The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » More Advice For The Billet Student (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6~7 [Next]
Don McCleod
View Profile
Veteran user
Coulsdon
360 Posts

Profile of Don McCleod
Quote:
On 2005-05-15 15:30, RickSilmser wrote:
Well, Don...they came across like an amature.



Some would say the same thing about you.

Quote:
On 2005-05-15 15:30, RickSilmser wrote:

Savvy ?

~Rick~


Quite Rick, but I don't think being rude, obnoxious and insulting is the best way to put your case. If you bothered to do some research on some of the so-called 'idiots' and 'wannabes' who you are so dismissive of, you will find that their chops are better than yours. No one is dismissing your POV, just disagreeing with it, is that so offensive to your position or is your ego too fragile to handle an opposing viewpoint?
RickSilmser
View Profile
Special user
869 Posts

Profile of RickSilmser
Hi Salsa Dancer,

you may be right.

~Rick~
entity
View Profile
Inner circle
Canada
5060 Posts

Profile of entity
RickSilmser:

In response to your post addressed to me... I did not say that Dunninger didn't read billets in his performance. What I said was that he didn't do it as you had outlined earlier, drawing attention to them throughout the act.

This observation was made in response to another post, from Trinity, stating that Dunninger may have gone overboard, proving that the billets were never touched. I was confirming the opinions of others that it is the THOUGHTS that the performer is reading (in the audience's minds), NOT the writing on the paper. (And in case you were wondering, Rick, I'm not a young pup, nor am I a beginner or wannabe. In fact, I'm old enough to have discussed this very thing with Dunninger himself, more than once, over dinner.)

You are certainly entitled to perform your act any way that you like. I don't think that anyone here would disagree with that. On the other hand, when "Bonzo" stated his opinion about how the writing of billets should be perceived in the audience's minds, you dismissed his opinion as "wrong".

As Salsa_Dancer pointed out, this is a discussion forum. To make the comment about opinions being like ***holes, when you disagree with someone else's point of view speaks volumes about you as a person. Your posts say a lot about you as a performer, too.



- entity
Tony Razzano
View Profile
Inner circle
South River, NJ
1601 Posts

Profile of Tony Razzano
Quote:
On 2005-05-15 11:13, entity wrote:
In fact, Dunninger did NOT do the billet reading as outlined earlier. His instructions were that the audience should write their thoughts down on the slips of paper "so as to focus and isolate" the thoughts. It was NOT about reading billets. According to Dunninger, it was not even about reading MINDS. It was about reading THOUGHTS.

- entity


Entity,
Thanks for the correction!

best regards,
Tony Razzano
Best regards,
<BR>Tony Razzano, Past President, PEA
Winner of the PEA"s Bascom Jones and Bob Haines Awards
entity
View Profile
Inner circle
Canada
5060 Posts

Profile of entity
One of the most fantastic (albeit strange) billet-reading acts I've seen was presented about 30 years ago by a Turkish Mentalist/Magician that played a small theatre in my home town. Unfortunately, I don't recall his name. The show was presented for middle-eastern folks, and was not presented in English, so a lot of what was going on was lost on me. He did some very visual manipulations and productions of large bills, and a unique version of the vanish of a lady from the audience (not a stooge) somewhat like the Dekolta Chair Vanish in presentation, but using a very unique method, without the gimmicked chair or any traps or bases.

What I remember most vividly, and the act that garnered the strongest reaction from the crowd, was the billet reading. The performer instructed the audience to write their questions on slips of paper, which his helpers went into the audience and passed around, with pencils to do the writing. Then they handed out envelopes, and the people in the audience sealed their own slips in the envelopes.

The envelopes were collected by members of the audience, and passed to the Performer on stage.

He placed the un-opened envelopes in a large glass bowl, doused them with a small glass of kerosine, and lit them with a match. As the envelopes burned to ashes, the performer slowly poured clear water into the bowl. Next, the performer stripped off his jacket and shirt. An assistant passed him a rough sort of tree branch, about two feet long, sort of a druidic wand, with little broken limbs and some leaves still attached. He appeared to go into a trance as he stirred the water and the ashes with the branch, turning the water into a dark, murky grey color. He then took the branch and scraped it across his face and chest, leaving dark grey smears and some little, bloody scratches. As he did this, he would intone the answer to one of the questions. (Again, I'm assuming the answer was correct, since this was not in English, but at each "reading" someone in the audience would reacted in a startled, excited way.) After each "reading" the branch was swirled in the bowl again, then scratched across his face and chest before the next message was answered. The act received a huge ovation.

While this presentation is obviously not suitable for most performers ( and certainly not for me!), it was quite wonderful in that particular setting. I could see someone like Chris Angel creating a sensation with this sort of presentation.

- entity
David Numen
View Profile
Inner circle
1961 Posts

Profile of David Numen
It would appear from Rick's posts that he is a magician from the 1950's who has been catapulted in time 50 years...

You seriously need to read some modern works on billets my friend.

I recall a story told by Alain Bellon about a TV exec telling him about "this amazing guy who could read what people had written on bits of folded paper". How he laughed...and I laughed too when I read it. Then I realised how many magicians have jumped on the mentalism bandwagon and started crying as I realised how many more people were about to become experts on reading bits of paper.

I bet you actually call the paper billets when you hand them out!

Actually the above post is means-spirited in part. It's a presentational choice whether you want to portray yourself as a "billet reader" or someone who can read thoughts...I just don't see what "billet reading" as presented your way has to do with Mentalism.

A convincing portayal of thought reading leaves the audience mostly without a clue. Your presentation will leave the wise ones with the thought "he must somehow read the papers". Maybe not everytime and you maybe get away with it a lot thru sheer balls but eventually...
Scott Xavier
View Profile
Inner circle
3672 Posts

Profile of Scott Xavier
My favorite line in mentalism is: when some one asks if I can read their mind, I say: Sure if you write down what your thinking of on a funny slip of paper and fold it a certain way.

Do you know that NO one cares and will write it down with no justification...
Jay Elf
View Profile
Elite user
463 Posts

Profile of Jay Elf
Hello,

I have had a question about a Q&A act. A mindreader hold an unknown folded billet/envelope, and reveals the name which is written inside the billet. I can't understand this is a thought reading. This seems a billet reading by some psychometric way as Richard Osterlind points out.
Popo
View Profile
Loyal user
Valparaiso, IN
219 Posts

Profile of Popo
As a true neophyte to mentalism/mental magic, I have some concerns. I have been an entertainer for five years. I have been doing clowning and kids parties with a magic act. I have begun to do school shows. A while back I became fascinated with the art of mentalism for two reasons. First, I have a background in psychology and have delved into the paranormal. There is something about mentalism and these connections that have drawn me in. Secondly, I am a firm believer in stage presentation as being the cornerstone to any act. I do entertaining so I want the audience to be entertained. I do not care how that is done as long as it is done well and in a professional manner. I believe there are many paths that can lead us there.
Now comes my problem with this forum. I have been reading a lot of threads and it seems that they are mostly the same. Somebody posts something, somebody else disagrees with it, then the sides begin lining up and taking shots. It is difficult for a beginner to learn anything with that type of thing going on. It is frustrating to try to get any useful information from a lot of these threads. I thought that the reason this forum existed was for intelligent and in-depth discussion of an art. Be it entertaining or magic/mentalism or both. I have not seen it to be the case in most threads. Maybe the publics view of magic/mentalism comes from us. If we cannot agree to disagree and act in a professional manner to better the art then there is no way the public will take us seriously. How you practice is how you will perform. I guess I am just frustrated. Thank you for listening.
David Numen
View Profile
Inner circle
1961 Posts

Profile of David Numen
Popo I am going to impart the most important piece of information for any performer in magic or mentalism.

Ignore everybody and do what you think and feel is right.

There you go. There are no rights and wrongs - what works immaculately for one person can be disastrous for another. Some of the top performers in our field have broken so-called rules laid down by other performers in their works.

It's fun to read these forums, and fun to take part but it can also be severely depressing. For example it depresses me that there is someone who seriously thinks "reading billets" is good mentalism. But what do I know? Have I seen him perform or spoken to anyone who has? No. He says it works, we have to take his word for it.

What I will say is that every modern text on billet work discusses the concept of minimalising the importance of the billet - so your focus becomes that of someone who is reading a thought as opposed to reading what someone wrote down. There's a subtle but very vital difference between the two and if you focus on reading what is written then it IS inevitable that someone is going to suss out that you covertly read the information.

Many people have trouble with a Centre Tear yet anyone who hasn't mastered at least one version shouldn't move on to more advanced stuff. Learning to be convincing is very important and there's no better place to learn it with the Center Tear. Experience, charm, directness, boldness and presentation are key. Why is it that so many people here post about getting burned when they do the CT yet Osterlind can do it time after time after time? The answer is fairly simple.
They aren't doing it right! Their focus is on the written info, the audience is automatically suspiscious...they may be so self-conscious about the move that the audience even questions why they have to write anything down...experience and the willingness to learn is vital but learn from your own experience!
magic in mind
View Profile
Special user
851 Posts

Profile of magic in mind
There is another post on cts. I have added my thoughts to that one too. I don't like cts. Why? I don't believe for one minute that people really swallow the old, "I'll just tear this up as we don't need it?" Surely you'd want to keep it to prove they did write x. It would be a tragedy to do a ct., read it then Mr. spectator changes his mind after you tore it up. The only justification for a ct is Bernstein's The Ritual. ridding them of the phobias ala Jermay too. If you really need to handle billets, use the ruse as suggested by Mr. Busch, still not getting them. Can you write the word, etc., down, pass to somone else to concentrate on. Do Acidus plus whilst passing to spectator. But still not happy. Then again, I'm from manchester U.K. and nobody ever is.
ThomasBerger
View Profile
Special user
593 Posts

Profile of ThomasBerger
IMO, the problem some people are having with justifying etc
boils down to this...

too much theorising, not enough performing.
Over analysis leads to paralysis.
You need performing experience to get the correct mindset.

And one skill skill that needs to be developed, is to
understand how laypeople think!

This is critical.
Know human nature.
Understand the psychology of deception.

I think many people are getting into this business
without reading ie mainly watching DVD's.

You can't develop strong routines unless you know how
people think and react.

Look at Gary Kurtz.
One of the few guys that was on top of his field doing close-up magic.
He understood misdirection and structure perfectly with his brilliant routines.
Then he stops the close-up and turns to mentalism,
and again gets to the top of his field, in double quick time.

The over-riding factor, IMO...is that Gary really, really understands the
psychology of deception, how laypeople think. He even wrote a brilliant booklet of audience management which is mandatory reading-- How to Lead With Your Head.

Sitting around thinking about justifying bits of paper if you do not have the performing experience will not help you, IMO.

Get experience and look at what the Pro's are doing.

Cheers.
Tom
RJ_Silmser
View Profile
Regular user
Quebec
160 Posts

Profile of RJ_Silmser
Thomas, you always say the right things at the right time.

~Rick~
"A man is only as young as the woman he feels"



-Groucho Marx-
Xiqual
View Profile
Inner circle
Upper left quadrant
4934 Posts

Profile of Xiqual
I can't believe all this is being discussed on a webpage that is easily accessed by Google. Incredible. All the talk of exposure of mentalism andf here it is right here.
Jaes Linn
Still with the Chinese circus Smile
RJ_Silmser
View Profile
Regular user
Quebec
160 Posts

Profile of RJ_Silmser
Don't worry about it, Sir, I don't think the Mentalism world will come to a crashing hault. No worries.
"A man is only as young as the woman he feels"



