Psychological Forces

Jul 8, 2009
102
2
Brehaut, I don't mean to be disparaging or disrespectful when I say this, but I find that looking for outs is a general sign of someone who should be looking instead at learning another branch of magic.

Let me clarify this. Outs are obviously a valuable tool used to bring an effect to a successful conclusion. There is a fine line however between outs used to successfully conclude the effect, and outs used to salvage misses. The latter is a symptom of that classical stereotype, the magician performing mental effects.

A classic out I hear suggested is the invisible deck. But I don't really understand. If you give them a prediction card, and get them to go through a comparatively lengthy mental elimination process - why do you need an entire deck to reveal their prediction? Of course, you can always place the prediction card in your pocket, so that if it misses, they never know that it existed - but this weakens the effect so much! Part of the reason Invisible Deal Force is so powerful is because a card is given to them at the outset, and you are committed. This is one example of an out weakening an effect, in my opinion, rather than strengthening it (for an example of outs strengthening an effect to bring it to a successful close, see Seven in Bryn Reynold's The Safwan Papers).

If one if afraid of risks - the fact that Invisible Deal is not 100%, whereas in reality it is as close to 100% as such a routine could possibly allow (I've missed once in the past one and a half years performing it) - then I think you miss the point of the routine and the beauty of these rare mentalism effects which do exist, and should take up another form of magic instead. Especially with this extreme form of mentalism, fear can't be a factor because your mindset will be wrong. It is, in effect, a complex version of a beginning magician who focusses solely on technical skill - there is an impasse created by his misguided view on magic which will ultimately stop him from improving.

I perform both Invisible Deal and Invisible Deal Force regularly in my close up repertoire, and honestly speaking, on occasion it does miss. For Invisible deal force for example, I find that I hit anywhere between 90-95% of the time. 95% of the time I miss, they choose the King of Spades instead - which is close enough to be impressive. A small small percentage of the time, they choose something completely different (you can usually tell as soon as one part of the routine misses). In such an example, I honestly think you have to cop it. As I mentioned before, I've only ever missed once with Invisible Deal (the spectator spread the five cards out of order - ouch!) - and I was horrified. But honestly? It didn't mean much.

Consider: Why are we afraid to take a risk?

Because we're afraid of failure - failure makes us look bad, etc.

But does it really?

Failure is only an issue because we make it an issue - that is to say that failure is bad because we perceive failure to be bad. If we were to not consider failure a bad thing, but simply an outcome which is not favourable but not advantageous either, failure all of a sudden isn't such a big deal.

Consider the notion for example that failure provides a sense of realism to a performance. I have certainly experienced this - failure amplifies my performance because it allows mentalism to transcend trickery.

But again, this is only relevant if one is not a magician performing mental tricks.

When it comes to psychological forces, simply put, I do not believe in the use of outs for the sake of having a safety net. An out will only be of use if it augments the effect in some way (as opposed to being a method to salvage a miss from another effect and leading into a second effect which will bring about a successful conclusion).


A few quick points to respond to: 1) I agree Brown's invisible force has a very high success rate (I think Brown says about 90%--it sounds like you are doing even better). My search for outs is more for Anate or some of Brown's other forces. Anate is very direct, quick and hard hitting but it also has a smaller success rate. 2) Every book or DVD i have watched has said that the best way to improve is to practice and the best way to practice is to perfrom. I have done this with complete strangers and people I know---If I was afraid to fail, I would not being do this. I think it is fair to be as well prepared for all situations and certainly can benefit from hearing from others who have more knowledge than me. 3) I do take issue with your comment that by merely asking about outs, you believe that may indicate I should take up another branch of magic. I disagree--I want to be the best I can be and if an "out" helps--I'm all for it. I think you can make your point without being discouraging. If there are no outs or they hurt the performance, than fine I need to understand that too. However, I think it is a big jump to state that just asking the question means you should change to another type of magic. We all start somewhere and we all can improve---hopefully using this forum helps us learn from others
 
Sep 24, 2007
417
1
You could have a pocket index and use a switch. It's not hard, and in the eyes of the audience, there is no discernable difference. You could say the methodology is the use of the index, and the force is a "kicker" for that one clean moment when the card is unfolded by them...
 
Nov 20, 2007
4,434
6
Sydney, Australia
I apologise if I came off as harsh. Let me rephrase.

Outs for any such effects, in general, including Derren's other forces and Dee's Anate, I believe, weaken the effect dramatically, for example, the use of an Invisible Deck, for the reasons described in my last post. Contrary to thought, I do not believe that it has as much merit as the argument for simply copping a miss.

I feel that looking for outs is a manifestation of not wanting to fail, a natural predisposition. Ultimately, however, I find that this is the wrong mindset for performing psychological forces and is something which should be corrected, just as a card magician should be taught the importance of presentation. Again, refer to above post for reasoning.
 
Aug 10, 2009
60
0
I apologise if I came off as harsh. Let me rephrase.

