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Topic: Process |feeling it |sharing it
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 15, 2013 02:19PM)
Forgive the odd title...

the act of thought-reading (please use your own term here, hopefully you'll understand what I mean though) - when we are doing it, and we want to go through our process and the effort it takes - how do you express it?

with some performers it comes across as very easy, even blankly - the effort it takes seems close to zero. I say this because when I really concentrate on something, my tongue might stick out, I may frown, my lips purse - all kinds of things. When guitarists play, often they pull all kinds of faces as they 'feel' their way through the riff they're playing. When a conductor is in the middle of a whirlwind with his baton, his hair flies, his eyes illuminate and seek out each and every player.

And in turn, those players reply facially too, silent in their intent and attack of the strings or reeds or keys. There is also a fear of overkill. Of an almost comedy mask of emotive leaking. I think its important that our physical expressions match who we are, and what we do. Maybe for some, if they are a slick psychologically manipulative illusionist - they can smugly grin away once someone's fallen for their verbal sleights. I would hope not. But even so, I feel that all cliched fingers to temples aside, a little goes a long way.

However, none, or even worse the slightly cliched "i'm getting a F, a U, and is that an S or a C?" almost rattled off shotgun like as if the person is tired of saying it...each experience of mind-reading should be influenced (in my opinion) by the person who is sending their thought (because you're definitely NOT reading it anything else are you?!) - so each thought that is captured and read will feel a little different, because each person is a little different.

Is the person a small, slightly cuddly mumsy looking woman who seems naturally warm and kind behind the eyes? So the emotive content of the thought might well hit you first. Likewise a smart and private looking person who has joined in by their partner's encouragement might be very tight in their sending. You may even feel cold, or the information may even become metaphorically brittle and fragmented.

So just as their personality influences HOW the information is sent/read - that too should be expressed and reflected by YOU.

Someone who is really keen to join in, maybe you get overwhelmed by their energy, maybe you need absolute silence because the thougth is so delicate and personal. Maybe you even blurt out laughing because the content of the thought is so overwhelmingly joyous? Lets face it, you have just been given permission to delve into someone's life, their memories, even their secrets...doesn't that AFFECT YOU AS WELL AS THEM?

I think it should.

Or does it mean (for you) that you do this so often, you are sick of it, it feels 'normal'? and if you work stage, how do you make sure that it is all communicated non-verbally as well as verbally? how do you see it?
Message: Posted by: Mind illusionist (Sep 15, 2013 10:07PM)
Sometimes I think I do go overboard a bit, when trying to lip rea*d. but every single time I put on those kind of theatrics, everyone believes and buy into it. I don't actually say Im lip reading, I just act it out.

But yes I do think that we should always consider our audience and how we are affecting them as well, as we delve into their minds. I don't perform as often as a full time pro, but whenever I do I have never lost that feeling of joy and awe and just plain fun of performing mentalism.

I think it all just takes time to build your own character, knowing who you are and most importantly be comfortable with knowing who you are. And from there, if you really love our art, it all comes rather naturally.

I cant commment too much on stage work, as I don't have much experience in that field.
Message: Posted by: Simon (Ted) Edwards (Sep 16, 2013 06:01AM)
I've posted my approach [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=525727&forum=82&0]here[/url].
T.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Sep 16, 2013 07:56AM)
The most important thread here in months IMO.
[i]That's[/i] what we're paying for.

And in a related matter--how do you [i]feel[/i] about what you've just done?
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Sep 16, 2013 08:17AM)
Another excellent posting, Iain.

I've thought the same thing because lately I've been fascinated by the whole notion of what it would feel like to be getting these thoughts.

I think, as stated, some people would send ideas clearly. Others would be much more difficult. Maybe they are distracted...maybe their ability to send a thought isn't as strong as it is with others.

The audience enjoys watching the process...and the more convincingly it's rendered, the more onside they become...and the more credible the act becomes. I've thought of the process as if I'm watching someone come toward me out of a thick fog. At first I see only a rough outline. As they draw nearer, I can see how big they are...and as we come closer I can start making out detail: whether they are male or female, then other details like hair color etc. Finally I see the whole person.

