I'll sum it up by saying I think many not only will love this set, but actually NEED this set. You
will find gems to use and learning Jon's approach to connecting with an audience makes this a must
have set if you actually perform for people ( either just as a hobby or get paid ).
already performed Ghost. The beauty of Jon's routine is that it prevents people form wanting to look
above, down, all over for how it's being done. The crumpled up bill, isolated in a glass, is a
visual stunner and all their attention goes to it.
You could do this in daylight,
strolling, restaurants, anywhere. It's simple to do and dramatic.
I'll talk about
the first DVD first and the others as I watch them.
It's beautifully filmed. I really only
care about the magic, but it's a plus when so much effort is taken in the filming.
believes there are NO Spectators and that is the point of this DVD set, how to make a "connection"
with your audience.
Portions are filmed in the Papercrane studio ( I recognized it from
the Penguin LIVE lectures ) with what looks like an audience of laymen. There are also performances
out on the street and at a busy restaurant and bar area.
It's is an education watching Jon
perform for real people. He's funny ( and ad libs quick, funny responses ) and his magic on this set
is SUPER strong. Not just "oh, that's clever or cool" but magic you will do and add his thinking on
how you perform ( and make a connection ) using your existing magic.
There are small
segments of Dan Harlan and Jon chatting about magic/methods, etc. and are chock full of tips on how
to make the magic you perform much better by connecting with the audience.
1) Forced Improv: Filmed at The Papercrane Studio. An audience member chooses 4 cards from a
deck of cards ( cards are face down and they don't know the value ). One at a time the participant
puts them into 4 different pockets. Jon then shows the entire deck has all sorts of things written
on blank faces: Lemons, dice, etc.
As they then remove each card from a pcoket, instead of
playing card values, they are blank face with something written on them. If the card is in their
front right pocket and says PHONE, Jon removes a phone from his right front pocket. As the audience
member removes each card, whatever is written on it, Jon removes that object from his own
corresponding pocket. It's a funny routine and I think an excellent opener.
Jon says if
you do a watch steal, the last card could say "a watch" and you take out their watch from your
2) High Society: Filmed at The Papercrane Studio. A "thought of" card on ceiling.
The deck gets riffled and the audience member spots a card and Jon does a bit of mind reading to
divine it. Throws the deck in the air....the thought of card is stuck on the ceiling.
like a "thought of card" landing on the ceiling. I'm not big on every card ever chosen being signed,
but some do. You could still have them sign the card, as long as you don't see the face. The next
time I do Card On Celing, I'll use Jon's approach. I really like what he offers here.
1709 Walkabout ( Jon doesn't share what 1709 means, it's apparently personal to him ): Filmed out on
the street, we have Jon's handling of the Anniversary Waltz for two people in a group. If you do
this trick, there may be some touches Jon has added that will be of interest ( when he was
performing it...I didn't know where he was going with it. lol ). It's become a classic for a reason,
so those that don't know it...WILL do it! I personally would suggest Jon's handling because I picked
up some touches, even though I've done the trick for 20+ years.
4) DFKDFC ( Don't $%#
Know, Don't $%# Care ). It's not a trick, but an explanation from Jon to Dan and us on making people
care about what you're performing.
5) Unique Coin Bend: Performed at a bar. A coin bends
in there hands. They are given a penny and dime ( they are clearly not bent ). They close their hand
and Jon goes into the routine. Jon's presentation uses negative energy doing the bend ( it is funny
) You can use any presentation you'd like. Anyone that has done coin bending knows how strong it is.
You will need a gimmick ( you're using a dime and penny, so most will know what they need
). If you have the Capt. and Coke ( offered elsewhere on the Penguin site ) you could use that.
Good, strong, magic in their hands!
6) Learning About People: Jon and Dan chat about that
subject. And Jon tips a golden nugget on approaching a table to perform ( it took 9 years of
performing restaurants for Jon to hit upon this ). With this one opening line, you will be able to
know who is at the table and how to proceed.
7) One Trick Two Names: Performed at an
outdoor patio of a restaurant. John has a red back card he's signed on the back. A young lady pick a
card from a blue deck and signs the face. Jon gives a fun, sort of cold reading based on her
sig.....Jon loses her card in the deck and....she turns over Jon's signed red back card and it's
actually her signed card as well. VERY strong magic that I'm adding to what I do. I've performed
Darwin's Dream Card, but this uses no wallet and I like Jon's routine and clever subtleties.
Ghost: Performed on the outdoor patio of a restaurant. A bit of this was shown in the trailer. A
signed bill ( Jon gives an excellent reason for the signature ) is crumpled into a ball and dropped
into a glass and does some spooky animations. It's a BEAUTIFUL routine ( and it's very easy to do ).
I really like the idea of using the glass. I think this cancels out anyone thinking "string" ( which
does happen ). Jon gives his preference of animation over levitation. I'll be doing this routine!
Jon also gives some wonderful touches to this routine that make it a showpiece. .
The Creative Process: Jon chats with Dan about his creative process. Great food for thought!
Palm Up Bill Switch: Performed for a group on the street...SURROUNDED! One of the best I've
seen. Jon changes a $1 into a $100. And he delivers a killer presentation for changing it back (
which has always been seen as a downside ). You could also do a mis-made bill.
1) The $1 can be borrowed
2) No TT is used.
