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Topic: Deep questions...thoughts on mentalism
Message: Posted by: JoaoPedro (Feb 3, 2005 05:27AM)
The more I study and practice mentalism, the more I get unsatisfied and a little frustrated... Making a global analysis of all the methods we use to create "mental" effects I realized there are few or none absolutely impromptu. And when I say absolutely impromptu I mean using nothing more than you (without any props, gadgets or gimmicks) and the spectator.
I think that if we claim we have psychic powers such as telepathy, mindreading, telekinesis, whatsoever, people will ask for real mind reading situations, real things using only your mind and their thought.
I've been working hard on this subject, always trying to improve, discover and create some method to achieve this. In fact I truly believe that the essence of mentalism lies in the quest for a completely impromptu effect - an effect where you need nothing more than yourself and a "victim". You see what I mean?
So... after all this speech, I want to ask you 2 simple questions:

1. What do you think about this? Do you think it's relevant? Are you willing to spend the rest of your lives carrying a swami or a marked deck?

2. What is the effect or the methods you use to better accomplish this "perfect" scenario?

So far I think that the closest methods I have to achieve this is using NLP and Suggestion. The only way I see to "genuinely" read a thought it forcing it beforehand.

I know I've a lot more to study and to learn and I'm sure you guys have different opinions and methods on the subject. That's just what I'd like to hear from you!
I wanna expand my knowledge and be open towards new methods of achieving the "perfect" scenario - me and the spectator, nothing more than that!
Message: Posted by: tmoca (Feb 3, 2005 05:45AM)
Nice topic. But I have one question, you say no props, does that mean you can't grab a pen and bar napkin to write down something? Like a prediction?

I do "kind of" disagree with you that there aren't any totally impromptu effects out there. "Self working Mental Magic" and the "Encyclopedia of Impromptu" have a few. They may not be 100% but they are there.

Here are a few off the top of my head

Contact Mind Reading or Muscle reading
The old 37/35 trick
A psychological force of a card or any object for that matter
Any time you can peek/or over hear information, you can have a totally impromptu miracle.
Message: Posted by: Ken Dyne (Feb 3, 2005 06:29AM)
PK Touches, PK Time, suggestability tests, PK silverware

However I would like to add my true thoughts on this. I do not think it matters at all whether it is impromptu, or natural looking. What I do all appears logical and may very well appear impromtu, like I just thought about doing it there and then.

The effects we create are only magic and impossible in the minds of the spectator, it is for him you perform and are employed. Therefore if you appear impromtu to him then in my eyes you are successful.

For me, the major difference between mentalism and magic is the logic. Im mentalism you have logical motivation for much of what you do. In magic this is not so much the case. I realise this is a mass generalisation, but it lallows me to sleep at night.

This argument really depends on the definition of impromtu. Into all of jackets I have tpits and magnets sewn. So for me any effect requiring use of these devices is impromtu, io can do it anywhere and at any time. In addition to this there is always a deck cards, a NW, a stack of business cards and a pen in every jacket. So I have a show of about two hours on me at any one time. Does this count as impromptu?

By this I mean, even if I am down the pub with my mates there is a two hour set ready to go, should anyone ask to see anything. I think, if you put your mind to it then you are able to make impromtu exactly the same as planned...with the correct planning ;)

To my sectators I was in the pub one night and someone asked me to do some cool stuff and I did. All appears impromptu.

Best,
Kennedy
Message: Posted by: hemisphere (Feb 3, 2005 07:04AM)
Other thoughts on your questions:

>>1. What do you think about this? Do you think it's relevant? Are you willing to spend the rest of your lives carrying a swami or a marked deck?

One persective: Perhaps mentalism's seeming lack of ease of use in impromptu situations doesn't matter. A violist wouldn't say he has seleced a poor instrument because he can't perform anywhere at anytime. Perhaps mentalism is best kept for the stage or formal presentations, as an art rather than as a skill we can put on display at a moment's notice.

>>2. What is the effect or the methods you use to better accomplish this "perfect" scenario?
That said, I think a lot of performers have 2 or 3 effects they can do anywhere. (Lots of closeup magicians make a decent living performing 10-15 routines really well). I've had luck with center tears, instant stooges, equivoque and non-gimmicked card effects. A good classic force with convincing acting can melt minds.
Message: Posted by: Andrewdavidson12 (Feb 3, 2005 07:05AM)
Derren Brown's "Pure Effect" is worth reading on this point. He makes the distinction between "visible compromise" (ie where the spectator can see a compromise in terms of pure mentalism) and "invisible compromise" where the audience see no compromise but the compromise is there (e.g. pre-show work).

I would agree with Kennedy that it makes no difference what the reality is as long as the audience see little in the way of props.

A
Message: Posted by: J ack Galloway (Feb 3, 2005 08:00AM)
The way I see it a world class swimmer does something I cannot.
But when I see them at a social event I don't say how about we go out back
and you can give me a demonstration of your abilities in the pond.

You should not give a way what is of value.
Let the value of magicians in the publics eye be a warning I think.

