Routines and Performance Ideas
Due to the unique nature of ThoughtCast, some incredible performance ideas are only possible when you use the ThoughtCast system. Here, we'll explore some of the more unique and out of the box routines that are possible with the ThoughtCast system. You're welcome to perform these routines, modify them, and perform them on any media and in any show (without any special license), as long as you own the ThoughtCast system. All we ask is that, if you perform these routines, you send us some video of the performance so we can feature it on our site. Feel free to submit it to email@example.com, we'd love to see the amazing things you are doing with ThoughtCast!
Note: With the release of ThoughtCast App v2.0, we have updated some of the instructions to reflect new modes and options that are now possible with the new app.
General ThoughtCast Notes When Performing:
When performing with ThoughtCast, as well as any impression device, the key is that the spectators write legibly. If they don't, there isn't an impression device in the world that will allow you to know what they are thinking. So, not only do we add a "please write legibly so everyone can read it" line in our show, we also print this either onto a label and stick it to the inside of our pad (where the spectator will see it), or on the top of the pad somewhere.
Also, there are many places to hide your phone when you perform ThoughtCast as well, to get your glimpse. Some of the more creative spots are (with a smaller phone) inside the outside breast pocket of a jacket with the screen in and tilted away from your body (to get a down the nose type of peek into your pocket), as well as inside the jacket pinned to the inside pocket by a magnet (the phone case has a magnet mount and the magnet itself goes in the inside breast pocket). For a stage setup, you can put the phone inside of a case or box you go into frequently, or even use the same magnetic mount to affix it to the outside of your case (or if you're using a fabric box from Target or IKEA, this will help it adhere in a spot that is easily visible). If you use the Apple Watch, we highly recommend taking the watch off of the band and holding it in finger palm, and then tapping the screen with your thumb if it goes dark during performance. You can also palm or hide a PeekSmith peek device as well wherever you need to put it.
You're Doing Impression Pads Wrong:
This is a article written by our friend Rory Adams at One Ahead and he really hits the nail on the head. We shared it here with you, if you enjoy it go to oneahead.com and subscribe to his blog, he gives a rare insight into the magic world you are sure to enjoy.
A big-name mentalist performed at a party last week.
I know this as a friend of mine was in attendance.
The big-name mentalist actually used my friend for a trick.
They read their mind to reveal their first kiss’ name on stage.
I know all of this because my friend texted me.
They wanted to know why the mentalist needed them to write down the name of their first kiss before the show. “Was it carbon paper or something?” they asked.
Mentalists use impression pads to gather information from spectators secretly. Impression pads range from cheap and reliable carbon paper pads to solid, middle-ground analogue options like Psypher to expensive and sometimes unreliable Bluetooth devices.
If you ask most performers why they’re using an impression pad, they’ll tell you they need it for the method.
This is the wrong answer.
Forget the method.
Why are you using an impression pad?
You need a real reason; the audience needs a real reason.
Don’t give your audience a reason and they’ll be texting their friend at 2 AM, asking why the big-name mentalist had them write the name of their first kiss before the show and wondering if the mentalist hid carbon paper in the pad.
Ask yourself why, and consider using these subtleties:
Have an assistant use the impression pad. Anyone who is one step removed from the performer will get away with ten times more. They can act as a theatre usher, a production runner or a camera assistant.
Give them a reason for writing. Without one, most people will make one up, and their reason won’t be good. Maybe they need to write it down to commit/lock it into their memory, to show their friends, to show the audience later, to test their handwriting for the camera or to sign a waiver.
Offer an explanation for the time and place, especially if it’s before the show. Why them? Tell them, “you’ll be great for this,” “the client wants me to use you for this,” or “I need someone I can rely on to be brilliant on stage.” Why now? Say, “we have limited time on stage,” “we need to mic you up,” or “I’m showing some people some tricks now to see who will be great on stage.”
Consider ‘Mid-Show-Pre-Show’ to negate all the weirdness. Selecting an audience member, randomly and openly, and asking them to use an impression pad can sometimes feel more natural than awkwardly selecting the audience member who secretly wrote something on a pad before the show.
Receive the pad, don’t take it. Taking the pad back after they write down secret info can feel odd. If, however, they tear off the top page and you say you’re going to write down your own secret, too, most spectators will just hand you the pad automatically and not think much of it.
Time misdirection is everything. The secret is well-tuned time misdirection. You want to add time between gathering the info and revealing it. Carefully consider your scripting as you come back to it later.
