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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » Allen Zingg's 'The Modern Billet' - Review by Tony Razzano (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ParaLabs - Thomas
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Several things have come across my desk that I believe are worthy of your consideration. At the top on my list is former PEA member Allen Zingg’s (creator of the Master Billet Course, the Zingg Wallet and more) new release, The Modern Billet. “What!!!???,” you say. “Another billet thing?” Yes, but hold on and please keep reading. This is unique and Allen provided several peeks/reads, techniques and routines that are new, creative and innovative. I thought I knew just about every billet technique out there, but as I said, this is new.

This set is really good. Allen clearly explains everything in lucid detail and camera angles are excellent. Now, it isn’t studio quality, but the quality is really very good and easy to watch.

Disc one starts off with Modern Billet Basics. Allen discusses the composition of the card, which is important. What about your card? Well, it depends on a few things. Allen shows the optimum composition of the card. His is glossy on one side and semi glossy on the other and a bit of fiber in the middle. I tried the methods with mine and mine are glossy on the front and plain on the back and it worked fine. But I am ordering new cards that will be the optimum. After all, I am a professional and want to only present the best of things. Whether you do this or not is up to you. Watch Allen’s presentation and decide for yourself.

Then Allen explains the preparation of the billet. Oh, stop complaining. It takes all of about 30 seconds to do. And it makes the method work perfectly. All you need is an Exacto knife, a straight edge and a cutting board. I my opinion, it is well worth the minimum effort to create a very powerful tool. One of the advantages to this technique is that you can peek ¾ of the billet and even the full billet.

Allen goes on in this section to give you some subtleties as well as the get ready and the basics of the “secret opening”. This is necessary for the method to work. Allen gives you five different ways to do the secret opening. Take your pick as to which suits you best. Now, there is a bit of noise with some of these techniques, and there is some with my favorite one. I cover it by simply talking as I do it. It’s not that loud, so don’t let that deter you. Allen does address this on the video, I just like my way better. There one or two that make no noise. Believe, me, it’s not an issue in performance.

At this point, Allen gives you three very deceptive ways to peek at the info. Number two is a variation of number one. All three are very good, and my personal favorite is number three. As with most peeks, you need to isolate where the person will write/draw. Several ways to do this are discussed, including having two spectators using the same billet. At this point, Allen describes more peeks such as the envelope peek, the full billet peek, peripheral peek, misdirection peek, other object peek ,folding peek and the downward peek.
Next angles are discussed. This can be a bit angly, but no more than Acidus Novis, which I have done surrounded many, many times. You experienced people will not have a problem with angles. For the rest of you, you are shown techniques to cover the angles.

The next part of this DVD gives you twelve routines using what you have learned so far. The last one is Fourth Dimensional Telepathy where you have each person’s card in her own envelope . No switches or Shaxon flap.

On to advanced peeks. There are seven advanced peeks, along with routines for them. By the way, in the advanced peek called Dingo, Allen gets a bit whimsical. He shows the routine in a manner that a late well known comedian might have done. Cute! Understand though, that this is a very good technique.

Ok I am going to take a break and get a snack. Don’t go anywhere, I will be right back…

Thanks for staying around.

Disc two. Yes, there is more and again, good quality stuff as on disc one.
We start off with switches. Yeah, I know you can do the Annemann switch and several others. But these are designed for this particular billet and they are really top notch. You can probably use some of them with other billets, and they will still be exceptionally deceptive. There are fifteen of them, and as I said, all top notch.
What’s that you say? You want to apply these switches to practical routines? Well, Allen KNEW that you would say that. After all, he is a mentalist! There are seven of them. One is called the Dream and is presented as a silent movie. It’s very enjoyable. Of course, you will do it live.

Next section is called the Slick Billet. There are seven routines here, and they use the glossy billets for the work. They are really fine routines, and might be worth getting glossy /semi glossy business cards. Great stuff in this section.

The very last section has six routines and are, in my opinion, even stronger than what you have learned so far. There is another 4DT routine, but in this one no envelope is ever opened to verify. Three envelopes and three billets.
This DVD set (2 discs) is four hours running time. Part of that is because of the wealth of information and part is because of the thoroughness in Allen’s teaching. Four hours is not a long time as you will learn so much from this.

Now a word about the routines. Ok, several words about the routines. Some are done with a participant in an outdoor café. Most, however, are explained by Allen in a very clear and thorough way, alone, in the studio. Then the explanation comes along after that. This choice of Allen’s takes nothing away from the explaining of the routine. He did very well with these.

