Title: 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.
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