Thursday, August 21, 2014

Effortless Effects DVD by Ryan Schlutz

Title: Effortless Effects DVD
Author: Ryan Schlutz
Publisher: Big Blind Media
Price: $30

Effect: Card Magic without Sleights

Marshall's Thoughts: I have always been a fan of Ryan's work. We were one of the first to carry his book and continue to look forward to new release from Mr. Schlutz. This latest collection contains card effects that can be performed without sleights, and it is VERY good. Below are just two of my personal favorites.

Clearly See Through - A group of cards are selected from a spread. From that group the spectator selects a single card and the group of cards is dropped back into the deck as the magician dribbles it. For all intents and purposes, the card is lost. An 'invisible' card is placed on the table and the deck is shown face up. The selected card is now missing from the deck, effect number 1. You turn over the 'invisible' card on the table and announce the name of the spectator's card, effect number 2. The spectator takes the invisible card, turns it face down and mimes putting it into the face up deck. You spread the cards and one card is face down. Spectator turns it over and it is their card, effect number 3. Easy to do and will fool you.

Split Decision - A card is selected and returned. The magician then performs a reading based on body language to find the card. Ryan's presentation for this is great and can be used in any type of "reading" effect done tongue in cheek. The audience might just believe it is real as well.

Wrongly Convicted is another great effect along the lines of Dunbury Delusion. The hands off appearance of most of these effects is what makes them foolers.

Card workers will love the section on Ryan's GAP principle. This is a great principle with many uses. This selection procedure looks incredibly fair and the selection appears genuinely lost. Very good tool to have in your arsenal. 


Will I Use It (1=Put it in the drawer 5=On Me All the Time) - 5 .... I will use this all the time. I have already added three routines to my repertoire. Great presentations with fooling effects. 

Chocolate Coin by SansMinds

Title: Chocolate Coin
Publisher: SansMinds
Price: $30

Effect:  Here is the effect. You borrow a coin. With the coin held at the finger tips, you remove the silver covering of the coin to show a chocolate coin underneath. You take a bit out of the chocolate coin and then seemingly blow and visually restore the chocolate coin. You then roll the silver back over the chocolate coin and hand the borrowed coin back to the spectator. It really looks that good. 

Marshall's Thoughts: Every now and then, someone comes along and adds context and meaning to a classic magic trick. Sans Minds has done just that with their release of Chocolate Coin.

  The bitten coin has been popular ever since David Blaine, bit and restored a coin on one of his specials. Let's be honest, it is a great trick, but why do that? Who really bites a coin? When would you bite into a coin?  Well, you would if it was one of those chocolate coins we all knew and looked forward to when we were children.

  You get everything you need to perform, along with a few replacement parts in case the gimmick breaks. The gimmick looks just like a chocolate coin when held at the fingertips. The handling is not difficult and the required actions needed to perform the effect are perfectly covered by the natural actions needed to act like you are doing what you are purporting to do. In other words, this looks just like it should.

   Borrow object, manipulate it, restore it to original state, hand it back. You can't ask for more.


Setup (1=Minimal 5=Arts and Crafts)- 2 ...Everything is ready to go. You just have one small thing to do to the gimmick with an item that is provided in the package. It take 30 seconds to do. 

Reset (1=None 5=Hide in a bathroom)- 2 ... The trick is pretty much reset once you are done. You might just want to take a quick look before performing it again to make sure everything is set. 

Fool Factor (1=It's in your hand 5=What the ?#$)-  4 ... this is going to hit hard. Watch the demo video. It looks that good. 

Difficulty (1=Easy to Master 5=Grow an extra finger)-  2 .... You are going to be switching coins, obviously, so you will need to be comfortable with basic coin sleights.

