Mentalism Opener

Struggling with an effect? Any tips (without giving too much away!) you'd like to share?

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby mark lewis » Jul 24th, '15, 01:46



I remember years ago opening with a Swami Gimmick effect. I would give a marble to someone in the audience and tell them to look into it and imagine it was a globe of the world. I would get them to travel in their mind and settle on a country and then a city in that country and concentrate on it. I would then go into some sort of trance, pretend to write something down on a pad of paper, put the pencil away ask which city was thought of. I would then hand over the pad and ask the subject to name what was written and of course it would be the correct city.

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby mark lewis » Jul 24th, '15, 01:51

Oh, I performed this decades ago and used the then Lord Mayor of London, Sir Bernard Whaley Cohen as the subject. Alas he didn't look very impressed but the audience liked it nevertheless. Maybe he was in a bad mood that day!

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby kaala » Oct 23rd, '15, 16:22

The opener should be quick, straight to the point, not too strong and convey what you are about and what you want to show them. I couldnt imagine doing a bank night routine as it just takes too long. Openers idea is to get the whole audience attention, so I would skip one-on-one effects. You want to make the whole audience feel straight away that they are part of the show.

some ideas:

1. psychological force (queen on hearts force, 37 force, picture an image outside force (tree and car ))
2. magician choice opener (Colin Mcleod 2 bag routine)
3. Swami opener

K.

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby TonyB » Nov 1st, '15, 11:18

My mentalism opener is a series of gags followed by a story, which gets a huge laugh. I am five minutes in at least before I go for the magic.

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby Redrighthand » Jul 30th, '16, 04:49

So, I'm a little hesitant to offer up my method of using methods, but definitely it has to be an attention grabber first and foremost because your performances are scripted, yes? They darn well better be! You're a writer as much as a performer. Next, gauge how many people and what type of people you're peforming for - you'll narrow down which effect to use and how to frame it. Third find a way to use the tools in the effect to garner most, if not all audience participation.
There's a reason the swami was mentioned ;) that's all I'm going to say.

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby mark lewis » Jul 30th, '16, 05:18

I believe in scripting but not memorised scripting learned off by heart. It makes you sound like a robot. Trained actors doing magic always make me cringe because it makes them look like they are reciting Hamlet instead of doing the cut and restored rope. You should have a rough idea what to say and you get an idea of this beforehand by writing out the headings. And then chatter within what you have prepared and as the spirit moves you. You are not making it up as you go along as that is even worse that reciting a script learned by rote. You have prepared but have left room for spontaneity. After a time and many, many performances your patter evolves into what grafters call "a set fanny". In other words you end up saying the same thing every time you perform.

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby Redrighthand » Jul 31st, '16, 18:43

Yes, if you're not particularly adept at acting, then you're still going to sound robotic. That's why it's good to intentionally leave plenty of room for non-sequiturs and digression during rehearsal. So, I suppose I should have been more specific - rehearsal is just as important.

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby mark lewis » Jul 31st, '16, 23:38

I find trained actors who do magic not very good at acting! I still remember Orson Welles boring me stiff doing mentalism on late night television!

Not that I am a cynical state of mind of course!

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby Redrighthand » Aug 2nd, '16, 07:49

I must have misread you. Trained as in formally educated in theatre/acting? Then I'd say it depends on the person. Not everyone with formal training is necessarily dreadful at performing magic, but I can see your point. I would argue then at least a cursory knowledge of acting principles. People have to find what works for them. I'm a little confused by the last bit. Are you saying a "set fanny" is something to avoid?

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby Mandrake » Aug 2nd, '16, 09:12

If you perform the same assortment of effects regularly then you are bound to be a bit repetitive. The trick then is to make it sound fresh and entertaining as possible, Google/YouTube will show performers doing the same effect many times, some do sound repetitive but many seem to make it sound new and exciting. With magic there's room for improvisation and reacting with the audience - scary but very rewarding when it works!

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby mark lewis » Aug 3rd, '16, 08:07

Redrighthand wrote:I must have misread you. Trained as in formally educated in theatre/acting? Then I'd say it depends on the person. Not everyone with formal training is necessarily dreadful at performing magic, but I can see your point. I would argue then at least a cursory knowledge of acting principles. People have to find what works for them. I'm a little confused by the last bit. Are you saying a "set fanny" is something to avoid?


No. I am a big fan of the "set fanny". However it is how you get to that point is what I am trying to get at. As for a cursory knowledge of acting my own opinion is that it should be VERY cursory. You don't want to end up like Orson Welles putting people to sleep on TV with mentalism, do you?

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby Redrighthand » Aug 5th, '16, 16:47

Well, no and I don't think any performer really wants to bore their audience. I suppose, looking back, what I'm trying to get at is the importance of presentation and knowing what you're going to present and how, not necessarily acting or scripting.

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby Paul82 » Jun 22nd, '17, 15:50

Colin McCleods Penguin Live Lecture has a nice quick Opener that i like.

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Re: Mentalism Opener

Postby U THINK I KNOW » Aug 22nd, '17, 12:08

Try "Math Magic" by Josh-Jay in his book "The Complete Course on Magic" it's easy quick and very powerful

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