new Jim Lewis video, Sander's Visi-Bill

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Postby Tim Trono » 03/26/02 01:02 AM

I just watched a new video by Jim Lewis today called "Doctor Sack's Amazing Dice Trick" and it was fabulous! It will be shipped out sometime this week from the duplicator according to Jim. Jim produced it with the help of Randy Wakeman and together they did a GREAT job. Jim's handling for this classic effect is THE best I've ever seen period. Nothing comes close in my opinion. On the video Jim performs it at the Magic Castle and then goes into great detail teaching this from front and from behind phase by phase. Jim really understands the fine points and how to teach them. I know this sounds strong but if I had purchased this video I'd consider it to be one of the best buys I'd made in the last year. The routine is so clear and magical, the teaching superb, etc. This is definitely a routine I'll add to my repertoire. Keep your eye out for this tape. It's a must have. Strongly recommended.

Also check out Richard Sander's new video "Visi-Bill". This is Rich's great bill change handling... it looks like trick photography! Rich does a superb job explaining the handling and then goes on to teach a variation, several routines using this, and includes his double bill change as a bonus. Rich had sent me an AVI file prior to releasing the video and I could not believe how visual this is. There are no gimmicks other than the TT (I've been working on it without that and using Jarle Leirpoll's turn over move from his book and video). Strongly recommended.

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Postby Matthew Field » 03/26/02 07:33 AM

Tim -- I consider you a friend and I respect your opinions and recommendations. But do you have any vested interest in these videos?

Of course, even if you do, I'm sure they're good. Jim Lewis and Richard Sanders are two excellent magicians.

But you are occasionally involved in marketing, and we should know the playing field we're on.

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Postby Tim Trono » 03/26/02 09:30 AM

Fair question, Matt. Murphys Magic Supplies (I am the Project Manager for new projects we create for Murphys) is the wholesale distributor of these two videos BUT only because I think they are so exceptional as I mentioned in my post. Mark Murphy does most of our buying but occasionally I will see something or hear about something that I think is exceptional and stands out significantly. If, and only if, this is the case I talk to Mark Murphy and proceed to make it happen if he is in agreement. Thus we picked up these two items because I think they are so good. I will NEVER say something is good unless I truly believe it. Likewise I will not initiate a project unless I really believe in it. My love for magic comes first this is something that has been an important part of my life for 27 years since I was 10. I did not have anything to do in the filming or production of these videos with a small exception when Richard Sanders showed me his routine I immediately saw how fabulous this was. I strongly suggested to Richard that when making his video he should teach a majority of it from an over the shoulder shot so as the student can best learn it. I want all products in magic, ours and others, to be the best they can be to raise the level in magic. Its not uncommon for myself or other people releasing magic to talk and provide feedback, ideas, etc/ to each other. Thus in this case, I felt I could provide some tips via e-mail to Rich which he did incorporate. Hope that clears things up but again, I want to stress I will never say something is good unless I really believe in it and am excited about it. Not all people may agree I gave a recommendation for a video set that I thought had some really great working pieces but it got panned in a review. I still stand by my comments though. In this case we had nothing to do with it but I just thought it was good. Obviously opinions vary. I have also turned won making comments on numerous projects simply because I did not believe in them. Hope that answers your question.
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Postby Matthew Field » 03/26/02 09:43 AM

Thanks, Tim.

As I said, I consider you a friend, and I respect your opinions. Thanks for the "heads up" on these new videos.

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Postby Guest » 03/26/02 10:02 PM

I didn't get throught the whole thing, but I wasn't too keen on the Roberto Giobbi tape.
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Postby Tim Trono » 03/26/02 10:37 PM

The Giobbi tape was great. Giobbi's attention to detail is a TRUE lesson in magic and this was one of my picks for better videos. The magic is strong and his construction and thinking should be an example to others. Unfortunately a lot of the magic coming out nowadays stops way short on the thinking and attention to detail. This is the difference between "tricks" and "magic" for an audience. It is the difference between a good or OK magician and a great magician. Also, unfortunately often a video like Giobbi's will get overlooked as magicians are looking for novelty to amuse themselves (I say this generally John and not towards you). Novelty is not necessarily strong magic. Magicians often also just look for new "tricks"... though the Giobbi tape contains some great magic, in my mind, what really makes it excel is the lesson in construction and attention to detail in routines. Bringing that into your magic will make you a better magician. That is also one of the strengths of Jim Lewis Jim is a master at attention to detail and construction of routines in the highest level. This is very apparent when watching his new video. OK, off my soap box now...

