Monthly archives for April, 2011

Hypno-Website and REVIEW: Radio Magic by Banachek

Hey Everyone,

I’m doing this week’s review early because once I get home from performing tomorrow night, I’m going to be super-busy helping my wife finish painting and setting things up at our new hair salon / hypnosis clinic.

Also on the subject of our new biz, here’s the website I’ve had built for the new business: www.HypnosisHelpsNow.com. Check it out and let me know what you think. You can shoot me an email to crisjohnsoninfo@verizon.net. Also, I’ll be writing the next issue of my free ezine, “Cause & Effects” tonight in preparation for a May 1st launch. The topic is going to be about ‘going off script’ and why having an air-tight, REHEARSED script means you can have an easier time going OFF script. Sounds weird, I know, but it’s going to be a heck of a read, and to illustrate it, I will share a HILARIOUS exchange I had with a volunteer at a recent corporate motivational show I did last week. If you have not signed up yet, shoot me an email to crisjohnsoninfo@verizon.net.

Also, I’m thrilled to see Hocus Pocus is now offering Shoe Business, which I reviewed a short while ago. I was speaking on the phone with my friend Cody Fisher and as I told him, so far this is my top pick for the best new release to Hocus Pocus in 2011. Will it retain the title at years end/ Stay tuned!

Finally, before I get to the review, I sincerely want to thanks all of you who have ordered my school show courses the last few weeks. That main course, on daytime assemblies, has been out quite a while, but it seems many of you are heeding my words that, with a high quality product, school show performing is one of the most stable markets in magic. I’m toying with the idea of writing a book that addresses high school performing, as I’ve been doing that for years, but unless there’s a demand for it, I’ll put it off. (hint, hint…)

On to today’s review…it’s Radio Magic by Steve “Banachek” Shaw. It’s available for $34.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here’s the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=1989

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: Three audio CDs that detail the in’s and out’s of performing on the radio along with a wide variety of effects you can perform on a radio show.

AD COPY: Here’s the ad copy…

Not just mentalism for the radio, but magic for the ears, too! Learn the secret to booking yourself, handling callers, and performing magic on the radio. This great trick can be performed one on one, over the phone! Comes complete with routines and out-takes from actual radio performances!

“These tapes are really interesting and will give the professional magician much to think about.” – David Goodsell

“What better way to demonstrate radio magic than on audio cassette tape? Highly recommended.” – Phil Wilmarth

OK, I may be splitting hairs here, but I have to point out one part of the ad copy – “This great trick can be performed one on one, over the phone!” This initially confused me because this sentence makes it sound like the buyer is just getting the secret to this one effect, which is not explained in the ad. A minor quibble, but I had to point it out.

QUALITY OF CDS: You can hear both Scott Wells and Banachek very clearly. It turns out these CDs were once audio tapes and eventually transferred to audio CD. Good stuff – you can hear everything clearly, both in the interviews Wells conducts with Banachek as well as the outtakes from the actual radio broadcasts Banachek was a part of. Good quality, easily a 10. It may not be “recording studio quality,” but for our purposes, it’s just fine.

QUALITY OF EFFECTS: There’s some good stuff on here. I’m going to talk about the effects first and work my way backwards to the information (non-magic) on CD 1, so for now, some thoughts on the routines on CD 2 and 3.

For me, the highlight routine was The Assassination Game, a neat presentation for a classic mentalism routine. In Banachek’s version, three listeners call up the radio and help Banaheck with the details of a crime – the supposed assassination of a famous cartoon character!

It’s a delightful premise and the workings are such that you could easily add this to your regular ‘live’ stand-up show. Adapting it for radio was inspired.

Banachek also reveals his method for achieving a headline prediction. as Banachek points out, there are at least a thousand methods for a headline prediction. His is simple in execution and judging by the reactions of the radio personalities, pretty effective. It’s good for radio, but I was less than thrilled with his method because his requires you to meet up with people a few weeks before the event, due to the necessity of having signatures to verify everything is on the up and up. To me, it’s a weakness because if I have a gig in TX (I’m from NY) there’s almost no chance I’m going to be able to meet with them prior to the event. Nevertheless, for a local gig, this method is sound.

Banachek also offers a fun musical routine that sounds like it plays well. This is one of those routines that is specifically suited to the radio simply because the workings would probably eliminate it from consideration for most performers’ set lists. That being said, the radio performance had me absolutely amazed…and when Banachek revealed the workings, I couldn’t believe he pulled it off. It’s definitely one of those effects where you have to ignore how “non-sexy” the method is. Just listen to how it plays out on the radio and trust that’s how it will play for you.

