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Dr Spektor
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Quote:
On 2013-03-14 19:19, Adam Hince wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-03-14 02:00, Mike Ince wrote:
I received mine in the mail today. Paul explains lots of subtleties that show he's performed this many times. It's easy to understand and very good in that Berglasian way. I love doing the chair test part without using a NW. I also love using "Berglasian" in a sentence.

My only qualm has to do with the condition of the book when it arrived. It was shipped from the UK to my mailbox here in Texas, not in a protective box but in a bubble-pack airmail envelope. Along the way it must have been dropped and dinged at least once if not taken out and read in the toilet by a postal worker. This book had a hard journey overseas and needed better protection from haphazard handling. After paying $160 it was disappointing opening the envelope to find my brand new book in less than pristine condition.

All that aside, NIX4 is every bit as good as reviewers have written here and if you order it new from Paul he'll receive his deserved support. If you live outside the UK I advise that you ask Paul to ship your copy in a box instead of an envelope to protect the investment. If you live in the UK your postal workers are nicer and you shouldn't see any damage when your book arrives.


I agree with everything you said, Mike.

NIX4 is an extremely well thought out routine and extremely economical. With so little "dirty work", you get a ton of mileage.

While my book doesn't sound as banged up as yours, all 4 corners of my book were dinged. For the hefty price tag, I wish Paul had packaged the goods better.

Regards,
-AH


Yay some complaints - I am so happy I bought it...now to await it arriving
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Mind Guerrilla
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“NIX4” promises that you “get to have a running joke/theme through your show that can help bring disassociated effects together... The fact that disparate effects can be bound together to form a more cohesive performance is, in my opinion, worth the price of this book alone.”

Except the “running theme” relies on your making no mistakes in any of your earlier effects. If you mess up early on, you now have to deal with an elephant-in-the-room which takes the form of "2nd Chance" envelope staring down at the audience from an easel. The book does not address this scenario, despite the author's claim “I give you everything and leave out nothing.” So, unless you can guarantee the rest of your act will come off flawlessly, I'd say you're asking for trouble if you attempt to use this running gag idea. As a practical matter then, NIX4 is reduced to a standalone effect.

Although described as “virtually self-working” with a skill level of “easy,” the effect relies on five spectators following your instructions. What could possibly go wrong? Smile You remember what a spectator is, right? It's the type of creature who occasionally give a glassy-eyed look of confusion when asked to cut a deck of cards (or to say their own name). In my opinion, the possibility of a screw-up is directly proportional to the number of volunteers you rely on to follow instructions. The author does discuss how to deal with certain screw-ups but, still, so much for "easy" and "self-working."

The ad says the effect is suitable for parlor or stage. Because of the method employed, I would think you would want to limit performance to one before a very large crowd- to minimize the possible harm of volunteers discussing their experience after the show. Even better if you can select audience members who came alone/purchased a single ticket (to cut down on the number of people they might blab to). So much for the parlor.

The key to the effect- what's written on the cards inside the envelopes- is clever. If this idea is the author's creation, he's to be lauded. I assume it is his own, since no credit to any predecessor is given. The effect is as good as any that may have been featured in Bascom Jones' MAGICK back in the day. It might even have had an entire issue devoted to it. But a copy of MAGICK never cost $150. The way “NIX4” has been fluffed up to a 226 page hardcover limited edition business is worth discussing.

What do I mean by “fluffed up?” Well, it's a 226 page book only technically. Books traditionally start numbering their pages after the foreword and introduction. Here the numbering starts from the first page. The book proper actually starts on page 19. Also, books traditionally don't continue their page count for the back page advertisements. This one does- 24 pages worth.

The book also has many blank pages. Purely for aesthetics, I'm sure. Each chapter title gets a page all its own and this is followed by a blank page. In total there are 40 blank pages. That's almost enough to turn me into an environmentalist. Smile

Let's look at some of the other artistic choices that were made to contribute to the 226 page count. Entire sections are devoted to material another author may have been able to present as a single sentence or paragraph. For example, by listing 8 required items as bullet points, three sentences become an entire section called “Preparation.” Of course, the very next page is blank (presumably to allow the reader to catch their breath after reading a Staples shopping list). This is followed by a section called “Preparation: Envelope Words,” in which the reader is essentially told to write 5 words on 5 envelopes. In case the reader is unclear as to what a word looks like, there are five separate illustrations: each individual word in block letters inside a rectangle. Taken together with the preceding section, that makes 6 pages dedicated to, essentially, 4 or 5 paragraphs of material.

