M. M. M. Vol 2 - Scott Creasy
This review is from two years ago. It is a review of the second volume in the M.M.M. series.
Forward: The first forward is by Ian Moran and speaks of his friendship with Scott and Scott’s ability to make strong, commercial mentalism with nothing but some white cards and a pen. Preface: In this section of the book, Scott urges the readers to not just jump to the effects, but rather, to read and absorb all of the essays along the way to really get the most out of the publication. The Box: The book opens with an essay on being original and focusing on presentation over method. It examines the sawing illusion and compares it to book tests. Scott eloquently presents his thoughts and gives some real points to think on. The Case of the Empty Pocket: A stack of double blank cards are introduced. The spectator cuts off a secret number of cards and pockets them. The spectator removes a card from their pocket and places it on the table. Following that, the performer turns the top card of the remaining stack over and places it on top of the spectators card. This is repeated until the spectator is out of cards. Once the spectator has put down their last card, the performer turns the next card over to reveal a message boldly written across it “YOU ARE OUT OF CARDS.” The book opens with a routine which Scott himself states is not a mind blowing effect. But he says audiences enjoy it, and I imagine they do. It is Scott’s minimalistic take on an old effect typically done with playing cards. This variation makes it see less like a magic trick and more like an example of premonition. It is self-working and looks very clean. I agree with Scott that it isn’t a mind-blowing effect, but it is very nice and quick and to the point. It would be a great piece to add in the middle of a set. A.N.A.A.N (Streamlined): The performer introduces a stack of double blank cards, writes a prediction on one of them, and buries it into the stack. The stack is handed to someone who thinks of a number and counts down to that number in the stack. The card at the chosen number is turned over to reveal the very number she selected written badly across the face. All the other cards are shown to be blank. As the name suggests, this is Scott’s update to his ACAAN from volume 1 of MMM. It is a more streamlined approach, but I prefer the original to this one. The streamlined nature does come with a compromise in cleanliness in my opinion. That said, this one is easier to setup and perform than the other version. It just feels a little too restrictive for my liking. The Predictive Perception of Pi: The performer writes a prediction. A stack of blank cards are introduced. Each card has 9 digits written on each side to form three rows of three digit numbers. None of the three digit numbers are repeated. The stack is handed to someone in the audience who thinks of one of the three digit numbers on ay side of any card. The stack is passed to someone else who does the same thing, and finally passed to a third person who does likewise. The numbers are called out in a random order and added together. The total matches the prediction. I really enjoy this method for a classic effect. The appearance of the stack of numbers is justified and makes sense. The presentation could really become wonderful as the core concept is a fascinating one. The method itself is self working allowing the performer to focus solely on the presentation. This is something that packs small, but could easily fill a large room. The Dead Cut: A stack of double blank cards are introduced. The performer asks the spectator to cut off different amounts of cards based on her intuition. She is told to cut five cards, nine cards, and then twelve card all based on intuition. As it turns out, it wasn’t really about how many cards she cut off. You were really allowing her subconscious intuition to cut to specific places. They turn over the top of each pile to find the numbers 5, 9, and 12 written boldly on each card. Every other card is shown to be blank. This is a routine inspired by an Andy Nyman effect. This is the mentalist’s version of cutting the aces. It takes it away from a magic presentation and instead infuses it with a mentalism flare to give the appearance of it being a demonstration of intuition. I wasn’t too fond go this one. I understand the concept, but I just believe that there are many ore impressive things which can be done, so I don’t feel it has a place in my set. But if you like the sound of it, it’s a very workable method and the double blank cards allow this to be cleaner than it could be with a deck of playing cards. The Turn Over Moves: This is where Scott goes over how to do some of the moves from MMM Volume 1. These moves are paramount throughout the rest of the routines. The SLTO Peek: Here, Scott re-teaches his peek method using the stack of cards because the move will sometimes be used in the upcoming routines. Jaws Vs Spiderman The Movie: A double blank card has a list of different movies on one side and a list of words related to the movies on the other. Two spectators think of a number, remember the word at their number, and find a movie that corresponds with their word. The performer reveals the first person’s movie little by little. The performer then talks about how on Netflix you sometimes need a PIN to watch movies. The spectators then create a 4 digit PIN. It is written on a card. The second spectator then names their chosen movie and it is written on the reverse of said card. The stack of double blank cards is then un-banded and spread to reveal a drawing which depicts this second movie. But more so, the performer turns over he card with the drawing to reveal a 4 digit PIN written on the back—the very one the spectators came up with a moment