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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Derren Brown Mind Control 3 (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ken
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Just finished watching the latest offering from Derren Brown and again thought it was excellent.



I especially enjoyed the part where he convinced the cashier at the dog track that he had the winning betting slip.



What did other people think?



Ken
Ian Rowland
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I find myself in two minds. Let's start with the positives.



It's great to see this kind of mentalism on national TV. I'm pleased for Derren, who deserves the success even if he was second choice for the role!



The shows have a decent budget and the production values are high. They are well-directed, with strong visual presentation. The creative team behind the shows, some of whom I know, are all very talented, savvy and hard-working guys.



Some minor reservations.



There is an unhelpful element of repetition. In the three MC shows to date, there are many instances of the same trick (the 'reveal' of p-s harvested data) repeated in different locations. Then again, there are many opinions about what constitutes 'same' or 'different'. I'm not trying to be contentious. It's just that I know Derren has a wider repertoire than these shows seem to suggest.



I've spoken to laymen who, having seen the shows, think of Derren as 'clever' rather than someone they'd actually warm to. Actually, Derren is terrific company, and one of the funniest, wittiest, most entertaining people you could meet. It's a shame the shows don't showcase these aspects of Derren's personality.



There is a danger of Derren making a rod for his own back, and for the back of mentalism in general, by including so many routines which can literally only be done in the context of a taped TV show, and cannot be produced live or in real-time. There are always work-arounds, for sure, but I just have some misgivings.



Derren takes the vogue-ish line that 'This is all accomplished by using heightened non-verbal communication techniques and knowledge of things like NLP, hypnosis and patterned response'. This plays well, but there are people signing up for expensive NLP courses hoping they will then be able to do what they see Derren doing (such as effortlessly chatting up supermodels). I know this is true because several such people have told me so. It's possibly to be regretted that for the sake of entertainment we're sending people off on this kind of expenseive wild goose chase. Would it really be so destructive to say 'these are deceptive, entertaining tricks, and not all is what it appears to be' ?



Fifthly, I have some misgivings about stooged effects, especially on TV. MC1 included at least one stooge routine (of the Georgia Magnet variety), and another which had at least an element of what we call the 'instant stooge' technique. I just thought this was a slight waste of Derren's abundant talent.
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Jonathan
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How can I get a copy of the mind control tapes? I have seen his web site and understand what you mean Ian.



Jonathan Grant
Drewmcadam
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Personally, I thought the show was superb. While the programme may not capture Mr Brown’s sparkling wit and easy affability, I can understand why. Derren is being groomed for much bigger things, and if it is necessary to project an image that suggests a certain distance and aloofness – through dress, dialogue or whatever – then that is the price that must be paid. (Though it backfired on David Bland in a recent interview!)

While what Ian Rowland says is correct; he is making a rod for his own back - and God help me when some punter at the race track wants me to cash a losing ticket - the vast majority of the great unwashed will find an effect using a NW (with the correct presentation, of course) equally stunning, because it is happening to THEM. Unfortunately for Derren, a large percentage of the audience that saw MClll will a**ume that camera trickery was used, no matter the actual mathod, because if you can produce the effects as seen in Lord of the Rings with fireworks, monsters and crumbling staircases, then getting a group of people to raise their hands in a shopping mall shouldn’t present too much difficulty.

Moreover, if some of the effects are accomplished using techniques as obvious and old as Venessa Phelps’ hair extensions, it matters not to the General Public, because they do not have a working knowledge of these techniques.

At the end of the day, it was a sparkling, well delivered show that has set people talking – mission objective achieved, I say.
poire
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There is definately some duplicated material... in a sense, MC3 seemed more like a Christmas Greatest hits package than anything new. And now with more adverts than ever...



Derren’s “thing” is to work together magic, suggestion, NLP, (stoogery?) etc., into something new and certainly there is no one else doing what he does. But the weaker material has the effect of diluting the stronger. One of the weaker “experiments” - with the blind athlete - wasn’t even in keeping with DB’s “mind reading” abilities routines as it took the form of a prediction. More importantly, even if it was a genuine prediction, the fact that I and (I imagine) most of the people contributing to this forum would be able to perform something similar means that it is easier to a**ume it was a set up. When presented next to the more direct mind reading elements one is forced to conclude that this too must be some sort of set up, albeit one which couldn’t be replicated.



Regarding the Nazi Bunker Experiment (or whatever it was), this was a rather stagey ending to the program with more in common with the Crystal Maze than Mind Control. Presumably this was something requested by the TV company to mirror the circus tightropewalker.. Again, the fact that most people would be able to think of a method to replacate the effect ( magicians and TV audience alike) is enough to discredit the whole thing... and by a**ociation what went before.



I also felt Derren was a bit mean with the chess guy...”Oh, that’s so obvious. We would have chosen those colours when we were six”, etc., comments which strengthen the cold, clever Derren rather than the fluffy Derren described above.



NB Who WAS first choice for the role?
Stephen Long
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Ian Rowland?
Hello.
Ian Rowland
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Ho ho ho, no, definitely not, I can assure you I would never ever have been considered for the role of Mr. Mind Control. The producer, Andrew O'Connor, first offered the role to Andy Nyman, who turned it down. He then met Gerry Sadowitz who introduced him to Derren, and they all lived happily ever after. Andy Nyman has worked on the shows as one of the back-room creative team.
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GothicBen
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I just wish Derren would show a few, minor failures, which he can shrug off in his inimitable style. Else you'll just get the "Must be stooges" from the more intelligent members of the lay public!



