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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » Tossed Out Book Test - Chris Philpott (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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BenCummings
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Hi,

I recently acquired the "Tossed Out Book Test" by Christ Philpott, and after receiving it I have decided to write a short review. First, here's the link to this item:
http://www.magicaonline.com/tossed_out_book_test.htm

Now my short review. I love book tests and I don't think I've ever done a show without some sort of book test. Typically I am using a blend of methods (MOAB + Flashback + some others, depending on performing situation.) So I was interested to see if the TOBT was something practical for me to use, and secondarily, was it something good enough to replace or compliment my existing book test routine.

I am happy to report, that the TOBT is a stunner. Again, I was somewhat skeptical but this thing appears to be a worker. I will be absolutely adding this to my show and, at least for me, an effect has to be pretty d*mn good to replace one of my existing slots in my show.

The basic effect is this:

Five classics of literature - War of the Worlds, Frankenstein, Peter Pan, The Hound of the Baskervilles and Heart of Darkness are tossed out to the audience. They are invited to examine them carefully, even flip to their favorite passages. Then, they are asked to choose a page at random, read a word, and remember it. You ask them to sit down if you say their word. You say five words - and four people sit. You turn to the last person standing, concentrate for a moment -- and then without a question, tell them their word.

This IS actually what happens. (Well there is a slight variation of what might happen, but I cannot get into this without exposing the method. For me this is NOT a problem whatsoever.)

Here's what I liked about the TOBT:

1) Most book tests have one person, one book (usually unknown) and one word... while this has five people, five well-known books = More Involvement and "PLAYS BIGGER"

2) A mentalist routine is often a series of "you think of something and I'll tell you what it is..." effects. With TOBT, it takes that basic pattern and kicks it up a notch. You don't have to tell your audience that it's harder to read five minds at once than to read one mind - they get it - it's impressive. Chris emailed me and said that he recently saw Michael Rangel do it at the Magic Castle and there were gasps when people sat down.

3) It is also unusually clean for a book test: no unusual process, no handling, no fishing. Not that I mind any of these things, it is just that this is a straight up "pure" direct mind-reading effect.

4) The instructions are very well written and explained. Comes with 32 page booklet.

5) The books themselves are not suspicious, and in fact they are all "classics" so I think that reduces suspicion even more (in theory:)

The only downside I can see is this: If you are doing repeat performances, the revelations will NOT vary. However I do not do theaters for say a two week run, so for me, this is NOT a problem whatsoever. If you ever get a Broadway run, however, this may present a challenge. I personally tend to do mostly "one off" performances. Also, this would alos be an issue when doing David Hoy's Tossed Out Deck, and that certainly hasn't seemed to have stopped people from performing that classic.

I don't see the TOBT being discussed much and I just wanted to bring this to the attention of the loyal Magic Café-ers!

For what it's worth -
Ben

P.S. Kindly don't direct PM's my way with regards to the TOBT - I am slammed this week. If you have a question or concern, I'd suggest just hitting up Chris. He is active here on the Café and is one of the "good guys" of mentalism and always seems willing to help. Enjoy.

PPS: I am getting absolutely NO compensation for posting this. I told Chris I was going to post a review after I saw how effective his TOBT was... just in case you were curious! Smile
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Chris Philpott
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Hey Ben --

Thanks so much for posting such an insightful, thoughtful review. I appreciate the time you spent on this! I hope you enjoy the effect!

I have some thoughts on the repetition limitation. The Ran Pink variation and the "Tossed Out Max" version (based on Max Maven's wonderful "Tossed Out Tech" -- used with permission), both help a lot with this. And for anyone who has bought the effect, make sure you register it -- that way I can forward you new ideas on the effect as they come up (there are some coming next month) and so you can replace any book that's lost or damaged. One of the nice things about a clean, straightforward effect like this is that it opens itself up to a lot of variations and everyone I've spoken to who has done it has new ideas for it!

Thanks, again!

-Chris
BenCummings
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Chris,

I forgot about the Ran Pink variation - thanks for reminding me! BTW, Chris also gave me a GREAT way to use TOBT with MOAB when I PM'd him about this Smile If you buy the TOBT make sure to ask him about this. I hope people don't obsess over the "limitation", as just about every mentalism effect (accept for a Q & A) has similar "limitations", eg. anything that you force. I was just mentioning it but it is not stopping me from using it in all my shows moving forward. This effect is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Again, I get nothing for saying this - I just want to hook up Chris because this effect deserves it and more people need to take notice of its potential IMO.

For what it's worth -

Ben
Conversations With Mind Readers - Crawl inside the minds of 32 of the greatest<br> mentalists on the planet. After a decades absence, it's available again on a limited basis:

http://conversationswithmindreaders.com
bunkyhenry
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Hardback or soft?
Francois Lagrange
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From the video it's softback - thanks god. Tossing a hardback among the audience could be quite dangerous!? I don't intend to get the set, I'm using magazine tests, but I very much like the idea.
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JanForster
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I NEVER toss books... but I will use the soft cover books once they are here. BTW, I got them quite cheap (sorry Chris, I find it too cheap anyway...) through Devin Knight, but the action is over now (lucky me). Jan
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saysold1
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That sounds like a lot of books to carry around - effect sounds good though.
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David Thiel
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I saw Jheff perform this at MindVention. I enjoyed it. But here's the thing: the effect is predicated on the notion that if "one is good, five will be better." From a purely PERSONAL standpoint (ie: just expressing my opinion)I don't necessarily agree.

It's not that I don't like book tests. On the contrary -- MOABT is one of my all-time favorites to perform. I get a solid seven minutes out of it...and it looks like I'm really working to get the word. There's comedic byplay, there's an opportunity to interact with ONE volunteer instead of five -- which allows for a more intimate experience...a more focused presentation.