Consider dual reality. Tell the audience the spectator will write down the name of their first crush. The pad has written directions to do just that with a line for their answer. Below it, there’s a secret additional direction to write about how old they were and where their first kiss took place. This extra info can be revealed, too, with the audience unaware and left none the wiser.
Do not care about the pad. Keep a regular duplicate pad to leave hanging around. Nothing says this pad is ordinary like you not caring for it at all. If you’re only using the pad for the trick where you need the impression, maybe use it at other points in the show to normalize it.
Where to Write?:
Because of limitations of the ThoughtCast Pro board and ThoughtCast App v1.0, you will not be able to see where your spectator writes if they write everywhere. As a result, we recommend guiding the spectator where to write or draw on the pad to ensure they write on the "hot part" of the pad (the part that will capture the impression. The most basic/obvious method is to use a line with an X (typical of a signature), or to use a circle in the center of the pad.
A couple ideas to help improve this come from Pete McCabe and Bill Cook. Pete recommends drawing a star in the middle of the pad, and asking the spectator to write something they wish for, but inside the star. Bill's idea involves making a sketch of a rectangle in the middle of the pad (on the hot part), and then drawing around it a proscenium and some seats, implying that this is a movie theater, and then asking them to draw their thought onto the "movie screen" on the pad, as if they're watching the image on a movie screen in their mind. Both of these are great suggestions, thanks again to Pete and Bill for their contributions!
Another great idea comes from German Magician Markus Billner...he suggest pre-printing a line drawing version of a crystal ball onto a page, or drawing a rudimentary crystal ball image onto the page (a circle with a trapezoid bottom as the base), making sure the circle is 100% within the hot part of the pad. Then, you can ask your spectator to write whatever will be predicted inside the crystal ball as if they were seeing a psychic and asking them to look in their crystal ball. Thanks Markus for the idea!
Or, you can upgrade to the new ThoughtCast App v2.0 and avoid these issues altogether. The new ThoughtCast app allows you to write in a much larger space on the board itself.
The Modern Art Inspector:
Routine: You introduce yourself as a modern art inspector, being able to see between the lines and interpret artwork and understand it like no one else. Involving five spectators, you have each spectators draw a simple drawing on a pad of paper, and you tell each person that (instead of drawing on six different sheets of paper) for each spectator to draw on top of each other's drawings on the same piece of paper. Then, as an added challenge, you ask the last spectator to doodle something abstract, to help obscure any of the details of the drawing. You do all this with your back turned. When you return, you take a look at the drawing and you're able to determine the picture drawn by each person.
Method: The most important part of this routine is knowing the order in which the six spectators will draw. If the ThoughtCast pad gets passed between spectators in a random order, you can still figure out who drew which drawing, but it requires a slightly different method (which we will discuss below). To start, set up your ThoughtCast pad and, when you turn your back, either look at your phone or watch (while your phone is on and in your pocket, connected to ThoughtCast). If you know the spectators cannot see you, you can do this in a more obvious way because your body blocks the audience from seeing you look at your phone. If the spectators can see you, go to the settings in ThoughtCast and turn "Touch to Peek" on. This way, your phone can be in your hand and appear off, but a touch of the screen will show the drawing.
Now, you just have to watch each person draw and remember what they drew. If you are looking at your phone or watch while they draw, this is pretty straightforward. However, if you need to be more covert about peeking the drawing, you can use the vibration as a indication of when the spectator is drawing and when the pad is getting passed from spectator to spectator. If you feel a real large gap between drawings, get your peek and see if you can make out the drawing. If you peek it and it seems like they stopped to think, wait till the next natural pause.
Once you get your first peek, then press either the "Save" button to save that drawing to the carousel. Now, you are ready to peek the next drawing. Because all the drawings are saved to the carousel, you can also go back and re-peek any of the drawings you need to look up again. You can also enable the auto save mode, just make sure to set the timer long enough to account for if the spectator lifts their pen to stop drawing, it will not save immediately.
Repeat this process for each of the four spectators, and once the fifth spectator starts to scribble over the drawing, you are done and can put the phone back in your pocket if it is in your hands.
Now, most of the hard work is done. If you can remember the 4 drawings, in order, its all just acting as if you are looking at the drawing and interpreting things from it. If you notice a small detail, you can point out that detail first before revealing the drawing itself in total. Have fun with this and try to reveal one detail at a time.
