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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » INSIDE LOOK: The Informant by Bobby Motta (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Raymond Singson
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INSIDE LOOK: The Informant by Bobby Motta
An Initial Review by Raymond Singson
GET IT HERE: http://www.ellusionist.com/the-informant-by-bobby-motta.html

The act of reading someone's mind is one of the strongest-- and most personal-- things you can do as a performer. Over the past three years, I've really focused on studying and exploring mentalism, trying to find a variety of ways to recreate or enhance that experience for people. I already own a wide variety of different peek wallets and impression devices, but I'm always looking for more organic methods to secretly acquiring personal information. I think the Informant is a great addition to the Ellusionist line, and its combination of principles make it a really versatile utility device.

As an impression device, the Informant uses the same technology as the Psypher Pad by B. Smith. Those familiar with Psypher will appreciate how the Informant produces an undeniably clear impression of a written message in most environments. The gimmick is really cleverly hidden within the wallet; the participant can freely handle it to write a message and not discover how one could possibly acquire the information. With that, however, reset for the impression, is somewhat inconvenient with the supplied eraser. In order to reset the impression gimmick with the supplied eraser, it has to be removed from the wallet completely. This can be slightly impractical for walkaround work. Fortunately, the eraser can be replaced with a stronger device that most magicians likely already own. With a stronger eraser, the impression gimmick can remain in the wallet as it's reset in between walkaround performances. While the impression is often clear and distinct, I occasionally had problems reading it in low-lit environments like bars and nightclubs. For more casual environments like street work, schools, and restaurants, I think most will enjoy using the impression device often.

Related to the function of the impression device, the supplied pen in the package is a somewhat hokey version of the trick/reveal Sharpie that Ellusionist sells on the website. In my opinion, I think the pen looks really off-putting. Fortunately, Sharpie sells similar keychain pens at most office supply stores like Staples and OfficeMax; the bodies of these pens can replace the one supplied in the Informant package. Bobby Motta briefly notes how to maintain and customize the gimmicked pen. Those familiar with Psypher will already be familiar with the required process. I think the idea of putting the impression device into the wallet and hooking the pen on to a key chain is brilliant; it allows the performer to always be ready to perform at least one (significantly) strong effect.

As a peek device, in my opinion, the Informant really improves upon the classic Sight Unseen Case by Mark Strivings. After the information is returned to one side of the wallet, it remains completely hidden from all angles until the performer is ready to peek it. I believe this is a great characteristic, as the wallet can remain in plain sight until the performer psychologically primes the audience to completely forget about it in presentation. Bobby Motta credits Chris Kenworthy’s Telethought Wallet for inspiration, but the Informant uses a more rudimentary/low-tech method of acquiring the peek. If the information is returned to the other side of the wallet, the performer can get an immediate, real-time peek as the wallet is returned to the pocket, but one should keep aware of angles. Either way, as a peek device, the Informant is really versatile. Bobby teaches three methods of acquiring the information as a traditional peek device. If the impression device of the wallet fails, the versatility of the peek functions will cover all bases. I think the combination of these features make this a really interesting product.

The Informant can also be used as a secret writing device on both sides of the wallet. The package comes with one Blackmail envelope, enabling one to perform some uncanny, direct predictions. Having a Blackmail envelope readily available allows one to perform swami gimmick miracles without the actual swami gimmick. What I particularly enjoy about using Blackmail with the Informant, is that the Informant actually preserves the gimmicked envelope during performance! Those familiar with Blackmail will know how extensive use of the envelopes may gradually lead to tell-tale discrepancies. The Informant allows the performer to use the gimmick extensively while reducing its wear and tear. For those more comfortable with traditional swami gimmick or pocket-writing work, the other side of the wallet provides direct access to the inside of the wallet. Again, the wallet is extremely versatile in its uses.

The Informant also features the Out to Lunch principle. I was slightly disappointed to see that no ideas or effects were featured or taught using this principle, but Bobby does mention there is a plethora of material in magic literature regarding its applications. The Out to Lunch principle can be used in spirit writing effects, magic revelations, and pseudo hypnosis. One of my favorite uses is by Jay Sankey: the performer has a participant commit five basic shapes drawn on a business card to memory and sign the card once all the shapes are ingrained in the participant’s mind. After apparently inducing a psychological trance, the performer has the participant forget one of the shapes he saw only seconds before. The same principle can be used to have a spectator forget his/her own name, lose the ability to read, or even predict another person’s PIN code. I honestly think that its simplicity makes the Out to Lunch principle often overlooked, but it facilitates a lot of great material.

The actual wallet is an attractive one and very well made of genuine leather. The stitching is really durable so it should last a lifetime. It is designed to mimic the popular minimalist wallets to retain a slim profile in any style of wardrobe from casual jeans and t-shirt to more formal attire. It does not have the traditional bi-fold bill compartment, but it can easily hold a couple folded bills on either side of the wallet. My wallet comfortably holds 10 bills (some gaffed for other effects), two forms of ID, three credit cards, five business cards, a couple train tickets, post-it notes, Blackmail, and Yigal Mesika’s Inner Circle device. I carry the wallet in my front hip pocket without any significant bulge. This can easily be used for an everyday wallet while primed to utilize any of the features outlined above.

