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Topic: Looking for ideas...
Message: Posted by: natswift (Nov 10, 2010 11:08AM)
I'm working on a mind reading show and have my set put together; I'm currently working on my script and there's one part that keeps bugging me.

After my introduction and some Psychological forces based on Bob Cassidy's idea of projecting images to the audience I move into his "A Name and Place" effect. (Essentially I'm using his framework for the first two effects of my show.)

There is a part in the effect when you get a billet and burn it. Unfortunately the place I'll be performing, (in a school auditorium) frowns on flames and smoke and such. So I thought of bringing a shredder on stage and shredding the billet.

But it doesn't make much sense to have a shredder on stage just to shred this one billet. Tearing it up doesn't make much sense, I'm worried someone will think I'm trying to look at it in the act of tearing it and if I hand it to someone to tear it up I'm afraid they'll get a glimpse of the billet I handed them.

However, I do like the idea of destroying the billet so I'm stuck arguing with myself on whether it needs destroyed or just "thrown out".

So that's my dilema, seems minor but I am really working hard to put together a good show that flows; trying to pay attention to every detail.

Any input thoughts and ideas will be appreciated.
Message: Posted by: Amirá (Nov 10, 2010 11:09AM)
PM you
Message: Posted by: markthorold (Nov 10, 2010 11:18AM)
Edible paper ( rice paper ) and use the line "all good spys dispose of thier notes this way .Im no spy but I do believe in recycling ....ahem".
Regards Mark
Message: Posted by: tonyf (Nov 10, 2010 11:39AM)
Amira .. I have the same concern .. could you PM me your solution .. thanks
Message: Posted by: natswift (Nov 10, 2010 11:44AM)
On 2010-11-10 12:39, tonyf wrote:
Amira .. I have the same concern .. could you PM me your solution .. thanks

What concern is that?
Message: Posted by: Stephen Young (Nov 10, 2010 12:09PM)
A hand held shredder battery operated can be used, and maybe add some humour if that's the way you want to go.
I use one to destroy envelopes in a bank night routine.

Message: Posted by: parmenion (Nov 10, 2010 12:11PM)
On 2010-11-10 12:44, natswift wrote:
On 2010-11-10 12:39, tonyf wrote:
Amira .. I have the same concern .. could you PM me your solution .. thanks

What concern is that?

He's beginner and never heard of Cassidy :)
Message: Posted by: natswift (Nov 10, 2010 12:13PM)
Mark: Great idea... I like it

If this post needs to be moved than please move it but let me clarify; I am not looking for "secrets" I'm looking for ideas on how to handle the destruction (or not) of a billet that was just handed to me.

I have been a magician for over two decades and am trying to take my entertainment to the next level by putting together a good quality show.

It has taken me about two years to research and assemble my "effect list" and now am in the stage of writing my script. I, for some reason keep getting hung up on the destruction of the billet. As I said before probably not a huge deal, but for me it's one of the details I'm not comfortable with yet.

So I'm not sure why I've been told this post needs moved and there is "concern" for my question; or why I need to learn some new techniques.

I don't think I've given away any methods nor that any methods need given away for this discussion.

Hope this clears up my question and still hope to hear some of your ideas...
Message: Posted by: Amirá (Nov 10, 2010 12:15PM)
Switchcraft. A LOT of crazy ideas in billets .
Message: Posted by: natswift (Nov 10, 2010 12:17PM)
Thank you Amira, I will look into Switchcraft
Message: Posted by: natswift (Nov 10, 2010 12:24PM)

I've thought of that but the handheld shredders I've seen look almost too "propish"

Is that a word? if not it should be...
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Nov 10, 2010 01:17PM)
The problem of burning the billet has been overblown in this and another similar thread. I never ask beforehand what I can and cannot do - I just do it and have never had a problem.

Good thoughts,

Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Nov 10, 2010 01:27PM)
Listen to Bob! If you don't ask permission, they can't tell you "no" and if one tiny billet is all you're going to burn it will be over long before anyone can stop you. If they tell you after the show that you shouldn't have done it then apologize with an appropriate air of contrition.

One of the routines in my magic show (not my mindreading show) involves burning two envelopes which makes enough smoke to possibly set off a smoke alarm so I always get permission if I'm going to include that routine in the show. A tiny billet however is not going to make enough smoke to set off a smoke alarm so you should have nothing to worry about.
Message: Posted by: natswift (Nov 10, 2010 01:44PM)
Bob, thanks for commenting...

Maybe I am thinking too much; The logic and steps involved with burning the billet work perfectly and I think I've found myself in a case of trying to re-invent the wheel...or as a friend of mine said "if it aint broke, fix it till it is".

Well thanks to Bob's routining, it definitely isn't broke.

With that I'll just go for it and see how it plays out.

The dates for the show haven't been set but we're looking at sometime either late December or early January. After the show I'll let you all know how it works.
Message: Posted by: Gregg Foxx (Nov 10, 2010 01:47PM)
Colin McCloud presented his version of Cassidy's brilliant Name and Place (wherein Colin tears up the billet) at last month's Mindvention and included the routine in his lecture notes (reportedly with the good Dr. Bob's permission before printing it up). Colin put his own spin on the effect. I think you will get a lot out of thinking about how you can make the routine your own and destroying or switching the billet however it appears logical (eating it is rather arresting and might not fit every persona or presentation). However, that being said, I agree with Bob's sage advice: Just go ahead and burn it and worry about forgiveness later.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Nov 12, 2010 07:54AM)
In this case it's not a question of not asking what you can or can't do.You already know the policy of the venue regarding the use of fire.

