The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Mentalist vs Magician (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
jonnymaxx
View Profile
New user
New York
49 Posts

Profile of jonnymaxx
I am trying to setup a web site

Can someone please help me with the wording of what's the difference of Mentalist vs Magician?

Thanks
I Love Magic
AllThumbs
View Profile
Veteran user
UK
376 Posts

Profile of AllThumbs
You don't know the difference?! Unless you do I would strongly suggest you refrain from calling yourself a mentalist (if indeed this is the type of site you are creating).

Regards,

Kris Sheglova
The above is all rubbish, except that which you chose to believe
noncom
View Profile
Regular user
Birmingham, UK
125 Posts

Profile of noncom
Easy, Kris! He never said he wanted to call himself a mentalist - perhaps he's been asked to create a website for someone else and is just doing some basic research.

JonnyMaxx - broadly speaking, a Mentalist is a magician who exclusively performs effects which replicate "psychic phenomena". For example: predictions, telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis (moving objects by the power of the mind), metal-bending etc etc. Many mentalists also perform variations on Tarot card reading, palm reading etc which are not "tricks" as such, but based more on psychology and rapport.

Also, magicians rarely claim that their ability to perform an apparent miracle is due to special powers, whereas Mentalists very often either do claim this or are ambiguous about their abilities.

Cheers
Andy
It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it - Bananarama.
John Clarkson
View Profile
Special user
Santa Barbara, CA
749 Posts

Profile of John Clarkson
jonnymaxx,

One difference is that there seems to be, in my experience, a lower average level of either social skills or civility amongst mentalists than magicians. I am not sure what the defensiveness is all about, and it can easily put one off. I urge you not let it get to you. Many, especially the more accomplished, are actually very helpful.

Another difference (admittedly overly simplified): magic deals primarily with making it look like the magician manipulates the laws of physics. Mentalism is more concerned with the apparent manipulation of knowledge and thought. A pure mental effect would either use no props, or the props or tools would seem incidental to the effect. Magical effects often showcase the prop or tool itself. Both are fields of deception for entertainment, but the psychology of performance is very different.

Mentalism is an art worth pursuing. You'll learn a lot about yourself and other people. Good luck!


:nose:
John D. Clarkson, S.O.B. (Sacred Omphaloskeptic Brotherhood)
Cozener

"There is nothing more important to a magician than keeping secrets. Probably because so many of them are Gay."
—Peggy, from King of the Hill (Sleight of Hank)
Jim Reynolds
View Profile
Elite user
Special Guest
431 Posts

Profile of Jim Reynolds
One simplistic way to look at it is the 80/20 rule.

Mentalism:
80% presentation
20% trick

Magic:
80% trick
20% presentation

JR
Dr.Morton
View Profile
New user
Germany
76 Posts

Profile of Dr.Morton
John,
can you please explain this in more detail, please:
"One difference is that there seems to be, in my experience, a lower average level of either social skills or civility amongst mentalists than magicians. I am not sure what the defensiveness is all about, and it can easily put one off. I urge you not let it get to you."
It is not enough to be without thoughts,
one should also be unable to express them.
mysticz
View Profile
Special user
D.C. metro area
680 Posts

Profile of mysticz
Quote:
On 2002-12-06 10:50, jdclarkson wrote:
One difference is that there seems to be, in my experience, a lower average level of either social skills or civility amongst mentalists than magicians. I am not sure what the defensiveness is all about, and it can easily put one off. I urge you not let it get to you. Many, especially the more accomplished, are actually very helpful.


The bruskness of a few mentalists should not be held against the majority whose postings on this forum and others are generally far more informed and very helpful in promoting the mystery craft than are apparent in the postings of many non-mentalists.

However, I realize that many magicians are also informed and helpful as well, and I am reluctant to make bald generalizations about them.

However, Jim Reynold's 80/20 theory appears to ring true IMO.

Joe Z.
Joe Zabel
"Psychic Sorcery"

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

-- Shakespeare's Hamlet I.v. 174-175
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
Quote:
a Mentalist is a magician who exclusively performs effects which replicate "psychic phenomena". For example: predictions, telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis (moving objects by the power of the mind), metal-bending etc etc.