Outs for any such effects, in general, including Derren's other forces and Dee's Anate, I believe, weaken the effect dramatically, for example, the use of an Invisible Deck, for the reasons described in my last post. Contrary to thought, I do not believe that it has as much merit as the argument for simply copping a miss.

I feel that looking for outs is a manifestation of not wanting to fail, a natural predisposition. Ultimately, however, I find that this is the wrong mindset for performing psychological forces and is something which should be corrected, just as a card magician should be taught the importance of presentation. Again, refer to above post for reasoning.

i think you should not focus on the outs but an out certainly is better than failing completely. i think it's the same in cardmagic when someone is saying "Hey, you did not put that card in the milddle of the deck!" and then you do it again using another control so you can show the card really going into the deck. its part of the presentation and i dont think you shoud take the risk to fail miserably. and good god don't use a gimmicked deck as out, even if it may work it's the weakest way to get out IMO.
 
Nov 20, 2007
4,434
6
Sydney, Australia
i think you should not focus on the outs but an out certainly is better than failing completely. i think it's the same in cardmagic when someone is saying "Hey, you did not put that card in the milddle of the deck!" and then you do it again using another control so you can show the card really going into the deck. its part of the presentation and i dont think you shoud take the risk to fail miserably. and good god don't use a gimmicked deck as out, even if it may work it's the weakest way to get out IMO.

This may sound strange, but I completely disagree that an out is worse than failing completely. Some of my best performances have been ones where I utterly failed. And not just like, they named the Queen of Spades instead of the Jack of Spades for Invisible Deal Force, but like, I was going for the Jack of Spades and they named the Three of Hearts. If you ask the guys who perform mentalism professionally, I've found at least that many if not most of them will be able to recount a story that goes as follows - and this has happened to me personally:

*An effect utterly fails*

*Awkward silence*

Spectator: !@#$. That just screwed me over. What the hell?

Performer: What do you mean?

Spectator: I thought you were just performing like, card tricks or something I couldn't work out. That just screwed me over.. So all this psychology is real?

Performer: Yeah, absolutely. Of course the reality is that no-one can ever be perfect - even savants can make mistakes, but human minds really do have that potential.


When you're performing mentalism*, the fact is that a failure often can give you far more credibility than succeeding always ever can. Many performers deliberately make themselves miss - Chuck Hickok has a wonderful routine in which a spectator reads another spectator's mind to name the number they're thinking of, but gets it the wrong way around, for example.

You may note that there's an asterisk there I will address at the end.

I know of several professional mentalists who could tell you the same story as mine off the top of my head, and I'm certain many more have too - I'd venture to say that almost any serious performer of mentalism will have experienced such a moment. Of course, in general, barring the odd purposeful miss, the original successful conclusion is always the preferable option.

Honestly, failing miserably is only a bad thing because we think it's a bad thing. It's not easy, but I try to think simply, "If I miss, I miss, no big deal." And it's not, if you don't make it a big deal.

So aside from this, why do I think that certain outs should not be used? Well, consider Invisible Deal Force, for example (I use this because it's one I'm familiar with). The performer hands the participant a playing card to hold onto but not look at, and then, through a series of verbal instructions, allows the spectator to freely, in his mind, eliminate groups of cards until he arrives at one. The card the participant is thinking of, is of course, the card previously given to the participant at the start. It is the mental force card of course, the Jack of Spades.

There are two reasons, aside from the surprising benefit of failing. Firstly, in order to create an out for a routine like Invisible Deal Force, you have to compromise. That compromise is not showing the spectator the card before the routine starts - therefore, if you miss, you just don't show the card.

The problem is this. I'm hitting the Invisible Deal Force about 95% of the time (to give you an idea, I perform this about three times a week and haven't missed for about five or six weeks). Another 3-4% of the time, I get very close (King of Spades mostly). So I completely miss under 5% of the time, let's say, for convenience. That means, that in return for having a weaker but successful conclusion to the effect less than 5% of the time, I am weakening this powerful effect 95% of the time!

I would much rather cop the miss, since the idea that you commit yourself before you even start is so, so powerful. I don't think the trade-off is worth it, personally. Of course the situation will differ between other mentalism routines - we are talking here about purely psychological forces of playing cards. In other routines involving psychology, I do use outs, but only ever to strengthen the effect - not to salvage a miss, or provide a weaker but successful effect.

There's one other reason that I advise against outs for this instance, which is this: An out prepares you to fail. It goes without saying that you have to have absolute confidence in yourself to perform an effect like this. Anyone who has persevered with a psychological force will tell you that they missed the first 6 times. But then they got better once they hit the force once, and then it went up from there.

Now, if a routine has an inbuilt out, great, go with it. If it doesn't, spending too much time thinking about outs will, at performance time, have you doubting about hitting, and how to close the effect successfully, and that leads to a bad mentality. It's what I spoke about before about having the right frame of mind for performing mentalism in general and not just for psych forces.

