Which Opener do you use?

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.

Postby Vraagaard » 10/11/04 01:00 AM

Dear fellow mentalists.

Everybody wants to get the full attention with the first effect of the act, and I've noticed that some mentalist actual kick's of with a fast magic trick, like producing a glass of wine or something else. I do not have a lot of practice performing mentalism except performing for friends and family (sometimes up to 20) but anyways, performing for familily is one thing and performing for an unknown audience is another (as I recall from my magic acts).

Now I have so far started with Bank Night (Osterlind style giving away 4 lottery coupons in the end), but I'm afraid it's a little to slow as an opener for an unknown audience. Especially since I'm going to perform in an evening where most of the people showing up doesn't even know there will be a performance (kind of a surprise to them). So maybe to wake them up and catch the attention I need a fast opener.

Now I have a lot of fast magic tricks I can do as an opener, but I was actually looking for a mentalist opener - just to show the context and to explain them the difference between being a magician and a mental illusionist. So I'm curious to how you open your shows. Let us hear about your openers and why and how they work. And please, as common information notice the tittle of the effect and the origin or even better where you can buy/acquire the effect or description of the effect as well.

regards

Vraagaard
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Postby Guest » 10/12/04 05:03 AM

Even if it's a traditional opener, I like to begin with a Bank Night effect.
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Postby Guest » 10/28/04 12:57 AM

There's a good opener in Mind, Myth and Magick.

You come walking straight out onto stage and ask an audience member to call out a number, then the same with a second person and also a third.

The third person is invited onto stage with a warm round of applause. You turn around and pinned to the middle of your back is a file card.
You have your helper remove the card and read it aloud.

It is ofcourse a prediction of the 3 digits just called out by your random volunteers.
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Postby Guest » 10/28/04 05:30 AM

I use either Phil Goldstein's Psign (great as an opener) or psychological forces then into Ted Karmilovich's Target Number.

Best Regards,
Dave Whitehead
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Postby Fred Zimmerman » 10/28/04 07:01 AM

Hi all,

The direction this thread is taking is demonstrating one of the many ways a performer's show can be hobbled from the very start.

The question has been asked, "What effect is a good opener?"

Rather than asking this question--a "trick" based question--you must ask yourself, "What am I trying to accomplish with this show. Am I telling a story about myself? Am I trying to demonstrate to the audience the power of "Mind Over Matter" with an eye to self-help? Am I trying to just do comedy and light entertainment? But no matter my aim, what about my on-stage persona? Have I tried to fully define this, because if I have, how I open my show, and where it eventually leads, should start making itself evident."

Before selecting "tricks"--and I know that is a pejorative term when approaching magic and mentalism--you must fully define what you're trying to accomplish on stage. It's similar to writing a mystery novel--how is it going to end. Once that is established, then you build a show that leads to that ending. Along the way, you may discover that you want to change the ending, and this is fine. But at least you're trying to create a "whole show"--with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

A string of tricks "stop"; a well-designed show "comes to a conclusion."

Here's an exercise. When your audience leaves your show, what do you want their top-of-mind thought to be? Is this show going to be all about you, or do you want them to start thinking that the world is a much cooler place than they thought? Do you want them to have a deeper appreciation of the power of influence, and therefore more on their guard in regards to advertising, political messages, and religious beliefs? Are you telling the story of your life, how you were struck by lightening at two years of age and have a special gift?

In other words, why are you standing on stage performing and not sitting in the front row watching, and what do you want the audience to take away from their investment of time, money, and energy?

Constructing an act by assembling a bunch of tricks and then trying to string them together will never go beyond the level of mediocrity and you are doing yourself a disservice by approaching it in this manner.

I suggest taking a long, hard look at what you want to accomplish on stage. Make lists, notes, possible names of the act, ideas you want to communicate. This kind of thought will begin to generate a more complex, and complete, idea of who you are and what you want your show to be. Then, I guarantee you, ideas for effects will flow like a river, and the presentational angels will be new, fresh, and make sense with what you're doing.

Have fun in your new pursuit!

Fred Zimmerman
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Postby Guest » 10/28/04 08:28 PM

Vraagard,
I've been recently playing with SWAMI OPENER from Corinda, and it really blows people away!
Quick, direct and to the point, a great way to stablish who you are from the very begining

Juan D
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Postby Vraagaard » 11/01/04 02:06 AM

Sure sounds like a good opener, and I like the fact that you can enter with the swami on.

I just tried out Banacheks ESP Opener and it went very well also. I'll look into the Swami Opener tonight - can't wait until i get home from work.
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Postby Vraagaard » 11/01/04 02:16 AM

Originally posted by Fred Zimmerman:


Rather than asking this question--a "trick" based question--you must ask yourself, "What am I trying to accomplish with this show. Am I telling a story about myself? Am I trying to demonstrate to the audience the power of "Mind Over Matter" with an eye to self-help? Am I trying to just do comedy and light entertainment? But no matter my aim, what about my on-stage persona? Have I tried to fully define this, because if I have, how I open my show, and where it eventually leads, should start making itself evident."


Fred Zimmerman
Dear Fred, I learned a lot from reading your reply. Thanks a lot for posting.

I see your point, and I know I'm not quite there yet. I'm still doing my beginners steps, but that is of course not an excuse for not considering "what story I want to tell". And actually, I believe you are right if I try to apply "the effects" to the person I am and want to be on stage, and tell the story then it will automatically expand the interest from the spectators point of view. Intuitively I think for myself currently it is a story of "follow your intuition" - "be aware that choices can be influenced" - "some times miracles can happen" -"and we can all achieve astonishing progress when we put our mind (or our collective mind) to it".

I want to tell people that the world is more amazing and wonderfull than they thought it were and that we can all produce positive things for ourselves and others if we move that purpose into our focus.

Thanks for your advice - I will really work on the story, who I am, and what I want to tell.
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Postby Fred Zimmerman » 11/01/04 11:03 AM

Great! I think you'll agree that the message you want to deliver is much different than thopse who wish to commnicate that the world's spooky place, or that you are a really mysterious person.

Keep going in that direction and what you want the first thing your audicne to hear should inform what "trick" you want to do.

Fred
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Postby BlueEyed Videot » 11/01/04 12:41 PM

For the last 20 years, I've opened my show with Roydon's "Double Dynamite".
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