Cheers

Jack
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Feb 3, 2005 09:03AM)
Impromptu is not a set of methods but a way of thinking. Just be aware of your surroundings and wait for the right opportunity. If you know your cards, your billets, muscle reading, etc... you will be able to create miracles.

Sometimes is as simple as overheard a conversation and be able to repeat it at the right moment.

But remember that the deception must go only one way. Deceive the other, never yourself. You can’t read minds, but you can make them think you do. Not because you are superior or smarter, or you have anything to probe, but because by deceiving them you will provide wonder, excitement and inspiration.
Message: Posted by: Juan D (Feb 3, 2005 11:13AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 06:27, JoaoPedro wrote:
The more I study and practice mentalism, the more I get unsatisfied and a little frustrated... Making a global analysis of all the methods we use to create "mental" effects I realized there are few or none absolutely impromptu. And when I say absolutely impromptu I mean using nothing more than you
[/quote]
Carrying a gimmick forever? No way!
Methods with nothing more than you? Well not an exact one, but something better, Something that cannot be learnt from a book, get enough practice from, nor obtain from a gimmick : Experience with people.
Message: Posted by: JoaoPedro (Feb 3, 2005 11:15AM)
Thanks for all your comments. Keep posting!
I agree that I can make a whole act apparently impromptu, using nothing but a pack of cards, a pen and some business cards. But I tend to explore the extreme situation in which I have nothing with me: only my mind! There are some effects I perform that almost fit - a psychological force using NLP and suggestion techniques. I'm able to successfully force a card or an object. Sometimes even a word or a letter. Subconciously they get the message and then I just have to "read" their thought...That truly amazes people and gets me closer of what I'm looking for. When I do mentalism with cards, using the classic force or whatever, people do believe I have some sort of mind powers but they're not tottaly convinced! Sometimes they ask me if I'm able to do that without cards. Then I answer like "Mentalism is a very complex thing. First we must start in a small universe of 52 choices...then we proceed to bigger goals...I'm just trying to know your mind a little better...I'm getting used to it and to your capabilities of transmittting me a thought." Something like this.. and people really buy it because of the atmosphere I've created but even that way...I'm still unsatisfied.
PK touches and PK subordinates work very well and that gets closer to what I want to achieve. Any more methods or effects you know?
I'd like to hear more comments...
Message: Posted by: J ack Galloway (Feb 3, 2005 02:57PM)
Perfrom improptu, and devalue your product. I know you guys don't like it but it is the truth and ignoring it does not make it so.

Leave party tricks to the magic boys!

Cheers

Jack
Message: Posted by: RickSilmser (Feb 3, 2005 06:14PM)
Except for close up magic in my home for family and friends...I never, ever, ever, do anything for anyone at their request when I'm "off duty" meaning not doing a presentation. I just don't believe in it. I have some very polite "outs" as well so the person is not let down.

~Rick~
Message: Posted by: bobser (Feb 3, 2005 07:23PM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 06:27, JoaoPedro wrote:

"I think that if we claim we have psychic powers such as telepathy, mindreading, telekinesis, whatsoever, people will ask for real mind reading situations, real things using only your mind and their thought."
[/quote]
Unfortunately we can't do that. That's why we use tricks. (The word mentalist has been totally constructed... by US!) And believe me, you'll never be asked for 'a real mind reading situation'. Not if you're doing your job correctly, which is to appear as if you ARE doing a real mind reading situation.

[quote]
I truly believe that the essence of mentalism lies in the quest for a completely impromptu effect - an effect where you need nothing more than yourself and a "victim". You see what I mean?
[/quote]
Yes, but that's only your opinion. To be honest I don't think you could come up with one single argument to state 'why' you think that should be the case... unless it's linked with your own ego. Remember the client has no idea at any time whatsoever whether the trick (and that's what it is, a trick, not your mind!) is NOT impromptu. So unless you tell them, they'll believe it's ALWAYS impromptu, unless you're using actual props of course.

[quote]
Are you willing to spend the rest of your lives carrying a swami or a marked deck?
[/quote]
Personally, when I leave home I'd rather have a swami than an American Express card. And to be honest I simply don't know of any 'working' magician/mentalist who still uses a marked deck. They simply become far better skilled with the swami!


[quote]
I know I've a lot more to study and to learn and I'm sure you guys have different opinions and methods on the subject. That's just what I'd like to hear from you!
I wanna expand my knowledge and be open towards new methods of achieving the "perfect" scenario - me and the spectator, nothing more than that!
[/quote]
Just keep working and sharpening your skills, and please accept my words as intended. I am absolutely sure your intention is totally genuine, but I would suggest you learn 'performance' first of all, aided by 'stuff' to make it seem impromptu if you prefer.
But might I add that there is nothing wrong with a great mentalist who turns up with the words: 'I've brought along something to show you', and then WITH AN UN-IMPROMPTU PROP, blows them away with great mentalism.
Just some opinions...
All the best,
Bobser.
Message: Posted by: J ack Galloway (Feb 3, 2005 07:47PM)
Thank God or who ever would like to listen. At least one other who is enlightened.

I refer to Rick.
And do do Like Big Bobs post also.