There is one section on switches where there is no talking, just showing the switch from the front, then over Allen’s shoulder so you can see the working. These switches are, in a word, elegant.

Now, there is one routine where Allen is in a restaurant or diner with a participant (Kenton, in this case). The problem is that the audio is terrible. You can get most of it, but it is low quality. That is, however, the ONLY negative comment I have about The Modern Billet. This is a great set of DVDs teaching some great techniques for billet work.
The price is $150.00 and well worth it. You can get the set from Allen’s website, which is at magicoftheimagination.com I recommend that you jump right on this. Highest recommendation!
Stunninger
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The Modern Billet by Allen Zingg

Before I share my review of The Modern Billet by Allen Zingg, let me first say that a couple of years before purchasing this 2 DVD set, I bought Allen’s The Master Billet Course, which I found to be excellent.

In my opinion, anyone new to billet work can learn a great deal from studying The Master Billet Course. There are many classic billet techniques taught, along with a number of routines.

When I heard about The Modern Billet 2 DVD set, I was immediately intrigued. In reading the description, it was my perception (right or wrong) that this newer course offered, in some ways, an advancement in billet work. In other words, something new, different and better.
Because the price was fairly high, I was hesitant to purchase. But after a year or so of thinking about buying it off and on, I finally went ahead and made the purchase.

When The Modern Billet arrived, I watched the entire program. Within the first 30 minutes or so the core method is explained. I was quite disappointed at this point. Just my opinion, but The Modern Billet does not in any way offer an advancement or improved way to secretly obtain information written on a business card. Rather, it represents several steps backwards for several reasons:

1. Allen demonstrates The Modern Billet technique using his own business cards which are extra thick, made of three layers. The instructions for preparing the business cards/billets require certain preparation to each of the three layers. Preparations are made to both the front and the back of each card to be used as a Modern Billet. If you have business cards printed on ordinary stock, they aren’t going to function the same way as Allen’s cards, which have three layers. This is not to say your existing business cards cannot be used, I guess they could be. But if your cards are thin, the preparation Allen demonstrates is not going to work. You need three-layer card stock to prepare the cards the way Allen shows on the video.

2. I did not find the technique to be deceptive at all. Before Allen even gets to the live performances, he demonstrates several ways for how to access the information. They all “talk” and rather loudly. This simply would not be practical in most close-up performing situations. The first live demonstration was so bad it was painful to watch. It was not deceptive but very obvious what was going on. The poor performance did not help.

3. There are a number of excellent, full billet p&&ks available on the market today, most available for much less than The Modern Billet. Underhanded, Underlooked, The Slip Cut Turn-over Peek, and others, that are more deceptive, easier to execute, and require little or no preparation to individual cards. Even a simple p&&k wallet or case, like the $10 Ultimate Networking Tool, is vastly superior to The Modern Billet.

In my opinion, The Modern Billet definitely does not offer an advancement to billet work. It's not more deceptive, nor is it easier to execute compared to existing methods – including those taught in Allen Zingg’s own Master Billet Course.

This release was not for me, and I would not recommend it.

What would I recommend instead?

For billets: Switchcraft by Elliot Bressler remains my favorite resource on billet work. And Switchcraft is the best value in mentalism ever, hands down. Switchcraft + The Master Billet Course = a lifetime of billet knowledge to study and master.

Business card p&&ks: Underhanded by Atlas Brookings, Underlooked by Arthur.

Double blank card p&&ks: M.M.M. 1 & 2 by Scott Creasey.
John C
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I would add Pete turners ramblings on billets.
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Jed Maxwell
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On Nov 29, 2019, Stunninger wrote:
The Modern Billet by Allen Zingg

Before I share my review of The Modern Billet by Allen Zingg, let me first say that a couple of years before purchasing this 2 DVD set, I bought Allen’s The Master Billet Course, which I found to be excellent.

In my opinion, anyone new to billet work can learn a great deal from studying The Master Billet Course. There are many classic billet techniques taught, along with a number of routines.

When I heard about The Modern Billet 2 DVD set, I was immediately intrigued. In reading the description, it was my perception (right or wrong) that this newer course offered, in some ways, an advancement in billet work. In other words, something new, different and better.
Because the price was fairly high, I was hesitant to purchase. But after a year or so of thinking about buying it off and on, I finally went ahead and made the purchase.

