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alekei
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It's have been already said. I agree all depends on the point of view. Real Mentalism for the audicence or real mentalism for me, the performer?
I do some effects that for the audience are real mentalism. They are convinced with what I did.I approach the mentalism not making the people believe that I can read minds. I approach my mentalism making the people believe that I can manipulate their minds, I can make them think what I want. In fact, I like to give Logical explanations of what I do, give them clues of how I can manipulate them with suggestion techniques. And they are amazed not because I am a "mind Reader", but they are amazed because I can put in their minds what I want. I always use the example of advertising. The Advertisers create subliminal and indirect messages in order to make customers buy what they didn't really wanted to buy.

Conclusion:
It doesn't matter if it is impromptu, or prepared, with props, or without them. The important is to make the audience believe that what you do (whatever it is) is for Real.

You are right when you say people are not dumb,..... it is because of that I don't like to do metal bending, PK effects, etc. The people DO know this is impossible. But they know that Suggestion exists.

Afterthought: Mental Magician or Mentalist? Personally I am neither a Mental Magician nor a Mentalist. I am an illusionist with good psychological skills.

Alejandro.
Lee Darrow
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In my opinion, "impromptu" might actually mean "seemingly impromptu to the audience." The best way to fool someone is to work in a seemingly impromptu manner - that way, they are not looking for magician's moves and useing "he's trying to trick me" logic. Working in a seemingly impromptu fashion is a throw-off for the audience and the participants. With the idea that you are "just working with whatever's near to hand," they won't be looking as hard for the "trick part."

This does not preclude the use of swami's, CT's or even Imp Pads - you just have to ring them in on the audience without them suspecting a "prop" or "gimmick."

Your mileage may vary, but it works for me.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
DanielLove
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Helping Hand,
Lovely to hear that you enjoyed Dream Signs,
(gives me a lovely warm-glowy feeling to be appreciated!)
Please PM me and let me know how you get on with it, I'll be happy to help out with any questions you may have in regards to it.

Fascinating thread JoaoPedro,
I've always been drawn to that search for the ultimate impromtu effect,
I find that keeping your eyes and ears open at all times gives you plenty to work with - if you can gather information as you go - maybe a glimpsed credit card number or overheard conversation you can blow minds. Also simple risk taking is always worth a try - I think it's important not to fear being wrong, "psychics" use the old "lucky guess" tactic all the time and it dosnt hurt them - it's worth the risk purely for the amazement on the odd occasion you get a hit (and there are so many ways to improve your chances anyhow) - as long as you are skilled enough to back up a miss with a foolproof effect then what is there to loose?
Not only that but I think people really like you to get it wrong occasionaly - it just lends credibility to the whole thing being real, just in the way the best musician will miss a note every now and then.
JoaoPedro
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Thank you all for all of your great posts!
After reading your thoughts (this one sounded good... Smile ) I think we're able to see that there are two main opinions on the subject:
1. The most important thing is the impact of the effect, doesn't matter if you achieve it using props, gimmicks or whatever. The thing is the spec must believe and give you credibility. He would never even think of some kind of gimmick if you are a good professional and present your business cards and your pen as mere objects to make things easier (maybe because "it's better for you to write down the word you're thinking of or you might forget it..."). Anyway...there is no need to achieve "the perfect scenario" if you can still amaze people using the classic methods and gimmicks.

2. To achieve that "perfect scenario" we can use techniques such as psychological forces, "glimpse a credit card number" or any peek at any information, overheard conversations, techniques based on suggestion and NLP.
However all of these technique have their own risk, they're not 100% right! But I truly agree with DanielLove - it doesn't matter if you fail as long as you can cover it up, doing a foolproof effect.

So...

I think we can fuse these two chains of thought. We can make a whole mentalism session using foolproof effects (using our swamis, our regular decks of cards, our business cards, our pens...whatever!) and adding some "absolutely impromptu" effects. As far as I'm concerned I think that people will get much more convinced of what they saw if we add these little "weapons" to our show. I think that your reputation is in these moments where suggestion and psychology does work. Those are the moments in which you ,apparently using nothing but the mind of the spec, reveal a thought! Just like that. I think we should all improve our skills towards those kind of effects. And like JuanD said, "the most important thing is experience with people!" And I completely agree with him. Our experience with people and their behaviour allows us to add some tremendous effects in our show. But...this is only my opinion and the way I view and do mentalism.
For this subject I'd really recommend "Psychlogical subtelties" from Banachek. This book is awesome and full of great psychological forces you can use on your daily mentalist life!What I'm telling is not new and I'm sure you have all heard or even read this book.

Just to finish my post I'll leave you with some thoughts...