Cheers

Jack
Message: Posted by: bobser (Feb 3, 2005 07:58PM)
I understand Jack... honestly.
ps: am 'I' Big Bob'?
Message: Posted by: MR2Guy (Feb 4, 2005 12:50AM)
Great thread.

All effects have discrepancy, it's a performer's job to minimize and eradicate it from the spectators mind.

To approach the philosophy of performance by thinking "If I were a real mentalist, then I would just.... and wouldn't have to .....", can be an extremely helpful way to analyze the structure of the effect, but ultimately you have to deal with the discrepancies that inherently come with the territory.

[quote]
And when I say absolutely impromptu I mean using nothing more than you (without any props, gadgets or gimmicks) and the spectator.
[/quote]
This, to me, is a hypothetical question. I cannot think of a situation where this would happen. As pointed out in previous posts, there are always things at hand that can be used in an effect (paper, pencil, etc.), every situation has something at hand. Your goal should be to leave a spectator with the feeling that there was nothing more than you and him, be it true or not.

I don't see an issue with using anything to your disposal, including gimmicks.

If, on the other hand, you are interested in being able to perform without any props whatsoever, that is a different subject than how it appears to the spectator, and there are options.

I would recommend cold reading. Sum them up and tell them something about them that you could not have known.

Generally, the most favorite topic of almost any person is themselves. Use it to your advantage, and listen carefully to what they say. They will generally tell you what they want to hear about themselves. Wait a minute, and tell it back to them. They will be impacted. Name any month and tell them that you can tell it has significance, fish a little and you can stun them. Same with days of the month. And everyone has a scar on their knee from an accident. And, as TMOCA said, any time you can peek/or over hear information, you can have a totally impromptu miracle.

Jason
Message: Posted by: JoaoPedro (Feb 4, 2005 05:19AM)
On 2005-02-03 20:23, bobser wrote:
[quote]
I truly believe that the essence of mentalism lies in the quest for a completely impromptu effect - an effect where you need nothing more than yourself and a "victim". You see what I mean?
[/quote]

Yes, but that's only your opinion. To be honest I don't think you could come up with one single argument to state 'why' you think that should be the case... unless it's linked with your own ego. Remember the client has no idea at any time whatsoever whether the trick (and that's what it is, a trick, not your mind!) is NOT impromptu. So unless you tell them, they'll believe it's ALWAYS impromptu, unless you're using actual props of course.


Well...my argument is very simple - sometimes after my performance people come to me and say they are amazed but ask me if it would be possible for me to say the word they are thinking in that very moment. I politely say that I don't like to go for challenges and that I would have to spend more energy and time to do that...blablabla...and whatever comes to mind. They truly understand and get satisfied with the answer. However...that makes me think. What if you didn't need a deck of cards, a stack of business cards, whatever...? Wouldn't it be great if you developed a method to simply tell the person the word they were thinking of, the animal they were thinking of, etc...
I know I'm able to clearly amaze people, getting huge reactions and so on. But, there's always something missing. From the layperson's point of view everything seems genuine, everything is well structured and you really appear like reading thoughts. However we both know that their reaction would be much stronger if you genuinely didn't use anything. I mean...people always get suspicious about your deck of cards, your pen, your businnes cards, your everything! And even if they get amazed dutring the show, when they get home they'll stop to think "wait a minute...he always used some kind of object...maybe those objects had trickery...magicians are all the same...". End of story. People are not dumb! I've seen many people coming to me saying that's the 2nd time they see me and asking me if I would be able not to use any prop...wether it's a deck of cards or a simple pen - they really get suspicious! In my shows I like to give people the deck of cards, the pen and everything so that they can see there's nothing to hide! And the next 30-45 min are really intense, of pure mental show. And there is this effect that always gets the biggest reaction: a psychological force of any card I like (usually the 6 of clubs, the 5 of spades or the jack of diamonds - it depends...) and the dramatic revelatin of the only card in the table matching their thought. And why's that? Because I used almost nothing but their thought. I asked them to think of any card and thir thought matched my prediction which was on the table "all day long" and both me and the person were far away from the card...there was no chance! And I also get people to turn over the card themselves...it's pure mentalism! That's the kind of effects I'd like to achieve and that's why I think that the works of Kenton Knepper, Luke Jermay and even Derren Brown are the closest we can have to achieve that. Suggestion and NLP can be great weapons in mentalism and I'm starting to get the results I want...but that's just not enough...
Wat is the effect that gets you the biggest reactions? And do you know why? Why do people consider that effect to be the most incredible they've whitnessed? Think about it... and keep posting ;) !
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Feb 4, 2005 05:42AM)
A quick aside on carrying small props or 'supplies' at all times: considering I already carry two rings of keys; a wallet with IDs, etc.; a pen; and a pocket handkerchief, a packet of doctored business cards and an okito voodoo doll doesn't give me pause.
At the same time, I'm always armed with muscle reading and Kentonism if I'm in an odd situation.

Steve
Message: Posted by: J ack Galloway (Feb 4, 2005 05:50AM)
Yes Bobser you are.
Sorry for the Americanizm.

