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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Little Help With A Mentalism Set a (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

RichardAwesome
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Hey Friends,

I've been working tirelessly on a mentalism set for an upcoming run a local theater is giving me (yes!), and I'm wondering in anyone's experience they've found a good resource on advice for how to go about crafting a good set. What pieces to blend into which, etc. (from opening to closing)

I realize 90% of it is learning on the fly and catered to the individual style of the performer. I get that. But any help is greatly appreciated. I've done searches on the the forum, but for the sake of simplicity and ease of use, I'm hoping you don't mind I start a new thread.

I really appreciate any advice from you, the experts. Thank you so much!

Eric
Psy
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From my short experience in the art of mentalism, I found ONE book REALLY helpful "Performing magic" by Tony Middleton
Investigative Mentalist
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I suggest you get the CD of Bob Cassidy's "The Act: Beyond Fundamentals" available at many magic shops.

It's a great teleseminar about the hows and whys of structuring a mentalism act from your introduction by the MC all the way through to the close.

Bob explains why he does certain effects in a certain order ... how/why to choose and match the effects to your stage persona ... how to avoid common mistakes that many mentalists make in their presentations, etc.

Great stuff!
George Hunter
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Richard:

Chuck Hickok's Mentalism Incorporated gives a great perspective on developing a mentalism act, the sequencing of effects, etc.

George
Scott Soloff
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Bob Cassidy's "The Act: Beyond Fundamentals"
'Curiouser and curiouser."
Magical Dimensions
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When is the gig?
Will you have time to learn and block your act?
If not, why would you want to do a mentalism act?
It might be better to do what you have been doing in this case.

You have asked us what we think would be best to string together from being to the end of an act.... So you really are asking for us to make an act for you, yes?

It might be better if you tell us what routines you already are doing and we can go from there.


Ray


Best
Ray
cpbartak
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What's your character's persona/backstory/underlying premise? Without that framework well established, you're just throwing together a random set of tricks with no rhyme or reason and most will just see you as a magician.
Some people hear voices.. Some see invisible people.. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
Harry the magic man
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I second all the posts above but also a sense of congruity is a show changer than just one effect after the other. I did a show where I did two things that used a whiteboard in a row only because my prop people didn't want to take it off and out it back on again. Try to avoid having that dilemma; also if there is a common thread running through the show or at least a big envelope you pass out at the beginning for the finale, if it is within your characters limits, often make my shows go better.
Best wishes,
Harry
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
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Life is very long- T.S. Eliot "The Hollow Men"
the Sponge
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Quote:
On Jun 4, 2014, RichardAwesome wrote:
Hey Friends,

I've been working tirelessly on a mentalism set....
Eric

Great, what do you have so far?
RichardAwesome
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Hey All,

Thanks so much for all the posts. I really appreciate it.

A little perspective: I've been a professional improvisational comedian, actor, emcee and creative director for corporate events for the past 15 years, and the theater I'm partnered with has allowed me a brief run. I've done several one offs and countless effects as a corporate host/emcee, (usually to set up a speaker, introduce an initiative, etc..) but this is my first attempt at a FULL ON show consisting solely of Mentalism!

In doing all that I've been able hone the art of "crowd work" and intend to craft a show utilizing those talents, while weaving them into and out of the effects.

My biggest problem with the one offs I've done this far, is when I'm getting laughs or developing a nice connection with an audience (or more specifically an audience member I'm working with) I tend to abandon whatever set I've put together and start to "riff." Which then eats too much time, and I abandon a few effects, or lose track of the tone and "congruity" of which you all write. My "character" (which is really 90% me) so far, is one that seems perplexed and mystified by the things he's doing. He's not quite sure how it's working, and is always certain the next thing won't. This is a very tricky thing to pull off of course, which is what drew me to it in the first place. It's a challenge that could EASILY blow up in my face at any given moment. That said, the three "previews" I've done have been very successful. Albeit filled with a "hot audience" of folks that are at least familiar to some degree with my other work. Very interested to see how it goes with "real people."

I'm no stranger to being on stage (I stopped counting at 1000 performances, and perform 3 shows a week at ComedySportz here in Chicago) and FULLY admit I am probably over confident when it comes to this, yet also fully aware that it's an art not to be taken lightly.

