July 23rd, 2012 10:13pm
Dr. J. M. Ayala de Cedoz
|I am surprised to see that nobody has reviewed this video yet, seeing as how popular it was at one point and how much people were talking about it, so here goes...
First thoughts upon seeing the effects on this DVD? WOW!
There is definitely plenty of material on here for the working magician, and there are a lot of magic books/videos where a person/reviewer will tell you that there is 'something for everyone' in it. In this case, I think 99% of the performers out there will get at least 4 or 5 things from this disc.
I will start off by saying that, since I am a coin specialist as far as close-up work is concerned, my favorite routines on this DVD were the coin routines: 3C, No Palm Coins Through Table and Ring to Purse. I will get to those later.
If you have read the Vortex book by Tom Stone, you will be familiar with the effect and handling of the Kick Back Kings on this DVD. In the Vortex book, it is the effect known as 'King Castling' (one of my absolute favorite effects in that book!). The difference? Not really anything except Lee Smith is using the pockets instead of a table. Very well worth learning and if you already do King Castling from the Vortex book, this is a great handling for that when you do not have a table available.
Kick Back Kicker is basically a follow-up to Kick Back Kings, but is hardly necessary as a follow-up. It is a transposition of the four Kings and a selection where you place the selection into your pocket, show the four Kings, and suddenly the selection appears back amongst the four Kings. A wave of the hand and the Kings are turned face-up, only to show that the selection has vanished. As you reach into your pocket, you pull out the four Kings and the card(s) that the audience previously thought were four Kings is now the selection! Some may consider this to be "flashy" but if you perform everything slowly, it looks very good and is quite surprising and magical. If you go too fast, you will lose some audience members because it will be hard to follow if you do not pause to let the effect register. I think it is better suited as a stand-alone effect, perhaps in conjunction with an effect using the four kings that is not as strong as the Kick Back Kings effect.
T.N.T. Now the description of this one may be slightly misleading to those of you who perform the common style of Torn and Restored cards where the card is ripped into quarters and put back together. Here, you talk about having a prediction in your pocket and you show the back of it, and it has a corner missing. A card is selected, signed and returned to the deck, which is then shuffled. The top card is shown and placed into the middle of the deck, and when the participant snaps their fingers over the deck, their card appears on top, a la Ambitious Card. The magician tears a corner off of it and gives it to the participant to hold on to. You proceed to restore the corner on the selection and then is alerted that the corner from that card is still in the hand of the participant. The prediction is removed from your pocket and the corner in their hand, which had changed places with the corner from their selection, is found to match!
For me, T.N.T. lacks some bit of sense but maybe I am not seeing the whole thing the way it is meant to be. There seems to me to be a lack of motivation in the way the selection is found after it is lost in the deck, or at the very least, it lacks reason for doing it the way it appears. Yes, I do get why it would be magical to others, but personally I do not think it is really all that magical because of the aforementioned lack of motivation or plot structure. The lighting situation during the filming of this effect was awful, and during the restoration phase, the light of the camera was bouncing in a big ball of blinding white light off the corner of the card that was being restored. It detracted from the visuals big time. I will say, however, that the mechanics of the effect are very good and it is not really all that difficult, so if you can find a way to better sell or motivate the effect, you will have a good one to use.
Eyefone 10 (misnamed in the mylovelyassistant.com description as Easyfone 10): This was an effect that Lee Smith was thinking about marketing as a single item, and he very well could have. He lets loose with it here on this DVD and many performers and audiences will love this, especially for those that are into the Tech Magic genre (effects that use iPhones, iPads, Smartphones, etc.). I am not one of them so I will never use this, but it is a VERY cool effect and is extremely ingenious in another way, which I will get to later.
The effect starts by introducing the latest in cell phone technology - you introduce a card that is blank on one side and has all the buttons of a phone and a screen printed on the other. You have a card selected, signed and returned to the deck. After a bit of comedy and you talking into the phone card as if talking to someone, they look for their card in the deck and find that it is missing. You hand them the phone card and have them turn it over. Their card, complete with their signature, is on the previously blank side of the phone card! They can keep it as a souvenir.
Now, this effect is explained in depth. Lee gives the history behind the effect, the way he developed it over the years and he brings in a couple of guest magicians to teach their ideas and thoughts for this effect. You learn the how, the why, every little nuance and everything in between. Lee then shows you the different types of "phone cards" you can use for this effect, and the cool thing is that the DVD comes with a PDF complete with all the necessary printing templates, all of which are completely customizable! Here is where the ingenious thing comes in: Lee shows you how to put the cards together, along with your name and telephone number in the "screen" (just like a real phone would have). What a great and very memorable marketing tool! With the templates provided, you can either print the graphics directly to double blank cards, you can print it on stickers and stick them onto a double blank, or you can print it onto a heavier weight of paper and attach that to the double blanks. There are lots of options here, but as Lee says, and I agree, the best thing to do is print directly into the cards if you can. The other thing you will need is a pack of blank back cards (faces printed on one side, blank on the back). This will allow you to print your souvenir/marketing phone cards that you give away at the end. This routine overall is not really hard to do, but it will take plenty of practice/rehearsal and it is very well explained (Lee spends somewhere around 30 minutes explaining all of this). The ONE big pet peeve I had about this effect was that during the performance section, there was background music going on (this DVD was filmed in a club-type setting) and the music was loud enough to drown Lee out, at least as far as the camera microphone(s) was/were concerned. I had a lot of trouble understanding what he was saying, but you still get the visual bang of the routine.
