Draven Reviews: 52 Pieces of Paper by Idan Kaufman

approved Title: 52 Pieces of Paper
Artist: Idan Kaufman
Producers: Big Blind Media
Retail Price: $29.95
Learning Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Length of DVD:  1 Hour

Features:
•    Play All
•    Introduction
•    Productions
•    Moves
•    Routines
•    Goodbye
•    Extras

52 Pieces of Paper is the brain child of Israeli magician Idan Kaufman (pronounced ‘He-Done’) and is based off a small paperback book of a similar name that he wrote.  This DVD features a varying range of card magic from productions and utility moves to routines you can perform.  Idan’s skill level is amazing in this DVD oh and did I mention he’s only 17?  Grab your deck of cards, and let’s put 52 Pieces of Paper to the Draven Review test.

Honestly I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this DVD.  Card magic really is hit and miss for me anymore, and speaking personally I’ve become less of a fan of card magic over the years.  I personally find card magic to lack inspiration, creativity, and purpose.  To me it’s just the same plots over and over to the point that if a magician asks you to pick a card I would be more impressed if the trick screwed up and he didn’t find the right card than if he did.  Considering that I started out as a close up magician mostly focusing on card work I’ve already got a fairly impressive library of card material as is.  But there was something about 52 Pieces of Paper that caught my attention and it wasn’t the magic.  It was the talent.  Here I’ve got a 17 year old kid who has some serious performance skill putting out a DVD on one of the most beaten into the ground subjects in magic.  Either he’s naïve, delusional, or he’s got something to say on the subject.  I put my bets on the later and couldn’t have been more happier with the results.

The DVD follows the typical Demonstrate, Review/ Teach formula common with most magic DVD’s with a bit of an artistic flair.  After you see the demonstration the first time the video does a rewind complete with sound effect to repeat the demonstration over again before teaching the trick.  I’ve already said that I was impressed with Idan’s technical skills, but what I’m not overly impressed by was the material he’s teaching.  For the bulk of the DVD it wouldn’t appear that Idan is teaching material that he created.  Rather he’s teaching his variation of others material that he has been inspired from.  Granted he’s nice enough to site his sources of inspiration on everything he does but I’m not sure saying where you got the move from is the same thing as having permission to teach it.  Ethics start to get a little blurry here.  But since I’m not intimately familiar with all the original works he cites so I can’t say for myself if what he’s teaching is original enough to be his own or if he’s basically teaching the same thing, and since I write a review blog, not an ethics blog, I’m going to leave it at that.  His sources are well cited, and he’s clear (or at least his editing crew is) on whether or not the move he’s teaching was printed somewhere else or just inspired by something else.

Idan teaches you five different kinds of productions, five different moves, and five routines.  They range in difficulty levels, and I’m sure there’s going to be something in here for everyone.  This may not be a DVD you use every last bit of material in it for your act, but I’m confident that you’re going to find something in here you’ll like.  Personally I loved his Bazinga routine because of its comedic moments on the off beats.  Just to give you an idea of what this routine is about a card is selected, lost, and shuffled through the deck.  The top four cards on the deck are used to tell the performer something about the selected card.  The questions these top four cards reveal answers to are: Red or Black, Odd or Even, Spade/Club or Heart/Diamond, and finally what the card is.  All four cards turned over is the same identical card, and what is better the card is the spectators selected card.  Each time the card is revealed answering a question it is then turned face down, and pitched onto the table.  At the end the four cards on the table have become the four aces!  The effect ends with the spectators selected card becoming a card to impossible location effect.

I enjoyed 52 Pieces of Paper.  There’s a lot of great material in this DVD, and the bonus section has a couple palming variations that Idan talks about during his Moves portion of the video.  The tricks in this DVD range from the kinds of things you’d expect to find in a formal close up show, to things that you could do around the kitchen table to amaze your friends and family.  If you are into card magic, you may want to check this out.

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
The price isn’t bad, and the magic is certainly usable. Lower than expected marks due to the ethics issue I personally have with teaching other peoples published work without expressing permissions were given.  Citing source is not the same as having permission, unless it’s public domain.  I don’t know enough about the source material to make any further judgment calls other than raising a cautionary eyebrow.

Teaching Quality: 7
Easy enough to follow along with.  The material ranges in difficulty.

Video & Sound Quality: 8
Sound and Video are both good.

Overall Quality: 7
52 Pieces of Paper is a solid card magic DVD, and Idan is a very skilled young magician.  Well worth taking a look at if you’re into card magic.

Have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog!

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About William Draven

William Draven is a professional magician and sideshow performer living in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter at WilliamDraven or on facebook at www.facebook.com/thewilliamdraven
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