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Topic: The risk to mentalists and the brilliance of Derren Brown's disclaimer.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 25, 2014 11:49AM)
Magicians are usually less at risk than mentalists when it comes to getting caught.
Say a heckler shouts out where the coin is during a coin matrix, the rest of the audience will respond in amazement along the lines of "Wow we did not see that, he is so good with his hands". The heckler could be someone who saw an exposure earlier or just happened to catch a move.

An example of this would be Daniel Madison doing the blindfolded poker deal on "Fool Us". Even though P&T caught his sleight, they admired it and mentioned how well executed it was.

With mentalists (And I am pointing at ones who stick to a gimmick/persona) it is far riskier. If a heckler happens to know a move or mechanism and shouts it out, the mentalist's "Performing persona" is at risk. If one mind reading effect is caught as a trick, people will easily dismiss others as tricks.

This happened to Derren Brown earlier in his career when journalist Simon Singh exposed some of his "psychological effects" to be tricks. After this, Derren came out with a really brilliant disclaimer claiming he uses suggestion, psychological techniques and misdirection. This is as honest as it can get yet the beauty of this disclaimer is that:

If one of his effects is exposed, he can say he uses both misdirection and psychology so therefore by not sticking to the claim of solely using psychological techniques he has created a self-working defence which is:

Effects you catch (or learn) = Tricks
Effects you do not understand = Psychological

P.S. I do understand some people still believe is is 100% one or the other. I am just speaking my mind and how I perceive an audience would see things.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 25, 2014 11:59AM)
Oh simon singh...so much to answer for...
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 12:09PM)
I have NEVER had a heckler shout out anything that put my "performing persona" at risk. The end result has always been a deflated heckler and an appreciative audience.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jul 25, 2014 12:10PM)
Early in his career, before TV ruined him :) , Derren performed an IS effect to a friend of mine. It quite ruined his mystique in my friend's eyes and cast doubt on everything else he'd seen (and he'd just witnessed 'Reminiscence'!) So it's not only hecklers and journalists who can destroy the performing persona-mentalists can too. That is why I am opposed to IS-ing in all its manifestations.
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Jul 25, 2014 12:13PM)
I am not sure what your point is, IB? You think Derren Brown has a great disclaimer.. And?.... His disclaimer like his mannerisms have been aped by too many "Mentalists" if you ask me.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 12:16PM)
I've never used a disclaimer except for one time when I was told that I had to. And they will probably never ask me to use one again. :eek:
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Jul 25, 2014 12:18PM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
I've never used a disclaimer except for one time when I was told that I had to. And they will probably never ask me to use one again. :eek: [/quote]

Yes, that was a classic story! What a great play on words. :)
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 25, 2014 12:55PM)
Bob, you perform material that is majorly original as far as I know. Which is why I am guessing your audience would not know the secrets. However, when someone is performing a published effect, and on an off-chance there is a heckler who knows the secret, he can reveal is and ruin the mystique.


ICW, my point is that the disclaimer is very clever as in it does not affect DB's image as "psychological guru" when a trick of his is revealed to be a trick. Because he says he uses both "misdirection" and psychology. And my other point is, exposure hurt mentalism more than it hurts magic.
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Jul 25, 2014 02:10PM)
I don't think it matters whether you perform original material or not, it is all in the handling & execution of the effect. Of course if a Mentalist is "busted" - then it's game over as far as the rest of your show is concerned.
Message: Posted by: Chaz93 (Jul 25, 2014 03:41PM)
Where are you performing where your audience knows the methods? The local magic club? I would wager hecklers calling out methods isn't a problem for most performers
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 25, 2014 04:21PM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, innercirclewannabe wrote:
Of course if a Mentalist is "busted" - then it's game over as far as the rest of your show is concerned. [/quote]

Which happens to be my point. The "Busted" part.

The heckler shouting was a hypothetical example but other ways one can be busted are Someone "Exposing" you online, and so on.

Also I mentioned non-original material for mentalists who happen to perform on telivision. Like in the example of Derren Brown, he has used some non-original material which many magicians know of and Simon Singh even exposed his earlier material.
My point is not that hecklers are shouting at me or anything, Thankfully, I have never been heckled in a professional setting (though my friends try to mess with me when I casually perform for them but that's beside the point).

My point is, Derren Brown's disclaimer has made him virtually "Bust-proof" because anything that is exposed as a trick he can graciously accept by saying he already said he uses misdirection.

However, a mentalist who claims to not use misdirection or tricks at all becomes very vulnerable to getting "Busted" in various situations:
1) In after party chatter, a person explains the working of the effect to someone else.
2) A person "exposes" a mentalist online
3) the performer messes up and flashes something he should not.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 25, 2014 04:26PM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, Chaz93 wrote:
Where are you performing where your audience knows the methods? The local magic club? I would wager hecklers calling out methods isn't a problem for most performers [/quote]

I never claimed that hecklers were shouting out methods during my performances. I said if heckler were to expose the method of a single mentalism effect, it would ruin a whole mentalism act. However, if a heckler or a spoiler exposed a single trick for a magician, the rest of the act would still be pretty much same in terms of gaining reactions.

And I believe it has a lot to do with the claims.

Once again, this is an IF situation and if it has not happened to you and you are posting a response along the lines of 'it never happened/ will never happen', you are not really getting the point.
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Jul 25, 2014 04:31PM)
I think you are thinking too much about it,Ib. Incidentally, do you perform for a paying audience in Dubai? The reason I ask is because when I was in Dubai a few years ago, I was in a Café & I took out a pack of cards - I was told by a very friendly waitress that this was a big no no. I presume she wasn't a jaded magician? :)
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Jul 25, 2014 04:39PM)
Typo; she should read he. Typing on my phone..
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 25, 2014 05:03PM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, innercirclewannabe wrote:
when I was in Dubai a few years ago, I was in a Café & I took out a pack of cards - I was told by a very friendly waitress that this was a big no no. I presume she wasn't a jaded magician? :) [/quote]

Yep cards are frowned upon in certain venues though their number is decreasing. that is because gambling is illegal and they find it hard to tell the difference.

We had to do quite a lot to get the image of magic better, free gigs for hospitals, nurseries, people with special needs etc. Basically people needed to be able to tell the difference between "blackmagic, sorcery" which is illegal and magic tricks which are perfectly legal.

Now we have magicians doing corporate gigs and Dan Sperry's troupe also performed here which made things even better. Things are looking up.


P.S. Still no paying audience but you get paying gigs (example weddings etc.)
Message: Posted by: Chaz93 (Jul 25, 2014 05:33PM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
Bob, you perform material that is majorly original as far as I know. Which is why I am guessing your audience would not know the secrets. However, when someone is performing a published effect, and on an off-chance there is a heckler who knows the secret, he can reveal is and ruin the mystique.

[/quote]

I guess I don't quite understand what you're getting at. Unless you are performing for other mentalists and are competent with the material, there really is pretty much no chance of a heckler knowing the methods, even of a published effect. I would say don't even worry about that man, it just doesn't happen in the real world. If I'm misunderstand what you've said then please clarify.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 25, 2014 05:41PM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, Chaz93 wrote:

I guess I don't quite understand what you're getting at. Unless you are performing for other mentalists and are competent with the material, there really is pretty much no chance of a heckler knowing the methods, even of a published effect. I would say don't even worry about that man, it just doesn't happen in the real world. If I'm misunderstand what you've said then please clarify. [/quote]


I will try to explain one last time before I give up,

Exposure of a single effect in a mentalist's routine hurts his entire act

Whereas exposure of a single effect in a magician's routine does not.

