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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. King of the billets disk one review (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Sir T
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Here is my review of disk one;

King of Billets:
Practitioner of many Master of None
Disk One:

Introduction: A short intro about what you can expect on these DVDs

Preparation : For those that have the Anneman DVDs, I think you will agree, Stuart spends more time on that set explaining, just how to find the proper length for the billet. The information is there, on the KOB DVD, just on the Anneman you had a Visual. Considering the amount of importance Stuart places on getting the proper length, I preferred the explanation from his first DVDs.

Stuart does give a lot of close ups, so you can see exactly, how the billets are folded, how they fit and look when held. The reasons he gives for the type of paper he uses, is sound, solid information.

Palming the billet is giving a passing mention, for something that so much importance is placed. Again, I feel it was better covered in the Anneman DVD


The Switch: My only complaint is, I wish he would have used contrasting paper, so one could better see, what is taking place. This is a minor complaint, as Stuart really spends a lot of time on how to perform the Switch, giving you top, side, and back angals.

Overall the information is presented in a clear manner, with little fan fare and anyone who spends a bit of time with the switch.


Timing and misdirection: A rather detailed monolog on timing and misdirection, not very long, but the advice is good, as I have habit of doing one of the points he makes, so I have to work hard, not to look at my hands. Mostly vary practical and useful advice many of us SHOULD know, but seem to forget.

Reading the slip: The instructions are clear, the tips are nice and very helpful. I would have like to see a cut away of a live performance, to show some of the examples he talks about, but Stuart says, you will see them on the other disks. Fair enough, I am nit picking on this point.

Problem and solutions: Covers basic problems that one may run into, such as dry hands, dropping the billets, cant read what is written, what if the billet is folded wrong. Good information, not really covered in other areas.

Creating mystery and cold reading: Offers sound advice for expanding on the question, that is asked and offering tips on making your presentation more polished.


Theory: More on the debate of ethics of mentalism. I have to go with John Riggs on the Ethic issue. Just something for each person to think about.




Other Techniquies and the hybrid: Offers a list of other people products, which are usable with billets and most mentalist will have them or know of them. Stuart also offers his own version of a Center Tear, which I like a lot and works well with the billet work given on this disk.

Over all, I am well pleased with the disk 1 and the information given. I am not a billet man, but I agree with Stuart, that one should master one switch and use it. It is my view that practitioner of many master of none! I have learned a lot in a short period of time with the Anneman act and so far King of the Billets. Lots of good information, clear instructions, very clean ( a few blurs, when going to close up), no frills, no fluff.

His Center tear is nice, not always the best one to use, but one I will use as oppose to a few I know, that I do not use, so good value on that point.

Disk one: on a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a solid 4. I would have given it a five, but again I felt he covered the billets better on his other work.
El Mystico
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My review after watching three of the four; disappointment.
Most of the techniques and routines are taught on the Osterlind DVDs.
Cumberland, for my money, doesn't add anything significant to what Osterlind has already explained.
Cumberland's editing is weak; he is working with one camera. When he explains a technique we have to sit through an explanation where you can't see a thing, because the shot is too wide, then he repeats it in close up. The first explanations should have been edited out.
The live street performances are weak for two reasons. First - as he admits, the filming is not great. There is only one camera, and the filming is poorly miked, so you can not hear what the spectators are saying. He contrasts this with the over-egged responses you get on L&L, and that he's rather give a realistic picture; but the reality is, it looks like he has just done this on the cheap for a fast buck. If he really wanted us to understand the dynamics of the effects he would have thrown away this film and started again.
The second reason the live performances are weak is because of the audience reaction. My god! If I got reactions like this when I did magic, I'd throw it all away and take up accountancy! He talks about getting jaw dropping reactions, but the reality is, he scarcely holds attention.
He ends up having to rely on doing the stuff on a friend of his, which I find very telling.

In short; for both technique and presentation, I'd recommend Osterlind.
Phil C
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Wow, I appreciate the honest review.
I always had second thoughts of this DVD.
I heard the production values are not that high.
But I heard great reviews of the Annemann Act DVDs.
At this price, if the material is not outstanding, I might just stay with the Osterlind DVDs that I have.
Sir T
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I am not prepared to say, I am disappointed with these DVD's. As someone with my share of busking under my belt, I was surprised that Cumberland,would use a street venue to perform mentalism/mindreading effects. The effects shown are worth doing, but not in the manner in which he perfromed them. It is my belief, he elected those venues because, people wanted to see those kinds of enviorments. I would never had selected those venues for those effects and routines. I however will use them in close up venues, such as PSI house parties.

I think everyone walked into these DVD's knowing he was going to have production issues because, he tells you that up front. The material is good and usable, is this DVD set the be all end all on billets?? No, I do not believe so. Did I learn a lot from these dvd's? Yes, I learned a lot and was able to improve on my skills--which were pretty weak to begin with.

Cost of the DVD 170.00 Cost of being able to perform with skill and a lot more confidance=priceless.

I think he spent more quality time on the Anneman tapes, as noted in my first posting. It is my honest opinion, the material on his Billet DVD's is good.the Performances has little real vaule, as in some cases you cann't even hear,what is going on. The Vaule for me, is the material as it relations, to the actually handling of the billets, the misdirection and the reading, which is all covered very well. The effects are covered in detail, it is up to me to come up with the patter.

Over all a good investment.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. King of the billets disk one review (0 Likes)
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