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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Robert Channing Mentalist (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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equivoque
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Yesterday, Robert Channing performed for a crowd of about 200 students at my college. Robert is a mentalist who makes a nice living on the college market. First and foremost, Robert Killed! What did he do?

Name a number routine
Predict the change in a man's pocket
Booktest (simple and straight forward)
Blindfold Routine
Confabulation

He knew his audience, college students who have a very short attention span. With that in mind, his presentation was straight forward, no story telling, no elaborate plots or setups. Here is an example:
Channing: "Think of a number and name it out loud"
Student: "86"
Channing: "Read what I wrote on this pad."
Student "86"
Audience "Loud applause"

Robert's entire act would cost about $80.00 and most of that is for the booktest! Robert does not surf the boards and he turned down an offer to perform on Phenomenon. He buys nor sells no instructional DVDs, attends no conventions and subscribes to no publications. Everyone reading this email could easily do his act (from a technical stand point) and most here would be completely unimpressed by him. (Robert, however, is not concerned about impressing or fooling his fellow performers.) Yet, he makes a very good living giving his audiences exactly what they want.

Is there a lesson to be learned here?
VIEW
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One things different.

He presents himself as the real thing.

He specifically says in every show I've seen him do that 'I'm not a magician and these are not tricks - I hate magicians, they fool me, I'm channelling my psychic energy......etc"

That makes him a crock in my eyes.

Sure, we could all make good money if we told a few lies.
ALEXANDRE
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If Channing was performing in a little village in Africa somewhere where people had no access to the internet, professors, etc, I'd suggest he not perpetuate the idea that he is some kind of God, but since he's performing in America, I believe all bets are off. The audience members can get on their laptops, approach a professor, visit a psychologist, borrow some books, etc, to find the "truth" (whatever that may be). Besides, I think it's an insult to the attending students and professors to have an entertainer remind them that what he is doing is not "real". Besides, those who believe do so because they want to, not because there is no information around them to suggest otherwise. I'm pretty sure he's labeled as an entertainer. God bless him.

Having said that, I've never seen him perform. Will look on Youtube, but for now, he's a "motivational speaker and entertainer" as far as I've heard.

We all tell lies, VIEW. don't fool yourself. It would be one heck of a boring performance if every time you did a routine you told them how you were doing it too.
Trekdad
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My son saw Channing perform recently at a prospective college student recruitment event. He and the other students (seniors in high school) thought Channing was the highlight of the 2 days of events. They walked away with the view that he was mind-blowingly entertaining, and nothing more.
Barnhardt: You have tested this theory?
Klaatu: I find it works well enough to get me from one planet to the next.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
bobser
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Quote:
On 2010-09-14 11:42, equivoque wrote:
Is there a lesson to be learned here?


...Yeah, get duck tape. It's cheap and can take a good 30 mins to slap on.
Bob Burns is the creator of The Swan.
equivoque
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Quote:
On 2010-09-14 11:50, VIEW wrote:
One things different.

He presents himself as the real thing.

He specifically says in every show I've seen him do that 'I'm not a magician and these are not tricks - I hate magicians, they fool me, I'm channelling my psychic energy......etc"

That makes him a crock in my eyes.

Sure, we could all make good money if we told a few lies.


I suggest that you see Robert perform again. While he does say:
"'I'm not a magician and these are not tricks - I hate magicians, they fool me"

At the end he says: "My act is 35% psychology, 35% luck, yes I often get lucky,and the rest is ESP (wink) in that it depends on all of you Extra Special People!"

Keep in mind that I feel it is OK to claim to be the real McCoy if you are not:
1. Doing private readings (for money).
2. Contacting someone's dead relatives
3. Doing work better left to a therapist

In Robert's case, people pay to see a show and in this case, they know that it is a show and that is what they get, so it does not make him a crook. In "Pieces of My Mind" Lee Earle has some good comments on this topic.

To be even clearer,In Robert's case the students who see him pay nothing. He is booked by a college employee who, I guarantee, know that it is a show that they are paying for.

This makes Robert a showman at best and a charlatan at worst. And if you ask Bob Cassidy, he will tell you that charlatans invented mentalism.

