Draven Reviews: Mental Pen by João Miranda & Gustavo Sereno

approvedTitle: Mental Pen

Artist: João Miranda and Gustavo Sereno

Producers: João Miranda Magic Solutions

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

 

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n9SxnUGqbk

Retail Price: $39.95

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of Video:  41 Minutes (Approx.)

 

 

David Penn said that Mental Pen was “a very clever idea” in his review.  I’m not sure that does this device the proper amount of justice it duly is owed.  This pen is $#&@! Fantastic!  It’s incredibly well made, the gimmick is hidden in plain sight, and the spectator resets the bloody thing for you without even realizing it.  They can write with the marker, they can inspect the marker all they want.  Even though the gimmick is hidden in plain sight they will NEVER find it!  And the magic that you can do with this device is limitless!  It’s the perfect utility device, and quite possibly my favorite trick of the year.  After I watched the online video I was literally bouncing up and down in my chair giggling like a school girl at the range of possibilities this little device afforded me!

 

The reset on the gimmick doesn’t take long, but you’ll want to do it somewhere out of sight of your audience.  The reset does require you keep a special tool with you, so it’s wise to not lose it.  But for the power this gimmick offers you presentation wise, it’s well worth it!  Performances are idiot proof, and you couldn’t ask for a better made gimmicked marker.  It is a Sharpe so magicians everywhere won’t feel like they’re using a special prop just to do a trick with this gimmick.

 

Mental Pen comes with a couple extra spare gimmicks, in case you lose or damage yours, the special reset tool, and the Mental Pen itself.  Included in the small stocking stuffer sized box is a card insert, about the size of a business card, that points you at an online video for the tutorial on how to work the pen.  You’re going to slap yourself in the forehead within the first five minutes of watching the video, part in not having thought of this sooner, and partly due to just how evil this thing really is.  I’m saying you can start religions with this thing if you wanted to.  This could become a reputation maker for someone, and stage or street the sheer impromptu nature of the performance will blow audiences out of the water.

 

The instructional video goes on for about 40 minutes, and the bulk of that is going over five different routines using the Mental Pen.  That’s great for new practitioners in magic.  However, I get a strong feeling that a more experienced magician is going to shut this video off about a quarter of the way thru because once they know how to work and reset the device they’re going to be off and running on any number of personal applications for it.  This one is just too good to not use.  This will be one trick that won’t sit in the bottom of your magic junk drawer.

 

The power of this utility device, and you know me- I love utility devices, is in how impromptu it lets you work.  There is no switching!  The pen that does the dirty work, is the same pen the spectator signs with, uses, marks with, inspects, and hands back to you, which by the way when they do hand it back to you they’ve already done the cleanup work FOR you without even knowing it!    Closeup or stage this thing is a worker!  I cannot express my joy over this device enough.  I love my Mental Pen!

 

 

 

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 is a little expensive at first glance, but I’d say for the power of the product, worth every penny!

 

Teaching Quality: 9

The tutorial is wonderful!

 

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Great video, and sound for a download.

 

Overall Quality: 10

You need this.  You’ll thank me later.

 

 

Do 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 thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: Move by Danny Weiser & Taiwan Ben

approvedTitle: Move

Artist: Danny Weiser & Taiwan Ben

Producers: Taiwan Ben Magic

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

 

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_60MQ9_2kY

Retail Price: $34.95 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of Video: 26 Minutes (Approx.)

 

 

Move is a modernized version of the classic “Golden Key” effect where instead of the teeth moving and locking into an impossible position on a key, the plastic pocket clip on a pen cap moves, and then reattaches back to the pen cap.

 

What you receive is a very well-made prop that is a gimmicked Bic pen, and a gimmicked Bic pen cap.  The pen also comes with online tutorial instructions, which probably over teaches the effect more than necessary.  For such a simple prop, surprisingly there’s a lot of thinking that went into designing the effect so you can perform this as naturally as possible without giving the spectator any reason to suspect the pen is gimmicked.  The gimmick, by the way, is so ingeniously hidden that the pen, even though it’s gimmicked, can be handed out before and after the trick for examination without fear of the spectator ever finding anything.

 

The hardest thing about the presentation is getting used to eyeballing the markings on the pen that let you know which way the gimmick is oriented.  Maybe my eyesight is just crap, but I find the natural markings on the pen just a bit more difficult to spot at a quick glance than the instructions indicate that I should.  From a performance perspective though the effect is a curious and visual mystery.  I don’t think audiences are overly familiar with the Golden Key, and this is a neat little alteration on that routine.  Enough so that I can see merit in performing this.  I don’t think this is a needless reskinning of a magic trick for sake of making profit from magicians.  I think this can legitimately stand on its own as its own effect.  The angles are near fool proof, the visuals are very impressive, and the reset is damn near instantaneous.  This is a great organic worker for strolling, and maybe even parlor.  Assuming everyone can see everything okay at a distance.  It is a small pen after all.  I think the real power in this effect, and its Move’s biggest selling point, is the fact that the pen can be examined before, AND after the magic happens.  You’re in complete control of the moving pen clip, everything is self-contained and invisible to spectator’s inspection, you don’t have to switch for anything because you start and end clean, and it instantly resets.  It’s a wonderful piece of magic!