Will I Use It (1=Put it in the drawer 5=On Me All the Time)-  4... This now on my tray of things to put in my pocket on a regular basis. Easy to do, easy to setup and reset and will fool the garbage out of someone. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Title: Pocket
Author: Julio Montoro
Publisher: SansMinds
Price: $30

Effect: Pocket allows you to visually change a card or bill, while isolated in your breast pocket with half the card in view. The effect as taught is as follows. You hand a spectator a double blank card to examine. You retrieve the card and place it in the breast pocket of your jacket with half the card sticking out. A card is selected and returned to the deck, at which point you pretend that you can not locate the card. You point to the blank card in your pocket and boom!, the card changes into the selection. It really looks like the card changes in front of their eyes. 

Marshall's Thoughts: First off, this looks like a camera trick. Pocket is a trick you will set up and play with in front of the mirror. The change is that visual. 

    The DVD is well shot and everything you need to setup the trick is included. The teaching is adequate, and I was able to construct everything without any hassle.  The instructor on the DVD is  little over the top, which can get old after awhile, but he does do a great job of teaching the material. 

    You will have to wear a jacket for this effect, so if that is not something you are willing to do, cross this off your list. The gimmick can be left in the pocket and will not be seen, so you can have this ready to go in your jacket whenever you need it. 

    There are so many ways to use this gimmick. Change a blank card, use it as a color change, change a bill, the possibilities are endless  I can recommend this to any walk around performer who wears a jacket as the reset is minimal. For the hobbyist, you can have this in your coat ready to go for whenever you want to use it. If you wear a jacket, buy Pocket. If you don't wear a jacket, buy a jacket first, and then buy Pocket. 


Setup (1=Minimal 5=Arts and Crafts) - 3.... You will have to do some DIY work, but it doesn't take long and you only have to do it once.

Reset (1=None 5=Hide in a bathroom) - 2..  There is a quick reset that can be done during the reveal of the selected card. 

Fool Factor (1=It's in your hand 5=What the ?#$) - 3... I do think that if someone watched this two or three times, they would have to know where the card is coming from. However, the change is so visual and happens so quickly that no one is going to guess the method from one viewing.

Difficulty (1=Easy to Master 5=Grow an extra finger)- 3 You will need to practice to get the change to work with minimal finger movement.. There is a force that must be applied by one of your hands and if it is to hard, there is a certain giveaway that can be seen. The knack is easily acquired though. You will also need to know some basic card sleights to put a routine together.

Will I Use It (1=Put it in the drawer 5=On Me All the Time) - 3 As stated before, those who wear a jacket can have this ready to go and use it whenever they want. That being said, a huge majority of the people who buy this will not put in the 15 minutes of setup required. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Master Course in Sponge Balls Vol. 1-4 by Daryl REVIEW

   Love them or hate them as a magician, you have to realize that lay audiences are fooled and entertained by sponge magic. I remember the feeling I felt when I saw someone perform the sponge balls for the first time. I was in Houdini's Magic Shop in Vegas and I watched a demonstrator vanish a ball and it appeared in a spectator's hand. I was floored. Even if you never perform them, sponge ball magic is like cups and balls. The lessons you learn as you put together a routine, will serve you well as you grow in your magic. Misdirection, audience control, naturalness, all of these and more will become part of your repertoire as you study sponge ball magic. This new DVD set by Daryl is THE place to learn magic with sponges.
    The set stars Daryl, who is, to me, one of the best teachers in magic. He has real world experience and is the 'real deal' when it comes to performing for lay people. Throughout the set, Daryl teaches, not only sponge ball magic, but tips on magic in general. Whether a newbie to magic, or a pro, you will find at least one thing on this set that you can add to your knowledge base.
       The four discs cover overlapping information. For instances, most of the DVDs have a section on Vanishes. The information is not duplicated across discs and the volumes do not need to be viewed sequentially. Daryl covers effects and moves by  Fred Kaps, Frank Garcia, Mark Leveridge, Dan Garrett, Pat Page, John Carney and more. Credit is given to each creator.  I can't go into detail on everything that is covered, so I will do a quick highlight reel.
       On Volume 1: keep your eyes open for a production of a sponge ball between the hands by mark Leveridge.
      On Volume 2: Ball from Spectators coat with a killer subtlety by FLIP. Peter Samelson's method for sawing a ball in two.
      On Volume 3:  Cleaning and caring for your sponge ball. Daryl's routine for the sponge rabbits, "Pappa Rabbit Hits the Big Time," is worth adding to your repertoire. Daryl also teaches a great Benson Bowl routine.  There is a routine called FLIGHT OF THE SPONGE BALL on this disc that fooled me.
      On Volume 4:  Balls from mouth is a great comedy bit. John Carney's single ball production looks like the ball just appears between your fingers.

