Search and Destroy – The Genii Speaks

I just opened my new copy of Genii Magazine and was excited to see that in addition to my newest column, the magazine has published a review of Search and Destroy.

By now, many of you have your copy. I want to know what YOU think – please feel free to write your own review of the DVD and drop it as a comment to this post.

Magazines are swell, but I made this DVD for you – lay it on me.


Search and Destroy featuring The Nowhere Pass
Search and Destroy featuring The Nowhere Pass

Genii Magazine review by Dustin Stinett

Reproduced by Permission of The Genii Corporation, Copyright 2009.


This DVD is a terrific addition to any card enthusiast’s video library. Some might question that for $29 you only get one trick and the sleight that it centers around. But this DVD teaches much more than just a trick and a sleight in it’s 83 minutes (about 45 of which are devoted to "Search and Destroy").  You will learn things about  audience management and misdirection that can be applied to the magic you already do.

"Search and Destroy" is based on Larry Jennings’ "Searchers," the original slow-motion sandwich plot (originally published in Richard’s Almanac in 1983) wherein the two mates slowly and visibly come together into the center of the deck to capture a selected card. The method(s) Mr. Jennings applied to his solution were, frankly, more interesting than the plot itself. Aaron Fisher has made the plot interesting–read:  "entertaining."  Furthermore, his solution will not tie your fingers into knots, though it is not self-working by any stretch of the imagination.  Besides knowing a control, one must apply the techniques of audience management taught along with the technical procedures.  You also learn three basic sandwich effects since one is needed to serve as a bit of foreplay before getting to the main event.

The second half of the disc is dedicated to a comprehensive description of Mr.  Fisher’s handling of the Bluff Pass.  I can still recall the first time I saw this move in action, and it fooled the you-know-what out of me. Even now, when I know what’s happening, if fools my eyes.

There are two performances. The main one is filmed live in front of an audience of non-magicians. Once you’ve learned the mechanics and psychology of the routine, you should watch this performance again so you can see these nuances in action.  In this context, this entertaining little film becomes a key object lesson.

The second performance is done for a group of magicians who are clearly taken in as well, even though they should be privy to the underlying "secret" behind the trick.

The overall production values are quite good and navigation is easy.  Mr. Fisher has a very relaxed and amusing teaching style and he is, I think, well on his way to becoming quite the raconteur.  I like everything about this DVD:  The trick, the sleight, and the value-added lessons taught on it. The only thing I can add is "get it!"


4 Responses to “Search and Destroy – The Genii Speaks”

  1. 1 Bryan April 21, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Someone asked me on a forum if they owned the Paper Engine, was this worth it, my response was:

    “if that’s the case, then you should definately get this too. I knew the trick from his book and bought this anyway and I wasn’t disappointed. As you know he devotes a lot of the book to thoughts and subtleties, well this DVD is no exception. Over an hour and 20 minutes long, it’s what a one effect DVD should be. You see him performing it live in 2 settings, and he goes into literally every subtlety, angle, idea, thought, method, 2 versions of the nowhere pass, one which I suspect will go over in slightly faster company, all of it in huge detail. The book is good, but he could fill an entire book just on this effect and how exactly you should perform it.

    It’s added something real to my performance of the effect, and I’d recommend it. I like to read books, but to have him in a very casual one on one style setting for an hour and twenty minutes, giving you a complete breakdown of the history and going literally sleight by sleight through it, and everything between and huge tips for performance will add to it.

    Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t perform this effect a lot, or its not a staple for you if someone comes up to you and says, “Hey let me see something” or if you’re working a gig, then this probably isn’t worth it. If you use this as a worker however, then this DVD is definitely worth the investment just for the additional tips. There are a couple of aspects in there where he’s discussing general performance that for me made the DVD worth it even without the effect.”

    Your stuff is some of the best I’ve bought, because you, unlike so much dross that tossed onto the market, make use of sleights, but don’t make sleights what your magic is. Every time I see a video of you perform, you fool me, and even knowing the method, I pick something up from you every time I watch you perform. Your stuff can’t be dismissed as ‘just some clever sleight of hand’ you make it magic, whilst being totally modern.

    You’re a breath of fresh air in the magic industry, which has become so much about sleight of hand as the means and the end.

    I wish you luck for the future and hope you keep churning out the good stuff. I sincerely hope that your success will keep increasing, and one day may even match your talent.

  2. 2 Abdul Abad April 22, 2009 at 2:18 am

    Well I recently purchased Search and Destroy and it is the best trick ever. I love the trick itself and I love the dvd for all the history provided. Its amazing I recently got into card magic since I enjoy it the most and the demonstration of it is great.

    You get to perform for and with your audience. Rather than simply performing AT them. It blows their mind too because all the work is pretty much handled. It emphasizes your showmanship and just talking with people.

    Its a great closer and it freaks everyone i know out. I would recommend this dvd to anyone. Anytime I watch you perform I’m inspired to learn more. I thank you for sharing your gift with all of us. I wish you the best in success and hope that it grows to immeasurable amounts.

  3. 3 Rosemary Reid April 24, 2009 at 12:17 am

    I had the pleasure of learning Search and Destroy from Aaron in person at magic camp a few summers ago. I went home with all the right moves, and the presentation worked out, but somehow I wasn’t getting the same reactions I saw Aaron get when he performed the trick – not even close.

    I read through the explanation in the book and gave the effect another try. It was better than it had been, but there still seemed to be something missing. I knew my spectators were not experiencing the trick the same way I had when I first saw it.

    Then I watched the DVD. It was interesting how all the different parts I had trouble with, or thought were awkward, were directly addressed at some point.

    There is a big difference between learning the trick from Aaron in 15 minutes at camp, or reading a brief explanation in his book, and watching his DVD. On the DVD, time has been taken to make sure that everything is explained clearly and correctly. Any problems that Aaron has heard of people having with the trick, or maybe problems he had himself, are clearly addressed – because they’re the same problems that people working with the effect will still have. Being able to see Aaron in action is another feature that is extremely helpful. If you have any issues you can see how he handles the situation. And the applicability of the information on the DVD to other areas of magic is a lesson that could stand on its own.

    When’s the next one coming out Aaron?

    Keep up the awesomeness.


  4. 4 Jonathan Hutcherson July 31, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I’m fairly new to slight of hand and card magic. I’ve only been doing it for the past 3 years. So my experience and knowledge is limited. In those past 3 years I’ve read countless books and have bought an obscene amount of DVDs and tutorials. And through all of them I’ve never learned as much or had as much FUN as I did with the Search & Destroy DVD.

    The DVD explains the entire routine in detail, and hits on key points and things to watch for. After a few times running through the DVD and a little practice I was ready to show this. When I did, I floored my family. They couldn’t believe how amazing the effect was. And it is amazing! Not only in the effect but in the execution! It’s so simple!

    The added humor and stories that are intermingled around the trick also add a lot to the DVD and Aaron’s humor and wit are sure to keep you interested and holding your sides with laughter.

    Fact of the matter is, if you want a great effect, have fun learning, AND pick up other lessons that will improve your overall craft. Buy this DVD. Best money you’ll ever spend. Period.

    Why are you still reading this? GO BUY IT! Then enjoy the expressions of shock and amazement as you perform one of the greatest and most effective effects card magic has to offer.

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