(Close Window)
Topic: Do you ever stop collecting?
Message: Posted by: Alwow (Apr 9, 2013 02:50PM)
Over the couple of years, I have collected a decent amount of products, dvd's, books, etc... I tried to slow down with this as I wanted to focus on creating a solid couple of magic routines. After several of my "magic" peers had mentioned to me I had the presentation style, personality, and persona to be a good mentalist and possibly a hypnotist. I have decided to explore the mysterious world of mentalism. After doing some research, the cycle of has begun again and I'm now gradually collecting mentalism resources.

I'm an avid believer that you need to expose yourself to a lot to be able to get a good understanding of:

1)The genre of magic/mentalism your effects will fall into
2)What type of effects will suit your style
3)Be knowledgeable of what it is your doing
4)Why what your doing will work
5)Why your audience will hopefully (if performed well) give you the appropriate reaction to what you are performing. (The psychology behind your effects)

My question is though do you ever get to a point where you "have enough"? Should this point ever come? Or, do you continue to evolve to keep up with the time or simply to continue your growth as a performer?

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts...
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 9, 2013 02:55PM)
On 2013-04-09 15:50, Alwow wrote:
After several of my "magic" peers had mentioned to me I had the presentation style, personality, and persona to be a good mentalist and possibly a hypnotist.

Just curious what they mean by this? How so?
Message: Posted by: RenzIII (Apr 9, 2013 03:20PM)
Your growth as a performer will never stop, I don't know exactly what you mean collecting , if you are reading and building a reference library, you will be referencing it throughout your career in Magic or Mentalism. If you think you have reached the end of your learning process, you will most likely not be too good at what you do.

As far as hokey props and one trick videos, don't waste your money. If your looking for the latest junk just to amass videos, do your self a favor, save your money.
Read and read , then read some more. Build your act, get out perform , it's in the performance arena you will continue to learn as well.

Aquisition of Knowledge ends only on the day you die , and many will tell you it continues even after that.

Good luck in your process.
Message: Posted by: Alwow (Apr 9, 2013 03:45PM)
I have been told I have a good "radio" voice.

"Has a calm and soothing demeanor about him as well as, has exhibited the ability to be the "calm rock amongst our storm". That's actually from my employment review but, figured it would be suiting here. I've also been told I could sell ice to an Eskimo...

Ultimately I'd say, I have good listening and communication skills as well as a baritone voice which would probably work as a benefit. Since mentalism relies heavily on the ability to be a performer/presenter to assist your audience down the path of your effects being a good communicator is key. When performing effects involving suggestion I assume these traits would also be beneficial as well.
Message: Posted by: Alwow (Apr 9, 2013 04:03PM)
Yes, that Renz that's been my understanding.

I feel like initially I was getting suckered in by the latest new shiny toy and then once I got it, would be sadly disappointed. As I gotten more exposure to both magic and now mentalism I've learned how to be more cautious. Recently after getting a decent background and foundation I've found learning from books has become easier. I have also found that as my experience increases, I often revisit what I have and find things that didn't "jump out" at me initially I'm now interested in.

Fortunately, I don't have a fear of performing and "got my performing chops" from busking early on in my magical journey. I love performing and have definitely seen my ability to performing increase tremendously from just "going out and doing it."

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Message: Posted by: PhilDean (Apr 9, 2013 08:39PM)
You want to know the secret? Hard work and good books. That's my opinion. There are so many hokey gimmicks and electronic devices out there but my best investments have been books. Bob Cassidy leaps to mind as I was re-reading one of his book last night where he mentions his cigar box. Now THERE'S a tool that will cost you next to nothing to make and is genius! The thing that is so easily forgotten with our art is that the props and gaffs make up 10% of the performance. The other 90% is your selling of the routine. Too many people try and pass it off as trickery or...what's the current term? Psychological illusion or some such horse hockey. I love watching people like Osterlind who don't pass themselves off as being supernatural master minds - but he doesn't 'not' do it either so he leaves the mystery hanging with the audience and no doubt most of them are left wondering 'how did he do that'.

