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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The October 2011 entrée: Alain Nu » » TV show » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Banachek
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Alain,

would you mind elaborating on some of the behind scenes on your wonderful TV show? Also would you mind sharing your story of the impossible card at any number that helped solidify in their minds why you should have the show ;-) Also what did you learn that others could benefit from about working on TV as apposed to working in the real world? Thanks and I will sit back and listen.
In thoughts and Friendship
Banachek
Campus Performer of the Year two years in a row
Year 2000 Campus Novelty Act
PEA Creativity Award Recipient
http://www.banachek.com
Alain Nu
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Hey Ban,

Thanks for visiting me here, brother!

As per your request, first I will provide the excerpt that opens my book "Any Card..." of my meeting the folks at Discovery/TLC for the first time:

A TRUE STORY

In 2004 I was called into the TLC office of the Discovery Channel to propose a TV show idea I was working on
with a producer that had taken an interest in me. I had brought a small bag with me that contained some of my
“tricks of the trade.” My producer looked at me and said, “Are you going to bring that bag in with you?” I said,
“Well yeah, it’s what I keep my stuff in.”

“Why don’t you just shove a few things in your pockets and then we’ll go upstairs. I want them to see you as they
imagine you—just a guy, who by just standing there by himself, can do amazing things.” I reckoned as producers
go, he wanted everything to be just right, and who was I to argue with him?

“Ok, I guess if you insist.” Before leaving my bag at the front desk, I put a silver spoon in my pocket and grabbed
my deck of cards. I was ready.

Then we were off, and up an elevator to the top floor of the Discovery building. It was there that I met the
president of TLC, along with about eight other Discovery producers who had come in to watch with the hopes of
being entertained. After some casual talk of what our overall vision was, I was asked politely to show them
something.

The first thing I took out was a deck of cards. “I’m sure you’ve all seen your share of card tricks, but I’d like to
show you something that’s totally outside of that. I’d like to see if I can produce a tiny miracle right in this very
room, if I can.” I casually pulled the cards out of its encasement and spread them showing them to be well mixed.
I gave them a bit more of a mix, and then sealed them back inside their box, and slid the box to the center of the
long boardroom table that we all sat at.

Now I turn to my right, towards the president of the network. “To keep things random, point to anyone you see
here in this room.” He points to a woman sitting across from me, and I turn to face her. “I’m not going to say ‘pick
a card’ but rather I’d like you to think of a card. Imagine fifty two cards spread out over your head in a completely
random pattern, and then one falls into your thoughts—right now. Do you have a card in mind?” She nods
affirmatively. I continue, “Remember, you are only thinking of a card now, I didn’t ask you to choose a card from
a physical deck, but from one within your thoughts.” She nods. “So that everything is above board, and also so
that everyone can follow along, please name out loud, for the first time, the card that you are thinking of.”

“The Nine of Spades,” she said.

“Very good, and not an obvious choice either, I may add. But I’ll ask anyway, for the sake of being nice, would
you like to change your mind?” She responded that she would keep the mind she had.

“The Nine of Spades it is, then. Now if you would kindly point to yet one more random person who would be
unaware of even their own participation in this experiment.” She now points to a young lady sitting three chairs
down from me on my left. “Thank you for volunteering! We have ten fingers by which we use to ‘manipulate the
elements’— but rather than using our hands, if I could simply ask you to call out a number between one and
ten…”

“Three,” she says.

“And now I will ask you, for the sake of being polite, would you like to change your mind?”

Contrary to the last volunteer, this woman responds, “Yes I would, actually.”

“Alright then, what number would you like to change it to?”

“Five,” she said.

I tried not to flinch as I pulled everyone’s attention to that lone deck of cards, sitting there still in their box, at the
center of the long table.