When you see Derren Brown's act, what do you think people will feel like? Do you think their reaction will be the same as if they were whitnessing Banachek's or Osterlind's act? I think not! And I really do love both Banachek's and Osterlind's act but I know there's a difference between their shows. The difference lies in the type of effects. Apparently Derren uses nothing but a person's mind or thought to do his "psychological magic". He doesn't need a paper or a deck of cards or an envelope (I mean...he doesn't use it that often...).
If I was a layperson I'm sure I'd get much more amazed and even shocked with DB effects. I mean, some of them appear to be completely impossible! He seems to really manipulate people in such a manner that gets people curious and amazed. We don't see that in Banachek's or Osterlind's show although they sometimes make use of psychological subtelties and whatsoever. But they just center their show on those foolproof effects. People get amazed but when they go home they'll forget about two thirds of what they saw.
This is just my opinion, but I think we all have a lot to learn from both styles of mentalism. I think that we are able to make a revolution and to improve the classic way of mentalism. What do you think?
Joăo Pedro
SpAgHeTtI
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Of course every mentalist prefer to perform with nothing.....the only problem is that is not so easy! Smile
ThomasBerger
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I agree with Rick on this.

You can never be as effective performing impromptu
as you are in a paid gig where you are totally set up.
When your gig is done, you are finished. You are out of there.
Impromptu, you can never end properly, there are incessant questions
and pleas for something else.

I don't think any of that is good for your image.

Besides if you perform a lot, you get a bit sick and tired of being on call at every party or social event you are invited long to.

Nothing kills the passion for impromptu work like a few years of being Pro.

that's my opinion.
Cheers.
Tom
Gordon Fisher
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Quote:
On 2005-02-03 19:14, RickSilmser wrote:
Except for close up magic in my home for family and friends...I never, ever, ever, do anything for anyone at their request when I'm "off duty" meaning not doing a presentation. I just don't believe in it. I have some very polite "outs" as well so the person is not let down.

~Rick~


this for me takes the point of mentalism away, you dilute this with your attitude, if someone asks me to show them something I am more than happy, I do however let the understand that the issue is a serious one, I want them to respect it, if I just say no each time some asks then they do not respect you
MagoStevo
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Sometime,the prop doesn't just aid your mentalism,it also provides the images and impression of you.For example,when you talk about Crystal Ball,people remember Tim Conover,when you talk about spoon,people remember Uri Geller;Blind fold-Banachek,Kreskin...
the point is,if you are doing mentalism for living,it's very important to have some nice-looking props to boost your act as well as a vidual aid.
people like Larry Becker and Ted Lesley,they are prop-heavy too,but aren't them famous?!
Never ever have bad thought,you never know who is listening....
fizbin
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Hello, all.

I tend to agree with those like Tony Andruzzi who believe "Either you are a Mage (magician/mentalist) or you are not." It indeed is that simple. It is about you being able to amaze and inspire people to see the mysteries all around them. Whether that be through the use of props like Osterlind and Banachek, or being propless like Luke Jermay or Derren Brown.

Pardon the corseness to come, but if you only perform when you are paid, you are a prostitute. This statement is not directed at anyone in specific on this board. It is a generalization, but I believe a true one. If you look past yourself and what you can get out of your own performance, and see what you can give to others, you may start to agree that being a mentalist/magician, is not what you do, but who you are, and letting others (like those in "impromptu" settings)see you for who you are. My two cents, take 'em for what they are worth. Some will agree, some will not, but the truth remains:

"Either you are a mage, or you are not..."
"All For Wonder..."
Earle M. Kelley
http://www.fizbinentertainment.com
ThomasBerger
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"Pardon the corseness to come, but if you only perform when you are paid, you are a prostitute."

Presumably, you would classify your accountant and doctor that too because they don't "do their thing" at some party they have been invited too.

Likewise comedians and singers who aren't always "on".
Comedian Robin Williams is a classic case, if you expect him to carry on the way he does when he isn't performing, you would be wrong.

To me that comment is more from someone who performs only occasionally or part time and doesn't need to perform when they don't feel like it or chase gigs as part of a business.

You find that having magic/mentalism as a hobby, you want to perform all the time, trying new things out. You have new effects with pretty much the same audience, your family and friends and aoocasional gigs for strangers.

When you perform professionally, you seldom bring new things into an act, it is the same act mostly, for different audiences. The dynamics are totally different.

One final point--
In my view I think it is important to be a well rounded person, to have varied interests, to be able to talk about a wide range of topics, and to be invited to parties not just because you perform tricks.

My 2 cents worth.
Tom
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Quote:
On 2005-03-01 16:42, ThomasBerger wrote:
"Pardon the corseness to come, but if you only perform when you are paid, you are a prostitute."

Presumably, you would classify your accountant and doctor that too because they don't "do their thing" at some party they have been invited too.


