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Topic: The dilemma continues...
Message: Posted by: Alexander Marsh (Oct 31, 2004 07:50AM)
I posted this on another mentalism forum but thought I'd post it here as well to get my friends at the Magic Café's thoughts on my dilemma. So read carefully....

Now, this may just be because I listen to carefully to people on boards such as this (it's the only way for me to communicate with other performers) but I'm having a real problem with my claim/disclaimer as a mindreader.

The following may sound like I'm picking and choosing at claims but it's not that way at all, I'm just helping you understand me so you may help me if you can.

The Psychic claim for me is out of the question, I came from privately studying psychology, body language, verbal and non-verbal communication, in to mentalism (NOT from magic in to mentalism), and I personally don't believe in claims of psychic powers or talking to the dead etc., so to claim such things would be silly.

And I don't like the idea of claiming or disclaiming nothing (ala Osterlind), because it leaves to many doors open, in my opinion.

So as you may have guessed, I think that if I'm not reading minds by paranormal means it must be via psychological means.

With that out the way, my dilemma comes when wording such a claim.
I really like and agree with Banachek's ideas and 'wording' of a claim,
but I've changed to suite me, as one should,

"There’s nothing psychic or paranormal about what I do.

[b]I use a mixture of; verbal and non-verbal communication, magic, psychology, suggestion and persuasion techniques.[/b]

And it’s by applying these learned skills and techniques that I create the appearance of telepathy"

This is my claim and the 'silent script' I stick to, and its totally true!
If people want to latch on to one particular thing they can, and it gives people what they want, that being in the 'ball park' of understanding how its done.
I would then allow the effects and the presentations to speak for themselves.

BUT...and here’s the dilemma, I feel I am made to feel like I am unoriginal in my ideas and style because others (on boards such as this one, not just this one I must add) say I am simply copying Derren Brown or who ever.

It drives me mad because this is the perfect claim for my style and I often feel like telling people to reread their 13 Steps and see that Corinda himself claimed psychological powers over psychic powers.

So guys, what should I do, drive myself crazy trying to think of a different 'wording' that fills all the same criteria as the above claim does so wonderfully?

This may be a rant but it brings up a valid point I feel.
I await your thoughts.
Message: Posted by: shrink (Oct 31, 2004 11:44AM)
Alex: I can't see where there is a problem. Do what you feel good about doing. At the end of the day you are performing for your audiences not other mentalists. No one can make you feel bad about anything unless you let them.

Who really cares what they think if you are happy with how you are entertaining your audiences.

Just go for it.

Message: Posted by: procyonrising (Oct 31, 2004 11:46AM)
Well, it does have an awfully familiar ring to it. However, it shouldn't matter--especially since others are using it too (it would be naive to think otherwise). Hopefully, your show sets you apart, not your disclaimer.

Personally, I think you're saying too much. The three lines have too much information to think about. Maybe try a broader term ("psychology") and break it down into more specific terms ("body-language" or "persuasion") when presenting various effect to your audience--they're smart enough to put it all together.
Message: Posted by: MIC (Oct 31, 2004 02:12PM)
I think its about time that people should stop worrying about looking like copying DB. From an audience point of view it should be obvious that there are more than one people that can read body language...

Plus DB was not the first person to do 'psychological' readings. Nor was he the first person to do the "tractor effect". (it drives me mad!)

Surely DBs persona is a breakthrough in mentalism and modern magic in general but mainly due to his TV appearences. I do think the concept of the psychological illunist really IS the future of mentalism so more people will (and should) be doing it... and it WILL be the norm (and it should because in my opinion it is a far superior form of entertainment than the 'paranormal'). I am definetely looking forward to the next big psychological illusionist.

My advice is do what you want... The audience should not have a problem with it (unless you truly do copy DB's act)... and I don't think DB would have a problem with it either (he will always seem the first to have done it). As for other mentalists you shouldnt care.

We are here to entertain laypeople. Morally my view is that it is perfectly ok.


