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Topic: Review: Pocket Pal by Reese Goodley
Message: Posted by: adrianrbf (Mar 21, 2019 07:10PM)
After some discussion about "but what IS it?" in the "Latest and Greatest" forum, it's high time to write a review on Reese Goodley's "pocket pal". The video download can be found here:

What do you get?

You get a PDF with links to 29 videos on a well-known plattform. All videos can be downloaded. The shortest video (the intro) is 00:01:40, the longest is 00:11:05. On the whole, it is more than 2 hours of video.

What is Pocket Pal?

Pocket Pal is a magical prop made of an everyday object that can be easily bought at a cheap price and gaffed by onseself. It allows to force small bits of information (like numbers). It is not suitable to force long items (like movie titles). It also allows to peek information wrtitten down by a spectator. Making a pocket pal from the everyday object is easy, but takes some time.

What do I think of Pocket Pal?

When I watched the video, my first thought was: Gosh, why haven't I thought of this myself? It is easy, it is well-thought, it does not raise suspicions, it does not shout "I am a magic trick". It is easy to handle and can be used for strong effects.

There are, however, quite some CONs in my opinion:

The video collection is a little confusing. You get the presentation of the effect and the explanation, sometimes several videos of explanation, but you do not get a "this is how you make and set up pocket pal" video. Rather, you get a "for this effect, you prepare pocket pal the following way" and "for that effect, you prepare pocket pal like this". Quite honestly, I am still not sure whether they think one should take ONE of the everyday objects and make one single pocket pal for all the effects, or if it is meant that one should take several of these objects and make a seperate pocket pal for every effect.

Then, there is the problem that some excellent magicians are not very good at teaching. More than once, they do not give the straightforward explanation of the trick, but embark on a rather incoherent rant about other versions of a similar effect. One of the explanation videos talks for quite some time on the question whether there is a difference between "performing for spectators" and "performing for a camera - which is an interesting question, but not the topic of an "Effect XY explanation" video. "Sure, at some point they will explain the routine that is performed on the videos, but this explanation is difficult to find.

The handling of the pocket pal is well explained, but I see some downsides. There are videos discussing troubleshooting, but I miss some thoughts on possible problems that I find pretty obvious, but are not addressed in the videos. For instance, in one of the performed routines, pocket pal is given to and handled by a spectator (which ist OK), but it rests in the hand of the spectator for quite some time, while the magician speaks with another spectator. In the video performance, the first spectator only sits there rather bored, without a second glance at pocket pal.

Some of the effects, like the ACAAN, are strong, while I find others, like the PIN divination, rather weak. However, since pocket pal is a versatile tool, you can easily come up with your own ideas and design your own routines.

Thus, a so-so review: Pocket Pal itself is a great idea, but the teaching videos do not make me clap.
Message: Posted by: 252life (Apr 18, 2019 09:39PM)
Thx for the review
Message: Posted by: teenagelabotomy42 (Apr 19, 2019 02:07AM)
Didn't love it. Haven't used it. Not for me.
Message: Posted by: Circuit_Breaker (Nov 27, 2019 03:21PM)
I thought this was going to be better than it was. Even a birthday clown who doesn't specialize in magic would know this one. Glad I saw it performed before I bought it.