What is it?This is Dan’s “go to method for reading secret thoughts”… thoughts that are written down of course… I write down all my thoughts.
In fairness, the trailer explains everything so I can’t complain there.
Here we have Dan Harlan’s turn at releasing a short and cheap Penguin download. There have been a host of people releasing this sort of thing over the past while, some are good, some are bad, very few have been great. Let’s see where this one ranks!
You get proper performances on the download - good to see. Dan’s performance wanders a bit, talking about the third eye, then talking about energy balls, then strangely putting pieces of paper against his head but this is fine, by the second performance I was on board, with a little bit of explanation in your own performances this will be fine. Like any good download it has some very shaky camera work, though I’ll accept that to get some live performances and this has two!
Dan is a very diligent teacher, anyone who has seen any of the Tarbell videos knows that, and he has saved a few Penguin LIVE lectures from being truly dire.
Why this instead of similar products?
It’s pretty free, you just need some card or paper really (and a little time alone), I like that. Everything is justified as Dan says, as long as you follow his type of presentation.
Cheap, self contained, well explained, participant can write anywhere on a card. You can take as long as you want to view, no snatched, one chance peeks. If you have eyesight troubles this could be good for you (provided the participant has written/drawn clearly).
The only (maybe quite big) negative is the fact you need to do certain strange moves. If you buy into the presentation though, this is great. It reminds me of a mini Docc Hilford routine, the All Seeing Eye, billets, holding things to your head, being called the devil… it’s all very Docc.
Does it work?
Yes - it works mechanically but also involves presentation as part of the method. It definitely works, nothing else needed to purchase to perform, except some paper and a pen. If you have certain pens you use in performance, you might need to use certain types of paper, though this would be true for all your routines.
Angle issues, nothing above any similar routine really. For some reason people want to perform twice for the same crowd, Dan has some tips on doing that, not sure why you would want to, but you sort of can with this.
How adaptable is it?
It does rely on some awkward moves sadly, which can be seen when Dan greets his spectators/participants by shaking their hand with his left finger tips, very strange looking. Apparently the pen and paper in his hand is immovable.
I think an experienced performer could streamline the process involved based on your own experience. If you are a nervous performer, this covers everything. You could do it exactly as presented, though there are a few key parts you must perform (as I said) that could scare a few less experienced people.
Even if you don’t like the presentation, you’ll learn a lot from watching Dan, some nice moves you could put in other routines.
You could apply your own presentation to it, though if you change it, i think you’ll end up in the mental magic world. Even the standard presentation it could be argued is not true mentalism (not that it claims to be, but this is a mentalism blog), you are gaining information by seeing through an All Seeing Eye drawn on a piece of paper.
You could use your own business card, you could use a playing card if you wanted - maybe there’s some good presentations in that (probably not…).
How is it as a package?
It’s a very high quality download, obligatory trailer at the start, obligatory music (not too loud thankfully), live performances then explanation.
All well done, all explained very well. Dan gives great advice. Some points are maybe expanded on too much, but I can’t imagine anyone being left behind by this, a very good thing for a download aimed at the masses.
The sound drops randomly to a lesser source during the explanation, doesn’t impact the teaching, but it might have been an idea to cut the music at that point for clarity.
Will I use it?
Yes sometimes - It will fit in with some things i perform but not for every occasion. If i was a very strict mentalist, the presentation requirements might put me off.
If I lost everything, would I get it again?
This is a tough question, but I have to say yes. For the price, you’ll definitely learn something and ultimately it’s a fun presentation that works.
Dan says he reads all the reviews, so hello Dan!
You can buy it here: http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/7311 (not an affiliate link)
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I can't guarantee I will get a chance to review everything but I will do my best!