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Topic: Stuck Up Mentalists
Message: Posted by: TheNightBringer89 (Feb 3, 2005 03:10AM)
Hey Guys, I've been doing magic for 3 years, have just been doing pure mentalism for only one year so far. I love mentalism much more, one thing I have noticed though. Most magicians seem friendly, willing to help, and very nice people. But a LOT of mentalists I have met or talked to seem to have a very arrogant, stuck up, I'm better than you attitude. That’s actually one of the reasons it took me so long to find out how great mentalism was, because I was so turned off by the attitudes of some mentalists. I sometimes miss that warm brotherly feeling magicians seem to have, when I converse with other mentalists, I get a cold feeling. Like I have to prove myself before they will even consider helping. Why is that? Also there seems to be so much more tension and conflict in this forum than the others. Basically I guess I'm just saying, cant we all just get along? Respect each other’s differences and opinions? And most importantly help each other out to further our loved art?
Message: Posted by: Steve Dela (Feb 3, 2005 03:47AM)
This may be because there are technically (read that again before arguing!...Technically) less moves etc. in mentalism and it would be easier for you to catch up to their level of performance. (They are scared of you taking their work).

I have a lot of Mental friends that are always willing to help though.
This may be because my main interest is in the Magic side of our profession.

In Magic
Steve Dela
Message: Posted by: RickSilmser (Feb 3, 2005 03:50AM)
Hi ya,NightBringer...read some of the answers I got on my "Are you a Mentalist or what" posting...there you will find some of whom you speak of...the "I've been doing this for 5 years and me and my act walk on water" bunch. Don't let it bother you, brother.

You are you and just the fact that you notice they are out there means you aren't one of them. Personally, I don't hang out with anyone in the business, don't belong to any clubs or groups and don't go to conventions, it was advice given to me by a very wise person.

~Rick~
Message: Posted by: bootweasel (Feb 3, 2005 04:02AM)
The down-side of being better than everyone else is that people tend to assume you're pretentious.



Perhaps some of it is a money issue. Spending massive amounts of money on books and products often changes the way people value information. Sometimes this makes us forget to treat other people with respect.

It also seems like there is an unspoken understanding that the ingenuity of a methods directly represents the intelligence of the creator (and, by proxy, the performer's). So whilst it is possible to discuss the benefits of one sleight over another, criticising someone's new mentalism pad is like directly calling them a 'thicko'.

Mentalism is also quite theoretical so it can seem that you don't need to perform an effect in order to evaluate its merit. Everybody has an opinion. Not always a good thing.

There are a whole bunch of great mentalists about, but they tend not to shout the loudest.
Message: Posted by: David Numen (Feb 3, 2005 04:56AM)
An interesting topic as I would say my experience is somewhat different. When I was more into general magic and joined the local magic club, I felt very low in the scheme of things. Furthermore, as time moved on and as I grew older and wiser I realised that a lot of people were like me - socially inept and using magic to hide behind. Go to any magic club or convention and you will see an army of the socially inept.

I am also into a long-running sci-fi show in the UK and the same phenomena applies to conventions for that - an army of socially inept and insecure people.

I do think there is a worry that with the popularity of Mentalism attracting more and more new wannabes (look at this forum for one example) that Mentalism will become the same as Magic. Thing is, it can never be. Personality matters much much more and it'd be difficult to have any degree of success with Mentalism unless you have a personality - in magic it tends not to be so necessary! Don't get me wrong, I love good magic and good magic requires personality too BUT it is rarely demonstrated by the masses.

Anyone I have approached for advice or help in Mentalism has been extremely courteous and helpful - even people I disagree with strongly.

There is certainly a snobbish attitude with some - check out Maven's comments in early issues of Stan Allen's Magic Magazine about amatuer magi thinking it's their god given right to approach pros. In many ways he is right - why should we approach pros if we haven't reached a certain level?

The truth is a lot of the real pros are too busy working to hang around here and whilst we do have our fair share of pros here - who can all be helpful and great for advice - the reality of the situation is that their presence is usually connected to the number of products they have on the market. :)

Regards,

David.
Message: Posted by: tmoca (Feb 3, 2005 06:01AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 04:47, Steve Dela wrote:
This may be because there are technically (read that again before arguing!...Technically) less moves etc. in mentalism and it would be easier for you to catch up to their level of performance. (they are scared of you taking their work.)

I have a lot of Mental friends that are always willing to help though.
This may be because my main interest is in the Magic side of our proffession.

In Magic
Steve Dela
[/quote]

WHAT!!!?? I TOTALLY disagree. I feel mentalism is much, much harder to perform than "magic".

You actually need a personality and need to be well spoken to perform mentalism on a professional level. For a mentalism show to work you have to entertain them with your words, not just visual tricks, which by the way, "just tricks", CAN hold someones attention. For a short time at least.

I can't tell you how many stage (and close-up for that matter) magicians that I have met that do a silent act or an act with minimal speech and it's a GREAT show or set. But get those same introverted guys in a room and try to hold an intelligent conversation....forget it. And most of the cookie cutter magicians that are out there aren't performing at all. They are doing tricks. They can entertain for 5-10 minutes with those tricks, but I highly doubt they can pull off a 45 min show without any VISUAL stunts. While engaging there audience with the words they use.

IMO, mentalist don't appear to be as "open" about the subject because these are the guys that have been around for years and they don't (just as I don't) want to see this style of magic made as commercially available and trivial as traditional magic has become.
Message: Posted by: Ken Dyne (Feb 3, 2005 06:18AM)
With soem people I have spoken to of recent the reason they appear so unapproachable is because of their on stage personas. I for one would not like to meet Maven down a dark alley. Many of us mental types have a fearful persona. Unfortunatly that is how I began performing, I wanted to make my audience afraid of me. I now have a very different approach. I chnaged for a number of reasons. Primarily because I am a scary or serious prson and it is much more natural for me to be sarcastic and rather risque in my humour. Also, when Derren Brown hit the television netwrs of the UK people were saying that I was like him. Since he was bigger than me, and fanmous I did not wat to appear to be a Brown rip-off, so chnaged for that reason also.

Mainly, it was because I couldn't keep a straight act throughout andy longer. I had to let the real "Kennedy" out. Maybe I was hiding behind the scary, serious character while I got my confidence?

Best,
Kennedy
Message: Posted by: ESP Guy (Feb 3, 2005 07:39AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 04:10, TheNightBringer89 wrote:
Most magicians seem friendly, willing to help, and very nice people. But A LOT of mentalists I have met or talked to seem to have a very arogant, stuck up, I'm better than you attitude.
[/quote]
The PEA MOTMs are nothing BUT sharing, helping, etc.

Thom
Message: Posted by: Dave1216 (Feb 3, 2005 08:42AM)
Mentalism (and all magic in general) is a sword. It is a great thing that can hurt you if not handled properly. Think about how easy it is to lose control of your ego as a magician........you constantly have people telling you, "You are amazing"......."you are wondeful"......"I wish I could do what you do."

If you hear these statements enough times, you are bound to believe that they are true and that you are somehow "better" than other people.

I have always said that 90% of the magicians I know fall into 1 of 2 categories. Either (a) Nice, friendly, helpful people who truely "get" the gift that magic is and just wants to make the world a better place........or they are (b) some of the most annoyingly cocky people that you don't want to spend 2 minutes with. It is THESE people who do magic because "I know the tricks and you don't...ha ha ha ha"

Bottom line. Some people "get it" and some people "don't"
Message: Posted by: chichi711 (Feb 3, 2005 08:45AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 07:18, Kennedy wrote:
With soem people I have spoken to of recent the reason they appear so unapproachable is ebcause of their on stage personas. I for one would not like to meet Maven down a dark alley. Many of us mental types have a fearful persona. Unfortunatly that is how I began performing, I wanted to make my audience afraid of me. I now have a very different approach. I chnaged for a number of reasons. Primarily because I am a scary or serious prson and it is much more natural for me to be sarcastic and rather risque in my humour. Also, when Derren Brown hit the television netwrs of the UK people were saying that I was like him. Since he was bigger than me, and fanmous I did not wat to appear to be a Brown rip-off, so chnaged for that reason also.

Mainly, it was because I couldn't keep a straight act throughout andy longer. I had to let the real "Kennedy" out. Maybe I was hiding behind the scary, serious character while I got my confidence?

Best,
Kennedy
[/quote]

I have never understood the "fearlful" persona. It works for Maven, but to me a "fearful" persona comes across wrong to spectators (I am smarter than you are). Why is this becoming the norm when it comes to on stage persona's?

I am an Osterlind honk. Osterlind usually tells his audience that they can have the same skills if they would just devote time and practice etc etc. I think that actually opens the audience up a bit more.
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Feb 3, 2005 09:28AM)
When you are not clear about why you want to be a mentalist, you may tend to confuse people’s desire of being amazed with gullibility or inferiority. You read a method, so simple that you find it inconceivable, and when you perform it successfully in front of somebody, instead of being grateful about having the opportunity to make a connection with that person, you feel that you are superior. You are cool, a great guy. So cool that even when you “didn’t really try” you impressed them.

If you keep going that way, the distance between yourself and others grows, because the only thing you want to make clear is that you are great. Buried under tons of forces, gimmicks, psychological theories and NPL methods, you forget that before being a mentalist, you have to be human.

