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Digits of Deception (Alan Rorrison)

Use easy-to-make gimmicks to perform miracles with cards and household objects


The Big Blind Media videos that I'm personally most familiar with are nearly all on card magic. As anyone experienced with their products will know, they are among the best in the business when it comes to producing high quality and well produced magic videos and DVDs. But what I didn't realize until recently, is that Big Blind Media has been expanding their range of products into other genres: mentalism, street magic, and tricks with money, dice, and rubber bands. So I was pleased to discover one of their brand new DVD releases, Digits of Deception (DVD) featuring Alan Rorrison. Get a taste of the video in the official trailer here.

Listed in their "Easy Moves" category, this is a collection of eight different impromptu style tricks, performed with a range of different household and other common objects. In other words, these tricks with ordinary items like a key, a ring, a coin, a sharpie, a lighter. Of course there's a generous contribution of tricks with playing cards as well - what collection of tricks would be complete without them?! But besides card magic, impromptu magic that can be performed with everyday household objects and props is one of my favourite genres to perform, simply because there are often opportunities in ordinary life to put this magic into practice.



But who is Alan Rorrison? If you're coming from the world of card magic, his name might need some introduction. Born in Port Glasgow, Scotland, when he starts talking you'll immediately recognize the local flavour that he gives the English language, courtesy of where he grew up. And for someone who was started out as an apprentice welder out of high school, he's certainly accomplished a lot since becoming a professional magician. But when you start magic as a hobby at age 9 like Alan did, you never know what success you might have. And success he's certainly had, first producing a few successful releases of his own (Smoke 2.0 is a true reputation maker that will make you feel like James Bond!). He then moved on to working as a magic consultant and prop building, before being approached by the world of TV.

Today Alan is considered to be one of the UK's top creative magicians, and has done consultant work for big name TV stars like Dynamo and Troy. Add to that his performances at Hollywood's Magic Castle and London's Magic Circle, and it's obvious that he has some solid credits behind him as a magician, creator, and consultant. The esteemed Paul Wilson gives him this wonderful description: "If James Bond was a magician, Alan Rorrison would be Q!" So with some understanding of his credentials, and the kind of material he's going to be teaching us, let's check out this new DVD!



Here are the eight tricks taught on Digits of Deception:

1. Rory's Rise:
Effect: A card is inserted into the bottom of a deck but remains outjogged, and in front of your spectator's eyes it magically disappears into the deck and reappears sticking out near the top.
Comment: Ray Kosby's "Raise Rise" is the inspiration for this trick, and Alan teaches you how to make the needed gimmick he's come up with for it. Take your Ambitious Card routine to the next level - literally! Sometimes a visual touch like this will really add that special something to your existing magic.

2. Key Thing:
Effect: Starting with a borrowed ring and a borrowed key, you push the key through the ring - even though it can't possibly fit!
Comment: This can be performed impromptu with genuinely borrowed objects, a real strength of this routine! Alan also explains how to do this with a coin instead of a key.

3. Fries With That:
Effect: Four Aces each vanish from four separate packets, then reappear in the final packet, but then vanish again and are found among the other cards.
Comment: This is a play on the classic MacDonald's Aces, hence the name of the trick. It requires building a custom gimmick (it's not the usual gaff for this trick, and card splitting is involved) and some basic sleights like the Elmsley - something that fans of packet tricks will already know.

4. Bud's Bottle:
Effect: This routine is about penetrating a borrowed bottle with a borrowed and signed coin.
Comment: Although this is genuinely impromptu and doesn't require the usual kind of gimmicks used for this type of effect, you will need the right conditions and setting, i.e. a one-on-one performance where the lighting and type of bottle used are ideal, and where you don't hand out everything for lengthy inspection afterwards.


5. Static:
Effect: With the help of some "static", a card on top of the deck shoots up and sticks to your fingers, before descending slowly back onto the rest of the deck.
Comment: This very visual levitation effect can be angle sensitive, but it can look stunning and be very fooling. And the gimmick needed literally will take you just a few seconds to make.

6. Sharpie Bend:
Effect: A Sharpie held in your hand melts and bends at 90 degrees, and then can be handed out for inspection, being now permanently fixed at right angles.
Comment: People familiar with metal-bending tricks will warm to this very quickly. Care will be needed in making this particular gimmick, although it won't take a lot of work. When performed well, the illusion can be thoroughly convincing.

7. Aces Out:
Effect: Four Aces are shown in a packet, and when your spectators choose one it vanishes and appears in the middle of a deck - in which all the other cards are shown to be blank!
Comment: Plots with blank cards are among my favourites (e.g. "I Dream of Mindreading" by John Lovick) and this is a particularly fun one. You'll be making a gaffed deck, but after that it's pretty much self-working, and the astonishing payoff can be worth it!

8. Be Safe:
Effect: A sticker is instantly removed from a lighter, and then thrown at the lighter where it instantly is attached again permanently, and can even be examined.
Comment: It won't come as a surprise that the paddle move is your friend here, but it is a practical application of the Jumping Jems idea without needing a gimmicky looking rod that screams "magic shop".