That is because most magicians do not make claims as bold as mentalists.

And Derren has done a good job of making vague claims so that he remains safe which in my opinion is brilliant.


Are you saying that it is not at all possible for laymen to expose a mentalist's methods?
Message: Posted by: Chaz93 (Jul 25, 2014 05:54PM)
Not at all, it's possible but I don't think it's as common as an issue as you seem to believe it is. First off, there are ways of taking the **** out of a heckler as soon as you get wind of them. Secondly, regarding published or private methods unless you are performing for other mentalists there is an extremely low chance of your audience knowing the methods, assuming the performer is competent in their act. You seem to be under the impression that lay audiences are more educated on the methods of our art than they are when you state:

However, when someone is performing a published effect, and on an off-chance there is a heckler who knows the secret, he can reveal is and ruin the mystique.

This is true for published or non published, if a heckler knows the secret and reveals it it will ruin the show. No argument there. My argument is that this is not nearly common enough to even begin to worry about. Honestly, how many performers have you seen where a heckler had a chance to get up and tip the method of their effect? After performance discussion trying to figure it out, sure, that will of course happen no matter how strong a performer you are, but flat out standing up and saying "AHA! I know this effect, it is in _____ book by _____ and what he's doing is _____" Just doesn't happen, and I don't think you should be overly worried about it is all.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 06:25PM)
I have a feeling the OP is thinking about a situation that is more likely to arise when performing close-up in a bar or at a party.

On stage I have the microphone- the heckler doesn't. I win. He loses. (And not only that, he ends up looking stupid in the process.)

But if you're afraid of being exposed because of claims you make, then simply don't make any claims.

But, remember, if you're non-threatening, entertaining, and if the audience LIKES you, you're unlikely to run in to many heckler problems.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 25, 2014 07:30PM)
Keep in mind that a heckler could just as easily call you out on a method, and be completely wrong about it. In that case, it's no different than having a real method exposed. The priority should be determine how to avoid the heckling in the first place. It is assumed that if you're publicly performing a piece, it should be deceptive, and the method well concealed.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 07:35PM)
With their many years of performing experience, every long-time pro I know is able to deal effectively with hecklers.
Message: Posted by: Chaz93 (Jul 25, 2014 08:02PM)
I still love that idea of having them go outside into the ally to fully isolate their thought and locking them out. That is bloody brilliant.

Also, if you want to start to get an idea of handling hecklers go to comedy clubs. Watching someone destroy a heckler can be one of the highlights of a performance.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 08:09PM)
Thanks. That's part of my "take no prisoners" approach to hecklers.

ParaLabs put out an excellent book on handling hecklers to which I contributed a chapter. You might want to check it out.
Message: Posted by: Chaz93 (Jul 25, 2014 08:15PM)
First I'm hearing of the paralabs book. Definitely sounds like a good investment. Also Bob, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I've posted downstairs.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 09:02PM)
Then go downstairs and look! :eek:
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 26, 2014 12:21AM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
Bob, you perform material that is majorly original as far as I know. Which is why I am guessing your audience would not know the secrets. However, when someone is performing a published effect, and on an off-chance there is a heckler who knows the secret, he can reveal is and ruin the mystique.


ICW, my point is that the disclaimer is very clever as in it does not affect DB's image as "psychological guru" when a trick of his is revealed to be a trick. Because he says he uses both "misdirection" and psychology. And my other point is, exposure hurt mentalism more than it hurts magic. [/quote]

Majorly original routines using established techniques I believe.

To me being a good Mentalist is similar to being a chef - there are a wide variety of well known recipes and techniques. It is how they are combined and presented which makes them delicious.

A good chef/Mentalist knows how to combine to create something which feels new and unique.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Jul 26, 2014 12:25AM)
Is the OP a Mentalist or Magician primarily?
Message: Posted by: fadattf (Jul 26, 2014 12:41AM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, IbiMania wrote:


I will try to explain one last time before I give up,

Exposure of a single effect in a mentalist's routine hurts his entire act

Whereas exposure of a single effect in a magician's routine does not.

That is because most magicians do not make claims as bold as mentalists.

And Derren has done a good job of making vague claims so that he remains safe which in my opinion is brilliant.


Are you saying that it is not at all possible for laymen to expose a mentalist's methods? [/quote]

I think IB mean it this way and I'm [b]exaggerating now a lot[/b]:

A magican has several different effects (card tricks, cut someone in half, letting water disappear,....). If one trick gets heckled than the other stuff could be still real.

A mental ist has "only one" effect - he reads minds. If someone shouts out the method than the rest of the show must also be a fake.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 26, 2014 03:23AM)
The exaggeration landed spot on. XD

I am a comedian as well as a mentalist (though I do both separately) and I do know how to handle hecklers. I have never been heckled in my mentalism act anyway.

A majority of the responders are missing the point, that is exposure. The heckler part is just one of the possibilities that may lead to exposure, but the main point of the thread is EXPOSURE. That can be through the internet, possibly by a heckler (and I know its not common so please don't respond again saying its not common), by a journalist and so on.

I am not speaking of myself but of mentalists who happen to be popular on TV or on the internet.

For example Uri (Again, I know he did not call himself one but he essentially was) was exposed by James Randi. He had a claim that was not flexible at all, for him, it was his mind power and When james revealed a few of his tricks, everything else lost wonder. It did not matter how good he was, his claim was debunked.

Now imagine if Uri said that "Some of my effects involve mind power others involve trickery though I will not tell you which is which", any effect of his that were to be revealed could be shaken off as "I told you I also involve trickery in my act".

The point of my thread was, that a mentalist who does not make bold, inflexible claims can survive the modern age of exposure much better than one who attributes his effects to one thing only: mind power, psychology, etc. A point I later added was that keeping material original also helps.

You see many pop-magicians have been able to survive even after literally everything in everyone of their specials has come out. Now, if a mentalist was exposed on such a level and he has stuck to inflexible claims, it would have been game over.
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 26, 2014 04:46AM)
I have a disclaimer that gives me an out should anyone ever spot something they shouldn't (I don't care how great your billet switch - for example - is, it's not actually invisible and if you perform long enough you're always going to have someone seated at the wrong height or in the wrong place to spot a prop or a move no one else ever has eventually) I've been using it for the last eight years but as it's framed inside a joke it passes most people by.

It's even in the video sketch that opens the second half of my 2013/2014 tour: http://youtu.be/6D73C5cpVkg
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 26, 2014 04:51AM)
I don't think we've missed your point at all. I just don't think of it as being as big a problem as you seem to fear it is. Mentalists have had to confront this difficulty for generations. At one time or another nearly EVERY major mentalist has been attacked or "debunked" by the press, skeptics or bitter rivals. It's just an occupational hazard. Some, such as Dunninger, have dealt with it very well and it didn't harm them in the least. Others, like Uri, actually capitalized on the controversy and went on the make fortunes despite the debunkers.