It's a wonderful topic because its about the performance of mentalism, which -- distilled down to its most basic components -- IS mentalism.

Great thinking, Iain.

David
Message: Posted by: Cervier (Sep 16, 2013 10:36AM)
I don't like it when the performer "reads" instantly, with no efforts. Myabe for some "easy" stuff at the beginning of the act, so tha drama curve can go upwards, but still...

I think it shouldn't be easy, for at least two reasons:
1 - It's not (easy)! If it were easy, everybody would be doing it, wouldn't they? And then, why would people come to see us?
2 - The process makes the acy interesting to watch, it's the "suspense" part. Would you like a movie where Hercules Poirot enters the room two minutes after the beginning, goes to the butler and says "You did it, because blah blah blah" (The End)?

Most of the time, I act like when I (trully) try to recall a memory, like a name, a tune or a picture.

It's different when I give someone details about her personnality, not telling whether it's by her looks or because I sense her thought. In such case, I feel people trust you more if you are assertive and act as if you acquired that info "at a glance" (even a "psychic glance" [img]http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/images/smiles/wink.gif[/img]).
Message: Posted by: Simon (Ted) Edwards (Sep 16, 2013 10:59AM)
[quote]
On 2013-09-16 11:36, Cervier wrote:
2 - The process makes the acy interesting to watch, it's the "suspense" part. Would you like a movie where Hercules Poirot enters the room two minutes after the beginning, goes to the butler and says "You did it, because blah blah blah" (The End)?
[/quote]

Indeed, whether we are on a stage or in a pub there should be some dramatic tension. It's one of the reasons why it *is* worth having things written down or drawn - so you can show a visual match or at least similarity. That has much more impact than a participant saying, "Yes, I was thinking of that word/picture/number!"

T.
Message: Posted by: Michael Zarek (Sep 16, 2013 11:24AM)
[quote]

It's one of the reasons why it *is* worth having things written down or drawn - so you can show a visual match or at least similarity. That has much more impact than a participant saying, "Yes, I was thinking of that word/picture/number!"

T.
[/quote]

I think it would be more like "OMG that's exactly what I was thinking of, you truly are a psychic!!". I perform propless name/drawing revelation and that's often the reaction I'm getting, so that's not a problem.

But I do agree that process is very important , it's also good if it's enertaining (Derren Brown) but the most important thing is for it to be interesting. I was recently thinking about how some very good mentalists and me aren't really entertaining in the traditional sense of the word, but that's a topic for a diffrent disscusion.
Message: Posted by: Simon (Ted) Edwards (Sep 16, 2013 11:37AM)
[quote]
On 2013-09-16 12:24, stubbs360 wrote:
[quote]

It's one of the reasons why it *is* worth having things written down or drawn - so you can show a visual match or at least similarity. That has much more impact than a participant saying, "Yes, I was thinking of that word/picture/number!"

T.
[/quote]

I think it would be more like "OMG that's exactly what I was thinking of, you truly are a psychic!!". I perform propless name/drawing revelation and that's often the reaction I'm getting, so that's not a problem.

But I do agree that process is very important , it's also good if it's enertaining (Derren Brown) but the most important thing is for it to be interesting. I was recently thinking about how some very good mentalists and me aren't really entertaining in the traditional sense of the word, but that's a topic for a diffrent disscusion.
[/quote]

That might cut it when in a one-to-one situation but, when you are performing for a group, do you not think that a visual revelation will have more impact for those who are not participating directly?

T.

PS. I just noticed your [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/search_post.php?topic=523978&forum=82&post=8091978]contribution[/url] in another thread in which you say you have people write things down.
Message: Posted by: Cervier (Sep 16, 2013 11:50AM)
[quote]
On 2013-09-16 11:59, Simon (Ted) Edwards wrote:
Indeed, whether we are on a stage or in a pub there should be some dramatic tension. It's one of the reasons why it *is* worth having things written down or drawn - so you can show a visual match or at least similarity. That has much more impact than a participant saying, "Yes, I was thinking of that word/picture/number!"
[/quote]
Yes, yes and yes!

And yet, it's so easy to overlook, and to focus only on the difficulty or even impossibility of the effect we present, as if that alone was entertaining. I believe everything that makes the effect more entertaining makes it more convincing as well. Wolf Messing didn't convince Stalin with a "[i]pick a card, it's the queen of hearts[/i]" demonstration, Nina Kolagula would faint after moving objects with her mind... And they were not entertainers (well, Messing was, but you see what I mean).

That's one of my constant worries: how to make spectacular (entertaining, visual, etc.) effects...
Message: Posted by: Michael Zarek (Sep 16, 2013 11:55AM)
[quote]


That might cut it when in a one-to-one situation but, when you are performing for a group, do you not think that a visual revelation will have more impact for those who are not participating directly?

T.

PS. I just noticed your contribution in another thread in which you say you have people write things down.
[/quote]

I can perform propless, doesn't mean I'm doing it all the time.
As to the first question, I think if I was a real mind reader I would just reveal a thought, the second it came to me instead of writing it down first, and also if I have someone write something usally it's on a small card or buisness card, so I would be comparing two small pieces of paper. With drawing dupe I do think it would look better and if I have an imp pad with me than I'd probably use it, but if I don't than I'm forced to reveal the drawing propless, and when doing so I'd like to stay propless and just name it or draw in the air.
Also with me, I have more mind reading in my parlor act that I often like to do without any props, but for a stage I would definitly use board for drawing dupe, altough for name I'd still stay with words. It makes sense to compare drawings becouse you can see similiar lines and details but with words it doesn't really matter.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 16, 2013 12:05PM)
Its not about "if I were a mind-reader" - its about how you act and react to being able to read minds...
Message: Posted by: AttnPls (Sep 16, 2013 12:38PM)
Excellent post.

YES! I often try to explain to my mentalist buddies that "getting the information" is NOT really the most interesting part of thier routine. It is the inherent drama of watching the mentalists process of making a mental connection (whether by psychological or psychic means) and struggling to get the information that engrosses and entertains the audience. I often encourage performers to push their comfort zone and try going "over the top" with their presentations a few times because, although it may feel ackward to the performer at first, that level of dramatics looks absolutely right to the audience witnessing the demonstration -- and their audiences will probably be much more entertained.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Sep 16, 2013 08:32PM)
There's what happens during the dance, and there's what happens once the dance is over. How do you relate to your partner now? Why are you dancing in the first place? And why in public?
Message: Posted by: Trickstar (Sep 17, 2013 12:45AM)
[quote]
On 2013-09-16 13:38, AttnPls wrote:
Excellent post.

YES! I often try to explain to my mentalist buddies that "getting the information" is NOT really the most interesting part of thier routine. It is the inherent drama of watching the mentalists process of making a mental connection (whether by psychological or psychic means) and struggling to get the information that engrosses and entertains the audience. I often encourage performers to push their comfort zone and try going "over the top" with their presentations a few times because, although it may feel ackward to the performer at first, that level of dramatics looks absolutely right to the audience witnessing the demonstration -- and their audiences will probably be much more entertained.
[/quote]

Right on man! It's not how we GET the information, it's how we GIVE the answers that matters
Message: Posted by: illusionactor (Sep 28, 2013 12:04PM)
This post is wonderful.
I believe the participant should feel as much a part of the presentation as we do. Gregory Arce has a great essay on Acting Techniques that help make certain feelings believable even when you are not truly experiencing them. Maybe it's the theater major in me but I find these things make or break the whole experience.
Message: Posted by: Lar (Sep 28, 2013 11:59PM)
I could say loads on this but I'll mention one thing in particular that I try to achieve when I'm apparently reading someone's mind.

