Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bowling Pin Production

Hello loyal readers!

Before I get to today's review, a few housekeeping thingies...

1. My contest for the FREE Gum DVD in my previous DVD is still going on. I've had several entries, which is great! To enter, simply send me an email to crisjohnsoninfo@verizon.net.

2. I gotta share this - last week I did a school fundraiser using my "how to Make $1000 in One Show" system and I acheived a personal best: nearly $2000 with one show! For school workers in the elementary school market, that's great for one night's work. The system, sold by Hocus Pocus, can be found here: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=12457

3. I'm still doing my big Bill Abbott review later this week as promised, but I wanted to review this product before I forget because I just got rid of mine.

On to today's review...

EFFECT: You remove your jacket, push your arm through your sleeve and produce a real, solid bowling pin!

PRICE: $125

OVERALL REVIEW: I bought this a couple of years ago thinking I could use this in conjunction with my Bowl-A-Rama - bowling ball and then a bowling pin...makes sense. You can find it at Hocus Pocus here: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=7155

I'll cover the props, instruction, etc and then get into my opinion of this effect.

WHAT YOU GET: An extremely well-made leather gimmick, the genuine bowling pin and a DVD instructional video.

ANGLES: Watch people too far on your sides and you can't have anyone behind you. This one is tight for club dates, best for stage.

Michael Mode claims he's been usng this as his opner for many years. The effect is fast, easy to understand and easy to learn. Michael's DVD is extremely thorough. He teaches the production in a very careful way, and I have to say the production value on the DVD is excellent. He covers angles (you can't do this surrounded), how to cover yourself walking into a gig, setting up, presentation, varying the basic effect with a wine bottle (for example) and much more.

I like the concept of the effect because you walk onstage, apparently with nothing around you and no access to anything and then you produce this large object. Great concept.

I have to be honest, though, when I was considering this effect, I was a little put off by the fact that there was no demo video. Old school guys talk about how there were no videos to see back in the day...you ordered it from a catalog, waited 4 weeks or so, and hope you made a wise choice.

I get it - times have changed. I'm spoiled - I like my videos, especially for anything over a certain price range. Oh sure, I've picked up pricey things with no demo video (like Scott Alexander's Velocity, which rocks - future review) but if there's a video, I admit I'm happier.

I ordered it anyway, and upon watching the demo DVD, I immediately knew how the effect was done. Does that make it bad? NO WAY, as I catch myself "thinking like a magician" far too often. So, despite my lack of being impressed, I rehearsed the effect and put it into several different shows - I tried it on High School audiences, family audiences, younger audiences (2nd grade to fourth grade), adult gigs and more.

I tried it with music, I tried with no music, I tried different scripts (I really didn't care for Michael's as it struck me as a pun...tough way to open a show with that kind of humor.)

The bottom line? I always got zero response from this effect. I respect Michael for the effort he put in, the quality of the DVD, the quality of the gimmick and more. It's great stuff. However, I have to judge an effect for myself based on the response it gets and for me it got nothing. I feel really bad giving a negative review. I admire Michael's thinking, his effort and so on, and I also think that a creative type could take the basic concept of the effect and mold it into something different - perhaps ditching the jacket for something else. If you're creative and you're looking for a challenge, check this out.

For me, however, after working with this effect and trying different scripts and different audiences over the course of about seven months, it just didn't get the response.

I also believe that not every effect fits every person. For me, it just didn't work out. Unfortunately, I can only give this a 4 out of 10 - great "E for effort," great gimmick and instruction, but my audiences just did not react.

The Bill Abbott review (and it will be uber-positive) will come later this week.

Until next time...


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