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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Another review of Greg Wilson "In Action" (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

stannmaple
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If you've read my reviews before (see revolutionary coin magic, easy to master money miracles) you know that they tend to be LONG, but hopefully informative so give yourself some time. I realize there are already reviews on this DVD set and very helpful reviews I might add, but I personally think it never hurts to hear other opinions. If you're still on the fence about this set, I hope this will help.
Let me start by saying how I plan to rate this set. I want to look at each effect and let you know if it can be done impromptu, if it has an instant (or almost instant) reset (for tablehopping) how practical it is, if it can be examined and of course how amazing it is (although I am not a layman anymore, I will do my best to judge it from that perspective) I will also do my best to inform you of other sources you can find an effect so if one or two of the effects on a DVD stand out to you, but not the others, you may be able to find what you're looking for on one of Greg's earlier releases. I realize an effect being impromptu, having an instant reset etc is not important to everyone. To me this is always a big plus so take it for what it is worth to you. With that said, lets begin.

VOLUME 1.

WEIGHTED ACES:
I personally have always enjoyed Doc Daley's last trick, but for some reason I could just never make it work. I've tried Bill Malone's presentation, Ammar's presentation, I've thought up my own presentation... people just were not overall impressed. This presentation works for me. Basically Greg talks about how the Ace of Spades is heavier than the other aces. He places the ace of spades face down into the spectators hand and the clubs clearly below it. The Ace sinks to the bottom. As if this was not amazing enough, he offers to repeat the experiment. This time he makes it more difficult. He says he will make the spades come to the top. He puts the spades on bottom and the clubs on top in their hand and instantly the spades is seen to be on top of the clubs... in his hand! They are now holding the ace of diamonds and hearts! This is a great presentation as I said. Also on a side note, in the explaination, I love how Greg thinks of EVERYTHING. He's even concerned with motivation of a DL. He says "now if I were to hand someone a card, I would do it like this" (and just hand them the card) Then he goes on to show a logical motivation for turning the card over flush with the pack. Something I never considered of, but is worth thinking about. The other nice thing about this effect (and most effect on this DVD) is that Greg does performance for real people followed by performance in the studio followed by explaination in the studio followed by performance by real people. This is the same format he uses for On the Spot and I really enjoy it as you get to see different people's reactions in the real world.

This effect can be done impromptu (when I say impromptu I'm assuming you have a deck of cards on you... there is no setup involved) This has an instant reset and is very practical for most any closeup setting. The effect can be examined and is surprising and amazing. This effect can also be found on "Double Take"
10/10

JUMPING GEMINI:
This is a fairly standard version of jumping gemini with some improvements. This is done however with a "four card monte" theme. The specators need to keep track of the 4 of clubs. Greg shows 4 cards and the 4 of clubs on top. Then he counts it down to the bottom (and show it on the bottom) then back to the top. He clearly put it to the bottom and it comes to the top, he puts it into the middle and it comes back to the top. Then he places it on the ground and it still comes to the top. On on the ground again and it comes to the top. At this point people are getting suspicious and Greg talks about how they would owe him a lot of money if they were really playing the game. Someone actually says "they are all 4s." Then Greg shows them 4 ten of hearts. As a grand finale, he shows they have all turned into 4 different kings.
This is a good presentation. I've never used the effect, but I've heard it has gotten good reactions. It's a lot for a little. A lot of magic using just 4 cards (there really are only 4 cards) It has an almost instant reset, can be done with a very small setup right in front of the spectators and as with the other effect does not require a table... well that is debatable. Greg does it with no table. He uses the ground. It does require a flat surface. This effect plus a little extra travelers plot can be found on "double take" A little editing descrepency here however is after Greg explains this effect he says the best way to end is to go into "the next effect I'm going to teach which is travellers." Unfortunately travellers is actually on volume 3, so if you only got volume one, you may be slightly disappointed.
10/10

