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ben creitz
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I just got PK Touches. I am dying to do it but I am low on nerve. Of course I've read bazillions of posts about how great it always goes over, but I need a little more convincing. It seems like it would indeed be effective in a show setting, but I'd like to do it at a small party of close family members (mine). Will it work? If anybody out there can provide me with advice or inspiration, please do! (You can also PM me or meet me in secret sessions.)

thx

ben
Darmoe
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Ben

I don't want you to take what I'm about to say wrong (and you probably will) but based on your photo/icon I'm betting you're barely into your 20s. For this reason I'm going to pick on you a bit in hopes of inspiring some serious contemplation about yourself as a showman (first) and the kind of reputation you wish to have in this business.

Are you doing PK Touches simply because you've read 10,000 posts by everyone raving about it and it's now one of the "in things" to be doing?

You see, this is one of the biggest problems with Mentalism being discussed on the Internet vs. a more secured forum. "Magicians", most of whom have absolutely no regard for the "Art" of mentalism but who love tricks, cunning, and various other masturbative forms of self-expression grab hold of "our" material and use it wrongly (and do it POORLY) because they do not think... they do not wiegh the idea and principle around a piece like PK Touches and how it fits into...
a.) Their character;
b.) The direction they want to move with their career/image.

Given your appearance and my guestimate of your age range, I'd suggest you look into learning more about the Goth subculture, the Vampire scene and even Wicca so that you place yourself into those markets and circumstances conducive to a Bizarre & Psi character that can be "commercially viable" as well as "accepted". I say this only because very few young people have the strength of character to pull off good mentalism or even good macabre... that lack of battle scars, grey in the wiskers and a few crow's feet around the eyes tends to transform any such bit in the hands of the under 30 crowd, into being a clever trick.

DON'T GET ME WRONG ON WHAT I'VE SAID!

Andy Leviss is a great exception to this rule but, look at his photos. He's actively trying to present someone at least 6-10 years his actual age bracket... a more "Professional" and "groomed" individual with loads of experience (which, for a 21 year old Andy really does have tons of! I know adults that don't have such potent resume's and they've been around for decades!)

Collect, read, study and practice as much as you can get your hands on but think about what I've said and take inventory on yourself, what you hope to accomplish with your "magic" and the kind of character you want to be known as. Talk to other (more experienced) people in the industry and get some creative feedback... you don't have to become a clone to what is "safe" but you do need to think it all out. In such a process we oft times discover that either we're not ready to do certain types of magic or, what we like isn't right for who we are at this point in our career (and consider that lesson a good one to learn now and before you ever get into the nasty habit of buying illusions... I've had every expensive pieces pulled out of shows because "they weren't right" for what we were doing.)

Please, do not think I'm reaming you. I wanted this to come off as a bit of "guidance" of sorts, that can help you. The bottom line being, if you really want to do PK Touches then create the circumstances that place you in the right environment for maximizing your ability to deliver it as something miraculous vs. another magician's trick/puzzle. When you learn to work under those conditions, you are well on your way to becoming a genuine Psychic Entertainer/ Bizarrest.

Best of luck!
"I firmly believe that of all the Arts and Crafts of Mentalism, there is nothing more satisfying than one who is a first-class Reader. It is the ultimate in Mentalism..." - Tony Corinda * 13 Steps To Mentalism
A l a i n B e ll o n
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Darmoe, some good points.

But I think not everyone has to go to the occult character types to perform mentalism or PK touches. In fact it is much harder to pull off a dark bizarre character at a younger age. So why not try a different angle?

My advice, while in the same spirit of Darmoe's, is to find a way to make yourself believable through being consistent with your age.

All in all it's not an age issue, but an issue of consistency. If an effect does not fit you, then change its framing. Some of the most famous ocurrances of psychic phenomena were done by young people.

If you try to create a character that is not consistent with all the rest of the details of what makes you, then it will not be believable. Why go to vampire stuff, goth and wicca? With all due respect, I actually consider those to be the cheapest forms of the occult. And perhaps the most cliché. Are there non-cliché prone bizarrists?

I see one more bizarrist who invokes pazuzu, bases his lore in the Celts, is all into goth or dresses in "arcane" costumes and I will kick the Cthulhu out of him.

Hey I am just teasing. Smile

-Alain Bellon
PS.I agree completely with sad state of the trivialization of magic.
mysterium
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Your best bet would be to try it on your family first. Start slowly... there's no need to rush out and perform for the public until you're sure about yourself.

PK Touches is intense theatre -- as such, it should be used sparingly and only when it feels "right." Make sure, as Darmoe and Alain have suggested, to make it your own presentation. It should be as real to you as it is to your participants.
AllThumbs
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Darmoe,

I would agree with you on most of your points. Ben should not have purchased PK Touches because he thought it would be a cool effect, but should have considered carefully about whether it could have been integrated seemlessly into his act. In my opinion it has absolutely no place in a magic act. It really has no relation - except that something strange has taken place.