Actually that just defines Mental Magic: Magic with a mind theme. Many mentalists don't consider themselves magicians, and there is a reason for them to think that way.

Mentalism is a different disposition and entails a different perspective than that of magic. While both share methodology the difference is in what the audience perceives. Mentalists have different aesthetic goals.

I agree with the 80/20 description, but I would say that in many occasions it is more like 90/10 or even 99/1.

One other key element is plausibility.

Regarding the attitude issue that is seen between mentalists and magicians I would say that it comes mostly because many magicians think they understand mentalism just because they know some of the methods. The mentalists—at lest the ones who have walked thier path for a long enough time—come to see a more sublte picture of the whole thing. The generalized magician-outlook which attempts to trivialize the sublteties of mentalism is what drives many mentalists to frown upon magicians. Then the mentalist adopts a pose that is seen as arrogant and is obviously distasteful.

We just need to understand each other's points of view and respect them.
Chris A.
View Profile
Inner circle
AKA Chris A.
1123 Posts

Profile of Chris A.
Quote:
On 2002-12-06 12:45, Jim Reynolds wrote:

Magic:
80% trick
20% presentation

JR
Um, I know what you're trying to say, but this is really a poor analogy.

There are many many 'magic' effects where there is very little in the way of "trick" "secret", whatever you want to call it. For these type of effects, there is very little in the way of sleights, etc... and it falls mainly to presentational issues.

It seem a big disingenuous to imply that presentation is less important for a magician than it is for a mentalist.

Even the very best "trick" can be totally ineffective without a large amount of care and thought being given to a proper presentation.

Whilst mentalists may be less dependant on the "trick" aspect, IMHO proper presentation is equally important for mentalists and magicians. Smile
AKA Chris A.
Keepin' the Funk Alive
Luke Kerr
View Profile
Regular user
119 Posts

Profile of Luke Kerr
Good magicians know the importance of the presentation. But magic is possible also without presentation,like a show done without words.

A good presentation is not the primary requirement for a magician, but is a requirement for a very good magician.
A good presentation is all the mentalism, without that, one can't do mentalism.

It is not easy to explain but a magician and a mentalist look at the world of magic with different eyes.
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
I think that what Jim is trying to say is that in Mentalism 80% of the effect strength lies in presentation.

In general magic much more of the effect strength relies on the deception mechanism itself.

The presentational aspects that Flip probably refers to, are those that are not focused towards the strength of the effect but towards the entertainment value of the piece.

This is a different topic altoghether.

We just have to distinguish the difference in the use of the word "presentation".

Perhaps I am repeating myself but, in my opinion in general magic most of the presentational efforts dilute the effect itself (comedy, music, etc) while strenthening the entertainment aspect of the routine. And it is right here where the difference in aesthetic goals between a mentalist and a magician can be fully seen.
Luke Kerr
View Profile
Regular user
119 Posts

Profile of Luke Kerr
I agree with you.

Luke
Chris A.
View Profile
Inner circle
AKA Chris A.
1123 Posts

Profile of Chris A.
Quote:
On 2002-12-06 14:33, Luke Kerr wrote:
But magic is possible also without presentation, like a show done without words.


Guess what? Even a "silent" act must have a proper presentation to be effective. Presentation isn't all about patter...

Quote:
A good presentation is not the primary requirement for a magician, but is a requirement for a very good magician.


Um, if someone doesn't have an effective, entertaining presentation, I'd be hard pressed to give them much credence as a magician or a mentalist.

Quote:
A good presentation is all the mentalism, without that, one can't do mentalism.


And one shouldn't perform magic without a good presentation either.
AKA Chris A.
Keepin' the Funk Alive
Thoughtreader
View Profile
Inner circle
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1565 Posts

Profile of Thoughtreader
Mentalism as opposed to mental magic is VERY different than magic, in fact as a philosophy it is diametrically opposite. Pure mentalism (meaning NOT mental magic) relies upon a very strong presentation delivered by a very strong personality that has the ability to ENTERTAIN their audience armed with nothing more than themselves and a microphone, much the same way a good comedian entertains with just themselves and a microphone. A boring comedian (usually an amateur hack or someone making an attempt at comedy armed with nothing but "dick" jokes) can be compared to a poor mental performance and is why so many magicians try and fail miserably.

