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mrkmarik
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Magicians who mixed succesfully Magic and Mentalism are Josef Dunninger,Al Koran,David Berglas,Derren Brown,Uri Gellar,Richard Osterlind, David Blaine.
mrkmarik
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Oops sorry I forgot Theodore Annemann and Banachek
Mindpro
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Perhaps, but would you care to list those that have done so and failed miserably? This is as I said a weak argument. These people are exceptions to the rule, not what is being referred to here.
VernonOnCoins
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Quote:
On 2013-09-13 18:13, mastermindreader wrote:

"Thinking like a magician" is NOT meant to be a derogatory phrase. Magicians SHOULD think like magicians, it seems. There are "rules" and conventions in magic, though, that just don't apply to mentalism. Examples:

Never tell an audience what you are going to do before you do it.

Never mention a possible method to prove that you're not using it.

Never repeat an effect twice before the same audience.

And many more. Additionally, mentalists don't show their hands empty, roll up their sleeves, pass things for examination, or anything else that would suggest that what they are doing is a trick. Nor do they normally employ the "snappy patter" commonly associated with magicians.

There's nothing at all wrong with thinking like a magician.

Unless you're trying to do mentalism.


I understand and of course, you're right. For me, the snappy magician patter is the most grating, followed closely by the all knowing smirk at the conclusion of an effect. I see it all the time. It's bad form even for magic, let alone mentalism.
Keith Raygor
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Quote:
On 2013-09-13 19:43, David Thiel wrote:
The very question pre-supposes that mentalists think less of magicians. Not so.


To agree with you would mean to ignore all the posts through the years that demonstrate exactly that pre-supposition.
IAIN
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I don't think its about magicians vs mentalists, its about people vs people - just down to the differences in being able to comprehend certain theories and mindsets...

if you could somehow isolate a human being, and train them from the ground up to be a magician - and another to be a mentalist, then that human being would be a completely different type and style of performer...the way they approach everything would be (pretty much) completely different...

eugene burger's The Experience of Magic answers why in some ways...and before anyone says "yeah iain - but the title of the book says magic, so what's that got to do with any of this?!" - (john c would probably say that) then you need to read the book to find out more...particularly the section on framing what you do...

context shall always be king...

I often approach things as a story, I take 'me' out of it all, if I were writing a story - what would make sense in it? what wouldn't and why wouldn't it? what are the character traits, why are they the way they are and how does that influence everything else?

if I took someone's billet, and suddenly it changed into a JUMBO BILLET as I placed it on the table, and then revealed the name within it...would that look strange within my context? is strange what I'm wanting? what does the audience perceive that act as?

and I think its that bit that some people overlook - as the moments of wonder/mystery are in the eyes and minds of the beholder...its almost NOT about what WE decide in a way...what is the consensus of a group of people witnessing a certain act?

so when people watch derren brown - despite his disclaimers, you still get a certain group of people writing to him saying "yeah, very clever - I get why you say that but I KNOW THAT YOU ARE REALLY PSYCHIC"...

perception is everything...ours as well as theirs...
Keith Raygor
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Quote:
On 2013-09-13 18:36, Mindpro wrote:
Keith, while I am always happy to explain my thoughts,


Mindpro,
I couldn't have asked for a for well-defined answer. I appreciate that you took the time and thought to put it into those words. Thank you. If yours, Bob's and Tarbell's words in this thread were a sticky at the top of this forum, this type of discussion would stop repeating itself, and it would allow magicians and mentalists the knowledge needed to make an important decision about the content of their shows. It would help to remove the confusion in the minds of the performers, and then in the minds of the audience. Both art forms would more easily move forward with unambiguous clarity.
Pakar Ilusi
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Gentlemen,

First off, congratulations on such a wonderful discussion! Really... Such great posts in this thread!

Secondly, something you all have put forth here has made me change the structure of my competition act that I'm puting together for a magic competition next year. I'm really thankful and grateful to you all for giving me the 'perpsective of the audience'.