It happens all the time.
Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Feb 3, 2005 09:39AM)
Why are established mentalists sometimes reticent to share with the new kids on the block? One word: protectiveness.

Many in the industry see the art of mentalism as an entertainment under seige. It used to be an area little-explored by performers of straight magic, who long-dismissed mentalism as "boring." This was fine, because to the public, the few who performed it were strange and rare.

But then along came Blaine and Brown, who put it on TV, made headlines, and woke up the magic crowd to the idea that maybe mentalism wasn't so boring after all. Instructional DVDs were quickly burned to capitalize on this discovery, which spawned an army of wannabe mindreaders set to scramble up the stone fortress walls of mentalism with the Easy to Master/Maven/Banachek/Nyman/Spellmann DVD series bulging in their knapsacks.

The philosophical divide between the performance of mentalism and the performance of most magic is quite large, despite the fact that both use similar deceptive techniques at times. However, this distinction is often lost on the magicians who recently started dabbling with mentalism and view it as just another pack of tricks -- and mentalists fear that the public will begin viewing mentalism the same way.

As if that weren't enough of a problem, many of the new hobbyists in mentalism and magic believe they are entitled to all the secrets, and don't consider the amount of study that serious performers have always invested in the art.

Little wonder, then, that professionals may shy away from hobbyists and presume them to be self-entitled magic junkies who just started playing around with that mindreading stuff; much of the time, they are. So perhaps it's only reasonable that to get into the confidences of a professional, you may need to demonstrate that you are one of them -- someone who respects the history, thought process, power and specialness of mentalism performance.

Best,
Neil
Message: Posted by: mike stevenson (Feb 3, 2005 09:43AM)
Beautifully said Neil.
Message: Posted by: tmoca (Feb 3, 2005 11:31AM)
Steve, you said and I quote "it would be easier for you to catch up to their level of performance. (they are scared of you taking their work.)"

So unless you are speaking in "code", again, I read your post and I disagree. As I am sure many here will.

I could care less about there being "technically less moves" as you stated, I am talking about pure experience, showmanship and audience management. This takes years of experience, so it has nothing to do with fear of someone taking work.
Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (Feb 3, 2005 11:32AM)
I can't disagree with Neil. I'm one of the rare mentalists who did everything back words with out help. 11 years ago I learned cold reading and hypnotis(which are normall the last thing most seem to learn) Then as My performances went on I constructed my own very simple mentalism using hypnosis and my kid magic book I got in the 80's. when the Net got going and I got a credit card I was buying material aiming to simply enhance my psychic and hypnotic performances, then finally I decided to learn magic to enhance my mentalism skills.

I had an amateur magician here tell me that Annemann was terrible and that there was not one effect in it he could use and wanted what he called the real stuff from me, needless to say I was offended. I told him to reread Annemann. He called me every name under the sun for that advice.
I also met a guy interested in magic, mostly as he wanted to entertain kids. I recommended a magic set in a toyshop. I was amazed to find he actually bouight it and the learned every effect in the set, I was very impressed as he did some real hard work to learn all the effects even though they were not exactly spectacular but in his hands he made them great. So after that I ordered an excellent magic book I know for him through a friend of mine in my favourite book shop. He has totally baffeled me from time to time, I'm glad of that as I know I made the right decision in getting him the book as he has a genuine interest and worked hard.

Anyway, that's my few cents.

H.W
Message: Posted by: truthteller (Feb 3, 2005 11:58AM)
Most of the mind readers I know are really sweet guys. They would give you the shirt of their backs. They will help with any question I could have.

Of course, they also know they can trust me. And I have spent years getting to know them.

Many magicians have "instant gratification" issues. Must know secret now. Must do trick now. Must tell magic club how trick works so they know how clever I was for buying it.

True friendships often require years to cultivate. Too many magicians think that simply becasue they have an IBM membership that everything should be open and available. This is not true.

Most top magicians are super friendly, but most also have pet items they show no one but those they trust. Most amateurs don't know they exist, so they are not badgered by them. However, I'm sure many would clam up if questioned and be called "arrogant." Further, a lot of the top magic guys you run into at conventions have something to sell. Of course they are nice to you. You are a customer. (People may disagree with this, but I think there is more truth to this than we realize.)

Mind readers I think are just more protective. But fundamentally no different than the top level magi. Fewer have things to sell, so the need to glad hand is not there.

Ask a top mind reader for help with something YOU are working on, something of your own creativity and not inspired by someone's act or a Derren Brown special and I think you will find them most helpful.

Build trust, cultivate friendship, and I think you will begin to see these people for the wonderful human beings they are.
Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Feb 3, 2005 12:27PM)
And let me just say right now that Brad is a helluva guy.
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Feb 3, 2005 12:42PM)
I believe I have destroyed that concept of mentalism. Friendships!
Message: Posted by: Banachek (Feb 3, 2005 01:21PM)
Think of it this way, if someone on the street came up to you after seeing you perform a wonderful bit of magic and asked him to teach it to you, would you?

Such is the same as mentalism and magic, despite both suckling on the same teat and having the same mother, they are indeed different. Just as a magician and plumber are both human, they are indeed different.

Mentalism is indeed extremely hard to learn right. There are so many nuances, unlike magic it is much less about the trick and more about the performer. Many of the nuances can't be taught but can only be leant over time. As a result I doubt very much that someone can catch up just as quickly and be just as good. It is not like learning a 3 card monte. It is more like learning how to be funny, either you are or you are not and if not it takes a whole lot of adapting, learning and experience to become so. Such as it is for mentalism. This is partly the difference between mental magic and true mentalism, it is the performer not the trick (but this is another subject for another time and place.)

You will also find that most mentalists invent their own effects or take others effects and change them to suit them, more so than the majority of magicians. I would suspect the percentages of mentalists who do this vs. the magicians who do this is probably somewhere in the direct reverse correlation of each other (if that line made any sense :) )

Sometimes aloofness is misread as attitude. They are not the same. Just because someone keeps their secrets does mean they have an attitude. In fact, is that not what magic is supposed to be about. Just because one is a magician does not mean that one has the right to knowledge that is not theirs. The old timers knew this and knew it well. One became an apprentice and one learned as they grew. Now a days so many magicians learn but do not grow, in other words their knowledge of the secrets fast outgrows their ability. This is a shame and leads to so much bad magic being out there. Mentalists do not what that to happen. I might offend someone here and sorry if I do but what makes ANYONE THINK THEY HAVE THE RIGHT to another performers ideas, effect or thinking behind anything they do? You only have the right to your own effects, think for yourself and this is what most mentalists want to see prior to sharing, they want to see and know you can think for yourself and that what they share will be adapted or changed as a result and hopefully improved upon and stylized so as not to look the same.

An example is something that has happened to me in the college market is that your originality is lessened by others doing your effects. Often the area I score lowest on is originality in the college market, this amazes me as I am performing my own effects most of the time. But if I perform PK touches and my silverware routine in my show, or one of my other routines, I am seen as doing that thing that they saw so and so do. As a result it becomes a ***ed if you do and ***ed if you don't scenario. ***ed if I don't share, ***ed in other ways if I do.

Another thing is that mentalists are often wary of who comes up to them. They do not know your skill level and therefore are more protective of their secrets till they do know you personally.

Another area is the fact that many mentalists do not believe that magic and mentalism should mix, therefore if you are a magician asking about a mental effect, why? You should not be. Again they are not being rude or having an attitude but simply applying the logic that goes with protecting their secrets from those who do not need to know and to them, magicians do not need to know.

When a magician or mentalist refuses to give you his or her secret, respect that and have respect for their protecting our art. Do not take it as aloofness or an attitude or that they think they are better than you simply because you did not get your way. I can assure you, such a person will rarely if ever ask you about your secret. Please excuse me if this post seems rude, but once you are in the mentalist community and accepted, once you have proved yourself I can't think of a nicer group of people and sharing people in the world. But you must prove yourself first and that responsibility lies with you. Find a mental routine, learn it inside out, show you can think about it, show you UNDERSTAND the subtleties inside out and not just can perform it and I can assure you, mentalists will knock on your door to accept you. Show you just want another trick and they will build a wall as quick as possible.

A good mentalist will not teach you a trick when he is ready to teach, he will teach you a miracle because he understands the subtleties behind each and every gesture so they happen naturally. The equivalent in magic was Slydini and is Tommy Wonder.
Message: Posted by: Steve Dela (Feb 3, 2005 02:06PM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 12:31, tmoca wrote:

I could care less about there being "technically less moves" as you stated, I am talking about pure experience, showmanship and audience management. This takes years of experience, so it has nothing to do with fear of someone taking work.
[/quote]

I agree 100% that it takes years of dedication to be a mentalist as it relies heavily on showmanship and presenting ability... but in your statement you have kind of misenturpreted what I said... Technical does not mean showmanship... it means the technical skill involved.
therefore I wasnt talking about audience management etc...just the tec side of it.

I am yet to find someone that can tell me that it took longer to learn a good billet switch than an invisable second deal.

I do mentalism and Magic and love them both. I realise it is hard to be a good mentalist. but I know that move wise, slight of hand card stuff etc takes longer to learn.

Steve Dela
Message: Posted by: snushy (Feb 3, 2005 02:16PM)
Hi Banachek:
Let me start by saying that I'm a huge fan of your material, and I appreciate the time you spend giving of yourself on this forum. I own and treasure all your books, products and DVDs.

