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bugjack
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I performed a bit of impromptu mentalism the other night using the Stealth Assassin wallet -- the movie ID effect that's on the disks. Just after writing down her choice, the spectator said she wanted to change her mind and wrote down another on another card. Fine. The performance went really well, everybody was suitably amazed, and later at dinner she said to me, "Now, can you get the person I originally wrote down?" I decided to go for it after a tiny bit of fishing and missed, and then she said we should all keep trying to get it. So my wife and I kept stabbing away it, and she said, "Now it's just a guessing game." So I didn't seem desperate I just said that the person that popped in my mind was the person I named, so I obviously missed, but it turned into a game of 20 questions. Nobody actually did get the name, but I wondered what others would do in this situation -- when you're asked to divine something related to the effect but outside of the effect's parameters.
TonyB2009
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I'd say I would love to, but we did that already. Let's try something interesting - then do another mental effect. The one I like to use in situations like this is something like Sign Language, where you tell her your star sign.
bugjack
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Thanks. That's probably the best way to handle it, but since we were in a group in the middle of dinner at a restaurant, it wasn't the best situation to bust into something new. But you're right, probably best to change gears into something else.
MentalAlex
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"I didn't get it right? Darn... what WAS the name you were thinking of? Amanda? That's really weird! Look at what I have here in my trusty PW wallet! Obviously, I must have known before hand that you were going to think of that name first and change your mind to the other..."
Dick Christian
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I'd take a stab at it -- but only once -- based on the probability that the first name may be related in some way to the second one (e.g., if the one she finally chose is a contemporary movie star, odds are better than 50/50 that the first one was as well). If you're wrong, simply admit it and move on -- perhaps with a comment like "if I was right all the time I wouldn't be here, I'd be out buying a lottery ticket" or some such. Attempts to recover from a bad situation almost always only dig you into a deeper hole.
Dick Christian
bugjack
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Quote:
On 2009-05-27 10:53, Dick Christian wrote:
I'd take a stab at it -- but only once -- based on the probability that the first name may be related in some way to the second one (e.g., if the one she finally chose is a contemporary movie star, odds are better than 50/50 that the first one was as well). If you're wrong, simply admit it and move on -- perhaps with a comment like "if I was right all the time I wouldn't be here, I'd be out buying a lottery ticket" or some such. Attempts to recover from a bad situation almost always only dig you into a deeper hole.


That's pretty much what I did -- picked a name from the same period, an actress who appeared in similar types of films. And then I simply said that was the name that occurred to me even though it was wrong.
magicianroger
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Tell them the Effect took to much out of you for now.
Seth speaks
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I'm a perennial amateur, but I say never let the audience control your show. I always do my effects on my own terms, and I never let anyone dictate how and when an effect will be done. Have a script prepared for when this happens, and stick to it. Your response to her request weakened your effect on the group, because you weren't prepared for it.

I would either politely decline, with a suitable excuse, or I often do something like TonyB's advice: decline to "do it again," since I've already done that, but simply have a prepared segue into another simple, and perhaps similar, effect...and then that's it. You're a mystery performer, not a performing monkey.

Seth
Machina
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I agree with Seth. Never perform on demand- unless of course you're being paid to Smile
This "has nothing to do with the Magician who doesn't like Rock n Roll!" Corinda

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Greg Arce
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I usually say, "I don't do requests."

Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
Yannou
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"Sure, I could do that, BUT, don't you think it's more fun to do something we haven't done already?" (Thanks to KK)

Of course, in this particular case, you could have covered yourself by taking the first card back before giving her a new one.
bugjack
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Quote:
On 2009-05-28 05:53, Yannou wrote:

Of course, in this particular case, you could have covered yourself by taking the first card back before giving her a new one.


That's an excellent point.
frenfr
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Hindsight is 20/20, but from experience, I had someone do this with a playing card. I perform the effect of memorising all the cards, ask her to remove hers, and then I try to tell her what it was.

She then said "Ok, do it again". Took the cards, peeked one in the middle, and lost it again. What chance could I possibly have?

Well, I do really try, even randomly in my life, to ask a friend to think of a card - and I try to work out, by process of elimination, what card they have using cold reading. I have about 70/100 success. I also practice even when I know the card, so I can create a mental database of typical responses for hits and misses.

