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“I began to write this book nearly 5 years ago with the intention of completing it within a few months. But months soon became years as the content expanded significantly. Around the 3-year mark the realization hit that, despite my love of writing, it was unlikely that I would ever take on another book of this scope and magnitude. So, I decided to include almost all of my original material – including my closer which has garnered standing ovations across the globe for over a decade.
If you’re already familiar with my work then you likely know this: when I release something to the community, I want performers to know exactly what they’re spending their hard-earned money on. So I’ve avoided highly edited video demos, hyperbolic ad copy, and unrealistic product claims. In fact, I offer no-obligation private product tours of items like BOX-X and TableVision, during which I demonstrate precisely how it works and what it can and cannot be expected to do. My motivation comes from the many times I’ve anxiously waited for a product to arrive in the mail, only to open it and experience a feeling of utter disappointment. Hence my goal; when you receive something of mine, I’d like the only surprise to be a pleasant one!
To that end, here’s my best effort to honestly describe the contents of this book:
Setting the Stage: Content & Character for the Stage Mentalist is comprised of two distinct sets of chapters: Centre Stage and Backstage.
Centre Stage chapters are original routines which I’ve performed. There are 33 routines in the book, very few of which have been previously released. A handful do involve the use of specific items, including what I would describe as high-end tech; while in other instances, the referenced item may be difficult to find. In these cases, I have tried to offer alternative methodological options. That said, It’s my hope and intention that even in the case of a routine which you may never perform, the structure, thinking, and subtleties will inspire ideas that you can apply elsewhere.
There are twenty-seven Backstage chapters, which deal with the off-stage aspects of being a performer. And while Setting the Stage is a book primarily intended for the stage mentalist, I am confident that these chapters apply, equally, to anyone who performs, regardless of venue, content, or style. Backstage chapters deal with wide-ranging issues from character development, to set structure, scripting, rehearsal, mindset, marketing, media, and a host of other topics which I believe to be essential to being the best performer that we can be.
The physical book is something we spent a great deal of time designing and printing (with help from Phill Smith). From the unique cover to the 420-pages of text and images, this is a book that I wanted to be proud of in both content and design. It is not intended as a limited edition, but a second printing is unlikely because of the unexpectedly high production time and cost.
Alas, Setting the Stage is not a book for everyone. No book is. But whether you are a serious hobbyist, part-time worker, or full-time Pro, it is my hope that it provides you with solid, usable content, thought-provoking ideas, and a bit of inspiration to take things to whatever the next level might be on your journey.” – Eric Samuels
“Here’s a sample of what some of the top names in our community have had to say about the book:”
“…this is the book I wish would’ve been smart enough to write at some point in my career. Eric captures everything beautifully, in perfect detail and it is shared in a style that will convince you that you’re in the presence of a master. You are about to understand the evolution of not only fresh ideas, but, more importantly, how to become a mentalist people want to watch.”
Colin Mcleod (excerpt from the foreword to the book)
“I have a special shelf for books that I have referred to throughout my career and on it are “Maximum Entertainment”, “Stunners Plus”, “The 7 Habits of highly effective people” and a few select others. This book is going on the shelf next to them. You not only learn strong material and methods, but more importantly you learn lessons that can be applied to anything you do. Fantastic!”
Ken Weber, author: Maximum Entertainment 2.0
“In the decade I’ve known Eric he’s never delivered less than 100% on anything. Whether it’s keynote performances for his corporate clients, game-changing products for his growing list of demanding customers or practical advice about scripting and presentation for the fortunate magicians and mentalists for whom he consults– the work is never less than clear, compelling and commercial. Setting the Stage is no different. There are lots of books filled with routines that a performer can use to “build a reputation”, but Setting the Stage with its mix of routines and essays joins the pantheon of works like Ken Weber’s “Maximum Entertainment” and Chuck Hickok’s “Mentalism Incorporated” that allows a performer to build a career. It is overflowing with great effects, important details, and a humour that carries the reader along on a wild ride.”
Dave Moses – Television Writer/Producer
“Setting the Stage is a Masterclass in complete thinking. Every routine has been clearly thought out, refined and presented in a concise way. Eric conjures not only original, meaningful themes that your audiences will immediately relate to, but delivers methods, structure and humour that will leave them thoroughly entertained and, ultimately, blown away!”
AND A FEW MORE COMMENTS ON ERIC’S BODY OF WORK:
“Eric is an exceedingly rare discovery in the world of mentalism. A guy who has been out there, in the wild, working hard on creating strong, original, and high impact material for real world performance. Even rarer is his desire, which defies both reason and logic, to be generous enough to share the inner details of his discoveries and creations with the rest of us. Eric shares lessons, insight, and discoveries all of which have been earned the hard way in countless professional performances. Sit back, keep your eyes, ears and brain open and learn from someone who has much to teach.”
“Whilst theory is useful & can inspire, it is the methods and presentations used whilst actually in the trenches that count. Eric presents commercial streamlined effects with charm and ingenious methods; his passion is inspiring and his execution thoroughly entertaining.”