Again, great thread! Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Pakar Ilusi
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Quote:
On 2013-09-14 10:58, IAIN wrote:

if I took someone's billet, and suddenly it changed into a JUMBO BILLET as I placed it on the table, and then revealed the name within it...would that look strange within my context? is strange what I'm wanting? what does the audience perceive that act as?

and I think its that bit that some people overlook - as the moments of wonder/mystery are in the eyes and minds of the beholder...its almost NOT about what WE decide in a way...what is the consensus of a group of people witnessing a certain act?

so when people watch derren brown - despite his disclaimers, you still get a certain group of people writing to him saying "yeah, very clever - I get why you say that but I KNOW THAT YOU ARE REALLY PSYCHIC"...

perception is everything...ours as well as theirs...


Thank you for that IAIN.

Enlightening. Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Mindpro
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Unfortunately the audiences perspective is often overlooked or not properly considered or given the proper level of importance. I've noticed that mentalists consider this much more than magicians seem to (not meant as a dig, but as an actual observation.)

Another observation that I have noticed is that magicians often think of themselves as...magicians. In reality all of us should see ourselves as ENTERTAINERS. The magic or mentalism is just the means we use for entertaining. That is one commonality all types of performers have and should realize.

I have been observing this fact quite a bit over the past couple of years and it is very interesting. Of all the types of entertainers we work with we've noticed disc jockeys, comedians and magicians seem to suffer from this the most. I recently spoke at a disc jockey conference and addressed this and admittedly over 3/4 of the room of DJs ended up agreeing with this. In reality, as I demonstrated in my lecture, it creates two different realities and results. Understanding this concept and the differences can create entirely new perspectives in the way you approach your craft and ultimate results in your performance.
AttnPls
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I agree. This has been an excellent discussion. I appreciate all the thoughtful replies.


Quote:
Mentalists are as concerned with having illusions that cannot be figured out as magicians. This is hard for some mentalists to comprehend (to borrow your thought). If a mentalist has effects that can be figured out, then there is no belief. And by your standards, If there is no belief, there is no mentalism.

Over the years, it has been repeatedly necessary for some mentalists to draw this line in the sand, to constantly correct the magicians on the Magic Caf� about how little they know about the subject. And especially how little they know about the distinction between mental magic and mentalism. Your "really, really, really" sentence underscores this, it is the trivialization of other magicians.


I do not think this is quite accurate, Keith. Many of my mentalism routines have no "secret" or "trick". I can entertain doing readings or pendulums or use suggestion or use bold intuitive guesses. In many cases there IS nothing to figure out, yet we do create belief in our mysteries. I would enjoy the challenge of doing an entire show "trick free". This is why I have no concern at all about technology.

Please know that my "really, really, really" comment was NOT intended to be in any way condescending or insulting or trying to trivialize magicians. I love good magic and hope that all magicians strive to create art with their talents. I was simply recognizing that the distinctions that mentalists point out ARE often very difficult for magicians to see. From a magicians point of view, we are all ultimately using trickery to fool people's perception of reality. I think pretty much every mentalist on here probably started out with an interest in magic and had the same point of view. However, please trust us when we say that once you get into mentalism, the distinctions do become clearer and ultimately inform and impact our choice of material and presentations.

As Mark pointed out, since mentalists manipulate people rather than things, our audiences experience of the mystery in our performances can be bit more immediate and 'real' feeling. Magic is a performance art and the theatrical fourth wall may exist. We can all sit back, relax and enjoy a beautifully executed manipulation act. Mentalism needs to be interactive. The mystery is happening TO the participants, created in their own minds. Although we may use a single voluneteer, they are merely a proxy for the audience at large.