before. This is based on another Andy Nyman release. It sounds like a lot from the description (and it is.) But I think it would have a nice flow to it in performance. I will be honest though, I’ve never really been a huge fan of the core method used for the movie selection procedure. To me, it seems incredibly transparent and I do not understand why there should be a two step process to a selection of something, but I know there are several professional mentalists using this method in the real world, and it apparently works wonders for them, so who am I to judge? I like the reveal of the PIN, although the connection to the movies feels a bit forced to me. With some thought, you can predict absolutely anything you want instead of a PIN. If it were me, I may would predict an actor’s name or an approximate year they saw the movie for the first time or something like that—something more genuinely connected to the movie rather than throwing a PIN revelation into it, that’s just me. The good thing is, the method is versatile enough to be able to easily make those changes. To Bend or Not to Bend, that is the Question: This essay explores spoon bending. I enjoyed the thoughts expressed here and I totally agree with Scott’s points. If you do spoon bending, this will give you some food for thought. If you don’t do spoon bending, this may ensure you never do But out of this essay, you can read between the lines and find some real value in what makes something memorable and even what turns a trick into a real miracle. If you read it with an open mind, you may find some changes to your own work. A Touch of Bizarre: This is a brief essay explaining how Scott got into bizarre magic and then explains his goals in creating bizzare/surreal mentalism. The next three routines are all bizarre mentalism which were first published in his book “Surrealchemy.” But here, Scott has transformed them for use with double blank cards. Veridical After-Image: A stack of double blank cards comes out. The performer explains all of the cards have names of celebrities who have passed away. A volunteer chooses a card and random, remembers the name, returns it to the stack, and holds the stack between her palms. The performer then creepily reveals details of this person as if seeing the deceased in the room with them. He then asks if they believe in ghosts at which point the perform runs through the stack of cards to show they are all completely blank with no names written on any of them. Clearly, this is more of a bizarre presentation and it is certainly played as such. The method is easy to perform and virtually self-working. The effect it could have on a spectator could be stunning if it is played seriously. It won’t fit everyone’s style (it doesn’t fit mine,) but if it fits yours, the method works beautifully. The method DOES require a little bit of preparation work at home, but it isn’t too difficult and leaves the effect very clean. Me and My Shadow: The performer tells a story of his imaginary friend. He introduces a picture he drew of them together, but it is torn in half. The spectator thinks of the name of someone they haven’t spoken with in a long time and writes it on the back of the torn image. It is put away. The performer continues to tell his story his imaginary friend, and it ends with a line which reveals the name of his imaginary friend is the same name as the person the spectator was thinking of. Again, this is from the bizarre realm. Clearly, it is the presentation which counts here rather than the method. Scott’s tale is captivating and the last line can send shivers down your spine. I’m not sure if the spectators will genuinely believe the picture you show is from when you were 16, but I don’t think that matters. It’s a fun routine which will definitely give spectators an easy moment which is precisely what Scott was wanting when he created this. Emotional Empathy: Three double blank cards are introduces and a word is written on each by the performer. They are turned over and mixed and put in a row. The performer turns his back while the spectator hovers their hand over each card attempting to feel a negative energy emanating from one of them. When they’ve decided on a card, they show it around to everyone, place it back on the table, and mix everything up. The perform turns back to face the group, turns the cards over, and tells the story behind each word written on the cards. Two of the stories are positive memories from his life. The third story is a negative memory. This was the memory the volunteer felt the negative energy radiating from. This is the last of the bizarre items in the book. It is a wonderfully different way of looking at a classic method. The change in structure creates an interesting dynamic where the spectator isn’t making a selection, but is rather, able to sense a negative energy from a card. The method is simple; the value comes from the story telling. This is for the performer who is able to connect with their audience because in essence, all you do is tell three stories from you past. There is no “TADA!” moment, just the personal revelation which occurs for the spectators. The Visual Tip of the Iceberg: This is an essay which hit me hard, as I’m sure it will for many readers. It includes quotes by Vic Perry and it asks you to answer a difficult question: Do you want to be an entertainer or a finger flicker? It is food for thought and it has a convicting quality which may step on your toes, but only to challenge you to be better. Yellow Pegged: The performer walks on stage with a white card folded and held in place on his outside jacket pocket by a yellow peg. Three spectators are selected randomly and each names a single digit number. Each digit is recorded on a blank card, ultimately resulting in a three digit number. The word “NOW” is written on the back to symbolize when the numbers were named. The now card is slid into the peg on the jacket as the performer recaps the situation. He then removes the pegged cards from just jacket, removes the peg, and opens the folded card to reveal the precise three digit number written boldly across the card. This is truly a wonderful routine for stand up work. I could see it working nicely in cocktail party situations as well, or table hopping. It is simple to perform, and Scott’s minimalistic take means that nothing has to be done secretly. It’s all performed right under everyone’s noses. It is a great effect with a great method. I am really fond of this one, and as simple as it is, it may be my favorite routine from the book. Totally Awe-Sum Cabaret: A person comes on stage and is given a ribbon to wear. Attached to the ribbon is a bulldog clip holding a small stack of rubber banded blank cards. The performer unclips them and shows 4 of them contain five-digit numbers and the last card is blank. A 6 digit number is created by random audience members naming digits. This number is put on display. The word “Judge” is written on the blank card and clipped back onto the person on stage. Another person is brought up. They take the 4 number cards and call out the 5 digit numbers on each card. As they do this, two people from the audience add the numbers together. In the end, when all of the numbers are totaled, the sum is equal to the six digit number the audience came up with. This is Scott’s cabaret versions of one of his close up effects. It is a solid method which works. However, I think there’s a big flaw in presenting this trick as a prediction. I think the only way it is effective is to present it as rapid calculation done subconsciously by the audience. I prefer Jan Forsters version of this effect, but Jan’s does require a bit of dual reality while Scott’s is totally clean and can be done amongst even a small group of people who know each other. Again, it is another solid method for a solid effect. The Last Star-Sign Standing: Three audience members come on stage and stand in front of three chairs. The performer hands a stack of double blank cards to one volunteer who writes his birthday at the top of the face card and hands the stack to the next person who writes hers below it, and finally the stack is handed to the last person who does likewise and then turns the card writing side down on top. The performer cuts the card into the stack and wraps an elastic band around the stack to secure it. On the top card, he writes a secret prediction which he pushes into the center of the banded cards and hands the stack to an audience member to hold. He turns his back not he volunteers who switch places several times two of them then have a seat. Although the perform can’t see who’s standing, he gives them a reading and reveals his/her star sign. Finally, still without looking, he had the audience member remove the prediction card from the stack and read it out loud. The prediction reveals the name of the last person standing. This is Scott’s addition to a Neal Scryer classic effect. The addition of the double blank cards gets more bang for your buck. You get a star sign revelation and a prediction as well as the kicker of knowing who’s standing. I imagine this plays very well especially at house parties. It is fun and interactive and has so many strong moments which hit again and again. I’m a fan of this one. 21st Century Metaphysical Mentalism: This is an essay with Scott’s observations about performing more metaphysical mentalism, and it is also Scott revealing what he has seen as a performer which many people fundamentally believe to be untrue. In some ways, this is Scott’s explanation for why you should be performing metaphysical mentalism even in the 21st century. Phobia: The spectator writes down a phobia and it is buried in a stack of double blank cards. The performer revues a card and draws a cross and a circle on it. The sitter is given a pendulum and experiences their fears begin to dissipate. Finally, the performer picks up the drawing and writes something on the reverse. He removes the band from the cards and finds their fear reading it aloud and rips it to pieces to signify their fear leaving. When they turn over the picture card, they see a message that tells them their specific fear has diminished. This is one of the most metaphysical effects from this book. It is meant for one-on-one performances. It has a strong psychic flair, and it could truly be used as therapy for the sitter. It isn’t my style, but for those who like the approach and want to make a difference in their audience member, this is a great way to do that. The Missing Link: This is another essay which may step on your toes and cause you to feel convicted while reading it. It will make you think deeper about how much you invest in the presentation of your work, and it will challenge you to not be a cookie cutter mentalist performing the material right out of the box. The Rhine Experiments: This is an essay to help introduce the following effect. It gives some history on Dr. Rhine and his experiments and gives you perhaps a different look at the man behind the myth. He also gives you enough background information to be able to adequately tell the story of ESP cards and their purpose in your presentations. Symbolistic Clarity: The 5 ESP symbols are drawn on double blank cards. They are mixed and the spectator cuts them as many times as they’d like. They remove one of the cards and sit on it. The remaining ESP cards are shuffled into the remainder of the 30 card stack of double blank cards. The performer turns his back. The volunteer goes through the cards one at a time until they come to the first symbol at which point, the performer names the symbol they are staring at. This is repeated twice more. The last time, the performer correctly names the symbol the spectator is sitting on. This is a simple routine to perform, but used in this way, it does seem like a test conditions ESP test. Scott adds just one item to the routine to take it from a close up routine to a stand up routine capable of wowing large audiences. It is very deceptive for laymen, and it does play as a true test conditions experiment much like the ones Dr. Rhine would have actually been using.
