Draven Reviews: The Complete Card Manipulation Set by Vernet

 approvedTitle: The Complete Card Manipulation Set

Producers: Vernet Magic

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px0NxU5Ptrc

Retail Price: $40.00 USD

Learning Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

 

 

Here’s a subject in magic that I have a perpetual love hate relationship with:  Card Manipulation.  I remember fondly watching the masters like Jeff McBride and Lance Burton doing card manip on the television thinking to myself: “Now THAT’S magic!”  I’ve always wanted to learn card manipulation.  I’ve always wanted to put an act together like that, to be that awesome, and learning card manipulation has been a real labor of love.  I’m still nowhere near performance level, but I can do a few basic productions and that’s encouraging.  With so much material out there on card manipulation It’s kind of hard for a student to know where to begin.  Good thing we’ve got Vernet to point the way.  But is the Complete Card Manipulation Set really all that it is cracked up to be?  Good thing I’m here to peel back the paste boards and take a look into this DVD.
What you get is a nicely packaged little box that contains two decks of flourishing cards and a DVD.  One of the decks is a multi colored fanning deck, the other is a flesh toned back manipulation deck.  Both decks are cut extra thin and both decks fan for absolute shit fresh out of the cheaply made tuck boxes.  You’re going to want to buy some fanning powder and treat both decks prior to use.  Otherwise you’re going to end up screaming at your TV while throwing your deck against the wall over and over.  Admittedly, if you’ve never tried card manipulation before, you may end up doing this anyways before it’s all said and done.  The stuff ain’t easy.

 

The DVD comes in two options.  English and Spanish.  The English option has a voice over. The DVD is split into three categories.  The history of Vernet, The Manipulation Deck, and the Fanning Deck.  There is also a credits option, as well as an option to automatically switch between displayed languages.  Let’s take a quick look into what each section teaches.

 

The Manipulation Deck option teaches the following:

  • Continuous Fan Productions
  • Single Back Palming
  • Multiple Back Palming
  • Back Palming a Fan
  • Cardini’s Back Palm
  • Strictly Underhanded (Benson)
  • Split Fan Production
  • Back and Front
  • Back and Front with Silk
  • Perfect Production
  • Toss Vanish
  • Cards from Mouth
  • Fan from Mouth
  • Packet Vanish
  • Bonus Production

 

 

The Fanning Deck option teaches the following:

  • Thumb Fan
  • Reverse Fan
  • 4 Ways to Fan a Fanning Deck
  • One Handed Fan
  • Pressure Fan
  • Closing the Fan with One Hand
  • One Hand Fan Gag
  • Splitting the Fan
  • One Handed Color Changing Fan
  • Diminishing Cards

 

While this DVD certainly isn’t the encyclopedia of card manipulation it does offer the new student to card manipulation an edge where other similar products tend to fall a little short on.  It is a one stop shop to getting started.  You do get two manipulation decks, and a DVD that explains the basics with easy to follow along to, multi camera angle demonstrations.  The DVD has some annoying features that force you to sit through a couple annoying intros but once you get into the meat of the DVD it gets more tolerable.  There is no play all option.  You have to pick which section you want to work with, and then pick which individual item you want to review.  While I feel that there are other products on the market that teach card manipulation better, such as McBride’s DVD’s, this one certainly is a good launching point.  The manipulation cards aren’t the best on the market, like a lot of people I prefer Neilson’s cards, but they will service a beginner well since they won’t have the range of experience yet to have a preference.  So in short the DVD does accomplish what it sets out to do, and that is instruct the student on their journey into the art of card manipulation.  This product isn’t the final chapter on the subject by any means, but it is a good primer.

 

The DVD is listed on Murphy’s website as being Beginner level, but I think that is a misnomer.  I think it is intended for the beginner yes, but it is by no means easy to perform.  To get to a level where you feel confident performing in front of others is going to take a lot of practice.  This isn’t going to be something where you’re going to put an act together the same day you bring it home, and I feel that’s an important point to make in a review.  This is going to be a lot like that Fushigi ball thing that was the Christmas crave a few years back.  Everyone and their sister wanted it until they found out how much work goes into learning how to contact juggle well and those balls went into the toy boxes never to see the light of day again.