Note: If you are performing and want to add the extra "throw them off the scent" of having the order of people draw be random, all you need is a confederate in the audience to note the order of the drawings. Then, ask them to hold the number of fingers on their left or right hand that correspond to the person you approach. When you see the drawings/peek the drawings, be sure to remember the order, and assign each one to the numbers 1-4 in your mind when the drawings are completed, with the first drawing being number 1 and so on. Then, when you approach the spectators, you can choose any one of them at random, and then give your confederate a glance, and look at their fingers. If they hold up three fingers (for example), then you just have to reveal the third drawing.
This routine is also really terrific with the ThoughtCast Pro Whiteboard. You can have the spectators draw with the whiteboard, and then you can use your finger to trace and erase each of the drawings amongst all of the scribbles.
Credit: Rick Lax, used with permission.
Sneak Away with My Love:
Routine: You hold up a wallet and describe how it was the wallet of your great great grandfather, but there's a reason you brought it and want to share it with everyone that you will explain at the end of your routine. You hand the wallet to a member of the audience in the front row and ask them to safeguard the wallet. You invite four spectators to the stage and ask each of them to draw a simple image on the pad, then tear it off and fold it up. When the last person is done with their drawing, you ask each person to pass the four folded papers to the end of the road. You then look at each image one at a time, and with increasing difficulty, match them to the artist. Lastly, you say it is kind of dumb to match the last drawing with the spectator, so you tell them about how, in your great grandfather's time, the way they would determine how compatible their partners and them are in business and life is by making a simple drawing and then carrying it around in their pocket. Then, if they wanted to see if their friend was a compatible match to them, they would compare the drawings and the closer they were to matching, the better their relationship would become. You explain that getting even a sort of match was astronomical, but getting an exact match never happened. You ask your spectator to show everyone what they drew, and then you remove an envelope from the wallet and open it, and inside is a miniature duplicate of the drawing the spectator has made.
Credit: It's no secret we are gigantic fans of The Jerx, who is an anonymous blogger who creates "social magic" or "amateur magic", which is magic specifically to be performed in social settings and not on a stage for a paying audience. One of his routines, "The Look of Love", is a thought of image matching routine with the context of a old-fashioned dating and matching ritual. We love this routine, as essentially combined it and Larry Becker's "Sneak Thief", a classic of mind reading, to create a brand new experience for your audience.
Setup: You essentially have to have two elements to perform this routine. First, you need to set up the Sneak Thief part, by marking the first four pages 1-4. You can mark the pages any way you'd like, but some favorite methods are pencil dotting the corners, as well as folding the corners in a pattern you will recognize when the page is folded into quarters. No matter how you mark your page, be sure to mark it in a way so you can tell what number page you are holding from the outside (this important for the 2nd and 3rd drawing revelation). When we perform this routine, we use 4 pieces of cardstock held in place by the clip on the board). This prevents the spectator from changing their mind and ripping the page out/starting over, which throws off your number system.
Second, you need to set up the "Look of Love" part. To do this, you need two things: first, you need a portable printer that fits into your back or coat pocket. The one you need to get is the HP Sprocket 100 Printer. Then, you need to get an app called Pocket Printer Revolution. This is sold by Magie Factory for about (at the time of writing) $60. When you set up ThoughtCast, you're going to go to the Actions menu and enable the "Send Image to Photos" Action. You must also set up your printer with PPR, and you are going to use the "Automatic" method so, as soon as you run the Action and save the photo, it will be sent to the printer. To perform this effect solo, you should also
You will also need a "card to wallet" wallet. A small JOL wallet is the best and our favorite because it allows you to load the wallet without a slide that is visible and sticks out. If you use a card to wallet wallet with a slide, just do not introduce the wallet until the end of the routine. We also like the Real Man's Wallet because the drawing can be shown in the clear compartment of the wallet.
Lastly, this step is optional, but the Zink paper comes in a sticky back format and almost every type of paper includes some branding to remind the purchaser it is Zink paper. So, to combat that, use a sheet of blank computer paper and, with the undeveloped Zink paper, remove the sticky backing and stick it to the computer paper. Put another sheet of computer paper on top and press it firmly to adhere (you can use the inside cover of a book for this), then trim the Zink paper to its original size from the computer paper. You can do this with multiple sheets if you'd like. Once done, return the modified Zink papers back to the printer.
Performance: This routine happens in several phases. Before anything starts, show the wallet and hand it to someone in the front row (unless your wallet has a slide, then you can skip that step). Your last spectator will be the one whose drawing you will reveal in your wallet.
The first phase is asking 4 spectators on stage and having each one of them draw a drawing on one of the cards. When they're done, clip the pen to the clip (or, if you want, attach the pen with a beaded chain like at the bank). Then, they're to remove the page they drew on, pass the pad to the left, and fold their drawing into quarters and hold it behind their back. When we perform, we also place these instructions on a label at the top of the pad so the spectators have them for reference if needed.
