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  1. #1
    Raymond Singson's Avatar :: Lead Forum Manager
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    Exercise: Making the Prop Invisible

    Joseph Dunninger is credited with saying, "Every time you add a prop to your act, your price goes down."

    I can appreciate his sentiment; the ideal mentalist should demonstrate the ability to play with people's minds; not bits of paper or other irrelevant objects. With that, Ellusionist's release of The Informant is arguably a controversial one, because there are vastly mixed opinions of similar devices on the market. Many performers don't understand the logic or motivation of utilizing peek wallets. Often times, many performers deliberately avoid and disregard these devices for that very reason. Why should a participant write something down on a card only to have it hidden back in the performer's wallet? Why would a performer offer his wallet (of all things) to have something written down on it while his back is turned? Why would the performer have the spectator write anything down at all?

    These are all valid questions that I always felt were glossed over in the literature supporting these devices. In my opinion, Dunninger's quote is only valid if people acknowledge that a prop was introduced in the act. If it's rendered invisible during the course of the performance, then you aren't harming to detracting from the notion of a "legitimate mentalist."

    I figured I'd offer an opportunity for people to chime in and explain the pros and cons of using these kinds of devices, and more importantly (and creatively), actually expand upon how you as a performer would attempt to script the device into an act to minimize its importance/relevance/presence in a performance. In my opinion, to flatly disregard an item/prop/idea is not only easy, it doesn't offer any legitimate insight or critical thought. It's easy to be a cynic. I'm much more interested in developing solutions to actually make something work. So with that in mind-- if you had a prop designed to acquire information for the sake of mentalism; how would you go about scripting it into your work to take the heat off of its presence?

    Curious.

    RS.




  2. #2
    ChristopherThisse's Avatar :: Moderator
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    In a street setting I don't think it takes much work at all to make a wallet invisible. Put the paper they are to write on in your wallet before you are ready to perform. Take out the wallet, take out the paper, put the paper on the wallet and say, "Here, write this down" (Or whatever fits in your script)

    I'm having a lot more trouble justifying it in a parlor setting, though, and that's where I would be using it more. I've been rolling the question, "Why would a performer use his wallet on stage when it would be just as easy to use a clipboard? or table?" around in my head since I saw Informant. It looks like a great device and I want to use it, but other than walk around gigs, parties or impromptu performances I'm just not sure how I would justify it.
    http://www.ellusionist.com/boffo-pdf-by-christopher-thisse.html

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  3. #3
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    I would have to think that this prop would be awkward to bring out in a stage/parlor like setting. Like Christopher said, there is no justification for it. That being said, I don't know if I really like the idea of a peek wallet in the first place.

    One use that I just thought of now would be to do a serial number reading off of a bill. You could make a joke stating that you are going to put the bill in your wallet and "promise" to give it back. This is a very general idea. But, I think it would have potential to be a routine that not only justifies the prop, but adds a little comedy. I believe that mentalists need to relax somewhat. Look at Derren Brown. He makes jokes, but knows when to be serious. It is obviously working for him. Those are my thoughts.

    -JB

  4. #4
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    Watch Max Maven's videomind. There is an effect that uses a carbon paper apparatus, but he himself writes on it before the spectator does. This takes some of the heat off it, rather than just saying "Here, write on this." By writing on it first himself, it solidifies in the participant's mind, what other way would he do it?
    I am, therefore...

  5. #5
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    One thing you could do when mind reading is to say. "Here write it down so you don't forget and you don't change your mind." or "write it down so I know your not lying." Some things you could to have a good reason to write it down and not read there mind then and there.
    Jonah Egold

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by J3 Egold View Post
    One thing you could do when mind reading is to say. "Here write it down so you don't forget and you don't change your mind." or "write it down so I know your not lying." Some things you could to have a good reason to write it down and not read there mind then and there.
    Max Maven does this by saying "To commit ourselves in writing." I rather like this as it is basically saying the same thing , but without allowing room for them to interpret it as you judging them for being a deceitful liar or forgetful person. It is so important to give a good reason for writing something down as opposed to just thinking it, and you don't actually have to use words at all to give the reason. Whether you say to commit to it in writing, or to physically write yourself, either way it won't feel so out of place for the spectator to write it. Though sometimes I think we mentalists over do it. Though everything I have just said is good info, I cant help but notice that no spectator ever that I have performed for has asked "Why do I need to write it down?" So saying these things is only important so much that it adds to the effect. One last option: The reason for writing the word down could be so that they can show it to the other people without having to say it, because your hearing is very good :)
    I am, therefore...

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