 

As for the material taught on the DVD I’d certainly say it’s a good start.  It’ll get you up and running, but as I said, it’s not the final word on the subject.  You’re going to want to look into other works such as McBride’s DVD’s, Dan Sperry’s videos, the Evolution of Card Magic, and maybe take a Chavez course or Master Class at the Mystery School to round out your education.  Would I recommend this product?  That’s a hard question to answer.  I’d have to qualify the individuals interest prior to making my recommendation.  There are a lot of products out there that I feel do a better job teaching the subject, however if you’re just getting started, have no other experiences to work from, and want something that will give you a little taste of everything (props included) then this will do well.  If you’ve already got some experience in manipulation, then this may not be your first choice.

 

At the end of the day I’m split down the middle on this one.  Would I recommend it?  Would I not?  It’s not a bad DVD.  The teaching is good, and it does teach you card manipulation.  The cards you get with it are nice, but they do need fanning powder to become usable.  The tuck boxes that they come with are utter crap, and will rip easy when you’re trying to pry them open.  That isn’t a huge deal since audiences never see the tuck boxes during a manipulation performance, but for someone like me who likes to keep everything nice and pristine in the boxes they come with it’s annoying.  I keep finding myself saying that this isn’t a bad product.  It’s not exactly a great one, but it’s far from being the worst.  If you’ve never done anything with manipulation this is a nice starting point.  But you certainly won’t end your journey here.  That much is certain.

 

.

 

 

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 price is fair for what you get, but you’ll pay for that discount in the quality of what you get.

 

Teaching Quality: 6

The DVD does teach the fundamentals of card manipulation but it’s neither the definitive work on the subject, nor does it teach it the best.  What you have is a serviceable middle of the road option which may appeal to some.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 6

Sound and Video aren’t bad.  As a matter of personal preference I don’t like English dubs, but that’s just me.

 

Overall Quality: 6

Not the worst product.  But there are others out there that I feel are better.  If you want something that will let you sample a little of everything then this maybe a good starting point.

 

 

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: Ash Paper by the Other Brothers

 approvedTitle: Ash Paper

Artist: The Other Brothers

Producers: Vanishing Ink

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJqI889L3i4

Retail Price: $25.00 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of Video:  22 Minutes (approx.)

 

 

A playing card is selected, and you need to reveal it.  A name of someone who has died is written among a list of living people’s names and you want to reveal the name of the one who passed.  You want to have a ghostly message appear to spook your audience.  Virtually any revelation you can think of can be made that much more powerful by the introduction of Ash Paper!

 

Ash paper joins a long line of utility devices for revelations limited only by your imagination.  Other products that have walked a similar line would be like Fuze, and Impromptu Ghost Glass II.  Everyone is familiar with the old ash on arm trick that reveals a selected playing card.  With Ash Paper that revelation is more powerful, and sans arm.  Great for bizarre work, and powerful for just about anything else.

 

What you get is a pad loaded with a thicker stock, dark colored flash paper.  The dark, black color is important because you’ll need to apply the secret gimmick, which also comes with it, to the paper prior to performance.  The results are freaking cool.  I could probably burn thru, pardon my pun, an entire pad of this stuff just messing around with it in my home studio.  Having a long personal history of using other similar products like Fuse to great effect I can already tell that I’m going to work the hell out of this gimmick.  The few people I’ve shown this to have sworn I’m the devil despite my adamant claims to not be Phil Goldstein.

 

The product comes with a 22 minute long internet streamed instructional video.  I’m not sure who the Other Brothers are, as I don’t think they have released any other effects, but if this is any indication to the type of stuff they can do then I’m interested to see what else they can come up with.  Setting up your gimmicks is going to be simple.  They suggest using a Q-Tip, however I’m going to tell you right now that you’re going to want to go get a small fine tipped paint brush and use that instead.  The control you’ll have will be much better than what a Q-Tip would offer.  You’ll thank me for this tip later.  The one thing I do want to touch upon here is that you receive a package of Flash Paper.  For all intents and purposes you’ve got a mini hand grenade.  Keep this thing away from ANY heat source unless you want your entire investment to go up in smoke within about 3 seconds.  This product is NOT intended for sale to anyone under the age of 18.  Minors should have adult supervision at all times if they are going to mess with this stuff.  Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!  (if you don’t get the obvious G.I. Joe reference then I’m sorry, but your childhood wasn’t as cool as mine.)

 

The only down side to this effect, if any, is the prep time.  It takes about a good solid five plus hours for the special preparations to finish before you can use this gimmick.  I suppose you could use it right away after setting it up, but it would be obvious and wouldn’t fool anyone.  This means that unless you know in advance the types of reveals you’re going to use this for, this isn’t going to be as impromptu of an effect as your audience may think.  However, the reactions you get from performing it is well worth it!  So far, I’ve been using it to reveal selected playing cards, and that’s been pretty good.  I know I want to get into some spirit slate style reveals but I’ve not quite got a routine scripted for that just yet.  I imagine in the right hands Ash Paper probably be used to start a religion.  Once you’ve set the gimmick up properly, and given it enough time to cure, then any dirty work you’ve done to it will be invisible to inspection making this a hell of a utility tool.