I love some of the posts on the Magic Café from people criticizing certain big name magicians/mentalists and I chuckle as I think those people have totally forgotten how normal people view magic. I had a friend's wife tell me the other night how she was watching Dynamo on TV and she totally,seriously, stone faced leaned in and whispered to me 'do you think he's really magic?' And of course in support of a fellow magi I said 'Of course he is! There can be no doubt!'
Message: Posted by: MatthewSims (Apr 9, 2013 11:06PM)
You don't have to " keep up " with the ever evolving field of mentalism and magic to be a successful performer. That being said...success is measured in different terms by different people.

Look at Osterlind, Kreskin and Docc. Their material is so simple and direct. I don't think their shows have changed THAT much over the years. The material they perform is simple, to the point, and time tested. They have found something that works for them, and it appears to be working quite well, as they obviously are doing quite well for themselves. They aren't too caught up with the new and best thing on the market. They have created a character with personality and continue to refine their shows by performing it THOUSANDS of times.

I do believe you can get to a point where you have so much that you can feel overloaded. You will continue to try and read and digest all the material, instead of perfecting the routines and shows that you already posses.

If you don't already have it, read Maxium Entertainment by Ken Weber. You will find a great deal of helpful material within this classic book.

I hope this helps.

Always a friend,
Message: Posted by: Alwow (Apr 10, 2013 12:43PM)
Thanks Matthew. That's kind of what I was thinking. Once I've found the optimal routine for me, I assume I won't really look for much more. Yet, at the same token I'm thinking I may "revise" my act to keep it fresh and modern to ensure it will still have the same effect for my audience.
Message: Posted by: harbour (Apr 10, 2013 05:25PM)
I believe Phil is on it with his post, although I will say, that it never hurts to read about new effects, because they help spawn new ideas.
Message: Posted by: PhilDean (Apr 10, 2013 10:11PM)
Agreed Harbour. And let my clarify, I don't want to try and sound like I don't buy things. I bought that Combustion effect the other week out of sheer curiosity and I'll probably never get around to making the gaff. I'm not even sure I can find the materials to be honest.

So if there is really some revolutionary piece of kit there's no harm in playing with it to see if it has potential. Having said that I do my whole thing right now with some businesscards, my flip notepad (with 2 homemade gaffs for different routines) and a p**k w*****t I made myself. And that's if I want them. In my opinion, my real weapons are the things I can do without them, without anything and these techniques you can only read in a good book (ok, there are also some good DVDs I will admit). I believe once you're comfortable with your act and persona without the props, and if you establish that you can do it without props, then you can introduce whatever you like and said prop will be irrelevant.
Message: Posted by: Mike Ince (Apr 11, 2013 12:50AM)
Do you ever get to the point where you have enough? I think so. I enjoy buying and reading new books a little too much but they rarely change anything about my stand-up set. It's good to learn as much as possible about the available tools. Once you have your tools you'll have enough to build an efficient and amazing show. Most additional learning is for personal interest and mental stimulation.

The question reminds me of one said to have been posed to John D. Rockerfeller: "How much money is enough money?" Rockerfeller's famous answer, if you've never heard it, was: "Just a little bit more."

I just want one more book.
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Apr 11, 2013 07:36PM)
I am a collector of magic catalogs and I want more than, just one more. Biographies may tell us about the personalities of magic and mentalism, but nothing says more to me about the history than the dealers and manufactures of magic and mental effects. What plays and what is soon discarded.
To the OP: If you are truly interested in mentalism resources, I can think of nothing better than the catalogs of Robert Nelson of Nelson Enterprises, from 1924, the forefront spiritualistic entertainment, to 2000, 76 years of mentalism history. Available at numerous auction sites.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Apr 11, 2013 08:23PM)
Responding to Alwow's original concern at the top, many of us succumb to "CUSP"-- compulsive unnecessary purchasing syndrome. I have acquired more books and ebooks than I can read, more DVD's than I can seriously study, and far more effects than I have the opportunity to perform--even with developing a new act from time to time.

