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The spectator selects a card and signs it. He then pinches a face-up indifferent card sandwiched between 2 Queens. Without letting go the indifferent card, the card visually changes to the signed selection.
WHAT YOU GET?
You’ll get a ready-to-use gimmick to accomplish the exact effect. No DIY is needed, unless you want to make your own gimmick.
An instructional DVD is also included.
QUALITY OF THE GIMMICK
The gimmick is printed by USPCC in Rider back. The gimmick works nicely but cannot withstand examination.
There is no delicate part. Therefore, it won’t break easily and should last prolonged use. However, you don’t want to shuffle the deck with the gimmick, it will likely be damaged.
QUALITY OF THE TUTORIAL
The effect is well explained in the 26 minutes & 17 seconds long video. It is shot professionally in studio. Main angles are close-up front (showing the hands) and 45 degree from left top. It is taught by Jason Yu.
Length (in minutes) of the main parts (I literally counted):
Trailer - 0:54
Introduction - 0:30
Studio Performance - 1:07
Secret Section - 0:35
Gimmick Construction - 9:37
Main Handling - 5:27
Tips & Angle - 7:17
Final Thoughts - 0:33
In Studio Performance, it’s a rehearsed performance done in a close-up shoot with only hands of performer and audience visible. It’s done with a table (there is a subtle but serious issue. I will address it later in ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECT)
Secret Section introduces the mechanism of the gimmick. It’s clever and more simple than I thought. There are some nice touches which make it deceptive.
In Gimmick Construction, detailed steps are given to make your own gimmick (if you want different card back or value of card). More than 1 card will be destroyed during the process. The DIY is not too difficult but involves 1 part which is little challenging for most people unless making gimmick card is your hobby.
While SandsMinds advertised that the one-time DIY (which is not needed unless you want more gimmick cards) takes 10 mins, I doubt that it is true for most people. In addition, there is material which I guess most of us will have difficulty getting. If my assumption is correct above, then you cannot easily make your own gimmick. On video, there is no information about where you can get that material.
In ‘Main Handling’, the main routine your saw on the trailer is taught. The teaching is clear. Learners should have no issue in understanding the main mechanism of the effect. However, it is taught as a follow-up and thus beginners may have difficulty in getting the card into position.
In ’Tips & Angle’, 4 tips are given. Half of them is helpful while others are not too thoughtful. To give one example, when Jason talks about clean up, his advice is just like ‘put it away’. Well, we know we should put it away, but for beginners it is not helpful if they want to continue doing some other effects. If the product is marketed as easy-to-do, some beginners will surely pick it up. I hope the manufacturer can be more considerate unless they are sure that main buyers are not beginners.
To conclude, the production quality is top-notch. But there are some issues regarding performing environment which is not addressed, and tips are not enough for beginners.
Besides, please allow me to address to an issue which is not related to the product at all. In tutorial, Jason is wearing a T-shirt with the word ’Need money, not friends’. As everything a company put out in the package is related to brand image, I hope the company is more thoughtful about that. It may be funny, but it surely will instill unnecessary misunderstanding about the philosophy of the creator and the company.
No difficult move is involved in this effect. But there is a certain degree of audience management.
There is a very short moment of angle requirement in the routine. Jason has explained how to cover it but it’s not good enough because he is not aware of one very serious subtle issue which he has not addressed at all. I will explain it later.
No special clothing or pocket is required.
DOES IT WORK FOR REAL PEOPLE?
It works for real people. But there are some handlings which you need to master first to make the effect flow smoothly. In tutorial, standup version of the performance is not taught at all. So you need to figure it out yourself.
ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECT
I will include my analysis of the effect in my product review. In this analysis, I will present my view on the strength and weakness of the effect. And will also go deeper with magic theory in mind.
First of all, the effect is very strong and it is as visual as you saw on the trailer. It’s like CG effect and has much impact on audience. It can be kicker to any sandwich effects.
However, there is one weakness to this effect. It is about getting the gimmick ready for the change.
On trailer, you saw that all performances are done in stand-up situation. However, in tutorial it is taught as a tabled effect. There are 2 crucial handlings which are different in these performing environment. They are:
Where to put the gimmick cards
How to misdirect when you get the gimmick ready
On the tutorial, Jason advised you to put the gimmick card on the table. However, in standup performance, the performer needs to put it somewhere else. As I mentioned above, the card cannot withstand examination, thus you need to find a way to handle it. Most experienced magicians should have no issue to figure it out, but beginners may have issue.
When it comes to getting the gimmick ready, Jason suggests that you ask the audience to cap the sharpie in order to misdirect. In tabled performance, it may work because you can simply leave the sharpie uncapped without drawing attention to it.
However, in standup performance, normally the performer either takes the sharpie back, or audience holds on the sharpie. In latter case, I doubt that audience will leave the sharpie uncapped. You may hold on the cap and pass it to audience later, but it will be so awkward. Nothing about this is addressed on the tutorial. Therefore, you have to think about how to get the gimmick ready. It’s not a difficult move, but looks little bit awkward if audience stare at you.
PROS ABOUT THE EFFECT
High quality gimmick card
A strong and visual routine.
The effect can be incorporated into your effects
CONS ABOUT THE EFFECT
Material is hard to find to make your own gimmick cards
A subtle but crucial element discussed above is not addressed in the tutorial
The gimmick card is versatile in other effects.
There is no difficult sleight-of-hand involved and therefore suitable for any levels of performers, though there will handling issues for beginners.
I am satisfied with the quality of the gimmick and agree that it is a very strong visual trick. At about US$30, it is a good buy if you want to add a killer phase to your routine.
Product Quality: 8/10
Video Quality: 7/10
Effectiveness of Tricks: 9/10
Cost Performance: 7/10
Final Score: 7/10
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