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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Review - Dani Daortiz Reloaded (disc 3) (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Disc 3 finds Dani exploring more of his favorite topics. Once again, Dani follows in the footsteps of his previous set, Utopia, in devoting this disc to issues of psychology and theory. As this disc features Dani discussing concepts, as opposed to demonstrating and explaining effects, the specific contents are nearly impossible to capture in a simple summary. Nevertheless, I will try to represent the general tenor of Dani's thoughts without crossing the line into exposure.

The set itself is divided into 4 sections: Expectations; Fan Force; Fishing; and Magician's Choice.


Dani begins this section by providing a hugely important insight which I would paraphrase as follows: what spectators remember is not what they see. It's the sensations and feelings the performance created that leaves the more lasting impression.

Dani provides the example of a magician who is proficient at false shuffling, who can spend considerable time doing his technically flawless false shuffles during a given performance, but without the proper framing, the shuffling may pass unnoticed by spectators. Conversely, a magician who doesn't false shuffle at all, but who keeps the pack at a distance from his own hands, with a casual 'any card is possible' attitude, may be given more credit in a spectator's later recollections for having had an un-ordered deck with free choices for the assistants.

Dani also addresses ways to negate certain audience suspicions before they ever arise. And to that point, several more examples are provided detailing how to emphasize cleanliness of method, and fairness of procedure, in the minds of the spectators.

I would also point out that Dani spends considerable time discussing specific contexts in which it's better to buck the conventional wisdoms of the magic community. For instance, we learn:

*when it's better to NOT have a spectator show their card to everyone else
*when it's better to NOT practice your magic in front of a mirror
*when a magician SHOULD announce the point of an effect before it happens
*why a magician SHOULD NOT want to hear that he/she has 'fast hands'

To demonstrate some of the points made above, Dani demonstrates a card effect.

Effect: The deck is split in two for the purpose of having two selections chosen. One spectator is handed half the cards and asked to glimpse a card, while the second spectator selects a card from the half being held by the magician. After both halves are separately mixed, the magician deals cards to the table and asks spectator 2 to call out "stop". Miraculously, the card they stopped at is their selection. The first spectator, who has maintained control over the deck throughout is asked to countdown cards from his half till he arrives at a number that only he is thinking of. Once again, the card he stops at is his own selection.


From the description above you might conclude that this is a knockout routine, but don't get too excited. There are some 'quirks' inherent to this handling that reduce some of the cleanliness of the description. Dani himself mentions that it's not the strongest CAAN but it is useful in demonstrating the points he's been making about managing expectation; maintaining a casual performance attitude; and framing actions so that they will be remembered in a particular way. I would agree that this is not the strongest CAAN - those looking for better versions can refer back to the ACAAN in the C10 section of disc 2.

We finish the section by discussing how to prime the spectator for the climax of an effect, and how that priming can help a magician, particular by lowering, or removing, certain expectations. Dani refers to all the techniques provided in this section as the equivalent of pressing "record" on the spectator's memory so that they will remember specific sensations when they press "play".


Section 2 is devoted to the Fan Force. Dani begins by identifying one of the primary features of the fan force: it's easier in his view to give the spectator the sensation that their selection was mental and not physical, because a card was never handled. He makes a good point.

A brief context for the move is provided, along with prior handlings of the move found in the literature, including variants by Houdin, Vernon, Berglas, and Dingle. Dani goes onto teach his own version of the force. Ample attention is given to the manner in which the deck should appear before requesting the taking of a selection; specific wordings to use and ones to avoid; as well as ideal methods for positioning the performer's body, and fan, relative to the taking spectator.

Several variations of the force are provided including ones that resemble more a 'spreading of the cards' than an actual fan. There are far too many details and variations provided to do justice to them all here. Suffice it to say that Dani provides a host of techniques that range from the semi-automatic, to the (somewhat more) technical and it's fairly certain that one or more of the ideas will be useful to card workers.

For my money, the real value here is in watching, and listening to, Dani's use of language. Through his words, he effectively commands a spectator to see a card roughly where he wants them to too, re-frames the experience as a mental selection of any possible card, and then phishing out the identity of the selection, and ALL of this seems above board and fair. More than the physical techniques that he teaches, it is this combination of attitudes and gestures that leave the lasting impression. And this of course ties back into Dani's point in the disc's first section about spectators not really remembering the reality of a performance, but rather the sensations they felt during the performance.


The third section of the DVD is devoted to the art of "phishing" and Dani begins with an effect:

Effect: Mental Ambitious
A spectator glimpses a card inside the deck, but does not reveal its identity. Now with seemingly no "magical moves", the thought of card begins to "rise" in the deck as confirmed by the spectator on subsequent spreads of the cards. To conclude, the name of the selection is finally revealed, and the top card is immediately turned-over revealing the just-named card.


This is an effect that leaves me a little cold. While the premise is clear, and it's true enough that the magician doesn't do anything that would obviously tip the method, I don't feel that more is gained by learning the card's identity only at the end, than we would in a traditional ambitious (think Tommy Wonder) where the cards are handled a little less, and a little more gingerly. Again, Dani doesn't claim that this is a showpiece, and I think some people will like the jazzy vibe that this routine has going for it. I just don't see myself opting to perform it.

