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Topic: Paul Green: In The Trenches
Message: Posted by: Vlad_77 (Aug 7, 2010 11:08AM)
I am certain this has been WIDELY discussed on the Café, but, I wanted to write a bit about this excellent DVD because it is so good it merits attention, especially by newcomers who do not know the search function and to veterans like me who missed this first time around.

The effect most talked about on this DVD is the strong prediction effect called "Jeopardy". Actually, what called my attention to this DVD was a discussion about this effect. I am a fan of Paul Green's work from his splendid contribution to Jim Sisti's The Magic Menu. I had hoped to find this effect in The Magic Menu but it is absent. *Sigh

But, now I have it!! In addition, a SLEW of other effects on this DVD. If you wish to learn from a PRO that works constantly in all the major major markets, this is an invaluable resource. Watching this DVD only CONFIRMED what I have known about Paul Green and that is, the man KNOWS the business and has a wonderful penchant for something that many magicians seem to lack, and that is ROUTINING. I will get back to that in a moment, but first, a discussion about the production quality of In The Trenches.

I will state emphatically right here that I am NOT a fan of DVDs. The ones I do own were bought after a LOT of research. I DO find them valuable for mass storage of mammoth magic journals such as The Sphinx, The Magic Wand, Magigram, and other journals. I am enamored of print. That being said, there are some video DVDs that I find DO approach the depth of text. In The Trenches is one such treasure.

First, I TRULY thank HEAVEN that this DVD gets down to business. There are no dizzying camera angles, and Paul isn't standing in some part of an unknown metropolis looking like a gangsta. Note to magicians: I am also a rock musician. Please leave the faux tough guy thing to musicians. Sitting on a upturn plastic bucket by graffiti filled rail yards doing Sybil cuts doesn't make you look cool. In fact, it doesn't make MUSICIANS look cool either.

Second, the sound quality is very nicely done. What I really appreciated was that the explanation portions of the DVD were not preceded by cheesy music and awful video effects from the latest Japanese or Korean horror film subgenre. I like the nice, simple, "Explanation" cut.

Paul's teaching is thorough. I mentioned that this DVD approaches the depth of text. Paul teaches not only the "how" of an effect, but the "why" something works. In text, there is no time; text is an asynchronous environment and as such, the author can go into more detail because time is not a constraining factor. Paul gets into the real heart of the how and why and there is a wonderful "textual" feeling in his explanations.

What's more, Paul teaches wonderful nuances and other "business" honed through years of working for the real world that add those special touches which elevate an effect to a performance piece. This DVD is a splendid head start if one wishes to work in the trenches of the real world. Pay close attention to the nuances. If the effects are gold, these nuances are the platinum.

L&L Publishing: please note that while the eye candy of your canned audiences IS pleasing to the eye, having a performer in front of a REAL audience actually is more conducive to convincing the magician that the stuff WORKS. It has gotten so that I have read threads here on the Café discussing which L&L woman was the hottest - and by NAME. (And get rid of the mullet guy in the moustache!!). Paul performs for diverse audiences at the Magic Castle. These people are astounded and entertained, but, they also ACT like real spectators. L&L "audiences" react to each effect as though the magician has duplicated the miracles of a certain Rabbi who walked the Earth two thousand years ago :P

Paul's crediting is flawless. He pays such close attention to it in fact that he rattles of credits AS he is explaining the method. So, it is nice to know for instance that a certain part of a routine is a Milt Kort idea, while another is from J.C. Wagner. I believe these touches are very useful for more in depth research. Thank you for that Paul.

Jeopardy has gotten a LOT of press, so, really no need to discuss it here except to say it TRULY lives up TO that press.

K/B P/G Sponge Balls: I am not - or rather WAS not - into sponge ball magic. I went into this with a rather jaded "big deal, its sponges, and every hack does it the same way." The only other sponge ball work I HAVE liked before viewing this was Steve Dacri's - which is splendid. Paul's routine mixes a couple of plots into a beautifully constructed routine. What is beautiful about this routine is that it follows a beautiful logic that leads to a beautiful climax. And, I LOVE the fact that some huge sponge monstrosity is NOT produced at the end. I ALSO love the fact there isn't a purse frame in sight! This is a playful and MAGICAL routine that you will WANT to do for ADULTS. Yes, it works for kids too, but, at least for me, I never wanted to do the sponges for those at or beyond adolescence.

The Rope Routine: Once again an excellent example of routining different effects into a magical extravaganza. Take the hoary old cut and restored, spice it up with GREAT by play, elevating seemingly throw away bits into laughter inducing audience moments, combine it all with a beautiful handling of The Professor's Nightmare and you have a wonderful piece of magical theater. Again, I urge the viewer to pay attention to the "business" Paul provides.