Instead of a DVD, the package comes with a secret link to instructional videos. I particularly like this feature; I actually was able to watch the instructional videos on my phone during my train ride home from the city. Bobby’s a really personable teacher and he spends adequate time highlighting all the key features of the wallet and sharing multiple handlings for peeks and other techniques. The live performances (as seen on the trailer) are all entertaining and show the impact of using the utility device.

Overall, I think The Informant is a really solid contribution to the magic/mentalism community. Those who are already familiar with comparable items will still appreciate the particular blend of features/utility that The Informant possesses. Not many multi-feature mentalism wallets also double as an organic impression device. This wallet looks and feels normal, and with the right attitude, will be completely invisible as a prop during performance. I will definitely use this.

RS.
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” -- James Arthur Baldwin



raymond.singson@gmail.com
DynaMix
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Thanks for the awesome review! I am currently setting mine up but I'm curious as to the extra device you use to erase during walk around? Can you possibly PM me as this sounds quite practical!
Darcy.W
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Thanks for the great detailed review
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Richard Doyle
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Great review Smile
John C
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Do these ship from the US?
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Tony Iacoviello
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John, I wondered that myself at $14 for the lowest shipping price, but yes.
John C
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Quote:
On Oct 21, 2014, Tony Iacoviello wrote:
John, I wondered that myself at $14 for the lowest shipping price, but yes.


I ordered one. It shipped from San Fran for 10$ USPS priority still think was excessive. But I want the wallet. At least right now I think I want it.
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TonyBrand
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Thanks for the thorough review, Ray! Still not sure I'm sold on the whole "wallet as an *mp device" premise, but there appear to be quite a few other features built-in that make this a worthwhile addition. It's also aesthetically pleasing, which I find to be a bonus.

I'd be curious to know John and Tony's thoughts on The Informant after receiving it. Speaking of which, I have a feeling this thread may be better suited for Inner Thoughts.

Best,

Tony
Tony Iacoviello
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Tony, I got mine last week.

I pretty much agree with Ray's comments.

It looks nice, functions as a peek wallet (similar to the original Outlaw wallet peek) on both sides. And I love the added OTL feature (I've bern using the Stockholder as an OTL wallet since it was released).

Ray's comment about the impression being light is true with mine as well. The writing is grey.
It works well in well lighted areas, but if lighting isn't great, it isn't readable at all. I may break out some green stuff and try that.

The Black Envelope that came with it is a nice idea.
But you can also use the wallet for PW and do it on a card inside the wallet.

Right now I am carrying the wallet as a second wallet, it has business cards, my subway/bus card, my Owl card, and a few other things I might need access to on a regular basis.

Tony
TonyBrand
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Thanks, Tony. Really appreciate the information.

I just ordered the wallet and will share my thoughts when I get it. Hoping it can replace my everyday wallet, but we'll see.

Also, if you're in the market for this - MAGIC10. You're welcome.
TonyBrand
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Just received my Informant. Will post a review in Inner Thoughts after I've had a chance to experiment. Initial impressions are very good. High-quality materials and something I'd actually like carrying with me.
John C
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Wow Tony you ordered on the 22 and received it on the 25!

I ordered it on the 21st paid extra for usps priority. Still waiting. I thought it would take two
days since I paid extra.

Penguin spoiled me. Even from CA they often reach me the next day.

Hello Ellusionist.
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TonyBrand
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Honestly, I was surprised it got to me so quickly! I'm glad it did.

Posted my review downstairs.
John C
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I realized I ordered two items that day. The informant and solver swindle from Dave Forrest. For some reason neither order went thru.

Oh well. I'll try again.
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markschou
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I have had my wallet for 2 weeks or so... Already falling apart. Anyone else have this happen? Its not very good quality.
John C
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I've had mine since November 1. Carry it every day. Not a hint of wear. Perfectly happy with it.
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Ceierry
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I'm looking for one too, but that shipping to EU is killing me Smile
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DynaMix
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I've been using this for a while and just some notes on "interoperability" :

My psypher equipment and this are perfectly interchangeable.
Richard Osterlinds perfect center year pads fit snugly in the main pocket (I only put a few sheets in). Also what I tell the spectator to write on.
A new york metro card cut slightly is the perfect cover for the imp.
Dr. Fellshadow
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Quote:
On Oct 22, 2014, Tony Iacoviello wrote:

Right now I am carrying the wallet as a second wallet, it has business cards, my subway/bus card, my Owl card, and a few other things I might need access to on a regular basis.

Tony


Tony, just curious what is the Owl Card?
Tony Iacoviello
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The Owl is a credit card sized illuminated magnifying glass.

http://www.amazon.com/Owl-Lite-Credit-Si......ing+card
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