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 Post subject: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:24 am 
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Location: Jackson, Michigan
TITLE and Creator: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam

Effect: You show a standard deck of Bicycle playing cards. On the back of each card you have written a number. You have your spectators name 3 different cards, and those cards are placed face up on the table in plain view. You then pull a photograph out of your pocket. On the photo are the backs of three playing cards, each with a number written on it. Amazingly enough, as you flip over the cards that the spectator has named, the numbers on the back of them match exactly what is on the photo that is still on the table.

Price: $24.50

Teaching: The teaching of this effect is entirely on DVD. There are no written instructions at all, so if you are a person that really likes learning from written instructions, be prepared to have to watch a video. However, I don't think that the lack of written instructions is any kind of problem. The DVD is well put together and professionally made. The menu is nice, the audio quality is good, and the video is good. The DVD starts out by giving you the same demo that you can watch on Penguin on the product page. It then goes into the history of the trick and why it's being re-released. Next it shows you how to make and set up your deck. After showing how to make the deck you are then shown several different things you can do with the included photographs. Finally, there is a section where you learn a few different ways to deal with complications that could arise while doing the trick. Overall I really enjoyed the DVD and thought it did an excellent job of teaching the effect. There is no Penguin's Only forum for this effect, but I think it would be a really good effect to have one for. I have sent a message to the administration of the forums requesting one, so hopefully there will be one soon.

Quality of materials: The quality of the photographs included with the package is very good. They are clear and on very nice photo quality paper. The other materials needed to do the effect must be provided by the magician...however, they consist solely of a red backed deck of Bicycles and a sharpie. Basically, if you can write numbers you can make the deck...it's that easy.

I have to note for a moment, that although the quality of the photographs is very good, I found that my handwriting was WAY too different from the handwriting on the photographs. No big deal...I simply took the deck that I had made and made my own photographs with a digital camera and got them printed at Walgreen's. I think this might be the way to go for many people because then you don't have to worry about trying to make your deck look like the cards on the photos, and you will be 100% certain the the photos are a match to your handwriting.

However, the photographs supplied have a few other things on them that can be used with an optional effect that is described on the DVD...but...to do that effect you need to have some other things that aren't included with the effect. You may or may not have these items already, but I didn't and I don't think that the trick really would gain much by doing the additional routine, so I found that it was best to make my own photos. If you have the other items required to do the optional routine, you may want to think about working on getting your deck to match the photos.

Difficulty: Simple, simple, simple. There are no sleights of hand required at all. If you can find three cards in a deck that is face up, then you can do this trick. I was up and running quite literally as soon as I was done putting numbers on my deck. The hardest part about this effect is going to be working out where you want to keep the reveal...and that's saying something about how easy it is to do, because you can keep the reveal pretty much anywhere.

Again, I can't stress how easy this trick is to perform. I like doing tricks that are more or less self working because it fits my comfort zone as a relatively new magician. This effect fits that bill perfectly.

Not only is it easy to perform, it's also instantly reset. And when I say that it's instantly reset, I mean that literally. You put the three cards back in the deck and you're ready to go for your next table or your next group. No rearranging or anything.

Applications: Being it's a card trick, it's going to be best done in close up situations. You could probably do it on the street, but you would want the spectators to hold the cards in a specific way. Restaurants would be perfect for an effect like this. You don't absolutely need a table for the effect to work, but I find it best if you have one. I like to take the three cards and have them face up on the table then put the photograph underneath them in an order so that not only do the cards match the numbers on the photo, but so that they are actually in the same order that they are in the photo. The table helps you to accomplish this with ease.

Some Other Things to Note: First off, the deck is not examinable, so you may want to work this effect sometime after you've already done an effect where you let a deck be examined. I find that if you do that then people are less likely to want to check out the other things that you do, because they are already "trusting" you.

Second, I really think the effect is more solid when you have taken your own photographs. You could even go so far as to make sure that something in the photograph is something that they will quickly see is yours...for instance, if you were a certain type of hat while performing, have that hat sitting off to the side of the cards. This way the spectators will know 100% that you have taken the photo of the cards yourself. Also, if you take the photos yourself you can keep the copies on your PC (if digital) or keep the negatives (if film) so that you can make more copies of the photos when yours eventually start to wear out. You can't use a line of "I took this photo earlier this afternoon" if the photo has clearly been in your pocket for months. You can avoid that by just going and making a new copy of your photo every now and then.

Third, there are several situations that you need to avoid when doing the trick. These will become readily apparent when you build your deck. HOWEVER, I have performed this trick about 30 times in the last few days, and NOT ONCE did I actually run into one of these situations. With the correct wording, you should not have to worry at all about running into these types of situations. Even if you do, they are easily avoided with just a few statements.

In Closing: This effect, in my opinion, is fantastic. I've performed it for quite a few coworkers and everyone was left completely baffled, and not only baffled but thoroughly entertained. When I do effects for my coworkers I usually get good reactions with a few "How did you do that?" type comments sprinkled in, but this one had everyone commenting on the impossibility of what just happened, and everyone really wanted to know how it was done.

The simplicity of the trick allows you to focus all of your energy on your actual presentation, which we all know is the most important part of entertaining. You can really focus on your spectators and work on providing good patter and conversation because you literally don't have to worry at all about what's going to happen.

