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Discussion in 'Product Questions and Reviews' started by RediSpades, Jun 18, 2010.
Does anyone have an opinion on this one??? It looks cool, but I wanted to hear it from you all.
I just wrote a long reply and when I tried to post the forum had logged me off and it was lost... so this may not be as detailed as I would have liked.
Very briefly, I have volumes one and two of this set and just ordered the third. I like them. They are mostly parlor and close-up material, performed live for an audience, and with explanations given in a conversational format aided quite a bit by the presence of Chris Harding, who acts as a kind of interviewer. Vincent stresses the ideas of scholarship and the mentor/student relationship, and sets it up like you're a student of his in an ongoing series of studies. The material isn't just tricks and sleights, but also routining, audience management, presentation, misdirection, etc. As for the effects, Vincent would be the first to say that he's not primarily a creator, so much of what is here are published tricks that he's added his own little finesses and changes to. There's quite a bit by Harry Lorayne, some Darwin Ortiz, some Vernon, a couple things by Al Baker... If you are looking for cutting edge XCM or quirky new Paul Harris-style plots, this set is not for you. But everything here is solid and plays well if you can get it down to the same level of smoothness as Vincent. In terms of difficulty, there's not much super easy stuff here, but nor are there out and out knuckle busters. Vincent is extremely fond of palming, though, so there's quite a bit of that. And there's also some mem deck work here and there.
Some highlights are Lorayne's "Intuition Speller" in Volume One, Vincent (and Ortiz's, I think) "Brainwave" in Volume One, a long ace routine culminating in Christ Aces in volume one, and a multi-stage "Card at Any Number" in Volume Two. But more than any specific routine what I've gotten out of these DVDs are little moments and touches and techniques that I've been able to apply elsewhere. In many cases these techniques are things I already have on my shelf but it took Vincent to highlight them for me.
Each of the first two sets has a disk that's primarily devoted to sleight teaching. Again, these aren't the end-all and be-all of teaching material on these sleights -- more just his own thoughts and handlings and then references to send you back elsewhere for further study. (Speaking of credits, there was a bit of controversy over Volume One because of a Jason England review in Magic that pointed out that the multiple selection routine in Volume One paralleled in structure and patter Ricky Jay's; Vincent subsequently apologized for picking up too much of Jay's work and said he wished he hadn't put the routine on the disk, which was ironic given how well credited the rest of the set is).
The second set is about half coin work, which, because I don't do coins, I found less useful. For my money, volume one is stronger. Volume 2 is four disks, not three, however, and Penguin discounts it and not Volume One, so even though it's priced higher you can get it cheaper. I did like Vincent's long talk on coin magic, though, and his admission that it's not his strength and how he has routined his coin material to get around his weaknesses.
In short, I recommend these. Vincent may not be your style of performer, but the idea of a set of teaching DVDs that's more intimate and conversational and with a broader focus than just teaching methods is a good one. I'm looking forward to getting Volume 3. If you're interested, I can post here about it after I've watched it. (Which could be a while -- these are long sets.)
Message deleted -- fixed above instead.
Thanks for the reply, and I would be more than happy to hear about the third volume. I am excited to see where this goes. =D