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YT
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I'm putting together a short routine for a competition. I have to make and submit a video, no longer than 10 minutes in duration and the setting must be "close up - e.g. in the street or restaurant/pub setting"

This is what I am thinking of doing so far:

1. Mark Strivings' "Open & Shut" from Desert Brainstorm vol 2.

Basically, a prediction envelope is given to spectator and never again touched by performer. A pack of cards is shown, faces displayed to be all different. Spec names any number from 1-52. Cards are dealt fairly from the top of the deck, one at a time, and the card at the number matches the prediction. Very clever!

2. Silver Bullet Book Test (on someone coming out of a bookshop)

3. A custom mind-reading routine using my Sight Unseen case

I have not set this in stone yet and I thought I would ask if anyone here knew of any mentalism effects that would play particularly well in a "street" setting AND bearing in mind that the performance will be taped.

Thanks in advance,

YT
Paul
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Sounds more like some kind of promotional video than a competition. Tell us more about the comp. YT.
The Bear
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I think Psychokinetic Time would work well in a street setting (unless you want to avoid it as David Blaine did this). And perhaps a simple send or receive of any 3 or 4-digit number using a NW. P.S. I like your idea of picking on someone coming out of a book shop.
There are two types of people in the world. Those that divide the world into two types of people, and those that don't.
YT
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Paul,

The competition is being run by a UK internet magic dealer (am I allowed to mention their name?) - here is the info:

Close-Up Magical Entertainer Competition

We’re launching a competition to find the best Close-Up Magical Entertainer, with prizes of £200 for the winners of our two categories.

Categories are split into two age groups; Under 18’s & 18’s and overs.

In order to enter, you should provide a video or DVD, no more than 10 minutes in length which shows you performing close-up magic to an individual or group of people.

As the competition is for Close-Up Magical Entertainers, we’re looking for more than just magic tricks. Our judges will be looking specifically for those applicants who interact well, engage with, and most of all, entertain their audience. This will take priority over the complexity of the tricks themselves.

Don’t forget; this competition is for close-up entertainers, so stage performances will not be eligible. Instead, your application should show you performing to a small group or individual. This could, for example, be in a street magic setting or pub/restaurant environment.
Ian Rowland
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I'm a Mark Strivings fan and I like Open & Shut, but I'd have some reservations about its suitability for the proposed conditions, and its suitability as an opener. It's a terrific effect, of course, but one might possibly suggest the counting could drag a little if the spec happens to chose a high number (which they might), and remember you won't necessarily have a decent surface to count down on to. I know these problems are relatively minor, and can be overcome, but maybe a different item would be better suited to the context, and/or offer a punchier opening.

If you want a card item, you could perhaps open with a Brainwave effect but done with a regular deck (spec names card, one red card in the regular blue-backed deck, that's the card they chose). Quick, baffling, punchy, and the judges will perhaps look favourably on you doing it the more skilful way (as opposed to just buying the Bwave deck). I have no experience of entering competitions, but I should imagine just performing standard dealer effects could lose out to another competitor, equal in other respects, who is working a little harder?

Of course you have the option of dispensing with cards altogether. You hold an A-Z or any similar book which has a tube map on the back. Map is facing you, not the spec. You circle one central tube station with a marker. Spec invited to name any central tube station, but not a very obvious one. Turn A-Z round to show you've circled the same one! You'll need a little help from an item sold by Banachek, the chinagraph version of the nw, but it could be good! Or, if you don't want to go to those lengths, copy a tube map on to paper, rest this on the back of the A-Z, and use a regular nw. Then give the paper tube map away as a souvenir, thus justifying why you bothered using it instead of the regular map on the back of the book.

Do you know any shop-keepers who will co-operate with you? You could set up stunts like the card on the inside of the shop window. Or stop someone in the street, show them the five ESP symbols, ask them to think of one and when they do, ask them to turn around and there in the shop window, to their great surprise, is a large poster of the same symbol. I think you could pick up brownie points for actually using the environment 'in' which you're working, as opposed to just taking close-up items and doing them outside rather than indoors.

In restuarants, I often do elabroate and improvised variations on card-under-glass, such as spec chooses card, card returned to deck, deck spread and chosen card nowhere to be seen. Waiter comes over and offers menu to spec, who opens it and finds chosen card inside. Not the most original idea in the world, but again just an example of exploiting the environment and its possibilities, as opposed to just relocating you're regular act.

Best of luck!
www.ianrowland.com . Working Magic.
Allen Gittelson
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It depends on so many variables, such as you, your intended audience, and your environment. Plan well, rehearse, etc. and then go perform on the street.