There are other routines, around 20 routines in all, and while most are very good, most are also things that could go right into your stand up act, too. There’s booktest material, stuff with nailwriters, playing cards and so on. Some of the effects play best over the radio, especially a card divination that Scott Wells performed on the radio.

One of the main components of many of these routines is the fact that often, the ‘work’ for the effect is done while music or commercials are playing and when you and the radio host are back on, you use word play to suggest that the radio host was asked to just ‘think of something’ and you reveal it. Used this way, even the most basic of mentalism effects can have the essence of true miracles to listeners who are unaware of envelopes switches, equivoque and so on. That’s probably one of the strongest lessons in the whole set.

Interestingly, although the CDs are called “Radio Magic,” most of the material is mentalism-based. Because we’re talking about radio, this makes sense, as you can easily ‘read minds’ of listeners and/or the radio host but on the flip side, asking the radio host to describe a manipulation act to listeners is not going to be effective…”OK, folks, Mr. Amazing has one red sponge ball…no, wait, he has two…no wait, he has three….now he’s putting them in my hand….I’ve opened my hand and oh my! I have 20 red spongeballs in my hand!” Not good radio!

So, let the buyer be aware of the fact that he/she is really purchasing “Radio Mentalism” with these disks. To me, this is perfectly fine as I prefer mentalism over magic when performing for most adults in most situations.

THE “BUSINESS” SIDE OF RADIO MAGIC: OK, disk #1 is about the nuts and bolts side of performing on the radio. As Banachek admits, you’re not getting a dime for performing on the radio…but the publicity the exposure can get for you is amazing, which is the whole reason I bought these disks.

Banachek gets into the need for a ‘hook’ to get on the radio, explaining that just being a magician is NOT enough to get you on the air. He gives some examples of hooks to use, which is nice. He also mentions the fact that sometimes it’s easier to “know someone” to get on the radio, which I found disheartening to say the least. What if you “don’t know someone?”

To make matters worse, while he recommends you need to have a ‘hook’ to get on the air, Banachek does not give you any details with what to do with said ‘hook.’ I’m a detail guy! I would have liked to have a job title to ask for if I needed to call the radio station: “Yes, I’d like to speak to Mr. Program Manager…” That kind of thing.

Or maybe radio stations respond to such requests better through email? Or a fax? Or maybe (gasp) an honest to goodness letter? I don’t know the best method nor do I know the job title to ask for. These glaring omissions made a big difference in my overall rating.

Now, to get away from the negative, there is a wealth of great information on disk 1. Issues such as timing out your performance is discussed. The different types of radio stations are discussed, including talk show formats and how to handle each.

Interestingly, while the show clips themselves were entertaining, I got the feeling (and I’m probably wrong) that Banachek was getting railroaded and tossed around by some of these guys – in other words, he’d try to verbally set up an effect and Mr. Radio Meathead would cut him off with some stupid remark or sound effect.

To be fair, I know that most radio hosts are NOT like this( I have a few radio hosts as friends)…in fact, one of the shows Banachek was on (when he did the headline prediction) did in fact sound much more mellow and laid back, allowing, perhaps, for an effect to ‘breathe’ before it was stomped on by Mr. Meathead Radio Dude.

The one positive I can take from this is the fact that Banachek came off as Mr. Cool – nothing was going to ‘throw’ him. The guy’s a true pro and listening to him made it sound easy and fun.

MY OVERALL SCORE: There is a lot of terrific information here along with some great routines (many of which can even be done in your regular show) but the omission of what I feel was very relevant info (the nitty gritty details of actually getting on the air) brings my score down a bit. I’ll rate these as 7 out of 10.

NEXT WEEK: Stretching The Truth

Best,

Cris Johnson

Hypno-Clinic Update and REVIEW: Levent’s Salt Pour Gimmick & DVD

Hey everyone,

Cris Johnson here…barely, but I am here.:)

This blog entry will probably be a bit on the short side as I’m still sick as heck. My wife thinks it’s from exhaustion and I’m not inclined to argue with her. In the last 7 days, I’ve hit 5 states and two parts of Canada. I’m certainly grateful for the work, but there are times when I wonder what in the world I’m doing…and then I talk to my friend Paul Romhany and hear about HIS traveling and I wonder what I’m whining about.:)

Our salon/hypno-clinic is coming along nicely…today, we had the electricians in installing exit signs and emergency lighting as per the town regulations. We should be opening in a couple of weeks. To say we’re excited is an understatement.:) I also received VERY promising news from a recent weight-loss client – she’s lost 12 pounds and has ZERO cravings for some of the unhealthy foods she craved in the past. This was really encouraging to me, as this is all still quite new to me.