I can see where you are coming from with your age issue and marketing yourself appropriately for your age. It is difficult to 'play a mentalist' and have your audience accept you as such if you are young. This is true somewhat but as your example Andy Leviss suggests its not as simple as that. It does depend somewhat on maturity, both in attitude and as a performer. You shouldn't play someone that you quite obviously couldn't be...but it doesn't mean that all is left for the young mentalist is the occult route.

Finally, I have read some of your past posts and you offer a lot of good advice and your views are pretty much 'spot-on'.

Having said this: Although I can understand where your condemnation of magicians come from, a lot of them approach their trade and art in such trivial way...continuously on a never-ending quest for the perfect killer trick that nobody has a clue on how its done (which will never happen, because they buy marketed tricks which thousands buy) rather than working to improve their art. This is especially prevalent amongst beginners/those in their teens. I think you are wrong however to put every magician into the same boat and sink them (or am I misunderstanding your posts on this one - please correct me if I am - its possible, I've known to be wrong in the past!). There are plenty of magicians out there that are entertaining and skilled and treat it like the art it should be. They do have their place.

Regards and with respect,

Kris Sheglova,
The above is all rubbish, except that which you chose to believe
ben creitz
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Darmoe:

After months of being here, your treatise on how people with photographs like mine are ruining your art (3rd paragraph above) is the first thing I have read in this forum that made me angry.

The common problem with ANYTHING "being discussed on the Internet as opposed to a more secure forum" is that when people realize the scope of their audience, it goes straight to their head. These people can then turn the act of writing itself into a "masturbatory form of self-expression."

Alain, thank you for the advice. The subject heading for my post was misleading: my question is really not "how can I be convincing," it is more of a technical issue that I thought might arise due to inherent differences in audience types. I ran into this issue after a lot of critical thought about how to present the effect to really make it a miracle. I'm not going to go into any more detail here because it would give things away, and because I am in a terrible mood now.

-Ben
openatlast
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Early on in magic, I had a fascination with the bizarre but struggled with the Gothic, occult image. It just didn’t fit me. Was I suppose to wake up one morning and assume a false identity? Or shift into this persona for performance and shed it shortly thereafter? Instead I left it alone, pursuing the tamer art of card/coin magic while secretly studying mentalism & the bizarre. Now in my thirties, I feel much more comfortable in this genre, especially after internalizing the following bits of advice:

T.A. Waters’ suggested there is no set rule on image, but if you were in a room full of people and it was announced that a psychic was in the group, the majority of people would assume it was you.

Max Maven in an interview stated that his image was not developed overnite, but over a number of years.

And especially Tony Andruzzi’s ideas on how to perceive yourself when performing.
Be an actor playing the part of yourself, as a seeker of “The Truth” even though you know it’s a fake.

As for PK Touches, I think a younger person could pull it off if they followed Tony’s advice and became the inquisitor. “I’m in the dark as much as the rest of you, but I find this experiment interesting…What does it mean?”

It all depends on the individual, but generally to me the corporate look on a kid looks as silly as a Dracula cape and false fangs at a dinner party. Be yourself, but develop your persona over time in a direction that suits your interests.
Steve Hook
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Ben:

Congratulations for being wise enough to discern who is asserting self-righteous, quasi-intellectual, unhelpful criticism on this board and who has truly sage, helpful, useful, productive, and altruistic advice for you.

And congratulations on asking good questions and being willing to analyze the responses.

Have fun but work hard, too.

Steve H
Like Bonnie Raitt said, "I miss Little Feat more than I miss being 8 years old." Long live Lowell and Richie!
Darmoe
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Ben

You have taken what I said completely out of context. I was not knocking your photo and believe it or not, I was not knocking your age. I was encouraging you to THINK and weigh the facts (especially the one's... like age and age-appearance) about who and what you are as a performer. I think Alain and others gave a hardy DITTO to that (and along those lines... Thanks to Alain for finding the words that clarified what I was intending... I used the Goth/Wiccan connection only because it's what I know... your perspectives leave things more open and practical.)

When you're "young" you will feel "picked on"... I just turned 43 and am dealing with an individual that's at least as stubborn and opinionated as I am, but 30+ years my senior... he likes to pick on me... I'm "the kid" from his point of view.

Sorry bud, but that's just life. In my case I was "the kid" well into my 30s, playing to Kirkham's Senior... you try being a teenager for 35 years and see what it's like... Smile

Don't think for a minute I was pouncing on you or made that post as a personal attack. It was food for thought to all of us but especially the younger enthusiast.


