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snushy
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Hi Banachek:
Let me start by saying that I'm a huge fan of your material, and I appreciate the time you spend giving of yourself on this forum. I own and treasure all your books, products and DVDs.

That being said, isn't some of your most recent post a bit self-serving? I mean, your concluding paragraph implies that a "good" mentalist is on a par with Slydini and Wonder. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that a "great" mentalist is on a par. I mean, Slydini and Wonder are two of the most accopmplished, original, prolific and unique performers in the history of magic. The implication that they're on a par with a "good" mentalist is part of the problem being addressed on this thread.

In addition, it's not like I was vetted before I bougtht your stuff. I didn't have to prove myself or pass any tests. You made your material available to all and sundry. The fact that it is of the highest quality is for the discerning performer to decide, but if some jackass makes a fool of himself performing something he learned off of your DVD, aren't you partially to blame? Haven't you contributed to the whole problem of the great secrets of our art being readily and easily available?

I don't mean to be confrontational, but I'm getting a little sick of being lectured on these issues by the same people who are profiting from the sale of secrets. I think all of us, magicians, mentalists, and mentalist/magicians, should start taking ourselves a little less seriously for our own good!

Thanks,
L. Zaslow
YOU KNOW WHY YOU DON'T SEE? BECAUSE YOU DON'T WATCH! - SLYDINI
tmoca
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Quote:
On 2005-02-03 15:06, Steve Dela wrote:

I agree 100% that it takes years of dedication to be a mentalist as it relies heavily on showmanship and presenting ability... but in your statement you have kind of misenturpreted what I said... Technical does not mean showmanship... it means the technical skill involved.
therefore I wasnt talking about audience management etc...just the tec side of it.


I understand that you meant the "moves" alone.

Okay, so let's say that one learns the same billet switch, NW technique and booktest as one of the top pros. Can this said person now COMPETE and STEAL the pros work...I doubt it. That's my point.

Also please do not take any of my posts as confrontaional. I just like to play devil's advocate and/or am very vocal with opinions. I respect your opinion as well. I personally didn't see any legitimacy in the statement.
truthteller
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"I think all of us, magicians, mentalists, and mentalist/magicians, should start taking ourselves a little less seriously for our own good!"

I guess it is different when one's life's work and livelihood are at stake. I don't know many doctors, lawyers, teachers, or electricians who need to "take themselves a little less seriously." Those are their jobs, their professions. The quality of their life depends on their personal reputation as well as the reputation of their field. For some of us, magic and mentalism are no different.

As to the "technique" aspect of mentalism, I also disagree. I have a pretty good second deal and a nice bottm deal as well. I can color change with the best and I'll put my false riffle shuffle work up against any magician.

Having said that, mentalism techniques are more difficult. Nail write like Kirkendall? Not something to be learned over night. Peeks - under fire - without detection. Takes the same understanding of human nature to not "be suspected, let alone detected."

Anyone can learn a decent second deal to do in front of a webcam. Years of commitment are needed before one can make the move at the table and get the money.

Mind reading - for many of us - is closer to the dynamic of the card table. The same type of scrutiny is in play. And believe me, there is a difference between changing one piece of paper for another; and being able to change, read the contents, and devise a suitable revelation without the audience ever realizing you even came NEAR the billet.
snushy
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Truthteller:
I'm not really disagreeing with you.

Part of my issue is getting preached to about easy access to the "secrets" by the same people who are contributing to the easy access.

Now, relax...
L. Zaslow
YOU KNOW WHY YOU DON'T SEE? BECAUSE YOU DON'T WATCH! - SLYDINI
Banachek
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Zaslow, you are right, I am partially to blame, however I do not always put out every single subtelty it just is impossible to do so on a DVD or tape. One hopes others see those. As a result often what I teach on DVDs and such is what I would consider mostly (but not all)mental magic. Those who understand the subtelties will find them if they look close enough.

As for on Par with Slydini and Wonder, my point is that mentalist have to think more about the whys and the psychology of what they do, more so than a magician has to or else they come off looking like they are doing mental magic. I am not talking about being as skillfull but more thoughtful in what they are doing. Keep in mind, everyone can say they are a mentalist, this does not mean they are (in what professional mentalists would think of a mentalist is) just because they can do some mental magic. All the top professional mentalists I know give as much thought to the whys of what they do as Wonder does or Slydini did. That is what puts them at the top.

