Two reviews this week...why two? The main reason is the first item will not need much space to discuss it so I had to wedge it in somewhere. On to the first review item this week...Candle to Fan by Michael P. Lair. This "effect" is available for $24.95 from Hocus Pocus.
The effect: a lit candle is shown. After the candle is blown out, a pretty dragon style fan is in its place. (pretty vague...)
WHAT YOU GET: A "gimmicked" (and I use that term lightly) fan and a written sheet of instructions.
MY THOUGHTS: I'm skipping right to the section where I get to rant this week because this is among the WORST products I've ever reviewed. The red dragon fan is very beautiful and is the same fan you get if you buy the Snowstorm in China kit (the one with the book of routines, fan and box of snowstorms.)
My old fan, same as this review item, had broke 6 years ago after countless shows. I fixed it and got it to last several more years. It finally broke completely recently, and since Snowstorm is my closer to many shows, I had to get a new fan.
I stumbled upon the Candle to Fan trick and thought, 'Why not? A nice little lead-in to Snowstorm, right?'
Wrong. The red fan is gimmicked by taking what looks like a bent paperclip, attaching a bit of fuzz to it and using a thin piece of black electrical tape to hold this makeshift gimmick in place on the fan. In fact, mine fell off as I was opening the package.
This "effect" is an insult to anyone buying magic for professional use. The fan itself is good and since I had one like it, I know it will last, but the "effect" I thought I was getting is non-existent. It's complete crap and should be avoided.
My rating 1/10 (the 1 is because the fan itself, in it's virgin state, is terrific for Snowstorm.)
Enough of that! Now on to the Headline Prediction by Paul Romhany & yours truly!
Here's the link to the ad: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=20419
MY THOUGHTS: First of all, I'm going to touch upon my own contribution to the book very briefly, as to 'review' my own effect would be self-serving. I'll just say that my version was created because there have been a few times in the past when I was doing a headline prediction (with a gimmicked tape player and later with my CD prediction, Mother of All Predictions) where the client would forget to bring the mailed package to the show at the banquet hall...despite my reminder phone call the day before!
It only happened a couple of times, but it motivated me to create an alternate headline prediction. In my version, because audience members get to pick what words, sentences and phrases are used from said newspaper, even if the client forgets the mailed package, I can STILL have a backup with me, as the free selection of what is selected to be predicted is a free choice. Adding this second level of deception not only is a real fooler but if the original mailed package is forgotten, I can still do the routine, though bringing my own envelope does negate the effect slightly.
My handling is easy, fair, and I've been closing my corp shows with this technique for 15 years so I know it kills.
On to Paul's headline prediction method. While I love my routine, in terms of doing the classic newspaper headline prediction I actually like Paul's handling better because it's so freakin' easy! Once you hit the stage, everything is sooooooooooooooo innocent looking and the technical demands are really simple! (Mine is maybe a 1 in terms of technical difficulty while Paul's is like a .5!)
I also love the fact that Paul's method allows a spectator to select WHICH newspaper is predicted. In many ways, Paul & I both tackled the idea of adding that second layer of deception to the newspaper prediction - we just went about it in different ways.:)
I also love Paul's idea of including your letterhead, which is sooo smart.
However, the thing I love about Paul's method is that it allows, if you desire, to create a really BIG prediction that more people can see from their seats. I LOVE this!
Paul's method is also angle-proof - yes, it can be done SURROUNDED, for 6 people in a living room or 600 people on stage. There's also no pre-show work with the spectator. The order of things are:
1. Book your show
2. Mail your prediction to your client
3. On the day of the show, prepare your "materials" at home (or hotel) and this is maybe 5 minutes TOPS - easy!!
4. buy your newspapers for that day
5. Go do your show
The instructions Paul provides are clear and easy to follow. He provides several photos and in the photos, instead of just explaining where things need to be glued or taped, he uses black strips of electrical tape as a can't-miss visual guide.
To give you an idea of the technical demands of the routine, if you can open a newspaper, that's all you physically need to do on stage.
To give you an idea of the complexity of preparing your materials before the show, I will just say that preparing the Anderson Newspaper Tear is, like, a zillion times HARDER than preparing this.
I'll sum up by saying that I have performed several variations of Headline Predictions in my life, all with great success:
- I've used my own Confab Prediction
- I've used a gimmicked tape player
- I have used handlings by Lee Earle and other masters
- I have even used my own Mother of all Predictions
Each has produced great results for me, and in paryicular my "confab" handling is the finale of my Murder By Magic show, and while I love it, using it for the same audience twice (repeat gigs) is NOT something I want to do, so Paul's handling is going right into my act.
I also want to point out Paul's additional headline prediction late in the back, after his primary handling and after mine...I can't say too much about it because it uses a magician's prop in a way 99% of magicians would never THINK to do. It's exceedingly clever and is a great bonus.
My rating: 10/10 - NOT for my version (which I gotta say is great!) but in the interest of objectivity I can honestly say the book is well worth it for Paul's version alone. Think of it this way - $20 for something that is angle-proof and can close ANY corporate or adult show on the planet and is dead easy? No brainer!