Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

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Travis
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Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby Travis » April 17th, 2016, 12:28 am

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with impression devices. I love the cleverness of many of them, but often find myself inclined to think that they leave the spectator with a possible answer. In the case of an impression device (pad, clipboard, etc.), something is taken back by the performer. It seems to me that, we're I a layperson, I would assume that some kind of impression was left behind. I my not know exactly in what form, but it would be the most likely conclusion, no?
In the case, however, of a peek, such as Acidus Novus, the performer does not leave with anything; the information is simply glimpsed and given to the spectator. If the peek is successfully deceptive, then there is nowhere for the magician to have been able to retrieved the information later.

Of course, with pens that convey information to mobile devices now being advertised to the masses all over social media (not as a magic product), perhaps all these methods become obsolete. If someone can simply assume what they're writing is being transmitted to a device, well...

Brad Henderson
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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby Brad Henderson » April 17th, 2016, 1:45 am

how would the audience know you asked the spectator to write anything down or took anything back?

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Travis
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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby Travis » April 17th, 2016, 3:51 am

Hi Brad.
Of course, they don't know. And while the needs of the many certainly outweigh the needs of the one in a pre show instance, I do also concern myself with the assisting spectator being sufficiently deceived as well. I know from experience that techniques like a business card peek (Acidus Novus) are very successful because I've had the assisting spectators tell me time and again after shows that they couldn't fathom how their word (or whatever) was known. However, that may all change with these Bluetooth pens becoming commonplace.

I've been considering using a Parapad impression device for this same purpose. I love the ease of it, but can't help but wonder if the spectator upon whom the pre-show work is done will be highly suspicious of the notepad. Perhaps not, but I tend to assume people are more thoughtful about such things than a lot of magicians pretend.

And you raise a good point, indirectly. What about using them in real-time during a show? I know I would suspect an impression were I in their shoes, if even just an indentation from the writing instrument. Everyone's seen the impression left on the next piece of paper of a notepad, and while many devices have nuances that would make that sort of impression an impossibility, I'm not sure those details would be necessarily noticed without the performer actually noting them. Of course, that would smack of running while potentially not being chased.

I will say that I do think confidence and attitude, not to mention outright lying, counts for a lot. But I do still wonder.

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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby Tom Moore » April 17th, 2016, 7:37 am

It all depends how you use them and the importance you attach to them in your actions. There are far too many impression devices that look (or are used) like weird magician's props thus immediately drawing attention to themselves. For pre-show work i believe it should all be done by a bored looking crewmember and an old scrap of paper rather than the performer himself thus establishing a further separation in the spectator's mind. If you do have to do it yourself then your entire sequence should be getting the audience member to "think, just think" of the word/object/drawing and make a big show of this all existing only in their head; only when you're finished and about to leave should you then suddenly think that the spectator might forget the object and rummage around for a bit of paper / notebook so that they can quickly make a note of their thoughts now "so that you don't forget". If this looks like a spur of the moment decision after the magic is over, uses props that couldn't possibly be faked because you grabbed whatever is to hand and the whole thing is frames as you helping the spectator not embarrass themselves then the entire sequence will be forgotten and you'll still have your information.

Likewise on stage the impression device you use needs to look genuinely logical and like something you grabbed from staples on your way to the theatre. You need to frame the writing down as purely incidental to the effect just to help the spectator. You then need to shape your presentation so that there's clear space between the spectator using the device and you touching it and also ensure that throughout your handling of the device there's not the possibility of anyone thinking that you have the time to read an impression on it.

It's all about framing
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

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John LeBlanc
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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby John LeBlanc » April 17th, 2016, 9:56 am

Credit Card Counterfeiter: Why are you chasing me?
John Vukovich: Why are you running?
Credit Card Counterfeiter: 'Cause you're chasing me, man!

Russ
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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby Russ » April 17th, 2016, 2:20 pm

Check out Osterlind's Imp pad. Watch the video from mind mysteries volume 4 I think. Do it as he teaches and you will kill with this.

Best,
Russ
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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby Curtis Kam » April 18th, 2016, 12:04 am

Here's an odd and untested idea, at least, I've never tried it, but what about putting on a little show for the ones you're pre-showed? I'm thinking of making use of the same notepad, clipboard, etc. on stage, in a completely normal way? Write your predictions, or doodle impressions on it, or something, but keep it out of your reach during the piece involving the actual preshow work. That might dispel any suspicions on the part of those who handled the "same" clipboard before the show?

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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby Brad Henderson » April 18th, 2016, 1:09 am

if the information they write down is not the infornation you reveal, taking back the impression device becomes irrelevant.

don't make the method the effect.

layer the deception.

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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby performer » April 18th, 2016, 3:05 am

I have done a little of this. It seemed to work perfectly well. I assume it is a perfectly valid device as it has been around for decades. Presumably if it didn't work then it would no longer be used.

