January 21st, 2009 11:38am
|This trick is a bit tacky and definitely NOT my style, and certainly something that I would think would be a little much for restaurant or corporate work. However, take a minute to read my review; you may be surprised by what I have to say.
First, the effect:
A signed card (signed on the back) is placed in the deck by the spectator. The spectator shuffles the cards while the magi turns his back. When the magi turns around, the spectator is still holding the deck, yet the signed card is sticking out of the magi's mouth...
Next the face of the card is rubbed against the magi's mouth, and the face of the card is now vanished. Finally, a cheesy grin reveals the selected card (forced 7D) embedded into the magi's set of Grill/Teeth.
Is the effect over-hyped?
As amazing as that sounds, believe it or not, that is a very accurate description of what happens. It's quite a solid piece of magic.
Let's talk about what comes with the package for $45.00 bucks. In a plastic ziploc bag, you will receive:
* A Handful of blank-face playing cards
* A 50 minute instructional DVD in a paper sleeve
* A Custom ring box with the Grillz teeth and some wax for custom fitting
* Full color instructions for custom shaping your grillz
* Paper directions for the effect
The last two items are also included on the DVD.
I was actually impressed with the quality of the custom ring box. Unfortunately that's the least important part of the product because it's just a storage box. The paper directions included were redundant and therefore unnecessary. The DVD itself comes in a paper sleeve, and therefore is a bit of pain to store on my DVD shelf with the rest of my DVDs that have cases. Again, that's probably a minor concern.
Finally, the grillz themselves: They're made out of a relatively low quality flexible plastic/metal substance with really cheap looking costume jewelry style "diamonds." It seems to me that back in the 70's I had a bunch of these "diamonds" strung together hanging from doorways thus substituting "beads" for doors... very smooth... very clever.
In the defense of the relatively low quality tooth appendage, it's going to be in your mouth, and likely most people won't get close enough to notice. However, there was a warning on the DVD that said if you get hot water on the Grillz that the "jewels" will fall out, so don't drink coffee while wearing your Grillz.
The DVD was shot in somebody's garage. David Leon and Daniel Lachman hanging out in the garage go through each of the sections below. The DVD has a very casual and super-low tech feel to it. It's definitely unscripted, and there were some lighting issues. The film was a bit grainy and hard to see at some points.
As for the menu and the editing and the post production stuff, quality was good. Apparently Daniel Lachman is more than just a magi, but also an editor. Not too shabby.
The DVD has just a few sections, so I'll discuss each one:
David Leon, the creator of Grillz, gives you a brief history of how the effect came to be. It's about a minute long and relatively interesting.
Here, in the garage o' mystery, David displays the items that came with the purchase and the few things you'll need that did not come with the purchase (tweezers, bowl, water).
Customizing your Grillz:
This section takes you step-by-step on how to custom shape the Grillz to fit your teeth. He also mentions, in this section, that you could wear the Grillz and talk to people without people noticing. He says that he'll discuss that further later on the DVD. A) He never discusses this further as promised, and B) making a statement like that leads me to believe that he's never actually put the Grillz in his mouth. During the performance section which is not done by David, but rather by his friend Daniel Lachman, we discover why I say that.
First, Lachman with his mouth closed, looks like a chipmunk while wearing the teeth. Suddenly I'm having flashbacks of my days as an eighth-grade-retainer-wearer. Secondly, when Lachman says "Is this your card" as he gestures to the Grillz in his mouth, the words are barely intelligible. There is no way you could wear these things and talk to the spectators.
The only way that would be possible is if you had real diamonds put into your real teeth. While you're at it, you might as well tattoo a force card on your arm and have another force card branded into you chest (disclaimer: don't actually do these things). Luckily, the trick does not require you to do so. They are secretly put in your mouth at just the right moment.
Basic Routine Performance:
Here, Daniel performs the effect for David in the secret garage hide-away. There are no cuts; you see the whole performance, and as I mentioned earlier, it does fulfill the ad's claim... very clever and very simple. Also, during the performance, David admits that he's not that great of a technician with the cards. He was more interested in the impact of the effect with the simplest possible method.
I appreciate this, and I welcome it. I love his honesty and directness. It gives the whole project much more credibility. I will dispute, however, that the method he used is the most clean and simplest. With a minimal amount of thinking, several simpler methods will come to mind as you watch this.
Basic Routine Explanation:
Here we have David and Daniel sort of tag team the explanation. They are very thorough and assume that you are a beginner. There are some parts in the explanation, however, where it appears that Daniel is not satisfied with David's explanation, so he basically snatches the cards out of David's hands and takes over the explanation.
Once the explanation was done, they ran through the entire explanation again (a bit quicker this time) in black and white. Frankly, this was a little annoying because it was overkill. The original explanation was just fine.