Thanks to all for the excellent discussion.
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An interesting observation Mindpro. I believe you are right.
DynaMix
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Quote:
On 2013-09-14 14:04, Mindpro wrote:
I have been observing this fact quite a bit over the past couple of years and it is very interesting. Of all the types of entertainers we work with we've noticed disc jockeys, comedians and magicians seem to suffer from this the most. I recently spoke at a disc jockey conference and addressed this and admittedly over 3/4 of the room of DJs ended up agreeing with this. In reality, as I demonstrated in my lecture, it creates two different realities and results. Understanding this concept and the differences can create entirely new perspectives in the way you approach your craft and ultimate results in your performance.


Very cool. Which conference? I have DJ'd professionally for about a decade now.
You are certainly right about learning to incorporate the audience's needs into your set, versus beginning DJs who tend to show how well they can spin "their" music, how well they can show off their skills.
DynaMix
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This thread was certainly very educational. I wasn't able to post all weekend but it was nice to come back and see the direction it took.

As I tried (and failed) to point out in a previous post, I think some of us are forgetting to include the mentalists who don't employ magic methodology. Hear me out please. As I mentioned, when a mentalist uses readings, pendelums etc - things that go beyond the typical "magic trick" structure - ie, mystery presented, specific conclusion reached - they are crossing over into an area that is certainly less "magical" and more mysterious and psychological than magic.

I fully respect that. It's perhaps because I am a magician foremost, that I've never had the desire to learn those systems. I fully concede that I'm more interested in "tricks" - secretely obtaining information and then using that to divine, predict, etc. Specific conclusions to specific tricks employing specific steps/methodology. Perhaps this is the BIGGEST EVIDENCE of the difference between magic and mentalism. The fact that I think this way.

I suppose it comes down to this. I do genuinely feel that learning the basics of mentalism (or perhaps mental magic) has made me a stronger performer. So maybe learning mentalism makes magic stronger. But the opposite may not be true! I struggle with this, as my gut tells me you are always stronger when you know more. But I can see how certain mentalists (especially ones using hypnosis, memory work, readings, etc) would never agree that learning magic makes mentalism stronger. I can see why they would feel the opposite - that it weakens mentalism.

With that said, it's hard to bite your tongue when mentalists say things like "magicians just don't get it." I DO think we understand what "thinking like a magician" means and so forth. The concept is not that hard to grasp.

A couple of things from this thread that genuinely surprised me:
-It seeems some mentalists regard Derren Brown, Banachek etc "mental magicians" and not "true" mentalists. Never would've guessed that.
-Billet work and so forth are considered so outside the realm of magic. To me, a billet switch is basically just sleight of hand used for a different purpose than say, a card switch via sleight of hand. A peek is a peek. a switch is a switch. To me, sleight of hand is sleight of hand whether used on cards, coins, or billets. But I'm not going to pretend to be 1/10th the historian many of you on this thread are, so I respectfully acknowledge that those techniques aren't considered part of magic. Just surprised!

Thanks again all for the respectful discussion. My apologies for any blunt wording on my part.
Mindpro
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This is quite common. Living here in Vegas we have many DJ conventions as well as and events here as well as in SoCal including Mobile Beat, ADJA, DJ Times, SW DJ Assoc., and several others that have escaped me and a couple that are now defunct and several cruises as well. I've been involved with many of them in one form or another since the 70's (before most of these even existed). You see the art of being an "entertainer" and the lack of "entertainment business" education never goes out of style, if anything it's becomes needed more as many become lazy and simply rely of technological advances to do the work for them.

Like magic and some of the magicians we are referring to, they tend to focus only on their music or mix, much like many magician's put the bulk of their effort into their tricks - not their persona, their performance, audience perceptions, and especially not into all of the business aspects of their operation. They don't do a "show", they do a performance - two entirely different things. I lecture on "creating the show" and the misunderstood topic of entertainment business (not marketing).

This is why many think of these two aspects of the entertainment industry as "just". "They are JUST a DJ" or "they are JUST a magician". How many events have you seen promoted where on the poster, fliers, tickets or radio spots says "DJ" or "Magician". They are generic terms - almost interchangable with other DJs and magicians. They rarely say The Amazing & Wonderful Magic of Fooldini" or "The Party Experience of Rolling Thunder Disc Jockeys", no they're JUST "DJs" or "the MAGICAN".