 

The practicality of this type of effect can be limiting.  Not because of how awesome it is, because let’s face it, burning names, words, and numbers into real ashes the spectator can wipe away with their hands IS about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, but it is limiting because you’re working with fire.  A lot of venues these days, the Magic Castle included, limit, restrict, or outright ban the use of any open flames for effects and that can include flash paper.  So, it’s generally a good idea to check with the venue before you start doing a routine using Ash Paper in it.  This is one of those rare times where it’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

At the end of the day though I couldn’t be happier.  My studio table is covered in ashes, and every time I have a friend come over I’ve been eagerly shoving this effect in their face to thrilling reactions!  This is one of those magic props that is just as much fun to play with as it is to use to entertain others.  The only down side is that I’ve only had it for a couple days and I’m already in dire need of refills.  I can already tell that this is going to be an expensive toy.

 

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 ONLY reason this isn’t a 10 is that I’m going to need to buy refills because I can’t stop playing with it.

 

Teaching Quality: 9

Don’t know who the Other Brothers are, but they do an excellent job teaching this effect.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Sound and video are both good for a download.

 

Overall Quality: 9

Again not a perfect 10 because I am going to be buying refills like mad to keep up with the amount of use I’m going to get out of this.  However as for a revelation method these things applications is limitless.  Bizarre, Mentalism, Card Tricks, you name it, you can do it with Ash Paper.  Try it, you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

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: Las Vegas Aces by Cody Fisher

approved Title: Las Vegas Aces

Artist: Cody Fisher

Producers: The Magic Estate

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbv9bbT4U_A

Retail Price: $24.95 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of Video: 17 Minutes 

 

 

Cody Fisher has done it again!  This time he’s taken on Larry Jennings’s “Open Travelers”, and made it more user friendly for people (like myself) intimidated by sleight heavy routines.  I don’t want to say it’s almost self-working, in fact I don’t have to!  The copy on the back of the package does that for me!  What you end up with is a solid traveling aces routine that is fun to perform and pretty to watch.

 

What you get is a folded advertisement card that contains two gimmicks, one red bike backed, one blue bike backed, and instructions on how to view the tutorial video online.  The gimmicks are well made, and will last a long time under proper care.  The video is manageable only being about twenty minutes, give or take a few minutes, in length.  Cody is, as always, very energetic, and very engaging.  With each additional release he puts out he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite magicians to watch teach stuff.  Like his other products, Las Vegas Aces is a working magicians dream.  It handles well, and the magic moves are well motivated.  The routine dresses itself up as a poker demonstration of sorts, but I wouldn’t feel limited to that.  Use whatever presentation works better for your character. It does come complete with a word for word script though if you’re too lazy to create your own.

 

Performing this gets strong reactions.  It works well as a standalone piece, and even better as a lead into other gambling style demonstrations.  The gimmick is easily palmed out if you need to present a completely normal deck for some reason, and instantly resets making it a very attractive option for strolling and or close up performers.  Like most of Cody’s work Las Vegas Aces is audience tested, and magician approved.  You’re not buying some theory.  A magician isn’t saying “this could work”.  You’re getting something strait from his own working repertoire.  So you know this thing melts minds.

 

I’ve been a fan of Cody’s work for some time now.  He’s one of the few magicians whom I’ll purchase their releases sight unseen because I know it’s going to be good.  I’m pleased to say that Las Vegas Aces hasn’t disappointed me in the least!  It’s a fun routine and it does the originating source credit.  Do you like card magic?  Why don’t you own this yet?

 

 

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

Fairly priced.  Good Gimmick.  Solid worker.

 

Teaching Quality: 9

Cody is so fun to watch.  His energy makes this a quick watch and an easy learn.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 8

For a video download the sound and video qualities are great.

 

Overall Quality: 9

Once again Cody nails it with another release.  I highly recommend Las Vegas Aces to anyone who likes card tricks, gambling demonstrations, or wants to add that classic “from Las Vegas” style to their working routines.

 

 

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: Symbol by Steve Cook

 approvedTitle: Symbol

Artist:  Steve Cook

Producers: Alakazam Magic UK

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtx9hJsAuzo

Retail Price: $25.00 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD:  25 Minutes (approx.)