But, as I said earlier, if you are afraid of being debunked because of claims you make, then just don't make any claims.

It seems to me that you are actually advocating for the use of disclaimers and presentation of mentalism in the psychological mode. That's fine- do it that way and use a disclaimer if it suits you. (And in your part of the world that's probably pretty wise, considering the black magic laws you referred to earlier.)

So, again, I get your point, but just disagree that the only solution is to make a Derren Brown-like disclaimer stick to "psychological" and "mental illusionist" presentations.

Each to his own.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 26, 2014 05:11AM)
[quote]On Jul 26, 2014, Suffolk wrote:
I have a disclaimer that gives me an out should anyone ever spot something they shouldn't (I don't care how great your billet switch - for example - is, it's not actually invisible and if you perform long enough you're always going to have someone seated at the wrong height or in the wrong place to spot a prop or a move no one else ever has eventually) I've been using it for the last eight years but as it's framed inside a joke it passes most people by.

It's even in the video sketch that opens the second half of my 2013/2014 tour: http://youtu.be/6D73C5cpVkg [/quote]

That is a refreshing one Doug.

And while I am not saying mentalists should copy-cat DB's disclaimer, coming up with original ones like Doug did can be helpful.

Ofcourse, some very well respected mentalists here do not find the need to use disclaimers. I did not start the thread to convince everyone to start using disclaimers, I just wanted to mention why I think it can be helpful.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jul 26, 2014 06:03AM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
Magicians are usually less at risk than mentalists when it comes to getting caught. [/quote]

I think the first sentence of your original post is rather revealing. Any performer who starts from a position where being "caught" is any part of their mindset is almost certain to be "caught" at some point. The fear of the fact often creates the fact.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 26, 2014 06:31AM)
"Getting caught" referred to exposure. I have tried to make this point pretty clear in the post again and again.

It does not matter how good your technique is if someone exposes it online. And that can be more serious for mentalists than magicians.

Do you think DB was exposed because his execution was flawed or was it because someone knew it and decided he might as well expose.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jul 26, 2014 07:36AM)
Derren Brown is a nationally recognised TV personality in the United Kingdom. He was originally billed by Channel 4 as the genuine article. That is what led to the article exposing him. The risk of a professional mentalist being exposed by a heckler during a stage performance is practically zero, in my opinion. The risk when performing for friends and family is much higher of course, but then they are hardly likely to believe in your persona in the first place.
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Jul 26, 2014 07:47AM)
I think the other point worth noting Ib is that 99.9% of a Magician's audience know that he/she is performing tricks. If a member of the audience "sees something", it is not the end of the show for the Magician, just means that he/she is sloppy and/or an incompetent performer. Like I said to you earlier, I think you may be over thinking all of this. If you brought this mindset into a paid performance, you could end up in some strife!

By the way, Derren Brown was not the first to come up with the "psychological approach" as to how he does things. Among others, David Berglas the "Man of Mystery" used a similar explanation to how he could achieve such things.
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 26, 2014 08:00AM)
[quote]On Jul 26, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
Derren Brown is a nationally recognised TV personality in the United Kingdom. He was originally billed by Channel 4 as the genuine article. That is what led to the article exposing him. The risk of a professional mentalist being exposed by a heckler during a stage performance is practically zero, in my opinion. [/quote]

Not entirely. If you are performing corporate shows then the audience will talk about it the next day. In the event that someone has spotted something they shouldn't and talks to his colleagues about it any un disclaimed "I'm the real thing" persona is in tatters.

Also if you are doing public shows you will want to get reviewed. I have had a reviewer falsely claim that he spotted me use a gimmick that I don't actually use in my show. Because I have the disclaimer I have it makes no difference and wouldn't even if I did use the gimmick.

Conversely I have been praised for my disclaimer by a reviewer whose speciality is review theatre and magic/mind reading shows for his general Arts Festival reviewing site:
http://www.fringeguru.com/reviews/edinburgh-2013/doug-segal-i-can-make-you-a-mentalist.html
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 26, 2014 08:04AM)
[quote]On Jul 26, 2014, innercirclewannabe wrote:

By the way, Derren Brown was not the first to come up with the "psychological approach" as to how he does things. Among others, David Berglas the "Man of Mystery" used a similar explanation to how he could achieve such things. [/quote]

Indeed. People that have used this premise before Derren include Chan Canasta & Marc Salem.
I believe the first person to do so was Arthur Sutterington.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jul 26, 2014 08:04AM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
And Derren has done a good job of making vague claims so that he remains safe which in my opinion is brilliant.
[/quote]

I don't see how this is brilliant at all, when Derren or any mentalist use the whole "misdirection" or "gives the illusion of...." disclaimer or justification.

This is really saying you are doing magic. That you're mentalism and perceived mental abilities are fake. Why on earth would you want to do this to an audience of wannabe believers.

Sorry, I fail to find any brilliance at all.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Jul 26, 2014 08:12AM)
"Brilliance" is too big a word for it imho...

It is clever though. :ohyes:
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 26, 2014 08:14AM)
[quote]On Jul 26, 2014, Mindpro wrote:
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
And Derren has done a good job of making vague claims so that he remains safe which in my opinion is brilliant.
[/quote]

I don't see how this is brilliant at all, when Derren or any mentalist use the whole "misdirection" or "gives the illusion of...." disclaimer or justification.

This is really saying you are doing magic. That you're mentalism and perceived mental abilities are fake. Why on earth would you want to do this to an audience of wannabe believers.

Sorry, I fail to find any brilliance at all. [/quote]

This assumes your audience is a group of "wannabie believers".

I've won two real world (I.e. Not magic world or wedding supplier - actual arts awards) at the biggest & third biggest arts festivals on the planet, received many, many four & five star reviews from national newspapers & magazines by proper arts reviewers and made a very successful career out doing just that.

I think that Brown bloke has a minor following too ;)


I think some people forget that your job as a mentalist (or magician or comedian or any other kind of entertainer) is 1st and foremost to entertain. Not to convince people you have psychic powers.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jul 26, 2014 08:35AM)
I think lbiMania makes a very good point and it brings to mind a particular incident I heard some years ago on the radio.

I was listening to a primetime program on BBC radio 4. It featured, among other guests, a mentalist. He gave a demonstration on the show of his abilities which involved one of the other guests selecting one newspaper from a choice of many; a page was selected and that was page was ripped into smaller and smaller bits until one small piece was left. The assisting guest then picked out a word from this scrap of newspaper and the mentalist told them what the word was…. He got it right but that didn't stop his world from crashing down around him…

The person that had been left with the scrap of newspaper was a 'newspaper man' and they commented that although the mentalist had got the word right the typeface of the print on the scrap of newspaper was not from the paper he had earlier selected. His years in the newspaper business meant he instantly recognised the typeface and identified it as being not from the paper he had selected but from a different newspaper, which he could also identify, and which was one of the ones he had initially discarded.

The mentalist was completely busted on prime time national radio. As lbiMania suggests might be the case in such circumstances, from that moment on this mentalist was a complete dead duck on that show. His credibility had been instantly destroyed.