Friends have tried to intervene. One said, "It is a good thing you were not born a pretty girl. You don't know how to say NO!"

I have, from time to time, experienced buyers remorse after buying something, and I have bought stuff that turned out to mere rethread ideas, or retread methods, or even junk.

What have I learned? So far, I have learned to better spot product hype and the synthetic testimonials from a developer's groupie buddies. I have learned to avoid compulsive purchases, to wait for reviews here on the Café, and to visit the internet shops that publish honest reviews from purchasers. I have promised myself that I would not buy a new book until I'd read another already in my library; I sometimes keep that promise.

But, back to Alwow's specific question, I do not yet know when I have enough.

Message: Posted by: PhilDean (Apr 11, 2013 08:43PM)
CUSP. Interesting. I know guitarists call this phenomena GAS which stands for 'Gear Acquisition Syndrome'. At the end of the day it seems most humans cannot resist the lure of a shiny new bauble of their choice. LOL. I'm certainly no exception to this.
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Apr 11, 2013 08:49PM)
On 2013-04-11 21:43, PhilDean wrote:
CUSP. Interesting. I know guitarists call this phenomena GAS which stands for 'Gear Acquisition Syndrome'. At the end of the day it seems most humans cannot resist the lure of a shiny new bauble of their choice. LOL. I'm certainly no exception to this.

Camera enthusiast are notorious for this, the latest camera, the best lens, accessories, etc. and music instrument players like myself (saxophone). Cameras have to be the most expensive hobby..., well, maybe not....
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Apr 12, 2013 12:16PM)
Sorry about my mistake above. It should be CUPS (not cusp) for "compulsive unnecessary purchasing syndrome."

George Hunter, "Mentalist Subordinaire"
Message: Posted by: Alwow (Apr 12, 2013 12:39PM)
I love that I'm not the only one!

I guess eventually (hopefully) my vampiric like thirst for knowledge will gradually slow down as I have crafted my optimal set of effects.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I'm happy that this thread did spark some conversation between my fellow mentalists.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Apr 12, 2013 03:40PM)
I never collect. If it is not potentially going into my act, I don't buy it. And props never get into my act. I have a few DVDs, but no DVD player as yet. So basically it is books or manuscripts. And only strong direct stuff.
Message: Posted by: Acecardician (Apr 12, 2013 10:45PM)
Tony, you should be able to watch the DVD's on your computer, if you have one, unless you are posting here on one of those new electronic devices :)

Everyone else:
I collect, as I started as a kid, and love any and all magic. Look at my Chinese Stick collection below.
I have almost a thousand books. I call all my stuff a working magicians reference library, with props to go with it. I buy lots of refills and dups of all the stuff I do in my shows. I have 4 different shows, so that is a lot of stuff. I also love magic as a hobby, so I like to get new things just for fun. That is what it is all about, fun, or why even do it? I get to live the dream, and my performances support my hobby. It also keeps me fresh, trying new things, having fun and seeing reactions. I also have my standards, which I am set with and will always do. but I continually evolve over the years. I do a LOT of shows. So it all works out.
So I do not buy all the latest electronics at Best buy or new sports cars, what else am I to do with my money, I can't take it with me. MY HOBBY IS MAGIC AND I LOVE IT.

Good luck all and take care.

ACE :dance:
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Apr 12, 2013 11:35PM)
Take Max Mavens advice. Read everything you possibly can. You'll never regret it.
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Apr 13, 2013 04:23AM)
My joy comes in seeing my routines get better with age. Just when I think I've got 'em just right after 5 or 10 years of doing them, a few more years pass by and the subtle improvements and comedy I've introduced make my show all that more special. I wonder how much better my routines will be years from now! Learning and introducing new effects seem so drab to me in comparison. I suppose I enjoy the performance work more than the nitty gritty of learning new effects. Of course, I say this with the luxury of having 2 commercial shows put together which is more than enough to support my career.