The Master Course in Sponge Balls by Daryl is probably the best resource out there when it comes to learning about sponge magic. He has collected routines, vanishes and productions from sources both new and old. I enjoy collections like this that show the possibilities that exist with a certain prop and then allow the magician to piece together his own routine. A highly recommend this set. The best part is, it's relatively cheap!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

TRICS Convention Day 2 Review

One of the great things about TRICS, is the late starting time each morning. Saturday morning started at 11AM with a great lecture from Andi Gladwin. Andi is a great sleight of hand magician and also a great performer. He did a brief explanation of his MASTER PUSHOFF move and showed some great applications for it. If you ever see Andi at a convention, ask him to show you his one handed second deal. WOW! My favorite routine he taught used name badges and spectators' choices of movie star names. This is a great pack flat routine that can entertain a room full of people. I don't believe this routine is written up anywhere, so if you have a chance to see Andi lecture be sure to bring a pen and paper to take notes on this effect.
      Rick Merrill was next up. Rick has one of my favorite acts to watch. He has a great character and plays it incredibly well. For those who may not know, Rick Merrill won FISM  a few years back with his Sharpie routine. This is visual magic at its best. Will I ever be able to do anything from this lecture? No way! But boy, it was fun to watch.
      Ever since I have been involved in magic, I have wanted to meet David Regal. I had a few opportunities in the past but either he wasn't able to make the convention, or I wasn't. I finally got to hear David lecture and was not disappointed. He performed his great routine involving  a deck of cards, an apartment fire, and a disposable deck. Yeah, that's right, an apartment fire. That is par for the course for David's presentations. Some of my favorite magic books to read include David's books. Great methods and very entertaining presentations. He also performed his MENTAL EIGHT BALL TRICK. This is a great routine that leaves plenty of room for jazzing. I can't recommend David's books and effects enough. As you can tell, I am a fan.
       Well that concludes all of the lectures. The evening show was great and most of the lecturers also performed. The crowd consisted of laypeople intermingled with magicians. This was a great show with all of the performers representing the magic world brilliantly. A couple of highlights from the show, in no particular order.

1. David Corsaro's book test - David chose probably the best book ever used in a book test. I won't give it away, since it is his routine to do with what he will. Just let me say, that I am not a fan of book tests, but this one had me laughing.

2. Rick Merrill's FISM act - Perfection and had the audience in stitches. Some of the best character lines I have heard from a magician.

3. David Regal's Cups and Balls - The ending to this routine is a jaw dropper and actually makes sense.

Well, that is my review of the TRICS Convention. If you have the chance to go next year, do so. It is a great convention for a close up enthusiasts and you can't help but have a blast there. Congrats to Scott and the Sleight Club on another well done convention!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TRICS Convention