When the last person is done, they are to clip the pen to the clipboard and toss it off to the side of the stage (the ThoughtCast black clipboard is rugged enough that it can be tossed and treated rugged enough that the spectators will not suspect electronics inside of it. Probably don't throw the wood version because the finish might get damaged).
As the spectators are drawing, and you describe how you will discern one drawing from the next, you are either triggering the "Save" functionality yourself as the board is being passed, or use Auto Save to do so automatically. If you plan to use Auto Save, remember to run the "Send Image to Photos" Action BEFORE the image is auto-saved.
Once all the drawings are made, the first spectator collects them and mixes them up, so that no one will know which one is which. While they do this, peek at the "last" drawing and, if it looks like it came through, run the Action on it, sending it to the printer. The spectators return the drawings to you and you open the first one. This gives the printer ample time to print while you perform the first part of the effect.
When we perform, we reveal the first three images with varying degrees of difficulty. For example, the first drawing is opened, a short description of how the drawing might be linked to the artist is given, and then they are named. A bit of improv and cold reading abilities, plus asking your spectators some softball introductory questions at the beginning of the routine helps to give you some facts to make the links between artist and drawing. We then ramp up the difficulty with each drawing, the second of which is inferred by an audience member describing the drawing, and the third is inferred by not looking at it at all (using the "hold it up to the light to get a peek" gag). If you got a peek of all the drawings and can remember which one this is, you can also reveal the drawing itself, but if your brain can't hold that much information, revealing the spectator to whom it belongs is great! You can ask them to tell you what they drew, and open the drawing to reveal it matches.
By this time in the show, the printed image should be done. Once the print is done, its just a matter of palming the drawing and, when you retrieve the wallet back from the spectator (or in your pocket), loading the photo and revealing it in your wallet. When we perform, we also use a Bonsalope, which is a pre-glued envelope that can be used in conjunction with the wallet to make the photo appear to be sealed in an envelope as well.
Performance: You tell your audience about muscle memory, and the ability to use kinesiology to give the appearance of psychic powers. You hand a pad of paper to a spectator and, while your back is turned, ask them to make a simple drawing and then tear the page out and crumple it up. When you turn back, you can describe the drawing in detail. Then, you ask the spectator to make another drawing, but this time with the cap on the pen (so they still move the pen as if they are drawing but hold it above the pad so no ink gets on the page). When they're done, you ask them to take the pen and hold the bottom while you hold the top and, moving the pen around, you're able to either describe their drawing or recreate it for them there.
Credit/History: When we show the ThoughtCast system to other magicians and mentalists, we sometimes stumble upon great routine ideas by accident, and this is one of those ideas. To perform it, you need the ThoughtCast Pro system and any one of the pens, but we recommend any of the Sharpie pens since clicking a pen closed doesn't seem as "definitively not drawing" as a capped marker does.
Setup/Performance: The reason this effect is possible is because we can actually make an impression through the cap of the marker. If you have the system, you can try this for yourself. In mentalism, there is a principal where if you ask a spectator to write something down on a piece of paper and then you tear it up/destroy it, in the spectators mind that drawing was never drawn in the first place (and their reaction is far greater to the revelation). The first time we became aware of this exploit was from our friend Peter Turner, whom calls this "Murder That Pre-Show". The line he uses, after destroying the billet, is "this isn't written anywhere, it literally just exists in your mind" (Thanks Pete for letting us include this gem here).
So, in that regard we are going to take that exploitation to the next level. This is more of a performance idea than a full fleshed out routine, but you can incorporate this into your next drawing duplication routine by having the spectator draw, but leaving the cap on (ensuring there's no record of their thoughts) will help erase the idea that they drew anything, and if you are performing and this is pre-show, asking "you didn't draw anything, did you?" is a question that will get an honest "no" answer from your spectator. You can use this exploit both in a pre-show information gathering situation, or in an actual show, and we think the results will be equally as powerful.
Effect: You show the audience a photo of the dog on your phone and say that your dog is actually a psychic medium. Just staring at the dog will cause you to gain psychic powers. However, since you don't have your dog with you, a photo will have to suffice. You invite a member of the audience up on stage and ask them to pick someone from the audience they don't know (to read their mind). This person takes a pad of paper and goes to the back of the room to write any word they'd like in the middle of the page, and leave the entire setup (pad and pen) at the back of the room so no one can catch a peek. When they return, you show the image of the dog to the audience, and then to the spectator on stage, and when the spectator sees the dog, they instantly know the correct word.