Essentially, there are lots of things I DO know about structure and tone, but am kidding myself in thinking the same rules and ideas I apply to say, a long form improv show, can also be applied to mentalism.

This all may sound like the ramblings of a mad man, but I appreciate all the advice, especially the connection to Mr. Chuck Hicock's material. I've even had some brief email correspondences with him upon purchasing a few of his publications.

Thanks again all, it's clear you all are very intelligent folks, and the salt of the earth! I'll sock anyone that says different.
twistedace
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I think the question that was being asked is what effects are you already planning on performing and what abilities are you claiming to possess?
Scott Soloff
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Quote:
On Jun 5, 2014, RichardAwesome wrote:
... and FULLY admit I am probably over confident when it comes to this


Eric,

This is a great place from which to start. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

Best wishes and good luck,


Scott
p.s. Kindly let us know how you make out.
'Curiouser and curiouser."
MagicArtShop
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Hi Eric:

I'm blessed to call both Chuck Hickok and Marc Salem friends. I mention Moshe (Marc) because much of what Chuck says was inspired by Marc Salem's work (regretably, though used with his permission), some performers took Chuck's description of some of Marc's work to mean that they had cart blanche to steal Marc's entire act. Neither performer had this in mind when Chuck's first book was published.

That said, there is value in studying the acts of pros (just don't lift their material).

My own shows (when I did mentalism alone, without the hypnosis act) was intuitively built (as I think Chuck suggests in his books), with each premise (premise, mind, NOT effect), building upon a more impossible set of circumstances than the last. Mentalism allows for just such a natural progression in intensity of material.

My own act (inspired by the late Peter Reveen - I was, again, blessed to live in the same community as Peter for a few years in my youth, so got to see him work often), began with a real "giant memory, magic square" routine which was, itself, based upon the work of another old buddy, Orville Meyer.

The act then progressed (my act, that is, not Peter's or Orville's), through various stages of seeming impossibility until, ultimately, it climaxed with my Q&A segment; the latter (Q&A) is by far the strongest effect in mentalism. It would generally be foolish to try to "top" it. I've seen my old buddy Craig Karges (perinneal king of campus and corporate mentalism), successfully present a Q&A section near the beginning of his act. Craig is, though, as I alluded to above, a consumate professional who has developed his unique style of presentation over several decades of nearly constantly performing for real audiences.

I can speak for the "progression" premise, as it's worked for me. It might be a good jumping off point for your show, too.

Break a lower appendage!

Greg Edmonds
Mindpro
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So good to see Greg Edmonds here among us. Welcome!
Magical Dimensions
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Since he hasn't written back, I guess that we must have helped Eric with the customized and complete act that he wanted us to give him just for the asking.
You know, with the magicians helping magicians thing and all.



Best
Ray
saysold1
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I can't stand the hit and run questions. It's annoying.
Creator of The SvenPad Supreme(R) line of premium, made in the USA utility props. https://svenpads.com/
Mindpro
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...and seems to be happening more and more frequently. That along with so many new members. Where are they coming from?
mastermindreader
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Must have been another mentalist TV special.
MagicArtShop
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Quote:
On Jun 6, 2014, Mindpro wrote:
So good to see Greg Edmonds here among us. Welcome!



Thanks.

Greg
RichardAwesome
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Thanks so much guys! I'm sorry I was MIA. I got tied up on a fire drill with a project and that blended right into a lengthy visit with dear ole dad for Father's Day. I didn't mean to disappear, nor offend, nor annoy. I try to limit my forum, and general surfing time, when I'm booked with work. Lest I want the days to sprint away...

Thanks for all the advice and info. And I even appreciate the thinly barbed comments! Both witty and otherwise! Please don't hold back.

I feel I've got a nice framework now, and later this week I'll post a set list. I reached out to a performer I worked for (as an AD) 15 years ago. He remembered me and gave me some very constructive, and dare I say, in one instance, merciless, feedback. I like that.

Mr. Cassidy! I got much of your material recommended in this thread (which I purchased with hard earned American dollars through an online magic outfit of some note, delivered right to my computer it was, what a world!). I've got time blocked out tomorrow to do nothing but listen to you through headphones. Looking forward to it.

Mr. Edmonds...love your post! Thanks for taking the time.

Thank yo all.

More soon....
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