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 Post subject: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:52 pm 
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Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review

Buy it: http://www.penguinmagic.com/product.php?ID=S12867

Price: $42 after discount

Demos:





I've heard great things about this guy, so I had to pickup his DVD collection. Especially for $40 for 4 DVD's? That's quite a bargain! And although the first 3 DVDs are exceptional, the final one had a couple of decent effects, then some copies of ideas from the other three. Plus one trick was missing its performance section entirely...

Enter Opening Minds.

The DVD

The packaging on this DVD set is AMAZING. Absolutely gorgeous, although 2 of my DVDs were loose when they arrived. Luckily neither got scratched too badly to play. The inserts are clear plastic with a picture white cardboard background containing some funny poses of Colin. The DVDs set inside of the casing nicely, and a list of DVD contents decorates the front two folds.

Image

The menus are standard RVSP/Alakazam quality, very easy to navigate and easy to find what you need. And of course, you get a Play All feature (mentioned because some DVD's you don't, and have to return to the main menu after each effect, which sucks). Mark Eldson joins Colin at the explanation table for some jokes and another perspective on how the effects operate.

Each segment begins with a brief intro, then you see the performance, and finally the explanation.

Disc #1 - stage material

Bookless Test

Colin pulls a random person on stage, and has her think of any book she wants, then any page she wants, and finally any word from that page. Since all this takes place in the lady's imagination, literally any word can be named. Colin immediately goes to a gold envelope that's been hanging out on stage since the beginning, and reveals the word (printed, not hand-written).

WOW - what a way to start the DVD set. I had to pickup my jaw from the floor before watching his explanation, which made me laugh out loud for a solid minute. Pure genius in every way. Requires a $40 gimmick that you probably don't have, although you can probably alter the routine to avoid using it with some thought.

Rating: 9/10 (one point off for requiring a $40 gimmick)

Quite Wordy

An impromptu, gimmick free book test. Requires a certain SIZED book, but these are readily available everywhere for cheap. You riffle through a book facing towards your spectator, asking him to stop anywhere. He peeks the word, and you immediately hand the book to him for holding while reading his mind. Very, very cute method that's fairly easy.

And best of all, you can walk into your local bookstore and immediately perform this for anybody. 100% impromptu. Colin also includes some GREAT subtleties for letting the spectator pick a page number only, and later peek the word. This one routine could easily be sold .. EASILY by itself for $40, and would receive oustanding reviews. Although Colin names his Lottery trick as the favorite of this set, THIS ONE stood out for me as King.

Why? Because you never really look towards the open book. You only glance as he grabs it from you and concentrates on his word (or better yet - opens the book and peeks a word while you're across the room). No funny movements, your head is turned the entire time and every move is logical in the spectator's mind.

There's yet another BONUS piece combined with the book test for stage, that allows you to name off various words people are thinking of inside your audience. It's cute, and he caught my word but it's not 100%. Anyone trying to find a word that you won't know will still successfully do it. However the ability to rattle off 50% of the room's words is still impressive.

Rating: 11/10 for the book test alone. I cannot rate this high enough. Worth the price of the DVD.


Take A Seat

Standard chair test but using envelopes that people hold on to, instead of ones attached to the chairs. Interesting subtlties are:

1) The performer sits in one of the chairs
2) Instead of colors, female/child/performer/male are on the sheets

Cute method, and interesting way to perform this.

Rating: 8/10. Maybe I'm a purist.


Disc #2 - stage material

ANAAC

Any card at any number, Colin's way. Holy grail seekers will cuss at the screen, although it is a VERY GOOD method. Performer never actually touches the cards, the box, anything. Spectator names off any number they want, and then any card (via a visualization method). Once he opens the box and counts down, that card appears. Uses a standard deck of cards, and is repeatable after a 30 second reset.

You've probably guessed the method already, but it's NOT THAT BAD. Colin has dressed it up in a very logical manner that won't set off alarms inside your customer's head.

Rating: 9/10. It's not the grail, but a very inventive, well thought out re-packaging of an old method.


Who's Got My Money

Four spectators come on stage, each taking a penny from the pedestal. Colin places a dollar on there, and while his back is turned, someone exchanges their penny for his dollar. He instantly knows who took it, plus the serial number on the dollar bill. Bill can be borrowed.

The method made me giggle, very simple.

Rating: 7/10. I'd never use this, but I like his method enough to apply it to another trick.