Setup: This trick exploits a feature found in ThoughtCast that isn't found on any other impression pad. To start, either take a photo of your dog (or if you don't have a dog, save a photo of a dog from the internet onto your phone). Next, we're going to utilize the "Camouflage Mode" feature of ThoughtCast. Turn on Camo Mode and select the photo of your dog, loading it into the app. Now, when you return to Drawing Mode, you will notice that instead of a black screen, we see a photo of the dog. If you write on your ThoughtCast sensor board and then touch the screen, the picture of the dog will dim and you will see your impression on top.
Performance: Tell the story about your psychic pup and show a photo of him or her. Invite a member of your audience up on stage and ask them to stand a bit upstage, so you can move between them and the audience. Next, hand the ThoughtCast pad to a member of the audience to write a name or word down, and you'll feel the vibrations as they do (you can even touch the screen to peek the word before they finish to verify the impression is coming through properly). Once they are done, you ask them to leave the pad in the back of the room so you cannot get to it.
Now is the tricky part. You want to hold the phone in a kind of "Biddle Grip", with the screen outward. When you turn the phone toward the audience, you will show the photo of the dog. However, when you rotate it back to show it to you spectator on stage, your pinky finger contacts the screen ever so slightly, revealing the word on screen to just the spectator. It's kind of a instant stooging of the spectator on stage, where they become the mind reader in a way. You will have to play with this turning gesture a bit and practice is, but once you get the knack of it you'll be able to turn the phone and activate the peek with no issues.
The Cranial Cocktail Coincidence:
Effect: You ask your spectator to think of either a Mickey and Friends character or a classic cocktail. Then, you hand them a pad that has a personality test, and ask them to check off the boxes that apply to them, saying you can come back to it if your sense of perception doesn't work to figure out what character/drink they're thinking of. You can be completely blindfolded or have someone hold their hands over your eyes to make sure you don't peek. They hide the personality test, and with only one question, you can determine what character/drink they're thinking of without them ever having wrote it down.
Method: The credit for this goes entirely to Patrick Redford, a out of the box magical thinker that has a number of really ingenious effects to his name. If you read the App instructions in the "Internal Logic" sections, we talk about the version of this trick using star signs. This trick relies on a binary/progressive anagram type system that is written down. There's an element of dual reality at play here. The audience believes the form your spectator fills out is just a personality test (and you show it with some fake questions like "do you like to watch sunsets?" and other trivial questions). However, the form the spectator actually fills out will lead you directly to the selected character or drink.
Setup: To get set up, connect your ThoughtCast sensor board to the app and go to the settings, and turn on "Show Zone Template". This will make sure any drawings you make to set up zone mode are shown in performance.
Open zone mode. Then, tap "logic" and copy in the logic setup found in the pdf below. Tap the < at the top to return to zone setup mode.
With the pen, write each of the questions below (for either Mickey and Friends character or Drink selection), putting a empty checkbox next to each question. If you'd like to save time, we have made some printable pdf's that you can easily print out and clip to your ThoughtCast sensor board. The pdf contains dome fake questions, the real questions, and the crib that shows which thumps go with which characters/drinks. You can download them at the links below. Be sure to put the personality test questions on top of the questions for pumping what they are thinking.
Also, make absolutely sure the page with the real questions is secured to the ThoughtCast sensor board, because if the page moves around, it will cause the spectator to potentially check the wrong box by accident and ruin the entire trick. A bit of repositionable glue or double stick tape works great for this.
Once you write the questions (or if you are using pre-printed questions, trace around the checkboxes with the pen clicked off), use the colors of zone mode to color in each check box with the appropriate color. This way, when the spectator checks the appropriate box, you will know via the vibration code from your phone. Also, with the pen clicked off, write the number in next to each box so they show up in your zone mode template on screen.
Now, in performance ask your spectator to think of either a Mickey and Friends character (but not Mickey, because that's too obvious), or a common drink you can order at any bar. Keep a list of Characters or Drinks handy in case the spectator can't think of one or is a difficult person and you want to ensure they don't pick something not on the crib. Then, show the fake questions (a few of the boxes will come pre-checked to make the form look like someone has used it). When you go to the spectator, pull the fake questions off of the pad and toss them aside, under the guise that the page has already been used and you're giving the spectator a fresh sheet.
Now, ask the spectator to read each question and check the box if it applies to their drink or character. Thanks to Internal Logic of the ThoughtCast app v2.0, it will show their selection to you at the bottom of the screen, on your Apple Watch, on a PeekSmith, or via a bluetooth earpiece.