Smile
"I firmly believe that of all the Arts and Crafts of Mentalism, there is nothing more satisfying than one who is a first-class Reader. It is the ultimate in Mentalism..." - Tony Corinda * 13 Steps To Mentalism
Eight Spades
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Darmoe,
I'm not sure I understand your criticism. I see what you're saying about maintaining your character, but sometimes I don't thing that's possible with this trade. No matter what the skill, whether it be magic, mentalism, or bizarrism, we are all actors. When we're doing shows we have to alter our character slightly to fit what we're doing. Therefore, no matter what age someone is they can become whatever they dream to the extent of their stage abilities. I hardly doubt anyone can judge someone else's artistic talent from a small paragraph and picture. The way I see it everyone starts somewhere, it's just that Ben is getting involved at a younger age. Because of cricizing attitudes like yours, younger artists like us have more of a challenge but in the end we'll have learned more and only become better performers. The material you speak of that is "yours" is not stolen by magicians and ruined. We just present it in our own way. And just for the record, I've been performing PK touches for 3 years and I'm only 19. I include it in stage shows, parties, and close-up routines. The audience loves it and is entertained, so I've accomplished what I set out for. Age is no factor is this business, only attitude and presentation.

Respectfully Yours,
Christian
"Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained." -S.H. Sharpe
DonMarco
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I don't use the story in the manuscript...in fact, I don't really use a story but rather put the moment in the present.

Last week I did this impromptu on the street for two teenage sisters who recognized me from a show.

i think every time I have done this, someone has cried out of the beauty of the moment...maybe this will help you bolster your confidence!
"Imagination is the Only Reality"-- Marquis de Sade
Bob Baker
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Being a somewhat older guy myself--even older than Darmoe--I can sympathisize with the points he made. Many of them are excellent.

However, when it comes to age and credibility in mentalism, we should be careful not go generalize. After all, perhaps the greatest mentalist of the last century burst onto the scene when he was in his 20's.

Geller, of course.
Lior
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Bob is right
Most of the mentalists in Israel are young
(and there are many of them over here)

I think it is better to be a young mentalists : People always ask at what age did you found that you have those powers?
And Geller used to tell that when he was 5
years old ,the spoon melt while he was drinkink soup (maybe it was because of the Jweish soup??)

Keep on searching Ben ,and you will find the way.Some people will help you and some
will waste your time (even in close forums)
Lior Smile
Talk To The Screen. The best effect for professionals
http://www.theliortouch.com

The Invisble touches , spoon bending, PK combinations
8 loops from Yigal Mesika http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/8161

Penguin Live lecture http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/7645
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sandman690
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Hi,

I started doing mentalism when I was 14 and had my first effect published by Al Mann when I was 18. So, do I think you have to be any certain age to pull it off? Obviously not! During my teen years I had the persona, and it was true, of being a little odd, studying dark arts and parapsychology. These studies are what actually lead me to mentalism. I started as a shut eye... a true student of Casey, Sherman and Jose Silva. I wanted to develop ESP! To those that knew me, what seemed to happen was that my efforts were starting to pay off. Real magick took place when I was around Smile

I am not telling you this to say how great I did, but to express that if the character is right, there is no age limit. Think about who you are and how that can be used in making any effect come to life. PK Touches is great, but I feel it is best if presented as something real. Here is one way that I often present PKT. When doing the piece, I act almost like the touching is an afterthought. While clearing the persons aura, (you do see those right?)I get the idea to test the rapport that person has whith the person I tap. Of course the fact they felt the tap is confirmation of the rapport and psychic bond. This works great with couples, but the best response was with two women that are twins. It took a couple hours before they stopped following me around... then again I really did not mind that part at all Smile

Stan Alexander
Chris A.
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Quote:
On 2002-10-04 18:53, Darmoe wrote:
Ben

You have taken what I said completely out of context. I was not knocking your photo and believe it or not, I was not knocking your age.


Er, then why bring it up in the first place? Smile

Quote:
On 2002-10-04 Darmoe wrote:

...but based on your photo/icon I'm betting you're barely into your 20s. For this reason I'm going to pick on you a bit in hopes of inspiring some serious contemplation about yourself as a showman
AKA Chris A.
Keepin' the Funk Alive
AllThumbs
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I don't know if any one has noticed but this was a thread that ended over two months ago (and bought up again - post padding again? Who knows - maybe, maybe not?), and hopefully since then Ben has got over his initial hurdle of plucking up the courage to perform the touches or perhaps he has moved onto something that suits him better such as rubber bands and other impromptu magic.

The question of age is still a valid one but it would be better asked out of the context of Ben's difficulties with Psychological Touches don't you think?

The soup sounds great Lior. Can I bend spoons with a "Cup-a-Soup" if it is marked "Kosher for Passover"? Smile

Regards,

Kris Sheglova
The above is all rubbish, except that which you chose to believe
Marduke Kurios
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Ben,
Go for it! Your family are the best trial audience you have.
Do what you love to do! Forget about the nay-sayers and keep at it.
Just do it!
With passion, success will be yours.

