The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Mentalism on Mainstream Television (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
Raymond Singson
View Profile
Loyal user
258 Posts

Profile of Raymond Singson
For Café Members in the US...

Do you think mentalism could thrive in mainstream television someday here in the States? I'm not referring to scripted television dramas like "Psyche" or "The Mentalist" but actually having a legitimate performer of mentalism hold the attention of the public eye through television specials? It's been a while since I've seen anything like that; the few attempts over the last decade fell flat in my opinion. I'm curious to see what other members think.

In my opinion, strong mentalism is heavily reliant on presentation, establishing expectations, and riding showmanship. A lot of that has to be cut for the format of today's televised programming. Even with magic, you can see how magic on television has changed over the past 20 years. Magic on TV is now more/less presentationless and crudely edited to 30-second moments at a time. How can mentalism adapt to such changes? What would a successful mentalism special look like?

Derren Brown attempted a US crossover years ago on the Sci-Fi Channel, and despite being wildly popular and respected in the UK, the same televised material was basically passed over here in the States. Why? How? Gerry McCambridge attempted his own run of a television show as well, and despite being a live household name in Vegas, he didn't "pop" on television. The same could be said for Keith Barry as well. I would argue the last time US television had a sensational, relevant mentalist on television was Uri Geller.

What would need to be done to either US television or mentalism in order to produce a successful television special?

RS.
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” -- James Arthur Baldwin



raymond.singson@gmail.com
twistedace
View Profile
Inner circle
philadelphia
3772 Posts

Profile of twistedace
I think that a variety show would be the best solution at least for now. We are inundated with reality shows where performers are given less than three minutes to perform. I used to love The World's Greatest Magic specials that used to run. It's the reason I got interested in performing magic after watching so many of the greats. Right now, Masters of Illusion is touring and Ithink they aired a few shows.

I'd personally love to see a show featuring mentalists Illusionists, close up artists, and jugglers. I think people need to get used to seeing actual performers in actual venues perform in front of live audiences. I would also love to see a weekly show like DB's but I don't see it happening anytime soon.
Greg Arce
View Profile
Inner circle
6167 Posts

Profile of Greg Arce
It's going to take someone that comes up with a new style or presentation. Something that is different from everyone else. Of course, if and when that happens, then expect the clones to come in.

Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
PhilDean
View Profile
Elite user
444 Posts

Profile of PhilDean
I'm shocked that someone hasn't done a spookshow themed mentalism program over there. I thought 'Murica loved that sort of thing.
Darth_Prime
View Profile
Loyal user
297 Posts

Profile of Darth_Prime
Quote:
On 2013-09-22 22:10, Greg Arce wrote:
It's going to take someone that comes up with a new style or presentation. Something that is different from everyone else. Of course, if and when that happens, then expect the clones to come in.

Greg


expect the "Real" mentalist to complain that they are not performing "Real" mentalism and are nothing more than a Magician
Mindpro
View Profile
Inner circle
9640 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
No because it would take a "real mentalist" to pull this off and would quickly separate "nothing more than a magician" from the pack. Otherwise it would just be perceived as magic. What are you trying to stir things up intentionally?
Raymond Singson
View Profile
Loyal user
258 Posts

Profile of Raymond Singson
I actually believe the current state of television isn't very conducive to 'live' mentalism at all. Over the years, you'll notice the amount of cuts and edits has increased exponentially with the advent of reality TV. Now, some say that the average American's attention span has reduced to mere seconds due to this shift in the media. I believe that this would detract a lot from what makes mentalism so strong. Look at what television did to the current state of magic.

I should pre-empt this by saying that the current state of magic isn't necessarily "worse," but it's undoubtedly "different" from what it was years ago.

20 years ago, when you purchased an effect from a magic shop, you typically received long-winded presentations for effects that were designed to last 3-5 minutes by themselves. Now, when you purchase magic or see magic on television, you're bombarded with minimalistic presentation for quick pieces of eye candy that last no more than 20-30 seconds (if that!). I think it would be really challenging for mentalism to thrive under similar conditions without compromising a lot of its effectiveness or authenticity.

What's interesting to me, is that the post-editing trends seen on American television don't directly translate to television overseas. If you watch British television clips on YouTube and compare them to American counterparts, I think you'll notice a significant difference. Reality television aside, the overall "takes" in British televised dramas last a lot longer. I think that's an interesting correlation, even if it may be a bit of a stretch to make. It may explain why current American audience arguably find televised mentalism boring (by the lack of ratings, anyway.)

