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Review of Distorted Visions by Jack Curtis:
Six tricks, three "essays", two hours and thirty-seven bucks . . . is it gem or is it rubble? Stay tuned to find out.
This is a "compilation" DVD of six effects rather than the ever-popular one trick wonder DVD so prevalent these days. Briefly stated, here are the effects:
- Amnesic Transpo - A two card transpo with business cards and a very "mentalism" presentational angle.
- Floral Destiny - Predict a selected playing card and any named flower with a very "mentalism" hook of free-will vs. destiny.
- Extra Subliminal Persuasion - A very clean prediction of a freely selected ESP card (shown in the teaser video).
- Blank 2.0 - A CAAN effect with 2 twists . . . the card at the number named is the only card in the deck. The rest are blank. Plus you predict the number they named.
- Law of Attraction - A mind reading effect combined with a coincidence effect using only a stack of business cards.
- Silver Lining - A con game where the spectator guesses which hand holds which coin. You predict the EXACT outcome.
Every effects is solid, clean, relatively organic, easy to do, requires minimal props, and has a clean, smart and "swallow-able" presentational hook. These are very clean and well thought out mentalism routines. It's clear that Jack Curtis puts a lot of thought and effort into his routine construction.
The methods (as with most good mentalism) are simple using simple props and presentation. There's very little sleight of hand required. The mechanics involved are very easy. The props are very organic: Post-It notes, playing cards, envelopes, sharpie marker, coins, etc. It also uses ESP cards which aren't organic, per se, but they're certainly meaningful and fitting for the modern mentalist.
With these basic items, you can do almost every effect on the DVD. The only exceptions are Blank 2.0 - you'll need a blank face deck, and Silver Lining - you'll need a Cop/Sil coin which most magicians own these days.
There's not a single method on here that isn't easily within the grasp of any level performer when it comes to the "mechanics" of things. As for the psychological aspects, again, very basic and simple. These are the types of routines that rely heavily on scripting and specific wording and presentation. If you stick with the tips and tricks taught by Curtis, you'll be fine.
Ad Copy Integrity
The ad copy integrity is dead on. There's no fluff of hyperbole. It's 100% accurate. Halle-freakin'-lujah! Thank you Mr. Curtis and The1914!
The product quality is very good. It's well lit, well mic'd, well filmed and easy to navigate. Further, the teaching is excellent and thorough. The camera work was excellent, and they always had nice clean still close-ups when needed. Included with the DVD are two bonus PDFs and a small bonus section on the DVD. The PDFs are two brief essays from Curtis's book, Distorted Thoughts.
One essay discusses predictions and how to use them, sell them, explain them and perform them. Though it's only one page long, it brings up some very valuable tips and insights that can add that extra "something" that makes your mentalism more clean and more pure. The other essay - it's four pages long - briefly gives Curtis's opinion regarding approaching tables in strolling gigs. There are some interesting and possibly slightly controversial view-points expressed. You'll likely find value here as well.
All in all, there is nothing really negative to say about the product with one possible exception. This is 6 tricks for $37.25. I often make the comparison to the Ammar Easy to Master series published by L&L, and here I go again. The Ammar series was typically ten effects plus a bonus prop and a very high quality production. So I sometimes have a hard time seeing prices like $37 for only 6 effects.
These are all doable mentalism routines, that use methods you can do. The effects are clean and uncluttered, very portable and easily added to anyone's repertoire. The methods are nothing new, but they're applied in unique ways with simple presentations that bring everything together in a nice clean, easy to follow, effect that just about anyone can easily add to their repertoire.
4.5 Stars with a Stone Status of Gem