Here, There, and Chicago Too: I LOVE this effect. What a perfect blending of "Here, There, and Everywhere" with "Chicago Opener." What I really like about this routine is that Chicago Opener is NOT the opener :) Magic is already happening at a brisk pace and actually sets up Chicago Opener beautifully at ANY point in your act. I could see this working very well in fact with Whit Haydn's approach in his book Chicago Surprise.

Mission Impossible: The presentation and again, the bits of business make this effect into a mini-play. The audience involvement is splendid, and the "Q-Pills" are a very strong convincer. The James Bond presentation is really a fine touch. Since I don't copy other performers, I will use a gangster modification to the story. I wish I had though of the James Bond slant before Paul. Grrrrrrrr ;)

Flying Eagles: Yes, you've read it in Bobo. It is given a nice treatment here with a very nice climax. The coins across plot is nice, but many lack a punchy ending. This one packs a NICE punch. Listen to the patter and the ending is motivated and I believe the psychology hits the audience HARD.

2 Copper Silver: This effect is a real study in the classic Two Copper One Silver/CSB plot. No pocket work here and a beautiful mechanism for reset.

Four on the Floor: I like this effect, but, of all of them, in my opinion, is not one I would do, but only because I do something similar from Joe Riding. This IS a nice effect however and perfect for those situations when you are strolling and people's hands are occupied with drinks, etc. There are some very nice touches in this effect by Paul and J.C. Wagner which could apply easily to other effects. Pay attention to what Paul has to say about a certain technique that magicians and mentalists use. It is only two sentences but OH SO IMPORTANT.

Coming Together: If you have been looking for a non-gaffed Anniversary Waltz, this one is SWEET. The odd backed card in this routine clarifies the effect and provides for very nice convincers, thus increasing the impossibility of the effect.

Above, Beside, or Below: This is a coins across done with, as Paul states in performance, "four coins and three hands." This is a great routine. It begins with a very magical moment for a single spectator and expands into total audience involvement. It packs TWO very STRONG climaxes and would be a valuable addition to any repertoire, walk around and/or a formal set.

Every single effect is aimed at the worker who needs strong magic with instant reset. This is PRACTICAL real world stuff, so, if you are looking for Greek deals and riffle stacking, look elsewhere. However, if you are seeking well structured ROUTINES that play in the real world, In The Trenches is a source of invaluable material and ADVICE.

Thank you Paul!!!

Message: Posted by: Bill Beach (Aug 7, 2010 08:35PM)

Your review is right on target. This was my first DVD purchase years ago (had a few VHS magic tapes) and it remains my favorite. I have used almost all of the routines at one time or another over the last few years. Highly recommended!
Message: Posted by: Vlad_77 (Aug 7, 2010 11:42PM)
On 2010-08-07 21:35, Bill Beach wrote:

Your review is right on target. This was my first DVD purchase years ago (had a few VHS magic tapes) and it remains my favorite. I have used almost all of the routines at one time or another over the last few years. Highly recommended!

Thank you very much Bill,

You know, one of the reasons I am a big fan of Paul Green is that he is living proof that what is PRACTICAL, works. I grow weary of the endless debate for instance concerning card controls. Now, I can tell that Paul has the chops, but, all this debate about controls where no seeming manipulation takes place after the return of a selection is rubbish to me. Daryl Easton uses a TCTTT and the guy has MONSTER chops. Paul uses some time honored controls as well. I STILL believe that many magicians are running when not being chased. To the non-magician, a SHUFFLE is a POWERFUL convincer. Audiences KNOW that what we do requires skill, not supernatural ability. To a non-magician, a shuffle means ALL of the cards are being shuffled. It is a familiar action to them.

Yes, I DO believe the Pass and the Side Steal and other "moveless to the audience" controls have their place, and in fact some effects REQUIRE such controls. But, these controls do not invalidate other means. Paul and Daryl are two excellent magicians who make quite a nice living doing magic in the real world, so, I am not going to argue with success.

I was paging through The bound volumes of The Magic Menu recently. If Paul Green HASN'T done this, he SHOULD collect his articles from that superb journal and put them into a book. Frankly, I would argue that there are NOT enough books whose subject is the REAL work, and Paul's articles would make a FINE and ESSENTIAL volume.

I get bored - and quickly - with "moves." I suppose that's why I tend to avoid local Ring meetings. But, I can watch a working pro who ENTERTAINS all night and crave more. I remember one night in Detroit. I had just done a show at the Renaissance Center. My client had treated me to dinner at the excellent Opus One restaurant in downtown after the gig. The magician in residence was Al The Only. Now, Al didn't do anything that required the chops of Turner or Ortiz. Don't get me wrong, I ADMIRE these two maestros, but, Al The Only held each and every table ENTHRALLED. I asked my client and his party to PLEASE not introduce me as a magician, because I wanted to ENJOY Al's work. He was MAGNIFICENT. Afterwards the client DID introduce me as their magician. Al was sheer class and he and I spent a good two hours at the bar talking magic and impromptu sessioning. I learned a LOT from Al The Only that night. As many know, Al The Only is ALSO a columnist for The Magic Menu. Truth be told, I didn't want to leave. Hanging out with a pro like that was a sheer joy. I do ok, but, people like Al and Paul are the REAL deal.