The Retrospect Prophecy: This is a brief little introduction to Scott’s problems with one ahead (or one behind.) It explains what he dislikes about most routines, and teases that he has a solution to all of the problems presented. The next several routines use his method for this which eliminates the need for a force and eliminates the need to suspiciously change the order of the cards. Everything in Scott’s routines happens very naturally. He calls it the retrospect prophecy technique. A Coin in The Hand is Worth?: The performer writes a prediction and tables it. The spectator removes any coin from their pocket keeping it hidden. Next the performer writes another prediction and tables it beside the first. The spectator states the date on their coin. The performer writes one final prediction and tables it beside the first two. The spectator tosses the coin in the air and lets it land on the table either heads or tails up. The performer picks uptake cards keeping them in the sequence they were written. He flips them over and deals them in a row on the table. The predictions read: Tails, 2013, and Quarter (or whatever equivalent came up during the routine.) This is the first routine presented for the retrospect prophecy technique, and it is a nice introduction of the method. It can even be done with an imaginary coin. While it is a nice effect, I do think it’s a bit trivial. Luckily, Scott provides a few more ideas which I believe elevate it a bit. In this form, it seems a bit dull. In the other forms, they are white nice. I think of this as a simple routine to teach the basics. The next few pieces that follow are an expansion of this technique. The Bookless Book Test: The spectator picks up an imaginary book and chooses an imaginary word on an imaginary page number. You correctly predict the word, the page number, and the author of the book. This is simply a variation on the theme, but this is a very nice one. The idea of a bookless book test has always fascinated me because it makes more logical sense than using a book. What you have here is a practically perfect method to do just that. I may would reveal the book itself rather than the author which can easily be done, but there’s a nice psychological play you can use if you decide to reveal the author instead. The Passionate Kiss: The performer reveals the initials of a first kiss, the age of the kiss, and whether the light were on or off As Scott says, he wanted more out of the revelation of the kiss by way of innuendo. So this routine plays more into the passionate nature and hints at some things further than kissing. This is simply to stir up more fun and memory for the participant and make the presentation a bit more fun to watch for everyone else. That said, Scott goes out of his way to make it very clear you shouldn’t make it creepy and you should adapt your presentation to best suit your audience. Retrospect Seance: The spectator thinks of a person they know he has passed away. The spirit visits you and proceeds to reveal information only the spirit would know. Their name, the last time they saw each other, and their relationship. Another take on the retrospect technique. This one could be played seriously and genuinely freak people out/convince them you were talking to the dead. This is one I may would pull out for Halloween or a time when you want to really spook someone out. Retrospective Profiling: Essentially, during a conversation with someone you claim to have been profiling them psychologically. You give them a brief test which includes 3 50/50 questions. At the end, you show you perfectly predicted each of their responses. Along the way, you give them a bit of a reading from a more psychological standpoint. Another routine using the retrospect prophecy technique. This one is a bit more direct than the others in terms of presentation. I think it’s my least favorite of the routines with this method, but if you bill yourself as a psychological performer, this may be your favorite. The Impromptu Retrospective: The spectator is given 5 blank card each bearing a different ESP symbol. Their cards are turned facedown and mixed by the spectator. The performer writes one of the symbols, keeps it hidden, and places it down on the table. The spectator uses their intuition to decide on a card. They turn it over revealing the symbol they selected. They place it beside the performer’s card. This is repeated twice more. Then the spectator is given the chance to try to guess the symbol consciously rather than subconsciously. In the end, all of the symbols match. So, this is more of a method than a routine. Scott taught it as a follow up to the “Symbolistic Clarity” routine, but the method used here can be combined with virtually any of the Retrospect routines. What I didn’t mention earlier is that each of the Retrospective Prophecy routines require a slight, one card set up. It’s easy to do and you can set up pretty easily, but this method allows you to do the set up during the routine which is very nice. Pay close attention to the end of this section because Scott mentions how you combine it with the bookless book test. I will be using this impromptu retrospective technique in combination with the bookless booktest because