 

 

Steve Cook has created an ingenious variation to a multiple out effect that is so clean, so criminal that even if your spectator were to be another magician you’d still caught them off guard and leave them with nowhere to go.  Symbol is a brilliant packet trick that will live happily in your wallet, and will become a quick favorite among your impromptu line up guaranteed.

 

Six cards are displayed, each with a Zener symbol on them.  A spectator is asked to throw an imaginary six-sided die, and to come up with a freely chosen number of their own accord.  They can “roll” as many times as they wish.  Once they settle on a number, a card is removed from an envelope that has been in plain sight the entire time, and their selection and the prediction in the envelope both match!   When I saw Peter Nardi perform this the first time my mind instantly went to “that’s a cute hot rod force.”  I was blown out of the water when the trick finished because it was clearly NOT a hot rod!  Scratching my head, I opened up my web browser and immediately placed an order.  I don’t like being fooled so easily by simple effects.  Especially something like a multi out effect like this.  I think the hand print on my forehead remained there for a good couple of hours after reviewing the method upon receiving my product.

 

What you get is a packet of very well made Zener symbol cards, a black envelope for the reveal (and the DVD said I’d have to supply that myself- HAH!  Take that expectations!), and a couple extra cards which the DVD explains how to use.  The colors on the cards are quite vivid and can easily be seen at a distance.  The entire effect fits nicely in my wallet, and resets damn near instantly after performance.  The multiple out method is so ingeniously disguised that I’m willing to be it will fly by magicians let alone smoke the minds of any laymen watching.  Everything in the presentation is so fair, so open that the mind has very little room left to run to once the reveal hits.  It’s brilliant and I love it!

 

The DVD isn’t very long either.  You get about a half hour of tutorial which includes an in-studio performance of the trick.  This is something that you’ll quickly master, and you’ll have a lot of fun performing it as well.  The results you get are well worth it.

 

Symbol has quickly become one of my favorite go-to effects for anytime someone says to me: “You’re a magician?  Do something!”  It has the nice aesthetic of being a card trick but since it doesn’t use standard playing card images it feels very unique.  Very unusual.  Which is good considering the amount of “pick a card” tricks that flood the market.  It also lets you set the precedent for how it’s presented too.  Is this mental magic?  Is it Mentalism?  Is it ESP?  Is it a strange coincidence?  Since it uses Zener cards it really leaves the presentation up to you on how you want to approach it.  I’m very happy with my purchase, and I think anyone looking for that little extra something for close up will be very happy with Symbol.

 

 

 

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

Well made.  Good price.

 

Teaching Quality: 8

The DVD is easy to learn from.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 8

Great Sound and Video.

 

Overall Quality: 8

This is a product that went straight into my wallet, where it lives, and is used frequently.  I love Symbol!

 

 

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: Sharpie Thru Bill by Alan Rorrison

 approvedTitle: Sharpie Thru Bill

Artist: Alan Rorrison

Producers: Sans Minds

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

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

Retail Price: $19.95

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD:  21 Minutes

 

 

Solid thru Solid is one of the classic fundamental plots to magic.  Back in the 1980’s David Copperfield performed Tim Wink’s “Mislead” on national television, and it was this presentation that set the gold standard for borrowed object penetrations in magic.  Since then magicians from all over the globe have added their own two cents on the handling for this classic effect.  The only problem is that Pencils are quickly becoming passé, and those presentations usually required bulky gimmicks that would need to be ditched to end clean.  Then along came Allan Rorrison, and the game changed.  In conjunction with SansMind Productions Allan’s new effect “Sharpie Thru Bill” sets the stage for a whole new generation of performers doing the classic solid thru borrowed object plot, and it couldn’t be any better.

 

What you get is a DVD with about twenty minutes, give or take, of instructions on how to set the gimmick up and how to perform it.  Typical to SansMinds aversion to producing any gimmicks themselves you’ll have to make this one on your own.  This is usually the part in the review where I bitch and moan about it being an “arts and crafts project” and then throw the DVD into the magic recycle bin destined for the next garage sale.  However, this one is different.  The gimmick setup on Sharpie Thru Bill is simple enough that it doesn’t really require anything other than about five minutes of time and a very sharp pair of scissors.  You mean I get to play with sharp objects when making this?  I’m in!  I’m not the most skilled craftsman in the world, and it took me three tries to be happy with my gimmick.  Yeah I ruined two markers but that put me out a whole whopping five bucks.  Not a huge loss.  Also I can’t craft things to save my life, so there’s that.  I’m sure most people won’t have that problem.