After seeing how careful the author is, going so far as to remind us what words look like, the reader might feel confident that he/she will be taken by the hand and will have every step exhaustively illustrated. However, while there are many illustrations (including pictures of chairs, in case the reader has never encountered such a sophisticated apparatus), there are none devoted to the one piece of “tomfoolery” in the effect. That's right- the number of illustrations for the “one deceptive move” “at the very heart of NIX4” is zero.

One section is dedicated to describing the construction of a thick card- due to concerns over strong stage lighting and chairs “that have holes in the lumbar section of the back rest.” Are there pictures of these types of chairs, which so vex the author? You're way ahead of me. No, there are not. All the chairs illustrated are of the non-lumbar-hole variety. Speaking of chairs, no concern is shown for one of the more common types you're liable to run into- the folding chair whose backrest has a curved or rounded top. Why should this be an issue? Because the instructions call for placing a rubber band around the backrest. With a rounded top, there's more of a chance of the rubber band sliding up and popping off (I think a lot of time and effort would have been spared by eliminating the chairs altogether or by instructing the reader to just tape the cards to the underside of the seats.).

I'll also mention that there are four pages devoted to explaining how to rip a sheet of paper off a pad (fully illustrated, of course). We have clearly entered You-Have-Got-To-Be-Pulling-My-Leg territory at this point.

Until now, I had avoided hopping on the “limited edition” bandwagon. Because of the positive reviews on this thread, I decided to take the plunge with this book. Thanks, guys. Smile I passed on “Whisper” and “This Way Up” for fear that they would turn out to be pretty much what “NIX4” turned out to be. If anyone owns either of those other volumes, maybe you could you confirm or deny this. Also...would you care to swap for a copy of “NIX4?” Smile
JanForster
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I have the book (and at least one of the mentioned you didn't go for) and you still make me laugh... Of course you are right, but your criticized points were no surprise for me anymore... I still think the routine is well constructed, but I saw your concerns as well. There are solutions. It is not a problem for me as I never expect anything to be perfect. On the other hand I know that I perform some routines of my own which I consider being almost perfect. But I would not put them in print as long as I still perform them - but that's me. Jan
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New downloadable supplement:
Page to be inserted between pages 72 and 73 in NIX4
I hope this clarifies things.

Phill

Click here to view/download attached file.
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I've read Mind Guerrilla's post and take on-board what he is saying but have to disagree with most of it.

Just in case Mind Geurrilla's post put's you off NIX4, I'd like to reply to many of his issues

The running gag - If you screw up elsewhere during the show you should have already considered potential 'outs' so that your screw-up is invisible or appear intentional. Or introduce the card specifically for the routine explaining that there is great potential for things going wrong during this segment and that you have brought in an escape clause. Or just don't use the running gag at all. ADAPT the routine to suit your style which is what you should do with all routines.

Working with people - The routine, like any chair routine, requires that participants are involved. If you are performing on stage you should have good audience management skills and script the routine so that you have several checks in place to ensure that every participant FULLY understands what is required of them. I think Paul does a good job in covering many possible scenarios

Number of pages - I don't buy books based on number of pages, quality not quantity. Yes there was padding. There was also a heck of a lot of detail from Paul. He covers what is essentially quite a simple routine in great detail. Paul covers a lot more than most when writing up a routine. You won't find the words "using your favourite method" written in this book.

The Deceptive move - It's not even a move! It's explained and doesn't require any further explanation. This is an expensive book that is priced for experienced performers. If you are struggling with this then rethink your occupation.

Tearing paper from a pad, chairs and card construction - Mind Guerrilla, really, is this a point of contention you find worthy to include in your review. I use double thickness card stuck to the back of my chairs with velcro dots. I hope this helps.

I like NIX4, so does Bob Cassidy but what would he know Smile I don't think it's perfect but I do believe it's a solid working piece that can be easily adapted to suit most performing styles and presentations.