I want to bring EVERYONE along on journey into my psyche as I divine the assistants thoughts. Each and every statement I make leading up to the eventual revelation MUST make the audience [b]imagine for themselves[/b] some aspect or element of the information I ultimately intend to reveal. If the audience can imagine what I want them to imagine then step by step as I reveal vague information pertinent to the outcome they become active participants in the effect (both mentally and imaginatively) rather than mere passive onlookers.

Stubbs360 mentioned the, "OMG that's exactly what I was thinking of", response and receiving an unequivocally positive response is essential in selling the effect to the audience.

I want more than that though. I want to illicit that very same response from as many members of the audience as possible. I want them to FEEL and BELIEVE that THEY too read the persons mind with me every step of the way.

It's nigh impossible to construct this type of 'shared imagining' with Numbers, Dates, or People's Names and certain non-evocative words. How would you try to get your audience to 'imagine' the number '3452' or the name 'David' for example. This type of information can't readily be described to the audience in vague terms that they can 'imagine'.

However, what about a word like 'War'? Try to imagine all the things you can say that are vaguely descriptive of the word 'War' without explicitly saying 'War'. You're spoiled for choice.

Or what about the word 'Dentist'? What would you say in vague terms to make some members of the audience THINK of the word 'Dentist' without explicitly saying so.

Maybe...

[i]'I have to confess this is confusing me a bit. I get a sense that this is a place but it's also a person too - does that make sense to you?'[/i]

[i]'Let's try this ... imagine a time when you were FIRST in this place' ... 'It feels to me like this is a younger you - maybe 8 or 9'[/i]

[i]'This isn't a good place though ... I feel as if you don't want to be here at all ... neither do I actually ... I feel nervous ... Is this a painful memory?'[/i]

The audience (those few who are still awake and 'imagining' along with you) will imagine, a place, somewhere they have a memory of being when they were young, a sense of nervousness and pain associated with that place. I wouldn't be quite as direct as that but hopefully some members of the audience will end up thinking of a trip to the Dentist.

Making the audience believe that you read the subjects mind is one thing. Making some members of that same audience believe that they too read the mind of the subject takes things to another level.

If I'm forcing information then I'll always force information that can be 'imagined' in this way.

If I'm revealing a piece of random information then I'll try to steer the subject to think of a memory of something important to them. People generally have similar types of memories and memories can be 'imagined' when described in vague terms (i.e. Wedding, Holiday, Birth, etc).

When revealing information I prefer a pad. I write what I 'received' and then show it to the audience first, not the subject.

[i]'This is what I got ... if anyone else got this too don't say the word aloud but please raise your hand'.[/i]

If any members of the audience have 'imagined' along with me it gives them an opportunity to react. This starts to build a air of expectation because the raised hands indicate that some members of the audience have apparently picked up the same information I did.

The phrase, [b][i]if anyone else got this too[/i][/b] is important. It infers that the information received by the members of the audience was from the subject, not from me. This isn't true of course but it's what people will believe has happened.

I then ask the subject to state their thought of word. This gets a reaction from the audience in general and a bigger reaction from the people that thought of the target word.

I pause a couple of beats waiting for the outcome to sink in then I turn the pad to show the subject what I wrote which illicits a final reaction from them.

Finally...

Simon's super 'darting gaze' tip is something I tend to do myself; I don't know why. Unfocus your eyes and pretend that you are intently trying to follow the path of an extremely small flea that keeps jumping around every 2 or 3 seconds and you're on the right track.

For practice do the 'darting gaze' the next time your wife or girlfriend says, 'I love you' and see what reaction you get :)

Best wishes,
Lar.
Message: Posted by: Raymond Singson (Sep 29, 2013 05:15PM)
I just finished Marc Spelmann's Penguin Live lecture, and he gives some really valuable insight regarding the way we reveal information. I absolutely loved the handful of offbeat ideas he had to keep mentalism revelations interesting and artistic. Wholly recommended to anyone looking for offbeat ways to demonstrate the process of mind reading.

RS.