PITCH AND DITCH:
This is AMAZING! I almost regret rating those last two effects so high because now I can't go any higher. The fact is, that the last two effects are great effects and there was nothing to deserve a low rating. This effect however is INCREDIBLE!! If you're familiar with the pitch and ditch taught on On the Spot, you may catch what he is doing in the performance especially because of the camera angle, but the cameras did not do this trick justice here. I went to Greg's lecture last week and watched him do this. The misdirection is so strong, it looks like real magic. The move was invisible. The effect is a coin changing into another, but it is so clean and visual. The coin is chosen from a handful of coins by the spectator. Say they pick a nickle. It is simply tossed into the air and it changes in MID AIR into a half dollar, silver dollar, whatever you want. When I saw Greg do this for the first time, I was amazed! Such a visual change. You are left completely clean, this is impromptu assuming you have the coin you want it to change into (you can borrow the other) and it is an absolutely beautiful change! Great for walk-around and I've played with this to use with Dishonest Abe. I do the effect without a magifying glass and if the angles are right, I use Jay Sankey's Pancake Toss to case the penny visually grow the first time. This move is not angle sensitive and leaves you in a completely clean situation as opposed to the pancake toss. Making the penny grow in mid air is so visual. I love it. This has so many applications. It is as perfect of a coin change as you can get. It resets intantly, and you can even do multiple changes if you want. My favorite part is when Greg does this for a group of people on the street and the kid says "I know that trick" in a tone that suggests "nothing new here." Greg actually does the effect AGAIN (at this point I'd be scared to even try) When he catches the coin it has changed into a different coin a second time. The kid says "whoa!! What the heck!!" And the segment finishes with him saying "do it again do it again!" What a great effect Also find it on "Off the Cuff" The pitch and ditch without the coin change can be found on "On the Spot"
I have to give it 11/10

COIN IN WATCH:
Ok. I like this effect. It's strong. There is no question about that, but I just ended up feeling like coin under watch, coin from head, and chip on shoulder were seperated to fill space on this DVD set. These are all taught as one effect "quick silver" on "On the Spot." I realize they ARE seperate effects, but I think quick silver is so much stronger than these effect independenly, because the coin appearing and disappearing is so much less expected. The effect is that a coin vanishes and appears under the magicians watch twice. The third time it appears under the specators watch. It's a good effect, but when he says "you do it" and puts the coin in the spectator's hand and says "it's going to go from your hand to my watch. That just doesn't make sense to me. Why wouldn't it go from the spectator's hand to the spectator's watch? He just saw the magician do it that way 2 times. I personally prefer quick silver because it is SO unexpected. There no conditioning about a watch ever so when it shows up there it is incredible. However, this is a good effect. It requires a small setup and a small reset. It does not leave you completely clean unless you use ditch a coin. It is examinable and is amazing. This can also be found on "Off the Cuff" and a longer routine using the same principal can be found on "On the Spot."
8/10

BAND THRU WRIST:
I honestly had no idea how this effect was done. Maybe it's because I don't know a whole lot about rubber band magic, but then again neither do laymen. I've heard some negative reviews about this, but to me it was amazing! The rubber band is actually encircled all the way around a spectator's wrist and visually penetrates it.
This can be done mostly impromptu (a small set up is needed which can be done in less than a second in front of the spectator) It resets just as quickly. It's 100% examinable, very amazing and practical. You can find rubberbands anywhere. I every much enjoyed this effect.
10/10

FISTFUL OF DOLLARS:
This is probably my favorite effect on the entire set of tapes! I love it! I've always loved the idea of cleanly producing a number of coins and vanishing them one by one. This effect does just that and leaves you completely clean. What happens is Greg simply snaps his fingers and tells the spectator that it's a good way to get someones attention. "Even better if you have money" he says as he snaps his fingers and produces a coin at his finger tips. He explains that every time he snaps he gets a coin. He produces a second and third coin. He goes for a forth, but he got too greedy and now he's down to two. He snaps again, 2 turns into 1 and finally the last one completely disappears with just a snap. This effect uses an incredibly beautiful production that Greg came up with called the "snap production." Even if you don't use this effect, it's great to learn just for this production. It's incredible and visual. It looks as good as it sounds. A coin just visually appears at the finger tips. The effect does use a little something special which most coin guys will have. The snap production itself, however, can be done impromptu without gimmicks. I have even found a way to produce 3 coins without this gimmick and make it look almost as clean as Greg's version. From there I can go into Mr. Clean Coins Across or any 3 coin routine. If you do Fistful of Dollars as it is though, it's very clever, very beautiful and examinable at the end, because you litterally are left with nothing. (so I guess there really isn't anything TO examine) I love the thinking behind making the coins vanish. It's so clever. This cannot be done impromptu as you need a little something extra. There is minimal setup required and resets instantly. I should also mention that none of the effects so far require a table (with the exception of Jumping Gemini which can be done mostly standing, but does require a flat surface for parts of it.) Fistful of Dollars is amazing. This can also be found on the A1 convention video
11/10