So ask yourself, is knowingly ignoring and/or violating the fire regulations and/or guidelines of the venue you've been booked to perform in really a good idea?
Message: Posted by: magic maniac (Nov 12, 2010 05:01PM)
Now I've never performed the routine, but I wouldn't have any hesitation burning a little bitty billet on stage. In fact, I feel it adds a real nice visual image that is much stronger than tearing it up.

So for the sake of our art, take a risk, and do it !
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Nov 15, 2010 06:01AM)
Or, as an alternative the advice given above from 'magic manic' and others, you could show a bit of respect to the people that have booked you and adhere to the conditions under which you have been hired.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Nov 15, 2010 12:32PM)

I think you may be missing my point. Except when working the Parlour at the Magic Castle, I have NEVER had a booker (even on repeat bookings) tell me that I could not use fire at a performance. If they did, I simply wouldn't do the routine.

All I have been saying is that I never ask for permission to do anything - I just do it.

Good thoughts,

Bob Cassidy
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Nov 15, 2010 08:32PM)

I think it would help to clarify then that in your first post you were making a general point and not giving advice regarding the specific situation that the original poster was asking about.

This is especially pertinent given that the two positions that you express... :

"just do it", as a general position to accompany your policy of 'don't ask'.... and...

"I simply wouldn't do the routine", as applied to the position that pertains to the specifics of this thread... are quite different.

Hopefully this will clear up any confusion.

Cheers Neal.
Message: Posted by: natswift (Nov 15, 2010 09:46PM)
Thank you all for your input and the ideas several of you have PM'd me.

I really think this has opened a can of worms I didn't want open.

I've thought hard and spoke with several of my close friends regarding this issue. First of all, I know that fire is not, let's say smiled upon in a school auditorium. As my son still goes to this school and I could potentially get more bookings from them, I have decided against the use of fire, no matter how small a flame it may be.

However the effect is good enough that #1 I don't want to remove it from my set just because I'm not going to burn it and #2 I don't think it will take away from the effect at all to simply have an assistant cut up the paper into shreds; I'm actually thinking about adding a "tongue in cheek" statement about them holding onto the paper and when I turn around find that it has actually been cut up.

This thread was intended to look at the details involved in scripting and "staging" a show more than a debate on the use of fire.

Still open to other ideas but for now, I'm going to run with what I know and will post follow ups and hopefully a report about a great show!
Message: Posted by: magic4545 (Nov 15, 2010 10:14PM)
Burning a business card, billet, or playing card can be one of the biggest pains that you can experience. When it won't light, it just won't light. When it's illegal or unsavory to use the fire, it's an annoyance and a hassle. When it does light, it's a loooooong process.

Has anyone thought of just using a magic marker, and then marking out the letters of the word on the piece, so that it's now completely gone, and can't be seen again?

How about a premise or excuse for doing it... In other words, what if you told the audience that you could press a button on the black magic marker, and it would become an eraser of any yellow on the post it. Now, as a joke, and a perceptual conundrum, you just black out the word by scribbling it out.

I know that sounds silly, but there aren't a lot of convenient ways to get rid of information that has been written.

This would be best done with a black magic marker. If the scribbling is circular and like random letters, then you can make the information on the post-it completely illegible, if not actually making the word vanish, on some level.

Please don't disregard this concept and idea. It should be kept in the back of your mind as a possibility when discarding information.

Just saying.

I hope that this either creates something or helps someone out of a jam.

Also, what about dry erase on glossy business cards. God knows that you can't write on these glossy cards with a ballpoint pen!

Jimmy Fingers
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Nov 17, 2010 04:29AM)
No can of worms has been opened regarding the use of fire. I think we're all pretty much, as far as I can see, in agreement.

Re the scripting and staging of the show... of course in order to deal with these considerations you first have to established what is being scripted or staged... ie, fire or something else.

I think the thread has been rather interesting.

And I personally think you have made the right choice regarding how to proceed in this particular situation. (ie one where you know already that the venue has an adverse view on the use of fire)

My thoughts are that while there are other options to burning (some good ones suggested in this thread, eating rice paper, shredding, etc) there's no doubt that there is something rather theatrical about a naked flame.... and something permanent, visible and final about the destroyed condition of a thing being rendered into ashes. It's hard to better.

The points that Jimmy raises about the possible problems with using fire are certainly worth bearing in mind but as long as the burning procedure is appropriate for the venue and the routine and the burning procedure thought out and built into the scripting and pacing of the routine.... the alternatives often feel severely lacking in comparison.

I would say if the routine benefits from including burning, use it when it is appropriate which will be the vast majority of the time.

As Bob Cassidy has already mentioned the venue will rarely give cause to worry regarding being able to burn a small billet and so the problem shouldn't be overstated as one...

BUT on the occasions that fire is an issue for the venue, or of course you realise that for some other reason that is not sensible to use it, such considerations ought to be accommodated either by dropping the routine or finding an alternative to burning.