PS. I suppose in writing the above, that you are not copying DBs act. You are using this psychological context to unravel your own tales and concepts, and intrigue your audiences with your own personality and not DB's.
Message: Posted by: RJE (Oct 31, 2004 02:23PM)
I have no idea who Derren Brown is (I guess I don't watch enough television or I just watch the wrong channels), but Kreskin did a disclaimer at the end of every one of his shows, live or on TV. Your disclaimer is yours and I'd have to agree with Shrink, don't worry about what other performers say, they don't pay your bills.
Message: Posted by: Joshua Quinn (Oct 31, 2004 02:26PM)
Your originality or lack thereof will come from the content of your performance, not the wording of your disclaimer.

Look at it from the opposite direction. Suppose you had chosen the "I'm really psychic" route. And suppose people on messge boards then started saying you were unoriginal because you were simply copying Uri Geller or whoever. Would you worry about it then?
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Oct 31, 2004 02:41PM)
Disclaimers, if used, can be kept pretty simple.
Kreskin's was "Kreskin is not psychic. All of his experiments are accomplished by natural, scientific means."

Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (Oct 31, 2004 05:03PM)
I some times wonder why people go so big on disclaimers, I often wonder if it's to do with magicians guilt. I like what Doctor Midnight posted about kreskins simple disclaimer above.

I was asked reciently why I didn't try for a 1000 euro claim on supernatural power in metal bening, I answered honestly, because what I do is not supernatural and the guy who offered this particular prize can also bend metal in the same way I can, it's done mby natural little known means. Personally I like to leve a mystery and take Mr Osterlins approch.

Message: Posted by: shrink (Oct 31, 2004 05:26PM)
I throw in a few deceptions...I teach them some real body reading techniques so they can read the minds of the person next to them for real. I then do an effect that uses a trick effect..this removes any doubt from their minds that I am using an advanced bodyreading technique....they even believe they can read it to.

I finish with something way out like Q&A. I give a mixed disclaimer because I use mentalism to sell training courses in persuasion..
Message: Posted by: Alexander Marsh (Oct 31, 2004 05:35PM)
Thank you all SO very much guys, from shrink right down to Hypnotic Winter.

Shrink, your words hit me hard and I say a big thank you.

procyonrising, your post carries a valid point. I can quite easly cut it down and it says exactly the same thing.

MIC, I am in no way copying Derren Brown. I will admit to the fact that it was seeing him on TV many moons ago that got me in to mentalism but I am 100% my own person. Who else can I be?
And I understand your being driven mad by the 'tractor' effect thing.

RJE, you sumed it up nicely.

Quinn, thanks for helping me see it from a different point of view.

Steve, thank you for the example of just how simple it can be. I guess this can only help you in performance.

H.W., good example again, still keeping the all importent mystery to mentalism. As I said before, Osterlinds view point isn't to my taste but its suites him perfectly and I'm sure your own take on it suits you wonderfuly too.

Best wishs,

Hay shrink, up late too hay?!

I like to do something similer, show them this is a 'perfectly normal abillity', implying ive kind of fine tuned it. Theres so many things you can do like this that Ive never come accross in magical/mentalism books. Theres one that springs to mind from Frogs in to Princes.


P.S. 'Body Reading' is a much better way of puting it, don't you think.
Message: Posted by: Ken Dyne (Nov 2, 2004 05:13AM)
I think in the current climate if you are doing something which is apparently psychological I'm method and means then you are branded with the "Derren Clone" badge. I think this is utterly unfair, as has been posted earlier here he is not the first to take this appraoch and he surly wil not be the last. He is, currently the most famed among lay people.

My disclaimer is similar to both Kreskin and Derren's in that I claim no extra powers, however I also claim that I don't know how some of these phenomenon come about, for me this adds a little air of mystery to my performances.

I begin with the fairly psychological things such as Gauchi's Eye to Eye, a presentation of Lorayne's Buck and Ring of truth and apss them off as psychological. but then I move steadily away into the realm of "the impossible!" such as Cassidy's 4th Dimensional Telepathy.

I think it is all about being yourself, and not worrying about if you have siilarities with other perfomers. If you are serious and sarcastic doesn't mean you are Derren Brown, if you are comedy and camp doesn't mean you are Jeff Durham.

And as Shrink has said, you are performign for lay audiences, not mentalists.

Just my thoughts,