Mentalism ( psychometry ) performed for the lay audience in the Papercrane studio. 3 audience
members are invited onstage and directed to take out their cell phones and are given envelopes to
place and seal them inside. Jon places a Kit Kat bar ( same size as an Iphone, etc. ) in his
envelope and seals it. The 4 envelopes are mixed up by on of the participants and spread across a
table. Jon gives his cell phone to one of the members on stage and they are going to call their own
phone.....after Jon chooses an envelope he feels contains the cell phone belonging to the caller.
The call is made and...Jon is correct. To the next participant for the same.....
last one...Jon adds some brilliant comedy/tension.
Perfect for for an intimate setting or
stage and Jon gives two methods: simple and "deluxe". I think the deluxe method is not only easy,
but will appeal to any working pro.
21 of 26 magicians found this helpful.
This has been a wonderful purchase and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
contains some fantastic effects that are well thought out, practical in a working environment and
the production values are second to none. What I believe makes this shine, however, are the
interactions between Jon and Dan. They are humorous which is always a plus, but they are incredibly
insightful into how to become a better performer.
The effects themselves are a nice mix of
cards, rubber bands etc. and although close-up focussed there are some lovely stage routines in here
All in all, I cannot recommend this enough and I know I will revisit it again and
again to help me reconsider the magic I already perform and improve it.
2 of 2 magicians found this helpful.
Some of the effects on this DVD set are great, straightforward in plot and effect and practical for
real world use.
I didn't rate this a 5 because in my opinion some of the effects are a
little ordinary, the book test was a real let down.
It is probably the aim of the DVD set
but easily the most beneficial aspect of this project for magicians of all levels is the theory. If
you are interested in performing magic so that your audience care about what you are doing then you
should buy this set.
The theory is taught in an easy and fun way and the banter between Jon
Allen and Dan Harlen is entertaining. Both of them know what they are talking about and try their
best to help the viewer understand the concepts they are talking about.
So in short, buy it
for the theory and you wont be disappointed.
2 of 2 magicians found this helpful.
I never left a review before but had to for this.
I really enjoyed the routines/effects &
will even use a few (Executive Decision, Bill Switch, Oralgami, Signal Strength) but the main reason
I decided to leave my 1st review is because of the ending of Disc #3.
I enjoyed the talk
about Schrodinger's Card but when Jon & Dan start debating about it at the end and the FINAL few
frames ... it's EXCELLENT drama!
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
Where do you start with this? The routines Jon shares are excellent routines from a real world
worker. They could be added into any professional magicians stage show, parlor act or close-up
strolling set. I am incorporating some of them into both my stage set and my close-up strolling
set. That's not where the real value lies in this DVD set. The discussions and insights from Jon
and Dan Harlan are fantastic. Discussions on what is really important when you perform for people.
If you are a professional magician this is a MUST. If you are an amateur or a hobbyist, this is a
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
I have been doing small shows at get togethers for friends for some time now nothing really set or
big.. well after watching these DVD's and putting all that was said to use adding in the videos from
Jay and Oz thrown in with me being me I landed HUGE permanent gig!! This is a must have to take
things to the next level !!
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
I've watched all three dvds and am very unimpressed.
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of
decent effects here.
But I was paying more for his advice on connecting with audiences. I felt
like he had no special connection most of the time. When he gives people hugs and comments, I feel
it isn't extremely sincere. There is an effect where a couple find each other's names within a deck
of names and that was one of a few times where I felt people were really affected and connected to
him and the magic. To me he comes off a bit cold most of the time. There really was nothing special
in the connection regard of his performances. Derren Brown is a much more skilled british magician
in my opinion. If you want to see real connection, watch his television show and especially his live
stage shows. Gregory Wilson is even better with connecting with people, making them laugh and have a
great time. I've seen him live twice and he is by far the best performer I have seen in the magic
arena. If you want to see someone really connect with people, order any of his dvds. But for what I
thought I was getting with this set, which was new ways and techniques for connecting with people, I
thought Jon offered up mediocre servings of that. I gave it a three because of decent effects, and
mediocre connection. There were a few gems including his tip on approaching tables and getting them
to open up, but for three dvds priced pretty darned close to $100, not worthy the money. Invest in
Gregory Wilson instead.
4 of 8 magicians found this helpful.
I had the distinct and unexpected pleasure of working next to Jon at an IBM International
Convention... His booth was next to mine and I watched for 3 days as he blew the mind of
What I took away from my experience is that You don't have to have incredible
sleight of hand skills, you don't have to have complicated and expensive gimmicks... you have to
CONNECT with your audience... And Jon is a MASTER! I am looking forward to devouring this collection
and getting to know more about the mind of Jon Allen! He is a wonderful guy and a HELL of a
2 of 4 magicians found this helpful.
This DVD will really get you thinking on improving your routines. I've gotten several spin-off
ideas simply from watching the tricks and presentations! The tricks alone are great----but Jon
Allen leaves room for you to add your own personal twist on many of the routines (the final trick
being the best example!) It's a little pricey, but I am happy with the purchase!
By far one of my favorite releases. Jon Allen is a brilliant performer, creator, and he just is a
likeable guy. I'm going to skip all the tricks because they aren't that many "new" tricks in the
DVD. The thing that makes this release so great is the theory behind the tricks and the thinking.
Jon Allen transforms regular everyday tricks into a personal and unforgettable moment for the
spectators, and he shows you how to do that in these DVDs. He teaches you how to engage the audience
and make your magic meaningful. I can sum this whole paragraph up with one sentence: this will make
you a better performer.