Paper Cuts by Chris Hestnes & Dan and Dave :: First-Look Review

As you all may or may not know, Papercuts by Chris Hestnes was available for purchase at Magic-Con. I was able to get my hands on a copy, and this is a sort of first-look review for it. It’s available for purchase at For those of you wondering about purchasing it, hopefully this will help you make a decision. I’m not going to “rate” this on difficulty, as that number is completely dependent on the person learning the move, their experience, and how often they practice. As this is my first review of a flourishing DVD, I hope I can give you all the information you’re looking for. If you have any questions about Papercuts or anything of the sort, just ask in a comment and I’ll respond quickly.

UPDATE: Allan Hagen has told us that there are 5 easter eggs hidden away in the Papercuts menu. I reccomend taking the time to find them, they’re pretty interesting.


The DVD has 13 flourishes on it, all creations of Chris Hestnes. It also comes with a booklet in which Chris lists credits and inspiration to each flourish as well as giving a small writing piece about the project. Additionally, there’s a table of contents for the bonus features, and some pictures of the crew & project. The DVD is extremely well produced. The Norwegian backdrop is added eye-candy, the original music score fits the production wonderfully, and the camera work is excellent. Each flourish is show multiple times, from multiple angles, and multiple speeds. At the slowest speed there are two views going, one from the friend as well as an over the shoulder view. This definitely speeds up the learning process. This si a fairly lengthy review, as I say a little bit about each thing. Now, onto the flourishes.

1337: Chris attributes the “name, style, and rhythm of this flourish” to 000.327.0000, a cut by Dan and Dave that can be found on The System. The spinning style of that flourish is definitely evident in this one, and it’s reminiscent of the rotation during the Jones Change. This is a fairly fast looking flourish. I was able to get the moves down during the first watch, but the difficulty lies in its speed. It’s easy to learn the motions but it’ll take a while of practicing to get it up to Chris’ level.


Atomic: A nice little spin/addition to the T.G. deck flip. Atomic is a quick flourish, taking only a little more than a second to complete. A packet is spun of the deck in a Jones Change-esque motion, extended, and tossed up in the air back onto the deck while the executing a T.G Deck Flip in the other hand. It’s difficult to put into words, but looks awesome. This is one of those aerial flourishes were you just need to do it to get it down. You’ll surprise yourself how easy it is to get a handle on, but it’s an impressive looking one.

Bluegarden: In the accompanying book, Chris says that he believes this is the most difficult flourish he’s created, and I’m inclined to agree. Whereas most flourishes have sort of a sybil feel, or a molecule theme, etc. this one has quite a few different styles. The beginning of the cut is like sybil, but then it goes into a horizontal display, some card flares, and an aerial to finish it all of. Learning the moves for this flourish will take some time, as will getting them down smoothly. But the different moves and speed of Bluegarden make it look great.


Bullet Time: This flourish is credited to D&D’s Eko cut on the Trilogy. Bullet Time has a couple of small displays, balanced out with one card flourishes. This helps pace the flourish and gives it a unique, appealing rhythm. It’s not exactly easy to get down, but I wouldn’t call it a knuckle buster either. Chris uses some variations on classic grips that will take a little bit of time to get used to.

California: The first thing that came to mind when watching this one was that it’s a component. California looks like a piece of a bigger flourish to me, but still has the ability to stand alone. It’s like revolution cut meets real time. Again, not neccessarily a difficult one to learn but it will take a substantial amount of practice to get the muscle memory to kick in. The display kind of pops out at you though, a good piece of eye-candy.


Chronographic: Chris said he got the single card grip in the right hand from Dan and Dave’s Preqel video. The influence of Preqel on this flourish is obvious, but at the same time it has it’s own feel. Chris seems to have a talent for taking a small idea or motion as a seed and creating his own flourishes with a distinct image from that seed. Chronographic has a very smooth look to it. The grips are a tad different but shouldn’t be too hard to get used to.

Evergreen: This flourish was originally known as Wings of the Butterfly which, in my opinion, suits it better. The flares and displays give it a “life like” quality. There are a lot of moves in this one but they’re not that complex. It took me about 3 times through the explanation to do the flourish, very slowly, without mistakes. Just like a lot of the other flourishes it looks complex and hard to handle, but in reality isn’t anywhere near that difficult.


Gate 22: In the credits, Chris said himself that this wasn’t the most original flourish ever. That being said, he still put his own feel to it. It flows wonderfully and the moves seem to keep going with little effort. It uses a lot of basic or otherwise widely known moves put together to create a a much better big picture. Learning time for this one really depends on what you already know and have down.

MWrench: I love the Molecule series of cuts, and this one has some sweet molecule action. I’m not going to try and put this cut into words, as there’s a little too much going on. As with the others, this one isn’t inherently difficult. I was able to follow the first walkthrough all the way to the end without any mistakes. Dan and Dave’s style is seen throughout the flourish but, as Chris seems to be able to do so easily, it’s very distinct and has some of his unique moves.