That being said, isn't some of your most recent post a bit self-serving? I mean, your concluding paragraph implies that a "good" mentalist is on a par with Slydini and Wonder. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that a "great" mentalist is on a par. I mean, Slydini and Wonder are two of the most accopmplished, original, prolific and unique performers in the history of magic. The implication that they're on a par with a "good" mentalist is part of the problem being addressed on this thread.

In addition, it's not like I was vetted before I bougtht your stuff. I didn't have to prove myself or pass any tests. You made your material available to all and sundry. The fact that it is of the highest quality is for the discerning performer to decide, but if some jackass makes a fool of himself performing something he learned off of your DVD, aren't you partially to blame? Haven't you contributed to the whole problem of the great secrets of our art being readily and easily available?

I don't mean to be confrontational, but I'm getting a little sick of being lectured on these issues by the same people who are profiting from the sale of secrets. I think all of us, magicians, mentalists, and mentalist/magicians, should start taking ourselves a little less seriously for our own good!

Thanks,
L. Zaslow
Message: Posted by: tmoca (Feb 3, 2005 02:32PM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 15:06, Steve Dela wrote:

I agree 100% that it takes years of dedication to be a mentalist as it relies heavily on showmanship and presenting ability... but in your statement you have kind of misenturpreted what I said... Technical does not mean showmanship... it means the technical skill involved.
therefore I wasnt talking about audience management etc...just the tec side of it.
[/quote]

I understand that you meant the "moves" alone.

Okay, so let's say that one learns the same billet switch, NW technique and booktest as one of the top pros. Can this said person now COMPETE and STEAL the pros work...I doubt it. That's my point.

Also please do not take any of my posts as confrontaional. I just like to play devil's advocate and/or am very vocal with opinions. I respect your opinion as well. I personally didn't see any legitimacy in the statement.
Message: Posted by: truthteller (Feb 3, 2005 02:36PM)
"I think all of us, magicians, mentalists, and mentalist/magicians, should start taking ourselves a little less seriously for our own good!"

I guess it is different when one's life's work and livelihood are at stake. I don't know many doctors, lawyers, teachers, or electricians who need to "take themselves a little less seriously." Those are their jobs, their professions. The quality of their life depends on their personal reputation as well as the reputation of their field. For some of us, magic and mentalism are no different.

As to the "technique" aspect of mentalism, I also disagree. I have a pretty good second deal and a nice bottm deal as well. I can color change with the best and I'll put my false riffle shuffle work up against any magician.

Having said that, mentalism techniques are more difficult. Nail write like Kirkendall? Not something to be learned over night. Peeks - under fire - without detection. Takes the same understanding of human nature to not "be suspected, let alone detected."

Anyone can learn a decent second deal to do in front of a webcam. Years of commitment are needed before one can make the move at the table and get the money.

Mind reading - for many of us - is closer to the dynamic of the card table. The same type of scrutiny is in play. And believe me, there is a difference between changing one piece of paper for another; and being able to change, read the contents, and devise a suitable revelation without the audience ever realizing you even came NEAR the billet.
Message: Posted by: snushy (Feb 3, 2005 03:04PM)
Truthteller:
I'm not really disagreeing with you.

Part of my issue is getting preached to about easy access to the "secrets" by the same people who are contributing to the easy access.

Now, relax...
L. Zaslow
Message: Posted by: Banachek (Feb 3, 2005 03:14PM)
Zaslow, you are right, I am partially to blame, however I do not always put out every single subtelty it just is impossible to do so on a DVD or tape. One hopes others see those. As a result often what I teach on DVDs and such is what I would consider mostly (but not all)mental magic. Those who understand the subtelties will find them if they look close enough.

As for on Par with Slydini and Wonder, my point is that mentalist have to think more about the whys and the psychology of what they do, more so than a magician has to or else they come off looking like they are doing mental magic. I am not talking about being as skillfull but more thoughtful in what they are doing. Keep in mind, everyone can say they are a mentalist, this does not mean they are (in what professional mentalists would think of a mentalist is) just because they can do some mental magic. All the top professional mentalists I know give as much thought to the whys of what they do as Wonder does or Slydini did. That is what puts them at the top.

My answers are not self serving, I was simply trying to show that maybe, just maybe not all mentalists are stuck up and have an attitude but rather that they are leery about sharing thier hard word and making it easy for others. I was called stuck up on one board, I never answered it, I figured it must have come from some personal place with that person. So be it, maybe I was not as forthcoming about an effect they wanted to know about, like the bullet catch or such when they met me, who knows?

I will be the first to suggest that some of what I said is contrary to myself however, just because I am different does not mean I think others who think differently and choose to keep things to their breast do not have a right to and may be more right to do so than I am, I understand this and lately with all the rip offs out there and everyone starting to look the same I wonder if maybe I made a big mistake sharing as many secrets as I did. I am not sure, I just wonder about these things because I do care about our art so much.

I have also become frustrated that for some, it is never enough. People come to see my show or others who write and teach and see something and just take it and use it because they think "oh, he writes, that routine must be in his lecture notes somewhere so I can just take it." This is another reason many become more secretive about what they do. I can't tell you the number of people who have seen me work, then written me a nice email about a bit they saw in my show they are doing. They see nothing wrong with it at all, nothing. I can't be angry with them due to their ignorance, but I do try to set them straight a little, sometimes this is seen as being arrogant. It is not, it is simply my right to tell them I would rather they not do something I worked hard on putting together myself. It is not for sale, and it is mine and I hope they will respect that.

When myself or others want to keep something for ourselves we are called "unsharing" or "stuck up." It should never ever be taken for granted that because someone is a performer they should automatically share. Sometimes it takes years and years of study and searching to find that unique item you want to perform and that fits in your show with your other effects. Once you do, the last thing you want is for other people to be doing it so you become reclusive when it comes to sharing. I understand this and respect it.

I am not trying to lecture here, but simply trying to give the other side of this coin.

Again, I fully agree, I may contribute to the "JackAss" performance, I can only hope I do more good than harm by inpsiring people to work hard at what they do to get better and do it right. This is my choice, but because others have a different choice does not mean they have an attitude or are wrong, far from it.
Message: Posted by: truthteller (Feb 3, 2005 03:17PM)
It's definately a catch 22. If you don't publish, you get ripped off. If you don't publish, you are considered selfish and arrogant. If you don't publish, every yahoo with an internet account feels its ok to come on to the Café and ask how what they saw was done. Someone is usually only too willing to share YOUR secrets with them. Look at every Derren Brown thread in this place.

Personally, it bothers me when people tell us to "take ourselves less seriously." I, and others, have devoted our lives to pursuing this artform. I think you can see how those who do not take it seriously may not be taken seriously by us. Hence the perceived attitude. Hence this thread.
Message: Posted by: ScottLeavitt (Feb 3, 2005 03:35PM)
Just an interesting observation that the one board on the Magic Café where you do find quite a few "big names" showing up to help folks new to this profession is Penny for your Thoughts....

One reason that some folks are potentially misread is that mentalists, from my somewhat limited observation, appear to be a more intellectual group than general magicians. In listening to Conversations with Mentalists, or reading books by folks like Brad, I'm continuously impressed by how much real/deep thinking goes into what they do, how they do it, etc.. I think in many cases seasoned mentalists don't mean to come across as stand-offish, just how their personas are interpreted (no insult intended)

again, look at which professionals are most active on the Café....

Scott
Message: Posted by: J ack Galloway (Feb 3, 2005 05:24PM)
I can't agree more with Mr.Banachek and Truth Teller.
I have worked hard to keep my stuff mine for over twenty years.

But all of a sudden you find some one has invented?
What you already use and advertise as part of your act.
(As is the case of Kuffs and the Blind Foil exposure)
I used it for over twenty years.

Mr.Banachek is in a unique situation in that people do think they can steal from those who publish.......Asuming their act is up for the taking becouse they know how perfromer X does it. And have no problem with stealing the bits of style that really sell the effect.

And I have no problem with pointing people in the direction of Knowledge.
The problem is most of them don't want to even pay the price of research!

Cheers

Jack
Message: Posted by: TheNightBringer89 (Feb 3, 2005 05:48PM)
Wow, looks like I hit a nerve, never had so many posts in one of my threads before in only 24 hours lol. But I think some people have misunderstood me. If someone is just badgering someone else for secrets then I can understand being a bit rude. But I'm talking about if someone is A. New to the Art or B. Has some friendly differences of opinons or C. Being new has some wrong views on things, I've seen a lot of mentalists act hostile. Whereas most magicians I have known would either agree to disagree, gently correct the the error instead of berating the newcomer, or offer their guidance and help the newcomer grow.
Message: Posted by: truthteller (Feb 3, 2005 06:27PM)
Perhaps specific examples you have encountered would best serve the purposes of discussion.
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Feb 3, 2005 07:45PM)
I can honestly say that both Truthteller and Banachek have been the two main sources for originality in what I do. I thank banachek for some great silverware and impromptu effects and I thank Mr. Henderson/Truthteller for creating an effect that allowed me to see and evaluate work in a new light.

Though I use both the above mentioned MENTALISTS "tricks", my effects are different. It is because I have seen how one individual has taken a mundane effect and made them great!

1. Banachek uses subtleties and psychology to make him look like a g-d.
2. Truthteller creates and weaves a story where the over all effect is the "trick" and not just a move. The effect becomes more of a moment in life and a tale to tell more so then a "MOVE".

