(Pre-Order) Architect of the Mind by Drew Backenstoss
Note: MindFX has secured a further 40 copies of this book and these are expected to be delivered by April 26th
This is a 326 page hardback printed in beautiful quality by Haresign Press. The contents cover 18 fully scripted routines and 10 essays ranging from stagecraft to best business practices.
You demonstrate a unique process wherein a participant subconsciously guides you to her thought of card only to discover that it never really existed. Everything seemingly happens in the mind and hands of the participant. The explanation is rounded out by the inclusion of three brief essays promoting the merits of giving proper attention to scripting, audience management, and stage directions.
Seven Year Ordeal
At its core, this is my handling of the A.C.A.A.N. plot. One person thinks of a card, another thinks of a number - both choices are extremely fair and free from guile. You "read" both participants and immediately begin revealing specific details about their thoughts before placing the thought of card at the thought of number. The handling is extremely easy and quite hands off but most importantly the presentation gives YOU the credit for peeking inside your participant's minds.
The Personality of a Date
You engage three people in an unusual personality test. Each person is asked two questions that provide insight into their individual and collective dispositions. In the end you prove that you've accurately predicted their free responses to each of the questions. This is a very conversational piece suited perfectly for mix-and-mingle environments and plays equally as well for a group or for one-on-one performances. It takes up hardly any pocket space and there is nothing to reset.
Never to be Repeated
You guide two people through the process of constructing a memory palace wherein they memorize the order of a pack of cards - and you can prove it! You then unexpectedly take things further and demonstrate that members of the audience retained much of the information as well. The "feel good" presentation reminds every one of their incredible potential and that life is full of remarkable possibilities. This is my overhaul on the presentation of a marketed item.
The Usual Suspects
A victim was murdered in cold blood. Three "suspects" each admit to carrying a deadly item with them and are detained for questioning. Using your acute skills of deception detection you successfully locate the murderer. This is 100% impromptu and perfect for mix-and-mingle environments.
You play a very fair game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" with three people - one round with each. They decide whether you should win or lose and you do just that. This is a quick way to warm up a group and give them a taste of what mind reading looks like. It's easy, propless, impromptu, and fun! I outline a "basic" and "advanced" handling - the latter gives you the ability to predict the outcome of the final round even though your opponent can freely change his or her mind up until the last second.
Common Cents Prediction
While your back is turned three participants secretly decide which of them will hold onto a folded bill. Each person then focuses their mind on a thought - the first thinks of a person, the second a place, and the third a thing. You peek inside their minds to discern their target thoughts and locate the money. Then, by way of a twist ending, you reveal that you successfully IMPLANTED the information in their minds in an act of "Reverse Mind Reading." The bill that's been in their possession the entire time is opened to show written proof. This piece is nearly ALWAYS with me and has served me well both in close-up and cabaret performance situations.
After warming up the group with a game of "Word Dissociation" you invite three people to decide on the resting locations of three borrowed objects. Their decisions are genuinely fair and there's no mincing of your words along the way. You show that not only have you successfully anticipated the positions of the items but in a surprise kicker you also predicted the final word of the dissociation game - a prediction which seems to have never left the participant's hands. The reset is instantaneous making this ideal for strolling work.
This is a fresh presentation for a classic plot in mentalism. One person thinks of an object and another person makes up a completely new word for it. Waxing lyrical on the origins of language and the science behind it you successfully "translate" the made up word to reveal the first participant's object. The purpose of this piece is to share a unique presentation - no doubt you already have your preferred means of carrying out the necessary mechanics.
You display a list of the "Top 25 Most Popular Passwords" and invite two people to merely think of one password each. Demonstrating how your skill-set might be used for nefarious purposes you hack into the first person's mind and reveal his freely thought of password. Then, taking things to an entirely new level, you work with the second participant to reveal details about one of her childhood memories. There's no pre-show and nothing is ever written down. This is best suited for US audiences but the framework taught can be adjusted to accommodate any language and nationality.
You Were Missed
This is a powerhouse closing technique I use during consultations with prospective clients. Essentially you predict in advance that someone from the planning committee will be unable to attend at the last minute. I guarantee that this idea will enhance your perceived mystique in the eyes of new clients.
Let's Agree... to Agree
Contracts ensure that the expectations of both the performer and the client are fully realized. They provide protection and assurance to each party but may also generate undue complications if they aren't written or executed correctly. Here I outline the "Performance Agreement" I've refined over the past several years along with commentary that elucidates the legalities within. This is NOT intended to be used as legal advice - I'm merely sharing this information in hopes of helping those who aren't as confident regarding this vital document.
Leading the Witness
This is the "system" that I've developed over the last two years to consistently generate high-caliber and marketable testimonials. It's an obvious strategy in retrospect but its simplicity doesn't diminish its effectiveness. This is one of the most valuable secrets I'm sharing within these pages - you can thank me later!