Stan Alexander,
I only read your first published effect a couple of weeks ago. I was reading through my Al Mann booklet and found what I consider one of the BEST impromptu effects. Yours. Where did you ever come up with that idea? And where did you get that name for it? To me it seems to be the Bold Book Test using time. What an idea! I love it!
Live well,
Laugh often,
Love always.

To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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UJ
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Quote:
On 2002-12-09 23:32, DonMarco wrote:
I don't use the story in the manuscript...in fact, I don't really use a story but rather put the moment in the present.

...

i think every time I have done this, someone has cried out of the beauty of the moment...maybe this will help you bolster your confidence!


DonMarco,

could you share your presentation with us? I'm hoping to learn more about how different people perform this. I've been describing the effect as something that I don't understand myself but that seems to be related to the way you can feel another persons presence in the room.

UJ
sandman690
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Marduke,

Thanks for the kind words. Actually Al named the effect. I came up with the idea after hearing a vague description of a time matching effect. Later I learned that it was the Stull Watch. However, being as young as I was, I figured that it had to be possible with normal watches and Dyad of Chronos was born. This actually brings up another advantage that youth can bring... not knowing so much that you limit yourself. One of the things that later struck me about Al was that here was a man that knew Dunninger, had traveled the world, but was still open to listening to the ideas of some 18 year old brat. If we all put our egos aside like that imagine what we might learn!

Stan
Brent Allan
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OK, I am going to add my 2 cents here, because this is really a valid thread. I have struggled with the same issues that many "young" people do in establishing credibility. I am 28 years old at present, but have laways looked about 5 years younger than I am. As such, I was always getting carded everywhere I went.

When I first got into magic, I was wiaitn gin line to see a lecture (David Roth). Eugene Burger was standning in line right behind me. I turned to him and told him I was a big fan of his, and asked him if there was one piece of good advice he could give someone starting out in magic. Eugene looked at me, asked me how old I was, and when I told him I was 16, his response was "Age 10 years." With that, he turned away from me and ignored me.

Needless to say, I was furious. He had been condescending, and although the point he was making was valid, the WAY he made the point was not. He offered me nothing constructive or valuable.

In the years since, I have performed much, and had gotten good enough that my skill outshone my age, and I was accepted as a magician. However, over the past several years, I have turned primarily to mentalism. I sitll do som magic, but am looking to build upon pure mentalism for performing.

Here is again where I hit a road block. It is true what some have said, that having a slightly older look lends credibility. I have a friend who is only slightly older than I am, yet his hair is completely gray!! (naturally, not using dye) As such, he has an older, more mature look that has lent him credibility in performing mentalism. Especially because, in mentalism, either it is psychic or psychological. One would think that either the person needed time to develop their psychic abilities, or needed time to study psychology, NLP, and hypnosis. For a younger person, I think it would be easier to pull off the "psychic prodigy" than the "psychological expert." That being said, let me point out that I use the psychological presentation, and in fact wholeheartedly disagree with anyone who allows the public to believe that he is psychic.

I do believe, however, there is more to it than age. One can build credibility into any persona if it fits well enough. Banachek fooled the scientists into believeing he could bend metal when he was a teen (or early 20s). Gellar wasnt very old when he took the world by storm.

One of the best success stories, IMO, of creating an identity for performing, is David Copperfield. Everything is geared towards his image. He does not have publicity photos of him doing manipulations or anything like that. He is dressed in sharp street clothes, holding a rose. Or maybe it is a photo of him just standing there, with a mysterious look in his eyes.

Currently, I am working on modifying my persona. People know I am a performer. However, I want them to become more accustomed to me performing miracles (reading their minds, etc.) than doing "tricks" (vanishing a silk). My business cards, my promo pics, everything is pointed toward the one end of the new persona. Nothing can contradict.

So, if you normally act goofy, have colorful business cards with playing cards an a rabbit on them, and your publicity photo is of you doing the linking rings, don't expect to be accepted as a serious mentalist when you go on stage. Likewise, if all of oyur promo stuff is dark and serious looking, don't expect to get booked for a lot of mainstream performances such as schools or festivals.

I have also seen mentalism done very upbeat and playful. The person who performed it (who is fairly well-known but for the life of me I cant remember his name) did it rather well and it fit his persona. This is why celebrities have publicists and agents. These people make sure the celebrity persona is never compromised. In the 80s, Michael Jackson always wore sunglasses in public. Regis Philbin would always wear ties that matched his shirt.

It is hard work to find your niche and create your persona. It is even harder work to market that persona. But that is where success truly lies.

I know this post was rather long. I hope you readers feel it was worth your time.

Brent Allan
Turn your business card into a relentless salesperson that brings you business!

http://www.TransformYourBusinesscard.com
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