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At the Table Live Lecture Mark Elsdon (DVD) Review

Official Review

March 3rd, 2015 8:35am
Reviewed by Stuart Philip
Before I review Mark Elsdon’s appearance on Murphy’s Magic lecture series, At The Table, I disclose that I came to this lecture with certain preconceptions; that is, that Elsdon is a creative master. I have been a huge fan of Mark Elsdon for many years. And, so you don’t need to skip to the end, before you read the rest of this review, I give this lecture the highest marks.

This lecture is unlike many others since Elsdon concentrates more on explaining the creative process than on teaching trick after trick. That is not to say that he does not present numerous excellent tricks that are easy and fun to perform - -because he does. This lecture is cerebral and intellectual and he makes that point that we already know too many tricks. The lecture delves into the creative process and Elsdon shares how he devised some of his great effects and his inspiration for thinking differently and challenging himself. To borrow an old adage: If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. After watching this lecture, you will understand that Elsdon provides thoughts and insight into how creating magic, for him, is not just about rote learning and repeating tricks, but using your brain to improve tricks.

Mark starts the show with a great discontinued trick, Triple Impact, which he marketed with Alakazam Magic. Triple Impact has long been a favorite of mine. Elsdon teaches how to do this trick and it is a mind-blower. Interestingly, he teaches how to do this trick differently and perhaps more fooling than the way in which it was marketed. Knowing this trick alone is worth the price of admission, in my opinion, but you get so much more during the course of this fantastic two hour and forty two minute lecture.

Elsdon also present numerous mentalism effects, with and without “things.” The tricks with “things” are actual things, such as bottle caps, and the tricks without “things” use imaginary dice and invisible though-of colored envelopes. Game On, is a mental puzzle that will confound your spectator, over and over again, with an invisible die. Although he doesn’t give an in depth lecture into equivoque, he expertly employs it with several different tricks. Elsdon, who demonstrated a proclivity for the Rubik’s Cube, also teaches Rubik Predicted, another clever and fooling effect.

The pre-lecture marketing ad copy is not completely accurate because some of the advertised effects are not taught. That happens with live-lectures as they take turns and the performer may depart from script. That is A-OK with me.

If you are only looking to learn tricks, you will still be extremely satisfied and utterly pleased with this lecture. And, if you want to listen to a real professional and a great instructor, who approaches magic with intellectual curiosity, you will thoroughly enjoy and appreciate this discussion.

Interestingly, you see Elsdon make a mistake while performing Dream Poker, yet you don’t even know it until he tells you that he flubbed it, during the explanatory portion of the trick. Although it was an inadvertent error, it demonstrates how an effect that takes a wrong turn can still be as strong for your audience, if the performer doesn’t get derailed by a mistake.

During the At The Table lectures, the host, Mike Hankins, usually is an active questioner and participant. Here, however, Elsdon is so fascinating and gives what I consider to be a very informative and compelling lecture that Hankins was rendered somewhat silent. At some point, Elsdon indicated that he may never give this same lecture again and that he felt it was somewhat disjointed. I did not agree with his self-critique, and I wish this lecture continued for another hour or two.

A great lecture, from a great creator. Highest marks.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for At the Table Live Lecture Mark Elsdon (DVD)

Author: Elsdon, Mark
Publisher: Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc.
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $19.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Mark Elsdon is bringing his lecture titled Creating Magic, which focuses on the skills and techniques needed for ANY magician to learn to create their own tricks. Want to be a creative machine? Read on...

Using examples from his own repertoire, including full explanations of several marketed items, Mark will teach practical techniques to help anyone become more creative in their approach to magic. To illustrate, he will take a specific trick and show exactly what inspired him to create it, he will perform and explain several very different approaches and variations that led to the final version and then teach two brand new handlings.

He will also recommend his favorite books on creativity, and teach how the more general approaches described in those books can be easily adapted to the creation of new magic effects, methods and presentations.

In this lecture, you will learn:

Triple Impact -
The ideal walk-around trick. Not only does the magician predict which three cards a spectator will remove from the deck, he also predicts exactly which three freely-chosen pockets the spectator will choose to put them in!

Dream Poker -
The tables are turned as the spectator successfully reads the magician's mind, revealing details about the magician's dream that he couldn't possibly know.

Rubik Predicted -
See the hand-drawn genesis of the effect, learn the various version Mark created along the way and then learn the secret to the marketed effect. Finally, Mark will show what happens when you carry on your thinking after an effect is complete and marketed.

A worker's version of the ACAAN plot using a borrowed deck. No set-up, no gimmicks, no math, just a practical approach that leaves laymen thinking they've seen the impossible.

The Guessing Game -
This effect is the perfect example of using the creative approach that Mark teaches. Mark takes a standard trick (McDonald's Aces) in a completely new direction, resulting in a beautifully interactive piece of card magic.

Bottle-capped -
A mentalism effect where the spectator somehow predicts the magician's favorite brand of beer.

Origami Morph -
A spectator removes a bill and folds it into eighths and secures it with a paperclip. By simply holding it in his hand, and without touching it, the magician transforms it into a cool origami souvenir.

Polychromatic -
Take a standard color-changing deck and think about the changing colors the way an artist would. Magic that engages the brain. This is a color-changing effect that triumphs all other ones!

Wishful Tinkering -
Within the context of a card trick, the spectator's wishes all come true. It climaxes with the cleanest card to pocket imaginable. Another great example of Mark applying the creative process to an existing trick to devise a completely different (and much easier!) method.

Conversation as Mentalism effects -
What happens when you apply creative techniques to entirely remove all the props from a mentalism effect. Imagine being able to amaze people without the aid of any gadgets, gizmos or gimmicks, anytime, anywhere with just the knowledge in your head. Mark teaches 2 brand new CAM effects.

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