Hello, loyal readers!
As promised, I'm back with another review this week! My performing schedule has been hectic enough that I've generally only done one review per week, but I've got some extra tme today (don't know how that happened) so I can squeeze this in.
My newest book is now up on Hocus Pocus' website! It's called "Cause & Effects Volume 1" and it's a collection of magic routines I use in my own professional work. Check it out: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=12964
Its namesake is a reference to my ezine "Cause & effects" which features magic philosophy and performing tips. It's a free ezine and you can sign-up by shooting me an email: email@example.com.
The new book is $24.95 and features full fleshed out routines & presentations. Other books are on the way, so check back here often.:)
On to today's review. It's Comedy Confabulation by Cody Fisher. It's available for $40.00 at Hocus Pocus. Here's a link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=12963
THE EFFECT: The magician tries to read the minds of the audience several times and does in fact succeed BUT in the most absurd manner possible! In the end however, the magician removes a sealed prediction that proves he did in fact know exactly what the audience would say!
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: A 14 page booklet with color photographs, the full routine, a history of the effect, variations, tips from other pros such as Greg Arce and more.
INSTRUCTION: Cody's thinking is steller. So much so that he sickens me. OK, I'm kidding about the 'sickening' part, but Cody is fantastic in the way he teaches this. He has a way with words and his instruction allows you to get this up and running very quickly.
ANGLES: This is a prediction effect done in real time (no assistants, like the Malloy chest) where a folded notecard with the prediction winds up in an envelope or card-to-wallet envelope. As such, you can NOT have anyone directly behind you. Also, you have to be careful with your extreme right and left sides. I've performed a version of the Shaxon-style prediction on which this is based and after a few times of performing, you'll know just how to shade your sides while doing this. Not bad at all.
DIFFICULTY: There's a bit of palming involved but really, no super-techie moves. That being said, any effect requires practice to do it smoothly, especially in terms of choreography. I hate rating something as "easy" as nothing in magic is truly "easy." However, once you rehearse this enough to get it into your muscle memory and thereby get comfortable with it, the technical part of this routine is "easy.":)
MARKET: As I said, I've done this style of prediction for over 10 years and in fact it's my standard closer for corporate events. However, my version has never played all that well to high school groups. Interestingly, Cody's version is so freakin' hilarious (one of the predictions literally had me laughing out loud...when's the last time that's ever happened to you while reading a magic routine?) that I believe this will play great for high school kids. It will definitely play for colleges, too.
MY THOUGHTS: As I said earlier, I've been using this style of one-man, no-assistants-needed prediction presentation for a decade and it always kills. I feel it's so strong because it's so open-ended. I feel mentalism is at its best when you can tell someone "think of anything in the universe," and you read their mind or reveal it's been predicted. It's like drawing duplications - "draw anything in the world," and the the performer duplicates it. What I DON'T like is when the performer does a drawing dupe with a deck of cards with little drawings on them.
That's just my preference, but if one were truly a mind reader, he/she should be able to read minds with NO restrictions. Cody's prediction totally satisfies this desire as there are NO forces for the final prediction. It's wide open.
Another quibble I have is when mentalism drags. I recently saw a mentalist perform a 60-minute show...and in that show, he performed a 40-minute blindfold/Q&A act. It dragged SO bad bad bad because he did not have any funny stories, dramatic asides or simply even an engaging personality to make all of these procedures entertaining. It was horrible.
Cody's prediction makes the journey interesting. In short, it's not JUST the big "wow" at the end that makes this play but rather the entire process is a joy. Cody understands that as an entertainer, you're being paid to entertain...the whole time you're on stage...not just at the end of the 'trick!' Cody's script and framework shows that one does not need to be 'pretentious' or stuffy when performing mentalism as so many are prone to do. Ugh.
Finally, Cody has meticulously addressed several weaknesses (as he perceives them) of the traditional 'real-time' or confabulation-style prediction. All of his touches are fantastic improvements, but one in particular had me literally springing out of my chair when I read this (I bought an advance copy before Hocus Pocus put it up).
FINAL THOUGHTS: In the end, this will play and play STRONG. If you've ever wanted to add this style of prediction into your act, this about the funniest way to do it I've ever read. 10 out of 10 - highly recommended.
Questions? Comments? Review requests? Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,