The Ellusionist Forums are no longer active. Join us on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Less is more!

+ Reply to Thread
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Monterey, CA
    Posts
    156

    Less is more!

    Hello fellow mentalists,

    I noticed an interesting phenomenon that further reinforced the idea of "Think effect first" as commonly said by Richard Osterlind. For a long time I have done a center tear routine in which I asked the subject to just think of any word. Of course I got good reactions, but I have varied my routine as I became more and more comfortable with the mechanics. I decided it would be more interesting if I talked a little bit about the outbreak of WWI and all of the convoluted alliances therein, how a tiny bullet, a piece of metal could set in place such a wave of disaster and destruction. I then proceeded to have them think of any nation involved in that conflict, and actually have gotten much better reactions. The lesson is that even though to me as a mentalist thinking of something from more possible choices is more impressive, if you think of effect first, limiting their choices can paradoxically make the effect better, especially if your patter is interesting and gets them intellectually invested in the effect. I am constantly working on seeing my effects from the spectators point of view.

    For good routines on the center tear, consult Banachek's Psi Series, and Corinda's 13 Steps to Mentalism.
    I am, therefore...

  2. #2
    Craig Browning's Avatar :: Elite Member
    :: Psychic Old Bear

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Northampton, MA
    Posts
    1,556
    Though I've started using it more and more I tend to loathe the CT because of the illogic contained in the majority of handlings; it doesn't make sense to have someone write something down only to tear it asunder. . . does it?

    In the original handling the client knew ahead of time that the slip would be destroyed in order for the Reader to translate information by reading both, the flames (from when pieces were burnt) and the resulting smoke . . . this makes since. Just as it makes sense in using the CT in Bob Cassidy's "Where & When" routine. . . Dunninger use of the technique was a thing of beauty in that it was a two phased situation in which one of his helpers would have a patron jot down the word and in seeing this old Joe would get upset, tear up the slip stating "Absolutely nothing written before the show, I'm not some cheap charlatan". . . he'd toss the pieces into a nearby ashcan (retaining the special piece) and so a miracle was born. My point being that a sense of disconnect must exist when you use this technique and very few of us actually accomplish this; the result is that we've created a puzzle vs. a miracle.

    Any routine in which this technique is used really deserves some serious thought and choreography; the scripting must be set in such a way as to justify the destruction of the slip in advance.

    The other thing to consider is the fact that we now have several different variations to the CT that must be weighed; Osterlind's PCT, Dr. Bill's Tear and T-Rex standing at the top of the proverbial heap with each one having specific advantages.
    Help Me Get to Doomsday 2015 -- www.gofundme.com/doomsday2015 --

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Monterey, CA
    Posts
    156
    Sometimes I do what Corinda references in step six, in that I will tear up the billet with the attitude of "this one wasn't working too well" and then having them write the word on a different billet in mirror image. This gives proper justification for the action of tearing up the original billet. Although in many cases I don't feel the audience questions why the billet is torn so much as they wonder why they have to write it in the center, or even why they are writing it down at all. So when I draw a battlefield map with a trench in the middle and the enemies on the outside, it completely makes sense that they write their country in the trench, where they would be.
    I am, therefore...

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    359
    To be honest, I do not really care for the CT. I think that it can be powerful in the right situation, like Craig mentioned. But, I don't think it looks like genuine thought reading if you have to have it written down. I think that it is a good idea to make it so the audience cannot re-create the effect in their mind afterwards. I believe the center tear lets the audience re-create what happened. That is one of the reasons that I do not like it.

    Craig: I had never heard that about Dunninger, that is truly genius! The more and more I find out about Dunninger, the more I love his work. Thanks for sharing!

    -Groveking
    -Today Goals Are Set And Tomorrow Dreams Are Conquered.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Monterey, CA
    Posts
    156
    Quote Originally Posted by Groveking View Post
    To be honest, I do not really care for the CT. I think that it can be powerful in the right situation, like Craig mentioned. But, I don't think it looks like genuine thought reading if you have to have it written down. I think that it is a good idea to make it so the audience cannot re-create the effect in their mind afterwards. I believe the center tear lets the audience re-create what happened. That is one of the reasons that I do not like it.

    Craig: I had never heard that about Dunninger, that is truly genius! The more and more I find out about Dunninger, the more I love his work. Thanks for sharing!

