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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Derren Brown (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

templemagic
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Hi guys,

When Derren did the TV specials, he did a trick where he asked someone to think of the name of anyone they know and then he works out what it is.

Does anyone know of a source of learning it i.e. books or videos?

Thanks,
TM
ROBERT TEMPLE
"The Power to Amaze"

robert@roberttemple.co.uk
http://www.roberttemple.co.uk
mike stevenson
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There are a number of ways of doing this. Without remembering the exact effect, it's hard to tell what method he used. He may have used pencil reading, there may have been pre-show work, etc. There are methods to which can achieve a similar effect in Corinda's 13 Steps to Mentalism.
Dr Omni
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At a guess, the method for gaining the information is probably one of the standard ones in Corinda's "13 Steps to Mentalism". For an idea as to the presentation of the effect, see Derren Brown's "Absolute Magic", passim, but especially p.52.
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singhstealth
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i extremely disagree with both of you, how can it be pencil reading wen there is no pencil?!?! i know derren does use standard methods like corinda at times, but he has done things on johnathon ross, richard and judy, big brother, the radio, etc etc were standard methods cant be going on. I doubt much pre-work has taken place judging by reactions from the specs. its hard to say how he is doing this, for me, its the most mind boggling thing going-nobody has had one descent explanation since he started doing it, that's why he's the king.

i reckon it includes implanting ideas, looking for reactions, and then cold-reading-if you watch the john ross show again you may spot a few things. ive also heard a lot of ppl talkin about him using hypnosis before the show-uh uh, no way mate, the laws regarding trance states here take the Michael, so don't even think about it.

i don't really have a clue, nobody does, he's just too good.

don't get stressed if u think im exposing anything, im vague and its probably miles off anyways. and rob, don't bother trying to find a book on it cos you wont even get close-and good luck to sunderland 2moro against derby (if you support them).

.safe.
mike stevenson
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Like I said, stealthsingh, "Without remembering the actual effect". I can't remember how this effect was presented. How do I know there wasn't a pencil? I do know that pencil reading can achieve the same effect, and the same with a centre tear. Which is why I referred to Corinda.

If it's a no props method, then it probably involved psychology and cold reading. Could easily have been pre-show work as well.

I do agree when you say:

"don't bother trying to find a book on it cos you wont even get close"

You need performance skills to pull of effects like Derren, which only comes with experience. You can't dive straight in at the deep end.
Dr Omni
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A good thought experiment to carry out when you see these sorts of stunning effects is to imagine if someone were to book you to perform a show, say two months in the future, where they wanted you to perform "Derren Brown-style" effects. How, with your knowledge of magic, mentalist, psychological, hypnotic, etc, techniques (combined with a certain amount of low cunning and perhaps daring), would you perform an effect which was at least approximate to what DB did? I don't claim to be able to replicate any of them exactly in these thought experiments, but it is a good way of thinking how to present differently, more impressively and often more simply.

I suspect that some devilishly simple but powerful factor is being used in these awesome displays of thought-reading. Probably it's something like the princple behind Banachek's PK Touches - simple but stunning and probably identifiable by sufficiently insightful lateral thinking.

If you'll pardon any pretentiousness here, yes, Derren is indeed "the king" of contemporary British mentalists, but with the status which the king held in the middle ages - as "primus inter pares" (first among equals) - the leader among the aristocrats, rather than having some god-like status above them. The idea of "the divine right of kings" came later. I don't think anyone's made that claim for Derren yet.
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Scott Xavier
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So he's a good performer! The method is probably still in Corinda's. There's a plethora of knowledge masked in there. Dress it up, add some editing, and all of a sudden, Your Elvis (The King, Duh!)
singhstealth
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ive actually seen posts on the net frm derren about three years ago, were he actually stated how he often did it, not many of u lot will see or have seen these posts, doc zodiac-u probably have, i don't really want to put it here because the group is quite private and it does expose derren's methods slightly, i don't want to get into trouble. he might have put it in his book, i don't know, but what he stated in them posts is NOT how he achieves the effects on his tv guest appearences, no way. it might be something like pk touches, simple yet amazing, but as cheeky as derren is at times, i can tell u for sure you wont find it corinda. if you havent seen him do this u gotta, it'll throw u way off balance-b4 the john ross show, i was sure he was using the method he talked about in the post, but after that, he cained me up bad style.

if there is any pre-show work it would only have been hypnosis, why? cos johnathon ross would have told the whole world if it was something like a clipboard/billet type of thing. And like i said b4, the law regarding hypnosis takes the mick-he would have had to have signed a contract at least-again, john would of told the whole world, and don't say derren created amnesia about the contract cos that would also be busting up the law. so once again, don't even bother mate, u got no chance.