Thomas, I don't know if he would... As you know, some people think we are "JUST doing tricks" so, maybe by the same fuzzy-logic they can ONLY see Mentalists performing for MONEY as prostitutes while the rest of the world is not touched by their kind of "thinking"... Smile Smile

Paolo "Prostitute and Proud to be One" Cavalli Smile
Then you'll rise right before my eyes, on wings that fill the sky, like a phoenix rising!
J ack Galloway
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Thomas,

I was going to post something similar to what you have.

My only addition would be that people see no value in what you do if you give it a way for free.

It has no perceived value. Other than a cheap divertion.

Best Wishes

Jack

I may be easy but definitely not cheap!
ThomasBerger
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Paolo "Prostitute and Proud to be One" Cavalli

Paolo--you are a funny man!!

Jack-- I was actually writing what you mention about value...but deleted it because I thought it might be too radical!

Thanks for your thoughts.

Tom
enriqueenriquez
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Great posts, Tom, Paolo and Jack Galloway.
Richard Osterlind
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Quote:
On 2005-03-01 14:39, fizbin wrote:
Hello, all.

I tend to agree with those like Tony Andruzzi who believe "Either you are a Mage (magician/mentalist) or you are not." It indeed is that simple. It is about you being able to amaze and inspire people to see the mysteries all around them. Whether that be through the use of props like Osterlind and Banachek, or being propless like Luke Jermay or Derren Brown.

Pardon the corseness to come, but if you only perform when you are paid, you are a prostitute. This statement is not directed at anyone in specific on this board. It is a generalization, but I believe a true one. If you look past yourself and what you can get out of your own performance, and see what you can give to others, you may start to agree that being a mentalist/magician, is not what you do, but who you are, and letting others (like those in "impromptu" settings)see you for who you are. My two cents, take 'em for what they are worth. Some will agree, some will not, but the truth remains:

"Either you are a mage, or you are not..."


I don't really understand the "prop" thing. I mean, is a piece of paper or a book, a prop that takes away from the art? And, don't luke Jeremy and Brown use some porps? That being said, I have a lot of things I do requiring no props.

As far as the "prostitue" comment goes, I really don't know any professional magician or mentalist who doesn't also perform just to do it as well as for charities, etc. Who you are and what you do when performing is not detirmined by whether you are making money or how much.

Richard
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WOW, Holy Moly.

First, there is a great deal that you can do impromptu with mentalism. There have been many suggestions already given but there are many, many more. I believe that more research is in order if you believe that there are no “impromptu” mental effects.

Second, I do not think we are required to jump every time some one asks us to show them something. However, I do believe we should be reasonably ready to do something in those moments where the conditions are right. I almost always have one or two items on me that I can do when I feel the situation warrants.

Third, let’s remember we are entertainers and not real magicians. We have nothing to prove to someone who says, show me something. I enjoy entertaining people and I will have fun when the moment happens. However, I am not a dog that must do a trick just to prove that I am a magician/mentalist at any one moment.

Fourth, If you are ready to have fun, great, have fun. If someone simply wants you to prove something, then you must ask yourself, why am I really doing this? Sometimes I show something because I am in a fun mood, sometimes I show something because I am working on an idea or trick, sometimes I show something because I believe it might help me get a gig or make a connection, however; I don’t do something because I have to prove something about being a magician, mentalist, or entertainer.

Sergeant
Lee Darrow
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"Pardon the corseness to come, but if you only perform when you are paid, you are a prostitute."

Nope. Not at all. Does a Doctor perform an appendectomy at a party "just to peform?"
Does an accountant balance your accounts "just to perform?"
Does a musician play just to perform (okay, SOME do, but many of the pros do NOT).

Here's why, in my opinion - a professional has a certain standing and keeps their performing to its proper place and proper time. How many magicians and mentalists do we see violating Leipzig's Second Maxim - "never perform until someone sincerely asks you to?" Way too many times and, I know that I have been guilty of this myself.

But a real pro will not perform simply to "prove himself" or to "show off." The real pro doesn't need to do these things as the real pro has already proven himself TO himself (or herself, of course) and doesn't need to bloster the old ego by forcing their talents on others.

However, a real pro MIGHT be cajoled into performing "a little something" when the entire crowd asks for him or her to simply because to not do so would be to disappoint potential fans and to bee seen as rude. A REAL pro is never rude to an audience (except under some pretty extreme situations and even then, those are very few and far between).

A professional performs for pay. A profession is something that one earns their living practicing, whether it's magic, mentalism, accountancy or nuclear physics. A performing professional has a little more latitude in this respect, but more often than not, a real professional will decline unless there is a real need TO perform that is also in keeping with the idea of professionalism - being professional.

Just some random thoughts, late in the night...

Lee Darrow, C.H.
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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
fizbin
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Hello all,

My sincere apologies for offending. It was not my intention. Thanks for putting me in my place as far as the prostitue comment. That was really un-called for.