    -Groveking
    I'm not so sure I agree with you in that it doesn't look like genuine thought reading. Don't get me wrong, if you can do it a way that feels better for you, who am I to judge you? But I have found some ways of making it look like the real thing. An idea that I got from Banachek is once you have glimpsed the word is to get them to think of a letter. When I do this routine, there may be some initial skepticism until I get to this moment. Then all the sudden everyone in the room gets a facial expression of "there's no friggin' way he's about to do what I think he's about to do." It is a very easy matter to tell what letter they were thinking of, and you can even do a second or third letter based off your intuition alone. You can even at this point go into an entire cold-reading sub routine. The center tear is possibly the single greatest thing since pocket-writing. But in order to get it to work and look like real thought reading, it is absolutely critical that the writing down of the word seems like the least important part of the routine. Don't say "Write down a word. Let's tear it up. Your word was ____." This is clumsy and probably the reason why it doesn't look like real thought reading to you. By the time I am done with my routine, no one even remembers the tearing of the paper anyway, and even if they did, all of the pieces would be there anyway.

    That being said, could you recommend some alternatives for me, and what DVDs teach the method? I am interested in what you have to say. Thanks!
    I am, therefore...

  6. #6
    Shawn Mullins's Avatar :: Team Ellusionist
    :: Social kinda guy
    :: J. Kredible Dance Commander

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ma
    Posts
    5,239
    Quote Originally Posted by Groveking View Post
    But, I don't think it looks like genuine thought reading if you have to have it written down.
    If you haven't written down just to read it... You're right.

    If it's written down to show someone else, because you might hear what they say OR so it can confirm what you said etc.

    It's about framing. You are not having it written down, just so you can reveal what they wrote.
    Pancakes10385
    http://twitter.com/sleightofshawn
    http://www.mullinsmagic.webs.com

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Monterey, CA
    Posts
    156
    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Mullins View Post
    If you haven't written down just to read it... You're right.

    If it's written down to show someone else, because you might hear what they say OR so it can confirm what you said etc.

    It's about framing. You are not having it written down, just so you can reveal what they wrote.
    Precisely! Writing it down is a concrete action both to reinforce the word in the spectator's mind, and to commit to it in writing so they can't change it/forget it etc. And if you really are worried about them reconstructing, you need to work more on misdirection. Additionally, who says you have to use the CT as a telepathy stunt as most do? Combine it with pocket writing and now it is a prediction! So even if they did reconstruct that it was possible for you to glimpse the word, it doesn't matter, because you knew they would write that word before they did. The effect from the spectator's point of view should really begin long after you have glimpsed the word.
    I am, therefore...

  8. #8
    Craig Browning's Avatar :: Elite Member
    :: Psychic Old Bear

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Northampton, MA
    Posts
    1,556
    Quote Originally Posted by Sacktavius View Post
    Sometimes I do what Corinda references in step six, in that I will tear up the billet with the attitude of "this one wasn't working too well" and then having them write the word on a different billet in mirror image. This gives proper justification for the action of tearing up the original billet. Although in many cases I don't feel the audience questions why the billet is torn so much as they wonder why they have to write it in the center, or even why they are writing it down at all. So when I draw a battlefield map with a trench in the middle and the enemies on the outside, it completely makes sense that they write their country in the trench, where they would be.
    ​This is a concept by Orville Meyer, one of the more brilliant minds of mid-20th century Mentalism and the technique itself, one of the better approaches to using the CT idea. The problem is, you can only use it once in a show and for the sake of it being more effective, it should be used sparingly lest you get found out by people that see your perform back to back (think like a charlatan and the magic lads will chase their tails trying to figure you out).

    This is an excellent way to get into a one-ahead position however.
    Help Me Get to Doomsday 2015 -- www.gofundme.com/doomsday2015 --

  9. #9
    Raymond Singson's Avatar :: Lead Forum Manager
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    1,498
    I've been using the center tear a lot more lately. I hate it when other magicians/mentalists critique it by generally saying it's an illogical moment during performance. Frankly, that's a judgment on all poorly executed magic in general. Methods aside, think about the lack of motivation there is in the PLOTS we see! Stripped of context, at its most fundamental level-- in mindreading, you have a spectator think of a thought or memory and you divine it. ...SO WHAT? Even in its most basic, purist premise-- a propless divination doesn't hold much significance without context.