Cheers

Jack
Message: Posted by: bobser (Feb 4, 2005 07:43AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-04 06:19, JoaoPedro wrote:
I politely say that I don't like to go for challenges and that I would have to spend more energy and time to do that...blablabla...and whatever comes to mind.
[/quote]
Might I say that as a pro, although we might be experienced in handling situautions, we never have to; 'blablabla'. By that I mean we have precise wording, guaranteed to enable us to rebuttal any form of question or argument in a way that totally satisfies the client.

[quote]
However we both know that their reaction would be much stronger if you genuinely didn't use anything. I mean...people always get suspicious about your deck of cards, your pen, your businnes cards, your everything! And even if they get amazed dutring the show, when they get home they'll stop to think "wait a minute...he always used some kind of object...maybe those objects had trickery...magicians are all the same...". End of story. People are not dumb! I've seen many people coming to me saying that's the 2nd time they see me and asking me if I would be able not to use any prop...wether it's a deck of cards or a simple pen - they really get suspicious!
[/quote]
Ok, lets agree there. In that case may I suggest you don't give them 'your' business cards/pen deck of cards/coins/notes... but rather use 'theirs'. I'm sure you have the talent to do the same effects with 'their' props, thus disabling the arguments you 'believe' they use. I might add that as a young performer I too 'believed' that they would think that also. But whether they did or not I absolutely promise you that you'll find that those 'potential thoughts' are totally cancelled out by a great performance.

[quote]
In my shows I like to give people the deck of cards, the pen and everything so that they can see there's nothing to hide! And the next 30-45 min are really intense, of pure mental show. And there is this effect that always gets the biggest reaction: a psychological force of any card I like (usually the 6 of clubs, the 5 of spades or the jack of diamonds - it depends...) and the dramatic revelatin of the only card in the table matching their thought. And why's that? Because I used almost nothing but their thought. I asked them to think of any card and thir thought matched my prediction which was on the table "all day long" and both me and the person were far away from the card...there was no chance! And I also get people to turn over the card themselves...it's pure mentalism!
[/quote]
Believe me when I say that I and many many others in here do exactly the same effect. However the point I make is that in the mind of the audience there simply is no such thing as 'pure' mentalism. For them to have a conception of 'pure' mentalism they'd also need to know what 'unpure' mentalism was. And they don't, believe me.
I'd like to ask if you know (I believe you're Portugese?) the English saying.., "Can't see the wood for the trees". I'm simply suggesting that many younger performers (certainly true in my own case when I was younger) truly believe they see problems/challenges which are simply NOT there.
At the end of the day, 'perhaps' all mentalism is performed with words only.

[quote]
Wat is the effect that gets you the biggest reactions? And do you know why?
[/quote]
The answer is 'me'. Or 'you'. in other words the person gets the reaction,not the effect. And yes I think do know why. I would suggest you go see a good performer. Then go see a poor performance of the same effect by someone else. Betcha it's the preformer who gets/doesn't get the reaction, and not the keys/cards/TT...whatever.

Regards
Bobser
Message: Posted by: TheHelpingHand (Feb 4, 2005 05:41PM)
I recently learned a great "invisible crompromise" effect called Dream Signs, a no-anagram, no gimmicked system to discover a person's Star Sign.
Message: Posted by: alekei (Feb 5, 2005 09:21AM)
It's have been already said. I agree all depends on the point of view. Real Mentalism for the audicence or real mentalism for me, the performer?
I do some effects that for the audience are real mentalism. They are convinced with what I did.I approach the mentalism not making the people believe that I can read minds. I approach my mentalism making the people believe that I can manipulate their minds, I can make them think what I want. In fact, I like to give Logical explanations of what I do, give them clues of how I can manipulate them with suggestion techniques. And they are amazed not because I am a "mind Reader", but they are amazed because I can put in their minds what I want. I always use the example of advertising. The Advertisers create subliminal and indirect messages in order to make customers buy what they didn't really wanted to buy.

Conclusion:
It doesn't matter if it is impromptu, or prepared, with props, or without them. The important is to make the audience believe that what you do (whatever it is) is for Real.

You are right when you say people are not dumb,..... it is because of that I don't like to do metal bending, PK effects, etc. The people DO know this is impossible. But they know that Suggestion exists.

Afterthought: Mental Magician or Mentalist? Personally I am neither a Mental Magician nor a Mentalist. I am an illusionist with good psychological skills.

Alejandro.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Feb 5, 2005 04:46PM)
In my opinion, "impromptu" might actually mean "seemingly impromptu to the audience." The best way to fool someone is to work in a seemingly impromptu manner - that way, they are not looking for magician's moves and useing "he's trying to trick me" logic. Working in a seemingly impromptu fashion is a throw-off for the audience and the participants. With the idea that you are "just working with whatever's near to hand," they won't be looking as hard for the "trick part."

This does not preclude the use of swami's, CT's or even Imp Pads - you just have to ring them in on the audience without them suspecting a "prop" or "gimmick."