BODY PIERCING:
This is a decent effect it's just not incredibly logical. A coin (or poker chip) penetrates the magician's hand. Then has the spectator hold out their hands and says it will penetrate the spectator's hand. He puts the coin on the top of the spectator's hand and his hand cupped below their hand. He pushes it through and says it is now on "the other side" He opens his hand from under their hand and it is not there. He says "no, the other side" They find it on the back of their other hand. Like I said it's not incredibly logical. If you put a coin through the back of a hand why would it come out the back of the other hand? Also, the first part is clever, but doesn't make a lot of sense to me. You see the coin penetrate the magician's hand like a knife, but then when he opens his hand, it's not there. He goes back and pushes again, it now it is in his hand. I didn't know if it was suppose to look like it's going through his hand slowly and it just hasn't arrived or what's suppose to be happening. It was confusing overall and needs some good misdirection and audience management. Not a bad effect though. In one performance the lady actually gasped when she saw it penetrate his hand. This can be done completely impromptu with no extra coins. It is examinable, resets instantly, no table required, but I'd say the amazement factor is far less than many other effects on this DVD. I believe this effect appears for the first time on this set.
6/10

RESET WITH A HOOK:
This is the standard version of reset with a black jack presentation. I shouldn't say it's the "standard version" as it is really Greg's version. It's his handling and he has some nice ideas. Instead of saying the aces "turn into Kings" he says he "switches them" by misdirecting people. My favorite part is when he changes the first one and the spectator said "I saw you switch it" pointing to the pile of Kings. Greg says "you mean you sensed it." She says "NO! I SAW IT!" It's so hilarious because if you know reset you know that there is nothing to see. Oh, the basic plot is starting with four aces and four kings, you put the kings aside and the aces turn into kings one at a time and then back into aces. At the end of Greg's version, he deals them into a black jack hand. Greg makes this look good, but it is not my favorite version of reset. This is completely impromtu (again with a deck of cards) This one does need a table, it has an instant reset (with a name like reset I would hope so) it is very amazing and of course examinable. This first appeared in Card Stunts
9/10

BOX SPRING:
This is where Greg's original thinking in card magic really comes through. The cards are shuffled and clearly put back in the box. Greg talks about how he can find the aces even in a shuffled pack and EVEN when they are IN THE BOX." Each ace visually pentrates the box in a different way each time. I love how visual this effect is. Greg shows two different ways to reveal the last ace. One way looks like the back of the box actually turns into the ace. It's hard to explain, but it's much more visual than I'm making it sound. This is an incredible and entertaining effect. It needs a small setup, but if you think about it, you could work the setup into the presentation without anyone knowing you were setting anything up. It has an instant reset once it's setup. It's examinable. Actually the box is examinable every step of the way. I think Greg even hands it out after each ace goes through the box and let's people look it over. This requires no table and is a great way to start off an ace routine. This can also be found on card stunts.
10/10

CARD TO POCKET:
In this effect a card is stopped at and peaked at while the magician has his head turned away. He gives the deck to the spectator and names her freely selected card. He says that it is the only card not in the deck but in his pocket. He lets her take it out of his pocket. He repeats this rubbing the card on his leg and making it vanish. It is shown to not the in the deck, but back in his pocket. For the last phase he slowly pushes the card into the deck and everyone can see it going it and in an instant the deck vanishes and jumps to his pocket... all except the selected card which is in his hand. Great effect. The only thing I don't like about it is the way Greg gets the deck in his pocket. It may work for him, but without giving too much away, I don't really undersand what he's trying to make it appear like he's doing. I don't know if it would work for me. Great effect though. Very practical. 100% impromptu (with a deck of cards of course) examinable. The card could be signed, instant reset and highly impressive. This can also be found on card stunts.
9/10

THE TELL:
A specator remembers one card in the deck. The magician tells him what the name of the card is. Then another spectator remembers another card and the magician tries to find it, but finds the first persons card. It then turns into the second person's card in their hand. A third person just names a card and the card turns into that freely named card. I didn't care for this effect so much. It's basically just doing card changes. Great for a layperson don't get me wrong, but there just wan't much of a plot to it. It's a fun impromptu thing to do, and it can go on forever, but it just didn't seem like it was fit for "Greg's greatest." It can be done however without a table, impromptu, intstant reset and IS amazing to the spectators. I believe this is the first place this effect was released.
I'd give it 7.5/10