There may be variables you will discover on the street that you find you did not consider. When I first started street performing, I found a variable I had not considered enough right away: the wind (and a strong one at that). If you are planning on counting cards out as you place them on a surface (the surface is another consideration as Ian pointed out), then make sure that you have planned properly. Chasing props in the wind was not the image I wanted to present to my spectators, so I quickly changed things.

Also, as Ian pointed out, there are things about the environment that you may turn to your advantage. I have a routine where I actually use the wind to my advantage. I am placing objects (envelopes with cards inside) into the spectator's hands and tell them to hold on to them so that they don't get away. I'll not go into greater detail, but this is somewhat tied to the method, and performing this piece on the street makes more sense than it does performing it inside. The trick is partially tailored for the environment.

It sounds like you are planning to perform close up magic on the street, and that is a very different thing than performing for a crowd. One of the things that you will likely find you need to plan is how you will gain an audience. This applies if you plan to perform for a crowd also. Find something to generate interest initially, if you don't already have that.

Go perform. Find out what works, and keep it. Find out what you need to work on, and work on that.

In thoughts,
Allen
YT
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London, UK
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Ian and Allen,

Thank you both so much for going to the trouble of giving me such insightful replies - you have certainly given me a lot to think about!

Ian, I particularly like your tube map idea, although I'm going to be doing this in a village just outside of London. It would probably still work, but I take your point about giving more thought to using the environment more.

I was definitely planning on using the medium to the full and not showing all three effects on the same spectator in the same place in one continuous shot. I was going to spend a day performing to various people and then edit the best takes into the final version. And that's one of the reasons I wanted to shoot a few more effects, to give me a choice when I get to the editing table.

I was also going to use the editing to cut off the beginning of the Sight Unseen routine, and by chosing my words carefully, make it appear to the camera that it is a prediction written by me! Still not sure about that though - I don't know whether it will add to the effect or not?

Once again, thanks for your replies.
Lee Marelli
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Here is one. I believe it was very briefly mentioned in Ortiz's Strong Magic. I have expanded it for a street magic bit.
Spot someone in a cafe, on the street, etc., with a cell phone. They can be alone, but better if with a small group.

Tell them you are conducting an experiment for your University psych course on the paranormal. The experiment is for you to attempt the long distance mental transmittance of a thought.

If you have a group, hand one of them a cased deck of cards, telling the group they will be used later and not to let go of them. If it is one person, you take out the cased cards and hold on to them.

Ask the person with the phone to think of a friend and the location of that friend. Then they are to call them and have the friend name a playing card, but not one commonly named like the Queen of Diamonds or the Ace of Spades.

Ask them to give you their friend's name and location whom they are pretty sure will answer the phone. When they do, go into your psychology student's/mentalists' concentration look. Break your concentration and ask them to make the call and get the name of a card.

The person makes the call and you ask them what card their friend chose. When they tell you, quickly review what has happened. You take the cased deck from the person holding it, and take out the deck.

Spreading the cards, you show them that the only card in the deck that is face up (or down) depending on the deck you use, is the card their friend named. If you do this with a small crowd, you get the bonus of the crowd reaction.

If you wish to cover the dead time while the person makes the call, do one of your other quick routines with another member of the group. Maybe you will be lucky and spot a group at an out- or indoor cafe table or walking out of the bookstore or down the street, where one has a cell phone and one of the others a book.

My associate in our show does this routine on the stage using his own approach, with terrific results. Hope this helps.
"Mentalism is a state of mind." Marelli
Paul
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These are great ideas being thrown around, but since you told me;

"Close-Up Magical Entertainer Competition"
and they said:

"We’re launching a competition to find the best Close-Up Magical Entertainer"

I should add
1)Mentalism doesn't normally do too well in MAGICAL competitions.

2)You're trying too hard to look like a cross between Derren Brown and David Blaine.

3)There is a thread in the cafe about competition acts.See "Going for the Gold"

Regarding;
I was also going to use the editing to cut off the beginning of the Sight Unseen routine, and by chosing my words carefully, make it appear to the camera that it is a prediction written by me! Still not sure about that though - I don't know whether it will add to the effect or not?

But if you did this, and all your editing, you are not presenting a ten minute close up act you could duplicate live. It may be well worth phoning them up and clarifying that what you are attempting to do falls within the barriers of what they are expecting.

They might want someone just sat at a table doing 10 minutes of good close up magic that can be presented anywhere.

Good luck!
Paul Hallas.
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