Monday, 22 February 2010

Product Reviews - Dealer Reviews

What we saw in the dealers and what DVD's we will be watching and reviewing tonight!
This will be a big section...
Including the likes of Lee Smith, Gary Jones, Christopher Congreave, Liam Montier and Cameron Francais...

Exchange Rate Inc by Cameron Francis - BBM (Review by Matt Wainwright)

Firstly the DVD production is first class and is just what you expect from the Big Blind Media team.
Secondly its not a "one trick DVD" as some people are saying.
Yes the main effect is the name of the title, but there are SEVEN other effects including cards and other bill effects.
You also get to learn the $100 if you don't already know it.
That said here my thoughts on the main item, Exchange Rate Inc......
Cameron has obviously given this a lot of thought, and you can instantly tell it's been worked a lot as well.
The effect is a very visual signed coin & bill transposition. A signed coin is held at the finger tips and it visually transforms into a bill which was in your pocket. You (or the spectator) can fairly reach into your pocket and extract the signed coin. It's very clean. Everything can be examined at the end and there is even explanations using a signed coin AND signed bill handling, which is very cool. It's very simple in method but very powerful.
I personally will be happy using the basic effect, a spectators signed coin and a bill transposing.
Its great that you get various handling's including ending clean so they can examine the bill, remove the coin etc, I just don't think it will be necessary. Maybe I will after some performances, but right now I'm off to make this up and get cracking.
Which reminds me, to make the gimmick you will need some money of course, and a couple of other everyday items you will probably have in a drawer at home.
Its not expensive to make, and one done should last a long time.
I highly recommend this as it can be used in walkaround performances with no tables and it hits them hard with uncomplicated, visual magic.
At £15.99 it is very reasonably priced and can be purchased here:

We also learnt about a recently new website concept where you can watch streaming lectures and live lectures. This could be a great source for magicians if they want to see performances they can't attend:

Gary Jones Live - Lecture Vol. 1 (Review by Stu)
Firstly I’ll say after meeting Gary in the dealer hall and at the Ruskin, just what a nice guy he is, however that aside these reviews are unbiased. So onto the DVD, I’ll the negatives out of the way first; the filming quality isn’t great, it’s filmed at a magic club lecture and although it’s a two camera production you do miss some points due to the angles or someone’s head in the way, after the first couple of minutes of watching you tend to forget about it and just enjoy. And that’s the only negative as the content is fabulous, the routines are clever and range in ability so there is something for everyone. Routine include cards, coins, sponge balls, rings & mental stuff, so you will all be happy. £20 available here.

Gary Jones & Christopher Congreave - Flying Tonight (Review by Stu)
The filming quality is much better on this, and the DVD gives you a good selections of coins across routines to choose from. It also covers lots of moves in good detail. The routines include stuff with & without any gimmicks as well as most leaving you clean at the end and instant reset. If you don’t have a coins across routine you need this DVD, even if you do then you’ll learn some cool additions and moves from this too. £15 available here.

Lee Smith's STEP SYSTEM (simple tricks extraordinary power) DVD Review. Producted by RSVP Magic. (Reviewed by Max)

Welcome to the "The step System" the brand new two disc set from UK magician Lee Smith. So, what is "The System"? Well, it stands for Simple Tricks Extraordinary Power and proves that You can get fantastic reactions and make a great living performing effects that really are simple to do. The reaction on these DVD's prove it!

Lee Smith has been a good friend of mine for around a year now and I have really enjoyed every time we have met up and chatted and stuff. Lee is a professional full time close up magician and has had a lot of experience in the real world.
His DVD's have been shot in front of real spectators so no L&L studio performing in front of fake audiences. (I'm not saying L&L productions are bad but using them to make what I’m writing easier to understand).
Now because I’m a mate of Lee I’m not going to say everything’s amazing and buy the DVD I’m going to give my honest which I’m sure is best and what Lee would want.

Step System volume 1:

Ice Breaker
Lee’s 3 Phase opening routine. Cards jump from hand to hand, vanish and appear in impossible places! Included is an in depth discussion on character types for different audiences, approach and much, much more.

I really like this routine because it is very well structured in that it seems to laymen to get better at each phase. This trick is a great ice breaker and a nice opening trick.

Walkaround 2 Cards to Pocket
Two cards are lost in the deck, then found and then they swap places. Snappy, fast and a real attention grabber. Utilizes the Ollie Mealing ‘Switch Trick’, one of the best glimpses ever! Worth the price of the DVD!

This is a nice version of the classic card to pocket routine because it involves two spectators which is good because if you’re a professional you will know the more people you involve in your tricks the better reactions you will get. Also it has a transposition of the two chosen cards in it which just enhances the trick loads.

One of Lee’s signature tricks being explained for the first time. An awesome routine in which a card jumps under the card box not once but twice and even escapes a spectator’s hand. A third phase ends with the ENTIRE DECK UNDER THE BOX. Best of all its easy to do!

This is a nice card under box routine but again what makes it great is that a traditional card under box routine would be done with one card but Lee goes a step further and uses two selections and I think it’s a really nice effect.

You Keep Mine
A superb multi-phase routine that ends with the spectators signature jumping from their card to one that has your business details on the back. The perfect giveaway that’s sure to get you more bookings.

I think it’s a great routine because the kicker at the end is amazing to laymen and the fact that you can hand it out and it has your details on it is great.

Bold Business
An amazing feat of mind power. Leave the spectator thinking you really can read minds! A miracle using nothing more than a marker pen and some business cards (again worth the DVD).

This one is a great impromptu bit of mentalism and the fact that it's using your business card which you can handout at the end it makes it a good business card handout trick.

Third Degree
Three cards are chosen, one even imagined. All three are revealed in progressively harder ways until the magician reveals that the thought of card has been in their hands right from the start. A masterpiece of audience management and psychology. his

This is a lovely effect and has a real hands off feel about it. This one I will definitely be adding to my repertoire. A great way to sell yourself as a real master of your art.

All of the tricks on this DVD are great, very commercial and practical. My favourite trick would have to be Third Degree.

Step System volume 2:

Just Think
You predict a card that the spectator merely thinks of and repeat the feat for an amazing kicker ending.

This is a great trick inspired from a routine by David Willimason called "Cocktale Dazzlers" on his DVD "Magic Farm". Like me because Lee is left handed he had some trouble with performing the trick but has come up with a nice alternative which allows him to do his take on the first phase of David's routine.

Business Lunch
Lee’s preferred handling for the Out to Lunch principle, leaving the spectator with the best memento they could have, your business card. The ultimate giveaway routine that’s sure to leave a lasting impression with your audience.

Another fantastic trick were Lee has taken an old classic and put a twist on it and made it much better. Again you give your card out at the end so it’s a nice business card handout trick.

Key To Amazement
A self-working miracle where a thought of card is found under seemingly impossible conditions. This will freak out magicians and lay people alike!

This is a nice little clever routine because it seems so impossible and the best part about it is the its self working!

Crazy Cuffs
A classic of magic explained. A borrowed ring jumps onto the band for a kicker ending.

A nice classic of magic with a nice touch of Lee Smith.

Coming Together
A performance only of Paul Green’s wonderful effect where two signatures end up on the same card. If you like Anniversary Waltz you will love this. Watch Lee’s take on this for Walkaround performances.

A very nice adaption to Paul Green's great effect, nice thing about it is if you already do anniversary you will know most versions you need a gimmicked card but with Lee Smith's adaptation to Paul Green's effect you don’t need any gimmicked cards so its impromptu. I think i will be adding this to my repertoire!

Fifth Element
Lee’s take on Paul Harris’ ‘Whack My Pack’ plot. Sure-Fire and plays great to the largest of groups.

This one is great, Lee showed me it before he realised his DVD's at Blackpool this year and I totally loved it, such a nice effect and very direct. This is one that you will use.

A brand new four ace routine, released here for the very first time! This is a multi-phase routine that you will learn and use!

A fantastic trick which has many different parts to it which on a whole makes it a really cool trick and I can imagine it will play very big to a large audience if you are doing walkaround or table hopping.

Strike Two
taking an old classic and bringing it right up-to-date, watch as Lee gets screams and gasps with this multi-phase lighter routine explained in complete detail. Another routine that you WILL USE!

This one in my opinion is worth the price of both DVD's alone. I have watched Lee perform it live to real people and it packs small, plays big. It is something you are going to add to you repertoire without a shadow of a doubt. It’s so simple yet so affective.

Okay basically im just going to quickly sum it all up and give my final thoughts now.
Lee's DVD was aimed at the sort of beginner magician that wanted to go out into the real world but was not confident enough to do so, i would just like to say although the material on the DVD was aimed at sort of beginners all of it can be used by the professional magician because the material is so strong, direct and commercial.
I am very happy with my purchase (Lee will that funny lol) and i could recommend it to any magician of any standard. Also I would just like to say that Russ Stevens did a superb job at filming it and Ravi Mayar as assisting Lee throughout the explanations.

It's a 10/10 * from myself Max Curd and if you like what you heard visit

1 comment:

  1. I had a great time dealing/performing. I met many old friends and made new ones. I performed my socks off...and roasted in the heat of the lower arena. It's a shame I didn't get to see much magic, but - I was busy!! Anyway, reason for posting here is that I will soon be lecturing (online) for the Academy Of Magic... It's a great concept! PG