 

The instruction on the DVD is standard for SansMinds.  You get to see what it looks like when it’s presented to a spectator, then you get to see how it is built, then you get a few additional ideas for handling and then it wraps up.  I found that the secret move is a bit knacky, and that’s probably because I’m about as coordinated as a drunken bull in a china shop so if you’re anything like me you’re going to spend some time capping and recapping until you feel you can do it smoothly and seamlessly.  The good news is it isn’t difficult to learn and you should have it fairly quick.

 

When it comes to practicality Sharpie Thru Bill is as practical as it gets.  This is a true worker’s illusion in that it will undoubtable get a lot of mileage with close up performers.  A few notes on Sharpie Thru Bill:

 

  • The gimmick is built into a standard Sharpie marker.
  • The gimmicked sharpie can still function as a normal marker.
  • The gimmick packs small, and plays big.
  • Can be done with a borrowed bill.
  • Perfect for strolling, and visual enough for stage.

 

Sharpie Thru Bill isn’t without its drawbacks though.  The illusion isn’t angle proof, and if you’re working in the round typical with strolling or street gigs this is something that you will need to be very aware of.  However, from the proper perspectives, this illusion is killer!

 

Over all I loved Allan’s approach to the classic solid thru solid effect.  I think using a Sharpie marker really modernizes the penetration plot nicely and makes it available to anyone.  You don’t need any fancy gimmicks because, if you have a Sharpie, you have this effect.  You just need to know how to prepare the marker.  On that note I really, REALLY, hate that SansMinds absolutely refuses to manufacture a gimmick for themselves.  Honestly guys how much effort would it take you to buy a grip of markers, run them thru the gimmicking process, and charge an extra $10 bucks.  You’re being lazy.  Knock it off.  If you like visual magic that instantly resets, and can play for a room of any size, this is the effect you’ve been looking for!  I highly recommend you check out Sharpie Thru Bill 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: 5

For a DVD with an effect on it that you’ll be doing for a long time, the price isn’t that bad.  Twenty bucks is pretty reasonable.  However the fact that I have to yet, once again, construct my own gimmick is going to take away a good four points from this score bringing it to a passible five points.  Seriously SansMinds.  You lazy.  As any good sales guy knows, you give the mark the first one free.  If they want to make more then you teach them how.

 

Teaching Quality: 5

The effect is well taught.  The instructions on how to make the gimmick is clear.  The only downside is Alan doesn’t make an appearance himself.  Why can’t we have the creator do an interview or show his handling or something?  Again loss of points for that.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 8

The sound and video are both solid and of quality.

 

Overall Quality: 9

This is one of those rare times where the products overall score is higher than the component scores that contributed to it solely based on the performance value of the trick.  Alan has created an improvement on Wink’s Mislead which served as an inspiration for this version.  This is going to be a worker for you.  You’re going to love it.  And I recommend it.

 

 

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: Black Bird by Jeff Copeland

 approvedTitle: Black Bird

Artist: Jeff Copeland

Producers: Murphy’s Magic

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

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

Retail Price: $59.95 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD:  3 hours 7 Minutes

 

 

Jeff Copeland’s Black Bird is a must have hold out gimmick for anyone doing coin work.  Period!

 

Jeff has created quite possibly the only must have utility device for coin magic workers period.  Black Bird takes sleeving to a new level as it allows you to seamlessly introduce coins into your magic routines without the need to steal from pockets, or other load positions.  Working with a wide range of coin sizes; Black Bird has been specifically created with removable inserts that will work with coins ranging from US Quarters, half dollars, and even silver dollar coins.  Black Bird comes with the gimmicks and the arm bands necessary for wearing them.  Given the Velcro attachment system it is completely possible to have a jacket easily modified for use of the gimmick without the need for the arm bands.  Once in place Black Bird stays firm and isn’t prone to moving around or accidently dislodging at an inconvenient time.  The only limitation it has is the number of coins it will let you hold out: you get one per sleeve.

 

The instructional video is a monster.  Three hours of face pounding tutorial which will take a zero and turn them into a hero of coin magic with the aid of the Black Bird gimmick.  Magicians who are already used to stealing their coins, sleeving coins, etc may adjust to the use of this gimmick faster.  The video includes six routines to use the Black Bird with that range in skill level from beginner to expert.  It will certainly give you enough material to chew on for a long time to come.