Finally in the ‘personal news,’ I have to report that our chubby cat Jorge passed away this week. He was an older kitty at 14 years old. He was quite chunky, so I used to call him to bed by saying, “Come on, Fat!” He was a sweet, affectionate cat and I miss him terribly.

On to this week’s review…Levent’s Salt Pour Gimmick & DVD. It’s available for $40.00 from Hocus Pocus. Here’s the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=8977

EFFECT AND DESCRIPTION: A magician pours a shaker full of salt into his left fist. Suddenly the salt disappears from his left hand and reappears in a long stream from the right hand.

This legendary trick has been featured by such great magicians as Dai Vernon, Roy Benson and Fred Kaps, and it has been written about in the acclaimed book “Roy Benson By Starlight.” As a result many magicians have been hoping to include it in their acts. But the perfect gimmick has been unavailable.

Finally the wait is over! Levent, the author of “Roy Benson By Starlight” has taken Roy Benson’s original Salt Pour Gimmick and he has added many unique design features that make it by far the best gimmick ever produced.

Custom molded out of durable and corrosion resistant flesh-colored plastic, “Levent’s Super Salt Pour Gimmick” never requires painting or touching up.

The lightweight material is slightly translucent so that under proper stage lighting conditions the magician can see exactly how much salt remains in the gimmick as the salt is reproduced. This feature is crucial for magicians that wish to choreograph their salt pour routine to recorded music.

The following are among the advanced physical features:
A very large flared opening which makes it effortless to fill with salt and allows it to be thumb palmed very securely;
A high salt capacity egg-shape that ergonomically conforms to the shape of your closed fist, thus making it easier to palm;
A concave base enabling the gimmick to sit upright and be ready to use in the prop case which also provides an indentation for your thumb making it easier to do the Benson “Turnover Move” as well as allow for better control during Vernon’s salt flow control technique.
The gimmick includes a DVD, in which Levent teaches the various Salt Pour techniques from the past masters of magic such as Dai Vernon, Roy Benson, Ross Bertram and Fred Kaps. Levent’s comprehensive lessons show the real secrets, such as how to covertly introduce the gimmick into your hands at the start of the routine, how to control the flow of salt when it is reproduced and how to secretly ditch the gimmick at the conclusion.

Additionally, Levent gives the Salt Pour historical context by explaining its progenitor, namely the legendary Tobacco Sleeving routine of the vaudeville headliner Emil Jarrow.

Levent also teaches the entire Salt Pour routine that he currently performs in his comedy magic act. Plus, he includes multiple variations such as the production of the salt from both fists. Finally as a bonus he reveals the secret of his earlier routine in which a borrowed wrist watch is transformed into an hourglass, the sand from the hourglass is used for the Salt Pour trick and at the finale the sand magically transforms back to the borrowed watch.

“This is the best salt pour gimmick ever made, it is the REAL work!” — John Thompson

“This is not only the best gimmick I’ve ever worked with for the Salt Pour, but the DVD is absolute GOLD! Even if you don’t want to do the salt pour, it is an education in magic to watch this DVD.” — Marc DeSouza

“It is perfection.” — Pete Biro

“This is prestidigitation of the highest order… Your DVD and gimmick are simply the best. This is one of the best buys I ever made!” — Jean-Guy Aubry

“This is a brilliant, well designed and superior prop.” — Harry Murphy

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: An incredibly well made plastic gimmick, pictured in the ad and a very comprehensive DVD.

QUALITY: The gimmick itself is very well made, of tough plastic. The shape and design of the gimmick is such that it’s easier to conceal and handle in the hands and pour the salt. It’s also slightly translucent, allowing users to see how much salt is left in the gimmick. This is a terrific value.

The DVD itself is nicely produced and Levent himself gives the buyer an incredible history of the salt pour as well as in-depth teaching of not only his own handling but also the history of the effect, details on the different gimmicks over the years and most impressively, detailed handlings from several great magicians over the decades.