Once you see the power in these two performers, when you put their teachings to use, and when you get inspires and do not rip-off then and only then are you a true mentalist, IMHO.

I am in the minority. I believe one has to have a firm hold of magic and theory before becoming a successful mentalist. Perhaps Banachek can correct me, but on his new psi-series he uses some magic moves and theory in his performances. Just look at his coin bending and nail bending.

The concepts of magic and mentalism are different, but without the knowledge of magic basics such as a riffle force, switch, force, misdirection, and magic theory a mentalist wont succeed. OR I MAY BE WRONG! This is the internet and I am far from being the answer, this is merely my point of view.
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Feb 3, 2005 07:46PM)
I have found that virtually everyone I have spoken to in this art has been very pleasant and very willing to offer a helping hand. However, even when I was totally green around the edges I presented my questions with suggestions and accepted the return criticisms and suggestions.

By showing a willingness to accept and learn you often open doors quicker, I think the ability to think for yourself is often perceived by others as an ability to be taught also.

I have had some great email discussions with some of the top names in the business and I am always surprised by the friendliness and attentiveness that they would give to an unknown and a newcomer to the field. Banachek has been inspirational, but never have I asked him how to do something. I will always open with an idea I already have and hope that I may get some helpful suggestions back.

You know what, not one person has ever acted arrogantly or stuck up towards me.
Message: Posted by: bobser (Feb 3, 2005 07:51PM)
This is actually an excellent thread.
I think I'd like to answer it 'this' way;
I am a pro mentalist AND magician. Sometimes the one or the other or sometimes I mix it, especially when an 'impromptu' situation arises for the other.
I thought about the question;'Which is the most difficult ?' long and hard, and, I believe there is simply no definitive answer.
I think it's more about 'who' or 'what' the individual performer 'is' or 'is like'.

Now I think I'm pretty good at what I do (c'mon guys, don't gimme' a hard time!).
I find both mentalism and magic most enjoyable. But if pushed, I'd have to see that the character which is 'me personally' found mentalism an absolute walk in the park compared to learning all the slices/cuts/lifts etc.
And to this day, again for me personally, mentalism is just a pure joy.
Now I admit I'm well practiced, but for what it's worth I beieve I could take a good after dinner speaker or stand-up comic etc and whilst possibly NOT being able to teach them magic, I'd bet serious money that based on their 'people skills' they'd make great mentalists.
Okay, that's it.

Yours aye,
Bobser (The one who knows things... and that)
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Feb 3, 2005 08:14PM)
I have seen some bad mentalism, heck I even was a bad mentalist at one time. It takes character and style to perform mentalism, WELL. Anyone can do mind tricks and Out Of Sight Out Of Mind, but it takes a true Mentalist to see the subtleties of a spoon bend/coin bend and add a show/performance around it.

Perhaps this is where we difer bobser. The speaker or comedian may get the moves, but will he ever excel at mentalism? that's what and who we're talking about. Those who have the knowledge and skill necessary to be mentalists!
Message: Posted by: xersekis (Feb 3, 2005 08:30PM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 20:51, bobser wrote:
snipped

Now I admit I'm well practiced, but for what it's worth I beieve I could take a good after dinner speaker or stand-up comic etc and whilst possibly NOT being able to teach them magic, I'd bet serious money that based on their 'people skills' they'd make great mentalists.
Okay, that's it.

Yours aye,
Bobser (The one who knows things... and that)

[/quote]

and there you hit the nail on the head - it isn't about trick but about people skills.
So sadly most magicians would not be good at it - since most are into the tricks and lack the people skills. A rare combination is a magic with both.

People skills are far harder to come by in reality than all the sleights magis frustrate over. To be able to listen, pay attention, observe, create rapport, know when to stop, change course, think on ones feet is much - MUCH - different than card and coin routines.

Performace skills - people skills - communication skills - do make someone a better mentalist, or hypnotist and would make a magician a better magician - but they need to value that first over and above the tricks, the effects, and the responses. Two different animals.

So I agree with you - based on their people skills they would have a head start - but not necessarily be able to pull it off.
Message: Posted by: MentaThought (Feb 3, 2005 08:31PM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 04:50, RickSilmser wrote:
Personally, I don't hang out with anyone in the business, don't belong to any clubs or groups and don't go to conventions, it was advice given to me by a very wise person.
[/quote]

Hmmmmmmmmm . . . sounds like the kind of advice one of the all-time best in the business -- Kreskin, himself known for the above -- might offer . . .

[quote]
On 2005-02-03 14:21, Banachek wrote:
A good mentalist will not teach you a trick when he is ready to teach, he will teach you a miracle because he understands the subtleties behind each and every gesture so they happen naturally.
[/quote]

Talk about the irony of Banachek -- to my mind, one of the classiest, most helpful guys in the art -- posting in a thread about "stuck-up mentalists"!
I still have to smile when I think of one of Banachek's published writings in which, in the course of revealing one of his most prized effects, he wrote something to the along the lines of, "If I find out anyone is performing this effect wrong I'll simply stop publishing my effects!" When I read that I was struck by the man's impressive level of artistic integrity: he'd actually prefer not to share his work anymore (negatively impacting his own income in the process) than share it, collect the profits and then have to see it performed badly.
And thanks to Banachek, too, for providing me with a new addition for my Café signature:

"A good mentalist will not teach you a trick when he is ready to teach, he will teach you a miracle because he understands the subtleties behind each and every gesture so they happen naturally."
Message: Posted by: bobser (Feb 4, 2005 08:02AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 21:14, Dr_Zodiac wrote:
I have seen some bad mentalism, heck I even was a bad mentalist at one time. It takes character and style to perform mentalism, WELL. Anyone can do mind tricks and out of sight out of mind, but it takes a true Mentalist to see the subtleties of a spoon bend/coin bend and add a show/performance around it.

Perhaps this is where we difer bobser. The speaker or camedian may get the moves, but will he ever excel at mentalism? that's what and who we're talking about. Those who have the knowledge and skill necessary to be mentalists!
[/quote]
Dr Zodiac, you say: It takes character and style to perform mentalism.
I agree. And that's exactly what many (not all) after dinner speakers, captains of industry, actors, comedians and the like possess in abundance.
I sometimes fee that mentalists seem to believe that they personally were born to do mentalism. We are all of us ex plumbers, solicitors butchers, criminals, policemen etc.
The best of us however perform well and posses people skills.

And to Rexstrikes, who wrote:
[quote]"so sadly most magicians would not be good at it".

I simply wouldn't know how to answer someone with such a belief system. It's like saying magicians 'don't have people skills, when they evidently do.
In fact I would love to go on record by saying that magicians make GREAT mentalists.
To take it further, I absolutely KNOW that the vast majority of mentalists I have encountered come from the world of magic... and are still prone to the occasional Elmsley shuffle.
Derren Brown himself earned a living from restaurant 'close-up' magic.
'So I guess he would not be good at it-huh?'

C'mon guys... let it go. We're all magicians, end of story. We simply have slidden into a different genre of the art.

Bobser.
Message: Posted by: kinesis (Feb 4, 2005 08:18AM)
Well I'm too stuck up to reply to this thread.

Er...that was a joke, but you knew that...phew!!...that's okay then.
Message: Posted by: darkseance (Feb 4, 2005 09:30AM)
Ah wee laddy
Message: Posted by: kinesis (Feb 4, 2005 10:32AM)
LOL, why do people think we Scottish speak like William Wallace, Mel Gibson has a lot to answer for.
Message: Posted by: Winnes (Feb 4, 2005 12:02PM)
Wow, did Mel Gibson speak like William Wallace?

"Its a braw bricht moonlit nicht the nicht"
Message: Posted by: xersekis (Feb 4, 2005 12:57PM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-04 09:02, bobser wrote:moves, but will he ever excel at mentalism? that's what and who we're talking about. Those who have the knowledge and skill necessary to be mentalists!
[/quote]
And to , who wrote:
[quote]"so sadly most magicians would not be good at it".

I simply wouldn't know how to answer someone with such a belief system. It's like saying magicians 'don't have people skills, when they evidently do.


Bobser.
[/quote]
I guess bottom line -

have you attended a magic convention or a club meeting ever. The people skills demonstrated by 'most' magicians leave a lot wanting. That isn't to say there aren't 'some' who are good people persons. But as a rule --- find one at a restuarant, performing in the lobby of some other performers gig etc. Sitting in the front row at a convention talking about the performer on stage. I don't need to site tons of examples. BUt MANY magicians aren't into others they are into the tricks and into themselves. Some know when to quit and when to start performing many don't. Many don't know about rapport, ettiquette and turn taking in interactions. BUT certainly not all magicians are inadequate - only some, many perhaps. Too many - and too many are clownish (not picking on clowns) and that is why magicians are thought to be 'pretty bogus' and 'geeky' by a wide variety of people. Thankfully Blaine has come around and got people intrigued again. Most people think of magicians as 'kiddie' entertainers - whether that is primarily true or not. It wasn't toher performers and lay people who damaged the magicians reputation - it was non professional magicians who don't know about social skills, and non professional magicians who performed poorly at some function they probably undercut another performer to get - who helped damage it for all the truly fine magicians.

Magicians have hurt themselves far more than anyone has hurt them.

Many magicians are fine people, with adequate people and performing skills.
But a lot leave a lot wanting.