it allows for a bit more freedom for the spectator. And that ends the section on the Retrospective Prophesy Technique. Supposedly, Scott will be putting out a whole book just focused on the Retrospective Prophecy technique and all of the different routines you can do with it. The sky is kind of the limit with it. Dead Cut 2.0: The spectator is handed an envelope and is asked to hold on to it until the end. A stack of word cards secured with an elastic band is introduced. The spectator cuts those cards into three piles, mixes the piles around on the table, and freely selects any pile. The top card of the pile is turned over to reveal a word. She opens the envelope to find a card with the same word she has chosen. As a kicker, the performer turns over the top cards of the piles she didn’t select to show they are blank on both sides. He then displays all three piles and the discarded cards to show that the only card with a word written on it was the one chosen at random. This one requires a bit more preparation than some of the other routines in the book, but the preparation allows for a super clean routine. This has a lot of great thinking in it. It is a much stronger routine than the first version of dead cut, in my opinion. This would really leave them with a big WTH moment. If they are convinced all of the cards have different words on them, the ending will hit them like a freight train. I really like this one. You can even have the selected card be the volunteers own name. Your Lucky Number Is!: The participant thinks of a number between one and twenty and is handed a stack of twenty double blank cards. They deal the cards down until they get to their number. Once there, they stop and write their number on the back of the last card they stopped on. It is put back into the stack where it came from. The cards are dealt through again, this time they are turned over every time. All of the cards are blank, but when the card with the number is turned over, there is a message written on the back “AND YOUR LUCKY NUMBER IS!” The performer can then give a reading based on the lucky number she chose. This is another effect that needs a bit of extra preparation. It is easy to do, but it is something you have to do before making it to the gig. Again, this added prep allows the handling to be above board throughout as there is only one move which happens invisibly and is a move that practical performs itself. Scott also mentions an additional idea for presentations with this method. It’s another method that could be used for a wide variety of effects. I ‘Heart’ You Too: The performer removes ten double blank cards and hands them to a couple. The woman takes the stack and writes her name on the top card, turns the card over, and it is mixed into the other cards. Her boyfriend now thinks of a number between 1 and 10. He deals through the cards and stops when he reaches his number. He draws a heart on the back of the card he stopped on and it is put back into the stack where it came from. The perform now deals through the cards turning them over one at a time; they are all blank. When he reaches the card with the heart on it, it is turned over to reveal the girlfriend’s name on the back. All the other cards are shown blank. This is a variation of the “Your Lucky Number Is!” effect. It’s a change in presentation which allows the entire effect to be personally suited for a couple. It requires the same pre-show prep with a card, but once that’s done, you’re good to go. The only bad thing about this routine is that you do use a gaffed card every time you perform, so you need to carry a few gaffs with you if you want to present the routine several times throughout the night. I do like this presentation more so than the previous one though. The slight dilemma is you can’t give the card away at the end. BUT Scott then goes on to discuss an idea to be able to leave the card with the two of them. Magic Squared: A stack of double blanks cards bearing the numbers 1-35 are presented and shuffled. A spectator selects a target number, remembers it, and holds it in his palms. Nine different people now each think of a number from the stack. The nine people call out their thought of numbers one at a time. As they do, the performer begins to write them into a 3 by 3 grid formation on a board in random places. After all nine numbers are called, the spectator who selected a card reveals what number they’ve been focusing on. The audience adds all of the rows, columns, and diagonals in the grid to see they all add up to the target number. This is another presentation and handling for a magic square which changes the routine form rapid calculation to something more mental. In the end, I don’t think it will play as pure mentalism, but it certainly plays more as mind reading than a traditional magic square. The Mnemonic Stack: This is a brief essay which encourages the reader to learn a simple mnemonic peg system. Scott explains that it opens a world of possibility. The next three routes relate to this idea in some way, shape, or form. Too Remote for Comfort: You introduce a stack of 20 different cards each bearing the name of a city. The cards are mixed and cut and three spectator each cut off a packet of cards and hold them against their chest. They each look at the city they’ve cut to and mix their packets. The performer takes the first packet of cards and goes through them one by one, having the spectator name each city they see and try not to give anything away when they name their city. You are immediately able to tell them their city. This is repeated with the second person, but rather than say the cities out loud, they simply say them silently in their heads. You immediately reveal their city. The last person doesn’t read the cards at all. In