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SansMinds Worker's Series: Survival Kit Review

Official Review

January 19th, 2017 7:19am
Reviewed by Dr. J. M. Ayala de Cedoz
One DVD. 5 effects. $19.95/USD.

[Dr. J. walks over to brick wall, smashes head repeatedly into brick wall.]

First things first - The audio and lighting quality of this DVD were excellent. The camera work however was really crappy - there were a number of times when Herman (who was the teacher again) was gesturing with various items or talking about a specific object that was not in frame at all. This was very annoying at times, but it did not necessarily detract from being able to learn anything. However, there were times that it was very annoying because you could not see what he was talking about. The menu is easy to navigate.

Not all of these effects were performed and none of the ones that were demonstrated were live demos. NONE. What does this tell you? In fact, instead of showing one of the effects - the Vanishing Water Trick, he talked you through what the effect looks like. Then they gave you things (key words) to look up on YouTube to find a performance so you can see what it is supposed to look like, never mind the fact that most magicians that have been around the block once or twice already know what the effect is.

Let me get one more thing out of the way here: The single best effect on the entire DVD is the first one - the vanishing of a bottle in a bag. That one plays just like any of the Norm Nielsen vanishing bottles and in fact, if you ever forget to pack your Nielsen vanishing bottle in your show case, this is a perfect single-use substitute that you can use a wide variety of bottles for. Not all bottles, but a wide variety.

So on to the rest of what is wrong with this DVD, which is just about everything else except the Vanishing Bottle...

The ad copy, the DVD case and the trailer lead you to believe two different things. The ad copy talks about "...obtaining the knowledge to build a show from daily objects. More importantly, the items used can be easily obtained from local dollar stores worldwide." It also says that "This is the definition (of Survival Kit) that SansMinds has concluded after consulting with hundreds of performers worldwide." To me (and most people) this says that you are going to be learning some effects that you have to prepare and practice with ("build a show") and that they are "worker material" ("consulted with hundreds of performers worldwide") How is that a survival kit, perse? To me a survival kit is something that you have ready to go or ready to piece together on instant notice.

Now, the in the ad trailer they pose the question of what you do when you find yourself in a situation where you do not have your normal magic props with you and someone says, "Do some magic!" What do you do? Well the effects on this DVD, of course, and they are also the "...perfect way to pitch your show."

The DVD case says "Easy & practical magic for emergency situations." What?!?!

Every single one of these effects require arts and crafts. Where on earth are you ever going to be in a situation where you are asked to do some magic then and there and you can say, "Mmmm, give me like 10 or 20 minutes and I will be right back and I can do some stuff then." None of the arts and crafts are particularly difficult (the production from an empty bag is probably the most tedious), but they are all going to take you 5 minutes or so to prepare and you will not always have the necessary items on hand - you will have to go out and buy some of it. How in the world is this magic for a 'moment's notice', as they call it on the trailer?

Even Herman advises you to practice some of the effects until you get the motions down, etc. and feel comfortable with them. Huh?! I thought this was supposed to be magic on the go?

As for the teaching, it is okay. Some of the effects are shown, others you hear about (he talks you through it) and then shows you how to make the gimmicks. For the Production from an Empty Bag, there is a switch required, but he only vaguely describes how you would do a switch rather than actually showing you.

Now, I will say that none of it is difficult to perform, but none of it is as instant as they claim.

All that aside, seriously, with the amount of arts and crafts required for the stuff on this DVD, why would you go to all the trouble of putting this stuff together when you can just do basic sleight of hand with some napkins, coins, pens, etc.? Why? Answer: Nobody in their right mind would do that. Nobody.

They could have made this a download for under $10 and it would have been too expensive for what you are getting. You may like some of the stuff on here and even I admit not all of them were bad - I would use the Vanishing Bottle myself and maybe I could see myself using the Production from an Empty Bag, but the camera work and the haphazard feel of the instructions at times just makes it way to expensive at $19.95.

If you have that much money to burn a hole in your pocket, you might find some of the ideas worthwhile, but they will not be instantaneously made/obtained effects. You might also be disappointed.

1.5 stars.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for SansMinds Worker's Series: Survival Kit

Publisher: SansMinds Productionz
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $19.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

How do you define a magician's Survival Kit?

This is the definition SansMinds has concluded after consulting with hundreds of performers worldwide.

Survival Kit is a set of tools and knowledge that will enable the performer to survive in an unexpected situation.

The SansMinds Creative Lab is proud to present you SansMinds Worker's Series: Survival Kit.

A brand new approach to 5 iconic magic plots. In this DVD you will obtain the knowledge to build a show from daily objects. More importantly, the items used can be easily obtained from local dollar stores worldwide.

You will no longer need to worry about finding special magic props when you lose your luggage during your travel.

This is a must have for every magician. Prepare yourself from the unexpected and get the Survival Kit now.

Effects include:
1. Vanishing Bottle
2. Fork Morph
3. Glass Bottle in iPad
4. Water Vanish
5. Production Out of Empty Paper Bag

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