My answers are not self serving, I was simply trying to show that maybe, just maybe not all mentalists are stuck up and have an attitude but rather that they are leery about sharing thier hard word and making it easy for others. I was called stuck up on one board, I never answered it, I figured it must have come from some personal place with that person. So be it, maybe I was not as forthcoming about an effect they wanted to know about, like the bullet catch or such when they met me, who knows?

I will be the first to suggest that some of what I said is contrary to myself however, just because I am different does not mean I think others who think differently and choose to keep things to their breast do not have a right to and may be more right to do so than I am, I understand this and lately with all the rip offs out there and everyone starting to look the same I wonder if maybe I made a big mistake sharing as many secrets as I did. I am not sure, I just wonder about these things because I do care about our art so much.

I have also become frustrated that for some, it is never enough. People come to see my show or others who write and teach and see something and just take it and use it because they think "oh, he writes, that routine must be in his lecture notes somewhere so I can just take it." This is another reason many become more secretive about what they do. I can't tell you the number of people who have seen me work, then written me a nice email about a bit they saw in my show they are doing. They see nothing wrong with it at all, nothing. I can't be angry with them due to their ignorance, but I do try to set them straight a little, sometimes this is seen as being arrogant. It is not, it is simply my right to tell them I would rather they not do something I worked hard on putting together myself. It is not for sale, and it is mine and I hope they will respect that.

When myself or others want to keep something for ourselves we are called "unsharing" or "stuck up." It should never ever be taken for granted that because someone is a performer they should automatically share. Sometimes it takes years and years of study and searching to find that unique item you want to perform and that fits in your show with your other effects. Once you do, the last thing you want is for other people to be doing it so you become reclusive when it comes to sharing. I understand this and respect it.

I am not trying to lecture here, but simply trying to give the other side of this coin.

Again, I fully agree, I may contribute to the "JackAss" performance, I can only hope I do more good than harm by inpsiring people to work hard at what they do to get better and do it right. This is my choice, but because others have a different choice does not mean they have an attitude or are wrong, far from it.
In thoughts and Friendship
Banachek
Campus Performer of the Year two years in a row
Year 2000 Campus Novelty Act
PEA Creativity Award Recipient
http://www.banachek.com
truthteller
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It's definately a catch 22. If you don't publish, you get ripped off. If you don't publish, you are considered selfish and arrogant. If you don't publish, every yahoo with an internet account feels its ok to come on to the Café and ask how what they saw was done. Someone is usually only too willing to share YOUR secrets with them. Look at every Derren Brown thread in this place.

Personally, it bothers me when people tell us to "take ourselves less seriously." I, and others, have devoted our lives to pursuing this artform. I think you can see how those who do not take it seriously may not be taken seriously by us. Hence the perceived attitude. Hence this thread.
ScottLeavitt
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Just an interesting observation that the one board on the Magic Café where you do find quite a few "big names" showing up to help folks new to this profession is Penny for your Thoughts....

One reason that some folks are potentially misread is that mentalists, from my somewhat limited observation, appear to be a more intellectual group than general magicians. In listening to Conversations with Mentalists, or reading books by folks like Brad, I'm continuously impressed by how much real/deep thinking goes into what they do, how they do it, etc.. I think in many cases seasoned mentalists don't mean to come across as stand-offish, just how their personas are interpreted (no insult intended)

again, look at which professionals are most active on the Café....

Scott
J ack Galloway
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I can't agree more with Mr.Banachek and Truth Teller.
I have worked hard to keep my stuff mine for over twenty years.

But all of a sudden you find some one has invented?
What you already use and advertise as part of your act.
(As is the case of Kuffs and the Blind Foil exposure)
I used it for over twenty years.

Mr.Banachek is in a unique situation in that people do think they can steal from those who publish.......Asuming their act is up for the taking becouse they know how perfromer X does it. And have no problem with stealing the bits of style that really sell the effect.

And I have no problem with pointing people in the direction of Knowledge.
The problem is most of them don't want to even pay the price of research!

