Phill Smith – Mythology Codex
OK so here is the exhaustive contents listing for Mythology CODEX: there’s…
OK so here is the exhaustive contents listing for Mythology CODEX: there’s no spoilers as such but if you want to have the experience of just reading the book and discovering everything cold, you can skip this.
I got my friend DMC to peruse the book and pen a foreword between international flights and whatever it is he does (still no clear idea). The foreword is so positive I initially assumed he was being sarcastic – tbh he might be but I’ll take it.
(the first three sections of the book are the core texts from my first three books Mitox, Yokai and Mokele, with all the card stuff and Quinta stuff excised and quarantined in their own sections – you’ll see)
This is a fast, funny, stupid close up mentalism piece that might be my favourite opener. Eric Dittleman did it on national breakfast TV in the US, Harry Lucas did it on his TV show in Germany – I’m sure someone did it on TV in Greece? TBH if you just google one of those and watch it, and you read the name, you know the trick. But get the book anyway YEAH?
Left Brain, Write Brain
You engage the punters in a simple experiment to test the intuitive abilities of their left and right brains – they are inexplicably able to discern the two digit number and simple shape you are thinking of, with no gimmicks or gaffs – fully impromptu.
I introduce a feature of my books here – weird little premise ideas that are like presentational snacks that can frame your performances. They are intended as just little ideas or starting points and they litter the book – I’m not going to detail them here, there’s nothing much to say about really.
You hand two punters an envelope each – each envelope has nothing more than the word PARTY written on it, and the instruction that within the envelopes there are photos of two very different parties. With no further clues, the punters are able to intuit details of the parties within that you prove are right. Bit of a weird one this one.
This effect is an evolution of the previous one, and uses a kind of pseudo/nearly instant-stooging trick to let a spectator join you and get an insight into how you do what you do.
I’d Rather Not
A ballsy AF dodge that you can use to get out of jail free (metaphorically) when everything else has gone wrong.
A punter picks an autograph from a book filled with them and you are able to mentally divine the person they are visualising.
Life Before Death
A slightly macabre premise.
Power In Speech
A little discourse on increasing the efficacy of your spoken delivery – a few pointers to concentrate on.
Ten Top Ideas For Creating Effects
A listicle of ten concepts I use when I’m creating effects. Am I a hypocrite to sell a huge book of effects, and then dedicate part of it to a text pretty much saying “make your own effects ya lazy bum”? Yes. Yes I am.
A nice little close up piece that you can carry with you all the time that uses a kind of weird little verbal force with a 100% mechanical method to back it up. I use this a lot.
What even is this? It’s like a piece of presentational semantics? A visual gambit to explain stuff? It’s not a trick, but there’s a trick to it.
Thumbscrews used to be my showstopper, it’s what I consider a classic piece of Phill Smith mentalism – you have this stupid presentation that is really interesting, it takes up space and time and entertains and ALSO has a really beasty revelation with a method that is a Herculean brain flex and absolutely zero gaffs or gimmicks – it’s designed to FEEL real. I still love this piece, but it’s more of a middle piece now, it’s more about going on a journey than the final punch.
Friend or Foe
Friend or Foe is structurally a Living and Dead Test, using a totally ungimmicked pad and pen, that you can do anywhere and anytime, with borrowed props etc. It’s got a really nice presentation and it’s trivial to do – if you want to do graphology but you want to HIT every time, this is your piece.
A premise that is really evocative but the physics is wrong. That’s called artistic license, deal with it.
A weird little personality test turns into a whole audience revelation with an amusing applause cue built in.
You tear up a piece of newspaper and every person on the front row gets a little piece – you have them each memorise a word off their piece and you go along the line and tell them ALL what they are thinking. No gaffs, no gimmicks (I’m going to be typing that a lot this evening), just a bit of heavy lifting earlier that day.
Be Here Now
Again, not a trick or a premise, just a little note on the power or importance of mentalism.
Possibility & Implausibility
Musings on unlikely things
This is a trick, but you absolutely mustn’t do it like one – you lead a remote viewing exercise that culminates in a bonkers hit and then a revelation so disruptive you might as well just go home, it’s huge. My bud Anton basically told me off for including it because it should be a standalone workshop but it’s not and also he’s too late because it was in Yokai years ago, keep up dude.
A weird premise.
Control Zone Nail Bend
You show a solid nail that is die straight, drop it into a punter’s hand, and when they open their paw up it’s bent. MAGIC. It’s a really nice little method that I use to make up for my pretty dreary sleight of hand.
Another piece where a minimal method forms the backbone of a quite funny and engaging piece of performance nonsense with an amusing revelation at the end.
Another weird premise. (They’re all weird really I’m just going to skip saying they are weird now, just assume they are all weird AF)
If I want to know what someone is thinking, The Biz is the method I use. THE METHOD. I know loads of Center Tears, I’ve got stacks of wallets – they are all gathering dust. The Biz is all you need and guess what: No gaffs, no gimmicks, nothing to make, no sleight of hand, all procedural, it’s awesome and I love it.
Give Me Props
Notes on the impact that your use of props can have on how your audiences read your performance.
The Broken Jewel
A totally normal premise.