Unfortunately both of these guys do little or nothing to change this perception.

Like magicians that tend to rely on their tricks, DJs tend to rely on their music. They are missing the bigger picture of what a show is all about - the key elements to a show, and the importance of personality.

Truth be told, the vast majority of DJs are absolutely terrible on the mic, can't be understood, do not know how to do a talkover, have little personality, and hide behind the music. They do not have a show. A DJ show is one of the easiest things to create of all types of entertainment, yet most never will. No tricks or effects to learn, no musical instruments to learn or master, no music to read, no juggling or acrobatic skills, yet most are merely record-spinners.

I could go deeper into the comparisons and similarities but won't.
Bard
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Quote:
On 2013-09-13 21:46, mrkmarik wrote:
Magicians who mixed succesfully Magic and Mentalism are Josef Dunninger,Al Koran,David Berglas,Derren Brown,Uri Gellar,Richard Osterlind, David Blaine.


I love seeing this sort of claim. . . "Proof" that it can be done and a proof that is taken so far out of context it's rarely funny.

The majority of the people on this list come from a time in history when the public was less educated and far more superstitious/faith oriented. Many people of the mid-20th century decades believed that certain aspects of stage magic was a bit more than tricks. . . there were even magicians that were leery of certain skills within Mentalism because it was "too real" (CMR techniques in particular).

Context hold true on another level however; how the magic is used. Kreskin generally claims that magic is a hobby of his and then proceeds to do a corny effect of some kind. Banachek and Brown are known skeptics that aren't out to sell what they demonstrate as mind readers as being "genuine" e.g. they can get away with using grand illusion if they so desired. . . Dunninger did! He was known to do a levitation here and there as well as appearing from a Mummy Case Illusion and more. . . but again, we must look at the context in how the magic was used.

William Larsen, Sr. would do an early evening Magic Show followed by a Mentalism program . . . of course, in his day children were in bed by 9 at the latest and so the 10 p.m. Mind Reading show worked well for families visiting the resort. Larsen wasn't the only one to do this kind of thing, even the great Dante was known to do a similar division in certain shows, something a lot of magic buffs aren't aware of. Yet, Dante gave us some interesting material when it comes to the Q&A and other classics of Mentalism.

When it comes to commercial Mental programs I believe that even Mentalists need to toss in a few tid bits of Mental Magic in that it adds to production value and gives the public an "out" -- they are able to see something that looks and feels to be a trick but they're not so certain. A prime example of this would be the Mental Epic or Casino Royale. . . both are excellent routines but they are just enough a prop to raise the question on validity.

Just think of it this way, if something is too fantastic, it's probably not a good piece of mentalism

As Mr. Cassidy and a few others have noted, Mentalism is a distant cousin to Magic. The "conflict" happens when magicians borrow from our arsenal and present things as a trick, using our techniques and doing so poorly. The result is distrust and disgust and over time it becomes a knee-jerk "sigh" in our minds -- we roll our eyes and shake our heads wondering when "you guys" will grow-up.

That sounds harsh but take an honest look at the immaturity . . . look at how many shoddy performers you know in conventional magic and then consider how, with a bit of genuine effort and discipline each of them could be transformed and brought up to the quality of being a real miracle worker. . . this is what I mean when I say that they need to "grow-up". Add this issue however, to a craft that's biggest skill is learning to not approach an effect as you would a trick . . . you MUST do things in a natural and organic manner so as to not raise suspicion and too, you need to be educated when it comes to how the laity views what it is you do.

You don't have to be a Psychic type character but you do need to present your mentalism in a manner that is appropriate to your claim whatever that may be.

