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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Handling an Audience - A Primer for Mentalists (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Kevin Cook
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On 2010-12-19 13:06, mastermindreader wrote:

To avoid distractions from the back of the room, plan to open the
act with an effect involving the entire audience, such as a few
psychological choices or audience readings. The readings should be
directed to those seated in the back or at the bar. This will guarantee
that you will have everyone's attention at the outset.



Hi Bob, can you elaborate on what you mean by 'audience readings'?

Thanks

Kevin
mastermindreader
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Rebecca is exactly right. Scripted moments of silence can be very effective. In my own act, for example, I request the audience to be silent "for the next thirty seconds, or so," while I apparently memorize the order of a pack of cards. It works well and enhances the believability of the routine.

Unexpected dead spots, such as when a participant takes a long time to make a selection or follow directions, etc. are best covered by conversational asides, relevant anecdotes or humorous observations. The main thing is that you don't just stand there doing nothing; because if you do the audience's attention can be lost or, even worse, someone will decide to fill in the dead time for you with a "witticism" of his/her own. Again, you cannot relinquish your control of the situation.

Good thoughts,

Bob
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Kevin-

In the context of this excerpt, "audience readings" really refers to anything involving the entire audience. Normally I use the phrase to refer to Q @ A and I think it would have been more accurate for me to say "any effect or bit involving the entire audience.

The sentence you are referring to made a lot more sense in it original context in "The Art of Mentalism," which covered the subject of audience reading in considerable detail.

Thanks for the question. I'm sure there were many others who were wondering what I was talking about.

Best-

Bob
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Elaborating on my last post- audience readings, psychological choices, etc., are examples of what I refer to as "major effects." I call them that because they involve, or potentially involve, the entire audience. Major effects are, generally speaking, the best way to open a program for a large audience.

I refer to all routines involving specific volunteers coming to the stage as "minor effects." (Note- the designations 'major' and 'minor' have nothing to do with the strength, per se, of the effects - merely to the number of people involved.) I don't recommend using minor effects as openers for large audiences because they tend to be slower in terms of set up and and serve to cast the rest of the audience as passive observers rather than active participants.

Best-

Bob
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Q&A has been used as a closer for many mentalists for many years (I believe). Bob are you saying that Q&A type routines make good openers? Its just that in my limited experience Q&A or reading the minds of audience members from on stage is one of the most powerful things you can do. Is it easy to follow on from such a dramatic demonstration?
mastermindreader
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No, I don't use Q and A as an opener, but I DO use routines that involve, like Q and A, the entire audience. (Major effects) Like I said, the use of the phrase "audience readings" in my original post is really out of context (the post is an excerpt from a larger work) and I really should have edited it to read "any effect or routine involving the entire audience."

Good thoughts,

Bob
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On 2010-12-22 11:04, mindshrink wrote:
I understand that a magi should design the patter in such a way that there are no pauses or gaps or periods of silence....but at times due to certain circumstances...such silent pauses might arise which has to be filled.
How do you fill the 'pauses'?

I would suggest that if you feel that a dead spot is there that you look over your show. most of the time dead spots arrive while taking or putting away props (chalk board - pencils). Think that what you could do. can you make it shorter. Tie in 1 or 2 things together. if the moment is there how can I make it interesting - can I put a joke or some audience involvement here.

Example: for a memory test I need 18 numbers to memorize. Now I could ask a spectator to name them, but then the whole audience is sitting there looking around. So I decided to take a balloon and throw that in the audience. They have to push the balloon through the air until I say stop. That spectator names some numbers and we move on. This way the whole audience is involved.

Mr. Cassidy, what are you thoughts on transitions between effects?
powerwords
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On 2010-12-23 02:13, ROBERT BLAKE wrote:

MR. CASSIDY, what are you thoughts on transissions between effects?


Wow, this is like having Bob as my personal consultant or private tutor......

