Matthew Johnson ACAAN

Discussion in 'Product Questions and Reviews' started by Brehaut, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. I purchased Matthew Johnson's CD ROM with PDF book on his version of ACAAN. He states "The deck is on the table BEFORE the card and number are named and there is no force of any number called for. The spectator deals down to the card themselves and their appears at their freely selected number. NOthing is used except the playing cards.

    I have purchased a few ACAAN effects. I am usually disappointed. This one did not disappoint. Let me make clear one thing in case it matters to anyone---you do have the spectator name the suit. The deck is then placed in front of them BEFORE they name which card they choose and the number they choose. Every ACAAN effect has some tradeoff. This one is very minor. Remember the deck is in front of them and the can say for instance the King or the 3 or the 7. Then they tell you any number from 1 to 52. To me this is strong.

    The effect is very practical. You WILL do this when you read the pdf. It won't sit in your closet. The cd rom is well done and you can print out the pdf. The directions are very well prepared. There is even a secret password to see video tutorials on Johnson's website (

    The EFFECt: 9
    The Materials 9
    Difficulty: Not an Issue
    Price 8.5

    If you are looking for a strong, practical ACAAN effect--I recommend this.
  2. So does the effect look as good as the preview, or is there occasional side-stepping depending on what card they name?
  3. The effect looks just the same as the demo regardless of the card or number the spectator selects.
  4. It's interesting, ACAAN plots are amongst my favourite, and the version I do is one of my favourite effects. It's always interesting to see how different people approach the problem. I liked the video demo, I think it looks very impressive.

    I wanted to say something briefly about the Holy Grail. Obviously, with this, as with all effects, there is a catch. Somewhere, sometime, there is, of course, a compromise that allows any magic effect to happen. And that's ok. It's particularly important with an effect like ACAAN that has conditions. I think the key to finding a usable ACAAN, or any other effect like this, is to be aware of the conditions, to be away of the compromises involved - and to know which ones are acceptable to you. Of course, this one has compromises, my one has compromises, in performing what appears to be a perfect ACAAN. There's a lot of talk about the Holy Grail - the truth is, find an effect that looks good to you, with compromises that are acceptable to you, and you will find your Holy Grail.

    Case in point - I would not perform this one, because, although I like it and think well of it, and I may be wrong since I don't own it, but the cards are dealt face down. For me personally, this is one of my most important conditions - and I am not willing to compromise on this point. And therefore, I use something else, with other compromises that are acceptable to me.
  5. Well said Prae---I too enjoy ACAAN effects. There is always a trade off. Prae is correct that the cards must be dealt face down in this effect. What I like about the effect is it is very clean looking. Also, any card and any number can be chosen (no force). Further, the deck is in front of the spectator prior to them naming the number or face card they have chosen. But most of all, I like the fact that the effect is within reach of most anyone who would be looking at these forums.
  6. Prae--question for you. I notice you have stated that you usually perform your ACAAN effect in your performances. I have heard many say that ACAAN effect only impresses magicians and not so much lay people. What has been your experience?
  7. As long as it's framed properly, any magical plot has the capacity to have an impact on lay people.
  8. No worries. As you know, ACAAN is one of my favourite effects. I often use it as an opener, and sometimes is the only thing I perform. Obviously, I may be a little biased towards it, but I absolutely disagree that it's only interesting to magicians.

    I think where this comes from is a common magician fascination with the "Holy Grail" as we've mentioned above. Magicians more than likely know of Berglas, know of the legend, and have heard about it. This is what's interesting for a lot of us - various solutions to ACAAN, and ingenuity, and so forth.

    But I think if you show magicians a version of ACAAN - well, they judge it on the criteria of the Holy Grail. That's what they're impressed at - at how many of the conditions it appears to fulfil.

    That said, I think it can definitely be impressive to laymen as well, and I personally am more than happy with the impact that it has. After all, whilst laymen may not know the conditions of the effect or the legend - the appearance that the magician never touches the deck, which in my opinion is the single most important condition of any ACAAN, is in itself very strong. You don't need to be a magician to notice the lack of manipulation, of even touching the deck.

    I think laymen are impressed with a different side of ACAAN. At heart, the plot is a coincidence effect, though of course it may (and I think should) be presented in many other ways. In my opinion one of the strongest elements is not so much the plot but the sheer impossibility of the effect. Some effects have inherently interesting plots - I'm currently working on an effect whereby you influence a spectator's thoughts through their sense of touch - I find that inherently interesting. This plot is not so much inherently interesting, but there is a very very high impossibility factor because you never touch the deck - especially compared with many other card tricks, which appear impossible, but I think innately are more possible, if only because of the association of magician with sleight of hand, tricks, etc.

    So one of the biggest keys in my opinion is playing up the impossibility, and playing up the odds - without actually focussing too much on the odds such that it makes the centre of the trick a "coincidence".

    I'm not sure if I've phrased that last paragraph well enough... Draw on the impossibility. Build it up however you can - but not so much on odds that coincidence becomes the message of the effect, because it is the effect of the effect (the impossibility), rather than the effect itself (coincidence, premonition, prediction, suggestion, etc.) that is most powerful. "He never even touched the deck" should be in the centre of the whole thing.
  9. Why do you think that the impossibility should be played stronger than the coincidence, premonition, predestination, etc.?

    I'm sure it fits your routine though.
  10. Basically because I think there are plots that are more inherently interesting. Don't get me wrong - there definitely needs to be a legitimate presentation. But I think that a good ACAAN instead has a much stronger natural impossibility quotient than many other effects. It's not something that should, in my opinion, be dragged out for too long, or given too elaborate a justification. In other words - play to the strengths.
  11. Thanks for the thoughtful response. I always felt the same way (that the effect could have a powerful effect on lay the lay person) but wondered if I was the only one.
  12. That's a great point. Thanks for sharing.

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