 

This was a wonderful find, and for once Danny has put out a product that doesn’t make use of cheap plastic elastic thread!  I loved Move, and I recommend it to anyone looking to add a little extra magic to their close up that isn’t done with traditional cards, or coin props.

 

 

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 a little expensive, but given that the gimmick is hand made it makes sense.

 

Teaching Quality: 8

Tutorial is easy to follow.  Easy to learn, and perform with practice.  Effect is probably over taught a little.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 8

Clear sound and video for an online download.

 

Overall Quality: 8

Taiwan Ben and Danny Weiser have a solid hit with Move!

 

 

Do 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 thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: Four King Miracle by Henri White

approvedTitle: Four King Miracle

Artist: Henri White

Producers: World Magic Shop

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

 

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BhqWbRfMHM

Retail Price: $19.00 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of Video: 10 Min (Approx.)

 

 

The Four King Miracle by Henri White is, at its essence a four king production from a sandwich effect.  It’s remarkably simple, highly visual, and very strait forward.  The effect can be performed as a simple packet trick, and it’s powerful enough to work as a stand-alone trick, but it could also be incorporated into a much larger routine as well.  The gaffs are easy to use, and shouldn’t be something that magicians aren’t already familiar with, unless you’re very new to magic.  Which in that case welcome to the wonderful world of gaff tricks!  This principle has been around for a long time, and some of the finest card tricks out there rely on it.  It’s not a rough trick to learn, and with some little practice the trick will be smooth for you to perform.

 

What you get is a DVD sized package with everything you need inside.  There is no DVD, World Magic Shop has opted to go with a direct video download instead.  The video is short and sweet.  At only 10 minutes in length it captures all the important parts well.  Teaching you how to set it up, gives you two different ways on how to perform it, gives some thoughts and tips on handling, and addresses how to refresh the gimmick once it begins to wear down after use.    The gimmicked cards that are received are of standard air cushion quality Bicycle playing cards.  They should hold up well for a long time of use.  Should the gimmicks ever wear out, recreating them won’t be hard, assuming you don’t want to just buy a brand new set.

 

Four King Miracle has got to be my new favorite card trick to perform!  It’s super clean and very visual and resets within a second.  Ideal for strolling, closeup, and Youtube/Instagram.  The visual impact also could play well on stage.  I’d even be crazy enough to want to try this with jumbo cards.  The angles are almost idiot proof, and while the cards can’t be handled by the spectator, the illusion is so solid that there should not be any reason why they would want to handle them.  Also, if you’re using this with a standard deck, perhaps a segue or an opener, just ditch the jokers, and move on with the deck for whatever else you’re doing, and no one will be the wiser.

 

Overall, I’m giddy as all get out over this new trick.  I absolutely love Four King Miracle and cannot recommend it enough.  Please, if you like card magic, check it out today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Great price for such a powerful trick.

 

Teaching Quality: 9

Well taught, easy to learn.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Good sound, and video.

 

Overall Quality: 9

Highly recommended!

 

 

Do 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 thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: The Devil’s Mark by Alan Rorrison

approvedTitle: Devil’s Mark

Artist: Alan Rorrison

Producers: SansMind

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

 

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3wYpwQ0aYg

Retail Price: $24.99 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD:  19 Min (Approx.)

 

A borrowed bill has a light shown on it, and the spectators selected playing card shows up on their bill as a water mark!

 

I’ve always said: “Give a magician the inner most secrets of the cosmos and he’ll find some way to reveal a card selection with it.”  Enter Devil’s Mark by Alan Rorrison.  On the surface, it’s another impossible card reveal with borrowed currency.  Then SansMind tries to dress it up playing on the name and loosely trying to tie in themes of the devil being in the details, or that somehow money is evil or something like that.  The devil tie in is half baked at best.  This could have been a powerful bizarre effect teaching a lesson about money being the root of all evil, but SansMind shoots from the three-point line missing both the goal and the point.  What they let you walk away with is nothing more than card reveal on bill.