Mind you, I do agree they won't fool anyone much longer because of the way you are all talking about it on here openly in front of thousands upon thousands of lay people who may just happen to be looking in.

Magic is doomed-I swear it. Not only are there even more bad magicians than there used to be with this internet horror all the damn secrets are out nowadays and nobody seems to care. Serves you all right.

I don't like the way magic is going in this awful modern age. I'm glad I'll be dead soon.

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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby brianarudolph » April 18th, 2016, 11:54 am

The few times I have used a clipboard in the past, I've always done it at the top of my show in a way similar to "before we get started, I'd like someone I've never met before to think of [whatever], write it down and then seal it in the envelope" at which point I pick someone with their hand up and have the audience pass the clipboard with paper clipped to it, a pen and an envelope (not clipped to the board. That way several members of the audience handle the props in the passing and it sets the idea the props are being provided only as a convenience for expediency. If I plan to do two or three reveals, I'll pass out two or three of them at the same time rather than passing one around and trying to convince people to write from the bottom up and then tear off their part. Too many instructions would be confusing and suspicious. Then I save the reveals for my real closer after it seems that the show is over: (applause dying down) "Oh wait ... what about those thoughts that were written down at the beginning?" ... etc. The brief breaks between segments allowed ample time to read the information. In smaller parlor shows, I'd often unload the clipboards or do the glimpses (depending on the device) while getting the next items from my table or suitcase.

Very important that the clipboard(s) look like something from an office supply store since the pen, paper and envelopes will really be things from one.

Travis wrote:Of course, with pens that convey information to mobile devices now being advertised to the masses all over social media (not as a magic product), perhaps all these methods become obsolete. If someone can simply assume what they're writing is being transmitted to a device, well...


When science invents and perfects Star Trek's transporter device, magic will face its greatest challenge ever because a magician could simply be using a transporter to do any effect ever though of. Nothing will ever be "magic" to an audience again since they would be able to go right home and do it themselves.

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Travis
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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby Travis » April 18th, 2016, 1:00 pm

Performer, I think perhaps you worry just a bit too much.
Everyone, thanks for the input. Very insightful.

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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby Tom Moore » April 18th, 2016, 1:22 pm

Russ wrote:Check out Osterlind's Imp pad. Watch the video from mind mysteries volume 4 I think. Do it as he teaches and you will kill with this.

Best,
Russ


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi_43EqKQzA

His framing, patter and presentation in that are textbook examples - it's very very good and you can see the years of experience. My only quibble is with the notepad; no-one in the real world actually uses or encounters a notepad anything like that style and it's also a bit too small for an audience of any more than a dozen people to see. His performance and presentation around the prop more than make up for its shortcomings but I'm sure the effect would be even more powerful if the notebook was like the notebook people see daily or a sheet of regular letter paper and not clearly a "prop" that the magician has supplied?
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

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Diego
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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby Diego » April 20th, 2016, 4:43 am

This subject has come up a number of times in the Forum before. Brad is certainly right about not making the method, the effect.

Blackstone and others promoted sawing a WOMAN in half, not a box or wedge base in half. Likewise you never see publicity photos of Kreskin, Dunninger, or Alexander holding papers/envelopes/billets in their hands.

If you read critical reviews in the press over a 100 years ago of Samri Baldwin or Anna Eva Fay, they very pointedly note the boards/pads that questions were written on beforehand. People are not as clueless, as the magicians who believe dealer ads thinking the products they sell can really fool people, as they advertise.

When dealing with larger audiences, the greater effect on the whole of the audience, regardless if some suspected what may have happened, is what is focused on.

Having someone ELSE covertly doing the pre show work is ideal. Mel-Roy's wife told me how she would gather questions in a theater lobby, dressed in secretarial/business attire or as a theater user, attracting no attention to herself.
William Larsen Sr., in his excellent book on Nite Club mind reading, had his assistant dressed like the other employees...as she went from table to table, just as the camera or cigarette girls did, unnoticed. (While working some small clubs, the person doing my pre show work, had worked for different rock bands, and could quietly move about, just as she gathered names for a band's mailing list, completely forgettable.)

Recently, I saw the pre show person of a show, dressed to blend in with the staff, using the type of leather folders a waiter hands the check in, to brilliant use.

One very successful performer, in their TV studio and theater appearances, has someone who looks like a production assistant, carrying (as PA's do) a clipboard with notes, comps clipped to the board, working invisibly as William Larsen's or my rock club lady did.
The approach and (supposed) premise of writing something, needs to be mastered as well.

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Re: Impression devices for pre-show; do they fool?

Postby performer » April 20th, 2016, 5:04 am

Travis wrote:Performer, I think perhaps you worry just a bit too much.
Everyone, thanks for the input. Very insightful.


No. I think others do not worry as much as they should. But then others are not dedicated to their art as much as I am.


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