Yesterday I wrote about doing a “spectator as mind reader” type effect and it having to be a clean trick from a method standpoint. The spectator who reads the mind must be unaware of how you get them to reveal what the other person is thinking. Today I’m going to talk about something similar, but … Continue reading “The Blow Off”
Yesterday I wrote about doing a “spectator as mind reader” type effect and it having to be a clean trick from a method standpoint. The spectator who reads the mind must be unaware of how you get them to reveal what the other person is thinking. Today I’m going to talk about something similar, but the opposite way, where at the end everyone knows how the trick was done. This doesn’t just apply to mentalism, but to magic.
Let’s start with a premise everyone knows, which is paper balls over the head. Personally I dislike this trick, because it has no ending. Sure, you could produce a bowling ball from the tissue at the end or something like that. In its standard for you are basically telling the same joke over and over, there is no punctuation on the trick.
One way some people end it is to reveal the paperballs on the floor to the person. The problem with that is there is a bridge missing, the person doesn’t know how they got there, they just see them on the floor. Did the disappear and reappear there…you miss the moment where they are let in on the gag. Watch Michael Finney do the card on the forehead, it ends when we get to see the person onstage react to the finally seeing the card. You’ll never get the same reaction when the person sees the paper balls, plus they will be turned around looking at them, so we can’t see them.
My point is when you do a trick where everyone knows how the
trick works, except one person, you need to completely let them in on the
trick. You have to essentially tell them what happened, or they will not react well
because they are trying to cross a bridge that’s not there. The challenge is to completely reveal the
trick in a second or two. At a glance the
person on stage should be able to figure out what happened.
In my show I do a bit that’s a “spectator as mind reader” sort of bit. That’s where one person from the audience tells another person what they are thinking. This is an interesting sort of trick in that you are removed from the magic or mind reading. It comes down to how it’s framed, … Continue reading “Reading Minds…”
In my show I do a bit that’s a “spectator as mind reader” sort of bit. That’s where one person from the audience tells another person what they are thinking. This is an interesting sort of trick in that you are removed from the magic or mind reading. It comes down to how it’s framed, are you giving this person a power, are you doing something to influence both people, are you reading one person’s mind then putting the thought into the other…or something else.
One of the things to make this trick work onstage is that both people need to be surprised that the other one knows what’s happening. What I mean by that is if you “stooge” one or both people they will not react with genuine surprise and the trick will lack impact. Using an “instant stooge” where you cue someone in real time is an method that’s slightly better than preparing the person before the show, as you will get a more genuine reaction…but still not as good as if they their thought is random.
So how do you do this trick?
There are many ways, my first introduction to this was from a book by
Ken Dyne. He has a great routine and
method, but it’s not for how I work, however it got me interested in the premise.
In my roving show I do a think where I guess a color someone
is thinking of multiple times. As I did
this more and more, I wanted to make it more challenging for me as a performer, and I started having another
person guess with me and I would talk them through the process. Essentially I would guide their guess, and
that started to play really well. While I was clearly guiding them, both people
would react when one revealed the color to the other. Doing this trick really showed me the impact
a person could have.
In my stage show, I’ve decided to show the process of mind
reading. This works great for my style
of performing. I’m teaching the person how
I do the trick…then they actually do it!
My favorite part is after the show, when people surround the person from
the audience that read another person’s mind and try to get them to tell them
how they did it. In my method, the person don’t know how they do it, they just did
what I told them to do, which is what everyone saw.
I guess my point is to strive to strong premises and clean methods that work you
and your style of performing.