Cheers

Jack
TheNightBringer89
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Wow, looks like I hit a nerve, never had so many posts in one of my threads before in only 24 hours lol. But I think some people have misunderstood me. If someone is just badgering someone else for secrets then I can understand being a bit rude. But I'm talking about if someone is A. New to the Art or B. Has some friendly differences of opinons or C. Being new has some wrong views on things, I've seen a lot of mentalists act hostile. Whereas most magicians I have known would either agree to disagree, gently correct the the error instead of berating the newcomer, or offer their guidance and help the newcomer grow.
"Dreams are born of imagination, fed upon illusions, and put to death by reality."

It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong,
If you're not like the others then you don't belong.
truthteller
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Perhaps specific examples you have encountered would best serve the purposes of discussion.
Scott Xavier
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I can honestly say that both Truthteller and Banachek have been the two main sources for originality in what I do. I thank banachek for some great silverware and impromptu effects and I thank Mr. Henderson/Truthteller for creating an effect that allowed me to see and evaluate work in a new light.

Though I use both the above mentioned MENTALISTS "tricks", my effects are different. It is because I have seen how one individual has taken a mundane effect and made them great!

1. Banachek uses subtleties and psychology to make him look like a g-d.
2. Truthteller creates and weaves a story where the over all effect is the "trick" and not just a move. The effect becomes more of a moment in life and a tale to tell more so then a "MOVE".

Once you see the power in these two performers, when you put their teachings to use, and when you get inspires and do not rip-off then and only then are you a true mentalist, IMHO.

I am in the minority. I believe one has to have a firm hold of magic and theory before becoming a successful mentalist. Perhaps Banachek can correct me, but on his new psi-series he uses some magic moves and theory in his performances. Just look at his coin bending and nail bending.

The concepts of magic and mentalism are different, but without the knowledge of magic basics such as a riffle force, switch, force, misdirection, and magic theory a mentalist wont succeed. OR I MAY BE WRONG! This is the internet and I am far from being the answer, this is merely my point of view.
salsa_dancer
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I have found that virtually everyone I have spoken to in this art has been very pleasant and very willing to offer a helping hand. However, even when I was totally green around the edges I presented my questions with suggestions and accepted the return criticisms and suggestions.

By showing a willingness to accept and learn you often open doors quicker, I think the ability to think for yourself is often perceived by others as an ability to be taught also.

I have had some great email discussions with some of the top names in the business and I am always surprised by the friendliness and attentiveness that they would give to an unknown and a newcomer to the field. Banachek has been inspirational, but never have I asked him how to do something. I will always open with an idea I already have and hope that I may get some helpful suggestions back.

You know what, not one person has ever acted arrogantly or stuck up towards me.
bobser
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This is actually an excellent thread.
I think I'd like to answer it 'this' way;
I am a pro mentalist AND magician. Sometimes the one or the other or sometimes I mix it, especially when an 'impromptu' situation arises for the other.
I thought about the question;'Which is the most difficult ?' long and hard, and, I believe there is simply no definitive answer.
I think it's more about 'who' or 'what' the individual performer 'is' or 'is like'.

Now I think I'm pretty good at what I do (c'mon guys, don't gimme' a hard time!).
I find both mentalism and magic most enjoyable. But if pushed, I'd have to see that the character which is 'me personally' found mentalism an absolute walk in the park compared to learning all the slices/cuts/lifts etc.
And to this day, again for me personally, mentalism is just a pure joy.
Now I admit I'm well practiced, but for what it's worth I beieve I could take a good after dinner speaker or stand-up comic etc and whilst possibly NOT being able to teach them magic, I'd bet serious money that based on their 'people skills' they'd make great mentalists.
Okay, that's it.

Yours aye,
Bobser (The one who knows things... and that)
Bob Burns is the creator of The Swan.
Scott Xavier
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I have seen some bad mentalism, heck I even was a bad mentalist at one time. It takes character and style to perform mentalism, WELL. Anyone can do mind tricks and Out Of Sight Out Of Mind, but it takes a true Mentalist to see the subtleties of a spoon bend/coin bend and add a show/performance around it.

Perhaps this is where we difer bobser. The speaker or comedian may get the moves, but will he ever excel at mentalism? that's what and who we're talking about. Those who have the knowledge and skill necessary to be mentalists!
xersekis
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Quote:
On 2005-02-03 20:51, bobser wrote:
snipped

Now I admit I'm well practiced, but for what it's worth I beieve I could take a good after dinner speaker or stand-up comic etc and whilst possibly NOT being able to teach them magic, I'd bet serious money that based on their 'people skills' they'd make great mentalists.
Okay, that's it.