Derek
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein






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JanForster
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Quote:
On 2013-03-19 05:10, phillsmiff wrote:
New downloadable supplement:
Page to be inserted between pages 72 and 73 in NIX4
I hope this clarifies things.

Phill


:) Thanks, Phill, that was an important missing piece in the book, now I understand... Smile
Nevertheless - as I wrote before - I would prefer to do it without chairs anyway... Jan
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eric6
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Hi Phill,

How can I get the download update ?
Thanks
Eric
phillsmiff
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The link is on my post but please brace yourself for massive disappointment.

Phill
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Steve Suss
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While I'm sure Mind Guerrilla's review is not 100% perfect I would respect his reviews any time. You can sense they are unbiased and honest. Thanks for a great review.
Steve
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Yes, thank you Mind Guerrilla for an entertaining review. And thank you Phill for an amusing, yet appropriate and helpful reply.

s
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In case it's not obvious, what I wrote in the forward to the book was based on the content, not the ultimate layout.

I stand by what I wrote.
Dr Spektor
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Quote:
On 2013-03-18 22:42, Mind Guerrilla wrote:
“NIX4” promises that you “get to have a running joke/theme through your show that can help bring disassociated effects together... The fact that disparate effects can be bound together to form a more cohesive performance is, in my opinion, worth the price of this book alone.”

Except the “running theme” relies on your making no mistakes in any of your earlier effects. If you mess up early on, you now have to deal with an elephant-in-the-room which takes the form of "2nd Chance" envelope staring down at the audience from an easel. The book does not address this scenario, despite the author's claim “I give you everything and leave out nothing.” So, unless you can guarantee the rest of your act will come off flawlessly, I'd say you're asking for trouble if you attempt to use this running gag idea. As a practical matter then, NIX4 is reduced to a standalone effect.

Although described as “virtually self-working” with a skill level of “easy,” the effect relies on five spectators following your instructions. What could possibly go wrong? Smile You remember what a spectator is, right? It's the type of creature who occasionally give a glassy-eyed look of confusion when asked to cut a deck of cards (or to say their own name). In my opinion, the possibility of a screw-up is directly proportional to the number of volunteers you rely on to follow instructions. The author does discuss how to deal with certain screw-ups but, still, so much for "easy" and "self-working."

The ad says the effect is suitable for parlor or stage. Because of the method employed, I would think you would want to limit performance to one before a very large crowd- to minimize the possible harm of volunteers discussing their experience after the show. Even better if you can select audience members who came alone/purchased a single ticket (to cut down on the number of people they might blab to). So much for the parlor.

The key to the effect- what's written on the cards inside the envelopes- is clever. If this idea is the author's creation, he's to be lauded. I assume it is his own, since no credit to any predecessor is given. The effect is as good as any that may have been featured in Bascom Jones' MAGICK back in the day. It might even have had an entire issue devoted to it. But a copy of MAGICK never cost $150. The way “NIX4” has been fluffed up to a 226 page hardcover limited edition business is worth discussing.

What do I mean by “fluffed up?” Well, it's a 226 page book only technically. Books traditionally start numbering their pages after the foreword and introduction. Here the numbering starts from the first page. The book proper actually starts on page 19. Also, books traditionally don't continue their page count for the back page advertisements. This one does- 24 pages worth.

The book also has many blank pages. Purely for aesthetics, I'm sure. Each chapter title gets a page all its own and this is followed by a blank page. In total there are 40 blank pages. That's almost enough to turn me into an environmentalist. Smile

Let's look at some of the other artistic choices that were made to contribute to the 226 page count. Entire sections are devoted to material another author may have been able to present as a single sentence or paragraph. For example, by listing 8 required items as bullet points, three sentences become an entire section called “Preparation.” Of course, the very next page is blank (presumably to allow the reader to catch their breath after reading a Staples shopping list). This is followed by a section called “Preparation: Envelope Words,” in which the reader is essentially told to write 5 words on 5 envelopes. In case the reader is unclear as to what a word looks like, there are five separate illustrations: each individual word in block letters inside a rectangle. Taken together with the preceding section, that makes 6 pages dedicated to, essentially, 4 or 5 paragraphs of material.

