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Topic: Question about Mentalism & Magic
Message: Posted by: BillyTheSquid (Aug 13, 2007 07:17AM)
Hi,

As I'm currently trying to decide which path to go down in terms of mentalism & magic and having seen various DVDs with mentalism / mental magic and plain magic on them, can anyone help me with the differences between the three? What I first considered mentalism to be seems to have become mental magic in my mind (no pun intended) from seeing how many gimmicks are employed in various routines.

Cheers,
Matt
Message: Posted by: Talizman (Aug 13, 2007 06:16PM)
I would define a mentalist effect as one which simulates a supposedly real mental or parapsychological phenomena. This doesn't mean that the mentalist performing the effect need necessarily be trying to convince the audience that he or she geuniunely possesses such and such a power or ability; he or she might present the effect as a demonstration of real psychic abilities, or as the application of advanced psychological techniques, but equally he or she might simply stay silent on the matter, or might even go so far as to admit to the involvement of a certain amount of subterfuge. However, regardless of what explanation the mentalist provides (if any), a strong mentalist effect should have the ability to leave the audience, or at least a substantial portion of the audience, wondering about the true nature of what they have just witnessed.

Magic, on the other hand, lacks this potential for apparent veracity. This is not to belittle magic; when performed well, a magic effect can come across as far more than 'just a trick'. However, although a magic effect can baffle and even astonish an audience, very few people in this day and age would be willing to even consider the possibility that they have witnessed 'real' magic.

Which leads us to the difference between mentalism and mental magic. An example of a mentalist effect would be to divine the identity of a playing card that a spectator is merely thinking of. Mental magic, however, would incorporate some magical element, such as a card not only being divined, but being made to disappear from the deck and materialise in the spectator's jacket pocket.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 13, 2007 06:52PM)
For me, a lot of magic is based purely on the visual, with occasional storylines to help explain the visual side of the story...its an external process...

mentalism is an internal process for the main part,the reaction is inside the mind, the shock, the reading of a thought, whatever is being displayed...

mental-magic is a visual thing, but with a kind of alluding to mind-reading via the visual element...that probably makes little sense really...its a thorny issue the mental-magic and mentalism for some...

don't get confused with cards either, for some they are merely tools to peform experiments with, others they are sacriligious to use with mentalism..your choice, your label...

online visions has some articles about these very subjects...
Message: Posted by: Logan Five (Aug 13, 2007 07:06PM)
Hi Matt!

Welcome to the Café. If you look at the upper-right part of the page you'll see the " search " button. There is much wisdom that can be found when you use the " search " button.

j109~
Message: Posted by: Philosophry (Aug 14, 2007 03:44PM)
I don't agree with this definition 100% but there are some interesting ideas

[url=http://www.mental-magic.com/mental-magic-mentalism.htm]What is the difference between mental magic & mentalism][/url]
Message: Posted by: Virungan (Aug 14, 2007 03:56PM)
I'm more interested in how Billy the Squid has "0 posts" including the one above...

:confused:

Did he use a NW for that post?

:)
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Aug 14, 2007 04:11PM)
Must have...He's got four posts :)
Cheers for the squid
:cheers:
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 14, 2007 04:45PM)
The big thing to remember is that these are distinctions without a difference.

One of the best "mentalists" on this board (you know who you are!) does not even call himself such a thing.

The real important thing is how you are recieved by the audience. 9 out of 10 people are going to refer to you as a magician no matter WHAT you call yourself. To PEOPLE there is little if any appreciable difference.
Message: Posted by: mindpunisher (Aug 14, 2007 06:04PM)
Actually I disagree. If you do a good show people will think you are real. Infact I once stopped a friend's watch in a bar once. I a girl noticed what I was doing and immediately removed the watch from her boyfriend's wrist asking me to stop it.

After she said "she hated magicians but loved all this mind stuff".

That isn't an isolated case. Just about everytine I perform an effect or occasional show the vast majority think what they saw was real.