Optimus: This flourish is a direct result of Chris’ desire for a triangle cut. The action before the triangle display flows well, and then the triangle just seems to appear. Definitely a visual one and one that laymen would enjoy seeing. It’s a variation on Chris’ transformer flourish, taught later on the DVD.

Revolver: By far my favorite one on the DVD. The majority of the flourish is done with a single card. It revolves and spins around the deck and extended packets, then is flicked back on the deck via D&D’s flic on Andthensome. Chris also shows two other endings where you spin the card on your watch, or finish by catching an arm spread. It’s simple and elegant looking. Learning it is an odd process but progress comes quickly.


Transformer: The idea behind this was that Chris wanted an original opener and I’d say he achieved his goal. This is a small, smooth looking flourish. I could definitely see myself adding this into one of my own. I really like the small packet drop at the end as it slows down the speed of the flourish for the finale.

Zen: The credits say that Zen is based on the Tornado cut. There’s definitely the tornado style in there, but then Chris rotates and spins that packet around in a different way. A fresh take on this semi-classic flourish, as well as some original stuff before and after.


Overall this DVD is a great production. Allen Hagen did a wonderful job of editing and putting this thing together. The flourishes are shown from as many angles as one would need to learn them and the material itself is fresh and original. Chris has his own style and flow. All of his flourishes showcase his ability to take an existing idea or concept and rework it until it looks completely new. As for the skill level the flourishes are higher than beginner, but you don’t have to have 10+ years of experience just to do them. It’s a nice set of intermediate level work. I strongly suggest anyone interested picks up a copy tomorrow. Also, Dan and Dave have said that the first 100 copies are signed by themselves as well as Chris Hestnes and Allen Hagen. Even better, the first 52 copies sold come with a Jerry’s Nugget playing card that was actually used in the DVD & signed. Check it out and pick up a copy here.

Some images taken from Papercuts DVD

Posted: March 31st, 2011
at 2:58pm by Robin Carey

Categories: DVDs - Flourishing - Magic Con 2011 - Reviews

Comments: 12 comments


12 Responses to 'Paper Cuts by Chris Hestnes & Dan and Dave :: First-Look Review'

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  1. What a delightful review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Dan Buck

    31 Mar 11 at 3:37 pm


  2. Are there any other guys (Jordan, Dan, Dave) featured on the DVD? Or maybe there is some bonus footage?

    I’m wondering because there were tons of photos on twitter during the filming with guys including but not limited to Chris being filmed.

    And nice review, mate!


    31 Mar 11 at 3:56 pm


  3. Alexander,
    In the bonus footage there is a production from Allan, a flourish from Dan, A trick from Dave, a production from Erik, and lastly a flourish from Jordan. Some pretty cool stuff actually.
    Those are in the Bonus section as well as a behind the scenes feature about Papercuts, a little “impromptu panel discussion” with Dan, Dave, Chris, and Jordan, promotional videos, viral videos, and a video of Chris doing all of Dan and Dave’s Flourishes.
    Thanks for reading it!

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 4:24 pm


  4. Great review Robin! This makes me wanna buy the DVD even more!

    Matt Miltonberger

    31 Mar 11 at 5:18 pm


  5. Hey, I remember Allan saying there would be hidden footage, I could be mistaken but has any one surfaced this?


    31 Mar 11 at 5:27 pm


  6. Thanks Matt! It’s definitely worth it. Pretty cool stuff.

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 5:38 pm


  7. Casey,
    I asked Allan on twitter and he said “There are five hidden easter eggs in the menus on the DVD. Happy hunting! :)

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 6:17 pm


  8. Guys, wow. I’m flattered! Reading the first review of a DVD I participated on is just incredible. I am so glad you liked the material, Robin. I am sorry I missed all you guys at magic-con. This is the first and _LAST_ time I miss that convention. Seriously, I sat home this whole weekend regretting. I hate regretting, so next time I’ll see you there!

    PS. Get used to my style. Soon, there will be a contest.

    Again, thanks for the review.
    Chris H.

    Chris Hestnes

    31 Mar 11 at 9:03 pm


  9. Chris, you deserve it. Your style is so good, and you are a lot more smooth than most flourishes out there, and you also really deserved a project like this to get you known and on the grid.


    31 Mar 11 at 10:43 pm


  10. Are the easter eggs those tricks and flourishes that you described?


    31 Mar 11 at 10:44 pm


  11. Cori,
    Nope. Those tricks and Flourishes are in the Bonus features, under the Guest Submissions section.
    The aster eggs are something else entirely. Well, one of them is sort of a flourish…

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 10:54 pm


  12. Chris,
    Like Cori said, you deserve it 100%. It’s rare to see something fresh in magic, little lone smooth and rhythmic. These flourishes will definitely keep me busy for a while.
    Looking forward to seeing you next year! We’ll get an exclusive interview for posting your first review, right? ;)
    Sweet. Keep us posted with any details about the contest.
    Thanks for taking the time to read it!

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 10:59 pm



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