Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

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Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 8th, 2009, 8:36 pm

Has anyone watched all the DVDs in True Astonishment yet and played with the items?
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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby The Magic Apple » February 9th, 2009, 12:15 am

I watched discs 2, 3 and 4 -so far

the growing Ace is VERY clever and I have never seen it before
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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby David D. C. » February 9th, 2009, 1:11 pm

Just got mine. It's exhausting to watch all of those DVD's, but almost there.

Just getting through the DVD's is my first challenge, and looking through the props; I DO assume one will eventually create "refills" for props that will eventually be worn out.

I'm also comparing the DVD presentations to some of their Art of Astonishment book counterparts: sometimes seeing a visual performance of a trick allows the written explanation to be so much more understandable as to what the effect even is.

And then finding those Easter Eggs.

It's a lot to take in and will take time to digest all the "strange" that the set is; despite its "high" price, it seems about right for everything that is included ESPECIALLY that wonderful puzzle box: It looks great on display in my personal magic library, next to the other odd magic paraphernalia left on display to get into that "magic zone" of thinking.

I'm personally impressed with how the tricks are taught off the DVD too; I haven't seen a lot of the new DVD's out there, but the production value is more than I expected from a "magic DVD". It feels polished, which I feel nervous getting used to, considering the vast amount of good tricks on DVD/videotape/Betamax/8mm film that isn't so polished.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 9th, 2009, 2:16 pm

What do you think about the explanation segments that have no spoken instructions, only titles on the screen?
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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Ian Kendall » February 9th, 2009, 3:39 pm

I've not seen the TA DVDs, but I've seen other media that use only text on the screen. I'll get some flak for this, but I've usually associated it with an inability to teach, or a cop out for people who are uncomfortable teaching through spoken word.

Having said that, a lot of the time it seems to be for an artistic reason.

Take care, Ian

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby David D. C. » February 9th, 2009, 6:47 pm

Ian, I think magic DVD instruction can degrade into a flashy presentation very quickly as well, just for the sake of flashiness instead of solid teaching. I think TA avoided this new but not-uncommon mistake.

I personally like the no spoken instructions (this coming from someone who likes to read books). Too often in a verbal explanation of trick, it breaks the rhythm of the trick, leaving only the performance (or L&L's "superpractice") to get a feel for it (and taking valuable learning time to boot), so I feel the editing is more than an artistic decision, but a valid way of teaching a trick in a shorter span of time, even if the person that is "teaching" the trick is not best teacher when verbalizing, a critical flaw in some magic training videos.

The result feels more collaborative which in a project like this should be evident. This method also goes hand in hand with the type of experience I expect from Paul Harris' style of magic.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 9th, 2009, 7:44 pm

I've never experienced this before, and my initial reaction was "why?" Is there something wrong with articulate speech in an explanation? However, as I watched, it seemed to do the job nicely, quickly, and clearly.
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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Jeff Haas » February 9th, 2009, 8:22 pm

It worked on Homer Liwag's "Coin One."

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Pete McCabe » February 9th, 2009, 11:06 pm

I've seen a lot of videos in which the explanation was not written out in advance and not rehearsed, and was only weakly effective as a learning tool. One thing about titles on the screen, it forces you to at least write down what you're going to say. This can't be bad from an educational perspective. It is also much easier to do successive drafts of a titles-based explanation, show them to other people, get feedback on how well they work, revise, etc. This is a crucial part of the creative process.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 10th, 2009, 12:29 am

It also allows you to market the DVDs in other countries by overlaying the text in other languages in.
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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Ian Kendall » February 10th, 2009, 3:20 am

All good points. Pete is especially accurate - I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of the 'teachers' on magic videos have never heard of a lesson plan, much less written any out for their products.

I have discussd the 'foreign market' situation with a few European magicians over the years about my plans to redo my CDs in French and Spanish so I can increase sales in those countries. The unanimous answer was 'don't bother'. Europeans tend to be much better at languages than us anyway, and they are used to buying English language videos.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Y\'s-guy » February 12th, 2009, 10:43 pm

To change the subject :
Anyone notice hidden 43rd secret file - Paul Harris Final Interview??
They hide this file really cleverly,so it takes something complicated process for finding. But I think this is one of great 15 mins. interview I've ever heard.

Y

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 12th, 2009, 10:58 pm

Okay, Y's-guy, give me a clue where it is. :)
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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Scott M. » February 13th, 2009, 1:11 am

Don't click on this link if you still want the fun of finding them. This thread on the Theory 11 forums gives you the locations of all the Easter eggs, including the difficult last one.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Scott M. » February 13th, 2009, 1:15 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:What do you think about the explanation segments that have no spoken instructions, only titles on the screen?