Things I can share are, in my experience of doing this for about 2 years, about 5 times a week: tiny eye squints are correct. Big head nods are normally the opposite card. If I say "Ok, so we have number cards" (tiniest movement), or picture cards (big nod of agreement). I usually take the non-nod, and it's correct.

Anyway, I did this and it was the 9D. She was astonished, and so was I - since I didn't know if it was a diamond or heart. Just red, not picture and above 6.

Something else I might do is, if you have a pen, ask her for it by saying "Look, it never works when we're out of context. Just tell me it, I really don't want to look a fool and guess". She well tell you. Then I do this: I look down, smile enough for her to see, give a tiny laugh and say "Ok, nice. Interesting choice, but nice". This will drive her crazy. Leave her to be so.

Even 10 minutes later, I will try everything to get the pen ot my pocket (drop the napkin?), lap-write the answer when talking (attention is on upper body and not arms - hold a fork though if you're right handed). Then I prepare as necessary.

Towards the end of the dinner, I will increase my looks at her. She will know why - maybe it will initiate her to ask again what my issue was with laughing? I say "Well, I don't know. The whole reason I am doing this is because I like to provide, ok a little entertainment, but something which you will never forget." This time, she's deeply interested. I say "I knew you'd challenge me, and I know you're the kind of person to change your mind so I kind of expected to, when thinking about performing this effect, have a get-out, you know?"

Take out the pad (better than napkin, since you wouldn't have that "before" entering the restaurant, right?), and put it on the table.

You will kill with that.

Then I say nothing and explain that - like I said - it's just one of those things. The more you challenge, the more you look the fool!

She probably won't do it again. Any further challenges can be laughed off.
The man on the top of the mountain didn't fall there.
Dick Christian
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What strikes me about this and the other similar threads I've seen are that this almost always happens to the amateur/hobbyist/wannabe or newbie who is performing for family, friends, coworkers, etc. (I won't even mention those sorry souls who practice what I call "guerrilla magic," i.e., accosting strangers in line at the bank, DMV or supermarket to annoy them with an uninvited "performance"). This can be attributed to the fact that family, friends and coworkers know the performer as "just good old Joe" and not as "The Great Whoever" so have no qualms about openly challenging anything and everything he does. On the other hand, the working professional rarely finds himself in that situation because he typically performs only for strangers and only when hired as a paid entertainer. As long as his performance is of professional quality (i.e., solid effects, well performed, strong and engaging personality, professional audience management skills) and appropriate for the audience, it is highly unlikely that he will be challanged.

The best way the amateur/hobbyist, etc., can avoid the problem is -- as others have suggested -- to forego the temptation to "show off" (which is an open invitation to a challenge) and perform only when specifically requested to do so. Such a request is your audience's signal that they are willing to suspend their disbelief and be entertained.

Just my $0.02
Dick Christian
Yannou
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I don't agree that it does not happen to the pros. Why else would just about every book written by and for pros have chapters on dealing with such situations? Sure, the focus for the pro is that these situations should be avoided by having control of the situation, proper audience management and blablabla, but it can and will happen, even to the pro (I've seen it happen to Banachek!). And you better be prepared.

Prepared for what is a different matter. IMO, people skill is more important here than magic skill. Judge the person. Are they out to get you, or do they like the effect so much they want to see it again? Do they want to make you jump through hoops and get high on their little powertrip or do they like the magic and want to get more involved in a friendly way? Challenging can be a form of heckling and you better recognize what's what.
Dick Christian
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I didn't mean to suggest (nor do I think I said) that it NEVER happens to the pros. It certainly can and does; however, it FAR less likely to happen to an experienced pro than to the hobbyist/amateur/wannabe or newbie for the several reasons I described.

As re: the fact that many books address how to handle such situations, while my magic library contains over a thousand books, magazines and manuscripts I don't recall any book that is written just for the pros -- while books are written for readers with differing levels of experience and expertise, they are with few exception written for the general magic market.

Bottom line is that the situation the poster described can happen to anyone, but the amateur/hobbyist is far more likely to encounter it -- and is usually less adept at handling it -- than the pro, so needs to be aware of ways to AVOID the problem as well as suggestions for how to handle it.
Dick Christian
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