Sunday, April 10, 2005

My "Zen Billet Tear" Routine: Going to the Movies

I often find myself in a position to do mentalism when I am least prepared. It seems that people are always more interested in metalism and ask to see stuff on days when I am just not carrying anything "amazing". Until I read "Peek Performances" I would use various psychological forces from Banachek's "Psychological Subtleties" - which is a fantastict book that you MUST buy if you like mentalism. However, now that I have the Busch's Zen Billet Tear under my belt I have a three to five minute miracle that I can perform at any time.

If you have read "Peek Performances" and are familiar with the Zen Billet Tear you will know that this tear requires the spectator to draw or write her secret information in a specific area of the the billet. Busch refers to this area as "screens" and gives several examples of different ways to prepare the billet to make sure the written information ends up in the correct place. One of these "Screens" is a drawing of a movie theater where the spectator writes the information on a movie screen (see page 24 if you are following along at home). This is the billet preparation you will need to try out my routine.

Here is the Effect:

Going to the Movies

I begin by removing a folded index card from my pocket as I tell the spectator that we are going to try a small experiment. I comment on how the the human mind can be a very powerful tool and that some its most powerful potential comes from our sense of memory (or some other horse shit mumbo jumbo that comes to mind at the time of performance). Then I ask the spectator if they like going to the movies. Most of the time the spectator will say "yes" and I unfold the billet to show my drawing of a movie theater. I say, "its good that you like movies. You will be perfect for this experiment (coincidently, if they say "no" I respond with, "its good that you don't like movies. You will be perfect for this experiment").

I explain that while my drawing is a crude re-creation of a generic movie theater I want the spectator to imagine it is a specific theater. I ask the spectator to think about their favorite movie theater or to think back to a favorite movie and imagine that they are in the actual theater where they saw that movie. I hand them the billet and turn away then I ask them to imagine the name of their favorite movie printed on the screen. I tell them that once they can see the name clearly on the screen in their mind they should write it down on the drawn screen and fold the card back up.

I take the card from the spectator as I tell them to imagine themselves actually going to that theater. I tell them to imagine the smell of the freshly popped corn. I tell them to imagine the sounds of the corn popping the sounds of the soda fountain pouring icy beverages. The point here is to paint as vivid a picture as I can of a movie theater to get the spectator to actually start thinking of her favorite movie theater. I tell her it is important that she actually puts herself their in her mind. While I say all of this I am maintaining eye contact (although, I am suprised by how often the spectator will close her eyes as she imagines the movie theater) and I am tearing up the billet in the Zen Billet Tear fashion. Then when I am ready for my peak I say, "imagine now that you have your popcorn and soda and you are walking into the theater. Look how dark it is. Look at all the other people sitting there. Notice the sometimes the floor can even be a little bit sticky from a spilled soda or butter from some spilled popcorn". As I say that, I look down towards my feet as if I am pretending to step in something sticky and I take my peek (this isn't necessary as the Zen Tear lends itself nicely to peeking secretly but I think my presentation adds to the mood of the effect). After I get my peek I tear the card a few more times and place the pieces in the spectator's hands and I say, "Now, in your mind, look up at the screen in the theater. Imagine the pre-show trivia questions. The advertisments. The previews of the coming attractions. Now imagine that your movie is starting and the openning credits are starting to scroll across the screen. Imagine now that the title has appeared on the screen. Look at that title. Concentrate on the title. Think about the title." Then I go on to reveal the name of her movie.

Often times, if I am familiar with the movie the spectator has written, I will ask them to imagine the openning scene of the movie. Instead of telling her the title right away I will describe the openning scene she is thinking about. Then I will name an actor in the movie and then I will name the movie. This seems to add more credibility to the effect because I am describing what she is thinking and not just what she had written down earlier.

The whole key to this effect is to really get the spectator thinking of a movie theater. Be very descriptive and vivid. Ask questions during the effect such as, "can you smell the popcorn?" and get the spectator to agree with you. I like to tie this all together by prefacing the effect with something like, "the more you can place yourself in that theater in your mind, the better this experiment will work". This gets the spectator thinking and participating.

Nowadays, I carry one folded billet in my pocket prepared for this effect everyday. I now have a five minute routine at the drop of a hat that can really blow a spectator away. This effect has worked wonders for me so I hope you like it. I should mention that you don't have to use the Zen Billet Tear - any peek or center tear will work. However, I like using the Zen tear because of the Theater Screen concept that fits this presentation so well.


Blogger Intensely Magic said...

Thanks for the share.

I've seen A LOT LESS being sold as a separate manuscript.


12:56 PM  

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