fact, they keep hold of their stack entirely. You look into their eyes and reveal their city as well. I really love this routine. It is a routine I’ve seen variations of with playing cards for a long time, but the simple idea of using cities instead of cards makes this something I will actually perform. And you can just as easily use names or drawings or words or pretty much anything you want. This is the type of routine that would be great for corporate clients: Introduce a stack of 20 words associated with the company. It is very simply to do, but without even performing it, I KNOW it plays well. The build up is very theatrical as well which increases the impossibility at each phase. Scott even details how to perform this with a stack of 20 cards that the audience themselves fill out. That tidbit is worth recognizing, because it involves very little extra work once you are familiar with the system. The Memory Collector: A stack of 23 cards are shown. Written on each is a date and a few words to describe a memory. They are all written in different hand writing. The performer explains he absorbs memories of others and these are the memories. A spectator selects a memory and then imagines the memory happened to her. The performer begins describing the memory in detail. This is a simple routine off the back of the others using this same system. It is simple and quick, but with the right confidence in presentation, I imagine it will play almost like a one person Q&A. It’s simple, but I’m sure it’s effective. The Dead Zone: This is an essay which provides some insight into how Scott reveals information. It is a great essay as it shows you a very simple method to get more impact out of your reveals, and Scott isn’t claiming this idea is his own, rather, he is introducing the reader to an old concept which he has found has made his reveals more powerful. After reading this. I will most definitely be implementing his ideas into more of my reveals. Memory Absorption: The performer has a stack of 23 cards. Each has a memory and date written on it. The performer explains these are memories he has absorbed, and he can only absorb 23 at a time. He is currently at full capacity. The then hands the spectator a blank card and a pen and has her write down her own memory. It is cut into the stack and the stacked is wrapped with an elastic band. Because the performer can only absorb 23 memories at a time, he removes one of the memories from the stack, shows it to the audience describing the memory, pockets the rest of the stack, and tears up the unwanted memory. The performer now begins describing the spectator’s own memory and date in detail. This combines the stack of cards from the memory collector with the ideas presented in “The Dead Zone” essay. Scott says he typically performs this routine after the memory collector, and I think that has a very nice build to you. You reveal someone else memory they pick, then you reveal their own memory. The presentation is perhaps a bit on the bizarre side, but it is an intriguing premise with a lovely economy of action. A Nod to Cicardi: A stack of 31 double blank cards are introduced. Written on each card is a month, a day of the week, or a star sign. The cards are mixed and three volunteers each select a card and remember their selection. They now each take a blank card and a pen. They are told they can write down their actual selection, or they can lie and write down a different item from their category. This is all done with the performer’s back turned. Once they are finished, the spectators collect the three cards and mix them. By analyzing the handwriting on each card, the performer correctly identifies who wrote which word, who told the truth and who lied, and even what word the liars were actually thinking of. This is a really wonderful nod to an effect performed by Dr, Charles Scott also known as Cicardi. Cicardi’s effect used playing cards and marked index cards. Scott’s effect using double blank cards with various categories and no marked cards. I must admit when reading the description, I couldn’t figure out how the performer would be able to determine who wrote what. It is a great system for figuring this out which happens automatically and without any extra work. The answer was staring me in the face. It is a wonderful routine, and if you aren’t thrilled with the categories, you can very easily chose other categories that better suit your liking. Clever Like a Fox: A card is removed and handed to a spectator. It has a woman’s name on one side and phone number on the other. This is placed aside for the time being. The performer introduces a stack of 30 blank cards each bearing a different drawing. Two volunteers select a drawing, remember it, and return it to the stack. The performer has the first spectator imagine drawing their picture on a board. As they do this, the performer takes out a white card and begins to draw on it, then leaves it drawing side down on the table. He then turns his attention to the second spectator. He runs through the stack of drawings and removes one. The spectator names the object she was thinking of and flips the card over to discover her drawing. The first volunteer then runs through the stack of drawings and removes theirs. They turn the performer’s drawing over to discover it perfectly matches. As a finale, the spectator calls the number on the first card, and the person on the phone describes the drawing without the performer ever saying a word. Scott mentions you can perform this routine without the phone call ending, and personally, I prefer this routine without that ending. I can see why it was added, because it does allow you to do a really clean through the phone mind reading, but I feel it is a bit unnecessary because the routine is strong enough without it. The method is very simple, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. Two drawing duplication with hardly any work. This is the kind of minimalistic thinking you’d come to expect from Scott. I’m a big fan of this one. It’s wonderfully structured. A Tough Act to Follow: This is Scott’s brief words about Q&A and why he sees it as a tough act to follow. All of the rest of the routines in this volume are variations on the Q&A routine. The Intimate Q&A: This simply introduces the concept of an intimate Q&A Q&A One on One: The spectator writes their birthday and a question on a card. It is cut into a stack of blank cards, and the stack is secured with an elastic band. The performer takes a personal object from the spectator. He closes his eyes and then removes a card and writes some thoughts on it before putting it into the middle of the stack. The performer now begins to answer the sitter’s question. He removes the band from the stack, finds her card in the middle of the stack and uses her birthdate to calculate her life path number. She then looks through the stack and finds the card the perform wrote on earlier. It has her life path number written along with a brief explanation of what that number means. This requires no set up and can be performed anywhere at anytime as long as you have your double blank cards. You can add as much reading as you want and make it anything from an entertaining light hearted Q&A to an in-depth exploration of their own psychology. It uses the moves already taught in the book, but the way they are combined here is wonder and has a great flow to it. It seems like the real deal. This handling also gives you a slow motion peek so you can fully absorb all of the information necessary for the reveal. All in or Not at All: Here, Scott answers the question of answering audience questions verses revealing ideas they’ve written down. If it isn’t obvious, Scott very much believes if you’re going to do Q&A, you should be answering their questions, not just revealing information otherwise you are duplicating the same thing they’ve seen throughout the entire show. This essay explains the “why” behind this thinking. Q&A in the Hands and Close-Up: Three people receive a blank card and pen. They write their name, last initial and date of birth. The three cards are folded in half and dropped in the performer’s pocket. After a quick recap, the performer removes a folded card from his pocket and reveals who wrote it, followed by their star sign and month of birth. He gives a brief reading, opens the card and calculates their life path number, and gives a further reading, then the card is handed to its owner. This is repeated for the second person. For the final person, the performer has them calculate their life path number. The performer reveals it, gives a reading based on it, reveals her star sign, her name, and finally reach into his pocket, removes her card still folded and hands it to her without ever opening it. This is a full Q&A routine which is done without any setup and can be done strolling. Scott signed this for a mix and mingle type of environment. You give a lot of readings, and you have a lot of strong moments throughout the duration of the routine. This is a wonderful close up Q&A which will be very effective. It is similar to his 4DT from from MMM Volume 1, but the fold in the cards makes for a nice subtlety. Table Top Q&A: Three blank cards are removed and numbered. Three spectators write their birthday on a card. The card are mixed face down. One card is eliminated and put back into the stack of blank cards. The performer removes a blank card and draws a question mark on it. The spectator drops the question mark on either card to select a target. The performer begins to describe the person selected, gives a reading, and revealed their star sign. The question mark is moved over to the other card and the performer calculates the target card’s life path number and hands it to the person. The second card with the question mark gets a similar treatment. For the last person, the performer writes something on the back of the question mark card. The third person calculates their life path number and reveals it. They turn over the question mark card to find their life path number written on the reverse. The performer then gives them a reading and reveals their star sign. This is the last routine in the book. It is a solid Q&A for three people. This one eliminates the folding of the cards and adds some suspense by eliminating one of the three cards, so no one knows who will receive the reading. Of course, in the end, all three walk away having received a reading which is all they could want. Again, this is a great method and a lovely combination of principles taught throughout the book. Conclusion: Scott ends the book with a discussion of the classic quote from Dunninger, “Every time you pick up a prop your price goes down.” Scott explains what this quote means to him and why he has chosen to strive to always use minimalistic props. You should know what to expect if you have Scott’s other releases. This is no different. Scott puts out quality and real world methods designed to work in any environment. It is a refreshing breath of air amongst some the confusing material coming out these days. If you liked Volume 1, I think you will like Volume 2 as well. All of the routines in this book are of the same caliber as Volume 1; in fact, I thought volume 1 had some flops in it, while I don’t think any of the routines in this volume are flops. In fact, I believe many people will prefer this volume to the first simply because the material in this volume is more accessible. If the metaphysical aspect turned you off from Volume 1, I think you should do yourself a favor and pick this one up.