“What I am getting at, is if I were to pull that deck of cards out of that box, and then count five cards down from
the top of the deck, and find the Nine of Spades, you’d have to admit, that’d be pretty stunning.” All eyes were
transfixed on the box sitting in the middle of the table, and as I stake my claim, the small crowd hums with
disbelief, a couple of “no way(s)” are heard, but more delightful than that, a tweaked sense of awareness is felt by
all. This is the feeling that I am so passionate to find within each performance. I want to savor this moment for as
long as I can hold it— it is a moment of exquisite beauty in which everyone must remain in the present and not
take their eyes or awareness away for a second so as to not lose control over their reality. Like going down that
first big hill on the rollercoaster… that eternal moment at the very top...

“But, if we were to count down, five cards and find, instead the Nine of Clubs—I want you to know in advance,
that in the world of parapsychology, we would call that— close.” I get a small laugh. “If we were to count down
and find even the nine of hearts or nine of diamonds, it’d still be significant because we’d still hit on the nine—
even if we hit an Eight of Spades or a Ten of Spades we’d only be one off.” I pause briefly and turn to my right.
“And you’d still be pretty interested in signing a ontract with me for this TV deal if I am only one off, right?” The
look on his face is priceless. It all seemed so far-fetched he must have almost felt like taking me up on my wager.
But respectfully, he just smiled back at me with a continual look of disbelief.

“I’m sensing hesitation,” I say, as I get another nervous chuckle. “But if we were to count down five cards, and
indeed we found the Nine of Spades, the card you just thought of… well, do we have a contract then?” Silence.
The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The president finally says, “Can we just count down and
see what’s there?”

“I’ll tell you what,” I said, pointing to the woman sitting across from me (she was the one sitting nearest to the
cards), “take the cards out yourself and count four cards to the table face up so we can see them as they’re dealt…”
(She does as instructed) “Well, we now know it’s not one of those. I guess now is the moment we’ve been waiting
for… Do you believe it’s going to be the Nine of Spades? Flip it.”

It was the Nine of Spades— total silence. No one could believe it actually happened. Everyone looked at the
president. He was stunned speechless. There wasn’t a single person in the room at that moment whose reality was
not in a tail-spin, including me. I felt like balloons were falling on me— like I had just won some cosmic
election…

I broke the silence. “So I guess that means I got the gig!” I say light-heartedly…

And although there was no firm commitment made at that instant, and I continued on by telling someone their
zodiac sign and birth date and then bent a spoon for another person, but I could just tell I sealed the deal with that
first card trick.

I remember the elevator ride. All the way down, my producer was going on saying, “You know, I’ve seen a lot of
card tricks in my day, but that card trick you did, was simply amazing… I can’t see how that can even remotely
have been possible… How could you know— no, don’t tell me… I don’t want to know. But that’s definitely the
best card trick I think I have ever seen.”

Just then, the elevator doors open, and that's when I looked back at him and said, "Actually, IT WAS THE BEST card trick, I'VE EVER SEEN!"
Alain Nu
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Quote:
On 2011-10-27 23:11, Banachek wrote:
Also what did you learn that others could benefit from about working on TV as apposed to working in the real world? Thanks and I will sit back and listen.


I really feel that the world is so random and uncertain as it moves as fast as technology itself these days that to think that there are any hard or fast rules at all as to how one gets a TV special, will only slow one down from actually getting one. My personal feeling is that most of the greatest mystery performers of today are more likely to be found on the internet than on TV, and that one day TV and the internet will be practically one and the same. You can already buy TVs that are equipped with their own built in Youtube channel.

What I learned from my experience on network TV is that the more people you have that rule over you that call your shots, the suckier the potential for a worthwhile production. The more bosses you have, the more agendas you have to deal with. I love my life the most when I'm my own boss with my own agenda, but obviously, I'm still not going to turn down another halfway decent offer... ho-- I know. Smile

Feel free to chime in... It's getting late, so I'll come back to all this later. (Yawn)
Bosco J.
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Quote:
“Three,” she says.

“And now I will ask you, for the sake of being polite, would you like to change your mind?”

Contrary to the last volunteer, this woman responds, “Yes I would, actually.”

“Alright then, what number would you like to change it to?”

“Five,” she said.


Thanks for retelling that story Alain.