The one thing that most magicians trip over, is that because mentalism uses some of the same principles as does magic they seem to feel it is the same or a branch of it which is wrong. Just because Spanish and English use the same characters does not make it the same language and this is the same for mentalism versus magic.

Just as few can become entertaining, leading comedians, just as few can become top, leading magicians, so too is it for mentalism. We have many that have tried and failed but few that can do it successfully.

Lately the "trend of the month" for magicians is to try their hands at mental magic. Next may be animals work or silks again. Before this, was their riding the trend in comedy magic until the comedy scene died out. Magicians as a whole go for the
"tricks" and the "secrets" which is why so many look down upon mentalism as a whole.

They are not concerned with presentation but with secrets. They look at mentalism thinking that since the "secret" is so easy that they too can perform it well and then much to their shock and amazement they fail.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
http://www.stores.ebay.ca/Abstagecraft
Canada's Leading Mentalist
http://www.mindguy.com
AB StageCraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Chris A.
View Profile
Inner circle
AKA Chris A.
1123 Posts

Profile of Chris A.
Quote:
On 2002-12-06 14:34, Alain Bellon wrote:
I think that what Jim is trying to say is that in Mentalism 80% of the effect strength lies in presentation.

In general magic much more of the effect strength relies on the deception mechanism itself.


Ok can you give some logical proof for this?

There are many killer magic effects that are essentially "self working" and their impact comes from a proper and entertaining presentation.

Quote:
The presentational aspects that Flip probably refers to, are those that are not focused towards the strength of the effect but towards the entertainment value of the piece.


It's all in how the specatator sees it. It's as simple as that. The presentation is what the spectator sees and what the spectator judges the value of the routine on.

Quote:
Perhaps I am repeating myself but, in my opinion, in general magic, most of the presentational efforts dilute the effect itself (comedy, music, etc) while strenthening the entertainment aspect of the routine.


Hm, I've seen plenty of magicians able to appropriately present comedy, music, etc. into their acts without diluting the effect in the least. Copperfield or Mac King might use music or comedy in their presentations, but they can still fool the pants off you if they so desire.


Quote:
On 2002-12-06 15:22, Thoughtreader wrote: Magicians as a whole go for the "tricks" and the "secrets" which is why so many look down upon mentalism as a whole. They are not concerned with presentation but with secrets.

PSIncerely Yours,

Paul Alberstat
http://www.stores.ebay.ca/Abstagecraft


I respect you Paul, but that's simply a load of ********.

IMHO, many magicians feel that secrets are just a means to achieving entertaining effective presentations.

To say that magicians "as a whole" aren't concerned with presentation is not only unfair, but is also something I doubt you could actually prove.

When you make sweeping statements referring to "Magicians as a whole...", you are promoting blatant, egregious and simply unfair stereotypes.
AKA Chris A.
Keepin' the Funk Alive
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
Quote:
Quote:
In general magic much more of the effect strength relies on the deception mechanism itself.

Ok can you give some logical proof for this?


Of course. General magic involves physical phenomena. Transpositions, levitations, disappearances, etc. These all require explicit trickery to work at all. Mentalism is about perception and not physical phenomena (with the possible exception of some PK stuff), and therefore can rely much less on trickery. In other words remove trickery and you cannot do general magic, but you can still do mentalism.

Quote:
There are many killer magic effects that are essentially "self working" and their impact comes from a proper and entertaining presentation.


Exactly. Presentation in general magic pursues the goal of entertainment. Presentation in mentalism pursues entertainment, plausibility and the effect itself! This is part of the subtlety that mentalists argue is not understood by magicians. Again I am talking in general, not all performers can be defined in the same way.

Quote:
It's all in how the specatator sees it. It's as simple as that. The presentation is what the spectator sees and what the spectator judges the value of the routine on.


You are absolutely correct.

Quote:
Hm, I've seen plenty of magicians able to appropriately present comedy, music, etc. into their acts without diluting the effect in the least. Copperfield or Mac King might use music or comedy in their presentations, but they can still fool the pants off you if they so desire.


