If you’ve ever wanted to know anything about using rough and smooth techniques with playing cards, then the Rough and Smooth Project from BBM is a great place to start.
Taking the rough with the smooth
So, what’s it all about? The first thing you see when you play the DVD is a warning. BBM and Lawrence have been very safety conscious in this DVD and there are multiple warnings about suitable precautions when using roughing spray products in particular. You might want to bear that potential risk in mind before buying this DVD for a minor. Though there’s no risk if you use the products sensibly.
The DVD looks at the different options available for roughing your decks – notably roughing sticks and roughing sprays. And it explains the pros and cons of both and the technique needed for using both. After explaining the basic options and principles of roughing playing cards (and various different methods of applying the roughness to achieve different results are explored) there are then explanations of a number of different gaffed decks utilising this method.
There are all the usual suspects (Invisible Deck, Brainwave Deck, Nudist or Mental Photography Deck, Pop-eyed Popper Deck) and also clever variations on a theme. We love the way he combines different principles to extend the ‘functionality’ of a deck. So there’s an ID on steroids which you can fan, dribble and it has a ‘brainwave’ feature. There’s a really clever variation called the KKID (with a nod in the direction of Kenton Knepper’s classic Kolossal Killer) which allows you to show the backs of the ID.
Tips, tips, tips
There are also lots of tips, different ways of setting up the deck, ideas for making a forcing deck (including for non-card forces) – you name it, it’s probably there. If you love doing all these XCM flourishes which involve cutting decks into silly numbers of packets, there’s even a deck which might help you – the DNF (=Does Not Fan) deck – so if you drop cards in practise they won’t go everywhere!
There’s more detailed explanation of the technique for spraying cards and a tutorial on the whole process of making an ID – including tips to make pairing it up easier. During this (and various other) explanations, they make good use of speeding up the process to an amusing backing – classic BBM humour!
You even get an FAQ section – covering some really useful questions about all aspects of preparing and handling roughed cards. Sensible advice from someone who knows what he’s talking about! In addition to the DVD you get a sample roughing stick to get you started – it really is quite an easy process.
What do we think?
This is a hard disk to score. It is a quality product – filmed nicely and covering all you need. I really appreciate Lawrence’s straightforward and down to earth explanations – he says all that is necessary but very succinctly – no wasted words. The ‘performances’ aren’t really performances – but then that’s not really the point of the project. This is more about technique and manufacture than performance.
And that’s the rub really. Would you actually want to make your own gaff decks? Well, maybe. You might save a pound or two by making them yourself – though probably only if you were committing to making quite a few since you’d have to buy your spray or whatever you were going to use.
On the other hand, if you want to make up your own packet tricks utilising this principle, or you want to make up a special deck in a non-standard back design, or for a special trick of your own design, then this DVD will really tell you all you need to know to be able to get right on and do that. So if you’re a creative sort – or if you like working with a particular brand of cards that don’t currently come in the various gaffed flavours – then this is definitely for you.
Rough and smooth is a powerful principle – and there were a few twists or new ideas to me on here and I’ve been in magic for 30+ years. So if that sounds like you’re sort of thing, we’d definitely recommend it. And remember that buying a roughing stick on its own would cost you around £19 (though NB you are not supplied with a FULL stick with this DVD).