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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » The risk to mentalists and the brilliance of Derren Brown's disclaimer. (39 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mastermindreader
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With their many years of performing experience, every long-time pro I know is able to deal effectively with hecklers.
Chaz93
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I still love that idea of having them go outside into the ally to fully isolate their thought and locking them out. That is bloody brilliant.

Also, if you want to start to get an idea of handling hecklers go to comedy clubs. Watching someone destroy a heckler can be one of the highlights of a performance.
mastermindreader
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Thanks. That's part of my "take no prisoners" approach to hecklers.

ParaLabs put out an excellent book on handling hecklers to which I contributed a chapter. You might want to check it out.
Chaz93
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First I'm hearing of the paralabs book. Definitely sounds like a good investment. Also Bob, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I've posted downstairs.
mastermindreader
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Then go downstairs and look! Smile
saysold1
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Quote:
On Jul 25, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
Bob, you perform material that is majorly original as far as I know. Which is why I am guessing your audience would not know the secrets. However, when someone is performing a published effect, and on an off-chance there is a heckler who knows the secret, he can reveal is and ruin the mystique.


ICW, my point is that the disclaimer is very clever as in it does not affect DB's image as "psychological guru" when a trick of his is revealed to be a trick. Because he says he uses both "misdirection" and psychology. And my other point is, exposure hurt mentalism more than it hurts magic.


Majorly original routines using established techniques I believe.

To me being a good Mentalist is similar to being a chef - there are a wide variety of well known recipes and techniques. It is how they are combined and presented which makes them delicious.

A good chef/Mentalist knows how to combine to create something which feels new and unique.
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saysold1
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Is the OP a Mentalist or Magician primarily?
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fadattf
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Quote:
On Jul 25, 2014, IbiMania wrote:


I will try to explain one last time before I give up,

Exposure of a single effect in a mentalist's routine hurts his entire act

Whereas exposure of a single effect in a magician's routine does not.

That is because most magicians do not make claims as bold as mentalists.

And Derren has done a good job of making vague claims so that he remains safe which in my opinion is brilliant.


Are you saying that it is not at all possible for laymen to expose a mentalist's methods?


I think IB mean it this way and I'm exaggerating now a lot:

A magican has several different effects (card tricks, cut someone in half, letting water disappear,....). If one trick gets heckled than the other stuff could be still real.

A mental ist has "only one" effect - he reads minds. If someone shouts out the method than the rest of the show must also be a fake.
IbiMania
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The exaggeration landed spot on. XD

I am a comedian as well as a mentalist (though I do both separately) and I do know how to handle hecklers. I have never been heckled in my mentalism act anyway.

A majority of the responders are missing the point, that is exposure. The heckler part is just one of the possibilities that may lead to exposure, but the main point of the thread is EXPOSURE. That can be through the internet, possibly by a heckler (and I know its not common so please don't respond again saying its not common), by a journalist and so on.

I am not speaking of myself but of mentalists who happen to be popular on TV or on the internet.

For example Uri (Again, I know he did not call himself one but he essentially was) was exposed by James Randi. He had a claim that was not flexible at all, for him, it was his mind power and When james revealed a few of his tricks, everything else lost wonder. It did not matter how good he was, his claim was debunked.

Now imagine if Uri said that "Some of my effects involve mind power others involve trickery though I will not tell you which is which", any effect of his that were to be revealed could be shaken off as "I told you I also involve trickery in my act".

The point of my thread was, that a mentalist who does not make bold, inflexible claims can survive the modern age of exposure much better than one who attributes his effects to one thing only: mind power, psychology, etc. A point I later added was that keeping material original also helps.

You see many pop-magicians have been able to survive even after literally everything in everyone of their specials has come out. Now, if a mentalist was exposed on such a level and he has stuck to inflexible claims, it would have been game over.
Suffolk
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I have a disclaimer that gives me an out should anyone ever spot something they shouldn't (I don't care how great your billet switch - for example - is, it's not actually invisible and if you perform long enough you're always going to have someone seated at the wrong height or in the wrong place to spot a prop or a move no one else ever has eventually) I've been using it for the last eight years but as it's framed inside a joke it passes most people by.

It's even in the video sketch that opens the second half of my 2013/2014 tour: http://youtu.be/6D73C5cpVkg
mastermindreader
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I don't think we've missed your point at all. I just don't think of it as being as big a problem as you seem to fear it is. Mentalists have had to confront this difficulty for generations. At one time or another nearly EVERY major mentalist has been attacked or "debunked" by the press, skeptics or bitter rivals. It's just an occupational hazard. Some, such as Dunninger, have dealt with it very well and it didn't harm them in the least. Others, like Uri, actually capitalized on the controversy and went on the make fortunes despite the debunkers.

