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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Bigger isn't necessarily better (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Peter Morrissey
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Ok, I get it. The idea that your show or performance should usually start with something small and punchy and work toward a grand finally.... but...anyone else get annoyed at these stupid convoluted stage finales?

The type where so many small things are done that in some cases you end up getting lost and almost forgetting what the heck was trying to be done in the first place?

It's not the worst example of it I've seen, but in Derren infamous, 8 people standing Infront of a flipping bowl each to throw a dice....to add it to another random number from some one else down the back...and oh yeah the guy at the back , he has the envelope from the start of the show, inside is another eight digit number,add that to your grannies birthday and.....you get the idea. (Obviously all that wasn't in infamous)

It just reminds me of those maths tricks, take a number, reverse it blah blah boring.

Surely a mentalism show can be audience interactive and feel big with out being just messy?

I'm trying to construct such an idea myself and just throwing this thought out there while it occurs to me!
George Hunter
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Peter:

Some of us believe that, for most of us at least, an effect (even a closer)

1. Should not be too convoluted for some people to follow

AND

2. The reveal should be at least remotely plausible. One chance in 50, sure; one in a million, not credible.

George
Peter Morrissey
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Hey George,

My thoughts exactly, as soon as you add in layers and layers of process I think you loose people.
Last Laugh
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Eh, it's a matter of taste. And Derren has moved more towards magic with this stuff (by his own admission). I found it entertaining, I think it works for him. Of course it's not 'credible' but I don't think that is his intention at this point.

On the other hand, how many times have you seen a magician or a mentalist just do a series of unrelated effects? No development or callbacks, no building on what has gone before.

So perhaps the big finale in Derren's show can seem like a little much to some, but the concept/framework shouldn't be dismissed.

After all - at it's finest (IMO) mentalism is theater. A good show takes your audience on a journey, makes them feel different things, and has a beginning, middle, and end. And most importantly, things that tie the different aspect of the show together.
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John C
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He's successful the way he wants to be. Work on yourself. (was that harsh?)
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Last Laugh
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Quote:
On Aug 26, 2018, John C wrote:
He's successful the way he wants to be. Work on yourself. (was that harsh?)


Maybe a touch.

We all grow as performers by figuring out what we like and don't like ourselves. But you're right.
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tomd
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It works for derren, but I don't think it would work for many others.. nor do I think others should try.

A derren brown-esque ending to a theatre show would seem incredibly convoluted in the hands of most, and it does puzzle me how he manages to pull it off time and time again. Great showmanship, the gift of the gab, and an incredible writing team helps for sure, but he's always had a particular gift of adding many elements while keeping the audience with it.

I recently watched a very old lecture of his, and he had the workings of his current self already there, constantly adding little extra things into the performance, where pretty much anyone else would have confused the whole room if they were in his shoes.

Also you do have to consider that he's got so big that every show has to out-do his previous one, and his later shows were getting a bit overboard. With that frame of mind it's pretty clear why his later shows have so many working parts. I still liked them though.
Peter Morrissey
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Hi all, I'm not critising Derren per se,that was just an example that popped into my head.i happen to be a huge fan.

The I mean mentalism themes in general where the idea is if you get a bunch of people to do a load of small things then it must be a "big" show closer. Where is feel it can just be stodgy and messy.

Sorry for spelling errors,typing on my phone!
Martin Pulman
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You have to consider the question of scale. Darren Brown’s finales are constructed for large scale theatre productions, with music, projections, sound effects, lighting and props to match. The mind boggling nature of his finales are perfect for the shows he creates.

Attempting to reproduce that on a smaller scale runs the risk of appearing risible. But a decent show or set should certainly be organized with an eye firmly on dynamics and rhythm, hopefully building to a finale appropriate to what has gone before.
Peter Morrissey
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I'm all for building an ending and again I'm not focused on Derren. I just think trying to add too many layers to make an effect "big' can in my opinion make an effect too busy and loose it's message. Again I'm not focused on Derren that was just an example that came to mind

I guess what I'm driving at is "mind boggling" should be "wow that was amazing" as opposed to "wait....what the heck is he trying to do again?"
Again , I think Derren rocks love his stuff but infamous had at the end I think
A whiff of "huh? What?"

And he is not my focus at all I'm sure loads have done it. Just think a new more contain d angle in general may be needed.

Was just a passing thought as I pondered over the dirty dishes haha
aheads
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Without going into too much detail, I spend a lot of my time creating new shows to be experienced by different audience sizes, in lots of different venues.

It became exhausting to try to find a killer grand finale for each new show. So I decided to scale back the endings. Instead of huge, complicated and convoluted finales with fireworks and confetti, I leave on a more mysterious, subdued note. A callback is always great but it has to be subtle. I find the best way to end is with an extra special WTF? moment (usually through an amazing "coincidence" which I "created" along the way although didn't realise I was creating it).

It's usually one effect that unfolds (not literally) - hinting at the strange world I live in, allowing for the possibility to believe instead the obvious magical "ta-da" finish.
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Senor Fabuloso
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I think it more important to engage the audience at the beginning of your show, than build to something outrageous. As I explore mentalism as the only art form to present I want to leave my audience with a feeling of empowerment and an open mind. I haven't found the closer but am leaning to the encore being Bob C'S sudo memorized deck. I think it leads the people into a place where they too can use their minds to accomplish great things and that's what I hope to pass on. I'm planing to open with "Deep Sea Digits" out of Syzygy so the show would come full circle.
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Peter Morrissey
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Oh build to something outrageous, I agree, I just don't think it need be full of minutiae in order to, at the end appear big and "so many free choices " type thing

I'll have to look up deep sea digits , don't know it off hand
Shrubsole
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I quite enjoy 'building' in the finale routine, but that doesn't mean that it has to have many dead moments or be overcomplicated.

As I try to have a theme/topic/premise for the act I am doing, I very much like a multiple connection finish.

So, as an example, whatever the theme, at the end I want to produce say a number in an unconvuluted way and then say "Not only did I get the random number but that number is exact [refer to some connected earlier routine] and if all the people in the red seat stand up, under your seat is the exact shame number! - This is of course a made up dreadful example, but the basic idea of multiple hits to make the build even better without having loads of parts to slow the thing down and bore the audience to death.

Maybe just me but the types of audiences I play for need the whole act to be 'snappy' and long drawn out things just lose them no matter how interesting.
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