If a magician really does want to be better they should take a Carnegie course or something that teaches them how to interact. It certainly can't hurt. Anything that makes one better WITH people will make one better performing FOR people.

Thankfully there are courses people can take to become better people persons, and some magical schools to become better performers and some business and marketing programs to ebcome better at the business. This is where most should spend their money - "people, perfromance and prospering through good business practicices".

Do most - NO - why not ---

BTW I don't mean to sound down on magicians - as I rule I am not. I count many as good friends. And as fine people who have ethics, high morale standards and are all around nice.

And many performers - professionals are truly nice. Having spent years and in Hollywood elbow to elbow with major stars and movies and shakers in the film industry I learned this -

most who havemade it and are established are kind and good people. Those on the rise can be most troublesome because they are still attempting to prove it and could loose their foothold any day. Those who failed are generally the most bitter. Now this is not set in stone and there are exceptions to the rule. But frequently you will find this to be the case.

As with performers and people coming up behind them - some may be cautious. everyone realizes that at some point they will be replaced. I think the majority of performers discussed here have been extrememly gracious and generous and helpful when they feel they understand and trust the person asking for help. When motives are understaood they can be very open.

Also most people who have gotten to the top and who are at the top have gotten and continued to get burned ALL THE TIME. People lie to them, use them, abuse them, want everything from them, expect them to behave a certain way, be a certain way, expect them to helpo them as if they owe it to you, surrounded by yes people etc. Caution when at the top is learned by expereince.

Still some are truly remarkable and wonderfully generous people no matter how many times they have been taken advantage of - given the right person making the request, the right circumstances.

Some times people at the top aren't always the best judge of character - because so many others are around them surrounding them on the rise to the top.

So when some one has done well in a corporate or college market, theater market or private there are also sorts of pertinent reasons why they may not be frothcoming with strangers and people who ask for their help.

When friendships start or blossoming mentorhips (a sadly missing [phenomena in our current day and age) then sometimes you get the kitchen sink with everything else.

Undertand where they are coming from - and recognize where you are coming from - and whether they woudl be best offer helping out someone else. So there is actually much to consider.
Message: Posted by: MentaThought (Feb 4, 2005 07:44PM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-04 11:32, kinesis wrote:
LOL, why do people think we Scottish speak like William Wallace, Mel Gibson has a lot to answer for.
[/quote]

As a an admitted *seemingly* 100% "N.Y. Italian" with the surname to prove it (any a youz gotta problem wit dat?) my paternal grandmother was nonetheless a Scot (family name of "MacDonald") making me 1/4 Scottish. I guess that explains why I speak like William Wallace the last 15 minutes of every hour.LOL
Message: Posted by: Muddy (Feb 4, 2005 07:47PM)
I don't see the connection between not wanting to share secrets/methods and being arrogant/stuck up. I know that's probably not what Nightbringer meant, but it seemed to be brought up quite a bit in the responses. Personally I wouldn't draw that conclusion (arrogance) about anyone not wanting to give away a method. Now incessant rambling about how others are inferior and "I am the greatest" ... that's arrogance IMO ... you could probably find a bit of this on the forums if you looked ;) ... but what does it really matter in the end? It doesn't take too much effort to skim over the garbage (when it is found) and pick out the gems.

Are there really any "secrets" that can't be had for the right price, anyway?
Message: Posted by: xersekis (Feb 5, 2005 08:38AM)
"Are there really any "secrets" that can't be had for the right price, anyway?"

perhaps the saddest statement of the day

what ever happened to honor, to trust, to fellowship, to keeping a promise, to integrity, ...
Message: Posted by: bobser (Feb 5, 2005 10:07AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-04 13:57, rex sikes wrote:
have you attended a magic convention or a club meeting ever. The people skills demonstrated by 'most' magicians leave a lot wanting.
[/quote]

I agree, but you might be able to say exactly the same thing with regard mentalists?

[quote]
On 2005-02-04 13:32, ChristopherWallace wrote:
Nope, we assume all Scots speak like Sean Connery.
[/quote]

Chrishtopher, that ish absholute nonshensh, sho, shay you're shorry!

Yoursh aye,
Bobsher
Message: Posted by: magic in mind (Feb 5, 2005 11:13AM)
Well the thing is if everyone kept everything under wraps then all will fall over each others feet. I bought stuff that somebody claimed to have invented, only to find a similar thing in an old rare manuscript ,that they hadnt seen.i do not beleive you should copy anyone,however I don't see anything wrong with you interpreting someones routine. I hope mr banachek doesn't mind but I like doing loco logo,talking about subliminal messages and influence in advertising that's how we end up with the outcome etc.i do create my own routines but get frustrated when I have a little trouble with mechanics and very few want to help.ive spent over 6 months creating a routine and finally got there see my post real time clipboard.i did a derren post but I don't want to be him .i had an effect and needed help and I saw his d.d and thought his mechanics may solve a problem I had.its hard when youve to work all hours god sends and have kids too.i don't have nearly as much time to develope my ideas,so help would be good.like wise id help anyone that has difficulty with something,not just lurking.im pretty sure that somone has taken an idea of mine.i don't care I find it a compliment,i know that theyll never perform it the way I would and so itll never be as good.thanks paul
Message: Posted by: Osiris (Feb 5, 2005 11:25AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 04:47, Steve Dela wrote:
This may be because there are technically (read that again before arguing!...Technically) less moves etc. in mentalism and it would be easier for you to catch up to their level of performance. (they are scared of you taking their work.)

I have a lot of Mental friends that are always willing to help though.
This may be because my main interest is in the Magic side of our proffession.

In Magic
Steve Dela
[/quote]

Sorry, but that's pure BULL STUFF!

Yes, many people in mentalism come off as being a bit aloof and arrogant. Part of this is habit of character and part of it stems from the fact that your more successful people in this field have a much higher degree of education, social-economic status, and too, they've gained their position in the trade after many years of hard work. Simply put, they haven't time for the Johnny-come-lately types that are simply jumping onto the Mentalism/Bizarre bandwagon of current trend. Like any craft, they want to wait until you prove yourself and "earn your chops" before they are going to give you much more than the time of day.

Mentalist are very (overly) protective of their secrets, this is another reason for the sense of "distance" when it comes to meeting some newbie and talking shop.

"Less moves and is easier..." Well, if you think what we do is "easier" you haven't a clue as to what it means to be a Mentalist.

There is always a trade-off and when it comes to what we do, though the technical side may be a bit less "slight" based, the performance demands are a thousand times greater. MENTALISTS AREN'T MAGICIANS DOING TRICKS we are salesmen trying to appeal to our patrons at the psychological level, to invest themselves into a state of belief in what we do. This simple difference is what most in magic fail to see, understand or respect. In the mind of the average magic buff a trick is a trick... in this you find the real wedge that creates the sense of division that exists between the two art forms and those that perform them.

Truth of the matter is, I've come to know more people within the Bizarre & Psychic Entertainment world as close, reliable friend than I ever did in stage magic. Fewer of these people are out to steal my ideas or routines, which is a serious plus in my book. Mentalist/psychic entertainers tend to strive more towards originality, which is another reason why they can present themselves in a distant manner, side-stepping the performance issue. On the other hand, they are willing to work with and guide those that show potential, helping them mold both, their act as well as their character. Catch is, you have to be moldable -- willing to be willing to learn that you don't know it all and in doing Mentalism, there is a completely different mind set.

It was once said that a "Magician" was but an actor playing a part. If that were true most beginner books on magic would tell you to put the dang book down and go to theater class for two years first. In the case of the Mentalist/Bizarrist, theater is the essence to what we do and being an accomplished and confident showman far outweighs the technical aspects of what we do.

When it comes to the technical side however, consider how much more difficult it is to present slight-of-hand (as an example) in a manner that is not showing of our dexterity (as most manipulation acts do) but rather, reveals pure innocense e.g. everything flows in a natural manner and above the air of suspicion. Trust me, it's far more difficult to do a solid pice of billet work than it is to do an acceptable and even impressive version of SPELLBOUND or SCOTCH & SODA.

To rub elbows with those who are accomplished in this craft means only that you must prove yourself. You've got to come across as being much more than someone doing tricks, that's all.

BTW... and for the record. The majority of the Mentalists I've gotten to know over the years, including a few known for having attitude, have proven to be very sincere, sensitive and good hearted people once they get to know and trust you. Guys like Banachek and even Jon Riggs are frequently willing to bend over backwards to help someone that's sincere. So maybe it's not THEIR attitude that needs to be weighed????

Just my two cents worth.
Message: Posted by: PsiDroid (Feb 5, 2005 11:31AM)
"Mentalism is easy to do...badly!" - Max Maven
Message: Posted by: Parson Smith (Apr 2, 2005 11:21PM)
I have done magic AND mentalism.
Sometimes I am nice and sometimes I am not but I am not schizophrenic and neither am I.
Message: Posted by: Reuben Dunn (Apr 3, 2005 01:29AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 15:06, Steve Dela wrote:
[quote] I am yet to find someone that can tell me that it took longer to learn a good billet switch than an invisable second deal.

I do mentalism and Magic and love them both. I realise it is hard to be a good mentalist. but I know that move wise, slight of hand card stuff etc takes longer to learn.[/quote]

Steve, gotta disagree with you there.

Ever try doing Cassidy 4th Dem. Telepathy? The switches involved are a lot more involved than a simple centre tear; of the routines that he's done, involving billets, this one for me at any rate is the most difficult one to get. Technically and professionaly.

Mentalism IMO, is a tad harder than "magic" with cards on so many levels, not the least of which is in presentation.

A friend of mine at the Coventry Magic Circle is a children's performer. He's good at it, excellent in fact. He's got the personality to get on well with the little ones. He's also a rather good close up performer; cards and rubber band magic are his area. He's good.

However, when it comes to doing "mentalism", frankly he leaves a lot to be desired. The reason? His approach. "Look at me do this trick". He may do a rather good effect involving forced choices, he might even be able to bend metal, or do a card prediction that uses the Stubbins move, but in carring this over to the arena of mind-magic, rather than pure magic; "Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat." he leaves a lot to be desired.

There are differnt levels of skill and ability required. One can get Cassidy's billet handeling or an Acidus move down in 15 minutes, but need to spend 15 weeks in building up a persona from which to use those moves.

"Pick a card, any card" only requires my ability to do the effect correctly without showing the lift in a bad angle.

IMO.

[quote]
On 2005-02-03 15:16, snushy wrote:

In addition, it's not like I was vetted before I bougtht your stuff. I didn't have to prove myself or pass any tests. You made your material available to all and sundry. The fact that it is of the highest quality is for the discerning performer to decide, but if some jackass makes a fool of himself performing something he learned off of your DVD, aren't you partially to blame? Haven't you contributed to the whole problem of the great secrets of our art being readily and easily available?
[/quote]

I wonder why o why the same concern about vetting, and letting some jackass perform something off of a Banacheck/Cassidy/Earle/Maven/Osterlund/Choose your own performer, DVD isn't carried over into the other areas of the magi arena?

Anyone can get a DVD on how to finger flick or work a sponge bunny. Anyone can fork out some good money for a floating zombie. Anyone can spend money a Harlan DVD and drive people to distraction with rubber band manipulation, and do it wrong.

So why does it seem that this secretive attitude carried over to other areas of magic?

I sometimes think that the mentalist arena can be a bit too smug about what we do; more protective, overly so it seems, about keeping out the poor trash and keeping our billet/nail writing/spoon-fork bending a "secret".

I can show my son how to bend a spoon. I have. He's rather good at it. But that's only the tip of the iceburg. Presentation/self belief is something that he's going to have learn and develop. These two skills are hardest to teach/learn.

The fact that he's seen my set of Maven DVDs, or, horror of horrors, read my copy of "Pre-Show Thoughts" doesn't mean he's going to be great mentalist, any more than the fact that he's read my 1977 copy of the Mark Wilson Course in Magic, or The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, will make him a brillient/adaquate close-up/stage magician.

By the way, how would you go about "vetting" someone anyway, given the abundance of magic books, mentalism included, available on the bookshelfs of most public libraries, book stores, and of course Toys "r" Us?

I think sometimes it's too easy to take this "art" way too seriously. We're not talking about developing a cure for cancer, or a fat free Big Mac after all.
Message: Posted by: irishguy (Apr 3, 2005 03:46AM)
[quote]
On 2005-04-03 03:29, mindguy wrote:

Ever try doing Cassidy 4th Dem. Telepathy? The switches involved are a lot more involved than a simple centre tear; of the routines that he's done, involving billets, this one for me at any rate is the most difficult one to get. Technically and professionaly.

Mentalism IMO, is a tad harder than "magic" with cards on so many levels, not the least of which is in presentation.[/quote]

OK...this is just my opinion.

Card work is seen as "magic"...wherein people go out of their way to try and "catch" you doing something sneaky. Mentalist rarely bill themselves as magicians and therefore audiences aren't looking for sleight of hand.

In this thread many people have remarked that "magic" is easier, that it doesn't require personality. Horse&!@#. Look at Eddie Fechter. His routines aren't too difficult, but his personality made the routines memorable. Someone else performing them would be less than impressive. Many magicians perform the work of David Williamson and Paul Harris...but it is highly unlikely that they do it as well as those two men.

Mentalism is a form of magic. ALL magic (to be done well) requires personality and practice. To think that one is somehow superior to the other is just being self-serving. All branches of the "magic" tree require years of dedicated study and practice.

OK...I will step off my soapbox now :)
Message: Posted by: espmagic (Jun 12, 2005 02:17AM)
Ok, here's a thought: perhaps mentalism and magic are just as "hard" when compared side to side...after all, you could do a three card monte effect with a mentalsim performance, and the card-flingers would say that it is (either) more or less difficult...

I think the reason that mentalists come across the way we do has to do with the audience! Really, no one in our society really believes in magic anymore...and even in church, where magic was once the power that did "everything", it is now often referred to as "devil's work". So the card-trick-coin-vanishing-sponge-bunny-carrying fellow in the stuffed-pocket-suit is recognized by his (or her) audience as not being real.

The same cannot be said for mentalists, even if they are dressed as bozo-wigged clowns with red noses. What we do is looked upon as something that your average spectator wants to believe is real, because they cannot believe that "magic" is real anymore. Look at the popularity of the Harry Potter series, both in print and on film/video. The magic that is portrayed is not trickery, but real wizardry. Now, if your local restaurant table-hopper could do that, it might be thought of as being slightly different than what is normally seen over the dinner table (regardless of how good the performer really is).

But the local fortune-teller or the local mind reader is often thought to be real, even if they are the new-to-the-art-eighteen-year-old-who-couldn't-possibly-be-real, because our audience wants to believe that mindreading is possible, that bending a fork into a twisted mass is more than a special effect in a movie, and that predicting the events of your customer's night will have an effect upon them that any magic trick simply cannot duplicate.

When I do a simple mind reading effect, I am often asked if I tell fortunes, or tell their future. When I do a card trick (and do it well!) I am often asked if I play poker. What does that tell you?

Since my opinion is that mentalism is thought of as "real" magic, you can see why those in the art would be hesitant to give away "the real work", or why they might come across as more reserved(!) than the average magician, who might be a clown, a waiter, or any other person who part-times himself into believing that he is a magician - and I say that because every full-time professional magician I have ever met would sit and share...people in the Blaine/Copperfield league. After all, just look at our group here! Osterlind, Banachek, and a very long list of those who are pro's, giving of their time and thoughts, just to see that our *art* continues on...

Food for thought?

Lee
Message: Posted by: hkwiles (Jun 12, 2005 03:55AM)
Kinesis,

Thank God you Scots don't all speak like Sir Alex and Lorraine Kelly.....my worst nightmare..being stuck in a lift with those two..the most unintelligible creatures on Earth.

Howard ..and No ! all Yorkshiremen don't say "Eeeh By Gum Lad"
Message: Posted by: robsevin (Jun 13, 2005 11:41AM)
Let’s pretend for a moment that this forum is not the “Magic Café” but rather the “Software Design Café” and that this thread is not “Stuck up Mentalists” but rather “Stuck up Entrepreneurs”.

Using the scenario I just present let me make a few comments:

1. A successful (established) software design entrepreneur would never share “trade secrets” with anyone, much less an up and coming entrepreneur in the same industry. To do so would be business suicide.

2. If a successful software design entrepreneur decided to share some of his “trade secrets” with other software design entrepreneurs through books, lectures or videos in an effort to make additional income then good for them. Capitalism at work! A smart entrepreneur knows the importance of multiple revenue streams. A smart entrepreneur also knows that there is risk involved with this type of venture. It is possible that someone could buy these secrets and become the next “Successful Software Design Entrepreneur” which could ultimately impact the profitability of their business. The smart entrepreneur also realizes that this information will now be available to the public at large but gives little or no consideration to this as most won’t know what it is or do anything with the “trade secrets” once they get them.

3. At the annual “Software Design Entrepreneur Convention” in Las Vegas, the most successful “Software Design Entrepreneurs” attend to lecture, give demonstrations and perhaps even to sell some of their products to entrepreneurs of all levels. When approached by “Up and Coming Software Design Entrepreneurs" they should be (but are not required to be) polite but that is it! They are not required (nor should they be) to make small talk, to go into further discussion on topics they may have discussed earlier or even “hang out” with others in the industry.

Since Truth Teller has posted his thoughts and comments on this subject let me use an actual example involving him. I was introduced to Truth Teller at a convention by someone who is well respected in this industry. We exchanged greetings, shook hands and parted ways. I didn’t expect anything else. This is not to say that he wouldn’t have answered my questions, gave me suggestions or continued in conversation with me but I didn’t expect him too. You see, he is an established, successful mentalist and I’m up and coming. I clearly recognize this fact and Mentalism would be much better off if others did as well!

Rob Sevin
Message: Posted by: Eddini_81976 (Jun 15, 2005 09:37PM)
Actually (No offense to you Escape Artists, I love you guys and escapes), but to me just as a observation, I've seen more bickering on the Escape Artist board here. I know that's different from what you're saying. Myself, I just try to find common ground, and I try to get along with everyone. Ocassionally, my Temper and Thin-Skin gets the best of me but I try to be kind to people. I'm sorry though you've experienced ANY RUDENESS from anybody much less a fellow performer. Your Pal, Ed, (Eddini).
Message: Posted by: CSMTREE (Jun 16, 2005 11:14AM)
I have found in meeting many, many Magicians and Mentalist (some well known and some not so well known) that the best ones (skilled) are the nicest. You don't have to reveal secrets and methods to be a good person and treat people with dignity and respect. I've been a Soldier for over 24 years and have served in harm's way on several occasions and I say this only to illustrate a point. You don't know me or who I am and how dare you look down your nose at me because you can do a pass or have been on a TV program or whatever. Most of the Magicians/Mentalist you'll meet that are worth their salt and are great human beings and very helpful. They won't share their secrets with you nor should they. But people respect talent and want to meet "Famous" Magicians and talk to them. Our business has a fan base like any other art and we should treat them with respect.
Message: Posted by: Drewmcadam (Jun 16, 2005 05:26PM)
Well said CSM!

I've met loads’a top mentalists (for those of you who know about that Sark lark in the Channel Islands, you’ll know what I’m talking about!) And without exception, they have been wonderful, warm people whose hospitality knows no bounds. I’ve been invited into their homes, and treated with the greatest respect, love and hospitality – and I include in there Uri Geller and Marc Salem, Ian Rowland, Banachek, etc. etc. each and every one of them is a superb fellow human being.

The only trouble I’ve had is with the Internet Experts who make others feel small to make themselves feel big.

Booooo to them, I say!

Best wishes,

Drew McAdam

(Mind you, when I’m a top draw I’m going to be a petty, snivelling little rat who dismisses all of you with a haughty shake of my head. So look out!)
Message: Posted by: Dark Thought 13 (Jun 19, 2005 05:05AM)
It is a two way thing, Top professionals must realize that many of the new students look up to them and are the creative forces behind their new found career / hobby. but equally the inspired must realize that not all is up for sale, published on a DVD or in a book.

Ethics is the biggest flaw in our profession, I would dearly love to do some of the routines that I see many of the top guys doing but ethically I will not, I used to fall into a trap of being the guy that knew it all, so when I was down the club I always want to be the guy who knew how Kreskin did this or that. This was inexperience on my part.

50% of my act is created by myself, this has really made me appreciate my efforts, time, practise and determinaton to cherish the work I put in.

Many new guys by a trick and that's it, $20 I paid my dues so I have the right to do what I like with it, however $20 is nothing, the trick is nothing, the method is nothing, what you do with it, the respect you give it is everything. Whenever I buy something new or learn a new effect which I will use I treat it like it was my own idea, once I have fitted it to my act it just seems to be part of my work, seemlessly fitting in to it's new home.

I am gratful that I am able to learn from some of the top guys but equally I respect their personal works, so in to conclude my ramble..

We are all in this together, a unique group of individuals who will spend five hours folding a piece of paper up and then tearing it, flicking through books for good words, staring gormless into a mirror as we unfold a piece of paper in our pockets and constantly thank our audiences for being so great as we shave in the bathroom.

Respect those who put you were you are.. respect those who share.. respect the method.. the thought.. the time.. the skill.. but most of all respect the art...

Halelulah Praise The Lord..

Thanks for being such a great audience.....

Now wheres my razor?

DT13
Message: Posted by: Waters (Jun 20, 2005 12:00PM)
Drew, I can't wait. I would be honored to be "snubbed" by you. Headshake away!!!!!! :). I agree CSMTREE. I have had coffee with Banachek after one of his shows at a small college several hours from where I live. He could not have been more ingratiating. He was kind, charming, and it was a great experience. After I discussed a few topics, he immediately asked me if there was something he could help me with, or if I had any questions about HIS MATERIAL. He was a true gentleman. Let's face it, some people will be hospitable others will be harsh. And please do not hear me say that if someone doesn't share his methods he is not hospitable. A true friend helps another find "their" way. I have also had the pleasure to get to know Charles Pecor (Mentalist,Magician). He too has been extrememly kind and helpful. On both occasions, I had to demonstrate that I knew something of the matter (at least speak with some knowledge of the subject), but both were helpful and kind. The first was a pleasant moment, the latter has continued to be a growing friendship between seasoned performer (not to mention, knowledgeable), and a 33 year old fledgling (I have been peforming at different capacities since 92). In other words, we should appreciate those who are gracious to us, and to those who not not so inclined... do not let it bother us. We are not entitled to anything, but from those who have shared their knowledge -we have received a kind and wonderful gift. If we all treated each other's ideas with respect (i.e. don't steal) then we wouldn't have to discuss these issues, however business is a harsh reality and brilliant performance pieces are stolen everyday. But if you merely steal, and don't think for yourself, you are merely finger painting the Mona Lisa.... smear away!!!!!!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: hkwiles (Jun 20, 2005 12:44PM)
And go and read "How to Win Friends and Influence People"...still one of the best books around, by Mr. Carnegie of course.

Howard
Message: Posted by: Cameron Francis (Jun 20, 2005 03:45PM)
I've read a couple of posts where people seem to defend those who would snub because they're afraid wanna-bes will steal their secrets and why should professionals talk to a greedy consumer who just wants to learn secrets and has no love of the art? Let me ask you something, if you meet someone, don't you have a good idea within two minutes of talking to that person of how serious they are about what they do?

I think Maven's infamous comment regarding giving amateurs the time of day is pretty awful. Then again, I've only read it out of context so I don't really know all of what he said.

Today's novice is tomorrow's pro. And it isn't too hard to judge who is passionate and who is not.
Message: Posted by: Drewmcadam (Jun 20, 2005 04:29PM)
Magic H2os,

You're right, isn't Banachek just one of the most lovely people you could hope to meet? (And so is Heidi, his wife.) And while we're on the subject - brought up by Howard – How To Make friends and Influence People. One of the many things I learned from that book was to take the time and write if somebody has given you good service. It takes only a little time, but can really make their day – week, or month.

I’ll try to keep this short, but last year I played a hotel in Dundee. The event organiser for the hotel who was looking after me made my life so easy. Everything was in place – the PA , the rise – everything. And when I asked that the lights might be pointed more towards the stage area, it was instantly done – along with a goodly supply of hotel cutlery.

I wrote to the manager, pointing out her professionalism.

A couple of weeks later, a friend of mine phoned to ask if I could attend his 50th birthday bash. It was to take place in the same hotel, and as his cousin was the financial director of the place, he though he could get my wife and I preferential rates.

He phoned back a few minutes later demanding to know what was going on. His cousin, on hearing my name, offered my wife and I a top room – at no charge! It later transpired that my letter was pinned up on the wall behind him when mu friend called!

On two other occasions I’ve been re-booked (for oil company executives – simply because they had heard that I had written to the hotel praising the staff after the first event.

Actually, now that I’m thinking here, I could go on to offer numerous examples.

Now, I’m off to read Mr Carnagie’s book again. I recommend you do the same!

Best wishes,

Drew
Message: Posted by: hkwiles (Jun 20, 2005 04:55PM)
Yes Drew..I bought the book shortly after making the decision to get into Sales(electronics) rather than the design engineering side. Wanted more involvement with people. I can honestly say one of the best investments I ever made. So much so that as I enter the last month of my working life I have lent it to some of the younger ones and hope they can get as much benefit from its lessons as I did. Of course most of it is just common sense... the little things we forget about in todays World.

Oh! and your book is on its way...hope I get as much benefit out of it for my next sixty years!!

Howard
Message: Posted by: Waters (Jun 20, 2005 05:07PM)
Great point Drew. Isn't that a great thing to do, Imagine all of the appreciated people(and clients)walking around with a smile. Appreciating others is a way of life. Do we "see" people and acknowledge them. If you do, I guarantee that this is coming through in your performances. This idea also extends to other performers... Appreciate people, and appreciate the art. Respect others, respect the art.

Cfrancis: I think you're right. Students should respect the knowledge of the teacher, and the teacher can likewise be motivated by a younger person's drive (who takes the art seriously). I appreciate your point... it is OK to distinguish a devout student, from a mental magic dabbler. One will value the ideas, performance, and methods of another. The other will consume "borrowed" ideas only to search for the next shiny pearl. Isn't is great to see someone excited about the "art". Those who study, actually read, practice, and share with others the mysteries they have discovered (I mean to the audience, as well as another performer). I value each persons thoughts. Let us dream of a perfect effect together (whatever that is). Though I do not oft post, I watch and listen to you all. Great ideas, thanks for sharing. It is a great time to be a performer of mentalism, etc. There are volumous resources for those who will look past the latest DVD. Their is also a great progression, if not evolution of ideas concerning mentalism. As we each refine our thoughts (collective), these methods, effects, presentations become pure... uncompromising, It is a beautiful thing. I think most of these concerns will be self-ironing (read:wrinkle-free). If we respect the art, those accomplished in it will do the same to us.
Message: Posted by: Cameron Francis (Jun 20, 2005 06:58PM)
Amen to that.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 21, 2005 12:47AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 04:47, Steve Dela wrote:
This may be because there are technically (read that again before arguing!...Technically) less moves etc. in mentalism and it would be easier for you to catch up to their level of performance. (They are scared of you taking their work).

I have a lot of Mental friends that are always willing to help though.
This may be because my main interest is in the Magic side of our profession.

In Magic
Steve Dela
[/quote]
I disagree with this completely. A mentalist's technique MUST be completely perfect. It must be completely natural. There MUST BE NO HINT that any move of any kind has taken place. Punx could do one-handed shuffles with each hand, without looking at the cards, but he never did it in public, because it made him look like a manipulator. His b****t s***c was so clean that you had no idea it had even taken place. And that's the essence of the whole thing.


