Posts Tagged ‘mentalism’

Practice to perfection.

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I wrote this post because I wanted to share some of my practice regiment. These are some of the steps I take in order to accomplish my goal when performing. I hope that you can take something out of this and apply it to your magic.

-Xavior Spade

Magic is something that is more than just a hobby to me. It is a way of life. I constantly strive for perfection. I work constantly to improve, not just my technical skill but my performance as well. It takes much more than just practicing in front of a mirror.

Step 1

When I first decide I’m going to practice something the first thing I do is make sure that I understand the details of what I’m doing. I read, re-read, or watch and re-watch and try to follow along.

Sometimes I get frustrated as we all do. At that point it’s time to stop and take a breather. Once you get frustrated it becomes hard to retain information because instead of paying attention to what you’re doing you feel like ripping apart your book or destroying your cards.

Don’t let the anger take control of you.

Take a step back and take your mind off of it. You’d be surprised how much you actually learned when you decide to go back to practicing.

Step 2

Now that I’ve gotten the moves down it’s time to stop looking and practice again. When you first practice it’s ok to look at your hands. However when performing if you’re looking at your hands it’s not a good sign. It will tell your spectators that you’re doing something. If you have to look at your hands to do a move chances are that you don’t know it well enough.

Everything you do in your performance should be “automatic“.  You shouldn’t have to think about your next action. So after I feel that I’ve gotten the “tech” side of the trick pretty much down, I begin to think about how I’m going to “deliver” the trick. What meaning am I going to put to the effect or vice versa. Just doing a trick is just doing a trick. I’m a professional magician and because of that I don’t just do tricks. I perform miracles. I want people to walk away with something they’ve never experienced before.

I NEVER want to hear the words “That was a nice trick!”

Now comes what I consider to be the most important part of practice. Practice performance. This is the part that I feel SO many magicians leave out. They go from practice in the private straight to the show! There’s no rehearsing or practicing or figuring out if it’s even good for a show.

I can always tell when a magician has really practiced and rehearsed his routine because he has more to say then “Ok so we put your card in the middle. And now it’s on top.”

To me the difference between a trick and routine is how “complete” it is. Is there purpose to what you are doing? Have you taken away possible solutions to the effect? How engaging is it?

There are countless effects that are beautiful to us, but are just too confusing to a lay person. Is this effect one of them?

In my professional set I do mentalism. Mentalism in practice is technically much easier than a lot of magic because there’s almost no slight of hand. The true art to mentalism is routining and scripting. However it is just as important to EVERY type of magic.

Step 3

The real world.

Just because you’ve gotten the trick down and you think it’s up to par doesn’t mean that it’s quite ready. This is the point that I take my practiced routines and do them for real people and use the experience to tweak the routine future. I try to pay attention to what the spectators are looking at and when to help me develop better misdirection and to see what if what I’m saying is helping to generate the reactions I’m looking for. It can take me up to 6 months before I decide to put a routine into my working set.

Don’t take shortcuts, don’t settle for anything but what you want. Being the best takes time.

Below are a few videos. Both of the same trick. One is a video of what I believe is a complete routine and one is not. Watch them both and tell me what you think. Also share your practicing tips.


This is Tommy Wonder who to this day has one of my favorite Ambitious Card Routines.

This is an ambitious card routine that need some work

-Xavior Spade

Picking magic for your presentation: Kranzo shares his secrets

Monday, October 31st, 2011

If you’ve never seen Nathan Kranzo perform, you’re missing out. Whether it’s a quickie vid of The Card that Can’t Be Palmed or a full performance of his Mind-reading Crotch, every effect gives Kranzo’s personality a chance to shine. Dude’s funny.

In addition to being crazy creative with magic (lookin’ at you, Box Monster), Kranzilla has a great sense of how to fit his personality in with his magic. Whether it’s mentalism or a sleight of hand display, or using a close-to-self-working deck, he finds what works for him and builds on it. That’s a pretty big deal for mentalists — many of those performers find themselves stuck between the extremes of Derren Brown tricks of the mind and Uri Geller mastery of invisible forces, and don’t see any middle ground.

Kranzo has some lecture dates in November scheduled across the country, where he talks a little bit about that and much more. If you’re close by, the lecture is worth the drive. We caught up with Nathan during a recent lecture in Kansas City. After his lecture, he talked to Joe Hadsall about comedy with mentalism, his thoughts about finding tricks that play big and more. He even teased a little bit about his upcoming project, Boondock Mentalism, coming soon from Ellusionist.


Now available: Spin by Matt Sconce

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Mentalists, rejoice: You now have a new tool to take PK to another world.

Spin by Matt Sconce lets you spin a variety of things on top of a bottle — without you touching a thing. All you do is wave your hands slowly. The object, whether it’s a deck of playing cards, a CD, DVD case, pen, scissors, knife, spaghetti spoon, lighter, pH test strips… whatever you can think of will spin, slowly, then more quickly. Sometimes the energy gets so intense that the object falls off.

And you never touched a thing.

Spin by Matt Sconce is impromptu and instantly repeatable. Dependable and practical, this will let you work some wicked spooky magic.

Bullets: P&T in NYC, mental over mentalists, Brown’s next gig, Pixie magic

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Bullets, bullets, bullets! Whoo-hah!

  • Our upcoming Next Level with Sean Fields has us thinking about one of his influences: Penn and Teller. Um, two influences. ANYWAY: P&T are venturing off the Las Vegas strip for the first time in, like, forEVER. iTricks has the scoop.
  • Speaking of Vegas: Mike Weatherford of the Las Vegas Review Journal has a great column about mentalism and what makes it so compelling. After reading it, does it make you wanna set the cards aside and brush up on your NLP skills? Us too.
  • Speaking of great mentalists: Derren Brown has announced what his next venture will be. The master mentalist will star in several documentaries with people who believe they have psychic or paranormal abilities.
  • Speaking of wondering where is my mind: Did you know that Pixies drummer David Lovering was a magician? And good enough to be featured at the Magic Castle? We didn’t, either. Wanna see? Here comes your man:

Brown, Blaine take share of U.K. ratings

Monday, September 14th, 2009
Photo courtesy The Guardian

Photo courtesy The Guardian

Plenty of British magic fans flocked to their TVs over the weekend to catch a master mentalist and a street magic legend.

The Guardian reports that the first episode of Derren Brown’s “The Events,” which included an explanation of a lottery prediction, claimed a 20 percent share with 4.4 million viewers. The amount of viewers dominated other networks at that time slot. A show providing the explanation also

Channel 4, which aired the Brown special, also showed David Blaine’s “What is Magic?” and snared a 10 percent share for its time slot with 1.7 million viewers. Blaine’s show came in second place to BBC2’s “QI,” a rerun that snagged 11 percent, or about 2 million viewers. “What is Magic?” is basically “Dive of Death” without the Dive of Death — the finale was that sweet bullet catch.

Back to Brown: An explanation of the lottery effect didn’t go over very well with fans, apparently. The Guardian’s live blog got fairly cantankerous, actually.