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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Draven Reviews: The Undercover Wallet

approvedTitle: Undercover Wallet

Artist: Andy Nicholls

Producers: Titanas

Link: This can be purchased at any of your favorite Murphy’s Magic Retailers.

Retail Price: $85

Learning Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

 

 

Length of DVD: 16 Minutes

Notes:

 

Features:

  • Play All
  • The Wallet
  • Loads
  • Steal
  • Peeks
  • Mystery Card
  • Extras

 

An everyday unassuming genuine leather wallet that allows you to do two versions of no palm card to wallet, with built in mentalism peeks.

 

My everyday wallet that I carry around with me is a fire wallet. I love having a magic trick on me at all times to serve for those occasions where someone says to me: “You’re a magician right? Do a magic trick.” The undercover wallet has replaced my fire wallet as my everyday wallet with a secret magicians twist! The wallet is made from beautiful real leather, and has lots of front slots to hold credit cards, drivers licenses, and the like. The wallet has two compartments for holding paper money, the back one has a zipper on it that you can produce a card to wallet from. There is also a mini insert wallet that has six slots to hold business cards too. This is a Mullica wallet. For those of you who don’t know what a Mullica wallet is think no palm card to wallet inside a wallet.

 

The Undercover Wallet has two immediate uses. It can produce a card to wallet via the zippered compartment or card to inner wallet again with no palming required. The loads on the no palm methods are smooth and easy. The wallet is large enough to give you plenty of cover so you won’t flash anything, and yet it’s not too big that it wouldn’t look out of place in your pocket. Using the same method you use to load a card into the inner wallet you can simply change the handling on that a bit, use a business card instead, and you’ll get a perfect peek at something the spectator wrote or drew. This makes this wallet quite versatile in what you can use it for. It’s not just a one trick pony.

 

There isn’t much on the DVD. It’s pretty strait forward. This is the wallet; this is what you can do with it. One of the suggested effects that I liked was the Mystery Card. A mystery card is selected sight unseen from a deck of cards, and placed in the wallet. A spectator selects a card, signs it, and returns it to the deck. Their signed card vanishes from the deck, and of course turns out to be the secret mystery card that has been inside your wallet the entire time!

 

I’m a fan of practical magic tricks. I’m also a fan of utility devices, and the Undercover Wallet is both! Mentalism, card to wallet, mystery card, this thing can do a lot. I haven’t owned my Mystery Wallet for much more than a week now and I’m already in love with it! This is my new card to wallet. It’s size, and versatility has earned it a permanent place on my person at all times. I simply don’t leave home without 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: 8

Not a bad price for a real leather wallet that can do the things this one does. There are a lot of wallet options on the market, and this one is one of my favorites.

 

Teaching Quality: 8

Easy to learn, simple to follow along with.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Clear video and sound.

 

Overall Quality: 9

I loved it. I replaced my everyday wallet with this one, and now I carry the Undercover Wallet with me anywhere I go.

 

 

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: Ocular by Alexis De La Fuente

approvedTitle: Ocular
Artist:  Alexis De La Fuente
Producers: Alakazam Magic UK
Link: Can be purchased at any of your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailers.
Retail Price: $37.05
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD:  30 minutes
Notes: None

 

 
Features:
•    Titles
•    Introduction
•    Live Performance
•    A Closer Look
•    Basic Handling
•    Double Trouble
•    Additional Ideas
•    Goodbye

Ocular is a visual production of a playing card inside an envelope.

When I saw Ocular demo’d online I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The dude just flicked the envelope, an empty envelope, and BAM!  There it was, the selected playing card.  It was a visual punch to the gut I tell you.  I was sold immediately.

When my Ocular arrived in the mail there wasn’t much to it.  It was just a cardboard square just large enough to hold a DVD.  Inside the cardboard square were the instructional DVD and the gimmick.  Gimmick wise there’s not much to it either.  It comes in either a red bike back or blue, I opted for the red one.  It’s simple to operate, and surprisingly well built.  Provided you take care of it the gimmick should last you a long time.  The envelope on the other hand, depending on how much you use it, will wear out before the gimmick will.  The good news is that the envelope is just a pay envelope so finding another, and cutting the hole out of it should be easy.  Or if you prefer go to Alakazam’s website and you can buy more envelopes specifically for Ocular from them.   As for the Ocular gimmick itself it would be possible to construct another at home if you really wanted to, but there is some precession work that went into its construction so I wouldn’t recommend it.

Ocular is easy enough to figure out on your own after having watched the online demo and spending five minutes with the props but just in case you get lost the nearly 30 minute DVD is there to give you a helping hand.  The DVD will teach you the handling for their suggested performance routine called “Double Trouble” in which a spectators selected card first appears as a prediction inside the pay envelope, and then as an added kick their signed card is made to visually appear before their eyes by use of the Ocular gimmick.  It’s a quick bit of magic that’s pretty damn cool.  You also get a couple of other handling ideas too for producing the card from the Ocular gimmick, which honestly I prefer the alternative handling better myself.  In the alternative handling you just open the empty envelope and dump a card out of it that visually appears in a snap before their eyes.  If magic were real, this is what a card production would look like.