Initially it was just embarassing and he had cut his loses there it probably wouldn't have etched itself into my memory the way it has…. but to make matters worse he couldn't just put up his hands and gracefully admit he'd been rumbled or bow out and fade into the shadows. Instead he stood his ground and tried to maintain a completely untenable position in the face of what was incontrovertible evidence that he was clearly not achieving the end result through the means he claimed (some extra natural ability). As a result he was pretty savagely and eruditely ridiculed during the rest of the show by both the guests and the show's host.

innercirclewannabe said: [quote]I think you are thinking too much about it[/quote]
This is a phrase that is quite often used here on the Café and indeed it's a comment that's been directed at me a few times on various different subjects. Personally I choose to read this to mean, "you think about this more than me". Thinking in depth or obliquely about the different aspects and consequences of what we do as performers… analysing; what we do, why we're doing it and how we are achieving it, surely can't be bad thing. I know for sure I would rather be an over thinker than an under thinker.

Bob said, [quote] I just don't think of it as being as big a problem as you seem to fear it is[/quote]
Maybe I'm wrong but I didn't get, from lbiMania's posts that he sees this as an especially big problem. If he does consider it an especially big problem then I agree with Bob's comment... but I do however think lbiMania makes a point worth considering. If such a consideration had been made by that mentalist on that radio show it may have caused him to think a bit more about what he was doing, how he was doing it and who he was doing it for… and as a result maybe he wouldn't have had such an awful time of it and had his credibility killed for the rest of the show. (and possibly career because I haven't heard of him since!)

(Post Script; Out of interest I googled the mentalist in question to see if he was still performing and it seems he is… I note with irony that on his website under, 'other appearances' it finishes with, "He has also appeared {….] on BBC Radio." Indeed he has!
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Jul 26, 2014 08:51AM)
Innercirclewannabe said:
Quote:
I think you are thinking too much about it

This is a phrase that is quite often used here on the Café and indeed it's a comment that's been directed at me a few times on various different subjects. Personally I choose to read this to mean, "you think about this more than I can be bothered to". Thinking in depth or obliquely about the different aspects and consequences of what we do as performers… analysing; what we do, why we're doing it and how we are achieving it, surely can't be bad thing. I know for sure I would rather be an over thinker than an under thinker.


Actually I was trying to help the man with this comment, and not dismiss his remark as you've indicated. If you go into ANY show with the mindset that somebody might rumble you- then I think the term " self fulfilling prophecy" will ring true. Also, if this is your mindset, it would clearly indicate to me that you should not be putting on a show in the first place. For your information, I analyse every performance that I do, be it, stage, TV or indeed radio. However, I know that if all I did was analyse, I'd never get off the sofa!
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 26, 2014 10:17AM)
I don't know why so many mentalists who read people's minds day and night cannot read what I mean to say? I would say it was my inability to communicate but a lot of responders do understand what I happen to say to the point.

I will make it as simple as possible,

"If exposure were to occur, the best defence would be a disclaimer and worst enemy would be an inflexible. Derren has done a good job of creating one"

It was just a remark that I had wanted to convey.

I did not say this happened to me.
I did not say this was a big problem for everyone else or for me.
I did not say Derren Brown was the first to use the psychology approach. (Though I admired the cleverness of his disclaimer).


I even used the word "On an OFF CHANCE" yet I was constantly told stuff along the lines of "It is not that common".
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 26, 2014 10:25AM)
Nobody's trying to start an argument with you and we DO understand what you're saying. Apparently you are not looking for a discussion but simply want to make a single point:

A disclaimer is the best way to mitigate the negative effects of exposure.

Fine. That's your opinion and you're certainly entitled to it.

Personally, I don't believe in explicit disclaimers. My manner of presentation and the fact that I work in a theatrical setting is disclaimer enough for me.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 26, 2014 10:30AM)
[quote]On Jul 26, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Personally, I don't believe in explicit disclaimers. My manner of presentation and the fact that I work in a theatrical setting is disclaimer enough for me. [/quote]

You speak from years of experience and it seems true for your setting an audience.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jul 26, 2014 12:00PM)
Hi Sealegs,

The Radio 4 incident sounds fascinating. Can you give us a little more info? I'd love to try and trace a recording of that.
Message: Posted by: Joe Atmore (Jul 26, 2014 12:10PM)
[quote]On Jul 26, 2014, IbiMania wrote:

Now imagine if Uri said that "Some of my effects involve mind power others involve trickery though I will not tell you which is which", any effect of his that were to be revealed could be shaken off as "I told you I also involve trickery in my act".

[/quote]

Had he actually said that, he wouldn't have had a very successful career that has spanned decades. The best thing was Randi supposedly exposing him. Similar in the way that those tried to expose Dunninger, albeit in a much more limited fashion.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 26, 2014 01:15PM)
I agree. If Geller had ever said such a thing (and he NEVER referred to what he did as an "act"), I wonder if we would ever have heard of him at all.

The debate over whether or not he was real fueled his entire career.
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 26, 2014 02:10PM)
I'm not sure I agree that the exposure was what made Uri's career.

I think it's more a combination of him being the first famous psychic of the TV age, his personality & the exposure coming long after (relatively) to his initial fame.

There were others from the same period for whom exposure just meant they became a footnote in history - who remembers the guy in the Kung Fu pyjamas who blew at phone directories?

I also very much doubt that Uri would have been as big a success using the same premise in the internet age. I'm not sure people are as naive.

Also, as a man who has just done a national tour of a show in which a running joke depends on you knowing who Uri is I can tell you categorically that hardly anyone under the age of 30 who isn't a magician has a clue who he is. But they all know who Derren Brown is.
Message: Posted by: Joe Atmore (Jul 26, 2014 02:25PM)
It was the incessant controversy that kept his name in the press. Randi did not harm him at all - in fact you couldn't have paid for better publicity. Randi was even keeping it up in Europe when his series was playing over there. And Uri's popularity was huge in Europe. The demographics of the series was very young in all the countries. They knew he he was. I witnessed it first hand.

Not sure if your audience questioning constitutes a scientific study with the correct demographic distribution. I don't think Hello magazine would recently publish an article about him if people didn't know who he was. Or Princess of Kent unveiling his new statue and getting BBC coverage. Or Shipping Wars covering the delivery.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 26, 2014 02:26PM)
The guy in bathrobe was James Hydrick, an ex-felon who pretty much faded away after his exposure. Of course he had NO charisma, no stage abilities, and didn't have Geller's good looks and charm. Geller had all of those things and I believe that's one of the reasons he only became MORE famous after the debunking began. (And it wasn't all that long after he arrived in the US that the skeptics started going after him.)

I disagree about the public being more naive back then. I find the opposite to be true.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jul 26, 2014 02:36PM)
[quote]

For example Uri (Again, I know he did not call himself one but he essentially was) was exposed by James Randi. He had a claim that was not flexible at all, for him, it was his mind power and When james revealed a few of his tricks, everything else lost wonder. It did not matter how good he was, his claim was debunked.

Now imagine if Uri said that "Some of my effects involve mind power others involve trickery though I will not tell you which is which", any effect of his that were to be revealed could be shaken off as "I told you I also involve trickery in my act".