Once the form is filled in, the spectator can toss the board aside and now you can reveal it, making sure to mention that the spectator never told anyone what character they chose (which is true), nor did they write it down anywhere (also true).
When you are reading the crib, you will see the & symbol and the + symbol. The & symbol means that you have to have the numbers combined to know they have selected that character. The + symbol means that the spectator may or may not check that box, but if they do disregard it because it isn't necessary to figuring out their selection (but just be aware they might choose it and don't let that throw you off).
Living and Deadly:
Effect: You hand the spectator a pad containing a sheet of paper numbered 1-5 and pre-perforated cuts that separate each line into its own sheet if torn. You ask a spectator to write the name of someone important to them on any line. Then, you ask them to write fake names into the other four lines. Finally, you ask them to tear the page off and, one at a time, tear off each line via it's pre-perforated cut, and crumple it into a ball and put into your hand (you can be blindfolded for this or have your hand behind your back)...once you have the paper balls, you put them into a glass and swirl them, mixing the contents. you hand the glass to the spectator and ask them to toss the contents into the air, and as you smack the paper balls with your hand, you yell out the correct name. You then open your hand revealing you caught one of the paper balls. You ask the spectator to confirm the name of the important person, and, when you open the paper ball, the correct name matches on the inside of the slip.
Method: This routine is a creative use of the Zone Mode feature of ThoughtCast. Before you start, you will need to get a paper perforator. They're about $10 on Amazon. When you set up your sheet of paper, open Zone Mode. Draw each line on the sheet of paper and, using the color buttons in zone setup mode, color in each of the lines with the Zone Mode colors 1-5 (if this is confusing, read the section on Zone Mode in our instruction manual first). Once your zones are set up, use the paper perforator to perforate the page into 5 slips, with each line being at the bottom of the slip (so you cut each piece a little bit below each line.
Now, when you perform this effect and ask your spectator to write on any line, feel on the phone for what line they are writing on, as that buzz combination will be performed on your phone. The other zones will buzz, but you can ignore them, the only important one is the first one. Once they finish the first name, if you want to be able to yell the name with when they throw the balls into the air, get a glimpse of the name.
Now, when you ask them to take the page and ask them to tear each slip off, say "starting with the first one and working down", and whatever the first buzz was that you felt, that's the ball you will control in your hand. So, for example, if the first vibration sequence you felt was a three, when they hand you the paper balls one at a time, when you get the third ball you put it into a thumb clip, finger palm, or somewhere that you can keep track of its position in your hand. Once all the balls have been given to you, when you go to drop them into the glass for the spectator to throw into the air, you retain a ball in either finger palm or thumb clip, and keep it in your hand secretly.
Now you have done all the dirty work, all that is left is for the spectator to throw the balls into the air and for you to catch the one with their important name on it!
Note: Another interesting idea with this effect is, instead of perforating the page is to use several sticky notes on your ThoughtCast Pro board. Be sure to put them in a line, from top to bottom, so that you can ask for them back "starting with the first one and working your way down" so that you get them in order.
No Bowl Q&A:
This is a pretty straightforward idea more than a routine, but if you perform a Q&A of any kind and use a bowl with slips in it, consider using the ThoughtCast System to prepare your Q&A slips. To do this, take your phone and, in settings, turn on Auto Save mode. Set the timer especially high (15-20 seconds) and put the phone into the pocket of your jacket or pants.
Now, take your pad and hand it to an audience member, asking them to fill out the form, tear off the sheet, and fold it up/keep it while returning the pad to you. The 15-20 second delay ensures that the timer doesn't complete while they are filling out the slip. If you are worried about this, you can save and clear on your own as well using the function built into the app or the watch (and just saving and clearing when they go to return the pad to you)...you can repeat this process with as many audience members as you'd like, and once you have all of your q&a slips filled out, you can either go backstage and study up/make notes, or simply do it on stage with your phone in saved drawing mode (where you can easily swipe between photos)...
Also, when you are making your slips, consider lowering the line width in the ThoughtCast if you have lots of info you are asking the spectator to write on the Q&A form. If the line thickness is too thick, it might become difficult to tell what individual works or letters are being drawn on the slips.
This is a kind of Frankenstein idea. It started with a idea of doing a one person Q&A from Eric Dobell, and coming around to an idea from Andy at The Jerx, who concepted a trick where the magician dances to a song and the spectator can guess what song they're thinking of by looking at the dance moves. The idea behind this is that you uncover a hidden feature of their phone they didn't even know existed.