I like the teaching. I think the combo of the simple, speech-less, text-on-screen approach and then the Phootnotes in which Paul offers other thoughts is the best of both worlds. And I like the performances that cut between different audiences and then the simple, to-the-camera presentations that follow many of the performance sections.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby the Larry » February 13th, 2009, 9:08 am

Are you guys saying that this is a set of DVDs without verbal explanation and no accompanying book? And that supposedly is a good teaching tool? It might be an artsy thing to do, but it ain't a good teaching tool.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Joe Pecore » February 13th, 2009, 9:54 am

Not every effect on the DVD is done this way. Plus, most of the effects are so ingeniously simple, this method of teaching works just fine for me.

Another benefit of this method is that you can pause the DVD, allowing you to practice while the instructions are still up on the screen. This saves you from having to rewind, play, rewind, play, rewind, play....
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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Pete McCabe » February 13th, 2009, 10:13 am

the Larry wrote:Are you guys saying that this is a set of DVDs without verbal explanation and no accompanying book? And that supposedly is a good teaching tool? It might be an artsy thing to do, but it ain't a good teaching tool.


Are you saying that without actually seeing the DVDs you are able to judge the quality of the teaching?

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Bill Evans » February 13th, 2009, 10:15 am

Scott M. wrote: Don't click on this link if you still want the fun of finding them. This thread on the Theory 11 forums gives you the locations of all the Easter eggs, including the difficult last one.


Thanks so much for this link Scott. I don't have the time or desire to experience the "fun" of trying to find all this stuff.

BTW, I think there is a treasure trove of great magic and ideas in this set. For example, Wayne's version of Open Travelers without using the aces is brilliant. Changing the effect from aces traveling to indifferent cards traveling takes all the contrived actions out of the effect since you don't have to show that the card that traveled was an ace. The effect becomes very streamlined and direct.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Scott M. » February 13th, 2009, 10:30 am

the Larry wrote:Are you guys saying that this is a set of DVDs without verbal explanation and no accompanying book? And that supposedly is a good teaching tool? It might be an artsy thing to do, but it ain't a good teaching tool.


No, I'm saying that the combination of the performances (sometimes multiple ones, or sections of ones), for each trick combined with the simple explanations and then commentary by Paul on the origins and subtleties of each trick combines to make a good teaching tool.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Bill Duncan » February 13th, 2009, 11:10 pm

Bill Evans wrote:...Open Travelers without using the aces is brilliant. Changing the effect from aces traveling to indifferent cards traveling takes all the contrived actions out of the effect since you don't have to show that the card that traveled was an ace. The effect becomes very streamlined and direct.


Doesn't it also cease to be Open Travelers? How is it an ace assembly if you don't use the aces? It sounds like cards across...

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby flynn » February 14th, 2009, 12:45 am

I never liked the changing of the method for the the last ace that travels. I use different methods for each of the three aces that joins the AS. The first method I stick with the invisible palm. The next ace I use a transpo effect. And for the final ace I use many different vanishes depending on which vanish I feel like doing.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby rage » February 14th, 2009, 2:57 am

I will never buy this set of DVD's. I haven't bought a DVD...well, I guess I should say I haven't bought a magic VHS tape in a very long time.

So, for those who have the AOA series, why should they buy this DVD set?
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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 14th, 2009, 3:44 am

Give me another week (or less) and I will try to give you an in depth answer to that question.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Scott M. » February 14th, 2009, 11:11 am

rage wrote:I will never buy this set of DVD's. I haven't bought a DVD...well, I guess I should say I haven't bought a magic VHS tape in a very long time.

So, for those who have the AOA series, why should they buy this DVD set?


Well, if you'll never buy them, and you haven't bought a magic instructional video since the days of the VHS, I'm not sure what you want us to say. These are not for you.

As for the disks versus the books, there are different effects here and they are two different mediums. As for me in general, I prefer books, although videos are good to see things in action, study performance styles, blah blah blah. I will say that, for the most part, the "improvements" on the AOA effects are not the strongest material here. I found the changes to the Vanishing Deck, Impromptu Screwed Deck and Color Stunner, for example, to be pretty slight. (Color Stunner has been reworked plot wise, but it winds up being pretty similar to many other tricks out there.) Las Vegas Leaper reworked has a nice new ending, but the trick itself has never been a favorite of mine. Backlash has been reworked so that it's pretty different; people seem split on it over at the Cafe, and it's one that, just seeing it on the DVD I'm unsure about but will try out. Invisible Palm is Wayne Houchin's performance of Mondo Nifty Invisible Palm. I haven't compared it carefully to the book, but I think it's pretty much the same. I also wasn't wild about the changes to the Solid Deck (basically, instead of the full deck getting stuck, half the deck gets stuck and then unstuck), although there is an interesting little touch to it that could be used in other effects.