. [/quote]

If Uri had said that at the start we would not be debating him on here forty odd years later. In fact, no one would have heard of him.
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 26, 2014 02:36PM)
[quote]On Jul 26, 2014, Joe Atmore wrote:

Not sure if your audience questioning constitutes a scientific study with the correct demographic distribution. I don't think Hello magazine would recently publish an article about him if people didn't know who he was. Or Princess of Kent unveiling his new statue and getting BBC coverage. Or Shipping Wars covering the delivery. [/quote]

Well I sold 8,543 tickets across the tour. Assuming a audience make up that follows the broad demographics make of the UK witk approximately 35% of the population under 30 (it's probably higher as my show tends to appeal to a younger audience - my core demographic is 18-35) that's a sample size of 2,990.

When I worked in advertising and used to commission research anything over a thousand was considered an extremely robust sample.

63% of the readership of Hello Magazine is over 35.

Reckon I'm probably right.,....
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 26, 2014 02:42PM)
[quote]On Jul 26, 2014, Suffolk wrote:

Assuming a audience make up that follows the broad demographics make of the UK witk approximately 35% of the population under 30 (it's probably higher as my show tends to appeal to a younger audience - my core demographic is 18-35) that's a sample size of 2,990.

When I worked in advertising and used to commission research anything over a thousand was considered an extremely robust sample.

63% of the readership of Hello Magazine is over 35.

Reckon I'm probably right.,.... [/quote]

As a student of PR and Advertising, it is refreshing to see someone use the knowledge in an online forum.
Message: Posted by: Joe Atmore (Jul 26, 2014 02:47PM)
Maybe, may not. Your sample is limited to only those that attended your show and thus the data may only hold for that sample. It would be interesting to see whether that limited defined sample set result would hold for the entire population.

I bet everyone knew who you were in your show due to the restricted sample :)
Message: Posted by: lukecoburn (Jul 26, 2014 06:21PM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
Early in his career, before TV ruined him :) , Derren performed an IS effect to a friend of mine. It quite ruined his mystique in my friend's eyes and cast doubt on everything else he'd seen (and he'd just witnessed 'Reminiscence'!) So it's not only hecklers and journalists who can destroy the performing persona-mentalists can too. That is why I am opposed to IS-ing in all its manifestations. [/quote]

Derren says he does that effect very differently now a days..without the ISing
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 27, 2014 06:54AM)
How very odd. A strange psychic coincidence has happened in this thread. Ibimania said this in a previous post on this thread.

"Now imagine if Uri said that "Some of my effects involve mind power others involve trickery though I will not tell you which is which", any effect of his that were to be revealed could be shaken off as "I told you I also involve trickery in my act".

I actually used to do precisely this!

I don't do mentalism so much any more since I prefer nowadays to say outright that I am a magician since it makes it far easier for me to make a living. Contrary to the rot often expressed that mentalists make more money than magicians the fact is that most of them are starving since although they might make more money per gig there are less gigs to do. I don't suppose too many mentalists do kiddies parties despite the success of Jon Tremaine in this area. The other problem is that I am very well known as a psychic reader and oddly enough being a mentalist affects this in a negative manner. My psychic reading clients will accept me far better as a magician than as a mentalist. To explain this would take a whole other thread.

However, when I was active (and I am still quite happy to do a bit of mentalism in a magic act) I used to say precisely that. I opened my act with a very odd disclaimer explaining that I used to be a magician so some of what I was going to show was illusion and some of it was reality. I would go on, "so some of what I do is real and some of it is not so real. I'll let you figure out which is which. Let me start with something that is not so real". And then I would do the Baby Gag because I am a very odd sort of mentalist.

Oddly enough I once did a show in Mexico and was accused by a member of the audience of both scenarios. I do pseudo psychometry in my act. After I did the show she came up to me and astutely noted to my great irritation. "I know that you fake part of your act. For example I am quite sure your envelopes are marked in some way but at the same time I know you have real psychic ability" This is because I am an expert cold reader and always give a psychometry reading to each participant from the item of jewellery in the envelope. This is actually even stronger than identifying the correct participant. In that case it seemed to support the notion that hinting at trickery can get you off the hook if you are exposed. Alas I have not become as famous as Uri but at least have not had to go through the constant pretence of going through life pretending I have psychic powers when I haven't. It must be a hell of a strain to go through life like that.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 27, 2014 07:39AM)
Marmen that is interesting, I am sure that as a magician you did not find the need for any such disclaimers. Am I right?
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 28, 2014 06:25AM)
I only used to use that disclaimer when performing mentalism.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 28, 2014 06:36AM)
Can't remember what book I read it in, but in regards to Uri - he was thoroughly exposed in his native country, and in fairly big papers too...but his fan base didn't really diminish all that much... it was before he came over to the States and the whole Puthoff and Targ stuff...

over here, The People (a redtop nonsense newspaper) used to try and regularly expose certain magicians/mentalists...they went after chan canasta at least a couple of times, exposing some of his work, but he embraced it saying "very clever, yes I think it could also be done like that"...i always liked how some magicians saw canasta, and didn't like him, partly because of the methods he used...i thought it just made him even more brilliant...

well, remarkable (a-ho ho ho)...

loved his clipped overtly polite tone, but he also looked like he would be quite handy in a scrap too...

always felt that tommy wonder would play his slightly dandified brother if they were in a sitcom together...
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 28, 2014 06:51AM)
There are some psychic forces at work here. I was just about to post about the People exposures but Iain beat me to it!

I do remember Maurice Fogel recommending that you should not go in too strong in your claims to be the real thing. You should be a bit ambivalent about it. Maurice thought that you should imply that you are real but never come straight out and say it directly. I think I agree with this. It can lead to all sorts of trouble if you go in too strong with your claims. It sets up a challenge, brings sceptics and jealous magicians out of the woodwork wanting to expose you and sometimes all hell will break loose which may be good for business but may not be. And as Tony Corinda once remarked, "To cap it all it is quite unnecessary".

I know that Fogel was quite devastated at one time with some terribly publicity he got when the People newspaper exposed him in his earlier days. He was very upset at the time since he was at the height of his career. I even heard (although I am not sure whether to believe it or not) that he took to wearing a sandwich board in the street saying "Helliwell is not being fair to Fogel" Arthur Helliwell was the journalist who exposed him. I do know it quite traumatised him and Alan Alan told me that "Maurice was a broken man" after the incident. Personally I would have just laughed my head off, taken a week or two off and come back when the fuss died down.

One thing I will say is that if you bill yourself as a "comedy mentalist" you will not need a disclaimer of any kind. Nobody will believe you are the real thing the second you use the word "comedy". The more that you make people laugh the less they will believe you are for real. They may be less bored by you but they won't think you are for real. Not that I believe too many people believe you are the real thing anyway. Just being on a stage is a disclaimer in itself. People do believe in psychics but believe it less when they see it in an entertainment setting.

But who the hell wants to go around in their daily life pretending to have psychic powers anyway?
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 28, 2014 08:52AM)
Well put, Marmen. (I agree with about ninety percent of what you wrote, and there's no point in quibbling over the other ten percent.) As I've mentioned in the past, the only time I'm in my mentalist persona is when I'm on stage. That guy is the real thing.

I'm just Bob.

