This is what Genii Magazine thought of both DVDs:
"Florida magician and balloon artist
Mark Byrnes two discs on balloon twisting caught me by surprise. Sure, weve all seen plenty of
intriguing balloon art over the years, but unless balloon twisting is your thing, a how-to video
might not seem like a particularly entertaining proposition.
Guess again. These discs
dont just demonstrate the construction of two dozen excellent balloon figures; they also entertain
while they teach. By the time the first disc was half finished, my whole family had migrated into
the room to see what he was going to make next.
Both discs open with a music video made to
a parody recording of Bad to the Bone entitled Bad to the Balloon. It sets up Mr. Byrne as this
leather-wearing biker who isnt going to take any of your nonsense while hes making your balloon
hat, and you better not give him any lip about it. Thats okay, because he doesnt give any lip
either in these non-speaking vignettes.
The segments are shot on location in some outdoor
setting that relates to the figure. Mr. Byrne, in sunglasses and a black t-shirt, twists the
featured figure in each segment with speed and skill in realtime, giving the viewer a sense of how
long it really will take to create the sculpture once mastered. A supply list for each figure serves
as an opening caption at the beginning of the process. The construction is repeated in a closer
shot, allowing better visibility of some of the more detailed techniques.
On disc one, the
simple lines of the shark, dolphin, and swan figures are easy, effective likenesses. The mermaid and
surfer were a degree of difficulty higher, and the dragon figure was surprisingly complex for
something that could be done so efficiently. The tiki figure seemed like a waste of time, but I gave
bonus points for including a sculpture of an electrical tower, an unusual choice but one with plenty
of conversation potential. The family favorite on disc one was the duck, a rubber-ducky style duck
with googly eyes that add action to a normally static art form.
Disc two has significantly
more striking figures. Favorites included a monkey in a palm tree, a great dinosaur, and an
unexpectedly good representation of a flamingo. The cow, penguin, and housefly all generated good
responses from my judges; the cat was underwhelming. Some of these figures look strikingly like
familiar cartoon characters not exactly, but I wouldnt be surprised if some in your audience made
the connections. On disc two youll also enjoy Dog Gone, a short tragicomedy about a boy and his
Notably, all of Mr. Byrnes figures are constructed as hats. This has
practical value for the audience, as they can carry the figures around handsfree; less handling
means a longer life for the sculptures. For performers who work primarily for kids, the value of
costuming a child volunteer during a routine is well documented. If I did a lot of kid shows, Id
definitely consider learning these and creating interactive magic routines with them.
discs have a professional feel while still giving the sense that theyre not taking themselves too
seriously. The non-verbal teaching approach makes them accessible to non-English speakers, and the
music and gags in each segment give the presentation a surprising amount of energy for a disc that
features absolutely no audience or spectator involvement. The teaching moves quickly and presumes at
least some experience on the part of the twister, but both discs contain extra segments on twisting
basics and a closer look at the specific techniques used in the figures, so even a newbie should be
able to pick these up and learn to twist the figures.
Camera, sound, light, direction, and
concept all came together resulting in two excellent discs. Performers who use balloon art in their
work can certainly benefit from having these ideas and techniques in their repertoire, and the price
is more than reasonable for the value delivered."
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
Bad To The Balloon has good designs that are kind of fancy, but not too complex or time consuming.
However, I thought it has a lot of problems: First, he goes too fast like he's in some kind of hurry
- even with slow mo and pausing on my player it's an issue - slow down! I'm no beginner, and I still
found it hard to follow. Second, he does the balloon first in a wide shot - why do that - just go
straight to the closeups so we can see what you are doing - we don't care about the backgrounds.
Third, why waist all that time and make us fast forward through all the silly clowning around
nonsense - we are adults who want to learn new balloons - the little skits and silliness are
pointless and not entertaining. Also, it has no talking - talking would help us learn easier.
That's just my opinion, I'm sure some disagree.
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
Great & enjoyable video! Designs are done twice, back to back, so less rewinding. Cool hat designs
with a few new techniques I've never seen before. I was skeptical at first because there's no voice
instructions, only music, but there are many close ups and the video progresses at a reasonable
speed so it's easy to follow. The separate detailed slow-mode twist menu is really helpful if you're
a beginner or having trouble with a concept. Awesome location shots!