Tuesday, April 09, 2013

"Check out the following reviews on these three items!"

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Recently I wrote some reviews on new products to hit our store these past couple of weeks.  Since I'm the kind of guy who loves reading reviews, I wanted to share my thoughts on the following three items with you.  These are my unbiased thoughts on them, and hopefully they will help you decide if the products will fit your style or not.

We will take a look at the following three items in this newsletter:

1. Card Artistry 2.0 by Justin Flom - DVD
2. Handpicked Astonishments: Thumbtips by Joshua Jay - DOWNLOAD
3. Handpicked Astonishments: Card Forces by Joshua Jay - DOWNLOAD



My Rating: 8.5/10
Price: $25.00 (+2 Reward Points Earned)
LINK: http://www.mjmmagic.com/store/card-artistry-2-by-vanishing-inc-trick-p-15918.html

In case you aren't familiar with the Card Artistry effect, it can be summed up like this. A spectator's card is lost in the deck, and the magician reveals the card by "painting" a classic picture (like the Mona Lisa) which contains your card within the painting! It's one of those things you have to SEE to get the full picture, and you can view a demo of it right here.

With this second 2.0 version, Justin has taken things to the next level. Unlike the original version (which is only done with one painting during performance), this version contains a collage of many famous paintings, with the spectator's card as the highlighted masterpiece!

But BEST OF ALL, in this version, the card can be signed or drawn upon by the spectator. It's much more personal in nature, and as magician's that's worth its weight in gold.

It's not just a "quick" card trick. This is one of those things where you want to CONNECT with your spectator. Since you ask them to draw a piece of artwork on the card, this gives you precious time to sit with them, strike up a conversation, and make that personal connection which really opens them up emotionally for the finale (which they will NEVER see coming).

You can literally turn this into a 10 minute effect as you comment and interact with your spectators!

In case you are wondering: NO, you DO NOT need to own the first Card Artistry before purchasing this one. In fact, Justin includes the entire instruction from the original Card Artistry on this DVD! So you basically get that entire DVD on here, plus you get the new content which was added for this new 2.0 version.

- When the effect is over, and they're sitting there in total amazement, all the cards can be examined! Once the spectator sees the final "painting", they are free to look at the cards (front and back). There is nothing to clean up or ditch.

- The cards are produced on quality USPCC stock, so they aren't cheap or flimsy. In fact, because there are no red/blue backs on the cards, they can be put into any deck that you like, assuming that the FACES of the deck you're using match the standard pips of most decks. So if you use a Tally-Ho deck for example, you can easily use these cards because the faces will still match that deck.

- Reset is ALMOST instant. If you want to immediately perform this again, you just need to pick up the cards in a certain order. This can easily be done by picking them up in reverse order, and it's something that can be casually done while speaking to your spectator without them thinking about it. Once the stack is picked up, it's put back in the deck and you're ready to go again.

- Not really a "con" since if you're purchasing this effect, you already know what you're getting, but this is an effect that can only be performed with a table or flat surface. Again, not a big deal since this is the nature of the effect. No one should purchase this and say, "What? You mean I can't have this performed while walking down the street to random people?" No, you can't.....unless you have your own pop-up table!

- While the effect comes with a great instructional DVD (and the cards), you still need to perform this with a sticky surface. Justin Flom recommends the back of a close up pad (the kind which has a rubbery back). Otherwise, it will be much more difficult for you to execute the "painting" motion, because the cards won't have anything to adhere to. So if you're purchasing this effect, just keep that in mind.

Overall, I would give this effect 8.5/10. It's a FANTASTIC effect which I would have given 10/10, except it does need to be performed on a surface, and that surface shouldn't be too smooth or else it would be more difficult to pull off. Not to mention, it can't be done with a borrowed deck due to the special painted cards needed, but if that's not an issue for you, this is a MEMORABLE effect, and it's something which you will CONNECT to your spectator because it's very personal in nature. The fact that you can use a spectator's personalized card in the painting, and that it can be performed again with a DIFFERENT card makes this version better than the original.

The DVD is well produced, and Justin is very straightforward and easy to learn from. If you don't mind having a stack in your deck, and you have the right surface to perform on, this is a trick that is memorable, visual, and not something that people will have seen before!

My Rating: 8.5/10
Price: $25.00 (+2 Reward Points Earned)
LINK: http://www.mjmmagic.com/store/card-artistry-2-by-vanishing-inc-trick-p-15918.html


Handpicked Astonishments: Thumbtips by Joshua Jay - DOWNLOAD

My Rating: 10/10
Price: $19.95 (+2 Reward Points Earned)
LINK: http://www.mjmmagic.com/store/paul-harris-handpicked-astonishments-vol-1-thumbtips-download-p-15921.html

As Joshua Jay says on the DVD, "a thumbtip is a SECRET POCKET that's in plain site, and yet is invisible." What a great description of this universal gimmick that everyone should own! And yet, many who own one don't understand all the possibilities that you can use it for!

Here's what I liked about the DVD Download (which I watched start-to-finish and never got bored):

If you are new to thumb tips, or if you don't currently use one because you think it's limited in what you can do with it, then this really offers some great routines that you can do.