On the plus side, Tensegrity is something I completely overlooked in the books, and it looks really cool to see it performed here. Patrick Snowden's instructional on it on the DVD is over 30 minutes long and extends the ideas in the book. New Leaf is great -- completely different from Leaf in the AOA books and super clever. Seductive Switch 2 is not so different from the version in the AOA books, but I had overlooked it there and the performance here got me wanting to try it. There's a variation on Reset here that was previously published in Magic and that ends with a final transformation of the first packet from Jacks to Aces. And, to continue just referencing the AOA material, if you don't have the Stars of Magic tapes (like I don't), the Easter eggs on these disks are great to have. There are a number of effects from those tapes, and then there are also things like a new 20-minute instructional on Osmosis (which I struggled with on the printed page), a new 20-minute instructional on Orange, Fizzmaster performed on stage by Wayne Houchin, and more. One more thing: I really liked Bro Gilbert's performing style. It's very natural, unaffected and he very casually and easily connects with his specs. Since I was spending so much time watching the DVDs my wife asked if she could see one of the effects. I showed her one of the performances, and she instantly made a point of saying how much she liked him.
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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 14th, 2009, 4:24 pm

These are really great discs, in a great set put together with a great deal of thought and care. The amount of work put into most DVDs isn't a fly speck on the thought and effort that has gone into True Astonishments. And it's carried through with the packaging in the form of the wonderful locking wooden box. The lack of verbal instruction in many of the explanations doesn't bother me as I thought it would. In fact, it's interestingly lucid just to see simple instructional text.
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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Bill Evans » February 16th, 2009, 10:37 am

Doesn't it also cease to be Open Travelers? How is it an ace assembly if you don't use the aces? It sounds like cards across... [/quote]

Yes, that's exactly what it is. However, it's a very visual cards across using the Invisible Palm storyline. No it doesn't substitute for Open Travler Aces. I have been doing that effect since it first appeared in Alton Sharpe's book and I'm not likely to change as it is part of three phase ace routine that I use, but I thought the concept of the cards across using the IP approach was excellent.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Scott M. » February 17th, 2009, 2:34 am

Just to add to what I wrote above, which in reading back reads too much like the kind of quick reactions to a laundry list of effects that seems to constitute an online review these days, I'll echo what Richard said. This set is pretty great, but it's not because this or that individual effect is a knock-out (although there certainly are some knock-outs here). It's more because when it comes to TA, the whole is truly more than the sum of the parts. The combination of the presentation, the performances, the instruction and all the various interview segments combines to make a subtle but passionate argument for Paul's particular brand of close-up presentation. There's a lot on here to get you thinking about what you do, why you do it, and whether or not you should do and think about it differently. And, unlike too many magic DVDs these days, which seem to be generically produced, TA is embued with the personality of its creator. You feel like you've spent time with the man after watching it.

And, one more thing -- re "Invisible Palm," Houchin's explanation is a solid twenty minutes of careful teaching.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Robert McDaniel » February 17th, 2009, 11:36 am

I've been a PH fan since the late 70's, so I'm not exactly impartial. But, I think the production, design, music, non-verbal explanations, and interviews are all first rate. It took me two weeks to watch everything including all the easter eggs, and I felt as if I was on a long, magical journey.

I've been involved in magic for nearly 50 years, yet I think watching this wonderful project has changed the way I view magic and the way I will perform it in the future.

Robert

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Travis » February 24th, 2009, 8:46 am

It should be noted that the idea of using indifferent cards for the Open Travelers effect is not Wayne Houchin's. This is how it was explained and taught in AoA, and I've been performing it that way ever since.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby ethan1960 » February 24th, 2009, 11:15 am

I've been working my way through the disks and just saw Dunn's Deal. Although there is no credit noted, the effect, apart from the presentation, is almost identical to lorayne's out of this universe.

am i wrong?

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 24th, 2009, 4:45 pm

I will have to check that tonight (I'm not where my library is at the moment).

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 24th, 2009, 4:49 pm

For those who may not have noticed, there is an in depth review of these discs HERE.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 25th, 2009, 2:10 am

ethan1960 wrote:I've been working my way through the disks and just saw Dunn's Deal. Although there is no credit noted, the effect, apart from the presentation, is almost identical to lorayne's out of this universe.

am i wrong?

ethan


I have to admit that it had been a while since I had revisited this trick of Harry's so when you posed the question I wasn't sure.

As soon as I started reading it tonight I knew that you were mistaken; sort of.

The mixing procedure is different as is the layout at the end.