"Advanced" Routine Handling:
This is just too much. The so called "advanced" handling was simply the addition of a convoluted extra phase to the routine that attempts to resemble an ambitious card routine. Then at the end of this phase, Daniel states that you are now ready to go on with the regular routine because the deck is now set perfectly for the basic handling. While this is true, that the deck is set for the regular handling, you certainly cannot go on with the basic handling because the effect has become too convoluted at this point, and continuing with the regular handling basically is repeating, in a more awkward manner, the so called advanced handling. This was just a waste of space for the DVD. It should have been left out.
This is actually a super-clever and fun way to present this effect, and if I were to perform this effect, this is the performance (or something similar to this) that I would use. The handling of the cards is much simpler, and there are no gimmicked cards or anything. It could even be done with a borrowed deck as long as the deck has a Seven of Diamonds in it.
Tips and Closing:
Here are a couple of basic tips that felt more like filler. Because the trick requires that you lose a blank facer each time you perform, they offer an alternate idea for those who can't afford to purchase a deck of blank facers for replacements.
The alternate idea costs almost the same as just purchasing the blank facers. I mean a deck of blank facers is only $5.00 bucks. If you can't afford that, then you don't own Grillz in the first place because it costs $45.00 bucks. If you perform for real people, buy the darn blank cards. Plus the trick comes with 6 blank cards.
There was one tip on here that I thought was definitely worth the time, however. He mentions a clever idea to do at the end of the routine that will help you get repeat gigs and contacts. Which, of course, brings in more money thus allowing you to afford that deck of blank-facers you've always wanted.
Live Performances on The Streets:
Next we have live performances by Daniel in the streets of San Francisco. You see about 4 or 5 performances. Frankly, the first performance, I would have left out because the spectator's reactions were pretty lame. However, I applaud his honesty in showing various reactions, some good and some not so good.
For those of us who perform for real people, we know that's the way reality is. One other thing I will say, which is more along the lines of advice for Daniel. Keep in mind that my opinion here is solely based on his performance on this DVD. He's a pretty confident and relatively competent performer.
However, he has a couple of quirks that we'd all do well to learn from. First, he tends to rock and wave and wiggle around a lot while performing. I used to do this a lot in my stage work until someone pointed it out to me. It's very difficult to stand still, but it makes a ton of difference when performing.
Secondly, he is often rushed in his patter. He explained the logic of his patter in the explanation portion of the DVD, but when performing live, he left out a lot of points of his patter that gives the routine some logic and "credibility." Again, this is another trap that I and most who read this have likely fallen into. Just another tip to watch out for these things.
This was less like credits and more like "thank yous." He took a minute to thank those involved in the production rather than mentioning any credits that may have been needed.
Overall, I would give this product some serious consideration. Although I will likely never custom fit my Grillz, and they will forever remain in their fancy ring box provided with this DVD, I did get some performance ideas. Some thoughts were generated that lead to the creation of a couple of ideas that I may be adding to my repertoire. Also, I should mention that David, the creator, seemed like a genuinely nice guy, and just a cool laid back person that you might want to hang out and jam with.
To restate what I said 17 years ago when I started this review, "This trick is a bit tacky and definitely NOT my style, and certainly something that I would think would be a little much for restaurant or corporate work."
Now allow me to add one caveat. The ideas that I got by watching this - and the ideas you will likely get if you're a working pro - are ones that do not use the Grillz mouth-piece and therefore are suitable for the above mentioned venues.
Based on David's personality and the other ideas that were inspired by watching this, I would recommend it to anyone who performs on a relatively frequent basis as a professional.
Now if you'll excuse me I have an appointment with my dentist to get some diamonds installed.
Product info for Grillz
Author: David Leon ProductionsAverage Rating: (1)Retail Price: $45.00
Manufacturer's Description: THE ULTIMATE CARD TO MOUTH!
David brings to you the newest, ultimate card to mouth effect. Street tested and proven! Effect
A card is selected and put back into the deck; the deck is cut and shuffled. Their card ends up on top of the deck. (First whammy)
You have them sign the back of their card. You instruct them to put their card face up into the face up deck and then they shuffle it while you don't look. When they look at you they see their card with their signature sticking out of your mouth! (Second whammy)
Then you slowly remove the card from your mouth, give it a little motion and turn the card around, the front of their card has completely disappeared! (Third whammy)
Then, you slowly move the card away from your face and smile! Their card appears in bright gemstones embedded in a set of custom silver Teeth "Grillz" (fourth whammy)!
You will get great reactions at every step of the routine!
David Leon's "Card Grillz" are intended for decoration and entertainment purposes only. They are not intended for eating, sleeping or for the replacement of natural teeth or broken fillings. One size will fit most all teeth.
- Easy routine anyone can do!
- Grillz are Safe, custom made and custom fit!
- Grillz are great for street magic, close up and stand up!
- Complete DVD instructions and routines!
- Blank face cards included!