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Pen-nomenon - Trick Review

Official Review

December 19th, 2017 2:59am
Reviewed by Dr. J. M. Ayala de Cedoz
This is another product from Steven X which uses one of his first releases called "Spinnerets". That system is workable enough but if you are not a fan of it, you can either skip this product or use a different type of thread reel system and read on.

The main effect is that you have a card "selected" from a deck and you bring out a pen and pad of paper. After a few seconds, the pen animates and apparently a ghost or spirit writes something on the paper. It is then revealed to be the name of the selected card.

This idea is extended beyond playing cards using name initials and numbers. He also at various points makes use of the Out to Lunch principle in combination with this effect.

There are plenty of arts and crafts within this DVD and even the set-up for the pen/marker/pencil for the basic effect requires a little bit of arts and crafts, though it is not difficult.

The main effect uses a hookup which is pretty smooth (and smart in one case), however, it will not work for everyone. He offers three different ways to set up, one of them being a one-time use of the gimmick every time you use that set-up, which means refills are necessary if you choose to do this more than twice as only two gimmicks are included with this DVD. The other two set-ups allow you to reuse the gimmick but he does not teach you how to reset them unless you walk around with the IT fully extended all the time.

The two methods that allow you to reuse the gimmick are far superior in my mind (though none of them are revolutionary or new). One of them allows you to use your hat (like a ballcap or something similar) and the other uses a breast pocket on a shirt. If you think it through there are other small reels out there that could be used instead of the Spinneret gimmicks in those two methods.

To me it seems like Steven knows what he is talking about and it seems like he has tested this method out in real life - he has learned enough to give some fine points about body positioning and gave some deeper thoughts on when/where to perform this and even what to wear, to a point.

As for the basic effect, it can look very magical BUT you MUST make sure you get some height on the pen/marker/pencil when it is "ghost writing". There were a few times in the video where the top of the pen barely comes off the pad - even a complete idiot knows it could not have possible written anything on any part of the paper. In other areas he got very good height and the marker actually made scribble marks. That is what you need to have happen for this to be more realistic.

There is one particular effect where a spectator is offered five envelopes with a piece of paper inside. They are invited to take the paper out and write two initials on it and put it back in the envelope without you seeing it at any time. You then pick up a pen and paper, and then ask them what they initials were that they wrote on the paper in the envelope. The pen "ghost writes" and you turn it over to show that it wrote the initials on the paper. You then ask them to take the paper out of the envelope to show they match. This makes absolutely no sense at all from a presentational standpoint, however, there are ways to do this for it to make sense, but you have to figure that part out for yourself. This is just a little nitpick that I wanted to point out.

Steven also combines the use of Pen-Nomenon with thumb writers and teaches you how to construct your own thumb writers, both a pen version and a pencil version. This is a very nice way to make your own, it does not take a long time and they are not difficult at all to make.

Everything you do in this video requires some bit of arts and crafts, as I mentioned before. Here are a few critical points on that aspect:

1. The first method (the one-time use of the gimmicks) uses a great and smart way to store and carry your gimmicks ready to go, but it requires that you "eat a mint" and/or offer one to a spectator (what are you suggesting by that, exactly?)...if you eat mints during your formal shows then this would work for you. If not, this is not for you. If you would eat a mint in an informal show, this would work for you. If you would not, then this will not work for you.

2. The second method using the shirt pocket - you cannot use that pocket for anything else if using this set-up.

3. The set-up using the ballcap - if you do not wear a hat during performances, this will not work for you.

4. All three methods require you to be wearing a watch on one wrist. If you do not wear watches, you will have to find another way to anchor your set up.

5. At two different points in the DVD you are instructed on how to "lock" the Spinnerets and then told how to "unlock" them later, but it is not exactly clear what is being said. This is via text on the screen by the way, not vocally.

6. Not everything you need to perform is included with the DVD and you need to procure a number of items.

The ad copy for this product is a bit minimal but it seems that there are a few different ones, all of them being mostly the same except a few different words and all of them being just as short. They are all pretty accurate and I would not say there is anything wrong with them, except maybe a teeny nitpick: They say, " you the power to communicate with spirits." No, this is not a deceptive statement perse, but really? There is also the statement that a spectator merely thinks of something and then it gets revealed - this is sort of true but not one-hundred percent accurate in all of the cases.

The DVD is nicely produced with good video, lighting and audio quality. There are no live performances except a one-on-one performance in studio with a spectator. The menu is easy to navigate and there is a Play All button, but you can watch the DVD chapter by chapter if you like. The teaching is actually pretty good too - he does leave a few things out at some points, like the "unlocking" of the gimmicks, but the rest of the teaching will not leave you scratching your head or looking elsewhere for answers.

I think this has a lot of possibilities if you do not mind some arts and crafts and if you like to work with I.T. The price is too high for what you are getting with this, especially since you have to go out and buy a bunch of extra stuff to set any of this up.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Pen-nomenon - Trick

Author: X, Stephen
Publisher: Steven X Productions LLC
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $29.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Pen-nomenon gives you the key to unlock the door to the spirit world; giving you the power to communicate with spirits. Imagine having the spectator think of anything. After a few words, a spirit possesses your pen and begins to write exactly what they were thinking of. Pen-nomenon is a highly visual, easy way to communicate with spirits.

Discover the power of Pen-nomenon. Get your copy today!

5 different handlings plus bonus effects.

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