I received an advance copy of Eric Jones’ Metal and wanted to share my thoughts. Metal teaches the fundamentals of coin magic and does it very well. Eric is a great teacher and a great technician. He not only teaches you the mechanics of the sleights, but also teaches you how to get into and out of the various concealments and vanishes. On the video, Eric also teaches five routines using the various sleights. I first learned coin magic from a Magic Makers DVD (before I knew any better), so I thought I had a good grasp of the basics. Just watching Eric's teaching of the sleights made me realize why I was never a great performer with coins... there is a difference knowing a sleight and knowing how to perform a sleight. Eric takes it to a higher level and explains how to use acting and redirection to make your coin work look like real magic. Eric’s handling fools you even after he has explained the sleights… he is that good. The first hour and fifteen minutes of the DVD is teaches the sleights (which I’ve listed below). This is a departure of a lot of recent DVDs which start off with the performance and then teach you the moves you need to perform the effects. With those DVDs you learn the effect, but don’t build a solid foundation. This DVD teaches you the foundations first. Eric then teaches you how to use the sleights in several strong routines (also listed below). The routines take around 45 minutes for a total running time of 2 hours. CONCEALMENTS Finger Palm Ramsay Subtlety High Finger Palm Classic Palm Kaps / Malini Subtleties Holding Out Multiple Coins Thump Palm Downs Palm Downs Palm Production Buckley Production Mutobe Palm Curl Palm Edge Grip Goshman / Tenki Pinch JW Grip PRODUCTIONS Korn Production Production from Mutobe Palm The Pop VANISHES Put / Takes Elusive Coin Vanish Stylized Retention Pass UTILITIES Classic Palm Click Pass Jones Click Pass Roth Shuttle Pass Utility Switch Ammar’s Wiped Clean Townsend’s Hand Washing Bobo Switch Jones Switch BenZais Friction Palm (2 methods) SLEEVING Dr. E.M. Roberts Method Jim Pace’s Parallel Sleeve Vanish (Jim Pace) Sleeve retrieval ROUTINES Four Coins Across – Four coins move, one at a time, from one hand to another (and even to a spectator’s hands). Simplex 3 Fly – Coins in full view move, one at a time, from one hand to another. Loose Change – Transposition of a copper and silver coin. Bluff Vanish – Coin borrowed from spectator vanishes leaving both hands empty. Jones Spellbound – Multiple changes between a copper coin (or Chinese coin) and a silver coin which ends with you holding a single coin. FLOURISHES Coin Rolldown Five Coin Star Arm Roll Eric’s teaching is top notch and many of the sleights are shown from multiple camera angles. I watched the sections explaining the sleights with coins in my hands. Although Eric is left-handed, I found that not to be a problem (it was actually easier for me to follow than trying to do the mirror image of the performer). The pace of the teaching was, for the most part, very good. There were a couple of sleights that were covered too quickly for my learning style and I had to rewind to watch them again. Where a lot of DVDs rely on the pure visual, Eric also talked you through the positioning of the hands. It was really helpful to see how the sleight is performed and then hear Eric explain exactly what you need to do to perform it. I found myself watching and then listening as I followed Eric’s instructions with the coins in my hands. I watched the sleights section of the DVD over a couple of days to let some of the learning sink in. The sleights start off very basic and become increasingly more complex. Eric goes over a lot of details and subtleties regarding the sleights which I found really helpful. Although I knew a lot of the basics, I probably learned something to improve my handling for every move that Eric taught. I expect to spend a couple of weeks mastering all the sleights that Eric teaches. The routines are great. As part of various routines, Eric teaches you some additional sleights. Four Coins Across and Simplex 3 Fly will take some work to make them smooth. After having the video for a couple of days, I can do those routines, but it will take me a week or two to get them performance ready. The Four Coins Across is my favorite so far (but the Spellbound might takes its place once I learn it). In Four Coins Across, you are so far ahead of the spectator, you’re ready to take a bow half-way through the routine. The Simplex 3 Fly routine works better with “soft” coins. I was using new 1964 Kennedy halves and they “talk” a little too much for my liking during the routine. I tried it with some soft 1954 quarters and it worked perfectly. Also, the Simplex 3 Fly routine will work fine if you are performing anywhere where there is any background noise. Loose Change is a great effect and the Bluff Vanish is just beautiful. The Jones Spellbound routine is amazing, especially the one-handed spellbound change and the ability to end clean with only one coin in your hand. I did not like the filming of the performances of the effects or the introduction to the DVD for that matter. The video of the performances and the introduction had that edgy street feel (and corresponding shaky cinematography) with the required bleeped out expletives from spectators. Not my style, but if that is what it takes to get people to focus on the fundamentals, than it’s OK with me. Thankfully those were only a minute or two for each performance. I would have like to see Eric perform the Four Coins Across and Simplex 3 Fly routines in their entirety at the table that he was using for teaching and also standing up with a spectator in the studio. I also would have liked to see a couple of more complex routines using more of the fundamentals that Eric taught. I guess that will just make me look for coin routines in Bobo and the other books that I have (or get Eric’s Extension of Me DVD). Also, with all the sleights that Eric teaches, you could easily design your own routines. Eric says at one point, “we really stand on the shoulders of giants.” As a result, Eric gives proper credit and attribution for all of the moves he teaches. I suspect that after you go through the DVD, you will buy a copy of Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic, if you don’t already have it. If you want to master the fundamentals of coin work, Metal is a great way to start. The teaching of the sleights alone is worth the price of the video. The routines will make people think you are a master at coin magic. An maybe, just maybe this DVD will be your first step to becoming a master.