Effect: You tell your spectator about a hidden feature of their phone that they can just think of a question and google will find them an answer. Ask your spectator for their phone to activate the settings and leave the phone screen side up on a nearby table. You ask them to take the notepad and write down a question that is provable (not a theoretical question but one with a definitive answer), saying that you want to make sure they know a voice assistant isn't being used. They tear off the sheet and leave the pad on the other side of the room, and when they return, you ask them to think of the question and send it to the phone phone telepathically. After a few seconds, the phone shows a google search for "How tall is Will Smith?". You show everyone the phone and ask your spectator to open her paper and the question "How tall is Will Smith?" matches the result of the google search.
Method: This effect combines our apps power with another app you may already own. The other app you need to purchase is Inject from Greg Rostami. This is available for both iOS and Android, and you can find it with a quick search of the App Store on your device. You will also need an accomplice to help with this effect.
You have to first do a quick setup to inject. Below is a doctored google image with radio waves coming off of the e in "google"...go to this page on your mobile device, and press and hold the google logo below to copy the url. Then, in the Inject settings, go to the "Web" tab, then "Google Image", and paste that URL in.
When you go to perform, open ThoughtCast and connect/pair your sensor board. Next, open Inject on your phone and go to the Basic Transmitter in your list of transmitters/receivers on the main screen. When you go to perform, ask for the spectators phone and open the web browser, inserting your custom url into the web browser. Show the spectators this new Google logo and tell them how Google can now search just based on your thoughts. Now, when the spectator writes their question on the ThoughtCast pad, your accomplice can see the question and then, switch over to the Inject app, send the google search results of that question to your phone.
Be sure to give your accomplice instructions on how to use the ThoughtCast app (how to magnet reset if needed, etc), and what to do if something goes awry (a way for them to signal to you to ask the spectator to write the question again, etc).
Update: This is made way way way easier with ThoughtCast v2.0. Now, with the Inject Action, you can let your spectator write a word, wait for The Detective to detect the word, then run the Inject Action, and this will send it to your spectators phone.
A Single Word:
We have been performing an interesting idea before, only realizing it was a spin on a lot of other peoples thinking, including Drew Backenstoss (The Ultimate Trust Exercise), Ted Lesley (The Informatico Principle), John Pomeroy (JP Mental Pad from Mentology) and many others. The principle is simple: you ask the spectator to write down more information than the audience thinks you are asking, so you reveal things the audience believes cannot be written down. We also adapted this a bit from the effect Mindready My Sweet from The Jerx's JAMM Vol. 1.
Effect: You ask your entire audience to close their eyes and think of a significant "first" in their life, one that is unique and possibly has a funny story that goes with it. You then ask them to summarize that first in a single word, one that if you told them this word years ago, they would remember it. You pick one of these people at random and ask them to go into the back of the audience where there is a pad of paper and write the word down, then fold it up and put it into the envelope inside of the pad, and bring the envelope on stage. You ask for the envelope and toss it into your bag, saying that it is just insurance in case you want to change your mind. Now, you seat them next to you and ask for their hand, to feel for their pulse, and how the rhythm of their heart beating will send you signals of what the word is. You ask some questions, but ask they only be answered silently, and by the end you've not only figured out the word, but the event that makes that word relevant.
Method: You need to have your mobile phone or tablet situated in a place where you can see it but you audience volunteer cannot. We suggest a bunch of places to hide your phone in the notes above, but the most obvious one on the back of a case that is upstage of your spectator. This way, when you are positioning them on stage at the start of the effect, you can catch a glimpse of what they wrote on the pad.
The second part of the method is via what is written on the pad itself. This method also uses the ThoughtCast setup with the Stealth Pad-Folio. Before the show starts, you want to write on a 8.5x5.5" piece of cardstock following:
READ THIS BEFORE DOING ANYTHING:
Hi! Thanks for your help with this! I can't wait to hear about your "first"!
In the box to the right, please write the following:
your first name and your birthday (month and date is ok)
the word summarizing your first.
a sentence or two describing the word (the circumstances around it, the occasion it was for, etc, etc)
When done, tear the page off, fold it up and put it into the envelope in the pocket above. Return the pen to the holder inside this pad and leave the pad here.
This is then taped to the left side of the pad, and the envelope itself is stuck in the pocket of the pad. As the person writes, you may glimpse at your phone to see if the writing is coming through, and then when they complete it there will be a moment you can take a look at the writing and use this to your advantage in the reveal.