A drawing duplication thing that’s kind of a bit like Sneak Thief (you know what I mean) but not really? THIS ONE USES A GIMMICK GUYS I DID IT. I DO KNOW ABOUT GAFFS.
Universal Principles of Design
I’ve got this incredible reference book on design that I recommend to EVERYONE and In Mokele I took a few examples and wrote up how using design thinking can improve your mentalism.
A standard premise.
Universal Principles: Crashing and Burning
If you perform regularly you are going to make mistakes. Things will go wrong. How can design thinking help you minimise and mitigate the impact of this outcome?
DBag Drawing Challenge
This is a proposition bet kind of effect that I use a fair bit and if you want, you can abuse to never buy another drink.
Universal Principles: Simplify and Clarify
Using design thinking to streamline your presentations to improve audience experience and perception.
Just some premise.
What if you could do cool card tricks but instead of just cards, you could use concepts… I love using this approach, it’s a really powerful way to build effect.
Universal Principles : Building the Experience
What ideas from the world of design are there that can help build and develop the impact of your material.
A premise that’s pretty close to what I actually perform with.
A different application for the concept deck approach.
A simple recursive technique to analyse and improve your effects.
CDC Drawing Duplication
A tongue in cheek effect that uses a bit of a gag to actually get a really strong outcome.
A premise that was a letter.
Five steps to a Powerful Premise
My approach to building premises that hook punters and engage their brains.
A premise FROOOM SPAAAAACE
I split all the card material out into its own section because although I love card mentalism not everyone does, so I thought I should corral it all together in one place.
A chosen card is lost in the deck and the spectator makes a series of free choices that result in finding their card in impossible circumstances…
Edge of a Whisper
A spooky card effect with a cool presentation and an even cooler method.
I’m ridiculously pleased with the method for this one, it’s such a fooler – NO-ONE has a chance.
You do a simple numerological reading that unfolds into a card reading that you had predicted from the start.
A super unnecessarily complex effect that is perfect for sinking people who know too much…
A proposition bet kind of a thing with a weird method
If there was one card effect that was maximum Phill it would be this I guess – you create a context for a brief fortune telling voyage based on a randomly chosen playing card that you are able to then reveal that you had predicted from before the whole thing started.
GME was an ebook that I released that is a fascinating self-working ACAAN (with two decks). It’s a really strong piece that crushes audiences. If you don’t have an ACAAN but fancy doing one with absolutely minimal effort, this is it.
Passport to Marked Cards
When we released the DMC ELITES marked deck, so many people asked if we had a book of effects using the deck – we didn’t but we worked hard on developing the material until we eventually DID have a book – we made this little book, and all the content is right here – my favourite material with the marked cards. There’s a few killer KILLER pieces here, including stuff I can fool people with, even if they 100% know I’m using a marked deck. This section has about 8 tricks using the deck (works with any marked deck pretty much).
Passport to ALPHAS
The same thing as above, but with the DMC ALPHAS deck, our marked letter deck. The effects are all hard hitting and baffling, and very simple to do. It included Hands Off, DMC’s next level finisher with the deck. I lectured it the other day and it was close to the strongest thing I’ve ever done, it was ludicrous.
This is the stuff that didn’t fit anywhere else, and new stuff.
This is a weird routine using Wikipedia, but… the real Wikipedia.
Dressed to the Nines
A simple routine where you build a simple image from a normal magazine with the help of spectators, only to reveal that you have predicted the image from before the whole thing started.
Creativity and Creation
A few ideas about being creative. People think being creative is some ladida artsy fartsy idea, but it’s not, it’s a mental tool that is an increasingly important part of ANY professional toolkit.
This was an ebook I released, basically it’s a simple approach to using a very simple binary method to figure out what item from a set of 8 a person is thinking about. Interl8ced was weirdly controversial when it came out, but it’s just a way of taming an existing method to make it EASY to understand and EASY to incorporate into your own routines.
OK so this is just one little section of this table of contents but Quinta is a book that I released that was hundreds of pages explaining exactly how my utility numerical force works and loads and loads of effects illustrating and expanding the concept. Five items, any five items – you can force the one of your choice. It’s my FAVOURITE thing and I’m pretty sure that of everything that I’ve created Quinta is the one that will endure and people might actually be using in decades to come. This one.
Thoughts on using magic effects and transferring them to mentalism.
Lots of people have star sign progressive anagrams – I’ve explained the exact mnemonic that I use to memorise mine.
Just weird really.
My dark secret skill… also an explanation of how to actually use PATEO reliably.
This is a list of different contexts that you can use to build your own routines and effects – my friend Pete said it was basically a cheat sheet for hard hitting mentalism. I’ll take that.
My routine incorporating the whole audience in a peculiar number based piece divining a number that is personal to each of them. Super simple to do and almost impossible to backtrack.
A couple of simple two person psychic routines that are so asymmetrical you can teach your kids to do them, including my answer to the classic ‘black magic’, bafflingly flexible and with almost no restrictions.
A weird time delayed AAA booktest with any softback book and an actually weird method that every time I do it I’m slightly surprised is real and actually works.
A little premisey kind of story.
My trick Stegosaurus is a word divination piece that I released a few years back. It’s huge and I love it and the way it works is really cool.
Drinks for Einstein
Imagine The Trick That Fooled Einstein except with no counting and with glasses of water instead – that.