(One of the biggest ironies, though, is that it is usually other mentalists and magicians, not newspapers or laymen, who attempt to expose mentalists. Richard Himber, for example, was a nemesis of Dunninger, constantly proclaiming him to be a fraud to anyone who would listen.)
Message: Posted by: Joe Atmore (Jul 28, 2014 09:28AM)
And yet Dunninger would actually use a certain Ellery Queen magazine in his performances! Wonder if Richard gave him a discount on the price :)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 28, 2014 09:39AM)
Joe-

I've often thought that Dunninger did that as a subtle dig at Himber. He had quite a good sense of humor at the time, although in his later years, as evidenced in his autobiography, he had no love lost for Himber, who he viewed largely as an annoying publicity seeker.

I wonder if he used the Ellery Queen test just to see if he could bait Himber into publicly exposing his own effect, which he was selling to magicians at an exorbitant price (for the time.)

The world remembered, and many still remember, Dunninger but few even know of Himber or the fact that he was actually an orchestra leader and a part-time magician/hobbyist.
Message: Posted by: Joe Atmore (Jul 28, 2014 09:55AM)
You are probably right Bob. Himber actually was not just talk as you know. On at least two occasions he and his band jammed the phone lines during a radio program so the wanted call couldn't get through. Routines in the future had to be redesigned and the network execs were not pleased.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 28, 2014 10:07AM)
In a sense, I guess you could call Himber an early mentalism terrorist.:eek:
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 28, 2014 10:32AM)
So are we saying there were two sides to Himber?
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 28, 2014 10:34AM)
Very good, Iain.
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 28, 2014 12:31PM)
[quote]On Jul 28, 2014, Marmen wrote:

I do remember Maurice Fogel recommending that you should not go in too strong in your claims to be the real thing. You should be a bit ambivalent about it. [/quote]

Personally, this is the approach that I like the best.

Best wishes,


Scott
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 28, 2014 12:48PM)
My claim to being a mind reader has never bothered any of the skeptics organizations in the least because of the context and wording of my claim. Some very prominent members of the skeptics' community, in fact, are friends and/or fans of mine.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 28, 2014 01:16PM)
[quote]On Jul 28, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
My claim to being a mind reader has never bothered any of the skeptics organizations in the least because of the context and wording of my claim. Some very prominent members of the skeptics' community, in fact, are friends and/or fans of mine. [/quote]

This is exactly what I meant in the "favorite mentalists" thread when I said, ..."the way you walk the line suits my tastes perfectly." There's a beautiful gray area where mystery and entertainment reside. But for some reason, some people don't get that. (referencing another thread)
Message: Posted by: Alex R. Weinberg (Jul 28, 2014 01:57PM)
It's true if you get caught with a few tricks it can ruin your reputation as a mentalist.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 28, 2014 02:08PM)
It never hurt Uri or Dunninger or even Kreskin. (The original edition of Kamman and Marks' "The Psychology of the Psychic" was a complete expose of the latters act.)
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 28, 2014 02:09PM)
[quote]On Jul 28, 2014, Alex R. Weinberg wrote:
It's true if you get caught with a few tricks it can ruin your reputation as a mentalist. [/quote]

Only if you have a reputation to be ruined AND you claim what you do is the real thing.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 28, 2014 02:12PM)
The original edition of Kamman and Marks' "The Psychology of the Psychic" contained a complete expose of the latter's act. And Kreskin's career wasn't effected in the least.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 28, 2014 02:13PM)
[quote]On Jul 28, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
It never hurt Uri or Dunninger or even Kreskin. (The original edition of Kamman and Marks' "The Psychology of the Psychic" was a complete expose of the latters act.) [/quote]

Actually, that's true as well. It may have hurt them in the eyes of some but not in the eyes of the majority. Cognitive Dissonance again.
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 28, 2014 03:04PM)
90% of the public couldn't give a rat's ass.
They just want to be entertained.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 28, 2014 03:49PM)
Yep.
Message: Posted by: morgaine_le_fey (Jul 28, 2014 04:51PM)
[quote]On Jul 28, 2014, Suffolk wrote:
90% of the public couldn't give a rat's ass.
They just want to be entertained. [/quote]

That's the bottom line. And if some wiseguy wants to impress his (girl)friend(s) by trying to figure me out, all it takes is a fine cold reading session, a hard hitting drawing duplication ("you're SO predictable") and the meanest and fastest cardtrick in town!
But even this has only happened to me about 3 times...

xxx Morgaine
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 28, 2014 05:11PM)
Yes, it is true that magicians are the worst of the lot where bloody exposers of mentalists are concerned. In fact it was magicians who helped Arthur Helliwell expose Fogel. Pretty disgusting actually. I still remember Al Koran complaining to me bitterly about the late Bill Stickland, president of the British Ring of the IBM coming in to nightclubs and explaining to the hostesses how all his trick were done. I should explain that night club hostesses in London of the old days were almost prostitutes that the clubs hired to sit with the customers and persuade them to ply them with overpriced alcohol. And what they do with the clients after work was their own business. I suppose Stickland was trying to impress them for other reasons. I do know Koran was furious about it.

I still remember when I was a kid just starting magic and I read a biography about the Piddingtons by I think, Russell Braddon. It described how Francis White, president of the Magic Circle tried to expose them. I was quite horrified by that and even as a kid I found it disgusting.

I don't believe for a moment they do it out of a social conscience as they claim. I suspect it is jealousy more than anything else although of course they will deny it. They really should mind their own business where this is concerned. Fogel said he was sad he was out of the country when everyone started trying to expose Geller. He said he would have defended him.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 28, 2014 05:16PM)
Very rarely do magicians attempt to expose mentalists for altruistic reasons. Normally they are just showing off or trying to get publicity for themselves.
Message: Posted by: morgaine_le_fey (Jul 28, 2014 05:27PM)
[quote]On Jul 28, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Very rarely do magicians attempt to expose mentalists for altruistic reasons. Normally they are just showing off or trying to get publicity for themselves. [/quote]

I don't like 'em: but I'm biased because my dad make me practice for 1 hour a day (false shuffles, stacking, the whole bit), for YEARS.
Since then I've got a passionate dislike of cardicians. Almost none convey any sence of wonder, mystery and (dare I say it) magic!
I do some moves, but they're off radar...
For this reason I never present myself as a magician.
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 28, 2014 05:50PM)
I am not sure the job of a cardician is to convey a sense of wonder although I do sometimes wonder why they bother. I am also not sure that it is their job to present mystery and magic either. That sort of nonsense should be secondary. They are supposed to be presenting ENTERTAINMENT. Just like mentalists in fact. And a few cardicians do. And so do some mentalists. I have actually seen a few VERY good cardicians who are entertainers as well.