Now, to address the * before: I'm assuming for the purposes of this post that your entire routine, your show, whatever, is structured around mentalism. That is, that you're not a card magician who occasionally performs a cute mental trick. That is when all these things particularly matter. The reason I made this assumption is simply on the basis that, a good mentalist performing a mentalist routine such as a psych force will ALWAYS be better than a good card magician performing a psych force - because of the congruency of the effect within the routine. So I'm basing this opinion/perspective from my position and also on the basis that I'm assuming we want the effect to be as powerful as possible (which involves the conditions necessary in this assumption).

To any mentalists reading this, I realise that I am generalising in a lot of points, but to be honest we could go into the fine points for weeks on end; I only bothered with the basic arguments for my general point of view.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
You really shouldn't be afraid of Failure. It makes you look more human and people tend to enjoy that more than the guy who ALWAYS get's it right and ends up looking like a Marty Stu. Plus it adds to the suspense and you pretty much learn from it.

You know the old saying "Failure is the Key to Success."

I think outs are great for magicians, but from a Mentalist's stand point. Failure tends to often times enhance the effect. Weather it's a failed prediction or a failed force or mind reading effect.
 
Aug 10, 2009
60
0
it's not that i'm afraid of failing, but it must be a cultural difference because if you fail over here in the Netherlands you only get laughed at which is in no way the reaction we magicians hope for do you? i dont even imagine one would say: "I thought you were just performing like, card tricks or something I couldn't work out. That just screwed me over.. So all this psychology is real?" if you fail, the spectators (at least over here) realize that you could've named any card having a chance of 1/52 that you guessed it right. and that is why i always got an out, just to be sure, not because i often fail. Failure might be the key to success but only if you learn from it. IMO it would be the same as totally screwing up any magic trick one could think of, if you keep failing you get nowhere, and you might be lucky and 'guess' their card right once in a while. that's how i see it.
 
Nov 20, 2007
4,434
6
Sydney, Australia
I don't know about a cultural difference. I certainly know of many European mentalists who have given a similar story to myself; it's possible that it's just a thing with the Netherlands but I don't think that's likely.

Out of curiosity, do you perform mentalism only at shows, and such?

One explanation that just struck me was this: I get those sorts of responses when I perform professionally, eg at private parties for adults, and so forth. If on the other hand, I'm performing for my (often not too sober) friends at a casual party, then I'd be more inclined to receive a response like the one you described. Not always - depends on the friends, but it seems a reaction that lends itself towards younger audiences and non-serious performances of mentalism.
 
Sep 24, 2007
417
1
Hmmm... I think the mistake you're making is that you're performing the psych force stand-alone. That doesn't work. Have other effects with psychological-themed-presentations, most of which rely on trickery to work. Use the psych force as a "real" moment, and perhaps even teach the audience how it works if it hits. Greatly improves the impact of the other tricks.


And when I say "teach" them how it works, i literally mean, "teach them how it works." Tell them that "if I say 'bright and vivid,' it makes you go fora red card."


Eheheh. it also makes them less likely to hate you
 
Aug 10, 2009
60
0
i never perform psychological forces on their own. The best reactions i ever got for failing was that they were a quiet for a bit because they didntt expect me to be wrong, then realizing that i was. of course im a human so i can make mistakes and they know that but i rather have them believe and keep thinking that i am not 'just a human'. the best reactions always are that they say (or yell) that i am 'the real deal' in any possible way. and at those moments failing is really not my cup of tea because it lowers me by a lot (the difference of being a magician or the real deal) so then i want my psychological forces to work, really work, so then i have my outs for when i am failing, and so i never actually 'fail' in those situations. Believe me, i have failed, i also did lots of tests before i really started to use things seriously, and i never ever had someone think that i was the real deal after failing.

i asked my mentor about it yesterday and he confirmed it but he also tells that he has been in the situation you described yet he also says dutch people are too down too earth to react like that, ever.
 
Jul 8, 2009
102
2
I have preordered Crossroads and if it works they way I think it does, I think it may be the perfect out for an effect like Anate. In other words, I think that Anate can be performed just as seamlessly with the out as without it. The spectator will have just as powerful an impact when you hit Anate even with the out in place. I admit that I have not yet got Crossroads (it will be out in a few days) but from reading a zillion descriptions, watching the demo, etc I think it would be the perfect out for the effect (I have a fairly good idea how I think Crossroads is done but am excited to see when it arrives if I am right). Finding the perfect "out" can be the most creative idea one comes up with as a magician.
 
Dec 5, 2013
3
0
Where can I get One by Daniel Madison. I keep hearing about it but i don't know where to get it
 
Oct 6, 2015
22
8
Check out Peter Turners work on the subject. He discusses this in The Devil in Disguise, Freeform Mentalism, and his second penguin lecture.
 
Aug 25, 2016
29
12
Hey buddy. Dani Daortiz has an Invisible Deck with a normal deck of cards, and you don't even touch the deck until the very last moment. Their thought of card is face down in the deck that was in front of them the whole time. No sleights, just pure magic. Also, Hofzinser 7 force. all in his lecture. I saw his lecture live, but I think you can find a Penguin Live one.
 
Mar 8, 2016
68
5
memorized deck could be used for this. Basic way is force a card and convince them that they selected it. Then you can read the mind.
 
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