RS.
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” -- James Arthur Baldwin



raymond.singson@gmail.com
saysold1
View Profile
Eternal Order
Recovering Cafe addict with only
10527 Posts

Profile of saysold1
Good thread - but look at Penn & Teller's UK show "Fool Us" which seemed to also attract American audiences at least on YouTube. Those effects were obviously mostly magic and not mentalism, but there were some mentalists for sure.
Creator of The SvenPad Supreme- "One of the most versatile and well made utility devices I have ever used. Highly recommended." Bob Cassidy www.SvenPads.com
DynaMix
View Profile
Inner circle
1121 Posts

Profile of DynaMix
I do think the performer's persona plays a large part. For someone to succeed (and I'm not so sure they would, given all of the above reasons regarding attention span) I think they'd have to have something that entertains enough during the "long winded" presentations that are associated with mentalism. If they were genuinely funny, charming, dynamic, whatever...

From the magic perspective, I do think Blaine came out of left field, people just weren't associating that dark weird persona with magic until him. It added to the experience.

I'm not familiar with Derren's attempts on US television. I'm surprised. Were they in the format of his live shows? Or where they more like the street magic format? His UK specials that were essentially recordings of a theater performance were incredible I thought. He kept the audience engaged with jokes and the like. Something like that, a personality that keeps people both engaged and focused, would help a performer make it here. Regarding Keith Barry's deception, I thought it was an entertaining show - but I found his persona to be very "know it all" and almost combative with the laypeople in certain regards. Not much to be "drawn to" as a viewer, other than purely the effect/conclusion of each piece he performed.
magic123
View Profile
Loyal user
273 Posts

Profile of magic123
Sorry but this concept has Already been done over 25 puls Yrs ago.
The Mentalist name is KRESKIN , he was one of the First ( Other then Dunninger )
to exploit the Medium of TV, as well as Using Celibs of the day as His Guest.
Which is why he is Called the Worlds Foremost Mentalist.

m123
Michael Zarek
View Profile
Special user
Sweden
912 Posts

Profile of Michael Zarek
Quote:
On 2013-09-23 11:03, magic123 wrote:
Sorry but this concept has Already been done over 25 puls Yrs ago.
The Mentalist name is KRESKIN , he was one of the First ( Other then Dunninger )
to exploit the Medium of TV, as well as Using Celibs of the day as His Guest.
Which is why he is Called the Worlds Foremost Mentalist.

m123


But like you said, it was 25 years ago. I don't think he would be as popular in today's televison.
Reader discretion is advised.
Raymond Singson
View Profile
Loyal user
258 Posts

Profile of Raymond Singson
Quote:
On 2013-09-23 11:09, stubbs360 wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-09-23 11:03, magic123 wrote:
Sorry but this concept has Already been done over 25 puls Yrs ago.
The Mentalist name is KRESKIN , he was one of the First ( Other then Dunninger )
to exploit the Medium of TV, as well as Using Celibs of the day as His Guest.
Which is why he is Called the Worlds Foremost Mentalist.

m123


But like you said, it was 25 years ago. I don't think he would be as popular in today's televison.


Precisely the point of the thread. What was relevant and exciting 25+ years ago may be considered mundane and predictable by today's standards. Curious to hear what television consultants (or even on-screen talent if they're present on the Café) have to share on the topic.

Over the years, Criss Angel's team consisted of various mentalists that produced some interesting bits of television on MindFreak. Unfortunately, despite Angel's growing fame and notoriety at the time, I think his... strong... persona greatly overshadowed the material and audiences didn't take it too seriously. After all, he's openly a magician by trade so the strict mentalism portions of his show were arguably hard to swallow. I think it shows that being a successful mentalist on today's television may be a tricky formula to pin down.

RS.
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” -- James Arthur Baldwin



raymond.singson@gmail.com
Scott Soloff
View Profile
Special user
Philadelphia, PA
960 Posts

Profile of Scott Soloff
Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come...

Everything is cyclic. Mentalism is more popular now than it has been in a very long time.

There are probably more mentalists making a full time living than ever.

When the time arrives, someone will produce a weekly TV show (probably on cable) which will be immensely popular (my prediction, not just hurling headlines).

Best wishes,


Scott
'Curiouser and curiouser."
Synesthesia
View Profile
Regular user
115 Posts

Profile of Synesthesia
Quote:
On 2013-09-23 08:39, Raymond Singson wrote:

What's interesting to me, is that the post-editing trends seen on American television don't directly translate to television overseas. If you watch British television clips on YouTube and compare them to American counterparts, I think you'll notice a significant difference. Reality television aside, the overall "takes" in British televised dramas last a lot longer. I think that's an interesting correlation, even if it may be a bit of a stretch to make.