-Groucho Marx-
Popo
View Profile
Loyal user
Valparaiso, IN
219 Posts

Profile of Popo
Thank you for the advice Bartlewizard. It can be quite confusing. And Tom, I also like what you say. I have actually tried to work a center tear into my kid's show. I work with my daughter who is an assistant. I tear the paper and then she brings out matches and and an ash tray as I burn the paper to read the thoughts. I mess it up and she has to tell me the thoughts. What was said now makes sense to me. This works in a kid's show but if I was to do this routine for an adult audience they might throw tomatoes! I think character-wise it could fly but it is a fairly transparent way of reading the thoughts. With either much more work on character and misdirection it could be believed by the audience that my assistant read the thought. Or a different method might work. However, the way in which we do it now would bring too much attention to the piece of paper and why we are doing with it what we are doing. It has become sleight of hand more than a mental miracle. Not that this is bad, it is just not what I would want to convey. Do I make sense?
Decomposed
View Profile
Eternal Order
High Desert
12020 Posts

Profile of Decomposed
CT/PCT always is very strong with me. Patter away any skeptic comments.

Now if I can just not let my eyes fail me, I'll be in good shape:)
RJ_Silmser
View Profile
Regular user
Quebec
160 Posts

Profile of RJ_Silmser
I have to giggle at the guys who think they can make the written upon billet "go away" from the mind of the writer. Unless you are entertaining a room full of retarded monkeys, it can't be done, and if you think you are doing it, you're fooling yourself.

Even though I put focus on the billet, 75% of the comments are along the lines of..."is this an ability you have". The people will believe what they wnat to believe, with focus on the written billet, or not. So as I said...don't fool yourself and don't insult the intelligence of the audience by thinking you can make them believe the billet didn't exist.

~Rick~
"A man is only as young as the woman he feels"



-Groucho Marx-
mysticz
View Profile
Special user
D.C. metro area
680 Posts

Profile of mysticz
Quote:
On 2005-05-17 17:31, RJ_Silmser wrote:
I have to giggle at the guys who think they can make the written upon billet "go away" from the mind of the writer. Unless you are entertaining a room full of retarded monkeys, it can't be done, and if you think you are doing it, you're fooling yourself.

For the past 25 plus years I have performed mentalism and much of what I do employs billets. The concept of minimizing the billet's importance in what you are doing is not only basic in the performance of cogent mentalism, it is key. Your emphasis should always be focused on selling and expanding upon the information gleaned from the billet -- the paper slip is de-emphasized and taken out of the picture almost immediately. If your routine -- be it a simple CT effect or a more extensive 15- minute Q&A sequence -- is structured correctly, the audience will remember the dramatic revelation and significant elaboration upon what personal info they were focused on...the slips of paper become merely an insignificant part of the process.

It's not that the "retarded monkeys" forget the written billets -- the paper slips should be neither a focus nor end in the game. What the audience is interested in involves their secret info/concerns and the performer's response to them.

Otherwise, your audience's reaction to your performance will be "How did that trickster manage to read what we wrote?"

And that would be very sad indeed.

Joe Z.
Joe Zabel
"Psychic Sorcery"

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

-- Shakespeare's Hamlet I.v. 174-175
RJ_Silmser
View Profile
Regular user
Quebec
160 Posts

Profile of RJ_Silmser
That is the whole idea behind "my" act...they fill out the slip...I hold it at my finger tips and tell them the contents without opening it. Is that concept hard to understand ? It's the way I do it, I don't give a rats a** about how so and so who has 10 books out does it. This is the way I do it... whether it's right or wrong to you, it's the way "I" do it. And that is what this entire tread was about until the critics came in.

Dunninger was always making relation to the slips the people filled out, I have several of his radio shows on tape and several of his TV shows on video and I've seen and heard him do it.

Never, ever, once, have I ever said I was reading their thoughts or minds...it's always been the contents of their slips, and as I said, they believe what they want to. So I guess I am a true billet reader and not a mind reader, as I focus on the billet and not trying to convince the audience I can read their minds, it's not the idea I want to put across to the audience.

~Rick~
"A man is only as young as the woman he feels"



-Groucho Marx-
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » More Advice For The Billet Student (1 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6~7 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.28 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL