What a week!
This is the time of year my business usually drops off, at least in terms of school shows, but I've been extremely fortunate to be doing hypnosis shows and more importantly, my clinical hypnosis (designed to keep me home more often) is shaping up as well. Two nights ago, I did a free hypnosis talk for 30 minutes at my chiropractor's office and immediately booked 3 clinical sessions...off an audience of 6 people. Needless to say, I was delighted!
This month's issue of my free ezine, "Cause & Effects," will be a few days late as the recording of hypnosis CDs as well as my performance schedule have hindered my projects. Patience as it will be in soon...
Also, my next product will be announced very soon, probably in the next week or so. It's going to be the full script of my one-of-a-kind corporate show. It will include scripting for all effects as the show has a complete plot and storyline. It's not a simple unifying theme like what is talked about in the books but an actual plotline. This plays incredibly strong and clients are always super-excited about it. I make anywhere from $800 - $2500 when I perform this...hitting the $2500 mark more often than not. I know there are corporate guys who get fees much higher than that, but I'm simply not as agressive in the corporate market, so you may have more success.:)
This will NOT be a simple $30 book, either. This will be a detailed course on how to present this show with alternate trick selections if you decide to go the briefcase route or other variations if you go the 'fill the stage' route. It's going to be priced high, but I will be doing a pre-release special where you can save a LOT by ordering early. Stay tuned...
This week's review: Oz Pearlman's 21st Century Phantom. It's available for $29.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=9611
EFFECT: A spectator is given a choice of several dozen celebrities' names on the back of business cards. She shows her selection to everyone else but not you. You take a blank business card, fold it, and using some small carry-around-with-you scissors, begin cutting, as though making a paper doll. Finally, once you finish cutting, the spectator names her selection and you unfold the cut-up card...it's cut into the EXACT likeness of that celebrity!
WHAT YOU GET: A very well produced DVD. You also receive some celebrity patterns you can use to gimmick up your business cards for the revelations.
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: First rate. Oz teaches the preparation of the props and the handling very well. There are closeups where there needs to be closeups and in particular, I felt the audio commentary option over the performances was a great touch and I'd love to see others use it in future DVD products. (Max Maven's audio commentary in his "Nothing" show is awesome as well.
Lighting is good, though I don't care for the 'standing in front of a black background' way of teaching in a DVD. It's a personal taste and not a big deal to me, but I even prefer L & L's early releases with the bad chromakey background.:)
DIFFICULTY: The angles for this effect are excellent. Although not completely angle proof, Oz teaches viewers how to 'shield' the workings if you're surrounded. Also, the 'working' is fast and easy, so anything fishy is not 'in play' very long. The 'moves' are very simple, rating around a 2 or 3 only because coordinating the 'moves' with your physical blocking and scripting is beneficial to the deceptiveness of the effect. From a purely technical end, the moves are at most a 2 and probably a 1 in difficulty.
MARKET: I can see this playing for teens, college kids and adults. The real strength is the offbeat revelation - people are simply not expecting it. It's visual, unique and makes for a helluva giveaway. I don't think little kids would get as much out of this, but I could be wrong.
MY EXTENDED COMMENTS: All of the performances are in the real world - most of which are in corporate settings. The performances felt very 'real' to me, as I could sense the mood of the room. Corporate audiences are a strange breed of animal, as people in many events are smirking, skeptical, yet they act very much like overgrown kids, laughing and poking fun at their co-workers. If you go in with the wrong material, you'll get eaten alive, but with the right material, corporate performing can be some of the most rewarding experiences of your entire career and it's evident that Oz shines in this environment. He performs the effect at a brisk, confident pace without a ton of exposition in order to maintain interest.
Also, he goes into great detail about a fast way to instantly convert the cut up biz card (which is a bit flimsy) into an awesome souvenir that is durable and is a GREAT advertisement for your services. This is incredible and I was so impressed with this as it's evident Oz is a working pro.
That's all the good stuff. Not for the stuff I did not care for...
To do this effect, you must cut out the celebrity 'cut outs' on each biz card...though Oz teaches a simple way to do two cards at once, it's still a lot of prep for an effect that, theoretically, you'll be doing multiple times in an evening...and my opinion is, if you're doing this for a corporate event, people WILL drag you over to another group and say, "Hey do thast for him!" (That happens to me all the time with my Perfect Corporate Opener. Ask me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org)
So the prep's a pain in the butt, from my end. Second, to do this as Oz does, with multiple outcomes as well as the way to convert the cut up card into the souvenir, you'll be devoting MULTIPLE pockets to this effect. If you're doing a formal closeup show, as people like Eugene Burger talk about, this is not an issue, but if you're like me, you're going from group to group and you can't haul a suitcase of crap with you...it's all in the pockets, so that's a huge consideration.
Finally, you actually do real snipping and cutting with the scissors, meaninglittle bits of paper do collect on the floor. If you're at a Holiday Banquet Room, for example, I think this will fly by unnoticed, but at some higher end black tie events or especially in a client's home, I can see you getting the "raised eyebrow," to paraphrase the great Alfred Hitchcock.
FINAL RATING: This is an awesome effect, albeit one I'm too lazy to prepare (LOL, just beig honest!) with some pocket considerations. I recommend it if the prep work does not throw you off. Also, if you're working for an extremely LARGE crowd and only do one or two effects per group then pocket space is not as much of an issue. I give it 8 out 10 - very very good, but a few stumbling blocks to kep it from being a classic in my eyes. I don't do a lot of strolling/closeup and therefore when I do it, in terms of prep I'm very lazy.:)
NEXT WEEK: JOhn Archer's Further Education DVD set
QuestionS? Email me - email@example.com