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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Context is king/queen (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

IAIN
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Eternal Order
england
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...i've been reading a few reviews and threads on here, and one of the (many) recurring themes is "but what if participant A questions my use of object B?"...and it seems to me that those questions pop up when the person's character, skills and presentational angle do not fit together...there is a jarring somewhere, like trying to force three pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together when the edges don't quite match...

i came to all of this late in 1999/2000, so I was in my late 20s by then..before that, I had a deep love of writing, and would spend hours amusing myself writing short stories and attempting screenplays and novel ideas...

so I think that was an advantage when I started getting into magic and mentalism...

i also think some consider having a character, and a presentational angle having to be some huge long drawn out thing - that'll make people wither and die in front of you, rather than perk up and smile or lean forwards and be interested and full of questions...

i have experimented with lots and lots of characters and presentational angles - I tend to change them whenever I feel that I as a person has also changed...sometimes its a rapid wave of THIS! THIS! THIS!, other times its a slow dawning or realisation that I know think differently, act different, handle things differently...

all of these things have to (in my opinion) be considered, thought upon and than acted upon...however small scale you want it to be at first, or if you want to fall into it and go large straight away...so to maybe open up a conversation, I'd thought I'd share how my brain sees things, and how I work through these stages:

character gives you your skillset
skillset help shape your presentational angle
presenational angle and character means your delivery of the presentation gets more defined
because you know your character and your skillset, you start to understand what you use, what tools you carry, and why you use them in the way you do

classy, high-end, well dressed psychologically driven mentalist means:
smart suit, attention to detail (pocket square, tie match for example), a nod to current trends, well polished shoes, neat and tidy
would use quality items too, and again, that attention to detail might mean a nice leather padfolio, a good quality wallet and pen - an element of prestige about it all
his or her presentations would no doubt cite some references to more well known cultural behaviours, as well as some archaic yet known psychological techniques
these would then be expanded upon, used as jumping off points, with examples thrown in to help build believability and show credentials in a non-bragging way
you are afterall, a master of psychology - so you are fully aware of how know-alls come across!
they could then display how these techniques can be twisted and combined with others to create things that look and feel beyond science...

example 2:
modern day psychic entertainer
he/she would dress classically, yet with hippy or hipster overtones...because they deal in unusual and left of centre things, their socks might not match, or maybe they're wearing an interesting bangle or ring up against a nice black cord blazer...they have a battered moleskine notepad, and they keep losing pens and pencils, so they have a small bundle of them to hand just in case. They have lots of thougts, so no doubt that notepad has drawings and shapes on it too as they doodle a lot. They have a small velvet bag with a pendulum in it. They are interested in the person's mind and believe that thoughts can be shared under certain circumstances...they can talk about esoteric beliefs, imagery, and psi-tests...

just two off the top of my head - from that basic structure you can start adding and taking away different elements. They both have a psychology that could be shared via Jung for example.

So once you know who the character is, you've dressed them, it feels comfortable, you can start exploring more of the tools they may use - and then about the presenational angle...

if I were a psychological illusionist, maybe I'd do a small test to show how I can influence people via language - and show five small envelopes, and I would by verbal control, make sure they would all avoid the one envelope that has the £50 note inside it. I would be aware of how much of an egomaniac that would make me look, so I'd give them all a lottery ticket via their selected envelope as a thank you (and great publicity)...

if I were a psychic entertainer, maybe I'd do a small test to show how we can know things without really knowing WHY...and with five small envelopes, I would let everyone have a free choice, and with the one left for me, I would show a negative word written on the paper inside - and everyone else has a postiive word on the paper inside their envelope...

basic effects/presentations - but you know what I mean...

so from then it becomes more and more fun - because maybe your character is high energy and serious, or maybe slightly laconic with a dry sense of humour (like eyeore from winnie the pooh!), or maybe he's with a sly wink and a fast mouth, sharp as a tac... so the timing and the phrasing of everything you do changes...

i know I'm waffling on so I'll sum up...

you are in control
you should "know thyself"
you should be consistent
you should find this easier the more you understand the rules that go into making "you" who you are
what you carry and use should be an extention of yourself
everything you do, verbal, non-verbal, your stance, your voice - everything has to be consistent
consistency gives you power in the sense of confidence
even if your character is a woody allen unconfident person because that means you become endearing
adding in sharing personal feelings and viewpoints makes you "real"
knowing how to talk to people and to LISTEN makes you believable and sincere

i'll shut up now - feel free to disagree, admonish, repremand, agree a bit, state your own...
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ddyment
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Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
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Completely agree. I have long evangelized that character is the keystone of performance.
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Mark_Chandaue
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Essex UK
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I'm still trying to figure out how to fit my character into mentalism considering Pete Turner says I'm like fagin lol. Maybe I should do a pickpocket act instead lol.

Mark
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Nestor D
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I love and just bookmarked your schema DDyment Smile

A personna makes indeed script and presentation way easier to construct...
Daniel Meadows
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Manchester, UK
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Iain - is this an excerpt of your chapter in Scripting Magic 2? If not, get it in now. I for one would read more!

I liked Phill Smith's section on this consistency of props and character (in Mitox?), and it is definitely something I find myself pondering more and more for myself.

Doug - Very useful as to be expected from you. I know where I have spent far to long and neglected other areas.
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IAIN
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Eternal Order
england
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I have nowt to do with scripting magic 2 sir! The first was excellent though, so thank you... Didn't know a 2 was in the offing...😊
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Martin Pulman
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Great post Iain!
MDantes
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New Orleans
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I love your posts Iain.

They really are gems.

I value your thoughts and ideas and stay inspired by them.

Thank you a thousand times.
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AlienMind
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Italy
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Quote:
On Oct 4, 2014, Daniel Meadows wrote:
I liked Phill Smith's section on this consistency of props and character (in Mitox?), and it is definitely something I find myself pondering more and more for myself.


I believe you are referring to the essay entitled "Give Me props", which is located in Mokele ... really interesting.
Psy
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As always, incredible post from IAIN. I would recommend also reading Paul Brook - Alchemical Tools, that book is a bible to me.
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