Olympic Reviews

Olympic Reviews

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Automata 3 - Gary Jones and Dave Forrest - Review

What is it?

New Self Working Miracles - zero card tricks!  Something boasting about zero card tricks and ‘not a sleight in sight’ isn’t my usual type of purchase and self working isn’t usually one of my criteria for choosing effects.
A multi-trick DVD full of small little bits, looks to be aimed at a magician… I should hate this on the face of it.

Did I hate it?…

Why this instead of similar products?
It is packed with material.  Also, the routines are fantastic.  If you want some commercial material you can ACTUALLY perform, this has what you are looking for.  You may need to change a few bits if you want a more pure mentalism style but this has a lot going for it.  A few effects are in easy to distinguish categories:

ESP-ionage - ESP selection - this is so free it warrants you taking a look

Pockets Predicted - Very, very nice version of visa cabaret style routine - one of the best here - better than most visa cabarets - very adaptable

A Can - funny, but also an interesting technique with cards, not to be overlooked - i have the original release of the card selection which was purchased years ago

Dobson’s Diddle - a lot of similar effects out there, this incorporates a lot of methods together into a snappy version

Arty Farty - nice routine, involves a nice reveal but not for me - nice forcing method though

Fruit Loop - very good, could adapt to anything - worth a look for the method - really nice reveal

Any Tome, Anywhere - impromptu book test - involves some procedure but it’s very fair - strong for speed and freedom (will be a different page most times) but if you don’t like procedure then maybe not for you

Purple Monkey - interesting, better versions out there, discussed more below - not quite there for me

Positive Change - This is almost perfect - i think of this in two parts - the first is fantastic, can use this for similar effects - the second part is pretty good… not as clean as i’d like (Dave released this bit before and i had changed it a bit to my liking) really good.

RPS Extreme - Brilliant - there are many similar routines, this is the only one i would actually do - takes away complexity in both presentation and method leaving a very nice routine

The Secret - Not quite sure what this was… it’s fun… hmm, apparently a very old idea… still not sure what it was… this might work well with some corporate audiences that think they are fantastic (you know the types) but maybe it’s not punchy enough for that… still not sure what this was

Pageboy (free effect) - Really nice version of pegasus effect - i’ll probably do this at some point

Call The Chops (free effect) - Nice simple presentation - this will really suit some people

Ultimately, low tech versions of lots of different effects/presentations.

To compare the obvious, Automata 1 (though i don’t think it was called Automata 1 at the time) was fine, Automata 2, i got two or three things from, Automata 3, seems to be the best so far!

This won’t replace your whole set, and there are better things out there, but for the money this is definitely worth your time.  Dave could easily take this apart and release them as downloads (like similar sites), definitely at least 7 or 8 ‘Tricks of the Decade’ here.  (If you compare this to those single downloads, this wins every single time).

Does it work?
Yes - absolutely.  Some of the methods are very, very clever, and i doubt you would pick up all of them from watching the effects.  You could probably come up with an alternative method for all of it, but these are very nice.  In theory, because it’s all self working this should do all the work for you (it doesn’t - more on that later).
It all works very well but you might have to some of the work yourself.

Purple Monkey has a bit of a discrepancy that i don’t like so much, Dave talks about one of two options and suggests passing them both off as the same thing… ok… could work. But there’s actually a third option (in exactly the same question set) that is overlooked.  A bit more time spent on this could make it fantastic, as it stands, i’m not doing it this way (see Thought Association Card by Steve Yachanin).  For ‘self working’ this could go wrong.

How adaptable is it?
Most of this is presented as mental magic, i’ll be changing the presentations slightly for a few then using them.

The majority of items use very simple props and you could use any alternative.  To take the ESP routine as an example, using the ESP symbols is the simplest, but you could do this with any type of symbol, even playing cards.  Bit more work on your part but very straightforward. The only real limitation here is that you would have to use cards and an envelope but they can be any type of cards and any type of pen.  This is an incredible routine.  You don’t strictly have to use the envelope in some of the routines.  This is a fantastic idea.

If you are a mentalist and take these effects at face value, i don’t see how you can complain.  You know exactly what you are getting and could easily adapt these if needed.