This is in particular a terrific value as this gives the buyer the option of selecting the handling he/she likes the best.

MY THOUGHTS: I’ve always been fascinated by the salt pour and recently, I needed a new non-verbal, music effect to start my shows for repeat audiences (typically I use either Kevin James’ bowling ball effect or my parasol routine for first-time audiences).

I love the simplicity of the effect, how it’s really a rather small effect but one that can play for large audiences. It’s also a splendid example of skill magic (manipulation) but the angles are not nearly as bad with some of the handlings as other manipulation effects such as card palming or billiard balls, meaning this will play in more venues.

ANGLES: As I mentioned, the angles on many of the handlings Levent presents are pretty forgiving for manipulation-type magic. You wouldn’t want to do it surounded, but as I often say, if you’re doing stage magic completely surrounded, in my view, you’re in hell.:)

MARKETS: This is, to me, the rare effect that would probably play well to nearly any age audience, with the possible example of the difficult teen market.:)

DIFFICULTY: Some of the handlings are tougher than others, but most are in the 5 out of 10 range in terms of technical difficulty. It’s not going to take a year of your life to get a handle on this but at the same time, this is certainly not something that you can do right out of the box. I feel this is within reach of anyone willing to put in some work.

MORE THOUGHTS: After watching the terrific DVD and working a bit with the gimmick, I must confess I’m flabberghasted as to why anyone would pay $300 for a salt pour gimmick. Bear in mind, I’m not opposed to spending a lot for a good quality magic effect or routine (I have a lot of high priced stuff) but I can’t see how, if you’re interested in this classic effect of magic, how you could do any better than this version.

I give it a perfect 10 out of 10.

NEXT WEEK: I tackle an older release, Banachek’s Radio Magic CDs.

Best,

Cris Johnson

Ill-Mannered Magician and REVIEW: The Moment by Mathew Johnson & Christopher Taylor

Hi all,

SO sleepy today…One of the pitfalls of booking oneself is not checking your calendar carefully. Last night was a key example: I finished up one school by 3:00PM and had to drive 7.5 hours home to make a 7:00AM school assembly. With traffic delays, I got home by 12:30AM, got up, did that show, then had to drive 5.5 hours for tomorrow’s show…I LOVE my job, but there are times I don’t schedule myself like a human.:)

On another note, at a school I performed at this week, a teacher introduced herself to me as a part-time clown/magician/entertainment agent. She said she was really excited to see me perform…so imagine my surprise and irritation when she stared fixedly at me for the majority of the show with a bored expression on her face. When she wasn’t staring at me looking bored, she was talking to teachers saying things like, “Oh, I do that,” or “I know how that’s done.” She was so obvious what she was saying – I was able to easily read her lips. Talk about a BAD example for kids…and the true irony was the fact that I was hired for that school to perform my “No Bullies” show!

If anyone reading this is new to magic, remember…the classy, SMART magician is polite enough to smile and clap and enjoy the show. Doing anything other will only reveal a magician to be rude, small-minded and…rude. (Told you I was tired.)

It really bugged me because my school shows ROCK. Oh, well, Everyone else loved the show…because the principal told me how much the teachers enjoyed the show.:)

Onto the review: It’s The Moment by Mathew Johnson & Christopher Taylor. It’s available for $199.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here’s the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=16393

THE AD COPY: Predict The Future With A Borrowed Cell Phone!

Who? Where? What? When? Why?

Who? ? Anyone! A spectator or someone chosen at random in a crowd of people.

Where? ? Close-up, on the street, on stage, anywhere!

What? ? Predict the exact moment when ?.

* The woman in red enters the bar The blue car drives by
* The correct object is chosen
* The selected card is dealt
* Limitless Possibilities!

When ? Borrow a cell phone anywhere in the world and set the timer/alarm to any random time, 20 seconds, 38 seconds, 1 minute and 20 seconds, it does not matter! The moment the time runs out on the cell phone the predicted event WILL occur!

Why? ? Because NOW you can! Other ideas include: The performer writes something on a piece of paper and crumples it up. The ball of paper is passed around the group like a hot-potato until the timer on a borrowed cellphone goes off. The participant holding the ball at that moment opens it to find it says, “The moment will be when, [his name] is holding this piece of paper”.

PLEASE NOTE: TV performance rights are withheld. Please contact Christopher Taylor for details.