Ocular is a very nice effect to have as a walk around performer.  This thing will just sit in your pocket waiting for you to devastate someone’s mind.  Clean up is quick, and resetting just takes a few seconds, but you’ll have to do that out of sight.  Overall I’m in love with it.  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: 9
The price isn’t bad, and the gimmick is of sturdy construction.

Teaching Quality: 9
I liked the tutorial on the DVD.  Some of the additional handlings are brilliant.

Video & Sound Quality: 9
No sound or video problems on my disk.

Overall Quality: 9
Why don’t you own this already?  Go get one!

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: Wallet Weapon by Lloyd Barnes

approved Title: Wallet Weapon
Artist: Lloyd Barnes
Producers: Enigma Ltd.
Link: This can be purchased at any of your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailers.
Retail Price: $30.00
Learning Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
Length of DVD: 60 minutes
Notes:  Complete assembly required.

 

 

 
Features:
•    Play Movie
•    Scene Selection

A utility device that can be used to produce a signed card from a wallet, turn blank paper into real money visually from your wallet, billet switch for mentalism effects using your wallet, or a torn and restored card trick from your wallet.

Normally when you think card to wallet you think of a magician producing a large over sized wallet from their pocket, and then taking out your card from inside this wallet.  Have you ever sat there and said to yourself: “Now there’s a normal looking wallet.  I bet he uses that every day!”  Of course you haven’t because the damn thing is the size of a Mac truck.  You know it’s only for show.  Now enter Wallet Weapon by Lloyd Barnes.  You can use your own hip pocket sized wallet and still produce the classic mind boggling effect.  More over, and you all know how much I love utility devices, this thing is flexible enough that you could produce other things such as billet switches, and other mentalism style revelations.

The gimmick is easy enough to construct but I’ll be honest, I HATE arts and crafts when it comes to magic tricks.   I sucked at Art class in school and I’m the last person you want handling sharp objects.  Building gimmicks at home from scratch has always been a challenge for me.  Blessedly the Wallet Weapon as a gimmick isn’t that hard to construct.  You are going to have to permanently modify your wallet though in order to use this gimmick.  Those squeamish about modifying your every day wallet may want to go out and get a cheap one just for this purpose.  The good news is the modification you need to do is completely undetectable to anyone else and won’t hurt the structural integrity of the wallet in any way.  It took me about fifteen minutes to build mine, and I’m slow.  I suspect now that I know what I’m doing I could put another one together in about seven minutes if I had to.  The construction is just bloody simple.

Half of the DVD is spent showing you how to build it, and what the reactions look like, the other half is spent on explaining how to perform with it.  The only real tricky part about performing with the Wallet Weapon is performing a Mercury fold with a playing card.  If you don’t know how to do a Mercury fold then Lloyd does teach it.  Once you’ve got the Mercury fold down, you’re good to go.  Lloyd also teaches you one other routine not using cards before giving you other ideas on what you can use the Wallet Weapon for.  The routine that he teaches takes a blank sheet of paper and turns it into a real bank note.

Paper to Money:
You tell a story about needing emergency money, produce a blank sheet of paper, show it, and then take another from your wallet.  The second you pull it free and give it the magic shake it becomes real money.

The Wallet Weapon is a nice way to incorporate a card to wallet style effect into your routine without needing to go out and purchase an expensive magicians wallet built for the same purpose.  Given that you can use it for other effects as well makes Wallet Weapon a versatile device that can be changed to fit individual performing styles and needs.  It’s practical and it can be made cheaply.  The things you need to make the gimmick will cost you less than $10 bucks and I’m high balling that price.

I’m impressed with what Lloyd has created.  It’s a nice piece of versatile magic, and its uses only are limited to your imagination.  Personally I feel that some of Lloyd’s suggestions are weaker than others; such as the paper to money bit, or a torn and restored card idea, overall I think he’s got a solid piece of magic that you’re going to use every day.

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: 7
The price isn’t bad, and the gimmick is easy enough to construct.  If the gimmick wears out, building a new one won’t take long at all.  The only minor drawback is you have to build it yourself.

Teaching Quality: 8
The tutorial is easy to follow.

Video & Sound Quality: 9
No sound or video problems.

Overall Quality: 8
If you don’t want to carry around a magicians wallet for the purposes of doing a card to wallet or you just want to have an alternative effect handy in your back pocket then Wallet Weapon is a great utility device to own.

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 Wallet Transformer

approvedTitle: The Wallet Transformer
Artist: Cameron Francis
Producers: Big Blind Media
Link: You can buy this at anyone of your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailers.
Retail Price: $30.00
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD:  about 20 minutes
Notes:  Assembly of the gimmick is required.

 

 

 
Features:
•    Play All
•    Chapters
•    Trailers

Turn any wallet into a Card to Wallet without having to buy a special wallet or modify your existing one.