Your mileage may vary, but it works for me.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: DanielLove (Feb 5, 2005 08:04PM)
Helping Hand,
Lovely to hear that you enjoyed Dream Signs,
(gives me a lovely warm-glowy feeling to be appreciated!)
Please PM me and let me know how you get on with it, I'll be happy to help out with any questions you may have in regards to it.

Fascinating thread JoaoPedro,
I've always been drawn to that search for the ultimate impromtu effect,
I find that keeping your eyes and ears open at all times gives you plenty to work with - if you can gather information as you go - maybe a glimpsed credit card number or overheard conversation you can blow minds. Also simple risk taking is always worth a try - I think it's important not to fear being wrong, "psychics" use the old "lucky guess" tactic all the time and it dosnt hurt them - it's worth the risk purely for the amazement on the odd occasion you get a hit (and there are so many ways to improve your chances anyhow) - as long as you are skilled enough to back up a miss with a foolproof effect then what is there to loose?
Not only that but I think people really like you to get it wrong occasionaly - it just lends credibility to the whole thing being real, just in the way the best musician will miss a note every now and then.
Message: Posted by: JoaoPedro (Feb 11, 2005 04:33AM)
Thank you all for all of your great posts!
After reading your thoughts (this one sounded good... :) ) I think we're able to see that there are two main opinions on the subject:
1. The most important thing is the impact of the effect, doesn't matter if you achieve it using props, gimmicks or whatever. The thing is the spec must believe and give you credibility. He would never even think of some kind of gimmick if you are a good professional and present your business cards and your pen as mere objects to make things easier (maybe because "it's better for you to write down the word you're thinking of or you might forget it..."). Anyway...there is no need to achieve "the perfect scenario" if you can still amaze people using the classic methods and gimmicks.

2. To achieve that "perfect scenario" we can use techniques such as psychological forces, "glimpse a credit card number" or any peek at any information, overheard conversations, techniques based on suggestion and NLP.
However all of these technique have their own risk, they're not 100% right! But I truly agree with DanielLove - it doesn't matter if you fail as long as you can cover it up, doing a foolproof effect.

So...

I think we can fuse these two chains of thought. We can make a whole mentalism session using foolproof effects (using our swamis, our regular decks of cards, our business cards, our pens...whatever!) and adding some "absolutely impromptu" effects. As far as I'm concerned I think that people will get much more convinced of what they saw if we add these little "weapons" to our show. I think that your reputation is in these moments where suggestion and psychology does work. Those are the moments in which you ,apparently using nothing but the mind of the spec, reveal a thought! Just like that. I think we should all improve our skills towards those kind of effects. And like JuanD said, "the most important thing is experience with people!" And I completely agree with him. Our experience with people and their behaviour allows us to add some tremendous effects in our show. But...this is only my opinion and the way I view and do mentalism.
For this subject I'd really recommend "Psychlogical subtelties" from Banachek. This book is awesome and full of great psychological forces you can use on your daily mentalist life!What I'm telling is not new and I'm sure you have all heard or even read this book.

Just to finish my post I'll leave you with some thoughts...

When you see Derren Brown's act, what do you think people will feel like? Do you think their reaction will be the same as if they were whitnessing Banachek's or Osterlind's act? I think not! And I really do love both Banachek's and Osterlind's act but I know there's a difference between their shows. The difference lies in the type of effects. Apparently Derren uses nothing but a person's mind or thought to do his "psychological magic". He doesn't need a paper or a deck of cards or an envelope (I mean...he doesn't use it that often...).
If I was a layperson I'm sure I'd get much more amazed and even shocked with DB effects. I mean, some of them appear to be completely impossible! He seems to really manipulate people in such a manner that gets people curious and amazed. We don't see that in Banachek's or Osterlind's show although they sometimes make use of psychological subtelties and whatsoever. But they just center their show on those foolproof effects. People get amazed but when they go home they'll forget about two thirds of what they saw.
This is just my opinion, but I think we all have a lot to learn from both styles of mentalism. I think that we are able to make a revolution and to improve the classic way of mentalism. What do you think?
Message: Posted by: SpAgHeTtI (Feb 11, 2005 03:47PM)
Of course every mentalist prefer to perform with nothing.....the only problem is that is not so easy! :)
Message: Posted by: ThomasBerger (Feb 11, 2005 04:29PM)
I agree with Rick on this.

You can never be as effective performing impromptu
as you are in a paid gig where you are totally set up.
When your gig is done, you are finished. You are out of there.
Impromptu, you can never end properly, there are incessant questions
and pleas for something else.

I don't think any of that is good for your image.

Besides if you perform a lot, you get a bit sick and tired of being on call at every party or social event you are invited long to.

Nothing kills the passion for impromptu work like a few years of being Pro.

that's my opinion.
Cheers.
Tom
Message: Posted by: Gordon Fisher (Feb 12, 2005 11:26AM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-03 19:14, RickSilmser wrote:
Except for close up magic in my home for family and friends...I never, ever, ever, do anything for anyone at their request when I'm "off duty" meaning not doing a presentation. I just don't believe in it. I have some very polite "outs" as well so the person is not let down.