Now I have added another name to my list of people here whose hand I want to shake: Paul Green!

So, Paul, Mickey Painless, Harry Lorayne, Vinny Marini, Barry Fernelius, Steven Youell, Cameron Francis, Peter Duffie, Scott Guinn and others that would make this a marathon post, I will meet all of you guys someday. I will be THRILLED to have the honor of just watching and laughing and being blown away again :) It's people like these that are one of the reasons I love this beautiful art SO much. Yes, I have played as a musician for 20,000+ and met a few big guns like Daltrey and Townsend, BUT, magic is my first love.

Many will laugh, but, when I get a PM from these guys, I smile like a kid in school again. We are BLESSED that they are here.

Message: Posted by: Lee Smith (Aug 8, 2010 03:59AM)
Without a doubt one of the best DVDs ever realesed.
Message: Posted by: Cameron Francis (Aug 8, 2010 10:08AM)
Excellent dvd! I had the pleasure of communicating with Paul recently and he was nothing but a gentlemen. Really nice guy.
Message: Posted by: Lee Smith (Aug 8, 2010 03:30PM)
On 2010-08-08 11:08, Cameron Francis wrote:
Excellent dvd! I had the pleasure of communicating with Paul recently and he was nothing but a gentlemen. Really nice guy.

I agree,

I have been intouch with Paul and can only agree with you Cameron.

If anyone has not seen this DVD then they are missing out.
Message: Posted by: puggo (Aug 8, 2010 04:05PM)
On 2010-08-08 16:30, Lee Smith wrote:
On 2010-08-08 11:08, Cameron Francis wrote:
Excellent dvd! I had the pleasure of communicating with Paul recently and he was nothing but a gentlemen. Really nice guy.

I agree,

I have been intouch with Paul and can only agree with you Cameron.

If anyone has not seen this DVD then they are missing out.

I'll 'third' this, having recently picked up some lecture notes directly from Paul (and being a fan of 'In the trenches'
Message: Posted by: Review King (Aug 9, 2010 10:46PM)
FANTASTIC DVD! Real world, killer effects by a master of his craft!
Message: Posted by: PaulGreen (Aug 12, 2010 12:11PM)
Thank you to Vlad, Bill, Lee, Cameron, Puggo, & Chris!!!!!!

Enjoy the search.

Paul Green
Message: Posted by: lebowski (Aug 12, 2010 01:01PM)
Paul you can also thank me because I am also a fan of In The Trenches.
Message: Posted by: PaulGreen (Aug 13, 2010 12:55AM)
Ok Lebowski,

Thank you, too!!!!


Paul Green
Message: Posted by: Tim Hannig (Aug 16, 2010 11:25PM)
I also love this DVD. Bravo Paul!

Real audience members... great material... this one will stand the test of time.

Vlad I love the "gangsta" line!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Aug 20, 2010 02:04PM)
This thread convinced me to buy this DVD. I'm not at all disappointed with it.

No need to add to the review at the top. I probably would have been less impressed when I first started out just because I would have been looking for glitzy showy magic. This is solid and classic stuff and worth more than a lot of the other DVDs I bought early on. Good tricks, good explanations, and nice clean production work. (I used to work in TV, including some video production, and there are a lot of magic DVDs that try to be cool and are really just distracting.)

Oh, and another pet peeve that was avoided: I'm so glad Paul didn't tell the camera that a particular trick will absolutely drive the hotties wild. I hate hearing this line and I keep coming across it. Magic is about the wonder and surprise of the seemingly impossible happening because of you, not about getting floozies to fawn over you. Most cute girls know that many of us who do magic are really geeks. And they may enjoy the performances but they don't immediately get all romantic because we can make them think there's one spongeball in their hands, not the two we really put there. (And has anyone else noticed that fake audiences seem to distract some of the good performers because the reactions are not real? The L&L Tommy Wonder shows he seems to be thrown off sometimes by the overreactions, the Arizona Card Expert seems to have some presentational trouble with the blondes in low blouses, I've got a lot of examples and they get old. I just want to learn magic, not be told that I'm going to get some after-show girlfriends out of it!)

Oops, soapbox. Rant over. Thank you to Paul for not putting in anything like that. I really wish more DVDs were put together like this one because it is exactly what I need in order to learn a good routine without having to sort through the filler, nonsense, and gratuitous low necklines. That makes you more obviously a real pro than anything else I can think of.