    Context is key. In my opinion, context also warrants the techniques and methods invisible. Craig already cited Bob Cassidy's work. Cassidy does an excellent job in giving little slips of paper just enough meaning for a performance to make sense yet just enough triviality to warrant them invisible when others recollect what occurred. After re-reading The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy again, something really resonated with me: he proposes that the audience's focus should rarely solely be on the technique, itself. While executing a peek or tear, the audience should ideally be occupied with another task, thought or direction. Not only does this provide misdirection for method, it also naturally reduces the significance of the slip of paper as it's casually ripped to shreds or tossed aside. In fact, I would argue that this implication is more important than the misdirection you get. As a former card guy, I'd equate this to asking a question during the execution of a top change-- by dividing the spectator's attention, you shift importance away from what matters and render a moment invisible.

    I recently read Colin McLeod's Divine. He offers an excellent essay on billet-work and pays close attention to the details of how and when to incorporate them into a performance. In fact, it was McLeod's book made me start taking the plunge into billet-work more confidently. If you haven't read his work, it's a great, eye-opening read that acts as a worthwhile supplement to more traditional texts like Corinda and Cassidy.

    One of my favorite ways of incorporating the center tear: I personally use Barrie Richardson's motivation in saying that we're going to eliminate/destroy a thought that the spectator doesn't want anymore, be it a sad memory or the name of a negative presence in his or her life. This gives context and reasoning to the tear when it occurs. At the same time, I also have them recall a positive memory to acquire more information and reduce the significance of the tear. When I personally use this combination, I don't like explicitly revealing the thought-of word; I feel that really cheapens the experience. Peter Turner calls these moments 'tada!' moments and prefers 'anti-tada' moments where the performer makes a connection that registers with the audience but holds significantly more intimate weight with the individual participant.

    Back to the original post; I agree that less is more in terms of props and procedure. However, I think that too many people stop the equation there and that's why they fall so flat the majority of the time they perform. If you plan to reduce the amount of props and procedure in your work to exhibit a purist feel in mentalism, you have to significantly increase the amount of presentation and context in your work to be successful at it. Otherwise, you will bore an audience to death. It's not that easy to say "less is more," because stimulating someone's intelligence and history and experience is infinitely harder. That's why amateurs/hobbyists use magic to make friends in bars and social settings-- the display/performance is an easy way to interact and socialize with others. Challenge that population to just walk up to a girl without magic, and most of the time they won't know what to do or say. I believe the same holds particularly true in mentalism, because the genuine richness of it is in the parts where there's nothing but the performer and a participant. The performer has to be able to hold his own without his props/methods as a crutch.

    RS.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Monterey, CA
    Posts
    156
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Singson View Post
    I've been using the center tear a lot more lately. I hate it when other magicians/mentalists critique it by generally saying it's an illogical moment during performance. Frankly, that's a judgment on all poorly executed magic in general. Methods aside, think about the lack of motivation there is in the PLOTS we see! Stripped of context, at its most fundamental level-- in mindreading, you have a spectator think of a thought or memory and you divine it. ...SO WHAT? Even in its most basic, purist premise-- a propless divination doesn't hold much significance without context.

    Context is key. In my opinion, context also warrants the techniques and methods invisible. Craig already cited Bob Cassidy's work. Cassidy does an excellent job in giving little slips of paper just enough meaning for a performance to make sense yet just enough triviality to warrant them invisible when others recollect what occurred. After re-reading The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy again, something really resonated with me: he proposes that the audience's focus should rarely solely be on the technique, itself. While executing a peek or tear, the audience should ideally be occupied with another task, thought or direction. Not only does this provide misdirection for method, it also naturally reduces the significance of the slip of paper as it's casually ripped to shreds or tossed aside. In fact, I would argue that this implication is more important than the misdirection you get. As a former card guy, I'd equate this to asking a question during the execution of a top change-- by dividing the spectator's attention, you shift importance away from what matters and render a moment invisible.

    I recently read Colin McLeod's Divine. He offers an excellent essay on billet-work and pays close attention to the details of how and when to incorporate them into a performance. In fact, it was McLeod's book made me start taking the plunge into billet-work more confidently. If you haven't read his work, it's a great, eye-opening read that acts as a worthwhile supplement to more traditional texts like Corinda and Cassidy.