Easy Eyefone is the handling for the above effect from Gary Jones, but is everything stripped to the bare bones to make it easy as possible.
Scoop is not really a spin on the Anniversary Waltz per se, but then again, it is. It is basically an Ambitious Card routine using a card signed by the participant and another signed by you. At the end, you 'scoop' your signature off of your card and onto the back of theirs. It is very clean, very magical and it looks great! It is a wonderful way to end your Ambitious Card routine, and makes for a memorable souvenir. It is also quite easy to do with a little practice.
3C: This is a very magical three coin routine done with 3 silver dollars, but you can also use half-dollar sized coins as well. A piece of napkin is introduced and lit on fire to produce a coin, and the other two are produced from the air (or any other way you wish to do it). From there, you go into a sequence of very visual and magical vanishes and reappearances, as well as a bit of a pseudo-3 Fly. Gary uses a leather wallet during this routine because he was also working on a hard table, but a close-up mat would work just as well. For the finale, the coins are vanished and reproduced, and then placed, one at a time, onto the wallet. While the first two coins are on the wallet, the third coin is vanished as you step away from the table a tad. Just when they think it is in your pocket, they find it on the wallet! A very magical routine and very well worth learning. One of the best routines on the DVD, in my opinion.
No-Palm Coins Through Table is just exactly that. It uses a principle that has been around for some time, but nobody has made use of it in this way, as far as I know. The result is a very, very clean, very magical Coins Through Table, requiring no work (okay, just a teeny, tiny singular bit) at all. If you are familiar with the plot and it presentation, there is no reason you could not perform this right out of the proverbial box. Would I use this version of Coins Through Table myself? No. Why? First of all, because I prefer a few other traditional ways (via sleight of hand) of doing it, and I would not set up a coin just for this effect (which takes absolutely NO time to do and is not much of a "set-up") BUT, if I happen to be using this principle for something else and I could easily transition to this, then yes, I would absolutely use it! Gary also teaches a lot of little nuances of this effect - very well taught.
Ring to Purse is a transposition of a borrowed ring and three coins (not a coin purse, as the descriptions read), which uses a squeeze-style coin purse. A ring is borrowed and three coins are introduced. The ring is placed into one hand and the coins into the purse. You shake the purse to rattle the coins and after a few times, the purse falls silent and the coins are heard in the opposite hand and are shown to have changed places with the ring, which is then dumped out of the coin purse! This routine not only gives you the visual aspect of a magic effect, but it also has an audio quality. You see it and you hear it. Very magical and easy to do - the gimmick is very clever and is a sort of spin on an old Michael Rubinstein idea.
No Sleep is an effect remniscent of the Shoot Ogawa Gambler Transpo effects from the Cultural Exchange Vols. 1 and 2 DVDs. This is basically an in-the-hands transposition of the four Aces and the four Queens. In my opinion, this handling is quite bold compared to the Shoot Ogawa versions, and in the performance section of the DVD, most people will not catch it, but there was a very obvious flash because of improper angle placement of the performer (Gary, in this case) in relation to the camera. This effect can be done semi-surrounded with an audience that is slightly less that 3/4 frontal, but it still has some angle issues. If you watch your angles though, it is a very strong effect and the handling is easy enough - it is just bold.
Vanishing Point is exactly what the description reads: it is a very bold sandwich effect, but if you give it the practice it deserves and have good audience management skills, you will have a strong effect.
If you are a fan of Charlie Miller or of card magic in general, chances are you either already perform, or at least are already familiar with the Dunbury Delusion. This is a spin on that, using a gambling plot with a bank note as the objective! It plays well and I really like this one. One of the best effects on the DVD in my opinion.
1 Short of a Full Deck is a really neat prediction effect, but in a different way from the usual. A deck is shuffled and then spread face-up in order for an audience member to touch one of the cards. It is memorized. You turn the deck face down and spread through it to show that you previously removed a card from a deck with a different colored back and placed it in this one. You then turn over the odd-backed card to show that it is the card they selected; that card is then placed into your pocket. You take out your wallet and inside is a playing card. Its back matches the rest of the deck and the face matches their selection! Very nice handling and almost impromptu version of Brainwave.
Pocket to Pocket to Pocket is a fast and furious flight of a selected card going from one pocket, to another to yet another. It is fast, it is visual and it is magical! If you know what a Coin Flurry is, this is exactly the same thing but with a playing card. At the end, the selection ends up in the zipper compartment of your wallet (Card to Wallet ending). It is not mentioned on the DVD, but a non-Card to Wallet ending that would be just as effective when practiced and done well is making all 51 cards except the selection go into a pocket, a la David Williamson. Just as strong a finish in my opinion. This routine will take lots of practice, if for anything to get the necessary pinpoint timing down. If you do that, you will have an audience pleaser!