 

The Black Bird isn’t just practical, it’s a must have.  If you do anything with coins Black Bird will take that to the next level.  Black Bird is a locking gimmick.  So long as you don’t unlock it you are free to move your hands around without fear of dropping a coin out of your sleeve.  The locking and unlocking action on this gimmick is silent, and can be done right under the spectator’s noses without fear of them hearing the gimmick “talk”.  If you’ve never done anything with coins before, then this is a great place to start.   Black Bird resets very quickly, making this a great utility for street workers and table hoppers.  At just under sixty dollars Black Bird isn’t going to be the least expensive purchase you’re going to be making this year, but it’s also not going to be the worst either.  Around the cost of about two standard DVD’s Black Bird is a no brainer for anyone who is interested in coin work.

 

Over all I can’t imagine doing coin magic without a Black Bird now that I’ve handled it.  Combined with Sean Goodman’s Secret Servante, or any similar device, and you’re going to melt faces, blow minds, and make reputations.  Seriously consider getting a Black Bird if you do anything with coins.  You’ll thank me for the recommendation later.

 

 

 

 

 

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 isn’t cheap, but it’s not over priced either.  The only drawback is you can only hold out two coins, one per unit.

 

Teaching Quality: 9

Very thorough.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 8

For a three hour long streamed video, it’s not bad quality.

 

Overall Quality: 9

A must have for any coin worker.

 

 

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: Fall by Philip Ryan

 

approved

Title: Fall

Artist: Banachek and Philip Ryan

Producers: Vortex Magic

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0-Kr8NQ_ZM

Retail Price: $24.95

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of Video Download: 12 Minutes

 

 

Fall is a brilliant reimagining of the classic tip over block trick that many of us know and love.  Inspired by Banachek, and brought to life by Philip Ryan Fall is in position to become one of the hottest instant illusions of the year.

 

The package itself is unassuming.  It’s a pen length box with the gimmick inside.  The gimmick being a Sharpie marker.  A note to the wise: Don’t try and remove the cap.  You can ruin your gimmick if you try.  The construction on the gimmick is solid.  You can handle this thing with ease and not have to worry about breaking it.  Obviously, it can’t be handled by the spectator (because the cap doesn’t come off) but that’s nothing a simple switch out can’t fix.  The construction of the gimmick is so well done that it must come with a predesignated marking system on it so you don’t confuse it with other non-gaffed sharpie markers.

 

There is no usual DVD or even printed instructions for the trick.  Instead you get a link to an online password protected video, you get the password as well.  The video is short and sweet.  This is what the gimmick is, this is where it came from, and this is how you use it.  The video comes in at just shy of twelve minutes so it’s a quick watch.

 

One of the selling points of Fall is its variable timing option.  You can invisibly set the time for the fall right under the spectator and have the marker drop anywhere from around fifteen seconds to upwards of two minutes.  Instantly resettable.  Other incarnations of this gimmick are not nearly as versatile.  Performing Fall takes a couple minutes of playing with the gimmick to get the hang of the timing.  As I said the gimmick is self-contained so there are no strings, magnets, or wires to fuss with.  Fall instantly resets and can be performed again strait away.  This is where using the variable timing can really be important, making Fall ideal for table hopping, or strolling.  Given the visual appeal of the pen falling over by itself I can see it also playing really well for a stage show too.

 

Fall is highly practical for many reasons.  It’s reliable, it’s well made, and its premise is diverse enough to fit into just about any act.  Street, Mentalism, Spiritualism, Spook, there’s a lot of ways to interpret the forces behind why the pen drops.  All it takes is a little creativity on your part to connect those dots together.

 

Over all I’m very satisfied with my Fall.  I think one of the largest limitations of previous incarnations of this same effect is the overly propish nature of the wooden blocks that were often used.  Philip addresses that concern by creating the gimmick in a way that flies right by people because it’s such an ordinary object. The price is very reasonable as well.  Fall comes in at under $25 bucks making it an easy purchase for just about any budget.  Given its versatility in how it can be performed Fall is going straight into my working material where I anticipate it will stay for a good time to come.  I highly recommend you check out Fall for yourself!

 

 

 

 

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 right, the product is well made, and even if handled roughly will still probably last a lifetime.

 

Teaching Quality: 9

Simple, direct, to the point, and well taught without all the needless filler.  Just the way I like my videos.

 

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Sound and video, for a download isn’t bad.

 

Overall Quality: 9

Fall is exactly what I expected it to be, and hot damn am I glad I got 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 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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