~Rick~
[/quote]

this for me takes the point of mentalism away, you dilute this with your attitude, if someone asks me to show them something I am more than happy, I do however let the understand that the issue is a serious one, I want them to respect it, if I just say no each time some asks then they do not respect you
Message: Posted by: MagoStevo (Feb 13, 2005 07:30PM)
Sometime,the prop doesn't just aid your mentalism,it also provides the images and impression of you.For example,when you talk about Crystal Ball,people remember Tim Conover,when you talk about spoon,people remember Uri Geller;Blind fold-Banachek,Kreskin...
the point is,if you are doing mentalism for living,it's very important to have some nice-looking props to boost your act as well as a vidual aid.
people like Larry Becker and Ted Lesley,they are prop-heavy too,but aren't them famous?!
Message: Posted by: fizbin (Mar 1, 2005 01:39PM)
Hello, all.

I tend to agree with those like Tony Andruzzi who believe "Either you are a Mage (magician/mentalist) or you are not." It indeed is that simple. It is about you being able to amaze and inspire people to see the mysteries all around them. Whether that be through the use of props like Osterlind and Banachek, or being propless like Luke Jermay or Derren Brown.

Pardon the corseness to come, but if you only perform when you are paid, you are a prostitute. This statement is not directed at anyone in specific on this board. It is a generalization, but I believe a true one. If you look past yourself and what you can get out of your own performance, and see what you can give to others, you may start to agree that being a mentalist/magician, is not what you do, but who you are, and letting others (like those in "impromptu" settings)see you for who you are. My two cents, take 'em for what they are worth. Some will agree, some will not, but the truth remains:

"Either you are a mage, or you are not..."
Message: Posted by: ThomasBerger (Mar 1, 2005 03:42PM)
"Pardon the corseness to come, but if you only perform when you are paid, you are a prostitute."

Presumably, you would classify your accountant and doctor that too because they don't "do their thing" at some party they have been invited too.

Likewise comedians and singers who aren't always "on".
Comedian Robin Williams is a classic case, if you expect him to carry on the way he does when he isn't performing, you would be wrong.

To me that comment is more from someone who performs only occasionally or part time and doesn't need to perform when they don't feel like it or chase gigs as part of a business.

You find that having magic/mentalism as a hobby, you want to perform all the time, trying new things out. You have new effects with pretty much the same audience, your family and friends and aoocasional gigs for strangers.

When you perform professionally, you seldom bring new things into an act, it is the same act mostly, for different audiences. The dynamics are totally different.

One final point--
In my view I think it is important to be a well rounded person, to have varied interests, to be able to talk about a wide range of topics, and to be invited to parties not just because you perform tricks.

My 2 cents worth.
Tom
Message: Posted by: Lord Of The Horses (Mar 1, 2005 03:54PM)
[quote]
On 2005-03-01 16:42, ThomasBerger wrote:
"Pardon the corseness to come, but if you only perform when you are paid, you are a prostitute."

Presumably, you would classify your accountant and doctor that too because they don't "do their thing" at some party they have been invited too.[/quote]

Thomas, I don't know if he would... As you know, some people think we are "JUST doing tricks" so, maybe by the same fuzzy-logic they can ONLY see Mentalists performing for MONEY as prostitutes while the rest of the world is not touched by their kind of "thinking"... :lol: :winker:

Paolo "Prostitute and Proud to be One" Cavalli ;)
Message: Posted by: J ack Galloway (Mar 1, 2005 03:59PM)
Thomas,

I was going to post something similar to what you have.

My only addition would be that people see no value in what you do if you give it a way for free.

It has no perceived value. Other than a cheap divertion.

Best Wishes

Jack

I may be easy but definitely not cheap!
Message: Posted by: ThomasBerger (Mar 1, 2005 04:23PM)
Paolo "Prostitute and Proud to be One" Cavalli

Paolo--you are a funny man!!

Jack-- I was actually writing what you mention about value...but deleted it because I thought it might be too radical!

Thanks for your thoughts.

Tom
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Mar 1, 2005 05:27PM)
Great posts, Tom, Paolo and Jack Galloway.
Message: Posted by: Richard Osterlind (Mar 1, 2005 09:45PM)
[quote]
On 2005-03-01 14:39, fizbin wrote:
Hello, all.

I tend to agree with those like Tony Andruzzi who believe "Either you are a Mage (magician/mentalist) or you are not." It indeed is that simple. It is about you being able to amaze and inspire people to see the mysteries all around them. Whether that be through the use of props like Osterlind and Banachek, or being propless like Luke Jermay or Derren Brown.

Pardon the corseness to come, but if you only perform when you are paid, you are a prostitute. This statement is not directed at anyone in specific on this board. It is a generalization, but I believe a true one. If you look past yourself and what you can get out of your own performance, and see what you can give to others, you may start to agree that being a mentalist/magician, is not what you do, but who you are, and letting others (like those in "impromptu" settings)see you for who you are. My two cents, take 'em for what they are worth. Some will agree, some will not, but the truth remains:

"Either you are a mage, or you are not..."
[/quote]

I don't really understand the "prop" thing. I mean, is a piece of paper or a book, a prop that takes away from the art? And, don't luke Jeremy and Brown use some porps? That being said, I have a lot of things I do requiring no props.