After seeing how careful the author is, going so far as to remind us what words look like, the reader might feel confident that he/she will be taken by the hand and will have every step exhaustively illustrated. However, while there are many illustrations (including pictures of chairs, in case the reader has never encountered such a sophisticated apparatus), there are none devoted to the one piece of “tomfoolery” in the effect. That's right- the number of illustrations for the “one deceptive move” “at the very heart of NIX4” is zero.

One section is dedicated to describing the construction of a thick card- due to concerns over strong stage lighting and chairs “that have holes in the lumbar section of the back rest.” Are there pictures of these types of chairs, which so vex the author? You're way ahead of me. No, there are not. All the chairs illustrated are of the non-lumbar-hole variety. Speaking of chairs, no concern is shown for one of the more common types you're liable to run into- the folding chair whose backrest has a curved or rounded top. Why should this be an issue? Because the instructions call for placing a rubber band around the backrest. With a rounded top, there's more of a chance of the rubber band sliding up and popping off (I think a lot of time and effort would have been spared by eliminating the chairs altogether or by instructing the reader to just tape the cards to the underside of the seats.).

I'll also mention that there are four pages devoted to explaining how to rip a sheet of paper off a pad (fully illustrated, of course). We have clearly entered You-Have-Got-To-Be-Pulling-My-Leg territory at this point.

Until now, I had avoided hopping on the “limited edition” bandwagon. Because of the positive reviews on this thread, I decided to take the plunge with this book. Thanks, guys. Smile I passed on “Whisper” and “This Way Up” for fear that they would turn out to be pretty much what “NIX4” turned out to be. If anyone owns either of those other volumes, maybe you could you confirm or deny this. Also...would you care to swap for a copy of “NIX4?” Smile


Well you made me feel better about my purchase... As now I believe it has good material it versus total strart a new religion etc baloney... Thanks!!! I haven't gotten it yet - but that was the one thing I was waiting for - a review that showed there is cool stuff in it but it isn't perch.

And please don't mention limited editions - gives me a headache Smile
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Dr Spektor
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Mine arrived - and the corners are all pristine... must be the commonwealth countries connection - initial glance is its really detailed!!!!! Nice pics Phil! Now to figure out how to turn it into some nightmare evil presentation of dark inner chaos... fun fun fun!
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Mine is not arrived!
Ok, in the same time, it's logical as I don't buy it.
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Quote:
On 2013-03-23 16:12, parmenion wrote:
Mine is not arrived!
Ok, in the same time, it's logical as I don't buy it.


Look forward to your review regardless
Michael Clifton
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Well the power of auction, seems to have elevated this work to double its price. Don't know whether it's because its Mr
Royles copy..lol But the fact that you can still pick this up from Paul has made me scratch my head and probably his too.
Current bid £190 with postage on your friendly auction web site. So after this post all remaining copies will be snapped
up and then resold...probably by Mr Royle himself.. Smile
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Quote:
On 2013-03-14 04:47, kinesis wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-03-13 21:37, nique wrote:
Hey Derek!

What I mean is, it's mentioned that after you know the first 4 roles, then the 5th (by the time you get to him) is obvious through a process of elimination because you have to have known how many of each role there are to begin with (they're your envelopes after all). This is why the 5th spectator is handled through the use of a prediction. Page 34 will be the point in the routine I'm referring to here.

Think of it as already correctly returning 4 out of 5 drawings in a Sneak Thief type of routine; obviously the last drawing is the last spectator's.

My question is, do you tell the audience from the start that there are 3 truth tellers and 2 liars, before you distribute the envelopes? It should be obvious that you know, but should we openly state it as well?

~ Nique


Your answer is No, Why would it be obvious? What is on the cards is never rvealed to the audience. Check the full script and subtlties sections. What would it achieve but to take away from the effect.

Actually, I think it's the script that is causing the confusion. Near the end of the routine when the performer approaches volunteer #5, he says, “Obviously, you're a liar.” Why say “obviously” if no process of elimination has taken place?

Quote:
On 2013-03-19 05:22, kinesis wrote:
I've read Mind Guerrilla's post and take on-board what he is saying but have to disagree with most of it.