I really enjoy performing it.


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:38 am 
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I just wanted to mention, I've been continuing to perform this trick and it continues to get great reactions.

People are all over the map on how they THINK it's done. Most of them are convinced that I somehow have enough photos hidden on my person to cover every possible option...to which I just laugh and mention that the first choice was a 1 out of 52 choice...the second choice was a 1 out of 51 choice...and the third choice was a 1 out of 50 choice. I then mention that's quite a few different pictures I would have to have hidden on me. Usually gets a good laugh.

I still really like performing this one.


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:13 pm 
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I have this effect also. I have yet to perform it. Great effect; however, if performing a 3 card effects, I prefer red hot prediction by Cameron francis. BTW, have you ran into the 2% problem in Catalysm?


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:50 pm 
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Sankeyrules wrote:
I have this effect also. I have yet to perform it. Great effect; however, if performing a 3 card effects, I prefer red hot prediction by Cameron francis. BTW, have you ran into the 2% problem in Catalysm?


Yes. I have, but only once, and only because one of the spectators wasn't really paying attention to my words. I didn't even have to correct him, one of the specs actually did. She said "There's already...etc, etc, etc..." and he then picked correctly.

That was one time out of about 40 uses, so I'm thinking the 2% is pretty accurate...


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:30 am 
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Thanks for the rapid reply


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:08 pm 
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This effect looks really interesting but I can't get my head around the deck not being examinable? Wouldnt laypeople just think... oh most the cards just have those three numbers on.


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:28 pm 
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The deck is made up so that you can "prove" at the beginning of the effect that there are different numbers on them.

And there aren't only three different numbers on the backs of the cards that you do actually use for the effect.


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:32 pm 
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Yeah but you can't show the spreaded deck at the beggining can you, of the backs?

And about the three numbers not being written on the cards or whatever, spectators just think things at time and dismiss the effect without thinking about it, because they think theyve figured it out.

I'm not saying its a bad effect, it's probably really good, it just looks like one of those things to me that a spec would say, 'Wow cool, can I see the backs of the other cards though?'


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:27 pm 
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Pauldelaaaa wrote:
Yeah but you can't show the spreaded deck at the beggining can you, of the backs?

And about the three numbers not being written on the cards or whatever, spectators just think things at time and dismiss the effect without thinking about it, because they think theyve figured it out.

I'm not saying its a bad effect, it's probably really good, it just looks like one of those things to me that a spec would say, 'Wow cool, can I see the backs of the other cards though?'


Almost every effect will cause a spectator to want to see things. Not every effect needs to be handed out for inspection, though. Proper spectator handling gets rid of this issue altogether.

I've performed this effect probably about 100 times now for different groups of people, and only once have I been asked to see the deck of cards. I simply told the guy that asked "No, I have other tricks to show you first." and moved on.


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:47 pm 
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Might have to pick this up.. Can't decide either this or Trilogy, they are both very similar effects, hmm..


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:27 pm 
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Even with trilogy you need to push the spectators a little.
I have streamline and decided to force the two cards from another deck if this helps you out.
Additionally, one the three cards are on the table, the deck should be cased and of you put it into your pocket, you can then EASILY do a switch with a lot of different numbers on the back, couldn't you?


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:31 am 
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Quote:
People are all over the map on how they THINK it's done. Most of them are convinced that I somehow have enough photos hidden on my person to cover every possible option...


But u do "wink" ;p nah haha. Its a good effect i guess but its something i feel that there's not enough justification/proving i guess this is from a magicians point of view anyways.


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:46 am 
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Yano wrote:
Quote:
People are all over the map on how they THINK it's done. Most of them are convinced that I somehow have enough photos hidden on my person to cover every possible option...


But u do "wink" ;p nah haha. Its a good effect i guess but its something i feel that there's not enough justification/proving i guess this is from a magicians point of view anyways.


I guess I don't get what you mean as far as there not being enough justification/proving.


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:34 am 
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Gimpdiggity wrote:
Yano wrote:
Quote:
People are all over the map on how they THINK it's done. Most of them are convinced that I somehow have enough photos hidden on my person to cover every possible option...


But u do "wink" ;p nah haha. Its a good effect i guess but its something i feel that there's not enough justification/proving i guess this is from a magicians point of view anyways.


I guess I don't get what you mean as far as there not being enough justification/proving.

HOLY BAJESUS! Gimp you just hit 1000 posts man! You will be an emperor penguin by the end of the year...They should send you a complimentary TT :D


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 Post subject: Re: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:06 am 
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Gimpdiggity wrote:
Yano wrote:
Quote:
People are all over the map on how they THINK it's done. Most of them are convinced that I somehow have enough photos hidden on my person to cover every possible option...


But u do "wink" ;p nah haha. Its a good effect i guess but its something i feel that there's not enough justification/proving i guess this is from a magicians point of view anyways.


I guess I don't get what you mean as far as there not being enough justification/proving.


Proving as in ur dedicated to only one prediction, since u can't leave the photo laying out there facedown for obvious reasons. Also that you can't show many backs of the cards. John Bannon has a similar effect to this and i think it allows for more freedom.


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