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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Book Test Mentalism (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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jakubr
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Hello Café! Smile

So one of my favorite things to perform are the book tests. There are few of them that depending on situation I would go for. I think my favorite one is the one of Marc Paul.

Here's another one which I've managed to record on the streets of Jerusalem other day:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu49DNRckYc

What do you think?
What is your favorite book test to perform? Do you perform it at all?
dusty
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Superb Jakubr.

If I had one comment it would be to avoid stating that "The book is very special to me" it could be construed to mean that the book may not be normal.

I too like Marc Paul's method for walkabout but prefer MOAB for cabaret.
Regards,

Dusty

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Demitri
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Excellent, as always Jakob! Dusty, I have to disagree with you when you say he shouldn't mention the book as special to him. There's nothing unusual or suspicious about a person saying a book (or piece of music, literature, film, etc.) has special meaning to them. It can, in fact, enhance the experience. Beyond a simple justification for its' use, the book itself can work as a way to build a connection with your audiences. The people I meet, and perform for, I want them to get to know me, as I get to know them. For me, music, film and literature are big passions - and discussing or showing them some of the things that inspire or interest me, is a great way to build that connection I'm looking for.

I know this goes against the idea that the book shouldn't be important to the overall effect - and actively drawing intention to it may be considered a bad thing, but, in the case of using my own books - I feel that it creates the justification for carrying a book with me in the first place. It gives it "weight", and purpose. To not a prop, it's something that interest me. I can talk about why I love the book, what it means to me. For certain books, I can talk about how this book taught me about connections, and how each of us are somehow connected in unusual ways. Then, I can ask if they'd like to try a little experiment, and rehabs we can try to make one of those invisible connections. But I realize that it's the context of it's inclusion that counts, so there are times when you simply use the book as a means to an end. I feel like I'm rambling and not making my point very well... It's been a long week.

As for my favorite tests - I love the marked books, as I've mentioned in other threads, like MOABT, AREA, and Larry Becker's work - but I enjoy using the deals and concepts from Alain Nu's Word Work series to develop tests from the books that have importance to me. I also think Alain's 2 person book test, which can use ANY book, is one of the strongest effects of this type. It is absolutely devastating.
dusty
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Hi Demitri,
I think we need to get inside the mind of the spectator here, not our own thought processes in attempting to justify what props we use.

For me "Book Test" is a miss-leading title. We are actually only using the book to select a random word. Nothing else. So in theory it should come across as absolutely any book would do. ".....I just happen to have a book we can use".

Now I agree if your premise is to delve into the emotional impact of a sentence or statement in the text then it makes perfect sense to convey an attachment to this particular story (not book.

However, I am quite certain that when a spectator tries to explain what they have just experienced, the listener will be automatically drawn to the only conclusion they can, it must be a special book. And the spectator will agree, because you told them it was! (Just not in the way you meant it be taken).

This last point for me is the most important aspect. How will the effect be remembered and described because you will not be there when they tell their friends. I want them to be absolutely certain that; they had a free choice, the bill was borrowed, he never touched it etc. etc......
Regards,

Dusty

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"Always give 100%, Unless you're a blood donor!"

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mindpunisher
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Does that mean I should stop using 13 steps in my book tests?
saysold1
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I'm not the expert here but shouldn't the focus NOT be on the book but rather what the spectator is thinking? If so the book probably shouldn't be mentioned as special and should in fact be something that matters not.

My only comment would be to add a little emotion and storyline behind the process.
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mastermindreader
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Dusty and Brett are correct. A book test is simply a mind reading, or prediction, effect. The focus is on the participant's thought, not on the book itself.
ko_brian
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On 2013-11-30 13:21, mastermindreader wrote:
Dusty and Brett are correct. A book test is simply a mind reading, or prediction, effect. The focus is on the participant's thought, not on the book itself.


The book is just a tool for the mind reading processe to be accomplished! Could be anything, in this case happened to be a book! No big deal, the important part is reading the person's mind!
Demitri
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I never said the book should be the focus of the effect, and my handling of certain books certainly doesn't make the book so. However, certain presentations, and certain books intrinsically warrant and invite more attention.

I am not nearly as certain as you, dusty. I have used Kafka's Metamorphosis for a book test, in the past. I would mention how much I loved it, and how much it inspired my own writing. Why did I do this? Because EVERY SINGLE TIME I had it with me, I was asked what the book was about. I didn't draw attention to it, I just happened to have it on me. When asked why, I simply said I always find myself re-reading it. If I went on to use the book as part of an effect, I guarantee you, none of them ever encounter that the book was special in any way, if they happened to have a book, I would se theirs as well.

if we're going to get into the mind of our spectators, I absolutely do not believe anyone discussing the effect afterwards will somehow forget they looked at a book. So while you shouldn't necessarily make the book a focus, please don't think your audiences will forget one was in play. This exact situation is the reason we even HAVE borrowed book book tests, in the first place. It handles the "can you do it with MY/ANY book" questions - so while you can downplay the importance if you like, nothing you do or say afterwards will make them forget they chose a word in the book.

Of course the important thing is reading the minds of our spectators, but simply mentioning that you enjoyed reading, or consider the book your favorite is not going to change the strength of the routine.

Bob - I agree to a point, but if the book should NEVER important, how does outlaw effects sell so many of them?