They mystify and baffle but it really is their SECONDARY concern. The first is to be entertaining. I learned that a long, long time ago.
Message: Posted by: emptysafe (Jul 29, 2014 02:29AM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
Early in his career, before TV ruined him :) , Derren performed an IS effect to a friend of mine. It quite ruined his mystique in my friend's eyes and cast doubt on everything else he'd seen (and he'd just witnessed 'Reminiscence'!) So it's not only hecklers and journalists who can destroy the performing persona-mentalists can too. That is why I am opposed to IS-ing in all its manifestations. [/quote]
Is the 'IS effect' means something like floating ring? I'm not sure about what IS means
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jul 29, 2014 05:29AM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, emptysafe wrote:
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
Early in his career, before TV ruined him :) , Derren performed an IS effect to a friend of mine. It quite ruined his mystique in my friend's eyes and cast doubt on everything else he'd seen (and he'd just witnessed 'Reminiscence'!) So it's not only hecklers and journalists who can destroy the performing persona-mentalists can too. That is why I am opposed to IS-ing in all its manifestations. [/quote]
Is the 'IS effect' means something like floating ring? I'm not sure about what IS means [/quote]

You are close with floating ring. "IS" actually means "Indigo Stool' and is a very silly effect where you psychologically force the participant to eat an entire tub of blueberries.
Message: Posted by: emptysafe (Jul 29, 2014 08:46AM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, emptysafe wrote:
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
Early in his career, before TV ruined him :) , Derren performed an IS effect to a friend of mine. It quite ruined his mystique in my friend's eyes and cast doubt on everything else he'd seen (and he'd just witnessed 'Reminiscence'!) So it's not only hecklers and journalists who can destroy the performing persona-mentalists can too. That is why I am opposed to IS-ing in all its manifestations. [/quote]
Is the 'IS effect' means something like floating ring? I'm not sure about what IS means [/quote]

You are close with floating ring. "IS" actually means "Indigo Stool' and is a very silly effect where you psychologically force the participant to eat an entire tub of blueberries. [/quote]
LOL, I'm sorry. I mistook IS with IT. Never heard of this kind effect....
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 29, 2014 09:12AM)
It's short for Indignant Stoat. You secretly cue a spectator by slipping member of the weasel family down their trousers.
Message: Posted by: emptysafe (Jul 29, 2014 09:42AM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, Suffolk wrote:
It's short for Indignant Stoat. You secretly cue a spectator by slipping member of the weasel family down their trousers. [/quote]
Ah....Really have no idea what you guys are talking about. I'm out.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 29, 2014 09:49AM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, Suffolk wrote:
It's short for Indignant Stoat. You secretly cue a spectator by slipping member of the weasel family down their trousers. [/quote]

The discussion of major secrets like this in Penny is improper. It should be in the "Little Darlings" forum.:eek:
Message: Posted by: jstreiff (Jul 29, 2014 09:56AM)
I think anyone who has experienced the Close Up room at the Magic Castle would agree that card workers do create a sense of mystery and wonder. The notion they do not would certainly be a surprise to the likes of Bob Sheets and Johnny Ace Palmer, among many others.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 29, 2014 09:59AM)
Have to agree with you there, John.
Message: Posted by: morgaine_le_fey (Jul 29, 2014 10:11AM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, jstreiff wrote:
I think anyone who has experienced the Close Up room at the Magic Castle would agree that card workers do create a sense of mystery and wonder. The notion they do not would certainly be a surprise to the likes of Bob Sheets and Johnny Ace Palmer, among many others. [/quote]

For sure, but I wasn't refering to this league of gentlemen - because they actually DO something with the classics.
It's a bit like jazz I guess: you need to be able to play 'in' before you can go 'out'.
And (and this is my take on things, so not the gospel) that's what most common (card)magicians lack: they're curious about how a trick works, they buy it, feel stupid because it was way too overpriced and ultimately the method turned out to be composed of something they already could do, perform it on youtube within the safety of their living room or other make believe stage and expose it. Moving on to the next PayPal assault.
Whereas great (card)magicians, indeed and I totally agree with you on this, take some easy effect like that, jazz it up and voilà: magic happens.
Ricky Jay is someone like that (his cups and balls for instance).
Mentalism, at least the kind I wish to master, is not something you can perform without, well, actually performing it. It's not your average out-of-the-box-into-the-show kinda thing.
Does this make sense to you?

xxx Morgaine
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 29, 2014 10:16AM)
Makes total sense. The illusion of mentalism can really only be achieved before an audience of strangers. (Preferably paying ones.)
Message: Posted by: morgaine_le_fey (Jul 29, 2014 10:27AM)
There are enough guys (sorry, most ARE male) already who pretend to be performing before a 'live' audience, even big names, that stage the whole thing. They use the same volunteers (mostly the only variation is whether they sit on the left or right side of the performer), and you can just SEE that the surprise is not genuine.
Bob, it took your Fourth Dimension about two months of weekly 'live' finetuning to get it right. And the errors I made, well I consider that for every new effect I perform live I will have to pay dues. The audience by the way never once showed any sign of disappointment. I was, but they weren't.
I got Atlas' Train Tracking: I already know I'll not only need to know the book by heart, but I'll need to understand how this can be part of MY vocabulary. And sure, I'll derail. But I'll love every step of the way!

xxx Morgaine
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 29, 2014 10:28AM)
I agree with Bob.
I can't understand why anyone would try to perform mentalism for friends & family.

They KNOW you're not psychic/a master of psycology.
Message: Posted by: morgaine_le_fey (Jul 29, 2014 10:35AM)
My son knows all my misdirection moves by heart - toughest audience in the world :giggles:
I remember my father getting mad for the same reason: he tested every show he did on my mother, brothers and me and we invariably took the whole set apart, like a reverse Ikea, commenting afterwards. It drove him nuts :angry:
But it meant that he needed to work harder and the solutions he came up with bettered him.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 29, 2014 10:36AM)
Suffolk- That's really why Charlie Reynolds and I once agreed that there really is no such thing as "amateur (meaning hobbyist) mentalism."
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 29, 2014 10:37AM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, morgaine_le_fey wrote:

Mentalism, at least the kind I wish to master, is not something you can perform without, well, actually performing it. It's not your average out-of-the-box-into-the-show kinda thing.
Does this make sense to you?

xxx Morgaine [/quote]

Two points: Mentalism, unlike magic, cannot be practiced in front of a mirror. And, yes, in order to be truly good it CANNOT be out-of-the-box. The performer has to bring something to the table. If not original routining, then at the very least an original 'voice'.

This concept of original 'voice' has been the most difficult thing for me to convey when I attempt share here.

I was watching Haim on Youtube the other day. If you were to make a list of do's and don'ts for a mentalist, in theory Haim would never cut it. The reality is another matter altogether.

Haim is sweet and charming and engaging. There is a book somewhere (no names) that gives very sound advice on how to structure your act and so on. Haim breaks most of this rules, if not all. And yet, he is wonderful to watch.

My point is simple. Haim has found his 'voice'. Everything other element to performing comes second.

Best wishes,


Scott
p.s. Haim, please forgive me for using you as an example. I did genuinely love the performance I saw on Youtube.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 29, 2014 10:56AM)
Yes- in a very real sense, WHO you are as a performer is far more important than WHAT you do.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jul 29, 2014 11:56AM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Suffolk- That's really why Charlie Reynolds and I once agreed that there really is no such thing as "amateur (meaning hobbyist) mentalism." [/quote]

Oops! That's 90% of the Penny contributors struck off the roll-call! :)
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 29, 2014 11:57AM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Suffolk- That's really why Charlie Reynolds and I once agreed that there really is no such thing as "amateur (meaning hobbyist) mentalism." [/quote]

Oops! That's 90% of the Penny contributors struck off the roll-call! :) [/quote]

Only 90%???
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 29, 2014 12:03PM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Suffolk- That's really why Charlie Reynolds and I once agreed that there really is no such thing as "amateur (meaning hobbyist) mentalism." [/quote]

Oops! That's 90% of the Penny contributors struck off the roll-call! :) [/quote]

Yes, but it's the amateurs which keep the art financially viable.