Triple Choice: No idea what happened between the ad copy writer and whoever else, but on the DVD this is titled 3 Some, on the DVD case and in the ad copies, it is called Triple Choice. No matter - it is a brilliant routine and twist on an old plot. Very magical! Essentially, you have three different participants each select a card from a shuffled pack. Each person only sees the card they select and not that of the others. The performer offers them the chance to shuffle the cards and then goes into a bit of a pseudo-mind reading. The performer spreads through the deck with the backs to the participants and after some thought, upjogs and removes three different cards. He then fans the three cards and shows the faces to each participant, one at a time, and asks them to indicate whether they see their card, but not to reveal its name. All three confirm that their card is in the fan of 3 cards. Next, the performer says he will try to divine which of the three cards belongs to which person, which he does, by showing each of them their own card for confirmation, one at a time. After talking about the difficulties of doing all of this, he removes his wallet and hands it to one of the participants to hold on to, then talks about what just happened. Each person is asked to reveal the name of their card, one at a time, and they all picked the same card! Further, one card has vanished from the packet and is found inside the zippered compartment of the wallet that the participant has been holding! This is a very strong piece of magical theatre when done deliberately, and is one of the best effects on the DVD, again, in my opinion.
Whew. Words, words words...but there you have it! After this review, you may wonder why I only gave it 4 out of 5 stars. The ONLY things that prevented me from giving this DVD 5 stars is that a couple of times during the performance sections, and fewer times during the explanation sections, the picture quality was very poor, the lighting was atrocious (which, in the performance sections where it was an issue, detracted from the overall effect of the magic), and couple of times the audio was either too low or was overpowered by background music. The effects and routines on this disc were extremely well taught and explanations were very thorough. While I thought that at least scrolling credits would have been better, Gary and Lee do give credits verbally at the beginning of (and/or throughout) the explanation sections for each effect where necessary or appropriate. They tell you if it was based on a particular effect or inspired by a specific magician or handling (for example: one of the credits they give is to Tom Stone for his version of their Kick Back Kings). Like I said, titled credits would have been better, but verbal crediting is better than none at all and they were pretty thorough with it where necessary.
Personally, I liked the effects from Gary Jones better than the effects from Lee Smith, but that is just because of my style of magic. Overall, this was a very, very, very good DVD. Of the 15 effects on here, my personal Top 5 Picks are, in random order: 3C, Triple Choice, 6 Card Dunbury, 1 Short of a Full Deck and Ring to Purse.
Product info for iCandy
Author: Jones, Gary and Smith, LeePublisher: RSVP - Russ StevensAverage Rating: (1)Retail Price: $29.99
Welcome to Lee Smith and Gary Jones' brand new DVD set 'i-Candy'.
Featuring a massive 15, yes that's right, 15 fantastic routines for the working magician. These are all featured in their professional working sets, so you know it's commercial, direct and to the point, This is pure 'iCandy' that you will use.Contents:
Kick Back Kings -
one of Lee's favourite routines. A chosen card, lost in the deck reappears between the Kings! Or does it? Kick Back Kicker -
The selected card jumps from your pocket and back again. You'll love the climax to this one, that'll fry their brains! T.N.T -
A signed card is torn then restored VISUALLY! The spectator is left holding an impossible prediction! Easyfone 10 -
How would like to leave your clients with the perfect memorable souvenir? Complete with additional routines and ideas by Gary Jones, John Carey, Cameron Francis and Iain Moran. The brilliant new routine from Lee Smith that's a real 'worker' for all magicians! The release for this has been slightly delayed due to the overwhelming response from professional workers that have been already featuring this routine. People such as Gary Jones, Iain Moran and Cameron Francis have all added bonus routines and ideas to Lee's original plot and these have all now been added to the project! Each DVD comes with a special PDF containing several iPhone 10 templates that you can print out yourself. You're also provided with templates that can be customised by you to add your name and contact details... imagine the perfect giveaway that can publicize you after the show! Easy Eyefone -
Gary Jones' easy to do version of Eyefone 10 that you'll master in minutes! Scoop -
Watch! Your signature VISUALLY jumps to the spectators signed selection. Anniversary Waltz with a regular deck! 3C -
A stunning multi phase coin routine, perfect for the strolling magician. No Palm Coins through table -
If you want a self-working, super clean coins through table with no moves? Well here it is! Ring to purse -
A transposition with a borrowed finger ring and a coin purse. Using Gary's clever utility No Sleep -
One of the fastest transpositions you'll ever see. Vanishing point -
Not for the faint-hearted! A very bold sandwich effect. Once mastered always performed! 6 Card Dunbury -
A great take on Charlie Millers classic. One Short of a full deck -
Brainwave with no rough or smooth and an added kicker which will knock them sideways! Pocket 2 pocket 2 pocket -
Gary's famous pocket to pocket sequence, where the signed card jumps from pocket to pocket to pocket.......! Fast, Furious and real i-candy! Triple Choice -
Three selected cards are lost in the deck only to be found by a series of flourishes, each one getting more visual. Pure eye candy!
Running Time Approximately
: 2hr 30min