The All Seeing Eye (ASE) by Dan Harlan is a method to gather any piece of information written secretly by a spectator on a piece of paper. Before I watched All Seeing Eye, I couldn't help but be skeptical--From the trailer, it just seemed like all the other methods that enable the performer to ascertain secret information from a folded paper. After I watched Dan Harlan's instruction, I was pleasantly surprised with his original additions!
Difficulty: The difficulty level is geared towards beginners both in Harlan's teaching and in technicality. ASE is very easy to perform. It's a standard and well known method in mentalism that is used to achieve the effect, but where the real value is is in Harlan's structure, presentation, and additions. I'll get into those later in the bottom of this review.
A few positives:
-Like any center tear, peek, or switch routine in mentalism, the props are regular, everyday objects. If the required props (any pieces of paper + a writing utensil) are available, ASE can be performed impromptu. In his instructional video, Dan is honest and claims that it takes a few seconds of preparation to perform, explaining that it is almost impromptu. However, this preparation can be quickly done in front of the audience without arousing any bit of suspicion.
-Everything can be examined.
-They can keep the papers as a souvenir, which is a bonus if you choose to perform with your business cards.
-ASE is perfect for table hopping + avenues that require multiple performances because it instantly resets.
-Harlan's teaching is fantastic--it's very clear. He is thorough without rambling. While watching, it is obvious that ASE has been tried and tested. The video quality is very clear.
-This a great intro effect for beginners with billet work, but I can guarantee more experienced performers will come away with a new idea or with something learned. Even if you're a working pro, I'd recommend ASE--It has a few presentational touches that I think are essential for those who do any work with billets/tears/switches/peeks. I think this would be a wonderful addition to many walk around magician's repertoires.
A few negatives:
-The patter may seem a bit childish to some, or a little cheesy. Harlan's included patter will have to be modified for many performers. The presentation/patter fits with my personality/character, so I didn't have to do much modification.
-Some may say that the fact that two pieces of paper (the "all seeing eye" and their information) is in play (as opposed to a single piece of paper) has potential to complicate the plot and take away from some of the directness that other methods have. This is not an issue for me, since the plot of the effect remains simple (and able to be described in one sentence as The Professor notes.)
-It requires a few seconds of preparation. As I stated above, this can be quickly done in front of the audience before the performance.
-The sound gets a little weird/distorted mid-video, but it won't have any effect on learning the effect. It wasn't a distraction.
I promised earlier in this review that I would talk about Harlan's additions to this classic effect in mentalism. This is ASE's greatest strength. In billet effects, there is often no justification for the "revelation-of-secret-info-on-a-sheet-of-paper" effects; they are often performed just like that (hence the name I just coined). I've seen countless performers ask their audience to write down a piece of information. They will then take the sheet of paper, execute some action with it, and usually end with placing it in the spectators hand. They will then immediately revealing the name, date, or whatever was written down. While this may fool or even entertain the audience, this is the worst way to perform such an effect. What is the purpose in having someone write down information, only to tear the paper up and reveal the information? Why not just have the audience think of something, THEN reveal it?
What Dan's version accomplishes is that his presentation serves as a justification for every action completed by the performer. Every hand movement, transfer of objects, every word has some psychological purpose in his routine. This solves the main presentational problem of the center tear, peek, switch, etc. The writing of the information is justified through presentation. Harlan shows a great psychological understanding of the motivation behind movements, and this is very helpful in his teaching. This new presentation and way of approaching the "write and reveal" effects is worth this download. Although I have my own presentation that justifies the actions of such an effect, I enjoyed hearing Dan Harlan's take on it, and came away with new ideas. Any magician/mentalist, beginner to pro will benefit from this download.
Disclaimer: I do not write reviews without "field testing" the product. ASE does very well in performance, and I did not encounter any obstacles.
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This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 23 July, 2016.