If you feel like the book should be downplayed, and no attention should be drawn to it, then go ahead and do that - but you can't push your opinions and choices on others. One man's treasure, and all that... As well, none of us can say that Jakob's effect was diminished because he mentioned how special the book was, to him. I the case of a typical paperback, yes - less is more, But if you have a Luna book with you, can anyone say that mentioning how special/odd/fascinating the book is will ruin the effect it creates?
saysold1
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Outlaws stuff is cool because it provides a story and emotion - a structure or scaffolding.

Books are like any other object we use - ordinary.

First Jake asked "have you heard of this book - actually it's not very popular. This book is very special to me "

Why call attention to an unpopular unheard of book?

If it is special to the performer, the. tell me an outlaw or other interesting story as to why it's special. Something maybe I could relate to.

The book you mentioned that you carry around has a story to it. That's interesting if you explain why.

The genius of outlaws stuff are the story lines.
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Remarkable Marco
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Any book woud do, as long as you explain that ESP experiments at Duke U in the 30s demonstrated that it is easier to focus on a word or sentence if one is reading it or has just read it. Any piece of writing at this point becomes a simple tool, and the focus is shifted towards the transmission process.
mastermindreader
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Demitri-

The outlaw books are the focus of the effects because they are intentionally designed to be so. In my opinion, such test fall more into the realm of bizarre magic than mentalism.

Years ago, my friend Tony Raven came out with his "Necromatic Grimoire of Augustus Rupp." Being young and stupid I decided to try it out in my straight mentalism act. Of course, EVERYONE wanted to see the book as it was so unusual. It took away, IMO, from my premise of mind reading.

Ever since, I've always treated props as secondary and incidental. When a prop is the focus of the effect, it is a distraction and detracts from the premise that what I do is accomplished purely with my mind.

Good thoughts,

Bob
Doc Ben
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In terms of just using an object for a random "target", I once performed an academic style act, just as a psychologist in a business suit to a college student audience in which I used a " common pack of cards" to have an audience member choose "any card freely"....and then went into a more extended reveal...by using a fifty one card all one card deck, except for thr onr exposed indifferent face card...and it floored the audiencr! The emphasis was on the EFFECT, not on the means to demonstrate it...!
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" (the original F. Baum)
Tom Cutts
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Quote:
On 2013-11-30 13:21, mastermindreader wrote:
Dusty and Brett are correct. A book test is simply a mind reading, or prediction, effect. The focus is on the participant's thought, not on the book itself.
Are you saying that a book test won't be successful if the topic nature of the book is integral to the reason for the ability shown?
mastermindreader
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No. I'm talking about book tests in general, not specific bizarre or story-telling routines in which a particular book is integral to the plot.
Demitri
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I agree with you, Bob - and I completely understand the idea of making it about what you're doing. However, the initial comment I was speaking about was that by simply saying the book is special to you in no way arouses suspicion or diminishes the strength of the effect.

I understand everyone simply reiterating the "it's the effect, not the means" argument - but I'm beginning to think I need to point out that I have never said the book should be the focus - simply that I don't think it's bad to mention that you like it.
Tom Cutts
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OK, and I'm not talking about bizarre or story telling. I'm talkin about a performer whose ability to do these things is empowered by a particular subject matter. I don't want to say too much so as to protect the premise, but I think you get the drift.

Sort of like... I'm an absolute dog fanatic. I can tell you what dog you have or would like to have. In fact simple things like simply thinking about the subject... Here is a book about dogs, open to any page.

In this case the subject matter IS important, although when the entire show is presented the medium (book, thought, drawing, what have you) is far less important than when seeing a single routine.
mastermindreader
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That makes sense, Tom, as does any effect where the subject matter of the book is relevant to the effect. Personally, I only use books to offer a wider selection of difficult words that someone wouldn't think of normally. Kind of like a test conditions test of thought reading.
saysold1
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Tom makes some great points. However if you listen to exactly what the op said in his video, the context as to why he liked his book are never spoken nor revealed. It was simply stated, which to me made the statement stand out as suspicious.

If he liked the book then why?
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Sealegs
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A very interesting thread that caught my attention for several reasons. They are:

I saw both of the perspectives being expressed in this thread, on the appropriateness or otherwise of mentioning the book, to be neither, 'the right way' or ‘the wrong way’. At one point it seemed this thread was heading in that direction. What I saw were two valid but different solutions to the issue of centring the focus on (to paraphrase Bob) the premise that; what is being achieved is being accomplished purely by the mind.

I wrote a substancial post in support of what I thought was Demtri’s carefully made point of view… but I decided not to post it. The reason for this was I thought it might be seen as just being made just to stir things up and express an opinion contrary to that of a rightly acknowledged expert. (That’s you Bob) Posts containing a contrary opinion or position to that expressed by recognised experts in the field of discussion are often taken as being made for the sake of having a contrary position…. not I might add by the experts themselves but by others whose response is often a knee jerk reaction to defend ‘their' experts’ expertise.

Bob’s clarification and exchange with Tom Cutts is one of those rare occasions on the Café where, although none really exists, a potential disagreement of opinion turns away from an entrenchment of positions to provide a broader understanding and clarification of the subject matter at hand. This results in benefitting anyone who reads the thread.

And lastly, the thread has been interesting to me because I’d always thought Tom Cutts to be one of those posters that only posted to stir things up. The irony of this, given that I decided not to post my own thoughts in this thread for thinking they would be viewed in this exact way, is not lost on me. Tom’s posts in this thread were the very catalysts that helped clarify and expand the understanding of the why’s and wherefores of the appropriateness of mentioning (or not) the book being used in a book-test and when and how it might reinforce the mentalists premise that what plays out in the routine happens and is accomplished purely by the mind of the performer.

We live and learn. Smile
Neal Austin

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