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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Curtis Kam's The Rat Pack... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mystre71
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Just watched this DVD and, what can I say that hasn't already been said...

The rat trap is REAL!!!
The risk is REAL!!!
and the danger is REAL!!!

You'll have to decide for yourself if it's worth the risk and danger.

Do I think it's worth it? The answer is yes!!!

I hope to pick up a rat trap tomorrow and start working on this stunt/effect.

In fact, while watching the DVD I came up with a fun presentation for the right setting and you have a fellow magi willing to work on this with you.

Best,
Joe
Walk around coin box work check it out here https://www.magicalmystries.com/products
Dr. K
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I just saw The Rat Pack DVD over this past weekend, and in fact, I got to watch it with Curtis as he saw it for the first time himself.

My impressions:

  • The production values are terrific. You will notice as you watch the DVD that the pictures are all crisp and clear, and that the lighting is so precise that there are literally no shadows being cast anywhere as you watch Curtis demonstrate each step.
  • Curtis goes over every detail of how to prevent any accidents happening, particularly to the spectators, during the performance of this, and it will be wise for people to follow all of his advice.
  • There are many tips on how to handle the trap and how to modify the mechanism so that it will snap correctly.
  • PLEASE KNOW THAT THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE RIGGING OR GIMMICKING THE TRAP. YOU ARE ACTUALLY GUARANTEEING THAT IT WILL INDEED SNAP SHUT. AND BELIEVE ME, IT DOES!
  • This is a real crowd pleaser. Just watch the audience's faces!
  • I have not performed this yet. I will write back when I do so. However, this DVD will give you everything that you need to know to do this trick as safely and with as much real magic as is possible.
  • The Miniature deck version is incredible, but watch your fingers!
Dr. K
Peter Loughran
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Mine should arrive any day now, I can't wait!

I actually broke my finger this fall playing around with my dog, and now I should have a proper story to go with the still swollen finger...Smile

P.
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rannie
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Congratulation's Curtis! I got my dvd 3days ago. Great stuff! Hope to have you here in Manila Philippines next year for our convention. Please give my regards to Glen Bailey.

Rannie Raymundo
"If you can't teach an old dog new tricks, trick the old dog to learn."

-Rannie Raymundo-
aka The Boss
aka The Manila Enforcer

www.rannieraymundo.com
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Peter Loughran
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Just got mine yesterday, and watched it over dinner with Lyndsy last night! What can I say that hasn't already been said?

This was awesome, I was so impressed with the production values, and wowed by some of the special effects! I especially thought the close up of the coin falling down on the rat trap in the intro looked totally cool! Very professionally done! I mean after talking with Steve about this project extensively I knew it would be good, but I had no idea it was going to be this good! Probably the most professionally produced magic DVD I have ever seen!

Curtis you should be proud, and yes I'm going to try this!

Steve - outstanding brother, but you already knew that!

After watching some of the previews of the next DVDs to come out from The Magic Bakery with Curtis and Reed, I can't wait. And after spending a lot of time with Reed this past August in Seattle, and watching him blow my mind over and over again (although I did have a few beers...JK Reed) I am really looking forward to some of this stuff and to see it produced by Steve!

I would like to add one thing, I know there are all these warnings and such, but After watching the DVD, I pretty much guarantee that most of you will and are going to be doing this effect, it's killer and appears to be dangerous, and it is, but it also appears that it can be pulled off with confidence, as long as you take the precautions.

P.
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Reed McClintock
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The effect is great without a doubt; regarding The Rat Pack DVD, the editing is beyond well done, I can’t think of a better word than expertly done, in my little bit of knowledge. Every publisher/creator in the world (including myself) should take note concerning the obvious attention to detail that Steve and The Magic Bakery put into this product.