Posted: Jun 21, 2005 2:00am
--------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2005-06-20 16:45, cfrancis wrote:
I've read a couple of posts where people seem to defend those who would snub because they're afraid wanna-bes will steal their secrets and why should professionals talk to a greedy consumer who just wants to learn secrets and has no love of the art? Let me ask you something, if you meet someone, don't you have a good idea within two minutes of talking to that person of how serious they are about what they do?

I think Maven's infamous comment regarding giving amateurs the time of day is pretty awful. Then again, I've only read it out of context so I don't really know all of what he said.

Today's novice is tomorrow's pro. And it isn't too hard to judge who is passionate and who is not.
[/quote]
Some of my closest friends are mentalists. They are like any other group of performers. Some are neurotic about their abilities, some are very warm and sharing, others look at this list as the most terrifying thing in cyberspace, because so much is laid out in the open for all and sundry to see.

But there are people who try to tear mentalists down. Look at what Milbourne Christopher and Randi tried to do to Geller. And look at all the amateur magicians who tried to do the same thing to him, and to Kreskin and almost any other famous mentalist you can name. No wonder some of them are wary.

Now, you say that today's novice is tomorrow's pro. That's really a stretch. Today's pro was yesterday's novice, but so were about 100 or so real duds of mentalists. It takes a very special person to make the cut.

All that any of us want you to do is to show us that you are sincere. Once you can convince us of that, then doors will open for you. But you won't get that by being arrogant or hostile. If you are nice to other people, they will be nice to you.

It's that simple.


Posted: Jun 21, 2005 3:04am
----------------------------------------------
I have been giving this topic a lot of thought during the past couple of hours. I think a comparison to other art forms might be in order. Let's take, as an example, the banjo. I earned the bulk of my living playing the banjo for about a decade. When I learned to play the instrument, there were very few books available and teachers were not plentiful in my part of the country, so my knowledge was acquired primarily through listening to recordings and imitating them. My main interest was bluegrass -- Scruggs style.

A musical group called the Stoneman Family came into town and spent a couple of years working the folk circuit in the area. One of them, Roni Stoneman, was one of the few female banjo players in the country. I watched her play a lot -- my group worked some of the same clubs they did. I never approached them for lessons, though. I just kind of hung with them. One day, Roni told me that she was not the real banjo player of the group. It was her brother Scotty who was the real master of the instrument. She added that she only knew two licks. I told her that I realized that, and I played them for her. She let Scotty know that, and Scotty wound up giving me a two-hour banjo lesson. His reasoning, "You are serious about this. You have shown me that you will learn it. I'm going to save you a couple of years of hard work."

Why did these people do this? Well, for one, I was not a threat to them. For another, when I hung with them, I was the "kid," so I was also the "gopher." I would "gopher coffee" and "gopher donuts" -- things like that. So by being a nice guy around them, I got everything that they could offer me.

Magicians and mentalists are the same way. If you are nice to them, they will be nice right back. But don't come on to them like the world's expert on something they already do better than you do. You will be disappointed. And for Pete's sake, don't discuss techniques in front of the laymen.

I have had jerks come up to me after the show and ask me what kind of harness I used on my broom suspension. In front of LAYMEN!!!! And these were supposedly pro's.

So just use your head, and be polite.
Message: Posted by: Drewmcadam (Jun 21, 2005 05:00AM)
All good points, Bill, but Oooh-oooh - can we do banjo jokes, can we? Can we?
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Jun 21, 2005 08:38PM)
No Banjo Jokes!!!!

They are easy pickins.


Uh oh! ;)

I own a five sting Bacon, I'm entitled.

Cheers,

Tom
Message: Posted by: Richard Osterlind (Jun 23, 2005 08:29AM)
Bill,

Great post. I especially liked what you said about magicians trying to take down Geller, Kreskin, etc. And what about so many magician's reactions to the Blaine specials?

I do my best to try to be as kind and generous to anyone who asks any questions, but I do have a few points that really "rile" me. (Kentucky jargon!)

One: when a newcomer shows no respect for the history of the art or what came before. Examples are putting down the one-ahead principle, billets, etc.

Two: Those who try to show their "insideness" by calling Max - "Phil", Banachek - "Steve" or Marc - "Moshe".

Three: Those who who think they are being so smart by continuously coming up with the same old, tired questions such as, "If you were a real mindreader, why would you have someone write anything down?"

Four: Newcomers who think that since they are into mentalism, any pro is obligated to give them any secrets they ask for.

Five: Amateurs who haven't the slightest idea of where the pros have been, what they have done or how many years were spent doing it.


There are many more, of course, but I don't want to ruin my "nice guy" image! :)

Richard
Message: Posted by: Ken Dyne (Jun 23, 2005 08:41AM)
Richard and all...

I noticed that you began many of your points with "newcomers" and "amateurs", in my head those things annoy me too even when fellow pros do it. I think its down to respect. Respecting the art and the people who make the art what it is. I don't think anyone has the right to call people by there "real" name when they clearly have a performing professional name, noone has any "right" to know any secrets about anyone, if you create something and it fools everyone you CAN keep it to yoruself, even from the pros.

don't know if you agree?

Just my two quid ;)

...i don't know if I have a nice guy image to spoil ;)...

Best,
Kennedy
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Jun 23, 2005 08:44AM)
Richard, I think you've just come up with the 5 Commandments of things done wrong in mentalism... would someone care to add another five or is that enough?

Oh, and I couldn't agree more with your five... as I'm sure Phil, Steve and Moshe would also concur. :rotf:

Greg
Message: Posted by: Ken Dyne (Jun 23, 2005 08:48AM)
6 - "thou shalt not grow a goatie beard"
Message: Posted by: Steve Dela (Jun 23, 2005 09:16AM)
--------------------------
On 2005-02-03 04:47, Steve Dela wrote:
This may be because there are technically (read that again before arguing!...Technically) less moves etc. in mentalism and it would be easier for you to catch up to their level of performance. (They are scared of you taking their work).

I have a lot of Mental friends that are always willing to help though.
This may be because my main interest is in the Magic side of our profession.

In Magic
Steve Dela
[/quote]
I disagree with this completely. A mentalist's technique MUST be completely perfect. It must be completely natural. There MUST BE NO HINT that any move of any kind has taken place. Punx could do one-handed shuffles with each hand, without looking at the cards, but he never did it in public, because it made him look like a manipulator. His b****t s***c was so clean that you had no idea it had even taken place. And that's the essence of the whole thing.

------------------------------------------------------

Bill I hate to say this, esspecially to you, but please re read my post, you have interpreted it completely wrong!
Not once do I mention that a mentalists moves should not be perfect!
I simply stated a bare fact that no one could argue with, there are technically less slight of hand moves in mentalism.

Seriously you have picked up on points I have not made!

I also agree with everything Mr Osterlind :) has said!
Also I have my own mentalism effects, I could release a book...but I am thinking why should I? I am not desperate for money and I have decided I do not want to share my secrets untill I have used them, seems more proffessional that way.

In Magic
Steve Dela
Message: Posted by: Drewmcadam (Jun 23, 2005 09:47AM)
Real names or stage names – and how to refer to them. I know what you’re saying, Richard, and I’ve got to agree. On a related matter, it does cause me embarrassment. When I meet the performer, and have got to know them well enough, I always ask what name they would like me to refer to them by. Invariably the answer is “either”. I always find it confusing when I’m referring to them by one name and their wife is referring to them by another!

(I’m not just talking about mentalists here, but as a reviewer I get the chance to interview and accompany everybody from Alice Cooper (Vincent) to Elton John (Reg). Confused? Me too!

Best wishes,

Drew (AKA kilty short-*ss) – and, no, “Drew” will do fine, in case you’re wondering.
Message: Posted by: Waters (Jun 23, 2005 10:09AM)
Well.. I certainly agree that people try to "name-drop" performers real names, but it does get a bit confusing. When you know that someone uses a "stage name" or "pen name" it feels a bit odd to refer to someone other than their real (whatever that means) name. I certainly believe that someone has the right to be called whatever they please. But when their "other" name is common knowledge it gets a bit sticky. You don't want to offend or to presume. No offense to you dual named genuises (seriously!!!). Thanks Drew, if that is your real name :)
Message: Posted by: mormonyoyoman (Jun 24, 2005 11:20AM)
Having had some of my fellow students (from the early 1970s) continue in the performing arts or in writing, it was inevitable that some of them would hit it...if not "big," then "fairly big." And I got in the habit of asking if they'd rather I call them by their old midwestern name or their newer professional name. (Aside: Only two changed their names, and I rarely can remember those.) I also received the answer of "either."

So naturally, I started calling them "Either."

And I've found that I've been guilty of almost all five of the Osterlind Commandments of Mentalism and Magic. It hardly matters that I intended such behavior as humour, since each attempt fell flat. We'll try to avoid such behavior in the future. (I will also try to avoid such behavior in the past, but that's rather difficult.)

*jeep!
--Chet
Message: Posted by: Jay Are (Jun 25, 2005 08:30AM)
I think that the "eager newcomer" exists in both magic and mentalism. It is important to "cut your teeth" onsome of the classics, and pay your dues, not only in our proffesion but many others as well. In this age of the "instant magician" we have to deal with these types of people more frequently. Everyone with a computer, a credit card, and a generally good albeit fleeting interest in magic can become an "ellusionist". Times in our art are changing, so it is more important then ever that we safegaurd our secrets for those who share a true love for what we do.

Just my two sense...