Card to wallet is one of the classics.  So far though to do a card to wallet you have to learn how to palm a card and then you need to buy a special wallet that will allow you to load the palmed card without anyone knowing it.  There are a lot of wallets out there that will do just that.  Some give you additional peeks, others let you load into a “sealed” envelope, and others have other built in features like extra outs or a place to put your out to lunch business cards.  But they all require you to buy, usually, an expensive special wallet before you can do this classic beloved effect.  Not anymore.  Wallet Transformer is a portable gimmick you can construct in your own home that can turn any wallet into a card to wallet.  No more carrying around over sized wallets or switching your wallet out for your performance one when you arrive at a venue for a gig.  Just use your own wallet with this gimmick and you’re set to go.

The gimmick is made from sturdy material provided with the DVD.  Everything you’ll need to assemble it is there when you open the DVD with the exception of clear tape, and double stick tape.  You’ll need that too.  The Wallet Transformer comes with enough material to construct two gimmicks.  These gimmicks will last you a while, but if you do wear them out it would be easy to make another from old business cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, etc.  Once you watch the DVD you’ll understand what I mean.  Building the gimmick is stupid simple and took me five minutes.  Once installed in the wallet it sits firmly inside, and will stay there comfortably until you want to use it.  The gimmick resets in seconds.

The Wallet Transformer wastes no time with fluff or filler.  Each chapter in the DVD is only a couple minutes long so it’s down to business.  There should be no questions how to build the gimmick or perform with it.  Cameron just gives it to you strait.

Cameron teaches you his basic routine for card to wallet using his Wallet Transformer.  His routine is a fun little sandwich bit that ends with the spectators signed card in an impossible location… your wallet!

Cameron’s Wallet Transformer is an amazing device.  No palm required card to wallet effect with any wallet, anywhere, and with an instant reset.  You’re always going to have a magic trick on you so long as you carry your wallet in your pocket and it’s a trick that will leave your audience awestruck.  I love this gimmick!

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 a bad price, and the gimmick supplied is durable.  It works on any wallet, including check book style wallets.

Teaching Quality: 9
Cameron teaches you how to build the gimmick and use it.  No fluff, no extra adlibs.  Strait up here’s your product, this is how you use it, this is how you make it.

Video & Sound Quality: 9
Clear sound and video.

Overall Quality: 8
I loved it.  Works on any wallet, and doesn’t require you to palm to do a card to wallet.  Not a huge fan of having to build gimmicks though, but at least the build on this is an easy one.

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: Flat Line by Jay Sankey

not approved

Title: Flat Line
Artist: Jay Sankey
Producers: Sankey Magic
Link: You can purchase this at your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailer.
Retail Price: $35
Learning Difficulty:
Length of DVD: 56 Minutes
Notes:

Features:

Play All
Napkins, Bills + More
Card Stab
Two Gags
Hot Thought
Captain Crunch
Magnetic
Remarkerable
I.Q. Test

You have a gimmicked sharpie that is flattened on one end. You use a normal marker for anything, then switch it out secretly for the Flat Line gimmick, slap your hands together and squeeze apparently flattening the end of the marker.

There’s an old Family Guy gag where author Stephen King is wildly pitching anything to his publicist to be the plot of his next story. I think he even says that a desk lamp could be scary. Flat Line kind of reminds me of Jay Sankey in the role of Stephen King with regards to that short. I feel like Jay is just reaching into his drawer pulling anything out of it and selling it with a DVD tutorial as the next great close up trick. Here we have another half baked idea that could be used a number of ways, overpriced, and thrown onto the market for open consumption. This I think is one of those rare times in which having a DVD instructional is more beneficial to the product than just having printed instructions. The scary part is when Jay takes about an hour to sell you on the many different ways you can apply the Flat Line gimmick. It’s a Sharpie marker that is flat on one end. It doesn’t do anything other than at the reveal look flat on one end. It’s a hell of a lot of work for a two second sight gag that is going to get tossed into your case and overshadowed by anything else that you do. I don’t know, maybe I’m just jaded but I look at this product and the only question I find myself asking is “Why did I buy this again?” It seems like to me it’s just more work than it’s worth.

This is about as practical as any other Sharpie magic trick you’ll find on the market. That is to say it gives you something magical you can do with a utility device most close up, bar, and restaurant workers carry with them at all times anyways. Hell Sharpies aren’t that hard to come by so borrow one off a friend and do Flat Line with it. Once you understand that you need to switch it out for the gimmick, and the gimmick looks like you flattened one end of it, you’re pretty much downhill from there.

Overall this is just another over priced product that promises a lot and delivers little. This isn’t something I’d make use of and if you get yourself a hammer and a lighter I bet you can make one yourself for a fraction of the cost. This one I’ll pass on. Product failed.

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
For the effect it does what it looks like, but at $35 bucks for a DVD and a couple of Sharpie markers? No thanks. I’ve got a hammer. I can make this gimmick for less, and anyone who has been involved with magic longer than a week should be able to figure out how to use it or switch for it.

Teaching Quality: 8
Jay is always fun and entertaining to watch and listen to even when the product he is pitching is a steaming pile of dog crap.

Video & Sound Quality: 8
Good video, and sound quality.

Overall Quality: 3
Over Priced, and Over Rated. Take a pass on this one folks, you’re not missing much.

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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