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Salem Ma
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I have been working on a prediction routine. Here is how it looks. There are 4 paper bags labeled 1-4. You tell a story about how you have always been into cars, and talk about how you have a dream car, and you wrote about it last night and sealed it in an envelope, the same envelope that you just gave to someone to hold while you start the effect. You dump out the contents of bag 1, showing they are a bunch of slips of paper, all with names of different cars on them, you hand out the bag for inspection, there is nothing to find, it's a normal bag.

You then have them put the slips of paper back in the bag, and pick one. You take out a packet of small yellow envelopes, and ask the spectator to put the slip of paper in the envelope without looking at it yet. Then the 1 envelope is placed in full view on a small stand. You repeat this with 2 which has colors on the slips, 3 which has years on the slips, and 4 which has cities on the slips.

You then come up with a random number chosen by the audience, and just for the *&$$ of it, have someone pick a card. You then have a spectator open the envelopes that the slips were placed in and take out all the slips, show the rest of the audience, and display them. You have the person take out the preediction envelope, (it can be mailed if you want), open it and read what is inside.

There is a story about how the letter was written before the show, and it gives off all the correct information.

I know that there are already routines for this effect, but this doesn't use the same methods. The entire letter is written and is in the hands of the spectator at all times. Nothing is added to the letter. There is a switch with the chosen slips of paper, but it is absolutely invisible, the slips of paper are always in sight, and there is only one slip inside each envelope.

Just wondering how I should go about trying to market this effect. It uses moves that are not my own, but in a different way than I have ever seen. Kind of like how the elmsley is used in thousands of tricks. I can produce the product myself, and I could design and print the logo and the directions. I just don't know about the legal issues I need to consider.

Other Than That Mrs. Lincoln, How Was That Play?
Andy Leviss
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1179 Posts

Profile of Andy Leviss
Well first, before worrying about the details of marketing the effect, I'd ask whether the effect is particularly viable as far as the market is concerned.

Specifically, do the plusses of your version (that the envelope is in the hands of an audience member from the start) outweigh the minuses (that the choices are more contrived, as opposed to, for example, Shaxon's classic "Confabulation" and the variations thereof, where all the choices are entirely free, called out by audience members).

I would expect that more people would be suspicious of the rather unusual selection process (particularly the unjustified sealing of the slips in envelopes, only to open them again moments later), than would be of the prediction not being in an audience member's possession from the start of the effect.

In addition, with certain existing versions, the envelope is in fact in the hands of the audience member before the effect starts, and all the choices remain free.

As for your question regarding using existing techniques, it really depends on what specifically is used in the routine; the answer can vary based on the specifics both of what the technique is, where/if it was published, when it was published, etc. as far as legality goes; as far as ethics, the question gets even muddier.

It's hard to give a specific answer without knowing the details of the effect; the best thing to do is find a few people very experienced in the field of mentalism and ask them if they'd mind looking over the routine for you both for feedback and for crediting/permission assistance. If they agree, then send them the details and heed their advice.
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