REF4M - A review I feel strongly about

Discussion in 'Product Questions and Reviews' started by Tempest, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. I was definitely excited when I heard about this new release. I have studied a lot of Torn and Restored plots over the years and this one came in perfect timing for my current predicament. I needed a new method for my stage production that fit certain conditions.

    Now, first off, I don't think this effect is going to be my miracle stage replacement. TnR is still going to be my effect of choice there. But REF4M is now going to be my close-up, carry with me effect.

    This is a perfect example of a brilliant contemporary update to an old impromptu plot. I feel compelled to write a review because for the first time in a LONG time, I've found someone who "gets it." Blake Vogt gets it. He gets magic. It's no surprise Copperfield hired him.

    Enough ego-building, haha. REF4M is everything it says it is. To clarify a concern I can already tell is going to be illuminated, there ARE some extra details to the story. As the trailer shows, yes, you do need to hand it out in pieces. If this were a bad thing, this would be the only downside to this effect.

    What I really want to get at, is the theory behind this effect. In magic, especially in the market of magic, effects and illusions have followed a trend of putting the focus of the method towards the concept of "something extra." Effects and illusions have become more and more reliant upon a gimmick that creates the illusion or aids in the illusion. With this methodology, you are creating more work, and adding an extra step to the ideal structure of performing an effect. Make sure you are on the same page here.

    Now, the reason that REF4M is so unique, is because the relying on "something extra" has been eliminated, and substituted with good thinking. Most magicians create an effect, but at a certain point, stop making it better. Blake has taken an effect and finished it. how many effects are there that you can truly say are finished to a point where improvement is extremely hard to imagine?

    A magician who has come to rely on the newer structure of method, will not enjoy this effect. This effect is for magicians that understand magic theory and can appreciate the natural justification cleverly weaved throughout the method. EVERY MOVE is justified as much as it can be given the circumstances.

    The truly unique part about this effect though, is the actual justification. The reasons why. I strongly connect with Blake on this. I feel that if you watch this DVD and then put some time into thinking your way through it, mentally, you will find a remarkable model for how to justify moves and actions, and how to create an honest, natural presentation for an effect. It is not spelled out in the DVD, but it's there.

    One example that really sticks out to me, is in the performance that Blake has created for this effect. He performs the effect. The impossibility of the effect sinks in. This feeling stays for a bit until reconstruction attempts are made by the spectator, BUT, Blake gets there first. He takes the card and makes a continuing action, which instantly changes the "end" of the effect, totally dismantling reconstruction. Now, there are plenty of effects that do this, but there is usually a terrible, unjustified reason.

    Blake openly shows the miracle and pauses. "But this is clearly impossible..." The audience mentally agrees. "So you know we have to undo it because something impossible really can't exist(paraphrased with subtext)." The spectator must also agree. Blake then finishes ripping the card into pieces, AGAIN. And look at the bigger picture here.

    In Torn and Restored plots, the main issue has always been, what is the purpose of destroying something to only put it back together?

    REF4M is completely different from that mindset.

    In REF4M, your primary objective from the beginning, is to rip a signed card up into 4 pieces, and give them to the spectator. The miracle takes place in the middle of that process, instead of at the end. It makes sense. It's accepted.

    How much better could this illusion be if you weaved in a presentational hook on the subtext of this effect? Or perhaps in the beginning, suggest a meaning behind giving them their card in pieces?

    There's just a TON to work with here.

    Blake, great work, and I would love to talk magic with you someday bro.

    10/10 because it's intelligent magic.

    || sean ||
  2. I was thinking about getting this, but I was wondering how similar the method is to Counterfeit Hollingworth (if you know how that one works), and if it is worth having both
  3. You know, Sean, this has been quite possibly one of the best reviews I've ever actually read on a magic forum.
  4. A very well written review, Tempest, I agree with you 100%.

    In the beginning I had some problems with the display of the torn pieces and the ending. But that is just how I think as a magician. No layperson will never question those things, and after seeing the demo a couple of times, plus the explanation, I have no problems with it what so ever. It's clean, effective, direct and - to me - the most important part, the restoration, is done all at the fingertips. Like Tempest, I also got TnR by Mathieu Bich, and I also got Torn by Daniel Garcia. Both are excellent effects and are extremely visual and direct. I've used them a lot, and will also use them a lot in the future. This one will not replace them, but it will be my direct go-to effect when asked in an impromptu casual setting among friends and etc. Beautiful effect.

    As I stated in the beginning, I agree with Tempest 100% and I also will give it 10/10. Can't wait to see more from Blake Vogt in the future.
  5. just an idea: have 4 spectators signe on each corners, so at the end when you tear the card in 4 pieces give each piece with their signature to the 4 spectators as a souvenir
  6. I like that idea. It gives it just a touch more justification.

    EDIT: Does anyone else think that this is extremely well priced? Seems like a steal!
  7. the price is ok to me
  8. THAT is exactly what I'm talking about. This is a genius idea. WOW. I love this. :D

    Thanks guys. It rocks knowing I've got brothers out there keeping it legit, haha.

    Also, I'm not familiar with Hollingworth's method entirely, but REF4M is definitely a unique concept with a lot of unique ideas. Even if it had the same method, Blake's handling is really well thought out.

    || sean ||
  9. I completely agree. Tempest should be writing all the reviews, lol. Looking forward to seeing more Tempest, please! I was getting bugged out from the other responses too!

  10. I disagree wholeheartedly about the souvenir thing. ALMOST NOBODY gives a crap about 1/4th of a card. They'll probably just go ahead and toss it out. Most magicians have this glorified image of themselves in their head and are just being vain when they think giving a spectator part (or all) of a used card with sharpie all over it is something they'll keep for longer than a few days.

    The only thing I'm sure of which most laymen keep is a business card. But don't do that TnR with that. No value in 1/4th of a business card either.
  11. to give the 1/4 of the card is the motivation to tear again the card
  12. Then you obviously have completely failed to make an impact on your audience. ANY person who I've had the chance to meet after years or months has ALWAYS remembered what souvenir I gave them. I've been to some peoples' houses and I have seen the card I gave them when I first met them pinned up on their softboards. Only last week, I was helping my friend move and I visited her house for the first time. I'd met her 7 months ago and the first day I did, I gave her a souvenir as a result of a trick. Believe it or not, the FIRST thing she packed when she started was that card from her board. She put it neatly in an envelope and made sure to tuck it away safely.

    And this is just one person. I have given away HUNDREDS. And almost every single one of them has a story behind it for the person I gave it to.
  13. I like the idea of having 4 autographs and tearing to 4 pieces as souvenirs at the end. While I don't like the fact I have to tear the card to 4 before handing it out, it was to be expected. I think as long as you can make the spectators care enough about the performance and make it meaningful to them, they will remember what you've done and given them, which should always be more than just a card or whatever, but emotional attachment to those items that they are receiving.
  14. Yes. I started magic because of a souvenir card that I got.
  15. #15 ChrisWiens, May 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2011
    I think it`s overpriced, but that just seems normal today. I got Dave Forrest`s Deception for 20$ SHIPPING INCLUDED. That`s maybe the best price/performance ratio I`ve ever had for a Magic DVD. Not only is the stuff on it great (I didn`t expect that to be honest, but I liked it even better than Bullet Party) and usable, real workers, there are some items on it that could easily make it on a one-trick DVD for the same price. Unfortunately, that`s what most creators do today.
  16. I think that what he tried to say is that it's not very likely that spectators will save 1/4th of a card, which is true. Usually they do remember it though (hell, I ran into a spectator who remembered a trick I did for him about 3 years earlier), but they are much more likely to save a whole card instead of just a piece of it, plus the fact that 1/4th is way easier to lose. :)
  17. I'm also trying to say that overall, cards as souvenirs are overrated. I wonder how many of these people arvind mentioned are still in contact with him, because I'd love to know how many of these hundreds of said people have just tossed it in the trash rather than saving it in a little personal envelope for the rest of time.
  18. I can't quote an exact number because I meet so many people and it is not often that I meet people after a performance sometime again in the future unless they are in the same area or if we become friends and start hanging out. If I'm in some other country, and I perform something for someone at a gig, it's very unlikely that I'm going to be in contact with them again - and neither is there a need to be.

    However, I do know for a fact that they DO treasure what I give them (almost all the time) just by their actions and words. Such as placing it in their wallets, mentioning that they are going to keep it forever, etc, etc. I am not going to explain that as it doesn't come out well in words. I just know after a performance. You should also note that my souvenirs are not just cards with their name on it. There's always something more to it, something more personal.

    About the value going down if the card is not complete? I disagree with that too. Card Warp is another effect I perform so often and people keep the torn pieces. Sometimes I sign it for them after the effect. I have seen these also pinned up on boards or in peoples' wallets.

    You might think it's over rated, but from my experience I can completely disagree with that. And I think a couple of hundred performances of just one effect is enough justification for my views. If your cards are going straight into the bin, you aren't doing something right, or you simply don't care about it yourself. There's also the other way that you think they're going into a bin, but in fact.. they aren't? I don't mean to be rude, but I just cannot agree with what you said at all.
  19. I also got into magic because of a card a magician let me keep when I was ten. I got his phone number and he helped me with my 'act' so I could do magic at a little table during a music festival a year later. I made almost 800 bucks. So, judging by that, I'd say it is important.
  20. My thoughts on giving out the card in fourths really didn't have much to do with whether or not a piece of a playing card was important or unimportant to the audience to keep as a souvenir.

    Ultimately, the PRIMARY reason for handing out a card or piece of a card is for the audience to inspect it.

    What I was trying to make a big deal out of in my review was that Blake's work on this plot has solved some major issues with the torn and restored plot, in my opinion. Giving the card out in pieces is actually justified and understood compared to the majority of other times when it is under scrutiny, unnecessary, or suspect to suspicion. Having names signed on the card not only adds a level of deception to the process, but also adds to the justification of giving the card out in pieces.

    Overall, the simple idea behind the method of REF4M: "A card is signed, torn into pieces, and before giving them to the audience to inspect, the performer makes a pit stop to showcase a minor miracle before putting the pieces in their hands." I am referring to the presentation of the card being an impossible object that can't really exist.

    This is so much better than the usual: "Card is signed, destroyed, and then put back together in worse shape than it was to begin with, then handed to the audience to inspect." At it's core, this approach is missing something.

    Abbot used to layer and justify the material, words, and actions in his show incredibly well, and it's no wonder he is a legend on impossible magic. But on stage, it is much easier in some ways to create the setting for an illusion using props and other devices.

    But in close-up, we make the stage with our words and actions.

    || sean ||

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