In my humble Opinion I feel Mr. Steve Brooks will be raising the bar to the way we all buy magic. Quality, precision, professional, user friendly, service, and every other aspect. Steve is probably one of the most methodical people I know in this business and he floored even me with this incredible project. I knew it would look great, but I had no idea it would be this spectacular. From The DVD menus, intros and graphics to the special collectors gift inside and the insert - all of it is PHENOMINAL. Great Job Steve! (and this is his first DVD Project!) Also congrats to Curtis for being the first DVD release under the new Magic Bakery name.
Congrats again everyone - an Amazing job.
Reed
"Stuff is anything, but magic is everything"



Reed McClintock 2003







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Peter Loughran
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Hey Reed, God help us all, from watching the coming soon attractions on the DVD, I saw you have a twin! I don't think my brain could handle watching two of you at once! Smile A very cool special effect, I told Steve he should start making movies!

P.
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Steve Brooks
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I must tell you that it's very gratifying to hear that those of you brave enough to take the plunge are so pleased with The Rat Pack. Smile

We spent a lot of time on this project because we did not want to provide just a good product, but a GREAT product. The Magic Bakery has extremely high standards and our goal is to produce only the best material for the magic community. Thanks for letting the Bakery elves and I know that all our hard work is very much appreciated. The best is yet to come. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
kihei kid
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Quote:
On 2004-12-02 05:07, Steve Brooks wrote:
The best is yet to come.

I'll drink to that.
:cheers:
In loving memory of Hughie Thomasson 1952-2007.

You brought something beautiful to this world, you touched my heart, my soul and my life. You will be greatly missed.

Until we meet again “my old friend”.
Steve Brooks
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Those of you who are still undecided and are seeking more opinions on The Rat Pack DVD might want to check out the review that was just posted by SHANE over on the Visions website. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Curtis Kam
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And, anyone in the Mid Atlantic Area (Virginia, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Washington D.C.) wanting that personal demonstration that your neighborhood magic store just won't give you, come see me at the following lectures:

Curtis Kam' "Dangerous Notions" Tour

12/11/04: Divine Magic, Richmond, Va.

12/15/04: Denny and Lee's Magic, Baltimore, Md.

12/16/04: Marc De Souza's home, Pa.

12/17/04: Mingus Magic, Reading, Pa.

12/18/04: East Coast Magic, State College, Pa.

Come and experience it for yourself. Live dangerously!

See ya there...
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David Nelson
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I promised this review a long time ago and I apologize that it's taken this long to get to it.

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a friend of Steve Brooks and a great fan of Curtis Kam. Also, as a general rule, I dislike one trick videos. I'll get to the reasons for that a little later. That being said, I'll try to keep this as unbiased as possible.

In order to be thorough and accurate I sat through the entire video, the performance and the explanation as well as the extra features.

As everybody has already seen, this video teaches you how to reach into a rat trap and pluck the selected card from the deck but what hasn't been mentioned is that this video goes a bit beyond that. Curtis also discusses and goes into great detail about how to set up a dangerous stunt and maximize audience impact while minimizing danger.

Also, as has been mentioned before, the video quality and lighting is excellent. Everything can be seen clearly. The close ups actually show you the action and generally they make sense. Curtis will be explaining something and seamlessly we'll get a close up of exactly the right shot to illustrate the explanation. This is generally done well but, a couple of times, I get the feeling that an edit was made just to break up the monotony of an explanation. Curtis will be explaining something and the camera will cut to a close up or another shot and back without any apparent need. This isn't a bad thing. Like I said, I think Steve was just trying to keep things interesting during a long explanation. Overall the editing is slick and the video quality is as good or better than anything I've seen from A-1 or L&L.