Watching Jheff name four words and then finally, after some byplay, a fifth felt more like "showing off mentalism" to me. It's more in the vein if "look what I can do" as opposed to a routine that says "look at what WE can do." It looked more like a magic trick. And this isn't to diss Jheff's performance OR the prop. Not at all.

And what's the REASON for five books? If you can pluck a word out of one book does that make you five times more talented if you can do five? Five actually feels more "suspect" to me -- because you're drawing attention to the books simply because there are so many of them. (If you want to do scattergun mentalism -- what's wrong with the traditional TOD or even something a little more off the standard grid like Roy Zaltzman's Lottery Winner?)

I think this is a very clever prop and will be an amazing effect in the right hands. Mine just aren't the right hands for it, I guess. I'll stick with MOABT for now. And Glance. And Luna 1935. (Not all at once, though. Smile )

David
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Mindpro
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I would love to see a performance clip of this.
BenCummings
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I agree about the demo. I told Chris he needs to film this in action so more people can see this effect.

The strength of the TOBT is, well, it can involve numerous people in a visual display and have them all sit down as a result of you reading their minds. In other words, if you have always like the tosed out deck, eg. several people stand, and mentally think of a card, and then they all sit after you divine them - boom, boom, boom, boom! - well that is how the TOBT should be presented in my unhumble opinion. Don't think about this like an experienced mentalist (because we know "too much" that we can be blind to the impact of simple, focused plots)- instead think about what this looks like from the "layman's" perspective. It will fry their minds. Just my opinion of course.

- Ben
Conversations With Mind Readers - Crawl inside the minds of 32 of the greatest<br> mentalists on the planet. After a decades absence, it's available again on a limited basis:

http://conversationswithmindreaders.com
Chris Philpott
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Hey guys --

Thanks for all the interest and insights! Yes, the books are soft-cover -- and yes you can see them in the video (at http://www.tossedoutbooktest.com ). They weigh about as much as any five softcovers you'd take from your shelf (2 pocket and 3 A5) -- too much for walkaround (this isn't that kind of effect) but not a lot for a big show-piece effect.

Could it seem show-offy? Of course it could -- but I was very careful in the script to avoid that. It wasn't the show-offy aspect of the Tossed out deck that attracted me to the effect -- it was the incredible drama of it. It is one of the most inherently dramatic tricks I've ever seen. And reading five minds at once in a very clean fashion makes for a nice build from most mind-reading effects -- again, far from the only way to dramatically build a routine, but a good one. (I'm a screenwriter by trade and the dramatic impact and arc of magic and mentalism shows is always on my mind).

As far as this being more or less suspicious than other book tests, that's a tricky question. I've found that since the books in TOBT are all well-known and so subtly gimmicked that you can hand them to people who've read the books and invite them to examine them and even flip to their favorite passages goes a long way to lessen suspicion. I think using five books increases the scale and impressiveness of the effect (so many more words!) It certainly improves the pacing substantially.

As for the video, I hear what you're saying -- I usually do like to include some performance in my videos, but I rarely perform for a crowd and so I decided this was the way to go at least for now. Several pretty awesome mentalists have already or will soon be performing this and I hope to get some footage of them doing it.

Again, thanks for all the comments and interest!

-Chris
Francois Lagrange
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Thanks for the clarification Chris. I may actually change my mind and get a set once I've seen a real performance.
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Claudio
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Hi Chris, will this be carried by UK dealers?
Chris Philpott
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Hey Claudio -- I know it's carried by World Magic shop, The Merchant Shop of Magic, Alakazam and probably other British retailers.

-Chris
Claudio
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Thanks Chris. My order's in.
Chris Philpott
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Thanks, Claudio!

I've been running through the effect with several magicians and mentalists here in L.A. and they've found the time we've spent together really helpful. It occurred to me that there might be other performers who'd like a short session on this (perhaps by Skype), not because the method is difficult (it's not) -- this would just be dealing with presentation (that's where my expertise is: I'm a writer and director). There would be no cost (though that may change in the future).

Let me know, either here or via PM, if you're interested. Thanks!

-Chris
Chris Philpott
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You can also read my semi-regular articles on magic in Magic Magazine (I have a piece on the films of Houdini in the latest issue) or at in my film and magic blog at: http://www.magicaonline.com/film_and_magic_blog.htm . Thanks!
StuartNolan
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I used the one book version just yesterday in a meeting with a corporate client and it was key in landing me a really groovy magic consultancy gig on a long-term project. It's a bit hush-hush at the moment but I'll share details of why it was so perfect when the project is done.

Brilliant effect!
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Chris Philpott
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Thanks, Stuart!

For those who have purchased this and registered, I will be sending out an email in the next day or two with some tips and ideas that have been sent to me from people who have been using the effect (used with permission). Some people have been emailing me their scripting for the effect -- I won't be sharing these personal scripts even though I have to say, some are pretty awesome (special shout-out to Kenton Knepper!)

Also, most websites selling TOBT neglect to mention the effect was named one of the ten best mentalism releases of 2012 (it was released in late December) by Jheff at Marketplace of the Mind (http://www.marketplaceofthemind.com/2012best.html who wrote "Frankly, this is really too good to have available commercially so that anyone at any level can do this killer effect... By far, this is my favorite book test released this year." -Jheff)

-Chris
Chris Philpott
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Hey guys --

Just sent out an email update to everyone who registered TOBT with new ideas and routines from people using the effect, including a fair bit on combining MOAB, Glance and/or other book tests with TOBT to create a killer routine with cancelling methods and strong dramatic build. Thanks to all those who wrote me with their suggestions! And if you haven't registered yet, please do and I'll forward you the newsletter and any subsequent ones.

-Chris
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