Message: Posted by: PaulGreen (Aug 23, 2010 11:07AM)
Thank you Tim and Patrick.

Enjoy the search.


Paul Green
Message: Posted by: Corbett (Sep 2, 2010 03:07PM)
I've had this one for awhile, and agree. Thumbs Up!
Message: Posted by: APC (Sep 3, 2010 01:56PM)
Not much for me to say as you guys have hit the nail on the head. An incredible dvd with real routines that work for spectators. No magician foolers or overly-complicated routines. If you are on the fence, just hop off and buy it. You really wont be disappointed!

Message: Posted by: PaulGreen (Sep 4, 2010 07:35PM)
Thank you Corbett and Adam,

This DVD was released with my "real world" repertoire. l wanted everyone to see that being a magical entertainer is very possible. I am flattered and honored by all of the positive comments.

Enjoy the search.


Paul Green
Message: Posted by: Andi Peters (Sep 19, 2010 04:31AM)
This DVD is one of the best out there for workers.

For me it's the benchmark against which I judge other walk-a-round based DVDs.

Well done Paul Green. Others must be 'green' with envy.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Sep 19, 2010 01:45PM)
Since it came out I have been stating In The Trenches is one of the best DVDs ever released and I still stand on that. It is working material not just a DVD full of tricks put out to put something out.
Message: Posted by: PaulGreen (Sep 20, 2010 08:52PM)
Thanks to Andi and Leonard!

I have always tried to give great value to any of my releases. They all come out of my performing repertiore. I am continually pleased that people find my stuff valuable.

Enjoy the search.


Paul Green

PS See you all soon at Metro Magic in New Jersey--Early October!!!!
Message: Posted by: Paul (Oct 6, 2010 02:22PM)
Nice to finally meet, see lecture and perform, and have a good chat with Paul at Metro Magic. Needless to say, I finally picked up a copy of the In The Trenches DVD and Paul's notes.

His card in mini wallet routine (from the lecture) was used in my restaurant repertoire a couple of times last night (even though I have a routine of my own with that wallet, Paul's is better suited to those conditions).

Cannot really add to Vlad's review, but I know at some point in the future I'll be experimenting with "Mission Impossible" myself and no doubt other material from the DVD. Paul learned from some of the best, and it shows.

Message: Posted by: SinMan (Oct 25, 2010 08:35PM)
Classic DVD well worth the money
Message: Posted by: markmiller (Oct 25, 2010 09:11PM)
I also found the Geen dvd valuable.
Message: Posted by: PaulGreen (Oct 26, 2010 08:09AM)
Thanks SinMan and Mark Miller!

I just finished a week at the Magic Castle using much of the material from In the Trenches!

Enjoy the search!
Message: Posted by: Zombie Magic (Jun 27, 2012 04:49PM)
They LOVED this dvd on WPR.

Message: Posted by: magicHart (Aug 17, 2012 12:01AM)
What a wonderful array of material on one single DVD.
Paul has a calming performing style which all of us should emulate.
Jeopard is a classic and a must have in your card routine.
Message: Posted by: Zombie Magic (Nov 24, 2013 12:50PM)
Penguin's COOL BOX: Paul Green's IN THE TRENCHES dvd, which is one of the BEST ever....only $4.95


Steve Brooks gave a review:


Message: Posted by: phillipsart (Dec 14, 2013 04:02PM)
I picked this up a couple weeks ago in the Cool Box. It arrived a week ago, Put DVD in Player and was somewhat disapointed with the recording quality, looks so terrible on my large screen TV that I removed the disk, placed in drawer and never touched it since, but after reading all the great reviews and comments here, I must drag it out of the drawer and watch the DVD. But what's with the poor quality recording? I almost could not make out what he was holding in his hands. It's jerky, very grainy and pixalated. What are your discs like? I must have recieved a bad copy, it's the worst I've ever seen.
Message: Posted by: phillipsart (Dec 18, 2013 11:29PM)
My DVD issue I had was rectified swiftly.

Paul Green himself recently contacted me in regards to the quality of my DVD. I spoken to Penguin Magic and they sent me a link to download the DVD Footage. There appears to have something wrong with my DVD recording because the Downloaded file appears to be clearer.

Thanks goes out to Paul and Penguin Magic for swiftly rectifying this issue for me. Your the best. I'm now looking forward to learning the tricks.
Message: Posted by: AlexanderG (May 15, 2014 03:47PM)
Vlad, your review had me laughing out loud (not what a lot of MC posts do). Thank you so much for it. I'm heading off to buy Mr. Green's DVD right now. (Still chuckling about the Sybil cuts...)
Message: Posted by: Leo H (Nov 26, 2014 11:59AM)
I recently picked up a copy of In the Trenches from Paul and a dice effect he was selling. He was very nice over the phone. Thumbs up for Paul Green!