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: An explanation DVD, The Moment electronics, the remote and the paper and pad to write your predictions

QUALITY OF AD: Oddly, I found the ad itself to be a little confusing as to the nature of the effect, so if you’re as confused as I was, be sure to watch the videos right on the page. I’m glad they had videos because I found the ad copy rather underwhelming, which is funny, because most ads over promise and under deliver!

QUALITY OF PROPS: Top notch! Everything works perfectly after multiple tests, so I feel very good about adding this to my set list. I had a pretty good idea of how this worked, but I was a little surprised at the location of some of the electronics, in that they’re hidden in ‘plain sight,’ which aids mightily in the working of the effect in terms of naturalness. 10 out of 10.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: Without getting into specifics as to WHAT the electronics actually do, I will say that one of the things I LOVE about this product is the fact that Christopher and Mathew take the time to teach some specifics as to working of the remote. The remote can be used in the pocket but they feel the effect is strengthened by being “hands off,” so the remote also has a toe switch built into it.

I myself have tried using a toe switch for one other effect and I never had it set right, so every time I tried using it during the show, I was trying to wiggle my toes in my shoes to get the the toe switch into proper place in my shoe. After that, I’ve never tried to use it as a toe switch…

Well, after watching The Moment’s DVD, I’m now convinced that even I can use a tow switch successfully in a show. Top notch teaching here, and a real pleasant surprise. 10 out of 10.

DIFFICULTY: Once you understand the workings, the difficulty from a technical standpoint is easily a 1 out of 10. Of course, for an effect like this, the real work comes from presentation and paying attention to the psychological work, spectator management, etc. Keep that in mind when you see how “easy” it is. I’m not scaring anyone off, just saying (as I always do) that I do not believe there is an “easy” magic effect.)

ANGLES: If done properly, this can be done surrounded. Everything explained in the video is in the context of a close up setting or a small get together. For stage, this should be simple indeed.

MARKETS: I can see this playing well for middle school kids, high schoolers, college or adult groups. I don’t believe young kids will care about the phone ringing in conjunction with a magic trick – I think they’ll believe someone called in the middle of a trick, interrupting it. I could be wrong, but those are my instincts.

MY THOUGHTS: I love this. Once you know the secret, you’ll realize just how much of a utility device this is, meaning you can create a lot of really neat routines with it. One caveat: If you’re using this onstage as I intend to, The Moment will only cause the spectator’s phone to ring on vibrate. For a stage setting, you’d think this would be a let down, but actually, the creators have come up with a creative solution and after a few private emails with Mr. Taylor, my concerns disappeared and I took the plunge and bought it. I’m glad I did, because of all of the bits of psychology are followed, I can see this being a real fooler.

I highly recommend this and can’t wait to start using it. 10 out of 10.

NEXT WEEK: Levent’s Ultimate Salt Pour Gimmick and DVD

Best,

Cris Johnson

A Very SPECIAL Review and REVIEW: Touch of Glass

Hey everyone,

Cris Johnson here…writing to you from our new salon / hypnosis clinic! We’ve got the floors in, most of the equipment piled up, etc. We have to paint and put together the equipment. I believe we’ve got about three weeks of stuff to go.

This week, I’m going to break from the typical format and post two reviews…one item from Hocus Pocus and another from the magic of Puck!

The item from Puck is only currently being offered from Puck’s website – www.puckmagic.com/products.htm – and it’s pretty awesome, called “Shoe Business.” It retails for $85.00.

EFFECT: You call the “Practical Joke Hotline” on speaker phone to teach the audience a funny gag. You make a mistake following the instructions and inadvertently fill a spectators shoe with a bottle of liquid. This six minutes of comedy is virtually self working as all you do is follow the audio instructions like the old Vanishing Bandana Trick. What makes this routine so great is the tremendous amount of built in laughs as well as a surprise magical finish that really fools the audience. This is a fresh and modern take on the ” Magician in Trouble ” premise.

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: Two gimmicked cups, a ‘cell phone,’ the audio CD, the DVD with performance and explanation, and written instructions.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: This product is a joint venture between Puck and Scott Alexander. Scott is the one on-camera performing and explaining everything. If you’re familiar with Scott’s other releases, you know Scott does a phenomenal job explaining things and this is no different. What’s nice about this is not only does Scott explain things well in terms of the work but he also explains how to make more gimmicked cups.