The rest of this section is a combination of different ploys and stratagems that magicians can use to guide and identify a spectator’s selection. Many crafty language ideas are presented, and yes, they work in English as well as in Spanish.

I don't feel that it's my place to repeat too many of the specifics provided, but I can say that it is my favorite section of content on the disc. Some of the material reminded me greatly of the Think a Card section of The Berglas Effects - those of you who have consumed both will know what I mean. And again, it's the use of language that really stands out. Dani gives us phrases and ideas to use at the onset of an effect; during the body of performance; and at the moment of effect climax. And it all works together to help the performer suss out the identity of a selection; hide all evidence that the sussing occurred; and provide proof that the performer was always in control of events.

Effect - Card to Wallet (as seen by spectators)
The magician announces that this is the Card to Wallet effect, and removes a wallet from his trousers pocket - leaving it in plain view. Cards are dropped to the table and a spectator is asked to freely note one and then shuffle the pack. A final confirmation is given that the selection resides inside the deck, before the magician gathers the pack and gestures towards his wallet. Though the selection has not been revealed, the magician declares it has disappeared and traveled to his wallet. All the cards are now run from the deck into a pile on the table but none are the spectator's mental selection. The magician cleanly removes a playing card from a wallet compartment and only now is the identity of the selection revealed. It is the card from the magician's wallet.


FInally a powerful routine to really knock your socks off. And the great news is that the effect is rather easy to do, and mostly practical. The method is related to an idea that Dani first presented in Utopia, and is based on ideas that Al Koran, Bob Farmer, and Simon Aronson have also explored. It also reminded me of "Your Lucky Card", David Regal's effect from the Hit the Road DVD. The method is quite different, and the Regal effect is a prediction while Dani's is a card-to-impossible, but in other ways the effects appear similar, and the parallel use of the wallet means most performers would have to chose one effect over the other for regular use. I mention this only because I have kept Regal's effect in my wallet since the day I first saw Hit the Road. Dani's version is powerful enough that it has me considering making the switch. Probably won't happen, but given the esteem I have for Regal's effect, that’s still saying something.


The final section of this DVD explores the familiar territory known as the magician's choice. This is not a full-fledged exploration of the larger role of equivoque, for that I would recommend other titles. Rather, it is a hodgepodge of concepts, phrases, and strategies for dealing with very specific contexts that may arise during performance.

As in other parts of this DVD, Dani is very focused on the use of language. Specifically, he is looking for ways to "frame" the experience of the selection in such a way that the magician's role seems natural, minimal, and expected. As he did earlier in the set, Dani provides expressions to avoid, as well as ones to use. He also spends some time talking about how the order of our words makes a huge difference so that two sentences with the same exact words, but spoken in a different order, will be processed differently by the spectator.

Dani also expands the role of magician's choice into something that can be useful not just in the selection of a card, but also decisions throughout the performance such as whether or not to shuffle; or change a card that’s been selected for a new one, etc. I find that particularly powerful because of how often equivoque techniques are built exclusively around card selections. Dani is essentially hinting at the power of the technique for other less-obvious purposes.

As with the other 3 sections of this DVD, there are so many thoughts, suggestions, and tools here to add to your performances that I couldn't possibly discuss even half of it in this forum. Once again, I feel confident that every worker will get several ideas of value in this discussion.


This was undoubtedly the hardest disc of the set to make it through. There are so many ideas thrown at the viewer that it can even feel a bit overwhelming. I had to watch the disc twice, and take notes in order to really feel like I had processed the content. I have a feeling that I won't be the only person who feels that way.

And while there is a trove of great information in this disc, I will admit that I would have liked to see just a couple more powerful effects to complement the material. Ultimately Dani gives us three routines, but two (for my money) aren't viable performance pieces, and the third, while beautiful, does have some practicality issues. It's true that the third disc of Utopia followed a similar format, but there we were at least treated to several of Dani's most notable performance pieces, including the iconic imaginary-deck classic force, as well as The Pendulum. Here, only the Card to Wallet comes close and it feels like an oasis in an otherwise dense platter.

On a practical note, I would recommend that anyone watching this DVD do so with subtitles. This was the first time in my viewing experience with Reloaded that I felt a bit lost by Dani's command of English. Turning on the subtitles helped immeasurably.

Finally, I will also mention that there are some great concepts presented in the Bonus section including a force that was inspired by Lennart Green, as well as a way to combine classic force and phishing ideas in your card work.

I'm anticipating the final DVD of this set, which is devoted to Semi-Automatic Card Magic. Through the first three discs my feeling is that the material has leaned heavier on techniques, methods and principles, than effects. I'd like to see those tables turn on the last disc.
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Profile of landmark
Very thorough, interesting review. Thanks!
steve ehlers
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Profile of steve ehlers
Dani refers to this disk as psychological and I felt that the ideas presented here were terrific. This disk combined with the psychological disk in Utopia were my favorite from both disks. To me they were the most valuable. Both sets are in my opinion are invaluable to anyone trying to improve their magic.

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Thank you for your thoughtful review.
Northern California
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Review - Dani Daortiz Reloaded (disc 3) (1 Likes)
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