My distaste for one trick videos comes from my desire to get full value for my money. A video with numerous good tricks will often have several ideas that I'll use, even if I don't use any of the effects that are taught. A one trick video is less likely to have ideas I'll use and I feel like I have to use the one trick or I've wasted my money. Also, one trick videos are often short. Why should I pay full price for a video that contains less information than most other videos? Based on this desire to get full value I consider a short video which teaches one method for one presentation of one effect to be a waste of my money unless I'm absolutely certain that I'll start using it. On the other hand, a good one trick video would go into a Marlo-esque study of various methods and presentations for this one effect. Curtis Kam's The Rat Pack falls in between these two extremes.

If one only watches the performance part of the DVD one could easily jump to the conclusion that this video only teaches one method with one presentation of one effect. The value of this DVD doesn't show up until you sit through all 50 minutes of explanation. Hopefully, you will like Curtis' method of lecture because you see a lot of it. He goes into a thorough and detailed explanation of every aspect of this effect as well as more general information about practicing and performing dangerous effects in general. Fortunately, Curtis has a wealth of information that I found to be very interesting and informative. Curtis speaks well and obviously had well organized notes since he didn't repeat himself and rarely used the words "uh" or "um". Consequently, the explanation was easy to sit through.

During the explanation phase of the video he goes into a thorough discussion of presentations for dangerous effects. How to make the most impact, how to clearly impress the audience of the danger to heighten interest and encourage them to keep a safe distance. Then he brings it together to explain how he applied these principles to this effect.

He then goes into a section on reducing risk, both to yourself and to the audience. As with the discussion of presentation, he discusses risk management as it applies to any effect and then gives you the rules he uses with the rat trap.

He lets you know how to alter the trap. Not to make it more safe. That's not his intention. Curtis alters the trap to make it more sensitive. He wants it to trip more easily to ensure that it will trip during performance for the most exciting and dangerous possible outcome. Once in a while the trap won't trip, Curtis also explains how to deal with that although it's not quite as exciting as when it does. During the performance video the trap doesn't trip at first and Steve made the decision not to reshoot it. He wanted to show that this is a real performance and a real possibility. If curtis had caught his hand and broken a finger he probably would have left that in as well Smile

Curtis also teaches audience management as it applies to dangerous stunts like this. Once again, he gives general advice that would apply to any dangerous stunt performed in a close up situation and then narrows it down to show how he handles the rat trap specifically.

Towards the end of the explanation I think Curtis might have run out of notes but was still trying to impart every piece of information regarding this effect he could think of. He started to use a few more "uh's" and repeated some of the early warnings and advice but this is minor. Curtis obviously has spent a lot of time working on this effect and knows it inside and out. That plus his professional performing experience means that he has lots of information to impart.

There are a lot of great ideas and great information in this DVD with regards to dangerous stunts but there are a few weaknesses.

Curtis expects a minimum level of knowledge about cards. Even though the effect requires that a card be controlled, a card control isn't taught. Card controls are everywhere and you are instructed to use your favorite but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Also, Curtis quickly explains a spot where he uses the gamblers cop but doesn't go into enough detail to learn the cop from this video. Once again, the information is readily available but Curtis expects the viewer to have access to this information elsewhere.

All in all, I enjoyed the video a lot more than I thought I would. I normally don't watch the explanations on videos since I prefer to read explanations. I believe that written text that has been refined by an editor is far easier to sit through than a magician stammering through the unrehearsed explanation of a trick as they try to remember all the details. Fortunately, Curtis knows his stuff and was well organized and thorough so the explanation was generally interesting.

Another thing I liked about this DVD is that Curtis doesn't teach just one effect in the video, he actually teaches three.

First, is the effect that shows up in the performance, the selected card is pulled from the jaws of a rat trap while it goes off.

Second, he teaches an encore with a mini deck. The method behind the mini deck guarantees that the trap will go off making it more exciting but the method, which is different from the first effect, makes it even more dangerous. I believe that if you're going to get hurt, it's going to be doing the mini deck encore. on the other hand, it's really stunning to see the cards shoot every where as you pull out the selected mini card. It almost looks like the trap goes off first and you pull the selected card out of the shower of mini cards that erupts from the trap.