There are so many lessons that can be gleaned from it. It's a case and point on how powerful a straight forward presentation of ACAAN (even without ideal conditions) can be to laymen. Excellent handling of a "pressured" situation Alain!

What if the woman kept her original choice? Do you think the "process" that followed would have left a less dramatic respond in the room?

Bosco
Alain Nu
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One thing to realize, whether one is developing stuff for TV or not, is that one can do a lot with a little.

and that would, I think, be one of the less-understood purposes of mentalism.

that there is GREATNESS in the tiniest thing.

one out of four can be amazing.

six out of ten is still above average.

an old person's mind works differently from a young person.

there is a mandala of infinite possibilities that are obtainable.

one can reach a state of mind where all ordinary mundane things become inspiring and amazing.

and those tiny things are magified by "this purpose of mentalism."

and then re-magnified.

one revelation becomes two; becomes six...

everything is everything...

and everything is simply amazing.
Alain Nu
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Quote:
On 2011-10-28 10:21, Bosco J. wrote:

What if the woman kept her original choice? Do you think the "process" that followed would have left a less dramatic respond in the room?

Bosco


Well, the good news is that she didn't! Smile

Some things are a mystery even to me, and I've come to accept them for what they are!

Thank you for your kind words and support, Bosco!

Cheers,
Alain
Tom Cutts
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I guess it may escape some that the method and the process had little to do with the impression your performance had on the execs. That impression was the creation and execution of Alain. And I'm betting the execs inked a deal based on that. Not the card trick.
Bosco J.
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Quote:
On 2011-10-28 11:13, Tom Cutts wrote:
That impression was the creation and execution of Alain... Not the card trick.


Precisely Tom. Great point!

It is Alain's persona, utilizing the card trick as a medium, that created the profound experience in the minds of the Execs. Good lessons indeed.

Bosco
kannon
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Did you once mention something about planning a way to vanish a crab or lobster from an aquarium?
My work and the Mtangulizi here http://kannonsworks.weebly.com featuring work on drawing duplications, a fiddle-free billet tear, bar mentalism, pendulums
Alain Nu
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Kannon,

Hmmm... when did you hear that story?

I didn't tell that story to very many people as that was an idea originally for my own TV show, and then later when I didn't end up using it, I was in the process of giving it to David Blaine, but then he changed the entire effect on me completely, so to this day, it has not been done, but I may still do it one day... or sell it to someone else.

So just for asking, and for everyone else coming out and visiting me here, you get to all know about it NOW:

... and it's not at all about making the lobster disappear either.

A lobster is introduced by asking someone at a fisherman's wharf to hand you a live one that he just caught.

You immediately are able to hypnotize the lobster, causing it to stand on its head (with its front claws as a tripod) on the sidewalk and have it remain in that position as you get applause from amazed onlookers.

Now, you turn to the lobster and tell it that when you snap your fingers, it will awaken feeling refreshed and alive. Then snapping your fingers but once, the lobster immediately pulls itself down from it's headstand and acts quite lively as instructed!

There you go! Pretty cool huh? So you might ask, why did I just blurt out this idea to everyone here just now? Let's just say it's an experiment... to see if I can keep something safe in public (!).

And because when it comes to ideas, I'll make more.

PEACE!

Alain
kannon
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Yeah that could be it! Haha I remember thinking it was hilarious.

Hypnotizing a lobster! I cannot remember why or how but you told me or a group of us that story at South Tyneside a couple of years back.
I remember asking you if you were a gymnast.
My work and the Mtangulizi here http://kannonsworks.weebly.com featuring work on drawing duplications, a fiddle-free billet tear, bar mentalism, pendulums
Alain Nu
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Kannon,

I LOVED being in England at South Tyne! And am truly looking forward to my next visit!

I do enjoy some "mental gymnastics", but alas, my sister is the gymnast in my family, but you were CLOSE!

Alain
Josh Chaikin
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Hypnotizing a lobster...pretty funny. I remember years ago, at Philmount, one of the counselors hypnotized a chicken. It exhibited pretty bizarre behavior, too! (If you consider laying there, unblinking, for a minute or so bizarre).
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