We just returned from the TRICS Convention in North Carolina. For those who don't know, this is a small gathering (91 registrants) of close up magicians, who get together for 3 days of lectures and sessions. Scott Robinson does a great job of making this a sharing experience with plenty of time for sessioning. The schedule is full of great lectures but not so full that you get tired of sitting in the lecture room. This year, the lecturers were Andi Gladwin, Rick Merril, Ray Kosby, Meir Yedid, David Regal, Terry Hedges, David Corsaro, and Doug Conn.
    Ray Kosby started the convention with Thursday night's 9:00 PM lecture. Ray is an incredible sleight of hand performer and he shared some great routines. If you don't have his DVDs, you are missing out on some of the best versions of some classic card plots. Highlights of the lecture included his Oil & Water routine which is done in the spectator's hands. This is one I will be looking up, as it just might be the best version out there. He taught a repeat torn and restored movie ticket effect that is practical and fits in your pocket. Of course, he taught his Raise, Rise move in which a card visually rises through the deck while out jogged. This isn't an easy move but in his hands, it looks like real magic.
    Each year, Scott brings in someone less known for a new comer lecture. These are always great and this year's performer was no exception. Terry Hedges entertained us with an hour full of commercial card magic. He has some great presentations for some classic card plots which bring them from simple card tricks to performance pieces. His collector's routine ends with the appearance of four famous detectives from TV and Literature. He had a great idea for the overdone routine of a spectator picking the same card over and over again. I am looking forward to more ideas from Terry.
     David Corsaro was up next and wow, what a lecture! David's lecture was one of the most professional looking lectures I have ever seen. With the use of a PowerPoint presentation, David taught us some incredible routines as well as great marketing tips. I picked up a lot from this lecture including the idea of using social media more in growing your brand. (Hence this blog post!) The tricks he taught were excellent. His "Getting to Know You" is a real baffler in which the emphasis is placed on the spectator. "Mallrats" is a great routine that fooled a lot of people in the room. "Can I Call You Sometime" was my favorite version of the telephone number production with tons of room for comedy. If you ever have a chance to see David lecture, don't miss it. It is one of the best I have seen.
     Meir Yedid lectured after the dinner break. He fooled me with an add a number routine that I will be buying in the future. His 10 card repeat routine done with bills had a great kicker ending. My favorite routine was FadeOut which has a spectator naming a card from a deck that has been shown face up and face down. The card is removed and the rest of the cards become blank. This fooled me and I look forward to adding this to my collection as well.
     The last lecture of the day was a treat for everyone present. In his first lecture in 8 years, Doug Conn fooled the crowd with his incredible brand of close up magic. He had a great touch for his coins across routine that I will be adding to my own. His chink a chink done with scrabble tiles is a modern day classic and a routine that has the best ending of any chink a chink routine. A color changing deck fooled the room, as well it should. This is one of my favorite items from his book which can be found on our website. Doug has a DVD coming out that you will enjoy watching. The DVD is well produced and the tricks are straight from Doug's working repertoire.
     Well, that was the first day of lectures. I will talk more about the last day, including the closing public show in another post.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dallas Super Session 2012

I just returned from a great one day convention in Dallas. As always, I had the most fun post convention, as we were all just lounging around chatting. So many great things in one day. Bob White and Jared Kopf held a lecture/discussion that was fantastic. Jared is highly regarded as one of the top card magicians in the business, and rightfully so. His Muckless Muck, with gimmicks made by Gary Plants, is a fantastic effect that I highly recommend. He showed that along with some of the trick's variants. We were treated to a demo/explanation of Vernon's Matching the Cards routine. This is a classic trick that should be in your repertoire. Card Magic does not get much stronger to a lay person than this. Jared lectured shortly on Erdnase. I can slowly feel my thinking on magic in general changing, but I can't quite put it into words yet. I believe it is going towards the more natural/classical side of magic. I will try to put those thoughts into words in a later post. I need to let them form a bit more before trying to put my thoughts on paper.
   Being able to listen to Bob White was a treat. His notes and DVDs are some of my favorites. Every effect and sleight he uses, has incredible thinking behind it. It is one thing to be able to perform tricks and quite another to be able to explain why they work and why you choose to use them. Do yourself a favor and pick up his DVDs and notes as soon as you get a chance.
    Hanging out with Gary Plants is always a treat and you are guaranteed to get fooled at least once. Unfortunately, I missed his multiple selection routine in the performance part of the convention, but heard it floored those watching. I did see him perform some effects from the new Woody Aragon book, and that made me want to go back and pull some items out of there.
     I spent some time with Joe Anderson, who makes some WONDERFUL wooden props. Email me if you are interested and I will get you in contact with him. All in all, a great convention. These smaller conventions are always my favorites. As we see more and more of the larger conventions having to cancel , it will be these smaller ones that are able to survive. Find the ones nearest you and support them. I promise you will have a good time.