Make the ESP Cards Match

Two sets of ESP cards are placed on the stage's pedestal. Four volunteers help him cycle through cards, mixing them up quite well and grabbing one card off each stack. Once they are all distributed, everyone's cards match including Colin's who accurately predicts which card he would end up with.

Although this could also be done close-up, the counting process of mixing the cards really needs to speed up. Many people were looking away, getting kinda bored. Clever method using a simple math principle.

Rating: 8/10. Two points off for the length.


Lottery

The crown jewel of the DVD according to Mark and Colin. Six volunteers pick lottery numbers, based upon rules that Colin provides. Performer's ticket matches four of the six numbers, and he instantly knows the other two that missed. Another VERY old math principle wrapped in a fantastic presentation. Effect does have a chance of epic fail if the people don't follow your directions, which he shows one instance where the worst case scenerio happened. And then explains what to do.

Can easily be modified for a close-up street crowd.

Rating: 10/10. Can't go wrong with this one.


Image

Disc #3 - stage material

Winning Numbers

A reversed version of Lottery from disc 2, where the spectators think of numbers (no rules this time) and you accurately predict them. Totally different method, still very cool.

Rating: 8.5/10. Just not as fantastic as disc 2's performance.


In The News

Spectator chooses a newspaper from a large selection of them, then hands out individual pages to audience members. Everybody rips up their page many times, until they only have a few inch square sheet. After one-stage spec picks out a random person, they peek a word from the mini-page, which is accurately predicted inside an envelope (or other reveal).

Similar method and gimmick from "Bookless Test" on disc 1, although again you can modify it.

Rating: 7/10. Just didn't turn me on.


Tabular Mentis Lecture

A lecture on word selection and other material. Fun to watch.


Disc #4 - close-up material

He does mention that his close-up material has not gotten as much tweaking as the stage stuff. So some of these are not that impressive.

Albertest

Spectator thinks up a word, which Colin writes down on a business card. Another has Colin's word. They are both predicted correctly. See the whole presentation here:



You'll need to watch it twice, because the first run-through you'll be admiring Lisette's legs. And if you buy the DVD, you'll also need to bookmark that video SINCE IT'S MISSING ON THE DVD. Yes, the performance section is gone. But not just skipped over kinda gone, there's a black screen for 2 minutes 46 seconds that you need to hit your next-chapter button to get around.

Why is this missing? Did anyone bother watching the DVD before sending it off to the printers? And don't say, "dude, just watch it on YouTube" since there's no guarantee it'll be around 5 years from now. Plus you can easily see the method on the vid.

Rating: 6/10. The whole "I'll put it under here, ok no I won't" is cheeky at best. Didn't like it.


Double Thought Card Projection

Uses a gimmicked deck of cards for a reverse prediction. However I have the gimmick that Colin's using, and on page 10 of the manual from 1993 is an effect called "The Spectator as Mentalist" which uses the same method. Now granted he added a part 2 for his effect on this DVD, but still.

Rating: 5/10. Grab something from a book, and add a little extra? Meh.


Kolintrol

An interesting spin on equivoque trees to lead your spectator into a correct final prediction. Seemed contrived, especially since we already had one effect that was 100% equivoque.

Rating: 7/10


Serial Prevaricator

Two spectators hold a bill, and swap them if desired. You instantly name the person holding the bill, and hand it's located in. Then you name off the serial number. Interesting twist on "how to discover who's lying", but again uses a method from an earlier trick (disc 2, Who's Got My Money).

I have numerous issues with this. First, it assumes that the spectator will never put the money in their other hand. Which of course you're replying, "but dude, it's all about audience control". Well - your back is turned, and you're ASSUMING they will follow directions 100%. Which they won't, as evidenced by disc 2's Lottery effect, where they hosed it up WHILE YOU WERE FACING THEM. So now, as your back is turned, they'll magically follow your every time? I just don't see it.

Secondly, it's making a broad assumption of "people who are lying act like this". Which might be true in the UK, but this will vary greatly by country, spectator's interest level, etc. The technique just won't be 100% accurate, which granted, is part of mentalism in general, but again I have issues with it.

Rating: 7/10


Bolder Business

Standard drawing duplication using blank business cards. Inventive, and you have a VERY clear sight of the drawing as you are duplicating it to another business card. A Sankey'ish method that's impromptu and doesn't require gimmicks.

Rating: 9/10


Furtive Switch

A deceptive method of switching one billet (folded blank business card in this case) with another. Reminds me of a Bobo switch. I can see myself using this A LOT, however will take a couple day's practice to get it down. If you were hesitant about billet switches because of the small size of the paper or the fact that nobody really uses them anymore, this will change your mind. And best of all, you show the billet right under the spectator's nose during the swap.

Rating: 10/10


Conclusion

Great stuff in here, especially the first few stage tricks. Book test and Lottery effects are worth the $40 by themselves, and I'm actually quite shocked that they weren't released as separate tricks. You do need some gimmicks if you'll be performing every effect straight off the DVD. $45 for one, $20 for the other. However you CAN modify them to avoid buying anything.

Six hours of material along with 4 DVD's for only $40 free shipping is a great price. This was originally sold by Alakazam for $65 + shipping but now that Penguin has it, you're in for an AWESOME DEAL. Seriously, you'll use the book test FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE to freak people out. It's rare to find a DVD set that leaves you all excited to go out and perform the material immediately. But Colin's is one.

Highly recommended, despite the flaws mentioned above.


The Official Spam:

Quote:
The Effect
Every generation has a true innovator who brings his own unique vision to bear on the art of mentalism and creates material that seems to defy explanation. Alakazam Magic is proud to introduce the newest member of this elite group: Colin McLeod.

Combining his very modern sensibilities for cutting-edge prop-free methods with a clarity of performance that leaves audiences speechless with wonder, Colin has developed a repertoire of contemporary mentalism which is the envy of all who've seen it.

Now for the first time on this 4-disc set Colin reveals the methods, techniques and thinking behind some of his most incredible effects. This is stand-up and close-up material that will empower you to mystify your audiences with some of the most compelling mentalism you will ever learn.

Stand-Up:

Bookless Test
Colin's brilliant opener where he predicts a thought of word from an imaginary book. And yes, the prediction is printed, not nail-written.

Quite Wordy
A clever new psychological word-force for the whole audience, leading into what will become the standard impromptu book-test handling.

Chair Test
An exceptionally clean and direct chair-test, where process is kept to an absolute minimum. It features three distinct climaxes which build to an incredible finale.

ACAAN
This is the one! No gimmicks, no sleights, no pre-show, no stooges. An anytime, anywhere, any deck method has to be seen to be believed. One number + one card = one miracle.

Where's the Money?
A bank-note and serial number divination effect, which introduces Colin's innovative hands-off system for identifying which one of five spectators is hiding an object. 100% accurate, with no electronics and no prevaricating!

Will ESP Cards Match
Becker's classic 'Will The Cards Match' reworked for stage and incorporating a sure-fire prediction.

Lo££ery
Colin's favourite effect! A purely psychological influence effect which is the perfect answer to the question, "Can you predict the lottery?" A future-classic...

Winning Numbers
Following on from Lo££ery, this revolutionary handling of 'Sneak Thief' turns the effect on its head by allowing you to reveal every spectator's chosen number!

Newspaper Tear Routine
A stunning prediction of a single word from a freely chosen piece of newspaper. It involves the entire audience, with every decision made outside of your control. Nevertheless the chosen word is predicted in a totally entertaining way.

Close-Up:

Result
A stack of un-gimmicked billets become an accessible and totally practical tool which can be used to easily and openly predict anything.

Furtive Switch
A one handed, invisible billet switch that drags billet switching into the 21st Century and makes it completely practical for the real world.

Bolder Business
Colin teaches his handling for a drawing duplication which uses more than a stack of billets, a pen and chutzpah.

Serial Prevaricator
An entire close-up routine for revealing who is holding a borrowed, folded bank note and which hand they are holding it in. It concludes with the divination of the serial number from across the room.

Kolintrol
A powerful extension of Knepper's 'Kontrol', which Colin has developed over hundreds of performances. He correctly predicts the actions a spectator will make, even though they are given lots of opportunity to change their mind as many times as they like.

Double Card Thought Projection
This routine is the main reason Colin uses cards in mentalism. The spectator reads the performer's mind and the performer reads the spectator's. A truly simple and direct mindreading demonstration using playing cards.


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:49 pm 
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Nice review Akirafist!!


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:25 pm 
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THANKS akirafist. I thought about checking out the Dvds and now I will.


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:25 pm 
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So overall it sounds like it's worth picking up?


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:39 pm 
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I have to say. I am watching these DVDs at the moment and it is taking me SO loooong. Why? Because every single effect is full of such incredible, creative thinking I need to let each one sink in. I found it incredibly refreshing to not only be fooled by Colin but be fooled by techniques and ideas that I was very aware of (and have used in the past). I can't wait to make it through the rest of the material. Colin's approach to mentalism is direct and simple - as it should be. This is by far my best purchase of 2010.
ps: The gimmick for Bookless Test can be bought for under $10 if you have a quick look around.


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:07 pm 
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keepitbottled wrote:
So overall it sounds like it's worth picking up?


If you need some stage mentalism, it's gold.

revelation77 wrote:
ps: The gimmick for Bookless Test can be bought for under $10 if you have a quick look around.


Got a link? All I found on Google were the DVD sets for $45. I do remember when it first came out, that it WAS cheap though. Now it's bundled. :evil:


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:52 pm 
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akirafist wrote:
revelation77 wrote:
ps: The gimmick for Bookless Test can be bought for under $10 if you have a quick look around.


Got a link? All I found on Google were the DVD sets for $45. I do remember when it first came out, that it WAS cheap though. Now it's bundled. :evil:
I just bought a single one on ebay. Not sure about its quality but it was around $8.50


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Might pick up the dvd set next time penguin has a bonus i like.


What is this mysterious 45$ gimmick that can be 8$???? any chance i already have it?


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:47 am 
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Sounds really intriguing. I might have to get this.

-JT


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:43 pm 
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God Akirafist, if you ever do a bad review, the world MAY just explode.
:lol:

This DVD set looks AMAZING. Will be picking this up soon I think, and for the price? That's just impossible to beat.


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:37 am 
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HOT SAUCE AKIRA! Thank You for the comprehensive review.

For those reading the word "stage" and might be put off thinking, "I don't perform on a stage." These routines really only need a room with people to perform with one making any adjustments for their circumstances.


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:15 am 
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EZrhythm wrote:
HOT SAUCE AKIRA! Thank You for the comprehensive review.

For those reading the word "stage" and might be put off thinking, "I don't perform on a stage." These routines really only need a room with people to perform with one making any adjustments for their circumstances.

For some routines, serious adjustments are going to be needed if you want a smaller crowd. Ideal number for most of the stand up routines is 30+


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:02 pm 
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Awesome review mate!

Yup annoying that the one routine wasn't there, it IS however on the DVD set as part of my lecture, so you can still see the performance, just takes a little bit of button pressing to get to it! My bad :(

Result (aka- Albertest) is without doubt one of my most precious utilities, it's simple and in my opinion, MUCH better than any other types of writing! ... Flashing on the video... tut tut :P ... she didn't see anything, so as long as she still believes me to be the next Messiah, I'm all good ;)

Everyone's support on these DVDs is awesome! Putting out your material is quite nerve wracking because obviously you want to please everyone with everything! (that's my aim anyway!) and it's often easy to focus on a few tiny negative things rather than see the massive positive ones and I think you've reflected that with your review!

You guys rock!

Best wishes,
Col.


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 Post subject: Re: Opening Minds by Colin Mcleod - My Review (huge)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:40 pm 
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ColinMcleod wrote:
Awesome review mate!

Yup annoying that the one routine wasn't there, it IS however on the DVD set as part of my lecture, so you can still see the performance, just takes a little bit of button pressing to get to it! My bad :(

Result (aka- Albertest) is without doubt one of my most precious utilities, it's simple and in my opinion, MUCH better than any other types of writing! ... Flashing on the video... tut tut :P ... she didn't see anything, so as long as she still believes me to be the next Messiah, I'm all good ;)

Everyone's support on these DVDs is awesome! Putting out your material is quite nerve wracking because obviously you want to please everyone with everything! (that's my aim anyway!) and it's often easy to focus on a few tiny negative things rather than see the massive positive ones and I think you've reflected that with your review!

You guys rock!

Best wishes,
Col.



Colin, i've just done watching your set. I've immediately decided i'm doing two things off it. Its a great set. As for the other material i will slowly start doing them, but two off them i'd do straight away. Probably this weekend.

I have some alternatives to your bookless booktest if you interested, there are some benefits to the way i plan on doing it. Send me a Private Message if your interested.

Also Akira Fist. Thanks for your review, i'd never bought it if you didnt review it.


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