First I must say that for those of you who don’t like escapology, some of these trick can be
considered stage illusions or be modified into them.
Having studied escape secrets for many
years I think this is the best description of many of the classic escapes and Dan Harlan has updated
and improved them to be made with modern materials and for today’s audiences. Most of the escapes
can be made from materials from your local home improvement center and often with minimal cutting
and he fully explains where to get the few items required for the other tricks. With Dan's clear
instructions almost anyone with minimal carpentry skills should be able to assemble these tricks
with just basic tools.
Although I love the “secrets” of escapology I must confess that the
part of the video I found most fascinating was Dan’s complete description of workings and making of
his wonderful and beautiful drop curtain. I can see how this curtain can be used with many effects
involving an appearance, disappearance or quick change and it can be modified to different
situations. It is very impressive addition to the performance.
Of course Dan always gives you
some of his tips on misdirection, stage and audience management and showmanship. These are not the
kind of tricks you can realistically do for you friends in your living room. They are meant for
stage or open air performances, but if you have any interest in escapology or stage illusions this
is a must have video.
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
I absolutely loved this lesson. I definitely will be adding one of these to my act. However, the one
drawback is you don't get any blueprints. I'm not that good with drawing and I don't want to have to
send the full video to a carpenter. A PDF file of blueprints would've been nice to get with this
lesson since it relies heavily on precisely built items.
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
Harlan is a genius! And a great teacher. So many practical ideas on this session, I have already
started building love this!
Love all the material in this series
I went into this lesson thinking i was just going to muddle through it for to learn more about other
magic fields to be well rounded. I was wrong.
The lessons learned, and the props to be
built, were incredible. At least 3 of the builds are practical and look great. The plastic bag
escape is also very doable.
While the spike illusion is likely not going to be built by
many, there is a lot to learn, especially about repurposing items found in stores.
Harlan is great teacher.
This was my first time purchasing a Tarbell course of Dan Harlan's and I was impressed with the
amount of information he crams into a span of a few hours. It felt a lot like reading the Tarbell
where you get the core of the method and have to figure out what is going to fit with your
performance style. There are only a few things I wish that they had done differently about the
course in general:
1. I wish that they had some audience reaction shots. About half of the
fun of magic is seeing how people react and what drives them crazy. Often as magicians, we get jaded
to certain techniques that still totally fry spectators while others that we are impressed with
because of the amount of skill they require to perform are just simple riddles that audiences are
not quite impressed by. To get a sense of what's really frying them it would be nice to see the
reaction of the crowd. This includes micing the audience. It feels so empty because we're relying on
a lavalier from Dan and it's hard to tell what is and isn't working or to at least get a sense of
the actual timing.
2. The audio for the silent pieces is often replaced with a different
audio track and it kind of kills the energy of the performance. I guess it's a similar note to the
first comment but still worth mentioning.
3. The explanations are very fast and lack some
good close up angles. Tarbell courses are really meant to give you a jumping off point in my
experience and then you really learn the trick as you do it. If you're going to learn 8 or 9 serious
routines in a couple hours then it's going to have to move quickly, but if you've ever bought a DVD
or Download where they go over 1 trick for 60-90 minutes you'll realize that by the end of the dvd
you feel like you can do the trick without ever actually practicing it because you've seen it from
every angle 18 times. That doesn't happen here and while I appreciate the brevity of the
explanations, it would be nice once and a while to get more close-ups, over the shoulder angles and
overhead shots where certain construction or techniques might benefit from it.
One thing that I heard here that was absolute GOLD though
and worth the entire price of the series was something Dan said in passing. He mentioned that he
read people's comments online (assuming YouTube) when he decided how to routine his sub-trunk and
found that most people guessed the method. What a stroke of genius. I started going to YouTube and
seeing what kind of comments people left on other routines.
For example, I was debating on
whether or not to put a thumbtie routine into my act because I couldn't tell if it was strong
enough. I found a video online of someone doing a thumbtie somewhat poorly and people started
guessing that all of the penetrations where done with fake sticks and props - that's when I realized
this was a plot that people are really stumped by. Within seconds I purchased Dan's thumbtie Tarbell
course (which is fantastic!) and started figuring out which method would suit me best.
This was a great update to the escapes covered in the Tarbell texts. Well worth the cost & time.
This was a fantastic lesson. So many great ideas, and projects and levels of difficulty ranging
from complex to "as easy as buying a plastic bag off Amazon."
Dan Harlan is at the top of his
game here, explaining everything, and crafting everything for ease of use and portability.
final three illusions here (the rope-tied trunk, the plastic bag escape and the trash can escape)
are especially fun and surprising, but there really isn't a dud in the bunch.
Even if you
never plan to use the vast majority of these escapes, this lecture was pretty entertaining just as
theatre. Dan Harlan does a very good job performing and explaining, and doesn't deliver a dull
I've been escaping for 47 years and am always looking for new ideas. This video meets that need.
Harlan combines the classic Tarbell effects with new ideas and twists that will work for the
illusionist and escapologist alike.
Harlan doesn't stop at methodology, but includes all the
misdirection and blocking required to pull off successful performance. All of the effects are
practical and entertaining, and a few will definitely find a place in my program.