While I agree with Lee & Sergent, on the idea of not just doing something because Joe Schmo asks us to. I still say that to NEVER perform impromptu is just as close minded and logically fuzzy. I agree that we should consider the situation, and be free to decline if we feel pushed into performing, or challenged. We sould also be equally free to entertain as the situations warrant.

As far as those that say that doctors and accountants don't perform at parties, my response to that is simply that they aren't performers to begin with, so why would they? We are entertainers. That is what we do. I like what Jeff McBride has to say in an interview about "giving away" magic:

"I probably do more close-up magic than stage, but I offer my close-up work as medicine. Laugher is good medicine and with the Native Americans anything that is healing - anything that makes you feel good - is medicine. So magic is good medicine, and I give it away freely."

Based on this comment, I don't believe that Jeff McBride would consider it a "cheap diversion and of no value".

We are entertainers, that is what we do. Yes, it is easy to get burned out when you are "on" all the time. There does need to be some down time where we explore our other interests. I totally agree with Tom in being a well rounded person.

Richard, I meant no offense when I inferred you were not "propless". I have seen your DVD's, read your work, and you are brilliant. I was only using a comparison others have used, albeit incorrectly. My apologies again.
"All For Wonder..."
Earle M. Kelley
http://www.fizbinentertainment.com
vmendoza
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The question of being “absolutely impromptu” is a relative one. You can see this by the other post that this thread has generated. You define “absolutely impromptu” as being “prop-less.” But when you reverse your question and apply it to magic, you find that there aren’t really any effects that are truly “prop-less” in magic. You always need something to do something with in order for something magical to happen. These things don’t happen in a vacuum. If you’re sitting at a table, are the table and chairs then considered props? If you ask someone to project their thought onto a wall, is the wall a prop? By the way, the answer to those two questions would be “yes.” But props are there to lend support and even credence to what takes place.

Mentalism on the other had does lend itself to “absolutely impromptu” - “prop-less” effects. If you learn how to use the tools given to you, wonders can be done. You gave two examples NLP and Suggestion. With NLP techniques, one can give a spectator a choice of three or four scenarios and have them concentrate one of them, and then accurately name their thought. With suggestion, you can cause a person to forget their own name, cause them to faint and fall over backwards, have them feel a surge of energy pulse in their hands, cure a headache, smell invisible roses, cause a stigmata to appear. Furthermore, having induced a trance, I’ve had people enter into a conversation with a deceased loved one to address unresolved issues. I used to use contact mind-reading to divine someone’s phone-number among other things.

Studying any of the divination arts like astrology, tarot, and palm reading, combined with cold/warm reading skills, the practice of deductive thinking, and cultivating the art of listening, will give you more than enough to start your own church – if you so choose.

As for quoting Anduzzi, I think you’ve taken it out of context. "Either you are a mage, or you are not." I read that to mean, the aura that you project, the sense that people get about you. Are you well-versed enough in the field you’ve chosen that you emanate a certain wisdom about you. You don’t even have to talk and people just know. In that sense there are very few mages and legions of wanna-bees.

If you really want to walk this path, people will come up to you and ask you to just do something, anything. It’s the nature of the beast. This is where studying a broad spectrum of skills and techniques will serve you well. It’s not just about effects. If all you know are effects, then all you know are effects and you are extremely limited. If you learn the psychology, philosophy, theory behind what is being done then you can apply them to each unique set of circumstances that any environment may offer. Remember, you are not only the performer, you also direct, produce and choreograph. No mean task.

Also, you need to use your own discretion when you are asked out of the blue to “do something” You can pretty much discern their intent. I remember a chance encounter where I was put on the spot and asked to do something. I was unprepared, but I managed to produce a minor effect. That chance encounter and minor effect lead to two years of solid work for this company.

Finally, there are no hard and set rules. Do what you need to do in any given situation to optimize your image. If that means performing, then perform, if it means declining, then decline.
fizbin
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For the most part, I agree with you, VMendoza. We do indeed need to use discretion when asked to perform. As I said in my last post, we should consider the situation, and be free to decline... As for quoting Andruzzi, I would say that yes, he was addressing the idea that you sould project the aura of a mage. And you yourself said right after, that if we do this, people WILL ask us to "do something". And that is when we need to use our judgement on the effect our response will have on the image we are projecting.

I am not saying that we should all walk about in black robes, carrying Negromicons, chanting spells, etc. I am saying, however, that if we want to be true to the history of our chosen art, then we must at least consider how we can bring magic and mystery back into our lives and those around us. We in the 21st century have become so jaded, that it is hard to see the magic around us. If we cannot experience the magic and mystery, how can we then help our audiences experience it? You cannot give away what you do not have. That is what being a mage is. And, I believe, that is what Andruzzi was talking about.
"All For Wonder..."
Earle M. Kelley
http://www.fizbinentertainment.com
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