Archive for the ‘Foundations v2’ Category

The Double Lift by Jason England :: Review

This review is the next installment in my Foundations v2 series. One of the reasons I’m such a fan of this project is that it teaches such basic moves, but to a degree it’s hard to find elsewhere. I have learned parts of all these techniques scattered about in various books, videos, and other people but Foundations is the first place I’ve seen that has all the necessary information in one place.

As with all of his videos, Jason England starts off with a brief history of the move. He says the Double Lift dates back for hundreds of years, all the way back to the 1700s. Our “modern era” of double lifts came about in the late 1800s, early 1900s. This 1-on-1 covers doubles that are much more modern and appeared in the latter half of the 1900s. Throughout the video Jason explains 4 double lifts which are all useful and practical in different situations. Each double has a brief overview, then an in-depth section, and lastly a slow-motion over-the-shoulder follow along.

The 1-on-1 begins promptly with Doctor Daley’s “Instantaneous Double Lift”. Jason England explains that the double lift is the shell principle for cards. That is, the top card acts as a placeholder for the spectators card. He also talks about the versatility of the move but anyone who has been in to magic for more than a few months knows how invaluable this utility is. This was the first double that Jason England learned and this style is from The Secrets of Brother John Hammon and, also, Stars of Magic. The Instantaneous Double doesn’t require a break and looks pretty smooth. Definitely worth the time it takes to practice.

Now here’s one of the reasons I like Theory11′s downloads so much. This video doesn’t just teach the 4 doubles and then bam, done. Jason goes through some tips and helpful pointers that you can apply to any double lift you work with. He teaches a tip about turning that card over that’s extremely useful, and I’ve been using it for years. The other doubles taught here require a break so instead of just saying “get a break”, Jason goes into three methods of obtaining a break and even further, refinements for those moves. He does explain that the best method would be The Pinky Count but, as we know, that requires more extensive teaching. After this he goes into how to recover a break if you should happen to lose it. This little technique has been a lifesaver for me before. Jason England leaves no stone unturned.

Next on the agenda is the Vernon Style double. This type of double lift was published in both Stars of Magic and the Magic of Francis Carlyle. It has a much more elegant, stylistic look without overdoing it. Just like the other ones theres a run down of the technique and a slowmo follow along. The cool thing about this double is at lets you pick the cards back up easily after they’ve been replaced. Also it’s got a nice built-in convincer that makes the card look singular to the audience.

After the Vernon double comes the Stuart Gordon Double Lift. Jason England explains that, in his expert opinion, this move was actually originated by Ken Simmons. England refers to it as the Ken Simmons double throughout the video. Regardless of the name, it’s a great looking move. This is by far my most used double lift. It’s a bit knacky compared to the other lifts taught here but it has a very unique look. I remember seeing it when I first started out and thinking “that’s definitely just one card”. It can be difficult if you have particularly sweaty hands but Jason teaches a fix for this as well.

The fourth double lift on this video is the Soft Double. Jason England talks about how it comes from book In Concert by Roger Klaus. England also says he came up with the same type of move independently but Roger had published it years before that. The Soft Double requires a break. It’s a fluid move and really sells the idea that you’re only handling one card. I’ve never been a fan of this move myself but when done well it looks great.

Just when you think it’s over, there’s a bonus! Jason England throws in one last double, the Knockout Double Lift. He explains that this was a creation by his late friend Martin Nash, printed in Martin’s first book Ever so Sleightly. Jason and Martin had talks of doing a video project about this move, but Martin’s passing prevented that from happening. This is very very close to the kind of double Wayne Houchin frequently uses, and teaches on his Art of Magic DVDs. One nice thing is there’s no get ready or break so you can just go right into it. As such, it takes a little more practice than the others but it’s a good investment.

Overall: If you’re looking for a strong, cohesive source to learn some new double lifts then look no further. There are 5 in total on this video, as well as other tips and subtleties that can be used with any double. As with the other 1-on-1s by Jason England, the teaching is superb. The multiple angles and explanations make it easy to pick up the technique, as well as the slow-motion follow along. You can pick this video up by itself or, if you want to save some money and get the other moves along with it, in Foundations v2.

Images taken from the video.

Posted: May 6th, 2011
at 12:32pm by Robin Carey


Categories: Downloads,DVDs,Foundations v2,Reviews

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The Pinky Count by Jason England :: Review

This is the first review I’m doing for Foundations v2 by Jason England. There are eight 1-on-1s all together, so I’ll be posting one or two a day throughout the week. If there’s a particular one you’re looking for it’ll be up very soon.

The Pinky Count is a move with a wide-range of uses in all aspects of magic. It’s one I wish I would have learned early on, as it makes most effects 100 times easier. Jason England starts out the video with the history of the Pinky count. The move was first published by Fred Braue in volume two of The Braue Notebooks back in 1937. So it’s by no means a new move but has gained popularity and use in more recent years. This section is great if you’re looking for other references (which after watching Jason, you won’t need) or applications of the Pinky Count.

After talking briefly about the history, Jason England goes into the grip for the Pinky Count. All of the nuances Jason has from years and years of practice make it extremely easy to pick up on the the move. This section is shot from an over-the-shoulder angle, allowing you to see what the move will look like when you perform it. Once he’s done showing where each finger goes and what each one does, he goes in-depth on how to execute the move. Jason’s teaching is clear, concise and paced just right. I could follow along without that dragging-on feeling that a lot of “in-depth” videos have. While he’s going over the little details and formalities of the pinky count he’s explaining why he doing it. For me, this is huge. When you know the purpose of a move, the learning process is exponentially faster. You know what your end goal is so it’s easier to make the changes to get there. This whole section is shot from a spectators point of view, adding to your perception of how the move should look when done well.

After going through the move extensively, Jason England talks about various covers for the pinky count. This section is worth the entire price of the download. I’ve seen countless magicians utilize a pinky count in a perfect spot during an effect, but the move looks so awkward and different that it catches everyone’s eye. The spectators know something happened and at that point you’ve already lost them. Jason shows quite a few ways to naturally cover the move and make it look invisible. I originally bought this download last summer and just now picked up a few new ideas from re-watching it.

The very last section is devoted to hand strength. Jason talks about how the Pinky Count requires fairly strong hands, especially if you plan on counting more than a few cards in. He goes over some tools called grippers, which you can buy at sporting good stores to help increase overall hand strength and has personally used them. He also talks about the next kind of set you can buy once you outgrow the “regular” grippers. It’s interesting to hear how much Jason believes hand strength has played a role in his card magic. The 1-on-1 ends with a list of references if you wish to further research the pinky count.

If you haven’t learned the pinky count then this is a great source to do so. Jason England teaches the move in detail, explains the pros and cons, gives you various covering actions, and even more. If you have never “formally” learned the pinky count but think you get the gist of it, you can still learn an immeasurable amount from England’s expertise. If you’ve learned themove from other sources, such as the one’s referenced in the video, I can’t say there’s a whole lot of “new” information here. It’s still just the pinky count. This video is recommended for people who are new to the move or have just started learning it, it’s a very thorough and great place to start.

Posted: May 3rd, 2011
at 10:47pm by Robin Carey


Categories: Downloads,DVDs,Foundations v2,Reviews

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