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asanghi
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Bob Cassidy has a very simple reason for having things written down - "...so you don't change your mind later and make me look silly..."

But I still can't think of a GOOD enough reason for writing something down and then destroying it (as in center tears for example). Sure, you can get by without anybody questioning you, but I do believe that somewhere in the subconcious, it registers with the spectators.

My personal experience and view is that cards are ok but you really have to think hard about the kind of effects you perform. After having performing card effects for over 15 years, since making the move to mentalism, there are only 2 effects I now perform:

1. Bob Cassidy's memory performance routine with cards
2. Divine Write.

And who knows, over time, I might stop doing those as well!
ChuckHickok
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Asanghi,

I know you ... you can - and will - someday do a show without playing cards. It can happen sooner than you realize if you think creatively and push yourself to keep taking risks.

Here are two questions that might help anyone trying to move away from playing cards:

1) What mental ability are you using playing cards to demonstrate?

2) What "less suspicious props" could you use to demonstrate the same mental ability?

Memory is a great example. I also used to perform Bob Cassidy Card Memory Demonstration. It is a very strong and entertaining routine in his hands. He has done it 5000 times. (Yet, it is the only routine Bob now does that uses playing cards.)

But, to move away from playing cards, I created a memory demonsrtation I call my Postcard Memory Routine. It is easy, very impressive, and entertaining when done well.

Is it better than Bob's Playing Card Memory? I don't know. But it is a very entertaining and BELIEVABLE substitute.

My goal is to keep my audiences BELIEVING that what I'm doing is real as long as possible. That's why I absolutely avoid any prop/tool that could cause a person to think "magician" or "magic trick".

I respect that creating a level of "believability" is not the goal of everyone who is an entertainer on this forum. That's OK.

But if it is your goal ... please read and answer the two questions above. It can be done if you are comfortable with taking a few risks.

Respectfully,

Chuck Hickok
puppetboy
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When it comes to demonstrating an ability to read poker tells, or to demonstrate the kind of super memory gamblers and card counters supposedly have, cards are the least suspicious props around.

These days mostly magicians think 'magic trick' when they see a pack of playing cards. Everybody else thinks Texas Hold'em.
jakeg
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Comparing yourself with Dunninger, Kreskin, Annemann and other stand outs doing mental acts is, (in my opinion), the height of conceit and self delusion. Because they used a certain prop successfully, it doesn't mean that you can get away with it as well. I don't think that there is anything wrong with using cards. The tossed out deck is a fine mental routine, but it doesn't come off as a card trick. The cards are only incidental, and I think that's important for any card routine that you do in a mental show.
The only way to find out is to test it. If it works for you, great. If it doesn't, go back to square one. But above all, be objective when you evaluate your show. I've seen plenty of performers who felt that they bombed only to learn that the audience loved them, and others who bragged about what a great show they put on only to have the audience walk out bored and disappointed.
Stephen Long
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Quote:
On 2007-06-15 11:50, ChuckHickok wrote:
I do know several that do not use cards (Mark Salem, Banachek, Gerry McCambridge, Alain Nu - to name a few.) in their curent shows. I don't believe Derren Brown is curently using playing cards ... but he in one in 10,000 who could use them because of his persona and reputation.


Actually, both Derren Brown and Marc Salem performed a card effect the last time I saw their live shows. It's all down to the performer, of course. To categorically state, "It's fine to have cards in a mentalism act," is just as bad as stating, "It's wrong to have cards in a mentalism act."

Some interesting and thoughtful posts here. Thanks.
Hello.
asanghi
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Dear Chuck:

First of all, let me say that I've learnt an incredible amount from you over the last year or so, both from your books as well as the private email exchanges I've been having with you over the last year. You've definitely helped me fine-tune my script for the mentalism act I put together based on your two books. And for that I've very grateful.

I also have your postcard memory demo (which I purchased from you when you had lectured here in VA a few years back). The only reason I don't do that particular demo is I do the postcard effect as explained in "Triple Influence". And I don't do Bob's card memory routine as a regular effect; I only keep it as a back-up in case I'm asked to demo "one more" ability after the formal show is over.

On Divine Write, it's part of my close-up set, which is built around the theme of "influence and intuition". After having performed that set for over 50 times now, I don't get any inkling whatsoever that my audiences think of it as a magic trick or even close (I start my set with Ian Rowland's subliminal prediction and close with Richard's Magazine test). And just FYI, the main difference between my corporate set and my close up set is that while the corporate set is largely about showcasing MY abilities, my close up set is really about showcasing THEIR abilities. That is why Divine Write works so well in that context...

Perhaps you are right that someday I'll cease doing even these two effects. But I believe it boils down to the CONTEXT in which you use your props...there are really no absolutes...

Best regards,
Apurva Sanghi
ChuckHickok
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Quote:
On 2007-06-23 18:42, puppetboy wrote:
When it comes to demonstrating an ability to read poker tells, or to demonstrate the kind of super memory gamblers and card counters supposedly have, cards are the least suspicious props around.



Very good point! There are a few logical exceptions to my "encouragement" to not use playing cards as a mentalist.

One exception is if you are that 1-in-a-1000 performer whose persona/personality/reputation is so strong they can use almost anything as a mentalist. I'm not in that group.

You mentioned another exception. If the focus of your memory demostration is the "super memory" that poker players need to develop, then playing cards are a logical prop for that demonstration. There is a lot more Poker on TV now than five years ago. That helps with this presentation. But that does not mean everyone watches Poker on TV.

But for demonstrations of telepathy, intuition, predidction, lie detecion or influencing ... I still believe there are more better, logical props than playing cards for the serious mentalist.

I never claimed the same status as Dunninger, Annemann, Kreskin or Brown. These people are pioneers of this art. They would qualify under my 1-in-a-1000 exception. Again, I would not.

And I also realize that it is harder - but not impossible - to present close-up mentalism without playing cards. I have only perform mentalism on stage for groups of 20 to 500.

The purpose of my postings was to influence people in the direction that I honestly believe will benefit them in the long run as a mentalist. My intent was not to lay down any absolutes. I appoligize if my passion about this topic gave some that impression.

Chuck Hickok
jakeg
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Quote: [I never claimed the same status as Dunninger, Annemann, Kreskin or Brown. These people are pioneers of this art. They would qualify under my 1-in-a-1000 exception. Again, I would not.)

Chuck, my remarks did not have anyone specifically in mind. I was trying to point out that based on the fact that one of the icons did something, it doesn't open the door for everyone else to do it. For the most part, they were, (or are), very strong and unique personalities.
I'm sorry if my remarks weren't clear enough to convey what I had in mind when I wrote them.
jake
Hoff Man
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Chuck,

Your advice is similar to that offered in various
branches of magic, (if I can use the word).

As a Kidshow performer years ago, similar decisions
had to be made concerning the use of sucker effects,
live animals, balloon animals, danger or chopper effects … and so on.

I never regretted the choices I made in any of these areas.
There was more than enough quality material to develop and choose from.

In fact, developing one’s performance material and style seems
more like a matter of subtraction at times.
Chipping away at the marble, so to speak.

I welcome your advice. Thanks for posting.

Steve
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