Wow, I've actually been HOME for THREE whole days! Then it's back on the road. Whew, it's better than my old job which involved cleaning cars. Good honest labor, but no where near as fun as being paid to travel the country!
Quick road story: I've been doing "Alive" which essentially is a hands-off production of a rat. GREAT effect. Well, I carry my rats on the road. Arrived at a motel late one night and let the rats run around on the bed...where they promptly chewed holes in the bedspread.
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On to today's review...
I'm reviewing Jim Kleefeld's Water Magic CD Rom. It's $44.95 and available from Hocus Pocus. Here's the link to the product info: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=12692
THE CONCEPT: This CD is devoted to performing water magic, as this 2010 summer library theme is "Make a Splash - Read!" The idea is that by tying your magic shows into the theme of water and/or aquatic life, you'll be a LOT more attractive to libraries looking to book themed entertainers this year.
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: A CD with the 110 page book on it in PDF form along with art files, font files and more.
MY OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: First of all, this is a heck of a steal. There's so much great info in here that instead of rehashing every effect or important point, I just decided to take notes on what jumped out at me. Bear in mind there's a TON of stuff I simply can't cover in this review. I like to be thorough in these reviews, but if I covered EVERY thing in this book, the review would be nearly the length of the book.:) So, as you read through my thoughts, remember that there's an unbelievable amount of treasures I didn't mention. Here are my main thoughts...
- Jim could have built several of the effects he has created in this book separately and sold each for $20 - $40. I'm not much of a "do it yourself" guy, but Jim's clear instructions have me itching to put some of these together.
- Jim has created a ton of original material and has provided scripting suggestions, making each of these effects easier to incorporate into your own show(s) then you might have guessed. Great stuff.
- Here's just a sample of some of the original effects in this book: water changes to a blue silk, bottles disappear; original routines with water stuffed animals and much, much more.
- In addition to his original effects, Jim offers suggestions, performance tips, scripting ideas and general thoughts on several commercially available props. A partial list includes: Hydrostatic glass, Sands of the Desert, Comedy Funnel, Chen Lee water Suspension, Airborne Glass, Water in the News, Stratosphere, Acrobatic Fish, Instant Art and too many more to rattle off here.
- Having performed many of the effects he's listed, I can fully attest to his superior thinking. I've been thinking about adding the Chen Lee Water Suspenion to my Recycling Show for a year but have been stuck on a presentation. Jim's is outstanding and most importantly, easy for kids to grasp, the ultimate benchmark determining whether I add something to my school shows.
- In addition to all of that, Jim also provides detailed thoughts and analysis of overall scripting of a new show, adding routines, fine-tuning routines, and thoughts on the right way and wrong way to use the old "look-don't see" plot in kids' magic. Having performed for kids for 15 years and having seen a lot of bad magicians over the years, this one bit of advice is worth the price of admission.
- Jim doesn't stop there as he also includes several pages of kid-friendly jokes, pages of sea life and water facts to be used as "raw material" when crafting your own programs and more.
- The pages and pages of artwork alone are invaluable. I've used a ton of computer artwork when creating my own routines and having all of this stuff together for specific effects is VERY convenient.
- Jim teaches you THREE methods to making a Change Bag out of swim trunks! How cool is THAT? Look, I own and use a traditional style Change Bag, but I'm the first to admit it looks like it came from outer space. the Swim Trunk Change Bag idea is GOLD.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Libraries are big money if you do enough of them. I know entertainers who usually do 50-75 every summer, so the dollars add up. Personally, I've never tried tried filling my summers with libraries, but after reading this book, I just may give it a shot.
Even if you only buy this book for new routine ideas and don't plan on filling your summer with libraries, Jim's analysis of the pros and cons of many marketed effects is worth the price of the book. A 10 out of 10 from me and HIGHLY recommended.
Until next time, remember, send any review requests and comments/questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just ordered Gremlins in A Box and expect to receive it in a few days. Once I add it to my shows and test it out, I'll be reviewing it. I've also got reviews coming up on No Smoking by Puck, more Sean Bogunia goodness, a few different DVD set reviews, and much more. Stay tuned...