.safe.
Dr Omni
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As a matter of fact, there is no law in the UK which regulates or restricts the use of hypnosis and trance states (except for the Hypnotism Act 1952, which requires a licence from the local council where a stage hypnosis show is presented to the public, and which does not restrict TV or radio displays of hypnosis.) It's definitely conceivable (though quite frankly I doubt that it would be sufficiently reliable) that he could have hypnotised the people beforehand, given some verbal forces for some words and then induced amnesia for them. To return to the idea of a "thought experiment" speaking for myself and not binding anyone else, if was asked to do something similar to DB's amazing thought-reading on the TV and radio talk shows, then I personally would do some pretty intensive pre-show research and interaction with the people, which I would want to make as subtle as possible. I agree that the accuracy of the "reading" of the words is genuinely uncanny, but looking at this logically that implies that DB must be reasonably certain of what they are, which in turn implies that they must have been written down or spoken in some context before the show.

One must remember that every distinguished magician (whether he works with large illusions, close-up tricks, cards or whatever) has *some* effects which are baffling to other magicians. Because DB's readings on these talk shows don't appear to involve any kind of contraption, they tend to blow one away even more than, say, Copperfield's flying. But - unless ESP *is* genuine and Derren has actually devleoped to power to do it - there must be *some* method or combination of methods which one could work out.
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Luis Sirgado
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Derren brown is a very good mentalist, and probably the method to do this trick is on absolute magic, but i´m not sure


luis Smile
"One of the greatest accomplishments of magicians in the last century is the ability to take something inherently profound and render it trivial."

-Max Maven-
BonzoTheClown
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Firstly it dismays me somewhat that any performer would want to be anyone but themselves. Stop worrying about what others are doing (including Derren Brown)

Get down to the basics of mentalism rather than trying to buy up tricks or seek to find out how Mr Brown does something and you'll produce your own miracles not reproduce someone elses.

You lot can get back to your theories.

Marc Climens
Scott Xavier
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I second that. Reinvent the wheel, who cares, as long as you add your own spin to it. I can not say how derren does anything, I don't know him, nor have I seen his specials here in the U.S.

I do admire his publicity, and will strive to do the same someday!

Sincerly,
Scott
Nir Dahan
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While it is a nice thing to aspire to create new presentations, very few of us can really do it.
it is very hard to be 100% original. how many of you are really original? I bet in each and every show you got at least 50% of the items which are adaptations of others' presentations or even complete copied presentations - not because you are lousy, but because someone out there found a really nice idea for presenting an effect.

there are very few mentalists or magicians which are 100% (or even 50%) original.
Dr Omni
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I think that a newcomer has to begin with material which is tried and true in its content, even if he develops his own patter. The reason why all the old classics in Corinda, etc, *are* classics is because they have consistently proved to connect with audiences over many decades (even centuries) when performed well. Once a performer has gained some "sea legs" he can start to develop his own effects and add them to the act.

There is no doubt that mentalism is an odd form of entertainment. Many people (including agents and potential bookers) have only a vague idea - or no idea - what it is. It can be very easy to "lose" your audience if they don't know precsiely what the point of the act is. If you walk onstage after dinner at some event where people were not necessarily expecting to be entertained by a mind-reader and start doing "weird stuff" which no-one has ever seen before, many in the audience won't know whether you're supposed to be a magician, comedian, hypnotist or whatever - and won't care either. You will "lose" them. It might impress magicians/mentalists at their gatherings, but you could be dead meat in front of a lay audience.

Performing in the real world means striking a balance between the classics and any innovations you want to add - which ought to be done somwhat sparingly at the start.
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David Numen
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I agree with those who say it is difficult to be original - but you know that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. I think, as much as being original is important, you've got to be yourself, more than anything.

As for originality - Derren's originality comes in terms of his presentation. I'm quite sure that if you were ever given the chance to investigate and discover his methods that they aren't all that original and I think that's what people are talking about when they say stop worrying about what other people are doing and look at yourself. You're concentrating on the unoriginal bit - just wanting to kow how it's done. What you need to do is look at what you ALREADY know and how you can make that as deceptive as you possibly can.

Regards,

David.
BonzoTheClown
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Everyone can be original. It just takes a bit more work that's all. Something which a lot of people seem to be afraid of.

If you're just cloning another performer you might as well rent out Derren Brown videos.

There is a distinction between original presentation and original effects. The former is significant more important that the later. In the performance of mentalism an effect can be transformed dramatically by altering you presentation and appear to be something completely different when the mechanics are identical.

If you're not ready to put in the extra work to at least try to be original then you're not ready to perform yet probably.

Marc Climens
David Numen
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Marc aka as BonzotheClown

>Everyone can be original.

As your nickname shows!

In jest.

Regards,

David.
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