So, calling Robert a crook is uncalled for. He will not be offended, however, because he is too busy booking shows and performing to read this!
equivoque
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Quote:
On 2010-09-14 12:52, bobser wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-09-14 11:42, equivoque wrote:
Is there a lesson to be learned here?


...Yeah, get duck tape. It's cheap and can take a good 30 mins to slap on.


Indeed!
mdspark
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The lesson to be learned is you don't need the "latest and greatest" effects to present a great act. Its all in how you come across to the audience when you present it.

And story telling has its place but not for all audiences. Especially of one is a BAD story teller as most are.
Mentalist Sam
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I found his clips on YouTube and was impressed with what I saw. It's obvious the guy is a pro and has performed those routines for years. It's also obvious he is presenting himself as an entertainer. If people want to believe otherwise, that's their problem.

Aside from not needing the "latest and greatest", as mentioned above, it's also important to choose solid, proven material and stick with it. Work it over and over. Don't jump from "just learned routine to another just learned routine" thinking THAT is what's going to make you great. I don't think a lot of younger guys (and unfortunately older guys as well) know when to stop trying out new material. The routines never get polished. They never learn to put their own spin on it because they haven't worked with it long enough.
David Alexander
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Once again "Mentalist Sam" speaks with the voice of experience. Much wisdom there.
aligator
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Good advice if your only purpose is financial return. However, if you enjoy the involvement with the art, trying out new demonstrations will always be something you won't want to give up. There are many full time professionals who have found middle ground.......successful part timers too.
Decomposed
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Turned down Phenomenon, that says a lot.
Mentalist Sam
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Quote:
On 2010-09-14 17:23, aligator wrote:
Good advice if your only purpose is financial return.


It's actually GREAT advice if that financial return is how you support your family and you can't afford to present sub-par material to high paying clients.

Quote:
On 2010-09-14 17:23, aligator wrote:
However, if you enjoy the involvement with the art, trying out new demonstrations will always be something you won't want to give up.


That's the perfect perspective from an amateur. First of all, no one is saying that you can't look at other things. But a pro, a real pro, already knows what material will work for him and what will not. A pro's involvement with the art is constantly tweaking their act. Their act IS their art. You're always refining, maybe changing a line or adding a subtlety. THAT is the art and if you rely on your act to take care of your family (you know paying the mortgage, insurance, car payments, feeding the kids, etc.), then you realize that there are MORE important things to consider than learning new material that may or may not go into the act.
Mindpro
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Very well said. Didn't many of us on here get offered and turned down Phenomenon?
Mindpro
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Equivoque, how long was the performance? Based on the effects you listed, and having seen his performances, this seems like only a 20-30 minute performance which is rare for a college date.
r1z08
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5 fully scripted and thought out routines would surely last more than 20-30 minutes. My current set is 5 routines and is just over an hour.

-rob
Mentalist Sam
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If you search on YouTube for his videos, you will see that he also does a Q&A routine that is an extended part of his blindfold act. The think of a number and change in the pocket go by fairly quickly. You can easily do 30 minutes just with the blindfold/Q&A.
EricDraven
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I love to check out new stuff!
...
But even more I love to read old stuff (Bascoms Magick...)
...
And regarding my 3 acts...I only change one of them...rarely(!)...
:)
Believe me...nothing is trivial...
Mindpro
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That's why I was asking, as the first two effects mentioned are quick effects as I remember them and I also remember Bob telling me he doesn't like to do to long Q&A and Blindfold segments as part of his college show in order to maintain the pacing he prefers of his college show. So in doing the math allowing ten minutes each for those two plus the two quick initial effects, and maybe 7 or 8 minutes for the booktest made me pose this question. Obviously if the Q&A and BF were longer then it would be longer than my figuring which is why I asked. So this brings me back to my question...how long was the performance?

Also rlz08, fully scripted doesn't necessarily mean they have to be long routines. His first effect while fully scripted runs about 10 maybe 15 seconds at best.
r1z08
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Quote:

On 2010-09-15 18:54, Mindpro wrote:
Also rlz08, fully scripted doesn't necessarily mean they have to be long routines. His first effect while fully scripted runs about 10 maybe 15 seconds at best.
[/quote]

Agreed 100%. I was just simply saying that a show does not need to be trick after trick after trick. Hope that wasn't taken the wrong way. Sometimes it's hard to convey the right "tone" in these forums.

-rob
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