As part of their promotion of this video, Big Blind Media has released several videos that show performances of selected tricks, so you can see some of these visual tricks for yourself:
● Rory's Rise:
● Key Thing:
● Fries With That:
● Static:



Content: The DVD has around 2 hours of footage, so there's a lot of material here. It's been rightly noted that some of these tricks are good enough to have been released as stand-alone products. So the fact that you get eight different effects bundled into one package makes it a good value video.

Variety: Eight tricks might not seem like a lot for someone who is used to videos with a dozen or more card tricks. But if a stand-alone trick was really good, would you buy it? Probably. Here you don't just get one trick, but over half a dozen. They might not all capture your imagination equally, but there's bound to be some you can use.

Card magic: Even so, there is a strong emphasis on card magic, with half of the tricks employing playing cards. If you're hoping for something that's exclusively impromptu magic with daily objects this might be a minus for you. I happen to love card magic, so it suits me to add some gimmicks to my card routines, while learning some other impromptu magic at the same time.

Impromptu magic: Besides the tricks involving cards, the other tricks involve daily objects: a key and a ring, a coin and a bottle, a sharpie, and a lighter. While this isn't a DVD exactly overflowing with impromptu magic, I do like the fact that besides the usual card fare, I'm getting the opportunity to branch out and explore some practical magic with household objects, and which I can incorporate in daily life when the opportunity allows. I probably wouldn't suggest it as a first choice for someone wanting to build up their repertoire with impromptu magic, because there are other videos and books with a much bigger range of effects. But the ones that are included here are solid.

Visual: Many magicians have had a fondness for visual magic. The kinds of effects that stun spectators are often ones where the impossible happens right in front of their eyes, and those are the kind of tricks you'll find in this video. There's a place for longer draw-out pieces that are built up with careful patter, but what the tricks in this collection let you do is perform something impossible right under your spectator's nose, leaving them astonished and even gob-smacked. This is the kind of visual magic that speaks for itself, and can leave a lasting impression.


Gimmicks: If there is a common thread running through the different tricks contained in this video, it's that you'll be building your own gimmicks. For the most part, however, these will simply require objects you already own, and will take you a matter of minutes at most, and they're surprisingly easy to create. We're not talking here about complex projects that are reserved for experienced magicians with significant technical expertise in the arts-and-crafts department. They're all quite simple, and can be made quite quickly, without needing to go out and buy specialized magic items or accessories.

Difficulty: The main aim of the simple home-made gimmicks most of these tricks require is to enable you to perform magic that would be otherwise impossible. So the gimmicks do the work for you, and as a result the tricks themselves aren't that difficult to perform. Some of them will require some practice to master and perform smoothly without getting caught. But for the most part the difficulty level is not high.

Format: As always, Big Blind Media knows how to put together a quality DVD. Navigation is easy and smooth, and it's easy to find the section that you're looking for, and go straight to the performance or teaching for each trick.

Production: Once again, this is Big Blind Media we're talking about here. Their videos come with the highest production values you could want. This video is no exception, and the BBM team is at the top of their game in bringing us the best in sound quality, lighting, and camera angles, making our watching and learning experience a true pleasure.



Card magic is really my first love, and what I like about Alan Rorrison's Digits of Deception DVD is that he shares some great ideas for magicians like me who enjoy tricks with cards, that can supplement what we're already doing. His home-made gimmicks are relatively easy to put together, and allow me to accomplish small miracles I would otherwise not be able to do with a regular deck of cards.

I also like the fact that this collection throws in several other tricks that I can incorporate on a day-to-day basis. I can't see myself using all them equally, and as a non-smoker I'm not likely to have a lighter around for "Be Safe". But being able to perform illusions like penetrating a borrowed ring with a borrowed key or coin will come in handy because there's a whole lot of practical settings where there is opportunity to do this. Alan Rorrison will certainly teach you what you need to do that and more.

This release won't be for everyone, given the subject material, the use of gimmicks, and the number of tricks included. But considering how much money many of us might fork out for a single effect, and the fact that these require gimmicks that are easily and quickly put together, in Digits of Deception we get a unique collection of magic that you won't easily find elsewhere. Bear in mind that the creator is someone who has got the attention of TV shows, and has the skills it takes to produce the kind of magic you see on the screen with Dynamo. This video offers us a great opportunity to learn from someone who can teach us the kind of strong visual magic tricks that audiences love.

Most of us will never perform on TV ourselves, but we're certain to have fun fooling family and friends with Alan Rorrison's brand of entertaining magic. And perhaps if we're a professional entertainer we'll even incorporate some of it into our repertoire, or use it in impromptu or walk-around situations. I just know that I like this guy enough that I want to check out his first video set, Fingers of Fury Vol. 1 (Weapons of Choice) & Vol 2 (Death By Cards)!


Want to learn more? Visit the publisher Big Blind Media or check their social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube).
Product pages for Digits of Deception DVD: Big Blind Media and Murphy's Magic.
More Alan Rorrison: Fingers of Fury (Vol 1 - Weapons of Choice), Fingers of Fury (Vol 2 - Death By Cards)

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