I remember the first trick I ever saw a magician do with a thumbtip: he made a silk disappear. I thought this was all you could do with a thumbtip for a long time (before getting involved with magic, of course)!

On this DVD, Joshua Jay (who is an outstanding teacher and presenter) shows how thumbtips are used to make items switch, appear, disappear, and transpose....all with this simple little gimmick that you can pick up for under a buck!

The routines on this DVD are easy for a beginner, but pack serious power for the professional. Did you ever think to do a METAL BENDING routine using a thumbtip? That's covered on here, along with many other routines.

Not to mention, Joshua covers a technique on here (during the teaching of Salt and Pepper) which I never even thought to use before (but can't mention or else I'd give it away)! All I got to say is, "Joshua, way to think outside the box, brother!"

In addition to routines, Joshua goes in depth about the different kinds of thumbtips, and how it really doesn't matter what skin color you are, or what type of thumbtip you use......he teaches you how to make it virtually undetectable so you don't feel like someone is going to notice it.

He covers thumbtip CARE, and how to make them fit a certain way! He covers MANAGEMENT, ANGLES, and how to keep it on without it being noticed.

He doesn't just say, "Here's an effect, let me teach it to you." He covers PRINCIPLES first, devoting an entire sections to STEALS and LOADS, so that you feel comfortable doing the "moves" before ever getting into the routines.

To sum it up, this isn't just a DVD on some tricks you can do with thumbtips. In fact, I found a lot of GREAT VALUE in the first half of the DVD, where Joshua is just TALKING about the management and angles.....how to carry yourself......how to be relaxed while using them. After watching this DVD, you're going to want to bust out your Thumbtip and begin using it all the time!

I literally have NOTHING NEGATIVE to say about this item. It's currently available as a DOWNLOAD, so you can literally begin to watch it TODAY as soon as your order is processed!

My Rating: 10/10
Price: $19.95 (+2 Reward Points Earned)
LINK: http://www.mjmmagic.com/store/paul-harris-handpicked-astonishments-vol-1-thumbtips-download-p-15921.html


Handpicked Astonishments: Card Forces by Joshua Jay - DOWNLOAD

My Rating: 10/10
Price: $19.95 (+2 Reward Points Earned)
LINK: http://www.mjmmagic.com/store/paul-harris-handpicked-astonishments-vol-2-card-forces-download-p-15922.html

I just finished watching the first volume of this Handpicked Astonishment series (Thumbtips), which I absolutely loved! Now it's time to move onto the card forces.

I must admit that I love CARD MAGIC above all else. I always have. So I was particularly looking forward to reviewing this one.

Because this is a separate review, I do need to repeat myself a little (in case you haven't yet checked out my other review). Joshua Jay is fantastic. There's just something about his presentational style which is very inviting, and easy to learn from. You don't have to go, "Wait a minute....what the heck did he just do? Where's that rewind button!" Nope, not here. His teaching is clear and concise, and everything is covered beautifully from multiple angles.

Another thing I liked about this DVD: it's not just a collection of tricks or routines. In fact, Joshua goes into detail about principles that you need to know, like SELLING THE FORCE and the psychology behind it. For example, he covers how to make a person (who picked a card YOU FORCED on him) begin to believe that they THOUGHT of the card (as opposed to picking it). It's subtleties like this which are invaluable, and well worth the cost of the DVD. Anyone can learn a "move", but to learn the psychological mechanics behind it (and how to make the spectator THINK something happened when it really didn't) is such a powerful thing.

In addition to executing forces, Joshua covers such topics as MISDIRECTION. In other words, he doesn't just say, "First you do this....then you do that. BOOM, forced card." Instead, he talks about using timing and certain words/gestures to create misdirection which naturally plays into the force.

He covers forces from the TOP and BOTTOM of the deck, so you will be able to use the right one that fits what you're looking for.

One of the things I LOVED is when Joshua imparts little bits of knowledge that you never even thought about before. For example, you may not realize it, but when you TURN AWAY your head to show a spectator a card, you are psychologically conveying to them that you have no idea what this card is, nor do you want to know. Hence, you're looking away. That's something you may do naturally, but you may have never stopped to think, "Wow, you're right! Just by looking away, I can take the heat off the force because it subconsciously instills in the spectator's mind that this card is not known to the magician."

Another thing Joshua does (especially with the Slipcut Force) is he CORRECTS a lot of mistakes that other magicians do. He trims the fat, and gets down to the bare bones of how to perform it correctly.

Bottom line: I loved this DVD. For card magic, it's always good to know multiple ways to force a card. Whether you're new to card magic, or you're a working pro, I think you will find value in this DVD. Beginners will love the easy instruction, and professionals will love Joshua's thoughts and background behind the motivation of the force.

Best of all, you can DOWNLOAD THIS VIDEO today, and begin watching it as soon as your order is processed. Why wait for something to ship when you can access it online?

My Rating: 10/10
Price: $19.95 (+2 Reward Points Earned)
LINK: http://www.mjmmagic.com/store/paul-harris-handpicked-astonishments-vol-2-card-forces-download-p-15922.html

No comments: