You all remember Debbie Downer, right? She was a character on Saturday Night Live. No matter how
happy everyone around her was, no matter the occasion, whether it be a family dinner or a festive
social, she was always able to kill the happy vibe by pointing out facts that exposed the negatives.
Hello. I’m Debbie Downer.
It seems like everyone loves this trick when I
read these reviews. To be honest though, I’m really scratching my head as to why. First off though,
let me say that Mike is a likable guy and I really wanted to like the trick. In fact, I do feel bad
for giving this buzzkill of a review. But reviews are supposed to be honest and, when I want to buy
a product, I always look for the one negative review just so I can feel like I have a shot at
getting the whole picture as to whether or not a product is a good one.
Let’s start with
the positive, as I do not have any axes to grind. This truly is an anyone, anywhere trick. There are
no gimmicks or difficult sleights. The only move required is one that any magician should know. It’s
an easy trick and I will also say that this trick has a lot of potential. If you are beginning
mentalist, this trick uses a basic principle that you will likely know but if you don’t, you’ll need
to learn it. Another positive is that Mike does not stuff the explanation full of filler. He teaches
the trick and then he’s done. Simple as that.
That said, here are the negatives. To me,
the presentation is very lackluster. It’s boring (sorry Mike... just my personal opinion. No
offense). There is only the one performance and even the spectators’ reactions are like “um ok.
Neat.” I really would have like to have seen at least two more presentations that demonstrated his
recommended handling for when different negative scenarios played out. Also, when I watched the
presentation, I felt a little bad for him because I felt a sense of struggling or reaching in trying
to read the spectator. There seemed to be no fluidity between the three guesses he was trying to
make. This doesn’t feel magical or impressive to me. I think it’s because of the way he asked the
questions and then revealed the answers. I don’t know how to put it... there were no surprises or
ah-ha moments. The trick is there. But it doesn’t ever say “Ta-daaaaa!”
I guess that’s my
major beef: the presentation needs work. It doesn’t flow. I think with a little creativity, rework,
and showmanship though, there is potential. As it is, I personally will not use this presentation.
The principle behind it, yes. The presentation, no.
If you are a beginning mentalist, go
ahead and get this trick for the principle (though honestly there are better teachings of it. Luke
Jermey does a really good job teaching this principle). It’s certainly affordable.
you’re experienced at all, I can’t recommend this unless you’re just curious. Again the price point
is low enough that you can say “oh what the heck” and get it. But it is a gamble. (Well, everyone
else gave this trick great ratings... so maybe I’m the only one. Oh well just trying to be very
I was leaning toward giving this 2 stars. But based on the fact that a beginning
mentalist should learn this principle and perhaps they would really benefit from this video more
than I did, I’ll give it an extra star. 3 stars from me from this trick. Sorry, I feel like Debbie
Downer:.. but Mike, I do hope that you will come out with another trick soon. I feel like this was
just a poor start but that you as a magician have many tricks up your sleeve to share that will blow
me away. I’d love to see one of those.
By the way, I always try to be honest and
straightforward in my reviews, while being respectful to the magician. If you appreciate my reviews,
can you please click the "Yes" button below beside the question, "Did this review help you?" It's
not like I actually benefit in any way by your clicking it... but it would be nice to see if my
reviews are helpful or not. I hope they are. If you ever have suggestions or comments or questions
about my reviews, please feel free to leave me a constructive comment. I'm just trying to be
helpful. I love the Penguin community and hope that I can someday contribute my own product. :-)
Thanks for reading and for any (hopefully positive, but either way, at least kind) feedback.
17 of 17 magicians found this helpful.
If you are an experienced magician, you know the principle going on here (named in some of the other
reviews) and you can move on to something else. But if you are new to magic, the teaching is solid
enough for what it is, and you'll enjoy performing this. But I can only really recommend this for
The best thing about this video? The added subtleties that take this
principle to a different level than typical. Namely, the way you number the slips of paper as you go
along. To me, this is the selling point of the effect, and I think Mr. Pisciotta should have played
this up a bit more in his teaching. Performers could benefit from a further discussion of the
psychological misdirection going on in the spectator's eye. Why does numbering the slips of paper
matter in the first place? This is not discussed.
I also have to take issue with the ad
copy: "You ask three questions, you make three predictions, they're all right."
work out that way. Maybe.
One of these three predictions (the last one, the shape) is an
honest-to-goodness guess that might miss. In fact, I suspect you are more likely to miss than to
hit. Mr. Pisciotta explains how this can easily be dismissed because the two hits will be so strong.
I'm not sure I agree; wouldn't you want to hit three out of three times? Couldn't that third
prediction be a force of some kind? I think Mr. Pisciotta intends a force by naming two shapes and
assuming the spectator will pick a common third shape. But if so, this isn't explored or even
mentioned in the video.
Furthermore, assuming a miss is likely, how can a miss be turned
into a positive? In mind-reading, there are simply going to be times when you miss; it's a fact we
live with. The experienced performer can gloss over a miss or twist it around to sound like a hit.
At best, Mr. Pisciotta's handling turns a miss into an "almost-hit", saying — in effect —
"I wrote this because I misread your mind." I don't have a problem with that, but there are other
alternatives for handling a miss. It would have been nice to have more discussion about this. For
instance, if your performance style lends itself to humor, perhaps there's a punch-line you can use.
(Maybe you can think of a punch-line appropriate for a a circle or a square or a triangle...)
This is a solid enough routine for beginners, but I think it could have been so much more with a
little more thought.
5 of 5 magicians found this helpful.
Let me first say that Mike Pisciotta is a wonderful performer. This is a nice effect that only
requires a few sheets of paper. No prep no gimmicks.
The camera angle on the video might lead
you to think he's writing the answer after its given. But in the explanation you see that he's
writing the numbers 1,2,3.
For the price, its a nice thing to have on hand for an impromptu
5 of 6 magicians found this helpful.
This one is based on a classic method of mentalism/magic.
One that 99% of pros will already be
The handling has been updated, and I really like it.
While I am not a fan of
Mike's patter, the method is outstanding. I will definitely be using it with my own patter.
This really is an excellent trick, and the method is sound.
The only reason I'm giving 4
stars, as opposed to 5, is because I feel Mike should have slowed down in the teaching of this one.
It felt a bit rushed. I would have enjoyed hearing him elaborate a bit. I also wouldn't mind more
than one real world example.
I really feel like this one can be enjoyed by beginners and
Also, Halloween is coming up. Just change the patter and this can also become a
spooky opening routine!
5 of 7 magicians found this helpful.
Well worth a couple of pounds 👌
Although as stated an old principal, you get an excellent real
world performance and natural reactions.
Can be done on the fly , and there is a slight
difference in the handling that I was not aware of that makes a huge difference and is the way I
would perform this .
4 of 5 magicians found this helpful.
This is definitely an impromptu anywhere, anytime routine, just have a pen and something to write on
readily available - no set up needed. Use small index cards, their business cards or even better
your business cards, a great keepsake for your spectator and marketing opportunity. Nice thing about
this one is you start clean and end clean, what’s not to like about this one so far? Mike does a
great job of teaching this routine and with just a very, very simple move, you can ‘read’ someones
mind. This effect is gimmick-less with nothing to make, liking this more? It’s cute,
unsophisticated, put your own patter or twist to this and you will have an entertaining and fun
addition to you routine for a very small cost. Try it, you will like it!
4 of 5 magicians found this helpful.
Impromptu, practical, and direct.
Like he says in the video, this won’t replace the
envelope test in my stand up set. But this definitely takes place in my anytime anywhere mentalism
next to Luke Jermay’s Emotional Intelligince.
Love it, I’ll use it. Mike’s teaching is
4 of 6 magicians found this helpful.
Worth the cost and worth learning this version. Easy, no prep, use any paper or cards. Well
presented and taught. You'll be doing it in 5 minutes and the video training is under 2o min, which
3 of 4 magicians found this helpful.
This turned out to be EXACTLY what I thought it was. The method doesn't do much to hide it for me
either. This seems like it would be suitable for a beginner in mentalism and only a cute stunt for
the professional. It bothers me that in all its simplicity, it has a huge window for one of the
three predictions to miss. It does fill the bill at this price point.
2 of 2 magicians found this helpful.
This is a great version of something that most mentalists have performed in a different way. When I
saw the effect being performed I thought "I know this I've done it a million times." Then I watched
the tutorial and I was really impressed. It isn't really what I thought it was. Mike has added
subtle differences in performance, a psylogical force, and great misdirectional patter. After seeing
this I will never perform it the way I used to. The tutorial is also great.
2 of 2 magicians found this helpful.