It is the same in that some cards in the middle are mixed, but the way Harry handles this in performance is different (and I think better). The way HL does it, it turns the mixed cards into an effect of its own. The premise in the Dunn edition is that "negative thoughts" prevented the experiment from working at that point.

Because of the way the cards end up before the ending, one could end the Dunn version the way the Lorayne version ends. So from that point on they are the same. But one could say that about a lot of versions of OOTW.

Dustin

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby ethan1960 » February 25th, 2009, 11:30 am

Dustin,

The reason i believe that it's the same is not the effect per se, but the idea that if you start with a deck separated reds and blacks, then deal them randomly into two piles, then riffle shuffle those piles back into each other, the deck will remain mostly separated into reds and backs. This is what i believe is the inventive part of OOTU.

One other thing about Dunn's Deal is I'm not quite sure what the effect is. You have the astonishee(?) attempt to separate the cards into reds and blacks. Then you have them shuffle them back together. In the layman's eyes, this would destroy any order they may have created in their dealing. But then you tell them that they were able to separate reds and blacks with their deal, except for the part where they thought negative thoughts. I would think that this would confuse the spectator as to what happened.

In OOTU the final separation into reds and blacks is presented as an amazing coincidence, not really having anything to do with the red and black dealing.

All that said, I have had no experience performing Dunn's Deal so I could be toatlly wrong about its effect on spectators.

Ethan

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby David Britland » February 25th, 2009, 2:41 pm

Hi Ethan/Dustin

The same riffle shuffle stack idea was used by George Pierce in his marketed effect, Flying Saucers. Here too the spectator riffles shuffles packets together which are stacked to produce a red/black separation at the finale. Here is a description of the effect as given in the instructions:

'A borrowed deck is legitimately riffled shuffled by the magician. A spectator is then handed the deck and asked to deal the cards haphazardly into two piles, face down. He is now asked to riffle shuffle the two piles together.

'When the spectator is finished mixing, the cards are given back to the magician who divides them into three piles. To show the spectator he has mixed the deck well, the centre pile is displayed. Two cards are chosen from this pile (a red and a black) to be used as flying saucers.

'The flying saucers are passed over the two other piles and then set to rest, one on each pile. On turning up these piles, it is discovered that as the saucers passed, all cards of like color passed with them. So one pile contains all the red cards and the other, all black'

The 'borrowed deck' is a bit of dealer hyperbole. It is stacked red black as usual. And the two riffle shuffles are not enough to prevent the finale happening.

This effect was marketed in 1952 by Max Holden but it didn't seem to catch on. Maybe the idea of flying saucers being responsible for separating red cards from black cards was one step too far!

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 25th, 2009, 3:30 pm

Thanks Mr. Britland, this is terrific stuff! That must be among the first variations on Currys OOTW marketed. (For those who do not know, OOTW was originally released in the early 1940s and then published in Currys book Magicians Magic in 1965.)

What year was the Roswell (sp?) alien spacecraft thing (Area 51)? Maybe Pierce and Holden were hoping to capitalize on that?

Thanks again!
Dustin

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Scott M. » February 25th, 2009, 4:08 pm

ethan1960 wrote:Dustin,

One other thing about Dunn's Deal is I'm not quite sure what the effect is. You have the astonishee(?) attempt to separate the cards into reds and blacks. Then you have them shuffle them back together. In the layman's eyes, this would destroy any order they may have created in their dealing. But then you tell them that they were able to separate reds and blacks with their deal, except for the part where they thought negative thoughts. I would think that this would confuse the spectator as to what happened.

Ethan


I agree with you. I was confused by this as well. The weird thing about "Dunn's Deal" is that the spectator's intentions during the dealing procedure are emphasized by the presentation of the trick, and these intentions are used to justify the mixed-up cards in the middle of the final deal. But then, as you say, when you really think about it, those intentions of the spectator are erased by the subsequent shuffle.

This trick was a disappointment for me on the set. I'll stick to Lorayne's impromptu OOTW.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby David Britland » February 25th, 2009, 9:10 pm

Hi Dustin

Roswell was 1947 and the years that followed saw lots of newspaper reports about flying saucers. In fact the summer of 1952, which seems to be around the time of the release of George Pierce's The Flying Saucers manuscript, saw some spectacular saucer sightings in Washington and, apparently, Harry S Truman's admission that saucer sightings were real. So, yes, very likely that George Pierce was capitalising on a hot topic of the day.

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Re: Anyone Get their Set of True Astonishments Yet?

Postby Beyond Control » February 28th, 2009, 9:31 pm

David, what do you think of Charlie Frye's Ripped and Fryed based on your effect (if you have the TA set)?


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