Three Kinds of Pre Show Work
The sues cm of ;ny act depends on :lncc kinds cf critical pre-show work.
The first kind of pre-show work involves sending a confirmation letter that outlines my understanding of the key details my client and I agreed on. T his letter aLvo lists my presentational requirements. I send this letter to the person who hired me within twenty-four hours of my getting the job. The purpose of this letter is to minimize any misunderstandings, using this letter, ninety-five percent of the time I have everything 1 need when I anive. (See Appendix, Items I and 2.) This letter also contains suggestions for promoting and describing my act.
The second kind of pre-show work involves gathering the pre-show information I will use during my iicL This kind of pre-show work is a mentalist's secret weapon! 1 or a number of years» 1 used Lee Larle's Micro-Thin Clipboard, which is no longer available. Recently Bob Ca&sidy and John Riggs jkkmtalism. lnco> porotcd both released excellent thin clipboards that meet my needs. (See "Books and Supplies.") Bodi boards allow me to complete my pre-shtnv work in less than five minutes by working with just one person. For me. this is a nice advantage.
To perform the act in this book. J need one person to supply three different pieces of information: a word, a geometric shape, and a two-digit number.
Here's what 1 do: I prepare three pieces of paper using a ballpoint pen. (Both clipboards are 6 inches by 9 inches; the paper 1 use is 5 inches by 8inches.) The top piece reads "Simple Geometric Shape or Design," the next piece reads "Two Digit Number," and the bottom piece reads "4-lo 7-Letter Word." Note: 1 space these words out on the pieces of paper so that the individual pieces of information won't be written on top of each other. See The cxampie below.
[ place these three pieces of paper on the front of the clipboard under the clip. Three 3 5/8-inch by ii 1/2-inch white security envelopes are held to the back of The board by a small paperclip.
1 approach a cooperative-looking person before the show. I introduce myself and explain that I will be doing an exercise involving communication later during the event. I ask if he or she is willing to help mc, emphasizing that I will not be asking them on stage and I will not embarrass them in any way. I carefully explain what I want written or drawn on each piece of paper. 1 step away, emphasizing that I don't want to see what is written. As the person starts writing. I say.
J will turn around so I can't sec what you have selected. Please tell me when yon have, written down your design, number, and word.
I wait for the person to tell me he or she is finished. I still have my back turned away.
:\V>U'. remove the pieces of paper from under (he clip. Turn the board over Remove the envelopes (hat are on the back of the board. 1-oid each sheet of the paper and put one sheet of paper in each of the envelopes. Then seal the envelopes. Please tell me when you are done.
I turn around, thank the person, and ask him or her to keep the envelopes until 1 ask for them during my act. Both the Cassidy and Kiggs clipboards will capture all three pieces of information. F.ven the shape or design, with two pieces of paper below it when drawn, will leave a visible impression.
I write the person's name down to help mc remember it during the show.
Working with just one person saves me time. Of course, this same information could be collected separately from three people using other popular impression deviccs. I suggest thai the serious mcntaSist purchase the book Before.
•VIcHUili.stn, tni orporafed the Curtain Rises, by Mark Strivings, for additional irifonna-tion on the art of prc-show work. (See "Books and Supplies.")
'l'he third kind of prc-show work involves arranging (or rearranging) my performing area before people arrive. 1 arrive in the room where I will be perlbrming ninety minutes before the audience is scheduled to anivc. For events with food, this means getting into the room ninety minutes before the meal starts, so 1 can make any needed changes.
1 test the sound system. 1 check the lights to ensure that the room will be bright enough for people to read any printed material I use during my act. I arrange (or rearrange) the room to make sure everyone can see me and the flip chart 1 use. I make sure the stage is the correct si/.e.
Ncai, 1 icvicw my checklist w> make sure all the male rials I need during my act are present, and in their proper locations. (Sec Appendix. Item 3.1
1 also seek out the person who hired me, to double check the length of time 1 am expected to perform. Five percent of the time. I am asked to change the length of my show by live or ten minutes.
When finished. 1 wait for the audience to arrive, and then gather my prc-show information. 1 examine Ihis information and make my final preparations for each demon slratiou. These final preparations are described in detail in Chapters Eight and Nine.
By arriving ninety minutes early, my prc-show work is olten completed thirty- to forty-five minutes before 1 am to perform. Il l discover any problems with Ihe room or equipment. ninety minutes is normally enough time to come up with a creative solution.
Three Kinds o/Prc-Shov: Work
And ninety-five percent of the time, 1 am able to use the lime before I perform to relax mid mingle with people. Having this time to relax is important for me as an entertainer. Wheil I have this lime for myself, I'm fresh and completely prepared to give my audience my best when I walk Oil stage.
One last thing: My final pre-show activity is to con-nccl with the person who will introduce me. 1 double-check to make sure ibis person has the Introduction I sent. If it has been misplaced, i give him or her an extra copy 1 always bring with me. We discuss the logistics of how I will be introduced. 1 want the audience to have a good feeling about me before I say a word. I am continually changing the wording of nty Introduction to get the audience to like me bcLuic 1 sr.y a word. CScc Appendix. Irem 4.)
Ml'Mai ism. 1) icorporaicd
Ilic next six chapters of this book describe the six demonstrations 1 perform in my 45-minute corporate mentalism act.
Each demonstration focuses nn a believable menta'. ability. Each has multiple moments of amazement. And each is audience-tested.
Again, 1 perform Light Mentalism. 1 suspect the experienced performer will quickly recognize several ways to make each demonstration stronger.
Regardless of your experience level, I hope this next section ofthe book yields several new ideas you can use to perform mentalism in a more entertaining and amazing manner.
Continue reading here: Background and Philosophy
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