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Postby Matthew Field » 03/27/02 07:56 AM

Originally posted by Tim Trono:
The Giobbi tape was great. Giobbi's attention to detail is a TRUE lesson in magic



I found the Giobbi tape one of the best videos I've seen in a long time, but I bought it second hand from a magician who didn't like it.

Maybe it's because it containes at least as much "theory" as it does tricks, and the tricks aren't all that revolutionary.

But Giobbi's thinking is!

And the older I get, the more I realize I've got enough tricks for a lifetime. But working those tricks up into effective presentations takes thinking. Then more thinking. Then work.

"Easy to Master"? Don't make me laugh. Easy to do, perhaps, and easy to botch. But Giobbi (and Eugene Burger, Tommy Wonder, John Carney, Peter Samelson, Just Alan, Derren Brown and others) take magic and attempt to make art out of it. And that's not easy, and it doesn't require new tricks.

I love reading about and watching new tricks as much as the next fellow, but I am really searching for something more than that. And Roberto Giobbi's video helped provide it.

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Postby Larry Horowitz » 03/27/02 02:03 PM

Let me put in my two cents worth. Jim Lewis has taught me his version of the Sach's dice routine. It is GREAT!! Jim is a friend of mine and over the past year he has worked on the routine with me and given me quite a bit of the nuances. If the tape, which I have not seen, passes on this information, then it is an absolute must have.

This is my “never leave the house without trick.” It packs small and plays big, to either a small or large audience. Since learning the effect from Jim, I have seen others perform the dice routine and there is no question in my mind that Jim's version is the best.

Jim is my friend and this is unsolicited testimony. I recommend buying the tape and learning the routine. Just don't perform it. I enjoy being one of the few that does.
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Postby Guest » 03/28/02 03:37 PM

Matt, I'm very keen on all of the things you mention insofar as thinking and theory goes, still, I didn't care for the tape. And like most sensible magi, I love Card College, and particulary its theorestical points! Anyhoo, as far as the Jim Lewis dice tape, I never had the pleasure to meet him, but I have always loved the Sack routine, and Jim Lewis being a great magician, I'm sure the tape is worthwhile. Only trouble is, now, everyone will be doing it! Larry, I share your enthusiasm for the routine. However, when you say "plays big", I'm a bit confused. How many people? I always thought of it, as a true close up effect.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 03/28/02 07:07 PM

John,
In answer to your question as to the dice routine playing to a large audience. I certainly don't mean to an auditorium, but it can be done for a larger close up audieance, 20-30 people.

I should point out that Jim had me go and get custom dice made. These are of a very bone white nature with crisp black dots, they can be seen much easier then your normal monoply set dice. Also in the routine as taught by Jim, you are telling the people what they are seeing.
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Postby Matthew Field » 03/29/02 08:02 AM

Regarding the Sack routine for large audiences, I saw the late Melvin Burkhart entertain 150 people with this using custom 2-inch dice! This was at the wedding of Todd and Krista Robbins.

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Postby Guest » 03/29/02 09:35 PM

Melvin Burkhart could entertain 150 people for half an hour with a dead rat! :D Asrah
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Postby Tim Trono » 03/29/02 10:36 PM

Matt, thanks for mentioning Melvin Burkhart (Block Head). He is/was, as far as I am aware, the first person to use large dice for the Sack's Dice Routine though this is rarely mentioned. I unfortunately never saw him do his routine while he was alive but heard it is pretty short compared to a lot of the variations.

When Larry mentions that Jim Lewis' routine plays big I'd have to agree. As mentioned above, Jim uses a specially designed die (though any dice can be used) to accentuate the visibility (he gives a source for these at the end of his video and I picked some up VERY well made). In addition, Jim knows better than most magicians at how to make an effect CLEAR. One of the problems with some versions I've seen of the Sack's Dice Routine is that it becomes "well he did some cool STUFF with some dice" but people don't know what. By making the effect crystal clear Jim does make it play large. I don't think it's for a platform audience but imagine it will go for a group.

Was wondering what people thought about the Vernon ending (with the small and large dice)? I like it but don't plan on including it. To me it is like a jumbo coin in that people forget about the magic due to the shock factor of the weird prop.

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