Extra Pages with more Gimmick Word Isolation Options

 

Plant a word into your spectators mind, and then show them exactly how you did it. Infamous is a book test like no other! It is more than a book test, it’s a close up experience in mind control!

 

So I’ve been fascinated with book tests for a long time. It’s one of those tricks that packs small, but can play for a large audience. Before I picked up Infamous I had been a large fan of the Luna series by Outlaw Magic, and while the Luna series is bloody devastating its creep value isn’t always appropriate for every setting. That’s where I saw potential for Infamous. Infamous is more than just a book test though. It’s set up like a psychological experiment in mind control, with a faux explanation at the end which you get to share with your spectator revealing the “method” on how you did it. I’ve always liked effects that offer the spectator a pseudo explanation as to how it works because it gives them something to take away from the presentation, and it doesn’t insult their intelligence.

 

The premise for your performance of Infamous will work around a Stroop test. A Stroop test is an actual psychological test created by John Ridley Stroop and published back in 1935. A Stroop test for those unfamiliar with the concept is a test in task interference. Names of colors are printed on flash cards in ink that is of a different color than the text on the card. For example the word may read RED but it would be printed in blue ink. The subject would then have to look at the card and correctly name the color they see, not the word. All in all this is pretty interesting stuff. I digress. In your performance you’re going to perform a Stroop test with your spectator, and then you’re going to have them stop on any page in any book, look at a random word, remember it, and not only will you show them a prediction of a word you wrote down before you started the Stroop test, but you’ll show them that the first letter of each of the colors printed on the flash cards spell out the word they thought of. The reset is instant, and you can perform the same trick for two different people with two different results. Pretty slick stuff.

 

You could actually use the mechanics behind Infamous to reveal more than just a forced word. You could also use it to reveal playing cards, Zener (ESP) symbols, simple drawings, etc. Anything that you can spell out with the Stroop cards, you can reveal at the end of your performance. So this makes Infamous flexible in how you use it. It could be something you can do in a parlor setting, use the book, and make it a full act, or just put the Stroop cards in your jacket pocket alongside a deck of cards and perform Infamous as a strolling effect.

 

So in the standard version of Infamous you get the DVD, the Stroop cards, and a pair of the Isolation cards that you use to force the word you need in a book. The Stroop cards are nice and come in a small non-descript tuck box about the size and thickness of a card box that you’d find manipulation cards in. The two Isolation cards that you need to force the word is found inside the tuck box with the rest of your Stroop cards. Both the Stroop cards and the Isolation cards are the same size as a standard Bicycle card and about the same thickness. While I don’t have any problem with the Stroop cards thickness or durability I really wish they didn’t make the Isolation cards out of the same card stock. The Isolation card is going to be the one thing that is going to have the most wear and tear from use and I just feel it would have benefitted from being made from a sturdier material. The Isolation card does not come set up for you. You will need to prep it by cutting the two holes in it so words in the book will show through. Kids have your parents help since you’ll need to use a hobby blade for this. You get twenty four Stroop cards in the deck. They are gimmicked so you know what the word is from the back of the card.

 

The deluxe version of Infamous comes with a book too. The book is gimmicked as well. The book is a Flash Back book. If you are not familiar with Larry Beck’s Flash Back principle the book allows you to have the spectator look at the first word on any page and using a built in peek you’ll know what the word is. The spectator can, if they wish, handle or read the book they won’t find the gimmick. Infamous can be done with any book mind you, but the inclusion of a Flash Back book with this routine just makes for more possibilities for fun you can have with your spectators mind. The book I got is, and they all are, a soft back book. This makes it easier to handle with one hand. Construction wise it’s been well produced. It looks, feels, and functions like a standard paperback book. Apparently there are three different versions of this Flash Back book. While the contents of the book are the same the covers are different so you can offer your spectator a choice between different “editions” and still do the same things with it. I did not get additional books with my set, but I’m sure they can be purchased directly from Magic World UK’s website. If you use your own book, and you want to make sure the font, type, page color, etc all match up with your gimmick Isolation card then you’ll need to get two copies of the book, since you’ll be destroying one to make the Isolation card.

 

Since book tests have always been something of a stage or parlor routine it was nice to see something that could be done as a close up piece. Since the Isolation cards that come with Infamous has two slots in them that means I can have up to two different force words set up and the only thing I’d need to do is change the Stroop cards to match up with the force. This probably is the weakest part of this effect. If you are going to repeat the effect for the same group using your second force word you are will have to set up your Stroop deck in front of your spectator. You could always get around this by having a second deck ready to go in your pocket and switch out for it, but since the provided Stroop deck only has one card per each letter in the alphabet (minus X, and Z) you’d have to purchase more decks to do that. Personally I would have liked them to include multiple cards with commonly used letters like R, S, T, L, N, E in the box but new products always have a few flaws. Maybe this will be something they’ll do for future releases? Who knows?

 

Overall I did love this effect. I find it quite practical for close up presentations but it is an effect that requires a lot of table space to perform in. Table hoppers and street style performers may find this a bit cumbersome unless they have ready access to a large flat surface. I love the pseudo psychological approach it takes to mentalism and I love that it’s versatile enough to be used in a close up environment, or on the stage with some minor alterations to presentation and handling. Infamous is a great effect because it’s less about the magician fooling the audience and more about exploring the intricate subtleties of how the mind operates. Not a lot of effects work off that premise which makes Infamous a refreshing take on a standard routine.