QUALITY OF PROPS: As mentioned before, the cups are simple plastic cups easily made, which is nice because if all you have on you is your music (the audio track), you can easily put this effect together and have an instant 6 minutes of fun. The cell phone is a simple toy prop, but the real value of this routine is the audio CD and the script, and here’s where this release shines.

DIFFICULTY: This is one of those releases that is almost self-working. There’s some practice involved as far as loading the shoe and some work in terms of rehearsal (to fine-tune your acting as you listen to the CD), but it’s all relatively easy, maybe a 2 out of 10 at the most.

MY THOUGHTS: I’d rate this so far as one of the best effects to come out in the last 12 months. It was really released late last year, but since I got it in 2011, I’ll consider this one of the top releases of the year.

This is so strong because it’s so funny, and it’s a nice variation of the Vanishing Bandana, which, strong as it is, is so widely performed that I’ve avoided it. Shoe Business is a twist on an old classic and I can see myself using this a LOT because it’s the classic Magician in Trouble plot, which audiences of all ages respond very well to.

A 10 out of 10 and so far for 2011, my TOP pick. I know I do not usually review stuff outside of Hocus Pocus, but this was so damn good that I had to post my thoughts.:)

Now, back to the usual Hocus Pocus review…this week it’s A Touch of Glass by Peter Loughran. It’s available at Hocus Pocus for $54.95. Here’s the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=12708http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=12708

EFFECT: Sample Effect 1 – The performer introduces a small piece of tissue paper and draws a picture of a bottle on to it with a marker. The paper is now lit on fire, and suddenly a real full size 750 ml glass bottle of wine begins to materialize from the neck down, until the entire bottle has appeared! It looks like REAL MAGIC or a HOLLYWOOD SPECIAL EFFECT!

Sample Effect 2 – The performer introduces a wine glass with silk filling the inside of the glass, proving that nothing can be hidden inside the silk. His jacket, vest or over shirt is shown empty, and his sleeves are rolled up. The silk is removed and shown empty, the silk is gathered up and a real full size 750 ml glass bottle of wine instantly appears!

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: Several gimmicks designed to work in a variety of ways to keep the bottle (yes, it’s a real bottle) safe & secure until you’re ready to produce it. You also receive written instructions.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: Peter does a fine job of explaining the different effects that you can do with the system. I was able to understand the concepts easily, which is nice, because in past years, I’ve gravitated toward learning magic off of DVDs.

ANGLES: The effect is covered fairly well from parlor or stage but I would not presume to do this in a close-up situation. The fire production (both versions) are more angle-sensitive but the production from a silk covers you well.

DIFFICULTY: I’m still blown away after learning the effect and going back and watching Peter perform the effect on his demo video. Peter makes it look like real magic and it looks so smooth.

I’ve been working with the effect for a while and I feel as though this effect is sort of like dove steals – it takes ‘tinkering’ to get it just right. I remember when I was learning my dove act years ago, it took me a great deal of time to fine-tune everything, from how the dove fit next to my body without bulging through my jacket, the exact position inside the jacket of the dove pocket, etc.

I found the fire production to be exceedingly difficult in terms of timing, as flash paper burns very quickly and while I found Peter’s suggestion of how to ‘modify’ the flash paper to make the effect easier a good thing, overall that particular effect was one I set aside for the time being as I went through $10 of flash paper in about 5 minutes of practice and had no progress to show for it.

I switched to the silk production and found that to be a better choice for me. The handling is very similar but you’re not fighting against the speed of the fire.

The bottom line is this – this effect is much the same way in terms of my own experience with dove productions – it’s coming along, but it will take time. I’ll rate the difficulty as a 7 out of 10. While there is no back-breaking sleight of hand, the timing, components of the productions system and tinkering with getting the hidden bottle to rest in the right spot according to your body type means that in my opinion, this will take practice, but it’s worth it.

MY THOUGHTS: This REALLY looks fantastic when you do it well, as Peter does. It takes some work and tinkering to make it ‘fit’ you, but the components that work with the bottle are well made and I feel Peter has a winner here.

I also appreciate the fact that Peter gives you different options in terms of effect. Rather than being a one-off, you’ve got different possibilities and I can also see the creative performer using this ‘system’ to produce other objects as well. I give this a solid 8 out of 10 – rehearse and put in the time and you’ve got a beautiful effect.

NEXT WEEK: I review The Moment by Christopher Taylor.

Best,

Cris Johnson