BACKSTAGE PASS:
This is a cool move. I'm so glad he included here. He states that he originally was not going to. This is not a standard pass. It is a way to control a card to the bottom or the top (depending on which way you do it) or you can control a small packet of cards. It looks like you're doing absolutely nothing. It's hard to explain, but when you see him do it you will be amazed. It's very open and can be done surrounded unlike other passes. This is not an effect, so I can't really rate it how I've been rating them, but the move is great! Oh, at the lecture, Greg said he fooled Lennart Green (and many others) with this move. He didn't even realize Greg did anything. (originally on Pyrotechnic pasteboards)
11/10

HUNDY 500 (Peformance only)
If you're not familiar with the effect, Greg turns 5 one dollar bills into 5 100 dollar bills very very visually. This is performance only since this is a seperate marketed item, but it's worth watching the peformances because of the reactions. One lady actually grabs the packet of money right out of Greg's hands!! He even says "I've done that trick about a million times and that has NEVER happened to me!"

On that note, that reminds me of a couple of things I wanted to say about this set. First, this set is worth the money just to see Greg perform for real people that are not there to see magic. You can learn a great deal of audience management and it goes to show you that even the best performers have hecklers and graby spectators and it's not always that you're a "poor performer" or bad with "audience management." Another thing that I notice is that Greg basically uses the same moves over and over and over. It's a smart way to go. You find what works for you and perfect it rather than trying to learn 100 different ways of doing something (maybe one or two can be good for variety) You'll notice Greg relies on moves like the pitch and ditch, and the all around vanish and people are ALWAYS amazed because he's perfected these moves. This set is a good lesson to us as magicians not just for the effects, but for the extra skills and advice that is taught to us by watching Greg at work. Volume 1 was probably my favorite in the set. Overall, I'd say it's worth the money and most of this stuff can be done impromptu. I think you probably get a little more for your money by getting "On the Spot" but on the spot specifically focuses on impromptu magic and is a little more money. Overall I'd give this DVD a 9/1. I do plan to review volume 2 and 3 and I have a lot to say about them, but my hands are tired so I'm going to hold off for now. Thanks for reading
Dann
stannmaple
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Oops. I meant to say I give this DVD a 9 out of 10, not a 9 out of one. I realize I cheated a bit giving scores of 11 out of 10. but I wanted to emphasize how much I enjoyed those effects.
Dann
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Glad you rated band thro' wrist so highly - it's a great opener/prelude to CMH
Fast/Direct and to watch others try and emulate is fun to watch Smile although skipped the explanation as I already know the mendoza move...
catch you later

Clarioneer
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Good job and thanks for the review
Ephes. 2:8-9



For by GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.
Cameron Francis
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Dann,

Just so you you know, I do Card to Pocket (Greg's version) all the time and it kills. That particular move you are talking about it movtivated by turning to the side and saying, "See I misdirect you and when you're not looking, I slip the card into my pocket." The only thing they think you're doing is putting a card into your pocket. Try it. It floors people.

Also, I think Greg is mistaken on the dvd. I learned Card To Pocket from Pyrotechnic Pasteboards. But maybe it's also on Card Stunts.

Great review, by the way. I'm a big fan of this set.
MOMENT'S NOTICE LIVE 3 - Six impromptu card tricks! Out now! http://cameronfrancismagic.com/moments-notice-live-3.html
stannmaple
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Cfrancis,
Thanks for clearing that up. It may have been the microphone Greg was wearing, but it sounded like he said something like "I have a whole deck over here." or something like that. That was why I did not understand the motivation behind it. I'm going to try this one out for sure. I've heard from many many people that this trick gets a huge reaction. Thanks again for reading. I'm building up the strength in my fingers to write a review for Vol. 2. I'll start on it soon I hope.
Dann
Cameron Francis
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Card To Pocket is one of those effcts where if someone says show me a card trick, it's the one I almost always do. I am curious to hear your thoughts on the other dvds. I like all of them but some people don't.
MOMENT'S NOTICE LIVE 3 - Six impromptu card tricks! Out now! http://cameronfrancismagic.com/moments-notice-live-3.html
stannmaple
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I'm writing my review on volume 2 today.
Dann
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Thank You for the nice review... looking forward for the next one.
stannmaple
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I've got a review of #2 up for anyone who has not read it yet. I'm hoping to have #3 done by Thursday, but depending on how much time I have, it may end up being later. It should be good though. For those interested, my review for volume 2 can be found here:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=111
Dann
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Great review dann.

just to clarify, the coin routine 'body piercing' on volume 1 has appeared before on the A-1 convention at the capital 1999 video.
stannmaple
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Oh really? Does Greg have a lot of good stuff on that? Maybe I'll have to check it out. Thanks
Dann
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