Third, he discusses his ideas for doing a coin switch on the trap. I don't believe the coin switch is really a finished piece but he does give you enough information to do the trick.

Overall, the reasons to buy this video are as follows:

1. Multiple tricks with the rat trap

2. Thorough explanation of both the rat trap and dangerous stunts in general that can be applied to other effects of this type. Even if you don't want to do this effect, this information will help you get the most out of any stunt effects you might want to do.

3. This video is extremely well put together. It is as slick and professionally done as anything I've seen come from the magic community. There is music, sound effects, an introduction, excellent lighting, good sound quality, and well done close ups to display the techniques.

4. This is Steve's first DVD. He includes a collectible Wooden Nickel that you will need to complete your set years from now when a completed set is a valuable collector's item Smile

Reasons not to buy this video:

1. You don't like effects of this type or consider stunts to fall outside of the realm of magic. I actually happen to be of this category. After hearing Curtis's thoughts behind this effect I might experiment with it and see if I can work the presenation to make this effect coincide with my definition of magic. The entertainment value is obvious but it is, after all, more of a stunt than a magic effect.

2. You don't have a card control in your repertoire. As I said, Curtis doesn't teach a control in this DVD even though the method requires one. I'd also learn the gambler's cop somewhere else since Curtis uses it to make the effect more deceptive but only briefly explains it. Obviously, this isn't a video for the absolute beginner.

3. You don't like sitting through explanations of theory, history and methods of an effect. This video is almost all explanation and between The Magic Bakery's editing and Curtis's well organized presentation of the information it's generally very interesting. However, there is a lot of information that's covered so be ready to sit through approximitely 50 minutes of explanation for this one effect.

Overall, I was impressed. I hope this helps you make a decision whether this DVD is right for your library or not. I also hope that Steve is capable of maintaining this level of quality for future DVDs.

Dave
MagicMan1957
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Has ANYONE been performing this yet?....Reactions?

Has anyone gotten hurt doing this?
Martino
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A huge thank you to David for taking the time and effort to put together such a detailed and well weighted review. KUDOS!

Martin.
"There's a difference between not knowing how something is done and knowing it can't be done!" - Simon Aronson
David Nelson
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I'm glad you appreciated Martino. It's been tough to take the time and do it right but I think what I said gives you enough information to determine if it's right for your repertoire or not.

Dave
Devilix
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Is there a way to see this great piece of magic in action before making the decision to buy the DVD?
Steve Brooks
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Sure, attend a Curtis Kam lecture. Otherwise, no - there is no way to view the effect. If you have actually read all the posts in this topic and visited The Magic Bakery website, then you have all the information available. There are no video previews, sorry. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
sirbrad
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Great review David! I love reading long and thorough reviews such as that, almost as much as writing them. Smile
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
nate
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I made the alteration to the "trigger pedal" today ( hope that isn't considered exsposure) not the one to increase the sensitivity, but the one so that you can get the cards on there correctly, and now as soon as I set the trap it goes off as quickly as I let go of it. I know on the DVD Curtis said in testing this alteration is where he got hurt, but I am wondering if I did something wrong..any advice?? Thanks, Nate
Curtis Kam
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Nate,

I'm sorry to hear that the trigger is giving you trouble. The problem usually arises from the fact that when you modify the trigger plate, in the process you also tend to bend the plate near the part that contacts the release bar. As you know, it's a touchy balancing act getting the release bar to catch under the little bent section of the trigger plate. If you accidently bend the plate, you get a vertical section that does not stand straight up at 90 degrees. I think that is an unstable situation. You'd think that bending the vertical part towards the bar would make the catch hold longer. That's not always the case. Experiment, carefully, and you'll see what I mean.

I hope that makes some sense to you when you're lookng at the trap. If not, please post again. As these answers may be of general interest, let's keep them public, unless it later appears that you are having problems specific to you alone.
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