Some people will probably say ‘Works on stage, parlour and close up!!!’ but these are close up effects, don’t do them on stage.  You could, but probably don’t.

How is it as a package?
As I said, some of the presentations are a bit on the mental magic side, but you can change those for the most part and make them more like mentalism effects, however, they are commercial.  So if you are making something fit your style by taking the fun and enjoyment out of a routine just to make it more like real mentalism… then you’re probably missing the point.

You get some templates and things that you would need and little packs are available if you would prefer to buy these rather than make them yourself.  There really is no need to purchase these at all, i’ve ordered a couple a week ago now that don’t seem to be dispatched yet.  My only issue ordering from Full 52 has been the delivery time vs. other sellers, a few times i’ve had lengthy waits.

A couple of other effects not on the DVD are available for free from Full 52, really i’d have preferred these not be free and included with the purchase, they are welcome enough additions.  If you’re on the fence about this, go and get those and watch Dave’s walkthrough of the effects.  I much prefer this style of trailer than the flashy type.  These products are being sold to people doing the effects, not their audience.  Some others do similar (Alakazam usually have a flashy trailer that tells you nothing then a demo on their vlog that is what the trailer should really be, for example) but more should follow this style in my opinion.

Everything is explained very well, and you should have no real questions about making gimmicks or anything like that.  

As these are ‘self working’, you can focus on your presentation.  Self working is perhaps a strange term for some of these, they aren’t like a card trick for example where you can leave it all hands off, you will in some instances have to do some small amount of work to find the answer but if you are struggling with these, then you likely have bigger problems.  Also, while it says no card tricks, some of them are tricks that involve cards, not with playing card faces though.

Only real criticism of the routines as presented is that there’s some dead time, people mixing things up or putting them in envelopes.  Not an issue if you can come up with your own routines and a small point.

Some of the routines seem to be Gary’s, and some Dave’s.  I will say that I think Gary’s seem a bit more polished but it would be unfair to say they were all better.  I’ll be doing some from each.

As a side point, I think too many people are just taking what they get on DVDs and presenting them as they are.  I also think a lot of professionals are releasing stripped back versions of the performances (which is fine), but what we end up with, is a lot of people performing the same, bland, procedural routines.  Think about what you are doing.  Change it up!

There are lots of ideas you’ll know in these effects, but presented in a new way here.

Will I use it?
Yes - not all of it, but more than enough to justify the purchase.  I could see pretty much any of these going into the type of close up sets that I do, i’m not saying they all WILL, but they could.  Commercial, enjoyable, easy to do.  I doubt i’ll make a tin of beans appear… but if i was going to!  You’ll get something from every routine even if you don’t use it.

If this is all mental magic and not mentalism, people releasing mentalism effects could learn a lot from how direct these effects are.

If I lost everything, would I get it again?
Yes - definitely worth the money.  Lots of little ideas and routines, some absolutely fantastic ones, some pretty good ones and a couple not for me.  All in all, a great buy.  The first section of this DVD is probably one of the best things i’ve got this year.

Extra bonus language section!!
It has come to my attention in the last couple of days that there is more than one language in the world, and sometimes people perform in these ‘other languages’ (no idea?!).

To cater for my global audience, i have added a section about whether i see there being any language issues or not.  Now, please don’t hold me accountable if there ARE in fact issues when i say there aren’t, I’ve only translated these into about 30 languages each so i can’t say for sure that they will all work.  Instead take these as a guide.  Also i can’t give away methods obviously.

ESP-ionage - No hay problemas de idioma

Pockets Predicted - Aucun problème de langue

A Can - لا قضايا اللغة

Dobson’s Diddle - Geen taalkwessies

Arty Farty - कोई भाषा मुद्दों

Fruit Loop - Żadnych problemów językowych

Any Tome, Anywhere - No language issues (this is American)

Purple Monkey - Definite language issues as written, you could adapt, but then i would recommend an alternative as above

Positive Change - Нет языковых проблем

RPS Extreme - Não há problemas de linguagem

The Secret - stadig ikke sikker på hvad det er ...

Pageboy (free effect) - Keine Sprachprobleme

Call The Chops (free effect) - Не езикови въпроси

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