Mentalism is different from magic. It is percieved differently and has a diferent emotional hook. Even with a disclaimer.

And that's how it should be.
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Aug 14, 2007 06:35PM)
It would have really been effective if you had stopped her boyfriend's watch..THEN made him disappear!
Message: Posted by: human (Aug 14, 2007 11:23PM)
[quote]
On 2007-08-14 16:56, Virungan wrote:
I'm more interested in how Billy the Squid has "0 posts" including the one above...

:confused:

Did he use a NW for that post?

:)
[/quote]

It's magic I tell you.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 15, 2007 02:02AM)
[quote]
On 2007-08-14 19:04, mindpunisher wrote:
Actually I disagree. If you do a good show people will think you are real. Infact I once stopped a friend's watch in a bar once. I a girl noticed what I was doing and immediately removed the watch from her boyfriend's wrist asking me to stop it.

After she said "she hated magicians but loved all this mind stuff".

That isn't an isolated case. Just about everytine I perform an effect or occasional show the vast majority think what they saw was real.

Mentalism is different from magic. It is percieved differently and has a diferent emotional hook. Even with a disclaimer.

And that's how it should be.
[/quote]

I have had the same thing happen after doing close up magic in restaurants. I guess the key is if you touch them as performer. NOT the medium you choose to use.

Mentalism is percieved differently by MENTALISTS, not by people as a rule. How many people think Blaine has powers, Copperfield, Henning and so forth. Sorry but the point is not valid as it happens to ALL good magicians. (well Blaine too LOL)
Message: Posted by: Dr. Eamon (Aug 15, 2007 07:24AM)
It's the way your perform it...
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 19, 2009 09:40AM)
Let us continue this old meeting.

[quote]
On 2007-08-14 19:04, mindpunisher wrote:
Mentalism is different from magic. It is percieved differently and has a diferent emotional hook. Even with a disclaimer.
[/quote]
I agree.
Message: Posted by: BillyTheSquid (Nov 19, 2009 03:20PM)
Woah - a 2 year old dead thread resurrected!

I remember asking this way back and in the past two years of being involved in the field, have learned lots, listened lots, jettisoned lots and collected lots of information (and not a few effects - mostly using antiques I've aquired).

Since then, I've wandered down a few roads before settling on the following:
On stage - a mentalist - fuelled by Corinda, Anneman, Osterlind, Maven et al.
Close-up, a storyteller with bizarre elements, fuelled by Burger, Chelman, Punx, Borodin, Strange et al.

I've decided that, no matter how dirty the mechanics of the effect are to ME, what counts is the effect that the audience perceives. Is it clear, concise, powerful and not easily explained away, ie, a mystery? If not, why am I wasting their time? I want the minimum of sleights / gimmicks etc in order to concentrate on the story / audience control / build-up and getting the audience to engage with a willing suspension of disbelief, so will spend time working out reducing slights / easing them. In a rationalistic world, I have realised that there's still a thirst in people for a sense of awe and wonder.

Gone are the early days when I thought magic / mentalism was just about giving the audience puzzles or tricks. I've realised just how much of an artform it is, and that many magicians / mentalists seem to have not realised this and are just out there to show off and play the "being a god" role without taking people on the journey with them.

I have to agree that mentalism really is a form of "entertainment for adults" (now I realise that sounds slightly dodgy, but I hope you understand what I mean ;) ). Bizzare / storytelling magic seems to concentrate more on the artform side of things (not always, but mostly from what I've seen so far). A fusion of the two - now that's what I believe can be a really, really powerful art.

Currently I'm working through Ken Weber's Maximum Entertainment. If you haven't read this - just do it! You'll quickly bypass many mistakes others make and be able to analyse your own act / routines from a completely different perspective - one that matters.

