It is difficult to know where to start with this Epic Writer review. For a start, if you’ve seen an advert you will probably already know what this is – as it proclaims itself ‘The world’s first ballpoint pen writer’. That claim has been disputed – apparently something similar was marketed in 1985 – but I’m not in a position to judge that claim. For our purposes it is enough to notice that it is a very economical way to experiment with this whole area of magic or mentalism.
If you’re not familiar with the idea of a ‘pen writer’ – it is essentially a gimmick which enables you to write without the need for a pen. This one is a gimmick which attaches to your thumb. Using a biro (rather than the more common pencil) is certainly a sensible move in lots of informal settings where biros are commonly available.
What do you get?
The first quarter of an hour or so of the video explains how to set the thing up, how to care for and store it and the basics of writing with it.
The video quality is perfectly adequate, but it is unfortunate that in some of the preparation section the focus of the camera is not really in the right place making it a little difficult to see what is going on. However, it isn’t rocket science, and so you shouldn’t have any problems working out what you need to do.
Then we move into the routines – which, especially if you are just starting out in this area of magic, are invaluable. 6 are taught on the DVD and there are further ideas on the pdf. I’ll briefly outline the routines.
Impossible ESP Match – you successfully predict the shape the spectator will choose. A simple routine and a good one to practise with.
Participants as mind readers – 4 spectators manage to predict your pin number. I like the presentation and some of the psychology in this.
Beat the spread – (Atlas Brookings) – this is a great routine where the spectator names any card (free choice) and when they open the deck there is a prediction inside which tells them a number to deal down to. At that number is, you guessed it, their chosen card. You’ll need at least one other skill to perform this (a memorised deck – see various reviews coming up…) – but they don’t teach that, simply referencing some options for you.
RG’s Add a number – as its name suggests this is an add a number effect (the RG of the title is its creator Raven Gairloch). The magician writes a number on a card, then three (or more) spectators each choose two digit numbers and then add them up – it is the number you wrote at the beginning of the trick. Simple and effective.
Two Take prediction – essentially the prediction of a card and a number. This one didn’t do that much for me.
Emoji Prediction – (Luca Volpe) – this is a close up cut down version of an effect by Luca Volpe. In this routine you essentially predict which of two emoji’s will be left with the spectator after they have had 3 chances to change their mind. I like the topical subject matter and premise of this routine.
The supplied pdf describes some of these effects and a couple of others. It also includes some ‘readings’ for a cold reading routine which would be helpful if you’re new to this area too.
Just how Epic is the Epic Writer?
The device is well-made and with some practise (and a suitable service) will enable you to get some reasonable results. I was struck that in a couple of the live performances spectators commented on the messy writing! And this, of course, is the skill/challenge/weakness of using this kind of device. You will have to practise to get a good quality writing with this device, but given practise it opens up with a little performance skill some very powerful effects.
There are benefits to using a ball-point pen – given their ubiquitous nature – but there is also the risk that your device might dry up mid-performance. If you find yourself using this a lot, I suspect you may get more than one, just in case, and low-cost refills are readily available.
If you’ve never explored this area of mentalism before Epic Writer is a low-cost way to dip your toe (thumb?) in the water. And one of its strengths is that a good number of routines are taught to get you started. They also reference some other books and resources (like the classic 13 Steps to Mentalism) which will give you a lifetime’s worth of ideas.
Epic Writer is available from the Merchant of Magic for £18.99 (at the time of writing).
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.
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