Not so much with the effect sequences in Derren's Trick Or Treat, which were apparently spliced out of 2-second clips shot from a carnival teacup ride: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WQt4VwrKNw&t=5m
Mindpro
View Profile
Inner circle
9640 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
Quote:
On 2013-09-23 11:03, magic123 wrote:
Sorry but this concept has Already been done over 25 puls Yrs ago.
The Mentalist name is KRESKIN , he was one of the First ( Other then Dunninger )
to exploit the Medium of TV, as well as Using Celibs of the day as His Guest.
Which is why he is Called the Worlds Foremost Mentalist.

m123


That's exactly the problem that is being stated here. That would never fly on television these days. That is in the past, been there done that. That's not what many are referring here, but rather what it would take for mentalism to play on t.v. today. This HAS NOT yet been done, which is the whole point here. It would take someone contemporary, that would focus on today's media habits, today's culture, today's audiences and expectation, and have an understanding of today's technology and the art of television.

There are some former and current members here that have the knowledge and insight that would be excellent consultants on such a project. It would not be your grandfathers mentalism though. Kreskin and Dunninger have a great place in mentalism media history, but evolution occurs and the market is prime for a new mentalism superstar. Unfortunately this usually means a young, fresh talent. A dynamic talent with a flair for the use and understanding of the media and medium. The problem is most young talent do not have the mentalism-maturity and understanding of the true art of mentalism, therein lies the difficulty.

It's not Criss Angel, it's not Derren, I've yet to find him (or her which would be great).
Synesthesia
View Profile
Regular user
115 Posts

Profile of Synesthesia
With cable-cutting rates going up every year, broadcast networks struggling like never before, and more and more top screen talent flocking to Netflix and the internet, is TV really where mentalism should be setting its sights anyway? It seems a bit like running around the harbour to find last-minute scalper tickets for the Titanic.
Raymond Singson
View Profile
Loyal user
258 Posts

Profile of Raymond Singson
Quote:
On 2013-09-23 12:10, Synesthesia wrote:
With cable-cutting rates going up every year, broadcast networks struggling like never before, and more and more top screen talent flocking to Netflix and the internet, is TV really where mentalism should be setting its sights anyway? It seems a bit like running around the harbour to find last-minute scalper tickets for the Titanic.


That's actually a really good point. In fact, that's what made Dunninger and Kreskin so effective during their time-- they made use of their current media. Dunninger made his reputation during a time where radio was the frontrunner medium and Kreskin was a pioneer in television. It's only logical that someone would make use of the internet (YouTube or even a social network) for a more interactive experience.

In fact, I can actually imagine someone putting together a viral video and gaining nation-wide fame for it. If it's "original" enough, sparks enough interest, and the performer has an adequate repertoire, television agencies would likely approach that person with options anyway.

Really good point.

RS.
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” -- James Arthur Baldwin



raymond.singson@gmail.com
Michael Zarek
View Profile
Special user
Sweden
912 Posts

Profile of Michael Zarek
There are many things one would have to do to become a trully famous mentalist. First would probably be droping the "Mentalist" title, second most important is to look real and be entartaining at the same time.

And that trully is important becouse ,think about it:
There are two approaches to mentalism, psychic and psychological. The first one is more interesting and the second more entertaining. If someone could archive a psychic approach that is widely entertaining for a general audience than I think that would have much more chance to make someone famous. Becouse the problem is that the psychological approach , most of the time is too similiar too magick, think about it.

If someone knew how to be percived as real whilst being generaly entertaining than that would trully be something new.
I may be simplifying it a bit but hopefully you know what I mean.
Reader discretion is advised.
DynaMix
View Profile
Inner circle
1121 Posts

Profile of DynaMix
I think perceived as real in today's time isn't a great course of action IMO. Better to play to the audience's intelligence and just not address whether you are real or not, leave it up to them. If directly asked, answer with the well established variety of answers people like Banachek and DB have provided.

At some point if you pretend to be real, you are gonna get embarassed by today's intensely internet driven culture. Even Derren had to respond to famous op eds in the UK media denouncing him for pretending to be a master of influence and all that. He responded brilliantly I thought.
Michael Zarek
View Profile
Special user
Sweden
912 Posts

Profile of Michael Zarek
Didn't mean for someone to say he's real but to give out a vibe off "Better just not ask him about it"
Saying you're definitly real is a very bad idea becouse it's awful to argue with somebody about something you know is not true but if I were to do it I would probably say that I belive that I'm real but don't claim it.

The material normal mentalists use would of course need to be changed to something that can appear real, so no props of any kind. It's hard to come up with such an approach but if someone were to do it, then he'd be much closer to possible fame than anyone else.
Reader discretion is advised.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Mentalism on Mainstream Television (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 0.15 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