My advice (for what it's worth after only 2 years in the art) to anyone starting off in this field is:
1) Get some solid book reading behind you. Don't underestimate the power of a good book! :readingbook:
2) Don't believe all the blurb that a dealer will tell you, check out reviews before parting with cash (esp in these £££ / $$$ tight days). All that glitters is most definitely not gold - there's plenty of rubbish out there nicely packaged and attempting to part the unwary newbie from their money.
3) Don't be afraid to cull a routine if it doesn't fit in with your style / act.
4) Don't get carried along with all the hype about conventions - some of them can be detrimental to your wallet and / or style. That said - I'm looking forward to Tabular Mentis VI this coming Saturday - WOO HOO!!!!
5) You don't know it all, no-one does.
6) Be quick to listen and try to understand. Be slow to speak and criticise - unless it's constructively.
7) When on a forum like this, it's easy to throw mud, but remember, the more mud you throw, the less ground you have to stand on each time.

Well, that's me two years on. Looking forward to the next couple and what awaits me there.

Cheers :cheers: ,
Matt
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 19, 2009 03:27PM)
So, Matt, do you see how magic and mentalism are two different types of entertainment?
Message: Posted by: BillyTheSquid (Nov 19, 2009 05:05PM)
Yep. I do think the two can be mixed on certain occasions however.

Cheers,
Matt
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 19, 2009 05:16PM)
I am glad you learned something. We are here to help you.
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Nov 19, 2009 05:55PM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-19 18:05, BillyTheSquid wrote:
Yep. I do think the two can be mixed on certain occasions however.

Cheers,
Matt
[/quote]

Matt,

You're absolutely correct, they can. Dunninger did it. Koran did it. Osterlind does it Derren Brown does it and so does Kreskin. I can't think of better examples than those giants! If you put as much importance on the magic effect(s) you include as you do your mentalism effects, you will get an outstanding reaction. I guarantee you that if you add a bit of magic to your mentalism show it will not diminish you as a mentalist. Remember, you goal is to provide entertainment.
Message: Posted by: kevin carmean (Nov 19, 2009 08:30PM)
I use to think any kind of magic in a mentalism show was a big mistake. I have come to find out that the audience (for the most part) can be sold anything if presented correctly.

Kevin
Message: Posted by: ico (Nov 19, 2009 11:21PM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-19 21:30, kevin carmean wrote:
I use to think any kind of magic in a mentalism show was a big mistake. I have come to find out that the audience (for the most part) can be sold anything if presented correctly.

Kevin
[/quote]
is there a clear line between magic and mentalism?
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 20, 2009 03:32AM)
It all depends on what the performer believes, and how he performs it.
Message: Posted by: KBLV (Nov 20, 2009 05:29AM)
Don't worry about whether it's magic, or mental magic, or mentalism. Ask, instead, "Is it Billy the Squid"?

If it is, great! Explore it until it either satisfies you, or doesn't.

If it isn't, ask yourself, "Can it be altered to be Billy The Squid"?
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Nov 20, 2009 06:47AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-20 00:21, ico wrote:

is there a clear line between magic and mentalism?
[/quote]

You really don't need to worry about it. You just do it. If you want to throw a magic effect in the middle of your mentalism show and present it as a magic effect, do it. I've seen Kreskin do it and say "you know, I love a good card trick" and he does one that is not connected to mentalism, but just wanting to show off his sleight of hand ability.

I saw one mentalist start his presentation by playing the piano for a couple of minutes and then go into his show.

KBLV is correct when he say Don't worry about whether it's magic, or mental magic, or mentalism. Ask, instead, "Is it you"?

The great John Archer who does a mostly mentalism show calls himself a magician. It works for him.

Mentalists, especially new mentalists want to disassociate from magic because they view magic as tricks and trivial. But that's their problem and their opinion. It doesn't make it so. In just about all of the books that Richard Osterlind has published, he talks about making your magic more powerful - whether it's magic or mentalism and Richard explores both.

Just because something is "mentalism" doesn't automatically make it more powerful or believable than a magic trick. It's about the performer. The perfect example is Eugene Burger. Eugene's magic tricks are more powerful and believable than many mentalism shows I've seen.