Krist Anthony Almario
Chris Brown is one of the celebrated card guys in the magic community today. He exclaimed earlier in this lecture that this was his first ever lecture after being in magic for 10 years. Sadly, it shows in the lecture proper itself.
The atmosphere of the lecture is more like an interview rather than a lecture. He spends more time talking to the host and performs moves here and there as the subject arises. I believe he has planned out what he is going to share with the students but does not pace himself well to give time to each section. Chris clutters his lecture with a demonstration of the move, then moves on to the philosophy of the move, then to the story of the move and back to the mechanics of the move. He does not proceed to each move in a systematic way, instead, he presents the moves as he goes along. This for me makes his lecture messy.
I appreciate his stories with regards to his journey in magic, the significant people that he meets, including the people he managed to impress along the way, but all of this is mostly seen in an interview kind of format, rather than a lecture. One student might as well watch an Ellen Degeneres episode to get the same result. Audience interaction or student interaction is minimal, including the question and answer portion is minimal, going as far as leaving it 10-15 minutes before the end of the lecture.
Chris' philosophy in magic is impressive but as mentioned earlier, it is cluttered everywhere in the video download.
In terms of content, Chris decided to share mainly his collection of invented or reinvented moves and at least two effects. He justifies that he wanted to share tools or weapons rather than actual routines. I respect that. But in my opinion, his delivery was sloppy. He shows a move to the host and shows it to the camera and shows the mechanics behind it. But he does it in a way that feels like he is just in a jam session with another magician. He, at some points, misses the audience's reactions and eagerness to cover more details of a certain move. A lecturer should always be aware of his students and be aware of points that need to clarify. Chris inexperience with students shows in this lecture.
His moves are ingenious and a lot of thought has been made towards its development, but it surprises me that he flashes many times especially in the execution of the Dr. Manhattan Change. I am not sure if he does it on purpose or if is explaining something, but he flashes on certain points in his performance. He also flashes on certain performances of the Venus Trap and the Orbit Control. Not much, but enough to see where the cards are.
In his videos on Youtube, it is clear he does the editing, cleaning the performances as much as possible. But a live lecture, one does not have the luxury to rewrite what had been done. But I would appreciate a cleaner version of each performance. Ironically, an unplanned move, the Bertram Change was cleaner than his original moves, which sparked the interests of his students. Also at nearing the end of the lecture, the host suggested a change in handling wherein Chris performs it as well. Since it was an unplanned performance, it does not look as good.Materials shared should cover most if not all applications necessary to it rather than just the basic ones. It makes the student feel that the information shared was half prepared.
Another thing that bothered me was his Rainman Algorithm theories. This section of his lecture had the most dead time, especially when Chris asks the audience to pull out their cellphones and browse through dates in the past. That would be great for the live audience, but that situation was just a waste of time for download or live feed viewers. We only see Chris and the host stare blankly into space. And I thought the wait would be rewarded with something amazing or enlightening, but I was utterly disappointed. He casually just mentions the days of the week those dates were. This section of the lecture describes theories with regards to the Rainman Algorithm, but in reality, Chris goes over its history, which he had clearly posted on his website, and how he came up with the method, which he posted much clearer on his site as well. He provides only a vague amount of detail to this portion which was a disappointment. He goes on to count years, months and days out loud as if each audience knows what he was talking about, but alas, unless you have one of his 100 copies of his book, you have no idea what he was babbling about. It would be more appropriate to just leave off the Rainman Algorithm if he does not share anything of working use in the lecture about it. I find that he shared irrelevant anecdotes of his experience with the algorithm, with his bank work, convention work, and many others which in reality is useless to a student who is taking note of the degree of versatility of the concept itself.
In terms of content. Chris' lecture offers nothing new to the table. What I mean by this is, that nothing he shared was new or let alone exclusive. All had been products in the past, both still available or no longer in print. If I were a beginner who wanted to start magic and attend my first ever lecture, this would not be the lecture I would attend. Chris is a smart guy. But his lectures requires students with some knowledge of the magic wold to get some sort of benefit from it.
Overall, it was a boring lecture, but with good content. How I wished that the delivery was far better. Chris had a plan of action for his lecture, but he somehow derailed from it along the way. It felt more like a Jam Session than a professional lecture. If you like Chris' material and work, this lecture is for you. But if you are looking for more in-depth view as well as something more in lecture format, you will find scarce in this lecture. Nevertheless, taking into account, this is Chris' first lecture, I salute you for continuing your path. I pray for more successful lectures in the future.