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 Post subject: 4some by Harry Allen
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:37 pm 
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Joined: 03 Aug 2007
Posts: 4235
Location: Continuously practicing, even as I type.
For a bit of background (again!), I have met Harry Allen numerous times before. He has somewhat of a reputation (I shan't say good or bad) at almost EVERY convention I go to. Needless to say, I have seen him teach, perform and sell effects numerous times.

This means that I had a pretty good understanding of a lot of Harry's "A-List Material". This is something I haven't seen Harry perform before and was interested by the demo video... So, how does it stack up?

Regardless, ON WITH ANOTHER REVIEWZ!!!

What CardFinesse Says... AGAIN!://

Quote:
4 Blue Backed Aces instantly change into 4 Red Backed Eights.

Keep in Mind:

- No half and half cards
-Keep the gimmick in your wallet and perform anytime on the spot
-No crazy gimmicks
-VERY PRACTICAL

The instructions to the effect will be automatically sent to the email address provided, upon completion of payment.



Well, they weren't lying... Per say.

First Thoughts://

When seeing the demo video, it is a small screen with absolutely no patter at all; just some quick music. The effect itself is pretty cool, having a totally in the hands way of completely changing four cards. However, with card effects that rely TOTALLY in the hands, they generally don't end clean. Well, we will get to that in another section. ;)

Anyway, I figured, like my other download from CardFinesse, that this would be a video explaining the effect. Well, it isn't, and due to my experience with the last video, this is something that I am rather glad of!

Quality://

This download is that of a small PDF file... One that, upon opening, is shown to be ONE page of instruction. The text is VERY squashed and incredibly crowded on the page, which just gives a sense of... unproffesionalism. The second thing you will notice is that lack of images. Throughout all this crowded text, not ONE image is to be found. That doesn't present itself a problem however later on.

Now, I have nothing against this company, and quite possibly my standards ARE different than that of other people. HOWEVER, I think in the last 8 or so years, magic has taken a drastic turn in quality and, from ANY business standpoint, aesthetic plays an important role in the sale of tricks, gimmicks and DVDs.

Anyway, that is just a personal pet peeve and one that can be easily worked around provided everything else falls in line like it should. I just feel that SOME bolding, underlining... bigger breaks... bigger, easier to read font... would help a lot. Oh, and maybe a grammar check, but that COULD just be me. ;)

Teacher and Teaching://

The teacher, in this case, I am to assume is Donald C, the owner of Card Finesse. I don't think this is Harry's writing, but I might be wrong.

As far as the teaching goes, once you get past all of the blocky text that is all scrunched up, this is "dissected" into a few sections. Constructing the gimmick is the first of these sections and is probably THE most important one in this effect (as ALL of the cards needed ARE gimmicked). It explains how to do this rather well as I didn't have any questions during this part.

The next part is how to set-up for the effect. This part, excluding some writing mistakes, was relatively easy to understand. I think it could have been written in a better way and I feel an image would have helped, but I was still able to accomplish the set-up for this effect successfully after several read-thrus.

The next section is how to actually "perform" the effect (perform is in quotation marks specifically because this effect isn't a "performance" so much as a "quick trick". Mechanics is a far more fitting name for this section). This, once again, is rather hard to read and understand, but it IS possible. The ONLY BIG problem with this section is that it tells you to do a specific palm... and offers NO explanation. I know the basic idea behind it, but I would NEVER do one in front of an audience as I am FAR from good enough. A LITTLE explanation would have helped here!

The rest of the effect is straight forward and is relatively simple to understand.

Overall, this isn't the GREATEST PDF I have ever seen, but isn't the worst. So, I shan't say the teaching was bad nor good.

Format://

The format of this download was rather questionable... PDF wasn't exactly the BEST way of explaining this. Realistically, to offer the EASIEST learning for an effect like this, I would have DEFINITELY done a video explanation.

Regardless, while a PDF works, there are things that should ALWAYS be done before releasing one, ESPECIALLY on an effect like this one... Such as proofreading, formating... other things that make this more proffesional and easier to understand (as if someone pays for it, they shouldn't have to work hard to understand the mechanics of it).

Effect Itself://

Aside from my ranting over format, after being able to (after some work) construct and perform this effect for some laypeople, the following is my review of the effect itself...

The effect within itself is cool; you get a "visual" change of four of a kind with a kicker ending of all the backs changing color. I like this effect in premise (as it has been done before). Not to mention, the effect (after the learning process) is relatively easy to perform... Another bonus!

The only thing I have to say is that without a presentation or justification for bringing out a random packet of cards (as with any packet effect), the effect is useless. Conceivably, including Harry's presentation as a "base-board" for creating your own would have been nice, but isn't necessary. Coming up with one from scratch for something like this is hard... but not impossible. ;)

So, overall, a very cool, visual, easy effect. Not a whole lot of problems here... But I should point out that it is NOT examinable (ever) and you don't end clean. That isn't however a problem if you use this as intended, as a quick piece of magic.

Angles://

This is an effect that is great on angles. You can do this surrounded completely and it is an effect suitable for almost any close-up setting.

Difficulty://

As stated above, this is a relatively easy effect that I kinda like. It isn't hard to perform (if and when you can learn it) but is rather hard hitting. No problems here.

Price://

Another redeeming quality for this effect is that it is rather cheap; another $4 download from this new magic company on the market for a somewhat practical and easy visual effect. Not a bad price at all.

Can be obtained at...
http://www.shop.cardfinesse.com/Harry-A ... -4some.htm

Important Point://

Something I DO feel it is important to bring up is that at the end of the PDF, it gives you an email address that you can email if you have any questions or comments about the effect. This is a nice liberty, but could have been easily avoided through that all important process of proofreading and revising until it is easier to understand.

Important Point 2://

I also would like to mention that at this point, it probably does appear that I have some grudge against this company as a whole thru my reviews of their products... Well, I don't at all. The man behind the website is incredibly nice and proffesional and takes criticism INCREDIBLY well and in a very respectable manner.

I just haven't been impressed with the aesthetic or professionalism of the products they produce. Once again, while one could argue that "as long as you can understand it, it's fine", presenting something like this in an easy to understand manner is SUPER important. Regardless of how much the effect costs or what it does, making it easy to understand and looking good is ALWAYS important in ANY profession.

Overall://

I enjoyed this effect. Being incredibly hard to justify, I shan't be performing this quite often. However, I can definitely see that in the right hands, this would kill as a quick, flashy piece of magic.

If you don't mind having some trouble learning the effect (although possible) go ahead and pick this one up.


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