Review: Move Zero (Vol 1) by John Bannon and Big Blind Media

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: John Teo”][vc_column_text]This DVD is by John Bannon.  John’s brand of magic is close-up magic.  More specifically, it is card magic based on subtleties rather than sleight-of-hand.

This DVD has 3 segments.  They are:

  • Effects segment – comprising performance, explanation and credits.
  • Techniques segment – there is no sleight-of-hand involved in the effects, so this segments explains not the card “moves”, but some of the imporant techniques employed in the tricks.
  • Chit-chat segment – it does not involve an interviewer per se – the questions appear in a printed form on the screen, and John shares some of his personal thoughts.

Unlike most DVD where these are distinct segments and they occupy certain locations in the DVD, here they are interspersed throughout the disc.  Contrary to what you may think, it is not difficult to find any one of them.  The excellent menu allows you to navigate easily and locate any item you wish in the DVD.

Right at the start of the DVD, John defines “self-working” effect.  This justifies the title of the DVD, “Move Zero”.  Other personal thoughts that John shares include: What makes a good trick? What got him started in magic? His favourite trick, What he would perform, and His thoughts on crediting.  This constitutes the chit-chat segment.

In the effects segment, there are 8 tricks.  With a 2-hour DVD such as this one, you may expect at least one dozen effects.  Here, John does not merely explain the “how”, he discusses the “why” too.  The latter is more valuable because understanding the psychology behind the effect helps you shape your presentation and make the trick more effective.  

The effects segment comprises a live performance, followed by the explanation in the studio (house), and finally the resources and credits.  Here are the 8 effects:

  1. Collusion – 2 cards are randomly selected by a spectator.  The value of one card and the suit of the other card create a random new card.  This card is then found at a specific location in the deck.  A very good use of the Gemini Placement principle.
  2. Sort Of Psychic – a small packet of cards is dealt into 2 piles.  A spectator tries to divine which of the 2 piles contains her chosen card.  Finally, she cuts the deck exactly at her chosen card.
  3. Ulterior – in an attempt to find a chosen card, 6 cards are isolated.  The spectator herself divines which of these 6 cards is her chosen card.  This effect allows you to secretly stack 4 cards (eg 4 Aces) on  top of the deck in preparation for the next effect.
  4. Prophet Move – spectator shuffles the deck and manages to cut to the mate of a card placed to one side before the start of the effect.
  5. Ion Man – this is a non card effect.  Performer is able to divine which one of 3 different coins is merely thought of, and whether the coin is heads or tails up.
  6. Ban-Nihilation – spectator thoroughly shuffles a deck and cuts to a card predicted by 2 cards laid aside by the performer earlier.
  7. Four-Sided Gemini – 2 spectators independantly choose an Ace each.  Together they choose the third Ace.  The 4th Ace turns out to be the card laid by the performer aside before the effect begins.  This effect is another application of the Gemini Placement technique.
  8. Perennial – performer names a lucky card for a birthday person.  Spectator shuffles and deals cards according to the birth-date of a secret friend.  Yet she manages to find the lucky card for this person.

My favourite effects are Collusion, Ion Man, Ban-Nihilation ad Four Sided Gemini.  The effects do not read very exciting.  When you watch the live performances, you can see the excited and mystified looks of the spectators.  There are 2 main reasons for this.  One is John’s fabulous presentations that bring the tricks to miracle class.  The other reason lies in the nature of self-working tricks.  Traditionally, they tend to be procedural.  The spectators get to shuffle and handle the cards all by themselves, and yet magic happens in their own hands!  Unfortunately, this advantage can become a great weakness when the spectators get bored in long counting and spelling processes.  When you look at John’s presentations, the procedures become a necessary part of the plot and they become meaningful.  One can learn a great deal from John’s performances of all the effects.

What is more important than these tricks are John’s expositions of the various tecnhiques used in the effects.  He groups them under “Trickbag” (the techniques segment).  Here we learn the “hows” and “whys” of Jay Ose False Cut, Cross Cut Force, Balducci’s ‘Cut Deeper’ Force, Deal & Cross Cut Force, Spectator’s Ose, Remote Rosetta Shuffle Control, and Equivoque.  This is important because knowing the correct principles and techniques allow you to construct your own presentations and effects.

One can sit through the entire 2 hours of the DVD and not get bored.  There is so much we can learn from John’s experiences.  John also shares other gems such as the advantage of miscalling the selected card, and the use of post-it notes instead of directly writing on the backs of the playing cards.

If you have noticed, the title of this DVD states Volume 1.  I am eagerly looking forward to further and future volumes of “Move Zero”.

Magic is our passion but we are not a magic shop ? You can purchase this here!

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Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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