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Is the Hofzinser Spread Cull the most powerful move in magic? Steve certainly thinks so, and I don't entirely disagree with him. I recently reviewed The Cullfather by Iain Moran so It thought it was worth taking a look at Steve's free course on the same move.
Full disclosure: Steve has now joined The Peoples Palace of Prestidigitation as a partner, that doesn't change my views here at all though, this review was 99% completed before he signed on, and if I thought this course was terrible, I still would have said so regardless of him being a partner or not. I'd much rather risk losing a partner by being honest than lose members by being dishonest. But I think the course is great, so it's a moot point.
First off, let's look through what the course comprises:
Introduction. The Most Powerful Move in Card Magic? Just under five mins. Is it really the most powerful move in card magic? Steve explains why the Hofzinser Spread Cull is such a powerful move and why he loves it. Everything happens right under the spectator's nose. It's also a really handy safety net for when things go wrong with other stuff.
Approaching The Spread Cull: Two and a half mins. “It's not an easy move, but doable.” I think it's great that he takes the time to say this, something all too many people just hand-wave away. It does take work to get down, but once you have put that work in, you'll be repaid many times over for the effort you put in.
The Spread Cull Tutorial: Nine and a half mins. The meat of the course by a slightly younger looking Steve. Covers the basic move and things to watch for.
The Spread Cull OTS: Five and a half mins. Continuation of the teaching with an over the shoulder camera position.
The Spread Cull from Underneath: Six mins. Continuation of the teaching shot from below the deck.
Using The Cull: Just over a minute. Introduction to the improvised routine up next.
Cullage. An Improvised Routine with The Cull: Eleven and a half mins. Nice performance of Steve jazzing using the Hofzinser Spread Cull. Followed by a walkthrough of what he did and the thinking behind it all.
Next Steps: Twenty-odd seconds further discussing the previous routine.
Further Details and Uses for The Cull: Six and a half mins. Steve covers keeping the move hidden again and offers some other pointers and/or ideas like using the HSC as a force instead of a cull.
Final Thoughts: A couple of minutes. Final thoughts on the cull and a couple of (well deserved) plugs for his card course and review channel.
So is the course any good? Yes, it's VERY good. So much so I'm rather surprised Steve is giving it away for free. It doesn't cover quite as many ‘what if…' scenarios as Cullfather, but that's more a statement about Cullfather than this course. Steve's style is very laid back and chatty, this may not be what some people want from a teacher, but I think most will get on very well with the tuition. Steve's DVD set Materials (available on the competition prize list currently BTW) was released a decade ago, so he's not new to teaching at all, he knows what he's doing. If this was released as a paid product, nobody would be knocking it. As a freebie you'd be daft to not give it a go, even if you already know the move well, it's only going to cost you a few minutes over three quarters of an hour of your time to look through it. Time well spent, if you ask me.
The reason this course is free is to give people a taster of Steve's magnum opus The Card Magic Course and if this doesn't make you want to try it out, I really don't know what will. Follow that link and get this free course there, then go back to sign up for the full course if you think it would be good for you.