Ian, I agree with what you said, but you've put it better than I could!
Paul
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Oh dear, the last thing I wanted to do was start talking about Derren’s show,

but I certainly do not think the prediction was weak, I thought it was very strong and a real baffler. I do agree though, that it was out of context with the mind control, and as Ian said he may be creating a rod for his own back. It would be difficult to sustain the mind control theme for a complete series.



But then if he cracks the U.S. market with a couple of shows (moves are underfoot)he may be quids in anyway Smile:)



I thought the shopping mall idea was good,

it may even have been genuine (but I would have thought that may have left him open to being sued)and also liked the blindfold stunt at the end, and don’t think too many could duplicate it, hardly akin to a tightrope walker, or are you thinking of a tightrope walker in the dark where someone may have moved the rope or replaced it with razer wire?



I was not too sure on the betting scam, though the concept is good and not new, one Russian psychic once walked straight into the Kremlin by supposedly "clouding minds" or convincing them he should be there. Plus wouldn’t the police be knocking on his door after seeing the show? lol



To use the this supposed ability to defraud is NOT a good presentation. Nor too believable, like a lottery prediction. If he can obtain money so easily why is he doing this show and not privaely enjoying a life of luxury somewhere.



The teeth and pin scenario I am sure some people would put down to hypnosis, induction off camera.



But lets not be too critical, lets enjoy the offbeat presentations whilst we can.



Paul Hallas
MANDRAGORE
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I had been very disapointed from the MC 3, i was expecting more from it especially after the short preview i saw (it was the thing in the shoping center).



I don't want to take the defence of Mister Brown but i am sure that C4 don't let him do what he wants and put some restriction on his work in order to sell it.



Ben Smile
poire
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"and don't think too many could duplicate it, hardly akin to a tightrope walker, or are you thinking of a tightrope walker in the dark where someone may have moved the rope or replaced it with razer (sic)wire? "



What I mean here is that every cheesy tightrope walker I've ever seen at some point on their difficult journey pretends to be in trouble, nearly slips off etc., but (phew) recovers and gets home safely. It was a bit disappointing seeing DB presenting us with this particular slice of stilton .



One way of duplicating the performance would be to have a secondary control room (off camera naturally) which could steer DB safetly through the obstacle course with coded sound signals.



I'm not saying that this was how it was done but rather that because it took me a minute to come up with this possibility, the whole thing can be regarded as a fix or some sort.



Far more beautiful are the demonstrations which have no room for trickery, or at least not obvious trickery.
Paul
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Poire said:

"One way of duplicating the performance would be to have a secondary control room (off camera naturally) which could steer DB safetly through the obstacle course with coded sound signals."



:):) I suppose you could duplicate it that way at far greater expense. Not that I heard any coded sound signals, A realistic assumption from your comments, is that to do a blindfold walk in live cabaret along a chalked line is more deceptive!!



Regarding requirements from CHANNEL 4, I doubt they interfere one bit. The show will be made and sold to them as a finished product, as so many are these days.



Personally I would have lied about the room being in total darkness and had a green light in there Smile



Paul.
Ian Rowland
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Quote:

Regarding requirements from CHANNEL 4, I doubt they interfere one bit. The show will be made and sold to them as a finished product, as so many are these days.



Paul's essentially right. Producer Andrew O'Connor went through a long process of fine-tuning his programme idea with Channel 4 in order to get the first show commissioned, and of course the Channel 4 people will have given him their 'notes' and feedback about the MC 2 and 3 shows, but essentially theirs is a 'hands off' commissioning role.
www.ianrowland.com . Working Magic.
p.b.jones
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Hi Ian,

For the twins effect your talking about my wife a non magician said "oh he just used one of those chairs all the comediens/magicians use that give an electric shock.

phillip
grazza
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Hi all,



I am a fan of Derren Brown's work, although I have to say that I have been disappointed with his Mind Control series. I think the main issue for me is that the show appears 'too perfect', in other words, as shown, the effects are generally impossible.



I have spoken to many lay people about their impressions and most I have talked too find it a turn-off, saying that he is just using stooges.



There has been a growing tendency in recent popular magic programmes to use heavy editing (rather than blatant camera trickery - a la Copperfield) to remove any footage which contains the 'secret'. All in all, the public watches magic because they like to be fooled - they don't like to feel cheated.



That said, however, I'm looking forward to Derren's live tour, as I feel this will be a much better forum for his material and personality.
MANDRAGORE
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Have you seen the news?



DB is apparantly writting a book about his Mind control series.



Smile
Andrewdavidson12
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I thought MC3 was great and Derren's performance at "MindMagic2001" was also very interesting.



Andrew
kris attard
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Ian, you mentioned DB doing some Georgia Magnet type feat on Mind Control. Unfortunately I don't get to watch this series since I don't live in UK, could you please describe this effect he performed? Thanks!
berseus
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The lay people I have spoken to have thought it is a great show.

The effect at the dog track have even been spoken about from people who didn't actually see the show, just heard about it.

Personally, I really like all the shows, but agree with the prediction beeing a bit of a break.

I also think his presentations are very convincing and have met both laymen and magicians who believes most of what he does is for real (I have believed a fair bit of it myself... but less for every week I get to think about it).
"How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else." - R. Buckminster Fuller
Alex Reeve
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Kris,
the georgian magnet type of effect is that Derren Brown ask someone to lift a girl which he can do without a problem. then he put the guy in trance and ask him to lift the girl again but he can't lift her at all.
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