As far as the "prostitue" comment goes, I really don't know any professional magician or mentalist who doesn't also perform just to do it as well as for charities, etc. Who you are and what you do when performing is not detirmined by whether you are making money or how much.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Sergeant (Mar 1, 2005 11:12PM)
WOW, Holy Moly.

First, there is a great deal that you can do impromptu with mentalism. There have been many suggestions already given but there are many, many more. I believe that more research is in order if you believe that there are no “impromptu” mental effects.

Second, I do not think we are required to jump every time some one asks us to show them something. However, I do believe we should be reasonably ready to do something in those moments where the conditions are right. I almost always have one or two items on me that I can do when I feel the situation warrants.

Third, let’s remember we are entertainers and not real magicians. We have nothing to prove to someone who says, show me something. I enjoy entertaining people and I will have fun when the moment happens. However, I am not a dog that must do a trick just to prove that I am a magician/mentalist at any one moment.

Fourth, If you are ready to have fun, great, have fun. If someone simply wants you to prove something, then you must ask yourself, why am I really doing this? Sometimes I show something because I am in a fun mood, sometimes I show something because I am working on an idea or trick, sometimes I show something because I believe it might help me get a gig or make a connection, however; I don’t do something because I have to prove something about being a magician, mentalist, or entertainer.

Sergeant
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Mar 2, 2005 02:11AM)
"Pardon the corseness to come, but if you only perform when you are paid, you are a prostitute."

Nope. Not at all. Does a Doctor perform an appendectomy at a party "just to peform?"
Does an accountant balance your accounts "just to perform?"
Does a musician play just to perform (okay, SOME do, but many of the pros do NOT).

Here's why, in my opinion - a professional has a certain standing and keeps their performing to its proper place and proper time. How many magicians and mentalists do we see violating Leipzig's Second Maxim - "never perform until someone sincerely asks you to?" Way too many times and, I know that I have been guilty of this myself.

But a real pro will not perform simply to "prove himself" or to "show off." The real pro doesn't need to do these things as the real pro has already proven himself TO himself (or herself, of course) and doesn't need to bloster the old ego by forcing their talents on others.

However, a real pro MIGHT be cajoled into performing "a little something" when the entire crowd asks for him or her to simply because to not do so would be to disappoint potential fans and to bee seen as rude. A REAL pro is never rude to an audience (except under some pretty extreme situations and even then, those are very few and far between).

A professional performs for pay. A profession is something that one earns their living practicing, whether it's magic, mentalism, accountancy or nuclear physics. A performing professional has a little more latitude in this respect, but more often than not, a real professional will decline unless there is a real need TO perform that is also in keeping with the idea of professionalism - being professional.

Just some random thoughts, late in the night...

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: fizbin (Mar 2, 2005 08:23AM)
Hello all,

My sincere apologies for offending. It was not my intention. Thanks for putting me in my place as far as the prostitue comment. That was really un-called for.

While I agree with Lee & Sergent, on the idea of not just doing something because Joe Schmo asks us to. I still say that to NEVER perform impromptu is just as close minded and logically fuzzy. I agree that we should consider the situation, and be free to decline if we feel pushed into performing, or challenged. We sould also be equally free to entertain as the situations warrant.

As far as those that say that doctors and accountants don't perform at parties, my response to that is simply that they aren't performers to begin with, so why would they? We are entertainers. That is what we do. I like what Jeff McBride has to say in an interview about "giving away" magic:

"I probably do more close-up magic than stage, but I offer my close-up work as medicine. Laugher is good medicine and with the Native Americans anything that is healing - anything that makes you feel good - is medicine. So magic is good medicine, and I give it away freely."

Based on this comment, I don't believe that Jeff McBride would consider it a "cheap diversion and of no value".

We are entertainers, that is what we do. Yes, it is easy to get burned out when you are "on" all the time. There does need to be some down time where we explore our other interests. I totally agree with Tom in being a well rounded person.

Richard, I meant no offense when I inferred you were not "propless". I have seen your DVD's, read your work, and you are brilliant. I was only using a comparison others have used, albeit incorrectly. My apologies again.
Message: Posted by: vmendoza (Mar 2, 2005 09:28AM)
The question of being “absolutely impromptu” is a relative one. You can see this by the other post that this thread has generated. You define “absolutely impromptu” as being “prop-less.” But when you reverse your question and apply it to magic, you find that there aren’t really any effects that are truly “prop-less” in magic. You always need something to do something with in order for something magical to happen. These things don’t happen in a vacuum. If you’re sitting at a table, are the table and chairs then considered props? If you ask someone to project their thought onto a wall, is the wall a prop? By the way, the answer to those two questions would be “yes.” But props are there to lend support and even credence to what takes place.

