Artist: Michael Paul
Producers: Mental Playground
Retail Price: $26.95 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Notes: You will need Flash paper to practice/ perform this effect. Flash paper not supplied with purchase. Flicker is available in instant download format Or DVD.
Disclaimer Warning about using flash paper
Introduction to Flicker, Basic Handling
Color Changing Deck
Breaking the Law
Flicker is a no move, no sleight, self working color change, that comes complete with a yet unexplored plot in card magic.
I was a bit nervous about flicker to begin with. The promo that I saw for it, before I watched the video, didn't show the move at all. It just focused on audience reactions to it. Which by the way, was genuinely good reactions, so while suspicious I still retained hope for the product. The marketing for Flicker promises quite a lot, and at the hefty price tag of $26 bucks, this color change had some high expectations to live up to.
This isn't a DVD, nor is it available in DVD format, so while the video has clear chapter points, you can't skip ahead or rewind to specific spots easily, which annoys the edited out of me. Especially when I'm watching the video three or four times during the process of writing this review to make sure my facts are strait about specific items. For the student of magic, this is also an annoying glitch in production for the product because if you want to watch say... the brand new never before explored card plot that comes with this download(breaking the law), you have to sit through more than 15 minutes of video to get back to it, or sit there and fast forward it on your computer. Frankly, I'd rather spend the extra $5 bucks and get a DVD. At least the sound and video quality wasn't bad. I could see and hear everything clearly. Except for the actual color change when it was performed during the explanation, but due to the nature of what causes the color change, and how camera's work, I doubt this is an easily fixable problem. The color change does work, mind you, I just didn't see it on film.
One of the nicer things about this product is how thoroughly thought through everything is. This is a prime example of creating a product, and then thinking about every possible way it could be used, and creating a handling or plot to support those ideas. Flicker is flexible and can fit into many different acts, so long as there's a need to use a deck of cards to prove a point. Each of these plots that Michael explores are well taught, and every nuance of it is explored.
The effect is quite practical, it can be learned in minutes, applied to many different routines, or performance styles, and it does pack small. It requires minimal set up, and it does require the purchase of an extra something, but most magicians usually keep an ample supply of it laying around as is. The only downside is that in most places I've been to you need to be 18 years of age to purchase that extra something, so this makes Flicker an effect that is difficult for minors to do. So kids get your parents permission first. One of the best things about Flicker is that it is completely self working. No sleight of hand is required, and it does look pretty awesome when you perform it.
While the product itself may be practical I don't feel the price is. Let's be real about this for a second, you're not paying $26 bucks for a color change. You're paying $26 bucks for the production costs, the hosting costs, and the bandwidth costs for the download you just purchased. The teaching is good, don't get me wrong, but I'm not convinced the price matches the product you're getting. I would pay $26 bucks for a DVD of Flicker sure, but for a video download, even if it is thirty minutes long, I find a little hard to swallow.
When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Over all Quality.
Product Quality: 4
Between the price of the product, the no chapter selections, and the camera not being able to catch or display the color change clearly the Product Quality score really suffers.
Teaching Quality: 6
The teaching quality was good. Michael is easy to watch, and listen to. I can't wait to see what other things he comes out with.
Video & Sound Quality: 6
Both the sound and video quality was acceptable.
Over All Quality: 5
Flicker barely passes the Draven Seal of Approval, by one point, (being that a product fails on a score of 4 or less), but don't let the Seal of Approval fool you, this product scored a dead average rating of 5. The good news is the things that need improved upon are on the production end, and not with the magic. The product offers a new take on card magic plots, and an impressive no sleight color change, but it comes with a hefty price tag.
SPECIAL UPDATE: ----After posting this review I was contacted by the producers and informed of a mistake I made while wile writing it. Apparently Flicker is also available on DVD format, and can be purchased either through your brick and mortar magic stores or the DVD can be acquired through mental playground directly.