Just in case Mind Geurrilla's post put's you off NIX4, I'd like to reply to many of his issues

The running gag - If you screw up elsewhere during the show you should have already considered potential 'outs' so that your screw-up is invisible or appear intentional. Or introduce the card specifically for the routine explaining that there is great potential for things going wrong during this segment and that you have brought in an escape clause. Or just don't use the running gag at all. ADAPT the routine to suit your style which is what you should do with all routines.

Some recoveries from screw ups may be invisible to your audience, some may not. It's the latter variety that will may have audience members wondering “Why didn't he use his 2nd Chance?” I guess you could pull out a marker and change “2nd Chance” to “3rd Chance” but I'd think it best not to tempt fate and leave NIX4 as a standalone final effect.

Quote:
Working with people - The routine, like any chair routine, requires that participants are involved. If you are performing on stage you should have good audience management skills and script the routine so that you have several checks in place to ensure that every participant FULLY understands what is required of them. I think Paul does a good job in covering many possible scenarios

I was addresing the author's claim that the effect is “self working.” I suppose our definitions of that term differ.

Quote:
The Deceptive move - It's not even a move! It's explained and doesn't require any further explanation.

Perhaps I didn't communicate my point clearly. I was discussing the number of imo unnecessary illustrations. By not showing the move- but showing us what chairs and words look like, how to tear a sheet of paper off a pad, etc.- it makes one wonder to what extent the illustrations are provided to be helpful and to what extent they are there simply to take up space.

Quote:
This is an expensive book that is priced for experienced performers. If you are struggling with this then rethink your occupation.

Then you agree it isn't “easy” and “self working.” Glad we've found some middle ground. Smile

Quote:
Tearing paper from a pad, chairs and card construction - Mind Guerrilla, really, is this a point of contention you find worthy to include in your review.

Absolutely, as I was trying to convey how padded this book seems to be.

Quote:
I like NIX4, so does Bob Cassidy but what would he know

It's a fine effect if you're playing in a theater to a large crowd of people who don't know each other. Owing to the method and number of volunteers used, this is not the type of thing to do at, say, a business luncheon, before members of a private club, at a party, banquet, corporate show etc.
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Nice review mind guerilla Smile

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I've read hundreds of books on both magic and mentalism and yet I've never come across anything that is as meticulously explained as this.

Paul guides you methodically through each and every step of this multi phased routine providing the reader with in depth knowledge that could only have resulted from countless live performances.

The routine itself is beautiful, a true work of art. Each revelation building upon the last to an amazing climax fit to close the show of any serious mentalist.

The fact that this requires almost no skill whatsoever is a good enough reason to purchase this in itself but combined with the fact that this packs into an A4 folder makes this a must!

I yet again take my hat off to Mr.Brook for yet another first class product, you my friend are a genius!
As a mentalist you must always ask yourself what if! And throughout your life you should seek to ask and answer this question over and over again, only then will your wildest dreams become a reality!

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Tom : Thanks for the review!

"I like NIX4, so does Bob Cassidy but what would he know Smile " Yes I know the smile was there and probably said in jest but I find those comments very very annoying. They happen much too often. Just because a respected member in the community likes something does not mean all the rest are incorrect if they do not. Tom's opinion is just as important for me. Many authors, creators in the magic world scratch each other's backs so I take all these reviews with a pinch of salt. Not saying this is the case with Bob but I have bought an awful a lot of lets say "below par" material based on recommendations from the so called experts and often wonder do they actually perform in the real world and are they just helping their magic friend's out. My own personal example was Colin McLeod's recent work..I like Colin and enjoyed his previous creations but his lastest offering did not in my opinion match the positive reviews it got. I actually laughed when I read the book and went back over the "reviews" I offered my less than glowing review here hoping to give people a fair and balanced view rather than the typical,over hyped, all is well back slapping that usually goes on.

Negative reviews should be encouraged and treated with the same respect as positive ones. I often think people persuade themselves that what they purchased is actually good as they don't want to think that they have wasted their money ( I used to fall into that bracket). Person who offers a negative review as detailed as Tom's shouldn't have to defend it. I myself do a fair bit of corporate work, colleges and presentations to smaller groups so I appreciate the review.

Ok I'm off now to buy the next genius effect that will make my audience heads explode with extreme methods that fuse cutting edge technology with old school know how! Smile

P.S. Maybe I'm just cranky today Smile
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