I also have the same question...... can you give us tips on that matter. Transitions between effects or routines......
How do you plan your routines for your show? What type of mentalism routines and effects that you always put in your repertoire?
BE GOOD, if you can't then BE CAREFUL, if it's hard then BE BAD!!!
Kevin Cook
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Thank you for the clarification Bob, and for your generosity.

Kevin
mastermindreader
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On 2010-12-23 02:34, powerwords wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-12-23 02:13, ROBERT BLAKE wrote:

MR. CASSIDY, what are you thoughts on transissions between effects?


Wow, this is like having Bob as my personal consultant or private tutor......

I also have the same question...... can you give us tips on that matter. Transitions between effects or routines......
How do you plan your routines for your show? What type of mentalism routines and effects that you always put in your repertoire?


I have always viewed my entire act as if it was a single routine. There is nothing worse than watching someone present an "act" that is simply a sequence of unrelated routines connected by lines like "And now I'd like to show you . . ."

I discussed this in detail in my "Fundamentals" and "The Artful Mentalism."

It's all based on first defining your persona and determining what your special ability is. In my own case I have defined myself as having the ability to send and receive thoughts based on visualizing things on an imaginary movie screen. (I'm not suggesting that everyone do this - it's important to come up with your own approach.) Vernon once said that an effect was no good unless you could describe it in one sentence. I believe that should apply to your entire act as well.

Don't make the mistake of trying to demonstrate every possible paranormal ability, i.e., telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, PK, etc. Because with each additional ability you claim, the more you muddy the overall impression of what you do and your credibility decreases proportionately.

Good thoughts,

Bob
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Thanks for sharing with the community, Bob. It's a really nice surprise for the holidays!
cpzwart
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Great advice, Bob!
Pakar Ilusi
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Quote:

I've already discussed the dangers of allowing dead time during
your act. Such lapses are very likely to occur if you simply say, 'Who
would like to volunteer for my next effect?" In many clubs you'll get
no response at all or if someone does come up, it may turn out to be
the town drunk we were warned about earlier.

By asking for volunteers in this manner you are relinquishing a
certain amount of the control I've been discussing. You are putting
yourself in the audiences' hands. Don't do it. You sized up the
audience before the show and have a pretty good idea of who the better
subjects will be, so just approach one of them and tell him what you
want him to do. Don't ask him if he wants to help. He doesn't get an
opportunity to refuse and is on the stage before he really knows what's
happening. Such an approach leaves the impression of control and,
additionally, will prevent volunteers from having time to indulge in
creative thinking as to how to trip you up.

Remember-it is your job to surprise the audience; don't ever give
them an opportunity to surprise you.

Bob Cassidy


That was the best part for me. I will change my approach now.

Thanks so much Mr. Cassidy! Smile

Smile
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Goldfield
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Having my first gig coming up, this really helped Bob so thank you !

May I ask, do you have any books on what you describe as major effects- e.g.: psychological forces?
What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? Vincent V.G
mastermindreader
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On 2012-01-18 05:40, peterd wrote:
Having my first gig coming up, this really helped Bob so thank you !

May I ask, do you have any books on what you describe as major effects- e.g.: psychological forces?


I discuss this in both The Art of Mentalism and The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy. You should also refer to Banachek's excellent Psychological Subtleties series.

Note that by "major effects," I am not referring to psy forces only, I also mean Q&A, audience readings, suggestibility tests, and any effects that involve, or appear to involve, the entire audience.

Good thoughts,

Bob
(You might also want to read The Resurrection of Doctor Crow. Not that it has much to do with your question, but because the Doctor wants you to. Smile)
cirrus
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I looked at him with a hurt innocent expression and flattened him with, "I don't understand it. You were so nice to me in the men's room."


This is something that I would say also, but the situation has to allow it, and you have to deliver it in a way that the audience knows you are joking and still he knows that you are not going to be messed with. I have done this style of stopping hecklers enough before and I mostly deliver this kind of sentences in a slightly gayish manner, not taking myself to seriously either. It accomplishes the 2 things mentioned before.

Mr. Cassidy, thank you for the advice that every performer not only mentalism can use.
Greetings,
Cirrus
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