Derren Brown Clones

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by ShenkermanDavid, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Personally, I have always presented mentalism from a psychic angle. However, my friend who is getting started in mentalism wants to present it through “reading body language and voice tone”. Any advice I can give him to not copy all the psychological mentalists out there, and be unique? I’m asking because I hear people being called out on this constantly.
  2. We all have to find our own way. If that is how he wants to present it, then encourage him to do it in a way that is unique to him. We all start out copying what we see and eventually (hopefully) find a way to become unique.
    ChaseC6 likes this.
  3. I would support your friend. He sounds like he's thought about it and chosen this as his primary presentation angle.

    That said, I would also suggest to him that he read and actually learn what is considered scientific and factual about this sort of work. Anyone can patter about "body language", but being able to accurately know and present truth (with your words if not your methods) is the goal.

    Stuff like this:

    You hear people get called out on this constantly because they're trying to convince their audience of their knowledge in this area, which is actually quite low. They're using it as a presentational hook, but that breaks down as soon as a question is asked by the audience that they weren't scripted to answer.

    The audience can easily sniff out when you're making up stuff, whether they know the truth or not.

    If you want to patter about "molecules", learn the basics of quantum physics. If you want to patter about poker, know all of the terms and techniques of the different games. If you want to patter about psychological tells, the same thing applies. Don't bullshit the audience; tell them facts.
    ChaseC6 likes this.
  4. I see what you mean, and I agree that everyone starts copying at first. What I’m wondering is how can he set himself apart from other mentalists? In other words, how can you be unique? All the well known mentalists usually are unique in someway, so how can you differentiate yourself from that trend?

  5. The following rant is given under the assumption that you and your friend primarily perform for laypeople, and not just other magicians.

    Uniqueness is not something that you work on, as it is bestowed upon you by others through comparison.

    Take two coin magicians. One only performs sleight of hand magic original to him. The other uses every dealer-available trick coin on the market. Both are capable and can execute their magic flawlessly. Given only this information, who is more unique to the audience?

    The obvious answer is neither. The audience doesn't care about the methods you use.

    Now suppose these same two magicians perform a coins across routine. The first's patter is average, about coins jumping from one hand to another. But the other performs the effect as if the coins are themselves doing the tricks, and he is the ringmaster of a little money circus, patter to match.

    Now, given all of the available information, who is more unique to the audience? Well, the audience will probably remember the second performer's work better, but that isn't uniqueness.

    Yet again, the answer to who is more unique is neither, since the audience would need at least a third party to compare the other two against, in order to establish a sample size of context. And, since a very small percentage of people see THREE different magicians perform magic in their lives (or accurately recall doing so with the ability to compare their performing styles), the entire point I'm making is, in fact, irrelevant.

    The takeaway of the audience from any magical entertainment has more to do with the performer's individual personality than with the mental magic or methods that they employ or claim to employ. The audience will walk away remembering a performance that connected with them, from a performer who was either funny or mysterious or intense or sarcastic or... any other human trait that the performer amplifies in performance!

    If you want to be unique in magic, be yourself- everyone else is trying their hardest to be a magician.

    OMG and ChaseC6 like this.
  6. I'll add to this that this also holds true when performing as "psychic". I remember WitchDocIsIn recommending this to somebody who wanted to start doing séances: Be knowledgable about it. People who do believe in this stuff will come to your show, expecting it to be "the real deal", not just another magic performance. They will know things about the matter most people don't. You don't want them to catch you out, so the advice goes both ways.
  7. Scott's post(s) put it more clearly than I think I've ever managed, and I agree with his points 100%.

    I have indeed talked about knowing the subject of one's presentations in Boffo as well as several posts. Taking the time to actually educate oneself on the subject used for presentations will be rewarded 100%.

    But what's even better is just to write material based around the things one is already interested in. Not only will the performer automatically be versed in the subject, but the innate interest will come through and cause the audience to be more engaged simply due to that passion behind the material.

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