 

What you get is an instructional DVD, and three specially made gimmicks.  What you will need to supply for yourself is a wallet, and double stick tape.  The gimmick construction, for SansMind, is amazingly simple.  Apply some double stick tape to the gimmick, and you’re good to go.  You will need to know how to do a finger palm, and how to load a finger palmed gimmick onto a selected bill, however this is very easy to do, and if you’ve ever played with Jim Pace’s “The Web” it’s very similar in execution.  Once you’ve loaded the gimmick it’s all downhill from there.  Force the card needed for the reveal on the gimmick, and then shine some light on the back side of the bill so the watermark shows up.  However for the love of whatever god you hold holy please change the patter from the absolute drivel supplied to you by SansMind.

 

I spoke with the effect’s creator, Alan Rorrison, who had very little creative control with how the effect was ultimately represented by SansMind.  In Alan’s version there’s strong symbolic tie ins with hidden messages, masonic imagery, illuminati control, and the reveal happens in the all-seeing eye on the back of a single dollar bill.  Really neat, very powerful, story driven bizarre elements that will keep them shining lights on their bills for some time to come.  Alan makes a strong connection between money and it being the root of all evil hence the name: The Devil’s Mark.  Could it be that the real Devil’s mark here isn’t the one in Alan’s story, but the mark left behind on this illusion by the people who produced it?  It’s well known that Alan has severed any working relationship with SansMind, could this just be one of the reasons why?  I know artistic misrepresentation would be enough to piss me off.  Perhaps the Devil really is in the details?

 

The effect in and of itself is brilliant.  This could be some very powerful magic that is almost angle proof, and resets near instantly.  Whether you’re storytelling, or going for a hard-hitting visual effect then this little gem is a worker.  It packs small enough to fit inside your wallet, and is ready to go at a moment’s notice.  All you need is a dollar bill, or other bank note.  Works on any one, from any country, and if the spectator doesn’t have one you can always supply one yourself.  Although admittedly the illusion hits harder if it’s a borrowed bill.  Despite the crap can patter supplied by SansMind, this is a hell of a trick!

 

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: 4

The price is a little bit much for what you get.  The gimmicks cost probably five cents to produce, and the DVD a few dollars.  They’re gouging you on this one.  The magic though is strong.

 

Teaching Quality: 7

Easy to follow.  Easy to learn.  Easy to do.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 8

Good sound, and quality video.

 

Overall Quality: 7

The magic is strong on this, but please for the love of god create some stronger, more meaningful patter that can connect with your audience on a more emotional level than a simple card reveal.  If you just want to reveal a selected card then do card to wallet.  Save this for the people who can really play on an audiences wild imagination!

 

 

Do 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 thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: Nova by Avi Yap

approvedTitle: Nova

Artist: Avi Yap

Producers: Skymember

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

 

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzCC-Wq_qLA

Retail Price: $24.95 USD

Learning Difficulty: Difficult

Length of DVD:  1:40:00 (Approx.)

 

 

Move Monkeys are going to love this DVD!  An incredibly beautiful principle that is as finicky and move knacky as it is pretty.  The applications of Nova are many fold.  Just the color change alone is beautifully visual and damn near impossible for the spectator’s mind to work around. It looks like real magic!  Everything that can be done with Nova all revolves around Shreko Howard’s pop out move.  A card flourish that pops a card out from the middle of the deck.  With the right practice though Nova can become quite a versatile little miracle maker.  The only drawback is that you’re going to need to practice!  This isn’t a trick you’re going to be doing five minutes after watching the DVD.  But it is pretty, and it is well worth it!  I HIGHLY recommend you check out Avi Yap’s Nova!

 

 

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

Good price, stunning piece of magic.  Difficult to learn.

 

Teaching Quality:  8

Difficult to learn, but not impossible.  Well taught.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 8

Good video and sound quality.

 

Overall Quality: 8

For a single principle DVD, the applications of Nova are limitless.  It’s well worth the time to invest in learning how to perform the move.

 

Do 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 thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: Cardio by Liam Montier

approvedTitle: Cardio

Artist: Liam Montier

Producers: Big Blind Media

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

 

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sefHwhsvi7Q

Retail Price: $22.00 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

 

 

 

Cardio promises seven road ready effects with cards without the need for gaffs, or gimmicks.  The effects in the DVD have been around for ages, consisting of variations on Twisting the Aces, Hofzinser’s Aces, a hand slap reveal, and a pendulum effect to name a few.  Liam gives his take on some of these classic effects, modernizing them a bit with his own unique touch, and then spices the DVD up with a few other routines that are sure to peek interest.  Get ready for a card workout, because this is Cardio!