 

 

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

 

Product Quality: 6

The Deluxe version is a bit pricy at $70+ but well worth it. The addition of the Flash Back book makes it a nice bundle. I would have liked the Isolation cards to be made of a sturdier material, and the Stroop cards would have benefitted from having multiples of more popular letters.

 

Teaching Quality: 8

The DVD is easy to follow along with and I feel is taught well. There is even some bonus material for different handlings and such.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Sound and video both were clear and crisp for me.

 

Overall Quality: 7

I loved Infamous. If you are looking for a unique book test that is more plausible science and less supernatural powers then this is the effect for you!

 

 

Have a product you want reviewed? Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval? Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!

 

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Draven Reviews: Domino Effect by Alex Pandrea

approvedTitle: Domino Effect
Artist: Alex Pandrea
Producers: Blue Crown
Link: You can buy this at your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailer
Retail Price:
Learning Difficulty:
Length of DVD: 33 minutes
Notes: You will need to build a new gaff after a while.  You will wear the gaff that comes with the product out with repeated performances.

 

 

Features:
•    Play All
•    Performance
•    Explanations

Domino Effect takes a classic coin transposition effect that we as magicians all know and love and makes the same plot possible using common everyday objects.

The gimmick itself is made from Sweet N Low and Splenda packets.  Constructing additional gimmicks isn’t hard, and Alex shows you how to do that on the DVD.  As for the performance of this trick it’s a classic plot.  Put both the gimmick and the normal sweetener into the spectators hand, remove the gimmick, change it into the other and by magic the sweeteners have changed places.  The DVD will spend close to twenty minutes teaching you how to do this, so if you’re not comfortable performing Domino Effect out of the case, take a moment to review the video a couple times and you’ll be good to go.

I love this trick!  This is great for walk around, table hopping, and close up magic.  It’s visual, and it packs small, but punches hard.  I would absolutely recommend this to my friends to buy.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 8
The price is reasonable.  You’ll spend more on similar products, and this uses everyday objects that will be familiar to your spectators.

Teaching Quality: 8
Simple trick, easy to follow tutorial, and the construction of additional gimmicks is well taught.

Video & Sound Quality: 8
No problems with video or sound.

Overall Quality: 8
This is a solid score for Alex Pandrea and Domino Effect.  This will be an instant favorite of many close up and street magicians.

Have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!

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Draven Reviews: Hospitality by

approved Title: Hospitality
Artist: Max Francis
Producers: Magic Tao
Link: You can buy this at any of your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailers.
Retail Price: $24.95
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD:  30 Minutes
Notes: You’ll need to buy certain things to resupply your ability to perform this after a while.
 

Features:

  • Play All
  • Trailer
  • Hospitality Performance
  • Hospitality Intro
  • Hospitality Setup
  • Hospitality Explanation
  • Cocktail Performance
  • Cocktail Setup
  • Cocktail Explanation
  • XXXX* to Use

*Edited to avoid exposing the gaff.

Hospitality is an interesting close up or stage effect where you pour the contents of a soda can completely out until the can is empty and then produce another different beverage.

I think the idea behind Hospitality, originally called Libation, is a good one.  It’s theatrical, which is a lot different than most look – see – do magic we see on the market these days.  This peace is a brilliant silent bit that reads perfectly well on stage and doesn’t need dialog at all to support or sell it.  Theater aside it is still a nice little worker for the close up performer.

The DVD isn’t very long at all, and once you understand what each of the bits that come with the DVD is used for you’ll be pretty much off and running on your own.  This is that kind of effect that is pretty self explanatory without needing much in the way of video tutorial.  The only down side to this effect is that if you plan to do it often you’re going to need to buy a lot of the things that make the effect possible.  I’ll just refer to those things as the “gimmick” from here out, even though a gimmick it really isn’t.

You can use the same gimmick to do a larger load inside a cocktail shaker too.  It’s the same idea but the handling they suggest in the DVD is just stupid.  Honestly instead of going through the asinine process they suggest go get yourself a PK ring and use that instead.  Failing that just finger palm the damn XXX*
*Edited to prevent revealing the method.

I like the cocktail performance idea but not nearly as much as I did Hospitality.  I get the strong impression that Cocktail was a half baked idea that came from a brainstorming session as a way to add onto the project

The gimmick and method for deploying it are sturdy and should do fine for what it is you’ll be doing with them.  You’ll need to replace the gimmick with a new one after each show though.  This is not an effect you’ll want to do walk around style, or even table hopping.  This is a parlor or stage trick as it is sold.   It’s not a bad one either.  It’s visual and I imagine when presented well it’ll be a nice piece.  I’m glad I picked it up.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 8
Not bad for the price.  Nice stage piece.  Reliable gimmick.

Teaching Quality: 8
The tutorial on the DVD is pretty easy to follow.

Video & Sound Quality: 9
Clear sound, and video.

Overall Quality: 8
This isn’t the walk around piece that I thought it would be.  It’s very clearly a stage piece.  Knowing that now I’ve had to rework how I had planned to use it.  Otherwise for what it is it’s a pretty cleaver trick.

Have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!

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