I come off (on forums) as being a bit of an elitist, which I'm not. My problem is that I know because of my background, what the contrasts are between magic & mentalism and why segregation of the two is beneficial to either art. But enough of my rambling. . .
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Excellent post, Bard.
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Quote:
On 2013-09-19 12:25, Bard wrote:

Add this issue however, to a craft that's biggest skill is learning to not approach an effect as you would a trick . . . you MUST do things in a natural and organic manner so as to not raise suspicion and too, you need to be educated when it comes to how the laity views what it is you do.


This was the very first thing I learned when I started doing impromptu mentalism for friends, acquaintances, strangers at bars, etc. If I brought out even the vaguest of "trick introduction"-type lines like "hey, do you want to see something interesting?" then nothing went well -- at best reactions were lacklustre, at worst I was caught out on a method. Then I tried simply pulling out ESP cards during conversation and asking if anyone had seen them before, then giving the briefest of explanations as to their psychic research purposes. I quickly discovered that not only were people more engaged, many of them immediately asked "ooh, can we try it?" and nobody was looking for trickery. That was an important discovery for me in understanding the difference between magic and mentalism.
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A magician, as explained by Pop Haydn, depends on the audience being stuck on the horns of this dilemma: There's no such thing as magic/ what was done has no other explanation. And because they know there is no such thing as magic, they walk out disturbed and stimulated.

The mentalist doesn't deal with that dilemma. She leaves the audience with this:
The human mind is infinite, perhaps it has abilities beyond my understanding/ yes I've definitely seen evidence of that tonight.

Not the same at all.

Perhaps mentalists and magicians here might also want to talk about what happens "offstage." If an audience member comes up to you after the show is over maybe at a cocktail party, and says,"Those are just tricks, right?" who is more likely to say, "Right"?
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Here is some food for thought. This video was recently posted on a popular magic blog. It is of Dubai based magician Moein Al Bastaki peforming "impromptu" for John Travolta. It is a fine performance by a professional magician that I post here in order to prompt an honest discussion about our craft.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGmMO4aqlSY

This short performance, to me, illustrates the way magicians do mentalism.

First, the routine feels like it is being done for the spectator rather than with the spectator. It's a subtle thing, but magicians are generally used to performing FOR people rather than WITH them. This video feels like the spectator is being accosted by a salesman rather than having an honest moment between two people. I think a good mentalist would be more conscius about building rapport with the participant and involving them in the routine more.

Instead, we have a routine that is very much about the magician "showing off" his talent with the expectation that we will all be impressed and applaud his efforts. As a mentalist, I am more interested in building, with the help of the participant, a honest reaction and making the effect less about me, and more about them.

I also think this magician is too concerned with proving the mechanics of the routine. Magicians tend to draw attention to them by doing a "play-by-play" narration. As a mentalist, I would have still done many of the same hand movements, just without verbally drawing attention to what I was doing physically.

Instead of focussing attention on the mechanics fo the routine, I would instead talk about the meaning of it -- about psychic prediction or influence or mindreading or synchronicity or whatever. If the meaning can be made personal to the participant, that is even better. I would then simply pull the card half way out of the envelope and look at the participant... and wait.

As they look at the card sticking out from the envelope, they will first figure out that their number is probably written on the back of the card and not believe it could be possible. Then they will take the card and look. That's when you get a great reaction. I think it's better to let them figure it out in their own head (again, it's about them). At that point you can show the camera the card, etc. to make everything very clear.

The magician performed the trick successfully and got a decent reaction. Most people on this forum would find nothing wrong with it. I, personally, am more than a little bothered by it. I would not be satisfied the performance in the video from myself. I really love this effect when presented as good mentalism. I consider this presentation to be "Mental Magic".

I do realize that this post is about the way I would approach this basic mentalism effect. Many of you would approach it the same way. I am NOT saying that my way is the best or only way. I post these thoughts only to share my approach with the hope that you will find something interesting or helpful in it. If you have a different approach that you feel would make the presentation of this effect stronger, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts.
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