Bernstein Dynes on a Cloud
This is an opener that I use on very special occasions. It was designed to deliver an UNBELIEVABLE kickoff to the show - though many readers may feel it's difficult to follow because it's too strong a piece. Essentially, this is my refinement of Bruce Bernstein's "A Sporting Prediction." It takes a bit of effort to prepare but the results are WELL worth it.
Three people stand in the audience and you proceed to reveal information you couldn't POSSIBLY know or have researched: part of one person's PIN, another person's Social Security number, and the last person's checking account number. This is accomplished without any pre-show, research, and a no time do the participants ever write this information down. Beyond being a set routine, I'm sharing a versatile system for knowing information about people that seems unfathomable. In the sake of full disclosure this method can only be employed when working with US citizens.
Put a PIN In It
Three people randomly selected from the audience generate new PINs based off of significant numbers in their lives. You successfully discern the three PINs and then things take an unexpected turn when a joke prediction made at the outset suddenly becomes significant. This is an excellent opening routine as it allows your personality to shine; the three participants never need to leave their seats; and there's nothing technically demanding in the way of pre-show, impression pads, peeks, secret writing, or the like.
This is my take on the venerable two envelope bank night. A number of subtleties produce an extremely realistic display of your mastery over human behavior. This is a fantastic opener - indeed it's functioned in that capacity in my shows for the last several years. Combining a bit of jazz, a touch of sleight-of-mouth, and a helping of surefire mechanics this piece is a delight to perform.
Catch Me if You Can
Four participants are given the chance to win several thousand dollars. Five envelopes, one of which contains the big prize, are openly mixed by each participant and then cleanly distributed among the players - one envelope each with the final envelope being left for me. Two more people from the audience then very fairly reorder the four players about the stage. Once all decisions have been made it's revealed that I've not only succeeded in keeping the money, but I've also accurately predicted who would end the game with each envelope along with the correct order of the players.
Catch Me 2.0
This is an alternative handling for "Catch Me If You Can." Some readers may prefer this variation due to the streamlined process by which the envelopes are distributed to the participants. "Catch Me 2.0" still retains the same advantages of the original - all props needed fit inside one pocket; it doesn't use any gimmicks; the combination of methods produce an extremely deceptive and convincing display of your ability to predict (or influence) human behavior; and it plays big due to the involvement of multiple participants both on stage and from the audience.
A Stranger's Call
Two complete strangers on opposite ends of the phone share an unforgettable experience when they both inexplicably think of the same word. Then the "bizarre factor" ratchets up even more when an earlier miss suddenly becomes EXTREMELY relevant to the show. The basic structure of this piece has been one of my trusted closers for the last several years. I guarantee it'll leave everyone talking. The explanation also contains two brief essays touching on the "Too Perfect Theory" and a technique to subtly encourage standing ovations.
What Are the Odds?
You play a simplified version of the lottery wherein five randomly selected participants each generate a two digit number. It's obvious to everyone involved that their decisions along the way could have easily resulted in vastly different outcomes. Even though you have no apparent control over the proceedings, an envelope on display since the beginning predicts specific details about the winner. You then bring the routine full circle by concluding with a mind numbing revelation that your audience will never see coming.
"I've only recently made the acquaintance of Drew, but I would already rate him as one of my favourite mentalism thinkers and creators. We share so much in common about our views of what performance mentalism should be that it's almost as if our minds are really linked! I love ALL of his ideas and routines. Every single effect is a worker, he absolutely understands how to get the most entertainment and audience interaction out of every routine. Architect of the Mind is undoubtedly one of the most valuable mentalism resources that you will ever buy. Do yourself AND your audiences a favour - buy this now and make sure you read every word, I can't recommend this highly enough!" - Marc Paul
"I know I wrote the foreword, so that this with a grain of salt if you like, but I've read this book and fully expect it to be the Tarbell book of the year. I tried to get Drew out to the last MINDS but logistics prevented it. I think if he'd been able to attend, word would have spread and this book would be the most hotly anticipated thing in mentalism.
This book will be a classic and a resource to performers for years to come." - Atlas Brookings
"I am also obviously involved in this project since I wrote the afterword for the book but I can objectively say that this book is destined to be a classic. Drew has definitely been the best kept secret in mentalism so far but this is about to change.
In a time that everyone is looking for the next best thing and 'cutting edge' methods that sometimes have questionable results, this book offers a combination of classic methods that have stood the test of time combined with clever subtleties to produce stunning and entertaining routines.
I can recommend this book to everyone who is seriously interested in the art of mentalism with my hand on my heart. Great material from a creator who is not only a brilliant thinker but an amazing performer as well." - Manos Kartsakis