But, as I said earlier, if you are afraid of being debunked because of claims you make, then just don't make any claims.

It seems to me that you are actually advocating for the use of disclaimers and presentation of mentalism in the psychological mode. That's fine- do it that way and use a disclaimer if it suits you. (And in your part of the world that's probably pretty wise, considering the black magic laws you referred to earlier.)

So, again, I get your point, but just disagree that the only solution is to make a Derren Brown-like disclaimer stick to "psychological" and "mental illusionist" presentations.

Each to his own.
IbiMania
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2014, Suffolk wrote:
I have a disclaimer that gives me an out should anyone ever spot something they shouldn't (I don't care how great your billet switch - for example - is, it's not actually invisible and if you perform long enough you're always going to have someone seated at the wrong height or in the wrong place to spot a prop or a move no one else ever has eventually) I've been using it for the last eight years but as it's framed inside a joke it passes most people by.

It's even in the video sketch that opens the second half of my 2013/2014 tour: http://youtu.be/6D73C5cpVkg


That is a refreshing one Doug.

And while I am not saying mentalists should copy-cat DB's disclaimer, coming up with original ones like Doug did can be helpful.

Ofcourse, some very well respected mentalists here do not find the need to use disclaimers. I did not start the thread to convince everyone to start using disclaimers, I just wanted to mention why I think it can be helpful.
Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On Jul 25, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
Magicians are usually less at risk than mentalists when it comes to getting caught.


I think the first sentence of your original post is rather revealing. Any performer who starts from a position where being "caught" is any part of their mindset is almost certain to be "caught" at some point. The fear of the fact often creates the fact.
IbiMania
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"Getting caught" referred to exposure. I have tried to make this point pretty clear in the post again and again.

It does not matter how good your technique is if someone exposes it online. And that can be more serious for mentalists than magicians.

Do you think DB was exposed because his execution was flawed or was it because someone knew it and decided he might as well expose.
Martin Pulman
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Derren Brown is a nationally recognised TV personality in the United Kingdom. He was originally billed by Channel 4 as the genuine article. That is what led to the article exposing him. The risk of a professional mentalist being exposed by a heckler during a stage performance is practically zero, in my opinion. The risk when performing for friends and family is much higher of course, but then they are hardly likely to believe in your persona in the first place.
innercirclewannabe
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I think the other point worth noting Ib is that 99.9% of a Magician's audience know that he/she is performing tricks. If a member of the audience "sees something", it is not the end of the show for the Magician, just means that he/she is sloppy and/or an incompetent performer. Like I said to you earlier, I think you may be over thinking all of this. If you brought this mindset into a paid performance, you could end up in some strife!

By the way, Derren Brown was not the first to come up with the "psychological approach" as to how he does things. Among others, David Berglas the "Man of Mystery" used a similar explanation to how he could achieve such things.
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Suffolk
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
Derren Brown is a nationally recognised TV personality in the United Kingdom. He was originally billed by Channel 4 as the genuine article. That is what led to the article exposing him. The risk of a professional mentalist being exposed by a heckler during a stage performance is practically zero, in my opinion.


Not entirely. If you are performing corporate shows then the audience will talk about it the next day. In the event that someone has spotted something they shouldn't and talks to his colleagues about it any un disclaimed "I'm the real thing" persona is in tatters.

Also if you are doing public shows you will want to get reviewed. I have had a reviewer falsely claim that he spotted me use a gimmick that I don't actually use in my show. Because I have the disclaimer I have it makes no difference and wouldn't even if I did use the gimmick.

Conversely I have been praised for my disclaimer by a reviewer whose speciality is review theatre and magic/mind reading shows for his general Arts Festival reviewing site:
http://www.fringeguru.com/reviews/edinbu......ist.html
Suffolk
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2014, innercirclewannabe wrote:

By the way, Derren Brown was not the first to come up with the "psychological approach" as to how he does things. Among others, David Berglas the "Man of Mystery" used a similar explanation to how he could achieve such things.


Indeed. People that have used this premise before Derren include Chan Canasta & Marc Salem.
I believe the first person to do so was Arthur Sutterington.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Jul 25, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
And Derren has done a good job of making vague claims so that he remains safe which in my opinion is brilliant.


I don't see how this is brilliant at all, when Derren or any mentalist use the whole "misdirection" or "gives the illusion of...." disclaimer or justification.

This is really saying you are doing magic. That you're mentalism and perceived mental abilities are fake. Why on earth would you want to do this to an audience of wannabe believers.

Sorry, I fail to find any brilliance at all.
Pakar Ilusi
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"Brilliance" is too big a word for it imho...

It is clever though. Smile
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