We also like to spend the time, while our spectator is filling out the page in the back of the room, to talk about a "first" of ours, and we encourage you to do the same thing. It will help you connect to your audience and make you more endearing and more human, plus the story will cover a bit of the time if the person writing is taking a bit more time than you expected.
Effect: You ask for two spectators, one to draw a simple drawing onto a piece of paper, and the other to write a two digit number, then crumple it into a ball and put it in a small disk in the center of your table. You ask for a piece of paper of paper on which you draw a circle. You take the ball and light it on fire, turning it into ash. You hand the card to the first person and ask them what number they thought of, then ask them to rub the ash onto the card in the circle. When they do, their number appears inside the circle. Then, you ask the spectator to hold out their hand, and you sprinkle some ash onto their hand. You ask them what they drew, and when you blow the ash off, the drawing is duplicated on their hand.
Method: Another clever combination of effects is using ThoughtCast to get your peek for a drawing duplication, but instead of just drawing and revealing it, we really recommend using the Bare Pen invented by The Other Brothers. The Bare Pen is similar to an Ash Pen, however unlike an Ash Pen it allows you to transfer the spectators drawn image to their hand, and you can actually reveal it on their skin using a packet of pepper or some ash. You also have some setup time potentially, because you can gain your peek with your back turned, or in another room entirely. We combine this with a trick called "Burnt Offerings" from Max Maven's Blue Book of Mentalism for a real powerhouse effect.
To perform the effect as written above, you need a Bare pen, a stack of cards with a circle pre-drawn onto one of them with regular sharpie, and a small fireproof bowl and and lighter. If you don't want to use a lighter or can't use fire, just keep a small amount of coffee grounds on you.
Give your spectators the ThoughtCast pad and get the peek of their number and drawing. Ask them to crumple the ball and set it on fire, destroying any evidence of their original thoughts. As they light the paper on fire, take out the cards with the circle on top, being careful not to flash the card with the circle, and pretend to draw a circle on the card, then use the Bare pen to apply the drawing to the inside palm of your hand (to later make an impression on the spectator). Then, write the number into the circle on the card and give it a few seconds for the bare ink to dry and become invisible.
Show the card to your spectator and ask them if the number is 0. When they say no, hand the card to your spectator and take a bit of ash onto your finger, and smear it onto the card inside the circle. This will reveal the number on the card. Then, while the bare pen ink is still on your other hand, ask your other spectator to hold their hand out, and apply the Bare ink from your hand to the back of theirs. Now, you can sprinkle the ash on top of their hand from the dish and blow it off to reveal their drawing. Be sure not to smear it too much, as this will mess up the Bare ink impression.
Effect: You show a chess piece and discuss how the kings and queens would use this, as well as a tablet of letters, to help summon the spirits to bring them answers (a precursor to the Ouija Board as we know it). You take your pad of paper and write a assortment of random letters, circling them as you go. You hand the tablet and the chess piece to your spectator and ask them to think of a word, then place the piece on the first letter and move it, slowly, one letter at a time while your back is turned, and close the pad and put it away when they're done. You take the chess piece back and hold it up, as if trying to replicate its movements, and are able to get the exact word your spectator is thinking of.
Method: This is a REAL out of the box effect to be used with any impression pad and, luckily, you can do it with ThoughtCast (and, as far as we know, only with ThoughtCast). What makes this possible is a specially gimmicked chess piece that contains (surprise surprise) a ThoughtCast ring inside the base. We sell these chess pieces in a hidden section of our store, to get to it click on the link here: Chesstimation Chess Pieces.
This effect is also only possible with the original ThoughtCast sensor board or ThoughtCast Pro System.
To set up the effect, make sure ThoughtCast is on and in drawing mode, and your phone hidden away. Then, open your pad in front of the spectator, and start drawing letters on the pad, circling each as you go. This will transfer the impression of what is on the pad to your phone, setting up the template of where the chess piece will go. Now, when you hand them the chess piece and turn your back, keep a sharp eye on your phone screen. You'll clearly see what letter they start on, and the line they draw will go through each of the letters on the page. Be sure to ask them to go slowly and pause on each letter to make it apparent what letters are used for the word. This is also why you want to randomize where the letters are, so when they move the piece around the pad they have to make drastic enough turns to create an angle at each letter (and make it clear which letters are used).
Plus, as a huge bonus, you can use this chess piece with any number of magnet detectors available on the magic market (we like Flux or Scan 3D from ProMystic, or Sixth Sense 3 from Hugo Shelley), do a which hand effect with your spectator, and then use this method above to predict their word without ever having them write it down.