 

After watching the DVD thru I can say that the magical routines in here are solid.  They had better be, they’ve all been around for quite a long time.  Liam’s variations certainly make the routines magical, and adds a flair of something freshly different so they’ll certainly be workers.  No doubt about that.  However, none of these routines are really “new”.  You can create half a dozen different versions of Ambitious Card, but at the end of the day the card still comes back to the top of the deck.  There’s a good chance that any experienced magician who has studied card magic for a minute or three may already have their own preferred handlings to these classic routines.  In fact that’s exactly what this DVD feels like.  It feels like a collection of Liam’s favorite twists on classic plots.  Thank god that his twists don’t suck the magic or the fun out of presenting them!

 

New magicians should certainly take note of this DVD.  This is Liam’s love letter to you.  The magic in here will pack a punch, and your audiences will be thrilled with the tricks from start to finish.  None of the tricks are overly difficult to do, so with a little bit of practice, and perhaps a better script than the almost nonexistent one Liam’s using, and you’ll be up and running with the best of them.  The only thing you will need, should be something we all have laying around en masse, and that’s a deck of playing cards.  Standard deck of 52, of whatever brand you prefer.

 

One of the nicer things about this DVD is some of the tips and suggestions Liam gives you with it.  You not only learn why these routines are some of his more closely guarded workers, but what makes them special.  Why the magic moment is the magic moment, and how to string these together to make an impressive set that will blow away your friends.

 

As I’ve already stated, this is a worker’s DVD.  The tricks you will learn here will be tricks that you will constantly use and call back to over and over.  It’s possible you may even find a reputation maker in here, if you really own a particular effect enough.  So, I absolutely recommend this DVD to any new comer to magic.  If you like card magic, check out Cardio.

 

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

Decent price.  Good magic.

 

Teaching Quality: 8

Easy to follow.  Not difficult to learn.  Entertaining to watch.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 8

Great sound and video.

 

Overall Quality: 8

All solid working man’s material.  Highly recommended for the new card magician.

 

 

Do 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 thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: How To Do Coin Magic by Zee

approvedTitle: How To Do Coin Magic

Artist: Zee

Producers: SansMind

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

 

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WGRIvirtsk

Retail Price: $29.99 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy to Difficult

Length of DVD:  60 Minutes (Approx.)

 

 

How To Do Coin Magic is the preverbal Hail Marry of magic products from SansMind who seems to consistently struggle against popular opinion of their products being less than what one bargains for.  SansMind has entered its first product into the fundamentals of magic foray opting to focus on how to do magic with coins.  Finally!  A SansMind product that DOESN’T require an arts and crafts store to assemble the needed props required to do the illusions.  All you need is some coins, and a lot of time to practice.  How To Do Coin Magic is geared to the beginner in coin work and covers all the fundamentals prior to moving to full routines in the latter half of the DVD.

 

Skills taught in this DVD include Palming, Switches, Vanishes, and Productions.  It incorporates some thoughts about what to do, and what not to do as well as performance tips all before culminating in five routines you can use to amaze your friends and family.  Some of the material covered in this DVD include:

  • Classic Palm
  • Finger Palm
  • Thumb Palm
  • Edge Grip
  • JW Grip
  • Mutobe Palm
  • Shuttle Pass
  • ROPS Move
  • Drop Vanish
  • Heel Clip Steal
  • Himber Vanish
  • False Transfer
  • Sai Production
  • Click Pass
  • And more!

 

The magic taught on this DVD requires practice, and a lot of it.  The sleights range from easy to difficult to master, and with the right amount of time and dedication this DVD will certainly put you on the right path to mastering coin work.  How To Do Coin Magic certainly isn’t original though in it’s material.  There are a lot of products on the market that teach the same thing.  Metal 1 & 2 from Eric Jones being the first pair of DVD’s that come to mind, and of course you have the coin workers bible: Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic.  So what makes SansMind entry really stand out?  Other than it being the new kid on the block preferences may very well equate to apple and oranges in comparison.  Some may prefer the look and feel or teaching style of one over the other, but the material is the same, and the results will depend on the students time put into practicing the moves.

 

Overall, I think this is a good entry into the realm of coin magic.  The product does exactly what it says:  It teaches the new student about how to do coin work, and gives them some good beginners look at coin work.  If the student desires, and shows aptitude for coin work then there’s a whole realm of exciting products they can branch out into, including gimmicks and more knuckle busting sleights.  If you are interested in learning coin magic, this is as good as any place to start.

 

 

 

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 that bad, and for once no gimmick construction!

 

Teaching Quality: 7

With the DVD weighing in at sixty minutes, the tutorial aspects may feel a bit rushed by some.  This is one of the shorter DVD’s on teaching coin work foundations.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 7

Sound and video are both of quality.

 

Overall Quality: 7

Not a bad DVD to learn the basics of Coin Magic from.  If you’re new to coin magic you’ll certainly want to look at this.

 

 

Do 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 thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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