As a boy I would spend every Saturday at the magic shop. One of the regulars was Big Al, a giant of a man with huge hands. Al was a full time postman. I don't believe that he ever performed professionally in his life. But he did some of the best sleight of hand that I have ever witnessed.

Guys like him kept the magic store afloat.

How many people do you think will perform TT out of the couple hundred that laid out three long ones? My guess is, not many.

Best wishes,


Scott
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 29, 2014 12:06PM)
But, then again, sleight of hand with cards, coins, etc. IS something that is well suited to hobbyists, amateurs, AND professionals.

And, as I've said many times before, the actual illusion of mentalism can really only be created before an audience of strangers. That's not so with magic.

You're right, though, amateurs tend to keep many creators in business.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jul 29, 2014 12:13PM)
It would certainly be interesting to see what would happen if the professionals refused to sell any of their books or effects to anyone BUT fellow professionals! I wonder why they don't? ;)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 29, 2014 12:19PM)
If that were the case, neither you nor I would have been able to purchase and learn from, the works of Corinda or Annemann, or ANY of the other sources that provided us with the tools to become professionals in the first place.

Maybe that's why.
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 29, 2014 12:22PM)
Besides, it's not the guitar, it's the guitarist.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 29, 2014 12:26PM)
I have no problem with creators selling their works, but I, for one, have never created anything that would be particularly useful to the "buy it today, perform it tomorrow" crowd. (But you can see plenty of examples of that daily in "The Latest and the Greatest.")
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 29, 2014 12:29PM)
Every front has a back.

It wasn't so long ago that magicians and mentalists kept their secrets closely guarded. And, it is true that a certain mystique was the result.

That was the front. The back was that innovation was terribly stifled.

Today is the opposite. Magicians and mentalists both perform in jeans and t-shirts. They stroll around at bars and shopping malls. Practically any secret that you can imagine can be found exposed on either Youtube or the internet.

Agreed, it is a sad state of affairs.

However, the back is a revolution of innovation. There exists at present more creativity and variations and original thinking than ever before. Some of it is even quite lovely.

And, the bottom line is this. Most people that I perform before have never seen a live mentalist. And, truth be told, the exposure hasn't harmed my performance one bit.

They still gasp, jaws drop open, they thoroughly enjoy the performance and talk about it long after the show.

In the long run, where's the harm (except to our vision of what should be)?

Best,


Scott
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 29, 2014 12:38PM)
The truth is, with a tiny bit of creativity you could use exactly the same thing that has been exposed and no one would know it.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 29, 2014 12:49PM)
Derren Brown once said that he used to tricks always hasting towards the ending, the punch line and in one of his shows a man at a table said something like "I saw so and so trick from a man 20 years ago, it was great" and from then onward he started approaching magic with the goal of making each effect memorable for a 20 year period for the person he did it for....then he ended up doing shows like the apoclypse (but lets pretend that never happened XD )
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 29, 2014 12:54PM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, sandsjr wrote:
The truth is, with a tiny bit of creativity you could use exactly the same thing that has been exposed and no one would know it. [/quote]

True story.
I would explain how I used a classic move in a completely different situation but this is the upstairs.
Message: Posted by: Suffolk (Jul 29, 2014 01:26PM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, Scott Soloff wrote:
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Suffolk- That's really why Charlie Reynolds and I once agreed that there really is no such thing as "amateur (meaning hobbyist) mentalism." [/quote]

Oops! That's 90% of the Penny contributors struck off the roll-call! :) [/quote]

Yes, but it's the amateurs which keep the art financially viable.

[/quote]

Financially viable for who? Magic traders not people performing the art.

I don't make a dime from selling effects. The only one I've ever released was a defensive move because someone on here had seen me do it on TV and was bragging about how he'd backwards engineered it and was going to release it. I have since withdrawn it from sale having made my point about ownership. I make my living by actually performing mentalism.

While many excellent performing mentalist also retail that's what selling tricks is: retailing not mentalism. Selling tricks has the same relationship with "the art" that designing engines does with driving formula one cars.

I don't mean this is a harsh way but if all the magic stores closed down tomorrow the only difference it would make to me as a professional practitioner of the art is that an even higher percentage of the very few props I buy would have to be custom made than are already.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 29, 2014 01:58PM)
And if all the shops and creators shut down, the art would stagnate.

I've always made just about as much creating, lecturing and writing as I have performing.

What a lot of people seem to miss is that, for me, lecturing and writing is "performing" as well. (I always aim to entertain, whether the audience is the lay public, magicians, mentalists or whoever.)
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 29, 2014 02:11PM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
And if all the shops and creators shut down, the art would stagnate.

I've always made just about as much creating, lecturing and writing as I have performing.

What a lot of people seem to miss is that, for me, lecturing and writing is "performing" as well. (I always aim to entertain, whether the audience is the lay public, magicians, mentalists or whoever.) [/quote]

Thank you!

Best,

Scott
Message: Posted by: Sensio (Aug 3, 2014 07:03AM)
[quote]On Jul 29, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Suffolk- That's really why Charlie Reynolds and I once agreed that there really is no such thing as "amateur (meaning hobbyist) mentalism." [/quote]

I believe that one exception to this would be the "lie detector" persona since this can definitely be developed and cultivated from someone that spends the appropriate time and effort.
Message: Posted by: dave_matkin (Aug 3, 2014 12:34PM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, innercirclewannabe wrote:
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
I've never used a disclaimer except for one time when I was told that I had to. And they will probably never ask me to use one again. :eek: [/quote]

Yes, that was a classic story! What a great play on words. :) [/quote]

Where can I read more about this? Sounds like a great 'story' :)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Aug 3, 2014 12:47PM)
Here's what happened:

I was booked to play "Monday Night Magic" in New York City. Just before my set, I was advised by Jaime Ian Swiss that it was the policy of MMM that all mentalists must give a disclaimer at the beginning of their acts in order to assure the audience that nothing they were seeing was real.

I, of course, have always thought that such disclaimers are ridiculous and that any audience who goes to see a magic/variety show in a theater should at least have a clue that what they are watching is simply entertainment.

But I did as requested and, at the beginning of my act said:

"Just before the show I was advised by the management that I must make a disclaimer regarding what I do. So here it is- What you are about to see is unreal."
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 3, 2014 12:58PM)
Brilliant! That reminds me of the story of the newspaper that printed a headline "50% of used car dealers are crooks". When forced to print a retraction by the local car dealers association, they printed: "50% of used car dealers are not crooks."
Message: Posted by: dave_matkin (Aug 3, 2014 01:11PM)
:) :) :) :)

Nice made me smile a lot. Thanks Bob!
Message: Posted by: george1953 (Aug 3, 2014 03:30PM)
Great comment, did they agree that it was unreal ;-)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Aug 3, 2014 04:48PM)
Of course!
Message: Posted by: george1953 (Aug 4, 2014 04:43AM)
We wouldn't expect anything else ;-)
Message: Posted by: zinser (Aug 8, 2014 06:03AM)
That Monday Night Magic policy is a ridiculous one. Just performing among a group of magicians in a venue devoted to magic is disclaimer enough I would have thought.