Yours aye,
Bobser (The one who knows things... and that)



and there you hit the nail on the head - it isn't about trick but about people skills.
So sadly most magicians would not be good at it - since most are into the tricks and lack the people skills. A rare combination is a magic with both.

People skills are far harder to come by in reality than all the sleights magis frustrate over. To be able to listen, pay attention, observe, create rapport, know when to stop, change course, think on ones feet is much - MUCH - different than card and coin routines.

Performace skills - people skills - communication skills - do make someone a better mentalist, or hypnotist and would make a magician a better magician - but they need to value that first over and above the tricks, the effects, and the responses. Two different animals.

So I agree with you - based on their people skills they would have a head start - but not necessarily be able to pull it off.
MentaThought
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Quote:
On 2005-02-03 04:50, RickSilmser wrote:
Personally, I don't hang out with anyone in the business, don't belong to any clubs or groups and don't go to conventions, it was advice given to me by a very wise person.


Hmmmmmmmmm . . . sounds like the kind of advice one of the all-time best in the business -- Kreskin, himself known for the above -- might offer . . .

Quote:
On 2005-02-03 14:21, Banachek wrote:
A good mentalist will not teach you a trick when he is ready to teach, he will teach you a miracle because he understands the subtleties behind each and every gesture so they happen naturally.


Talk about the irony of Banachek -- to my mind, one of the classiest, most helpful guys in the art -- posting in a thread about "stuck-up mentalists"!
I still have to smile when I think of one of Banachek's published writings in which, in the course of revealing one of his most prized effects, he wrote something to the along the lines of, "If I find out anyone is performing this effect wrong I'll simply stop publishing my effects!" When I read that I was struck by the man's impressive level of artistic integrity: he'd actually prefer not to share his work anymore (negatively impacting his own income in the process) than share it, collect the profits and then have to see it performed badly.
And thanks to Banachek, too, for providing me with a new addition for my Café signature:

"A good mentalist will not teach you a trick when he is ready to teach, he will teach you a miracle because he understands the subtleties behind each and every gesture so they happen naturally."
"A good mentalist ... will teach you a miracle because he understands the subtleties ..." -- Banachek

"If this works it'll be BEAUTIFUL!" - The Amazing Kreskin on a stunning effect he performed on his 1970s television series (PS: it worked)
bobser
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Quote:
On 2005-02-03 21:14, Dr_Zodiac wrote:
I have seen some bad mentalism, heck I even was a bad mentalist at one time. It takes character and style to perform mentalism, WELL. Anyone can do mind tricks and out of sight out of mind, but it takes a true Mentalist to see the subtleties of a spoon bend/coin bend and add a show/performance around it.

Perhaps this is where we difer bobser. The speaker or camedian may get the moves, but will he ever excel at mentalism? that's what and who we're talking about. Those who have the knowledge and skill necessary to be mentalists!

Dr Zodiac, you say: It takes character and style to perform mentalism.
I agree. And that's exactly what many (not all) after dinner speakers, captains of industry, actors, comedians and the like possess in abundance.
I sometimes fee that mentalists seem to believe that they personally were born to do mentalism. We are all of us ex plumbers, solicitors butchers, criminals, policemen etc.
The best of us however perform well and posses people skills.

And to Rexstrikes, who wrote:
[quote]"so sadly most magicians would not be good at it".

I simply wouldn't know how to answer someone with such a belief system. It's like saying magicians 'don't have people skills, when they evidently do.
In fact I would love to go on record by saying that magicians make GREAT mentalists.
To take it further, I absolutely KNOW that the vast majority of mentalists I have encountered come from the world of magic... and are still prone to the occasional Elmsley shuffle.
Derren Brown himself earned a living from restaurant 'close-up' magic.
'So I guess he would not be good at it-huh?'

C'mon guys... let it go. We're all magicians, end of story. We simply have slidden into a different genre of the art.

Bobser.
Bob Burns is the creator of The Swan.
kinesis
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Well I'm too stuck up to reply to this thread.

Er...that was a joke, but you knew that...phew!!...that's okay then.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein






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darkseance
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Ah wee laddy
kinesis
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LOL, why do people think we Scottish speak like William Wallace, Mel Gibson has a lot to answer for.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein






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