Mentalism on the other had does lend itself to “absolutely impromptu” - “prop-less” effects. If you learn how to use the tools given to you, wonders can be done. You gave two examples NLP and Suggestion. With NLP techniques, one can give a spectator a choice of three or four scenarios and have them concentrate one of them, and then accurately name their thought. With suggestion, you can cause a person to forget their own name, cause them to faint and fall over backwards, have them feel a surge of energy pulse in their hands, cure a headache, smell invisible roses, cause a stigmata to appear. Furthermore, having induced a trance, I’ve had people enter into a conversation with a deceased loved one to address unresolved issues. I used to use contact mind-reading to divine someone’s phone-number among other things.

Studying any of the divination arts like astrology, tarot, and palm reading, combined with cold/warm reading skills, the practice of deductive thinking, and cultivating the art of listening, will give you more than enough to start your own church – if you so choose.

As for quoting Anduzzi, I think you’ve taken it out of context. "Either you are a mage, or you are not." I read that to mean, the aura that you project, the sense that people get about you. Are you well-versed enough in the field you’ve chosen that you emanate a certain wisdom about you. You don’t even have to talk and people just know. In that sense there are very few mages and legions of wanna-bees.

If you really want to walk this path, people will come up to you and ask you to just do something, anything. It’s the nature of the beast. This is where studying a broad spectrum of skills and techniques will serve you well. It’s not just about effects. If all you know are effects, then all you know are effects and you are extremely limited. If you learn the psychology, philosophy, theory behind what is being done then you can apply them to each unique set of circumstances that any environment may offer. Remember, you are not only the performer, you also direct, produce and choreograph. No mean task.

Also, you need to use your own discretion when you are asked out of the blue to “do something” You can pretty much discern their intent. I remember a chance encounter where I was put on the spot and asked to do something. I was unprepared, but I managed to produce a minor effect. That chance encounter and minor effect lead to two years of solid work for this company.

Finally, there are no hard and set rules. Do what you need to do in any given situation to optimize your image. If that means performing, then perform, if it means declining, then decline.
Message: Posted by: fizbin (Mar 2, 2005 11:27AM)
For the most part, I agree with you, VMendoza. We do indeed need to use discretion when asked to perform. As I said in my last post, we should consider the situation, and be free to decline... As for quoting Andruzzi, I would say that yes, he was addressing the idea that you sould project the aura of a mage. And you yourself said right after, that if we do this, people WILL ask us to "do something". And that is when we need to use our judgement on the effect our response will have on the image we are projecting.

I am not saying that we should all walk about in black robes, carrying Negromicons, chanting spells, etc. I am saying, however, that if we want to be true to the history of our chosen art, then we must at least consider how we can bring magic and mystery back into our lives and those around us. We in the 21st century have become so jaded, that it is hard to see the magic around us. If we cannot experience the magic and mystery, how can we then help our audiences experience it? You cannot give away what you do not have. That is what being a mage is. And, I believe, that is what Andruzzi was talking about.
Message: Posted by: Richard Osterlind (Mar 2, 2005 07:27PM)
Fizbin,

I was not taking offense, just clarifying. As to the propless thing, think about this. You are limiting mentalism to telepathy. This has led to countless arguments on the Café about the use of props. But let me ask you, what about clairvoyance? Doesn't that require an object with which to demonstrate that ability. What about precognition? Don't you need something to record your forecast on and then supply a number of choices? What about psychokenisis? Don't you need something to bend or move. See?

By saying, "A real mentalist doesn't need to write anything or use any props" is taking away more than 3/4 of what the art entails! And along with that, you are taking away diversity and probably a lot of the entertainment value!

There are reasons why things are the way they are and why the greats were great. To haphazardly discount the foundations of the art in order to sound "pure" is to also strip away everything in the past that was successful.

Richard
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Mar 2, 2005 07:30PM)
[quote]
On 2005-03-02 12:27, fizbin wrote:

I am not saying that we should all walk about in black robes, carrying Negromicons, chanting spells, etc.

[/quote]

No?

Ouch! Let me go back home and change then...
Message: Posted by: JarrodHenry (Mar 2, 2005 07:57PM)
The question is, and this is something that is a bad habit of mine.. if you are using a NW or a billet switch or a TT or a Jinx bag or any number of things like that.. and the audience has NO IDEA.. is it "Cheating"? If you were a pharmacist about a hundred years ago, would you consider the new "pill dispensing, weighing, and counting machines" cheating because they made your job easier? I guess what I'm saying is that isn't the end result the thing? I did Anneman's A Question and an Answer the other day. It BLEW MINDS APART. I got my favorite phrase uttered (That boy is of the devil) .

SO does it really matter that I'm not "of the dev ill" when everyone thinks I am?
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Mar 2, 2005 08:25PM)
[quote]
On 2005-03-02 20:57, JarrodHenry wrote:
The question is, and this is something that is a bad habit of mine.. if you are using a NW or a billet switch or a TT or a Jinx bag or any number of things like that.. and the audience has NO IDEA.. is it "Cheating"?

[/quote]

IMO, it isn’t.

You are using the tools of your craft, in the same way any other professional does. People has no idea about how an artist creates perspective, or about that ingredient that makes a chef’s speciallity so unique. People is there to enjoy your craftmanship, among other things, and part of the magician’s craft is to tell people that his hands are empty, went they aren’t.