When The Modern Billet arrived, I watched the entire program. Within the first 30 minutes or so the core method is explained. I was quite disappointed at this point. Just my opinion, but The Modern Billet does not in any way offer an advancement or improved way to secretly obtain information written on a business card. Rather, it represents several steps backwards for several reasons:

1. Allen demonstrates The Modern Billet technique using his own business cards which are extra thick, made of three layers. The instructions for preparing the business cards/billets require certain preparation to each of the three layers. Preparations are made to both the front and the back of each card to be used as a Modern Billet. If you have business cards printed on ordinary stock, they aren’t going to function the same way as Allen’s cards, which have three layers. This is not to say your existing business cards cannot be used, I guess they could be. But if your cards are thin, the preparation Allen demonstrates is not going to work. You need three-layer card stock to prepare the cards the way Allen shows on the video.

2. I did not find the technique to be deceptive at all. Before Allen even gets to the live performances, he demonstrates several ways for how to access the information. They all “talk” and rather loudly. This simply would not be practical in most close-up performing situations. The first live demonstration was so bad it was painful to watch. It was not deceptive but very obvious what was going on. The poor performance did not help.

3. There are a number of excellent, full billet p&&ks available on the market today, most available for much less than The Modern Billet. Underhanded, Underlooked, The Slip Cut Turn-over Peek, and others, that are more deceptive, easier to execute, and require little or no preparation to individual cards. Even a simple p&&k wallet or case, like the $10 Ultimate Networking Tool, is vastly superior to The Modern Billet.

In my opinion, The Modern Billet definitely does not offer an advancement to billet work. It's not more deceptive, nor is it easier to execute compared to existing methods – including those taught in Allen Zingg’s own Master Billet Course.

This release was not for me, and I would not recommend it.

What would I recommend instead?

For billets: Switchcraft by Elliot Bressler remains my favorite resource on billet work. And Switchcraft is the best value in mentalism ever, hands down. Switchcraft + The Master Billet Course = a lifetime of billet knowledge to study and master.

Business card p&&ks: Underhanded by Atlas Brookings, Underlooked by Arthur.

Double blank card p&&ks: M.M.M. 1 & 2 by Scott Creasey.


Thanks for an honest, unbiased review.

The shilling on this website is out of control.
"You're a mentalist!"
Stunninger
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Jed, glad you found my review valuable.

While not always true, it is my general feeling that when a product is relatively high priced, has been available for several years, and there are very few reviews from actual buyers, that is a red flag. Again, not always true, but in my experience probably more likely true than not.
252life
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On Dec 19, 2019, Stunninger wrote:
Jed, glad you found my review valuable.

While not always true, it is my general feeling that when a product is relatively high priced, has been available for several years, and there are very few reviews from actual buyers, that is a red flag. Again, not always true, but in my experience probably more likely true than not.


So true. Thx for the honest and thorough review as always.
Look for all the world like you're counting the brain cells in his cranium.

-Theodore Annemann
Stunninger
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My pleasure, 252.
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For a master course in modern billet technique, try Marc Paul's ACTS of Mentalism from Alakazam.

You get nine hours of instruction, routines, tips, and showstoppers. The first of the two multi-hour sessions is almost entirely devoted to his advances on classic billet work and how these techniques can be built into virtually any effect in mentalism.

His improvements and evolution of Annemann's Telepathy Plus -- a mind-reading effect with three people -- are worth the price of the whole set. In the final version, no billet is ever opened, and each spectator verifies that he's holding his own billet in his hand.

Note: The set costs half the price of the Allen Zing "Modern Billet."

Cheers,
Jerry
252life
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On Feb 17, 2020, jerdunn wrote:
For a master course in modern billet technique, try Marc Paul's ACTS of Mentalism from Alakazam.

You get nine hours of instruction, routines, tips, and showstoppers. The first of the two multi-hour sessions is almost entirely devoted to his advances on classic billet work and how these techniques can be built into virtually any effect in mentalism.

His improvements and evolution of Annemann's Telepathy Plus -- a mind-reading effect with three people -- are worth the price of the whole set. In the final version, no billet is ever opened, and each spectator verifies that he's holding his own billet in his hand.

Note: The set costs half the price of the Allen Zing "Modern Billet."

Cheers,
Jerry


I re watch it on a regular basis. Can’t say enough good about it.
Look for all the world like you're counting the brain cells in his cranium.

-Theodore Annemann
Stunninger
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Agree with you both. Marc Paul’s ACTS of Mentalism is exceptionally good.
rodrigez
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Always thought that some of best handling for billets can be found in Jas Jakutschs „Completely Mental“ booklets.
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