    One of my favorite ways of incorporating the center tear: I personally use Barrie Richardson's motivation in saying that we're going to eliminate/destroy a thought that the spectator doesn't want anymore, be it a sad memory or the name of a negative presence in his or her life. This gives context and reasoning to the tear when it occurs. At the same time, I also have them recall a positive memory to acquire more information and reduce the significance of the tear. When I personally use this combination, I don't like explicitly revealing the thought-of word; I feel that really cheapens the experience. Peter Turner calls these moments 'tada!' moments and prefers 'anti-tada' moments where the performer makes a connection that registers with the audience but holds significantly more intimate weight with the individual participant.

    Back to the original post; I agree that less is more in terms of props and procedure. However, I think that too many people stop the equation there and that's why they fall so flat the majority of the time they perform. If you plan to reduce the amount of props and procedure in your work to exhibit a purist feel in mentalism, you have to significantly increase the amount of presentation and context in your work to be successful at it. Otherwise, you will bore an audience to death. It's not that easy to say "less is more," because stimulating someone's intelligence and history and experience is infinitely harder. That's why amateurs/hobbyists use magic to make friends in bars and social settings-- the display/performance is an easy way to interact and socialize with others. Challenge that population to just walk up to a girl without magic, and most of the time they won't know what to do or say. I believe the same holds particularly true in mentalism, because the genuine richness of it is in the parts where there's nothing but the performer and a participant. The performer has to be able to hold his own without his props/methods as a crutch.

    RS.
    Actually, my point was that paradoxically by limiting their choices, it seems more impressive, because you talk about this limited selection's meaning in your patter rather than just saying "Think of any word." Magicians would think that having more words to choose from is more impressive, and it is, if you are a magician. But I don't perform for magicians haha.
    I am, therefore...

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20

    CT justification

    At first, I also had a difficult time justifying the CT (at least in my mind it seemed illogical also -- especially in a one on one setting). However, I have only ever used it one on one a few times, but surprisingly no one ever asked about it and it did not trigger skepticism. I'm still making my way through step 6, but I got the idea of how to justify using a CT at all. Hypothetically, I would prefer to use it for groups (and use other techniques for different situations) that way I could justify the tear by saying "show everyone what you have written down and don't let me see." Also, you'd get a better reaction from a group I think. You get more people included and "in on" the silent communication and therefore maximize the justification for the CT and maximize the impact.
    Last edited by MentalMark; 01-05-2015 at 08:09 PM.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Monterey, CA
    Posts
    156
    Quote Originally Posted by MentalMark View Post
    At first, I also had a difficult time justifying the CT (at least in my mind it seemed illogical also -- especially in a one on one setting). However, I have only ever used it one on one a few times, but surprisingly no one ever asked about it and it did not trigger skepticism. I'm still making my way through step 6, but I got the idea of how to justify using a CT at all. Hypothetically, I would prefer to use it for groups (and use other techniques for different situations) that way I could justify the tear by saying "show everyone what you have written down and don't let me see." Also, you'd get a better reaction from a group I think. You get more people included and "in on" the silent communication and therefore maximize the justification for the CT and maximize the impact.
    I would reccomend picking up a copy of Banachek's Psychological Subtleties (either 1, 2, or 3). It answered a lot of my questions about justifying reasons for things. But I see why Corinda loves this effect so much! It is pretty much angle proof, the effect itself is awesome, it can be done friggin' anywhere, there are no apparatus that arouse suspicion etc. And you don't by any means have to stick to the presentation in 13 steps. I really like Banachek's version, and I'm still playing around with ideas to create my own. I want to have a subtle reason, not an overt one for tearing the paper. But I have never ever had someone say "Why do you need to tear the paper?"
    I am, therefore...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Recognition Program
WELCOME TO MAGIC. PERFORM LIKE NEVER BEFORE.

At Ellusionist, we have one goal: to give you the power to perform magic beyond belief. We want to make you the life of any party. We want to make you into a performer. Composed of 12 individuals, we barely sleep, and we will do anything necessary to bring you the best magic, the best talent, the best training and playing cards possible.


We manufacture many of our own magic supplies, tricks, effects, and custom playing cards. We strive to create the very best magical products the world has ever seen. We work with the United States Playing Card co and have produced 14 lines of playing card decks that are repeatedly acclaimed by top industry pros and magic enthusiasts all over the world.


2001-2014 Ellusionist.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Toll Free: 1-866.244.2426 or International 1.415.459.4945


Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.6
Copyright © 2017 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.