The effect is diluted as soon as the "magic" takes second place to someting else (comedy, music, choreography, etc.) The performers you mention are great indeed, we are not questioning that.

Mentalism is not about fooling people, and that's another big difference. Magicians get asked "how did you do that?"... I don't need to say more.
John Clarkson
View Profile
Special user
Santa Barbara, CA
749 Posts

Profile of John Clarkson
Quote:
On 2002-12-06 13:04, Dr.Morton wrote:
John,
can you please explain this in more detail, please:
"One difference is that there seems to be, in my experience, a lower average level of either social skills or civility amongst mentalists than magicians. I am not sure what the defensiveness is all about, and it can easily put one off. I urge you not let it get to you."


It may simply be my selective attention, Dr. Morton, but if you will compare the level of incivility in the areas of the Café frequented most by mentalists with that in the other areas of the forum, you may see what I mean. I also noted that this does not necessarily generalize to ALL mentalists (and don't believe it does). I read a lot of downright put downs of magicians from mentalists, and a lot of gratuitous, vitriolic attacks in the areas of the forum predominated by mentalists. Check out, for example, the recent thread concerning Ian Rowland." I have had similar experiences in other forums.

I have a theory as to why this seems to be true, but don't think it would help anyone for me to set it forth. You might research the "impostor syndrome" for an idea of what I am thinking. This syndrome is not limited to mentalists, but, I think, accounts for some of the utter hostility and poor manners displayed by many in the on-line forums.

I have found a much greater level of comradeship amongst magicians, and, as a consequence, a lower average level of hostile or rude comments in on-line forums.

Again, please note that I was referring to *average* levels in the on-line postings. I in no way intend to judge any particular individual by characteristics I think are too common to the group.

One further disclaimer: I freely admit that it may be my selective attention and not a real phenomenon, but I have noticed that mentalists themselves discuss the perception that they are "elitist." Elitism often translates to the listener as arrogance, hautiness, and rudeness. If you'd like to discuss this more, I'd be happy to do it in private e-mail.

Smile

Quote:
On 2002-12-06 13:13, mysticz wrote:

The bruskness of a few mentalists should not be held against the majority whose postings on this forum and others are generally far more informed and very helpful in promoting the mystery craft than are apparent in the postings of many non-mentalists.
...
Joe Z.


I think we said the same thing, Joe, but said it differently. I was talking about *average* levels and was very careful to state that many, especially the more accomplished, are very helpful.

And, yes, I would expect that mentalists would have more to contribute toward the "mystery craft" than non-mentalists, much as the postings of magicians probably have greater insight into magic than the posts of non-magicians, or postings of engineers probably have more to say about engineering than postings by non-engineers...

I have noticed, however, a greater level of defensiveness and more ad hominem attacks in postings from mentalists than I have seen in postings of others. I admit the possibility that I may be wrong and that it may be my own selective attention. I'd be happy to amend my impression.

Smile
John D. Clarkson, S.O.B. (Sacred Omphaloskeptic Brotherhood)
Cozener

"There is nothing more important to a magician than keeping secrets. Probably because so many of them are Gay."
—Peggy, from King of the Hill (Sleight of Hank)
Thoughtreader
View Profile
Inner circle
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1565 Posts

Profile of Thoughtreader
Quote:
On 2002-12-06 15:33, Flip wrote:

I respect you Paul, but that's simply a load of ********.

IMHO, many magicians feel that secrets are just a means to achieving entertaining effective presentations.

To say that magicians "as a whole" aren't concerned with presentation is not only unfair, but is also something I doubt you could actually prove.

When you make sweeping statements referring to "Magicians as a whole...", you are promoting blatant, egregious and simply unfair stereotypes.



Flip,

Magicians have many stereotypes, including the general public's perception that all magicians do the same thing, which is something that magicians themselves perpetuate by purchasing the latest trick seen on television, by the last magician they saw performing.

Now perhaps my wording was poor as not all magicians want just secrets, however, most want secrets and the latest development of an old trick that even if you took 5 different methods for it, they would all look the same to a lay person.