I do understand that it's a all-consuming hobby for some. I have a passion for running ultra-marathon races which can be seen as a bore and waste of money to others (although I do incorporate the stories into my work so there is business benefit). To each their own and I respect that.
Message: Posted by: harbour (Apr 14, 2013 03:01AM)
Agree with Max.
Message: Posted by: Acecardician (Apr 26, 2013 10:16PM)
YES TO BOOKS! You cannot have too many books. I buy books constantly. I collect books. I just bought 2 books last night I cannot wait to get.
Too many new and young magicians do not realize the value of books. Now, with one trick DVD's for 35-100, books are even more valuable. For $35-$100 you can get dozens to hundreds effects in a good book.
And a lot of the new stuff I see out is just variations of stuff in books. With a little imagination, you can create your own variations from effects in books and be unique. Plus they explain better and give you valuable insight you cannot find anywhere else. I also like books about past magicians. Those give you a ideas on how to be dramatic or funny and show different styles, and help you find your own style to perform successfully.

Good luck and take care!

Message: Posted by: John C (Apr 28, 2013 05:41PM)
How many of the effects in dozens of books can you really perform.
Message: Posted by: Acecardician (May 10, 2013 08:15PM)
On 2013-04-28 18:41, John C wrote:
How many of the effects in dozens of books can you really perform.

Thanks for that question. It is really a very good one.
One of the oldest members of our local IBM ring used to end the monthly club newsletter with: "read or learn one new trick a day," or something close to that.
Books go far beyond teaching "tricks" or just doing the tricks. You learn Theory, Art, Practice, Presentation, History of magic, and lots more, which makes you a better magician. And Principles! It is the difference is watching a movie on TV or reading the book. You gain so much more Knowledge from reading. Knowledge is power. As a working magician, sometimes there are situations you need to handle, and books prepare you for that. Just knowing all the stuff from reading hundreds(not dozens)of books has helped me become a better magician. I know what to do in almost any situation that may arise. I can also pick up almost any common object off a dinner table or bar and do a trick with it (IF I WANT)
I see a lot of the "top name inventors" re-creating tricks that are in very old books. Or taking what is in an old book, making the gimmick and doing a DVD on it and selling it. I could have done this a long time ago, but I am not a "big name inventor" and I did not think it was anything new, just a new presentation. I thought it was not original to take something already in print and redo it on video. Apparently it is... Most of the guys who go on the lecture tours today are doing variations of stuff from books. Most of the instant download of tricks I see are in books. The good thing about the new guys doing this is you get to see the new presentations and learn about the specifics magicians experiences.

Here is a quote from the latest book I read, I think it is worth sharing: "Only once in 50 years or so is a truly new trick invented. Most of what we do is as old as Egypt. But we make our tricks appear new by changing them around and adding new wonders to the old." According to this book I read, this was said by Carl Herrmann to his younger brother Alexander in the 1800's after they lost most of their equipment, and had to come up with a new show with what was left. They went on to become the Greatest magicians of their time.
I also read stories about modern magicians having their luggage lost on the way to Corporate shows. With the knowledge from books, they were able to get stuff from the local stores and go on with the show(THE SHOW MUST GO ON!) Give me about 20 minutes in Walmart(not counting time standing in line) and a credit card, and I can get enough stuff to make an entertaining corporate stage or close up or even a kid show.

I vote for magic Books. I challenge everyone, every time you make an order for or buy any magic anytime, add a new magic book to your order each time. I do.
I am sure there are lists of recommended reading elsewhere in this forum. Do a little research.

Message: Posted by: Acecardician (Jun 1, 2013 03:06PM)
Since my last post I found this list of books, it is a very good list: