Effect: Burn Notice
Artist: Christopher Wiehl
Producers: Blue Crown Magic
Retail Price: $17.95 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Run Time: 38 minutes
Notes: The DVD does not come with the extra “props” needed to create the effect. This prop can be purchased at any craft store, Wal-Mart, or Target for less than $5 dollars. The download doesn’t come with the receipt paper either. You can find the necessary receipt paper at any office supply store. Also not really expensive, and you’ll get more than you’ll probably ever need in a single purchase.
• Receipt Paper
Burn notice is a unique principle that allows you to produce a spectator’s thought of word on a receipt by simply touching a source of flame to the receipt. The reveal could be a word, a card selection, a name, or anything else you’d want to reveal.
Christopher Wiehl’s latest effect “Burn Notice” is a nice little principle that can, as the marketing copy will suggest be used to reveal just about any word, card or object. The effect is visual and great for close up, or even street magic. I love it when I can perform magic with everyday objects, and you really can’t get any more “everyday” than with a receipt.
The DVD or download teaches the effect and everything you need to perform it but honestly I wouldn’t pay the $17.95 for the product. The DVD is filled with different applications to how you can use Burn Notice, and it even comes with a PDF which prints out a special receipt loaded with forces and reveals but honestly it’s just overkill. The most valuable part of this product is the first 5 minutes in which Christopher tips the gimmick. After that you’ll say to yourself “Oh okay”, and the rest of the DVD (all 30 more minutes of it) really is just filler. I suppose if you’re brand new to magic and Burn Notice is your second effect you’ve ever bought then the entire DVD may be worth it, but anyone who has been in magic longer than a month should be able to immediately see the application possibilities with the Burn Notice principle. I also think some of the methods Christopher teaches like magician’s force, multiple outs, riffle force, and hot rod force will bore anyone but the most novice of magicians.
Some of the reveals that Christopher teaches and/or suggests for Burn Notice are:
Card Effect: Force a card, and then reveal it with the Burn Notice principle.
Pick an Item: Set out 4 items and have a spectator select one. Then use the Burn Notice principle to reveal what the item was.
Equivoque Effect: 5 receipts are placed out on the table and the spectator chooses one. The Burn Notice principle is used to reveal a special message on the selected receipt, and the others are shown to have no message.
Hot Rod Receipt: Use the technique for a hotrod force but instead use items listed on the back of a receipt, and use the Burn Notice principle to reveal the force.
Another aspect that I didn’t like about this product, other than the inflated price to justify producing this as a DVD instead of an instant download or packet trick, is the lack of performance footage. The standard format for magic DVD’s these days seems to be tease, teach, and perform, and Burn Notice only teaches. Maybe I’m just nitpicking now, because it really doesn’t take much imagination to see how this could play out but it would have been nice to have a quick on the street presentation with Christopher forcing a card, and revealing it with Burn Notice, or even using his special PDF receipt to reveal a force.
What Burn Notice lacks in price it excels in practicality. Everyone has receipts, and using one to reveal a word, card, or object just packs one edited of a punch. This is a need to have for anyone who does street magic because of just how organic it is. From standing in line at the coffee shop, to the fast food restaurant where you get lunch, this is that anytime, anywhere miracle that you’ve been looking for. Of course since you’re not limited to what you can reveal on the receipt paper, that also means that Burn Notice lends itself well to mentalism, and bizarre magic as well. Modern day spirit slates anyone?
Overall I really like the Burn Notice principle. I’ve been caring around a receipt in my wallet set up with Burn Notice since I first watched the video. I’m surprised to say it, but it’s replacing my Ambitious as my first go-to effect when someone says to me “You’re a magician? Do some magic!” The reactions I get with Burn Notice are great, and the prep work to prepare another receipt is really minimal. Christopher has really produced an effect that will become a strong worker for many close up and street magicians.
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 Overall Quality.
Product Quality: 5
I think the price vs. content is unbalanced. The content over teaches a simple principle, and the price I think is too high. Also I would have liked to have seen a performance clip.
Teaching Quality: 7
Christopher is very complete with his tutorial. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to go out and perform Burn Notice within five minutes of watching the DVD. Actually make that 20, as you’ll need some time to prep a few receipts first.
Video & Sound Quality: 8
The sound and video are both decent.
Over All Quality: 8
Despite the price, and the fact that I don’t think the product needs all the extra application ideas as I feel those are pretty self-evident Burn Notice remains one of my favorite little tricks to do in close up. Simple, visual, versatile, packs small and plays big. This is one of those few times where the quality of the magic outweighs the problems I have with the product. I highly recommend this to anyone who does close up or street magic.