Now with that said, also consider that I did not mean that as a major put down. The majority of magicians are in it for a hobby and do have a fascination for secrets and new methods. If they didn't many of us that lectured for magic groups would never lecture again and magic dealers would soon go out of business, if it weren't for the hobbiest that purchased all the latest gadgets because they wanted to know how they worked, and the same goes after they have watched the latest Blaine or Copperfield special on television.

For proof, ask any magic dealer or lecturer and they will back up the "they want new methods and secrets" claim. Again, that is not to say that none want an entertaining effect, BUT, a large majority is more into it for a hobby and as such, are more focused on the secrets end.

Take a book like, "The James File", (OK, two books actually,) which have some fascinating ideas, very kewl principles and much material for the next magic meeting, however, very little of the material is suitable for the general public as they would really not find it entertaining.

Magicians, (and do not get me wrong here either, as I have a long history as a magician.) focus on different aspects of this field than most others do.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
http://www.stores.ebay.ca/ABstagecraft
Canada's Leading Mentalist
http://www.mindguy.com
AB StageCraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
ALEXANDRE
View Profile
Inner circle
2946 Posts

Profile of ALEXANDRE
C'mon guys ... group hug ...


Smile
christopher carter
View Profile
Special user
660 Posts

Profile of christopher carter
I think the difference between mentalist and magician can vary considerably from performer to performer--so much so that probably no definitive definitional distinctions can be drawn. In general though, I would agree strongly with Alain's assertion that there is a marked difference in aesthetic goals between the two.

It has been commented that mentalists may lack the social skills of magicians. Considering some of the folks I've met at magic conventions and lectures, this is indeed a frightening thought Smile Actually, there has to be some truth to this. It appears to me that mentalists, myself included, have substantially larger (perhaps inflated?) egos in comparison with magicians. Heaven knows the exact reasons for this. I guess I could speculate, but I'd rather not get that introspective.

For those who may be new to this forum, just so you won't be shocked by rude behavior, I'd like to point out some gross generalities and over-simplifications about some of the things that seem to make up a mentalist's personality. If you are aware of some of these things in advance, your experience with mentalists will be considerably more pleasureable.

First, you should know that mentalists are not "clubby." It's not that they don't associate, but they don't have the same sense of freewheeling fraternity that seems to characterize the magic community. In person they are actually extremely nice, very generous people. This is particularly true of some of the people who may seem the most rude on this forum. The reasons for this lack of chumminess probably stem from the same personality traits that led us to mentalism, but can also be attributed to some of the core aesthetic values most of us seem to hold. Which leads us to:

Second, compared to magicians, mentalists seem to be very 'old school' in their approach to issues of craft and artistic development. They place a huge premium on secrecy, and tend to believe that certain rites of passage must be faced before one can gain access to the 'real work.' Both of these attitudes are extremely out of synch with a 'magic club' ethos. Generally when you see somebody get jumped on it will be because they were perceived as showing an insufficient deference to craft; either they seemed to want to jump ahead too fast, or they seemed to want to take a 'magic made easy' path toward some particular mentalism skill, or they appeared to hold too loosely to secrets. I use the word "appeared" because sometimes the injured parties don't intend any such things, but somehow don't make their true intentions clear in a way that is meaningful to the hardcore mentalist.

Third, mentalists seem to value mystery, or the emotional experience of the mysterious, in a way that magicians find hard to comprehend. Astonishment, amazement, and surprise are words more often used by magicians, and when they do speak of mystery it doesn't appear to me to mean the same thing as when used by a mentalist. It isn't uncommon to find magicians expressing that their audiences aren't stupid enough to possibly believe that their magic was real. Mentalists are keenly aware of the fact that nearly everybody believes in some form of supernaturalism, and they fully expect their audiences to experience what they do as very real. Even performers who are the most skeptical seem to strive toward this end. Most mentalists (rightly, I believe) think that this goal establishes mentalism as a different art than magic--related, but distinct. Mentalists can be extremely intolerant of magicians who try to impose magic's aesthetic rules on our craft.

Bottom line, if you show a respect for what makes mentalism unique, a desire for perfecting the small details and subtleties of the craft, and patience in earning your right to its secrets, you'll find even the most hardcore mentalist (initials P.A.) to be both friendly and generous.

But we're still very secretive.

--Christopher Carter
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Mentalist vs Magician (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.35 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL