Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cartoon Derren Brown

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Did Derren Brown Levitate the Table? (Special Report)

For years, readers of AboutDerrenBrown have asked me to speculate about how Derren performs certain tricks, but I have resisted because I am not a magician and it takes a lot of research for me to figure out how his tricks can be done.

As an experiment, though, I have created a special report about how Derren Brown levitated the table in his Evening of Wonders act:

     Amazon UK:   How Did Derren Brown Levitate the Table in Evening of Wonders?

     Amazon US:   How Did Derren Brown Levitate the Table in Evening of Wonders?

Obviously, Derren has never explained how he performs this trick, so all I can do is suggest methods that would work for him. Because my conclusions are based on the techniques of other illusionists, though, I believe you will find them quite compelling. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Preview of Derren Brown Hulu Series has posted a clip of the Derren Brown series that will be available starting July 7, 2012, and which is called "Derren Brown: Inside Your Mind."

The clip is simply a segment of the Simon Pegg BMX trick, and would not make much sense if you had not already seen the full trick. Unfortunately, I do not believe this trailer will entice many people to watch the series -- hopefully news of the series will spread by word of mouth.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Derren Brown Interview at Edinburgh International Science Festival (April 2012)

Richard Wiseman's site reports on his April 2012 interview of Derren Brown at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Although there is no recording of the interview and Wiseman provides little content, the comment section on the post includes some interesting information from those who attended.

"Anonymous" writes:

I stuck my hand up and asked a question about how he makes those quick decisions about choosing people to take part or not when doing the street thing or the shows....

It was a full but fairly straightforward answer and came down mostly to knowing from experience – how someone walks, how they answer a question, their general manner. All can add up to a picture of how they may react to Derren and whether they will be maleable or not to the requirements of the trick. He also said that sometimes he won’t choose someone just for effect.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Derren Brown still not a fan of Derek Acorah

Over the weekend, Derren Brown tweeted the following link to a Derek Acorah parody, demonstrating that Derren is still feeling a bit adversarial toward "psychic" Derek Acorah: Newsthump.

As you may recall, a few years ago Acorah reportedly tackled Derren in the lobby of a Ramada.

Svengali Poster by Photographer Seamus Ryan

If you have not seen this summer's poster for Svengali, check out the automaton Derren Brown at Morgan Lockyer's blog, courtesy of photographer Seamus Ryan.

You can see the original Svengali poster at the official DB website. I like the new one better.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fast Company falls for Derren Brown ad agency trick

I just encountered the following article from Fast Company (a magazine to which I subscribe). The intro recaps Derren Brown's ad agency trick and accepts it at face value:

How Whole Foods "Primes" You to Shop

I don't know whether to be impressed that the folks at Fast Company are Derren Brown fans, or disappointed that they failed to employ any skepticism about DB's claimed methods in this particular trick.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Derren Brown in "Paranormal Media"

I ran across an interesting discussion of Derren Brown in the 2011 book "Paranormal Media" (affiliate link). While the brief discussion of DB does not merit a reading of the entire book -- unless you are interested in it for its own sake -- the following comment about DB was insightful:

[Derren Brown's] style of entertainment highlights the framing of popular psychology as both a rational explanation for human behaviour and the mysteries of the mind.... In the same way that nineteenth-century magicians used a myth of the East to suggest ambiguous associations with magic and mysticism, so too does Brown use the myth of psychology as all powerful to great effect.

I think any long-time fan of Derren Brown ultimately comes to these conclusions. Technically, his illusions are of the same type as all performance magic, but his brilliance comes in creating a false explanation for illusions that is believable to modern audiences (i.e., pop psychology), analogous to the explanations that were believable to audiences two hundred years ago (i.e., the mysterious East).

Saturday, June 2, 2012

YouTube video that Derren Brown calls "Awesome"

16-year-old amateur magician Leon Thomas posted the following illusion on YouTube, prompting Derren Brown to tweet that the illusion was "awesome." Judge for yourself:

My favorite part is when he kicks the ping pong ball away before walking through the door -- makes the scene not look staged. Overall, a great trick!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Why Does Derren Brown Reject Certain Audience Volunteers?

In a review of 2012's Edinburgh Science Festival, the Fortean Times reported on a 90-minute Q&A with Derren Brown, in which DB discussed how he decides which audience volunteers to use in his live show, and which to reject.

Reportedly, some of the rejections are "purely for theatrics" -- i.e., it's not that the volunteer is a bad subject, it just makes a more entertaining show for the audience to believe that some of the subjects are unsuitable.